Friday, April 9, 2010

To look out for in April - Versus & Acqua Colonia

This is an exciting month for new fragrances in Singapore with two launches I am looking forward to. The first is Versus by Versace which will be available all over town end of this month.

Versus is a re-introduction of the 90s fragrance of the same name but with a totally different scent. This is now bolder, more playful and more seductive to suit the modern day women. Like the ad visual featuring the very stunning Lara Stone, Versus expresses the playfulness and strong femininity while playing with strong contrasts in characters.

The box is striking with a deep blue labyrinth against metallic silver background. Again, we are seeing cyber-age colours contrasting with a traditional symbol resulting in a packaging that is timeless. The bottle is in a lovely purple shade with gold logos - feminine but not girly.

Versus features notes of kumquat, lemon, star apple, orange flower, stephanotis, rose, musk, patchouli and ambrette. The result is a refreshing floral and fruity chypre that works very well with our tropical heat. It is so realistically fruity it smells like an expensive tropical cocktail made from the freshest ingredients.

The other launch that will happen end of this month features not a contrast, but an evolution or rebirth of a very old and traditional brand. If 4711 sounds familiar to you, you'd be in for a treat. Created in 1792, 4711's Original Eau de Cologne is the grandfather of all colognes and was an indispensible fragrance for perfuming, de-odourising, and headaches. In recent years, the original formulation was updated with mass-market flankers featuring the word 'Ice' to make it more appealing. Now, 4711 is back again with a new direction.

4711 reinvents itself with a new identity 'Acqua Colonia' and pays homage to nature with a range of eau de colognes featuring natural ingredients. There's Melissa & Verbena, Vetyver & Bergamot, Lavender & Thyme and Royal Riesling. The bottles retained their traditional shape but now jazzed up with luxury crystal cuttings. It comes with a removable screw on atomizer so you can use it as a splash or spray.

Lemon & Ginger is ultra refreshing and reminds me of the complimentary hot towels on a plane, thus evoking the holiday spirit. Vetyver & Bergamot is masculine and woody without being too overly earthy and muddy. Royal Riesling is semi-sweet and light with hints of fresh grapes in the summer sun. This perfume as reported by them supposedly has got mood therapeutics effect. My initial fear was for this range to smell like a cheap haphazardly cologne made with rough smelling essential oils and fortunately, I was wrong. They are delicate and are modern adaptions of the colognes of yesterday.

With this new look and image, 4711 puts itself up there along the likes of Guerlain's Aqua Allergoria, Hermessence and Roger&Gallet while retaining its affordable down to earth price.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Do we have a smell?

My apologies for the lack of posts for the last few days for I was enjoying good food and to-die-for massages at the Land of Smiles. Each time I travel, I get reminded that I've never really associated Singapore with a smell, apart from the smell of my bedroom. Sydney has a distinctively nice smell, thanks to the high concentration of eucalyptol in the air and its close proximity to the ocean. On a nice sunny winter morning, the air is crisp and fresh like calone + mint. Summer in Sydney smells just like the favourite Aussie past-time - barbecues + sunscreen. In fact, an Eau de Sydney will probably be like this:

Top Notes(Winter): Calone, Eucalyptus
Heart Notes (Spring/Autumn): Waratah, Bluebell, Golden wattle, Lemon Myrtle
Base Notes (Summer): Burnt leaves accord, Coconut

Bangkok on the other hand has a distinct smell that stays all year round. It's a potent concotion of petrol, smog, the polluted stench of Chao Phraya river, spices and incense. No need to create a perfume for Bangkok though, it has already been done. It's called Kouros.

Unfortunately, Singapore is a plain Jane in this area. Apart from the asthma-causing seasonal haze, I cannot find a scent strong enough to associate Singapore with. Perhaps it is how sanitized we are, or perhaps our humidity is so high that it's almost like trying to smell under water. Maybe Singapore smells like an upmarket shopping mall: Leather + perfumes.

What does your city smell of? I'd love to know.
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