Category Archives: clean scents

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box March 2017

fs disc box neat

Every quarter, for the small sum of five pounds, I  receive a Discovery Box from the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club.  Sometimes there are fragrances I’ve already tried and sometimes there are lovely surprises. Either way, I’ve been a member since December 2013 and I always will be.

This month’s box contains six samples, as well as a five-pound voucher off a full bottle of any of your favourites from the box.  So far, my clear favourite is Elizabeth Arden White Tea.

Here’s what’s in the box

Elizabeth Arden White Tea

arden_white_teaAs you know Elizabeth Arden Green Tea has been a classic since it came out in 1999.  Green Tea was created by none other than His Majesty Francis Kurkdjian, and it has genius simplicity written all over it.   There have been many flankers, and I’ve liked all of them.  When I saw White Tea was now A Thing, I worried that they may have “over-flanked” themselves, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Elizabeth Arden White Tea  is light, airy and floaty and smells like a pure white room in a dream home.   There’s clean white musks and sea notes and light notes of white tea.  This is like a spa in a bottle.  This will be on my dressing table very soon.

Jimmy Choo L’Eau

This is in a similar vein to DKNY below, but is slightly sweeter and Jimmy-Choo-Leaudelicately tiptoes onto the very edges of the gourmand spectrum.  I wrote about this last month and you can read my review here. It’s pretty and light and floral, and I predict it’ll be a big hit this summer.

DKNY Be Tempted Eau so Blush

dkny be temptedDKNY Be Tempted Eau So Blush is a light and feminine scent that has a fruity floral opening and big peony notes in the middle- and peony is going to be big this year.   The base is woody and fruity with apricots and musk.  This is a perfect daytime scent and ideal for work. It almost demands to be worn with a pretty frock.

Marc Jacobs Decadence

marc jacobs decadenceMarc Jacobs Decadence comes in such a fantastic bottle that when I first saw it,  I almost didn’t care what it smelled like, I just wanted that bottle. Luckily, it smells pretty good with its saffron and plums and a vetiver and musk base.  If you like Marc Jacobs Daisy, don’t buy this blind as they’re very different.   Decadence is fabulous for the evening whilst Daisy is lighter and better as a daytime fragrance.

Joop! Wow

wowThis one certainly lives up to its name. “Wow” was the first word I said when I sniffed it.  It opens with sharp lime and aromatic cardoman, and settles as a slightly gourmand, warm vanilla, via peppery geranium and dry grassy vetiver.  Despite not having any leathery notes, this reminded me of Dior Fahrenheit, only Joop!Wow! is sharper and with more citrus. I loved it. I sprayed it on me, my husband and my ten-year-old son.  Unanimous thumbs up! We all smell great.

Invictus Intense

invictus intenseI was surprised when I saw this as I thought “Hmm, Invictus is pretty intense anyway, what could they possibly do to make it bigger?”The answer, my friends, is that they turned up the volume and tweaked some knobs until it knocked out every canary within a fifty mile radius.  Invictus Intense is similar to the original, but cranked up to the power of ten.  The salt notes are very prominent.  It’s dry and masculine and not pretty.  It reminded me a lot of Paco Rabanne One Million Intense. If this sounds like your cup of tea, please use sparingly.  For all our sakes.

Stockists

fs disc boxAll of these fragrances are available from The Fragrance Shop.

The Discovery Club is easy to join with no long term red tape.  Just join to get your box and cancel if you want to.  But I bet you won’t! I’ve been getting these boxes for four years and the flat box they come in fits through the letterbox so it won’t end up in the Post Office depot if you’re out.

I purchased this myself and opinions are my own.

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MoodScent 4: Perfumes for a Rainy Day

moodscentlogo

Welcome to the first joint blogging project by MoodScent4! We are four perfume bloggers based in France, Holland, England and Wales who will be posting on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we will individually pick a selection of five or so fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other blogs at the end of the post.

We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own in the comments.

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Wales in the rain. NB This is not us.

Dear readers, and by that, I mean my beloved existing readers, and hopefully some new ones too.: Welcome!

I have not been hijacked. I am excited to be a part of a new seasonal collaboration with three excellent bloggers, whom you may already know if you are fume heads, fragonerds or perfumistas.  Megan, Tara, Esperanza and me will all be putting our own take on a scent theme and our first one feels particularly relevant to your favourite Welsh perfume blogger (I hope that’s me).

Wales, as you may know, is very green and lush and this is because it rains like mad. I therefore feel like an expert when I talk about Rainy Day Scents.  Here’s my pick of five rainy day scents and the reasons behind my choices:

1 Library of Fragrance Paperback

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Hearing the rain patter against the window makes me long for a window seat and a good book.  In my mind’s eye I am a painting called “woman with book”, but in reality I haven’t got a window seat and I might steal five minutes on my phone Kindle whislt stirring spag bol, feeding the cat and kicking the dishwasher shut  if I’m lucky.

Library of Fragrance Paperback has the vaguely coconutty smell of the aged page of a book.  It’s more Hay on Wye than Waterstones, and I love it for that.  You can read my review here,

2. Miller Harris La Pluie

la pluie pic

You know how some perfume gives you vivid pictures in your head?  La Pluie made me think of cosy houses, red buses and puddles, It’s enormously comforting, despite being inspired by the tropics. I found it terribly, terribly English and thoroughly beautiful.  You can read my thoughts here.

3. Elizabeth Arden White Tea

arden_white_tea

Not a typo.  Not a drill. The classic Elizabeth Arden Green Tea has a new friend called White Tea, which I tried earlier last week.  You may recall my post about floaty white fragrances, and had this been known to me then, I most certainly would have included it.  Elizabeth Arden White Tea is a soft, clean musk that makes you feel like you are wearing clean white cotton and living in clean white rooms: neither of which matches the reality of my life, but this scent is the one I want to wear when the weather’s gone to hell outside and I want to feel calm within.

4. Marina Barcenilla India

MB-Parfums-India-2

I reviewed this gorgeous spicy woody scent recently and it is exactly what you need when the rain is lashing down outside and you want to remember what heat and warmth smells like. This will make you feel snug as a bug in a rug.  On my skin, India unfolds like a dance of the seven veils.  How it starts is not how it ends, which also sums up the kind of film you should curl up and watch whilst wearing this cosy blanket of a scent.

4160 Tuesdays Aquamarine Wave

mermaid red

When I reviewed this recently, the working name was Sea Goddess. It’s not officially released yet, as it’s part of a crowd funding project that you can take part in.  However, this is the best marine scent I think I have ever smelled and when the drizzle through the window looks unwelcoming, it’s good to remind myself that summer days on the beach will be mine to enjoy soon.  One day.  Maybe not today,  Maybe not tomorrow.  Maybe not until August, but one day. And Wales has ALL the best beaches.

Find out what my MoodScent 4 colleagues have to say on rainy day scents right here:

Tara’s blog A Bottled Rose

Megan’s blog : MeganinStMaxime

Esperanza’s blog L’Esperessence

I am particularly delighted that this piece marks my 800th post on this blog.  I can think of no lovelier way to mark it than by collaborating with these three wonderful bloggers.  Moodscent 4 will be a seasonal and occasional project throughout the year, so I do hope that you will enjoy this one and look forward to the next one.

PS Normal Iscentyouaday service will be resumed tomorrow.

How about you?

What are your favourite rainy day scents?  Do let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.

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Clive Christian 1872 For Women: Living the Dream


cc 1872

I was recently sent a bottle of Clive Christian 1872  For Women to see what I thought of it.  I already had friendly feelings towards the brand as I had met the legendary Keith at the Clive Christian desk at Fortnum and Mason.  He knows the brand better than I know myself.

cliveMy second visit to the same desk yielded a fascinating tour of the scents and some samples from the lovely Tamara.  Both were charming and did not appear to mind that I did not (could not) purchase a bottle.

Let’s get the awkward money chat out of the way right now- this stuff is really expensive.  Doesn’t mean we can’t sniff anf enjoy though.  In fact, if you did have money to invest in scent, you could do a lot worse than Clive Christian with its rich heritage dating from, yes, you’ve guessed it, 1872.   Even Queen Victoria let the company use the image of her crown as a symbol of quality,  and she could be pretty grumpy.

clive christian colour

So, what does it smell like?

The first thing that makes its presence felt with 1872 is citrus and herbs, namely lemon and rosemary.  Rather than give this a culinary feel, however, it gives it a light, clean sorbet opening.  It cleanses the palate before you’ve eaten the entrée.

The middle note brings out the chorus of jasmine and freesia, but the big diva here is the Rose de Mai.  Whilst this precious rose is very much in the room, there is something cold and metallic about 1872. Maybe because it smells faintly aquatic,  or because it lacks a warmth- I don’t know.  Sometimes, in the hot weather, a cold scent is what you need to cool  down so I declare this an excellent scent for summer,  (if memory serves.  Haven’t seen sun for a loooong time).

cc trio

As the base notes kick in, this becomes a floral lemon/lime melange.  It smells crisp and cool, like  pressed linen, and with only a trace of the oak moss I was hoping to be enveloped by.  The base then settles like a sunset into richer notes: a hit of patchouli and a satisfying fix of dark guaiac wood.

clive-logo

Some Fragrantica readers reckon that this smells a bit like Calvin Klein CK One.  Now, whilst I can see similarities, Clive Christian 1872 has more depth and resonance and far more complexity.  I have always found CK One to be a bit shrill on me, in any case.

All in all, if I had a money tree in my garden like my children think I have, then yes, this beautiful green and gold bottle would live happily on my dressing table, and I’d let it bring all its friends.

Stockists

Clive Christian is available from Fortnum and Mason or from Harrods.  My bottle is on loan  and opinions are my own. Which rhymes.

Thank you to Claudia: this is on its way back after its little holiday chez IScent.

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Exclusive! 4160 Tuesdays: Codename Sea Goddess.

mermaid red
Mermaid painting by Victor Nizovtsev

For a long time now, I have been searching for the perfect marine scent.  It has to remind me of the sea, be invigorating and NOT smell like cucumber.   Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it? But apparently it is.   Or was. Read on Macduff.

Before I go on, I’d like to ask if any of you remember a shampoo made by Boots Naturals called Sea Kelp?  I used to adore that scent and used it until they stopped making it.  I can’t even find an old photo on Pinterest.  It was a beautifully scented shampoo that had marine notes and made my hair smell so good that I often wished they made a perfume of it.

mermaid
John William Waterhouse

Many times have I have sniffed something in a vageuly aquamarine coloured bottle and  thought, “maybe this will smell like Sea Kelp shampoo?” and been disappointed.   Cucumber and melon- yes.  Sea notes?  No.

However, I recently received a small glass phial ( vial or phial? you can use either, I checked) of a scent that is currently being called “Sea Goddess”. This may or may not be its final name: it’s still in development at the hand of Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays.

Sea Goddess opens with a burst of citrus.  I could discern sharp lemon and bitter grapefruit: the kind that makes you do an involuntary wink when you eat it first thing in the morning.  This wakes you up and prepares you for the  swishy swish of sea notes that follow.

Sea notes are hard to define and are often subjective, but here’s my take on them here: with an invigorating tang and a hit of saltiness, Sea Goddess makes you wish you were next to the sea and makes you feel an urgent need to down tools and find some surf ,  like a Bisto kid following his nose.

sea goddess boxIt is rare to find a sea note perfume  that is as on the button  as this one .  What gives it that unique 4160 Tuesdays touch is a dose of Britishness towards the end. There is an almost, but not quite, dirty tang of seaweed towards the bottom.  Rather than put me off, this adds to its authenticity.  This is how the seaside really smells.

We can romanticise the  white crests of foam as the waves crash, and we can imagine ourselves getting a revitalizing burst of ozone into our poor urban lungs, but don’t forget what the beach really smells like.  There’s salt and wet sand and sea weed.  It’s all here, my friends.  Because a real Sea Goddess will get sand on her fins and seaweed on  her arms.

This is the ultimate sea note scent.  No cucumber. No melon. This is the sea and the beach, captured in a glass vial like a snow globe.

bsac
Bsac

Stockists
This is nearly available from 4160 Tuesdays, but not quite yet. It may be given a different name, but I will let you know. Talk about a teaser! Sorry about that.  My sample rollerball phial was from Sarah herself, for which, my deep gratitude.  Opinions are my own.

UPDATED 31st March 2017

Sea Goddess is to be called Aquamarine – Waves and is available via this link.  I’ll see you in the queue! I’m buying a couple of gallons.

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Gucci Bamboo: And…Rest

bamboo

I’m still in a sulk with Gucci for not bringing back Gucci Envy, so I tried Gucci Bamboo with a bitchy face on.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a fresh break from the rich’n’cloying smellalikes that have been coming thick and fast of late.  It opened with a whisper and is still there now, all subtle and classy.

Gucci Bamboo opens with top notes of bergamot, and whilst in this case it was not zingy cologne time, it radiated like a muffled lime with lily accents- sounds like a Dulux advert doesn’t it?  Well if Gucci Bamboo were a room, it would have floor to ceiling windows and wispy white curtains billowing in a spring breeze.

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pinterest.com
pinterest.com

The middle phase has the lily, orange blossom and gentle Ylang Ylang (or banana flower as I call it in my head).  There is a light floral sweetness to this that has nothing to do with the recent trend for caramel, chocolate, and candy floss in scent.  Phew!

In the basenotes, which is the phase it’s at now on my skin, there is a hint of vanilla, but it’s not that in-your-face-cakey smell that it’s so easy to get hold of these days, it’s more a soft pile of pillows that tones it all down before putting it to bed. I would almost call it a hint of powder in among the faint warmth of some very mild amber.

Gucci Bamboo is absolutely perfect as a daytime scent and to me, it had a nostalgia that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  In any case, as a new release it stands apart from the crowd as a gentle “Shhh” among the noise.

Stockists

Gucci Bamboo is available from FragranceDirect, Escentual,  and Boots to name but a few.

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Philosophy Amazing Grace

grace

 

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 Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus.

water lotus

Fijian Water Lotus is the latest addition to the Body Shop’s excellent Voyage Collection, two of which I have reviewed elsewhere on this blog.  Today I treated myself to a little £5 for 10ml bottle of Fijian Water Lotus (for which, bravo Body Shop for offering affordable purse sprays!).

As the name suggests, this is an aquatic/ozonic sort of affair, which would please fans of say, L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake or Marks and Spencer Isis. It is full of sea notes, though without the salt, and the zinginess is maintained with sharp mandarin and lemony blossom (litsea cubeba if you must). It is often hard to maintain that “fraiche” accord for more than a top note presence, but here it is achieved successfully, although after two or three hours it does bed down into a very clean basket of laundry.  I must add that if anyone’s laundry smelled this good, I would be asking for the name of their fabric softener.

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In the latter stages, Fijian Water Lotus still maintains a blue image that makes me think of crashing waves and blue skies, and the citrus is still there, but don’t expect astringency to hang around for the entire show.  All in all, this is a great summer scent and I foresee several Body Shop Oceanus fans coming out of retirement to purchase this.  It’s not quite Oceanus, but it sure does tick all those sea spray/ crest of a wave/ ozonic boxes that feel just right on a sunny day.

Not QUITE Oceanus
Not QUITE Oceanus

Stockists

Available from the Body Shop online or in store starting at £5 for a 10ml purse spray and rising to £16 for 100ml EDP.  There are lots of nice ancillary products to match too if you want to do layering.

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Dolce & Gabbana Dolce Floral Drops

floral drops

 

I was on the fence about Dolce & Gabbana Dolce until I smelled it on my lovely friend Lynne recently.  It was gorgeously floral on her, but went fruity on me.  Now there is a flanker, Dolce Floral Drops:  and this first offshoot (of many I suspect), aims to suggest a dew covered flower. Does it succeed?

Initially when smelling the original Dolce, I got excited, as the opening is similar to Gucci Envy, and it still amazes me that nobody has stepped up to the plate and made a blatant rip off for me to buy yet, since Gucci aren’t budging on it.  However, after a few minutes Dolce stopped smelling like Gucci Envy and I lost interest a bit.

With Dolce Floral Drops, the opening is similar: green with a certain Envy like note of Lily of the Valley, but which is probably the neroli. When that beds down, the very dominant note of Amaryllis steps in, which is not good news for me as it always smell peachy on my skin.  Me and peach don’t go.  Now this might not smell fruity on you, but I think it’s down to my interpretation.  Maybe I smell peach because I am searching for it.  Perfume is so subjective.

www.dolcegabbana.com
www.dolcegabbana.com

The middle note goes a bit peachy and “yellow flowers” on me- (think honey and daffodils), and the base note, although it’s meant to be the wood-sandalwood-musk triptych, was a mash up  of faintly woody white flowers.

The verdict then is that on me, Dolce Floral Drops is not so good, but in a world of overly fruity, vanilla-drenched patchouli-swamped  new launches, this floral cutie is a breath of fresh air.

 Stockists:  I got my sample from my Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box,  but apart from the Fragrance Shop, you can also buy this from Amazon UK , Escentual and John Lewis to name but three.

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4160 Tuesdays Tokyo Spring Blossom (Urura’s Tokyo Café): A Modern Marvel

 

4160 bottle

I have reviewed several 4160 Tuesdays scents before, but in case you missed them, here’s what you need to know:  Perfumer Sarah McCartney founded 4160 Tuesdays and says that if we live to be 80 we will have 4160 Tuesdays.  Use them to do something you love.  Sarah uses Tuesdays to make perfumes.  And I’m jolly glad she does.

www.cotswoldsweetcompany.co.uk
www.cotswoldsweetcompany.co.uk

4160 Tuesdays Urura’s Tokyo Café now called Tokyo Spring Blossom opens with grapefruit and mandarin, then beds down into the heart notes: rose and violet, before merging gloriously into the base notes: raspberry leaf and myrhh.

It was intended to smell like a Spring Breeze and was made for a charity event at thec Café of Sarah’s friend Urura, whose name, spookily enough, turns out to mean Spring Breeze.  In other words, this was meant to be!

Tokyo Spring Blossom does indeed open with citruses and then beds down into strong rose and violet.  They are almost as one, and you can hardly tell them apart, which I love.  It reminds me of a cross between those little violet breath sweets and  a gob full of top quality Turkish Delight at the same time.  However the Myrrh ( or Opoponax if you will) gives this a  nice churchy feel, as if you have entered a medieval church at a Christmas Market whilst eating Narnia street food.

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The quality is excellent: resonance and longevity both get  10/10 and the price is right too: £40 for 30ml.  Bear in mind that this lasts as long as a winter, so you don’t need frequent top ups like you do with other cheaper scents.

What sets 4160 Tuesdays apart from other brands is that there is a hand made artisan vibe about the scents.  It’s as if the ingredients still have their rough edges and haven’t been over processed.  The rose really smells like sticking your nose in a rose, rather than smelling like an impression of synthetic roses.  If these scents were drawings, they would be  pavement oil pastels and they wouldn’t stay in the lines.

Urura’s Tokyo Café is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website,  and if you’re in the USA or Canada, you can buy  a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scents from  Rouiller White ( though sadly not this one, at least not yet)  Also check out the cute  sample sets– good British niche that needn’t break the bank.

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Serge Lutens Gris Clair: Hot Lavender!

gris clairgood

 

On my skin, Serge Lutens scents last a very long time: usually around nine hours. The exception was Muscs Koublai Khan, which I detested and couldn’t get rid of. It’s the perfume Rule of Sod.  Love it?  It won’t last.  Hate it?  It won’t wash off.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair falls somewhere in the middle for me.  It’s long lasting but I neither hate nor love it.  Weirdly, it smells a little like hot starched linen on me: as if I have over-ironed a garment (chance would be a fine thing- ask my husband!).  It also smells very masculine, and if I may use a colour here, it smells silver.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair was created by the genius that is Christopher Sheldrake. I don’t love everything he makes, but everything he makes is quite brilliant, objectively speaking if not subjectively.  Woodsy lavender with a hint of resin, this is an unusual combo and I can think of few scents with which to compare it.

The notes include Iris, tonka bean, woods, lavender, incense, and amber.  What I admire about it is the fact that without the lavender, this would be a superb, if not unique, incense-y oriental.  However, the lavender jars and almost puts my teeth on edge, but I don’t regard this as a bad thing.  How would we have discovered that olives and Martini go so well together if someone hadn’t dared to try it?

So what we have in Gris Clair is a warm, spicy scent whose cosy edges are blown away.  Lavender is a cold scent.  Amber is warm.  Sheldrake has wrapped a woolly blanket around the hard edges of a skyscraper.  It’s hot and cold.  It’s different.  It’s audacious.  But it’s not for me.

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