Pell Wall Pretty in Pink: The Perfect English Rose and More…


I first stumbled across Pell Wall Pretty in Pink on the pages of The Perfumed Dandy’s blog. His site has been quiet of late and I miss his flamboyant and unique reviews.  However, if the Dandy likes it, it’s usually worth liking and Pell Wall Pretty in Pink was as delightful as I had hoped.

As mentioned in my previous post where I reviewed Pell Wall Deep Purple, Pell Wall Perfumes are the creation of Chris Bartlett, who fits that marvellous category of independent UK perfumer. He does everything himself and the buck stops with Chris.  To me, our independent perfumers are national treasures and we need them.


Pell Wall Pretty In Pink lives up to its name and yet avoids modern cliché.  It is indeed feminine and pretty , but what stands out for me is that Pretty In Pink smells like it was created in the 1950s to go with a tea dress, bone china and a powder puff.  It’s not just the rose, you see, it’s the fact that the Lily of the Valley takes off from the starting blocks at the same time and instead of a rose soliflore, you have a jammy rose with my favourite ever flower alongside it, floating around in a wonderful time warp that makes me go misty eyed. (Its no coincidence that my two all time favourite perfumes are Gucci Envy and Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange. Lily of the Valley Fanatic?  Moi?)

The top notes are lime, mint, and neroli, and the hint of sharp greenery in the opening adds a lovely botanical garden tang to this most English of rose perfumes.

So here I am wafting about in a cloud of rose and lily of the valley and feeling rather pleased with myself.   The ingredients are high quality: hand selected and sniffed by Chris himself. I can smell actual petals.  I can pick Lily of the Valley out anywhere and here it is pleasingly measured alongside the rose. There are other flowers too: jasmine and lily to name two, but once I’d latched onto the lily of the valley, I couldn’t let it go.

As the day wore on, I could still smell Pretty in Pink clearly and although some of the initial floral sweetness has gone, sandalwood and musk start emerging very agreeably.  There is vanilla listed, but I didn’t get any.  The roses and lily of the valley never completely go away, but they become muted versions that stay on skin with an almost patchouli like finish which reminded me of the base notes of both Narciso Rodriguez For Her and Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.

Longevity was extraordinary.  I sprayed my neck and crooks of elbows and the ends of my hair and the following morning, a full twenty one hours after first trying it, I could still smell it around the ends of my hair and on my pillow.


Not bad for £36 a bottle is it?  Pretty in Pink would suit just about anyone but would go especially well with vintage Laura Ashley or Royal Doulton or in a wedding photo. It also goes very well down the park in January playing hide and seek with people shorter than me.

You can buy Pretty in Pink right here, or why not treat yourself to a Pell Wall sample pack?


PS Is it just me or are The Psychedelic Furs singing Pretty in Pink in your head too?


Pell Wall Perfume Deep Purple

Pell Wall perfumes

Pell Wall perfumes

I like violets and I like small perfume houses, and this perfume house recently sent me some bottles to review, for which I am extremely grateful.  However, as always, I should state that just because it’s free, doesn’t mean I have to write something nice if I don’t like it.  But in this case I am going to write something nice because when it comes to Pell Wall Perfumes, they’ve just bagged themselves a die-hard fan.



Pell Wall is the brain child of Chris Bartlett, who does everything himself.  There is a vast choice of reasonably priced perfume in beautiful Jeeves and Wooster style packaging and the quality is jolly good indeed, even including a hypo-allergenic scent called Haiku which I will be reviewing soon.

I told Chris I like violets and a few days later found myself the owner of a bottle of Deep Purple, for which many thanks Chris!.

However, if you’re a violet fan, be warned that there are no parma violets here but more of a wet garden violet.  Deep Purple smells like a real violet from the garden crushed between your fingers.  The violet is actually faint, but there, like a pastel washed background.  Initially Deep Purple went waxen on me, and bizarre as it sounds, for a moment I was transported back to primary school in the early seventies ( but I look younger) and the smell of the brand new, inexplicably waterproof toilet roll that was in local schools back then.

Don’t take this as a bad thing, but the opening did smell like clean water, wet paper and wax just for a second.  In fact the total lack of sweetness reminded me, believe it or not, of Guerlain Après L’Ondée, which in turn makes me think of melancholy stone statues in the rain.



Deep Purple, despite its Rock Star Spring like name, is a grown up violet in watercolour where the violet is the star of the show, but not in many scenes.  There is wet moss faintly, and fat droplets of rain on green leaves on a cold day.  This is violet for grown ups and having had the frills and lace taken away, this is beautifully unisex.


Prices for Deep Purple start at just £21 for 30ml, or you can buy samples starting at £5 (free postages) or a set of  mixed Pell Wall 9x 10ml bottles for just £49. Try the website here.


How to Get Perfume Samples


The Perfume Society

The Perfume Society


Blind Buys have taught me a lesson many times and it’s often a lesson I choose to ignore.  So many times have I seen a bargain perfume, read some reviews of it, looked up the notes and decided to buy it, only to be disappointed.  You can always sell your disappointments on eBay but you rarely get the same price back that you paid for it.

In the frugal month of January, which is usually grey and makes Christmas look sad and outdated within days, something nice in the post always cheers me up.  A set of samples to work through can help you make a considered decision about your next perfume buy, whilst being a very pleasant way to spend an evening indoors as the wind and rain lash outside.

Samples are the best way to live with a scent for a few days and below is a round up of the best.   They also make great gifts for people when you don’t know what they like, and more importantly- when they don’t know what they like either!  When you come across samples that you don’t like, hang on to them as they are great for swapping (see point 12 below)

So here are my twelve best places to get samples. I’ve done the homework so you don’t have to. These are all UK.

Where do you get yours?


The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box. – Every quarter, for five quid, you get sent a Discovery Club box with between six and nine samples in.  Some you may already know and some may be new releases.  All High Street popular stuff rather than niche, but it works for me.


The Fragrance Shop

The Fragrance Shop

The Perfume Society Beauty Box- when you subscribe to the Perfume Society for £25 a year you receive a Discovery Box, free of charge, full of scented goodies.  After that you can buy a Discovery Box for the discounted price of only £10. A great way to learn about scent new and old.


The Perfume Society

The Perfume Society

Penhaligon’s Library of Scent- ten samples- five male, five females (but knickers to that, I wear men’s stuff very often) at the very reasonable price of £15 on the website or on Amazon.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Boite a Parfums- you can get these online or on Amazon and each pretty tin contains ten 2ml splash samples of L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances.

sample tin

Papillon Perfumes- To experience what everyone is talking about right now, you can order a sample set of all three Papillon scents for just £11 plus £3 shipping .   Critically acclaimed and beloved of perfume fans and bloggers alike, the Papillon trio could lead to you buying a full bottle. Heed my warning.  You will fall in love.


4160 Tuesdays: all sorts of ways to sample these unique scents from handbag sized bottles to a full set of samples.  Prices start from just £6 for a generous 4ml splash bottle.  I’m a big fan. Here’s the link to the 4160 Tuesdays website.


Pell Wall Perfumes- some great variations here: £5 for 5 x 1ml samples including postage (four of your choice and one “lucky dip”), or 9 generous 10ml bottles for £49. Here’s the link.

Discover-Pell-Wall-Box small

Scent and Sensibility- a carefully curated collection of hard to buy scents in generous spray samples with quick, efficient service. It’s my Go To website when I run out of a Tauer sample. Here’s the link.


Les Senteurs- The biggest range of niche samples I know of in the UK – they have just about everything I can think of and many more I had never heard of or tried.  Here’s the website- but be careful- you can get quite lost in it. Heaven!


at Les Senteurs

at Les Senteurs: .

Cath Collins: A “cottage” perfumery which makes great zesty scents inspired by flowers. 3 x citrus or floral EDT samples for £5.25 inc shipping or £10.50 for all six, including shipping. Full sized bottles are reasonably priced at £41.50 for 50ml. Here’s the link to the website.


Jo Loves: Try the sample set of 10 scents for £38. All fabulous quality and mouth wateringly good. Here’s the website link.


EBay: you’d be amazed what people sell. Try for bulk packs of samples such as Thierry Mugler Angel- sometimes cheaper than buying the smallest bottle and handy for your handbag.


The Perfume Shop Viva Box: a great idea where you buy a box of eight samples which includes a bottle for a full of bottle of whichever is your favourite from the box.  There’s one for men and one for women. Here’s the link.

Swapping  Swap with other perfume lovers on Fragrantica, basenotes and Facebook groups.  Join up, join in and get involved. Perfume lovers are generous souls and love to spread the joy and share.  This is where all those samples you don’t care for come in handy and can be used as swapping currency.

Tauer Pentachord White 2011: More Than the Sum of Its Parts



The Tauer Pentachord Range is a bit like a side chapel in a Cathedral of scent ( imagine  a Cathedral of scent- wow!).  The Pentachord series, of which there are three, always makes me think of  a barman in  a whisky bar saying “You like that oak aged single malt?  Come round the back, I’ve got something very special for you to try”.  It’s as if the Pentachords are a special invitation for those who want to go right down to the bare bones of a scent with no fanfare and an open mind.


photo by wikipedia

Pentachord White does not disappoint.  You know that interesting side effect that you sometimes get in perfume? The one where two notes are paired together and by serendipity you get a third note that isn’t listed?  Well that’s what happens with Pentachord White. It’s like using primary colours to create a palette of 30 other shades (and you only need primary colours to do that anyway). Five notes give a rich  and detailed picture indeed.


The notes are ( in no particular order) : Iris, Violet, Ambergris, Vanilla, Rosewood

Pentachord White opens with iris and violet, but on my skin there is initially a kind of vinyl note which beds down into vanilla.  Not sponge cake vanilla that seems so overused in  High Street scents, but more of a rich milky wood vanilla. In fact, if I was smelling this blind I would have said it was a hint of honey layered over the top.  This is Bourbon vanilla, which is aptly named because it kicks off smelling boozy.

The Iris is rooty and dry, which can sometimes seem dour to me in a scent, but here the violets and vanilla bring it out of itself and make it prettier. The prickly amber gris slowly and gradually emerges, making this a multi faceted work in progress, before finally it all comes together bit by bit, like a story, where all the chapters merge into a satisfying dénoument.

The Final Act, despite having only five ingredients,  brings to mind a salty tang,   a hint of church incense, a dry, almost vegetable backdrop,  the tiniest soupcon of Spring,  pebbles on a beach, and sun-bleached driftwood.  There is a carefully rationed sweetness that ekes itself out moment by moment rather than in one big gush.

Its complex and ever changing, and all from only five ingredients.

What interested me about  Pentachord White is that I can think of two excellent fragrances which also have violets and iris prominently, and yet which smell nothing like this: namely Guerlain Insolence and Guerlain Apres L’Ondee.  This just goes to prove how diverse a fragrance note can be and the genius of the Pentachord simplicity.  It’s the choice of ingredients and how they are put together that makes this stand out. Vanilla and iris?  Ambergris and violets? Yes!

Pentachord White may not please every palate, but I urge you to try it if you ever get a chance. It is unique.  It’s never smelled exactly the same on me twice which makes this worth a second look and a third.

Stockists:  In the UK you can buy Pentachord White from Scent and Sensibility, and Les Senteurs.  In the USA and Canada try LuckyScent and in Europe try the Tauer website.


Tauer-perfumes pentachords white auburn verdant

photo by kind permission of

Penhaligon’s Sartorial: Suits Your, Sir!


Today and yesterday I have been wearing Penhaligon’s Sartorial.  Inspired by the tailors of Savile Row, Penhaligon’s Sartorial is outrageously good and it comes as no surprise that the nose behind it is none other than the prolific Bertrand Duchaufour.

Sorry, I couldn’t help the flippant title.  If any UK readers remember the Fast Show with the overly familiar tailors you will understand why I couldn’t think of Savile Row without thinking of their catch phrase.  I especially liked the Johnny Depp episode!  But I digress.

Sartorial opens with woods: both vintage and polished.  There is beeswax in there, and some light gentlemanly spices.  There is a blast of green aldehydes on first applying this, which beds down into a manly middle phase, which makes you want to see the hairy chest under the shirt button.

In the middle there is lavender and leather and  a hint of  Spring time linden blossom, but it’s the base notes that do it for me and which hang around for about seven hours on my skin. (This is intended for men but I think it is excellent on me, even if I say so myself).

The finish of Sartorial does indeed smell like a posh tailor and very much makes me want to go and get fitted for hideously expensive trousers. There is Oakmoss in abundance, and lots of prickly patchouli, and balsam,  and Myrrh, and brand new leather belts and more rich antique wood and oh…it does what it says on the tin to the power of a hundred.  Penhaligon’s Sartorial is terrifically good and deserves to become a classic.

Over on Fragrantica, at least 14 readers have decided that it smells like Brut.  I can’t say they’re wrong, it may smell like Brut to them and I cannot argue with a subjective response.  However, in my opinion, if Brut smelled as good as this and was as woody and rich then I would be wearing it every day. And so would my husband.

Now although I like to champion inexpensive perfumes, I also think its worth stating a case about pricing sometimes.  Penhaligon’s may look expensive but actually a 50ml bottle of Sartorial is £52 on at the moment.  When you compare that to a lot of mass market High Street stuff,  Sartorial becomes pretty competitive but the quality and longevity is far superior.

Stockists: You can buy Penhaligon’s Sartorial from the website Penhaligon’s, or  try the lovely sample tin of 10x2ml samples before buying blind.  In the USA and Canada, you can buy in person from branches of Saks or Wilkes Bashford or LuckyScent in LA, or online from  and, where Sartorial is just over $90.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada: A Winter Holiday



Picked totally at random and because I couldn’t stop sniffing it once I’d tried it, I find myself reviewing unseasonably.  L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada is a very summery scent that seems to work in winter, or rather, if it doesn’t, I’m going to wear it anyway.  In any case, it is  a perfume that must have been especially invented to flip through glossy holiday brochures in January.  You can almost hear the seagulls.

I often find it interesting, and I’ve been doing this more lately, to write down my first impressions of a scent and then compare it to the actual notes.  It either illustrates my instinctive and subjective response, or it tells me I don’t know my notes from a carrot.  I think it’s somewhere in between.  There is no right or wrong response in perfume.  If I think a perfume smells like tobacco and yet it has no tobacco in it, then to me, it still smells like tobacco. ( Wrote the blogger wringing her hands and trying not to look like an amateur).

L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada reminded me of rhubarb, with a hint of something dirty or earthy: not quite sweat, not quite bad hygiene, but hovering somewhere in between.  Then it reminded me of the sea but I couldn’t think why.  I found it very Mediterranean.

In actual fact, Batucada opens like a cocktail:  it’s all mint and sugar and lime.  Then it has Tiare flower, which is a gardenia wearing Ambre Solaire, and it finally beds down into salt and sea notes.  I think it must have been the sea notes that gave me that salty, not entirely clean tang of trunks, sea food and sand.

All in all, it’s an interesting scent that combines clean with dirty at the same time.  I still say there’s rhubarb in it though.

The only sad face I pull when I try a perfume from L’Artisan Parfumeur is that my friends leave before the party’s got into its full swing.  Longevity is never quite what I was hoping for.  Apart from that, L’Artisan produce fascinating scents that keep me on my toes.  By turns eccentric and unpredictable, but always good quality and innovative, L’Artisan has something for us all.

sample tin

Stockists: L’Artisan Parfumeur Batucada is available from if you’re in the UK  and if you’re not.  If you don’t want to buy blind, you can try this delightful sample set from which has ten phials of perfume. ( Any guesses who got one for Christmas?  Clue: it may be  a blogger you know).



Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream



The popularity of Marc Jacobs fragrances is indisputable, but I have often wondered, does the prettiest peacock have to try harder in the personality stakes? In other words, are they all mouth and no trousers? (as we say in Wales).

To be honest I quite like the Marc Jacobs scents that I’ve tried, and I’ve tried Daisy, Honey, Dot and Daisy Eau so Fraiche.  They are perfectly nice and inoffensive and whenever I smell them on other people I always remark how lovely they are.  However, I can’t help thinking my perfume dollar is going to the posh bottle factory and not to the quality ingredients department, and it doesn’t come cheap at just £40 for a 30ml bottle.

daisydreamWhen Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream was launched last year, I noted the beautiful bottle with its cut out daisies and its pleasing, nay delightful, sunny skies bottle and I confess, I felt a little cynical towards it.  But saturation has a way of influencing you – says this new fan of Strictly Come Dancing.

Here’s  a funny thing: I have started to like Daisy Dream and can’t seem to stop trying it whenever I go into Boots (the chemist not the footwear, for non UK readers).

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream opens as lightly as a fairy doing ballet.  It’s all delicate peachy fruits and light as air flower petals. (Although in fact, its blackberries, grapefruit and pear). The middle note goes a bit weird on me though, and I can’t help thinking of tinned tropical fruit:  think wet lychees and slightly gone over mango. The base has a slightly synthetic sickly note, but there are still sticky wet fruits and delicate flowers in there as it all beds down into what is supposed to be musk, woods and coconut  ( not on me!).  Longevity is around four hours, but no more than that.

It’s a youthful, modern scent that I don’t think will stand the test of time as a classic. However, I can’t help wishing that I had an Alice in Wonderland potion that made the bottles into impossibly pretty little necklaces made of jewels.  Start making those, and I will be a living advert for the brand.

The truth is, Daisy Dream and I are not compatible in the long term.  I only like the top notes.  I guess that’s why I keep visiting the bottle in Boots instead of owning one.   Like a bad boyfriend, I lose interest after the honeymoon period.


Stockists:  Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream is available just about everywhere, but if you’re shopping online you can try  if you’re in the UK or or if you’re in the USA or Canada respectively.


Papillon Artisan Perfumes Anubis: An Extraordinary Début


IScentYouADay turns two today, so I guess  being two I can throw a few things, bite stuff and go to bed early.  This is also my 500th post, so it is a significant day to me.  It wasn’t easy to pick a scent for my 500th post and 2nd birthday, but then I had a lightbulb moment.  I have already reviewed two of the terrific perfumes from Papillon Artisan Perfumes, but that elusive Anubis kept escaping me.  Twice it has been lost and twice it has been found.  The second time was today,  and it felt right to choose it when it turned up again as if fated to.  I am therefore choosing ( and wearing) Papillon Artisan Perfumes Anubis for my 500th post.  It is quite simply outstanding and well on its way to becoming a cult classic.

It’s fair to say that 2014 was an extraordinary year for Papillon Artisan Perfumes.  With only three scents to the name, the critical response has been enormous with the industry sitting up and taking notice in the very first year of their launch.

For Nose Liz Moores, Anubis holds a personal place in her heart, initially being a creation for herself.  After  being asked so many times what her perfume was, Liz made it available to the public (hooray!) and after several incarnations, Anubis was born.


Oddly enough, when I reviewed Papillon Angelique, it was instant love but I really struggled to describe it.  It was almost as if it were a classic already and as such, impossible to deconstruct.  I found myself in the same position with Anubis.  I know I love it, but it’s hard to explain why.  I could tell you the notes, but it would be like looking at the sheet music instead of listening to the opera.

Here’s what it smells like to me:  An ancient stone walled chapel, as old as a millennium and infused with the smoke from a thousand thuribles. Imagine all that, only on leather, with a bonfire in the middle distance, and a hint of Egyptian embalming oils. That is what Anubis says to me.

But here are the notes so that you can pad out my  subjective description:  suede, jasmine, pink lotus, castoreum, immortelle, saffron, myrrh, benzoin, rose and frankincense.

Anubis has been blended so seamlessly that each note segues flawlessly into the next.  As a whole, it makes one resounding chord, as if it’s always been around.  If you like Tauer Lonestar Memories or Cuir Ottoman by Parfum D’Empire (both excellent), then I am almost certain you will like Anubis too.  Longevity is around ten hours on my skin, and this is eau de parfum strength.

Anubis has already made waves and friend of the blog MeganInStMaxime named it as her favourite launch of 2014.  The great Persolaise has also lauded it, and dear Thomas aka the Candy Perfume Boy has awarded fellow Papillon scent  Tobacco Rose one of his coveted “Candy” Awards. The mighty Kafkaesque writes a superb and comprehensive review of Anubis that I cannot begin to compete with, you can find it here.

Anubis is unique: by turns it is smoky, leathery, spicy and redolent with incense and enigma.

And as for Liz Moores?  Utterly charming and a delight to deal with.

During my visit to Les Senteurs way back in Oh…2014, I was pleased to see the trio of Papillons by the door, among illustrious company, as they have every right to be.  I believe there will be more brewing over at Papillon one day and I believe there will be a queue around the block…


Happy Blog-aversary to me! and thank you for popping by!

Stockists:  Papillon Artisan Perfumes are available from the Papillon website, from Les Senteurs, or in the USA from Indigo Perfumery.

Per Una Gabriella: Affordable Quality on the High Street



I have often wittered on about the good things that are happening over in the Marks and Spencer Fragrance Department and I was delighted to find a bottle of Per Una Gabriella in my Christmas stocking, bought by my crafty sister in law who managed to buy it when I was actually with her. It must have been when I got lost by the Christmas party dresses. We had to text each other in the end, but I digress…


I was delighted with Gabriella for two reasons: One- it smells lovely, and Two: the packaging is so delightful it was a pleasure to receive.

Let’s talk about the first one:  Gabriella opens with citrus, namely lemons, and blends into abundant white flowers.  The white flowers are not too creamy and heady: we’re not talking hardcore tuberose, more like a bit of jasmine here, a bit of orange blossom there…  and when that has finished blooming and being all feminine and pretty, the base comes out with a hint of light musk (which would be toasty beige if it were a colour) and a light woody finish.  It’s fresh and uplifting and a very pretty floral.  The combination of lemon and flowers briefly reminded me of Boucheron Trouble (yes a hint of lemon cheesecake very briefly), but I actually prefer Gabriella to the much loved but sadly discontinued Trouble.

Now to the packaging:  Not only does Gabriella come in a delightful patterned  gift box somewhere between leopard print and giraffe, but the 100ml bottle has a flipping neck scarf on like a fancy woman! Impossibly charming, Gabriella became an instant favourite and I have been wearing it lots.

The other nice thing about Marks and Spencer fragrance is that you can buy most of their range in little 10ml or 25ml bottles, so if you don’t like it, you haven’t bankrupted yourself. These days I would happily skip many a High Street Perfume Shop for dear old M and S.  And nobody can knock their knickers as far as I’m concerned.

gabriella little

Stockists: Gabriella is available from Marks and Spencer in store or on online for £7.50 for a 25ml bottle, or £16.00 for 100ml.

A Healthy, Happy and Fragranced New Year to My Dear Readers!

I have just had my delightful annual report from Jetpack and  was delighted to read that my blog has been visited twice as much this year as it was in its first year.  My most popular posts were (in order of popularity) Gucci Envy, Serge Lutens Arabie, Perfume for Paupers,  Lidl X-Bolt for Men and Coco Mademoiselle.  The number of countries my visitors came from was 173.  My most commented on post was the Tauer Advent Calender: Scent-vs-Event with 147 comments. The number of smiles these statistics have put on my face is…well I don’t know but I’ve got face-ache.

Happy New Year my friends.  I appreciate each and every one of you.  Let’s face it, it would be pretty lonely doing this if nobody  else turned up! Oh, and a big thank you to Lisa Wordbird, who is my most commenty commenter with an amazing ( and usually amusing) 94 comments.

It’s my two year blog-aversary on January 2nd.  Here’s to more of the same!


Guess who?