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Bombay Duck London

February 29, 2012 | Roja Dove Danger

Roja Dove Danger photographed by Jo Fairley against a vintage silk sari

The Scent Critic doesn’t quite know how Roja Dove has secured some of the raciest fragrance names ever for his signature creations, but Danger is the latest in a line of brilliant light-the-blue-touch-paper-and-retire titles emblazoned across his naughty purple labels.

First came Reckless, [...]

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February 7, 2011 | Yardley London April Violets

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but something scary has happened to the price of fragrance in the last couple of years.  It’s not just raw materials increases, although those are set to soar further:  The Scent Critic is hereby issuing a warning, actually, that due to the devastation wrought on harvests by the tsunami [...]

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January 27, 2011 | Strange Invisible Perfumes L'Invisible

Let me start by paying homage:  the Strange Invisible Perfumes store on too-cool-to-live Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice, Ca., is almost worth a 6,000 mile (carbon-offset) trip in itself.  Indeed, The Scent Critic was so keen to visit this botanical perfumery that when a business trip to Los Angeles was on the cards, a hotel [...]

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December 17, 2010 | The 12 Scents of Christmas No. 10: Estée Lauder Youth Dew

So: yesterday’s Scent Critic posting talked about how fragrance can turn you from a would-be couch potato into a party animal, with a waft of its magic wand.  But today, I’m going to marvel at its equal power to transport you through time and space.  Dr. Who, you can keep your Tardis.  We all have [...]

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December 12, 2010 | The 12 Scents of Christmas No. 7: Hermes 24 Faubourg

I suspect that if you blindfolded 1,000 people, wafted a 24, Faubourg-drenched spill under their noses and asked them to tell you where this honeyed floral fusion hailed from, they’d chorus:  ‘Paris’.  This 1995 classic, to me, has always seemed one of the quintessential French perfumes:  a sophisticated, heel-clicking, smart-suited grande dame of a fragrance, [...]

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December 3, 2010 | The 12 Scents of Christmas No. 2: Dana Tabu

It’s not very often that The Scent Critic is given a bottle of perfume by her husband. (Slight coals-to-Newcastle thing there.  Although that doesn’t explain a similar dearth of fresh floral tributes…)  So it is a Very Special Occasion when it happens – as it did with Dana’s Tabu, which he’s been rather fond of [...]

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November 26, 2010 | Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Parfum

I don’t know about you, but The Scent Critic generally prefers her fragrances to come gift-wrapped with a large serving of history, rather than confected with the help of a marketing department, a mood-board and some socio-demographic charts.  And on that front alone, there are few perfumes to knock spots off Quelques Fleurs.  Houbigant, its [...]

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September 17, 2010 | Diorissimo Eau de Toilette

The Scent Critic, like most women, has always understood that fragrance is memory.  From the evening when our mother first leans over our cot and we breathe her Chanel No. 5, we all associate smells with people, places and events we’ve loved.  (Or sometimes hated.)  I’ll never smell Shocking without being transported back to my [...]

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August 26, 2010 | Guerlain Idylle (Eau de Toilette)

Proper, gorgeous, glamorous, grown-up, full-bodied fragrances are what Guerlain is celebrated for – and mostly, that’s what they deliver. Creations which are born, not of marketing-speak or focus groups, but because a genius perfumer, playing at his organ of essential oils and distillations, has come up with something perfect – and decided OK, it’s time [...]

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June 4, 2010 | Chanel No. 22

Odd that it’s taken me this long to get around to reviewing a Chanel fragrance, because my past is cluttered with them.  The late-teen obsession with Cristalle.  That so-sophisticated No. 19 phase in my twenties (well I thought so, at the time), when I ate at La Brasserie in South Ken every night for about [...]

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