Category Archives: Citrus fragrance

Buying Perfume for Tweens and Teens

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Young folk of today are getting older much faster than we fortysomethings ever did back in the 70s.  At the age of eleven, I was curious_britney_competitionstill playing with Sindy dolls. Eleven year olds today have their own phones and Snapchat accounts. I have a ten year old son so chanceI see children of his age group regularly and as a general rule, they are a lovely bunch of interesting people with the world at their feet.  But my Goodness, have you seen their Christmas lists? I used to be  happy with new felt pens and some bubble bath! ( still am).

Teens and Tweens today are influenced by the media more than any other generation that has ever lived and this has given them a penchant for labels, names and fitting in. So how do you please the hard-to-please? Well, as sensible adults the last thing we want is for our youngsters to smell provocative. We’re not looking for sexy. That is completely off the menu here. In general, you’ll be looking at gourmands and fruity florals or florals, and side stepping anything with civet or big patchouli notes.  I wouldn’t start with Angel or Coco Mademoiselle, for example.

With that in mind, I have compiled  a little list of what I consider to be suitable fragrance gifts for the teen or tween in your life. I’ve tried not to give any ideas that are “square” or “uncool” so you should be all right. I’ve also kept it fairly reasonable in price, with just a couple of higher prices ideas for your little diva or divo.

Celebrity Perfumes

incredible taylorI’m no snob- I’ll wear anything- and my proclamation about celeb scents goes something like this

“all celebrity scents are made by professional perfumers from respected houses and fragrance companies. Most celebrity scents are cheaper than other scents by big brand names. Ergo- celebrity scents are A Good Thing. Here endeth the lesson.” For the youngster, I recommend JLo Glow ( a clean hair scent) or Britney Spears Curious. It was Britney’s first and its  a light, non-sexy fruity floral that pleases onedpostereven my fussy nose. Also in the running is Taylor Swift Incredible Things with its interesting suede notes.  I also recommend the One Direction scents, if only for the packaging. One Direction That Moment has been reviewed here and is an inoffensive fruity floral. My son seems happy with David Beckham and I have to say I have yet to find any of them unpleasant or too overly sexy. They seem to be generic, but that’s not a bad start for a ten year old setting out on a lifelong scent journey. Try David Beckham Classic Blue for a light sport scent.

Avon

Have you guessed I’m a fan yet? The nice thing about Avon is that they are affordable and they launch new scent to fit in withcherish the moment fast moving market demands. Avon Cherish and Cherish The Moment are ideal for young scent wearers. Cherish is similar to Lancome La Vie est Belle with a strong caramel note over the florals. Cherish The Moment is even sweeter!  Both can be obtained from Avon UK for around £12.

Marks and Spencer

butteflyMarks and Spencer does a great job of producing affordable perfumes in crowd pleasing varieties that are packaged in very attractive bottles.  One of the most appealing to the age group we’re looking at today is Marks and Spencer Butterfly. With calone notes of melon and cucumber, this gives the pricier DKNY Be Delicious a run for its money. The bottle reminds me of the Marc Jacobs bottles which, I understand, are much coveted by this age group! Which brings me nicely to…

The High Street Beauty Counters

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If you’re looking for something special, then Marc Jacobs has the bottle you want. If I were you, I’d keep Decadence and its rich sexiness for yourself and go instead for the delightful Marc Jacobs Daisy, Daisy Eau so Fraiche or Daisy Dream ( see photo- right). All are light florals that pass the office/school test by not being too in-yer-face or come-hither. Stella McCartney is another good bet. Cool enough to please even the most bored looking teen, yet good perfume that varies from the deliciously airy floral of STELLA to the tuberose/sandalwood of Stella McCartney POP.

If money is no object, or you’re buying for a tween with expensive taste ( so that’s championquite a few of them from where I’m standing), then Chanel Chance makes a delightfully airy introduction to Chanel and the good stuff in general

For boys (and whilst I reject gender stereotypes, my boy does not, sadly), you can’t go wrong with Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein Eternity For Him. I would avoid Paco Rabanne One Million at this age because it will floor any asthmatic within a fifty foot radius. Waaay too strong. I recently bought Davidoff Champion for my nephew and was very impressed with its light green freshness. Davidoff Cool Water is another scent cool enough to please them and cheap enough to buy. A light, ozonic classic, this can be had for well under £15.

Library of Fragrance

Library of Fragrance is a great starting point that will help your budding perfumista get used to different notes and layering scent. They can lof crowd shotexperiment with several bottles without breaking the bank. I especially like Moonbeam, Mango, and Vanilla Ice Cream, but the world is your lobster! Library of Fragrance is the perfect way to begin a fragrance wardrobe. The website is here and you can usually find special offers and wonderful exclusive colognes.

For Under Tens, Go Contintental

yvesrocherPerfume for “les enfants” is more usual among our European friends. One of my favourite French brands, Yves Rocher, does a range of beautifully simple and wholesome scents for children that find their inspiration from innocent facts of nature. For the younger child asking for perfume, you can buy Peach, Strawberry or blackberry in a little vapo spray for just a few pounds.  Personally, I think children smell lovely as they are, but if  young people really want perfume, then peaches and blackberries play it safe and sweet.

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Top Ten Avon Fragrances 2016

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When I look at the dashboard here at glamorous IScent HQ (and by glamorous I mean there’s a  patch of Lego-free floor space) I can see that the most frequently used search term that leads people to my humble blog is “Avon perfume”. In fact, my most popular article in terms of hits is My Top Ten Favourite Avon Fragrances. It even knocks the previous Number One “Gucci Envy: It’s Madness I Tell You” firmly into second place.

I think the reason for this must be that you can’t nip to the High Street and try a new release. An Avon rep may have testers if you’re lucky, or if you have a rep, but otherwise, you’re guessing from descriptions and the rub-on patch in the brochure.

Since I wrote the article some time ago and since Avon moves fast in terms what’s new and what’s stopped, I thought I’d better write another one. I like to see what people are looking for and meet their needs, although my children take this too far most of the time. Here’s my updated fan letter to Avon. I’ve included some favourites and some big new releases that I reckon are worth a try.

Call me a perfume DJ if you will. This one is for all you Avon lovers out there…

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Avon Rare Platinum

This is currently not only my favourite Avon perfume, but the perfume I have been wearing solidly since it arrived from my Avon rep, Jill. It’s one of the best tuberose scents I have ever owned and I am agog at the tiny price tag. I would have expected to pay a lot more for a white floral as good as this. Avon Rare Platinum is currently £7 from Avon UK. My recent rave review is here.

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Avon Perceive Oasis

This is the bottle I wore more than any other in summer. It’s light and floral and has roses and peonies. What I love about it is that the finish is white musk rather than vanilla. If you like Chloe, you will this too. It’s currently priced at £6 for 50ml. I have a bottle on the go and a back-up bottle too. You can read my review here.

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Avon LIFE Eau de Parfum

Created by Kenzo Takada ( yes, Kenzo himself) this is a new take on violets.  Avon LIFE EDP is light and airy, making it ideal for work or day wear.  The scent is exclusive to Avon and is not available anywhere else. You can read my review here. Avon Life is currently £24 for 50ml and comes with a jolly nice free gift worth £35 at the time of writing.

 

 

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Avon Soft Musk

This is another bottle that is always on my dressing table. A plain musk doesn’t seem to feature much in the seemingly endless list of new launches these days, so this is a safe and classic bet. Avon Soft Musk is a peachy, floral musk that lasts for many hours and is very inoffensive as a day time or workwear scent. I bought my bottle for the ludicrously low price of £3.50, although it’s usually a fiver (still a good price). My review is here.

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Avon Silky Soft Musk

The first and thus far, only, flanker to Avon Soft Musk. Whilst this isn’t may favourite of the two, if you like vanilla scents then this is for you. You can read my review here. OK, I wasn’t  massive fan, but that’s just my personal preference, which may not be the same as yours. Wouldn’t it be dull if we all loved just the one same perfume?  I’d have nothing to blog about for a start! Silky Soft Musk is available from Avon UK for £5.

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Fans of Lancome La Vie est Belle will enjoy the gourmand caramel note in this beauty. Whilst it’s not my personal cup of tea, it’s good quality and long lasting and very much channels the current vogue for sweet florals with a gourmand base. The campaign is fronted by the beautiful Abbey Clancy and is one of Avon’s best sellers. Avon Cherish The Moment has similar notes but is sweeter and “pinker”. Ideal for the teenager in your life and bang on trend right now. Avon Cherish and Avon Cherish the Moment are currently £8 and £14 respectively, but check out the special offers where you can get three products for £12.

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Avon Far Away

This is Avon’s number one bestseller and they dare not discontinue it for fear of mutiny. I never used to like this, but as time passes I have grown to appreciate it a lot more. It is a vanilla floral that is so vanilla that it almost borders on coconut. It’s stood the test of time and I think it’s safe to call it a classic now. Far Away is the perfume I smell most often on other people when I am out and about. It has very loyal fans, which speaks for itself- plus my Aunty Christine smells like this so it has happy connotations for me. You can buy Far Away and any of its excellent flankers from Avon UK. I have noticed that in the run up to Christmas Avon has launched generous 100ml bottles for the first time, but I can only find them in the brochure.

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Timeless

Timeless is a text book example of what happens when a company listens to its customers and gives them what they want. Launched in 1974, Timeless is a powdery, ambery chypre style scent (sans oakmoss,but otherwise a good take). In 2012 Avon discontinued it. Its loyal fans made enough noise for Avon to bring it back and it’s now a steady seller once again. It’s not as on trend as the newer scents, but in my book, that  just means it’s a classic. At only £4 a bottle, you can’t go wrong.

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Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche

Little Black Dress remains a steadfast Avon favourite and two new versions have been added. Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche is, as you might imagine, a more summery version with the peony and lemon turned up and the heady jasmine gone away until winter. It’s less complex than Little Black Dress and less woody, but make for an excellent “lite” version, ideal for day time and holidays. Available from Avon UK  The other flanker is Little Lace Dress, which I have yet to try so can’t currently comment. I will do though, so watch this space.

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Avon Scent Essence Lime Verbena

This little beauty nearly slipped off my radar as it’s sold in a range of similar looking scent called Scent Essences. All of them come in a 30ml bottle and the one I initially tried, Sparkly Citrus, was so good in the summer that I simply had to try Lime Verbena.  As a summer scent it’s unbeatable.  you know when you’re all hot and sticky and just want to stick your head in the fridge?  This is what you need. Lime and verbena make an unbeatable green combo and this is great quality at around £4.

Acknowledgements

All photos from Avon UK. All perfumes I have tried have been purchased by me. All opinions are my own.

 

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“They’ve asked for perfume but I don’t know what they like”

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Many people see perfume as an indulgence, like a box of chocolates. They don’t feel they can buy it for themselves. I am not like this. I have more trouble NOT buying it for myself, but I digress.

When Christmas and birthdays come around, people often ask me what to buy. Because perfume is so subjective, it’s very hard to pick something for somebody else so this is where I recommend the Selection Box. Yes indeed, a selection box that has no calories and won’t make you gain weight. I like both so I’ll be having a selection of perfume AND a selection of Cadbury nonsense this year.

scentsofstyleWhen buying for others, unless you know their signature scent, it’s a safer bet to buy them a choice. Many companies have a set that contains several samples and a voucher for a full bottle, and this seems like a very good idea to me. Other companies have Discovery Boxes or selections of minis that make equally good gifts. Personally, I love the idea of introducing someone to a scent they love but haven’t met yet. I’m like a fragrance marriage bureau. I live in hope of setting up the perfect match.

I have made a list of what I think make the best “suggestion boxes” as gifts. This applies all year round and not just at Christmas. It’s worth remembering that if you don’t get what you were hoping for, eBay will have the “I hate this” gifts at bargain prices shortly after Christmas.

4160 Tuesdays

4160samplesAs an introduction to handmade artisan niche perfumes using top ingredients, you 4160bottlecan’t go wrong with 4160 Tuesdays. Taster sets of samples start at just £25. If you want to provide your recipient with a large bottle of their choice, then for £95 you can buy seven samples and have a voucher for a generous 100ml bottle. I can guarantee that it will be beautifully packaged too.  No, I’m not on the payroll, but I am a very satisfied customer.

The Perfume Society

shayblushopwidgetawThe Perfume Society has something for everyone.  They have a dangerously tempting selection of Discovery Boxes for starters. OR, you can buy a VIP subscription MoltonBrownShopAW2-350x346which  gets you a free Discovery Box, discounts off further boxes and invites to many exclusive events, as well as a free online subscription to The Scented Letter magazine. The vast collection of Discovery Boxes makes me twitch with greed.  You can buy carefully curated sets such as Beautiful Blossoms or Eaux La La, or you can buy exclusive selections from your favourite brands such as Shay & Blue, Molton Brown or Agonist to name but a few.  I’m a big fan.

vivaboxes-viva-box-for-her-999023820002-vivaboxThe Perfume Shop

The Perfume Shop Viva Box continues to be a popular choice but I’ve noticed they’re not publicised much in the branches. For £39.99 you get a selection of mainstream popular sample and a voucher for the full bottle of your choice. You can buy them here.

Boots

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Boots the Chemist, that bastion of temptation, is also offering a little perfume selection box. In a smart cardboard gift set you will find seven contemporary samples, including recent hits Stella McCartney POP and Moschino Fresh Couture.  Seven samples and a full-bottle voucher for just £40 and nicely gift boxed. You can buy it here.

For The Men In Your Life (or the life in your men)

marks-menThe Perfume Society has two excellent Discovery Boxes: Scent of A Gent and Scent of A Man. Each one contains a selection of mainstream and new-to-you samples, as well as a couple of manly beauty treats.  It all comes in a lovely white Perfume Society box.

Trusty Marks and Spencer also has some quality men’s grooming miniatures. Check out this set of six. Wrap up a box of these and an M &S voucher and Bob’s your fragrant uncle. Speaking of Marks and Sparks…

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Marks and Spencer

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Marks and Spencer has such a superb perfume department these days that florentynaI almost don’t dare to go in. If you added the Marks and Sparks perfume dept and the TK Maxx perfume department together I’d be bankrupt. I’d smell fabulous, but I’d be bankrupt. There’s a lot of choice at very reasonable prices. I don’t know where to start or stop.

Marks is affordably tempting. Check out the Florentyna mini set for just ten quid and the mixed EDT mini set, also for ten quid. Either would make a fabulous stocking filler, if you can manage to get to the till without buying seventeen bottles of something nice for yourself on top. I’m not sure I can make it past Monotheme or Shay & Blue without saying “but do my children really NEED school shoes after all?” That’s if I haven’t already filled the trolley with Fragonard…

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Pell Wall Perfumes

In the heart of beautiful Shropshire, perfumer Chris Bartlett pours and macerates to make niche brand Pell Wall perfumes a force to be reckoned with. The set I find most tempting is this little set of 10ml bottles. For £59 you get nine 10 ml bottles of Pell Wall fragrances in small spray bottles.  When you think that one bottle of mainstream High Street perfume costs more than this, then I reckon this is excellent value that allows you to vary your scent throughout the seasons  and the year ahead. You can buy it here.

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Le Jardin Retrouvé: Scents that Tell a Story

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yuriLe Jardin Retrouvé is a perfume house that’s both new and old. The nose behind the scents, Yuri Gutsatz, sadly died in 2005 and the brand closed.  We owe Yuri a debt of gratitude, because not only did he create these beautiful scents, but he was also one of the founders of the legendary Osmothéque. His original work has been honoured and continued by his son Michel and his wife  Clara, who have relaunched Le Jardin Retrouvé using Yuri’s original formulations.

The happy result is that the world gets to revisit these delightful, high quality fragrances anew, and what a joy they are!

I was sent a small selection and asked for my opinion, which I happily give, unburdened by bias or bribery. The tricky bit is choosing a favourite. That, my friends, is the hardest bit of all. Each scent comes with its own whimsical scenario that prompted my ever ready imagination to wander even further into colourful and fanciful territory.

 

Eau des Délices

1970: The garden of delight, painted in 1503 by Heironymous Bosch, intrigues everyone who comes to see it, including you

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A bouquet of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain and lemon makes this eau fraiche a classic cologne. Uplifting and invigorating, each ingredient is  distinct, yet blended seamlessly. This makes me want to throw open the windows and belt out a Julie Andrews number. Fans of Eau de Cartier, O de Lancome and 4711 Aqua Colonia will love this.

 

Sandalwood Sacre

1786:You walk towards a sacred grove that houses a small Hindu Temple…

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This beautiful 70s style sandalwood reminded me of those wonderful ethnic market stalls I used to frequent as a teen. I’d buy pungent patchouli oil and floaty skirts with tiny mirrors on them.  The sandalwood is soft with floral nuances (via orange blossom),  a subtle undertow of patchouli and a delicately feminine white musk finish.  It’s addictively sniffable and leaves a beautiful wake.

Verveine d’Etè

1878: You walk in the Summer Garden in the heart of St Petersburg…

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With ingredients that smell so-fresh-it-tingles, this is a happy, playful scent in a similar vein to Eau des Délices above. With basil, lemon, bergamot and the all important verbena, this is the best verbena scent I have ever smelled, and I’ve smelled a fair few on my travels.  There’s a trail of oakmoss in the basenotes, which makes me even happier.

Cuir de Russie

1920:The opera ball is packed. Diaghilev is presenting his Ballet Russes.

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For some reason, I always get cuir (leather) mixed up with cuisse (thigh), so I initially read this as Russian Thigh. Actually, I’m not far off since this scent was inspired by the Russian Ballet.  Cuir de Russie reminded me of those wonderful vintage chypres with strong powdery notes muffling the oakmoss in time honoured fashion. Specifically, this reminded me of the day I entered the chypre portal via Balmain de Balmain and never looked back. Cuir de Russie is violets, cinnamon, wood and styrax. The wood and spice gives it muscles and the violets give it delicate fairy wings. This is a stunning juxtaposition.

Rose Trocadero

1935: Behind you, the Eiffel Tower. Before you, the Trocadero Palace.

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Rose Trocadero is not your typically pretty rose petal scent. It’s darker than that. Using hefty Bulgarian Rose Absolute, this stuff will fill a room (in a good way). There’s something spicy and dark at the heart, but it may just be the genre of the rose. Fans of Miller Harris Rose En Noir will love this take on roses. I found hints of spice and heady jasmine. This rose is rich and deep and makes a bold statement.

Citron Boboli

2000: The view of Florence is stunning, but a grotto on your right draws you with chilled air.

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This is another lemon based scent but has the distinction of added spice, namely cloves and black pepper. Opening with greener than green petitgrain,  and bursting with the freshness of citrus, the spiciness gives this an almost sherbetty kick. I loved it.

Tubereuse Trianon

1689:You are headed towards the Trianon in the garden of Versailles where the King has had a profusion of flowerheads planted.

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I have somehow gone nuts for tuberose lately and cannot get enough. This may have begun back in October when I entered the By Kilian boutique in London and was greeted by Good Girl Gone Bad.  Tubereuse Trianon opens with both tuberose and jasmine. The creamy headiness of both brings out the best in each other and this gives me an almost exaggerated soapiness that I cannot get enough of. The blurb says “your heart just encountered love. It melts” It did. It melted. I love this so much I think I may have to marry it.

Stockists

You can buy these fragrances from the website, which launches November 2016 ( i.e now)

Acknowledgenments: samples kindly supplied by Le Jardin Retrouve. All photos are my own.

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DSH perfumes: My New Crush

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Thousands of miles away in Boulder Colorado, perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz works her magic producing stunning and dsh-faceinnovative scent. Dawn kindly couriered some scent samples to me and I was blown away by the quality. The first one I tried was Albino: A Study in White. I then went on try the rest of them, and found them to be seamlessly blended and bursting with innovation and flair.

Dawn has been making perfume since 1991 and her vast experience shows in the quality. The versatility of DSH perfumes amazes me: there’s botanical flowers and greenery, deep dark chypres, vintage style scents, animalic sexbombs, and innocent ladylike fragrances.

I’m going to give you a little tour of what Dawn very kindly sent me. Opinions are my own.

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Chinchilla

I reviewed this earlier  and you can find my opinion here. An exciting and authentic animalic chypre that smacks of 1920s decadence and feminity. There’s a hint of sex too, and by hint, I mean sledgehammer- if you want subtle, look away. Chinchilla is up there with the greats.

La Belle Saison

By complete contrast, La Belle Saison is the purest most realistic lilac scent I have ever smelled, and I’m a big fan of lilac. Astonishingly, this is an all natural perfume and it really does smell as if a spring garden has been captured in a bottle. It’s like burying your head in the pale purple blossoms.

 

Mata Hari (Extrait)Mata Hari

Another daring chypre  with a hint of animal. This is right up my street. Mata Hari is rich and deep with all the classical ingredients of a chypre: oakmoss, patchouli, amber, coupled with a fruity opening and deep, rich rose de mai. This deserves to be a classic. It reminds me of turn-of-the-century Guerlain. I would go as far as saying that this is one of best chypres I have ever tried.

Hansa Yellow

Described as the epitome of sunshine, Hansa Yellow is a feel good scent full of spring time optimism and yellow flowers.  It reminded me of the scent of daffodils and that uplifting feeling I get when I see the first ones peeking out after a long winter ( Daffodils are the national flower here in Wales and we take them very seriously). There’s banana like Ylang alongside neroli and lemon, giving this a playful radiance. What could be more spring like?

Albino (A Study In White)

This is supposed to be for men, but I would buy a full bottle simply because I am a junkie for grapefruit in fragrance. Albino is unique: many of the ingredients are white and the result is a bright refreshing fougere that opens like a gentlemne’s cologne. You’ve got albino raspberry and grapefruit in there alongside  pale, light woods and light musky finish. It’s addictively good. I LOVE the grapefruit. chandelier

Deco Diamonds

A cleverly constructed bright floral aldehyde that turns into a chypre. Deco Diamonds opens with a crystalline, metallic accord that made me think of chandeliers. The middle phase has all the big florals of a classic, with soapy notes at the heart and a mossy, civet finish that tells the story of a night out from start to finish.

 Souvenir de Malmaison

A beautiful carnation soliflore, Souvenir de Malmaison is enhanced with clove and pepper giving this a spicy spikiness that is complemented by the softer roses in the heart of it.  If you ask me, Carnation doesn’t get enough love these days, so I am pleased to see it showcased here.  It’s the spiky, sober cousin to rose and I love the piquant nature of it alongside those dark aromatic cloves. Lasting power on this was filed under category WOW.

Pandora

FiFi nominated, Pandora is a rich green chypre with a “dusty nuance”, which appeals to me enormously. Unfortunately, Pandora eluded me. I was anosmic to this. My skin seems to just suck it up and make it disappear!  This doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. For example,  when I reviewed Cartier Delices de Cartier a few years back, it never showed up on my skin at all- it was as if I was spraying tap water. However, other users reported 12 hour longevity.  Go figure! My experience with DSH perfumes is that they are constructed from high quality ingredients and very long lasting, so this is probably just me. Perfume’s funny like that.  My loss.

 Stockists

All of the above fragrances are available from the DSH website.  You can buy all sizes, from sample size to large spray bottles, and many other scents too. I can’t wait to explore more of Dawn’s beautiful work. Samples provided by Dawn with warm thanks. Opinions are my own.

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Photo credit: Top photo from cafleurebon, Lady in fur from Pinterest, Mata Hari from Klimbin, chandelier from fixmasters.net, Pandora’s Box painting from talesbeyondbelief.com, photo of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz from Cafleurebon.

RM Eau de Parfum by Ruth Mastenbroek

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RM by Ruth Mastenbroek is the first scent by  perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek. Ruth has been in the perfume industry for several decades.  A previous President of the British Society of Perfumers, Ruth is the nose behind many well known scents you may not realise that she was responsible for: she has worked for Kenneth Turner, the House of Bath, Jigsaw and Jo Malone to name a few.

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RM  is a delightful floral chypre, that uses many fruits so skilfully that it showcases the natural characteristics of the fruit with none of the sugariness that has been all too pervasive in recent years ( aren’t you just so OVAH sickly fruity florals?) .

On first spray of RM my nose is greeted with a blast of zingy citrus notes: notably bergamot and surprisingly- pineapple. I say surprisingly because I have had disastrous experiences with pineapple notes in scent before now, but here it is rather beautiful with an understated summery feel. The patchouli and sandalwood start peeking through early around now-ish, just as the florals come out and blossom shamelessly all over the place. Here you will find rich roses and heady jasmine. There is also a hint of lily, but my nose was getting distracted by now because my old chum oak moss was making its presence felt.  Now we’re really talking chypres.

The basenotes of RM manage to blend together into one stunning multi layered accord. There’s the lightness of citrus, the feminine florals, and the prickly, mossy base- all in total harmony. It’s a peachy patchouli with a hint of blackcurrant, yet the fruit (despite being half a grocer’s worth) is never overbearing.  RM is a class act that conjures an English Country Garden and impossibly feminine tea dresses, yet the prickly chypre finish gives it a daring edge that was enormously appealing to me,  a die-hard chypre fan. This can be worn all year round.

This is a superb début that heralds the opening act of a high quality and innovative capsule collection. I recently reviewed Amorosa and will shortly be reviewing Oxford to complete my trilogy of Mastenbroek reviews. I was lucky enough to meet Ruth earlier this month ( see my previous post) and she told me that a fourth scent will shortly be joining the ranks. I for one will be first in line to try it. Gangway!

Stockists

You can buy Ruth Mastenbroek fragrances from  the Ruth Mastenbroek website or from Fenwicks or Rouiller White. My sample was from Ruth herself, for which, warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.

The Perfume Society Scents of Style Discovery Box review

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I have in front of me yet another box of delights from our chums at the Perfume Society. The latest box is called Scents of Style and is inspired by fashion. As usual, the box consists of a few brand new fragrances, some fragrances that have been around for a while that you may not have tried before, and a well chosen clutch of beauty goodies.

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What I like about Discovery Boxes is that they nudge your hand towards fragrance you might have otherwise rejected. For example, I would not have tried Marc Jacobs Divine Decadence, but after trying it because it was in the box, it ended up being my favourite. Ditto Angel Muse- I would have passed that one by too, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  The other great thing about these little boxes is that you get to try new stuff without leaving the house. If you live in a smallish town like me, some of these would be hard to get hold of without a train fare to a big city.

Let’s have a look at what’s inside and I’ll write little mini reviews of them for you. It won’t take to long to read- I’m no bother!

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Thierry Mugler Angel Muse:

This is like Angel original but with a hint of Terry’s Chocolate Orange in the opening. Don’t ask me why- it might just be me, but there was definitely chocolate orange in the top note. The USP is that it has more vetiver than original Angel, and this is apparent within minutes. This has more muscles than Angel, if that’s at all possible. The vetiver is loud and proud, and personally, I rather like the juxtaposition of sweetness and butch. The sillage is about as subtle as a Tyrannosaurus Rex on a dog lead. You will get noticed. Two squirts is enough for the whole town. For a week. Never let it be said that Mugler isn’t value for money.

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Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 9

You can read my review of this lovely floral chypre here. With blackcurrants and oakmoss, this was a big hit with me. Blackcurrant can occasionally go down the cat pee route, but there’s none of that here, my dears, just juicy, dark fruit.

coachsam

Coach the Fragrance

This wasn’t love at first sniff, but it grew on me on the third attempt. With fruity pink pepper, raspberry and suede, this is where the fruity floral dons an expensive suede handbag. Chic and modern, Mystic Sam predicts this will be a big seller. Top marks for beautiful packaging too.

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Marc Jacobs Divine Decadence

I surprised myself by liking this one more than any of the others, and it had some tough competition. I thought this would be plummy, spicy and rich like the original, which I liked but didn’t love, despite the to-die-for bottle that deserves every award. However, despite mixed reviews on Fragrantica, I liked this very much. Its lighter and more floral than Decadence and seems to have turned the volume down on the sweetness and cranked up the flowers. It’s a delight. Funnily enough it reminded me of  Dawn from The Lovely Collection by Sarah Jessica Parker.

Cheryl Stormflower

Good old Chezza, hopping on the perfume truck. Stormflower isn’t bad, but it’s not my cup of tea with two sugars, as I once heard Cheryl say on the X Factor. I reviewed it here when it came out and I can’t say I’ve changed my mind. A little too fruity and little too sweet, but it will be a hit with the fans of that genre.

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Prada La Femme Prada

My perfume collection will never be without any of the Prada infusion line, especially Prada Infusion D’Iris, but Prada La Femme Prada goes in another direction. This, to me, is a gourmand, but it purports to be a floral. Why does Frangipani remind me of marzipan? With beeswax, tuberose and Frangipani, this was a sweet, almondy, white floral mélange that fans of Dior Hypnotic Poison might enjoy.  This is a generous 9ml splash bottle in a dear little box.

Prada Prada L’Homme

I liked this so much I put it on my husband and sniffed him admiringly. He’s used to this kind of thing now. The cedar comes out straight away, but this smells shower clean- not a million miles from the dreamy scent of Imperial Leather. There’s no leather, but if you like your fragrance soapy, powdery and full of peppery geranium and spice, then this is for you. Gorgeous. (9ml splash bottle, boxed)

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And The Treats…

There are always beauty treats, and in generous sizes too. In this box I had a Pixi eyebrow pencil in medium, which happened to be the right shade for me as I am strawberry blonde/auburn. Then there’s a cute 15ml travel size of Pixi Glow Tonic, and a 30ml tube of Time Bomb Take Off cleanser.

All in all, a really decent selection which I thoroughly enjoyed diving into. I sometimes like it when the choice is taken out of my hands. Since my trip to London, my sample suitcase is overflowing. Not really a problem, I know, but how nice when somebody else curates a selection for me!

Stockists

The Scents of Style Discovery Box is available from The Perfume Society..

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 9

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Once again, Liz Earle has launched a new perfume, and once again, it’s a class act bursting with botanicals and the best that nature has to offer.

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 9 is, like her other fragrances, sourced from as many natural ingredients as possible. In the case of Botanical No 9 that would be damask roses, blackcurrants, bergamot limes, patchouli, oakmoss and vanilla.

When you read the list of ingredients like that it doesn’t do this lovely scent justice. Here’s what I got: The blackcurrants come out first and foremost, followed by the rose. The bergamot gives this a wonderful thirst quenching quality that is enormously refreshing and “clean” – like dewdrops or a bracing shower on a sticky day.  As these notes blend and evolve, the base notes start to peek through. This is a floral chypre so there’s oakmoss and patchouli, but rather than the heat of the more usual amber for example, here there are more roses and plenty of osmanthus ( aka apricot blossom) to add a delicate sweetness that is never cloying or sugary.

Longevity is excellent and what’s left after around five hours is a dark velvety rose scent with wisps of patchouli and oakmoss around the edges. This is what you’ll smell like at the end of the day and it is GOOD.

Stockists

Liz Earle Botanical No 9 is available from QVC or from the Liz Earle website. I obtained my sample from the Perfume Society Scents of Style Discovery Box which is available now from their website.

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Bronnley Eclectic Elements Collection Exotic Embers EDT

 

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Stumbling across this cute capsule collection in Boots, I was drawn to the bottle of Exotic Embers and plastered the tester on earlier today. All the way home my nose was glued to the wrist. This delightfully spicy scent has a lot to offer a woman like me. I am always on the lookout for a good Autumn scent, and was ripe for temptation as I actually left the house without perfume today ( school run, cat food, long boring story).

Exotic Embers had me thinking “This is familiar and it’s on the tip of my tongue but I just can’t place it” and then it hit me. This is what Yves Saint Laurent Opium would smell like if it had more citrus and was greener. This is spice with all the weighty base taken away.

Top notes  bergamot, orange and galbanum

Middle notes Tuberose, ginger and nutmeg

Base notes Labdanum, cedarwood and amber.

exotic-embersIn fact this shares some similarities with my beloved Mary Greenwell FireFire combines spices with nutmeg and grapefruit, just as Exotic Embers does. This means that if you, like me, enjoy both orientals and cologne style fragrances, this gives you the best of both worlds.

Exotic Embers is more floral than Fire and has a softness that reminded me of flannelette sheets, but I can’t think why. It leaves a peppery trail of roses on my skin and has a faint sweetness that isn’t vanilla, but might be the combination of nutmeg and ginger ( but isn’t gourmand). I love its combination of spice and lightness and its lack of vanilla and sickliness: none of that here.

I’ll definitely be trying more from the Eclectic Elements range, not least for the beautiful packaging. You can also buy purse sprays and an eau fraiche version. Today I was testing the eau de toilette.

Stockists

I tried this in Boots where they stock the whole range. Prices start at £15 for a 30ml bottle of eau fraiche.

Art de Parfum: A Perfume House to Watch

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Recently I was sent a set of samples from those nice people at Art de Parfum. It’s a small British House, that currently just has five  fragrances. Wisely, they have started small, but what that they have done so far, they have done very well indeed. All scents are unisex and all are highly concentrated pure perfumes made with oils, so you’re getting quality and longevity right from the first drop.

Here’s a review of the four scents I received. Actually, I received Sensual Oud too, but I can’t currently locate it. As soon as I do, I will review it. In my defence, it was the summer holidays and with two primary aged kids around, I’m glad that one perfume sample was all I mislaid.  I still have my sanity.

I had a major love affair with one of these delightful fragrances but wouldn’t turn any of them down. Every single one deserves praise and a bright future. But as for me? I’ll take a bottle of the Gin and Tonic. No, make that a case. A lorryload! I’ll take it all.

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Sea Foam

The name of the scent was enough to have me reaching for it before all the others. I have been disappointed enough times in the past by perfumes that promise a marine accord but don’t deliver. Sea Foam does. It has that salty ozonic tang that I need and want from a scent that promises me crashing waves and seaside vibes. I wouldn’t call this oceanic- that has connotations of synthetic “blue” notes to me, but I would call this one of the best “sea notes” perfumes I have ever tried.

Opening with sharp, tangy citrus (bergamot and lemon), the middle blends into milky fig and seaweed. Now at this point, you might think that it would start to resemble Thierry Mugler’s Womanity, which is the only scent that ever made me physically retch. Sea Foam could not be further away from that. Think of salty skin, the dry greenery around the dunes and the actual, almost dirty scent of the waves. This beds down into dreamy sandalwood and vetiver, but those salty, fresh notes linger on.

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Excentrique Moi

Well this just has to be one’s new name for oneself when one goes all Third Person. Beautifully scented and named with a swagger, Excentrique Moi is all about the leather, which is ironic as according to Fragrantica, there’s no leather in it, but this is my blog and I say “leather!” There’s also deep, dark guaiac wood, which is a note I love ever since it was used in Hilary Duff With Love, now sadly discontinued. The patchouli is strong and earthy, and paired with dark tea and a bit more smoky, musky wood, this makes for a terrific scent that would suit anyone, especially as the weather turns colder. Buy it for the man in your life, and then use it all yourself. No guilt!

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Signature Wild

This smells both leathery and dirty at the same time. Don’t be put off, dirty is good in perfume. Signature Wild makes good use of artemesia, which has a touch of aniseed and booze to it- artemesia is famously used in absinthe. We’re not in Pernod territory, but more Gentleman’s Club with an extra dose of “your place or mine?”. The top notes smell like Christmas booze: rum or sherry. After that it’s sultanas, leather and woods. That tang of artemesia just takes it out of the ordinary and makes it unforgettable.

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Gin and Tonic

I wasn’t expecting to like this half as much as I did. I’ve smelled similar gin based scents before and have been left unmoved. However, this one had me in raptures and I’ve been wearing the sample spray for two days now, wondering if I can get a third day out of it. Yes, it opens with gin, or juniper to be more precise, but there is much more to it. The juniper is astringent, almost metallic, but it doesn’t stay that way, it just does a solo before joining the chorus. The grapefruit and lime zest give you that zing, and the middle note is just plain gin. It’s such a realistic take on a gin and tonic that you can almost feel the bitter bubbles popping on your skin. The drydown takes me into musky, woody territory with vetiver, woods, incense and ambergris. This base never gets too heavy though, because the gin and citrus just slices through until astringent and earthy sit together as one accord. Fantastic.

Stockists

You can buy Art de Parfum scents from the website, or from Bloom Perfumery in Covent Garden, which also does mail order. I would like to thank Art de Parfum for sending me these samples. Opinions are my own.