Category Archives: clean scents

Eau de Sisley 1: The Ultimate Summer Fragrance

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If you had to make a cologne, you would naturally ask for some citrus fruit, maybe Grapefruit,  maybe some nice Herbs, and you’d probably end up with something pretty cologne-y.  Eau de  Sisley 1 has done all of this, ticked all the boxes and gone a step further.

What’s the most refreshing drink you can have on a sunny day?  Maybe a sparkling Gin and Tonic or an Iced Tea?  Sisley has included both.  Yes indeed, Eau de Sisley 1 has juniper from Gin and refreshing notes of Tea along with the requisite  astringent Grapefruit giving this cologne a sparkle you will never tire of on even the most humid of days.

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photo by foodcracks.com

Cutting through the heat, this is bright and sparkling from the word Go and  the hints of Juniper and herbs (Thyme to be precise) make this  a botanical revitalizing delight.

Even the base note stays zingy, which is no mean feat where citrus is involved.  In fact, I thought the base of had a lot of Vetiver in it, but in fact I was mistaking it for  a combination of Herbs and Musk.

Lasting power  is also pretty good for a cologne, I would say around five hours.  Cost isn’t cheap (around 62GBP for 50ml), but you wouldn’t wear this out in Winter, so it would last you around a year if you rotated it with other scents.  It’s unisex so you could always buy it for Father’s Day and “borrow” it , she wrote with a sly wink.  (Innovative or shameless? You decide!)

My warm gratitude goes to friend of the blog meganinstmaxime for very kindly sending me this and many other wonderful hard-to-get samples.  Thank you Megan!

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Coty Aspen For Men: It’s Always the Quiet Ones

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Coty Aspen For Men  is sort of under the radar a bit.  I found it on Amazon when searching for all the brands that Coty makes (clue: it’s a LOT).

I was a bit sneaky in as far as I bought this for my husband with an ulterior motive.  He was looking for some more scent for his paltry collection (compared to mine) and I was keen to try this.  The 3.99 price tag was a sweetener that made me buy this blind.  Disclaimer:  I am by no means tight fisted when buying scent for others, but I do strongly believe that cheap doesn’t always mean nasty and in this case, I was right). I love this as much on me as I do on him.  I’ll have to buy him something else to compensate for his loss.

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wikipedia

Coty Aspen was a revelation for me.  After smelling many High Street mainstream male scents lately (call it a phase I’m going through)  I was delighted to find that this actually smells exactly like it says it will.

So when you read the notes of Lavender, Galbanum, Balsam Fir and Oakmoss, I can promise you that you will smell them.

Here are the notes according to Fragrantica:

Top notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Green notes and Citrus. Middle notes: Coriander, Geranium, Cyclamen, Jasmine, Lavender, Juniper and Orange Blossom. Base notes: Amber, Oakmoss, Cedar, Balsam Fir and Musk.

Interestingly, no fewer than 120 Fragrantica users vote that this smells like Green Irish Tweed by Creed. Can’t be bad for 3.99.

Coty Aspen smells to me like a freshly aired room that has clean linen sheets in it that have just been dried by the breeze outside.  There is a pot of lavender on the window sill and the window opens onto snow capped mountains and pine trees, letting in crisp mountain air.  It’s stunning, and longevity is excellent at around eight hours.

Once again, Coty has proved that excellent scent can be made for a low price.  I often think of this when I smell something unremarkable but expensive. Which happens a lot in this game!

Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey: The Nineties Never Went Away

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Where the Eighties were all about the size of your phone (big), your hairstyle (big), your shoulder pads (big) and your perfume (gigantic), the Nineties became the decade of anti fashion and everyone calmed down a bit.  After the brash gilt of the opulent ”Greed is Good” Eighties, the vibe was suddenly less is more and the Nineties became the caring, sharing Nineties where we started to look worried about leaving all the lights on the Eighties.

Suddenly it was all about Britpop, The Spice Girls, Meg Ryan rom-coms, pinafore dresses,  Princess Di’s divorce, boybands with “curtain” fringes, blazers over bras , Friends, and the Rachel Cut.

crossroadstrading.com
crossroadstrading.com

Whilst many Nineties fashions faded away into history, Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey stood strong among the rubble and remained a runaway bestseller throughout the Nineties, the Noughties and the Twenteens (I made up that last word, but you can borrow it. What else are we going to call them?)

dianaWhere the Eighties were all about Poisons and Obsessions, the fragrance of the Nineties was a gentle “eau”.

Created in 1992 by the same Japanese designer who kept Steve Jobs in trademark black turtlenecks, Issey Miyake’s L’Eau D’Issey  was an immediate bestseller and still is.  I remember it coating many a dear friend of mine in the mid nineties and just smelling it now takes me back to those turbulent years in my mid twenties.

Top notes are (with thanks to Fragrantica): Cyclamen, Freesia, Roses, Melon and Lotus

Middle notes: Carnation, Lily, Lily of the Valley and Water Peony

Basenotes: Woods, Tuberose, Amber, Sandalwood, Musk, Osmanthus and Cedar

spice girlsIf by some tiny chance you have never smelled this ubiquitous Top Ten scent, I can safely say that many of the floral notes are either not there or drowned out by the aquatic/ozonic/melon accord. This is primarily melon/calone and the flowers listed are a pretty chorus, but by no means do they take centre stage.  I would also say that the base notes described would give an impression of a much woodier musk scent, which this is not.

Having said all that, this is certainly pretty and light, as was its intention, and it also heralded a genre that hasn’t gone away: Clean.

Clean, Laundry Fresh and Fresh Cotton and Fresh Linen and ooh, everything that makes you smell as if you’ve just come in from being hung on the washing line to dry in a gentle breeze. I don’t hate this trend, and sometimes I want that Linen Fresh thing going on, but in general, I want my perfume to be more challenging and interesting than just “cleanangel flash” (especially when the opposite can be such fun! I’m talking to you Bal a Versailles, you filthy madam!).

L’Eau D’Issey almost became a victim of its success in so far as it was everywhere. Having said that, I’d rather smell this than its ubiquitous contemporary Thierry Mugler Angel, which is the same age and couldn’t be more different.

1990s modelsWhilst fragrance trends come and go (some a bit slower to “go” than others), there must be a reason why L’Eau D’Issey has stayed steadfast.

Personally, Calone has never been my cup of Earl Grey, but putting aside my subjectiveness for a moment, this is a brilliantly done scent and has stayed at the top of its game for over two decades.  This is no mean feat when you think how many perfumes are discontinued on a yearly basis.

My theory is that in all the stress and chaos and busy-ness of modern life,  some people need and want a drop of something pure to gently bring them back to earth again.  And who can blame them? L’Eau D’Issey does that very job and does it brilliantly.

Stockists

Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey is widely available. Try allbeauty.com

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Marks and Spencer Limited Collection: Butterfly

 

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The Marks and Spencer fragrance department is a bit of a favourite stop off when I’m in town.  Sadly my local branch doesn’t carry the full gamut, but I often feel able to  buy myself a purse spray guilt free, especially when they have 20% off like they did yesterday.  Whilst not all of them are great, I can’t call any of them bad, except Florentyna *shudder*, which I can’t be cruel about since it has a steady and loyal fanbase.  For the prices I have paid, I have never been disappointed by a Marks and Spencer perfume.  Overall, they are decent affordable quality.

Today I am reviewing Limited Collection Butterfly, which comes in a pretty bottle and is an unmistakable homage to Marc Jacobs and his Dots and Daisies.

Fresh and light, this makes an ideal scent for a teenager, or for office day wear.  In other words, it’s more shower fresh than provocative or come hither.

Surprisingly, this opens with cucumber.  The surprise here is that usually I can’t bear cucumber in perfume, but this is combined with lemon, grapefruit and apple and smells wonderfully citrussy.  There are many comparisons with the more expensive DKNY Be Delicious, which also opens with lemons and cucumber, and has identical floral notes.

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www.fragrantica.com

However, just before it comes too “herbal facial wash”, the flowers step in, and some of my favourites too: rose, violet and magnolia.  The magnolia was particularly noticeable.  The base notes are nothing to email home about: amber and musk, and not particularly robust at that.  In fact I would say the base is more violet, citrus and magnolia than anything else.

Longevity is not bad at around four or five hours, and by not bad, I mean that this cost me £2.80 for a 10ml purse spray yesterday, so I’m not going to complain about longevity for that price.

All in all, this is a good buy that I would recommend for young girls testing the path into fragrance, or for day to day wear where sexy isn’t an option. It’s fresh and pretty and will cut through the heat on a muggy day,  if we can remember that far back. I am looking though a rain washed window at a grey rain washed sky as I write this, so we will just have to use our imagination.

www.walesonline.co.uk
www.walesonline.co.uk

Prada Infusion D’Iris: My New BFF

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My dislike of Iris has been a running theme throughout this blog, possibly because my first experiencew with Iris was the legendary Iris Poudre by Pierre Bourdon. It’s hard core Iris and brings out the root like vegetable smell of it, like a flower bulb.

However, despite valiant attempts to like Iris, I couldn’t pretend any longer.  Like a long polite lunch with disagreeable in laws,  I decided me and Iris were through, and I wasn’t going to try anymore.

So how come an Iris fragrance has just rocketed to the top of Christmas Wish List?  Step forward Prada Infusion D’Iris, you gorgeous creature you.

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photo:wiki

You may recall that I was recently enamoured with Miller Harris Terre D’Iris which was a citrussy Mediterranean take on the flower. The zing brought out a prettiness in Iris I hadn’t smelled before but I assumed it was a fluke.

Looks like it wasn’t a fluke after all, for Prada Infusion D’Iris has just knocked several competitors off the top spot and Mr IScent will shortly be directed towards a large bottle of it in time for Christmas.

Maybe it’s because the notes are extracted via the soaking method, producing a sweeter result, or maybe it’s because citrus, in this case, orange, brings out a bright, floral side to Iris that I found too grey and powdery before.

The basenotes are Incense, vetiver and galbanum, and whilst they all come through in their own measured way, at the top of the pile is iris, ladylike and prim and sophisticated.  All the carotty, dry root smell has gone, and in its place, a perfect, supremely chic flower.

Superb, excellent, marvellous, splendid and wonderful. Je t’aime, Iris.

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Andy Tauer Le Maroc Pour Elle: In The Beginning…

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Le Maroc Pour Elle is the first perfume that Andy Tauer launched.  Luckily for us, its success persuaded him to make more and his second perfume, L’Air Du Desert Marocain, was even more successful and is spoken of in reverent tones by many a perfume fan. The rest is history.

 Le Maroc Pour Elle was an unusual one for me.  My first impression was that it smelled like a cross between Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass and  Worth Je Reviens.   However,  and it’s a big however, when the rose kicks in, the whole puzzle really comes together and makes sense.

Within around ten minutes this smells like one of those wonderful independent shops filled with a plethora of incense and candles and tiny phials of perfumes oils and pot pourri.  It’s very BoHo, very hippie, and has a whimsical nostalgia about it.

The lavender is strong, and pervades throughout, which can sometimes give a soapy/detergent feel when used with a heavy hand, but here, it is kept in check by the roses.

The base stays light, unlike many Tauers in which the basenotes become richer and resonant in the final phase. Le Maroc Pour Elle makes me think of a retro hippy market on a summer’s day, incense is in the air, you’re wearing freshly laundered clothes and walking past a flower shop. You’ve got all the time in the world and the sky is blue.

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PS My three year old stopped what he was doing and ran across the room to say “Mum, you smell LOVELY” whilst my seven year old said “No you don’t, you stink.”

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Estee Lauder Pleasures: Practically Perfect In Every Way

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Estee Lauder Pleasures was launched in 1995 and was a huge hit. After the excesses of the Look At Me 80s, this 90s fragrance was all about everything that was light, airy and pure. You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow.

 Pleasures was everywhere in the 90s including on me: I had a 100ml bottle and a body lotion no less.  It even tempted me away from my steadfast Chanel Cristalle for a  whole summer. There was a new optimism in the 90s. Everything was environmentally sound, and people were hugging trees and taking up Yoga and wearing white floaty shirts. You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow.

So what does it smell like? It smells like a photoshopped meadow on a summer’s day, all delicate blossom and green grass and fluffy clouds. It smells just like its advertising campaign, with original spokesmodel Elizabeth Hurley in the middle, looking ethereal all over billboards and fragrance shop windows.

To me Pleasures smells of Violet and Peony. It’s pretty as a picture. There are no dark or challenging notes, all is light as air. There are Green notes in the opening and  Violet Leaf making its presence felt. Lilac and Lily of The Valley make an appearance, and the basenotes introduce a little White Musk to this delightful bed of flower petals. It is impossibly feminine, almost bridal in its innocence and beauty.

Image I tried Pleasures recently and thought there was a silvery note in it. It’s hard to explain but it was more metallic than I remember, but not to any extreme, more of a tinkly silver wind chime.

Disappointingly, EL has seen the need to produce no less than SIXTEEN Pleasures flankers.  I’ve tried two: Pleasures Bloom and Pleasures Intense. Neither were a success for me.  It was as if someone had bulldozed my pretty meadow. It was as if someone had taken a Jane Austen novel, discovered people liked it and decided to make it into a Musical, a TV series and a range of dolls. Enough already!

 Pleasures is a classic. But leave the flankers well alone. You can have way too much of a good thing.  You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Miller Harris La Pluie: Like the Weather, It’s Changeable

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My first ever experience with Miller Harris was but a few weeks ago when I sampled Fleurs de Sel and reviewed it for my good readers. Today I have in my hands a sample of La Pluie (The Rain). With a name like that, who could resist?

I was initially apprehensive, since I was afraid of coming across an ozonic aquatic mess, but I should know better. This is Miller Harris after all.

I was pleasantly surprised as I went about my day with La Pluie radiating off my skin with a lovely subtlety. There is soft background Lavendar, a bowl of oranges somewhere  and some lovely Bergamot  The initial burst of scent reminds me a little of the smell in a brand new office: all paper and new leather, but with a window open. There is definite Heliotrope, which is maybe why this reminded me of Apres L’Ondee. They’re not the same, but I suspect Apres L’Ondee fans would find something to admire here. Just when you think you’re smelling the pages of your brand new book (I love that smell!), the flowers start emerging, almost one by one. It’s like having a vase of Jasmine and White Flowers behind you and not noticing until the smell finally becomes too delightful not to turn round and see them properly.

When all that has calmed down, there is a smell of grass or wheat, almost like the scent of an Italian kitchen at rest. In the end the story is all about Vetiver, Wheat, Herbs (although not listed) and a teeny bit of Vanilla Bourbon to sweeten the dryness.

 La Pluie smells clean and ripe, just like it’s name. More than that though, it changes as you wear it and in my mind’s eye it kind of tells the story of a day. From getting caught in the rain, to coming into the hall where there are flowers, and then entering a warm, dormant kitchen ready for your evening. Some call it Tropical. I call it a classic British Rainy Day. Rather beautiful and comforting.

I would happily buy this and spend all day sniffing the different stages, like Violet Beauregarde working her way through her three course gobstopper: “Hey it’s Tomato Soup, Mmm lovely, now it’s Roast Beef, oh wait a minute, its changing again…”

Well played Miller Harris, you have my eternal admiration.

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It’s Avon Week!

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Ding Dong! Reasonably priced beauty products, fragrance and miscellany calling!

Yes trusty old Avon is still at it and going strong. The Avon modus operandi is almost Draconian in this Digital Age.  A brochure is brought to your door, a form is filled in by hand with a pen, and given to a representative that comes back two or three weeks later with your goods. When High Streets are falling like dominoes, it’s almost miraculous that the Avon lady still stands, with a smile.

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Of course the Digital Age hasn’t completely bypassed our trusty friends at Avon. There’s a website where you can order items and leave reviews, and many people text or email their Avon reps now, although that does not exempt them from the long wait for their goods. In fact the long wait is kind of half the fun. Usually by the time I’ve waited three weeks I’ve completely forgotten what I’ve ordered. It’s like a lovely present chosen by someone who knows your tastes perfectly. Which, in a way, it is.

I’ve mentioned Avon in earlier posts, and I’ve promised you an Avon Week. That week is here, dear readers, and it starts now.

 

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