Who: Persolaise, perfume critic and education worker. Jasmine award winning Persolaise writes one of our favourite perfume review blogs. Articulate, considered and hugely knowledgeable, his reviews are a pleasure to read, as well as being wittily truthful, you’ll find no gushing please-the-brand praise here, just clear, concise and bang-on-the-nail observations. And it’s not even his day job…
“Today I’m wearing a fragrance called Incense Extrême by the Swiss brand Tauer.
Describing it is quite easy, it’s basically incense, incense and more incense. It’s a perfume that contains, I believe, no more than seven ingredients. There are no frills, nothing else there except incense. So it smells of a Catholic Church, of flint and minerals and of that pleasingly damp, cold smell that you get in buildings that are made of old stone.
It makes me feel very calm, very composed and ready to face the world. I read somewhere that the reason incense is used in a lot of religious ceremonies is because it actually slows down the heart rate, that’s what makes us feel calm. In my other life, when I’m invigilating exams, I often go to work wearing incense based perfumes, because if that’s going to calm my pupils down in some way, then so be it. It makes me feel like I’m operating at a slightly less manic pace than the rest of the world.
I wear perfume because through it, I feel I can genuinely have some kind of dialogue with the person who made it. This might sound really geeky but I’m not going to make any apologies for it. The perfumer had something to say when they put that particular combination of ingredients into the bottle and I’m trying to decode what it is. So, take Andy Tauer, who made Incense Extrême, I think he was trying to make a statement on an oasis of calm in the middle of chaos and madness and I enjoy reading that language and that code.
There is also an element of projecting the kind of person you want to be on any given day, in the same way you choose what you are going to wear. I don’t believe people who say that it makes no difference what they wear, because that itself is a decision. Not wearing a scent is also a choice. It is massively, massively important to me, I don’t feel as though my personality is complete if I’m not wearing perfume.
I have a uniform of sorts when I go to my day job, which means dark trousers, sensible shirt and tie. Whereas more often than not, the perfume I’m wearing is one for reviewing purposes (Persolaise reviews can be found here), so I could be looking like a city banker, but smelling like a 19th century dowager duchess. There’s often an interesting disconnect between the two.
When I’m not on duty, I’d be lying if I said that linking clothes with perfume doesn’t cross my mind. If I wear a leather jacket I’d probably go for a leather perfume, if I’m wearing something a bit more tweedy or a bit more country-gent-going-for-afternoon-tea, I’d probably wear a perfume that’s a little bit more restrained and old school elegant.
Purely for practical reasons I make sure that my perfume goes not only on my skin but also on the clothes I’m wearing so it lasts longer. I spray it on my skin, on my hair, on my clothes and I use it liberally, I don’t care if people can smell me from six feet away, sorry for anyone following me down the road…..”