The Candy Perfume Boy’s Trend Report

There are many bloggers we admire at The Perfume Society, and occasionally, we like to feature some of our favourites to share with you here. Thomas Dunckley – a.k.a. The Candy Perfume Boy – is a longtime friend, award-winning writer and fellow contributor to The Scented Letter magazine. Along with a wealth of fragrance expertise he brings a completely refreshing and totally down-to-earth voice to the perfume world, offering his opinions and providing information in a way that’s not only accesible but makes us want to rush out and try all the things he’s mentioned.

And so, get ready to add to your ‘must sniff’ list, as we look back to the most interesting scent trends The Candy Perfume Boy saw in 2017. Which of these have you tried and loved, and which, we wonder, will continue to shape the face of fragrance throughout 2018…?

‘We’re officially in quarter four of 2017 and what a year it has been. By my count there has been at least 20 million fragrance launches this year, but I do have a tendency to exaggerate. In truth it has felt like a particularly busy year, with lots of behemoth launches from equally gigantic brands. I also think it has been a phenomenally good year for perfume and I’ve fallen in love with more than a handful of wonderful fragrances already. But this post is not a retrospective of the year – you can have that at the annual Candies (my fragrance awards) in December, no this is something a little bit different.

As we’re heading towards the end of this year I thought it would be a good idea to do a quick recap of the big perfume trends we’ve seen this year. I’ve certainly noticed a handful of key themes over the last 12 months and it’s kind of fascinating to look back at them at this point in the year. So in this post you will find four trends that have populated the perfume landscape in 2017. These are just my thoughts however, and I’d be more than happy to hear about any trends you’ve identified too!


Sandalwoods

Let’s kick off by talking about sandalwoods because if there is any material I’ve seen lots of this year, it’s sandalwood. I’m used to the note being treated as a gateway to the exotic, with spicy, creamy and warm facets that lead one to think of oriental opulence. This year however, there seems to be somewhat of a shift in the olfactory lexicon of the sandalwood, with a much more minimalistic approach that sees the more intimate, softer and fresher sides of the material showcased in all their glory.

Firstly let’s take a look at Molecule 04 and Escentric 04 by Escentric Molecules, both of which showcase the sandalwood material Javanol. In Escentric 04, the traditional fragrance composition of the pair (rather than Molecule 04 which is simply Javanol in alcohol) we see a fresh, almost metallic sandalwood paired with grapefruit and cannabis to create a sharper tone. It’s a wonderfully fresh take on a note that hasn’t really known freshness before.

This year Juliette Has a Gun created Sunny Side Up, a sunny, beachy fragrance that did not focus on aquatics or florals and instead showcased a rather sexy sandalwood note. The presentation of the note was intimate, nutty and creamy, with a salty skin-like vibe that brought out the sexier vibes of sandalwood. There was even a delightfully rosy take on sandalwood from Comme des Garçons in the form of Concrete, which felt plush yet dry and smooth at the same time.

So sandalwood definitely has been the note of the year and I hope we’ll see more intriguing takes on it in the year to come.


Androgynous not Unisex

One trend that has really piqued my interest appears to be in its infancy. So far I’ve only noticed two fragrances that have done this, but I expect that we will see more over the next year. The trend is brands referring to their fragrances as ‘androgynous’ or ‘gender fluid’. Now, if you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m all for removing gender labels on scents, because anyone can wear anything that they want to. I’m also a pretty liberal guy and I’m very much in support of gender identities that are non-binary or otherwise. So I see this all as a very good thing.

With the rise in discourse around gender identity it seems that brands are cottoning on to this and are using these terms to replace the description of unisex. Katy Perry described her latest fragrance, INDI, as being “androgynous” as opposed to unisex and Guerlain launched Lui with mention of gender fluidity in the press release and a description of a scent that is “not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine”. I’m totally here for this and hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll start to do away with gendered labels on fragrance entirely. Wishful thinking? Probably!


Decent Celebrity Scents

This trend technically started in 2016 with SJP Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker, but one scent does not a trend make – four however, do. A year or so ago there were numerous articles in the beauty press about how celebrity fragrances are dead and that consumers are no longer buying them. In that year next to no celebrities launched a new fragrance and with any kind of reality ‘star’ launching a scent, it really did feel as if we had reached ‘peak celebrity’ in terms of fragrance. Well now things are a little different and this year alone we have seen three celebrity launches that are far removed from the sickly sweet fruity florals that lead one reaching for the Gaviscon – these celebuscents are unique and actually rather good.

First off we have Shawn Mendes Signature from dreamy, put a poster of his face on your wall, singer/songwriter Shawn Mendes. Created for all of his fans, whether they be a boy or a girl, Shawn Mendes Signature is a well put together woody gourmand that feels as if it has been made with thought and links to the singer’s roots and personality. Then there’s Katy Perry’s INDI, an effortless woody musk that wears like a second skin, and finally we have Xyrena’s Scented by Willam (which I vow to review soon), a drag queen known for her acerbic wit and controversial appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Scented is really quite beautiful – a violet-tinged iris with woods and musk that channels shades of Tauer’s discontinued Pentachord White. Each of these celebrity fragrances is really good and it’s refreshing to see such care, attention and quality applied to fragrances which so often have simply been a cash cow to complete a celebrity’s brand.

It seems as if celebrities now know that they have to work a little bit harder to sell a scent. They can’t just release yet another fruity floral in a clingy bottle and call it the Emperor’s New Clothes – they actually have to make it smell good. With the continuing rise of nice and luxe, people are willing to spend more money on a bottle of perfumer, but they’re going to buy less bottles, so whatever they buy must be interesting. Celebrities have caught on to this. The biggest thing though – they actually need to be a celebrity, ain’t nobody gonna buy Eau de Tan Mom any more.


Crowd Pleasing Concoctions

What do Mon Guerlain, Gabrielle de Chanel, AURA by Mugler, Twilly d’Hermès and Scandal by Jean Paul Gaultier all have in common? Well, first and foremost they all launched in 2017 – and let’s face it, each is an absolutely massive release from some of perfumery’s biggest brands. 2017 will definitely go down in history as the year of the launch (the mainstream feminine pillar launch if we want to get specific) and these five big brands have pulled out literally every stop to make their olfactory mark on 2017. They’ve recruited big stars like Angelina Jolie (Mon Guerlain) and Kristen Stewart (Gabrielle), and have created visually stunning bottles that range from glass hearts formed in the Emerald City (AURA) to carriage lanterns topped with little bowler hats (Twilly), not to mention a pair of legs falling out of a taxi (Scandal). In the case of two of these launches, the fragrances are the first feminine pillars from their respective brands in quite some time. It has been quite the year for launches, indeed – launches that are eye catching and nose catching for many.

But the trend we’re talking about here is not the simple fact that these brands have all had big launches, no, the trend is specifically in reference to a commercial theme that has run through each and every one of them. There’s no use beating around the bush – all five of these launches are very commercial and whilst there may be some interesting work going on inside the bottles, such as the super-radiance of Gabrielle’s floral notes, the clash of smoke, vanilla and jungle greenery in AURA, and the ginger-tuberose shock of Twilly, the overarching feel of these fragrances is that they were created to appeal to a wide audience. Even MUGLER, who are renowned for their divisive compositions, could be accused of a less polarising approach with their latest output. They all smell great but they lack a sense of boldness in their signatures.

So why is this happening? Are consumers buying less? Are they moving away from mainstream to niche? If so, why aren’t these fragrances more daring? That’s a lot to answer, but I wonder whether it has something to do with the level of investment these brands have to inject into the development, marketing and visual impact of a new scent. Perhaps they are worried about their return of investment? Take Guerlain for example, they have funnelled millions into the launch of Mon Guerlain and just to be sure that the scent would resonate with consumers, they tested it as a boutique exclusive (the new discontinued Mon Exclusif) prior to its launch.

So who knows why the big brands are being commercial? They’re getting the packaging and concepts right, that’s for sure, so let’s just hope that in 2018 they will bring a little bit more innovation to our noses. I know that my nose is waiting with great anticipation.’

Originally written by, and used with permission of, Thomas Dunckley: The Candy Perfume Boy. Pictures ©Thomas Dunckley.

Art and Olfaction Awards 2017 shortlist: the fragrant names you need to familiarise yourself with right now…

During last week’s Esxence fragrance exhibition in Milan, the shortlist for the fourth annual Art and Olfaction Awards was announced in a special presentation. Some of the partners and judges for the awards were there in person, to declare the good news for those breathlessly waiting to hear if they’d made the cut – anxiously watching the faces and hanging on every word of Luca Turin, Helder Suffenplan, Adam Eastwood and Franco Wright, Antonio Gardoni, Christophe Laudamiel and Saskia Wilson-Brown, we’re sure!

Celebrating independent, artisinal perfumery and those indie houses that really push the boundaries in exciting ways – we are excited to see names we know well and already admire greatly among some we’ve not yet had the pleasure of getting our hands (and noses!) on and will be following with great interest.
So, for those who weren’t able to make the presentation, here’s the list of those who will be gnawing their fingernails a little longer while they await the finals on May 6, at Silent Green Kulturquartier in Berlin…

ARTISAN CATEGORY

Baraonda
by Nasomatto (The Netherlands)
CD/ Perfumer: Alessandro Gualtieri
Bruise Violet
by Sixteen92 (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Claire Baxter
Ceremony
by Mirus Fine Fragrance (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Neal Peters
Fatih Sultan Mehmed
by Fort and Manlé Parfum (Australia)
CD/ Perfumer: Rasei Fort and Al Manlé
Limestone
by Thorn & Bloom (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Jennifer Botto
Liquorice Vetiver
by SP Parfums (Germany)
CD/ Perfumer: Sven Pritzkoleit
Mélodie de l’Amour
by Parfums Dusita (France)
CD/ Perfumer: Pissara Umavijani
Onycha
by DSH Perfumes (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Dawn Spencer Hurwitz
Rosuerrier
by Pryn Parfum (Thailand)
CD/ Perfumer: Prin Lomros
Saffron
by Aether Arts Perfume (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Amber Jobin
Vanilla and the Sea
by Phoenix Botanicals (USA)
CD/ Perfumer: Irina Adam

INDEPENDENT CATEGORY
Absolue D’Osmanthe
by Perris Monte Carlo (Monaco)
CD: Gian Luca Perris / Perfumer: Jean Michel Santorini
Altruist
by J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin (Germany)
CD: Lutz Herrmann / Perfumer: Véronique Nyberg
Anti Anti
by Atelier PMP (Germany)
CD: Stefanie Mayr, Daniel Plettenberg / Perfumer: Mark Buxton, David Chieze
Belle de Jour
by Eris Parfums (USA)
CD: Barbara Herman / Perfumer: Antoine Lie
Civet
by Zoologist (Canada)
CD: Victor Wong / Perfumer: Shelley Waddington
Close Up
by Olfactive Studio (France)
CD: Céline Verleure / Perfumer: Annick Mennardo
Lankaran Forest
by Maria Candida Gentile Maitre Parfumeur (Italy)
CD/ Perfumer: Maria Candida Gentile Team
Maître Chausseur
by Extrait D’Atelier (Italy)
CD: Chiara Ronzani / Perfumer: Not Disclosed
Romanza
by Masque Milano (Italy)
CD: Alessandro Brun, Riccardo Tedeschi / Perfumer: Cristiano Canali
Fathom V
by BeauFort London (UK)
CD: Leo Crabtree / Perfumer: Julie Marlowe
Stones
by Atelier de Geste (USA)
CD: Beau Rhee / Perfumer: Irina Nesa

SADAKICHI AWARD
Is This Mankind
by Peter de Cupere (Belgium)
Perfumer: Various
Osmodrama Berlin / Smeller 2.0
by Wolfgang Georgsdorf (Germany)
Perfumer: Various
Paradise Paradoxe
by Elodie Pong (Switzerland)
Perfumer: Anonymous
Smell of Data
by Leanne Wijnsma (The Netherlands)
Perfumer: Leanne Wijnsma with ScentAir
The Feelies: Multisensory Storytelling – Amazon
by Grace Boyle (UK)
Perfumer: Nadjib Achaibou (Singapore)
 

We were thrilled to see the inclusion of proudly independent British brand, BeauFort London‘s Fathom V on the shortlist! A well deserved finalist, we have been raving about this fragrance since we first sniffed it. Humongously green – imagine a florist-shop filled with freshly snapped stalks, fat buds bursting and white flowers tied raggedly with twine – this would fill an entire fairytale palace with its otherworldly life-force, with echoes of roiling salty waves mercilessly crashing on rocks as lightning tears the sky assunder.
It’s awards season a-go-go in scent land at the moment, with the Perfumed Plume awards also just announced in the US (many congrats to Basenotes for their nominations!) and the prestigious annual British Fragrance Foundation Awards being judged right now. And oh boy, that’s an exciting list of names we absolutely cannot wait to see…
Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Jasmine Awards list (and why we couldn't be more pleased, even though we didn't win this year!)

We were thrilled to be among such prestigious company at the Fragrance Foundation‘s Jasmine Awards, this morning. Standing in a roomful of friends, colleagues and contemporaries and with a particularly diverse list of finalists, this year, our hearts really did swell with pride…
Held annually at BAFTA, each year a new panel of judges is recruited to narrow down the nominations and decide the eventual winners – with designers, fashion experts, professional writers and representatives of the publishing world and leading retailers all having their place. Chaired by an expert in the fragrance industry, Joanna Norman has spent nearly 30 years working in fragrance – and the panel read through literally hundreds of submissions before making their final decisions.
We were particularly delighted to see utter legend James Craven win a well-deserved award for his writing, and to see such important issues as mental health addressed so boldly – Laurin Taylor‘s piece for Basenotes website was brave, inspirational and (we hope) really gave readers pause for thought. We have long known and embraced the fact that fragrance journalism of all kinds can and should be exploring people’s personal relationships with scent – from reporting ground-breaking scientific research to heartfelt emotional pieces: it’s where food and wine writing was perhaps ten years ago and the more artfully conceived and thoughtful features we see, the better. Finally, readers and the industry at large are taking it as seriously as we do!
And here’s that list of winners – we urge you to read their features (linked where possible below) along with seeking out all the finalists’ features – because honestly, a more genuinely passionate group of perfume writers you’d be hard-pushed to find…
CUSTOMER/HOUSE MAGAZINE AWARD
Les Senteurs: The Wearing of the GreenJames Craven
DIGITAL AWARD
The Pool: A Scent for Self AppreciationLizzie Ostrom
DIGITAL EXPERIENCE AWARD
The Candy Perfume Boy: Six Scents to Put Hairs on Your ChestThomas Dunckley
LITERARY AWARD
Good Housekeeping: Every Scent Tells a Tale – Joanne Harris
SOUNDBITE MAGAZINE AWARD
Harrods Magazine: Midnight Garden – Jan Masters
SOUNDBITE NEWS PRESS AWARD
The Times: Real Men Wear Scent – Lesley Thomas
INDEPENDENT SOUNDBITE AWARD
The Candy Perfume Boy: Eau so Masc – Thoughts on Gender in Perfume and The Rive Gauche Rebellion – Thomas Dunckley
PRACTICAL GUIDE AWARD
Basenotes.net: The Top Ten Niche Fragrances Every Beginner Should TryClaire Vukcevic
VISUAL AWARD
Harrods Magazine: A Perfume Paints a Thousand WordsJan Masters & Roberto Greco
CREATIVE VISUAL AWARD
Harrods Magazine: All of a Quiver – Jan Masters, David Newton, Barney Pichard & Rebecca Baio
INDEPENDENT LITERARY AWARD
Basenotes.net: Scenting My Mental Illness – Laurin Taylor
RISING STAR AWARD
The Perfume Shop SCENTS Blog: The Year of Milk Notes – Laura Carbran

Also recognised at the Awards were the winners of the ‘Junior Jasmines’ the ‘Mighty Nose Awards’ A creative writing competition which challenges primary school children to pen smell-inspired poems specifically written on the subject of smells. The judging panel comprised of Chairman of the Judging Panel Josh Lacey – Children’s Author, Nicky Cox MBE – Editor of First News and Mary Hooper- Young Adults and Children’s Author.
Years 3 & 4
First prize went to Year 4 Bella Barlow for her poem called ‘Smell Seasons’ from Shiplake Primary School and the runner up was Year 3 Aoife Lynch for her poem ‘The smells’ from St Mary’s School.
Years 5 & 6
First prize went to Year 6 Isobel Young for her poem ‘The things I see with my nose’ from Peppard Primary School and the runner up, Year 5 Lena Akil for her poem ‘Smells of Santa’s Workshop’ from Sheffield Girls’ Infant and Junior School.
Written by Suzy Nightingale

JO LOVES keep the flame burning with customisable candles

What makes a thoughtful gift even more special? Customisation, of course.
Nothing says “I swear I didn’t just pick this randomly off a shelf at the last minute” like a gift that’s been personalised – it’s proof positive that actual genuine thought has gone in to the process!
And to get you ready this Valentines Day, JO LOVES have your back.
A beautifully fragranced candle is always a great choice for those who aren’t sure which scent a loved-one likes best or just because a gorgeously long-lasting haven of scent is always gratefully received. But with their name personally emblazoned across the front? Well, your gold star rating in The Good Books just went off the chart…
‘Surround yourself with the scent of white Norma Jean rose laced with subtle strands of peppered citrus and soft cedarwood. Fresh and elegant, this fragrance literally blooms as it floats through the air. Each Jo Loves Home Candle is accompanied by a silver and glass lid to keep the wax dust free, and beautifully presented within a luxurious gift box. Hand poured in England, each 185g candle burns for approximately 40 hours.’
If you’re not a V-Day type person, then why not use this opportunity to think ahead for Mother’s Day, a forthcoming birthday or even (we’ll whisper this in case we cause convulsions) next Christmas? Whatever the occasion, this exquisitely scented candle can be customised with a name from 20 January exclusively at the JO LOVES London boutique or online at their website.
JO LOVES Customised Candle
JO LOVES White Rose & Lemon Leaves Candle £65
Buy it exclusively at JO LOVES Boutique and joloves.com
Written by Suzy Nightingale

The Mighty Nose Awards are open: calling all smell lovers aged 7-11!

Marty the Mighty Nose is a cartoon character created by The Fragrance Foundation to encourage children aged 7-11 to be inspired and engaged through their sense of smell. Offering a website aimed at teachers, full of ideas to extend their pupil’s learning by focusing on the smelly world around them, and a series of free workshops for schools; perhaps the most exciting activity for kids to get involved with is the annual Mighty Nose Awards
Every year, The Fragrance Foundation invite pupils to submit smell-inspired creative writing for the chance to win fantastic prizes for themselves and for their schools. And entries for 2017 are now open!
The competition closes on December 16th 2016, so click here to download your entry pack and learn more.
Landscape_02
As the Fragrance Foundation explain: ‘Marty the Mighty Nose is supported by a team of people including teachers, and developed by the Fragrance Foundation UK. We are a not-for-profit educational organisation and all our members are in the fragrance industry, supporting Marty as a philanthropic initiative.’
Winners will be whisked to the glittering awards ceremony held at BAFTA next year, as part of the Jasmine Awards, before an audience of writers, fragrance professionals and press, who always receive them with rapturous applause. Truly inspiring, it’s wonderful to see kids explore and develop their sense of smell – and along with it their creativity (and humour!)
We adored hearing last year’s winning poems being read, and to get a sense of how brilliant they were, here’s one of our favourites from 2016…
mighty-nose-awards

The Smells Inside My Brother’s Room

By Isaac Littlewood
St Mary’s CE Primary School, Year 3

The smells inside my brother’s room,
Just like his pants are deadly.
They lead me to my utter doom:
A very whiffy medley!

His slippers smell of nasty cheese
And the tang of onions (pickled).
Inside, his toes my nose displease
Especially when they’re tickled!

His bum smells like a rotten drum,
Full of ugly fleas.
It’s worse than getting badly stung
By a swarm of bees.

His armpits smell like cabbage leaves
Rotting at the dump.
Their pong you simply won’t believe
It’s like an evil trump.

Underneath his bed there lurks
A very hissy dragon
Who eats my brother’s hairy shirts
And smells enough to gag on!

So don’t go in that smellsome site
If you value your nose.
Your nostrils will be harmed for life.
His pongs are your greatest foes!

You can read all the winning entries and download the competition pack on Marty the Mighty Nose’s website.
marty_clothes1We know so many of our readers enjoy sniffing our Discovery Boxes with their children, and at several of our How to Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshops, people have come along with their kids, who have wholeheartedly thrown themselves into finding creative ways of describing smells. So, if your children are budding ‘noses’ or simply brimming with whiffy words, we urge you to enter them into the competition!
Written by Suzy Nightingale