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Nose-to-nose: Sniffing out news with Esther

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New in niche

The Frapin perfume line is a particular favourite of mine, in part because I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Cognac region. The perfume house is actually an off-shoot of the venerable Frapin Cognac distillery, and so many of the fragrances are inspired by the vineyards and products of the distillery itself. Now the house is about to launch a new scent, Speakeasy, this one done by perfumer Marc-Antoine Corticchiato of Parfum D’Empire, where he has produced some stellar scents, including Wazamba, Cuir Ottoman and many others. Inspired by the speakeasies of the Prohibition era in the US, here’s how Mark Behnke at describes the fragrance:

The early going of Speakeasy is that wonderful boozy quality of rum which M. Corticchiato then uses some orange and davana wood to partner but mostly what you get is lime in conjunction with the rum. I don’t think they served mojitos in the speakeasies of the day but if you’re looking for a drink to compare the early stages of Speakeasy to, a mojito would be closest. Then an exquisitely constructed tobacco accord dominates the heart of Speakeasy. To accentuate the sweet aspect of the tobacco he uses a battery of coumarin containing notes in tonka and liatrix as they add the hay aspect that coumarin in overdose gives. The final brilliant touch is to add immortelle to it all as the deeply sweet maple syrup quality of immortelle ages the tobacco note making it more concentrated and focused. The base is the leather accord and here M. Corticchiato uses a traditional trio of ingredients to create it in styrax, cistus, and labdanum. They create a rich leather which is the best way to finish off your trip to the Speakeasy.”

Sounds like something I’d like to sip! And if you’re interested in other ‘fumes by the very talented Mr. Corticchiato, Gwen and Kay have Ambre Russe and Fougère Bengale on offer.

Vintage appeal

Since we’re on a rum, tobacco and flappers theme this week, I have to come back to my old favourite, Habanita by Molinard. I discovered Habanita early in my fragrance journey, and it is still one of my go-to scents - read Kay's Habanita post to find out why. I’ve got a bottle that is a couple of years old, and then a much older one (from the 1970s or 80s, I think) that I found in a dusty perfume shop. Both are gorgeously boozy, with vanilla and tobacco layered in there too. Habanita has recently undergone a reformulation. I haven’t sniffed the new version, but I am seriously considering adding to my stock of pre-reformulation fragrance, still available online through the discount perfume sites. Habanita is listed here on perfumeniche, and Kay tells me it's an older formulation.

Deals, deals, deals

Want to check out the Parfum d’Empire line? You can get a set of 13 samples for 22 Euros from the Parfum d’Empire siteIt’s a great way to “nose” around the line—I ordered it last year, and there’s not a dud in the bunch.

Nosing around

Interested in finding out more about Marc-Antoine Corticchiato? Check out this interview from 

Makes me want to try it

Mr. Corticchiato has been busy recently: he has another new release coming up—Musc Tonkin--this time for his own house, Parfum D’Empire. Denyse at Grain de Musc has written a compelling review, saying the scent will give Muscs Kublai Khan the benchmark of musky skankiness – a good run for its money.” Sounds intriguing, no? Interested in trying out the Serge Lutens Muscs Kublai Khan? Gwen and Kay have it offer.

Just because

Speakeasy could be the perfect fragrance to wear while reading Dennis Lehane’s highly acclaimed new novel, Live By Night. The book is set in Prohibition-era Boston, Florida and Cuba, and after reading about the new fragrance, I could practically smell it coming off the pages of Lehane’s book! Lehane is the author of a long list of bestsellers, including Gone Baby Gone, Mystic River and Shutter Island. Live By Night is a great read—a gangster tale rich in detail and moral nuance. Find out more on Lehane’s website!