Australian Members - Part II - if you read the first post, you'll get what this is all about. - Page 66
Melbournians may be interested in a couple of concerts I'm involved with as a player.
First up, an all-Tchaikovsky orchestral concert at Melbourne Recital Centre next Sunday 10th April, 5pm. We will be firing a real cannon at the end of the 1812 Overture. (It won't be loaded with a cannonball.)
Click here to purchase tickets.
Second, an unusual "chamber" performance of the first act of Richard Wagner's opera "Die Walküre" (The Valkyrie).
No, it doesn't have the "Ride of the Valkyrie", that's in the third act. However, it's a very gripping piece of music theatre, running for just over one hour.
Here's a press release:
Thanks for the reply. Thinking about it, I dont think they are fakes but im guessing they may be near their expiry date as all the powerhouses i have worn never have much sillage or staying power. Is strawberry.net and fragrancenet.com reputable? Where do you guys buy your stuff from (excl department stores)
Both of those places are fine. I buy from Strawberrynet all the time, and FrangranceNet has a very solid rep in fraghead circles (although you might want to watch the shipping costs).
To check the expiry date of your perfume (if you have a bottle) look up tthe batch code at checkcosmetics.com Bear in mind that well-kept fragrances last a heck of a lot longer than the 3 years they recommend.
Yes, im looking for a subtle fragrance with long life and adequate silage for a professional work environment. The only fragrance that has the longevity for me is YSL White Kouros but smells a bit like piss .Maybe im getting dodgy fakes so where do you guys buy your fragrances from?
Take the next paragraphs with a pinch of salt, I'm still a newcomer to this field...
I think there's a case to be made for a lot of mainstream fragrances to have gotten weaker, lower quality. Luca Turin (arguably the most famous reviewer) blames budgets, which might be 1/10th or even 1/100th as much per kg of raw materials for mainstream vs niche. Not to say that niche is always better, far from it. But you should get on one of the sampler sites and try out houses like Diptyque, Amouage, etc. Per bottle cost are about the same or a bit higher (maybe twice as much for Amouage, 3x for Kurkdjian) as what you find on Sephora.
If you want to smell professional, Terre d'Hermes is the popular classic with the finance types, and probably one of the most "suitable" fragrances for the office. However, it was with Cartier Declaration that Jean Claude Ellena created the family, TH being his evolution of the idea later. Declaration (or its darker brother Declaration Essence) can be had ultra-cheap online or in perfume discounters; in Singapore, I've seen it for less than $50 for the big bottle (before negotiating). Hermes I've seen for $180. I know where I'd put my money... I also find that Essence lasts much longer (as you'd expect looking at the ingredients) so might solve your problem of longevity better.
Encre Noire by Lalique is another interesting one. Vetiver is almost THE classic male professional scent (Lavender-Vanilla/Citrus would be more popular, I guess). Guerlain's is good, but costs a lot more than EN which is very clean and unique and retails for less than $30 if you are lucky on eBay. Also, the bottle is just awesome (for EDT; I think the EDP is ruined by the gold).
Be aware of concentration. Parfum (or Extrait as it is now occasionally branded - "Extrait de Parfum") is almost never seen in shops, especially for masculines; it has the highest percentage of "jus" (juice, or raw materials). At about half, you have Eau de Parfum (EDP), half again you get Eau de Toilette (EDT), half again (you're down to maybe 2% at this point or less!) Eau de Cologne (EDC). It's a good idea to get EDP if you can; the higher concentration of oils has much longer lasting power. EDC used to be be used for washing!
The other thing to be aware of is the evolution of a scent. You get "top" notes for 20 minutes, "heart" notes for a few hours, and it settles into "base" notes. Mainstream brands know how most customers shop - by sniffing stuff in a row on paper strips, their nose progressively dulled, and rarely going beyond that - so they cram ever more fragrant top notes into the products to get you to buy, and then it sort of all smells the same after an hour (vanilla/musk/wood, usually obviously synthetics). It's important to test on your skin, never more than two in one go (I break this rule all the time, regret it all the time), always taking 10 hours or more to make your decision, and if you can, source a sample and wear it for a few days. There's a certain house I won't name which charges a LOT for their bottles, supposedly served British royals, yet never had a royal warrant (hint: the logo looks sort of like one). Their perfumes all dry down to ambergris.
You should also watch out for reformulations. There are two reasons for reformulation: cost cutting, and IFRA, a regulatory body which keeps banning raw materials. A lesser reason is the disappearance of some mixes of ingredients that used to be the base for older perfumes (also in part due to IFRA, but usually cos the guy doing it retired or went bankrupt). For an IFRA example, the industry-changing nitro-musks are banned because of their (if I recall well) neurotoxic effects, although it is much debated whether the study was accurate in demonstrating said effects.
Personally, I grab samplers by the dozen from US based sampling sites. Takes a few weeks to arrive, but I can't settle on just one scent anymore. And occasionally I get lucky and a salesperson gives me loads of free samples. The other thing is I don't think it works to have "just one scent for all occasions", some stuff is more suited to the office, other to going out, other still to quieter social occasions (like dinner at your neighbour's). Kind of like suits. You wouldn't wear a suit to go have dinner at your mate's. So something like Blenheim Bouquet would be a bit cold...
It's a fun hobby, much cheaper than fashion or watches because of sampling, and because price is only loosely correlated with quality past a certain point. Knowledge is much more richly rewarded than with say, whisky where a good find will rapidly see its price increase beyond all hope for normal people to acquire it... in fact I found the industry so fun I'm quietly putting together a global price comparison tool (with shipping included) as a side project, might post the prototype there if it looks like it's working.
Houses I'd recommend (and it will be hard to get back to YSL later):
- Amouage: started by Omani royals who wanted to restore the history of their country's perfume or something. The first one (Gold) had an unlimited budget. They tend to hire good perfumers. The country has exceptional frankincense and apparently also has a fair bit of ambergris washing up on their beaches. I love the sheer opulence-yet-skillfully-balanced of these scents, although they had a period of really weird things (I can't stand Sunshine Men). Try Epic, Lyric (if you can stand rose), Jubilation XXV, Interlude, Dia, Fate, the Opuses. And Gold of course, but that is definitely not OK for the office, it projects like a megaphone on a gold plated Rolls Royce. With the regular Amouage, you just get the Rolls Royce, and sometimes it's even a lovingly preserved Silver Wraith or something. Wife likes neither Rolls Royce nor Amouage, unfortunately, so I don't wear the latter as often as I'd like to.
- Maison Francis Kurkdjian: he created a lot of recent "classics", superhits for a variety of houses; he started his own because he was fed up with having his creativity MBA'ed away and his budgets cut. We're talking Jiro-level search for perfection: according to the NYT (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/24/t-magazine/francis-kurkdijan-fabien-ducher-rose.html) he spent 6 years just developing the rose he wanted to work with. Again, some of the stuff I don't understand (Amyris, Aquae Universalis). But, he's a master of balance and using great ingredients, and you pay a fortune for it just as if you were lunching at the new restaurant in the Sydney opera house. I like Pluriel Masculin, which is like a "perfect" cologne with amazing ingredients (come to think of it, it fits your bill); I love the Oud series but it's very polarizing. PM is funny because it polarizes the audience; a lot of niche followers hate it for being so "boring", but I think it's like a charcoal two piece suit that you just so happen to have had made in Savile Row: the ingredients and skill just transcend the theme and make it a great professional scent vs something more noticeable and unique.
- Memo: try the leathers. African Leather is the one fragrance I've been close to blowing full bottle money on this year.
- Diptyque: very clean, nice compositions. Philosykos is a classic: the second fig on the market (after Premier Figuier, also by Olivia Giacobetti) and the most acclaimed. You get the whole tree. I love the new Eau des Sens (orange blossom, bitter orange) as a replacement for "classic" colognes, but be aware the top notes are quite feminine. In fact my wife liked it so much she wore it to work, and two hours later called me to complain she now smelled like a man. After this, I felt fine wearing the thing, provided I had a couple of hours before my first meeting!
- I like Timbuktu a lot, also good for the office. Can't speak for the rest of the range.
Houses I've yet to try but that have stellar reputation:
- Frederique Malle
- Nicolaï (also has a reputation for being outright awful at marketing and distribution - good luck!): LT thinks New York is what Creed's Bois du Portugal tries to be.
- Czech & Speake
- Tom Ford (his oud is supposed to be very good; oud is getting very hard to source, so most houses just offer synthetics, which lose the complexity that makes it so appealing)
- profumo.it aka Abdes Salaam Attar, a French born perfumer who converted to Sufi Islam during his world travels and is one of the best known "natural ingredients only" perfumer, he ships direct to you internationally so you get quite a bit for your money. He also offers raw materials.