Three Sneezes For Easter!

photo by Wiki Commons

photo by Wiki Commons

Forgive my temporary absence. I have had lotions and potions and appear to allergic to just about everything right now.  Funnily enough, I have never had an allergic reaction to any perfume but can’t currently wear any due to itchy eyes, no sense of smell, and various skin irritations.  I’m putting my trust in the good old NHS and have been given various treatments that are starting to work.

However, next week, Mr IScent is taking myself and the boys on a short holiday if you please.  Sun, sea and buckets and spades. My absence may be a bit longer but I hope to come back to you refreshed and fully treated.  I do love Spring, but it has  a singular drawback. 

Easter is a time of renewal and I hope to come back fully refreshed and non sneezy.

I wish all my readers a wonderful, peaceful Easter full of happiness, sunshine and everything in this photo below.

thedigeratilife.com

thedigeratilife.com

Olbas Oil: Dear Hayfever, It’s Not Me, It’s You

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It would be dishonest of me to  try and review any perfume today since I cannot smell very much at all. This makes me sad as aromas can make my day (or break it:  I’m looking at you Muscs Koublai Khan).

Initially I made a joke to say  that Olbas Oil was the only thing I can smell, but since I am never without it I thought I would offer you a few lines of praise for this bargain oil. The ingredients include  clove oil, eucalyptus, juniper berry and cajuput. Rubbed on feet obvernight it can have amazing effects, but I prefer it in a mug of hot water, to be inhaled, not  drunk! It will clear just about anything, including drains and plugholes most probably.

Anyway, this is my roundabout way of saying welcome to my world today and please excuse the lack of perfume review.  This is all I can smell. And my eyes itch too.

Armani Code For Women: Does Not Compute

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This’ll have to be quick I’m afraid.  My four year old son told me on the way home that he can take his Easter bonnet in tomorrow. This was news to me.  Apparently it was a last minute change of plan.  But this is a perfume blog not a  blog about how much notice I need when I have to magic an Easter Hat out of approximately no Easter craft items whatsoever.

Armani Code For Women baffles me.  It is a code I cannot decipher.  On a Mumsnet perfume thread once,  I encountered several women who adored this and one who wore it on her wedding day.  I tried it today, all hopeful and anticipating a thunderbolt moment of fragrance love, but it never came.  This is all Orangey White flowers that reminds me of a watered down version of Alien, mixed with a bucket full of yet more Orange Blossom and a blob of honey.  In fact, looking at the notes on Fragrantica I wasn’t far wrong.  I may have said earlier that I only like Orange Blossom in a chorus rather than as a solo and this is no exception.

I’m not keen, it doesn’t smell original, and there are about thirty flankers. It’s not that good Armani! I just don’t get it.

 

Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Eau En Rose: A Fair and Fleeting Rose

 

www.givenchy.com
www.givenchy.com

I like a pretty Rose scent at any time of the year and I quite like Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Eau en Rose.  However, I would like to say one thing to Givenchy: You have not only made twenty nine Very Irresistible flankers but why are no less than EIGHT of them Rose flankers with slightly different names?

This is a serious turn off and if Givenchy  was trying to date me, this alone would stop me from calling them back after the first date.

I always find too many flankers can start to look both self congratulatory and complacent.  One or two carefully made flankers can be good (one example is Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte- a divine flanker that deserved to be made), but make too many and the original becomes devalued in a stack ‘em high sort of way.

givenchy

However, having got that moan out of the way, I will say that Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Eau en Rose (what a mouthful!) is a delightful and fresh, clean smelling Rose that sadly goes a little bit vinyl on my skin after half an hour. It is described by Givenchy as a “frosted rose”, and that’s a pretty idea, but I’m not sure quite what that translates to.  It makes me visualise frosted fruit with a faint sugary bloom.

There are only three notes listed on Fragrantica and they are: Blackberry, Rose and Musk.  What I like about this is that the Blackberry, whist adding juice and a bit of weight to the airy Rose petal, is restrained enough to prevent this from being a fruity floral mélange.

L’Eau en Rose is pretty, feminine and lasts about, oh let me see now, nearly two hours.  I do actually like it: there is a realistic feel to the initial blast of fresh rose petals, but sadly it cannot be maintained.  If it could, I would be all ears ( and nostrils!). Longevity could do with a bit of a push as well. Conclusion? So nearly there and so nearly wonderful. And for Goodness sake, Givenchy, calm down on the flanker overkill!

Vanderbilt by Gloria Vanderbilt: A Thrifty Classic

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If you were a child of the Seventies, you may remember the adverts on TV for Vanderbilt jeans.  Daring designer Gloria Vanderbilt, she of the impeccable heritage, launched a range of jeans that were tighter than the world had seen before.  Suddenly the derriere was very much “in” and fashionable backsides had Gloria’s name all over them.

www.iwillnotdiet.com

www.iwillnotdiet.com

Between scandal, tragedy and court cases, Vanderbilt, a talented artist and writer, also launched a range of perfumes with L’Oreal and the original scent: Vanderbilt by Gloria Vanderbilt, has become a quiet classic with no signs of quitting yet, rather like it’s 90 year old creator.

The success of Vanderbilt led to the launch of twelve flankers, including fragrances for men, but none have eclipsed the success of this slow and steady grafter that can be bought just about anywhere for under ten pounds.

If I had been asked to describe this blind, I would have said it was most definitely Iris against a sweet Tuberose and Musk base. Two out of three ain’t bad, as Meatloaf would say, and I was very surprised to see that this contains no Iris at all.

Here are the notes according to Fragrantica: Top notes: Aldehydes, Pineapple, Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Green notes. Middle notes:  Carnation, Tuberose, Orris Root, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang. Base notes:  Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Opoponax, Vetiver, Civet,  Musk

Many of these ingredients are absent to my nose (no Civet and thankfully, no Pineapple), you may find it’s different for you.  Considering there are so many varied ingredients,  I still find that rooty note that is usually associated with Iris, is the most dominant.  However, I think it’s probably a combination of vegetable-like Orris Root and creamy rich Tuberose. The drydown is a pleasant crowd pleasing White Musk with a hint of something woody: maybe a whisper of Vetiver and rasp of Sweet Myrrh aka Opoponax, but overall, I still say that Iris lovers will go for this.

Age wise, this could suit young or old, although today’s young tastes might initially eschew it in favour of more sugary scents.  It’s versatile for day or night, inoffensive and cheap enough to wear every day.  Longevity is pretty good at around six hours and you can easily top up from just about anywhere should you run out.  Frankly, these things are all I ask from a drugstore classic.

Gloria Vanderbilt had such a colourful and interesting life, it would make a great movie. With her wealth, she could have gone down the exclusive route  where fragrance was concerned and produced something with a “no riff raff” price tag, but she didn’t and she created something entirely pleasant and accessible. Kudos  and my respect to this Grande Dame of Design.

 

Dolce by Dolce and Gabbana

 

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The new launch  Dolce from  Dolce and Gabbana represents a welcome burst of floral Spring fragrances on the beauty counters. With its pale green juice and faux Ivory flower lid, I would happily award ten out of ten for packaging and presentation.

My initial feeling within the first few minutes of smelling this was that it was a little like Gucci Envy.  Sadly that phase only lasted a few minutes before it settled down into a fairly generic but agreeable floral.  At first I thought I could smell Vanilla in the drydown but in fact the sweetness comes from the flowers used: Amaryllis is a cross between rose and nectarine, and Papaya flower is sweet enough without having two sugars in its tea.

The notes, according to Fragrantica are : Top notes: Neroli and Papaya Flower, Middle notes: Amaryllis, Narcissus and Water Lily, Base notes: Musk and Woods.

The Neroli is certainly a dominant note, and this manages to be a very floral scent without troubling the White Flower genre, nor the Green notes genre, nor, (thankfully) the Vanilla Cupcake genre that seems to permeate everything.

It’s a hard one to categorise so I shall say it’s a pretty and light floral with a toned down yet noticeable sweetness. I didn’t really get Musk and Woods in the base though, more like Peach and Vanilla, for which this loses points. Longevity is decent: after five hours it’s very close to skin but still there, just about.

Out of many new releases tried lately, this is one of the better ones, and worth a sniff if you’re passing by a counter.

Dana Toujours Moi: “With a Spicy French Accent”

$_12

 

As you know, I am a big champion of smelling good on a budget (although I like to splash out sometimes too).

I recently ordered Dana Toujours Moi from ebay for the princely sum of £3.99.  In return, I had a cute 15ml spray bottle of Toujours Moi Eau de Cologne.  Oddly enough, the box is packaged separately, which seems a like a lot of packaging, but if I am extra thorough with my recycling this week, my guilt will lessen the tiny blow. This is also available on Amazon for 6.99 plus P&P.

Toujours Moi is an Oriental.  No doubt about it.  And don’t be fooled by the “Eau de Cologne” label either, this lasts until bedtime.

The notes according to Fragrantica are : Orange Blossom, Sandalwood, Musk, Lavender, Lilac, Jasmine and Vetiver. The notes are not arranged in any particular order.

etsy.com

etsy.com

What I experienced on the first spray is a wonderfully vintage-y  blast of  spicy floral notes, settling down into something more powdery and richer than its notes would have me believe.  I would have thought there was Amber, and even a touch of Benzoin in here, but there are not.  For a few moments, it reminded me of Tauer’s Le Maroc Pour Elle- a whimsical spicy Lavender scent with a hippy vibe that reminds me of outdoor markets on a sunny day. ( see my earlier review)

The Lavender  and Lilac lend an old fashioned feel to Toujours Moi and there is definitely a powdery touch in there somewhere.  Some people might label this old fashioned, but I say bring it on.

Lasting power is amazing at this price:  at an hour it stays strong, after that, it gives a little enticing wafts for a couple more hours, and after that it’s close to skin until bedtime.

This would be too traditional for a modern cupcake palate, but for those of you like your fragrance classic, with a spicy vintage vibe, this is for you.  It is the kind of très French perfume your mother may have received for Christmas in the early 70s.

I have to share what it says on the box,

“Sensual and full-bodied, a provocative romantic scent spoken with a spicy French accent”

 

 Paris 065

 

In Praise of Mothers

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It was Mother’s Day yesterday, and both being and having a Mother kept me away from the screen yesterday.  However, such a day should not go unacknowledged  since Mothers are often our first point of reference when it comes to perfume. It never ceases to amaze me how people can forget what they had for breakfast yesterday but remember exactly how their mother smelled to them when they were four.  It often moves me to read reviews on Fragrantica where posters nostalgically muse about scents of their much missed mothers, or even the much missed years of their childhood.

One thing I admire about my own mother is that she always tried a different scent.  She has by turns, worn Louis Feraud by Avon, YSL Rive Gauche, Paloma Picasso, Chanel No 5,  Estee Lauder Knowing, Dior Dune and several late great Avons that I cannot name but would immediately recognise. Today she favours Avon Soft Musk, Body Shop White Musk, and Dana Tabu, which I introduced her to and which smells terrific on her.  She doesn’t very often like anything I like,  but she has always been interested in perfume, wearing it every day, and that in turn, has made it part of my ordinary day to day life.

Don’t save it for special occasions, and thank your Mum if you can. I’m a mother and I’m exhausted!  My children made me beautiful handmade cards and thanks to their Dad, Mr IScent, I also received a bottle of Anais Anais which I have never owned before and which I have grown to love.  My son asked me “When is Kid’s Day?”  I said “every day is Kid’s Day. Today is all about me, which is why we’re going out for lunch.” And like them , I fell into bed at 8pm.

Dear Mum, thank you for having me.

 

Jil Sander Sun by Pierre Bourdon

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Well what do you know?  A Pierre Bourdon that I like. Bourdon is a gifted perfumer but sadly, everything he makes seems to rub me up the wrong way (for a visual, try doing this to a cat- the look on its face!)

My friend Lisa Wordbird, ever generous, let me borrow this one and I initiallythought it was a bottle of expensive after sun.  The packaging isn’t a million miles away from Piz Buin or Ambre Solaire. In fact, there are definite whiffs of both, more of which anon.

photo by World of Oddy

photo by World of Oddy

It was an almost immediate reaction to compare this to the 4160 Tuesdays scent “What I Did on My Holidays” ( see my earlier review).  Both have that appealing, sunny-days-are-ahead feel to them, and have included a little shot of a sun lotion note, and a hint of sugary sweets to keep the nostalgia going in gloomier climes.

Jil Sander Sun has a deceptively large number of notes.  I would have said Vanilla, Orange Blossom, Coconut and Tuberose, with an Amber and Patchouli base.  My evaluation was a bit hit and miss, but  will give you a clue as to which notes are dominant and which are back up singers i.e you don’t notice them individually but the performance would be different if they weren’t there.

Here are the notes as stated by Fragrantica (How I love that site!)

Top notes: Palisander Rosewood, Bergamot, Fruity notes, Cassis, Orange Blossom, Amalfi Lemon

Middle notes: Carnation, Ylang, Orris Root, Rose, Heliotrope and Lily of the Valley.

Base notes: Musk, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber, Benzoin, Tonka Bean, Styrax and Vanilla

 

photo by World of Oddy

This is a rather clever Oriental that is designed to work on a hot Summer day. Many Orientals are de trop in hot weather, but this one is perfect. Reading the notes and sniffing my wrist I am marvelling at M.Bourdon.  How does he doe it?

This has a floral sun cream style opening, with the Orange Blossom very noticeable, settling down to a creamy mid note of yes…barely there Heliotrope ( it reminded me briefly of Guerlain Apres L’Ondee in the middle). The flowers are  not light and airy, but rich and milky, with spicy Carnation and sombre Orris Root leading the way into the basenotes.  The base notes last for a long time and make for a pleasant Oriental finish that is both smooth and light. Despite containing heavy hitters such as Styrax and Benzoin, this miraculously seems just right for a day in the baking hot sun.

This is perfectly unisex, despite there being a men’s version, and if you time it right, it could take you from a sandy seaside afternoon into that cool, welcoming bar by the evening. The Oriental notes are just enough to catch on a breeze as you move. Nothing too heavy, but still enough to be interesting.

This is a  clever scent and one where I can finally enjoy a Pierre Bourdon. Prices start at around £20.  Jil Sander Sun would both complement and enhance the scent of any sun screen, but is great worn alone  when the sun can’t be had for love or money.

photo by World of Oddy

photo by World of Oddy