The holiday season always brings a flurry of new fragrances, and more than usual this year Guerlain is leading the way in the luxury category. October saw the launch of Ne m’Oubliez Pas (‘Forget Me Not’), a new fragrance by in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser, which is inspired by Guerlain’s historic address at 68 Champs-Elysees and the perfume of the same name created by Jacques Guerlain in the 1920s. Wasser’s version is a spicy oriental, with top notes of plum, cumin, and cardamom, middle notes of rose, immortelle, carnation, and cinnamon, and base notes of patchouli, moss, vanilla, and amber. Available exclusively from the Champs-Elysees store in 125 ml bottles of extrait, the purple-tasselled, plum-coloured concoction can be yours for just €500.
But if you have more than a bit of money to spend, plump instead for Flacon Tortue. This is effectively a special edition of Le Parfum du 68, the fragrance crafted by Thierry Wasser in 2013 to celebrate the reopening of the flagship 68 Champs-Elysees store that winter. Le Parfum du 68 came in a monumental 1 litre bottle of Baccarat black crystal, a reinterpretation of Guerlain’s famous turtle-shaped bottle of 1914. A spicy woody fragrance, its opening features notes of mandarin, pink pepper, magnolia, cardamom, and apricot, with a floral heart of immortelle, jasmine, osmanthus, and orange blossom, and a base of benzoin, vanilla, incense, and tonka bean.
Flacon Tortue puts the extrait into 60 ml bottles of Baccarat crystal with more than eighty facets cut into the face. Handmade and decorated with silk threads, only forty-seven numbered pieces are available, each at a cost of €9,500.
Guerlain also recently issued its fourth edition of Le Bolshoi, a fragrance which is exclusive to the Russian market. This year’s rendition coincides with the 240th season of the Bolshoi Theatre, and is named after Carmen, the opera in four acts by Georges Bizet which received its premiere at the Opera-Comique in Paris in 1875, arriving in Saint Petersburg three years later.
Carmen Le Bolshoi is described as a feminine take on vetiver, and the fragrance is apparently a mirror image of Jean-Paul Guerlain’s Vetiver Pour Elle, created in 2004. Adorned in red with a black atomizer, 60 ml of the Eau de Parfum costs €300.
October also saw the launch of a new Nicolaï fragrance, a powerful amber accord well suited for the winter and dubbed Ambre Cashmere Intense. Another addition to Patricia de Nicolaï’s ever-growing ‘Intense’ line – which over the past few years has brought the acclaimed Cuir Cuba Intense, and an Intense version of New York – Ambre Cashmere Intense starts with a ‘light pepper-mandarin vibration, quickly softened by a floral iris bouquet’ featuring orris, violet, and cloves. The resonant amber chord is accompanied by vanilla, Siam benzoin, tonka bean, sandalwood, and patchouli.
After the launch of Black Opium last autumn, Yves Saint Laurent returns with a new seasonal variation upon their classic 1977 oriental scent. The original Opium, created by Jean-Louis Sieuzac, featured thick notes of mandarin orange and bergamot, myrrh and jasmine, and amber laced with opoponax; while Black Opium – which brought together a team of Nathalie Lorson, Marie Salamagne, Olivier Cresp, and Honorine Blanc – sought to bring out the fragrance’s darker qualities, a strong dose of coffee surrounded by accords of pink pepper, orange blossom, jasmine, vanilla, patchouli, and cedar.
Black Opium has quickly become one of Yves Saint Laurent’s most popular perfumes, and it won the prestigious Best New Fragrance for Women award earlier this year at the Fragrance Foundation Awards in London. Now Opium Rouge Fatal arrives, in a red lacquered bottle and a limited collector’s edition. L’Oreal acquired YSL Beaute in 2008, and the following year Opium received a much criticised reformulation. Opium Rouge Fatal stays close to today’s Opium, with mandarin, lily of the valley, and bergamot leading to a heart of jasmine, myrrh, and clove, atop a base of amber, patchouli, vanilla, and vetiver.
Jessica Hannah – who won an independent Art and Olfaction Award earlier this year for Skive, a collaboration with leather goods brand Canoe – has just launched her first fragrance under her own label J.Hannah Co. Called Sunset Blvd., it is directly inspired by Billy Wilder’s 1950 film, an attempt to conjure the smell of Norma Desmond’s dressing room. Described as a dramatic oriental, a ‘gorgeous wilting flower’ with a ‘spicy citrus top that dries to a fruity floral, and finally a powdered earthy finish’, it reveals accords of rose, yuzu, cinnamon, patchouli, and tonka bean.
The Italian luxury fashion house Moschino has released its second fragrance under creative director Jeremy Scott – after the first, Moschino Toy, arrived last year in the form of a teddy bear. Moschino Fresh Couture takes a similarly irreverent and gimmicky approach to bottle design, an ode to pop art as the fragrance appears for all the world like a household cleaning agent. Moschino calls this ‘the ultimate dichotomy of high and low’. The ad campaign, shot by Steven Meisel, stars supermodel Linda Evangelista with red curls, a smock, soap suds, and a microfibre cloth scrubbing up behind a glass panel.
The top notes of Moschino Fresh Couture incorporate mandarin, ylang-ylang and bergamot, with a floral heart of raspberry, osmanthus, and white peony, and a woody base featuing white patchouli and ambrox.
In another coming together between couture and popular fashion and the world of fragrance, as part of this season’s collaboration between H&M and Balmain, the two are presenting a perfume entitled simply Balmain H&M. Created by Olivier Rousteing, the creative director of the Parisian fashion house, Balmain H&M has top notes of tonka bean and jasmine, middle notes of cedar, gardenia, and blonde woods, and a base of musk and sandalwood. Priced at $40, the fragrance arrived in stores this week.
Looking slightly further ahead, several houses have announced perfumes for the turn of the year. Yves Rocher has divulged Cuir Vetiver, created by Sonia Constant and coming in January 2016, combining Haitian vetiver with leathery notes of Caribbean sandalwood, cedar oil, and tonka bean.
Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle has lifted the veil on Monsieur, Bruno Jovanovic’s second work for the niche house, which will be centred around a hefty dose of patchouli, accompanied by tangerine and rum, cedar and incense, and vanilla and musk.
After a string of additions to the collection, including this year’s Vetiver Bleu, Cartier has embarked on a revamp of the original Eau de Cartier, the fragrance created by Christine Nagel in 2001. With citrusy top notes, a middle of violet leaf and lavender, and a base of amber, vanilla, and musk, the new Eau de Cartier will arrive in January as an Eau de Parfum.
And Calvin Klein made the major announcement of CK2, depicting a fragrance which ’embodies the thrill of life and celebrates the diversity of connections between two people […] one gender-free fragrance for a man or a woman, without prejudices, to united and create an experience that can be shared together in love, lust and friendship’.
This life-affirming marvel – the name obviously evoking the phenomenal success of CK One, released in 1994 – will abound in top notes of wasabi, mandarin, and violet leaf, with a heart of wet cobblestones, orris concrete, and rose absolute, and a dry down of vetiver, sandalwood, and incense. CK2 has already launched this December in duty-free shops, with a worldwide release come February.