Category Archives: Citrus fragrance

The Body Shop Italian Summer Fig EDT

 

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I popped into my local Body Shop today and was delighted to see a classy display of fragrances in beautiful faceted glass bottles.  There were the regulars: Atlas Mountain Rose and Fijian Water Lotus among them, and a new fragrance I hadn’t seen before that had a summery looking green juice.  That fragrance was Italian Summer Fig and I can report that it is truly scrumptious.

 

Telegraph.co.uk
Telegraph.co.uk

Fig works very well in summer,  after all, its good enough for our continental cousins who know a thing or two about heat.  It reminds me of perfumed sultanas:  the fruit is deep and rich, yet aromatic and tangy too. With obvious comparisons of L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier drifting in and out of my scent memory, I helped myself to several squirts and ten hours later I can still smell traces of it- not bad for an eau de toilette.

The notes, according to our trusty friends at Fragrantica, are:

 Top notes: Fig, green notes and vine

Middle notes: Rose, saffron and floral notes

Base notes: Oak and amber

In fact, on me, although it opens and closes with fig, there are definite traces of flowers, especially rose, and I got a whiff of woodiness at the end, which I always thinks  complements fig so well

Italian Summer Fig makes a refreshing choice for summer and I applaud the Body Shop for going down this route rather than the more traditional mainstream routes so often found in summer. My only criticism is that I like to see purse spray versions of new scents available so you can make your mind up before buying a full sized bottle.  Marks and Spencer does this and I love treating myself to an affordable handbag spray. You can get purse sprays containing some of the other fragrances in the Body Shop range for £5 for 10ml, so maybe this plan is in the pipeline.

 Stockists

 Italian Summer Fig  is available from the Body Shop in store and online and retails at £18 for 50ml. Ancillary products are also available so you can layer the fragrance  nicely.

 

Chanel Chance Eau Vive EDP

chance   Chanel Chance Eau Vive is the latest Chance flanker from Chanel. Launched just this week, I was eager to try it and entered my local Perfume Shop to ask for a squirt. A squirt was fine , but when I asked for a sample, the assistant looked at me like I owed her money. What’s going on with the sample thing these days? I’m even a card carrying Perfume Shop Club Points Scheme member, but it was an unhesitating, unapologetic No. Nevertheless, I had several sprays on skin and coat sleeve and it was pleasant enough. Actually I was impressed by longevity since I can still smell traces of this from this morning, albeit a masculine vetiver-y trace.

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Chanel Chance Eau Vive opens with quiet fanfare awash with robust grapefruit notes that make this a perfect fresh pick me up for summer. It reminded me very much of Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh, with very little difference between the two. I should imagine that if you love one you love the other. In the middle, some light and airy florals emerge that were fairly non-descript and mingled in summery fashion with citrussy notes. The drydown was a bit cucumber/melon on me, but at the end of the day there was, as I mentioned, a trace of vetiver.

chance x4

Created by the great Olivier Polge, this will be greeted warmly by fans of light, summery feminine scents, and it certainly holds it own. Personally I prefer my fragrances to have bit more oomph, but this does the job it was meant to and would make a great wedding guest scent. Never overpowering, always pretty and unobtrusive: this is a bridesmaid scent that would let the bride shine.

 Stockists Chanel Chance Eau Vive is widely available.  You could try www.Sephora.fr, Boots, or Harrods. It’s also availblae on Amazon UK . It doesn’t appear to be available in the states yet but I imagine it’ll be along in a minute.

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Philosophy Amazing Grace

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Philosophy Amazing Grace is much beloved by the perfume wearer that doesn’t want to announce their presence too loudly.  It is the classy quiet girl that stands still opposite Alexis Carrington in a cat fight: both are majestic in their own way, but incompatible.

Philosophy Amazing Grace opens subtly, stays subtle and has lasting subtle notes, and there is nothing wrong with that at all. Amazing Grace contains : Grapefruit, mandarin and bergamot, freesias, jasmine and rose, and a lasting note of gentle white musk.

www.hotelluxurycollection.com
www.hotelluxurycollection.com

In fact I barely noticed that it contained citrus as this has such a muted feel from the start.  The freesias and roses peek out, but the soft musk is in there from the beginning, covering everything in soft white fluff, like a newly dried angora sweater, or a pile of white fluffy towels.

Philosophy Amazing Grace is the kind of perfume you want to wear when you want to smell shower fresh and laundry clean and almost, dare, I say it, unobtrusive.  It is the smell of clean living and a “butter wouldn’t melt” face.  It’s the perfume you would wear to a job interview or when you were trying to get away with something: “It wasn’t me, I am pure as the driven snow.   I even smell like I am “ (deliver this line with wide eyes).

So if you’re looking for perfume that smells “clean”, this is it.  This is one of the best fresh laundry/clean from the shower fragrances ones I’ve come across, although I was reminded several times whilst smelling it, of Library of Fragrance Clean Skin. This is no bad thing.  Amazing Grace is the scent for your duvet day when you don’t want to waft vintage Opium all over everyone to show them who’s Boss.

Stockists:

Philosophy Amazing Grace is available from many stockists: among which are Boots, John Lewis, Amazon UK and  www.Sephora.com . Prices are around £32 for 60ml.  My sample comes from The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box

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The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box

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Excuse me a minute whilst I gush like a fan.  The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my new guilty pleasure.  In fact, I don’t even feel guilty.  They are my new obsession and The Perfume Society haven’t asked me to say so.  I am besotted.

shadersYears ago, when I was a slip of a girl (many, many years ago) my late grandmother gave me a wonderful Christmas gift.  She had decorated a little basket with some fabric remnants, making a frilled lining, and filled it with beauty bits and bobbins.  In it were bath cubes, setting lotion, a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them?) bath pearls and various other mini delights.  It was such a cornucopia that I eked it out for a long time and have never forgotten what a treat it was to receive.  I’ve had nothing like it since, but the old feelings came rushing back when I received my first Perfume Society Discovery Box a few months back.  I’m now on my fourth and the thrill has not dissipated.

There is always a book of sniffing strips, postcards with notes about each perfume and discussion prompts in case you want to get a perfume club going ( and I do), and then last but not least, there is a selection of seven or eight perfume samples, often hard to get, and usually an “extra”, which in the past has consisted of Liz Earle skincare, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream,  and L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream.

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This month I have the Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box and it contains: a quad of Yardley floral EDTs,  Miller Harris Couer de Jardin, Fragonard Jasmine, Jimmy Choo Blossom, La Perla Peony Blossom, Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa, Agonist Isis, Chloe Love Story , Philosophy Amazing Grace and Elemis British Botanical Shower Cream.

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I can sit there sniffing away of an evening with the TV on, blissfully trying stuff out for my blog and feeling very much in my element.  It also means my sample selection has expanded in a way that makes my eyes light up like a miser in a goldmine.

So this isn’t a review of a perfume, but if you like perfume, these Discovery Boxes will save you a traipse round a  High Street smelling of so many perfumes you can’t remember the name of the one you liked.  Or they might fill a very pleasant evening of wrist sniffing whilst watching old reruns of House MD on Netflix with a  cup of tea.  Like what I do. Bliss.

Stockists

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the Perfume Society website for £15, although subscribers get first dibs and a discount.

 

Niobe by Cologne and Cotton: A New Favourite

photo by me
photo by me

Cologne and Cotton has been around for twenty four years, as has their rather lovely in house fragrance range.  I have only recently come across the brand, more fool me, but what I have discovered is destined to become a firm favourite with its traditional roots and quintessentially English classic style.

Cologne and Cotton kindly sent me a bottle of Niobe to take for a test drive and all I can say is that I have been wearing it non stop since it arrived.

Before we talk about how lovely it smells-a word about the packaging.  The bottle is lovely enough to rival a Penhaligons bottle.  The box is eau de nil and gold embossed.  Even the inside of the box looks like Edwardian wallpaper.  There is nothing here not to fall in love with.

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As for the fragrance: imagine if you blended 4711 with O de Lancôme: you’d be close to the opening notes of Niobe.  Bursting with lemon and lime and all things refreshing, this is like a beautiful wake up call on a summer morning.   It has all the zinginess of sherbet, with none of the sickly sugar.  It smells effervescent, like lemonade bubbles popping on your skin.  Although this is eau de cologne, it has good eau de toilette lasting power. I sprayed my hair and sleeves with it and I could smell it on my pillow at bedtime.

As the citrus beds down, you are left with a classic vetiver /citrus melange which, although marketed for men, is perfectly unisex and will never go out of style.

At £38 for a generous 150ml bottle ( and dreamy packaging), I call this excellent value, and I can’t wait to get stuck in with further samples that Cologne and Cotton  kindly sent me.  They don’t just sell their own brand either: they are stockists for Fragonard,  E Coudray, LT Piver,  4711 Acqua Colonia,  D’Orsay,  Molinard,  Lalique,  Miller Harris,  Acqua di Genova,  Encre Noir,  and more.   There are branches in London, Cheltenham, Brighton and Leamington Spa. I would like to say in passing that Cardiff is a jolly nice shopping hub and a branch would go down very well indeed in Wales. Hint, hint.

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Stockists: The Cologne and Cotton website is here, and you can order online or find your nearest branch.  Be careful though-  as Oscar Wilde once said “I can resist everything except temptation”

 

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Fragonard Emilie: A Beautiful Jewel on Your High Street

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At the risk of sounding like a gushing fan, I adore Fragonard.  With packaging that makes my dressing table weep with joy, scents that go back to their Grasse roots ( pun intended), ingredients of high quality and prices that are very reasonable indeed, the only fault I could find with Fragonard is that they weren’t near enough for me to try and buy.

Well that last niggle has finally been solved by dear old Marks and Spencer, provider of knickers to Britain’s women in times of peace and crisis. Even in my tiny local M and S, there is now a decent Fragonard range and after dropping some subtle hints around my recent birthday, my husband and children bagged me a box of three mini Fragonards in parfum strength and today I am wearing Emilie.  (I got the soaps too).

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Emilie has been compared to Yves Saint Laurent Paris  since it has dominant roses and violets, but I think Emilie is more intense and more of a classic blend.  Whereas Paris has a whiff of the eighties about it  (no bad thing, I love Paris and I love the eighties) I find that Fragonard scents remind me of thrice milled soap- the kind you find in hotel bathrooms in high end establishments.

There is a timelessness about Emilie.  It has the roses and violets, but it also has my favourite ingredient- Lily of The Valley, which makes Emilie the choice of a modern girl with taste, but could just have easily been found on a dressing table in the 1930s.

Today and yesterday I have been wearing the parfum and boy, does it last!  After ten hours of wear I got back home and thought I had just sprayemilieed something on my sleeve ( I usually have) but no, it was just Emilie enjoying a little renaissance after I had come in from the rain- it was almost self renewing.

So if you like your roses, your lily of the valley, the smell of expensive pure white soap, a hint of violets and a whisper of heat from an ambery basenote, then you have a treat in store, just left of the Food Hall if you’re local to me.fragmini

The box I am using is this one ( see left) but you can buy full bottles of Emilie from Marks and Spencer for just  £26 for 100m. Just look at that packaging- I’ll take ten!

emilie

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Its Sunshine and Pancake Day! Sunshine and Pancakes by 4160 Tuesdays

fragrantica
4160 Tuesdays

Sarah McCartney is a  blogger’s dream.  When searching for a perfume to match the season, there could be only one choice for today and it’s particularly appropriate because what I seek right now is optimism and this has it in spades.

Sunshine and Pancakes opens with bright, morning fresh oranges and lemons ( say the bells of St Clements). The scent is clean, bright and prickly- you could say astringent- which in my book, is always a good thing.  The clever thing about this, and indeed, about so many 4160 scents, is the metamorphosis that takes place once your skin warms it up.

www.thestudentroom.co.uk
www.thestudentroom.co.uk

You start with citrus, which then becomes the actual smell of pancakes.  Sarah comfortably sidesteps the Lemsip trap and includes both honey and lemon in the mix without getting remotely medicinal.  This gentle gourmand mash up blends in seamlessly as the honey/vanilla “Who’s-cooking-pancakes- smell segues into the base notes.  The baseneotes are woody with sandalwood and warm Benzoin but still has a hint of the morning about it, like the ground drying under the sun after a downpour.  There is a warm earthiness emerging, just as the day dawns and the sun comes out.

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All this in one bottle.  Pretty impressive.  Sunshine and Pancakes makes me want to eat outside and listen to birdsong.

One important note:  when talking pancakes, we are talking the thin British pancakes with crunchy sugar and a hint of lemon, not the doughy, delicious maple syrup USA pancakes that are to die for with some wafer thin crispy bacon.  *cleans dribble off keyboard*.

 Stockists:  You can buy 4160 Tuesdays from the website,   as well as in person from 4160 HQ ( let them know first to check they’re about),  or from Burgin’s in York, and from Rouiller White.  In the USA and Canada you can buy a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scents from Indiescents, LuckyScent and excitingly- the Virgin Atlantic website to buy before you fly.

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Happy Valentine’s Day: This is My Special Treat

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arlesienneHappy Valentine’s Day even if you’re not celebrating it.  Love doesn’t have to be romantic so I hope that you, dear reader, have someone to love and to love you in return today. Love is all you need. The Beatles were right.

Rather than focus on one fragrance today, I wanted to share my salacious wonderment at the arrival of another Discovery Box from the Perfume Society.

carven bottle

When I was younger, my late and much missed grandmother Nanna T, used to give me wonderful Christmas presents that consisted of a wicker basket with a hand sewn floral lining, which was then filled with goodies.

valeThis is the 1980s we are talking about so I would get for example,:  some bath pearls (remember them?), a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them too?), bath cubes (ditto!), and all manner of tiny treats.  I loved this gift above all others and have never forgotten it.

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Fast forward to 2015 and I got  a similar thrill at opening my Love Scents Discovery Box from The Perfume Society. and here’s what was in it:

  1.  A tube of Love Heart sweets,
  2. A spray sample of L’Amour Lalique
  3. A spray sample of Carven L’Eau de Toilette
  4. A spray sample of Dear Rose I Love My Man
  5. A spray sample of Van Cleef and Arpels Rose Velours No 17785QY
  6. A 4ml splash bottle of 4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO)
  7. A spray sample of Signorina Eleganza by Salvatore Ferragamo
  8. A spray sample of Artemisia by Penhaligons
  9. A 4ml splash bottle of Valentino Uomo
  10. A spray sample of Roads Cloud 9 Parfum
  11. A boxed splash bottle of L’Occitane L’Arlesienne Eau de toilette.
  12. A 10ml tube of L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream
  13. A spray sample of Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance

There is a rose theme running throughout and I am particularly blown away by the high calibre of the samples included. Instead of focussing on one fragrance today,  I shall be working my way through this delightful box bit by biSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESt, and hotly anticipating the next one.  It’s like getting a little birthday present, and speaking of which, these make perfect perfume-y gifts.

Stockists

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes cost £15 from the website. Annual subscription is £25 a year and includes the e-zine Scented Letter, access to meet ups and special perfume events throughout the country, and first dibs on Discovery Boxes, often at a discounted price for members.

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4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green

fragrantica
4160 Tuesdays

 

Sometimes when I want to really get a feel for a fragrance, I decant a few drops on a scarf which I drape over my bedroom door.  If I like it every time I go into my bedroom (usually with a pile of laundry… we’re not that sort of blog), then I know I properly, really truly like it.

So it was with 4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green.  I like green scents, always have, so if its got Green in the title, I’ll be interested.

Ealing Green, like all 4160 Tuesday scents has a lovely back-story which I will duplicate in full from the 4160 Tuesday website.

 “I’d long wanted to make a scent for Ealing, my adopted home. I met my husband at Ealing Studios on Ealing Green, at a wedding. Then I was invited to make a midsummer scent for a charity evening, using plants and flowers named in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I combined the two ideas and created the scent of Ealing Green on a summer evening, but in the early 17th Century.” Sarah McCartney.

You can smell the grass and the thyme notes that are listed and the scent reminds me of maypoles and monks and madrigals.  This is a very clean scent and I was surprised there was no mint there, but that could have been my mind playing tricks on me with the  zingy herbal grass and thyme.  This takes refreshing to another level altogether, although it stops short of being astringent.  I also love the  quite distinct whiff of violets, which I adore in fragrance.  The whole shebang ends up in a happy mélange of  my beloved oakmoss, some roses and the very faintest hint of earth like  damp knees from a  picnic.

Ealing Green lasts around six to seven hours on me and despite it being a deliciously pure and summery scent, it also goes very well on ice cold skin in modern day ice cold Wales.  It is now all over my favourite scarf and the scent has lasted days on fabric. Ealing Green has done many a school run in the past few days, and has made these chilly mornings a little more bearable.

Stockists

Ealing Green is very reasonably priced, starting at £6 for a 4ml splash bottle, and rising to £10 for a handbag sized 7ml bottle, £40 for 30ml, £60 for 50ml, and £90 for 100ml. When you think how much scent sells for on the High Street ( and its often same-old-same-old) , I regard this as a bargain.

You can buy 4160 Tuesdays from the website,   as well as in person from 4160 HQ ( let them know first to check they’re about),  or from Burgin’s in York, and from Rouiller White.  In the USA and Canada you can buy a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scents from Indiescents, LuckyScent and excitingly- the Virgin Atlantic website to buy before you fly.

www.pgwodehousesociety.org.uk
www.pgwodehousesociety.org.uk