Crimes of Passion
Out now, our Crimes of Passion series - the update
We've brought out all seven fragrances - five extraits and two eau de parfums - plus sampler sets or all seven.
You can find them here.
1. Inevitable Crimes of Passion
The original fragrance which started the whole project, Inevitable Crimes of Passion is a rich, deep scent that tells a story. It reminds me of a Henry James novel, with an innocent start that makes promises of love, but becomes complicated -passionate, intense and compulsive - and can't ever return to simplicity.
I've deepened it with more mushroom absolute, boletus (the cep or penny bun) to give it a dark, sensual, animalic end. The start though is still Terry's Chocolate Orange - although I didn't put orange or chocolate in it - grapefruit, coffee and woods create that particular illusion.
I see it as an invitation into a Victorian orangery, then into the velvet upholstered parlour for tea, then down to the basement...
2. Dirty Honey
A change of name for my honey scent. Along our street there was a sudden spring blossoming ofMexican mock orange, tiny white flowers that wafted their delightful scent through suburbia for two weeks, then off they went. Mock orange and I have history; when I was two years old I shoved the buds from our garden shrub so far up my nose to get more of the smell that I had to get taken to the doctor's to get them extracted. It was fate.
Now I know a bit more about perfume, the blossom smells to me just like dirty honey, so I make myself a version to last all year round.
It's a white flower fragrance, made with beeswax and honey absolutes, woods, vanillin and labdanum, jasmine and honeybush extract.
3. Maxed Out
There's a 'fume fan who's a fragrance friend of mine, Maximilian Heusler, and although I've never met him I'm a looking forward to a trip to New York one day to fix that. We got talking about his ideal fragrance and it was the most amazing idea, inspired by his former wild times. These days his vices are entirely fragrance related.
We were talking about the kind of night out in New York that involves cocktails, marijuana cigars, hookers and passing out. I know what cocktails smell like; the rest? I have a good imagination.
So this is one intense scent: rum, coconut and lime, tobacco, coffee and cannabis essential oil, a handfulof vintage style musks, a generous dash of vanilla, a drop of cumin and my favourite Atlas cedarwood.
Watch Max's film here and here's my story:
4. Raw Silk and Red Roses
I wanted to make a really rosy rose, a 1980s style scent, like a walk through a rose garden. I love my rose fragrances, and although I've been dabbling with rose and violet, rose and herbs and rose and vetivert, I'd wanted to take the plunge with pure rose.
I'd like everyone who smells it to think "Wow! Roses!" but I also know that perfume fans like to know what other notes there are, so I'll mention a few of the materials I used to surround the rosy heart.
Geranium, which has a lot in common with rose.
Plum and peach lactones - for a creamy fruity note.
Patchouli, vintage musks.
I do love rose fragrances and though I say it myself, I am very fond of this one. Odette Toilette said it's like Une Rose but without the cat pee note. She did, really.
5. Midnight in the Palace Garden
Picture a hot night in an Eastern palace, the moon shines into the courtyard, where a fountain plays gently. Jasmine, orange blossom and frangipani scent the air. A cedar tree grows in the corner, there's a silver tray with strong coffee, fresh blood orange juice and vanilla sweets. There's a divan covered in silk and cashmere shawls, to rest on, and stare at the stars.
This fragrance has already been delivered to a Middle Eastern palace.
As extravagant scents go, this is one of our most outrageous: three kinds of cedarwood, sandalwood, coffee, vanilla, blood orange, davana - an artemesia which smells like mulled wine - jasmine, neroli and frangipani. I made five accords: the tree ofknowledge, the flowers of love, the sheikh, sweetmeats and the fruits of temptation. I wanted sensuality with subtlety. The strange thing about it is that it also works - for me - as great sleep remedy. (I am not making any medical claims here; I'm just saying that it works for me.) Our actor friend, Arthur McBain, thinks it works magic, but I'm not it's the perfume.
6. Goddess of Love & Perfume
Venus (Aphrodite) was the goddess of love and perfume, also of pleasure and beauty. I wanted to make the ultimate fruity chypre, with backcurrant, peach and my favourite raspberry leaf and I decided that it ought to be good enough to make her want to wear it. I imagine her bathing in it before descending to earth to seduce beautiful shepherd boys tending their flocks on Roseberry Topping. (That's a hill in North Yorkshire and this perfume's alternative name, when it's at EdP strength).
There are two fruity chypre fragrances which particularly impressed me when I smelled the originals at the Osmotheque - Le Fruit Defendu from 1914 by Paul Poiret, and Shocking by Schiaparelli from the 1940s. I wasn't even sure if it would be possible to make something that gorgeous and legal these days. Anyway, I decided to give it a try.
The first small sample bottle was stolen; I was intending the Crimes of Passion series to inspire rash impulsive acts, but I wasn't actually expecting this.
Notes: oakmoss, opoponax, bergamot, patchouli - a classic chypre heart
Plum, peach, wild strawberry, blackcurrant, raspberry, grapefruit, yuzu
Rose, jasmine, lily of the valley
Vanilla and vintage musks.
I now wear this all the time, but it's nothing to do with shepherd boys.
7. Be Careful What You Wish For - Fruit Oudh
I'd decided not to make an oudh fragrance, mostly because they so often seem to be brought out merely to grab a cynical share of the lucrative Arabian perfume market. (Actually there is quite a lot of oudh in The Lion Cupboard, but I chose not to mention it because I didn't want to look like I was jumping on the bandwagon.)
Recently I was in Dubai, bought five different oudhs from the soukh at the creek and decided to change my mind.
It's different from most though - a citrus fruit oudh with cedarwood and patchouli, plus a new wood oil which is being called white oudh by the manufacturer; it's from a tree that grows in Indonesian mangrove swamps. Beautiful stuff.
Five oudhs give it a deep, animalic woody feel, but it's not got the overwhelming stable yard stink that some of them do. (Not quite my thing although I realise that it has its appeal.) There's not much point my making an oudh scent that smells like everyone else's though, is there?
So a fresh oudh for summer time, that's what we have here. Surprise yourself.
That's it then, all seven. Some might go into production, some might only ever see the one batch. Once I've shared out these first batches amongst all my lovely backers, I'll let you know if there's any left over. I've not even dared to do the costing yet. Let's not think about that for the moment, let's just enjoy them.
Thanks again for making this happen.