Category Archives: Perfume Brands

Guerlain: Heritage and Innovation in the World of Luxurious Perfumes

Pierre Francois Pascale GuerlainGuerlain is one of the oldest perfume houses in the world that is still functioning today, and it is steeped in tradition, elegance and luxury. One of the most remarkable things about Guerlain’s legacy is that it stayed in the family for so long before being bought out, which boosted the development of such a distinctive branding.

Back in time to 1828, the company was founded by Pierre Francois Pascale Guerlain, who originally set up a shop in Paris selling vinegar and perfume. As a trained chemist, Guerlain was able to bring knowledge and expertise to an industry that was in its infancy, and composed and manufactured custom fragrances with the help of his two sons.

The Rise of Flagship Perfume House

In the beginning of 19th century France, a society where regular bathing had not yet caught on, the use of eau de cologne became integral to anyone who could afford it. Previously, perfumes were not considered to be important and it was more socially acceptable to leave the skin naturally scented. Guerlain was a key part of the origination and growth of the perfume industry.

The shop in Paris allowed the founder to meet and develop relationships with his clients, and this early importance placed upon customer service has become a legacy in the Guerlain brand. As well as getting to know his clients and learning from them, Pierre-Francois-Pascale started to develop personalised fragrances for special customers, including many celebrities and historical figures (say, Queen Victoria of England and Queen Isabella of Spain). This attention to detail helped Guerlain to develop a reputation for being an elegant and exclusive perfumer.

When Pierre-Francois-Pascale died in 1864, the Guerlain brand was already enjoying great success, but when the company was taken over by sons Gabriel and Aime, it expanded even more. Gabriel took over the role of the commercial side of the business and made sure the company was up to date with latest marketing and production techniques, whereas Aime was responsible for producing the perfume itself. By this time, perfumes were being considered more and more desirable and people wished to cover up the natural scent of their skin. Guerlain benefitted from this as well as helped this trend to develop.

L'Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme AdOne of the great breakthroughs in the world of perfume came under the supervision of Aime, and this was the development of synthetic substances which produced odour. Previously, perfumes were only able to incorporate naturally occurring substances, but due to the work of Aime, the revolutionary perfume Jicky was produced containing vanillin, coumarin and linalool. With the turn of the 20th century came the real development of the perfume industry, and Guerlain was now a big name amongst the brands that were producing artistic and creative fragrances, the likes of which had never been seen before.

Eventually, the nephew of Aime, the person whom Jicky was named after, took over the role as the “nose” of Guerlain. During those 60 years that Jacques Guerlain looked after the company, many ground-breaking developments were made. At the time, the perfume industry was becoming bigger and bigger, and more money was being poured. On the other side, the products coming out were more creative, distinctive and elegant. Stylish packaging and unique perfume bottles were just a few innovations that Jacques Guerlain introduced.

New Era, New Perfumes, New Guerlain

During the World War II, the perfume factory owned by Guerlain was damaged extensively. Despite this setback, a new factory was built in 1947, along with the fourth Guerlain boutique. Shortly afterwards, Jean-Paul Guerlain took over the company’s reigns and prepared to add his list of classic perfumes to those already designed by his forefathers.

Guerlain Homme
Guerlain Homme

The refreshing citrus scent, which reminds of a cold fizzy drink on a hot summer day, constructed with top quality ingredients. Yes, it feels like a day time scent, but would be just good at night. Very distinctive and unique, Guerlain Homme opens with a spicy mint, tea and citrus accord then dries down to a vetiver base. While not overwhelmingly unique, it is well-rounded fragrance with the right amount of longevity and aura to make you shine on every occasion.
Guerlain Habit RougeGuerlain Habit Rouge

The iconic men’s cologne developed by Jean-Paul Guerlain, an outstanding horse rider, and supposedly inspired by his love of the equestrian world. It opens up with bright citruses, followed by some woods and finally settling into a powdery combination of leather, sandalwood and vanilla. Right from 1965, when this fragrance was introduced, Habit Rouge is every Gentleman’s must-have on a formal occasion along with a tuxedo or Armani suit.
L'Instant de GuerlainGuerlain L’Instant

Launched in 2004, the men’s version of L’Instant de Guerlain was developed by Beatrice Piquet and Sylvaine Delacourt. This magnificent fragrance with great longevity and sillage, opens with citrusy accord, topped up with cacao aroma on the drydown. There are some spicy notes thrown in for a well-rounded and sophisticated scent perfect for the office wear. It is a strong, yet inoffensive masculine perfume that stays with you throughout the day. This cologne is still available today and is one of the most popular men’s fragrances ever developed by perfume house.

One of the greatest things that Jean-Paul is credited for is the development of the Guerlain line of men’s perfumes. He created several classic men’s fragrances including Guerlain Vetiver and Guerlain Heritage. He also created what is known as one of the first oriental fragrances for men, Guerlain Habit Rouge. By this time, the perfume house was really developing a reputation for producing imaginative and innovative perfumes.

Guerlain Homme Ad CampaignDespite the success of the Guerlain family as directors of the company, Jean-Paul proved to be the last single director; when he passed the company on it was to a group formed of 25 Guerlain heirs. In a sector that was increasingly dominated by conglomerations, Guerlain remained one of the last independent perfume houses up to 1994. The company began to find that it could not compete with brands associated with the huge conglomeration companies such as L’Oreal in terms of marketing and production, and so in 1994 the company agreed to be acquired by Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH).

The next few years were a challenge for the Guerlain brand as it struggled for autonomy, before eventually giving in to the giant company by whom they had been bought. Christian Lanis was appointed director and became a creator of Champs-Elysees, the first Guerlain perfume to be created by someone who was not from the family. Despite this, the perfume proved to be a massive success, and is regarded as responsible for bringing a more floral note to the Guerlain collection.

Guerlain Golden Bee BottleOver the past century and a half, Guerlain has established several perfumers. Each was required to create their own fragrance in a brand new style, unique to his or her vision. And deep into the 21st century, this tradition continues. 2010 brought about Cologne du Parfumeur, created by Thierry Wasser. He utilized galbanum resin and top, green notes, pushing aside the prior lean on dated bergamot. He, essentially, brought the three hundred year old design into modernity, allowing the simple splash of fragrance to co-exist with the times — even in this age of daily showers and deodorant.

To buy a Guerlain cologne is to buy into a brand that is intimately linked to its heritage and history. Despite this, the company keeps moving forward and is developing new products and growing in size, influence and reputation.

Understanding the Genius of Francis Kurkdjian

Francis KurdjianWhen, at the age of 26 and having recently graduated perfume school, Francis Kurdjian produced one of the best-selling colognes in world (Le Male, for Jean Paul Gaultier), it became apparent that the Paris-born perfumer was destined for great things.

His career since then reads eclectically and fantastically with creation of over 40 fragrances for a string of high profile names. He even recreated a perfume that could have been worn by Marie Antoinette, and designed a series of “olfactory installations”, turning perfume into art to be experienced.

As well as his brilliance, Francis has also gained a reputation for being outspoken, reportedly accusing perfumistas of “wanting everybody to like the same thing” and claiming that Jean-Claude Ellena makes perfumes that all smell the same. This verbose streak only adds to the allure that maestro surrounds himself with.

Influenced by Artistic Environment

Francis Kurkdjian was brought up in a suburb of Paris, describing his childhood as idyllic. Surrounded by the arts, dance, music and balls hosted by his parents, it is no surprise that Francis grew up to a career so creative and artistic.

 alt=After failing to launch his original chosen career as a ballet dancer, Kurkdjian turned to the world of fashion, intrigued by the allure and sophistication of glossy magazines. As he discovered that design skills were not his forte, Francis eventually decided to persuade career in perfumery. Despite almost stumbling into his career, Kurkdjian now feels passionately about perfume. “It’s more emotional to me than music”, he told a beauty blogger in an interview. This passion can make the creative process a painstaking one. Kurkdjian begins with “a feeling, an emotion, or a story”.

He spends a lot of time drawing up mood boards and similar for each fragrance. Only when the “feel” for each scent is determined can the ingredients for the perfume start being considered. Once Kurkdjian has a list of ingredients in his head that match the “feel” of the perfume he is going for, he sends a list off to the producers who come up with samples and send them back to him.  This process can involve going backwards and forwards a lot of times. This way Francis created a number of successful fragrances for Christian DiorAcqua Di Parma, Guerlain and many more.

The Birth of Mason Francis Kurkdjian Perfume House

In celebration of the 10th anniversary of his own bespoke perfume house and to mark the occasion, Kurkdjian has released 20 limited editions of a fragrance that was almost a year in the making. The exclusivity comes at a price; it is being sold at $11,000 a bottle. The 20 bottles are each marked with their number in the collection, with Kurkdjian reserving Nr.0 for himself. The owner can dream up their own name for the fragrance and it is engraved upon the bottle for them.

The fragrance itself is “a tribute to the French art of perfumery”, according to Kurkdjian himself, and is a bold mixture of all the olfactory families. Key ingredients include Egyptian jasmine, Damascus rose and South African marigold. The finished product is an enigmatic and mysterious scent which is said to adapt to the skin on which it is sprayed.

However it is not just perfumes that Kurkdjian produces, but all sorts of fragranced products, including laundry-washing liquid and leather bracelets. There is no disputing that Francis Kurkdjian is an incredibly talented entrepreneur that has taken the production of perfumes a step further. The luxury Fragrance House Maison Francis Kurkdjian is designed to be a modern bridge to scents in all aspects of life, not just perfume.

There are seven signature fragrances featured in products sold by the House. Two of these are the twin perfumes Pour le Matin and Pour le Soir. Designed for use at different times of the day, these two playful fragrances reflect the modern ideology behind the brand.

Absolue Pour le Matin Absolue Pour Le Matin

Introduced in 2009 along with Absolute Pour Le Soir, the beautifully blended scent of Absolue Pour Le Matin is warm, deep and enjoyable on skin. It opens with a fresh composition, the feeling of pure Eau de Cologne in the concentration EDP that gives “after-shower” vibe for the rest of the day. Featuring woody dry Amber and Violet flower, the scent makes you feel tender and powerful. Elegant and sophisticated, it lasts long enough to please your loved ones.
Absolue Pour le SoirAbsolue Pour Le Soir

This perfume is celestial and yet grounded in animalistic drive of the most beautiful kind. When applied, it turns slowly into oppressive musk, whilst retaining a sense of honeyed innocence. The floral notes are pretty much in the background, slowly touching the soft ambergris in the base. Captivating and immediately apparent, the composition manages to maintain the elegance and smooth seamless blending, proving the benchmark of the best house signatures which Francis Kurkdjian is praised for.
Oud by Maison Francis KurkdjianOud

Launched in the first half of 2012, Oud Perfume is nothing but stunning in its unique elegance. It is the mixture of contrasts… sometimes dark, sometimes celestial. You will figure it out for yourself! Oud opens with a smooth blend of wood, saffron and patchouli. I will work perfectly on a special occasion, when you want to impress, and probably always with a suit. Projection is great, and longevity matches it, which offsets the high cost of this fragrance.

Kurkdjian has spoken about how having his own perfume house and line of fragrances is an outlet for him to work at his own pace and under his own rules, as opposed to constantly trying to fulfil the requests put upon him when he is designing for another brand. Nevertheless he has recently created a fragrance for the French fashion house Carven.

Francis Kurkdjian Sniffa Mag BraceletsCarven was launched shortly after the war ended when fabrics were scarce and the fashion industry was weak – especially for women to break into. However, Mrs Carven (celebrated her 104th birthday in 2013) made a success of her business. The original Carven scent was called Ma Griffe (which translates roughly as “my scent”), and although it smells old-fashioned today, it was revolutionary and very popular at the time. Kurkdjian has produced a fresh scent for the brand, which took over 200 attempts to get right. The result is Carven Le Perfum which is sweet and feminine.

Kurkdjian is famous for making several unisex perfumes. He believes that every perfume tells a story and some of these stories, for example the feeling of freshness, are applicable to both men and women. It is this imaginative approach to perfumery that has earned Kurkdjian his place amongst the most highly celebrated perfumers of recent years.

Photo Credit: billionaire.com 

Creed: The Secret History of the Most Exclusive Fragrance Company

The House of Creed“From father to son since 1760” – the tagline of Creed Fragrances says it all. Family oriented, classy and luxurious, Creed’s mission statement is to “create highly original fragrances of extravagant quality“.

The House of Creed was initially such an exclusive perfumers that it remained largely unknown by all but the richest and most famous. They have found a niche providing perfume for everyone from heads of state to film stars.

There is a lot of scandal surrounding the origins of the brand. A lack of evidence has led to many people doubting the reliability of statements presented as facts that appear on the company website amongst other sources.

Fascinating History of World’s Only Dynastic Fragrance Company

The story of Creed was said to begin when King George III asked founder James Creed to produce a fragrance for him. This led to the House of Creed being opened in London, and soon after, Queen Victoria employed Creed as her official supplier of perfume. Whatever it was that Queen Victoria saw in James Creed, the rest of the royals throughout Europe saw it as well.

Creed Limited Edition Fragrances Napoléon III, Empress Eugénie of France, Emperor Franz-Joseph, Empress Sissi of Austro-Hungary and Queen Christina of Spain all took James Creed on as their supplier of fragrance. Eventually, Empress Eugénie became a patron of Creed, and with her support the brand relocated to Paris. The royal connection does not end there. Both Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales had fragrances exclusively made for them.

Today, Olivier Creed and his son Erwin Creed run the company. They have boutiques in Paris, New York and Dubai. The brand today sells over 200 perfumes, arguably the most famous of which is Green Irish Tweed created by Olivier in the 80s.

The company today has a reputation for using the highest percentage of natural ingredients in the French perfume industry. Olivier Creed travels the world to sample and select scents from many different countries. Due to the infusion technique now widely used in perfume production, it is possible to preserve the exact natural fragrance of the ingredients used.  The process of making a Creed fragrance is undertaken by hand, in the tradition set by James Creed.

Creed fragrances do not work in a typical way; they do not have any development schedules and do not release perfumes until Olivier feels they are “ready”. This has led to the company going for sometimes five years without releasing any new fragrances. This departure from the program of relentless releases and constant new production followed by most other production companies seems to keep the quality of Creed fragrances unerringly high, and a fragrance is never compromised or hurried in order to meet a deadline. This is one of the aspects of Creed which makes the company so high-end and luxurious. This policy seems to work as Creed is said to turnover double the industry average every year.

Virgin Island Water by CreedVirgin Island Water

Launched in 2007, Virgin Island Water is refreshing, light and warm fragrance. Extremely unique, it opens with the fusion of citrus and coconut, which sets the tone for its entire lifespan. As a warm weather fragrance, this is almost peerless, but there are obvious caveats. The ingredients are all skilfully blended and top quality, like most Creeds. Given its price and brevity, this remains a luxury item, an indulgence. It works best in small doses, apply too much and it's like spilling a sticky Pina Colada over your suit.
Green Irish Tweed by CreedGreen Irish Tweed

Green Irish Tweed is truly one of the most famous Creed colognes. Released in 1985, this iconic perfume has regularly been compared to Davidoff’s Cool Water (although Green Irish Tweed is arguably of much better quality) and it is an extremely masculine scent. This perfume can be worn at any time of the day as it is not overly heavy. Its scent opens with herbal ultra-green accord that will remind you of walking through a dewy valley at dawn brushing against moist dead leaves and moss. A true masterpiece that deserves to be in every Gentleman’s collection.
Millesime Imperial by CreedMillesime Imperial

If Green Irish Tweed is earthy, then Millesime Imperial is lighter and more of a tropical, exotic fragrance. The scent varies from fruity marine to sweet cedar to a floral musk, and occasionally gets too spicy and a little woodier than what you might expect from an aquatic fragrance, but mostly is gentle and pleasant. Mature men may opt for the more serious and elegant tones of Green Irish Tweed as Millesime Imperial is designed for the younger man and exudes playfulness and is very summery.

The company has been described as the “perfect model’ of a family business” with Olivier’s son Erwin holding the role of “senior perfumer”, and his daughter Olivia working as an art designer. Current owner Olivier is the sixth generation of Creed to own the company, and when it passes on to Erwin it will be the seventh. As well as the massive profit that Creed makes, it has a great reputation which is grown and maintained by each subsequent generation, as perfume is something they are all passionate about.

The discretion that Creed employs is an important part of their success. For every high profile client that buys a personal fragrance from Creed, the company signs a contract stating that they will not release the details of the fragrance until a certain time; contracts last from five years to a lifetime. Their reputation for discretion and elegance has also been grown and maintained so that the business is regarded extremely well by its clients.

Acqua Di Parma: Standing Reputation for Elegance and Quality

Acqua Di Parma HeritageIn 1916, in the Italian city of Parma, the beginnings of famous Perfume House began to stir. Created for the distinguished court of the Gonzaga family as an Italian response to the German dominated cologne market, master perfumers began producing new fragrances in a small perfume lab in the old town center.

The house’s signature cologne, Colonia, which was intended to perfume the handkerchiefs of Italian men, is said to be their most popular scent to date. At that time, it was unusually fresh and modern compared to the perfumes of German origin, stronger and more intense, that were then so popular.

First Real Cologne Grown Up Under the Mediterranean Sun

The first real Italian Eau de Cologne and it expressed a new sensibility. Arguably one of the most compelling things was the purity of the fragrance, which was produced exclusively with natural ingredients. Even today, the composition has never been changed. As years past, Acqua di Parma continued to gain popularity from the masses. The famous Art Deco bottle used to house Colonia became iconic and is known by perfume fans around the globe.

Acqua Di Parma Blu MediterraneoInternational success came to the house in the 50s when American film stars traveling in Italy discovered the brand in upscale, exclusive boutiques. Amongst its fans in the acting community were Cary Grant, David Niven and Ava Gardner. Unfortunately for the brand, 60s brought a vast array of aftershaves, colognes and perfumes on the market, which challenged Acqua Di Parma’s reign as scent to the rich and famous.

Acqua di Parma has always been popular, but saw sales fall in the decades including and following World War II. In 1993 the brand got a much deserved revival following a management buy-out financed by Tod’s owner Diego Della Valle, Luca di Montezemolo of Ferrari, and Paolo Borgomanero, a major shareholder of lingerie retailer La Perla.

Growth was rapid with these successful entrepreneurs at the helm: the opening of the first Acqua di Parma boutique in Via del Gesu in Milan, alongside better known names of high fashion and ready-to-wear, was followed by numerous counters in some of the most high end stores worldwide.

Acqua Di Parma IntensaColonia Intensa

Introduced by the Italian house of Acqua Di Parma in 2007, this fragrance is full of classic ingredients promising the perfect balance of elegance and modernity. The composition is announced as very refined and spirited. The scent is full of fresh nutty spices that then dry down to a long lasting woody musk. The refine and magnetic scent that screams of sophistication and masculinity.
Acqua Di Parma EssenzaColonia Essenza

Launched in 2010, Colonia Essenza is a strong and daring fragrance, which starts out with a citrus sprinkled opening highlighting some of the best offerings of Italy’s local orchards. A distinctive fragrance that features great staying power for the elegant and stylish man. Acqua di Parma Colonia Assoluta is a very likeable scent, capable of making the heat of the summer more bearable.
Acqua Di Parma AssolutaColonia Assoluta

Launched by Acqua Di Parma in 2003, the fragrance is celebration of Italian freshness with a contemporary signature. A bouquet of crisp citrus essences such as sweet orange, bitter orange of Sicilia, bergamot and verbena, with warmer spicy notes of cardamom, pink peppercorns and paprika. A smooth fragrance that is perfect for summer months.

Acqua Di Parma Today

In 2001 Acqua Di Parma was acquired by LVMH, or as mostly known, Louis Vuitton, the world’s leading producer and distributor of luxury goods. The thought was that Italian Perfume House should be established as a “modern classic”. LVMH began increasing distribution amongst select retailers and furthering the relationship in consumer’s minds between Acqua Di Parma, elegance, quality and sophistication.

The products are still made with the same dedication and expertise that earned the house their initial success, while the fragrances are made with the most prestigious essences and extracts. The rebirth of Acqua Di Parma can be attributed to, amongst other things, an intelligent marketing strategy. Acqua Di Parma is marketed to a sophisticated man, the type who wears nice suits, reads GQ, and travels the world. Elegance and exclusiveness are the values that are the groundwork of the Acqua di Parma style.

A Perfect Blend of Sport and Fashion in the Bottle of Lacoste Perfume

Rene LacosteLacoste is the brand that made the polo shirt and a little crocodile very famous. The story begins with Rene Lacoste, a French tennis superstar, ranked number one in the world in 1926 and 1927. One would not know it considering how well he played, but Lacoste found his tennis uniform, or tennis whites as they were known, to be restrictive.

At that time, proper tennis gear consisted of long sleeve button-down shirt, tie, and long slacks. Not an easy outfit to run in. Lacoste himself has said that after seeing fellow tennis player and friend Marquis of Cholmondeley play in a polo shirt, he had a bit of an epiphany and immediately commissioned a tailor a few for himself in cotton and wool. Soon after, the masses followed suit, and Rene Lacoste began his parlay into the fashion industry.

That Famous Crocodile Logo

Lacoste Challenge Ad CampaignIn or around 1926 Rene debuted his new look at the U.S Open played in New York City. It was around this same time that Lacoste was nicknamed “The Crocodile” by media and tennis fans. The reason for the moniker isn’t clear, but it’s been speculated that it stemmed from Lacoste’s pointy nose, his boldness, or a bet he had with one of his teammates where the winner of the wager would be awarded with an alligator- skinned suitcase. Alligator somehow became crocodile, and ever since, the name Lacoste has been synonymous with the famous logo.

In the early 1930’s Rene Lacoste retired from tennis and formed La Chemise Lacoste with the president of France’s largest knitwear company at that time, Andre Gillier. Together they began producing and selling shirts embroidered with a small crocodile on the chest. To gain recognition in the US, Lacoste licensed the company to the English brand Izod.

Remembering the Trend of Polo Shirts and Collaboration with Izod

In an attempt to market Lacoste as a high-end label, when it became available in the United States in 1952 it was branded “the status symbol of the competent sportsman”. Izod Lacoste had its heyday in the 1970’s and 1980’s when teenagers in particular found themselves a new trend in the polo shirts. But by the 1990’s the trend was fading fast and eventually Izod and Lacoste parted ways.

Recently Lacoste has been gaining mass popularity again as the brand works to create a more modern, chic look. Today the Lacoste Corporation is based in Paris, France and produces clothing, leather goods, eyewear, wristwatches, and also – fragrances. The Lacoste Perfume line for men and women debuted in 1968. Lacoste Eau de Sport, a men’s fragrance created by master perfumer Jean Patou quickly gained massive support from fans of the Lacoste brand. It has been said to have begun a new era for fans of “fresh and energetic” scents.

Lacoste EssentialLacoste Essential

Introduced in 2005, Lacoste Essential by Lacoste can be described as masculine and modern, but with a classic flair. Composed of a unique blend of fresh and spicy notes on a sumptuous woody base, Lacoste Essential has the advantage of taking part in Time Release Technology that reanimates the fresh top note as wear goes on. Clean, bright and cheerful, it is perfect a casual daily use for a man who doesn’t have time to reapply.
Lacoste BlancLacoste Blanc

Inspired by the classic white polo shirt that made the company what it is today. Introduced in 2011, Blanc Cologne is a moderate fragrance perfect for casual situations. The fresh, floral woodiness keeps the wearer feeling light and cool. It lasts all day long but not in a powerful, projection way. You will forget you are wearing it until you catch a random whiff that makes you feel like you are projecting a nice clean scent to everybody around you.
Lacoste Pour HommeLacoste Pour Homme

Launched in 2002, Lacoste Pour Homme is a woody aromatic fragrance for men. Distinctly clean and masculine with a hint of elegance, this fragrance is a sensual scent. The citrus and fruit form a brisk and succulent platform while the juniper and spices from the middle pop out to create a very lively accord. Incredibly versatile, pleasing and refined, this fragrance smells very rich and expensive. Lacoste Pour Homme will leave any man feeling reinvigorated.

Eventually Rene Lacoste retired but kept the brand in the family, passing it along to his children. In 1996 in France Lacoste passed away at the age of 92 years. His legacy however, the famous little crocodile is alive and well popping up on somewhere near 25 million new Lacoste products every year.