There were several reasons why I was not expecting to even like Cartier Baiser Fou, but blow me down if the little madam didn’t bowl me over and cover me in kisses, filling me with avarice for a full bottle.
Reasons I didn’t think I’d like this:
I wasn’t keen on Cartier Baiser Volé,
The box and lid is red and pink so I thought it would smell of candy floss.
It contains raspberries, white chocolate and vanilla, so I assumed it would smell like an ice cream sundae.
Reader, I was wrong. So very, very wrong. I’ll tell you exactly what Cartier Baiser Fou smells like. Back in 2001 I found myself in Duty Free at San Francisco Airport with some unspent dollars. I was a one scent woman back then and was fully stocked with Chanel Cristalle, so decided to buy myself a posh lipstick for the first time ever in my life. It was a YSL Lipstick and it smelled and tasted of roses, violets and strawberries with that powdery waxy lipstick finish.
That, my friends, is exactly what Cartier Baiser Fou smells like.
The notes are: raspberry, orchid, white chocolate and vanilla, but this smells like that delicious expensive lipstick years ago and makes me feel marvellous when I wear it.
This is yet another case where I prefer the flanker to the original. It’s fruity and playful yet grown up and classically powdery. To my surprise, it was not at all tooth achingly sweet. Cartier Baiser Fou reminded me to stop reading the notes and start using my nose.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever thought “I’m going to hate that!” and ended up loving it? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
I have in front of me The Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box. I’ve spoken of these little boxes before. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve missed one since they first began.
The Modern Classics Box is a must for anyone on their first foray into fragrance. Even if you’re not, it’s great to have the classics at your fingertips, and classics they are: each and every one.
I’m going to be reviewing some of these in more detail soon, but in the meantime, here’s the list of what’s in the box:
Yardley Contemporary Classics English Freesia
I’m a big fan of florals, and Yardley, bless ‘em, have been doing florals for generations. They do them very well, and Freesia is no exception. I have a whole bouquet of Yardley scents on my dressing table: April Violets, English Rose, English Lavender, Bluebell, and after today, it looks like a full bottle of Yardley Freesia won’t be far behind.
Cartier Baiser Fou
This new scent from Cartier is worlds apart from the original and far more sober Baiser Vole. Cartier Baiser Fou (crazy kiss) smells like lipstick kisses, strawberries and milky bar. I didn’t think I was going to like it, as it sounded too sweet for me, but actually I was completely charmed by it.
Flower by Kenzo
I wasn’t sure if I knew this one, until I sprayed it and realised “Oh! THAT’S Kenzo Flower!” It’s baby powder, wet wipes, fluffy towels and innocent flowers. I’ll be reviewing this one in more detail soon.
Marc Jacobs Daisy
Both ubiquitous and glorious, this light, airy crowd pleaser will never go out of fashion, and its not just because of the delightful toy town flower bottles. See my review here.
L’Occitane Terre de Lumiere
A stunning summer scent from L’Occitane with notes of lavender honey, bergamot and a warm base of almond and tonka. This makes me want to lie in the sun with a straw hat on and be very, very indolent.
Angela Flanders Columbia Rose
Columbia Road in achingly cool Shoreditch is the scene of the famous Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday, when the street is filled with greenery and botany and petals and buds. Worth visiting for the scent alone, it’s little wonder that perfumer Angela Flanders saw fit to open her shop here.
This is how roses used to smell before factory farming chased the old-fashioned scent away. There’s something slightly earthy about it too, thanks to the patchouli and amber in the base. This is patchouli with rough edges and it complements the centrifola rose like Mellors complemented Lady Chatterley.
Illuminum White Gardenia Petals
This scent of green notes and heady white gardenia may well be my absolute favourite from the box. As worn by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day, this beautiful fragrance is right up my street, even if I can’t quite compete with Catherine’s untouchable glamour. I’ll be reviewing it in more detail very soon.
Narciso Rodriguez for her EDP
This beauty has been a classic since its launch. NR For Her was created by the ultimate dream team of Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian and I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t smell wonderful in it, including me! You can read my review here.
Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Eye (lotion tube)
I don’t know what this is like yet, but buy the sound of the name, I need it BADLY. After squinting at computer screens and phone screens, and being tormented by hay fever and contact lenses, my forty-seven-year-old eyes need all the help they can get. I’m fifty in three years’ time but I don’t want to look like I am!
Minnies Literally Lovely Shimmering Body Lotion.
A sachet sized treat that is going in my overnight bag. Possibly too glamorous for the school run, but I’ll be spoiling myself with this next time I get away from it all.
As usual with Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, there are scent sniffing strips and handy postcards with discussion prompts and facts about each item. All the goodies come in a smart white gift box with the Perfume Society Logo on. They make excellent gifts for your friends or for Mothers Day, but I’m not giving mine away!
These boxes are exclusive to The Perfume Society, and cost £17.50 each or £12.50 if you are a VIP subscriber. My box was kindly sent to me by The Perfume Society. Opinions are my own.
I keep blathering on about how I’m going to do vlogging one day and on a whim I ended up filming the opening of my Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box. You only see my unmanicured hands and hear my voice, but check out my gorgeous cat Ian, who appears to be a big purr-fumista. I’m sorry, I’ll get my coat… I might actually do this again and you might actually see me in it next time. I have two other cats so I may not be alone.
Lately I have been asked many questions by people with queries about perfume. These vary from “what smells like…?” queries to “Where can I get…?” queries. It got me thinking, my friends. How about a little post that’s all about your perfume questions and queries?
Just email me or post your question below or on Twitter or Facebook and I will do my very best to answer them. You can even be anonymous if you like!
So, fire away. Do you want to know if there’s a smellalike to a long discontinued favourite? Does a newly reformulated favourite resemble an old one? Which are the best cheap and cheerfuls? Tell Aunty Sam your scented dilemmas. I’m all ears and all nostrils!
There’s a bit of a back story here. A few years ago, dear Lisa Jones, my friend, mentor and bad girl enabler let me try some Vero Profumo Rubj EDP that she had. My dear friends, I’m sorry to say that I did not care for it. I haven’t tried it since and my only lingering memory of it was cumin with muscles.
So, in the random and serendipitous way that such things happen, I was recently offered a batch of “Naughty and Animalic” samples from dear friend of the blog Lânáis-Bambi, for which many thanks my friend. The scent bundle was one of the sample collections that you can buy from Bloom Perfumery in London, so I knew it would be good stuff.
I went straight for Rubj, thinking I knew what my reaction would be, but I was wrong.
Vero Profumo Rubj Voile D’extrait is a beautiful deep floral that I was convinced was as full of violets as Guerlain Insolence. But it’s not. In fact, the flowers, once they settle, are a classy bouquet of tuberose, jasmine and neroli. They don’t come in straight away though, there’s mandarina and bergamot giving this a much lighter entrance than the one I was expecting.
The base notes anchor the flowers with oak moss and musk, giving this a ladylike and classic feel that I wasn’t expecting. Oh, and the cumin? Well, it’s not there, but the cedar gives this a herby, woody nuance that takes a back seat and lets the flowers take centre stage. Its presence gives this a touch of supportive sobriety as the flowers get loud.
I loved this so much that I have taken a lesson from it; don’t write off a different formulation of a scent you didn’t take to. I could drench myself in this stuff and It wouldn’t be too much. It’s glorious and feminine and makes me feel like I am too. I’m so glad that serendipity led me back to it.
Shay & Blue London Blueberry Musk was included as a sample in the recent Perfume Society Heavens Scent Discovery Box. I’ve tried and reviewed several Shay & Blue London scents now and have yet to find one I dislike. In fact, I wore Shay & Blue English Cherry Blossom throughout most of Spring last year and will probably do so again.
Blueberry Musk was a bit of a surprise. There I was, expecting something with musky berries akin to L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc, when what do I get but a flashback to the Body Shop 1986. Yes, there’s a big suggestion of Dewberry here. If you were a fan of that, then you’ll be a fan of this. However, this is no mere 80s throwback, my friends. With big, beautiful middle notes of magnolia and jasmine, this is more of a modern white floral with a deliciously fruity twist. There’s no sugary sweetness though- which would have put me off. I’ve always thought blueberries were a touch musky anyway, so they are particularly well served by the musky finish.
This could well be a Shay & Blue London bestseller. Deliciously light and pretty, with a playful dab of Dewberry, I do believe I am in full bottle territory.
I must confess, dear reader, that I was not an immediate fan of earlier Jimmy Choo fragrances. However, blogging about perfume for four years can do funny things to you. Once upon a time I was quite sniffy about fruity florals (pun intended) and despaired of finding any new launches outside that genre. A few years later, and I’ve started running after the fruity floral wagon crying “I’ve changed my mind!”
Jimmy Choo L’Eau is not, as some might think, a watered-down version of the original, but a more delicate take on it, with less sugary sweetness than I recall from Jimmy Choo EDP. Maybe that’s why I like it. Maybe after the deluge of vanilla and caramel notes in perfume of late, fruity florals don’t smell too sickly after all now.
Opening with hibiscus and bergamot, this gives a light floral with a juiciness at the heart but no syrup. The middle notes are nectarine and girly peony- one of my favourite floral notes. The base is cedar and musk, but to be honest, I didn’t find any cedar, only a touch of musk to round things off nicely. This is pretty, and great for teens, but not too “young” for this 46-year-old.
Why am I suddenly craving girly florals? Is it this endless winter? Do I think that if I smell of flowers then buds will peek out and petals will bloom? It’s worth a try.
When a Perfume Society “new Discovery Box” email arrives in my in-box, I break World Speed Records, or at least my fingers do. I’ve usually pressed “buy now” before I’ve read the description and I have never been disappointed. A few days ago, my Heaven Scents Discovery Box arrived and it was, as usual, a joy to unravel, like an out of season but very welcome birthday gift. I displayed little dignity in my haste to disrobe the goodies within.
With a theme of romance, just in time for Valentine’s Day, Heaven Scents lives up to its name. Here’s what’s inside:
First and foremost is the very special anniversary keyring from M Micallef. With a beautiful glass perfume bottle that you can fill with the scent of your choice, this is as beautiful as jewellery. I’m already plotting as to how I can wear it as a necklace. It’s far too posh to go next to a bunch of keys and a mini Tesco Club card.
Micallef 20 Years. This is described as a “modern, fruity gourmand”. I must confess that I have never smelled anything from M Micallef so I am looking forward to getting stuck in. The display in Fortnum and Mason impressed me no end, but sadly I was already covered head to foot in eleventy billion perfumes at the time.
Miller Harris Noix de Tuberose. I have reviewed this previously on the blog. It is a curious mix of nuts and tuberose and I like it much more this time round than I did when I first reviewed it.
Prada Candy Florale: I have tried this little gem before and loved it. Here’s my glowing review. Unusually, it has a hit of limoncello in the middle, which is not what I expected from the name, but I love its playful tartness.
Shay & Blue Blueberry Musk: I have been really keen to try this one ever since I saw a Facebook ad for it. I wasn’t disappointed. Blueberry and Musk go so well together it’s a match made in Heaven, appropriately enough. I’ve reviewed it here.
Jimmy Choo L’Eau: Now here’s one that changed my mind. I haven’t been too keen on previous Jimmy Choos but for some reason I have bene craving girly florals lately. This is a flanker to Jimmy Choo, but the L’Eau bit doesn’t mean weaker, just lighter. It’s impossibly pretty and pairs nectarine with my favourite, peony. I am surprising myself by being very tempted to get a full bottle. I guess I want to chase winter away with floaty flower petals. Here’s my review.
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris, Aqua Celestia: I fell head over heels for this and plan to proose marriage very soon. Here’s my full review.
Weleda Jardin de Vie Rose: This blends bold Damascene roses with peppery geranium and Ylang Ylang (smells like banana-like flowers). I’m going to come back to this one because I’m still swooning over Aqua Celestia. It was a hard act to follow.
Map of The Heart Red Heart v3: This is a new perfume house that I haven’t heard of before. Anyone who puts sandalwood in all perfumes is going to be my friend forever. Red heart v3 is not as fruity as I was expecting, but the woods are to die for. This is sensual and addictive.
Judith Williams Lifelong Beauty Nutritive Body Butter: Scented with roses, this rich, creamy body butter is a delight to use and leaves skin subtly scented and smooth. The bottle has a handy pump dispenser and is a generous 150ml size.
So, there you have it: my full verdict. My stand out favourites were Jimmy Choo L’Eau, Aqua Celestia and Red Heart v3. It’s a fabulous selection. You’ll be certain to find a new favourite.
The Heaven Scents Discovery Box is available from The Perfume Society website at £17.50 plus postage, or £12.50 plus postage for subscribers.
One of my favourite Christmas presents this year was a box of miniature perfume that my lovely friend Rachael bought me from L’Occitane. Not only do I love the brand, but almost nobody ever buys me perfume. Maybe they labour under the misapprehension that I already have “enough”? You and I know there’s no such thing when it comes to perfume.
L’Occitane Roses et Reines is a radiant fruity floral. It just about zings off my skin like rosy sunbeams and wafts pleasantly about in my wake.
Now although I’ve called it a fruity floral, make no mistake. This is first and foremost a big, gorgeous, girly rose, but it is supported by a bijoux fruit bowl that brings out the different facets.
There’s raspberry: one of the more delicate of the red fruits. It’s not bold or overly sweet like strawberries or pink pepper. Out of all red fruits and berry notes, raspberry is just about the only one I really enjoy. It complements the rose particularly well.
Secondly, there’s a touch of apricot. Apricot has the fruity heart of peach without the overly sweet aspect, nor the frequent synthetic territory that peach often wanders into. There’s bergamot too, but I only noticed this when the perfume first bloomed on my skin. It’s a tart accompaniment that sets the tone. This rose may be as feminine as a ballerina, but it’s never sickly or cloying.
Roses et Reines has a wonderful vintage feel to it. The beautiful bottle itself runs with the heritage motif and would look at home on any dressing table, especially mine. This is a wonderful, classic rose. The fruit adds a playfulness, and the base gives me a whisper of good old fashioned powdery notes. There’s nothing about L’Occitane Roses et Reines that I don’t love.
Now that my blog is four, I thought I’d better do some housekeeping. One of my most popular articles is “Perfume for Paupers”, written two years ago. It was my guide to how you can smell good without blowing the budget. It was written from the heart (and from past experience ), since I believe that you don’t have to be rich to smell good.
However, as you know, the industry changes faces like a kaleidoscope in even a short space of time. For example, many celeb scents that I reviewed then, have been discontinued, and many new affordable options have appeared on the market in just two years. However, much of what I wrote in my earlier article still stands: shop around, be selective, use eBay, look past the label. I reckon it’s time for an update. Here’s my guide on how to smell good without feeling bad.
Leave your snobbery at the door
I used to be in an exclusive long term relationship with Chanel Cristalle and would only rarely have flings with other scent on the side. During a frugal period in my life, I decided to shop around, and my love affair with scent truly blossomed. I hold allbeauty.com and Home Bargains responsible for this. I bought the cheapest scent I could afford and ended up finding some firm favourites. High price tags do not always mean high quality., and vice versa. Don’t overlook celebrity fragrances either. They are all made by professional Noses and are usually cheaper than other brands. Some of my favourite celeb scents are under £10.
Ok, I’m starting to sound obsessed with Avon now, but when you an find a decent perfume for under seven quid, well, then it’s very hard to stay away. In fact my SOTD is Avon Rare Platinum and those tuberose wafts are very pleasing to my nose today. Avon Perceive Oasis was my summer scent more than any other in 2016. I even bought a back up bottle.I give Avon a further thumbs up for selling purse sprays at just £3 and for currently selling Scent Essence Lime Verbena for just £2.50 for 30ml. All prices correct at time of posting.
I have bought a lot of perfume from eBay and have never been let down. EBay is pretty strict on counterfeit and it’s not worth most people’s trouble to try and sell the odd fake. Having said that, there’s no guarantee it’ll never happen to you, but in seven years I’ve not been conned. EBay is also great for perfume samples which helps avoid costly blind buys. I’ve also scored some blinders from a local car boot sale. Never underestimate how much somebody else can dislike a perfectly good bottle of perfume and be desperate to get rid of it. That, my friends, is when you circle and swoop.
Success stories: 100ml of Cabotine for £3.99 on eBay, bottle of LouLou and assorted samples for £7 on eBay, bottle of half used 100ml of Rive Gauche for £4 at car boot sale. Full 50ml bottle of Chanel Coco EDP for £26 on eBay.
Some of my favourite cheap and cheerfuls are the kind of scent young folk today might label as “Nan perfume”. I prefer the term “classic. ” Nobody will put me off Coty L’Aimant or Chique and I could buy both bottles with ten quid and still have change for a Daim Bar.
If you’re saving for a bottle of the good stuff and in between bottles,, why not just buy a few samples and use your favourites on high days and holidays? It’s cheaper than a full bottle and you can always smell expensive without having a shelf full of posh bottles and no money in the bank.
You’d be amazed how many of your friends have been given perfume they don’t like and don’t wear. Nobody seems to throw it away though, so get asking. You might find they have one of your favourites and that dusty bottle you can’t get rid of might be just their cup of tea. I dare you to ask four friends if they have a bottle of perfume they don’t really wear. It also works on forums such as Fragrantica, Mumsnet and Fragcomm.
Many men’s fragrances are cheaper than women’s ( though not all). There’s no rule that says you can’t wear his stuff or that he can’t wear yours. Having said that, although I reguarly raid my husband’s scent collection (I chose most of it- ergo it’s mine.) I can’t see my husband borrowing my SJP Lovely to wear for work anytime soon. Shame. Florals can smell good on men.
Here’s what I mean by cheap and cheerful for chaps: Old Spce (cheap as chips) doesn’t smell a million miles away from Yves Saint Laurent Opium. (Thanks for the tip Portia of APJ), and Avon men’s fragrances are truly excellent. I wore Wilderness for Men for the whole of August one year, with a pretty sun dress. I say Pah! to labels. If it smells good wear it.
These mini rollerballs are available from Amazon and eBay. Containing no alcohol, and usually in rollerball format, these are an unbeatably cheap way to layer notes or wear the scent alone. The jasmine and the rose single note fragrances are pretty good too. They make good presents and a 10ml rollerball is perfect for even the smallest of handbags.