Yes my wish list is long, and expensive to the point of being a work of fiction and fancy, but there is a place on every (realistic) wish list for fragrance that is high quality but won’t bankrupt either you or Santa.
Those nice people at World Class (incorporating Milton Lloyd) have created a range of perfumes called Perfumer’s Choice and kindly sent me some to review, for which, many thanks. The aim of the range is to “remove the financial barrier” between good scent and those whose Money Trees have not yet yielded a harvest this year. My children appear to firmly believe we have such a tree in the garden.
World Class (and Milton Lloyd) save costs by not marketing widely. You won’t see them on billboards, nor will you see TV adverts or magazine spreads. You may hear about them via word of mouth, and via bloggers. To be honest, this is fine by me. I am so “ovah” disappointing High Street perfumes with huge price tags and aggressive global campaigns that smell …well…meh. There are of course, exceptions to this rule, but I am also quite happy to look at the goods from the guys without the big ad agency accounts.
So what are they like? Well they’re pretty darn good, and they last for a guaranteed eight hours. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are currently a bit elusive but that will not be a problem for long. I am putting this down to being the early days of a launch. You can buy them direct from the website here.
Each one comes in a nice glass bottle with silver lid and sturdy frosted plastic case. Each bottle is, unusually, 83ml and they all cost a mere £14 each. Here’s my take on them:
No 3: Jean –Marie (for men)
From first spray, this is green vetiver and citrus. The top phase lasts for an hour before segueing into a heart of something smokier and darker. The final phase, believe it or not, reminded me of Miller Harris La Fumée. There is dark, dried, resinous smoke with a hint of that vetiver that we started out with. It reminds me of a very manly, modern bathroom, all chrome and glass with a leathery finish and a hint of chest hair. Quality is high and longevity lives up to its promise.
This how it is officially described:
“A sparkling fresh Citrus Grapefruit top note enhanced with invigorating Coriander and Incense lift the elegant heart of Cedarwood and exotic spices – Black Pepper, Nutmeg and Cardamon. The base notes are a sophisticated accord of Vetiver and Patchouli enriched with warm tenacious Amber notes.”
No.6 Rafael (for men)
No 6 is a classic marine/ozonic masculine scent. Opening with citruses which stay true, it beds down into a zingy summery delight that doesn’t smell unlike Davidoff Cool Water, only stronger! Imagine a parfum version. There’s a pleasant tang of manliness in the base note: a hint of patchouli, musk and vetiver, but if this were a colour it would, unsurprisingly, be light blue.
Here’s what the blurb says:
“Radiant citrus top notes of Mandarin and Lemon entwine with fresh accents of Black Pepper, Peppermint and a hint of Vetiver. A tantalising heart of Grapefruit and Geranium, deepened with spicy woody accords of Cedar, Nutmeg and rich Labdanum combine to effortlessly fall into a sensual base of Cardamom, Incense, and precious woods, surrounded by Musks which envelope this elegant male tonality.”
No 12. Emilie
Emilie smells like peaches. Usually I don’t like peaches, but here they lose some of the twee sickly sweetness and keep the pleasanter lighter aspects of peach. Coupled with noticeable orange blossom, which can veer from sickly to indolic with a raw greenness in between, here it is more blossom than orange. Although described as a floral chypre, I would hesitate to name it as such, but then, I’m not expert. This smells like something I have sniffed across a posh beauty counter, but I’m blowed if I can remember it. If you like peachy orange blossom with a base of fruity musk, this is for you.
Here’s the official description:
“A radiant orange blossom originated from North Africa blooms on top. Its natural fruity side is sublimated by an accord of apple. Ambrette, a noble ingredient, harvested in Peru, gives a luxury character to the fragrance. The heart unveils a luxuriant floral bouquet, a delicate blend of majestic rose (Bulgaria) with a voluptuous Peony. A hint of lychee accord magnifies this seductive pink heart in a final fruity touch. The base notes are dominated by deep and mysterious woods. The vibrant enigmatic Patchouli from Indonesia highlights an alluring signature, while Sandalwood and Musks bring a creamy and round tonality in the trail.”
No 4 Natalie
To me, Natalie smells purple, just like its packaging. There are berries in the opening, and once they’ve bloomed all over the shop, a caramel note steps in, making this a potential hot seller. It falls somewhere in the nether world between Lancome La Vie est Belle and Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire. I’m sure there are cherries and raspberries in here. It has vanilla in the base and dries to a finish which could be described as Oriental-lite.
Here’s what the blurb says:
“The vibrant top note of a delicious fruity accord combined with the sophistication of a powdery iris. A feminine and velvety floral heart accord tenderly envelopes the transition to a warm and addictive dry down composed of gourmand and sensual woody ambery notes.”