The Best Grapefruit Scent I have ever smelled is Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse

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Creating a good grapefruit scent that doesn’t end up cardboard-y or smelling a bit sour is tough.  In my opinion, even Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune  didn’t quite pull it off ( see my earlier review on this blog), and Guerlain only lets geniuses work on their stuff (genii?)

Miller Harris kindly sent me a sample of Le Pamplemousse to try, and as always when I am sent something free, it is on the understanding that I don’t have to either like it or fake delight.  Luckily, in this case, I am gushing like a girl with a crush.  Le Pamplemousse feels like a tall drink of water on a hot day.  It’s like a thirst quenching mirage in a desert.

It opens, naturally, with grapefruit, but the top notes are actually melon, rhubarb and grapefruit.  In case you’re worried this would smell like a fruit salad, don’t be.  It smells like the best shower you ever had in the poshest hotel you ever stayed in.  The melon simply isn’t there (phew!  I’m not a melon fan), and I’m not even sure the rhubarb is, although rhubarb can work in summery scents. It’s fresh and zingy and if Vitamin C had a smell it would be this.

In case I didn’t love it enough, there’s even a dab of my beloved oakmoss in it to keep me faithful for life. Where this outshines Guerlain Pamplelune though is that the basenote stays fresh and light and pretty and doesn’t end up smelling like dried up orange rind (Pamplelune is guilty of this although  it smelled very good the day I reviewed it.  It’s as if it knew it had an exam)

For a scent as hesperide-y as this one, lasting power is good at over five hours a spray.  Maybe it’s the clingy green oakmoss.  Maybe it’s the pretty Orange Blossom.  Maybe it’s the herbs, giving this a resonant botanical tang.

Whatever it is, this is the best grapefruit fragrance I have ever smelled, bar none.  In this weather, to which me and my freckles are not accustomed, we should get this on prescription.  Feel good factor- off the scale.

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Avon Tahitian Holiday: Cheerful Coconutty Holiday Fun

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Yesterday was a scorching hot day here in Wales (can I say sunny Wales?  I think I can).  The heat was unbearable to a freckled person like me. What could I possibly do to cool myself down? Bear in mind that air conditioning is not commonplace in Wales as heat waves tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  Hello and welcome to my new bottle of Avon Tahitian Holiday.

Many people have compared Avon Tahitian Holiday with Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess.  I will say this:  yes they both have coconut and white flowers and smell tropical and yes Tahitian Holiday isn’t a bad substitute for it.  However Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess has more resonance and richness and unfurls like a many layered flower:  there’s a waft of fig, an ambery base and a deep creamy richness to it which Tahitian Holiday doesn’t have.  Bronze Goddess costs between 40GBP and 50 GBP, whereas Tahitian Holiday only cost me a fiver. The choice is yours. It depends what you want from your perfume.

Personally, I can’t stretch to a bottle of Bronze Goddess right now and my Wish List is already so full it’s not accepting new members.  However, for five quid I will say that Tahitian Holiday is pretty damn good.  It opens with coconuts, has a middle phase of white tropical flowers (that’ll be the Tiare Flower) and settles to a light floral cocnutty mist.  Lasting power is around four hours, making this Eau de Toilette longer lasting than a cologne.

My 50ml bottle has already gone down considerably in one day due to my frequent top ups- I adore the top note!  In summer, it’s fine to smell like flowery coconuts.  Winter is long and cold, we can get the rich’n’heavies out then.  But for now, for that holiday mood that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you can’t go wrong with a squoosh of Avon Tahitian Holiday.

Ten Perfumes Under a Tenner: Revised for 2014

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As I may have mentioned before, I am a strong believer in perfume for all. If your budget is more Aldi than Amouage, you can still smell good. The trick lies in being selective: quality is there if you know where to look.  It’s also in portion control: yes you can wear niche, but a sample or discovery set usually works out cheaper than a full bottle if eked out judiciously. When the purse is empty, I can still smell of Tauer Noontide Petals, just not every day.

Last year I made a list of best perfumes under ten pounds.  Due to constant price changes and discontinued this and that, I thought it appropriate to do another one. I won’t quote prices as they are so variable, but all of these were under 10GBP at the time of going to press, and not in a sale.

I’ve tried to include a bit of everything so in the list below you have a musk, a rose, an oriental, a cologne, a floral, and a patchouli. Hope you like it!  Oh and do let me know of your favourite bargains.  I always love to hear from you.

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1. Coty L’Aimant: still under a tenner, still smells like Chanel No 5, still easy to find.  Oddly, not often worn by the young. Time to put this right!  Think, as the Perfumed Dandy does, of an Agatha Christie heroine.

2. Dana Tabu: An affordable Oriental classic.

3. The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry EDP 30ml. You know the adage K.I.S.S? (Keep It Simple Stupid)?  Well that’s what the Body Shop has done and this lovely raspberry soliflore is suitable for all ages, even children, and is one of the most searched for posts on my blog.

4. Alyssa Ashley Musk: A classic Musk that has been going since the 70s.  You can’t go wrong.

5. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A creamy combo of Papyrus and Patchouli. It’s not your typical celebuscent and smells like it cost a lot more than it did. I wear it often.

6. Chique by Taylor of London: This was a pleasant surprise to me:  a mossy chypre that reminded me of Estee Lauder Knowing but was a fraction of the price.  The packaging is dated and bland but it smells terrific.

7.  The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose oil, 15ml.  A great base for layering, or wearing alone.  Because it’s an oil and has no alcohol in it, I find it lasts longer than anything else on a very hot summer day.

8. Avon Timeless:  Currently a fiver a bottle.  Avon created this classic in 1974 and discontinued it in 2012.  Customer demand brought it back.  Amber and Patchouli and aldehydes. Buy it before they change their mind again.  Available from your Avon rep.

9.  Elizabeth Arden Green Tea flankers: widely available and usually 9.99, I have tried several of these now and I can honestly say that they are all delightful.  Light, pretty florals that refresh on a hot day and impossibly feminine to boot. Real crowd pleasers.  I especially like the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle, Green Tea Tropical and Green Tea Revitalize.

10. Next Just Pink: Smells like Ralph Lauren Romance, but even prettier!  I adore this and always have a purse spray in my handbag.

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Incidentally, if you are not afraid to go a few pence over the ten quid limit, I suggest  Avon Premier Luxe , any of The Body Shop Scents of The World Range,  and a trawl through allbeauty.com.

Others that I recommend are  Tweed, Panache, A quick peek in TK Maxx to see what they’ve got in this week (stock changes constantly) a basket full of purse sprays from Marks and Spencer, the ever changing array of scents and prices in your local bargain stores such as Wilkinson and Home Bargains, the Yardley soliflores … Oh and don’t forget eBay!

Money schmoney- Who needs mega bucks?

Annick Goutal Les Colognes: Neroli

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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.

 

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The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Perfumes by IScentYouADay

fragrancelife.ru

fragrancelife.ru

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

berfrois.com

berfrois.com

 

 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.

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SMELLALIKES- UPDATED FOR 2014

 

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

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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?)

profumeriaweb.com

profumeriaweb.com

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

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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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