I always get excited by a bargain and today I am very excited about a fabulous men’s fragrance that kind of came at me by surprise out of the supermarket. Picking out my husband’s usual anti perspirant order, I stumbled across a daily fragrance range from Lynx. Not a body spray, not an anti perspirant- a fragrance.
The one I bought was Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber for the princely sum of £4, leaving enough change from a fiver to add some Green and Black’s chocolate to the basket. I was very pleasantly surprised.
Tobacco and Amber is ridiculously sniffable. There is a background of cosy pipe smoke vanilla and just a hint of woody tobacco. Lob some warm amber in and- Voila! A great fragrance that I will be definitely be unapologetically thieving from his chest of drawers. I have smelled men’s fragrances for ten times the price that I haven’t liked as much as this.
There are two others in the range and I take my hat off to Lynx for not going for the obvious mainstream “Sport” vibe. There’s Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla and also Iced Musk and Ginger. At £4 a pop, I might get them all.
So it’s just a quick one today but I couldn’t resist writing a review even if just to make the point that good fragrance can pop up in the most unlikely of places. I am seriously gladdened to think that the young males of today might soon be wafting Oud and Vanilla and Tobacco and Amber under our noses. What a nice surprise that will be.
Cheap as chips- you can get these from Asda for £4 each for a 100ml boxed bottle but that might be an introductory price.
4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess is one of the samples included in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, but I already had a sample from my recent purchase of a full set of Crimes of Passions samples.
With The Discovery Box comes a postcard of smelling notes, with conversation prompts which are ideal if you are part of a perfume club (and I’m starting one soon).
One of the questions stood out for me. “If this fragrance was a movie star, who would it be?” My immediate answer is Ava Gardner, the woman Frank Sinatra went loopy for. She was stunning, sexy and classically glamorous, which seems like a good place to start for my review of 4160Tuesdays Sex Goddess.
Sarah McCartney has unbuttoned my uptightness about fruity florals and this is no exception. There’s peach, blackcurrant ( but no cat pee!), along with strawberries, peppery geraniums, amber, bergamot and a last word of vanilla and musk.
So far so good on paper, but what does it smell like in glorious technicolour reality?
There’s a definite whiff of the vanilla and bergamot combo from Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO) which provides a golden background (I can’t help seeing it as golden and fuzzy), but the fruit makes this playful and gives it a vintage feel, in line with say, Madame Rochas and her peaches. Somehow, all together, and in the nicest possible way, this smells as if it was made decades ago. Maybe its the oakmoss. Maybe its the peaches. Maybe I should buy a bottle.
It’s blended with just the right balance of everything and if, like me, the tidal wave of modern mediocre fruity florals has put you off, I can assure you that this could not be more different. It stands in a class of its own. Like beautiful Ava.
You can buy Sex Goddess from the 4160 Tuesdays website, with prices starting at a very reasonable £15 for a purse spray. After that, you may want a bigger one and you can buy those as well. You can also get a sample by buying the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box from The Perfume Society website.
Photo of Ava Garner by www.doctormacro.com
L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc has been floating around my radar for a while saying “try me! try me!” but it wasn’t until I received my sample in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box that I decided we should meet.
I’m not a huge fan of fruit in perfume, although my mind has been broadened of late and I’m open to change. Mure is blackberry and used here, it has a lovely almost bitter edge that avoids the cat pee of blackcurrant and the sweetness of red berries. When I first sprayed this I thought it was very similar to that most classic of colognes, 4711. It’s bursting with fresh feel good citrus and is immediately uplifting and refreshing. Within about ten minutes, there is a tender white musk background and the combination of that and blackberries is basically what this is built on. There are other notes too: green fresh basil, (which borders on the minty), two types of sharp orange and Amalfi lemon. There is an almost negligible presence of the aforementioned red berries, but they don’t crowd this so that’s fine by me.
The base notes are a combination of blackberry, musk and oak moss: yet the citruses, seamlessly blended with the more grown up finishing notes, make this an absolute treat to wear at any time of the year. It’s easy to see why L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc is one of their best sellers.
You can buy Mure et Musc from allbeauty.com or Sephora, as well as House of Fraser. My sample was from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, which is £17.50 or £12.50 to subscribers and comes with ten other fragrance treats and samples.
Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day, ignore it, or just get a takeaway with your husband like me, it’s the perfect excuse to bag more perfume. ( Do we need one? I think not.)
Our chums at Library of Fragrance have come up trumps yet again. They truly do have a scent for every occasion, except Halloween ( although I wore Library of Fragrance Bonfire last year).
Valentine’s Day can mean cuddly toys, chocolates and candy hearts, but Library of Fragrance has gone all classic for this one and presented us with a florist’s bouquet of jasmine, honeysuckle and white roses.
It’s bursting with white flowers to the point where I initially assumed it was tuberose. I wasn’t miles off the mark, as jasmine has much in common with its heady, creamy cousin. White flowers at high volume can be almost medicinal and sort of peppery/celery-ish. ( There’s no dictionary word for peppery and celery-sh so that will have to do). Here the jasmine almost goes as far as that, but not quite. The jasmine is rich and loud and extravagant. The honeysuckle is all present and correct, and coupled with pale feminine roses to make this a beautiful choice for Spring.
This really reminded me of the glorious opening notes of my beloved Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage which is delightful and a lot more spendy that this £15 high quality bargain.
Valentine is perfect just as it is ( as we all are!), but you could add extra roses with LOF Bulgarian Rose and I am very tempted as ever to add a bunch of Violets into the mix. To “green it up” you could layer with LOF Four Leaf Clover, or really go White Flower nuclear with LOF Orange Blossom– all of which are available from the Library of Fragrance website
I have a bottle of Valentine to give away to one lucky winner (UK only please- this is due to postal regulations not favouritism- you are ALL my treasured chums). Just tell me about something little that you love. For me, its my cats and cups of tea. Add a comment below, or on the Facebook page, or on Twitter ( @iscentyouaday)
What little thing makes you feel good about life?
The winner will be announced on Februray 11th in time for me to post it 1st class.
Photo of white roses by www.valentinesdayideas2016.com
Today I tried Black Musk in my local Body Shop. I’ve always been a fan of The Body Shop White Musk and consider it a staple in my fragrance wardrobe. There have been several brave flankers, but I still rate the original as the best. After trying Black Musk today, nothing changed that view.
Black Musk opens with a tang of fruit: the red berry like pink pepper was super strength and combined as it was with pear and vanilla, I was not impressed. In fact this reminded me a little of Clinique Aromatics in Black ( overall consensus: meh). Black Musk did improve however, and as it morphed into something reasonable I noticed some pleasant sandalwood and vetiver.
The base notes were recognizably a relative of White Musk, and if it had just been wrapped in the vetiver and sandalwood, I would have liked it. But no. There had to be chocolate and vanilla lobbed in at the end. It’s not so bad now it’s really settled. The confectionery has settled to a pleasant background sweetness, tamed by an infinitesimal touch of sober heliotrope. It has a masculine finish in fact, which means little to me as I think that if you like it, ignore the label and slap it on, regardless of gender.
Overall, I’ve yet to find a Body Shop fragrance as classic as White Musk, although I do rate Italian Summer Fig, Atlas Mountain Rose, Fijian Water Lotus and Honeymania. I don’t seem to be able to write any Body Shop review without mourning the Body Shop of the 80s and 90s. Oh Perfume Bar, how I long for you!
On my dashboard at Iscent HQ ( which is very glamorous and doesn’t have workmen in it and a roll of old carpet in the porch), the most popular searches by a country mile are “cheap perfume” and “best cheap perfumes”. January was an especially busy month for the bargain perfume hunters and so I thought I would write a guide for good perfume under £15. I’ve done a list for under a tenner, and even a list for under a fiver, so here’s my list of best buys for under fifteen quid.
Whether you’re spoiling yourself or someone else ( Valentine’s Day is in 14 days), £15 can get you some really good stuff and with my trusty guide nobody will smell cheap. I wouldn’t do that to you.
1. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps
This timelesss classic is always on my dressing table. With its combination of light airy florals and warm amber undertones, you cannot go wrong. Bizarrely, I found this on SportsDirect.com for a tenner.
2. Calvin Klein Obsession
A classic 80s Oriental that has by turns been both derided and admired. I think it’s time put this hard hitter back on the map. You can buy the 30ml for under £15 on allbeauty.com
3. Davidoff Cool Water
This ozonic light scent is a crowd pleaser and a safe bet. Easily obtained with change from your three fivers. You can get Davidoff Cool Water For Women from allbeauty.com currently at £10.95.
4. Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue
An appealing light-as- air floral, with lily of the valley and lilacs, 5th Avenue is an ideal office friendly scent. Check out my review here. You can get a 75ml bottle of this at allbeauty.com and I have seen it on offer at The Perfume Shop and The Fragrance Shop recently, although prices change frequently.
5. Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
In a sea of smellalike celebuscents, Lovely stands alone as pure quality. With lavender and citrus in the opening, and musk, patchouli and amber in the base, this is another bottle that’s a permanent fixture on the groaning IScent dressing table. You can get a 30ml bottle from Fragrance Direct.
6. Library of Fragrance
There are too many to choose from this great range. All are £15, with some being only £10 ( check the Library of Fragrance site for details). In Boots, it’s two for £25, which works out even cheaper. My favourites are Musk #7, PlayDoh (think vanilla), Four Leaf Clover, Orange Blossom, Mahogany, Mango, Grass, Rain, Moonbeam and Salt Air.
7. Marks and Spencer
We are spoiled for choice these days at trusty Marks and Sparks. I recommend Monotheme Classic White Musk, Classic Sweet Violet, or Classic White Gardenia , currently at only 14.60. Fragonard is also on offer: Fragonard Jasmin or Sweet Pea are both currently at £14.40, or Rosie for Autograph, a fragrance made with centifolia roses, which I previously reviewed here and wear often and which is currently at £11.20.
8. LUSH:Gorilla Perfumes
For me LUSH Gorilla Perfumes are hit and miss but I suppose the beauty of them is that they’re not mainstream crowd pleasers. Gorilla Perfumes now has Three Volumes, and my two favourites are Karma and Imogen Rose from Volume One. You can buy Karma from £12 and a solid of Imogen Rose for just £10. Both are long lasting and good value.
Our old friends Avon almost always have decent special offers on which usually means you can buy two for £14. Offers vary, but my recommendations are Little Black Dress, Tahitian Holiday (which reminded me of Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess) and Premier Luxe, which is an iris/blackcurrant chypre. I also love the Scent Essence range, which has a great Bergamot fragrance.
Cacharel makes two of my favourites: Anais Anais (pronounced AN-ay-ISS) and LouLou. The former has been around since the 70s and the latter is a big 80s classic that takes me right back to my days listening to The Cure with a red wine moustache. Be sure to get the Anais Anais rather than the Anais Anais Premier Delice version, as the Delice version has been sweetened for the modern palate. You can buy Anais Anais from Escentual for £13 although it’s also easily found on the High Street .You can find LouLou in Boots for £14.99
So there you have it. If I had fifteen quid to spend, I would be very hard pushed to limit myself to one. Do let me know what your favourite perfume bargain is. I always love to hear from you.
Agonist is a Swedish perfume house that is the brainchild of Christine and Niclas Lydeen. With Christine’s fashion background in Paris and Niclas’s design flair, together they launched Agonist in 2008 and their popularity as a major niche house is snowballing.
This is the first Agonist scent I have reviewed, although not the first I’ve tried. I shall be revisiting the other two I have after this, since Agonist Vanilla Marble really piqued my interest.
You may know of my oft lamented vanilla ennui, but believe it or not, this new take on vanilla has won my heart. Agonist Vanilla Marble somehow manages to use the warm butteriness of vanilla with none of the added sugar.
Top notes are tiare flower, vanilla and almond. Now despite not being a fan of gourmands, I really like almond in vanilla scents. It seems to make this one more of a liqueur and is a welcome step further away from the smell alike confectionery scent that we are currently saturated with at beauty counters. Tiare flower always smells like floral coconuts to me and in this instance, it gives Vanilla Marble a lovely hint of pipe smoke.
Middle notes are orchid, white fig, amber and patchouli. I didn’t catch orchid, but the hint of sultana like fig is in there, along with the welcome warmth of amber and the subtle spikiness of patchouli. The base notes are tonka bean, sandalwood, more vanilla and benzoin.
All in all, this is has a coolness as well as a warmth, reminding me of a milky bar straight from the fridge , but with a grown up tobacco vibe and a golden heat that makes for a cosy, unfussy, not overly sweet vanilla scent that becomes slightly addictive the more I wear it. Equally good on men or women, this is a real gem and gives me hope that a good vanilla scent, done well, will still always be worth doing. Imitators need not apply. This is how vanilla should be done.
My sample was from The Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, available from here. You can buy Agonist Vanilla Marble from the Agonist website or from Liberty or Selfridges. The full list of international stockists can be found on the Agonist website, where they also provide a sample service and a rather nice discovery box.
Moschino are having fun again and supplying a cheeky wink with your fragrance. Moschino Fresh Couture looks like a bottle of Febreze ( which I love), complete with handy spray gun. However, that doesn’t mean the juice inside isn’t to be taken seriously as a good fragrance, because it is very good indeed.
Moschino Fresh Couture is a beautifully light and uplifting fragrance. Opening with eau de cologne style notes of mandarin and bergamot and banana-y Ylang Ylang ( if bananas had petals, that’s how they would smell), there is an immediate feel good vibe going on.
Middle notes are dominated by the playful combination of raspberry and peony, making this pretty and feminine. Base notes are white patchouli, which gives this a pleasant oomph, matched with Ambroxan and woody notes, which I did not really discern.
This is right up my street for Spring and Summer. Unsurprisingly, there is a pleasing fresh laundry accord, and with the citrus, raspberry and pretty peony, this so light and refreshing that you are sure to get compliments. It’s impossible not to feel its optimism and playfulness, and not just from the post ironic bottle.
I obtained my sample from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, which seems to have a plethora of fruity florals. Once upon a time I would have pulled a face, but somehow the raspberry and peony blend so well together, this could sway the surliest of curmudgeons into wanting to ditch work and fly a kite.
Pure white blossom with the scent of honey that’s been dragged through the mud. The scent of Mexican orange blossom flowering in suburban London in springtime. – Sarah McCartney
Dirty Honey from 4160 Tuesdays is one of the scents from Sarah McCartney’s capsule collection Crimes of Passion. With a great name that should have been a heavy metal love song, Dirty Honey was inspired by the smell of Mexican orange blossom that Sarah McCartney stumbled across on the way to her London studio.
A good first sniff of this had me puzzling and I’ve worn it three times before attempting to review. This morning it came to me: Whisky. Dirty Honey opens like a good glass of Scotch. That bouquet of a good single malt as you sniff your snifter. Full of oak casks and boozy fermented rye mash: gorgeously, tinglingly aromatic.
As it dries down there’s beeswax and wood, giving it a cosy warmth, and labdanum giving it a leathery, ambery tinge. There’s jasmine too, which seems at home here- just sidestepping its tendency to go indolic, but fully at home here because this has a nice whiff of human.
It’s a comforting scent, like dried spittle on lips that you have been kissing a lot, and that’s a compliment by the way, because I like that smell. The whisky/honey makes this feel like an intimate scent that demands an open fire and woodsmoke, and of course, a good glass of Glenfiddich. Wear this and drink Scotch because they “go”.
I love it.