The Sniff Box – Perfume In Plain English

In 1979, Hermès launched a brilliant take on the classic men’s eau-de-cologne. Simply called Eau de Cologne d’Hermès, it was created by Françoise Caron, who you could almost say had perfume in her blood. Born in the one-time capital of French fragrance, the Provençal town of Grasse, into a family that worked in the perfume trade, both she and her brother, Olivier Cresp, became highly regarded professional perfumers in their own right.

Many perfumes are variations on a theme, and the fresh, citrusy scent of eau-de-cologne…

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Angela Flanders

Artillery No. 4

Picked up for a fiver in a Vogue House charity sale, entirely on the look of the bottle (you had to move fast), Artillery No. 4 turns out to be an unexpected treat. Launched in 2012, it was created by Angela Flanders, an English perfumer whose scents have an appealingly home-made quality which extends, in this case, to the label’s hand-written ‘4’.

The name is a nod to the location of her shop in Artillery Passage, a splendidly Dickensian alleyway just east of the City of London…

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Francis Kurkdjian

Absolue Pour le Matin

I’ve been trying to like the perfumes of Francis Kurkdjian for some time, but try as I might they let me down. I’d have given up months ago except for the fact that I admire everything about them – their names, their bottles, their packaging, their design – apart from one inconvenient (and for a perfume, rather crucial) thing: the way they actually smell.

I feel particularly bad about this because the guys at Maison Francis Kurkdjian have very kindly given me four of his men’s perfumes: Lumière Noire, Absolue Pour le Matin…

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