Taking A Small Break & Brief Year-End Review

Happy holidays everyone! Regardless of whether you celebrate or what your faith may be, I hope you had a lovely end to the year, and The Hairy German and I wish you all the very best in 2017. May the new year bring you much joy, laughter, love, peace, good fortune, and good health.

Source: bulp.tk

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A Guide to “Amber” – Part II: 50 Fragrances To Consider

Do you love your amber with a shot of booze, or straight up? Do you want it as dark as night, its toffee’d chewiness beset by either tobacco, leather or incense, or would you prefer it to be so golden that it evokes James Bond’s Goldfinger girl? Have you sought an “amber” fragrance layered with the creamiest and silkiest vanilla, or do you prefer it accompanied by some combination of dry woods, spices, salty caramel, bitter expresso, chocolate, jammy roses, or aromatic herbs instead? Whatever the combination or your particular preferences, my hope is that there will an “amber” on this list of 50 fragrances to tempt you to explore further.

The tsars' famous "Amber Room," St. Petersburg. Photo: Anna or "I Love Travel," ITravelSPB, on Twitter. (Direct website link embedded within.) [Photo lightly cropped by me.]

The tsars’ famous “Amber Room,” St. Petersburg. Photo: Anna or “I Love Travel,” ITravelSPB, on Twitter. (Direct website link embedded within.) [Photo lightly cropped by me.]

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A Guide to Amber – Part I: Types, Definitions, Materials & Scent

“Amber” is a glorious genre of perfumery, a showcase for all that is decadent, inviting, resinous, and golden in scent, with facets that range across a broad spectrum from the musky, sultry, smoky, and spicy to the deliciously cozy with sweetened aromas of toffee, caramel, or vanilla. But “amber” is a word that needs to be in quotation marks because it is, in reality, an umbrella catch-all term that encompasses many varieties of materials and, as a result, a slew of different aromas or styles.

I’d like to go over the basics of those genres or, to be more precise, sub-genres in what will be a two-part series, starting today with the history, definitions, basics, and scent profile of the materials in each group. In the next post, Part II, I’ll list fragrances that I love and recommend within each category, as well as a few famous ones beloved by others, even if they don’t strike the same chord with me.

Fossilized amber. Source: amberpieces.com

Fossilized amber. Source: amberpieces.com

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2015 in Review: Best New Releases & Personal Favourites

Source: World in a Bottle Facebook page. Photographer unknown.

Source: World in a Bottle Facebook page. Photographer unknown.

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to look back at the best of 2015. For me, this was an iffy year for brand new releases because there weren’t a huge number of fragrances that stood out from start to finish. The exceptions to the rule were impressive or lovely but, when I went back over all the fragrances that I covered, I found the vast majority fell woefully short.

One reason stems from the hot new trends of the year. Leather was a major compositional note in 2015 or, to be more precise, the tarry, woody, forest-fire smokiness that purports to recreate the sense of “leather.” Another hot trend seemed to be a deluge of black pepper. Neither one is appealing to me, particularly since their chemical nature was usually so intrusive as to be front-and-center. Yet, that sort of excessive darkness was, in and of itself, the most common stylistic approach, one that was frequently juxtaposed next to shapeless white florals, amorphous spiciness, or some sort of limp “freshness.” The end result was that a lot of new releases smelt far too similar for me to find them distinctive, interesting, or compelling. In addition, many of them lacked the quality to warrant the higher prices that we’ve been seeing across the board.

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