Category Archives: Celebrity Scent

Five Decades of #Scent Memories: National Fragrance Day 2017

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Dear reader, I am now in my fifth decade and due to toast the start of my sixth in 2020 when I turn 50.

To me, scent is like a Tardis. It takes you back in time so fast that you can be stepping out the Tardis door into 1976 after one whiff of Panache.  More instantly evocative than a photograph or a song,  a fragrance can whisk you back to the scent of the primary school teacher whose name you forget, but whose perfume you can recall as if a switch has been flicked in your head.

Please join me on my mini odyssey through the smell of the 70s, 80s, 90s, Noughties and Twenteens and do share your #scentmemories below.

The Smell of the 1970s.

1970s

I was born in 1970. The first ten years of my life can be summed up, at least in the olfactory sense, as a combination of cigarette smoke (not mine), the smell of a roast cooking, mud, ferns, bluebells, Woogiraffedleigh Green Apple Shampoo, Avon Pretty Peach and Avon Occur, in a giraffe shaped bottle, no less. Quite how giraffes and perfume go together, I never thought to question, but he literally had some brass neck.

My teachers wore Cacharel Anais Anais, which hasn’t changed to this day, as long as you sidestep the “Delice” version. I can’t remember what scent my mother wore, but she always smelled nice.  My grandmother wore Coty L’Aimant, which I didn’t recognise then, but which moves me to gusty sighs of melancholy  now she isn’t here.

BeFunky Collage70s home

The Smell of the 1980s.

Formative years mean a thirst to both stand out and blend in at the same time. I was groping for an identity and slowly moving into and out of adolescence. It was 1981 before I gradually weaned myself off

sindyplaying with Sindy dolls. I can still vividly recall the smell of the vinyl heads and strange nylon hair, inevitably knotted to all hell within a week of ownership.

My first ever scent that I paid for myself was a splash bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots No 7. Long since discontinued, I have sought that bluebell scent ever since.  My mother bought me a bottle of Jontue from a trip she went on, and one Christmas I had a bottle of Cachet.  I wore this A LOT.  I also remember Avon Eau Givreé: a beautiful green hesperide that has long since been discontinued.

My teens saw me receive my first ever bottle of proper fragrance from my father for my 18th birthday. It was Estee Lauder Beautiful and I still love it now. 1988 saw me leave home at go to Exeter Uni, where the most memorable scents were Marlboro cigarettes, red wine and lashings of Cacharel LouLou.

1980s collage

Meanwhile, over in Denver Colorado, Alexis Carrington was cracking the whip.  Excess, big shoulder pads, big hair and big smells were all the rage.  On the High Street, there was the unmistakable cloud of Giorgio Beverly Hills and a miasma of Dior Poison mingled with Body Shop White Musk and Dewberry. The Nightclubs smelled of Calvin Klein Obsession, and my one little egg shaped bottle took me into the 1990s.

The Smell of the 1990s

The caring, sharing Nineties sobered everyone up and made us wear ozonic scents in an urge to cleanse ourselves of the Eighties excesses. All my friends smelled of Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, which is no bad thing. I had discovered Chanel Cristalle, also a light scent that was the opposite side of the spectrum to Poison, Obsession and Giorgio. The 1990s saw me graduate and move to London, which smelled very different to Devon.  London air is thicker, dirtier and there were more cigarettes smoked and more traffic fumes, but reader, to me it was the smell of freedom and wonder and possibility.

collage 1990s

1992 saw the launch of the iconic Thierry Mugler Angel. I remember smelling it for the first time in Harrods Perfume Hall and thinking “but why would I want to smell like chocolate?” I appreciate it now of course, for the multi-faceted classic it is, but back then it was revolutionary among the ozonic and airy fairy Nineties scents. Meanwhile, in 1997, Gucci launched the now much-mourned Gucci Envy.  So good was this floral green scent with a vein of metal running through it, that I dumped Cristalle and remained almost exclusive to Gucci Envy until it was cruelly taken from us in 2007.

The Smell of The Noughties

The Noughties saw a revolution in celebrity fragrance.  Elizabeth Taylor had been churning them out since 1991, but they were largely seen as fan fodder until 2002 when Jennifer Lopez launched the brilliant Glow. It was a clean, white fragrance that pleased the crowds and began a snowball of celebrity fragrances taking off.  Britney Spears got in on it, as did many of her contemporaries and soon the perfumeries were chock full of celeb scents. Sarah Jessica Parker brought new possibilities with SJP Lovely and some of the snobbery dissipated when we realised that celebrity stuff can be pretty darn good. (I’m still a celeb scent geek)

noughties collage

The noughties also mark the only two years of my adult life where I have been without any fragrance and that’s because I had my sons during that decade.  Their first scent memory is of my skin.  No deodorant, no perfume, just me.  It wasn’t easy getting those babies, but it was worth it.

The Smell of the Twenteens

Now things really start to spice up. I started my blog on January 2nd 2013. It was a combination of an urge to write and a channel for my reawakened perfume passion. This was brought about by a lean period, during which Chanel was very much out of reach.  As a result, I developed a bit of a cheap and cheerful habit as my receipts from allbeauty.com will attest.  From that, and the three huge boxes of samples that dear Lisa Jones let me borrow, the floodgates opened.

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The biggest scent launch of the Twenteens has to be the seminal Lancome La Vie est Belle. The fruity floral explosion of the early ‘teens segued into a river of caramel and praline   Hot on its heels was YSL Black Opium , which dismayed many Opium fans, but brought a  cohort of new fans to the brand.

In recent  times, I’ve been coming across the semi-ubiquitous jasmine sambac note that  seems to be so popular right now.  You can find it in  Paco Rabanne Olympea,  Givenchy Dahlia Divin and Versace Eros. The big launch of 2017 is Mon Guerlain, and whilst it’s not my cup of tea, I do harbour hopes that it will  lead us into a big lavender  trend.

As we point in the direction of 2020, I’m looking forward to the alleged forthcoming trends of milk notes, peony and a renaissance of my favourite genre: green notes.

Interestingly, celebrity fragrance sales are on the wane, but guess what’s on the up?  Niche perfume.  Which is very good news indeedy.

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How about you?

What scents bring back instant memories for you?  It doesn’t matter how random or everyday they are, I always love to hear from you.

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Perfume Questions? Ask Aunty Sam…

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Dear beloved readers,

Lately I have been asked many questions by people with queries about perfume. These vary from “what smells like…?” queries to “Where can I get…?” queries. It got me thinking, my friends.  How about a little post that’s all about your perfume questions and queries?

Just email me or post your question below or on Twitter or Facebook and I will do my very best to answer them.  You can even be anonymous if you like!

So, fire away.  Do you want to know if there’s a smellalike to a long discontinued favourite?  Does a newly reformulated favourite resemble an old one?  Which are the best cheap and cheerfuls?  Tell Aunty Sam your scented dilemmas.  I’m  all ears and all nostrils!

Email iscentyouaday@gmail.com

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Where Do You Keep Yours? #ScentStorage

 

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A recent article from The Perfume Society got me thinking. Our dear chums at The Perf Soc invite us to show them our pictures of  how we store our collections on Instagram and Twitter for a future feature in The Scented Letter. ( hashtag  #scentstorage)

I warily approached my groaning dressing table with my temperamental camera phone and noticed it was a big messy jumble. Once I tidied up for the photo sesh ( see above) I felt it was high time for an edit.  I therefore picked my absolute  favourites and took a family photo of them looking their best and all facing the right way.

In a non-subtle attempt to get you all to tell me about your essential kit, I thought I’d take the vain liberty of giving you a mini tour of my curated core collection.

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Le Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacre, 4160 Tuesdays The Gathering of The Clans, Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic, Papillon Perfumery Angelique, JLo Deseo, Gucci Envy, Jolie Madame vintage, Andy Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange, Hilary Duff With Love.

my stash

 

jr-sandalwoodLe Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacré: This has been my SOTD for the past 3 days. The sweet, aromatic sandalwood hangs out like a lovable hippy until it turns into a woody, spiced musk.

 

4160 Tuesdays the Gathering of The gatheringClans:

The Gathering of The Clans is a wonderful blackcurrant, herby, citrus chypre that will always remind me of Christmas 2016 because I could NOT stop wearing it. Plus, there was a real-life Gathering of The Clans.

 

gin-and-tonicArt de Parfum Gin &Tonic:

This is so much more than gin and tonic. It’s a fresh breeze blowing through your life. On my skin, it bursts into tiny flowers as the day goes on.

 

Papillon Perfumery Angelique:

This was love at first sniff, although I angeliquefound it very hard to describe at first. It defies genre. I always wear it to christenings so it has happy associations for me. It smells like priceless buttery suede and iris and mimosa. There’s nothing like it.

JLo Deseo:

deseo bigThis was an astounding bargain that I refer people to whenever they cast doubt on the quality of celebrity scent. This 30ml bottle cost me a mere £8.95, but before I could stock up, it was discontinued and is now like hen’s teeth. The bottle makes me think of wet jewels. The scent is jasmine, orange flower, yuzu and tiare flower.

Gucci Envy.

Ah, my beloved Envy.  It led me astray from my fidelity to Chanel gucci_envy_reklama3Cristalle.  Envy and I were together for several formative years.  My house, my bedroom, my clothes and my desk all smelled of hyacinth and lily of the valley and that strange metallic Nineties chime in the middle. Pure Heaven. It was pointlessly discontinued in 2007.  Despite a huge clamour for it,  Gucci remain tight lipped.  I have just over an inch left.  Can’t go on.  Hankies please.

Balmain Jolie Madame vintage

joliemadameThis was a gift from dear chum Lisa Jones. She watched as I entered the chypre portal and never looked back over my shoulder.  It’s all her fault and I love her for it. I was once asked what I would put in my dream fragrance. I answered “violets, leather and oak moss” before I realised that I had just described Balmain Jolie Madame.

 

Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange

I was an immediate slave to the  green notes in Carillon Pour un carillonpicAnge. It is one of the longest lasting perfumes I have ever tried. It starts with angelic lily of the valley, goes even greener for a bit, and then comes storming back to an Ambergris finish. I love how it lingers on my pillow.

Hilary Duff with Love

withloveBefore this was sadly discontinued, I picked up a 15ml bottle in my local branch of Home Bargains for just £3.99. It wasn’t the mainstream fruity florals that were so typical of 2013: it was a thrilling surprise of tropical dark wood and yes, mango. It’s a woody, cedar treat and I’m loath to use it up until I can wangle another off eBay. Oh, and check out the dreamy bottle! It’s like a jewel.

How about you?

And to think life was so simple when once upon a time I had a signature scent. Sigh. Once you’re bitten, there’s no going back.

Now I’ve shared mine, how about yours? How do you store them? Where do you keep them? If you had to really edit your collection what would be in it?   Are your favourites discontinued or reformulated? Are they posh and pricey or chypre and cheerful?  Am I asking too many questions?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

PS Don’t forget to post your photos to @ThePerfumeSociety on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #scentstorage

Dorsal view
Dorsal view

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Fragrance for the Frugal 2017

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Now that my blog is four, I thought I’d better do some housekeeping. One of my most popular articles is “Perfume for Paupers”, written two years ago. It  was my guide to how you can smell good without blowing the budget. It was written from the heart (and from past experience ), since I believe that you don’t have to be rich to smell good.

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Nope. No money in the money box.

However, as you know, the industry changes faces like a kaleidoscope in even a short space of time.  For example, many celeb scents that I reviewed  then, have been discontinued, and many new affordable options have appeared on the market in just two years.  However, much of what I wrote in my earlier article still stands: shop around, be selective, use eBay, look past the label.  I reckon it’s time for an update.  Here’s my guide on how to smell good without feeling bad.

Edith Evena as Lady Bracknell
Edith Evena as Lady Bracknell

Leave your snobbery at the door

I used to be in an exclusive long term relationship with Chanel Cristalle and would only rarely have flings with other scent on the side.  During a frugal period in my life, I decided to shop around, and my love affair with scent truly blossomed.  I hold allbeauty.com and Home Bargains responsible for this. I bought the cheapest scent I could afford and ended up finding some firm favourites.   High price tags do not always mean high quality., and vice versa.  Don’t overlook celebrity fragrances either. They are all made by professional Noses and  are usually cheaper than other brands. Some of my favourite celeb scents are under £10. 

Recommended: Celine Dion Sensation,  Sarah Jessica Parker  Lovely,  JLo Glow, Madonna Truth or Dare.

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Avon

Ok, I’m starting to sound obsessed with Avon now, but when you an find a decent perfume for under seven quid, well, then it’s very hard to stay away. In fact my SOTD is Avon Rare Platinum and those tuberose wafts are very pleasing to my nose today. Avon Perceive Oasis was my summer scent more than any other in 2016. I even bought a back up bottle.  I give Avon a further thumbs up for selling purse sprays at just £3 and for currently selling Scent Essence Lime Verbena for just £2.50 for 30ml.  All prices correct at time of posting.

Recommended:  Lime Verbena, Avon Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche, Avon Rare Platinum, Avon Perceive Oasis, Avon Tahitain Holiday, and for fans of La Vie est Belle, Avon Cherish.

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Go for preloved

I have bought a lot of perfume from eBay and have never been let down. EBay is pretty strict on counterfeit and it’s not worth most people’s trouble to try and sell the odd fake. Having said that, there’s no guarantee it’ll never happen to you, but in seven years I’ve not been conned.  EBay is also great for perfume samples which helps avoid costly blind buys. I’ve also scored some blinders from a local car boot sale.  Never underestimate how much somebody else can dislike a perfectly good bottle of perfume and be desperate to get rid of it. That, my friends, is when you  circle and swoop.

Success stories:  100ml of Cabotine for £3.99 on eBay, bottle of LouLou and assorted samples for £7 on eBay, bottle of half used 100ml of Rive Gauche for £4 at car boot sale.  Full 50ml bottle of Chanel Coco EDP for £26 on eBay.

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Go retro

Some of my favourite cheap and cheerfuls are the kind of scent young folk today might label as “Nan perfume”.  I prefer the term “classic. ” Nobody will put me off Coty L’Aimant or Chique and I could buy both bottles with ten quid and still have change for a Daim Bar.

Recommended: Coty L’Aimant, Yardley April Violets,  Chique.

 

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Get good samples

If you’re saving for a bottle of the good stuff and in between bottles,, why not just buy a few samples and use your favourites on high days and holidays? It’s cheaper than a full bottle and you can always smell expensive without having a shelf full of posh bottles and no money in the bank.

Recommended: The Perfume Society for great, hard-to-find samples, and The Fragrance Shop for a quarterly box of new releases.

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Swapsies

You’d be amazed how many of your friends have been given perfume they don’t like and don’t wear. Nobody seems to throw it away though, so get asking. You might find they have one of your favourites and that dusty bottle you can’t get rid of might be just their cup of tea. I dare you to ask four friends if they have a bottle of perfume they don’t really wear.  It also works on forums such as Fragrantica, Mumsnet and Fragcomm.

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I bet beautiful Ruby Rose wears whatever the hell she likes. Photo from Pride.

Go unisex

Many men’s fragrances are cheaper than women’s ( though not all). There’s no rule that says you can’t wear his stuff or that he can’t wear yours. Having said that, although I reguarly raid my husband’s scent collection (I chose most of it- ergo it’s mine.) I can’t see my husband borrowing my SJP Lovely to wear for work anytime soon. Shame. Florals can smell good on men.

grand-canyonHere’s what I mean by cheap and cheerful for chaps:  Old Spce (cheap as chips) doesn’t smell a million miles away from Yves Saint Laurent Opium. (Thanks for the tip Portia of APJ), and Avon men’s fragrances are truly excellent. I wore Wilderness for Men for the whole of August one year, with a pretty sun dress. I say Pah! to labels. If it smells good wear it.

Recommended: Avon Destination Grand Canyon ( reputed to smell like Terre D’Hermes), Lynx  Urban DailyTobacco and Amber, Jovan Musk For Men, Lidl XBolt (pleasant, apple-y top note.)

white musk

Al-Rehab, Al Aneeq and Crown perfumes

These mini rollerballs are available from Amazon and eBay. Containing no alcohol,  and usually in rollerball format, these are an unbeatably cheap way to layer notes or wear the scent alone.  The violetjasmine and the rose single note fragrances are pretty good too. They make good presents and a 10ml rollerball is perfect for even the smallest of handbags.

Recommended:  I particularly like Violet and  the White Musk. neither cost me more than 2.99. A friend of mine adores Choco Musk at only £1.99.

How About You?

What’s been your best frugal fragrance?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

photo by Alison Oddy
photo by Alison Oddy

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How to Get Perfume Samples 2017

sam collection

In 2015 I wrote a post entitled “How to Get Perfume Samples”.  I felt it was necessary since these days, it’s easier to get unicorn droppings  and hens’ teeth than perfume samples from Beauty Counters.  My original article has proved very popular, but the Fragrant Firmament spins fast on its axis.  My original article, written in 2015, needs updating for 2017.

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A lot can happen in two years within the industry. Beloved favourites can be discontinued, new starts ups can arrive with a bang, and old lions can go out with a whimper.

Sample services serve two purposes: They avoid you making costly blind buys and they help you fall in love with stuff you might not have 4160 tastercome across.  Whilst I love to seek out samples of stuff I’ve heard of and never tried, I also love it when the choice is made for me. It takes me out of my comfort zone. This is one of the reasons why I am such a fan of discovery boxes, and the Perfume Society in particular. Their boxes are loosely themed and have really changed my mind about no end of scents I wouldn’t have otherwise sought out.

mysamples2The other advantage is one I mentioned pre-Christmas, but which applies at any time of the year. When buying for others, why not offer them a choice? A mixture of samples and gift voucher is my idea of the perfect gift (It’s my birthday next month. I wonder if my husband is reading this?).

Here’s a roundup of sample services that are currently out there just waiting for us to knock on their door. This is a UK Guide by the way, so if I miss your favourite out, it’s just geography, not favouritism.

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The Perfume Society.

Yes I’m a fan. No, they don’t pay me to say so and yes I have almost every one of the Discovery Boxes. In fact, I’m just waiting for the Heaven Scent one, due any day! You can buy them here. They usually contain around nine excellent, often hard-to-get samples and maybe a treat or two  as well. They are my Number One favourite treat.

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ScentSamples UK

A new entry at Number Two. I’m very impressed with the diversity here and find the prices reasonable.  I’m rolling my sleeves up and writing a long list.  Here’s a link to their website.

Inside Les Senteurs, Elizabeth Street
Inside Les Senteurs, Elizabeth Street

Les Senteurs

There are two branches of this divine boutique perfumery in London, but the good news is that you don’t have to live in London to benefit from their sample service.  The bad news is that its very, very hard to choose. Here’s the link.

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4160 Tuesdays

Nobody can accuse Sarah McCartney of not being inclusive.  4160 Tuesdays means reasonably priced high quality artisan scents that cover every genre except “boring”.  The 4160  Tuesdays website even has themed suggestions of sample sets in case you don’t know where to begin.  My favourite is “Frocks and Hats.”

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The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club.

Every quarter since 2013 I have received a box of samples from The Fragrance Shop. These usually include new releases and new flankers, but often they pop a classic or a well-beloved favourite in.  The boxes usually include between 6 to 9 samples and a booklet of money off vouchers if you find one you want in full bottle size. Boxes are just £5 a quarter, and they make great gifts too. You can join in the fun here.

Papillon Perfumery
Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Perfumery is the creation of  Nose Liz Moores, perfumer extraordinaire (I’ve met her- she is small and beautiful) There are four scents in the Papillon range and you can sample of all four from here. There isn’t a single one I wouldn’t recommend, and a fifth scent is on its way later this year.

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FragranceSamplesUK

Another one I’ve not come across before, but I’m very impressed with their range and might be making an order soon.  The huge range varies from Tom Ford, Chanel Exclusifs, Tauer and Roja to name but a few. I’ll let you know  what I think if I can ever make my mind up! You can check the site out for yourselves here.

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Pell Wall Perfumes

In the beautiful county of Shropshire, Chris Bartlett creates  exquisite scents under the name of Pell Wall Perfumes. Sample sets and mini bottles are available at reasonable prices and you may well find a lifelong favourite among this imaginative range. I particularly like Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Check out the website here.

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eBay

eBay has a vast range of samples from various sellers.  I have never been let down or sold fakes on eBay- they are very strict about that.  I have had some great bargains this way and even if you end up not liking the samples you order, they make great swapping currency.

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Find Your Tribe

Join a group of like-minded fume heads: Sites such as Fragrantica and Base Notes have led to many firm friendships, as well as samples swapping. Alternatively, join a Facebook group such as Fragcom or Perfumeland For Fluffheads.perfumeland

Have I missed any out? Have you had great sample service in the UK? Or have you discovered a favourite through random sample sniffage?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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A Big Giveaway to Celebrate Four Years of Blogging

 

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Dearest readers,  it’s time I gave something back to you for your loyalty and readership since January 2013 when the whole thing began as a little WordPress blog with a lilac background. Incidentally, before I go on, I’d like to apologise if your comments have gone unmoderated or unanswered recently. There’s a glitch in the sytem which means I have to approve even my own comments.  I’m on top of it now, though.

Back on topic- Yes, as promised, it’s time for the  IScentYouADay giveaway, now that we are four- that’s the Royal “we”, in case you were wondering. Four years is giddy stuff!

There are four prizes up for grabs- one for each year of the blog.  Due to postal regulations, I’m afraid this is only open to the UK and Northern Ireland.

So here’s what I’m giving away:

Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream.

With warm almondy notes, this reminded me of Bakewell Tart, warm nutmegand crisp and straight from the oven. It’s making me long for that marzipan covered Christmas Cake my mother made me for Christmas (I’m embarrassed to tell you how quickly it disappeared at my hand).  Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream smells delicious, and so will you when you wear it. 30ml Cologne.

Perfumer’s Choice- Valerie

valerieThis is a big hitter for fans of YSL Black Opium. There’s coffee, white flowers, vanilla, patchouli and OOOMPH. Guaranteed to last a minimum of six hours, a little goes a long way, making this excellent value.  You can read my review here. 93ml EDP

 

Perfumer’s Choice- Victor

victor1This is a gorgeous masculine scent (although I like it for me as well) with notes of grapefruit and vetiver. This smells like something far more expensive and famous but I’m blowed if I can name it! It’ll come to me at 3 a.m, no doubt. Guaranteed to last a minimum of six hours. 93ml EDP

Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes

elizabeth-taylor-violet-eyes-adYes, the very bottle I reviewed the other day.  Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes has notes of peach and cedar and a hint of jasmine. This bejewelled 15ml bottle has only been tested by me, but is otherwise full and boxed.  I wasn’t a massive fan, but that doesn’t mean you won’t like it, or know someone who does.  The bottle has a little diamante choker on! So cute.

How to Win

Just tell me which one you’d like to win and I will enter you into the draw. You can tell me in the comments scetion below, on Facebook or on Twitter.  Closing date is one week from now- 16th January 2017 at midnight. Good luck!

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to the Library of Fragrance for the Nutmeg Ice Cream Cologne. Thanks also to World Class Fragrance for Perfumer’s Choice Victor and Valerie.

Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes: Peachy…

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Dame Elizabeth Taylor was not only an acting legend and world famous beauty, but was one of the first celebrities to launch a fragrance.  Not THE first, though, that was Cher.   NB More celebrity perfume trivia-Antonio Banderas has 57 fragrances to his name and has had his own perfume house since 1997.  That calls for a gratuitous photo.

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Back to Violet Eyes . Violet Eyes was launched in 2010, and was inspired by the famous and unusual eye colour of Dame Elizabeth herself.   However,  I was still expecting violets in the fragrance. After all, the juice, bottle and box are all varying shades of purple. There were no violets for me to sniff, though.  In fact there were only two dominant notes in Violet Eyes and they were cedar and white peaches.

violeteyes-bottle

As you know, I am no snob when it comes to perfume.  A tiny price tag won’t make me turn my nose up ( excuse the pun). However, in this case, I find little to recommend it.   It begins as a common or garden fruity floral with loud peaches and  a good waft of light jasmine. However, within about ten minutes it becomes synthetic fuzzy woods and  even more synthetic fuzzy peach. it pretty much stayed that way on me and didn’t really improve.

However, there are many Fragrantica readers who  swear that this smells  very simialr to Lanvin Eclat D’Arpege, yet is even cheaper.

If that floats your boat, then you have a bargain.

I still love the bottle of Violet Eyes: that diamante collar and  shiny box! I still love Dame Liz too, but I’ll sit this one out. Her best still remains White Diamonds in my book ( or on my blog).

Stockists

This is available from Fragrance Direct at only 2.99 for a 15ml spray. Worth it for the pretty bottle alone! I bought my own bottle and opinions are my own.

Happy New Year from IScentYouADay! Plus What’s New in 2017

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Many tiny snowflakes make an avalanche.

2016 was a terrible year in many ways. It made my heart feel heavy. There was a marked increase in hate and prejudice, a colossal amount of celebrity deaths and the world in general seemed a darker place. Like many, I feel a need to accentuate the positive. I have been counting my blessings and feeling determined to put kindness back out into the world. Prozac and affirmations help too.

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One of the things I am particularly thankful for is the fact that I have made several dear friends via my blog. I truly treasure them. It has always lifted my spirits to read your comments and share your scent stories.lizsam

The kindness and generosity of perfume loving people ( fumeheads? Perfumistas?) is legend. They would give you the shirt off their backs and their last drop of anything you “quite fancy trying.”  Back in October, I was lucky enough to meet a gang o’perfumistas  and ended the day feeling like I had taken part in a giant cuddle.  Thanks to Pia Long and caronNick Gilbert, we gathered in London and talked and sniffed all the day long, ending with a bellyful of cake and tea. Sheer bliss. People like that make me hopeful. Kindness is rife, rampant and contagious.  Long may it ravage us all! Many tiny snowflakes make an avalanche.

Looking back, 2016 was an interesting year scent wise. I got to know several new brands and perfume houses. Perfume trends in general, are, I think, changing.  Celebrity sales are down and niche sales are up. The tide is turning and I like it.

What I Am Most Looking forward to in 2017
papillon-samLiz Moores of Papillon Perfumery has promised a new release sometime in 2017. Rumoured to be a chypre (claps hands and whoops) I am already in the line with a Thermos of tea and sleeping in Liz’s teepee so I can be first in the queue.  Despite having made only four perfumes so far, Liz’s fragrances already have the permanence of classics. There are no weak links. Quality is outstanding.  By the way, for some reason I always wear Papillon Angelique to christenings. It seems to “go”. New life, optimism, pearls…

ruthsam3In other news the  Ruth Mastenbroek promises us a fourth scent in her range. I know little about it so far as it is still in development stage, but rest assured, it will be reviewed right here..

I also plan to head London-wards to drop in on the 4160 Tuesdays studio. I haven’t been since 2014 and I want to see if my new smaller bottom will fit in the swing.  I’m hoping Sarah McCartney will let me sniff a few single notes that I sometimes get stuck on, and sell me a load of scent swag. (I’m taking a very large bag).

4160samples

I am keen to see what Avon comes up with this year. They made two of my most frequently worn scents this year and neither cvost me more than £7.  Rare Platinum is a tuberose lover’s dream and Perceive Oasis is peonies and roses on a summer day. I’m also excited to see what else Beaufort London has in store after the show stopping Fathom V.  More to come from this audacious house and their wonderfully named “Hell or High Water” range.

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And one last thing.. oh yes,. Watchthis space as I put my very shy self into YouTube territory. I’m scared just writing that, but one has to move with the times. Scary!

clapperHAPPY NEW YEAR!

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The IScents 2016: My Awards to The Very Best of Scent

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Check me out! I’ve been experimenting with editing sites. The world is my lobster.   Watch this space for disastrous pixellated pics and clumsy graphics until I get the hang of stuff. I’ll soon be running with the pack.

samnose16Well, dear readers, it’s time for me to sum up a busy fragranced year and award  plaudits to my favourites from 2016. These are purely based on my opinion, which is therefore The Law.

Not all of these are actually 2016 launches: some have just impressed me so much after four years of blogging that I have declared that they deserve accolades.  Now,  we’d’d best get on before all this power goes to my head and I start doing villain’s laughter.

 The IScent Award for Best Longevity

This has to be a three way tie between

  • 4160 Tuesdays Midnight in the Palace Garden
  • Andy Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange
  • Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose

Here’s why:

midnightI sprayed 4160 Tuesdays Midnight in The Palace Garden into thin air yesterday and 24 hours later it is still there. This is despite eating a roast dinner in the same room and trying on various perfumes throughout the day.  It smells like I have been burning very expensive incense among church pews and I love it.

carillonpicI sprayed two sprays of Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange on my neck three days ago. Since then I have had three showers and changed my bedding. This morning when I woke up, I could still smell lily of the valley. This is a bottle I purchased in May 2015 and it has barely gone down.  I think a genie keeps refilling it.

tobacco roseMade by the delightful Liz Moores in her compound in the New Forest, Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose lasted over fifteen hours on me. Rich, woody roses that just stay put. I could bask in it. Two sprays and you’re wrapped in spiced, woody roses until bedtime.

So all three of these niche brands get the Iscent 2016 Award for Longevity. Isn’t it interesting how they are all niche and not mainstream?  Just sayin’

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Best Summer Perfume – Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic

Gin &Tonic by Art de Parfum stopped me in my tracks with  its new take on Gin &Tonic. So much more than just refreshing juniper, I wore this until my sample ran out and had compliments every time.  A full bottle is in my sights in 2017. Check out my reviews on the rest of the range here.

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Most Original Launch –REEK perfume Damn Rebel Bitches

reek-perfume-bottle-campaign-dirtyhands-orange-uai-720x900This has to go to Reek Perfume for Damn Rebel Bitches. It’s  a scent that smacks of rebellion. Rustic touches speak of the heritage of the strong women it pays tribute to.  With notes of malt, blood orange and herbs, you won’t be surprised to learn that Sarah McCartney was the nose behind the scent Her fingerprints are all over it! (NB That is not her hand in the illustration).

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Best Celebrity Launch-Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJPstash-ad

This one was easy. It goes to Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP. Breaking the mould of the usual celeb fare, SJP goes down the niche-style route of a churchy sandalwood incense unisex scent with not a hint of fruity floral fruitichouli in sight. It’s superb quality and I hope it will set the tone for other innovative celeb launches.

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Best Flanker-Chanel No 5 L’Eau

lilyrose-iamgesIt’s got to be Chanel no 5 L’Eau. Not a diluted version of the original, but a twiddling of the tuning knobs to bring out the lighter and muffle the darker.  It’s divine and light and deserves classic status already.   Oh, and lightness doesn’t mean a lack of longevity either: this really sticks around. Full marks to the beautifully simple marketing campaign showcasing the lovely Lily-Rose Depp.

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Biggest Disappointments-Modern Muse Nuit, Dior Poison Girl and YSL Mon Paris.

1200_x_500pix_modern_muse_nuit_visual_1poison girlAnother three-way tie. I simply couldn’t choose! Here are the turkeys, the raspberries, the No-Nos. I don’t want to be mean but I’m going to mon parisbe  anyway.   Dior Poison Girl, Estee Lauder Modern Muse Nuit and YSL Mon Paris left me wishing I’d never even taken the lid off.  The prices are steep for what they are and the money seems to be going on the marketing rather than the ingredients (what’s new?)  Least said soonest mended.  Moving on!

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Best Winter Fragrance- Le Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacre

jr-sandalwoodThis one has to go to Le Jardin Retrouvé.  When I smelled Sandalwood Sacre for the first time, it was like cupid had shot me with an arrow. I simply had to own a bottle and now I do.   You can read my review here.  Don’t just keep it for winter though. I’m not.

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Best Gourmand: Library of Fragrance Chai Tea and Library of Fragrance Tomato

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Trust Library of Fragrance to come up with the goods once again. This was a tie between Chai Tea and Tomato. I am sure they won’t mind sharing the award with um…themselves.

Chai Tea combines Tomato-LOF-Hero.jpg_1024x1024lightness and spice to bring a new angle on the word “cosy.” if you don’t like your gourmands too sweet ( like me) then Chai Tea will win you over. Meanwhile, back in our very  short summer of 2016, (it was a Tuesday afternoon as I recall) Library of Fragrance Tomato took me back to my grandfather’s greenhouse in the 70s faster than a Tardis.  As fresh as a new bud and with accents of verbena, Tomato became one of my very favourite warm weather scents.

Best Chypre: DSH Mata Hari

Mata HariOver the ocean in Boulder Colorado, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz brews and macerates her beautiful perfumes with skill and passion. I was floored by DSH Mata Hari  Extrait and  in a blind test I would have  thought it a priceless original 1920s vintage. It made me  want to wear long gloves and arch one eyebrow at people.  Glorious! You can read my DSH reviews here.

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Best New Scent 2016: Beaufort London Fathom V

beaufort-london_fathom_1-septBeaufort London Fathom V turned an unassuming day into a vivid montage of sea faring adventure. It transported me to the slimy flanks of a London ship and the distant calls of pirates in one sniff. This stuff is like letting a genie out of a bottle. It’s green times a thousand, with sea notes that you can almost hear. It’s the  best sea scent ever, and I can’t see that anything will make me change my mind about that. You can read my love letter to Fathom V here.

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Best Natural Fragrance 2016:  Mandy Aftel – Aftelier Amber Tapestry

Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com
Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com

Using only natural ingredients ( and that takes some doing!) Mandy’s instinctive connection to nature  transports you to another place, via taste and even flavour. Amber Tapestry unfurls, layer by layer, enveloping the wearer in  the kind of warmth that has a uniquely human touch.  You can read my review here.

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The IScent Fellowship Award: The Perfume Society

eauxlalashopaw-1I’ve invented a Fellowship Award because The Perfume Society defies other categopries.  Not only do they provide white boxes of treasure that even the most jaded perfume palate would salivate at, but they’re a sort of Mothership that  we can all turn to when we get a bit lost in the  murky depths of fruity-florals-chypres-colognes-my-nose-is-confused-help!  Ever had a day like that? I have.  The Perfume Society Scented Letter magazine also makes me settle down with a contented sigh and think “I’ve found my tribe” as I read what other perfume obsessives are up to.  Fumeheads, you are not alone.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you and goodnight.

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Buying Perfume for Tweens and Teens

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Young folk of today are getting older much faster than we fortysomethings ever did back in the 70s.  At the age of eleven, I was curious_britney_competitionstill playing with Sindy dolls. Eleven year olds today have their own phones and Snapchat accounts. I have a ten year old son so chanceI see children of his age group regularly and as a general rule, they are a lovely bunch of interesting people with the world at their feet.  But my Goodness, have you seen their Christmas lists? I used to be  happy with new felt pens and some bubble bath! ( still am).

Teens and Tweens today are influenced by the media more than any other generation that has ever lived and this has given them a penchant for labels, names and fitting in. So how do you please the hard-to-please? Well, as sensible adults the last thing we want is for our youngsters to smell provocative. We’re not looking for sexy. That is completely off the menu here. In general, you’ll be looking at gourmands and fruity florals or florals, and side stepping anything with civet or big patchouli notes.  I wouldn’t start with Angel or Coco Mademoiselle, for example.

With that in mind, I have compiled  a little list of what I consider to be suitable fragrance gifts for the teen or tween in your life. I’ve tried not to give any ideas that are “square” or “uncool” so you should be all right. I’ve also kept it fairly reasonable in price, with just a couple of higher prices ideas for your little diva or divo.

Celebrity Perfumes

incredible taylorI’m no snob- I’ll wear anything- and my proclamation about celeb scents goes something like this

“all celebrity scents are made by professional perfumers from respected houses and fragrance companies. Most celebrity scents are cheaper than other scents by big brand names. Ergo- celebrity scents are A Good Thing. Here endeth the lesson.” For the youngster, I recommend JLo Glow ( a clean hair scent) or Britney Spears Curious. It was Britney’s first and its  a light, non-sexy fruity floral that pleases onedpostereven my fussy nose. Also in the running is Taylor Swift Incredible Things with its interesting suede notes.  I also recommend the One Direction scents, if only for the packaging. One Direction That Moment has been reviewed here and is an inoffensive fruity floral. My son seems happy with David Beckham and I have to say I have yet to find any of them unpleasant or too overly sexy. They seem to be generic, but that’s not a bad start for a ten year old setting out on a lifelong scent journey. Try David Beckham Classic Blue for a light sport scent.

Avon

Have you guessed I’m a fan yet? The nice thing about Avon is that they are affordable and they launch new scent to fit in withcherish the moment fast moving market demands. Avon Cherish and Cherish The Moment are ideal for young scent wearers. Cherish is similar to Lancome La Vie est Belle with a strong caramel note over the florals. Cherish The Moment is even sweeter!  Both can be obtained from Avon UK for around £12.

Marks and Spencer

butteflyMarks and Spencer does a great job of producing affordable perfumes in crowd pleasing varieties that are packaged in very attractive bottles.  One of the most appealing to the age group we’re looking at today is Marks and Spencer Butterfly. With calone notes of melon and cucumber, this gives the pricier DKNY Be Delicious a run for its money. The bottle reminds me of the Marc Jacobs bottles which, I understand, are much coveted by this age group! Which brings me nicely to…

The High Street Beauty Counters

www.thedieline.com

If you’re looking for something special, then Marc Jacobs has the bottle you want. If I were you, I’d keep Decadence and its rich sexiness for yourself and go instead for the delightful Marc Jacobs Daisy, Daisy Eau so Fraiche or Daisy Dream ( see photo- right). All are light florals that pass the office/school test by not being too in-yer-face or come-hither. Stella McCartney is another good bet. Cool enough to please even the most bored looking teen, yet good perfume that varies from the deliciously airy floral of STELLA to the tuberose/sandalwood of Stella McCartney POP.

If money is no object, or you’re buying for a tween with expensive taste ( so that’s championquite a few of them from where I’m standing), then Chanel Chance makes a delightfully airy introduction to Chanel and the good stuff in general

For boys (and whilst I reject gender stereotypes, my boy does not, sadly), you can’t go wrong with Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein Eternity For Him. I would avoid Paco Rabanne One Million at this age because it will floor any asthmatic within a fifty foot radius. Waaay too strong. I recently bought Davidoff Champion for my nephew and was very impressed with its light green freshness. Davidoff Cool Water is another scent cool enough to please them and cheap enough to buy. A light, ozonic classic, this can be had for well under £15.

Library of Fragrance

Library of Fragrance is a great starting point that will help your budding perfumista get used to different notes and layering scent. They can lof crowd shotexperiment with several bottles without breaking the bank. I especially like Moonbeam, Mango, and Vanilla Ice Cream, but the world is your lobster! Library of Fragrance is the perfect way to begin a fragrance wardrobe. The website is here and you can usually find special offers and wonderful exclusive colognes.

For Under Tens, Go Contintental

yvesrocherPerfume for “les enfants” is more usual among our European friends. One of my favourite French brands, Yves Rocher, does a range of beautifully simple and wholesome scents for children that find their inspiration from innocent facts of nature. For the younger child asking for perfume, you can buy Peach, Strawberry or blackberry in a little vapo spray for just a few pounds.  Personally, I think children smell lovely as they are, but if  young people really want perfume, then peaches and blackberries play it safe and sweet.

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