Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne


I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing”. Maybe that’s why I’ve never reviewed Paco Rabanne 1 Million.  No, scratch that, I’ve written several reviews for fragrances I couldn’t stand, and I love to read other bloggers too when they are in acerbic mood. I like to think that derogatory blogatory pricks the bubbles of perfumed pomposity like comedians and governments.

It’s ironic that the blurb for Paco Rabanne 1 Million says “It represents power, wealth, luxury, durability…” because where I live, it represents teenage boys on the pull with quiffs, ludicrously tight trousers (what bird is that?  Must be a thrush, sorry where was I?) and a whiff of cider and cigarettes. They do not leave the house until they are marinated in it.

When I came across a sample of Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne recently, I pulled a face like a bulldog sucking a lemon sherbet.


Amazon UK

Amazon UK

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne nearly rights a few wrongs for me, but not quite.  For example, Paco Rabanne 1 Million gives off a thick fuzziness to me, that gets right on and into my chest, like cobwebs and dust.  I’m mildly asthmatic but it very rarely flares up or affects me, unless I smell Paco Rabanne 1 Million.  At the same time, there’s too much going on: there’s fruit, amber, patchouli, leather, citrus, mint, spices, cinnamon, and Uncle Tom Cobley an’ all.

The cologne is, as you might expect, a toned downversion, with slightly less thick fuzziness  and more sea notes and more citrus. At first spray its light and refreshingly, but after five minutes it gets far too rich for a summer’s day and starts to smell like sherry. This smells a bit like Paco Rabanne 1 Million from the night before that has worn off on bed sheets- something I will never experience since Mr IScent will never have a bottle. (I’m not a control freak- he doesn’t want one, honest! Phew.)  The Cologne is a watered down version of the original with extra citrus, but at the end, when all’s spent, it’s the same old story with a different opening chapter.

I’ll leave this one for the kids.


You can buy Paco Rabanne 1 Million and Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne from The Fragrance Shop, from where I got my sample (The Discovery Club Box to be precise). You can also get it from Amazon UK, Escentual and Boots.

Boss Ma Vie: Freesias Forever

Boss is a brand that I didn’t used pay a lot of attention too, but they have produced two scents that have really made me sit up and take notice.  Boss Jour Pour Femme is a lovely green scent that I immediately liked and today, having tried Boss Ma Vie Pour Femme, I have found another Boss favourite.

Boss Ma Vie takes the unusual and modern step of using green cactus as one of its main flagship notes.  In case you were wondering (and I was too) it smells as you would expect a cactus to smell: green and succulent and juicy, which actually makes it an excellent choice for a summer day time scent.  Add a large bunch of freesias to this green and juicy opening act and you have a very feminine, pleasing fragrance that I have really been enjoying. There’s a touch of jasmine too, and a whisper of rose, but it’s the freesia which is the star here. There are allegedly cedar and woods in the base but to me, the freesia stayed true throughput and longevity was pretty good too at around five hours.  I could still smell wafts of it on my sleeves at bedtime too.

Thankfully this has neither gone down the synthetic fruity floral route nor the  gourmand/ vanilla overkill route that has been so popular over the past few years, and what I see emerging is a rather pretty, non-cloying daytime floral that would suit all ages.


Boss Ma Vie is widely available:  you could try Boots, House of Fraser, the Fragrance Shop, and Amazon.

My sample came from the June edition of the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box.

Angel Eau Sucree: An Angel For Me



I’m not a fan of Thierry Mugler Angel, although I admire its genius. On me, it’s Brut for men, Body Odour and a kilo of chocolate, but on others it can smell utterly gorgeous.  Sadly, I’m not one of them.  I also think that heavy handed spraying of Angel has further distanced me from it: it’s nuclear to start with and has colossal longevity, so six sprays first thing in the morning is overkill ( are you listening, Lady On Bus?)

However, here comes Angel Eau Sucree, the Angel 2014 flanker and much to my surprise, I really like it.

The notes are:

 Top: red berries

Middle: meringue

Base: patchouli and vanilla

Red berries have been done to saturation point in the last couple of years, but the temptation to add pink pepper (which in my view is greatly overused with a heavy hand these days) has been resisted and the red berries blend seamlessly into a creamy, sweet middle note.  Meringue is an interesting choice, but its’s distinctive icing sugar blandness is the perfect foil here.  At this point, it could easily tip over into raspberry ripple ice cream, but the meringue, if anything, shows restraint.  This is a pale vanilla, with hints of cream and berries.

The base notes are vanilla and patchouli, and unlike Angel, the patchouli here is a whisper rather than a shout. The vanilla seems to show up at the very start and sit at the back the whole way through as if to say “don’t mind me, it’s not my show today”




Whereas I normally eschew gourmands on the grounds that they remind me of how I smell in an apron in an hot kitchen, Angel Eau Sucree is something else and I am seriously thinking about a full bottle purchase ( something I ration)

 Angel Eau Sucree shows restraint and is all the better for it ( although I do have a penchant for unrestrained perfume!). Eau Sucree is pretty, and girly  and whilst teens will love it, I would gladly wear this in all my mature 45 year old glory. It’s a feel good scent which doesn’t take itself too seriously, but the end phase is like smelling Angel through a veil: with a heightended touch of sweetness and a playful touch of fun. This is a perfect balance and a great scent. Angel Eau Sucree made me into a fan rather than a critic.


Angel Eau Sucree is a Limited Edition so scoop it up when you see it.  You can get it from  Escentual, John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser.  My sample was from The Perfume Society Jet Set Discovery Box.


The Perfume Society

The Perfume Society

Find out More

The Candy Perfume Boy, as ever, writes beautifully on this and the link is here.

Library of Fragrance Salt Air: Holiday Time!

World of Oddy Photography

World of Oddy Photography

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m a big fan of Library of Fragrance.  It allows us to be grown-ups and mix and match our own choice of scents when we want to go rogue i.e. when we don’t want to buy the latest over the counter launches that don’t suit our personal taste- or at least that’s why I buy them.

Library of Fragrance

But that’s just one angle when it comes to the purpose behind Library of Fragrance.  The other thing they manage to do so well is to produce scents that are evocative of a time or place or scene.  Not only do they produce a wide choice of scent for day time or evening wear, but there are many of us, and you might be one too, who sometimes want to smell like the beach or the garden or Christmas, and that’s where Library of Fragrance comes in.

Today I have been wearing Library of Fragrance Salt Air, (well actually the last couple of days to be precise, I’m addicted). Salt Air successfully encapsulates the exact holiday smell of when you’ve been on the beach all day.  There is a salty tang and an uplifting ozonic scent that doesn’t veer into imitation L’Eau D’Issey territory as ozonic so often can.  Salt Air is the tang of salt, the fresh surf of the sea crashing onto the shore, and a whiff of something clean, like sun cream without the coconut, or that fresh smell of holiday bed linen as your salty sea sprayed head hits the pillow on the first night.


World of Oddy Photography

Sea Air is gorgeously clean smelling and uplifting and is very much a Feel Good scent. Longevity is surprisingly good- remember that these are colognes, but they always have much better longevity than you would expect from a cologne. On me, Salt Air lasted over four hours before I needed a little top up.  It’s totally unisex too and would smell equally good on a male or female.

Salt Air is one of my favourite Library of Fragrance scents- and I have reviewed many of them, because, what can I say?  I’m a fan of the brand.

Pop Salt Air into your holiday luggage, or better still, wear it when you’re not on holiday for that seaside feeling all summer long.

World of Oddy Photography

World of Oddy Photography


Library of Fragrance Salt Air is available from the Library of Fragrance website and Boots also carries a selection in store.  My sample was from the fabulous Perfume Society Jet Set Discovery Box, which you can buy here very soon.


All seaside photos are of Whitmore Bay ( aka Barry Island) and taken by my very talented friend Alison Oddy of World of Oddy Photography or check out the Facebook Page here.

Miller Harris Cassis en Feuille

Miller Harris

Miller Harris


“The rambling vines and bountiful fruit of a forgotten garden”


Miller Harris is one of my favourite brands.  With consistent good quality and original exciting scents, they are a firm favourite of mine.  You can imagine how pleased I was to receive a selection of samples from their new range Jardin d’Enfance

Appropriately enough, it did indeed remind me of the garden scents of my childhood.  Like many children of the 70s, I spent a lot of time outside picking flowers and, in a rather macabre fashion which cements my later years as an amateur goth, creating small cemeteries and floral tributes for the wildlife that our cat brought home.

Miller Harris Cassis en Feuille very much reminded me of the smell I used to get on my hands after crushing a fern or between my fingers.  It is an earthy, green smell which is almost astringent in its freshness. Add to that the unmistakeable smell of tomato leaf and the Cassia leaf ( which can so nearly veer into cat pee territory but doesn’t) and Miller Harris hits the mark.


At first spray, this is predominantly fruity, but not in a playful strawberry sundae way, more a squashed blackberries in a mud pie way.  This is delightful and has all the ingredients of a real garden, rather than a watercolour garden or a storybook garden, and it brings to mind brambles rather than fruit cocktail.  Phew! So far so good.  The blackcurrant top notes are zingy and fresh, but always surrounded with damp greenery.

After a while this phases into an almost spicy rose/geranium, and the geranium seems an especially good fit with tomato leaf.

The basenotes are long lasting and muskier, but still with those dark blackish berries and the wet leafy-ness.  All in all, this captures a slightly wet British Garden on a long past summer’s day. I felt very connected to it and it took me right back to the days when I wasn’t worrying about damp proof courses and tax codes. Now that’s got to worth buying a bottle for!

My sample was kindly provided by Miller Harruis.  Opinions are my own.


The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range is available from the Miller Harris website, or instore, or from one of their stockists- see this list. You can also buy the Miller Harris range from Escentual, John Lewis and Harrods to name but a few.

Aftelier Bergamoss: Mandy Aftel’s New Solid Perfume



I was recently sent a sample of Mandy Aftel’s new solid chypre “Bergamoss” from the delightful Mandy herself, who is a pleasure to deal with and has no qualms about Fedexing stuff from sunny California to overcast Wales to my eagerly awaiting mitts.

Funnily enough, Lisa Wordbird and I were recently lamenting the lack of solid perfumes these days, with Lisa making the very valid point that you can usually get them past customs when taking fragrance on holiday. There is a nostalgia about them too, and I guess I’ve never grown out of the novelty of having an Avon Daisy shaped brooch that concealed  a solid perfume wayyyy back in the 1970s when I just a slip of a girl.


So I love solid perfume, I love chypres and I love Bergamot. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all.  It’s wonderful.

Bergamoss initially threw me a little because it was so remarkably refreshing.  I don’t know about you, but as much I love my chypres, I don’t always expect them to go zing! But this one does.  I had all these questions coming out of my head like a cartoon: Is that lemon grass? Are there herbs in this? Why does it smell so zingy?  Well as you know, Mandy navigates the tricky world of making all-natural perfumes so when she uses Bergamot, it’s the real deal, hence the sharpness of the citrussy opening.  This beds down into something greener and more complex and I find myself wearing a beautiful summer chypre.

Yes this is a refreshingly green and pleasant warm weather chypre which, rather than being mossy and rich and decadent ( i.e the types of chypres I am used to)  it is spicy, tangy and green.  It reminded me in fact of lemon grass, which manages to be both delicate and strong at the same time.  Although beautifully blended, you can smell that these ingredients are natural. There’s no whiff of synthetics and no hint of everything being sanitised for the modern palate.  This is earthy, beautiful and bangs its own drum.  I give it ten out of ten.


Longevity initially confused me.  Once you put this on you don’t smell it in the same way as if you’ve just sprayed yourself liberally, it’s more close to skin, but catching little wafts of it as I go about my day made me realise that even if I can’t smell it (at least not without sniffing my skin), it is very much there and this reassures me that others can smell it too.

I got around five hours of pleasant wafts, and not much after that, but the beauty of applying  a solid perfume is that you don’t offend anyone.  Imagine someone sitting on a train or in an office and having a good few squirts of their usual EDP.  They’d get looks and possibly tuts (In Britain, that’s actually warfare).  Imagine applying a solid perfume to behind your ears and neck- not a mutter from anyone, just a pleasant subtle waft that gradually floats up in a very inoffensive “Don’t mind me” sort of way, whilst at the same time, allowing you to smell how you want for the day.

As you can see from the photos, Mandy can decant the solid scents she makes into the most beautiful antique compacts, and you can rest assured that Mandy uses pure ingredients such as organic beeswax and jojoba to make them invisibly spreadable.


You can buy all Afterlier products from Mandy’s website, which also gives you an insight into the work she carries out.  Thank you Mandy for my beautiful sample! ( Opinions are my own)


Anya’s Garden: Bringing an Ancient Cologne Back to Life

 Anya McCoy has been making perfume since 1991, using only natural ingredients.  She is not only a perfumer, but also teaches her art as well as having her own line of scent.  She is also President of the Natural Perfumer’s Guild and a fellow of the American Society of Perfumers.  Based in sunny Miami, which feels like South Wales today I should imagine (we’re having a heatwave and we can’t cope!) Anya kindly sent me some samples and told me her story.


Anya McCoy

Anya McCoy

Anya was seminal in recently helping to bring a Philadelphia cologne recipe back to life.  This cologne recipe ( pictured top)  is 155 years old, so you can imagine the excitement of finally sniffing it after all these years, like unearthing a long lost photograph or tasting an ancient cognac.

Following the recipe exactly as it was written, and using only natural ingredients (and thus adding yet more authenticity), Anya brought the Randolph Parry 1859 cologne back to life and in doing so has produced an elegant heritage cologne that interestingly, does not smell out of place in the Twenty First century.


It was a knotty puzzle that had to be unravelled.  Anya worked with historical fragrance expert Andrine Olsen, who spotted and corrected a small error which then unravelled the formula.  From the recipe we can see Lemon, Bergamot, Rosemary, Cloves, Neroli, Musk and of course, alcohol.

The Randolph Parry 1859 cologne is full of herbs and citrus and smells fantastically refreshing and clean.  It seems especially apt that I am testing this on what is predicted to be the hottest day of the year in Wales.  There is something almost sherbet-y about his- it has an effervescence that won me over.  Imagine if someone poured a gin and tonic onto your skin and the sharp lemony bubbles popped agreeably on your skin- that’s what this smells like.  This could easily blend in with the best of the traditional colognes available today and if it was British it would be at home in Penhaligons for sure.

You can find out more on Anya’s blog here.

Anya also kindly sent me three other samples which I will tell you about.  The samples are small but they are pure perfume and can be purchased from her website.


Ylang Ylang:

It was so interesting to finally smell a tincture of Ylang.  I knew it was a flower with a hint of banana, but until I smelled this I didn’t realise that it has a slightly dirty tang to it, like light but unprocessed patchouli oil.  Almost, but not quite indolic, Ylang Ylang in this form has more in common with heavy duty Jasmine than bananas! In fact, once it settles, it is a little like a patchouli/white flower mash up without the creaminess. Fabulous.


Described as ” An exploration of the most seductive aspects of the narcotic tuberose flower, with skin and musky notes bringing the perfume warm, soft nuances.” Enticing certainly packs a punch.  This musky floral runs deep, and has a richness that almost borders on de trop, but doesn’t quite overstep the mark.  If you like your tuberose rich and “narcotic” rather than perfume-counter sanitized, you are going to love Enticing.  Not for the fainthearted, but unforgettable for those who dare.


Sharper and more cologne-y in style than Enticing, Light contains grapefruit, citrus, neroli, frankincense and juniper berry, making this simultaneously light and spicy. It’s a perfect summer cologne that make me want to eat it, but I don’t know why.  NB Please don’t lick your arm when wearing this. The grapefruit is dominant, but not enough to drown out anything else.  The juniper berry again reminds me of a refreshing gin and tonic ( I’m going to have to pour myself one at some point today- the universe is telling me so).

Stockists: To buy or try any of Anya’s Garden scents, check out the website here. There is a  good sample service if you don’t want to blind buy.

Many thanks to Anya for thinking of me and sending me these lovely samples.


Papillon Perfumery Salome: Beauty Has a Dark Side


Papillon Perfumery Salome is the latest release from Papillon, with this being the fourth release from Nose Liz Moores.  Liz has the awe inspiring accolade of having had all three of her first ever perfumes nominated for a FiFi.  That’s an incredible achievement.

So expectations are high for any future releases and Liz must be feeling “Difficult Second Album Syndrome”, but she has nothing to fear.

Salome by Gaston Bussiere

Salome is both beautiful and disturbing, like its namesake.  This is a daring toe in the water.  Salome was never going to be mainstream. If we want mainstream, we know where we can get it.  This is the special “If you like that, I’ve got something round the back you might appreciate” sort of perfume.  It has a dark side.

Here are the notes: Jasmine, Carnation, Turkish rose, Africa stone, Patchouli, Bitter orange, Oakmoss, Styrax, Bergamot, Orange blossom.

Here’s what I got from it:  This is like opening a bottle of perfume that hasn’t been opened since the 1940s.  Its smells vintage already.  It has that dark smoky richness that makes you sigh with pleasure. There is jasmine and orange blossom in among some dried leathery tobacco- Think Caron Tabac Blond.  Then the whiff of sex comes out like an animalic siren call.  A whiff of styrax brings to mind that jolt that Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles gives you, but the blending is so seamless that you can’t tell where one phase starts and another ends.  Salome is from another decade.  It makes me think of a time when le Smoking was de rigeur, when women wore aged fur stoles and when perfumes lasted days on a dirty neck where soap never reached. Anais Nin would have worn it.

Salome is rich, glorious, vintage, sexy and dark. It reminded me of vintage Ivoire de Balmain, or Bourdon’s Courtesan: with a hint of crotch, and a lot of crumpled sheets on a double bed.  It’s the walk of shame at dawn wearing yesterday’s knickers and carrying your shoes in your hand.

I loved it.

Liz, you’ve done it again.

Stockists:  About to launch any minute, Salome will be available from the Papillon website, which also does a good sample service (honestly they’re all amazing).  And since Papillon is already stocked at Les Senteurs, I imagine Salome will be as well.

Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Perfumery