Category Archives: clean scents

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.   Queen Victoria let the  Crown Perfumery company use the image of her crown as a symbol of quality on their bottles, and when they went out of business, Clive Christian stepped in and the brand was born (and the beautiful bottles are the same design).

clive christian colour

So, what does it smell like?

The first things that make their presence felt in 1872 are 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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Avon LIFE For Her by Kenzo Takada for Avon (2016)

press-release_avon_life_main

Sit up and take notice, Kenzo fans: Kenzo Takada has made a fragrance for our chums at Avon. Avon LIFE For Her has just launched and I managed to bag myself a sample ( there’s also a For Him but I haven’t tried that one). Being a pre-Christmas launch, I wasn’t expecting anything quite so light and summery, but the only rule in perfume is that there are no rules. LIFE is Kenzo’s take on violet, so as a violet fan I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.

LIFE opens with a white tea note. It’s similar to Elizabeth Arden Green Tea but less metallic and less green. There is prominent water lily, making this a treat for fans of The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus who want something in the same ozonic vein. A touch of apple adds to this clean wholesome accord.

avon-life

By the middle phase I’m still waiting for those violets to turn up, and I do believe they sneak in dressed as irises to fool me. There is the typical iris sobriety here: a touch of grey rootiness that is contrasted here with a bright floral sweet note. Nothing to do with vanilla or gourmand: it’s more like the sweetness of a small spring flower magnified into intensity. The vegetal note from the iris sticks around, and the musk mallow (aka ambrette) does nothing to dispel it. There is allegedly patchouli to round things off, but I still found this to be an ozonic tea scent.

It’s pretty and light, and would be the ideal scent for a hot day if you like your fragrance to be of the the airy, green tea sort. It’s not for me right now, but I’ll give it another go in summer, when it will go perfectly with short sleeves and a cloudless sky.

Stockists

Avon LIFE is available exclusively from Avon. In the UK try Avon UK or your Avon rep.

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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.

keep2

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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Yardley Contemporary Classics: English Rose

www.superdrug.com
www.superdrug.com

 

Yardley is one of those classic, trusty brands where you can be assured of quality.  It’s a refreshing change to find a range of fragrance that isn’t constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.  As trends come and go, fans of classics can often find themselves left out, but we can always fall on back on Yardley to provide us with the traditional, simple scents that every fragrance wardrobe needs.

Yardley English Rose is a simple rose  done very well.  It goes on at first spray smelling like delicate rose breath sweets, which at first made me think of Parma violets, but this is purely rose from start to finish.   Despite being an Eau de Toilette, it is light enough to feel like a refreshing eau de cologne, but the lovely light airiness sticks around much longer than it would for a cologne.

On Fragrantica, there are several notes listed:

Rose and Geranium are in the top notes, white flowers are in the middle and the finish consists of spice, musk and woods.  To me, that hint of geranium provides the spice, although the rose is dominant throughout.   The finish is a beautiful clean musk that had me sniffing my arm and wondering when I’d sprayed white musk on that day. Coupled with the roses, it makes a beautifully feminine accord.

This beautiful rose is ideal for layering with musks or even a heavy oriental- it could lighten it up for daytime wear.  Yardley English Rose works best for me in summer though, wearing florals and smelling like them too.

This is unbeatable value at around £10 for 50ml, and sometimes the 125ml bottle is around that price too, if you shop around.

Stockists

Yardley Contemporary Classic English Rose is widely available from Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, Amazon UK, Boots and many other stockists throughout the UK.

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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 Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box

BlossomBoxbox2-350x350

 

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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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.

 

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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Penhaligon’s Bluebell

bluebell

I have long wanted to try Penhaligons Bluebell, despite knowing that it was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher, of whom I was not a fan.  Interestingly, it is also rumoured to have been a favourite of the late Princess Diana, and the very current Miss Kate Moss.

The reason I have longed to try this is two fold.  Firstly, when I was growing up there was a field and some woodland near our house which were  awash with bluebells every year.  I would pick huge bunches of them and the smell of them is a memory that has always stayed with me.  Olfactive memory is never to be underestimated and can pack more of a punch than a photo.

The second reason, tied in with the first reason, is that the very first bottle of perfume that  I ever bought myself with my own money was a little glass bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots The Chemist.  It was a splash bottle, square, and made of frosted glass.  It has long since been discontinued but I remember buying it in my early teens and splashing it on liberally.

 

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me
Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me

I had a Penhaligons Scent Library sample tin for Christmas, but Bluebell was missing.  Luckily dear friend of the blog  Patsi came to the rescue and I was delighted to receive a sample of both Bluebell and Violetta from her yesterday, for which, many thanks indeed Patsi.  I cannot pick a favourite from the two!

Penhaligons Bluebell lived up to my expectations.  It smells exactly like a fresh bluebell, only cranked up a little and made more intense.  The natural smell of a bluebell is more subtle, but we’re not going for realism here, we are going for reproduction. There is slightly metallic, medicinal tang to it, a little like Jasmine at its freshest.  Alongside the central bluebell note ( listed as Hyacinth, but all the same family)  are other floral notes that fill in the gaps as the sharp, high pitched Bluebell wavers, unable to keep the fresh note going.  Here I can discern Lily of The Valley and a faint rose, before the Bluebell note melds into the spicier, base notes with its cloves and cinnamon, used sparingly, like a faint outline.

 

kew.org
kew.org

There is a definite vegetable note in the base, reminding me that bluebells are related to asparagus, but it is eclipsed by wafts of  pleasing flora.   Would I buy this? Yes.  And I would also buy Penhaligons Violetta and wear them together, because, oh boy, that smells amazing!

Stockists

You can buy Penhaligons Bluebell from Penhaligons and Penhaligons stockists and franchises, which you can find here.  You can also find Penhaligons on allbeauty.com, Amazon UK and Amazon.com, as well as eBay.

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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