Annick Goutal Les Colognes: Neroli



I’m not generally a fan of Orange Blossom.  There’s something honey like , or not orangey enough that puts me off.  It has been used so often in perfume but I often turn my nose up if I smell it yet again.  I love bitter, sour oranges in scent and I like white flowers, but I’m just not keen on Orange Blossom.  However, here comes the Annick Goutal Les Colognes range to turn that on its head, and its all down to my old friend petit grain.

photo by fragrantica

photo by fragrantica

Petit grain keeps greens green.  It makes colognes more cologne-y and keeps hesperides light and green.  It’s basically another name for orange leaf, but I don’t mind it the way I mind Orange Blossom since it’s all about the greenness, and not about the honey.

There are three notes to Annick Goutal Les Colognes Neroli: Orange Blossom, Neroli and Petit Grain.  That’s it.  But that’s all it needs.  This is simple and light and doesn’t promise the earth and all that grows on it.  However I will confess that even after some research I am still confused about whether Neroli and Orange Blossom are brother and sister or identical twins, there’s little to choose between them.

Longevity isn’t bad: I could still clearly smell this four hours later without having my wrist against my nose.  It feels clean and revitalizing to wear, like putting on a cool white cotton shirt in the heat.


This is enormously uplifting when you first apply it: as refreshing as throwing open a window on a muggy day. It’s not widely available, but you can buy it if you know where to look i.e online.  I would like to thank friend of the blog meganinstmaxime for very kindly donating me some sample that I would not otherwise have tried.  Thank you Megan!


Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle: A Big Improvement

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Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle is thankfully very different from Eau de Lacoste, which if you recall from my earlier review on this blog, was all synthetic pineapple and stickiness.  I was not a fan, despite it being a steady seller.

lacosteHowever, Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle is a different story.  There is no pineapple, which already puts this in my good books.  There is a pretty combination of appealing pink pepper and blackcurrant in the opening blast, which despite my previous moans about fruity florals, actually makes for a lovely scent.  I usually like blackcurrant in fragrance and this is no exception.

The middle notes are rose, sweet pea and gladioli and I have to say I have never smelled gladioli in a perfume before, and cannot smell it here. I suspect it may be one of those amalgamates that is more beloved of the copywriter than the chemist. In any case, smooth woody florals with fuzzy fruity edges are the order of the day.

The base stays fairly true to the blackcurrant and the floral notes. Unusually, the base claims to be a mixture of amber and nougat, which is a new one on me.  However, despite today’s frequent glorification of all things confectionary on the perfume shelf, the nougat is more of a almondy background, which may be why my first thought when smelling this was of a watered down, fruitier Dior Hypnotic Poison.

All in all, this is pretty good.  It’s not on my wish list (bursting at the seams as usual) but I like it.

Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose: A New Classic Has Arrived

tobrose There are rose perfumes and then there are rose perfumes. In the former category comes the good Yardleys and the not bad at all Marks and Spencer EDT. In the latter category comes the Andy Tauer roses and the Serge Lutens/Miller Harris roses.  And now to that category you can add Papillon Tobacco Rose. Tobacco Rose, by Nose Liz Moore for Papillon, opens with an abundance of good things straight away. From the first sniff I had tender dried tobacco leaves- not the Golden Virgina sort, but the not quite dried, still curling damp leaves:  imagine a pot pourri made of leather rose petals.  There’s a hint of powder, a whiff of fresh violets and the beautiful star of the show: the rose itself.  The opening is radiant.

download (1)The middle phase goes a bit gourmand, and usually I’m not a fan of gourmand, but I do love a nuttiness in scent and that’s whatlogo_header we have here.  There is a hint of almonds and richness that reminded me of Andy Tauer’s PHI Une Rose de Kandahar. The base notes are more tobacco and almond rich, but the rose is steadfast and you can wear this for eight hours and still know that it is a predominantly rose perfume.

I particularly like its lack of sweetness. I’m so over over-sugared scent, but this is pitched just right, with a clean greenness to it. The oakmoss gives it a chypre style base that smells so classic that it feels like its been around for years.

The quality of ingredients shines through: this is not cut and paste on the cheap like a lot of mass market High Street stuff these days.  These bottles are investment bottles and perfumistas will want them.  Of that I am certain. I recommend Tobacco Rose without any concern or doubt that you will love it. If you want some samples, try the Papillon website or our friends over at Les Senteurs.




The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Perfumes by IScentYouADay

It’s wedding season, and what better excuse to think about dreamy wedding perfumes?  Scent evokes such vivid memories that it’s important to get it right for a big occasion.  I have had fun over the past few days picking out perfumes for every kind of bride (I hope).  This guide is of course, subjective and you may have other ideas, or choose to wear a trusty old favourite, as I did.

If you’re planning a wedding, I would love to know what scent you have chosen.  If you are already married, I would love to know what you wore to your wedding.  As for me, I wore Chanel Cristalle, but if I had to marry Mr IScent all over again, it would be Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange.     Incidentally, just because this article is angled towards brides, doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate marriage in all its wonderful forms regardless of gender, race and age.  I support marriage equality wholeheartedly and at the same time, I say knickers to gender stereotypes in perfume.   All you need is love. And a wink and a smile.



The Classy Bride

Chanel No 19- Think Kristen Scott Thomas in a simple shift looking incredible.  Think hauteur.

Chanel Cristalle:  Green, beautiful, simple.

Miss Dior Original:  Not the one that smells like strawberries and flowers, the oakmossy one in the bumpy houndstooth bottle.

Lanvin Arpege:  Gets better as the day goes on, like a wedding once the Bar has opened.



The Romantic Bride

Especially Escada Delicate Notes: Light as air and pretty as a picture

Estee Lauder Beautiful: Retro memories of Paulina Porizkova looking beautiful as a bride in the ad campaign

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: Like a thousand ballerinas

Lush Imogen Rose: Smells expensive. Full of roses. Longlasting

Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop: Utterly delightful and smells like a posh florist.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose and Gardenia: White flowers on a wedding day. Rich and longlasting. Like the groom, hopefully.



The I Want to Be Different Bride

Noontide Petals by Andy Tauer: Smelling is believing; Bergamot and aldehydes in perfect harmony.

The Sexiest Scent On The Planet Ever IMHO by 4160 Tuesdays: Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and a Woody finish

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician. Never smelled it.  Love the name. Couldn’t leave it out.

I Fancy You by Jessica Simpson- Just for the name, just so people can say “what are you wearing?” and you can answer them, deadpan. With your new spouse right next to you.  Especially funny if your mother in law is present. Awkward if it is she who is asking.


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The Caribbean Wedding Bride

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Sun cream, coconuts, fig and white flowers. Longlasting and multi layered. Like your marriage, hopefully.

O de Lancome: When it’s hot, you’ll be needing the citrus.

Miller Harris La Pluie: Tropical flowers with a powdery finish.



The Sexy Bride Who Can’t Wait For the Honeymoon

Worth Courtesan- smells like knickers.

Miller Harris L’Air De Rien- smells like an unmade bed and joss sticks. Incredibly sexy.

Serge Lutens Feminite De Bois- smells like wooden knickers in a woody wood.


 The Unforgettable Bride With a Dangerous Glint In Her Eye

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles- despite having written over 400 reviews of perfume, this is the only one that made my husband stand up and protest loudly. Could be fun at a wedding.

Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifique.  It’s got the word secretions in its name.  It smells like it sounds. You may smell like you just had urgent sex with a tramp en route to the church.  But hey, nobody will forget your wedding.




Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea: A Perfect Summer Launch



Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea is a bit of a mouthful. It’s a new launch Limited Edition for 2014 and it has charmed me in today’s hot weather (yes, even in Wales).

I’m actually a bit of a fan of the original Light Blue. Having expected an ozonic melon fest, I was pleasantly surprised at how floral and multi layered it was.  There have been several flankers since: all seemingly named after a page in a holiday brochure or made-up adventure films, but today’s review is about Light Blue Escape to Panarea. (see what I mean about sounding like an adventure film?)

First of all, this is a light floral. Yes there is fruit in it, namely pear, but I wouldn’t regard it as a typical fruity floral.  It holds back on the sweetness for a start and has completely left out any ubiquitous vanilla that seems so unavoidable these days.

Top notes are simply bergamot and pear, both of which I like.  Middle notes are: Jasmine and Orange Flower, both of which work well in summer, and base notes, unusually, consist of Ambergris, Tonka bean and musk.

Put all these together and what you get is a refreshing citrus floral with a base that lacks the expected weight of the ambergris but is instead a well rounded and faintly sweet daytime perfume that would pass the commuter train test with flying colours.

The most prominent notes are the orange flower and pear, with the Musk just feathering the edges gently as the base notes meld together.

I like it because it’s not cloying or overly sweet, because the flowers stay true and don’t merge into a hollow mess, and because it’s pretty and delicate on a hot day.

Even you splash it all over, it has more staying power than a cologne, but enough delicacy not to be remotely offensive if you wear too much.  Lasting power is around four hours.  Frankly, I’m a fan.

Nina by Nina Ricci



I love Nina Ricci for making L’Air du Temps.  I will always have a bottle in my scent wardrobe and if they never make anything again of that calibre, I will still love Nina Ricci just for that.

Nina by Nina Ricci is not of the same calibre as L’Air du Temps, but it’s not a bad little scent at all.  I wore it for three days before writing this since at the end of Day One I changed my mind about it.

Initially I was going to mark this down as another fruity floral and review it as such, but then, if I can say such a thing, I listened to my nose, if that makes sense.  If you’re reading this you’re probably a perfume fan and you probably know exactly what I mean.

Far from being a fruity floral, Nina is in fact a juxtaposition of Lime and Praline that deftly misses smelling like Key Lime Pie.  In fact it was the lime that won me over and got me liking this, and I don’t normally like praline unless it’s in a Thorntons box.

Nina opens with Lime and Lemon, both strong, noticeable and refreshing.  The middle  section is not quite as zesty, but pretty with peony, and crisp with sharp Granny Smith apples.  The praline seems like an unusual add-on, and I would have liked this more without it I think, but it certainly doesn’t ruin a pretty day time scent.  The base is sadly a little cardboardy on me and reminds me of  Delices de Cartier ( see my earlier review). However after a while, a little bit of shy apple and lime peeks through the door again and I get a second shot at longevity.

Like I said it’s not bad and I would squirt it liberally on a hot day just to get those top notes and the early middle phase, but the base isn’t great on me. I don’t hate the praline and I am utterly besotted by the gorgeous bottle. Worth a try. Worth a few tries actually.

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Intimately Beckham Yours Women: Dodgy Name, Lovely Scent


 I have to start by saying that I have always questioned the reasoning behind the use of the word Intimately in the name of a perfume.  To me, it smacks of euphemisms for feminine hygiene products: “intimate wash”, “intimate wipes” and so on, so I will start by saying this is badly named and clumsily phrased. The photos of  the eponymous Beckhams getting it on add a bit of smuggery to proceedings.

However, among the slew, nay onslaught of celebrity scents, the Beckham scent wardrobe has so far impressed me. The David Beckham colognes for men are very reasonable in quality and price and  a previous Beckham fragrance that I reviewed ended up smelling more like aniseed than the well worn fruity floral/death by vanilla capers that are so common now (I think it was Signature For Her, see my earlier review).

In fact, surprisingly, the Beckhams have no fewer than 24 scents between them which puts them firmly on the radar and on the shelves.  But hey, help them out, the poor things must need the cash. *cough*

Intimately Beckham Yours Women (Can we just call it IBYW?)  opens pleasingly with pear and frangipani. Frangipani always smells a bit like almonds to me so this was a pleasant surprise.  Pear is not for everyone, but I rather like it in fragrance.  Opening notes; so far so good.

The middle notes remain true and the scent bursts with tropical petals, yet no Tiare Flower here, despite the unshakable image of rain kissed white flowers.

The base is soapy and floral and a little blander, and I couldn’t find the promised vetiver, but longevity isn’t bad at around five hours.

All in all, with an attractive gold box, a heavy glass bottle and a surprisingly unorthodox choice of notes, this makes an all round good buy.

I can’t help thinking this was made by the same people who make Avon scents.  It smells very similar but doesn’t have that cardboardy base that so many Avon scents have on my skin. (Apart from Avon Premier Luxe which is great). Not bad at all.


Do you mind? We're getting it on.

Do you mind? We’re getting it on.

Estee Lauder White Linen: A High Street Classic


It’s taken me a while to get round to Estee Lauder White Linen. The reason why is that I have, in the past, found it a bit too metallic and silvery, akin to getting foil in your back teeth *shudder*.  Unfortunately Chanel No 22 had the same effect on me (and many perfumistas would  beg to differ on that beauty).

However, with perfume my motto is never say never ( except with Theirry Mugler Womanity, which is a permanent estrangement) and thus I have been trying White Linen for a couple of days now. White Linen opens with  a fog bomb of aldehydes, which normally I like, but still this is somehow too metallic for me, like chrome or rusty silver. After an hour, things look up and the flowers all seem to turn from bud to bloom, and many of my favourites too.: Hyacinth, Lilac, Lily of the Valley and Violets.

In a garden , these would be like paradise for me and in a perfume the effect is similar.  The aldehydes lose their metallic edge but still give these flower buds a punchy frame for their blooms.

The base note is very long lasting and equally as delicious as the middle phase. There’s Amber, Benzoin,  Vetiver and Oakmoss.  However, this isn’t quite as pungent and spicy as you might imagine. The flowers never went away you see, so all these wondrously strong base notes are made feminine, whilst still retaining a  warm zing of heat.

The base note lasts around thirteen hours, making this fabulous value at around 40GBP.  I have often smlled this on older ladies, but rather than label it old lady, as many have, I credit the more experienced perfume user with excellent taste. Despite White Linen being American, I have always thought there is something quintessentially English and proper about White Linen.  I’ll bet you a tenner Camilla has a bottle. And I bet Charles doesn’t mind. He loves flowers too.

Talking About…Chanel No 19

Chanel No 19

In Which Lisa Wordbird and Samantha IScent Talk About Chanel No 19

 IScent In my best Sir David Frost voice, Hello, good evening and welcome to an evening with Wordbird and IScent. Now you may be familiar with Lisa Wordbird as she has popped up as guest blogger from time to time and her sample collection and full bottle collection has helped me on many a day when I have had Blog Block and not known what to review. Without Lisa I would never have entered the chypre portal, been introduced to the wondrous world of Tauers or been able to try a rather pleasant niche line called Serge Lutens. Without Lisa, my blog would be once a month, and rather forlorn.

Now although I have already reviewed Chanel No 19, I thought it would be interesting to get a second opinion. Lisa, welcome, sit down, take your coat off and have a drink, don’t worry it’s chilled. Now then, Chanel no 19, whaddya say?

LisaWordbird *sips* Oooh, that’s nice! Funnily enough, ‘chilled’ is a word I’d use for Chanel No 19, too. Or even ‘chilly’, if you believe that Luca Turin. The review that he and Tania Sanchez gave it in Perfumes, The Guide, was less than enthusiastic, talking about it being all green and mean and ‘stillettoes in the boardroom’. But I find it fresh and yet warm at the same time, quite a feat. Maybe it’s because I wear jeans and t-shirts all the time? Or maybe it’s because I’m so non-threatening?

IScent Yes Luca Turin implies its all boardrooms and cold formality but like you, I find it very pretty and impossibly elegant.  It’s not too try hard and it seems to be one of those perfumes that’s widely available but you can still buy it without smelling like everyone else. *cough* Coco Mademoiselle*cough*. I think you once made the analogy of Chanel No 19 being like  an elegant wedding guest who just threw on a beautifully cut linen shift and ended up looking better then everyone else. You know, like Kristen Scott Thomas.  She should SO be the poster girl for Chanel No 19.

LisaWordbird  Did I say that? I must have been taking my ‘insight’ pills. Yes, it is very crisp white linen – so much more simply elegant than all those frilly, fussy floral print  dresses that make you sweat in the sun. It’s very Kristen Scott Thomas, yes! You know how she’s all elegant and cool and then she does a Dowager Duchess on you and comes out with a real zinger of a remark? I think Chanel No 19 is a bit like that, too. It isn’t just a simple citrus, there is a green zinger in there too. A bit like when you remember that Gin and Tonic is more ‘bitey’ than you thought.

I wonder if younger women wear Chanel No 19? I mean 20 year olds. Because there MUST be some 20 year olds who don’t want to smell like the marketing departments tell them to. What are they wearing?

 IScent The 20 year olds?  I think they are all wearing Marc Jacobs Daisy.  Even they grew out of Britney when they hit fifteen.

Disclaimer- this is neither of us. This is the luminous Kristen Scott Thomas.


Readers- you may be interested to know that Lisa and I recently guested on Lipglossiping too for the lovely Charlotte.  We talked about Thierry Mugler Angel.  Here’s the link.