Thursday, May 20, 2021

Agent Provocateur Blue Silk: fragrance review

 Blue Silk, part of a flanker duet launched in 2018 by lingerie brand Agent Provocateur (the other being Lace Noir) is credited to Beverly Bayne, shifting from the usual Christian Provenzano creative umbrella. 

The company presented it thus: "Making a sensuous entrance into the Agent Provocateur fragrance collection, Blue Silk is an unforgettable perfume, feminine, provocative and deeply romantic. Piquant top notes of woody, rosy pink pepper, revitalizing citrus from lemon and mandarin and exhilarating, fresh juniper combine with floral middle notes from classic rose and rich, sweet, precious jasmine, alongside the honeyed peach tones of nectarine and the warmth of spicy cinnamon. Leaving a lingering feeling of deep, almost smoky sensuality are the base notes of hypnotic musk, cooling, earthy vetiver, creamily sweet sandalwood and the vanilla, praline-like tones of aromatic tonka bean."

What is uncanny about Blue Silk is its delicious top note of bright and lightly sweet spices. It almost creates the impression of the opening of YSL's discontinued Nu eau de parfum, a fragrance overseen by Tom Ford (and this is telling in so many ways.) The spices are almost rejoicing, they never come across as sharp like the air within the spice cabinet. The composition is redolent of the steamed puddings of Jungle Elephant, but done in miniature form; there is none of the bombastic sillage of Kenzo's mastodont. 

The muskiness surfaces like a silky undergarment peeked through a crepe dress; it does feel silky and soft, very wearable and romantic, melding with the wearer's skin, and creates erotic imagery without prompt. Priceless.

As with most Agent Provocateur fragrances Blue Silk is available in 100ml Eau de Parfum at advantageous prices online and is highly recommended.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Penhaligon's The inimitable William Penhaligon: fragrance review

 Many of the original scents created by William Penhaligon were modernized and re-introduced as part of the Anthology Collection. The company maintains its commitment to fine, traditional perfume ingredients and techniques. The bottles for Penhaligon's scents are based on William Penhaligon's original design—clear glass and adorned with a ribbon.

pic via

This emblematic heritage is of course something most niche brands, even those proclaiming historical roots, cannot match. It was therefore expected that the company would sooner or later reference the patriarch himself. And so they did, with the newest fragrance, The Inimitable William Penhaligon.

With an above-average lasting power but a rather moderate sillage, the spicy-woody scent of The Inimitable William Penhaligon captures easily one's affections, as it's agreeable by most. For that reason it might seem a bit tame, for those expecting something flamboyant and domineering. Nevertheless, true to form, the scents of the aristocracy itself have never been very loud, as there is no raison d'être for them to be; their calling card is their, well, actual calling card.

The actual scent of The Inimitable William Penhaligon is well-mannered, sociable, milky with its lactonic heart of sandalwood and fig, and the more it stays on, the more pronounced this serene milkiness becomes. If I were to use one word it would be snugly. What I find most interesting is an unexpected green-milky slice in the middle, like that of a fig leaf erupting amidst the vetiver, with the sandalwood's soft qualities soon emerging over the greenness.

The company insists on calling it a vetiver scent, first and foremost, and the deep green liquid inside the bottle might indeed account for expectations of a bracing, pungent scent. But let me assure you this might ease its way into Vetivers for Vetiver-phobics effortlessly, as it lacks the dirty inclinations of vetiver oil and instead opts for a bright, bittersweet opening that quickly segues into the plush of the salon. There is also no discernible incense for the incense-phobics, so approach comfortably, as if you were to be greeted into a cedarwood-clad boutique. Mellow, soft, and silky, really.

Comfortable, sweetish on the drydown, and warm, The Inimitable William Penhaligon could easily be snatched out of the hands of your beloved man and sprayed with gusto onto yourself, dear female reader. Yes, most brands advertise as unisex these days, but it's not always the case; this one is effortlessly borrowed by either sex and projects quite classy at all times.

Related reading on PerfumeShrine: 

Penhaligon's fragrances reviews & news

Lactonic scents: what does it even mean?

Perfumery Material Fig: Between Green Woody and Succulent

Top Vetiver Fragrances

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Fragrant Poetry: The Cinnamon Peeler

The Cinnamon Peeler 

If I were a cinnamon peeler
I would ride your bed
and leave the yellow bark dust
on your pillow.

Your breasts and shoulders would reek
you could never walk through markets
without the profession of my fingers
floating over you. 

The blind would
stumble certain of whom they approached
though you might bathe
under the rain gutters, monsoon.

Here on the upper thigh
at this smooth pasture
neighbour to your hair
or the crease
that cuts your back. This ankle.

You will be known among strangers
as the cinnamon peeler's wife.

I could hardly glance at you 
before marriage
never touch you
- your keen nosed mother, your rough brothers.

I buried my hands
in saffron, disguised them
over smoking tar,
helped the honey gatherers...

When we swam once
I touched you in the water
and our bodies remained free,
you could hold me and be blind of smell.

You climbed the bank and said
this is how you touch other women
the grass cutter's wife, the lime burner's daughter.

And you searched your arms
for the missing perfume
and knew
what good is it
to be the lime burner's daughter
left with no trace
as if not spoken to in the act of love
as if wounded without the pleasure of a scar.

You touched
your belly to my hands
in the dry air and said
I am the cinnamon
peeler's wife.  Smell me.

~Michael Ondaatje

A few lovely fragrances with detectable cinnamon...
 1 Million (Paco Rabanne)
Bronze (Nanadebary)
Cinnabar (Estee Lauder)
Classique (Jean Paul Gaultier)
Dioressence (Dior)
Dolce Vita (Dior)
L'Eau (Diptyque) 
Egoiste (Chanel)
Euphoria Liquid Gold (Calvin Klein) 
Just Cavalli Her (Cavalli)
L de Lolita Lempicka (Lolita Lempicka)
London for Men (Burberry) 
Obsession for men (Calvin Klein)
Organza Indecence (Givenchy)
Rousse (Serge Lutens)
Spicebomb (Viktor & Rolf)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Baruti Nooud: fragrance review

 Nooud started with the spermatic idea by Spyros Drosopoulos, creative force behind the Dutch-based Baruti niche brand, of getting inside the construction of oud bases, used widely in the perfume industry these days, and searching for his own formula, his own truth. In this journey he stumbled upon the notion of nude, of skin, of bareness; and so from oud and nude evolved...Nooud!


If it also suggests there is no actual oud in it, it's because there isn't. Hence the magic of the illusion.

The Nooud fragrance remains the brand's best-seller, which is understandable, due to the wide demand for sensuous oriental scents for niche audiences all over the world nowadays. It feels like it's full of ambrette, or the musky odorants in its core at least, and it's truly compelling, poised between attractively bitterish botanical and skin-warm indulgent like the finest suede. 

Although aimed at those who would be welcoming the idea of an oudh, burning Bakhour, I can definitely recommend it to people who love unsweetened musks. I can very well see how it's the best-seller!

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