Category Archives: discontinued

Dear Aunty Sam: Your Perfume Problems Part Five: Womanity & Travalo sprays

painting by John William Waterhouse
painting by John William Waterhouse

Well I never realised that I’d be answering perfume problems for s fifth time, but here I am. I guess I’ve opened a can of worms. Still, as a perfume blogger, it’s clearly my job to end olfactory suffering. Call me white rosethe Florence Nightingale of fragrance foibles. By the way, did you know that Florence Nightingale wore Floris White Rose? Florence Fact.

I’m going to answer two problems today.  Do join in if you have anything to add. I bow to your greater knowledge, my dear chums.

My first letter was from Dawn, who has kindly allowed me to quote from her email

Dear Aunty Sam,

I am in horrible mourning because I found out that Mugler absolutely stopped making Womanity. I tried wearing Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt but I hated it. Is there any way you can give me some fragrances to try that are as quirky as Womanity and that might actually dry down as wonderfully as Womanity did?

Dear Dawn,

Thank you so much for writing to me. First of all, for full disclosure, Womanity is very much not for me. However, there is no right or womanitywrong in perfume and if you need something, then I I want to get it for you. The two biggest notes in Womanity are caviar and fig. My suggestion is that you find a fragrance with caviar notes and layer a decent fig over the top. However, you told me that caviar scents are hard to find, and you’re right. It’s a pretty niche sort of note. If you wanted vanilla or jasmine I could write a list as long as my arm.

Looking at trusty Fragrantica, I can see that Diesel Bad For Men has a caviar note that smells “like a trickle of sweat down a man’s chiselled body”.  You could try layering this with Library of Fragrance Fig or L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figueur, which  has some of the woodiness of Womanity.

Now I’m not sure if this will work, so you may have to mix and layer until you find something you can live with. I do sympathise with you though. I am bereft at the loss of Gucci Envy ten years ago.

My other question was from the lovely Rachael, who asked a question that I once had myself until I figured it out.

travalo close up

Dear Aunty Sam

I’ve been wondering how to decant stuff for ages to make it more amenable to carrying around. I have a tendency to buy ‘bargain’ 50 or 100ml bottles and then don’t want to lug it everywhere with me, particularly in hot weather, when you need extra top-ups, but carry less stuff!

Rachael

Dear Rachael,

if you don’t mind my using unladylike language, a Travalo travel spray has  a sort of  cat’s bum on its bottom. You take your 100ml bottle, remove the nozzle and stick it up the bottom of your Travalo, and then you pump away until its full.   No spill, no waste.  Hope this helps. Once you get stuck in, you’ll find half full Travalos all over the house!

 

 

How About You?

Do you have any advice of your own to add to these dilemmas?  Do you have any problems you’d like me to look into?  (perfume only please, ahem.)   Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

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Friedemodin Rosée de Nuit

Friedemodin
Friedemodin

Inspired by our childhood gardens in northern Sweden and Germany, we invite you on our olfactory journey. Insert the key and enter through the heavy wooden door to find yourself in the wild enchanted garden surrounded by the beautiful scents of green leafy plants, jasmin and fresh herbs.

 

Friedemodin is the brainchild of Elisabeth Modin and Nina Friede.  The collection of four scents encapsulates their combined love of travel and fragrance.  Previously on this blog I have reviewed Vertine and Jardin Mystique, both of which were excellent, and today I am reviewing Rosée de Nuit.

pinterest
pinterest

Incongruously, there are no roses, as you would expect.  However, I could swear there was a whisper of lovely satin rose petal in the background.  There is a light airiness about the Friedemodin collection that reminds me of watercolour paintings.  If you read the notes in each perfume, you would  think these would be hard hitters with monster sillage, but in fact they are gentle and even ethereal.

www.123rf.com
www.123rf.com

Rosée de Nuit has definite woody notes and comes at this from several angles:  there’s teak, there’s “Woodsy notes” (thanks Fragrantica!) and there’s sandalwood and allspice.  But overall, this is gentle petals in a sylvan surrounding, with a hint of spice floating on air.

Maybe it’s the patchouli or the violet or the combination of both, but this is an incredibly elegant feminine perfume that makes me feel wonderful.

Stockists:

Friedemodin Rosée de Nuit is available online from the website, or from Harvey Nichols.  Further stockists are listed on the website here.

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.

Dita Von Teese: Dita Von Teese for Women: Classy and Elegant

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Considering that Dita Von Teese For Women EDP is less than 20GBP a bottle, it’s not half bad. It certainly doesn’t smell as cheap as it is, despite the fact that the actual fragrance must have been produced cheaply once mark ups and overheads are taken into account.

Dita Von Teese is one of today’s classier stars. I’d rather see ladylike Dita’s spangly tassels than a barely dressed starlet on the red carpet letting it all hang out. Slim yet voluptuous, classic and elegant, Dita will never go out of style.

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newindianexpress.com

Dita Von Teese for Women smells delightfully feminine, with a retro vibe about it that defies today’s sweet fruity candy floss efforts and Baby Angel derivatives. It is definitely for evening wear, or more specifically, date wear.  It opens, unusually, with Bergamot, which is a brave choice considering it ends in smoky Guaic woods, Patchouli and Musk. Through it all comes the heady Tiare flower, a creamy white flower, less intense than tuberose but no less pretty.  Somehow it works. The Bergamot and floral opening gives a grown up and prim impression that leads into something more seductive as the evening wears on. By the end of the evening you’ll be unfastening your pearls for sure.

I cannot review this perfume without mentioning the stunning bottle. Black and fluted, it has an unmistakeable vintage vibe, and its black tassel is a cute little quirk. This is what I was hoping Kylie Minogue Couture was going to smell like, except that it let me down with a cheap and empty smelling faux vanilla base note. Not so Dita Von Teese, with its classy basenotes ending the show with a smoky trail of spiced Musk in its wake.

Poor Dita is in the unenviable position of having her fragrance reviewed the very day after I have reviewed the masterpiece that is Un Jardin en Mediterranee. However, I have also had to clean up after a small boy and a wayward kitten today, so it’s all about balance.

 Dita Von Teese for Women probably won’t be a favourite Must Buy, but I admire and like it, and the little handbag bottle is just adorable.

Bravo Dita.

Andy Tauer Pentachord Verdant: Experience Required But Not Essential

 

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I’m a Green fan. I’m hard core. I like them bitter. The more bitter, the better. If you hate Green notes, I’d be amazed if you like Tauer Pentachord Verdant. And boy, is verdant the word!

The Pentachords are a series of three fragrances made up of five notes each. Its simplicity is its charm. Andy Tauer never has to please a committee when he creates perfume and that’s why I am a devotee of the brand. I always love to see what he’ll come up with next.

In topping up my depleting supply of Carillon Pour Un Ange samples (Cannot live without it now), I added a Pentachord sample to the cart, and I was surprised, by it, but not disappointed.

Firstly, there are no flowers here, it’s like a dark canopied forest with a freshly turned floor after a heavy rain. It’s green like nettles, leaves, broken ferns and moss. Not a whisper of a petal. Like I said, it’s hard core. The Petal People ran away scared, but the Green Guerillas merely tutted and marched on through the branches. This didn’t faze them.

Pentachord Verdant is almost one dimensional, in that it doesn’t change much, although there is a tangy basenote that I thought was Ambergris. In fact I was mistaken and it was Amber and Tobacco. To me, this smells like a green tobacco, unripe and unsmoked and still wet.

So extreme is this that it just about borders on smelling of leaf mould. It’s pungent but stops just before it goes off. It’s rank and high, like rotting undergrowth turning into new fresh soil ready for green shoots. Wonderful!

I can’t help thinking  that now I will have to track down the other two Pentachords: Pentachord White and Pentachord Auburn. This got my interest, kept it, and made me into a fan.

Tauer samples are available from Scent and Sensibility or Les Senteurs in the UK. Or if you happen to be in Zurich, pop into the shop and go nuts with your plastic. I know I would.

Avon Week: Absynthe by Christian Lacroix

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Christian LaCroix has created several fragrances exclusively for Avon: Noir for Men, Rouge for Women, Nuit For Women,  Nuit for Men, and Christian La Croix Absynthe. It’s not the usual run of the mill Avon stuff either.  Absynthe has guts and gusto and isn’t afraid to tread a tightrope away from being A Safe Bet.

 Absynthe is one of Avon’s most expensive fragrances, yet it can still be bought for as little as £12 for 50ml in some brochures.  It was created in  2009 by Laurent Le Guernec,  who has also worked on  Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker,  twelve fragrances for Bond No 9, four for Liz Claiborne,  and  Aromatics Elixir Parfumer’s Reserve for Clinique to name but a few of his successes. Despite it’s affordability and ubiquity, Absynthe is a decent scent that can stand shoulder to shoulder with more expensive contemporaries.

My lasting impression of Absynthe is that it reminds me of the bitter Greek Wine, Retsina, made of pine resin.  It opens with dry, bitter notes: Myrrh and a hint of Wood and Anise. Wormwood is strong too, as you would find in the notorious namesake drink.  Middle notes are softer and more feminine introducing flowers and a hint of pretty White Musk. The base is clearly  Amber and Musk, and the Wormwood from the opening stays true throughout.   There is a sweet note in there too, that I cannot name. I would have said Vanilla or Tonka Bean. It’s not overpoweringly sweet though, more like the sweetness of a glass of Chardonnay. I would also have described Absynthe as having Green notes too. The drydown is, to my nose, a dry, Green and Woody combination that has a refreshing bitterness. There’s a faint hint of Liquorice too, from the Anise in the opening blast.

Although LaCroix has also created Absynthe for Him, I don’t know why he bothered since this would comfortably merge from one to the other. I could easily pretend I bought this for my husband and then steal the whole damn bottle.

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Hermès Ambre Narguilé: Beguiled by Narguilé

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I love Amber. I’ll even buy cheap Amber scents. I love that slightly gingery incense note it has. Less Chypre than an Oriental, a good Amber can add spice to a Winter scent and warm it up whilst not being overpowering.

The Amber to end all Ambers is Hermès Ambre Narguilé.  Once this was created in 2004 by our old friend Jean-Claude Ellena, I don’t know why other perfume houses didn’t just give up and say “what’s the point? They’ve won”.  However if we are talking fiscally, I’m rather glad other Amber scents are available as the price tag is currently £150 for 100ml. Let me know if you can find it more cheaply.  However, it must be said that scent of this calibre goes a long way and one squirt of Ambre Narguilé lasted around six hours on me, and you don’t need much. In case you are wondering, I borrowed my sample and I am aware of how fortunate I am to have a generous  friend with a perfume collection that makes me want to steal and rob, even though I am a nice girl really.

It’s worth quoting the creator of Ambre Narguilé himself here, from the Hermès website:

Amber, the Western expression of Eastern fragrances, has a warm, enveloping, almost carnal smell. I wanted to imbue this idea of amber with the memory of the East I love where tobacco – blended with the smells of fruit, honey and spices – is smoked in narguilés, or water pipes, and where swirls of smoke diffuse a sweet sense of intoxication. 

Jean-Claude Ellena

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JCE says it better than I can, but here is my personal interpretation: The amount of vanilla used today in just about every scent that has emerged in the last twelve months has almost put me off ever liking it in a fragrance. In addition, I don’t like gourmands, or anything that smells remotely edible on my skin. Famous last words.

 However Ambre Narguilé is like smelling Christmas Cake and Cinnabuns from the next room with a dot of Cognac under each nostril. The vanilla is heady and thick, like liquor, and not cheap and sweet as it so often can be. There is honey in here, but only enough to soften it and not to overpower. It is a dark, raisin like smell that has enough Amber to stop you smelling too cakey.  It’s rich, enveloping, warm, aromatic and wonderful.

It’s not widely available, it’s not cheap, but frankly my dear, I think it’s worth a fight.