There is an exciting, bright new talent on the perfume scene, John Biebel, a man who reminds me a bit of Slumberhouse‘s Josh Lobb in his creative, bold, unusual, and very modern voice, a man who has quietly released two of the most accomplished and striking fragrances of 2017 and a third pretty one. They demonstrate a remarkably deft mastery of complex fragrance structures, an eye for good quality raw materials, and an innate talent but, above all else, his fragrances feel authentically original. Like Mr. Lobb (and also Serge Lutens), Mr. Biebel has the rare ability to combine unusual notes or aromas that might sound odd on paper but, thanks to his talent and skill, come across in the most interesting ways that leave you sniffing your arm again and again, wondering why no-one had thought of the idea before. At other times, though, he takes a classical composition and manages to make it feel modern and fresh but also dramatic. In both instances, I think that the result is bound to be somewhat polarizing, but then original, thought-provoking, impactful, and sometimes challenging fragrances usually are.
Amouage returns to the fougère family with its new Bracken Man, the latest eau de parfum to join the higher-end Midnight Flowers Collection. Last year’s Sunshine Man (also in the Midnight Flowers Collection) had fougère elements as well, but mixed them with gourmand elements. This time, in the case of Bracken, Amouage adds dark, oriental flourishes but the fragrance is truer to the fougère genre, at least initially.
There’s an impressive new talent on the perfume scene, Pissara Umavijani, the woman behind Parfums Dusita and three new fragrances whose superb openings left me smiling and, in one case, practically dumbstruck at its heart-stopping beauty, my breath caught in my throat as I felt simple happiness sweep over me.
Ms. Umavijani (who sometimes goes by “Ploi Uma” on Facebook or social media) is a self-taught perfumer and, judging by her maiden efforts, is remarkably gifted, sure-footed, and creative. Far more so than many a professionally trained “nose,” if you ask me. In her hands, the tired floral-oud combination becomes something special and distinctive, while her deconstruction of the fougère genre brings a new breath of life to the genre. As for her treatment of florals, it is something to behold, whether it’s my beloved white florals or the roses that normally leave me cold. I don’t know if it’s her finesse, the clearly exceptional quality of so many of her raw materials, or both, but this rose-hater was left wishing for a perfume with only her roses in it. Bottom line, she’s someone to watch if you are really serious about good perfumes, I’m impressed by her talent, and you should really try her stuff.Continue reading
Every week, I get at least three or four emails from people seeking fragrance recommendations. The vast majority of them are men, but there are some women, too. Most of them are not long-time readers of the blog and have simply stumbled upon it, so they don’t know my long-time favorites that I talk about often, but a few are subscribers who seek specific suggestions. Sometimes, people start by giving me a brief idea of their tastes and/or names of prior fragrances they’ve worn. Typically, though, the information is insufficient for me to know what might really suit them, so I write back with a list of questions, trying to narrow down what notes they have issues with or love best, how they feel about sweetness or animalics, how their skin deals with longevity or projection, and what sort of power they want in both of those last two area.
What I’ve noticed is that I tend to make certain recommendations time and time again for particular genres or fragrance families. So, I thought I would share them with all of you. However, please keep in mind that these names are in response to some pretty set criteria given to me by the person in question, even though many of those factors end up being quite similar. For example, the men who like dark, bold, rich or spicy orientals all seem to want a certain sillage or “to be noticed in a crowd,” as several have put it. In contrast, most of those who want clean, crisp scents prefer for them to be on the discreet side and suitable for professional business environments. Men whose favorites are classical designer scents that fall firmly within the fougère, green, fresh, or aromatic categories (like Tuscany, Guerlain’s Vetiver, or vintage Eau Sauvage, for example) tend to want very traditional scents, even “old school” in vibe, and not something sweet, edgy, or with a twist. So, that is what I try to give them as recommendations, which means that there are a whole slew of fragrances that fall outside the category.