Bewitched by Lancome Magie Noire

magie noireOh Magie Noire, how do I even begin to describe you? You have bewitched me.

Lancome Magie Noire was created in 1978 by genius Nose Gerard Goupy, who also created the equally superb Lancome Climat  (which is a devil to get hold of these days. I only have a dim Duty Free memory of it, but I loved it).

magie noire ad

Magie Noire opens as a mossy chypre. It’s loud, floral and powdery at first.  I got tuberose, hyacinth and lily of the valley, with the volume turned up. That’s OK, I like them loud. Unusually, the oakmoss base comes through straight away. No waiting. This is wonderfully earthy and green, and those flowers ( an entire garden full) just jostle for attention. There’s spice too, but nothing savoury- think incense and mysterious spice markets. You’ll find myrrh, vetiver, patchouli in spades, warm amber… There’s no fixed start, middle and finish for this. Apparently it was designed to unfurl like a figure of eight, but that feels to complicated even for my eager nose. I just love how it develops as my skin warms it.

Two hours after slathering it on at the beauty counter, it has settled into one of the best florals I have ever tried. The spices are around the edges warming it up and anchoring it down. The oakmoss is giving me that chypre fix that I always seek and the galbanum and bergamot are giving me my hit of “green”. It’s everything I want in a fragrance, all in one.

Lancome have brought this back in a modern formulation, which is the one I tried today. I can’t comment on the previous incarnation as I haven’t tried it, but I would happily buy a lorry load of this.

Stockists

You can buy Lancome Magie Noire from House of Fraser, Escentual and Amazon UK.

 

 

 

YSL Mon Paris: It’s Not Mine After All

mon paris

I tried YSL Mon Paris in Boots today, and was eager to get my mitts on it, being a fan of the original iconic YSL Paris with its violets and roses. I was all hopeful and friendly towards the pretty bottle. I figured it must be covetable since it was chained to the perfume counter (like me).

But oh dear. It’s happened again. A flanker has been added on to a classic and come out smelling like a mass market overly sweet rent-a-scent. Harsh words? Maybe, but it’s not the first time this has happened. Fans of YSL Paris, that perennial Sophia Grojsman classic, may well be disappointed by Mon Paris. I certainly was. Do not buy blind.

YSL Mon Paris opens with pink flowers: sweet and sugary. You may find Note du Jour jasmine sambac in there, and some peony too. I usually like peony, but this is messy and overly sweet. Then comes lots of sticky fruit: strawberries, raspberries, pear. The basenotes are allegedly patchouli (two types if you please), ambroxan ( which is musk mallow- a plant based musk sub) and white musk. I would say the patchouli is faintly discernible, but crowded out by pink candy, rather than the mossy punch I’m looking for. (The blurb mentions a classic chypre base, but I don’t know where that went. It’s certainly not here)

This smells very much like Miss Dior ( the modern one, not the Originale) Dior Poison Girl and Black Opium without the coffee. It’s a sweet, candy floss, candy shop fruity floral that has little of any originality to offer. It’s as far from YSL Paris as can be.

Now I should add at this point that all my reviews are just my personal taste, nobody’s forcing me to buy it, and I guess they don’t make it like this unless they feel there’s a demand. There IS a demand, and they didn’t have the likes of me in mind, so I will go back to my quiet collection of retro mossy stuff and no more will be said on it.

Yves Saint Laurent will never lose my love and loyalty  because they made Paris, Rive Gauche, Y, Yvresse and Opium. But I’ll sit this one out, thanks.

Stockists

YSL Mon Paris is widely available. Try Boots or Debenhams.

 

 

4711 Nouveau Cologne: Don’t Hold Back

nouveau cologne

You know those days when it’s so muggy you want a shower every couple of hours? When skin feels sticky and hot? 4711 Nouveau Cologne is exactly what you need on such days.

You will probably be familiar with perennial classic 4711, which I love, but 4711 Nouveau Cologne is a modern take on that. It’s more of a “fraiche” version  and despite being a cologne, it was kind enough to hang around for a while: working its cooling, fresh magic on hot skin.

nouveau bottle

This is no one-hit wonder: there are many fragrance notes involved in this perfect pick-me-up, making it both complex and universal ( and unisex).  I can’t think of anyone that this wouldn’t suit.  It opens with citrus, as a good cologne should, (yuzu from the grapefruit family), but you will also find light floral notes: namely peony and a hint of heliotrope and spicy geranium (mild spicy, like black pepper, not hot spicy like chili). There is a faint hint of white musk in the base, which to my nose, is pleasantly soapy and clean. 

I don’t expect longevity from colognes: they are designed as an instant refresher, but this one lasted an hour or two, making it ideal for your handbag and for that lunchtime lift.

The price is spot on: this is  a bargain. I found it on Escentual for just 11.00. My sample was from Cologne and Cotton. Although I can’t find 4711 Nouveau Cologne on their website today,  you can check out their fabulous range, which includes several from the mouthwatering Acqua Colonia range. Opinions are my own.

Stockists

You can buy 4711 Nouveau Cologne from Escentual, or Amazon UK.

Floris White Rose: Perfection

white rose

I have in my possession a small sample of Floris White Rose, and if I can possibly engineer it, I will soon have a full size bottle. Not only is this a dream-come-true sort of fragrance for me, but it has the loveliest whimsical background. Created way back in the early 1800s ( I can’t find the exact year), this was worn by Florence Nightingale, and rumoured to have been presented to Lady Emma Hamilton by Admiral Nelson. Now that’s what I call an impressive backstory.

Rumoured fan: Lady Emma Hamilton

Rumoured fan: Lady Emma Hamilton

Despite its fascinating heritage, this smells surprisingly modern. Roses have been done in every possible permutation within the fragrance industry. I’m certainly not saying this is a bad thing- quite the opposite-but a good rose scent has to be clever enough to stand apart from the competition, and this one does. White Rose had me all a-quiver.

White Rose has many layers. It opens with a burst of roses, which are never allowed to dominate. The carnations vie for attention straight away and this becomes a great double act. The carnations are, in turn, softened up by gentle violets and subtle clean musks. You can find sobering iris in there, as well as warm amber, but it’s those violets that kept calling my name. The carnations add  a grown up spikiness to it. The musk softens the base and the amber warms it all up.  Round this off with a delicate powdery finish and you have an uplifting musky floral that knocked my socks off. Every note works in chorus with the others, seguing from one to the other until it finds a stunning harmony. It’s clean, pretty, feminine and brought out shameless greed in me. I’m on a mission to own a big size one.

Longevity is excellent at around eight hours.

floris shop telegraph

Stockists

You can buy Floris White Rose from Floris, John Lewis or Amazon UK.

Photo credits

Top photo: Fragrantica. Photo of Lady Emma Hamilton by talesofcuriosity.com. Photo of Floris by The Telegraph.

 

Hollister Wave For Her

hollister

Yesterday I popped into my local Superdrug. I like it in there. They always have lots of testers and many half price fragrances. I spotted Hollister Wave For Her and had a thorough try of it: coat sleeves and all. It lasted several hours, I’ll give it that, but left me underwhelmed.  I know that I’m not a member of the Hollister demographic. At forty six, I’m about thirty years too late, so I simply sprayed and went to catch the bus in my comfy boots and sensible handbag.

Hollister Wave For her opens with synthetic flowers. I recognised orchid, since I almost always have a problem with it. It’s used in some Avon perfumes and I always find it jarringly fake and plasticky.  After the orchid came some generic synthetic fruity notes: quince and star fruit. I didn’t like those either. It’s rounded off with sandalwood, amber ( yes, I got a bit of that) and here’s a new one me: solar notes. I looked it up on Fragrantica and it came in under the genre of “natural and synthetic, popular and weird.” I don’t really know what the solar notes added, but this was a very generic fruity floral. So generic, I’m sure I’ve smelled it at least a hundred times.

However, as I said up there ^, this wasn’t made for the likes of me. I like mossy chypres. I was never going to like this, was I? That doesn’t mean to say it won’t be a big seller and very popular.  It does mean that it will never make it to my agreeably overflowing dressing table.

Stockists

You can buy Hollister Wave For Her from Superdrug from £19 for 30ml.

 

 

 

 

The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box: Full Review and Verdict

EauxLaLaShopAW

It’s always a good day when a Perfume Society Discovery Box comes to the door. It usually involves several days of trying perfumes out, often leading me into the tempting and dangerous waters of The Full Bottle Wish List. Like an ever changing Top Forty, positions change by the week and on more than one occasion, a Perfume Society Discovery Box fragrance has shot into the Number One spot. They should give me my own show on Radio Fragrance FM (If only!)

Eaux La La, as you might guess, is French themed. Each scent is either French or inspired by the heartland of Fragrance: Grasse in Provence. Some I had tried before, some were surprises and one, Carven Ma Griffe, is a scent I had been longing to try for ages.  NB all photos are of full size products, not the samples included. (see top photo for contents).

Here’s my round up and verdict:

Agent Provocateur Signature

agent p

I loved this chypre. It’s in a similar vein to Narciso Rodriguez, with big flowers- jasmine, gardenia and magnolia, and a woody, musky base. I reviewed it some time ago here on the blog. Highly recommended!

L’Occitane Collection de Grasse Thé Vert & Bigarade

green tea

From our trusty friends at L’Occitane comes a wonderfully long lasting citrussy cologne style scent with good staying power. I recently reviewed it here. This is perfect for Summer.

Lalique Amethyst Éclat

lalique eclat

I’ve yet to be let down by Lalique and with blackberry, musk and peony, this is a very pretty fruity floral. Full marks for the stunning bottle too. My recent review is here.

Miller Harris L’Air de Rien

l'air de rien

Created for Jane Birkin, this is a combination of neroli, musk, patchouli and amber. Friend of the blog Lisa Wordbird rates it as a favourite comfort scent. I love its complexity. To me it smells like joss sticks and parties in a more bohemian era than this. My review is here.

Balmain Extatic

extatic

Described as a floriental, this is a big departure if you’re used to the Balmains of the past such as Jolie Madame and Balmain de Balmain. However, I guess we all have to move with the times. It was too sweet for me, but has many fans. My review is here.

Fragonard Soleil

Marks and Spencer

A generous little bottle with a tiny sun for a lid, this gem is another great summer scent. Fragonard never puts a foot wrong in my book. Here you will find white flowers and a warm amber/sandalwood base. If it was a colour, it would smell of gold. My review is here.

Carven Ma Griffe

ma griffe

Mossy chypres are my favourite genre and this classic exceeded my expectations. Put on your smart suit and gloves and trot to town in ladylike heels. This green and powdery chypre will never go out of style, at least as far as I’m concerned. My review is here.

Atelier Cologne Bergamote Soleil

atelier bottle

This was the first time I’d tried an Atelier Cologne. They have all the ingredients you love in colognes, but excellent longevity. Bergamote Soleil blew me away and lasted nine hours. My review is here.

Judith Williams Life Long Beauty Nourishing Rose Oil.

rose oil

This replenishing oil comes in a handy 10ml roller-ball. It smells beautiful and melts into skin. I’ve been using it at night and it always makes me look like I had ten hours of sleep, instead of the five hours I got after getting glued to a Netflix box set until 1 a.m.

L’Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Hand Cream

LOccitane_Shea_Handcream-350x350

I’m on Mumsnet more often than I care to admit and this comes up on just about every Style and Beauty thread that ever pops up about the best hand cream. My hands look like tortoises without hand cream and this mini tube smells gorgeous too. Perfect for your handbag.

Verdict

My Verdict of the Eaux La La Discovery Box? Guilty of Being Fabulous.

Stockists

You can buy the Perfume Society Eaux La la Discovery Box from The Perfume Society. Boxes are £17.50 for non subscribers and £12.50 for subscribers. There is no obligation to order one every month, like some subscriptions- you just buy one if you fancy it. I have bought all of them!

 

Carven Ma Griffe: At Last!

ma griffe

It’s been a long time coming, but we meet at last. Mossy green chypres are my favourite scent, so I had been longing to try Carven Ma Griffe for a good while.

Originally created in 1946, there is a lovely story around its launch. Samples of Ma Griffe were actually parachuted over Paris. Can you imagine a lovelier image? It would never happen today, but the idea of being in Paris and having samples of Ma Griffe raining down makes me so happy I could pop.

ma griffe adI can’t comment on previous formulations because I haven’t smelled them, but I can say that although my sample is a modern formula, it has that wonderfully vintage tang that makes think the juice should be dark amber, rather than the pale shade of hay it is in the phial I am using.

It opens with aldehydes and big white florals. There’s gardenia, lily of the valley. orange blossom and big bunches of jasmine. There is a powderiness about it straight away, which usually happens as fragrances of this type fade down into the base notes. It always brings to mind a fine layer of talc on a dressing table.

The iris sobers it up a bit, and there is definite citrus to pique that cloud of powder and florals. This reminds me of my late grandmother, although I don’t recall her wearing it.

The base is a classic chypre bases: heavy with oakmoss and labdanum, and greener than most. The sandalwood comes out nicely, as does the musk. Those white flowers never quit, making this a powdery white cloud of a scent with a good bit of oomph in the finish. It makes think it needs to be worn with Dior’s New Look and white gloves. But it will have to settle for the school run in comfy jeans on a brisk walk.

Stockists

Ma Griffe is widely available. Try Amazon UK or Escentual.  I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box, about which I will shortly be writing a round up.

Shay and Blue London Blood Oranges

 

blood oranges

Shay and Blue London continues to impress. After wearing Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom all weekend and recently raving about Framboise Noire, I did wonder if Blood Oranges would meet my expectations. The answer is no, it excelled my expectations and it has now been added to my Full Bottle Wish List (It’s longer than my street now. Oops!).

blood orangesBlood Oranges opens, and stays, with bitter sharp citrus notes. What impressed me the most is that the citrus sticks around for the whole time. This is not particularly common, although I have enjoyed a spate of long lasting citruses lately so maybe the tide is happily turning. Blood Oranges pierces through the heat of (dare I say it yet?) summer and gives me all the clean scent of a freshly peeled orange without the marmalade stickiness. In the middle there’s a bit of leather which softens the edges without taking over. The basenotes are warm, with amber, musk and woods, but the oranges never leave. Longevity is excellent at around six or seven hours, and although it’s a warm scent, the citrus keeps it fresh and therefore ideal for summer. There’s no staleness, no hint of dried up peel: this stays as juicy as if you’ve just peeled it.  It makes an excellent unisex scent, being an invigorating cologne style fragrance that would suit anyone, especially, but not exclusively, in summer.

Stockists

I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy full bottles from trusty Marks and Spencer. Big shout out for the stunning packaging too.