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The poetry and prose behind perfumes with peculiar notes

Peculiar and interesting fragrances

For decades, many mainstream perfume releases have relied on million-dollar advertising campaigns in support of a new launch. In a struggling global luxury retail market, every company is striving to stand head and shoulders above their competitors using any means possible, and for many, the marketing and PR departments are working overtime to lure your nose into making a purchase.

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Fragrance review: Warhol Silver Factory instantly appealing

Bond No. 9 Silver FactoryIt appears the perfume elves at Bond No. 9 are churning out fragrances at an alarming rate; however, one of the more desirable offerings is this collaboration between Bond No. 9 and the Andy Warhol Foundation: Silver Factory.

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Give the gift of chocolate and rose this Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day fragrance gifts

Every year, just as we dismantle and stow away our synthetic Christmas trees, store shelves are already being weighed down with Valentine's Day gifts,er, paraphernalia … stuffed animals, furry handcuffs, foil-wrapped chocolate hearts and glittery greeting cards ... all in mass abundance. (I'm sure this garish pink and red chaos can be seen from the sky!)

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Fragrance review: Kenzo Power a wolf in sheep's clothing

Kenzo Power cologneIn contrast to perfumes of the early 20th century, these days there are so few floral fragrances on the market that are geared toward men, and Kenzo Power is only one of just a handful of them. But gents, this eau de toilette is a wolf in sheep's clothing! Just as the name suggests, Kenzo Power possesses the authority and influence to win the ladies over.

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Perfume review: Balmain Ambre Gris an opulent elixir

Balmain Ambre GrisFor centuries perfumers have been inspired by Ambergris … a rare and precious (non-destructive) by-product of whales that is worth its weight in gold. In history "grey amber" was highly sought after and used as a fixative in perfume; however, in 2008 design house Balmain sought to give its interpretation of ambergris a starring role in Ambre Gris, an exceptional female fragrance.

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2010: The year in fragrance

The year in fragrance

Often when I look back upon the year that was, I think of the resolutions that I've managed to uphold (and the few that I've broken), and how far I've come in the meantime. The end of the year is a good time to reflect upon the past 12 months and see how we've fared both personally and professionally.

On a personal note, I have seen my appreciation for perfume grow and grow, so to coincide with the holidays, I thought I'd write a round-up of some of the fine fragrance hits and misses over the past 52 weeks. This year was a big year for new launches from established designer houses and some niche ones too.

So let's begin… here is the perfume.org bucketlist of 2010 scents you must try before the onslaught of new perfume releases in 2011!

Vera Wang released Anniversary, a soft floral scent for women to celebrate 20 years in the biz, while John Varvatos created his masculine 10th Anniversary fragrance, an assertive woody/spicy special edition EDT.

This accolade might just go to Thierry Mugler's Womanity perfume, a striking Alien-esque flacon of pewter-coloured metal and glass, containing a cotton-candy pink elixir based around fig, fig tree and caviar.

For the boys, Marc Jacobs Bang, launched in its punchy, crumpled mirrored bottle became an object to be desired. This contemporary EDT is a play on pepper and spices that are resolutely masculine.

Davidoff has led the market for years with its much loved fragrance Cool Water, but the 2010 release of Champion in its dumbell-shaped bottle leaves us wondering if brawn was put before brains in the Davidoff marketing department. At least it smells good…

Meanwhile, Givenchy unleashed Play for Her in a stylish mobile-phone inspired flacon, which wouldn't look out of place in any modern girl's handbag.

This year Ralph Lauren launched its Big Pony youth-oriented clothing collection and no less than four new Big Pony scents for men. Each one embracing an individual characteristic of the "Ralph Lauren Man," the gents can choose a scent to compliment his lifestyle. Is he Fresh, Sensual, Rugged or Stylish? This classy quartet brought much color to 2010!

In the past 12 months four major designers released new perfumes which left consumers with some heavy decisions to be made. Giorgio Armani launched the stunning scent Acqua di Gioia perfume for women - a delicious summery perfume that evokes sensations of Mediterranean beaches and sipping Mai Tais. Calvin Klein's answer to that was to bring Beauty to the masses … an elegant and sophisticated musky floral that is as timeless as Calvin Klein clothing. Gucci joined the party with its perfume Guilty for women - a fruity floral that is both daring and sexy. Men can expect to see Guilty's aromatic masculine counterpart early in 2011. And speaking of the fellas, Chanel bounced back with its first new (non-flanking) men's fragrance in a number of years. Bleu de Chanel cologne is a woody aromatic scent that is also climbing the popularity ladder, and is proof positive that the major designers are still fighting for supremacy!

They might be trickier to track down, but niche scents are often adored for their uniqueness. This year Comme des Garcons continued to celebrate all things avant garde with Wonderwood,  a unisex fragrance that is an overdose of woods. Pretty much every wood facet you can imagine has gone into this enchanting EDP - one that will bewitch and beguile. It is perfume.org's top niche pic for the year.

As we usher in a brand new year, we should be excited to see new offerings from Dior, Donna Karan, Joop!, Costume National, Estee Lauder, Jimmy Choo, and many, many more.

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Fragrance review: Acqua di Gioia perfume is a Mediterranean escape

acqua di gioia perfumeIf the prospect of vacationing in one of the Mediterranean's far-flung isles is your idea of heaven, then the 2010 Giorgio Armani women's fragrance release Acqua di Gioia is right on the money.

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Fragrance review: Acqua di Gio cologne distinctly Armani

Acqua di Gio cologneAccording to Giorgio Armani's parent company L'Oreal, a bottle of Acqua di Gio cologne is sold somewhere in the world every five seconds! This No.1 best-selling men's fragrance is now a global phenomenon, and there is no wonder why. Acqua di Gio boasts a very complex blend of accords that make up the most versatile and much-loved men's cologne on the planet.

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Fragrance review: Guerlain Insolence sweet and sassy

Insolence perfume by GuerlainWith one of the world's richest histories in perfumery to draw upon, Guerlain continues to grow from strength-wise well over 180 years after it first emerged in the French capital. In 2006, Guerlain launched Insolence perfume, a female fragrance that embodies the time-honored sophistication for which this design house is revered.

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Fragrance Review: Ralph Lauren Romance Silver commands the nose

Ralph Lauren Romance Silver CologneAmong his many achievements, designer Ralph Lauren is credited for pioneering the original Polo shirt and for selling the American lifestyle to the world. His name is synonymous with luxury and style, and his fragrances are indeed no different. Under his Ralph Lauren brand, Romance Silver cologne for men is a venerated eau de toilette that embodies class and sophistication.

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