4160 Tuesdays: What Katie Did on Friday Night

whatkatiedid

 

What Katie Did on Friday Night has taught me a valuable lesson.  It has taught me to completely disregard the notes a perfume has before trying it.  I used to read the notes and form preconceptions like a fussy eater reading a menu.  But I fell hard for What Katie Did, and  having done so, found myself feeling surprised that  after falling for it, I realised that many of the notes would have been roundly and foolishly rejected by me and may have caused  me missing out on a gem.

What Katie Did reminds me of maraschino cherries:  that rich, deep almond like taste that enhances any throwback drink, or indeed, tastes wonderful alone, eaten with a cocktail stick straight from the jar.  Described by Maria Angelidou as smelling like “tart cherry jam” its borderline sourness is what gives it its USP, and I remain addicted.

 

www.promosgroceries.com

www.promosgroceries.com

Previously I had tried and rejected cherry scents: I was almost anosmic to Cartier Delices de Cartier which faded as soon as it landed on my skin, despite other reviewers reporting twelve hour longevity. I had also turned my nose up at anything containing watermelon or cucumber, but here they are, giving the sour cherries a dewy lightness. I hadn’t much liked raspberries either, but here they smell just right.  I realise I am beginning to sound like my five year old son “There are brown bits on the edge of my egg”, “my sandwiches aren’t triangles”, but I have been taught a lesson.

This is the second time Sarah McCartney has had me learning to love things I would have previously eschewed.  New York 1955 contains ice cream and candy floss, two things would have put me off completely, but the addition of violets made me buy a bottle and wear it with pride.

What Katie Did on Friday Night is a revelation and has made this fussy eater start ignoring the menus.

Stockists

You can buy What Katie Did On Friday Night from the 4160 website.  You can find further stockists here.  Big kudos to 4160 for making several affordable sample and discovery set options which you can buy here.

L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons

la chasse

With such a whimsical name, it was easy to be attracted to this scent like a butterfly to a buttercup.  With a seemingly mixed bag of reviews from the gushing to the nonplussed, I have to sadly align myself with the latter camp.

La Chasse aux Papillons opens with a whisper and then gets dirty, like twigs.  There is a hint of dried up buds, and an indolic background of jasmine.  Tuberose is alleged to be the dominant mistress here, but I could not smell any.  There is definitely Lime Blossom, but again, a dryness, like a flaky leaf, emerged on my skin.  Maybe Tauer’s Zeta spoiled me for other lime blossom scents.  There is freshness to this of sorts, and it certainly suits the spring season, but I was not enamoured of the white flowers with a hint of mud and dried leaves, nor of its light sillage and poor longevity.  I found it to smell almost medicinal or clinical, but that could be my brain getting confused because jasmine is often  used in commercial air freshener and soap.  Jasmine has many facets, and I didn’t care for this one.

Pinterest

Pinterest

Pity though, because I liked Premier Figuer and Timbuktu too and have a whole tin of L’Artisan samples to plough through yet.  But in the world of fragrance I would lack discernment if I loved everything a brand made, wouldn’t I?

I still love you L’Artisan Parfumeur, but I’ll leave this one to its fans.

Stockists

You can buy L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons on Amazon UK, Amazon.com and of course from www.lartisanparfumeur.com.  I have the sample tin, which is a great way to try before you buy, and you can buy it here.

sample tin

Colognes For Summer: My Pick of the Best

4711_ekw_header_start

shop.4711.com

As the weather changes, so does our perfume wardrobe.  The spicy patchoulis and leathers take a back seat, (although with changeable UK weather they never go away), and the pretty cologne bottles come out to play.  Cologne traditionally doesn’t have staying power.  The high alcohol content cools skin on application and not much more is expected of it.  However many of the fragrances labelled cologne today have the lasting power of an eau de toilette, that is between 4-6 hours, making colognes a good bet for the summer and justifying a cooling lunch time top up.

I’ve trawled through some of my favourites and have listed them below.  Although they vary in price, I consider all of them to be good quality and value for money, otherwise I wouldn’t rave about them to you.   Do feel free to tell me of any of yours too-I always love to hear from you.

Escentual.com

Escentual.com

4711 Original cologne:  The classic.  It reminds me of a school exchange trip to Germany in 1986 where I first discovered this timeless scent. The scent itself  doesn’t last long, but reapplying it is a pleasure in itself.  This  has been around since 1793 and the closely guarded formula contains herbs, citrus and a mossy backdrop.  This is the textbook classic which many say provided the blueprint for all colognes that followed, and still smells great today. You can buy it just about everywhere.  Try Amazon UK,  Boots.com,  Escentual.com or allbeauty.com.

immortelle

Cologne and Cotton Immortelle

Cologne and Cotton Immortelle:  A citrussy spicy opening leads into traditional style orange and lemon cologne with a handful of green notes that lasted an easy four or five hours on me. It beds down into a deeper, slightly bitter citrus that reminded me of Guerlain Pamplelune.  Available from Cologne and Cotton online or in store. A big thumbs up to the glorious heritage style packaging and generous 150ml bottles too!

thelibraryoffragrance.com

thelibraryoffragrance.com

 

Library of Fragrance Rain:  The lovely Vanessa Musson of Bonkers About Perfume described this as “minty tangerines”, and I totally agree.  It has an ozonic, refreshing tang that smells as fresh and clean as a rainy day.  Lasting powder was around four hours. You can buy it from Boots or from Library of Fragrance online

CC_Niobe-400_m

Cologne and Cotton Niobe

Cologne and Cotton Niobe I reviewed this recently and liked it so much that I decanted it into a Travelo and carry it round in my handbag.  It opens with citrus and ends with spice, but is never cloying- always uplifting.  Made for men, but used by me.  You can buy a generous 150ml bottle from Cologne and Cotton online or instore.

westinidanlime

West Indian Lime by Crabtree and Evelyn

Crabtree and Evelyn West Indian Lime Cologne I tried this on in winter and it lasted around six hours on me and I stood there in my damp coat and wet boots dreaming of summer. This is a glorious lime that packs a punch and lingers around like a good mood.  You can buy it from House of Fraser, Marks and Spencer, and Amazon.com

eaudecartier

Eau de Cartier

Eau de Cartier  One of my early loves, which I reviewed within months of starting this blog.  It’s my hangover scent: Lavender, mint and bergamot in perfect harmony- even Luca Turin thinks so.  Strictly, it’s an eau de toilette, but it behaves like cologne and smells like cologne, so I will shoe horn it in anyway.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com, Sephora.com , Debenhams or Amazon.com and Amazon UK.

eau dhadrien

Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien

 

Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien  Lemons, lemons, lemons, citrus and lemons.  With a hint of aldehydes. Don’t buy it if you don’t like lemons, but what could be better in summer?  This is a classic that will never go out of style. You can buy it from allbeauty.com, Escentual.com and Selfridges to name but a few.  You could also try Sephora.com or Amazon.com

farina

Jeanne Marie Farina

 

Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina eau de cologne  There is a complicated back story here as to whether Roger & Gallet introduced the very first cologne to the world, or whether it was the 4711 gang.   There is a great article here which explains it more fully, but I think its’s safe to say that the Roger  and Gallet brand has been around since 1693, pre-dating the 4711 history.

Jean Marie Farina is my favourite Roger & Gallet and is named after the heir of the original recipe, who converted aqua mirabilis into eau de cologne back in 1806.  It combines spices and lightness with herbs and citrus and in my eyes at least, it is a classic.  It is widely available, but I like buying it from my local Marks and Spencer, one of the few High Street stockists outside big cities.

eaudynami

Clarins.com

 

Clarins Eau Dynamisante  Bright, astringent and refreshing, Eau Dynamisante has it all.  In my previous review of ED here on this very blog, I described it as the freshness of an open window on a stuffy day. This Clarins range defies categorization as it is neither a cologne nor an eau de toilette but a firming skin treatment.  However, by being full of citrus and herbs and having a short but refreshing staying power, I would say that as cologne, it fits the bill.  I also adore Clarins Eau Des Jardins (see my review) which smells so good I almost want to drink it (but don’t!). You can buy it from any good beauty counter, or you can try allbeauty.com, Sephora.com, Amazon.com or Escentual.com.

 

Penhaligon’s Bluebell.

bluebell

I have long wanted to try Penhaligons Bluebell, despite knowing that it was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher, of whom I was not a fan.  Interestingly, it is also rumoured to have been a favourite of the late Princess Diana, and the very current Miss Kate Moss.

The reason I have longed to try this is two fold.  Firstly, when I was growing up there was a field and some woodland near our house which were  awash with bluebells every year.  I would pick huge bunches of them and the smell of them is a memory that has always stayed with me.  Olfactive memory is never to be underestimated and can pack more of a punch than a photo.

The second reason, tied in with the first reason, is that the very first bottle of perfume that  I ever bought myself with my own money was a little glass bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots The Chemist.  It was a splash bottle, square, and made of frosted glass.  It has long since been discontinued but I remember buying it in my early teens and splashing it on liberally.

 

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me

I had a Penhaligons Scent Library sample tin for Christmas, but Bluebell was missing.  Luckily dear friend of the blog  Patsi came to the rescue and I was delighted to receive a sample of both Bluebell and Violetta from her yesterday, for which, many thanks indeed Patsi.  I cannot pick a favourite from the two!

Penhaligons Bluebell lived up to my expectations.  It smells exactly like a fresh bluebell, only cranked up a little and made more intense.  The natural smell of a bluebell is more subtle, but we’re not going for realism here, we are going for reproduction. There is slightly metallic, medicinal tang to it, a little like Jasmine at its freshest.  Alongside the central bluebell note ( listed as Hyacinth, but all the same family)  are other floral notes that fill in the gaps as the sharp, high pitched Bluebell wavers, unable to keep the fresh note going.  Here I can discern Lily of The Valley and a faint rose, before the Bluebell note melds into the spicier, base notes with its cloves and cinnamon, used sparingly, like a faint outline.

 

kew.org

kew.org

There is a definite vegetable note in the base, reminding me that bluebells are related to asparagus, but it is eclipsed by wafts of  pleasing flora.   Would I buy this? Yes.  And I would also buy Penhaligons Violetta and wear them together, because, oh boy, that smells amazing!

Stockists

You can buy Penhaligons Bluebell from Penhaligons and Penhaligons stockists and franchises, which you can find here.  You can also find Penhaligons on allbeauty.com, Amazon UK and Amazon.com, as well as eBay.

Versace Eros Pour Femme

fragrantica

fragrantica

I had a sample of Versace Eros Pour Femme in the most recent Discovery Club Box from the Fragrance Shop.  This might be a good time to confess here that I am shamefully unfamiliar with a lot of Versace scent, having only actually reviewed two or three.  Something about the brand leaves me feeling like I can’t identify with anything they have to offer.  No offence Versace, we’re just from different worlds.  However, I rather liked Eros, but enough to buy a bottle?  We shall see.

The Fragrance Shop

The Fragrance Shop

Versace Eros Pour Femme opens with citrus and pomegranate,  both of which were very much present and correct.  The opening is sharp and refreshing,  and the pomegranate provides a little juiciness.  Then straight away, we’re heading into Jasmine Sambac territory.  Now Jasmine Sambac seems to be this year’s caramel.  Last year caramel and praline notes seemed to be everywhere, and this year I have noticed Jasmine Sambac, (sometimes called Arabian Jasmine) has been providing lots of rich white floral notes to  lots of mainstream new releases.

versace eros

Jasmine Sambac is that white flower note with a seam of not-quite-spice going through it- an almost metallic, borderline oriental richness that  screams floral , but not the light petally delicate floral, more the rich gilt chaise for the delicate Laura Ashley cushion.  It seems fitting then that it used here in a Versace scent- so renowned for the dripping luxe that is synonymous with the brand.

The Jasmine Sambac very much dominates and drowns out the initial lightness of the citrus, though if I’m not mistaken there is a faint note of lemon curd if I close my eyes and concentrate.

This is described on the sample card as belonging to the olfactive family of “floral, woody, musk” and I would say that’s a fair description.  The basenotes meld into a  sandalwoody, musky, jasmine miasma.  This is not quite a daytime summer scent, but would be at its best on hot oily skin after a day at the beach.

The bottle and packaging is suitably luxurious as you would expect, but I baulk a little at the high price tag.  I think you can get similar for less, but I’m blowed if I can think of any names right now.  This is a bit like a Marc Jacobs without the lightness maybe?  Or maybe its reminding me of Givenchy Dahlia Divin.

Conclusion:  Yes, I don’t dislike it, but no I wouldn’t buy a bottle

Stockists

Almost ubiquitous, you can buy Versace Eros Pour Femme from Debenhams, Escentual, The Fragrance Shop, Harrods, and Boots to name but a few.  If you’re outside the UK, you could try  all the big department stores and Amazon.com or Sephora.com

Read More

The Candy Perfume Boy, once again, writes a review with which I wholeheartedly agree. I deliberately don’t read the reviews of others until after I have written my own, and I found afterwards that Thomas and I both found this rather lacking.  Sadface.

 

 

 

Jimmy by Bruno Fazzolari.

Jimmy_1500

 

 

Fresh flowers and daylight. Violet, cassis and rose over a base of moss and ambergris.

 

Jimmy is one of three samples I was kindly sent by artist and perfumer Bruno Fazzolari, from his studio in San Francisco . Inspired by artist James Schuyler, Jimmy is all about the violets, but it doesn’t stop there.

To me Jimmy awakened many nostalgic memories of my childhood, where I remember being outside more than I was in, and endlessly picking flowers ( True. Ask my Mum who had an almost permanent yoghurt pot of wild flowers in the windowsill from me).

What Jimmy illustrates to me is that sometimes the list of notes in a scent bears no relation to your interpretation.

The notes, as listed on Fragrantica, are: Ylang, Ylang, Lemon, Rose, Geranium, Heliotrope, Sandalwood and Violet Leaf.

 

@Bruno Fazzolari

@Bruno Fazzolari

What I actually  get is a sunny day with the smell of mossy violets,  a bit of banana skin, presumably from the ylang ylang, and armfuls of bluebells. It is as if a long forgotten scent from the 1970s has emerged.

It is “fresh flowers and daylight” and it certainly fits the job description and goes the extra mile too.  This is the smell of a summer’s day through the eyes of a child.  It’s faint earthiness is the smell of muddy knees, a dress that needs a wash, and flowers and sun and that priceless era where you never have to look at a clock or check a bank balance.

Jimmy is uplifting and nostalgic and has taken me on an unexpectedly touching trip down memory lane.

Preview+Set_1500

Stockists

Jimmy is available from these stockists in the USA, or you can order a preview set from here.

Montecristo by Masque Milano: A New Cult Classic?

montecristo

 

I was recently approached by Alessandro and Riccardo of Masque Milano to ask if I would be receptive to a few samples of their fragrances.  Naturally I was delighted (me? Turn down samples?) and just a few days later, the Fed Ex man interrupted me pruning the fuchsia to give me a parcel from Italy. Both fuchsia and perfumes are now in good order, apart from one small phial which shattered in transit and made the package smell wonderful.

Today I shall be reviewing Montecristo because it had such a big impact on me.  In fact, I would go as far as saying that it has the potential to become a cult classic.  Montecristo was created in 2013 by nose Delphine Thierry.

At first spray, Montecristo is almost a citrussy like cologne, but within minutes something interesting happens.  There is a combination of tobacco, leather and um… well body odour.   Skank if you will.  The smell of sex.   If you met a man wearing this you would find him irresistible and not quite know why. NB – this isn’t a guarantee, just an impression.  Please don’t pursue me if it goes horribly wrong.

At this point I could not stop sniffing it, but the note seems to blend in and calm down a bit as it enters the middle phase.  Whilst there is celery seed in this, it is more subtle than say, Caron Yatagan, but has a faint herby, vegetable smell which is a lot nicer than the way I am phrasing it.

The dirty/sexy/skanky note that I mentioned really caught my attention and whilst for me, it dominated; it was so beautifully framed and enhanced by other notes that it takes Montecristo into a league of its own.

Strike a pose… (photo by Fragrantica)

The note is Hyrax and according to my bible, aka Fragrantica, it is from an animal that is, almost unbelievably, the closest living relative to the elephant, despite resembling a squirrel with a knowing look. As an alternative to Castoreum (from beavers) and Civet (which look like small raccoons), the essence of Hyrax is harvested from its crystallised pee. Alarming as that sounds, it is a cruelty free way of injecting the smell of musky armpit or sweaty post coital inner thigh into a fragrance whilst allowing the animals to roam freely in the wild, free of harm.

In Montecristo, this note is complemented by woody, leather and tobacco notes which give it an intensely masculine vibe, which, even if I say so myself, smells wonderfully androgynous on a woman. Namely me.

fr_montecristo

Longevity is fourteen hours, during which time the base notes emerge, leaving a scent of vetiver, leather, dark smoky woods, and, well how can I put this?  Dried spit.  After a while it smells like I have saliva on my arm, but before you think that’s derogatory, I actually loved it.  It smelled like a human.  It was comforting, smoky, manly and delicious.

I predict great things for Montecristo and I also predict that Lisa Wordbird will fall hard for it.

Montecristo by Masque Milano is the smell of the bad boy on the motorbike that your parents didn’t want you to date.

Stockists

Please don’t hate me UK readers, this is not available over here, but a list of stockists for Europe and the USA is here, and  if you want to try before you buy, there is a discovery set available.

Creed Silver Mountain Water: My Take On It

fragrantica

fragrantica

 

Creed Silver Mountain Water is a revered scent with a phalanx of fans that easily outnumber little old me, who is sitting here looking singularly unimpressed.

 Creed Silver Mountain Water evokes such purity and blue skies, that it was a disappointment to find that on my skin it bore only dried tea- and I emphasise the word dried as this reminded me of pot pourri.  Sadly the dried-leaf effect was dominant at the expense of the notes I was looking forward to meeting: namely galbanum, bergamot and my beloved petitgrain.

Silver Mountain Water led me to expect a scent that evoked a crashing cold wave on a baking hot day, or a froth of powdery snow as a dashing skier  whizzed past,  making the snow looking like confetti in his wake, but no.  I’m still there with the rather unpleasant pot pourri fragrance with a slightly scorched edge as if it’s been left on a hot windowsill too long.

After a couple of hours, this bizarrely turned into Carolina Herrera 212 For Men, which has negative connotations for me- so beloved was it of  a former flatmate who  marinated in it to  eclipse other less salubrious odours.

This is the third Creed fragrance I have reviewed and I remain underwhelmed.  It brought to mind a quote from Dr Cuddy in House MD ( my current favourite Netflix boxset) “Well she’s not as delightful as she thinks she is”, and if Creed Silver Mountain Water was a person, that is what I would say about them.

Stockists

Creed Silver Mountain water is available word wide- try Sephora.com, Amazon or the big department stores.  In the UK you can try Harrods, Liberty or House of Fraser.  At £160 a bottle, try before you buy.

With Thanks

With thanks to friend of the blog Patsi, who kindly supplied the sample.

Library of Fragrance Mahogany

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

One of my favourite smells is the smell of an ancient church as you creak open the heavy oak door and smell years of ancient stone and the remnants of incense.  Back in my university days (which seem to be getting further and further away) I chose Medieval Devon Churches as my dissertation topic and it involved travelling to remote parish churches, creaking open heavy oak doors, and smelling that exact smell.  Heavenly seems to be an appropriate description.

Two years ago, not long after I had started this blog, I was lucky enough to try Comme des Garcons Series 3 Incense Avignon.  It blew me away.  It was as if a centuries old church had been concentrated and bottled just so I could enjoy it.  I labelled it ideal for truanting vicars.  You could have a raunchy affair, spray yourself with CDG Series 3 Avignon, and swear you’d been in church all afternoon.  But I digress.

Pentacon

The church at Civray, Poitou Charente

Today I am reviewing Library of Fragrance Mahogany and the reason I’m bleating on about CDG Avignon is because whilst I can’t afford it,  LOF Mahogany has given me something that is much more within my reach and ticks the same boxes.  It opens with ancient, antique wood, all dark and  faintly spicy, and then a  little breeze of incense comes in, and even a hint of an unlit log fire, a  faint wisp of wood smoke and that unique scent of an old stone castle, not quite musty, not quite smoky, but somewhere in between.  It’s heavenly I tell you, and I have been dousing myself in it as if it were a marinade.  I adore this smell and because I have been wearing it so much, my house smells a bit like it now as well, even though my house is a youthful 105.

Pentacon

My husband and two sons- “being dragged round another church by Mum”

I’ve always been a big fan of Library of Fragrance, but today I think I’ve finally found my favourite.  If you make a perfume that smells of ancient churches and wood, I will buy it. It’s pretty much a guarantee.

Stockists

Library of Fragrance Mahogany is available from Library of Fragrance online.  For a 30ml bottle you can expect to pay a  very reasonable sum of £15.

Friedemodin Jardin Mystique: Like A Raindrop in a Garden

jardin mystique

 Jardin Mystique from Friedemodin is one of a range of four perfumes from Nina Friede and Elisabeth Modin, two friends united by their love of travel and their love of fragrance.  You may recall my glowing review of Friedemodin Vertine earlier in this blog, which, as a fan of green notes, was nothing short of a delight to me.

Jardin Mystique is in a similar vein and left me equally charmed.  Whilst it purports to be more about the flowers than Vertine, it retains a light greenness that keeps the floral notes as fresh and transparent as a raindrop.  In fact, you can wear them together:

“The leafy freshness of Vertine enhances the green wild notes of Jardin Mystique”- Friedemodin

Convallaria majalisJardin Mystique opens with Cassis, Bergamot and Grass notes, and the blast of green grass with the almost bitter black currant tones of the Cassis makes a refreshing change from all the sweetness that is, in my humble opinion, vastly over used in modern launches. (Enough with the caramel!)

As the grassy opening act conjures up a picture of dew frosted gardens in my head, out comes one of my favourite scents: lily of the valley.  Couple that with the kind of jasmine that adds a light handed hint of white flowers (petals only, there is restraint here) and you have a floral that is both delicate and distinctive.  As all of these green and floral notes merge and bloom, a faint hint of woodiness creeps in to give the ending a bit of longevity.  It feels as if the light and airy notes would float away without it. I would have named it sandalwood, but it appears there is no sandalwood here, just white woods and a hint of patchouli leaves.

Created by genius Francois Robert, a prolific nose who is also the nose behind Mary Greenwell Plum,  Friedemodin Jardin Mystique is an exquisitely blended scent which to my nose reminds me of my childhood in the seventies.   It has a classic, almost retro feel to it that harks back to a more innocent time somehow, like grass and daisies.

My only note of gloom is how fast I went through my 5ml spray.  I did find that I couldn’t smell it anymore on myself after around an hour, but apparently it was still there as others could smell it.

Stockists

Friedemodin is available in the UK from Harvey Nichols, or from the Friedemodin website, where you can also find a worldwide list of stockists.  I would like to express my thanks to Friedemodin for the delightful set of 5ml samples they sent me.