Saturday, September 6, 2014

The conference with Master perfumer Ramon Monegal

Sometimes, little perfume dreams do come true!

Ramon Monegal with a blotter with Oscar Monegal in behind and me (Juraj)

This time it was almost magical perfume conference and the magic can only happen with the very special guest who can make the atmosphere like that. Last conference I organized was with Guerlain's creative director and the founder of Puredistance, but this time the perfume event surpassed the atmosphere, the beauty and the splendor of the last conference because the guest was the Master perfume Ramon Monegal who brought his beautiful aura with him. His appearance to the public of Zagreb was organized in the French Institute because of his francophonic nature but the most of the public was not speaking French language so they have come only to meet Ramon in person and listen what he has to say about his Memory Collection and his personal experience of being a perfumer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The perfume conference with Ramon Monegal

Ramon Monegal

Jako sam sretan da Vam mogu predstaviti svog slijedećeg gosta u Zagrebu - ovaj puta se pozivu odazvao meni najdraži parfumer - Ramon Monegal. S obzirom na svoju povijest i sve što on nosi u sebi, smatram da je On jedan od idealnih sugovornika. Pripadnik je 5. generacije parfumera koji su potekli iz španjolske Myrurgie, a jedan od njegovih učitelja u Francuskoj je bio i legendarni Pierre Bourdon. Sa sobom u Zagreb donosi i svoju "Autorsku Liniju" od 14 parfema koja je zapravo njegova tekuća biografija - sve emocije i cijela njegova prošlost je zapisana u tim parfemima. Također, Ramon će otkriti što za njega znači umjetnost i kako povezuje različite grane umjetnosti te kako parfumer vidi svoj parfem tokom stvaranja. Preporučam Vam da ne propustite ovu priliku za upoznavanje jednog od najsrdačnijih parfumera današnjice! 

Iako će Ramon govoriti na francuskom jeziku, a ja na engleskom i francuskom, smatram da parfemi govore univerzalni jezik! 

Vidimo se u Francuskom Institutu (Preradovićeva 5, Zagreb), 2. rujna u 18h!

Vaš Juraj


I am very happy to annonce my next guest who accepted the invitation to Zagreb - this time the invitation was accepted by my favorite perfumer - Ramon Monegal. With regard to his history and of all that he carries in himself, He is really one of the most ideal co-talkers. He belongs to the fifth generation of perfumers that descend from Spanish Myrurgia and one of his mentors was legendary Pierre Bourdon. Along with him, he will bring his "Author line" of 14 perfumes which is his liquid biography - all the emotions and his past are written there. Furthemore, Ramon will reveal what art means to him and how he connects different branches of art forms and how the perfumer sees his perfume during the creation process. I recommend you not to miss this opportunity to meet one of the most sincerest perfumery!

Even though Ramon will be talking of French and me on both English and French, I believe that perfumes talk universal language! 

See you in French Institute (Preradovićeva 5, Zagreb), 2nd of September at 18PM!

Yours Juraj  

Friday, August 8, 2014

The perfume conference

Perfume as an inspiration for creation.

Creative director of Guerlain Paris, Madame Sylvaine Delacourte, founder of Puredistance, J.E. Vos on the left and University professor, prof. dr. sc. Zoran Kurelić during his talk

I do a lot about perfumes both on my blog, just over here, and outside of BL'eauOG. I need to admit that I actually do a much harder work on perfumes outside BL'eauOG, I write semi-academic articles which are not yet published, read books about perfumes and connected them to my profession. The result of all of that was TEDx talk on a TED conference in June 2013 and collaboration with architect studio. But I never envisioned one thing in particular, that I will organize the perfume event where creative director of Guerlain Paris and founder of private perfume brand (Puredistance) will be my guests. Madame Delacourte is simply a superstar and amazed me with her allure but other two guests are not the least important. The effect about Madame Delacourte is the name of the society for which she works. Other very special guest was Mister Jan Ewoud Vos, very charismatic founder of Puredistance luxurious perfumes. After few years of running his own perfume brand, he collected the experience that drives him to do more and he has a magnificient line of 5 perfumes which has only positive critics in the perfume community and that is very hard to achieve. The last guest was my tutor and Master thesis menthor, professor of political philosophy who is addicted to perfumes and with whom I talk about social aspect of perfumes. So, let me present you in short how it was like...

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

LM Hard Leather review

The firework of dry sandalwood, boozy leather and animal oud.

This is my photo of how I imagine LM Hard Leather

You know what I like about LM Parfums? They are so opulent that it is almost impossible to compare them to anything except some classics. They are so rich and generous that they astonish me every time. Laurent Mazzone is the one we should thank for. His inspirations for creating scents are indeed inspirational because he finds them in music or lyrics or in his past. The outcome is the most important for us, the perfume afficionados and for me, I am always surprised how the next release can be more opulent than the previous one. Hard Leather was a Christmas 2014 release and it has the feeling of decadent celebration in itself.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

FRIEDEMODIN ; get inside the brand & Feu Follet review

New representative of the British perfumery?


Since FRIEDEMODIN is relatively new perfume house, let me please unlock your new perfume horizon with one review on the way.The path leads us to one of the perfume capitols - London. To be honest, I was never amazed by British perfumery. Although I pay a lot of attention to heritage and perfume culture throughout my writings and public talks, I'm never focused on British perfume history despite some historic perfume brands there. It is the first time I am a bit enchanted with a London-based perfume house, but later on you will see their background. This is a perfume story of 4 scents that belong to the perfume line called Jardin Mystique and each one is centered around the same floral theme of gentle lily of the valley and lotus flower with slight differentiations in each composition.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Tauer Cologne du Maghreb review

Italo-French connection.

Cologne du Maghreb

Every Tauer's scent has the characteristic specific to Andy Tauer, the creator behind the brand and that is the molecular or "chemical" feeling in his creations. The one must not forget that he is a chemist by profession, after all. This is the only perfume that doesn't have similar atmosphere since it is a bit different because it is made by naturals only.

However, Cologne du Maghreb has other characteristic and that is the hesperidic feeling of scent dispersing. That is very characteristic for citrus scents but especially for grapefruit because of its group and Cologne du Maghreb has very beautiful grapefruit note. It seems to me that Andy Tauer takes a lot of inspiration from the Maghreb countries and Cologne is definitively his mildest creation so far, actually, a bit like himself. Cologne du Maghreb has the least of spices and dry woods of all his oriental inspirations but that is completely understandable because of the nature of cologne which is by tradition envigorating scent. Napoleon Bonaparte was using up to 60 little bottles of original Cologne from Cologne (Koln) because it stimulated his spirit after every battle and a prostitute. Don't worry, Cologne du Maghreb is a polite Cologne based on citruses and herbs. However, it is very difficult to connect it to Maghreb area because I can't detect anything from there on my skin at least. 

 Initial burst of citruses is the only part of the perfume that will give you thrill and produce tingles. It opens with a bomb of zesty citruses like lime, orange flower, neroli and especially grapefruit. I would say that grapefruit is in the fore of the whole composition. The combination of those fresh notes forms a smell that is typically Italian for me - the smell of sweet Limoncello! You can't get anything more Italian than that! I think that Italian 'nona' (grandmother dedicated to cuisine) would be astonished by this scent because it is almost eatable like a syrup they are using in a cuisine. When I was little we always had bottles of Limoncello for our guests because it was a booze and it was refreshing at a same time. That is the scent mainstream perfumery tried to copy because every Italian man would wear it. Citrus opening is how Italian 'dude' smelled like during the 90ies. After the burst of freshness, there is creamy clary sage, lavander and vetiver. It is like two-faced perfume, first one is more aggresive and second one is peacefull and romantic like a French. Clary sage and lavander are absolutely 'French' scents because they are both growing in Aix-en-Provence and they are cultivated there for the needs of perfume industry. Therefore, that is why I said Italo-French connection, inside is nothing that is connected to Maghreb countries. The perfume is as smooth as Italian dandy and gentle as the French lover.

The perfume starts promising but after the zesty citrus notes, there is nothing to be expected because it becomes a shadow on your skin. Tiny traces of creamy florals and woods are left to be found by decoding where you have put it. It is like a hatchback car - you have the front part, windshield, roof and then nothing, it is cut off, there is no trunk. I think that Andy Tauer has much more better scents than this one, especially with oriental notes, like for example L'Air du Desert Marocain. 

Juraj, BL'eauOG

Impression: Good
Type: Cologne
Main notes: Lime, grapefruit, vetiver, clary sage, lavander
Note: Starts promising but ending is invisible  

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Guerlain L'Homme Ideal review

Where is the magnificience of Homme and Intense?

Guerlain L'Homme Ideal
When there is something about Guerlain I approach it with utmost care because of my affection towards the house and I always expect their maximum in every creation. Well, we need to admit it, since LVMH took over the charge, some of their fragrances became very mainstream. Is that the case with this one?

L'Homme Ideal is Guerlain's newest masculine that was placed on market month and a half ago, but only on the French market to start with. Let me remind you of the Homme's timeline with a little story. One month ago I organized a perfume exposition and conference on the theme; "Perfume throughout history. Perfume as a culture. Perfume in the future" and my guests were Jan Ewoud Vos from Puredistance and the Madame Syvlaine Delacourte, creative director and development director of Guerlain Paris. It was a massive honor to have them as my guests on the perfume event. Later on, I spoke with Mdm. Delacourte about Guerlain Homme. Before Homme was launched, she was having a vacation on Cuba and she was drinking Mojito cocktail on the sandy beach. While she was drinking the cocktail, she realised that Mojito accord doesn't exist in perfumery yet and that it should be transformed into a perfume. Guerlain Homme came out in 2008 and it brought Mojito freshness and it became my favorite perfume. After several Homme releases, it was time for a new perfume.

Mdm. Delacourte was in charge of this one as well and it is important to say that this is supposed to be completely new perfume, not connected to Homme line. During the lunch we were having, I told to her "this is not so good" and "comparing to Homme, this is just a shadow". Luckily, there were no consequences. She explained to me that this is a new type of scent Gurlain is introducing and that is completely true - you didn't have the opportunity to smell something like this within the Guerlain range. There is no freshness since it is not connected to Homme range but there is no originality Homme had. L'Homme ideal is the perfume of bubbly sweetness and unmature woody notes. However, ingredients are of high quality and they are projecting good scent but that is just not that. Blackcurrant sweetness with almonds is not something of Guerlain's calibre. There is no beautiful vetiver but rather imitation of leather mixed with aromatic flowers. Furthemore, with its smell, resembles 1 Million by Paco Rabanne. I see L'Homme Ideal as the direct competitor 1 Million. The targeted group and perfume characteristics are the same and they belong to the same type. There is no wonder that LVMH group wants to challenge Antonio Puig's winner 1 Million because in the last 5 years it is the most sold masculine perfume with the income of 33$ millions! That is not all, 1 Million is the most sold perfume on the French market, on the home ground of Guerlain. I despise 1 Million but one thing I admit - it changed the way how modern generation of young men smell like. Unfortunately, L'Homme Ideal is on the same direction as Paco Rabanne, sweet woods and lots of aromatic notes, not good enough for Guerlain.   

Juraj, BL'eauOG
Impression: Poor
Type: Aromatic - woody
Main notes: Almonds, leather, cedar wood
Note: Perfume for young generations that like 1 Million

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Amouage Journey Man review

In the world of hasish and spices...


Amouage Journey Man

Recent releases by Amouage raised lots of comments and dust. Last year's Fate duo was really nice intro to this year's Journey Man and Woman. While I was reading reviews of my fellow colleagues and listening to the comments of my friends and perfume afficionados, I started to think about Amouage Journey Man. Is its popularity justified? While I was reading the text of a very good writer, Mark Behnke, the writer of Colognoisseur, in his review I found something I didn't know about this perfume and it is better to quote it than to tell the story by myself. It is a short inspiration of Mr. Chong, the creative mind behind the Amouage. "Mr. Chong was inspired by Shanghai Deco and Chinese film noir. The common thread to both of these is a weaving of distinctly western elements into an eastern undertaking. During the 1920’s and 30’s there were many striking examples of art deco buildings erected in Shanghai. This is the theme of Journey Woman and Man the meshing of distinct western influences like noir and deco with a Chinese aesthetic to create something wholly unique. The perfumers Mr. Chong chose to help him bring this to life are Alberto Morillas and Pierre Negrin." (Mark Behnke, Colognoisseur )

What Mark said and by which Mr. Chong was influenced, has massive history. Shanghai became the most 'westernized' city in China and it was under the influence of Europeans and Americans. European architects were in charge of the constructions, but history is not in the spotlight here. Amouage Journey has the same inspiration as Chanel's Coromandel and I need to say that Chanel's interpretation of art deco in the Far East is a bit more original and authentic. For the harbour of Shanghai, cardamon was of extreme importance and it has a really nice note in this perfume - it gives the sweetness all the time but especially in dry down. Journey Man is composition around warm woods, spices and one note in particular nobody is talking about. I think that even Bob Marley wouldn't be ashamed of the notes in opening and heart of the perfume - it is hasish. It is the one you can find in peculiar smell of L'Interdit Parfum. I saw that there is no fragrance writer mentioning it, only in the form of tobacco, but this is much more than tobacco. Don't get me wrong, it is very beautiful and sophisticated because beneath are lingering warm woods, geraniol, cardamon and sweet spices forming a hasish-spicy bomb, a bit sour and wooden. Something similar you can find in Nasomatto Black Afghano, in the term of atmosphere, only more hard-core. Later on, Journey Man becomes softer, sweet spicy and warm woody. It is a mixture of sandalwood (Pashimiol by Givaudan maybe?) cypriol, very beautiful tonka been and leather. All together combine the warm, animal and sensual feeling the oud provides like in LM Parfums Black Oud.

Journey Man has depth and woodiness to provide a good quality feeling but because of the whole Amouage line, I would say - skip it because there are more beter Amouages and you can find the same theme better made. However, it is a good perfume with gentleman's attitude. 

Juraj, BL'eauOG

Impression: Good
Type: Oriental (woody)
Main notes: Tobacco - hasish, cardamon, tonka, geraniol, warm woods
Note: Hasish in the opening, oud-ish feeling in the dry down 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Comme des Garcons Wonderoud review

Getting oud, sandalwood and vetiver together

Maybe a different oud-based scent? This is one of the latest additions to the family of ouds in perfumery range. Comme des Garcons is always so energic with their creations, just like the 2Cellos on their performances (especially live shows). Wonderwood was a deal breaker for me because I think it was released in the dawn of "woody mania" and it contains a significant amount of synthetic oud. Wonderoud is oud-y interpretation of Wonderwood. Oud became so massive mega-hit that there are no words to describe its popularity. It is as popular as were pin-up girls in the golden era in Hollywood, every perfume brand now prostitutes it. Don't be mistaken, most of them are using synthetic oud oils because in reality that wood needs a special treatment and it is endangered because of smuglers who sell it on black market. Comme des Garcons states that they used natural oud oil obtained from the sustainable sources. Following their logic of how they create fashion and scents in general, I would say that they are brave.

Mainstream line indeed starts to be mainstream. As I said, Wonderoud follows the logic of Wonderwood which is really good perfume. Wonderoud is its variation concentred around oud with few other materials. Opening is a bit edgy and sharp with very dry notes like the ones you can find in a dry red wine until it becomes just a bit softer. The main notes throughout this composition are cedarwood, sandalwood, vetiver, oud and patchouly. There is nothing inside one lover of dry woody perfumes will not love. Let me just say that there is new kind of sandalwood invented by Givaudan, called Pashimiol. The composition of perfumer Antoine Maisondieu is centered around beautiful dry woods and earthy-mineral tones. There is one very subtle and impeccable note - that is Haitian vetiver. It is very, very beautiful in this composition because it gives mineral tones that resemble the earthy and very natural feeling. Patchouli is in there all the time giving its herbal and green smell. Of course, beyond all of the notes is very warm and animal oud scent. 

I am sure in one thing - if this composition was released earlier, before market started to bomb us with ouds every now and then, we would have appreciated Wonderoud a lot. The composition is similar to already known oud scents and the only difference between them and this one is that Wonderoud has slightly more natural smell, it is more deep, more intoxicating. Even though you will not smell anything new, I recommend to every oud afficionado to try it because it may substitute or upgrade something within your private collection. There is also one more thing, its power is not spreading around without control. It is soft on the skin and it is present in the air as much as it is necessary. Give it a try, especially if you do not have oud yet in your collection.

Juraj, BL'eauOG

Impression: Good 
Type: Oriental
Main notes: Sandalwood, oud, patchouli, vetiver
Note: Very beautiful vetiver in the dry down  

Monday, June 9, 2014

Kreativna direktorica Guerlaina u Zagrebu!

Kako se parfemsko događanje u Zagrebu približava, vrijeme je da Vam otkrijem svoju prvu gošću, ni manje ni više, nego kreativnu direktoricu Guerlain Paris već punih 25 godina...
Kreativna direktorica Guerlaina, Madame Sylvaine Delacourte
Nadolazeći parfemski događaj koji sam organizrao je ujedno i moj najveći uspjeh do sada. 21.6. će u 12h, u prostorijama Francuskog Instituta okupiti nekoliko uzvanika iz parfemskog svijeta, među kojima je najvažnije ime zasigurno ono od Madame Sylvaine Delacourte. Sylvaine je kreativna direktorica Guerlaina punih 25 godina te je u Guerlainu započela svoju karijeru za vrijeme dinastije Jean Paul Guerlaina, ujedno i zadnjeg Guerlaina prije preuzimanja od strane LVMH korporacije. Madame Delacurte je ujedno i jedina žena koja je sudjelovala u procesu stvaranja parfema unutar Guerlaina ikada, a njezine kreacije su L'Instant, Insolence, Habit Rouge Eau de Parfum te posebna ekskluzivna linija parfema koja se ne može naći van Francuske - l'Art et la Matière. 
Tokom karijere je surađivala s raznim parfumerima - Francis Kurkdjian (Gaultier Le Male), Maurice Roucel (Musc Ravageur) te Thierry Wasser (in-house Guerlain parfumer). Najvažnija osoba joj je u karijeri bila posljednja iz Guerlainova loze - Jean Paul Guerlain koji ju je izučio tajnama parfumerije i u čije su vrijeme zajedno izbacili remek-djela parfemske industrije (Samsara). Za ovu priliku, Guerlain je ustupio ekskluzivan video materijal koji prikazuje proces stvaranja parfema koji je često nedostupan široj javnosti.

Nadam se da Vam se sviđa moj prvi gost na parfemskoj konferenciji. Njen dolazak mi je velika čast i iznimno sam zahvalan na tome. Također, uz Delacourte, možete očekivati još dvoje posebnih gostiju na događanju! Važno je napomenuti kako će ulaz biti limitiran te je nužno da se javite na donji email!

Organizator i Vaš,

Juraj Sotošek Rihtarec

Francuski Institut
21.6.2014. u 12h
Preradovićeva 5
10 000 Zagreb