For more women than we can count, perfume is an obsession. (Small ‘o’.) But funnily enough, it’s a man who’s making the biggest mark right now in the world of fragrance writing: Dariush Alavi.
Dariush blogs under the name Persolaise. And if you don’t perfume blogs, but you love perfume, can we suggest you start? Bloggers have the space to conjure up fragrances as wordily as they’d like – and many have a gift for doing so. And what’s more, they’re generally completely independent, not swayed by someone from an Ad. Department twisting their arm because A Big Fragrance Brand splashed their new designer scent all over page 67 of that glossy. (Which, by the way, is the key reason we don’t take advertising on our own website, and never will.)
Dariush actually moonlights as a perfume critic. His day job is in education. But he’s been scent-obsessed since the age of seven. ‘It’s a cliché, but I have to blame my mother. When I was seven we moved to the Middle East and my mother started working in perfume retail. I remember that one day, she came home with a miniature bottle of some scent or other. I asked her if I could keep it: for some reason, I found myself drawn to it. To cut a long story short, I soon had a shoe-box full of miniatures. Since that time, perfume has always been a part of my life. The obsession has just grown!’
And that passion – along with a splendid ability to evoke the so-ephemeral world of smell in words – is all the qualification it takes, in 2012, to write about perfume. Dariush’s writing, though, has been recognised in The Jasmine Awards, in which he won Best Website Article in 2012: these are the fragrance-writing industry’s ‘Oscars’ (Jo happens to have two of them on her own awards shelf, actually). His winning article? A really readable guide to the perfume shops of London, which you can read here.
Dariush is also author of a new book on perfume which is a must-read for lovers of ‘niche’ perfumery, and would make a great gift for a scent-loving friend who you can’t stretch to a bottle of Tom Ford for, this Christmas. Perfume: Le Snob explores the world of lesser-known fragrance brands, in particular (though Darish does identify some favourites from bigger brands, too). There are sections from fragrance experts (including Roja Dove, our own Jo, Francis Kurkdjian and Linda Pilkington of Ormone Jayne fame.)
It does slightly live up to its ‘snobby’ name (which of course is the intention), but if you’re bitten by the fragrance bug, this is a veritable little bible and a great starting point for a fabulous journey of exploration of the increasingly-interesting fragrance world.
Whether you’re looking to sniff out something for men, women – or maybe both…
And read Persolaise’s blog here
(You might also like to read Jo’s scented musings at www.thescentcritic.com)