Sunday, 11 October 2009

Pierce My Heart Again: Kingdom by Alexander McQueen Review

Alexander McQueen
Jacques Cavallier

Top Notes: Calabrian Bergamot, Sicilian Mandarin, Orange, Tunisian Neroli
Heart Notes: Rose, Indian Jasmine, Cumin, Ginger
Base Notes: French Vanilla, Indian Myrrh, Sandalwood

Kingdom was the first perfume release by fashions 'Enfant Terrible' Alexander McQueen. Created as a feminine fragrance, Kingdom embodies McQueens rebellious style of fashion and was a refreshing addition to the designer perfume market. Originally released as an Eau de Parfum, Kingdom is now available in Eau de Toilette and limited edition Pure Parfum.

Looking at the top notes could be quite misleading as Kingdom is not a light fragran
ce in any way, the first initial spray is a cacophony of citrus notes which are slightly overwhelmed by a strong and persistent dose of Cumin. This heavy blast of Cumin conjures up a sense of warm, naked flesh, of sex and the friction caused by two bodies entwined. This image of coitus is much more realistic and romantic than colder, stark perfumes such as Sécrétions Magnifiques. It would be very easy to be put off by the Cumin, many have said that it is too much and have compared it to bad body odour, I could not disagree more.

Once the Cumin has become more muted (it never fully goes away) the scent mellows to a soft blend of Rose and Jasmin, the florals are exceptionally blended and together with the soft spice they float on the skin for hours before giving in to the lengthy dry down.

The dry down is all about Vanilla and Sandalwood, and a very good Sandalwood at th
at. I find that Sandalwood really comes alive on my skin and it really is part of the signature of Kingdom. Those who were repulsed by the top notes would not believe they are wearing the same fragrance. Kingdom has moderate silage in the heart and base notes and lasts for a good 12 hours on the skin.

Kingdom is housed in one of the most beautiful bottles I have seen, a ruby heart encased in cold
metal. The Parfum is housed in a similar bottle but it has a metal screen
that can covers the red heart, while the Parfum bottle is exceptionally beautiful it is completely impractical and difficult to use.

The Parfum is deeper and richer, the more harsh, spicy notes take more of a centre stage and the perfume lasts an impressive 24 hours. The Sandalwood is stronger and works together with the heart notes sooner and for much longer than the EDP. The Parfum is becoming increasingly harder to find (the scent itself has been discontinued in the USA) and I would recommend picking it up if you come across it.

Kingdom was the first perfume I bought and fell in love with, it was the one that got me hooked onto fragrance. I find that I forget about it sometimes and come back to it after a long hiatus and fall in love with it all over again. It was never popular and for me this adds to the appeal.

Kingdom to me is romance and love at it's most visceral, it's most human, unpleasant and beautiful all at once.

B Never too Busy to be Beautiful No More

The perfume and make-up arm of UK based cosmetics company LUSH is to cease trading at the end of the year. The B Never website issued a statement this week saying that "The company has not gone bust or bankrupt and there are no administrators involved, we are simply unable to make a profit. Lush will be absorbing the business in order to retain the assets."¹ This has come as sad news to the industry as B Never are a unique brand who source ethical ingredients for their products.

On a personal note I will be very sad to see the brand go, I own Breath of God and Ladyboy (I will be posting reviews later on this week) and was looking forward to exploring the other perfumes the brand has to offer.

At the moment it seems uncertain as to which perfumes will continue to be sold through the LUSH stores, I hope most of them will but we will have to stay tuned. If you are a fan of any of their fragrances I would recommend stocking up just in case a favourite of yours is discontinued.


Sunday, 30 August 2009

Marc Jacobs Lola: A Review

First things first - the bottle is absolutely gorgeous, I defy anyone not to fall in love with the OTT plastic floral cap. Marc Jacobs has proved he is very adept at choosing/designing kitsch bottles that make you go all gooey eyed and scream 'I want!'

As for the fragrance itself, Lola is described as 'Seductive and Alluring' which is a break from the fresh and youthful theme of Daisy. Lola has notes of Pink Peppercorn, Pear, Rose, Fuschia Peony, Vanilla, Tonka Bean and Creamy Musk.

I would describe Lola as pretty rather than seductive, the top notes open with a blast of pear and grapefruit, the floral notes come through quite quickly and the sillage and longevity are fair.

The dry down is soft and creamy and for me this is the best stage. Lola leaves a nice aura of 'pleasantness' on the skin and this lasts for a few fair hours before fading away completely.

Lola is not adventurous or anything that we have not seen before but that does not take away from the enjoyment at all, sure we've seen billions of fruity florals over the last few years but that doesn't make Lola bad in any sense of the word.

I'm not sure I agree with the description of 'Seductive and Alluring', perhaps 'Flirtatious and Sexy' would be more apt. Lola would suit a man if he was the type of guy who could get away with fruity florals without turning too many heads, I certainly don't feel uncomfortable wearing it.

Will I get a bottle? Probably, not so much for the juice just because I find it incredibly hard to resist that bottle!

Saturday, 29 August 2009

A Quest for the Perfect Rose: Une Rose by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

Rose is the one note I seem to struggle with, I don't like it when it is overly feminine, I hate it when it is overly boozy (I'm talking about you Voleur du Roses!) and I'm really not keen on it when it is nuclear like YSL's Paris. My quest for the perfect rose has been quite long and for the most part utterly unsatisfying. I've tried all of the usual suspects: No. 88 (where is the rose?!), Paul Smith Rose (a dull rose solifloral), Black Aoud (so so so so close but just that little bit too much) and Voleur du Roses (too syrupy for my taste). I was just about ready to give up until I started reading about Une Rose...

I had a brainwave, if I wanted to find a good rose, and I mean a really good rose then who better to look at than Frederic Malle?! For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last ten years Frederic Malle is a 'Perfume Curator' who commisions the worlds greatest perfumers to make a fragrance for his collection with a huge budget and complete artistic freedom. The collection currently consists of 18 scents and can be found exclusively at Les Senteurs and Liberty.

Une Rose was created by Edouard Fléchier 2003 and is described as 'The intoxicating, earthy aroma of a garden rose pulled from the ground with its roots' (now that's more like it) and that's exactly what it is. The top notes are deep turkish rose and stay that way for quite a while, the gernanium adds balance and prevents it from becoming to dark, as the fragrance develops the 'earthy' notes start to come through. Fléchier created a 'truffle' accord to represent the deep, damp earth and this adds a masculine and slighlty animalic facet. Une Rose dries down to a powdery and earthy rose which is completemented by the most fantastic note of red wine (described as wine dregs in the notes list), this boozyness is subtle and adds a rich quality.

The sillage and longevity is good, just be careful when applying, the top notes aren't too strong and it would be too easy to apply too much and not realise. As the fragrance develops it does get stronger, so you wouldn't want to bathe in it. Une Rose is available in 50ml and 100ml EDP as well as a set of 3 x 10ml travel sprays and the Beurre Exquis body butter.

Can I consider my quest for the perfect rose fragrance over? I think I would be incredibly hard pressed to find a rose fragrance as deep and dirty as Une Rose and I think that I will get through my 50ml bottle very quickly. I have learned in the world of the perfumista you must 'never say never', another more perfect rose may come along but until then I will be quite content with Une Rose.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Alien by Thierry Mugler: A Review

Thierry Mugler

Top Notes: Sambac Jasmine
Heart Motes: Cashmeran, Solar Not
Base Notes: White Amber

Don't let the lumiescent purple juice fool you, this is a BIG white floral with huge sillage. Alien was created in 2005 as a follow up to Mugler's hugely successful Angel. One gets the impression that Alien was created to diversify the brand, to add another perfume to the portfolio and show that Mugler isn't just 'the guy who does Angel'.

Angel and Alien aren't worlds apart, I wouldn't call them sister fragrances or even say that Alien is a variation on the theme of Angel but they do share similarities, the biggest of which is the potency and sillage. Alien is not a quiet fragrance, it projects itself creating 'mystical, supernatural aura' around the wearer. The top note is bright sambac jasmine that at first is slightly reminiscent of something unsettling, possibly a bug spray or chemical which is reminiscent of the unsettling synthetic opening of Angel. On me the top notes take a while to fade and after a few hours Alien settles down to a quiet, powdery vanilla that if left would last for days. Alien is categorised as a woody oriental and I would say this is pretty spot on, the top is very floral but the dry down is all wood and vanilla.

Alien has been on sale for nearly four years now and is available in EDP, Extrait (with a fancy claw applicator) and Sunessence EDT. You can also buy a refillable bottle and use the Alien Source to refill (as with Angel). If you are a fan of Angel or just somebody who likes a good white floral then Alien is definitely worth a try, it's an interesting take on the genre, you just have to be willing to give it the time to get past the unsettling top notes.