Library of Fragrance Cupcake: I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation

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Those nice people at Library of Fragrance recently sent me a selection of their cosiest scents. By cosy, I mean the smells you associate with staying in, wearing fluffy socks, and whacking the heating up to “sauna”.  It’s my absolute favourite thing to do in this weather: staying in and being boring. I love it.

hyggeThe Danish have a word for that cosy feeling of well being you get when all is well in the world and you’re snug as a bug in a rug: Hygge ( pronounced Hoo-GUH). With this in mind, Library of Fragrance has created a range of scents that make perfect Hygge perfume. Cupcake is just one and I shall be reviewing others in the run up to Christmas.

So what does it smell like? Well it’s funny really, because I spent all day making cupcakes yesterday for a guest who didn’t show up (I know, right?) After a day of baking and spooning up butter icing, I sprayed this on my children and asked them what it reminded them of. I love doing this- the results vary from the hilarious to the surreal via the strangely accurate.  One  had no idea whatsoever because his brain was full of Hype T shirts he “needs” and the other one said “biscuits” which was pretty close.

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Library of Fragrance Cupcake doesn’t smell of vanilla cake batter, because they already have one for that, and it does not smell of vanilla ice cream, because they already have one for that too. No, my friends, Library of Fragrance Cupcake actually smells of the crisp, light golden baked top of a cupcake when it’s been cooked somewhere between squishy and crunchy. You know the edges that are almost brown but not quite? It’s like that. In fact, freshly baked crispy biscuits was a pretty close guess. This is a dry, baked scent and very evocative it is too ( I know because I ate the trimmings round the edges yesterday).

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There’s vanilla in here, which is just the right amount, and that’s what makes this cosy. It’s also handy if you’ve no time to cook and want your supermarket cupcakes to smell shop bought- I shall be employing this trick next time our No-Show guest arranges a visit.

Vanilla is ideal for winter and I decided to experiment with layering Cupcake over other Library of Fragrance scents. I can report that it is so delicious when coupled with Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream that  you will want to eat your own arm. I can think of no greater praise!

Stockists

Library of Fragrance fragrances are available from the Library of Fragrance website. You will also find purse sprays and extra large bottles and very often, fabulous sale items at under £10. You can also find a selection of Library of Fragrance scent on the High Street exclusively at Boots. My bottle was provided by Library of Fragrance in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.

Photo credits

All photos are my own  from my kitchen yesterday ( even the tea and cake sign) except for the Hygge definition which comes from www.musefondue.blogspot.co.uk

Bvlgari Rose Goldea: The Essence of The Jeweler 2016

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Bvlgari Rose Goldea was launched in 2016 as a flanker to Bvlgari Goldea, which I haven’t tried so can’t compare. The nose behind Rose Goldea is Alberto Morillas, who also created almost all of the Bvlgari range for women, and to whom I owe gratitude for creating Voulez Vous Coucher Avec Moi for By Kilian, which I plan to review soon. perfsocpreciousperfume

I puzzled over Rose Goldea since I couldn’t figure out why this rose scent smells so distinctive. I spotted the peony, notable for adding feminine prettiness to many florals, but couldn’t put my finger on why this rose smells both sharper and lighter than other rose fragrances. The answer is pomegranate. Now, whilst red fruits can often add a Haribo sweetness that repels, rather than attracts me, pomegranate has enough bite and bitterness to put the petals in sharp relief and showcase their unique properties. The pretty peony builds it up, and the pomegranate leaves a strangely pleasing bitterness in its wake.

Bvlgari  Rose Goldea is a mufti faceted rose that has none of the Turkish Delight notes, nor the jammy sweetness of other rose perfumes.  Jasmine adds a headiness and there is s tiny bit of vanilla in the base, but the frankinscsence and sandalwood sober it up and keep it in check.

All in all, this is an interesting scent that brings out the botanical sharpness of a rose, rather than going down the romantic route. I would go as far as to say that, despite the impossibly pretty bottle, this could make an excellent unisex choice. It showcases strength and delicacy at the same time and is most certainly worth looking into should you come across it on your beauty counter trawling travels. I liked it very much and I am pretty much marinated in it. Gorgeous.

Stockists

My sample was in the Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box. You can buy the boxes from their website here. Alternatively, you can buy full bottle of Bvlgari Rose Goldea from Escentual or John Lewis. Opinions are my own.

Beaufort London Fathom V: A Maritime Miracle

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Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes;
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange. – Ariels Song

I am bewitched and enchanted. I have been turned into a mermaid.

beaufort-london_fathom_1-septBeaufort London is a new and currently small outfit, based in London, as you have probably guessed.  My previous knowledge of them consisted only of my experience of Beaufort 1805, a sample of which had been provided in a previous Perfume Society Discovery Box. Beaufort London 1805 was a powerful scent that blew my head off like a gunship’s cannon. I admired it, but respectfully left it for others to enjoy. Fathom V on the other hand, blew me away in quite a different manner altogether.

From the very first sniff of this, whilst it was still wet, I thought of salty London docks , mossy with age and rusty with decay. It was a deliciously uplifting and evocative scent, bursting with green notes as well as the green flanks of a boat on an earthy mudbank.

Lurking in there somewhere is an almost unsettlingly sexy note of thigh and  pheromone. It’s like a pirate’s breeches, but so, so alluring.  It’s hypnotic, evocative and utterly bewitching. It makes my head feel like it’s stuck in a  poem about crashing waves and damsels and incredibly attractive pirates. Oh and did I mention the lilies? The greenest of lily notes ever created is in here, giving this a botanic saltiness and adding to the hypnotic effect.

So what’s in? Not that it matters, really, it’s already made its mark on me, but here’s a list of notes:

Top notes: earth, green notes, aqutic notes

Middle notes: cumin, lily, black pepper

Base: Vetiver, moss, salt

If Beaufort Fathom V is sniffed with your eyes closed before sleep, you will have the most ethereal oceanic dreams. I wholeheartedly recommend it.  I shall resist adding “me hearties” on the end. Oh, whoops!

Stockists

Beaufort Fathom V is available from Beaufort London. They also do moustache wax, which makes me love them even more, despite not having a moustache.  Shipping is free within the UK. My sample was from The Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box.

 Acknowledgements: Painting by John William Waterhouse. Sample and opinions are my own.

The Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box: What’s In The Box?

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I am the proud owner of a Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box and jolly pleased I am too! In this beautiful box, which, by the way, would make a perfect gift exactly as it is, you will find the following items:

Nails Inc nail polish in sparkly Electric Avenue

30ml Molton Brown bath and shower gel in Rose Absolute

Sample of Miller Harris new Etui Noir

Sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarta Rouge 540

Sample of Bvlgari Rose Goldea

Sample of Hermes Galop D’Hermes

Sample of Fathom V by Beaufort London

Sample of Versace Eros Pour Femme

Sample of Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream

Sample of Ormond Jayne Tsarina

Sample of Nejma 7

 

In my book (or on my blog, which this is) I call that excellent value. There are nine decent spray samples that you would be very hard pushed to find at any beauty counter.  This all comes in a lovely white box with explanatory postcards and sniffing strips. It makes an excellent gift if you can bear to part with it. I can’t so I’m keeping it. Sorry, not sorry.

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I shall be reviewing some of the items within over the next few weeks so watch this space. I have already reviewed Scent of A Dream and was very taken with it. One of the scents that really jumped out at me was Fathom V by new house Beaufort London. I was delighted to see Galop D’Hermes as I have wanting to try it for ages. Oh and the Nails Inc nail polish is like liquid tinsel. Talk about Christmassy! I’m sure you will enjoy this box as much as I am. It’s so good I won’t share. Mine.

Stockists

You can buy this, and other Discovery Boxes from the Perfume Society website. VIP subscribers get a discount.

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Top Ten Avon Fragrances 2016

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When I look at the dashboard here at glamorous IScent HQ (and by glamorous I mean there’s a  patch of Lego-free floor space) I can see that the most frequently used search term that leads people to my humble blog is “Avon perfume”. In fact, my most popular article in terms of hits is My Top Ten Favourite Avon Fragrances. It even knocks the previous Number One “Gucci Envy: It’s Madness I Tell You” firmly into second place.

I think the reason for this must be that you can’t nip to the High Street and try a new release. An Avon rep may have testers if you’re lucky, or if you have a rep, but otherwise, you’re guessing from descriptions and the rub-on patch in the brochure.

Since I wrote the article some time ago and since Avon moves fast in terms what’s new and what’s stopped, I thought I’d better write another one. I like to see what people are looking for and meet their needs, although my children take this too far most of the time. Here’s my updated fan letter to Avon. I’ve included some favourites and some big new releases that I reckon are worth a try.

Call me a perfume DJ if you will. This one is for all you Avon lovers out there…

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Avon Rare Platinum

This is currently not only my favourite Avon perfume, but the perfume I have been wearing solidly since it arrived from my Avon rep, Jill. It’s one of the best tuberose scents I have ever owned and I am agog at the tiny price tag. I would have expected to pay a lot more for a white floral as good as this. Avon Rare Platinum is currently £7 from Avon UK. My recent rave review is here.

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Avon Perceive Oasis

This is the bottle I wore more than any other in summer. It’s light and floral and has roses and peonies. What I love about it is that the finish is white musk rather than vanilla. If you like Chloe, you will this too. It’s currently priced at £6 for 50ml. I have a bottle on the go and a back-up bottle too. You can read my review here.

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Avon LIFE Eau de Parfum

Created by Kenzo Takada ( yes, Kenzo himself) this is a new take on violets.  Avon LIFE EDP is light and airy, making it ideal for work or day wear.  The scent is exclusive to Avon and is not available anywhere else. You can read my review here. Avon Life is currently £24 for 50ml and comes with a jolly nice free gift worth £35 at the time of writing.

 

 

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Avon Soft Musk

This is another bottle that is always on my dressing table. A plain musk doesn’t seem to feature much in the seemingly endless list of new launches these days, so this is a safe and classic bet. Avon Soft Musk is a peachy, floral musk that lasts for many hours and is very inoffensive as a day time or workwear scent. I bought my bottle for the ludicrously low price of £3.50, although it’s usually a fiver (still a good price). My review is here.

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Avon Silky Soft Musk

The first and thus far, only, flanker to Avon Soft Musk. Whilst this isn’t may favourite of the two, if you like vanilla scents then this is for you. You can read my review here. OK, I wasn’t  massive fan, but that’s just my personal preference, which may not be the same as yours. Wouldn’t it be dull if we all loved just the one same perfume?  I’d have nothing to blog about for a start! Silky Soft Musk is available from Avon UK for £5.

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Fans of Lancome La Vie est Belle will enjoy the gourmand caramel note in this beauty. Whilst it’s not my personal cup of tea, it’s good quality and long lasting and very much channels the current vogue for sweet florals with a gourmand base. The campaign is fronted by the beautiful Abbey Clancy and is one of Avon’s best sellers. Avon Cherish The Moment has similar notes but is sweeter and “pinker”. Ideal for the teenager in your life and bang on trend right now. Avon Cherish and Avon Cherish the Moment are currently £8 and £14 respectively, but check out the special offers where you can get three products for £12.

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Avon Far Away

This is Avon’s number one bestseller and they dare not discontinue it for fear of mutiny. I never used to like this, but as time passes I have grown to appreciate it a lot more. It is a vanilla floral that is so vanilla that it almost borders on coconut. It’s stood the test of time and I think it’s safe to call it a classic now. Far Away is the perfume I smell most often on other people when I am out and about. It has very loyal fans, which speaks for itself- plus my Aunty Christine smells like this so it has happy connotations for me. You can buy Far Away and any of its excellent flankers from Avon UK. I have noticed that in the run up to Christmas Avon has launched generous 100ml bottles for the first time, but I can only find them in the brochure.

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Timeless

Timeless is a text book example of what happens when a company listens to its customers and gives them what they want. Launched in 1974, Timeless is a powdery, ambery chypre style scent (sans oakmoss,but otherwise a good take). In 2012 Avon discontinued it. Its loyal fans made enough noise for Avon to bring it back and it’s now a steady seller once again. It’s not as on trend as the newer scents, but in my book, that  just means it’s a classic. At only £4 a bottle, you can’t go wrong.

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Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche

Little Black Dress remains a steadfast Avon favourite and two new versions have been added. Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche is, as you might imagine, a more summery version with the peony and lemon turned up and the heady jasmine gone away until winter. It’s less complex than Little Black Dress and less woody, but make for an excellent “lite” version, ideal for day time and holidays. Available from Avon UK  The other flanker is Little Lace Dress, which I have yet to try so can’t currently comment. I will do though, so watch this space.

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Avon Scent Essence Lime Verbena

This little beauty nearly slipped off my radar as it’s sold in a range of similar looking scent called Scent Essences. All of them come in a 30ml bottle and the one I initially tried, Sparkly Citrus, was so good in the summer that I simply had to try Lime Verbena.  As a summer scent it’s unbeatable.  you know when you’re all hot and sticky and just want to stick your head in the fridge?  This is what you need. Lime and verbena make an unbeatable green combo and this is great quality at around £4.

Acknowledgements

All photos from Avon UK. All perfumes I have tried have been purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

Amber Tapestry by Mandy Aftel for Aftelier Perfumes (2016)

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I was delighted to receive a little parcel via Fed Ex all the way from Berkeley California recently. It was from master perfumer Mandy Aftel and was wrapped like a piece of precious treasure. Mandy is a fragrant and flavourist expert who has the worldwide respect of customers and peers alike.

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I received my sample spray phial of Amber Tapestry last week and I have been taking my time in getting to know it before reviewing it. After all, Mandy didn’t rush making it, so I owe it such courtesy in return.

Amber Tapestry is suitably named. Each component makes up the overall picture with splashes of colour and vibrancy that make this scent a constant unfolding  enigma.

The heliotrope, which my nose mistook for lilac, speaks of springtime optimism. There was a note of pollen in there too, that reminded me of the dust you get on your nose when you sniff a daffodil (I should know, it’s the National Flower of Wales).  The orange and the jasmine together give this a creamy and alluring opening act.  The combination of the two makes for a sort of exaggerated orange blossom.amber2

The middle phase is where this gets more tapestry like. The resin-y incense tones of benzoin  (often used in cough mixture) seem to add a faded grandeur to the big white flowers that start so brightly. The heady white blooms are toned down by the warmth of golden amber as the base notes cast a sunset over this evocative scent. There is a subtle touch of animal in the finale, but rather than being a body odour  animalic, its more of an intimate back-of-the-neck scent- if you’re familiar with my review of Aftelier Memento Mori, you’ll know the honeyed skin scent I mean.

Each note is interwoven to give an overall accord of a resinous, leathery vanilla. It was a real grower on me. The longer I have worn it, the more I like it

Amber Tapestry is a scent for all seasons. From Spring to Autumn in one fell swoop, the floral optimism of its opening gives way to a cosy richness that ends with the feeling of being hugged by an amber blanket of warmth.

Mandy uses natural ingredients and to my nose, these have an authenticity that makes for a deep and rich olfactory experience. It is my ambition to visit her perfume museum in Berkeley one day. Like Aftelier fragrances, I just know it will be unforgettable.

Stockists

All Aftelier Scents are available from the Aftelier website.

Acknowledgments:

Top photo of Klimt painting from usdo.us. Photo of sample is my own. Illustration from Aftelier.com. sample provided by Mandy Aftel with my warm thanks. Opinions are my own.

Avon Rare Platinum: Tip Top Tuberose

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Confession time: Reader, I broke my No Blind Buy Rule because of a scratch’n’sniff.  You know those little patches in Avon brochure that say “rub me and buy one?” well I did just that and ended up the delighted owner of a full bottle of Avon Rare Platinum.

I was slightly miffed when Avon stopped selling Avon Rare Rubies.  I was a bit more miffed when they stopped selling Avon Rare Diamonds, but having just got my hands on a bottle of Rare Platinum, I can honestly say all is forgiven.

tuberRare Platinum is all about the tuberose.  I have been thirsting for tuberose ever since my visit to By Kilian.  Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad made this respectable citizen want to tell fibs and steal. Good Girl Gone Bad is way out of my league. I can’t justify that sort of money this near to Christmas , especially since my ten year old son has just got “into clothes.” However, Rare Platinum scratches that tuberose itch and  cost me a paltry SEVEN QUID.

It opens with thick, heady tuberose and jasmine with a touch of grapefruit to cut through the cream.  This agrees with me very much, in the way that  sharp fruits and thick double cream agrees with me. The tuberose is good stuff, especially when you think of the tiny price. It has that crescendo where it builds from white petals to thick and creamy to borderline teetering-on-the-brink-of celery before relaxing and making me think of the loud tuberose scents of the 1980s.

Lasting power is pretty good and it smells especially good on sleeves and coats ( I am joyfully plastered in it!). What I really love about it is that fact that there’s no sugary sweetness or caramel or vanilla. This is an honest to goodness straightforward floral.  If you like your white flowers big and blousy with a hint of lilies, buy this. Actually, buy several and stash them away. When perfume is this good, and costs so little, you need to pin it down.

Stockists

You can buy Avon Rare Platinum from your Avon rep or from Avon UK online. Prices are currently £7 a bottle at the time of writing.

Photos: Top photo by Avon, Tuberose photo from Fragrantica.