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  1. #1

    Post English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I love and respect England, but i am now, after few years of experience with parfums, on the totally other side with english parfum houses. having explored creed, miller harris, c&s, penhaligons, i can say that i am about totally disappointed (especially down with penhaligons). of course, i guess everything costs as much as it sells for, but i personally don't understand the high pricing and excited clientele of the above mentioned.
    i still keep tabarome millesime, lp no9 and cuir d'oranger, but i never wear them and looking at the 20+ preferencies i have lined in front, i will most likely never get to wear them.
    .... comparing to the top french and italian niche houses... it is 'another scent civilization' for me.

    i have only explored the above mentioned 4 english houses.... have i missed anything?
    offsite sales: http://flacon.ambaric.net/viewtopic.php?t=301

    current top 12, by quartets:
    1. Zafar, Onda, Tuba, Reve en Cuir
    5. Coromandel, Ex-Idolo 33, Bois D'Encens, Dia Man
    9. Ore, Montecristo, Danger Homme, Derby


    current top 4 houses, random order: Vero Profumo, Slumberhouse, MFK, Roja Dove

    favourite categories: oriental semi-gourmands, ouds, vetivers

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Creed fragrances as I'm sure you are aware, are actually made in France. Still, agree with your stated premise above though in principle.

  3. #3

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    What, specifically, do you not like about them?

    It's certainly true that English fragrances generally have their own style - understated/refined, powdery and not overtly masculine, I find they generally make more use of florals than spices. I'm a big fan of Pen's (own LP9, Endymion and BB, and am strongly considering Sartorial) but their projection is certainly not what you get with the more powerhouse fragrances.

    One thing the British do very well is barbershop. Taylor of Old Bond Street, Geo F Trumpers, and D R Harris all make excellent products (including fragrances).

    I've heard good things about the well-priced Murdock fragrances, but am yet to find an opportunity to try them.

  4. #4
    treeman5823
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    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I don't think Penhaligons is a good representation of "English" perfumery; many of the company's fragrances are almost cartoonishly Victorian (their image, anyway) and, truth be told, bad. I do enjoy Amaranthine very much, though, and Elisabethan Rose is a well-done rose reconstruction. Try James Heeley's perfumes--they have an effortless elegance to them, a kind of refined classicism that achieves, in my mind, the English style you mention. The traditional French style, on the other hand, may be pigeonholed as a kind of Jacques Guerlain-like ideal: high calorie, high quality. Take, for one example, Mitsouko, which put flesh on Francois Coty's Chypre through the lush peach base Persicol, and made the traditional chypre structure sparkle with a good dose of iris. Of course, not all French perfumes adopt this "French ideal," especially today, where styles span from the utmost classical (Chanel's 31 Rue Cambon and Cuir de Russie, Parfums MDCI's Promesse de L'Aube) to the neoclassical (Bulgari's Black) to the impressionistic (Hermes's Jardin Mediterranee). And then of course comes "culturally driven" fragrance, like Robert Piguet's new series aimed at the "delicate Asian market" (bullshit, by the way). Altogether, today there is no singular or even dominating school (disregarding fads, which are not so much school as hype over raw ingredients): perfume style is fragmented, and all the better for it.

  5. #5

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    How about Ormond Jayne? It seems to be a well-loved house with interesting offerings.

  6. #6

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I agree with you, the French and Italian houses offer far more exciting, contemporary fragrances.

  7. #7

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I definitely rate Ormonde Jayne (though the perfumer is German born Geza Schoen) and, despite the nosebleed prices, Roja Dove (though his creations are very much in the traditions of classic French perfumery).
    Czech and Speake and Floris both have a few good perfumes, but not enough to make them compelling houses.
    Quite curious to try Angela Flanders...

  8. #8

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    french for me

  9. #9

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I agree with you that most English niche brands (Penhaligon, Floris, Creed) are banking on Victoriana and on the idea that English male fashion is the pinnacle of elegance. Penhaligon recently hired Duchafour and tried to do something different, so we'll see how it evolves.

    Ormonde Jayne and Heeley are excellent, though.

    cacio

  10. #10

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I was brought up in the UK (England) and have lived here all my life, however I am not a fan of English/UK products, with only a few exceptions.

    I am going to say though that there is one brand that is often seen as being from Oman. The brand is Amouage. It has "Made in the UK" on every bottle that I've seen so I wonder if they source ingredients there and ship them for blending/manufacture here in the UK...

    Still, I would go with French made perfumes any day though. After all, for me they represent the top of the cream in the industry, so why would I settle for anything else? That said, there are some great scents by Italian perfume companies and others.

  11. #11

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    It'd like to put in a word for Lynn Harris, who's work I love and I know you can buy a lot of it practically everywhere in England (does that still count as niche?), but she's certainly not on the Heritage trail.

  12. #12

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Quote Originally Posted by treeman5823 View Post
    I don't think Penhaligons is a good representation of "English" perfumery; many of the company's fragrances are almost cartoonishly Victorian (their image, anyway) and, truth be told, bad. I do enjoy Amaranthine very much, though, and Elisabethan Rose is a well-done rose reconstruction. Try James Heeley's perfumes--they have an effortless elegance to them, a kind of refined classicism that achieves, in my mind, the English style you mention. The traditional French style, on the other hand, may be pigeonholed as a kind of Jacques Guerlain-like ideal: high calorie, high quality. Take, for one example, Mitsouko, which put flesh on Francois Coty's Chypre through the lush peach base Persicol, and made the traditional chypre structure sparkle with a good dose of iris. Of course, not all French perfumes adopt this "French ideal," especially today, where styles span from the utmost classical (Chanel's 31 Rue Cambon and Cuir de Russie, Parfums MDCI's Promesse de L'Aube) to the neoclassical (Bulgari's Black) to the impressionistic (Hermes's Jardin Mediterranee). And then of course comes "culturally driven" fragrance, like Robert Piguet's new series aimed at the "delicate Asian market" (bullshit, by the way). Altogether, today there is no singular or even dominating school (disregarding fads, which are not so much school as hype over raw ingredients): perfume style is fragmented, and all the better for it.
    Great analysis treeman! My question, what exactly makes Jardin Mediterranee "impressionistic"? I don't quite see the connection.

  13. #13
    treeman5823
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    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Quote Originally Posted by Incontinent View Post
    Great analysis treeman! My question, what exactly makes Jardin Mediterranee "impressionistic"? I don't quite see the connection.
    It smells like an olfactory watercolor, a kind of Dzongkha done in watery strokes.

  14. #14

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    You're missing a couple of notables: Geo F Trumper (my favourite) and Floris. Not sure that I'd consider them 'niche' though...

    That said, looking at your top 10 I think the bottom line is that you enjoy a style that isn't terribly 'English' / 'British', and that's perhaps why some of these houses are falling short of your expectation.

  15. #15

    Default British houses

    Have you tried Boudicea and Union fragrances?

  16. #16

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Quote Originally Posted by mspa View Post
    ...
    i have only explored the above mentioned 4 english houses.... have i missed anything?
    I recently took delivery of Spiced Limes and Imperial Lime bottles from Anglia Perfumery. They make sampling easy and aren't terribly expensive. I'm happy.
    Simplex Sigillum Veri

  17. #17

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I do like many offerings from Ormonde Jayne and Floris, as well as certain fragrances from Penhaligon's.

    But overall, no, I would not give them the overall Gold Medal in the Fragrance Olympics, even though they may win a few events. I think the French would be the favorites.

  18. #18

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I emailed Union Fragrances and they're sending me some free samples. Never heard back from Boudiccea.

  19. #19

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I found Endymion and Trafalgar very pleasant and certainly not half-baked, but they are so different from say, the opening of Pour Monsieur it's like comparing classical music to really good pop. Unfortunately, CPM lasted such a short time on me it became utterly ir-relevant how nice the first 30 minutes were. Endymion was still there for hours- not loud, just re-assuring, like good butling.

  20. #20

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Quote Originally Posted by timdoeswell View Post
    One thing the British do very well is barbershop. Taylor of Old Bond Street, Geo F Trumpers, and D R Harris all make excellent products (including fragrances).
    Shaving Shop by Taylor of Old Bond Street is one of the most pleasant fragrances I've smelled yet and it is very well priced.

    I also love GFT by Geo F Trumper. Again, reasonably priced.

  21. #21

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Tbh, I don't think that Penhaligons can be classed as British anymore. They are owned by the same company that owns L'Artisan and have used their perfumer to mess with a lot of their old formulas. The only British thing about them now, is their name.

    Another thumbs up for Ormonde Jayne.
    Fine fragrance is alive; it breathes, unfolds and unravels with each passing hour....

    Roja Dove

  22. #22
    Basenotes Junkie Wheatstraw2's Avatar
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    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Nothing happening there for me, but I doggedly continue my struggle to find one, just one, Jo Malone that I like.

    I use bars of Jo Malone Red Roses soap as drawer sachets, and it is the best rose ever made. As a dude, however, I can't wear it.

  23. #23

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    Murdock are a excellent english modern high class Barbers that do their own range of fragrances. I have four from the six they do and especially rate Black Tea and Patchouli colognes as very good. Their Black Tea fragrance imo is the best tea based scent on the market that I like better than Gucci Pour Homme II and tea for two.

  24. #24

    Default Re: English niche houses vs French and Italian

    I will never be disappointed with Penhaligons as long as they keep manufacturing Hammam Bouquet. But I agree that the French houses are much more powerful.

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