Library of Fragrance Fireplace:  The Last Word in Winter Warmers


Now that we’re properly cold and wearing woollies it’s time to bring the rabbit out of the hat.  If there is a cosier, warmer smelling scent than Library of Fragrance Fireplace I have yet to come across it.

Somehow the exact smoky dustiness of a real log fire has been captured in a scent. If I’m not mistaken, something extra has been added too:  not quite spice, but more of a peppery note.  I name it old wood beams in a rustic farmhouse as the wind whips the windows outside.

Fireplace is a delightful wintry fragrance that is equally good on women or men. In fact, this would smell amazing on a man wearing a warm jumper as if to say “I am all capable and manly and have big strong arms”.

I have mentioned Fireplace briefly before in my review of Library of Fragrance Gingerbread, and I will reiterate here how well Gingerbread and Fireplace go together.  These two were simply made to be worn on freezing November evenings.  Longevity is pretty good too at around five hours. To make it last even longer, spray your hair and clothes as these will keep the scent longer than skin. This is especially good on scarves.

Play Bing Crosby and pour yourself a sherry.

Stockists:  Library of Fragrance is available at Boots in the UK, online or in store.  Prices are £15 for one or £25 for two (one for you, one for Christmas presents). In the USA and Canada, this brand is known as Demeter and is available on

PS Don’t forget to enter the first IScentYouADay giveaway- you have until November 28th.  The link is here. The next giveaway will be a Library of Fragrance giveaway so watch this space!

Carthusia Fiori di Capri: A Grande Dame Indeed



Carthusia is a relatively new brand to me- you may recall my earlier review of the rather lovely Carthusia Capri Forget Me Not. Today I am reviewing another jewel from the range: Fiori di Capri.

Rumoured to have been worn by none other than Jackie O herself, who invented chic, the perfectly cut trouser, and gigantic sunglasses, Fiori di Capri is a traditional 70s style chypre in the same vein as Chanel No 19.  It opens with spicy florals, green notes and  a good blast of vintage-y powder ( think Parfums Caron).

The flowers are abundant and heady, no fly-by-nights here: carnations, iris, roses, tuberose, jasmine, gardenia, hyacinth and cyclamen.  These are thickly woven floral notes that need to be strong so that they don’t get overpowered by the cloves, incense and Oakmoss that follow.  The harmony makes for a powdery, heady mélange that could stand proudly next to Guerlain Chamade or Caron Parfum Sacre.  Longevity is good at around seven hours.

 Stockists:  in the UK, you can buy Fiori di Capri from Liberty .  It’s a good price at £60 for 100ml.  It sounds a lot but you get a nice big bottle and the ingredients are high quality.  In the USA you can buy the Carthusia range from NeimanMarcus. Sorry, but I tried really hard to find where you can buy this Canada and failed you.  Sorry my dear Canadian cousins, I have let you down.


Byredo Flowerhead: Not For the Faint Hearted



This is my first review of a Byredo scent but it won’t be my last.  Byredo is the new kid in class, being a relatively young company- it was established in 2006 by founder Ben Gorham.  Ben discovered a passion for perfumery and with a bit of guts and gusto, he founded Byredo, despite not being an experienced perfumer himself.  He collaborated with legendary noses Olivia Giacobetti and  rising star Jerome Epinette, so even though Ben’s not making them himself, he has harnessed the talent of two experts.

Byredo Flowerhead is today’s review and it was inspired by the flowers at Indian weddings. Ben’s mother is Indian, so I am guessing the inspiration is from first hand experience. At an Indian wedding, flowers are everywhere: as décor, in hair, around necks and as backdrops.  The scent is heady and all pervading, and this is where Flowerhead came from.

First off, if you don’t like tuberose, I doubt you will like this.  The tuberose jumps up and bops you on the nose as soon as your skin warms it. It’s heady, thick and creamy, just like good tuberose should be, but is lightened with a hint of citrus and slightly tart cranberry to cut through the richness. In the base there is ambergris, but it can’t wait til then, so it  wafts in a few minutes after you’ve sprayed it. The combination of tuberose and ambergris is a heady one, but I like it.  After several hours, you are left with a toned down leather (actually suede) and ambergris combo with an edging of white flowers. It’s almost masculine, but agreeable for all that.

I therefore would not recommend Byredo Flowerhead for office wear and nor does it pass the commuter train test.  However, I would wear it on those days when you want to be noticed, and you want to be yourself and make a mark.  Actually, I hope that’s everyday.  Oh sod the rules, wear it to work! What are we waiting for?  Godot?

Stockists:  in the UK you can buy Byredo Flowerhead from Liberty and Harrods and in the USA you can get it from, Neiman Marcus and Barneys New York.

Thank you, as ever, to Lisa Wordbird, for the sample.

Monotheme Book of Citrus Boccioli di Limone: Get Thee to Marks and Sparks!


Marks and Spencer have really pulled it out of the bag as far as fragrance goes.  Not only is their own-brand fragrance good quality, nicely packaged and affordable, but they are stocking some truly fantastic stuff that you won’t get from the likes of The Perfume Shop.

Even the smaller branches, such as my local are now (finally!)  stocking a stunning selection from the Fragonard range, as well as Roger & Gallet and Monotheme.

It is a Monotheme scent that I will be reviewing today and I would like to thank, once again, friend of the blog and friend of little old me, Lisa Wordbird for the loan of the bottle.

I shall be returning the bottle with just a few squirts missing, but in fact this is so good I wanted to drench myself in it.  Yes, it’s November, and this is perfect for summer, but sometimes you want to keep a bit of summer back for nostalgia.

Monotheme Boccioli di Limone comes in a gorgeous and generous 100ml bottle and smells very sharply of lemons.  I could end it there, but there are lots of nuances between lemon scents that set the good apart from the bad, or the sheep from the goats as it were.

There is a knack to citrus scents and many fade once the drydown has kicked in and become vaguely fruity and sour, but this one hangs in there, being astringent and zingy.  However, what I noticed a couple of hours later is that the scent trail it leaves becomes a sort of light lemony floral that smells impossibly feminine and addictive.   Even though this is an eau de toilette, it is done in the cologne style, but the scent doesn’t burn off quickly and longevity is around five hours.

This is an all round, hard working, great quality lemon scent and at a mere 22.50 for a big 100ml bottle, it looks far more expensive than it is.  Thanks Lisa! The Marks and Spencer Fragrance department has just become my favourite perfume pitstop.

Dear Father Christmas…brace yourself, it’s a loooong list.

Givenchy Ysatis: File Under Classics


I was inspired to review Givenchy Ysatis by a kind reader who wrote in and told me how much she loves it.  It prompted me to ask why on earth I have left this wonderful classic so long?

Created in 1984, Givenchy Ysatis ( “Eeh-Sah-Teece”) was down among the brash Eighties hard hitters such as Dior Poison, Giorgio Beverly Hills and YSL Opium (which is technically late 70s, but was very suited to the excesses of 80s life). Eighties perfumes still have a what-the-heck nostalgia about them ( I will always have a bottle of Cacharel LouLou), but Givenchy Ysatis has somehow quietly acquired a bit of a classic status and still holds it own to this day, but not as a gimmick,  more out of sheer respect.  In fact, if I smelled it blind I would have attributed it to Estee Lauder.  It reminds me of Private Collection, Knowing and White Linen.

The notes in Ysatis are too numerous to list here, so I will tell you my impressions of it (which are, as always subjective).  Ysatis opens with strong aldehydes, lemon and woods. This phase lingers on for over an hour (reminding me very much of Taylor of London Tweed).  In the middle, the notes blend into a woody, green phase with a few flowers around the powdery edges.  Not girly freesias or peony though: spiky geraniums and rooty Iris, still with a background of aldehydes and greenery (think ferns and greenhouses).

The finish lasts for several more hours and has more of that delightful powderiness to it. It is rounded off with a hint of rich resins, a soupcon of honey, more woods, vetiver, oakmoss and even a hint of tobacco.

I tried this on my skin and my coat sleeves a few days ago and again today and every time my coat touched my skin, a bit more Ysatis would waft up deliciously.  Use sparingly on skin, and add to a scarf and coat sleeve for a scent that lasts all winter.

Ysatis has die hard fans and is here to stay, I hope ( although you can never say for sure in PerfumeLand).  From the glitzy excesses of the eighties, we found elegance and daring that still looks good today.  Oh and don’t worry about the eau de toilette version being weak, it absolutely is not!

Stockists: in the UK you can get Ysatis online or in store from Boots at 24.99 for the 30ml EDT, or  the 100ml can be ordered from Escentual for only 47.33. In the USA you can get it from, and in Canada, from

Perfumes Under a Fiver: The IScentYouADay Christmas Guide to Perfume for The Frugal

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Christmas is coming, the Goose is getting fat,

Please put a penny in the old man’s hat.

If you haven’t got a penny, a farthing will do,

If you haven’t got a farthing, then God bless you.

Don’t think I’m being too early- there are only one or two pay days until Christmas.  Already the shops are full of Quality Street and Tinsel and I’m trying to stay away from the Lebkuchen so that Santa trousers don’t have to be my only fashion choice.

Perfume sales sky rocket before Christmas: it is no accident that Autumn is perfume launch season, and the selection on the High Street at the moment can be a) overwhelming and b) expensive.  From my dashboard here at IScent HQ, I can see  the most frequent internet search terms that lead people to my site.  The searches that I am seeing over and over again are “good cheap perfume” and “cheap perfume that smells good”.   I can see there’s a demand, and like an olfactory Wonder Woman, I’m here to solve your problem.

It sounds unfeasible that in a world where living costs are so high, it is still possible to buy perfume that doesn’t smell like cat wee for five quid, but it can be done.  Like all things, it’s just a matter of being selective.  I’m not promising you the moon and the stars, (or Sun Moon Stars- yuk!) but wearable, decent perfume for you or a friend or a colleague (if you’re doing Secret Santa) is within the reach of even the thriftiest shopper.

Here goes: I have smelled the good, the bad and the ugly to make this list:

 Perfume for Under a Fiver.

 In no particular order, all of these perfumes are under five quid and would be ideal for Secret Santa gifts or stocking fillers. Prices correct at time of writing


  1. Jean Yves Grasse Experience: For fans of Aromatics Elixir, this mossy chypre can be had for under a fiver. Available from Amazon UK
  2. Coty Chanson D’Eau: a wonderfully green and uplifting scent from Coty.  For under a fiver you get a free body spray too.  You can buy it from Amazon UK
  3. Coty L’Aimant The perennial classic.  I prefer the Parfum de Toilette to the cologne spray and  you can get it for under a fiver on Amazon UK.  To me, it always smells similar to Chanel No 5.
  4. Taylor of London Panache: the darling of the seventies, don’t write Panache off.  It’s a great floral aldehyde with 12 hour longevity.  I wear it regularly and its especially good in cold weather. You can buy gift sets for a laughably cheap 3.99 on Fragrance Direct
  5. Chique Another Taylor of London classic:  Its utility packaging and Seventies name hides a terrific mossy chypre that left me reminded me of Estee Lauder Knowing.  Buy a set off FragranceDirect for 3.99 .
  6. Avon Timeless Available from AvonShop Uk for five quid, this is a powdery, ambery classic that was brought back by popular demand. My Avon Lady, the lovely Jill, can vouch for its popularity.
  7. Milton Lloyd Tweed Mademoiselle- a fruity floral that smells like many new releases,  and is even better than many more expensive mass market fragrances.  Its a fruity floral (not my favourite genre, but always a bestseller),  and is light  and pretty with  the emphasis on the florals.  Anyone who likes Miss Dior Cherie might like this one too. You can buy it from Amazon UK.
  8. Bronnley Lime and Bergamot: From trusty Bronnley comes a light citrussy floral cologne that is a real crowd pleaser.  Currently on sale on Fragrance Direct for 4.99
  9. Milton Lloyd Panache Mademoiselle: if you like the light airiness of Estee Lauder Pleasures then you’ll love this. You can buy it from Fragrance Direct for 3.99. I have a bottle myself.
  10. The Body Shop White Musk Mini Spray: a perennial favourite, the legendary White Musk now comes in an affordable handbag sized bottle that costs a mere five quid and you can buy it  right here.

So there you have it- perfume under a fiver?  Yes it can be done and I wouldn’t let you buy it if I wouldn’t wear it myself.  A word of warning though:  Charlie Blue is under a fiver and put simply, its bloody awful.  You’re welcome!


timelesslimebronnleypanache mademoisellewhitemusk

One Direction: That Moment (Eau de Parfum)



The boys continue to roll from strength to strength, although Harry’s hairdresser appears to have been made redundant.  Out now in all the Christmassy splendour of the magical world of The Shops is One Direction That Moment EDP.

Imagine if you will those very chewy penny sweets called Fruit Salad, then add some apple shampoo and you’ve pretty much got One Direction That Moment. This is one of those occasions when the notes don’t match the scent at all.  On paper I would have been eager to try this:

Top notes: apple and grapefruit

Middle notes: jasmine and violet

Base notes: musk and woods

Sounds great doesn’t it?  I like every single one of those notes but couldn’t find a single one in the end result.

However, this was not made for the likes of me and somewhere, someone will be delighted when they get a bottle of this.  Fruity florals don’t smell so bad on young perfumistas, but to we more…er…grown up ladies, they are like wearing a mini skirt and a mid riff top.  Great on someone, terrible on me.

One Direction That Moment is nothing new at all.  It’s a low cost (£9.99) bottle of the same old same old and no barriers have been broken.  It does the job that is expected of it and people will like it and buy it.

However, I just want to rave about one thing: the bottle is absolutely gorgeous and I completely love it- sparkly fake diamanté and faux glass stopper and pink glass and all.  Bring it on, it’s gorgeous.  I can’t help myself.  I want it shrunk and made into jewellery.

Stockists:  One Direction That Moment is widely available out and about, but if you want to buy it online you can try or Lloyds Pharmacy online . It’s worth shopping around though as I have seen the exact same bottle vary in price from 9.99 up ot £28 depending on where you buy it.  On it pays to buy the 100ml bottle at only £12.48.  In the USA and Canada you can buy it from or


The Body Shop Red Musk: Red, White and New



The Body Shop White Musk is such a well loved classic that they wouldn’t dare to discontinue it.  Popular since the 1980s, it remains a steady seller and even those who don’t wear it have some nostalgia for it.  I know this because whenever I wore it to meetings in my previous job I would often hear “that reminds me of my first girlfriend/ the student house I shared/my wife when we first met”. Personally, I am never without my little bottle of Body Shop White Musk oil, which lasts me about a year. (But then I am promiscuous when it comes to other scents)

Good old White Musk

Good old White Musk

The Body Shop has already launched two flankers, both of which I have reviewed on this blog: White Musk Libertine and White Musk Smoky Rose. Sadly neither blew me away, but the new launch for 2014 is Red Musk, and they could be onto something here.

Red Musk opens with vodka and spice and beds down into a very tobacco-y haze that reminded one Fragrantica user of Serge Lutens Chergui.  A compliment indeed.  In fact, although lacking in the hay notes of Chergui, there is a touch of  Serge Lutens Louve in the dried scent of cherry tobacco as the drydown kicks in.  Several hours later, this is White Musk with a hint of spiced fruit cake, but a sugar free cake, solid with dense dark spice and none of the sickly cakiness I get so tired of in scent.

This has a masculine tang about it which makes it a perfect unisex fragrance, and is rounded off nicely with a tobacco-y musk Final Act.  All round, it’s not bad at all and I’m pleased to see this veer away from the sweet and further towards the rich.  Longevity is good at around six hours so far on skin and its been making my coat sleeves smell delicious.

Stockists:  Body Shop Red Musk is available online or in store. Readers in the USA can also get it online or instore via The Body Shop USA and in Canada there’s The Body Shop Canada.