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Whether you prefer subtle floral notes or rich, sumptuous exotic scents, there is a new perfume out there for you. Kate Hilpern rounds up the most fabulous fragrances

Hot Thing: Odeur 53 by Comme des Garcons

IT IS most bizarre. A perfume that is not a perfume, and yet is an `odeur' being sold as a perfume. Or is it just an odeur? It is called Odeur 53, (imagine saying that, should someone ask `what is that scent?'), it comes from `noses' at the laboratory of International Flavour and Fragrance, and was commissioned by Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garcons, who is launching it to an unsuspecting public on 11 May.

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Catherine Hough makes glass bottles - but don't worry about filling them; they are a triumph of art over function. Claire Gervat considers the ultimate Mother's Day present

Advertising: Throwing us off the scent

Lancome's Tresor

A rose by any other name

It may cost pounds 36 for 30ml but one squirt of Creed's Fleurs de Bulg arie will last all day

THAT pounds 6,500 SMELL

Chanel No 5 too old hat? Opium too pungent? CKBe too, well, everywhere? For those with money to burn, the alternative is an 'haute couture' perfume - one made specifically for them by the most exclusive perfume houses in Europe. Ian Phillips reports

Something for nothing

In my role as intrepid researcher, I went to the Birmingham markets this morning. This is something I have taken to doing on a regular basis. It's here that I feel most at home. I don't buy anything: I just hang around, drinking tea at 10p a cup and watching the passers-by. It's where the real Brummies go, to buy their tat. There's the indoor market, the outdoor market, the rag market and the wholesale market. They bustle about the foot of the Bullring centre and around St Martin's Church like figures in an Impressionist painting. They nestle under the Bullring, and spill out across the road into a giant hangar. This is the rag market. To me it is the spiritual heart of the city.

howard romboughbuys perfume

the intelligent consumer

Coming soon to a chemist near you

Body Lines

Britain's favourite perfume

FORGET Chanel No 5, Obsession, Eternity and Poison. Britain's favourite perfume is Anas Anas, and this is its tenth year at the top.

Essential Pavarotti

The world of perfume is ready to welcome its newest arrival - Luciano Pavarotti For Men. The daddy of modern opera is the latest star to front a fragrance and, yes, you'd be right in thinking that there may have been more obvious marketing choices for the great tenor - an evening dicky bow and bib-front shirt, a pasta sauce even, but surely not a perfume? Well, it may not be as curious a connection as it seems. Perfume creators always speak of their scents in themes and notes and how they develop from low to middle and through to the lingering top note. "Every drop," maintains the enthusiastic claim, is "a note whose fragrance is strong, decisive, vibrant." A mixture of ivy leaves, bergamot, lemon, neroli, cloves, Egyptian geranium leaves, roses and the rather curious sounding Tonka bean are some of this perfume's ingredients captured in a pleasantly rotund bottle reminiscent of a full-chested expression of passion and verve. Pavarotti's voice is hardly in question, but his scent may be a different matter. How desperately do men really want to smell of essence of aria?

Parfum - pour bb

Will British babies ever smell as sweet as their French cousins? Tamsin Blanchard reports

Racing: Green collects for Cole

PAUL COLE, the leading British trainer overseas last year, picked up another valuable prize on the continent yesterday when Green Perfume took the Group Two Moet & Chandon-Rennen at Baden-Baden.

Racing: Punters sniff out Perfume

THERE is no rumour like a racecourse rumour. Their precise point of ignition is always a mystery but, fanned by strong gusts of greed, a good one can sweep through the betting ring in minutes. As a result, fingers in particular can be left badly burned.

Fashion Update: Scent for the scentless

THE JAPANESE are intent on continuing their world domination of the more discriminating olfactory senses. Yohji Yamamoto is the latest designer due to launch a perfume - in 1996 with backing from Jean Patou Parfums.

Fashion Update: Sacred scent

PERFUME launches usually go like this: turn up at exotic location, quaff champagne, spot designer and supermodel 'face' of the fragrance, pick up free gift, head home. But for the launch of Comme des Garcons fragrance, fashion journos huddled behind a screen at the back of the cafe at Liberty, Regent Street, to take part in a quasi-religious ceremony around a table covered in parcel paper. The plain white box was handed around like a sacred object. 'No, no, please, don't open it,' said Adrian Joffe, managing director, as someone tried. Finally the most deserving among us was selected for the task. A smooth pebble of a bottle artfully sealed in bubble plastic was revealed. 'The perfume works like a medicine and behaves like a drug,' said Joffe. 'It is for women and for men.' When we eventually got to smell the stuff, we found it heady with spices and actually rather nice. 'We think it will open a whole new market for fragrance, selling in museums and galleries,' said Joffe. 'Now, would anyone like a scone?'
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