Kudos for Men- Milton Lloyd

kudos

 

For the last three days I have sporadically spraying myself with an inexpensive men’s cologne, and liking it.  A lot.

Kudos for Men retails for £5 and frankly, my only disappointment is that I didn’t discover this in the middle of winter as it’s rich, spicy and addictive.  Having said that, it’s not so thickly cloying that you can’t wear it in warmer weather as the citruses, especially the grapefruit, stop it from being too fuzzy, for want of a better word (It’s the Easter Holidays, bear with me).

What I love about Kudos is the slightly leathery, smokiness of it that goes on like a cologne, has a hint of oranges and cardoman, beds down into a spicy chypre, and lingers like an eau de parfum i.e six hours at least.  I have been unable to stop myself having a spray every time I walk past it.

Kudos reminds me of the interior of an old church: there is a hint of aged wood and a soupcon of incense, and since old churches are one of my favourite smells, I am giving Kudos full marks.  It will be a staple on my dressing table, even if it doesn’t really “go” with the menagerie of prettier bottles on there at the moment.

Stockists

You can buy Kudos for men from the Milton Lloyd website or Amazon UK, and you can usually find some on eBay.  Prices are usually no more than five quid.

My sample was kindly provided by Milton Lloyd, but opinions are my own.

4160 Tuesdays New York 1955

new york

 

If you’d told me a few months ago that I would be actually choosing to buy a perfume that apparently smelled like vanilla ice cream and candy floss, I would have rejected the idea with an unladylike snort.

However, this week I have done  just that and I am proudly wearing my brand new bottle of 4160 Tuesdays New York 1955.  It was first the violets that captured me and the rest of the scent sat around as if to say “it’s all or none.  We come as a pack”.  In actual fact, I began to see how well violets, candy floss and vanilla worked once the violets had got their foot in their door.

www.dailymail.com

 

New York 1955 is one of a range of four vintage cities from 4160 Tuesdays.  Each one is very different from the other.  Friend of the blog Lisa Wordbird adores Rome 1963 (“and I’m not normally a tuberose-y person” she said), and I liked New York 1955 and London 1969. There is also Paris 1948 but I haven’t got round to that one yet.

Not only do the names alone capture a whimsical vibe that makes my mind’s eye turn me into Julie Christie or Gina Lollobridgida depending on which city I’m trying, but these cities have made both Lisa and I step out of our comfort zone and like it.

I have swerved, sworn off, and dodged with comic elaborateness the vanilla/candy floss invasion of the Noughties Fragrance Fad, but Sarah McCartney is kind of in my brain saying “yes, but if you try it with THIS, it’s totally different” and she’s right.

What I smell of today (I will explain in visuals rather than notes as is fitting with this brand) is this: Central Park,  a raspberry ripple ice cream,  a mouthful of parma violets, a vintage Laura Ashley dress and a very blue sky with nary a cloud.

meandsm3

Visiting the fabulous Sarah McCartney in the 4160 studio, November 2014

Stockists I bought my bottle for the ludicrously agreeable price of £10 for 18ml directly from the 4160 site. The price is a sale price though so be quick, but have a browse around whilst you’re there as there are some good deals on samples and discovery packs: a great way to explore the brand before you commit to a full bottle.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche

fragrantica

 

The  Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire collection is a step away from the heritage Guerlains, giving the brand a modern twist to a new younger audience.  However, being an old fashioned sort, I never really took to either the raspberries or cherries in the EDT or the EDP.  I was also miffed at how misleadingly different the EDT and the EDP are.  Usually an eau de parfum is a stronger concentration of an eau de toilette, but in the case of La Petite Robe Noire, they were two totally different scents.  This annoyed me in light of the twenty hundred flankers that followed.  Surely if the EDP was so different from the EDT it should have been given the name of a flanker?  But there we are.  To use a diplomatic phrase in Blogging, I guess they didn’t make it for me.

fragrantica

 

To add to the constantly evolving long list of flankers, which in terms of numbers is giving Givenchy Irresistible a run for its money (27 flankers and counting), Guerlain has launched La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche.  Or LPRB Eau Fraiche for short.

There are no cherries or raspberries, but just so the nougat factory doesn’t go out of business, there are a lot almonds and pistachios, which to me,  seem an odd choice for an eau fraiche.  The flowers are there too: noticeably heady Jasmine Sambac, some orange flower, and two types of rich rose, but the juxtaposition of these over the nuts and Tonka bean makes for a gourmand-lite.  Not something I want to wear in summer.

There is a bit of sparkly fun as it opens- like clean soapy talcum powder that turns into space dust when it hits your skin, but  it is quickly drowned by the naked praline.

I wouldn’t presume to tell genius Thierry Wasser (who can be deliciously blunt!) what to do, but I cannot help questioning the combination of  gourmand and heady flowers in an eau fraiche.  It’s not one I would choose to buy and if I had around £40 to spend on a bottle of Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche, I would probably spend it on something else.

I was underwhelmed and in a blind test, I would never have had this down as a Guerlain.

 

Stockists: Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche is widely available  and in the UK you could try Escentual,  Selfridges, Amazon UK, House of Fraser and Debenhams.  Outside the UK, you can try Sephora, Amazon and most department store beauty counters.

Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Floral Drops

floral drops

 

I was on the fence about Dolce & Gabbana Dolce until I smelled it on my lovely friend Lynne recently.  It was gorgeously floral on her, but went fruity on me.  Now there is a flanker, Dolce Floral Drops:  and this first offshoot (of many I suspect), aims to suggest a dew covered flower. Does it succeed?

Initially when smelling the original Dolce, I got excited, as the opening is similar to Gucci Envy, and it still amazes me that nobody has stepped up to the plate and made a blatant rip off for me to buy yet, since Gucci aren’t budging on it.  However, after a few minutes Dolce stopped smelling like Gucci Envy and I lost interest a bit.

With Dolce Floral Drops, the opening is similar: green with a certain Envy like note of Lily of the Valley, but which is probably the neroli. When that beds down, the very dominant note of Amaryllis steps in, which is not good news for me as it always smell peachy on my skin.  Me and peach don’t go.  Now this might not smell fruity on you, but I think it’s down to my interpretation.  Maybe I smell peach because I am searching for it.  Perfume is so subjective.

 

www.dolcegabbana.com

www.dolcegabbana.com

The middle note goes a bit peachy and “yellow flowers” on me- (think honey and daffodils), and the base note, although it’s meant to be the wood-sandalwood-musk triptych, was a mash up  of faintly woody white flowers.

The verdict then is that on me, Dolce Floral Drops is not so good, but in a world of overly fruity, vanilla-drenched patchouli-swamped  new launches, this floral cutie is a breath of fresh air.

 Stockists:  I got my sample from my Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box,  but apart from the Fragrance Shop, you can also buy this from Amazon UK , Escentual and John Lewis to name but three.

STELLA Eau de Toilette by Stella McCartney

stella

 

 

I have heard several positive noises about Stella and was delighted to find the eau de toilette in this quarter’s Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box, along with several other great samples that made my eyes light up. To recap- The Fragrance Shop has a Discovery Club whereby they send you a box of fragrances samples once a quarter for the princely sum of £5, plus money off coupons for any or all of the featured fragrances.  It’s a good way to avoid pricey blind buys and I have been a member since December 2013. You can join here.

 

The Fragrance Shop

The Fragrance Shop

Stella eau de toilette is a light airy floral with a manly clean cut edge, just like one of Stella’s beautifully cut trouser suits. The opening is all pretty peony and freesia, with a lightness of hand that makes me think of floaty chiffon and flower petals.  Then the slightly more butch amber emerges in the base notes, making this a floral that refuses to be taken at face value.

Stella is gloriously wearable, and as you would come to expect from a practising vegan, no animals were harmed in its making, not even a ladybird. What I particularly like about it is that it has no vanilla or syrupy sweetness- it is all about the flower.

 

www.etsy.com

www.etsy.com

Whilst Stella will suit all ages, it is an excellent choice if you are buying for a teenager.  Along with Chanel Chance Eau Tendre and Especially Escada Delicate Notes, Stella has that delicacy of touch and lightness of hand that makes this a perfect daytime scent, or even a bridal scent.  Nobody could possibly find Stella de trop, yet its subtlety is its strength.

 

Stockists Stella eau de toilette is widely available but since I got my sample from the Fragrance Shop (UK), I should probably give them a mention.  In the USA and Canada, you can get it from  Sears or Sephora to name but two.

Niobe by Cologne and Cotton: A New Favourite

photo by me

photo by me

 

Cologne and Cotton has been around for twenty four years, as has their rather lovely in house fragrance range.  I have only recently come across the brand, more fool me, but what I have discovered is destined to become a firm favourite with its traditional roots and quintessentially English classic style.

Cologne and Cotton kindly sent me a bottle of Niobe to take for a test drive and all I can say is that I have been wearing it non stop since it arrived.

Before we talk about how lovely it smells-a word about the packaging.  The bottle is lovely enough to rival a Penhaligons bottle.  The box is eau de nil and gold embossed.  Even the inside of the box looks like Edwardian wallpaper.  There is nothing here not to fall in love with.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

As for the fragrance: imagine if you blended 4711 with O de Lancôme: you’d be close to the opening notes of Niobe. Bursting with lemon and lime and all things refreshing, this is like a beautiful wake up call on a summer morning.  It has all the zinginess of sherbet, with none of the sickly sugar.  It smells effervescent, like lemonade bubbles popping on your skin.  Although this is eau de cologne, it has good eau de toilette lasting power. I sprayed my hair and sleeves with it and I could smell it on my pillow at bedtime.

As the citrus beds down, you are left with a classic vetiver /citrus melange which, although marketed for men, is perfectly unisex and will never go out of style.

At £38 for a generous 150ml bottle ( and dreamy packaging), I call this excellent value, and I can’t wait to get stuck in with further samples that Cologne and Cotton  kindly sent me.  They don’t just sell their own brand either: they are stockists for Fragonard, Coudray, LT Piver, 4711 Acqua Colonia, D’Orsay, Molinard, Lalique, Miller Harris, Acqua di Genova, Encre Noir,  and more.  There are branches in London, Cheltenham, Brighton and Leamington Spa. I would like to say in passing that Cardiff is a jolly nice shopping hub and a branch would go down very well indeed in Wales. Hint, hint.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Stockists: The Cologne and Cotton website is here, and you can order online or find your nearest branch.  Be careful though-  as Oscar Wilde once said “I can resist everything except temptation”

 

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu

fragrantica

fragrantica

 

Yesterday, just after lunch, I tried Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu and could NOT get it off.  It’s now Sunday evening.  I have had a shower, washed my hands many times and finally, only a bath shifted it.  Think cloying caramels and chocolate with a spiky base à la Thierry Mugler Angel, concentrated into essence form and with a staying power only rivalled by a tattoo.  I will even have to wash my coat as it rubs off onto my skin every time I wear it.

www.lorianzalone.com

Lancôme La Vie est Belle  has proved to be a bestseller and seems to have tapped into a trend that dictates that it’s desirable for your perfume to make you smell like Thorntons Chocolatier.  Personally I dislike anything too gourmand ( with a few notable exceptions)  because it feels like I  am eating perfume or using food on my skin : my senses get confused and don’t know what to tell my brain.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu was initially a pleasant surprise- finally I could smell those flowers and make out the iris, and… was that rose?  With a hint of blackcurrant?  Wonderful- for about twenty minutes. Then the caramel barged in and took over, smothering everything and turning up the volume until I was walking home holding the guilty arm away from my side as if I blamed it.

The verdict is this:  If you like this, you have a bargain on your hands.  Even a small bottle will outlast anything permanent in your life. Staying power is nuclear.  Your whole house will smell of it, and your friends will smell like this, and your car and the bus and your children and their friends.

Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all.

 

Stockists: Lancome La Vie est Belle L’Absolu is available from Sephora.com or Lancome-usa.com or lancome.ca if you are in the USA or Canada or Europe.  In the UK, you can buy it from John Lewis, Debenhams, Amazon UK or House of Fraser.

Perfumes For Under A Tenner- The 2015 Updated Guide

successimg.com

successimg.com

I still stand by my motto- you don’t have to be rich to smell good ( but you’d be in trouble if you had an Amouage habit). Seriously though, I get so many searches for “budget perfume” and “cheap perfume that smells good” that I know there is still a strong demand for good, accessible scent. Buy cheap doesn’t mean smell cheap.  There.  That’s another motto.

In writing this guide, I have to put out this disclaimer: prices may vary from site to site and store to store and month to month, but today, these prices are pretty much the norm with just a quid or two either way depending on stockist.  This guide is similar to the 2014 guide elsewhere on this blog, but with just a few changes to reflect changing prices or new discoveries.

laimant

1. Coty L’Aimant- it’s at the top of every bargain guide I write. If you like Chanel No 5, this was made six years later in 1927. It’s a powdery floral with lasting power that many more expensive perfumes still can’t match.  My tip is buy the Parfum de Toilette and not the cologne.  I bought my bottle from Boots.

 

www.fruugo.co.uk

www.fruugo.co.uk

2. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A bargain buy that smells remarkably like Prada Eau de Parfum.  Its has papyrus and patchouli and makes for a smooth  milky, spicy scent that is far from the usual celeb-u-scent fruity floral.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com.

intimatelyb

3. Intimately Beckham For Her: I see this around a lot and it’s always well under ten quid.  But here’s why it’s a good seller:  it’s a light and pretty floral that is ideally suited to work or everyday and passes the commuter test ( i.e nobody will faint on the morning train).  Available from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon UK, or my local chemist!

just pink

4. Next Just Pink: A darling of a scent that is very much in the same vein as Narciso Rodriguez For Her or Ralph Lauren Romance.  Available from Next.  A 30ml bottle costs just £8.

greentea

5. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Flankers. There are no less than five of these on allbeauty.com right now- all under ten quid and all good.  I know because I’ve tried them.  They make great presents for friends  and are crowd pleasing refreshing daytime florals.  This is not to say they are dull or predictable, but it’s a good brand that’s a safe bet, and they are all particularly wearable in summer.  Try Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia or Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle.

kantali

6. Kantali by Milton Lloyd. Now don’t shoot me, but this smells a bit like Opium and only costs five quid. When I say YSL Opium, I don’t mean the fabulous powdery pre- reformulation stuff , but a thinner version of the new one that you can buy everywhere.  It lasts at least six hours and I like it.  Think a pared-down Opium style  eau de cologne with  eau de parfum staying power.  You can buy it from Amazon UK.

Karma

7. LUSH solid perfumes:  LUSH Gorilla are a bit hit and miss with me, but having said that, they inspire passionate reactions, which is a good thing.  LUSH solid perfumes come in delightful quirky tins and are priced between £6 and £9 depending on the scent.  Try LUSH Karma for £9. Longevity is… Wow.  You can buy it from LUSH instore or online.

muskfragr

8. Jovan Musk For Women. You’ve got to have a musk on in your scent wardrobe and  Jovan is a good bet.  Currently under £10 on allbeauty.com,  either Jovan or Alyssa Ashley are a safe pair of hands for a decent and affordable musk fragrance.

smoky-poppy-mini-gift-set_l

9. The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Eau de Toilette 30ml. Currently £8.50 and part of a range of 30ml scents at the same price.  Smoky Poppy is an Oriental-lite which I was quite taken by, and there are others in the range such as Honeymania, Vanilla, Moringa, Strawberry and Coconut.  Great for layering, but only eau de toilette strength so may need lunch time top ups.

Copy of sparklycitrus10.  Avon: You can’t do a bargain perfume list without including our dear friends Avon.  Avon Timeless retails at around £6 ( depending on the brochure) and is an ambery chypre that was brought back by popular demand after being discontinued.  Little Pink Dress is a lovely day time floral with lots of Peony, and Avon no 1 Bestseller Far Away and all its flankers were recently on sale for as little as £7 a bottle.  I also love the Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus which I bought for only £4.

Estee Lauder Modern Muse Chic

fragrantica

fragrantica

 

Estee Lauder Modern Muse was one of my favourite launches in recent years and it would appear that I wasn’t alone in my admiration of it. Modern Muse has now reached that milestone of approval and success and has spawned a flanker.

Estee Lauder has a fairly safe Go-To image for the mainstream perfume buyer, although I think the brand is one of the best on the High Street.  On every Estee Lauder counter you can find consistently good classics and I can name at least five scents that I would buy without hesitation if someone gave me a voucher for my wedding anniversary on Wednesday for example (Ahem).   Too often Estee Lauder has been overlooked as an “Old Lady” brand, but hopefully Modern Muse will attract some new, younger appreciation in the same way as Pleasures did in the Nineties.

Having said all that, Modern Muse Chic dips its ladylike toe into Lake Daring and sticks a bit of Oud in there.  Pearls may be clutched, but Estee Lauder has pulled it off.

I have been wearing Modern Muse Chic all day- two spritzes of Eau de Parfum this morning are still going strong seven hours later with no need for a top up.

uk.westfield.com

uk.westfield.com

Initially Modern Muse Chic is similar to Modern Muse but with the Plum and the Jasmine Sambac cranked up.  Wait an hour though and the Oud and Wormwood emerge and stay put throughout.  I can’t decide if Oud or Jasmine Sambac have been over used lately in new launches, but frankly I can’t find anything to complain about here.

 Modern Muse Chic is pretty much an evening version of Modern Muse, and smells as if Modern Muse has been concentrated and layered over the teeniest drop of pure Oud oil.  It seems to radiate more as the day goes on, which is no bad thing.  This may be too much for the office, but great for a memorable night out.  Nice bottle too.  If you don’t like  even the slightest trace of Oud or Wormwood (think how Absinthe smells) then you might want to side step it, but I think this is rather good.

Stockists

Estee Lauder Modern Muse Chic is available in widespread locations: in the UK you can buy it from John Lewis, House of Fraser, Selfridges and Debenhams to name but a few.  In the USA and Canada you can buy it from Neiman Marcus (USA only), Macy’s and Sears, and in Europe you can buy it from Sephora, or of course, the Estee Lauder website.