Monthly Archives: May 2013

What should The Perfumed Dandy do on his Great American Adventure?

Dearests (& very welcome Bright New Things)

By the time you read these lines The Perfumed Dandy will have departed Across The Pond to the United States of America.

Of course, if I had my way we’d be going by liner, but, I fear (on this occasion at least) time and tide seem to be against me.

So after a shortish interlude aboard a giant winged aluminium tube I shall be on American Soil.

My travels encompass Four Cities and A Wedding

Washington DC, New York (where my dear brother will wed), Charleston (South Carolina) and Miami.

Now, the thing is, I will of course be plenty occupied the whole time, but The Perfumed Dandy is always open to suggestions… especially of the scented kind.

So, I wondered whether you, my dear friends, might be kind enough to recommend (as you so generously do each day) some great American fragrances for me to try whilst I’m on the opposite side of the Atlantic.

In particular I’d be interested to hear about smaller American houses and niche producers.

Perhaps some scents that never make it to my part of The World.

Oh and any picks of prettier-than-pink perfume stores you feel I should visit would be most welcome too.

By the way, don’t feel constrained to stick to scent, any special places or stores you feel I must pay homage to, please do jot them down!!

Whenever the technology, or at least my knowledge of it, allows (do remember I am more a gentleman of The Eighteenth Century than The Internet Age) I will be checking in to take a peek and my lead from you as to where I might find the finest fumes and fun in The New World.

Who knows, now and again I may even be able to pop up a picture of my adventures and scribble down a few bon mots to boot!!!

Well, The Dandy thinks that’s just about all for now…

Except to say thank you ever so much in advance for any and all your kind considerations.

See you all when I return to Blighty not too long after the 15th of June in The Year of Our Lord 2013!!!

Pip Pip!!!!!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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It came like a thief in the night… Bandit by Robert Piguet The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

With everything that’s going on in Cannes are the moment, The Dandy can’t help but wonder whether someone has found some inspiration in this old review.
Be careful all you be-jewelled ones if you’re heading The South of France anytime soon!

The Perfumed Dandy.

The papers christened her ‘The Black Glove’.

He called her Bonnie and she called him Clyde.

And not one reporter in Cannes suspected that the crimes were the work of a double act.

They knew she was she, but they all had her down as a solitary sort of cat.

Anyway they had bigger things to vex them than a jewel thief, no matter how alluring.

It was May 1968.

A year after their first date in the cinema Reflet Medicis just off the Boulevard St Michel: all damp and decayed plush smelling of moss and leather and the small animals who no doubt made their home there.

Warren Beatty and Fay Dunaway were in a shoot ‘em up up on the screen while in the pit they resolved to live gangsters’ lives together.

He was the brains, her Serge, and she was the willing flesh, his Brigette.

He…

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The Perfumed Dandy’s holiday scent: Mystere by Rochas

“‘The time has come’ the Walrus said  ‘to talk of other things….'”

Well My Dearests,

The moment has arrived….

This is the final Scent of The Day for The Perfumed Dandy until after his American Adventure.

Indeed, this has ultimately proved to be such a popular choice that it has made its way into The Dandy‘s  personal effects effects and will be accompanying him to The United States.

The Hit Parade, like my good self, is having something of a break and returns on Wednesday 12th June 2013.

On my travels I  shall rely on good fortune, my old favourites and, of course, the new friends I make en route to keep me fragrant.

Why not take the chance while I’m away to thrust forward some fragrances for future fame on The Hit Parade simply visit ‘Suggest an old scent or recommend a new one’ and leave your mark there.

Have an especially fragrant fortnight or so.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy



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The Perfumed Dandy’s Day Out….. Photographs of A Rendez Vous with The Craftspeople of Hermes

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They say a picture says more than a thousand words…. The Dandy does hope so, as he has practically no time to write today!

The only thing that must be said is “it was a splendid day”.

Thank you to Hermes and most especially the charming, patient and apparently implacable Craftspeople of The House.

Oh and if you are in London Town over the weekend find out how you can Rendez Vous with Hermes too.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s own scent….. Un Jardin En Mediterranee by Hermes

All Hail My Dear Fellows!!

As The Perfumed Dandy is almost officially on his holidays (of which more to follow) and by way of tribute to the wonderful craftspeople of Hermes (again more words and pictures to come on these delightful folks) I have selected my own perfume today.

Sadly, this wonderful aromatic slice of Mediterranean “woodland by the sea” life is unisex.

So Jean-Claude Ellena‘s masterpiece is unfortunately exempt from normal competition.

Fortunately, its beautiful composition of evocative fig leaf sun-bleached cypresss and elegant cedar underscored with florals, citrus and a simply stunning smokey nut note, is a personal favourite.

Indeed for a while a few years ago, this came about as close as anything ever does to being The Dandy’s signature scent in Summer.

High praise indeed.

I do hope you will forgive me this straying away from normal practice just on this occasion!

Meanwhile another opportunity to place a new perfume on The Dandy‘s skin is available though, in the current edition of The Perfumed Dandy’s Hit Parade.

As ever if you would like to thrust forward a fragrance for future fame on the hit parade simply visit ‘Suggest and old scent or recommend a new one’ and leave your suggestion there.

Have an especially fragrant day.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy



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A Question… Which Hermes craftspeople would you most like to meet? The Perfumed Dandy’s Afternoon Out

My Dear Scented Saddlebags

I’m sure you may have noticed something of a trend in The Perfumed Dandy‘s reviews this last week…

A certain leaning towards the House of Hermes?

Well, the reason is now revealed, for all this week Hermes and its Craftspeople have set up store at London’s Saatchi Galllery for their Festival des Metiers.

If you happen to be in “The Old Smoke” between now and the 27th of May you can catch the artists and artisans of this most estimable of brands at work.

This is just what The Perfumed Dandy is off to do today!

If you are not able to attend, perhaps you’d let me know….

Which Hermes craftspeople would you most like to meet?

Of course I’m sure a rendez-vous with Jean-Claude Ellena would be top of all our lists, but beyond the master parfumeur, would you like to see the watchmakers, the saddle sowers, the seamstresses, the designers or the silk printers? Or indeed anyone else…

Do tell!?! The Dandy would be ever so curious to hear your thoughts!!!

For more inspiration, why not take a peek at the exhibition website.

You never know… I may even have a snap or two of jolly folks to share afterwards!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Gods’ winged messenger… Kelly Caleche by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy

“Those horses are so spoilt I swear they sleep on straw strewn with rose petals”.

With an equine huff of a laugh, he rears his head back and raises a riding crop from aside his muscular calf to tap a glowing forehead.

He breaks a large-toothed smile and with a click of the heals of his long brown leather riding boots turns to leave.

A self-conscious flick of the head to show off his golden mane to its best effect and he is gone.

He smells of early Summer roses, thoroughbreds and animal hides.

He smells exactly as you do.

He had come, as a messenger from “The Gods”: the judges.

Venerated men and women, with scores of Olympian accolades between them, in whose hands your equestrian fate now resides.

He came to ready you for the off and remind you of “The Immortals” marking schemes.

You reflect on how much easier the fates of others are.

How much simpler for the show-jumpers?

The powerhouses, projecting into the air with flair and barely controlled strength.

Their task is merely to dazzle, to defy sense with their penetration and precision.

They can be judged objectively:

All they need to do is fly high, make no errors and achieve the required time.

And the masculine three day eventers?

As long as they stay the course and come up reeking of earth and animal and grass, well, who cares?

Yours is the more difficult labour.

You must harness horse with gleaming equipage into a wholly pleasing whole.

Your task no less than to combine film star glamour and princessly grace into three minutes of four legged ballet.

The final preparation for your moments in the ring.

Exchanging whispers with the beast, he acknowledges you with a swish of his tail that throws a shower of fine white powder into the air.

You adjust the saddle, a practical ornament of the finest French leather, cured and scented so that not even an allusion to the abattoir might upset the ride.

You mount and breathe in deeply, the breeze brings the hint of wild yellow irises from the meadows lying fallow beyond the Chateau.

The same wind brings your name made tinny by Tannoys.

You bridle for a moment.

Your desire to perform, the urge bring pleasure and win points makes an anxious knot of your insides.

Walk on.

The Arena.

The illustrated sports photographers’ flashing bulbs, the hubbub, the crowd, the swell and the excitement.

First silence.

The smell of his perfume, the rose aroma of your own scent, fragrant riding leathers, the horse.

Then music.

The dance begins.

Kelly Caleche by Hermes is, like the pursuit of dressage, more aesthetic sport than art.

It is a physical perfume that exists above all to bring pleasure with its presence.

It strikes elegant turns, makes graceful moves and possesses the essential Hermes quality of unwaivering poise.

And what if it does not challenge or unsettle or push back boundaries?

So be it, it never intended to.

At the commencement gorgeously groomed citrus, in the shape of an ever so subtly bitter grapefruit, starts the proceedings.

The fruit yields almost instantly to early June roses and then the perfume widens and deepens to include the unmistakable hue of the most luxuriously scented leather.

This leather, the distinctive Hermes note, is floral, high, transparent, and has about it a refined fragility.

It has a haunting, or perhaps more precisely a yearning quality.

It is this sense of searching and the sparseness of the relatively simple composition that raises this rose perfume above the thorny crowd.

This is a fragrance that seeks to fulfill desire.

To give and receive pleasure.

Are not both men and women capable of reciprocation in love?

I believe so, and that this is an especially suitable scent for men as well as women.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The White Room… 24 Faubourg by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Beyond the grand balls in decaying over wrought salons.

Beyond the women in their layers of lurid silks and heads extended by feet of feathers.

Beyond the streets with their anguish and anger.

Beyond even her own home’s vast public chambers.

Beyond The World there is The White Room.

Here, in the privacy afforded by having only one maid present, she can be calm.

Be undressed and in her stays recline in reverie.

Her walls unadorned by the endless bright florals of the Court and belle Paris are jasmine, ivory and orange blossom blanc.

The only colours she has allowed are trims of aged gold tarnished to amber on candlesticks and clocks that show the time a little after the 24th hour.

The vivid almost orange of the gilt legs of the chaise on which she now rests and wonders at the immensity of her achievement.

To have lived and to have prevailed in persisting is enough for her.

She is passed a fine china cup of peach and orange tea, she does not care for coffee or liquor, and sips on it remembering those who were unable to retain their dignity, their fortunes, their lives.

Yes, to be alive, if unloved, is enough.

Enough for her and for here.

Her woman returns and places a vase of blue and purple flowers on the table.

The earthy aroma of iris and air borne sprite like scent of hyacinth pervades the room and invades her consciousness.

She yields to the flowers’ cold bluish warmth and then to sleep.

Tomorrow will be another day to be survived only by the comfort of solitude.

24 Faubourg by Hermes is a perfume that radiates a certain kind of hard won and worked out purity and self possession.

This a scent to protect the self from the rigours of the rough and ready world.

Place a cloud of this aroma between you and the everyday and scented self assuredness is yours.

Opening with a characteristically vivid Hermes orange underscored with other citrus and an enlivening somewhat green hyacinth the composition effortlessly evolves into white florals.

Indeed, it is between great walls of gardenia, jasmine and yet more orange blossom that the heart of the fragrance is played out.

This is a scent with an almost paradoxical, ornate simplicity.

There are ample enough notes for a symphony and yet the central theme being actually rather restrained and the range of instruments quite small the effect is more that of a chamber piece.

Whatever, this is music for the soul.

When earthy irises and honeyed amber, sandalwood and vanilla arrivea change begins.

The fragrance enters into a long dry down that exudes a stately satisfaction.

24 Faubourg, the headquarters of Hermes, was once an address in the suburbs of Paris.

Today it finds itself at the heart of the city’s luxurious shopping district.

Whatever changes there have been in the ever changing world outside, 24 Faubourg remains an oasis of calm.

Whilst there is a determined sense of the female stoic about this scent, it might be worn by men who hanker after such heights of splendid poise.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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No holding the horses… Caleche by Hermes The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

The other women of the court no matter how grand, or close to the King, had always to call for their carriages.

She need only look up, or smile, or tilt her head and the servants come running to gather together her party and fetch her coach and four.

Hers is a dignity not available for sale.

An elegance to be bought only by self possession and unassailable poise.

She saw out the terror and has seen Europe wrenched apart.

So a little jostling at court now cannot not unsettle her.

It is 1837 after all and the world apart from her is still a grimy place.

She begins her exit of the crumbling grand salon where military officers still smell of battles fought years ago, Barons of theirs wars with excess and the hems of the dresses of all the other women from dowagers to debutantes are frayed and greyed with dust.

She is luminous in spotless ivory. Her laundry is impeccable. Her linens the envy of France.

In the air behind her she trails citrus cologne higher and fresher and cleaner than even that worn by the Empress herself.

On her left wrist a corsage of miniature mandarin roses, the most fragrant colour, is woven together with jasmine and a single purple iris, its mouth open to show a fleshy yellow interior.

At the threshold, she turns and the train of her dress swirls through the air with a stage whisper.

In a wave the other courtiers wane from her swell.

Her presence is a calm ocean be-stilling their turbulent waters.

She curtseys deeply to the empty throne and departs leaving them in silence.

On the steps, she takes leave of her family, who have elected to see what remains of the ball through to its conclusion.

She ascends her conveyance and is comforted by the knowledge she will travel home alone.

The horses hooves rattle over the cobble stones and the wheels jolt now and again.

Even for her, the dark streets of Paris at a little after midnight seem a dangerous place.

The poor, the disaffected, the cholera.

She inhales and, above a trace of the horses’ aroma: animal and honest, feels the warm fragrance of the transparent soap from London that keeps her and her clothes bright, radiating around her.

She is enrapt in concocted cleanliness.

In a rapture of pretended purity.

It is 1837 and, after all, the world apart from her is still a grimy place.

This is how she has survived.

As other perfumes are to detergent, so Caleche by Hermes is to the finest thrice milled soap.

From the very start this scent exudes an almost ethereal brilliance.

Whiter than white aldehydes support sweet and soaring citruses to form a counter-intuitively robust opening that never departs the perfume through its stately but complex development.

This structure, so light and airy and yet so strong, is a work of engineering magic.

It is a Paxton’s Crystal Palace of perfume design, enabling all the contents of this olfactory exhibition to be viewed in clear and yet flattering light.

The floral accord which is the centrepiece of this aromatic expo, comprises chiefly of iris, rose and jasmine with other blossoms.

It is so beautifully blended that it could be perceived as a single translucent form.

But alongside it comes a darker object, shaped perhaps by an indolic quality to the flowers, or the bitterness of oakmoss, which is a presence throughout or even a horses’ hay and smokiness from the vetiver.

Wherever this deeper counter melody comes from it is welcome.

It creates an internal tension within the fragrance that takes it from the realms of a good perfume to a great one.

Caleche is an expertly simple song of spring clean freshness and summer flowers set in opposition to an aromatic and animalic choral accompaniment.

It is a ride through dangerous streets at the dead of night in a beautifully appointed carriage.

Both men and women may ride in this coach, but neither for very long, it only takes short journeys.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Flushed with failure… Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

What is that smell?

It reminds her of something.

Somewhere on her travels?

At first she thinks it’s a spry Parisian tarte au citron.

She recalls that opening burst of freshly squeezed Sicilian citrus, the sheer exhilaration on the tastebuds.

The pairing of sharpness with a subtle wood baked puff pastry. A light dusting of icing sugar lifting the whole to the status of a truly sublime pie.

She inhales again and it’s gone.

Instead of citron by way of cloying lemon curd and soft underdone meringue, in short minutes, the aroma is turned first to sunken souffle then gee-wizz generic ceramic and enamel miracle clean creme.

Sadly and all too swiftly, lacklustre lemon bathroom foam has displaced delectable desert.

Florals so unspecific that they are undeserving of names fly by.

Soon everything settles down to a silly sweetness that smells more of good sanitation than fine fragrance.

The overall effect is strangely, suffocatingly comforting. An exercise in apparent inoffensiveness.

Then she is, on an instant, able to place the smell precisely.

It’s sort of classy…

Just like a well kept water closet in a just short of luxury hotel she stayed in once.

Exactly like that in fact.

To compose a scent so completely of a single note is an act of bravery, or in the case of D&G Light Blue something that seems more akin to bloody-minded bravado.

The best minimalist perfumes, like the music and the architecture of the same name, deceive with their hidden complexities and depth.

They modulate where they appear not to change. Have acres of back story and back stairs behind false walls.

Structurally they are engineered to perfection.

That is this scent’s failing:

It lacks both the complexity required to retain our interest and the structural supports to sustain the first high, clear note that is all it ever had to say.

These key components missing nothing remains but gradual dissipation, dilapidation and mostly disappointment.

Ultimately everything falls away to the very edge of being merely functional fragrance.

More suited to ladies and gents conveniences than the folks themselves I’m afraid.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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