A Fragrant Affair.

by Katie on March 11, 2010

As we exit slowly from our long period of enforced Narnian weather conditions to a little more heat and a lot more light, our moods gradually change. We welcome Spring, the light, the colour and the fragrant things it brings. Well, I do anyway, being a renowned fragrance junkette. I try everything. And I mean everything that’s launched in the hope that I’ll hit upon a rare gem that will become one of the staples of the Chutzpah fragrance collection.

As last Summer’s dresses seem a bit ‘meh’ in the cold light of March, last year’s Spring/Summer fragrance doesn’t seem quite right for 2010 though it does bring back heady memories of boiling hot Etna’esque sunshine and the stunning vistas of Taormina. (Dior’s ‘Escale a Portofino’ since you ask). Like the saying, “You don’t choose who you fall in love with”, great fragrances find you, like all perfect affairs.

And lo, dear readers. I have found mine. Like a breathe of expensive fresh air, the new Maison Martin Margiela fragrance is a fashion lover’s antidote to the flowery demands of Spring. The unnamed fragrance’s beautifully simple, white clinical packaging belies it’s complex nature which is both its uniqueness and appeal. There’s surprises in store with this one. It’s femininity cuts through like a sexy Swiss nurse in an expensive health resort in the Alps: the fragrance is white, clean, sophisticated and well scrubbed with a strong green backbone and a sheeny metallic edge. The delicious surprise is the feminine hint of light talcum powder when the scent dies down, that comes from the sweet jasmine and musky cedar base notes. I also particularly like it sophisticated youthfulness. The fragrance doesn’t jar with a gritty urban location (as so many Spring florals do) and wearing it makes you feel like the ‘in the know’ cool kid in school when lots of people asked me, “what are you wearing…it’s lovely?” It’s undoubtedly not for everyone but that is the appeal of all great things.

On the popular organic end of the scale lives Melvita, a brand renowned for its affordable skincare for the past 25 years. Melvita have chosen this Spring to launch Rose Framboise – an over flowery and fruity concoction that I’m certain organic lovers will enthuse over but, unfortunately, it didn’t make me quiver with excitement. In fragrance speak, it combines Bulgarian Roses with the heady notes of Raspberries, Violets and Apricots and is underpinned by a hint of Vanilla and a subtle, powdery note of Mimosa and Chamomile. It smells youthful and princessy and I’m certain my teenage niece would love this but can’t imagine it on a more sophisticated soul more akin to Selfridges fragrance and beauty hall.

Monsoon launches their new Elation fragrance this Spring, focusing on a light, uplifting daywear scent targeted at a youthful Monsoon market, with Bergamot and mandarin oils used as a fresh zesty ‘out there’ base and Moroccan rose oil as the heart note of the fragrance for warmth and light femininity. The fragrance is uplifting enough for high street tastes and is no doubt, due to have a legion of faithful fans, but my main criticism as a fragrance floosie is that it smells slightly synthetic; Like looking at some one’s digital snaps of Portofino in May and trying to live vicariously through an idealised version of a place.

I’m bowled over by the new launch from Escentric Molecules, titled ‘The Beautiful Mind’ which has enough texture, depth and sexiness of a David Hockney swimming pool and is the most sophisticated lush layering of scent. From the deep orange plastic casing to the hologram front label talking of ‘Intelligence & Fantasy’, The Beautiful Mind (Vol 1) has beautiful, bodacious, sexy warmth…like a late Spring evening as the sun sets, where the air is tinged with heat and possibilities. The pink pepper, bergamot and underlying sandalwood tones are awesome. This is the intelligentsia of fragrances for the perfume connoisseur. Dare you dip into it’s depth?

Versace has added to their stable of fragrances with a raunchy newcomer, Versus, that captures all the energy of the Versus brand under Christopher Kane’s design influence: exciting, vibrant, feminine and colourful. The fragrance exudes lightness and hits the spot in terms of Spring sharpness. The warm heart of the orangeflower and stephanotis dries down to a sweet, musky, uplifting patchouli. With Lara Stone (David Walliams’ fiancee) fronting the launch (photographed by Craig McDean), this is a sure fire popular winner.

Another huge brand with a Summer offering is Burberry, soon to launch Burberry Summer this April. A beautifully tactile bulbous opaque bottle with hints of Burberry check on the rear holds another fruity floral fragrance with green spikes that yells sunshine, as freesia, honeysuckle and white rose florals meet the sparkling freshness of mandarin, pomegranate and white peach top notes. This is a scent to uplift on hot Summer sultry days….remember them? There’s also a limited edition Burberry Summer for Men.

Givenchy offers us a youthful freshness in eaudemoiselle de Givenchy, a surprisingly delicate scent which manages to combine Givenchy’s couture spirit with a move towards an upbeat youth appeal in this intense, floral-musky brilliance.

Explosive top notes burst forth in a citrusy duet of mandarin orange and Italian winter lemon, coloured by the green, herbal naturalness of shiso, a Japanese basil.
At the heart of eaudemoiselle is a floral bouquet, a rebel rose of budding sensuality which seems to quiver and then bloom. Crystalline base notes persist in a sillage of woody and musk notes, accentuated by an alliance of ambrette seeds and tonka bean.

MMM Untitled (30ml:£45)is launched on 25th March exclusively with Selfridges.
Rose Framboise (£19)is now available from www.melvita.co.uk
Versus (30ml:£30) is currently available at good department stores.
Burberry Summer for Women (EDT 50ml: £31) is available from April 2010.
Monsoon Elation (30ml: £15.00) is available from Superdrug and Monsoon stores.
The Beautiful Mind (Esentric Molecules) (100ml:£129) is available from harveynichols.com
eaudemoiselle de Givenchy launches now (100ml EDT: £56.50)
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