Category Archives: Chypres

Pure Sylvan Magic: Papillon Artisan Perfumes Dryad

dryad
John William Waterhouse: Hylas and the Nymphs

Ever since Liz Moores launched her perfume house, Papillon Artisan Perfumery in 2014, I have been impressed, nay, blown away by the calibre of her fragrances.  My superlatives have overtaken each other on each new launch and this fifth scent, named Dryad, was much anticipated by me and the many cohorts of Papillon fans.   To say that I was not disappointed would be a vast understatement.  In fact, I feel that this was made just for me, even though I know it wasn’t.

hamadryad
Hamadryad by John William Waterhouse

My favourite  scent genre is the mossy green chypre.  It’s hard to get the good ones these days, especially since IFRA made everything so safe that the fragrance industry suffered casualties in the purge. Green chypres have never quite regathered themselves into that glory-days retro mustiness that I am always seeking: like the end of the rainbow, it eludes me the nearer I get.  Well, there’s a happy ending to my quest and that rainbow has ended in my lap with a pot of gold, because that’s how I felt when I sprayed my sample of Dryad.

Dryads are mythical wood nymphs, whose lives are intrinsically entangled to the tree they inhabit. When the tree dies, so do they. There’s a wonderful message in Dryad. In all the hectic noise of modern life, it is time we slowed down and inhaled the moss and the leaves and listened to the birdsong, because when the trees die, so do the dryads.

It didn’t surprise me at all that Liz Moores chose this as the name of her fifth fragrance: after all, she lives a sylvan existence nursing broken wings and wrangling stripy tailed lunatics in the heart of the New Forest.  So the big question is of course, what does it smell like?

What does Dryad smell like?

Dryad opens with bergamot and oakmoss and a mass of herbs.  I find it rare for oak moss to come out straight away:  it’s usually a base note, sneaking in at the end.  Dryad, though, is all about the oakmoss and it’s pretty much the main figure in this beautiful composition. The greenery is all encompassing: musty, mossy and mysterious, like a dark route through a forest.  There’s fauna as well as flora: deer tongue absolute has been used to beautiful effect.  Deer tongue has a  herby/tobacco accord and  it certainly makes its presence felt. This is everything you find in the woods.

Woburn Abbey
Woburn Abbey

The middle phase reminded me of genuine, vintage, Dior Diorissimo: that classic green ily of the valley chypre. You can still buy Diorissimo of course, but it’s not the same as the slightly dirty version I smelled from a vintage bottle a few years back.  That bottle of Diorissimo gave me a whiff of sweaty, talcum powdered inner thigh.: not so much a sexy smell, as a womanly smell.  It’s no sterile baby powder, but powder it most certainly is. The nymph tries out a ladylike phase before returning to her feral roots.

parfums Christian Dior
vintage Dior advertisement

The base of Dryad, whilst never wavering from the chord I’ve named Oakmoss Major, is a little bit Guerlinade, but greener. There is narcissus and jonquil (a very vernal dafodilly posy) and they merge and move around like weather clouds from one phase to the next.

orieldavies
Oriel Davies Gallery

My overall sign off from Dryad is a picture in my mind of green damp woods, overrun by thick moss, a delicate glove from a vintage handbag, a  whiff of Diorissimo and  a fluffy talcum puff.  Oh, and the warm flanks of a startled faun.

Stockists

It’s not quite launched yet, but I’ll update when it is.  You can currently buy Papillon fragrance from the website or from branches of Les Senteurs in the UK. Check the website for further stockists in Europe, USA and Canada.  My sample was very kindly sent to me by Liz Moores, and opinions are my own. Papillon has an excellent sample service. You can read my reviews of  the other Papillon scents here:  Anubis, Tobacco Rose, Angelique, Salome.

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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.

twenteens

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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My Trip to The Jasmine Awards 2017 by Samantha Scriven aged 47 and one month.

sam trauin

My dears, I returned from the Jasmines only yesterday and it has taken until now for me to process the explosion of glamour and excitement that happened to me.

It was a thrill to receive that first email from the Fragrance Foundation back in January, letting me know I had been shortlisted.  Since then, it has been the biggest event in my calendar.

But What Fragrance to Wear?

I wasn’t too worried about what clothes what to wear, although I had a last-minute lingerie malfunction which meant I ended up looking like I was going for a job interview in an undertaker’s.  Still, wearing black all the time never hurt Margot Fonteyn or Edith Piaf (is what I keep telling myself). The biggest problem I had was what scent to wear? That one kept me awake for a while, I can tell you. *

st pancra

The Awards were to be hosted at Bafta, and due to its early 8.45 am start, I had to come up the night before.  I stayed in a hotel near the most beautiful station in the world, St Pancras. This was rather handy since there was a large branch of Pret a Manger in St Pancras station.  We don’t have Pret in Wales (violins)  so, it’s my eatery of choice when I’m back in the Big Smoke.

The Big Day Arrives. I’m All a-Quiver!

Being a swot, I arrived in Piccadilly an hour early on the morning of The Jasmines and made use of a nearby Costa (This is why London is never cheap when I visit). I was as nervous as if I was going to a job interview.  As a natural introvert,  networking makes my armpits prickle, but perfume people are outrageously lovely, as was the case later on.bafta sign

Crossing the Bafta threshold was a thrill. Seeing the big gold mask on the wall and seeing uniformed doormen made my heart go all fluttery.

When I arrived, there was a huge floral centrepiece with scented rose petals a-wafting through the air, along with coffee and posh pastries (sorry for the food writing. I’m really hungry). My nerves left me as conversation began to flow.

Here I am, Name Dropping

At one point, I shook hands with a dapper looking Roja Dove. Yes, he was wearing silk slippers, and no, he hadn’t heard of my blog.

Me, Nick and Sarah. Photo from the Fragrance Foundation
Me, Nick and Sarah. Photo from the Fragrance Foundation

I was delighted to see the impossibly glamorous Suzy Nightingale again, and chuffed to beans to meet one of my sheroes, Jo Fairley of The Perfume Society.  I have been reading Jo’s writing since the year 2000 and never thought I would  be acquainted with her in real life.  I also met lovely Penny from The Perfume Society, but it was in the Ladies Toilets so we didn’t get to chat more, sadly.  The Perfume Society is my mothership.

jasmine sign

I had a lovely surprise when I saw perfume guru Nick Gilbert and  perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays arrive. I wasn’t expecting them and I was over the moon to see familiar faces.  An added bionus was that I also got to meet the delightful Marina Barcenilla, who I wrote about only last week.

If I tell you that Sarah McCartney was wearing colour block fortuny pleats with dragon fins on, would you believe me? She was and she pulled it off, although rumour has it she startled a dog earlier in the day: and comedian Jeremy Hardy, but that’s another story.

The Big Moment

At 9.30am we were ushered into the awards room. There was a big screen and a stage at the front, where the judges and hosts were seated. The category I was shortlisted for was the “Best Digital Experience” award for my article about Mandy Aftel’s Memento Mori.  I had stiff competition, and was honoured to be among them. Thomas Dunckley, aka The Candy Perfume Boy won, and deservedly so.

thomas big screeb

Thomas is a gifted writer who manages to combine unimpeachable expertise with wit and warmth.  He won two in total, leading me to ask him to please start writing badly in order that I may have a chance one year.  He gallantly agreed, but reader, I think he is incapable of writing badly.

stage shot jasmine

There were many winners that morning, and all of them deserving and worthy of the beautiful Lalique awards. What struck me most, however, was the atmosphere.  It was friendly, celebratory and warm. The perfume world has people from all walks of life, including a mum of two from Cwmbran who grew up in a council house (ahem), and Roja Dove.

Earl Grey at Simpson’s

jasmine invite

I felt deeply honoured to be treated to a pot of Earl Grey at the former Simpson’s on the Strand by perfumer extraordinaire Sarah McCartney,  Sarah is fantastic company and so curious about the world and the people in it.

We were joined by another very talented perfumer, Ruth Mastenbroek. I tell you, I was not ignorant of the privilege this affords to a perfume blogger and I felt quite tongue tied despite them both being engaging and lovely.

They did lose me when they started talking about parabens, but I was thinking “Wow, look at me. With them. Up here!”   We were also, by pure coincidence, just a few tables away from comedian Jeremy  Hardy.   Sarah had bumped into him a  total of four times that day and  I can promise that none of it was planned, officer.outside bafta

Home Time

Like the best dreams, the bubbles popped and by 3.15 I was  back in Cwmbran collecting my son from school, wondering what to make for tea and thinking “This is what Pam Ewing must have felt like when Bobby got out of the shower”  It couldn’t have been a dream. It felt too real.

My dear chums, I am financially poorer after the hotel and train bill, (and Pret and Costa) but I don’t think I have ever  felt richer or luckier.  Thank you to the Fragrance Foundation for letting me experience such an unforgettable day.

*My SOTD was Sandalwood Sacre by le Jardin Retrouvé.

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And the Winners are…

Best Digital Fragrance Experience
‘Six Scents to Put Hairs on Your Chest’ by Thomas Dunckley for The Candy Perfume Boy

Jasmine Literary Award
‘Every Scent Tells a Tale’ by Joanne Harris for Good Housekeeping

Best Digital Article on Fragrance
‘A Scent for Self-Appreciation’ by Lizzie Ostrom for The Pool

Jasmine Soundbite (News Press)
‘Smells Like Tom Hiddleston (I Wish)’ by Lesley Thomas for The Times

Jasmine Visual Award
‘A Perfume Paints a Thousand Words’ by Jan Masters (words & creative) and Roberto Greco (creative) for Harrods Magazine

Best Article in a Consumer Magazine
The Wearing of the Green’ by James Craven for Les Senteurs

Most Creative Visual Award
‘All of a Quiver’ by Jan Masters (words) and Rebecca Baio, David Newton & Barney Pickard (creative) for Harrods Magazine.

Jasmine Soundbite (Independent)
‘Eau so Masc – Thoughts on Gender in Perfumer & the Rive Gauche Rebellion’ by Thomas Dunckley for The Candy Perfume Boy

Jasmine Rising Star Award
‘2017 – The Year of the Milk Notes’ by Lauren Crabran for Scents Blog

Jasmine Soundbite (Magazines)
‘Midnight Garden’ by Jan Masters for Harrods Magazine

Jasmine Independent Literary Award
‘Scenting my Mental Illness’ by Laurin Taylor for Basenotes

Jasmine Soundbite (News Press)
‘Smells Like Tom Hiddleston (I Wish)’ by Lesley Thomas for The Times

Best Practical Guide to Fragrance
‘The Top Ten Niche Fragrances Every Beginner Should Sample’ by Clare Vukcevic for Basenotes

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Dear Aunty Sam: More of your Perfume Problems Answered

a passing cloud arthur hughes
A Passing Cloud by Arthur Hughes

Two weeks ago, I invited you to send me your perfume problems.  rsz_dr_samThis week  a dear friend of the blog, Cassieflower, came to me with the following problem.  Reader, I share her pain.  It hurts when a favourite is reformulated or discontinued .  Cassieflower, you are not alone!

Dear Aunty Sam,

I hope you, or indeed some of your readers, can help. My all-time favourite perfume is Fidji by Guy Laroche, and even though this can still be found cheaply on lots of sites it really is only a shadow of its former self. I used to wear it in parfum strength but nowadays the only offering is edt, and that just don’t cut the mustard with me. Any suggestions for a replacement would be most welcome. Pleeeze and fankoo

Firstly, you have excellent taste. That’s a given. Guy Laroche Fidji is quality stuff. I had a bottle back in the 80s and it was green and gorgeous andfidji beach landed me compliments. Unfortunately, reformulations are so very widespread, as we know. There’s a whole support group for traumatised fans of original YSL Opium, or at least there should be.

I went out today and tried Fidji in my local Perfume Shop to jog my memory. It is indeed far weaker than I remember it. However, it reminded me of two perfumes. The first is Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps.  Fidji is almost a greener flanker to L’Air du Temps.  Both have the orris root, carnation, iris, violet, spices, oakmoss and aldehydes.   The second scent that Fidji reminded me of is Clinique Calyx. It’s not as close a match, but Calyx has the transparent greenery that Fidji has, albeit with a  touch more tropical/botanical fruit going on.

As for Fidji itself, it does seem to be widely available in eau de toilette form and not much else. The only advice I can offer is drench yourself in the EDT in summer and break out the L’Air du Temps eau de parfum  in colder weather.  I promise you will always smell wonderful.

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I also had a plea from reader Mia who has fallen in love with Maison Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540– and who can blame her?  However with a hefty price tag,  Mia is looking for something in the same vein that is slightly kinder on the old budget. Mia- you are singing my song! I’m having a very frugal March at the moment.

Dear Aunty Sam

Hello! I’ve fallen in love with Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540. Smells like warmed skin and caramel but 100000x better. I can’t stop sniffing my wrists and cooing sweet nothings to this scent when I’m wearing. Problem is, I can’t afford it atm. Any cheaper recommendations to tide me over? Thank you so much!

Dear Mia,

Thanks so much for writing in. You’re among friends here.  Please help yourself to tissues.  We’re used to traumatised perfume fans.

Baccarat Rouge 540 is indeed as lovely as you say, although it barely stayed on my skin at all.  It was close to skin immediately after I baccaratsprayed and then poof! Gone.

I’ve been digging around on your behalf and I came across what I think is the best match.  There is a company called Dua Perfumes who make a scent called Casino Royale. This has many notes in common with MFK Baccarat Rouge 540: notably saffron, mandarin, cedar and  fir balsam ( actually pine in Baccarat,  but same forest).

The bad news is that they are based in the USA. The good news is that casinothere is a company in the UK called FragranceSamples UK who stock samples of other Dua perfumes, although not Casino Royale.  I’m sure if you ask them nicely they could get some in.  Sample prices are just over £11 for  a generous 5ml sample,  so not quite as spendy as Cap’n Kurk!  You could also try Givenchy Pi, which has a similar herby orange opening and a muted gourmand base via almond  and tonka notes.

Got a perfume problem?  A scent situation? A fragrant foible?

rsz_dr_samDo keep sending in your questions. If I can’t answer them, I am sure helpful readers will be able to share their experience and knowledge too.  We’re a lovely bunch.

Write your questions in the comments box below or email me on iscentyouaday@gmail.com.  If you are very shy, I will even answer them privately. I’m nice like that.

Over to you

Do you agree with my answers? Would you add or change anything? Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

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EDIT: With warm thanks to the BlackNarcissus whose kind advice led me to revising my first opinion! Thanks Neil xx

Perfume Questions? Ask Aunty Sam…

rsz_dr_sam

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

 

selfie collection 2

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.

L-R

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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“Lettuce Spray”: The IScent Guide to the Best Green Scents

sea circe
Circe Poisoning the Sea by John William Waterhouse

In an effort to shake off the gloomy torpor of February, and in acknowledgment of the lettuce and courgette shortage, I thought it was high time I looked more closely at my favourite perfume genre: the green note.

garden
photo from hello-moments-s.tumblr.com

I always put green notes into three categories: there’s the hesperide green,  the mossy green and the floral green.  Hesperide greens are usually light, airy and citrussy and smell clean and crystalline, like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea.  Mossy greens would be chypres such as Chanel No 19 or Lancôme Magie Noire.  Floral greens would be Chanel Cristalle, Issey Miyake A Scent or Balenciaga Florabotanica.

green lake
gardentipsandtricks.com

Green scents give me that hit of purity and greenery I need when I’ve been stuck indoors or when I tire of Orientals (rarely happens, but you know…). The biggest perfume love affair of my life was my twenty year stint with Chanel Cristalle.  In all weathers and on all occasions, and even on my wedding day, it was my signature scent until I got promiscuous and sprayed around behind its back.

I have about twenty five favourite green scents.  Here is a curated list of some of my favourites:

 Chanel Cristalle.

cristalleWe had a very happy twenty-year marriage, Cristalle and I. We’re not together anymore, but I think of it fondly and may rekindle our affair one day. What can I say? I had wandering nostrils and couldn’t stay faithful.  For years, this light, green scent with a mossy base fragranced my every move.  As Edith would say ( who wore Robert Piguet Bandit, incidentally) Je ne regrette rien.

Lancôme O de Lancôme

Lands on skin like tiny lemonade bubbles and broken ferns.  Bursting o de lancomewith bergamot and lemon, this is  greener than Kermit and as refreshing as standing under a waterfall.  O de Lancôme is a classic that has never gone out of fashion, even though they don’t use real oakmoss any more *sob.*

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea

lizardengreenteaElizabeth Arden Green Tea is an accessible classic.  It does what it says on the tin, but it does it well and without fuss.  I adore all the flankers too. They are a safe bet as a blind buy if you like light green floral scents, or as a gift. I particularly like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize.

Le Jardin Retrouvé Eau des Delices

You may recall my recent foray into this revived brand from Paris. I jr-eau-des-deliceswas kindly sent several samples last year and every single one of them was divine.   Eau des Delices is a fabulously citrussy, herby green that smells like a greener, cranked up, version of the classic 4711 cologne, only greener than green with an extra big dose of green. It’s the lime, neroli, mandarin and oakmoss that gives it that eau de cologne oomph, but with more lasting power.

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green

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fragrantica

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green is one of my favourite 4160 Tuesdays scents, and that’s saying something.  This is as green as a grass stain on your knee at a picnic. It’s also a firm favourite over on Mumsnet, and has a delicate herby, grassy vibe going on.  It reminds me of maypoles and madrigals.

 

Carven Ma Griffe 

Now we’re in deep moss territory and I can’t ma griffe adsee the exit.  Didn’t want to find it anyway. Carven Ma Griffe was everything I’d hoped for.  Entrenched in the classic chypre genre,  with a blast of retro aldehydes in the opening, Ma Griffe was launched in 1946 and is as ladylike as wearing a skirt suit to the milliners.

Art de Parfum Gin and Tonic

gin-and-tonicArt de Parfum was another brand that I came to know late in 2016. I fell hook, line and sinker for the delightful  Art de Parfum Gin and Tonic. Just enough greenery and tonic bubbles and flowers to keep this unfolding prettily throughout the day. It’s my SOTD.

Chanel No 19

This beauty has an icy detachment that makes me want more. With Chanel No 19neroli, lily of the valley, bergamot and oak moss, Chanel No 19 is both unique and unmistakable.  Perfect your look of hauteur, look down your nose, then spray as much as you damn well please.

 

Library of Fragrance Grass and Four Leaf Clover.

photo by stormfashion.dk
photo by stormfashion.dk

Library of Fragrance does green notes extremely well.  Library of Fragrance Grass reminds me of the kind fairy-tale grass that the Billy Goats Gruff wanted to eat. It’s sweet, clean and juicy.  Library of Fragrance Four Leaf Clover is deliciously sharp and pretty and has that just stepped out of the shower vibe.

How about you?

So that’s my round up of my favourite green scents.  I had to resist the temptation to make this about ten pages long, but I’d happily own the lot of them.  What’s your favourite?  Do let me know, I love to hear from you.

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painting by Daniel F Gerhartz
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painting by John White Alexander
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painting by John White Alexander

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How to Get Perfume Samples 2017

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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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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).

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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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