Category Archives: clean scents

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.

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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.

 

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.

Creed Silver Mountain Water: My Take On It

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

Creed Silver Mountain Water is a revered scent with a phalanx of fans that easily outnumber little old me, who is sitting here looking singularly unimpressed.

 Creed Silver Mountain Water evokes such purity and blue skies, that it was a disappointment to find that on my skin it bore only dried tea- and I emphasise the word dried as this reminded me of pot pourri.  Sadly the dried-leaf effect was dominant at the expense of the notes I was looking forward to meeting: namely galbanum, bergamot and my beloved petitgrain.

Silver Mountain Water led me to expect a scent that evoked a crashing cold wave on a baking hot day, or a froth of powdery snow as a dashing skier  whizzed past,  making the snow looking like confetti in his wake, but no.  I’m still there with the rather unpleasant pot pourri fragrance with a slightly scorched edge as if it’s been left on a hot windowsill too long.

After a couple of hours, this bizarrely turned into Carolina Herrera 212 For Men, which has negative connotations for me- so beloved was it of  a former flatmate who  marinated in it to  eclipse other less salubrious odours.

This is the third Creed fragrance I have reviewed and I remain underwhelmed.  It brought to mind a quote from Dr Cuddy in House MD ( my current favourite Netflix boxset) “Well she’s not as delightful as she thinks she is”, and if Creed Silver Mountain Water was a person, that is what I would say about them.

Stockists

Creed Silver Mountain water is available word wide- try Sephora.com, Amazon or the big department stores.  In the UK you can try Harrods, Liberty or House of Fraser.  At £160 a bottle, try before you buy.

With Thanks

With thanks to friend of the blog Patsi, who kindly supplied the sample.

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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STELLA Eau de Toilette by Stella McCartney

stella

I have heard several positive noises about Stella and was delighted to find the eau de toilette in this quarter’s Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box, along with several other great samples that made my eyes light up. To recap- The Fragrance Shop has a Discovery Club whereby they send you a box of fragrances samples once a quarter for the princely sum of £5, plus money off coupons for any or all of the featured fragrances.  It’s a good way to avoid pricey blind buys and I have been a member since December 2013. You can join here.

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

Stella eau de toilette is a light airy floral with a manly clean cut edge, just like one of Stella’s beautifully cut trouser suits. The opening is all pretty peony and freesia, with a lightness of hand that makes me think of floaty chiffon and flower petals.  Then the slightly more butch amber emerges in the base notes, making this a floral that refuses to be taken at face value.

Stella is gloriously wearable, and as you would come to expect from a practising vegan, no animals were harmed in its making, not even a ladybird. What I particularly like about it is that it has no vanilla or syrupy sweetness- it is all about the flower.

www.etsy.com
www.etsy.com

Whilst Stella will suit all ages, it is an excellent choice if you are buying for a teenager.  Along with Chanel Chance Eau Tendre and Especially Escada Delicate Notes, Stella has that delicacy of touch and lightness of hand that makes this a perfect daytime scent, or even a bridal scent.  Nobody could possibly find Stella de trop, yet its subtlety is its strength.

Stockists Stella eau de toilette is widely available but since I got my sample from the Fragrance Shop (UK), I should probably give them a mention.  In the USA and Canada, you can get it from  Sears or Sephora to name but two.

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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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Friedemodin Vertine: “The Feel of Cool, Damp Grass beneath your feet”

www.Friedemodin.com
www.Friedemodin.com

 

“The Feel of Cool, Damp Grass beneath your feet”

There is a new name emerging on the fragrant firmament.  That name is Friedemodin, and I am lucky enough to have four 5ml sample bottles from them to review.  I am always happy to receive samples for review and  at the risk of repeating myself, I will reiterate my usual disclaimer that by sending me  a sample, you risk my honesty.

Friedemodin- you have nothing to fear but your own success.  I have been wearing Vertine for the past couple of days and I have been quietly falling in love with it.

Friedemodin is the brainchild of German Nina Friede and Swede Elisabeth Modin, who worked with Virginie Daniau and legendary Nose Francois Robert to produce a range that is luxurious  and original without being elitist.

www.planetnatural.com
www.planetnatural.com

“Leafy, herbal, aromatic- you feel alive in this place, knowing you’ll never forget the reviving purity of this morning”

There are currently four scents in the range: Vertine, Jardin Mystique, Rosée de Nuit and Feu Follet. I am deliberately only trying one at a time and will come to the others presently, but today I am reviewing Vertine.

Vertine opens with a herb garden covered in springtime dewdrops.  Yes that sounds twee doesn’t it?  But Vertine made me go all poetic.  There is something very pure about it.  As far as blending goes, I could close my eyes and insist that this was made with the deft watercolour shading of Jean Claude Ellena, but I’d be wrong.  However, with a hint of dewy fig in the midst of it, it did ring a bell that sounded that Ellena’s Un Jardin En Mediterranee for Hermes.  However, Vertine also has a hint of peppermint which could have gone either way.  Peppermint can either smell like the inside of my handbag (Trebor Extra Strong Mints!), or be a gentle soothing presence like a fresh mint plant itself.  In the deft hands of Francois Robert,  it was the latter, green leaves and all.  Fans of Guerlain Herba Fresca will have their heads turned for sure.

 

www.Friedemodin.com
www.Friedemodin.com

Vertine smells as if it has healing qualities.  At the moment the perfume I wear when I need healing (I’m not using the word hangover!) is Eau de Cartier or Elizabeth Arden Spiced Green Tea, but I have disloyally  all but swept them off my dressing table to make way for my new even gentler friend.

I’m not mistaking gentle for weak either:  Vertine has its own identity and I can smell the galbanum, peppermint, basil and a faintest whisper of fig wrap itself around me.  Longevity is good at around seven hours, and if you like your scents cologne style, but with Eau de Parfum lasting power, then I can almost guarantee that you will like Vertine.  I do.  I love it.  I’m a fan.  I shall be watching Friedemodin with great interest.  Certainly an exciting name to watch.  I’m not alone either because those nice people at Harvey Nichols think so too.

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Stockists

You can buy Friedemodin scents at Harvey Nichols in the UK. Prices are £120 for 100ml or £60 for a discovery set of all four.  You can also buy samples from the Friedemodin website at £12 for 4 x 2ml samples of each scent in the range.  The Friedemodin range is also available in Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, India and Sweden.  See this link for details.

Fragonard Emilie: A Beautiful Jewel on Your High Street

emiliemands

At the risk of sounding like a gushing fan, I adore Fragonard.  With packaging that makes my dressing table weep with joy, scents that go back to their Grasse roots ( pun intended), ingredients of high quality and prices that are very reasonable indeed, the only fault I could find with Fragonard is that they weren’t near enough for me to try and buy.

Well that last niggle has finally been solved by dear old Marks and Spencer, provider of knickers to Britain’s women in times of peace and crisis. Even in my tiny local M and S, there is now a decent Fragonard range and after dropping some subtle hints around my recent birthday, my husband and children bagged me a box of three mini Fragonards in parfum strength and today I am wearing Emilie.  (I got the soaps too).

soaps

Emilie has been compared to Yves Saint Laurent Paris  since it has dominant roses and violets, but I think Emilie is more intense and more of a classic blend.  Whereas Paris has a whiff of the eighties about it  (no bad thing, I love Paris and I love the eighties) I find that Fragonard scents remind me of thrice milled soap- the kind you find in hotel bathrooms in high end establishments.

There is a timelessness about Emilie.  It has the roses and violets, but it also has my favourite ingredient- Lily of The Valley, which makes Emilie the choice of a modern girl with taste, but could just have easily been found on a dressing table in the 1930s.

Today and yesterday I have been wearing the parfum and boy, does it last!  After ten hours of wear I got back home and thought I had just sprayemilieed something on my sleeve ( I usually have) but no, it was just Emilie enjoying a little renaissance after I had come in from the rain- it was almost self renewing.

So if you like your roses, your lily of the valley, the smell of expensive pure white soap, a hint of violets and a whisper of heat from an ambery basenote, then you have a treat in store, just left of the Food Hall if you’re local to me.fragmini

The box I am using is this one ( see left) but you can buy full bottles of Emilie from Marks and Spencer for just  £26 for 100m. Just look at that packaging- I’ll take ten!

emilie

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