Lalique Amethyst Eclat 2014 Review

lalique eclat

Lalique Amethyst Eclat is the 2014 flanker to the original Lalique Amethyst from 2007. With delightful packaging and a scent I loved straight away, this might well be going on my “I need a Full Bottle” list (which is looooong).

My first impression of Amethyst Eclat was purple fruit and violets. In fact, there are no violets ( there is violet woodsorrel, however, which is sometimes known as sour grass). I can’t help it though! I found violets. Fine by me- I love them. The notes are as follows:

Top notes: Blackcurrant, raspberry, pear

Middle notes: Peony , rose, magnolia

Base notes: Blackberry, musk, violet woodsorrel

The fruit is sharp and sweet and aromatic. No stickiness here. The flowers make this fusion one of lightness which makes this very suitable for summer. Peony is, in my opinion, the prettiest and girliest scent note of any flower and here it is teamed with another of my favourites: magnolia.

Amethyst Eclat is a clean scent, reminiscent of that just bathed feeling before you put put freshly laundered clothes on. Blackcurrant can sometimes smell a bit like cat pee, but here it is is rich and bitter, softened by flower petals and musk. Fans of L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc may find something to like here. This is a fruity floral with a difference. It’s delicate and well balanced. No single note is allowed to dominate. To me, it smells like a beautiful summer garden with a hint of white musk soap. Beautiful!

Stockists

I obtained my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box, which you can buy from the Perfume Society website. You can buy a full bottle from Amazon.UK or allbeauty.com.

L’Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade

green tea

This new collection from L’Occitane combines the scents of the French Riviera with the aromas of nature’s landscapes. L’Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade is one of four scents in this small capsule collection.

As summer tentatively dips its toe in the water, it’s time to start exploring lighter scents. This one fits the bill perfectly. There are few notes that I can call more refreshing than Green Tea. You only have to look at the long term, unwavering success of the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea range to see this.

The way L’Occitane has done this is, as you would expect from this brand, impressive and innovative

The green tea comes through at first spray, but it is not alone. This a cologne style eau de toilette. Like all good colognes, there are citrus and herbs in there: notably bitter blood orange and aromatic thyme. The whole blends down into a faintly white musk, clean finish, but the lovely sharp opening settles into a light and refreshing base note that almost smells floral in its delicacy. I have a 7.5 ml Splash bottle, but it also comes in bottles ten times this size. Usually a light, citrus fragrance doesn’t last long, but this one does. I wore it for around four or five hours yesterday. It made me feel and smell like I had just stepped out of the cleanest most invigorating shower ever.

Stockists

I obtained my splash bottle from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy theses boxes from The Perfume Society website. Full bottles are available from John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

Shay & Blue London: Framboise Noire

framboise noire

Shay & Blue London continues to impress me with high quality fragrance and stunning packaging. Today I tried Framboise Noire and it was no exception. Normally, I’m a gourmand dodger with a few notable exceptions, but Framboise Noire really turned my head.

It opens with red berries and raspberries, which again, is something I would normally dodge. In my opinion, the vanilla and red berries combo has been done to death and often ends up smelling like a sticky mess, but Framboise Noire couldn’t be further from that.

Butterscotch-Caramel-Blondies-5

Imagine sticking your nose into a glass full of fruity red wine. It’s sweet, but not sickly. Boozy, but not overpoweringly so. Now add some delicately dark, but not burnt, caramel tones and you have a juicy aromatic warmth that beds down into a faintly musky finish.

But hang on- there’s a surprise! When this silky fruitness has died down, a gentle oud note raspberriescomes out, adding a nice earthy tone, almost dirty, but not quite. Put all this together and you have wonderful fragrance that changes as you wear it and gives raspberries a new sophisticated twist. It’s like a very expensive dessert with a good glass of Beaujolais alongside it. Heaven.

Stockists

You can buy Shay & Blue London Framboise Noire, along with other scents from the range from your local Marks and Spencer in store or online. If it’s not in, you can get it via click and collect in about a day. I got my sample from a Perfume Society Discovery Box ( I think it was Secret Scentsations). You can get a sample of Shay & Blue London Blood Orange in the more recent Perfume Society Eaux La la Discovery Box.

EauxLaLaShopAW

Photos: Top photo from Fragrantica, photo of caramel from www.davidlebovitz.com, photo of raspberries from www.wascene.com. Photo of Eaux la la Discovery Box from The Perfume Society.

DSH Giverny in Bloom: Bringing art alive

dsh bottle

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is an early pioneer in the world of indie perfumes. US based, Dawn (or DSH to fans), constantly innovates and has a wide fan base worldwide. In fact, I’m astonished I took so long to get here.

monet-gvI was recently sent two samples of DSH scents by friend of the blog (and friend of me!) Patsi, who is always very generous and supportive of my perfume habit, having a serious habit herself. Thank you Patsi!

Today I am reviewing Giverny in Bloom. It seems appropriate to look at the pictures of Monet’s gardens in Giverny as I sniff them since this scent was created to go alongside the “in Bloom” scent experience at Denver Art Museum.

This scent will be instantly recognizable to anyone who remembers playing in the garden as a child. Did you ever pick flowers, snap ferns and sniff leaves or was that just me? If so, you will easily imagine how transporting this earthy, realistic fragrance is.

bridgeThis was almost astringent on first spray, like rubbing a broken fern between your fingers. After that the flowers come in. Not just petals, but stems, stamens, buds: the whole shebang. It smells like a very good florists: it’s flower heads, yes, but seeds and leaves too. It is springlike and abundant. There’s lilacs, carnations, mimosa, roses, jasmine, neroli, violets, linden blossom- it’s all there. But what makes this stand apart from a good spring floral is the addition of the greenery and earthiness. There’s soil tincture, oakmoss, galbanum, ambergris, and patchouli. All this works not against, but alongside, the prettiness of the flowers, giving a dose of realism that makes this really stand out. A good gardener knows you have to get your hands dirty and that’s what this smells like: a real garden, with all the flowers, the sharpness of green leaves and a woody, earthy base. Like the strokes of an Impressionist’s brush, the blending is cleverly done to give an artless feel that allows each note to blur into the next without losing itself.

Viewed alongside the legendary paintings, this makes for a wonderfully uplifting experience.

I shall be seeking out more DSH after this. Thank you Patsi for this fabulous intro.

Stockists.

All scents are available from the DSH website.  This just in-I have it on good authority that  DSH does indeed ship to the UK! There is also a good sample service, and free samples with every full bottle purchase.

Photo credits

Top photo from Fragrantica. Middle photo from www.famousartistsgallery.com. Bottom photo from www.lifo.gr

Mary Greenwell Lemon: Niche Style Chypre on the High Street

lemon bottle

You may have gathered by now that I am a big fan of Mary Greenwell fragrances. I have previously reviewed Plum and the superb Fire, and today I will be reviewing Lemon.

Lemon, created by legendary nose Francois Robert, is chock full of citrus when you first spray it on. Not just the eponymous lemon, but bitter orange and sharp limes too. This is a beautifully fresh, astringent, cologne style opening. Unlike a cologne, however, this lemon has staying power, which is no mean feat. It gets even better though. The middle notes are floral and light. There are spring petals in there: namely lily of the valley, hyacinth and  jasmine. The lemon stays true throughout whilst sidestepping any temptation to smell like lemon meringue. Incidentally, if you like lemon meringue scent, try Boucheron Trouble or Marks and Spencer Gabriella, both discontinued but still alive and well on eBay.

purse

This really reminded me of O de Lancome– one of the most perfect summer scents ever, but this has more tart, bitter lemon. . What Lemon does so beautifully though, is merge from a zingy citrus into a lemony, green chypre. There’s oakmoss in abundance,  a touch of warm amber and a noticeable flourish of woody notes. It lasts around five or six hours and is one of my bargains of the year. It’s classy packaging and quality ingredients belie the £7.50 I paid for my gold 7.5ml purse spray. This is high end , low price chypre chic and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Stockis

The Mary Greenwell range is available from The Fragrance Shop in store or online. Prices start at just £7.50 for a purse spray.

Penhaligon’s Equinox Bloom

equinox bottle

 

I came across this sample of Penhaligon’s Equinox Bloom in my Perfume Society Exquisite Essences Discovery Box and, with it being a Penhaligon’s, I couldn’t resist. Equinox Bloom was created by Olivier Cresp, the legendary nose whose perfume heritage cannot be matched: he was raised among fields of petals and blooms in Grasse, no less.

Equinox Bloom was inspired by a combination of flowers and a London breakfast of honey and marmalade. M. Cresp has never shied from using gourmand notes: he co-created  iconic game changer Angel for Thierry Mugler.

Equinox Bloom opens with a blast of orange blossom and neroli. Neroli is also made of orange blossom but is distilled differently is therefore often listed as a separate note. In Equinox Bloom, the two together give the orangey floral note double the impact. There is a sweetness that comes out almost immediately. I would have said honey, but it is in fact brown sugar. Now I’m usually sniffy ( pun intended) about gourmands, but this makes a refreshing change. What I like about this is that there is no vanilla in it. The brown sugar provides a warm toasty sweetness without making this generic: the over-use of vanilla turns me off these days. There’s some nice waxy frangipani in there too, which always reminds me of almonds, and a dose of very heady jasmine sambac, which has been enjoying a great deal of popularity of late. However its strength never overpowers the orange flower.

equinox graphicThe base is rounded off with a little Ambroxan ( a sort of Ambergris stand in with similar scent qualities), the brown sugar again (which never really goes away) and resin-y benzoin. Equinox Blooms starts off as a light as a fairy’s wing, before getting headier and headier with creamy white flowers and then meting into a warm golden scent that has a hint of oranges and frangipani. The sweetness adds to the flowers, rather than takes over, and the overall effect is longlasting and addictive. If I’m honest, there is tiny bit of celery in the ending, which never hurt  Caron Yatagan…

The light airiness of the white petals in Equinox Bloom reminded me of the opening gambit in Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage, so if you like that you’ll probably like this too.

Stockists

You can buy Penhaligon’s Equinox Bloom from Penhaligon’s instore and online. You can buy The Perfume Society Exquisite Essences Discovery Box from their website here.

EE.BoxShopAW1

Lidl Luxury Excellent For Women EDP

 

lidl1

There should be a word for that feeling you get when you come across a treasure bargain. I got that feeling in the charity shop today when I found two metres of quilting fabric for £3, and later when my husband made an emergency call to his perfume blogger wife from Lidl earlier. “There’s five new perfumes in Lidl!” I was very restrained and requested just two. For now.

This evening I am testing Luxury Excellent for Women which made my face go blank for about ten minutes whilst my olfactory database shrugged its shoulders and said “beats me, love!”.

I took a break and came back to it and the penny dropped. A-ha! I thought. I’ve got it. This reminds me of Chanel Allure. There’s white flowers and apricots to start with, followed by a fleeting glimpse of sniff-and-you’ll-miss-it-roses. The base notes are a musky base of warm and woody amber, with those juicy apricots just daring to peek through.

It has good sillage, but not the same resonance as Chanel Allure. I wouldn’t class it as a dupe, but I would say if you’re a fan of Allure, you might find something you like in your friendly continental supermarket too. Oh, and check out the ice lollies whilst you’re there. They’re the best in town. Perfume and a lolly. It’s a good day.

Stockists

Available from Lidl at a breathtaking £4.99. There are others too, so watch this space.

4160 Tuesdays Four Mysteries: My Review

four mysteries

Four mysterious phials landed on my mat in wet Wales last week. They not only looked like Quality Street, but they had that 4160 mysteriescommon characteristic of being hard to pick a favourite. Plus I’m sure one of them had nuts  in.

I’m proud to say I put a small brick in the wall and participated in this latest venture from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays. Crowd funding is a great way to fund a business in so far as donations are entirely optional and you get treats for donating. In my case, four phials dressed like Quality Street (see above).

This what Sarah McCartney says about them:

Flora Psychedelica – a blend of rare flowers with intoxicating spices and herbs.
The Buddhawood Box – four distinctive woods, with a note of multicoloured opalescence.
Up The Apples & Pears – autumn fruit in a tiny London orchard.
Captured by Candlelight – traditional plum pudding, covered in brandy and set alight, with a background of oak panels and oil paintings.

Now if I was doing GCSE Perfume Studies ( I wish!) my homework would be to match this list of ingredients below to the above scents.  However, I’m not sure that wouldn’t make responses scientific rather than subjective, so sniff the bottles and just go with the flow. The list is worth a read though, as there is an eclectic choice of ingredients that gives this capsule collection its unique style.

  • Australian Buddhawood, Boronia flower absolute, Granny Smith apple creation, Colombian enfleurage lily and gardenia, Natural pear creation, Brandy CO2 extract, Absinthe essential oil, Artemisia essential oil, Davana essential oil, Hemlock essential oil, Broom absolute, Hazelnut CO2 extract, Oakwood CO2 extract.

The range is inspired by “Cosy Crime” novels from the 20s and 30s, and each one will accompany a story.  As an avid reader and avid sniffer, this innovation is so much up my street they should call it Samantha Street. I’m going to review all four, but bear in mind that these are my subjective impressions only. Yours may be entirely different. This is because no two olfactory memory banks are ever the same. How dull if they were!


flora

Flora Psychedelica

This fragrance is named after the distinctive 4160 auto mobile that looks so friendly it ought to have a face (see above). My very first impressions were: vodka, wintergreen (probably the absinthe) and mints. My next impression was “Crikey! That smells just like my Nanna T!” (Disclaimer: she didn’t carry vodka). There is a whiff of chalky peppermints, roses and eucalyptus. In the midst of this is something vintage-y: a combination of soap and lipstick. When it fades away it smells like the slightly dusty scent of the interior of the Queen’s best handbag: Mints, roses, medicinal lozenges, clean tissues and  a lipstick.  I adore it.

christingle2

Captured by Candlelight

To me, this smells like a Christingle service in a church. If you’ve never been to one, it’s a child friendly Christmas service where children are given an orange studded with wine gums with a candle in it.  There’s also the lovely smell of aged wood that you get from church pews. In the middle there’s also a soupçon of Baileys, vanilla and chocolate truffles in there too. I wanted to lick my arm and listen to Christmas Carols. There’s a faint whiff of wood-smoke as well, making this the perfect scent for December. Or now. Or any time really, but for me, this is Christmas and everything that smells nice about it.

buddha

The Buddhawood Box

This is my favourite, but it wasn’t straight away. I sniffed this for ages whilst it went from wet to dry and in the end I concluded that it smelled like carob. You know that fake chocolate you get from Holland and Barrett that looks like chocolate but tastes like a cruel hoax? It reminded me of that. It was chocolate-y with a hint of something both spicy and herbal. However, that’s not the end of this story. After about twenty minutes this segues into a wonderful scent of ancient macerated teak in which brandy has been stored. There’s background of chocolate too, but not overpoweringly so, and unless I’m going mad…apples? Maybe Calvados in a teak barrel stored within ancient stone walls that smell like an incensed church. It made me think of Comme Des Garcons Avignon, which I adore. The Buddhawood Box has a surge of patchouli and roses ( Buddhawood is Australian Rosewood) that makes this my favourite of the four, if I was forced to choose.

Urban pears - Kilburn-400x225

Up The Apples and Pears

Assuming you are not Danny Dyer, who makes up cockney rhyming slang as he goes along ( which is very irresponsible when you star in EastEnders), this is London slang for up the stairs to Bedfordshire. In other words, as I already said about five hundred times last night, “go to bed!” Up the Apples and Pears is a curious one that smells completely different on a blotter than it does on my skin. On the blotter it is pear drops and herbal eau de cologne. On my skin it is pear drops, spiced raisins and Woodleigh Green Shampoo straight out of the 1970s. One sniff of this and I can remember the colour, consistency and wording on the label of that wonderful opaque shampoo. There is a hint of almost savoury spice in there, which gently backs out of the room as my skin warms it all up. This is an unusual scent that falls somewhere between fruity and astringent. I like it, but it baffled me. But that’s OK. I don’t have to understand it. I like it and that’s enough for me. If you want generic, you won’t find it here!

More Information and How To Get These

You can find out more about this project here. If I was on Dragon’s Den, I’d be funding the lot. But I’m not, so I ordered Four Mysteries.

Photos

Photos are my own selection, not stock photos, apart from the top photo which I borrowed from the Crowdfunding page. Photo of Flora Psychedelica is by kind permission of 4160 Tuesdays. Photo of Christingle candle is from www.timetravel-britain.com. Photo of Buddha from Amazon.com. Photo of urban orchard from a lovely website about an organisation that’s doing great work in the centre of London  www.theurbanorchardproject.org.

Paco Rabanne Black XS Los Angeles EDT: For Him and For Her

black xs la bottles

Paco Rabanne Black XS has been around for eleven years. In perfume years, that gives it almost legendary status. When you think of how many perfumes have come and gone since 2005, it takes something special to still be around, and still be selling well.

2016 sees the launch of Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For Him and For Her. I’ve been wearing both for a few days now, and my verdict is ready M’lud.

Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For Her

The face of this fragrance is Sky Ferreira. Coming from Venice beach, she is achingly current right now. I expected a fragrance that would be too cool and modern for me to wear (and I’ll try anything, me). Blow me down if I didn’t fall for this beautiful, feminine scent straight away. Opening with sweet oranges, kept tart with cranberries, this citrussy opening soon surrenders to roses and orchids. The roses are especially noticeable, and have an air of dusk. Not too sweet, and with a hint of the night- the orchids give them a rich, dark twist- like adding sequins to a daytime dress. The basenotes contain woods, amber and a hint of vanilla. Thankfully the vanilla doesn’t go down the cupcake route, but retains a hint of “cosy” that complements the amber.

What I have left on my arm after a good few hours (and longevity is excellent) is a woody amber fragrance with touches of roses and a background of citrus like a good summer cologne. Surprisingly timeless for a scent so modern. I’ve been wearing it non stop.

blackxsla2

Paco Rabanne Black XS For Him

With a Zippo like flip top lid, Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For Him opens with an aquatic burst of ocean, and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. What could be more Californian? Well, there is one scent that I always associate with my past visits to California and that’s cinnamon. It’s in the air of every cafe you pass: especially if they’re serving the ubiquitous and majestic Cinnabun. Who can resist them? Not me. But I digress. It seems entirely appropriate that cinnamon is the next note that appears in Black XS LA. Whilst it opens clear and clean like crystal droplets from a wave, it warms up almost immediately on drying. The Clary Sage emerges somewhere in the middle. This adds a touch of leathery/herbal gentleman’s cologne. That dot of cinnamon blends in nicely; not enough to overpower, but certainly enough to add a touch of warmth.

To my nose, Black XS LA has a hint of clean cotton in amongst the base notes. It’s almost like sun bleached, laundered denim. There is a blue tone to this scent, as well as to the juice itself. The face of the scent is Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis. So handsome he has four names. So cool he is just right for this campaign. But don’t let this youth put you off- this smells great on my husband and he won’t mind me telling you that he is fifty ( but doesn’t look it). He is cool too.

Stockists

You can buy Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For  Him  and For Her from the Fragrance Shop online and in store. My bottles were kindly provided by the Fragrance Shop, for which, I am very grateful.  Opinions are my own.

Annick Goutal Rose PomPon 2016: Roses Come Out To Play

rose pom pom

With a name like Rose PomPon you might expect a pretty, playful fragrance, and you’d be right. Annick Goutal Rose PomPon is a delightful rose scent that is made green and quirky with the addition of both raspberries and blackcurrants. Sometimes blackcurrants can smell like cat pee, but not here. Here their bitterness and greenery is brought out alongside creamy centifolia rose until I was reminded more of fresh tomato leaves than Ribena.

The flower petals add to the feminine feel of PomPon: rose and peony make it their own. I always think peony is the textbook note when “light and girly” is required and this is no exception.

pom pom ad

The base is long lasting and has hints of clean white musk and faint woods. There is patchouli here, but it is only a whisper.

With the combination of raspberry, blackcurrant and the ubiquitous pink pepper (a berry, not a spice), this could be placed in the fruity floral category. However, the roses and peony are allowed to dominate, whilst the fruit makes both even greener and lighter, skipping any hints of fruit cocktail or overpowering sweetness. It’s not typical of the genre: it has a lot more to offer.

This is a rose for a modern girl. If I had to sum it up I would call it a rose fraiche. I wouldn’t turn a bottle down any time soon. The only thing about Rose PomPon that isn’t pretty, is the greed it brought out in me. There have been so many Must Buys lately that 2016 is shaping up to be a superb year for fragrance and a terrible year for my bank account.

Wear with a tea dress.

Stockists

I got my sample from the Perfume Society Exquisite Essences Discovery Box. You can buy a full bottle from Escentual, Harvey Nichols or House of Fraser.