Friday, October 13, 2017

Room Sprays as Personal Fragrance: Maximising Pleasure

Most people using home scent do so to refresh a room: deodorise smoke from cigarettes or staleness; drive away the miasma of fried oil cooking; re-invigorate the air with new stimuli instead of the same emitions its inhabitants produce daily. But there are some of us who actually use home scents -and sprays in particular thanks to their instant gratification benefit- to give an instant edge.
Moody fragrances with complex profiles, sprayed on the curtains and the cushions, can complement melancholic thoughts when one wants to wallow in them; make one more concentrated in their intellectual work; or induce greater peace of mind and serenity, when the world outside has gone a tad rougher than anticipated.

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I freely admit my fondness for sprayed forms of fragrance; the quick phssssst makes for instant gratification having the volatile molecules disperse to their room's air and surrounding me in waves of pleasure. I also admit to often decadently use some of my pricier scents in the home exactly for that purpose: suffusing a room with my signature scent, or altering its ambience in a couple of instants. Kids today say YOLO, do they not? They have a point. But there are scents purposefully meant for spraying in the home called "room sprays". Admittedly niche brands have limited their available scents in that medium which begs a question as to why, yet there are still a few excellent choices out there.

Aedes de Venustas for one developed a limited edition scent in collaboration with L'Artisan Parfumeur, which focuses on the mystical symbiosis of Japanese incense and tons of intense musk for a balancing act that creates a deep and resonant ambience. I fell in love the very first instant I smelled it; it was a gift from a special friend I knew from the US, directly from the source, but it also played on all my heart's fondest strings. I hadn't actually been so mesmerised by a room spray's apocryphal message since smelling Essence of John Galliano by Diptyque (now lamentably discontinued). It merited enjoying in full. Visitors to my house thought the same thing.

The niche boutique soon saw the potential and issued a proper perfume with this structure boosting the spicier aspects with pepper and cardamom as well as milder pink pepper and called it L`Artisan Parfumeur Aedes de Venustas eau de parfum.

In the room spray (the scent of which also comes in a candle, still available on the website) the balsamic tones which dominate are enhanced by a sensual and full-bodied musk that seeps through and takes the upper hand soon; they have a way of inducing thoughts of adventure and unbridled passions but the incense keeps things grounded. In the grander scheme of things I know I'm an armchair climber of Everest and not a literal one. But there's no shame in that.

More room sprays I have loved over the years include Figuier (Diptyque), Noel (Annick Goutal), Opopanax (Diptyque) which I reviewed here and the monumental Essence of John Galliano (by Diptyque, alas discontinued).

Do you do the same? Share your experiences in the comments.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bruno Acampora Musc Gold: fragrance review

It's not a tentative preview but a well established ritual, but Musc Gold perfume oil by Italian niche brand Bruno Acampora always makes it seem like it's the very first, one's no-virgin-anymore time.

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The particularly incongruent, yet oddly beguiling mushroom note that is at the heart of the original Musc is still subtly present (herbaceous, earthy patchouli), but patters out very quickly in order to give the bitterish salty semblance of naked skin which sweetens the more it stays on.

It makes me think of the words of E.E Cummings "in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me, or which I cannot touch because they're too near."


Further reading on Perfume Shrine:
Musk, the material: natural deer musk and synthetic musks
Skin scents: intimate and subtle 
The Musk Series: Part 1, a Cultural Perception of Musk
                             Part 2, Natural musk and everything you need to know on synthetics
                             Part 3, The Many Permutations of Musk Fragrances (musk "types")

Scented Musketeers: musk fragrance reviews for men & women 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Fragrance Industry News: Big Brands, Niche Players and Celebrities

The perfume industry is going through different phases and looking into the developments, what with the mergers, acquisitions, take-overs and profit reports, as well as the perfume best-sellers lists, is always interesting in its own way. According to the latest reportage there are news in what concerns big players and the continuing growth of niche in the market segmentation.

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As per the BBC news, "Coty - the New York beauty brand behind famous names such as Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Hugo Boss and Chloe - has faced headwinds this year.
In August, it reported a surprise quarterly loss that was partly blamed on "materially" higher marketing costs for the launch of new fragrances, including Gucci Bloom and Hugo Boss Tonic.
L'Oreal, which sells fragrances under brands including Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren and Diesel, also reported disappointing sales and profits for its most recent quarter." 

It's interesting to note one particular detail which might be explaining the differentiation of niche in practical terms for consumers.
Again according to BBC News, "[market research firm]Mintel estimates UK sales will be worth about £1.5bn this year, making it the fifth-biggest market globally behind Brazil, the US, Russia and France. As with other retail sectors, she says one of the problems is savvy consumers who try out products in a physical store but then go online to buy it for less." 
Niche perfumes by default offer less sampling opportunities in store and they also have different sales practices regarding shop distributions and to the sales bonuses of the sales assistants pushing them.

The data for the celebrity fragrances however seems contradicting. One source (Mintel to be precise) "releasing a fragrance emblazoned with the name of a celebrity, such as Britney Spears, Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez - appears to be waning. A third of consumers describe this approach as tacky."
The Washington Post cites that sales of celebrity scents "have dropped by half since 2000, while luxury perfumes have seen a recent sales increase of 16 percent, bringing them to a record high".  There is nevertheless the counter argument.

In an Allure article touting the quality of many celebrity fragrances (and indeed we have shared a bit of the love, when deserved, on these very pages) there will always be a place for celebrity scents. "We experience them not as people, but as products, ingesting whatever song, photo, or product they choose to release. They are not so much revealing themselves to us, but continuing to build the character they are projecting themselves to be. We are falling in love with someone we will never know.
In that way, celebrity fragrances are different than scents from the big houses — the Armanis and Chanels. While brand loyalty is certainly a factor in what helps fragrances from the big guys fly off of the shelves every season (not without the help of a celebrity as the face of the brand and scent) celeb scents tap into a different part of our psyche." and concluding "the trend of celebrity fragrances will only completely die out when our collective obsession with celebrity does — which is to say, not any time in the near future."
Worth keeping in mind.

Friday, September 22, 2017

And may the autumn equinox...

And may the autumn equinox bring with it
the browning of the leaves.
The numbing of the memories of what might be
and the sleeping of the dragons.
For there are many and they lurk
underneath one's thoughts.
The light -or is it the darkness?-
seeping through the cracks of the mind.

via pinterest

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