Category Archives: cheap perfume that smells good

Library of Fragrance Grass : Sweet Fairytale Grass!

photo by stormfashion.dk
photo by stormfashion.dk

Library of Fragrance Grass made me think of a summer meadow on an ordinary, overcast Tuesday in September.  As therapy alone, this stuff works.

Grass  doesn’t just smell of grass- it smells of the sweet fresh meadow grass that made the Billy Goats Gruff risk Death by Troll.  It is the kind of grass you imagine in fairytales, rather than the earthy, bitter freshly mown stuff you get from mowers.   It is the grass from a storybook, or from your childhood.  It has a sweetness to it that took me back decades, where you could stay out late and get muddy and have the time of your life (which is why young folk still go to Glastonbury these days, bless ‘em).

 

canston.com
canston.com

Despite the whole Library of Fragrance Range being cologne sprays, I have found that longevity is at least equal to, if not better than, a good eau de toilette.  Library of Fragrance Grass is a delightfully, botanically sweet perfume (no sugar here!).  I would actually skip this in summer, and keep it for winter, when you need a reminder of the real thing.

It makes me feel all happy and smiley. Not bad for £15 a bottle.

 
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Library of Fragrance Moonbeam: Angelically Beautiful

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You may well guess why I chose  “angelically” to describe Library of Fragrance Moonbeam.  With a mixture of chocolate and vanilla over floral notes, it rang loud perfumey bells in my head.

Yes indeed, Library of Fragrance Moonbeam smells very similar to Thierry Mugler Angel, if Angel had been made with a lighter hand and with less patchouli and more flowers.

In other words, if Angel is too Titanic, then Moonbeam is your escape dinghy.  And there I was, thinking I would never get to use the word dinghy in a perfume review…

So if you like Angel, but find it too heavy (you wouldn’t be alone in thinking this, there are others like you), then Moonbeam is a good choice.

I would also add that if you were buying for a teenager, this would be a perfect gift, coming in at only £15 a bottle,  where Angel is more than twice that.  Longevity isn’t quite the same as Angel, nor sillage ( let’s face it, Angel could knock a boxer out at twenty paces without putting its gloves on), but I think I actually prefer Moonbeam to Angel.

Both have  flowers, in this case Jasmine and Lily of the Valley, both have Amber, and both have the all important chocolate note.  Moonbeam is a sprinkle where Angel is a fire hydrant.

What celestial names we are discussing on this autumnal Sunday! Maybe on Monday you can go out and catch a Moonbeam.

moonbeammoonbeammoonbeam

 

My Top Ten Favourite Avon Fragrances

 

photo by totallymystified on Flickr
photo by totallymystified on Flickr

In the past, I may have mentioned before that I find Avon a bit hit and miss as far as fragrances go, but I have noticed a definite change lately. Whilst I still question the relentless frequency of new launches, every now and then they come up trumps and deliver the goods, and this has been happening more frequently of late.  The strongest quality in Avon’s favour is the price.  Competitive doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Sometimes the low budget really shows, and sometimes you may find that you have in your hands a genuine bargain.

I also like that they listen to their customers.  When Timeless was discontinued in 2012, Avon customers clamoured for its return.  To their credit, Avon listened and brought it back earlier this year.  I like it when that happens.

timeless

In the last six months, I have tried a number of Avon fragrances that have really impressed me.  When you think that they usually cost around between £5 each when on special offer or £13 for two at full price , then the value is unimpeachable ( only Premiere Luxe reaches the dizzy heights of £14, but it reminds me of Armani Si).  However, the question remains- at these prices do you have to compromise on quality?  Well the answer is yes and no.

pretty peach

One range that I don’t get on with is the Today Tomorrow Always range.  I have tried them all and don’t like any of them.  They seem to have a flat synthetic base note in common that seems to disagree with my skin.  Full marks for gorgeous heavy glass bottles and glossy packaging though. I know the range has many fans, so it may just be me.

Avon 1968 from Mew Deep on Flickr
Avon 1968 from Mew Deep on Flickr

Avon, if you are reading this, thanks for years of fond memories of trusty favourites such Eau Givrée, Foxfire, Charisma and my first ever perfume, Pretty Peach.   Many a childhood Christmas was enhanced by novelty soaps almost too pretty to use and pretty perfume bottles and all sorts of wonders that my mother and grandmother ordered for me from their Avon lady.  For all those memories, thank you.

odyssey

And one last point- please can we have Avon Odyssey back in our UK brochures?  It’s available in the USA and we would like it too.  Thank you very much. As you were.

 

You may have noticed that here at IScentYouaDay I like to slip in a Top Ten every now  and then,  so here’s my Avon Top Ten. Prices vary between £5 and £14.

 

1. Avon Little Black Dress: A light white floral that keeps its shape: gardenia and honeysuckle with a woodsy finish

lbd

2. Avon Timeless:  created in 1974, discontinued in 2012 and bought back by popular demand in 2014.  Ambery spicy and powdery.  A winter treat.

timeless

3. Avon Premiere Luxe: A fabulous chypre with blackcurrant, gardenia and woods.  Could pass for something three times the price on the High Street.

premluxe

4. Avon Soft Musk : A classic floral musk that lasts for hours and costs the same as a bottle of wine. (in Lidl)

soft musk

5. Avon Tahitian Holiday: Reviewed earlier in my blog.  A coconutty white floral. Perfect for hot weather.  The poor woman’s Bronze Goddess.

tahiti

6. Avon True Life For Her: A light and pleasant rose/peony combo ideal for everyday casual wear and cheap as chips.

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7. Avon Eternal Magic: a dead ringer for Lancôme Hypnôse for a fraction of the price

eternal magic

 

8. Avon Rare Diamonds: reminds me of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and even Narciso Rodriguez For Her. Nice bottle too.

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9. Avon Summer White Sunrise: a change from the norm for Avon: a refreshing floral scent with notes of pear and orange blossom.

Avon UK
Avon UK

10. Avon Far Away: not my personal favourite but I couldn’t leave it off the list.  This is Avon’s bestseller and I know several people who adore it.  It’s rich with Vanilla, coconut , sandalwood and floral notes. It’s instantly recognisable, and a customer favourite.

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And sneaking this one in on the end in the hope that our friends at Avon are reading this…

Top Ten of fragrances I Would Love Avon to Bring Back

1. Avon Eau Givrée

2. Avon Odyssey

3. Avon Charisma

4. Avon Foxfire

5. Avon Ophelia

6. Avon Rare Rubies

7. Avon  Topaze

8. Avon Tasha

9. Avon Casbah

10. Avon Ariane

 

odysseyariane

photo from saltycotton on Flickr
photo from saltycotton on Flickr

 

 

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Dana Raffinée: A Touch of Brass

Raffinee Perfume Dana Raffinée used to be Houbigant Raffinée and sadly I cannot list the differences between the Dana formulation and the Houbigant formulation as I don’t have the old one to compare it to.  However, if you’re a fan of Caron Montaigne (rumoured to be endangered) then you may like this rather similar and classic fragrance.   raffinee-perfume-by-dana-for-women-personal-fragrances_24801_500

First impressions of Raffinée are yellow flowers and powder.  This is probably why it reminded me so much of Caron Montaigne- those were my first impressions of Montaigne too.  However if you take away the oranges from Montaigne you are left with pretty much a decent dead ringer in Raffinée.  The problem is, it looks like Raffinee’s days are numbered too.  In this case, the emergency drill would be to buy the cheapest, which is currently Caron Montaigne , being sold for a song right now over on Amazon.

Raffinée opens with mimosa and spices.  There is a hint of hyacinth in there too, lots of dry rooty orris root and some noticeably rich tuberose. The flowers are not soft nor delicate nor dainty.  There’s no peony here.  The flowers are more blousy and loud and wearing too much make up and trying to look young.

The middle notes are a raft of soapy, powdery spices and this phase seems to last a long time.  The base notes segue into a rather brassy evening scent that smacks of the late 1970s.  There’s no subtlety here.  There’s no delicacy.  But I tell you what Raffinée does remind me of, and that’s a Beryl Cook painting, leopard print, cleavage and a dirty laugh.

It’s not fashionable, but who wants fashionable?  Powdery, soapy, spicy and rocking a tarty, 70s vibe- if Raffinée was a person we’d be going out on the town tonight.

PS Thank you to my dear friend Lisa Wordbird for the loan of the bottle.  She is not rocking a tarty 70s vibe in case you were wondering.

artbrokerage.com
artbrokerage.com

 

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Bloom

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I’m going to start by saying right away that I don’t like the original Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers -to me it’s nothing special at all.   However,  I tried Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Bloom today and yes, it’s a fruity floral, and no I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but this one is rather lovely and is excellent value.  It was a big 100ml bottle that came in a penny under ten quid and as an eau de toilette the expectation is that it lasts around six hours (so said the sales assistant who sold it to me, but then she would say that wouldn’t she?)

As a fruity floral, this smells like many others, but its strength is that the smellalike-ness (just made that word up) is to your advantage when the price is 9.99.  In other words if you like fruity florals, you may as well get Summer Bloom over the megapriced smellalikes in the higher price range that ultimately do the same job.

Here are the notes according to out trusty friends at Fragrantica:

Top notes: pear, water lily and ivy, middle notes: violet, jasmine and hortensia, base notes: cedar vanilla musk

What I actually got is this:  it opens as a fruity floral, with an emphasis on the floral rather than the fruity.  The fruit is actually pear, which is one of the least offensive fruity notes you can get (the worst offenders are synthetic red fruits). The flowers that come out are the jasmine and the violet.  The base is not really vanilla, cedar and musk, but a faded version of the top notes, but not too bad at all. Longevity is around three hours and a bit.

This is a case of the flanker being much better than the original.  If you’ve got a tenner and you’re feeling summery you could do a lot worse than this pretty and light scent.

The drawback is that this is hard to find and seems to be exclusively available in The Perfume Shop in the UK.  My fear is that this exclusivity will lead to low sales and discontinuing. This will be a shame, but since it only launched in April 2014, maybe there’s still time.

hydrangeas_1528827c

 PS In case you were wondering, hortensia is another name for hydrangea and  apparently has “clean, camphorous tonalities” according to Fragrantica.  Personally, I wouldn’t dwell on it, as the note wasn’t there, but I do love them in the garden and have therefore posted  a gratuitous photo of them.

Agent Provocateur Fatale: Love on The Third Date

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It took a few goes, but like my husband, it was worth getting to know after a few dates.

 Agent Provocateur Fatale is the latest release from the Agent Provocateur stable and the face of the scent is the beautiful Monica Cruz, who has a rather attractive brother in law called Javier Bardem (obviously not a patch on Mr IScent, of course).

It took me a few tries to like this but on Day Three I drew my conclusion.  I love it.

At first I thought it was a bit of a generic new release that smells like so many these days, although it deftly avoids falling into the fruity floral category (phew!).  After wearing Fatale for three days, I realised that not only does it remind me of the utterly dreamy coffee-like Valentino Uomo, which I fell in love with earlier this year, but the patchouli packs a punch that I missed on the first two tries.

Agent Provocateur Fatale opens with dark blackcurrant, which despite my aversion to  non citrus fruit in perfume, I always enjoy.  Along with the blackcurrant comes spicy pink pepper and  a whiff of clean, rich Gardenia,  followed by the aforementioned patchouli.  As all this blends rather pleasantly together in a grown up way, a hint of chocolate creeps in and takes a seat.  Now thankfully the chocolate isn’t the nougat-y, overly vanilla variety but more like bitter unsweetened real cocoa.  In fact it smells like slightly bitter coffee beans like to my nose, which is partly what swung it for me (I fell hard for Uomo).

Fatale is a change of direction from the trusty Agent Provocateur EDP and the sometimes divisive Petale Noir .  In living up to its name, Agent Provocateur doesn’t play it safe, and I like that.

agentprov

Avon Tahitian Holiday: Cheerful Coconutty Holiday Fun

tahiti

 

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.

tahitain

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.

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Yves Rocher Fraîcheur Vegetale de Verveine: Bargain Verbena

verbena

As I may have mentioned, I’m a big fan of Yves Rocher products.  Their fragrances are all good quality, beautifully packaged and very good value. Every now and then I treat myself to a box of stuff from them and it never breaks the bank.  This month I spent £10.70 (plus postage) and received the following:  A 50ml bottle of Comme Une Evidence EDP,  a small tube of anti ageing cream, seven samples, a bottle of Lily of the Valley shower gel, a mini bottle of Lagoon shower gel, and a 125ml bottle of Fraîcheur Vegetale de Verveine. Not bad, eh?

My primary purpose for ordering was bagging myself the aforementioned bottle ( it’s a bit of a mouthful!) of Verveine/Verbena cologne which I’d had my eye on for a while.  As luck would have it, the price went down, so it only cost me £7.75.

Here are the notes, and as you can see they are simple but beautifully done:  Musk, Lemon, Lemon Verbena and Honeysuckle.

I initially thought it strange to see Musk alongside a zingy citrus, but this works beautifully.  The initial note when first sprayed is a very zingy blast of lemon and lime, smelling like a long remembered fizzy drink from my childhood. It’s thirst quenching and refreshing, with the slightly soapy Verbena making this a gorgeous pick me up.  Despite being an eau de cologne, longevity isn’t bad at all at around four hours.  I don’t mind that about colognes as half the fun is refreshing yourself with a bracing respray.

Packaging is quite similar to the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea range, and there is in fact a green tea version too.  All in all, great value and a bargain for the summer.

Incidentally, it looks as if this is not available on the Yves Rocher USA site, but it is available on the Yves Rocher France site and Yves Rocher UK site.  Apologies to my dear overseas friends!

 

 

 

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Yves Rocher Moment de Bonheur: Roses, Roses, Roses

moment de bonheur

  As you may know, I’m a big fan of Yves Rocher and awaiting a parcel for them later this week.  I love that the quality is high and the freebies and special offers are plentiful.

It’s shame there are no stores in the UK and I have had to make a few blind buys, but I have never been disappointed.  I am particularly fond of Yves Rocher Cléa, which, if you’re a fan, smells a bit like Dove and makes for a deliciously creamy, ambery fragrance. Today I am reviewing Yves Rocher Moment de Bonheur, a rather lovely, simple floral. It opens with drunken rose petals.  By drunken I mean that it reminds me of the rose petal perfume I used to make when I was little.  I would collect rose petals from the garden and keep them in a jar of water.  The resulting perfume would not be um…commercial, but it smelled like rose petals that were on the turn: over ripe if you like and on the point of being fermented.  I’m not painting a pretty picture but in fact the rose scent from the stewed and dampened petals really summed up summer for me.

Moment de Bonheur was in fact created for Autumn and was launched in September 2011.  This would make sense, since the base has a hint of spice and warmth in the patchouli and cedar finish.  However, despite the geranium and green notes, Moment de Bonheur, to me will always be roses, roses, roses: stem, leaves and all. It’s light as a petal and borderline soapy in places, but I love it. If you like rose fragrances you can’t go wrong with this one.

photo by theimaginationtree.com
photo by theimaginationtree.com