Category Archives: cheap perfume that smells good

Yardley Contemporary Classics: English Rose

www.superdrug.com
www.superdrug.com

 

Yardley is one of those classic, trusty brands where you can be assured of quality.  It’s a refreshing change to find a range of fragrance that isn’t constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.  As trends come and go, fans of classics can often find themselves left out, but we can always fall on back on Yardley to provide us with the traditional, simple scents that every fragrance wardrobe needs.

Yardley English Rose is a simple rose  done very well.  It goes on at first spray smelling like delicate rose breath sweets, which at first made me think of Parma violets, but this is purely rose from start to finish.   Despite being an Eau de Toilette, it is light enough to feel like a refreshing eau de cologne, but the lovely light airiness sticks around much longer than it would for a cologne.

On Fragrantica, there are several notes listed:

Rose and Geranium are in the top notes, white flowers are in the middle and the finish consists of spice, musk and woods.  To me, that hint of geranium provides the spice, although the rose is dominant throughout.   The finish is a beautiful clean musk that had me sniffing my arm and wondering when I’d sprayed white musk on that day. Coupled with the roses, it makes a beautifully feminine accord.

This beautiful rose is ideal for layering with musks or even a heavy oriental- it could lighten it up for daytime wear.  Yardley English Rose works best for me in summer though, wearing florals and smelling like them too.

This is unbeatable value at around £10 for 50ml, and sometimes the 125ml bottle is around that price too, if you shop around.

Stockists

Yardley Contemporary Classic English Rose is widely available from Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, Amazon UK, Boots and many other stockists throughout the UK.

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Yardley April Violets: Contemporary Classics

 

 

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

In the past Yardley has been accused of being “old lady”.  It’s a term I don’t like to use, since the mature set round my way always smell terrific, with wafts of Estee Lauder Cinnabar and Clinique Aromatics Elixir being particular favourites that many younger buyers local to me wouldn’t touch.  So where some might say “old lady”, I would like to say “classic”, and since we are talking Yardley today, then classic seems to be a good fit.

My quest for the perfect violet is never ending and even when I find a good one, I still hunt for more.  Stand-out violet scents for me are Lush Tuca Tuca ( sadly no more),  Penhaligons Violetta,  Pell Wall Deep Purple ( a green mossy violet) and my beloved Balmain Jolie Madame which combines violet with leather and oakmoss.

Sweet violet flower (Viola odorata) portrait. France

Clever Yardley has seen fit to relaunch four of their floral fragrances as “Contemporary Classics” and I for one welcome this move whole heartedly.

Yardley April Violets is a back to basics violet, but seems all the more rare for its simplicity.  There are many notes listed, despite it being presented as singularly violet, and it does indeed change on skin the longer its there, but into a plaer version of its its own top note, rather than anything boldly different.  On the Yardley website, there are notes of white peach, orris, mimosa and rose, with sandalwood, vanilla and powdery notes in the base.  To my nose I could smell violets, a hint of iris ( probably the orris), a hint of white musk, and a handful of green notes.  It is both refreshing and powdery at the same time, with an old fashioned note that makes me thirst for simpler fragrant times before the caramel tsunami.

 

Yardley
Yardley

So “classic” was April Violets that it fell out of fashion, or so Yardley thought, and they discontinued it.  However, public clamour brought it back and it is now widely available at a very reasonable price.  Longevity isn’t great: say a weak eau de toilette or a strong eau de cologne, but topping up is part of the pleasure, and at less than £12 for a big 125ml bottle, you can’t go far wrong.

Stockists

Yardley April Violets is currently available on Amazon UK, Amazon.com and Boots.com as well as www.yardleylondon.co.uk.  My sample was from the Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box.

 

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The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus.

water lotus

Fijian Water Lotus is the latest addition to the Body Shop’s excellent Voyage Collection, two of which I have reviewed elsewhere on this blog.  Today I treated myself to a little £5 for 10ml bottle of Fijian Water Lotus (for which, bravo Body Shop for offering affordable purse sprays!).

As the name suggests, this is an aquatic/ozonic sort of affair, which would please fans of say, L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake or Marks and Spencer Isis. It is full of sea notes, though without the salt, and the zinginess is maintained with sharp mandarin and lemony blossom (litsea cubeba if you must). It is often hard to maintain that “fraiche” accord for more than a top note presence, but here it is achieved successfully, although after two or three hours it does bed down into a very clean basket of laundry.  I must add that if anyone’s laundry smelled this good, I would be asking for the name of their fabric softener.

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In the latter stages, Fijian Water Lotus still maintains a blue image that makes me think of crashing waves and blue skies, and the citrus is still there, but don’t expect astringency to hang around for the entire show.  All in all, this is a great summer scent and I foresee several Body Shop Oceanus fans coming out of retirement to purchase this.  It’s not quite Oceanus, but it sure does tick all those sea spray/ crest of a wave/ ozonic boxes that feel just right on a sunny day.

Not QUITE Oceanus
Not QUITE Oceanus

Stockists

Available from the Body Shop online or in store starting at £5 for a 10ml purse spray and rising to £16 for 100ml EDP.  There are lots of nice ancillary products to match too if you want to do layering.

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Mary Greenwell Plum

plum

“Fragrance is always the last touch of magic to any look I create”- Mary Greenwell

Mary Greenwell is a successful make up artist who, when looking to expand, took the agreeable route of creating a perfume range rather than a make up range.  As someone who only has five items in her make up bag, but a groaning dressing table whose legs are buckling, I applaud this decision. The nose behind the scent is the legend that is Francois Robert (who is also the nose behind Friedemodin, more of which anon).

Mary Greenwell, House of Fraser
Mary Greenwell, House of Fraser

You could be forgiven for assuming that Plum would be a fruity soliflore- that’s what I was expecting and my heart wasn’t fully in it prior to trying this.  However I couldn’t have been more wrong and Mary Greenwell Plum is actually a complex and feminine scent that unfurls its layers like a dance of the seven veils.

At first spray, Plum has, as you would expect, a dash of plum, but the plum is accompanied by so many friends that it’s is never allowed to completely dominate.  For example, alongside the plum comes peaches, usually a No-Go in my book, but it adds an agreeable booziness here that compliments the citrus notes of Bergamot and lime and strikes a pleasant balance.

Into the middle phase and here come the white flowers- all of them!  Gardenia, rich creamy tuberose, jasmine and orange flower.  It gives a richness to the boozy plum and fruit that to my nose became almost a nuttiness. Just as all these white flowers are blooming away, a chypre accord comes into play and the whole thing settles down into an ambery, mossy symphony, but always with that boozy plum in the background, which serves to enhance rather than distract.

What makes this cleverly put together is its ever changing face, rather aptly for someone in the business of changing faces.  Just when you think you’ve named it, the scent enters another phase which keeps you guessing.

It is, as I say, complex, and all the more intriguing for that.  Mary Greenwell has a range of only four scents: Lemon, Plum, Cherry and Fire.  The Perfume Society has a sample in their Holiday Collection Discovery Box and I know that Jo Fairley is a Mary Greenwell fan.

The_Holiday_Collection-350x334

I stumbled across Plum by dint of pure serendipity.  In swapping a bottle of scent  online I was offered a bottle of Plum and accepted, knowing nothing about it.  Sometimes the universe just wants you to try stuff.  Oh and did I mention the gorgeous pink and green packaging?  The bottle is in a little stand with a cover, and has a distinctively heavy lid that could break a window.  It exudes both class and playfulness.

Stockists

Mary Greenwell Plum is available from Harrods, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com  and Strawberry.net. Prices are very reasonable at under £40 for 50ml.

Update 2017– you can buy Plum from the Fragrance Shop UK, but hutty up. It’s at a great price but limited stcok.

NB Muse in Wooden Shoes wrote a lovely review of Plum and you can find it here.  Also, our dear friend Portia at Australian Perfume Junkies has reviewed it here.

My own lovely bottle
My own lovely bottle

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Library of Fragrance Paperback- Happy World Book Day!

Paperback-LOF-Hero-_2_1024x1024

Library of Fragrance is like a little perfume department store.  There are fragrances for every occasion and mood you can think of.   Last week, there was Daffodil which was perfect for St David’s Day. On Bonfire Night there was Fireplace, at Christmas there was Snow, and as Summer became Autumn, there was Rain.

Today is World Book Day and what else could I review today but Library of Fragrance Paperback? A scent with both Library and Paperback in the title was too irresistible for words.

To my nose, and this blog is only ever subjective, Paperback opens with coconut soap, which is more Waterstones than Hay on Wye. It reminded me of that clean smell of a freshly minted book as you carry it out of the shop and get excited about taking it home. is it just me that sniffs inside the bag?

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

The top notes blend into the middle notes seamlessly, and this is kind of an exception with Library of Fragrance scents as I often find many of them to be soliflores: that is to say one single unchanging note, as opposed to a big multi-act symphony.  This is by no means a criticism; it’s actually the Library of Fragrance selling point and I for one like being trusted with single note fragrances that I can blend myself or wear alone.

Paperback segues into something a little different when it’s been on my skin awhile- it dries to the scent of a faded page of paper- almost the sweetness of benign decay.  Have you ever smelled a yellowing page in a 1960s Penguin Classic?  Well Paperback is not 100% there, but it’s pretty darned close and it’s so clever how it transforms from smelling like a new book to an old one.  On my arm I have faint coconut, faint almond, a faint biscuit-y smell and a whiff of vodka.   I’m not sure this will be everyone’s cup of tea, but bibliophiles and fragheads could unite and agree on this one.  I like it very much.  It’s unusual, understated and unisex.

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

When you get in the car to go to the Hay on Wye Book Festival, or the Cheltenham Literature Festival, there is only one smell to smell of and that’s Library of Fragrance Paperback.  Wear this and pull an intellectual!

Stockists

You can buy Library of Fragrance scents from the website, or from Boots.  The price is £15 for a 30ml spray bottle, or £25 for any two 30ml LOF bottles.

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Per Una Gabriella: Affordable Quality on the High Street

gabriella

 

I have often wittered on about the good things that are happening over in the Marks and Spencer Fragrance Department and I was delighted to find a bottle of Per Una Gabriella in my Christmas stocking, bought by my crafty sister in law who managed to buy it when I was actually with her. It must have been when I got lost by the Christmas party dresses. We had to text each other in the end, but I digress…

scarf

I was delighted with Gabriella for two reasons: One- it smells lovely, and Two: the packaging is so delightful it was a pleasure to receive.

Let’s talk about the first one:  Gabriella opens with citrus, namely lemons, and blends into abundant white flowers.  The white flowers are not too creamy and heady: we’re not talking hardcore tuberose, more like a bit of jasmine here, a bit of orange blossom there…  and when that has finished blooming and being all feminine and pretty, the base comes out with a hint of light musk (which would be toasty beige if it were a colour) and a light woody finish.  It’s fresh and uplifting and a very pretty floral.  The combination of lemon and flowers briefly reminded me of Boucheron Trouble (yes a hint of lemon cheesecake very briefly), but I actually prefer Gabriella to the much loved but sadly discontinued Trouble.

Now to the packaging:  Not only does Gabriella come in a delightful patterned  gift box somewhere between leopard print and giraffe, but the 100ml bottle has a flipping neck scarf on like a fancy woman! Impossibly charming, Gabriella became an instant favourite and I have been wearing it lots.

The other nice thing about Marks and Spencer fragrance is that you can buy most of their range in little 10ml or 25ml bottles, so if you don’t like it, you haven’t bankrupted yourself. These days I would happily skip many a High Street Perfume Shop for dear old M and S.  And nobody can knock their knickers as far as I’m concerned.

gabriella little

Stockists: Gabriella is available from Marks and Spencer in store or on online for £7.50 for a 25ml bottle, or £16.00 for 100ml.

Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus: Stocking Filler Magic

Copy of sparklycitrus

 

Here’s a Little Stocking Filler for Weary Shoppers: Avon Scent Essence is a new line of just three scents, each with a theme:  there’s Romantic Bouquet, Sparkly Citrus and Vibrant Fruity.  I’m a sucker for a nice citrus scent so that’s the one I bought.

The notes are as follows:

Top notes: bergamot, mandarin

Middle notes: Citrus blossom, freesia, grapefruit blossom

Base notes: vetiver, woods and musk

Priced at only four pounds and with simple packaging, the range has few notes and does what it promises.  In the case of Sparkly Citrus, it is full of pleasant refreshing lime and a hint of lemon and fades to a subtle floral, still retaining its lightness and never getting heavy.  The base notes sound heavier than they are: they become a flatter version of the top notes with a bit more flowery stuff going on (namely freesia), and bit less lime juice. All the stages are good, but the top note is my favourite.

scentessencetrio

Even though winter invites the spices and woods out of your fragrance wardrobe, if you’ve been Christmas shopping in an overcrowded, over heated mall, there is always, always a place for a zingy citrus.  I also can’t help thinking that a citrus is a good bet for a gift recipient even if you don’t know their taste.  Everybody needs cooling down at some point at Christmas. Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus fits the bill.

 

Stockists:  Avon fragrances can be bought from your Avon rep or online via Avonshop UK. I can’t find it on the Avon USA site, but I did find lots of great fragrances we UK customers can’t get over here!  Sweet Honesty, Odyssey, Imari, Night Magic Evening Musk, Haiku, Marine Musk…. Hey Avon, come back here, I want a word with you!

Library of Fragrance Fireplace:  The Last Word in Winter Warmers

www.boots.com

 

Now that we’re properly cold and wearing woollies it’s time to bring the rabbit out of the hat.  If there is a cosier, warmer smelling scent than Library of Fragrance Fireplace I have yet to come across it.

Somehow the exact smoky dustiness of a real log fire has been captured in a scent. If I’m not mistaken, something extra has been added too:  not quite spice, but more of a peppery note.  I name it old wood beams in a rustic farmhouse as the wind whips the windows outside.

Fireplace is a delightful wintry fragrance that is equally good on women or men. In fact, this would smell amazing on a man wearing a warm jumper as if to say “I am all capable and manly and have big strong arms”.

www.3planesoft.com

I have mentioned Fireplace briefly before in my review of Library of Fragrance Gingerbread, and I will reiterate here how well Gingerbread and Fireplace go together.  These two were simply made to be worn on freezing November evenings.  Longevity is pretty good too at around five hours. To make it last even longer, spray your hair and clothes as these will keep the scent longer than skin. This is especially good on scarves.

Play Bing Crosby and pour yourself a sherry.

Stockists:  Library of Fragrance is available from the Library of Fragrance website or Boots in the UK, online or in store.  Prices are £15 for one or £25 for two (one for you, one for Christmas presents). Photo by www.3planesoft.com