Category Archives: Citrus fragrance

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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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

4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer: Coup De Foudre

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As a perfume lover, (as I imagine you are too if you are reading this), I am always searching for that thunderbolt moment when you find treasure.  You know that moment when you smell a perfume that you love immediately and plot to own by fair means or foul as soon as you’ve sniffed it?  Well that happened to me with Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays.

Sarah McCartney, founder, Nose and Grande Dame of 4160 Tuesdays, very kindly sent me some samples recently for my perusal.  As always, I am  delighted to receive them, on the proviso that I will be honest  whether or not I like them.  She also kindly included a very glossy coloured chart which categorises the many 4160 Tuesdays scents.  This is jolly handy and I wish more places would do this.

photo by World of Oddy via Flickr with kind permission of A.Oddy

 

Tart’s Knicker Drawer happened, as often the best things do, by accident.  Sarah had been mixing so many potions in the lab that she joked she would be getting on the bus smelling like “a tart’s boudoir”. Encouraged by several voices of approval and generally egged on to bottle it up, Tart’s Boudoir became Tart’s Knicker Drawer and golly, I’m glad, because I love it.

What I smell:  violets, some pretty green notes, the contents of a messy dressing table covered in snowy white talc with a blob of Pond’s Cold Cream spilled onto it, some ambery spice making it smell a bit chypre-y (new word alert!) and a strong, strident resonance that arrives in the room and says “I’m impossibly feminine and glamorous and if I want to wear a velvet dress and red lipstick before cocktail hour, then I shall.”

The official description of the notes is very different to my interpretation above .  I wondered if I should list them all because the list of notes alone does not do justice to this lovely retro, powdery, powerhouse of a scent that smells like it was made for ladies in stockings who have very messy dressing tables and perfectly set hair that stays put for a week.  What I would say is don’t look at them too closely because if you try and imagine them in your head, you will miss the serendipity of this happy accident.

Here are the notes:

top notes: bergamot, orange, grapefruit, pink peppercorn,

heart notes: raspberry, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, cedarwood, violet, tuberose, guaiac wood

base notes: amber, musk, vanilla, benzoin, tobacco.

cities collection samples
The Cities Collection- 4160 Tuesdays

As for me, I want to always have a bottle of this so here’s a message for the lovely Sarah : Thank you for making it and please don’t stop!

Stockists:  prices are very reasonable indeed at £40 for 30ml,  £60 for 50ml or £90 for 100ml of eau de parfum.  When you think how many rent-a-scent beauty counter fragrances  cost the same and can be so forgettable, then it makes really good sense to go niche for the same price, or even less.

In the UK you can buy Tart’s Knicker Drawer from the 4160 Tuesdays website, in Europe (Benelux) 4160 scents are available from www.parfumaria.com  and in the USA you can buy  a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scent from www.luckyscent.com and in Canada from  www.indiescents.com

Don’t forget the cute sample sets (Tart’s Knicker Drawer comes under Frocks and Hats) and handbag sized bottles from the 4160 website.

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4160 Tuesdays London 1969: A Refreshing Retro Breeze

stylus.com
stylus.com

4160 Tuesdays  has a knack of giving perfumes such great names that you’re brimming with the anticipation of a little voyage into a vignette before you even put it on.  It’s like having a pair of shoes called “Magic Carpet” or a coat called “Russian Princess”.  Immediately, life gets more interesting and fantastical through the power of suggestion.

Thus it was in merry, hippy Carnaby Street mood,with “here comes Georgie Girl” in my head, that I first tried 4160 Tuesdays London 1969. Now you may notice that certain brands have a recognition factor. This is no bad thing:  The old Guerlains have it and you can usually tell a Serge or a Tauer by its je ne sais quoi.  4160 Tuesdays has it too:  a kind of rich, woody blank canvas base that makes it recognisable…or so I thought until I tried London 1969.

Alert with zingy lemon, zesty grapefruit and a kind of lime sherbert that took me back to my childhood, London 1969 is like licking a lolly on a hot day in a floppy hat, in glorious techniclour as you mingle with the cool cats outside Biba.  No, I wasn’t around then, ( it was the year my Dad looked at my Mum in a funny way though, I was born the following year) but Sarah McCartney is the Doctor Who of perfumers: she can take you back in time and space with a mere smell.

The Dark Heart of Havana had me sipping coffee in a Cuban Pavement Café, Time to Draw The Raffle Numbers was all polished floors and marmalade in an empty church hall, and The Lion Cupboard had a whiff of peppermints, old wood and pocket fluff and made me feel pleasantly Narnia-ish.

wikipedia
wikipedia

If you like Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien on steroids, or O de Lancome with the volume pumped up, or Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse, then I can almost guarantee you’ll love London 1969.  And the sky will be blue, and your sunglasses big, and there will be red buses and black cabs and optimism.  It’s glorious, as is the sunshine.

London 1969 is available on the 4160 website.

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Prada Candy Florale: A Clever Surprise

nd.24487   Remember that shampoo from the 80s that was called Once?  It was two tone and  you had to shake it before use and presto!  It was both shampoo and conditioner. Why did I think of Once when I was trying out Prada Candy Florale?  Mainly because Prada Candy Florale surprised me and completely changed half way through wearing it. nd.12426

I have reviewed Prada Candy  elsewhere in this blog (I won’t do a link to my own blog as it gets very weird),  and despite its name making me think it was going to smell like a sweet shop, it was  actually very good and not too sweet at all. Prada Candy was simply Musk, Benzoin and Caramel.

Prada Candy Florale has all of these but with added Peony and wait for it: Limoncello- that bitter, palate cleansing lemon liquer that you only drink in tiny shots. Prada Candy Florale doesn’t smell like a close relation to Prada Candy,

limoncello.com
limoncello.com

but the Florale bit is as good as its word.  Florale uses the prettiest and girliest of flowers: the Peony.  It does the job and it’s a safe bet if you’re not going for an edgy floral. Here’s what happens when you wear it:  it opens as a very pretty, almost green floral with dominant Peony and very little trace of Benzoin or Caramel or anything else really.

Then, and here’s the clever bit, it changes into a delightful lemon eau de cologne style scent that hangs around for about four hours.  The transitional bit is interesting: a sort of citrussy floral bouquet with a hint of creosote-y benzoin, but when it settles it smells so much like a lemon eau de cologne that I had to check which tester  I had used, thinking I must have sprayed one over the top of it.  

Prada Candy Florale impressed me a great deal.  Sometimes new launches are all so samey that I think I will always be buying old school scents from the bottom shelf for evermore.  But then something like this comes along and I applaud its audacity in not playing it safe.  I don’t like it enough to shove anything off my existing over crowded wish list, but thank you Prada for giving us something a bit new and a bit different.

 

PS My sample comes from the latest quarterly  Discovery Club Box from The Fragrance Shop. I love them- make it monthly Fragrance Shop!

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The Best Grapefruit Scent I have ever smelled is Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse

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Creating a good grapefruit scent that doesn’t end up cardboard-y or smelling a bit sour is tough.  In my opinion, even Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune  didn’t quite pull it off ( see my earlier review on this blog), and Guerlain only lets geniuses work on their stuff (genii?)

Miller Harris kindly sent me a sample of Le Pamplemousse to try, and as always when I am sent something free, it is on the understanding that I don’t have to either like it or fake delight.  Luckily, in this case, I am gushing like a girl with a crush.  Le Pamplemousse feels like a tall drink of water on a hot day.  It’s like a thirst quenching mirage in a desert.

pamplemousse with boxIt opens, naturally, with grapefruit, but the top notes are actually melon, rhubarb and grapefruit.  In case you’re worried this would smell like a fruit salad, don’t be.  It smells like the best shower you ever had in the poshest hotel you ever stayed in.  The melon simply isn’t there (phew!  I’m not a melon fan), and I’m not even sure the rhubarb is, although rhubarb can work in summery scents. It’s fresh and zingy and if Vitamin C had a smell it would be this.

pampleIn case I didn’t love it enough, there’s even a dab of my beloved oakmoss in it to keep me faithful for life. Where this outshines Guerlain Pamplelune though is that the basenote stays fresh and light and pretty and doesn’t end up smelling like dried up orange rind (Pamplelune is guilty of this although  it smelled very good the day I reviewed it.  It’s as if it knew it had an exam)

For a scent as hesperide-y as this one, lasting power is good at over five hours a spray.  Maybe it’s the clingy green oakmoss.  Maybe it’s the pretty Orangegrapefruit Blossom.  Maybe it’s the herbs, giving this a resonant botanical tang.

Whatever it is, this is the best grapefruit fragrance I have ever smelled, bar none.  In this weather, to which me and my freckles are not accustomed, we should get this on prescription.  Feel good factor- off the scale.

EDIT- Since this review, le Pamplelousse has sadly been discontinued. You can find it at TK Maxx and on eBay.  Shame!

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The Ultimate (And Not Entirely Serious) Guide to Wedding Perfumes by IScentYouADay

fragrancelife.ru
fragrancelife.ru

It’s wedding season, and what better excuse to think about dreamy wedding perfumes?  Scent evokes such vivid memories that it’s important to get it right for a big occasion.  I have had fun over the past few days picking out perfumes for every kind of bride (I hope).  This guide is of course, subjective and you may have other ideas, or choose to wear a trusty old favourite, as I did. Don’t forget the Golden Rule: Your partner has to buy you a bottle on every anniversary,  so pick wisely.

 

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My actual wedding dress and tiara. And the pearls are real.

If you’re planning a wedding, I would love to know what scent you have chosen.  If you are already married, I would love to know what you wore to your wedding.  As for me, I wore Chanel Cristalle, but if I had to marry Mr IScent all over again, it would be  4160 Tuesdays Raw Silk and Red Roses.    Incidentally, just because this article is angled towards brides, doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate marriage in all its wonderful forms regardless of gender, race and age.

I support marriage equality wholeheartedly and at the same time, I say knickers to gender stereotypes in perfume.   All you need is love. And a wink and a smile.

The Classy Bride

lilyChanel No 19– Think Kristen Scott Thomas in a simple shift looking incredible.  Think hauteur.

Chanel Cristalle:  Green, beautiful, simple.

Miss Dior Original:  Not the one that smells like strawberries and flowers, the oakmossy one in the bumpy houndstooth bottle.

Lanvin Arpege:  Gets better as the day goes on, like a wedding once the Bar has opened.

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Especially Escada Delicate Notes: Light as air and pretty as a picture. This delicate scent lives up to its name.

Estee Lauder Beautiful: Retro memories of Paulina Porizkova looking beautiful as a bride in the ad campaign. I think it has just about every flower in the world.

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: Like a thousand ballerinas.  Light, airy and  feminine.

Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop: Utterly delightful and smells like a posh florist: stems, petals and greenery.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose and Gardenia: White flowers on a wedding day. Rich and longlasting. Like the groom, hopefully.

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The I Want to Be Different Bride

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Noontide Petals by Andy Tauer:  Smelling is believing; Bergamot and aldehydes in perfect harmony.

The Sexiest Scent On The Planet Ever IMHO by 4160 Tuesdays: Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and a Woody finish.  This would be a good day to see if it lives up to its name.

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician.  Never smelled it.  Love the name.  Couldn’t leave it out.

I Fancy You by Jessica Simpson– Just for the name, just so people can say “what are you wearing?” and you can answer them, deadpan. With your new spouse right next to you.  Especially funny if your mother in law is present.  Awkward if it is she who is asking.

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The Caribbean Wedding Bride

photo by www.festivalbrides.co.uk
photo by www.festivalbrides.co.uk

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Sun cream, coconuts, fig and white flowers. Longlasting and multi layered. Like your marriage, hopefully.

O de Lancome: When it’s hot, you’ll be needing the citrus.  It will cool you down and is one of the most refreshing scents that I know.

Miller Harris La Pluie: Tropical flowers with a powdery finish.  This changes and blooms the longer you wear it.

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The Sexy Bride Who Can’t Wait For the Honeymoon

photo from brideways.com
photo from brideways.com

Worth Courtesan– smells like knickers.  Not freshlay laundered knickers, the other sort of knickers.

Miller Harris L’Air De Rien– This was made for Jane Birkin and it smells like an unwashed andunmade bed and joss sticks. Incredibly sexy.

Serge Lutens Feminite Du Bois– smells like wooden knickers in a woody wood.

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 The Unforgettable Bride With a Dangerous Glint In Her Eye

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Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles– despite having written over 400 reviews of perfume, this is the only one that made my husband stand up and protest loudly.  Could be fun at a wedding.

Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques.  It’s got the word secretions in its name.  It smells like it sounds. You may smell like you just had urgent sex with a tramp en route to the church.  But hey, nobody will forget your wedding.  Check out my review, and brace yourself.

 

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