Hendley Perfumes Gia, 2015

(Dave Saint-Pierre’s un peu de tendresse, bordel de merde!, photographer not cited) Perfumer Hans Hendley The roaring 1920s and the disco 1970s were both known for hedonism. Fashion and style were considered reflections of character and self-expression kicked caution to the curb. Whether in speakeasies or Studio 54, theatricality and acting out were considered paramount to self-realization. Bathtub gin or blow. Flappers or disco queens.…

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Hiram Green Arbolé Arbolé, 2016

(photo, vintage post card) Perfumer Hiram Green A justifiable complaint against much of natural perfumery is that the compositions can be muddied and vague. Blending botanicals, even when using isolates, can be tricky. Compositions with a limited number of components keep the materials’ personalities front and and center but don’t compel them reveal anything new. When too many materials are used the composition loses precision…

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Aftelier Perfumes Memento Mori and Amber Tapestry

(image, 1734 memento mori tapestry source unknown) Mandy Aftel produced two new perfumes in 2016. Memento Mori, as the name implies, is a contemplation of mortality and consequence. Amber Tapestry is the salve for a wounded spirit. Given the conflict and vitriolic tenor of American politics in 2016, the two perfumes are poignant bookends to the year. Did Aftel create Memento Mori and Amber Tapestry as…

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Tauerville Hyacinth and a Mechanic, 2016

(photo Ernesto Casaretto. Coin du Roi/Société d’Opéra. Apollo et Hyacynthus, Mozart) Perfumer Andy Tauer The Tauerville line started surreptitiously with a perfume called Rose Flash. It was initially a limited release and wore the familiar “Tauer” label, though the small print contained something new: “Tauerville Collection.” By the time it was released more widely it proudly wore the Tauerville badge on the front of the bottle. Hyacinth…

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Hendley Perfumes Bourbon, 2015

(Image, 18th Ammendment repeal poster) Perfumer Hans Hendley We’re approaching a bubble. Or we’re already in one—bubbles are notoriously identified after the fact. The Perfume Bubble has all the features of previous speculative bubbles, from the Dutch Tulip Crisis in the 17th century to the Housing Market Crash of 2008. It even follows the five stages: 1) Displacement, or New Paradigm. (Independent Perfumery) 2) Boom.…

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Hendley Perfumes Rosenthal, 2015

(image radiopaedia.org) Perfumer Hans Hendley Rosenthal is an interesting challenge. It’s a new perfumer’s entry into a well-travelled genre. It’s a big, boozy rose, in the same broad woody rose category as the rose chypres, florientals and woody florals. Artisanal perfumery brings a new perspective to the table. Small-batch extractions of materials, inventive methods and ‘outside the box’ approaches ignore the boundaries of mainstream technique and…

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Imaginary Authors Violet Trilogy

Perfumer Josh Meyer. Imaginary Authors’s stories read like the back covers of pulp stories that just might actually have been published. Setting is paramount and the stories live in a tarnished-golden post-WW II arcadia where privilege and ennui are counter-balanced. They play with the fantasies of looking to the past. They offer an era of end-stage bucolic dreams, planes, fast cars and red-baiting. A time…

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Oriza L. Legrand (redux)

Photo, Quentin Crisp at 88 by Andrew MacPherson, 1994. Oriza L. Legrand was relaunched in 2012. The rights to the brand were by acquired by perfumer Hugo Lambert and Frank Balaiche who apparently sought out the records and artifacts of the original house. The line relaunched with a number of perfumes based on formulae from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, though the original…

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Aftelier Perfumes Parfum Privé

(image, Joshua Tree Park, Spring 2016) Perfumer Mandy Aftel. The vocabulary of luxury emphasizes its value as an indicator over its significance as an experience. Handbags, wristwatches, cars and the like. Lavishness as social weaponry. This dogmatic perspective on luxury is nothing new. In fact, I only bring it up because Aftel’s ambergris-based Parfum Privé brings the focus of luxury back to experience, to pleasure.…

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Slumberhouse New Sibet, 2016

Images of Noah Purifoy’s Joshua Tree Outdoor Museum. Perfumer Josh Lobb. Like other Slumberhouse perfumes, New Sibet feels deliberate. As if the perfume I’m smelling is the thousandth mod. The one that got the dynamics, tones and balances just the way the perfumer intended. The attention to detail is apparent, but most Slumberhouse perfumes favor ecstatic imbalance over caution. New Sibet is focussed and edited…

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Thoughts on Notes/Medium/Scent.

  Catherine Haley Epstein’s article, Primal Art: Notes on the Medium of Scent makes some interesting conjectures about the social role of scent and art. She emphasizes the prosocial and intimate nature of scent-based work and how it modulates the cultural effects of recent information technology. The article was published on 9/30/2016 in Temporary, a platform with an emphasis on makeshift alliances within the arts/criticism.…

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Chanel and Mugler Flankers, 2016. Order and Chaos.

(image School of Permaculture) Chanel No 5 l’Eau, perfumer Olivier Polge. Thierry Mugler Angel Muse, perfumer Quentin Bisch. Chanel No 5 and Thierry Mugler Angel are two of the most popular and commercially successful French perfumes in history.  As with any fashion house that has a ‘signature’ perfume, the product is both a source of steady income and the face the brand presents to the…

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