Category Archives: Citrus fragrance

4711 Nouveau Cologne: Don’t Hold Back

nouveau cologne

You know those days when it’s so muggy you want a shower every couple of hours? When skin feels sticky and hot? 4711 Nouveau Cologne is exactly what you need on such days.

You will probably be familiar with perennial classic 4711, which I love, but 4711 Nouveau Cologne is a modern take on that. It’s more of a “fraiche” version  and despite being a cologne, it was kind enough to hang around for a while: working its cooling, fresh magic on hot skin.

nouveau bottle

This is no one-hit wonder: there are many fragrance notes involved in this perfect pick-me-up, making it both complex and universal ( and unisex).  I can’t think of anyone that this wouldn’t suit.  It opens with citrus, as a good cologne should, (yuzu from the grapefruit family), but you will also find light floral notes: namely peony and a hint of heliotrope and spicy geranium (mild spicy, like black pepper, not hot spicy like chili). There is a faint hint of white musk in the base, which to my nose, is pleasantly soapy and clean. 

I don’t expect longevity from colognes: they are designed as an instant refresher, but this one lasted an hour or two, making it ideal for your handbag and for that lunchtime lift.

The price is spot on: this is  a bargain. I found it on Escentual for just 11.00. My sample was from Cologne and Cotton. Although I can’t find 4711 Nouveau Cologne on their website today,  you can check out their fabulous range, which includes several from the mouthwatering Acqua Colonia range. Opinions are my own.

Stockists

You can buy 4711 Nouveau Cologne from Escentual, or Amazon UK.

The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box: Full Review and Verdict

EauxLaLaShopAW

It’s always a good day when a Perfume Society Discovery Box comes to the door. It usually involves several days of trying perfumes out, often leading me into the tempting and dangerous waters of The Full Bottle Wish List. Like an ever changing Top Forty, positions change by the week and on more than one occasion, a Perfume Society Discovery Box fragrance has shot into the Number One spot. They should give me my own show on Radio Fragrance FM (If only!)

Eaux La La, as you might guess, is French themed. Each scent is either French or inspired by the heartland of Fragrance: Grasse in Provence. Some I had tried before, some were surprises and one, Carven Ma Griffe, is a scent I had been longing to try for ages.  NB all photos are of full size products, not the samples included. (see top photo for contents).

Here’s my round up and verdict:

Agent Provocateur Signature

agent p

I loved this chypre. It’s in a similar vein to Narciso Rodriguez, with big flowers- jasmine, gardenia and magnolia, and a woody, musky base. I reviewed it some time ago here on the blog. Highly recommended!

L’Occitane Collection de Grasse Thé Vert & Bigarade

green tea

From our trusty friends at L’Occitane comes a wonderfully long lasting citrussy cologne style scent with good staying power. I recently reviewed it here. This is perfect for Summer.

Lalique Amethyst Éclat

lalique eclat

I’ve yet to be let down by Lalique and with blackberry, musk and peony, this is a very pretty fruity floral. Full marks for the stunning bottle too. My recent review is here.

Miller Harris L’Air de Rien

l'air de rien

Created for Jane Birkin, this is a combination of neroli, musk, patchouli and amber. Friend of the blog Lisa Wordbird rates it as a favourite comfort scent. I love its complexity. To me it smells like joss sticks and parties in a more bohemian era than this. My review is here.

Balmain Extatic

extatic

Described as a floriental, this is a big departure if you’re used to the Balmains of the past such as Jolie Madame and Balmain de Balmain. However, I guess we all have to move with the times. It was too sweet for me, but has many fans. My review is here.

Fragonard Soleil

Marks and Spencer

A generous little bottle with a tiny sun for a lid, this gem is another great summer scent. Fragonard never puts a foot wrong in my book. Here you will find white flowers and a warm amber/sandalwood base. If it was a colour, it would smell of gold. My review is here.

Carven Ma Griffe

ma griffe

Mossy chypres are my favourite genre and this classic exceeded my expectations. Put on your smart suit and gloves and trot to town in ladylike heels. This green and powdery chypre will never go out of style, at least as far as I’m concerned. My review is here.

Atelier Cologne Bergamote Soleil

atelier bottle

This was the first time I’d tried an Atelier Cologne. They have all the ingredients you love in colognes, but excellent longevity. Bergamote Soleil blew me away and lasted nine hours. My review is here.

Judith Williams Life Long Beauty Nourishing Rose Oil.

rose oil

This replenishing oil comes in a handy 10ml roller-ball. It smells beautiful and melts into skin. I’ve been using it at night and it always makes me look like I had ten hours of sleep, instead of the five hours I got after getting glued to a Netflix box set until 1 a.m.

L’Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Hand Cream

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I’m on Mumsnet more often than I care to admit and this comes up on just about every Style and Beauty thread that ever pops up about the best hand cream. My hands look like tortoises without hand cream and this mini tube smells gorgeous too. Perfect for your handbag.

Verdict

My Verdict of the Eaux La La Discovery Box? Guilty of Being Fabulous.

Stockists

You can buy the Perfume Society Eaux La la Discovery Box from The Perfume Society. Boxes are £17.50 for non subscribers and £12.50 for subscribers. There is no obligation to order one every month, like some subscriptions- you just buy one if you fancy it. I have bought all of them!

 

Carven Ma Griffe: At Last!

ma griffe

It’s been a long time coming, but we meet at last. Mossy green chypres are my favourite scent, so I had been longing to try Carven Ma Griffe for a good while.

Originally created in 1946, there is a lovely story around its launch. Samples of Ma Griffe were actually parachuted over Paris. Can you imagine a lovelier image? It would never happen today, but the idea of being in Paris and having samples of Ma Griffe raining down makes me so happy I could pop.

ma griffe adI can’t comment on previous formulations because I haven’t smelled them, but I can say that although my sample is a modern formula, it has that wonderfully vintage tang that makes think the juice should be dark amber, rather than the pale shade of hay it is in the phial I am using.

It opens with aldehydes and big white florals. There’s gardenia, lily of the valley. orange blossom and big bunches of jasmine. There is a powderiness about it straight away, which usually happens as fragrances of this type fade down into the base notes. It always brings to mind a fine layer of talc on a dressing table.

The iris sobers it up a bit, and there is definite citrus to pique that cloud of powder and florals. This reminds me of my late grandmother, although I don’t recall her wearing it.

The base is a classic chypre bases: heavy with oakmoss and labdanum, and greener than most. The sandalwood comes out nicely, as does the musk. Those white flowers never quit, making this a powdery white cloud of a scent with a good bit of oomph in the finish. It makes think it needs to be worn with Dior’s New Look and white gloves. But it will have to settle for the school run in comfy jeans on a brisk walk.

Stockists

Ma Griffe is widely available. Try Amazon UK or Escentual.  I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box, about which I will shortly be writing a round up.

Shay and Blue London Blood Oranges

 

blood oranges

Shay and Blue London continues to impress. After wearing Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom all weekend and recently raving about Framboise Noire, I did wonder if Blood Oranges would meet my expectations. The answer is no, it excelled my expectations and it has now been added to my Full Bottle Wish List (It’s longer than my street now. Oops!).

blood orangesBlood Oranges opens, and stays, with bitter sharp citrus notes. What impressed me the most is that the citrus sticks around for the whole time. This is not particularly common, although I have enjoyed a spate of long lasting citruses lately so maybe the tide is happily turning. Blood Oranges pierces through the heat of (dare I say it yet?) summer and gives me all the clean scent of a freshly peeled orange without the marmalade stickiness. In the middle there’s a bit of leather which softens the edges without taking over. The basenotes are warm, with amber, musk and woods, but the oranges never leave. Longevity is excellent at around six or seven hours, and although it’s a warm scent, the citrus keeps it fresh and therefore ideal for summer. There’s no staleness, no hint of dried up peel: this stays as juicy as if you’ve just peeled it.  It makes an excellent unisex scent, being an invigorating cologne style fragrance that would suit anyone, especially, but not exclusively, in summer.

Stockists

I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy full bottles from trusty Marks and Spencer. Big shout out for the stunning packaging too.

 

 

Mary Greenwell Lemon: Niche Style Chypre on the High Street

lemon bottle

You may have gathered by now that I am a big fan of Mary Greenwell fragrances. I have previously reviewed Plum and the superb Fire, and today I will be reviewing Lemon.

Lemon is chock full of citrus when you first spray it on.  Not just the eponymous lemon, but bitter orange and sharp limes too. This is a beautifully fresh, astringent, cologne style opening.  Unlike a cologne, however, this lemon has staying power, which is no mean feat. It gets even better though. The middle notes are floral and light. There are spring petals in there: namely lily of the valley, hyacinth and  jasmine.  The lemon stays true throughout whilst sidestepping any temptation to smell like lemon meringue. Incidentally, if you like lemon meringue scent, try Boucheron Trouble or Marks and Spencer Gabriella, both discontinued but still alive and well on eBay.

purse

This really reminded me of O de Lancome– one of the most perfect summer scents ever, but this has more tart, bitter lemon.   What Lemon does so beautifully though, is merge from a zingy citrus into a lemony, green chypre. There’s oakmoss in abundance,  a touch of warm amber and a noticeable flourish of woody notes. It lasts around five or six hours and is one of my bargains of the year. It’s classy packaging and quality ingredients belie the £7.50 I paid for my gold 7.5ml purse spray. This is high end , low price chypre chic and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Stockists

The Mary Greenwell range is available from The Fragrance Shop in store or online. Prices start at just £7.50 for a purse spray.

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Mary Greenwell Fire: Don’t care how, I want it NOW!

fire mary g

Having written over 650 perfume reviews, I have had to learn to harden my heart to the idea of buying every perfume I like. But there is a list headed Perfumes I Cannot Live Without which means that on sniffing them, I turn into an avaricious monster as if a switch has been flicked. Today I added Mary Greenwell’s Fire to that list.

I was actually in The Fragrance Shop buying Mary Greenwell Lemon ( purse spray is only £7.50), but I asked to try Fire and fell hook line and sinker.

Created in 2014 by legendary nose Francois Robert, Fire’s top notes fall somewhere between the opening of Shalimar and Terre D’Hermes. and makes you want to glue your nose to your wrist. It is spicy without being harsh, gentle without being insipid, and it brings out the Verruca Salt in me.

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In the middle, the roses, jasmine and tuberose emerge. It segues seamlessly into the woody basenotes which include: olibanum, patchouli, sandalwood, leather, vetiver, teak and cedarwood. The citrus (grapefruit) lightens it without making it flimsy and ensures that this is the kind of scent you can wear all year round.

Fire reminded me of Chanel Coromandel without the Milky Bar. In a blind sniff, I would have been adamant that this was made by Serge Lutens. It has touches of Borneo and Santale Majuscule in it.

You can see then, why I was impressed, but that’s not all. A 50ml bottle is only £19.50. So excuse me if I barge to the front of the queue. This, my friends, is an urgent must buy.

Stockists

Run, don’t walk, to The Fragrance Shop, or buy it online here. I’ll take ten.

MaryBrand2

Photos: product photographs from The Fragrance Shop. Verruca Salt photo from en.paperblog.com

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4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess

sex goddess

4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess is one of the samples included in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, but I already had a sample from my recent purchase of a full set of Crimes of Passions samples.

With The Discovery Box comes a postcard of smelling notes, with conversation prompts which are ideal if you are part of a perfume club (and I’m starting one soon).

One of the questions stood out for me. “If this fragrance was a movie star, who would it be?” My immediate answer is Ava Gardner, the woman Frank Sinatra went loopy for.  She was stunning, sexy and classically glamorous, which seems like a good place to start for my review of 4160Tuesdays Sex Goddess.

www.doctormacro.com
“You’re late”

Sarah McCartney has unbuttoned my uptightness about fruity florals and this is no exception. There’s peach, blackcurrant ( but no cat pee!), along with strawberries, peppery geraniums, amber, bergamot and a last word of vanilla and musk.

So far so good on paper, but what does it smell like in glorious technicolour reality?

There’s a definite whiff of the vanilla and bergamot combo from Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO) which provides a golden background (I can’t help seeing it as golden and fuzzy), but the fruit makes this playful and gives it a vintage feel, in line with say, Madame Rochas and her peaches. Somehow, all together, and in the nicest possible way, this smells as if it was made decades ago. Maybe its the oakmoss. Maybe its the peaches. Maybe I should buy a bottle.

It’s blended with just the right balance of everything and if, like me, the tidal wave of modern mediocre fruity florals has put you off, I can assure you that this could not be more different. It stands in a class of its own. Like beautiful Ava.

Stockists

You can buy Sex Goddess from the 4160 Tuesdays website, with prices starting at a very reasonable £15 for a purse spray. After that, you may want a bigger one and you can buy those as well. You can also get a sample by buying the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box from The Perfume Society website.

Photo of Ava Garner by www.doctormacro.com

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4160 Tuesdays: Goddess of Love and Perfume

goddess

Designed for Aphrodite, goddess of love, to seduce shepherd boys on the grassy banks of Roseberry Topping.

-Sarah McCartney

Yesterday I was the excited recipient of a box of Crimes of Passion samples from 4160 Tuesdays. This always feel like an occasion as the packaging is consistently hand done and beautiful. Each phial was wrapped in jewel coloured tissue before being wrapped in recycled hand made paper and finished with a leather bow ( The cats won’t give it back). After all that build up, my anticipation was huge.

4160 jan2016

What were the actual scents like? Well a trumpet fanfare wouldn’t have been out of place. They blew me away good and proper. I don’t get these thunderbolts very often and having now written 620 blog posts, I’d be exhausted if I did. But this was like being struck by cupid. I will write about the others in good time, but today I will attempt to do justice to Goddess of Love and Perfume.

grapefruitOpening with citruses that smell freshly squeezed, there is a bright salty tang in the top notes, with a promising warmth. There’s enough fruit here for a market stall ( Yuzu, grapefruit, raspberry, strawberries, plum, peaches), but they are blended so seamlessly it makes a new accord that is akin to a tart raspberry flavour grapefruit. If it was a drink I’d order an ice filled jug of it.

The fruit segues subtly and gradually into a warm fruity chypre and peach sorbetthe oakmoss and Myrhh (aka opoponax) give this a wonderfully retro nod in the direction of the old school chypres that have long gone. The peaches make their presence felt, but never in a soapy, tinned fruit sort of manner. Its more boozy brandied peaches that have been infused with dried fruit over Christmas. The classic chypre base of patchouli and oakmoss gives me the fix I want.

For some reason, the final stages of this long lasting beauty struck me as having a bunch of violets in it. There are none actually in this, but somehow, I found them, or they found me, along with some long lasting vintage musk. Leaving a slightly powdery finish, as a good chypre does, Goddess of Love and Perfume left me an infatuated suitor in her wake.

So, yes, I’ve been shot by cupid and I’m helpless to resist.

Stockists

You can buy Goddess of Love and Perfume from the website at 4160 Tuesdays. You can find other stockists here. I bought my samples from the site. I am reviewing the parfum strength.

Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904.
“Ta-dah!”

Painting: Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left
in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904. From www.myastrologybook.com

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The Perfume Society Les Infusions de Prada Discovery Box

PRADA PINK

Being a fan and a full bottle owner of Prada Infusion D’Iris, I was delighted to see that iris has been joined by some new friends in a beautiful capsule collection. It’s hard to believe that Prada Infusion D’Iris has been around since 2007.  I came to it only last year and found it quite ground breaking.

NowSmellThis
Photo of Daniela Andrier from NowSmellThis

I have had a complicated relationship with Iris: sometimes it turns me right off, and sometimes it attracts me like a bee to nectar. It often depends who it’s hanging out with.  Prada Infusion D’Iris pleased me no end since it seemed to fuse my love of hesperides with a gentler, watercolour version of iris.

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All of the Infusions de Prada range were created by Daniela Andrier, who has this to say:

“At first they appear to be very simple, as if you were “tattooing” water with an ingredient-but in reality each is a very complex formula…the base composition allows the beauty of a flower, wood or fruit to be revealed in a bright sensitive way”

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Imagine my delight at finding a Discovery Box with all of the following inside:

Les Infusions de Prada Iris Cedre

Imagine Infusion D’Iris with a drier, more sober iris within. The galbanum keeps this springlike and the very faintest wisp of incense adds a unisex edge. The iris used here is Iris Pallida which is matured for four years after picking. It would feel rude not to appreciate it after all that time. Luckily it’s dreamy and gorgeous, so no forced politeness required.

Les Infusions de Prada Fleur D’Oranger

Playful and light as air, the orange flower green notes are present, with the orange being more dainty than sharp. There is a base note of serenglide which adds a ghost of floaty white musk.

Les Infusions de Prada Oeillet

Oeillet is carnation, and this opening is zingy like lime. There is bold styrax, but it’s used with a light hand. There is definitely patchouli, but its done with faint watercolours rather than bold acrylics. The spices within are on the herbal spectrum rather than the foodie spectrum and in fact I found the wispiest wisp of liquorice.

Les Infusions de Prada Amande

I’m not usually a fan of gourmands, but I’m always going to be a fan of this almond infusion. There is vanilla, but it is sugar free. No cupcakes or candy floss here. This is creamy and classy, like expensive cashmere. The mandarin and lime that is pretty much a characteristic of the collection, keeps this bright, rather than sweet.

Les Infusions de Prada Vetiver

This could easily play a little trick on your nose. In a blind test, you would not pick this out as Vetiver. However, after about half an hour, coaxed by touches of ginger and citrus, the dried grasses finally emerge. This would make a great unisex scent as it has a slightly masculine finish, but starts like an expensive herbal cologne. It reminds me of very expensive hotel bathrooms. NB Here on my blog, there is of course, no gender barriers to whatever you want to wear. Or do.

infusion postcard 2

Les Infusions de Prada Iris

The original beautiful, ethereal scent that started the wheel turning. I would be hard pushed to think of a more likeable scent. This is green, light, airy and floral and never overpowers.

Stockists

The Infusions de Prada Discovery Box is available exclusively from The Perfume Society.  The boxes costs £36 (£30 to subscribers) and contain 6 x 8ml bottles and postcards with notes and information about each one.  The box would make a great gift and would be a safe bet for recipients who like light, airy perfumes.

If you want to the full bottles, try John Lewis, Escentual or Selfridges

Thank you to the Perfume Society who kindly provided me with this beautiful box.  Opinions are my own.

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Library of Fragrance Orange Blossom and Mango

mangoandorangeblossom

Every fragrance wardrobe needs a good orange blossom.  It’s a fruitier less creamy version of tuberose. It has that hint of faint milky oranges in the background and it smells like petals, all at the same time.

Orange Blossom is widely used in so many fragrances that the landscape of the fragrant firmament would smell very different without it. Library of Fragrance Orange Blossom is one of the best Orange Blossom soliflores I have tried. It’s not the highest priced orange blossom, nor does it come in fancy packaging, but for a sweet, floral, milky hit with a hint of subtle oranges in the background, this is hard to beat. It’s fabulous on its own, but when I layered Library of Fragrance Mango over the top, I had something really addictive going on. Mango smells like a tropical version of Orange Refreshers, which didn’t hurt Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange, of which it reminded me. See my review earlier in this blog)

I didn’t used to like fruity florals and was a curmudgeon about them, but then the Caramel Sugar Tsunami took over and became such a ubiquitous note in mainstream perfume that I started to miss fruity florals and appreciated them anew.

Fragrantica
Fragrantica

The combination of Orange Blossom and Mango makes for a zingy, fresh and feminine scent that goes together so well that you could Brangelina its name: MangorangeBlossom? Orango? As for me, I couldn’t stop sniffing.

Both Orange Blossom and Mango are fabulous alone and true to the descriptions on their labels, but together, they really take off. My recommendation? Get both.

Stockists

All Library of Fragrance scents are available online from their website. Prices are either £9.99 or £15 for a full bottle, or £10 for a purse spray.

Boots also carries a range instore and online. In Boots you can buy two for £25.

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