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Saks 5th Avenue by Bond No. 9

January 11, 2012

Beware the ill-fitting top

Day 29 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing Saks 5th Avenue by Bond No. 9.

I’m not cool. And I generally disapprove of people who are cool. Years of labouring under the weight of a mono-brow, followed by years of labouring under the weight of excess weight, followed by such socially alienating stints as “Debate Team Captain”  and “German Song Contributor” did not really lend themselves to being part of the in-crowd. As my mother often observes.

“…it was the dressing up like a camel part that was the real clincher”

Heapnose Age 17 (Centre)

So i’m surprised, and not a little disappointed to find myself embracing a perfume brand which epitomizes New York cool. From their uber-trendy headquarters in “NoHo” Bond No.9 have launched a collection of fragrances with the dual purpose of “restoring artistry to New York” and to “mark every New York neighbourhood with a scent of its own.”

Now how exactly Saks 5th Avenue could qualify as a “New York” neighbourhood worthy of its own scent, is a bit of a head scratcher. More vexing still, is how this might serve to “[restore] artistry to New York”

Happily Deborah Walters, Senior Vice President and General Merchandise Manager Cosmetics and Fragrances clears things up with her statement that “Saks Fifth Avenue is excited to be collaborating with Bond No.9 on Saks Fifth Avenue for Her…Everyone here is thrilled to be part of such a unique fragrance collection of New York neighbourhoods and feel it is such an honor to have two fragrances dedicated to our New York flagship”

To be honest with prices starting at $125 plus an additional $150 to ship overseas (TO CANADA!!!) I’d be pretty bloody excited and honoured too. Thank goodness that Beardy has a mother who not only spends considerable time in the US but also thinks transporting over-priced perfumes across the US / Canadian border is a valuable use of both time and luggage allowance.

And so do I. If I were to pick a dessert island scent, this would undoubtedly be the front runner. Its longevity is astonishing, its versatility (both seasonal and occasional) is incomparable , and the scent itself is absolutely divine. A true white scent, this is the best use of Gardenia since Carolina Hererra’s 212 – notes of jasmine, tuberose and vanilla are offset by a smoky vetiver which keeps it from being too sickly. It is by far the most commented-on perfume of my (significant) collection, and the ONLY fragrance in my possession which I would replace without a moment’s hesitation. Preferably on Feb 14th, Beardy, if you’re reading.

Happily, although I firmly hold that fragrance maketh the woman,  wearing such a self-conciously trendy brand has not turned me into a fedora wearing twat. Yet. I think there’s still a couple more German songs in me still.

Heapnose age 27

Love

Heapnose x

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Love in White by Creed

January 10, 2012

Day 28 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing Love in White by Creed.

Created in 2005 by Olivier Creed, this was the first fragrance to be released by the House of Creed in five years. Apparently they’re still riding the “we made perfumes for Queen Victoria” wave. Sad, really.

Anyway, Olivier boasts that he travelled all seven seas (and indeed all five continents) to handpick each and every one of the ingredients: A journey which took him five years. On his yacht.

Frankly, I’d have preferred it if Olivier had seen fit to do a bit of hostel hopping, and knocked 50 odd quid off the price tag. Starting at about £85 for 30ml, this fragrance is bone chillingly expensive. Much like spending 5 years on a yacht I should imagine.

Still, Olivier’s search of the seven seas yielded the following ingredients

“Orange zest from Southern Spain, white jasmine from the Italian Coast, daffodil from the French Riviera, sandalwood from Mysore India, young rice husk from Tonkin, iris from Egypt, magnolia from the Guatemalan Mountains and vanilla from the Island of Java.”

Call me sceptical, but somehow I can’t imagine Olivier Creed, the yacht owning, seven-sea sailing heir to the substantial Creed fortune, scrambling up the side of a Guatemalan mountain, in search of the perfect Magnolia… It’s a bit like when I tell Beardy that our fabric softener came from the eco-tent at the farmers’ market. He knows it came from Wallmart. I know it came from Wallmart – but as long as his smalls stay soft and there’s a picture of a happy tree on the bottle, he’s not going to kick up a stink.

But Creed do have one of the most credible reputations in the industry. A father / son business since 1760, they have fragranced some of the classiest wrists in the business. Laura Bush, Michelle Obama and Angelina Jolie (post-sex dungeon, brother-snogging era),  are all said to be huge fans of this particular fragrance and it’s not hard to see why. It’s the sensory equivalent of dunking your head in fresh spring water and finding lilies and cream beneath the surface. I’m completely smitten.

Unusually for such a complex fragrance, there’s no journey to be made. It starts exactly as it ends – but its impressive longevity (at least 5 hours with a fair wind) more than compensate for its static nature. I do maintain, however that no fragrance is worth close to a £100 for a 30ml. And frankly if you’re still boasting that the Empress Sissi of Austro-Hungary is one of your best-known clients boys, then I’d say it’s time to update your website.

Sisley – Eau Du Soir

December 6, 2010

Day 27 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I am wearing Eau Du Soir by Sisley.

There’s a fantastically romantic story behind my acquisition of this scent, the ingredients of which are a long distance relationship, a lovesick boyfriend and a Transatlantic treasure hunt involving fragrant clues which were mailed to me in lengthy love-notes. But why bore you with all of that when I could instead tell you about the most World’s Most Homosexual Party which I attended a few weeks ago, Sisley in tow.

My friend Sisley is the fragrance that I bust out when I know I don’t look that good, or, as in the case of the World’s Most Homosexual Party, when nobody is going to notice what I look like anyway. It’s the sensory equivalent of control underwear – a reassuring confidence booster in a cold, hostile world. For one simple reason. Men Love It.

Green scents are not traditionally regarded as knock outs. Released in the early 90s, and forced to jostle for position amongst throat ticklers such as Samsara, Poison and the dreaded Chanel No.5, Eau Du Soir, unlike its contemporaries was not regarded as a mainstay on the nineties power-suit / big eyebrows scene. But, this Chypre-based fragrance out-classes all of them. Turning the traditionally weak concept of a green fragrance upside down and quite literally entering the room before its wearer, this is THE head turner of the nineties. Thankfully, its somewhat overpowering introductory notes mean that 20 years on it’s failed to capture the public imagination. It didn’t belong to the nineties, and it certainly isn’t fashionable now, but it’s the fragrance that I get asked about over and over again. And it is the only fragrance that needs no topping up. 8am to 6pm – it just keeps getting better.

Which is how I knew that this was quite simply the only perfume which could possibly be worn to the World’s Most Homosexual Party.

As expected, I was the fattest person there. Or, as my (homosexual) companion generously observed “…there was like totally one guy there that weighed more than you.” I was also the most clothed. Though, it being a male underwear launch, one can hardly gripe. But my goodness did I smell good. Even as I plowed through my eighth  barbecued chicken leg (well, nobody else was going to eat them) Sisley remained, defiant in a sea of oiled torsos and over-worked facial topiary.

Three compliments. From three nearly-naked homosexuals. A good day’s work.

Apologies for the recent Heapnose hiatus readers…It’s been a busy few months, and, well, Canadians are less generous with their  perfume samples than the Brits, despite their claims of a higher standard of living.

Christmas recommendations coming soon…If you’d pass them on to my boyfriend, I’d be much obliged.

Love Heapnose x

Tom Ford: Black Orchid

August 23, 2010

Somebody crapped in my back garden last night.

Not a euphemism. Actually happened.

Day 26 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I am wearing Tom Ford’s Black Orchid.

There are some perfumes I wear because they make me feel pretty. Others I wear because they make me feel sexy. There are a few (a very select few), mostly reserved for job interviews and airplane travel that make me feel powerful. There is only one perfume that I wear, simply because I fancy the arse off the designer.

God Bless Tom Ford.

Is it the well groomed brows, or the expensive manicure? Perhaps it’s the uncompromising approach to tailoring in a world where flip flops at the office have become de rigeur. Or maybe it’s just the infinite and unparalleled success. Everything he touches turns to gold.

Tom Ford has his own Black Orchid, He’s (imaginatively) named it “Tom Ford’s Black Orchid.” Given that there exist only four in the world, that’s pretty impressive. Given that Tom Ford owns one quarter of the world’s total supply of Black Orchids, one would have hoped he could have come up with a better name for it. Like Stuart. Or Gomez.

So where are we so far? Someone crapped in my back garden last night. Tom Ford owns a Black Orchid. I fancy Tom Ford. The, perfume, of course, the perfume.

Suffice to say it’s exquisite. Absolutely exquisite. It oozes expense, sophistication and strength. It is unlike anything else currently available, effortlessly fusing the vintage credibility of the ancient French parfumeurie, with the glamour and sophistication of present day New York. The sensory equivalent of a really first rate dining experience: Dripping with guilt and wildly overpriced.

Somebody crapped in my back garden last night. Here is another picture of Tom Ford.

Love

Heapnose x

Marc Jacobs – Bang

August 9, 2010

Day 25 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I’m wearing “Bang” a fragrance for men, by Marc Jacobs.

But before I begin this review, let’s all take a moment to reflect upon the exquisitely understated ad campaign

Blimey.

I’ve long been a fan of Marc Jacobs’s fragrances…both female and male. Yes, there were a few dodgy ones in the early 2000s that smelled a bit like grass and rain (in fact I think they may have been called “grass” and “rain” respectively) but when MJ wants to bring out a big hitter, frankly he is in a league of his own.

This fragrance is smoking hot. Described by Marc Jacobs as “An explosion of pepper wrapped in warm, sensual woods” this, my friends, is how I imagine Indiana Jones might smell. Pink and black peppercorns sparkle against a backdrop of woody notes: It’s strong, fresh, and  unashamedly masculine.

The discreet young man in the ad campaign is, actually Mr Jacobs himself. In fact, our friend Marc has been hitting the campaign trail hard with this compelling tale of how he came to be the spokesmodel for his own fragrance

” [My business partner Robert said ] ‘Marc, you look so great now – you should be the model for men’s fragrance.’ My immediate reaction was, I don’t know. But then I came to see that it made sense.”

I have generously spared you the remainder of this pithy narrative. Suffice to say there was much oscillating between posing and not posing, culminating in the eventual decision to pose, take all his clothes off, and position a “flacon” between his legs.

More sensitive readers in our midst will be relieved to known that the Middle Eastern version of the ad features the flacon positioned on delicately on Mr Jacobs’s ear, while in the American Mid-Western Campaign, the flacon is perched on the designer’s shoulder. The fifteenth most powerful homosexual man in the world (official) seemingly does know his market territories.

Fortunately, Mr Jacobs’s skills as a parfumeur vastly outweigh his knack for storytelling and he has produced an absolute winner. A warning however  – this is not one for the poets in our midst. If you’re faint of heart, light of touch, or you know, French or something – stay away. This is a scent for the Heathcliff not the Edgar, for the McSteamy not the McDreamy, for the Hilary Swank not the Justin Bieber.

Currently enjoying a limited release in the UK, Marc Jacobs Bang will be available Worldwide from September. Beardy, expect a bottle imminently.

Much Love

Heapnose x

Miranda by Fragonard

July 26, 2010

Day 24 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I am wearing Miranda by Fragonard.

15 years ago Pat Heap and I visited a boutique  parfumerie in Grasse, France. There we witnessed the miracle of perfume production. There too, my hapless father witnesses the miracle of perfume consumption. This was our first encounter with Miranda. 3 months and many happy outings later, she was all but gone.

15 long years passed before our unexpected reconciliation last week, at the foot of Montmartre in Paris. I suppose it should have occurred to us, at least once during those 15 long years to visit the website, google the parfumerie, or to make enquiries during one of our bi-annual visits to France. Alas no. Somehow 3 years of a law degree and 5 years of working as a researcher for a television company failed to equip me with the initiative necessary for such an arduous task.

So imagine my joy when I stepped through the doors of the (not that newly opened) Fragonard parfumerie in Paris. Imagine my surprise when my (male) companions stepped through the doors of the pub next door with instructions to “find my own way home”. Imagine my delight when I, silver tongued linguist of the city of lights, recounted, in word perfect French, the fascinating tale of my 15 year search, to the fascinated parfumeur. Imagine my disappointment when the fascinated parfumeur  happily informed me that they’d been retailing online for nigh on ten years – and that there was free delivery on all overseas purchases. Imagine his disappointment, when, confidence buoyed by lunchtime’s bottle of wine, and by my resulting grasp of the French language I happily reeled off  the details of my school timetable, replete with pertinent asides about my favourite subjects (I was careful to give reasons for my answers). What an exchange indeed.

Nonetheless, I emerged 50 Euro down, clutching two bottles of the splendid Miranda and Fragonard’s web address written carefully on the back of my hand.

I spent the remainder of my trip to Paris glued to the Fragonard website which, incidentally, reliably informs me that Miranda

“…has the gentle warmth of the trade winds, wafting sweet-smelling vanilla and smooth coconut from distant isles mixed with amber and an echo of brilliant flowers. A harmony with an exotic resonance, like the wide blue yonder beckoning.”

– I know, it’s not the best description, but, well, they are French, and not naturally pre-disposed to whimsy. Plus, they’ve only had ten years or so to work on their website.

I can happily concede that this perfume is not for everyone. Beardy will hate it. Beardy already hates it after receiving three emails, and two long distance phone calls recounting my 15 year search. In French. My office companions are  beginning to complain of “allergies” and despite my accusations of middle class affectations, I will own that this perfume is far too sweet for most people. If you love vanilla, have a sweet tooth, and like to knock out the opposition from ten paces, this is the one for you. Apparently you can buy it online now too…Who knew?

http://www.fragonard.com/parfums_grasse/perfumes/miranda-c-119.htm

Love x Heapnose x

Ralph Lauren Polo Black

July 22, 2010

Day 23 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today my friend John is wearing Polo  (Black) by Ralph Lauren.

THE HEAPNOSE QUESTIONNAIRE OF GREATNESS AND ALSO DESPAIR

1. What is your name?

A: John

2. What do you do for a living?

A: Civil Servant

3. How are you?

A: Shipshape and Shiny

4. Which fragrance have you elected to test on behalf of http://www.heapnose.com?

A: Polo  (Black) by Ralph Lauren

5. Why did you elect to review this fragrance on behalf of http://www.heapnose.com?

A: Because you told me you would give me the fragrance for nothing if I elected to review it on behalf of http://www.heapnose.com

6. Have you ever worn a male fragrance before?

A: Yes, regularly from circa 1993 when i began wearing Lynx and Physio Sport

[Them were dark times my friend…Heapnose]

7. If Mathew Fox is a fox, and Michael J Fox is a silver fox, and Richard Armitage is an honorary fox by virtue of being quite the fox, which animal are you and why? [NB you may not choose fox]

A: Honey Badger

8. How did you hear about http://www.heapnose.com?

A: Your incessant badgering, which whilst entirely charmless was nothing if not persistent

9. “Heapnose is to perfume what Ian Hislop is to satire” Discuss

A: No

10. Do you feel more attractive when you smell nice?

A: Yes

11. Have you been solicited by anyone except that dancer you were “seeing” since you started wearing Ralph Lauren Polo (Black) for Men

A: Yes

12. If [yes] above, who?

A: By  you, mostly. And by a rogue heroin addict at work

13. Shall I send the boys round?

A: Please do

14. If you hadn’t received this fragrance for nothing from a nice PR lady named Raj, would you buy it?

A: Possibly

15. Why / Why Not?

A: Because I’m hoping you will provide me with free fragrances for the rest of my living days

16. Do you think the guy in the Ralph Lauren Polo (Black) ad campaign looks a bit like Beardy if you squint and imagine him with a beard, and glasses, and earrings, and a more cheerful demeanour, and humming a tune by the Grateful Dead and eating a vegetarian Burrito?

A: It’s almost uncanny. Isn’t your boyfriend white though?

17. Do you like Beardy?

A: I love him but not the same way you do

18. Why / Why Not?

A: I’ve always liked your dad and he is very very very similar

19. What should a man smell of?

A: I dunno Heap, you’re the expert.

20. What does happiness smell like?

A: To you, it smells like a quarter pounder with cheese

21.  Do you think that Ralph Lauren Polo (Black) is  fragrance for all seasons?

A: Not for all seasons no, the bottle isn’t big enough. Unless you have more samples

22. I find you very attractive right now.

A: You have bad hair.

23. Would you feel comfortable wearing this fragrance to a wedding or other formal occassion?

A: Yes I would. Although I wore Jo Malone’s  Blue Agava and Cacao [A Heapnose recommendation…Heapnose] to my brother’s wedding and it was very well received. I was propositioned by two members of staff [via his mother…Heapnose]

24. Would you recommend this perfume to other men, say in the pub or playing golf?

A: Yes

25. Isn’t that a bit gay?

A: I am a bit gay

26. Are you a homosexual?

A: See 25 above. You outed me to a church congregation [accidentally…Heapnose] and you outed me in the pub [again, accidentally..Heapnose] so, in the name of forging new frontiers and all that, why not out me on the internet?

27. Will you continue to wear this fragrance after finishing this questionnaire?

A: If we ever do finish this questionnaire…

28. Please rate Ralph Lauren Polo (Black) in terms of faces (Happy Face / Sad Face / Indifferent Face)

A: Happy Face. I really like it.

29. Am I prettier than Cheryl Cole?

A: In some respects. Despite your bad hair, you’re reasonably good company

30. What about if I had her hairdresser?

A: What do you mean by “had?”

31. Did you enjoy the Heapnose Questionnaire of Greatness and Also Despair.

A: I’m staggered. Are you honestly putting this tosh on Heapnose?