By Kilian – Imperial Tea

After the astoundingly uninspired and unoriginal duo of Bamboo Harmony and Water Calligraphy (insipid, watered-down, semi-floral nothingness – if you own a bottle you should pour away the juice and use the bottle as a flower vase instead) were released at the launch of By Kilian‘s Asian Tales line, and after the pleasant but still rather non-descript Flower of Immortality (Immortal? Really? The osmanthus-peach accord fades after an hour on skin), I had to steel myself before spraying on the latest release, Imperial Tea, while paying a visit to the By Kilian counter at Harvey Nichols London. You see, as someone who comes from Singapore, and who thus has lived in Asia for over twenty years, I take offence at the reductionistic view that Asia smells… boring, a view that is probably held by the messrs who create ‘Asian-inspired’ perfumes based on the to some extent true assumption that many East Asians prefer clean, fresh smells à la L’Eau d’Issey. Never mind that Asia consists of far more countries than China – I suppose By Kilian was trying to appeal to the burgeoning bourgeoisie in China, who have mountains of 元 to spare with nowhere else to spend it. However, despite China’s increasing importance in the global sphere, it is a mistake to think that the olfactory palette of, and consequently olfactory inspiration derived from an entire country can be reduced to a few bamboo sticks and water, for goodness’ sake! How would you like if I created a line called ‘Western Tales’ and proceeded to bottle the smell of a Big Mac from McDonalds, because, well, that’s what I think the West smells like? In fact, if one really wanted to capture the smell of China, the best representation of it would be the pollutive smog that blankets the whole of Beijing. Now that would be a work of art – pollution in a bottle!

Continue reading

Etat Libre d’Orange – Bendelirious

If you ask me, it looks like someone’s lip is being botoxed by a pointy building.

The ad-copy for Bendelirious, taken from the Etat Libre d’Orange website:

The first time he sees her, it’s a party, and he senses something special in the air. He looks for the source of exuberance, and he is rewarded with only a fleeting glimpse of a woman in a minidress and sky-high stilettos, but she leaves in her wake an array of glorious contradictions: soft and cool, delicate and earthy. She is a star and he’s dazzled. 
He sees her again, at another party. It’s a benefit this time, an event marked by luxury and compassion. She passes his table with its iris centerpiece, and like the precious iris she evokes elegance and grace. She illuminates the room, and he wants to follow the light.
And he does, to a cavernous club, where the uptown girl has become a downtown diva. In leather jacket and ballerinas, in the sweet madness of the moment, she is an urban fairy, waving a bottle of champagne like a magic wand. She can dance on tables and sing on subway platforms and draw everyone into her bewitching aura. For one brief spell-binding moment, their eyes meet, and now he is completely enchanted.

Continue reading

A Lab on Fire – Liquid Night


I’m not sure how I feel about Liquid Night by A Lab on Fire, a relatively new player on the niche perfume scene. On the one hand, the minty-fresh bergamot, lavender and clary sage opening brings to mind numerous other generic masculine fragrance clones, but on the other hand, there is something different about it, a certain minimalist aesthetic that sets it somewhat apart from its counterparts. It is as though the perfumer took the very same ingredients and ran them through a strainer and then a purifier, thus taking clean and spare to a completely different level. It’s the same, but different. You’re probably thinking that I’m a nut job at this point of time, and so do I, but I’m not sure how else to phrase what I’ve just said!

Continue reading

Magnetic Scent – Tindrer

I’ve just been thinking back on my fragrant journey, and decided to re-read some of my earlier posts. This was my very first perfume review almost an entire year ago. I’m not sure if my writing style has evolved over the year, but that’s quite a difficult thing for me to judge! I’ve decided to reblog my thoughts on Tindrer because readers who have recently joined may have missed out on it – it’s definitely worth trying! I hope you enjoy 🙂

The Smelly Vagabond


Tindrer by Magnetic Scent opens with an unconventionally green, dewy violet that smells like it’s just been freshly cut at the stem. It’s vegetal and… is that a hint of soil? Mmmm. Ten minutes in, Tindrer segues into its heart. There’s definitely something marine going on here that makes Tindrer salty fresh while the violet continues strongly in the foreground. Strangely, I keep getting the smell of new, unused erasers

Tindrer evokes the image of a young child running freely through a field of violets. It has just rained and the smell of the earth and flowers and grass fill the air. He’s smiling, but why are there tears in his eyes? He lies in the middle of the field and takes a deep breath. It’s the first time in many years that he’s been allowed out to play in the field. Tiny raindrops fall on his cheeks and mix…

View original post 252 more words