Avon Alpha is a new release from Avon and even in a blind test, I would be able to tell it was an Avon. It has a lot of Avon materials in common, but this is not a bad thing. In fact many brands have a particular in-house accord and its usually down to the particular range of ingredients they use to colour in the fragrances, to use a metaphor.
Avon Alpha is, first and foremost and beyond any question, fruity floral. The opening is raspberry, lychee and blood orange. There are floral notes in the middle, and I would hazard a guess at jasmine leading the gang. In the base there is an interesting ingredient that is getting very popular lately. Cashmeran is a synthetic note and has a “wet cement” accord. It doesn’t smell as weird as it sounds, more like bland wet stone. It’s actually pretty good as a base note in a flirty floral scent like this and just blends into the background and helps the loud notes to do their thing.
Over on Fragrantica (a brilliant site if you’ve yet to venture over) many readers claim that Avon Alpha smells similar to Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Absolutely Irresistible and Givenchy Hot Couture. Not a bad comparison, especially at such a low price.
This isn’t may favourite Avon, since I have a thing about Avon Perceive (peony) and Avon Rare Platinum (tuberose) but this certainly holds its own against other high street bestsellers and makes a great gift.
I bought my bottle on special offer from the Avon brochure last month. It was £4.50 for 30ml. You can find it here.
Just the other day Dawn sent me a collection of her fragrances that I hadn’t tried yet. You can imagine my excitement. There were so many that I made notes as I sniffed. It was very hard to pick a favourite and a blog post containing reviews of all of them would be too long, so here is the DSH fragrance that jumped out and shot me with cupid’s arrow. Please make way for DSH French Lily. (Don’t worry, the other reviews will be along soon!)
DSH French Lily has that wonderful soapy/green accord that lily often has in perfume. However, sometimes lily can teeter over the edge into vegetable soup powder territory (Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee had this effect), but you’ll be pleased to know there’s none of that here. The lily here is light and floral and draws me in like a bee to a flower. It’s almost clinically clean, but then something rather interesting happens. You know when you smell a flower that’s growing outside and there’s a kind of earthy background to it? Well, that’s what happens here. There’s the beautiful purity of the white lily scent, and then a hint of the earth and the bulb from whence it came.
I could list the notes here, but the above description is my experience and I’m not sure that listing the notes would make any difference to that. I did notice beeswax, aldehydes, lily of the valley, but most of all, that white lily that I can smell on my skin and see so clearly in my mind.
I cannot stop smelling my skin when I wear this. It really is a feel-good fragrance that makes me remember that in a world of technology and pressure, there is nothing as beautiful as a single natural flower blooming away above the ground and the dirt. Nature will win through even on a dark day.
Thank you Dawn for the beautiful samples. This is my honest opinion and is not a sponsored post.
All of Dawn’s beautiful fragrances are available from this website and yes, she does ship ot the UK.
Gallivant is a perfume house that is masterminded by Nick Steward. Nick certainly has the credentials to create his own fragrance brand, having worked at L’Artisan Parfumeur for many years. Inspired by the unique vibes of each city that his scents are named after, each Gallivant fragrance has something quirky and rather wonderful to offer. The nose is Karine Chevallier.
Earlier in my blog, I reviewed Gallivant London and Gallivant Tel Aviv. If you haven’t tried either of these, then do try and get yourself some samples from here. Recently, two more have been launched, Berlin and Amsterdam. I am hoping to try those soon and report back. There is also Gallivant Brooklyn, which is in the blog processor machine waiting to dry (aka my brain).
Today, my wanderlusting friends, we are discovering Gallivant Istanbul. Follow me as I guide you around this olfactory marvel.
As you might imagine, with its Turkish history and ancient culture, there will be mysterious smoky incense facets to this, and there are. Lots of other brands have done smoky resinous scents but what makes Istanbul stand out is the fresh note that travels alongside the heavies.
It opens with crisp bergamot and red thyme, setting me up to think I’m about to dive into a cologne. I’m not massively off track here-because this is followed by a middle phase of lavender- a primary ingredient in colognes and fougeres.
The addition of aromatic cardoman that combines beautifully with the lime and thyme, lifts this out of deep resin territory, whilst keeping that mysterious myrrh note in there. Add some peppery geranium and a woody base of warm tonka and smooth sandalwood and you have Istanbul.
What I love about this is that it seems to include so many facets of a colourful city like Istanbul. There are hints of leather, herbs, citrus, patchouli and musk. It’s almost like a walk through a bazaar, starting with the exhilarating sea front and ending in the covered markets, still with a fresh breeze in your lungs. There’s kind of a wetness, or a juiciness to it that stops it being dark and tarry, as resinous scents can often be on my skin. This makes me want to sniff it in great gulps.
As for whether its male or female? It’s for everyone, except my son who declined my offer of a few sprays to wear to Primary School this morning.
You can buy Gallivant fragrances, including sample sets from here. My samples were kindly provided by Gallivant, in exchange for an a honest review, which I have written. This is not a sponsored post.
Halloween is not necessarily my favourite time of year, but if I ever told my children that they’d be horrified. So, I go along with it, and I hang round at the back when they go trick or treating (at selected homes so as not to be a nuisance). Meanwhile, for me, it’s a great excuse to have fun with fragrance and add something seasonal to my year-round head to toe black ensemble.
Here are a few ideas in case you want to make your mark on Halloween and add a bit of mystery to your night. Maybe you could play guess the E-numbers with your Haribo Haul? Or wonder why the only traditional Halloween songs are Monster Mash or Thriller? Or you could just cram your little hamster cheeks with chocolate until it’s all over. (I don’t do that. Nope. No Sir). In any case, the perfume world has something for every occasion, even this one.
REEK Perfumes Damn Rebel Witches
REEK Perfumes burst onto the scene in 2016 with Damn Rebel Bitches. This is a fragrance commemorating the intrepid and gutsy rebel Jacobite women who fought back against the English with all they had. The nose behind this is Sarah McCartney, and a fine job she has done too. This scent makes me think of wild women with twigs in their hair. The ingredients are inspired by what would have been around way back then so you have clary sage and malt and even broom ( appropriately enough for Halloween). But REEK didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, they gave the bitches a sister and Damn Rebel Witches was the result.
What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie. I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.
Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice is big news this time of year. It’s everywhere from Starbucks to the mouthwash in your dentist (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly) so you may as well as embrace it. Personally, I love a bit of Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie and every time I wear it, I get compliments. It’s just spicy and warm enough and not too cloyingly sweet. Don’t just keep it for Halloween! Sadly, the UK arm of Library of Fragrance has closed and will be much missed, but the European branch ships to the Uk for 6E per package.
4160 Tuesdays Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters
The name of this fruity, malty and jolly British fragrance comes from the ingredients. It is often believed that natural ingredients are best for your skin, but they’re not! (at least not always) Sarah has made these naughty naturals behave themselves via witchcraft and alchemy. Actually that last bit isn’t true, she made them behave through encyclopaedic knowledge of skin and substance. And the fragrance? Here’s what I wrote in my review which you can find here. The website link is here.
“…On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too”
Possets Perfumes Ghost Fart
Just for the name alone, this was irresistible, and once I smelled it, I thought the name didn’t do this lovely scent justice (though it did reel me in). There’s no authentic manual that states what a Ghost fart must smell like, so the team at Possets had a little fun with this. This is a chocolate minty gourmand in an oil form which is long lasting and smells delicious. If you haven’t come across Possets before, so check them out. They ship worldwide and are a vegan friendly brand. Here’s their website.
Papillon Perfumery Anubis
With hints of Egyptian mystery and ancient rites, this incredible debut from perfumer Liz Moores is both distinctive and resonant. If you like Shalimar, you’ll also appreciate the oriental spices and resins in Anubis, but I’m going to stick my blogger’s neck out here and say Anubis is better. Controversial, no? I’m sticking to my guns. Anubis has a dark, resiny enigma about it which I find both intriguing and alluring. Papillon has a good sample service if you want to smell this range for yourself, or you could pop into Les Senteurs in London where they are all stocked.
Dior Hypnotic Poison
The name is so perfect for this time of year, but so is the scent. This deep, almost boozy vanilla comes in a bottle that reminds me of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach after midnight. The vanilla in this borders on marzipan, which is fine by me but gives me cravings for Christmas Cake. I know, first world problem! But if your vanilla palate is jaded by cheap imitaions, then do revisit this beautiful treasure of a scent which always reminds me exactly how good vanilla can be, and should be. You can buy it from here, but it’s available in lots of places. I recommend the EDP over the EDT.
With a bottle like Snow White’s poison apple and a scent that smells like purple velvet, Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum is a great Halloween scent, in fact, it’s a great scent for anytime. Opening with green ivy, violet and liquorice, and a burst of deep cherries, this is rounded off with woody musk and vetiver. Suitably bewitching for a dark night. You can find it here and read my review here.
I love a bit of Karma. It always reminds me of my friend Alison who has made this her signature scent. It’s oranges, spices and patchouli. One of the main things I like about it, apart from its gentle hippie vibe is that it holds back on the sweetness and lets the bitter orange shine through without adding marmalade or vanilla. In fact, Alison, just uses the lotion and still smells enchanting and gorgeous, which she is. You can buy Karma from here.
Lancôme Magie Noire
OK, I don’t need a special occasion to wear this deep, mossy chypre. I love how Magie Noire does a dance of the seven veils and unfurls its layers and notes over the hours and hours that it lasts. There’s ivy, hyacinth and roses as it opens, then deep rich florals- all the big ones, then a wonderfully mossy and woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, incense and smoky resins. It’s like a fragrance chameleon, changing faces as the night goes on. Plus check out the divine poster ads! You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Over to you
So that’s my Halloween round up, although I’d wear any of these at any time of the year. What’s your Halloween fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
In an industry where the pressure is on to launch something new that nobody’s ever smelled before, it’s not easy to keep ripping off a new sheet. Luxury perfume house Clive Christian is daring to be different and you may be surprised to learn how. I know I was. It’s as if this elegant, beautifully packaged brand has donned biker boots and decided to lead us astray. I don’t know about you, but I’m going on this trip with them.
Here’s the idea behind it:
Three perfume pairs with the the core ambition to disrupt the industry with its never been done before ‘mind enhancing’ concept and patented world first perfume artistry technology; Addictive Fusion.
Exclusive to Clive Christian, this unique form of perfumery combines headspace technology which captures the elusive scents of mood and mind enhancing narcotics, including Coco Leaf (cocaine) and Opium Poppy
In other words, this is more than a scent, it is an experience. It’s a step further for those who want to delve deeper and take things to another level. Don’t tell your parents.
I am lucky enough to have tried all six. They come in three pairs, a masculine and a feminine version, but of course, you can wear these any way you like and even layer them if you want to.
Here’s my impressions:
Chasing the Dragon Euphoric Femme
The big, big first note you get here is an iris and jasmine accord. The iris is smooth and soothing but still allows the ylang and jasmine to come through. The woody notes come in then, but the big florals never leave. There is a boozy nuance, like a small glass of expensive sherry filling the room with its sweet and dark aroma. This adds to the voluptuous richness, giving this an unmistakable touch of luxury.
Chasing the Dragon Hypnotic Masculine
As you know, I don’t really pay much heed as to whether a scent is masculine or feminine. If I like it, I’ll wear it, and this I like. There’s a leathery medicinal feel to it when you first dive in. After that, it’s every note you would asscoiate with being dark, alluring, spicy and even tar like. There’s elemi (also used in cough mixture), resins, black cherry (which adds a hint of the tobacconist), oakmoss, patchouli and smoky, smoky smokiness. This is cigars, dark wood panelling and very late nights. It also lasts until dawn, unlike me.
Jump Up and Kiss Me Ecstatic Femme
I love the name of this. I’m five feet two and irresistible so I hear this a lot. This is gigantic tuberose, but without any sugar coating. It smells medicinal, and creamy and almost lily like- you know when you stick your nose so deep into a lily that you get pollen on your nose? No? well don’t try it. It doesn’t come off. It’s that rich, high scent from a spectrum that covers clove, antiseptic, celery, cream, a florist and pure white soap. It’s finished off with a hint of smoky vanilla which feels like just the right note for this. Anything sweeter would have been wrong. This is utterly addictive. It doesn’t fade either. I was sniffing my pillow two days later thinking “Can it still be the tuberose?” Dear reader, it was.
Jump Up and Kiss Me Hedonistic Masculine
Opening with a burst of rather butch citrus (think of an upmarket barber shop) this beds into an herbal middle accord of clary sage and those black cherries again. I’m not used to black cherries in scent, but I think they really work with resin-y ambers like this and I’d like to see it more. I love the kind of deep fruity but tarry vibe that it adds. Somewhere within Jump Up and Kiss Me is a “secretive narcotic ingredient”. Now on this bit, I can’t be sure. I sniffed and sniffed and what did I get? Bitter dark chocolate. Now, that my friends, is my favourite drug, so maybe this bit is open to interpretation. Try it and report back to me next time you’re in Harrods.
Vision in a Dream Mesmeric Femme
My favourite out of all six samples. This is a beautiful oriental chypre that showcases green galbanum with violets and crisp, green fruit: and that’s just for starters. The big floral middle notes remind me of those classic floral chypres of days gone by, but with a sharp green modern twist. There’s jasmine, neroli, narcissus and a combination of heliotrope and orris that seem to be made for each other. There’s something almost powdery about the effect these two notes have on the big white flowers. Maybe that’s why I find this to have traditional nuances without feeling dated. The base is vetiver, patchouli and very noticeable cedarwood. Gorgeous.
Vision in a Dream Psychedelic Masculine
An interesting blend of bitter greens with smoked incense. This opens with kaffir lime and apple, but the papyrus (a relative of the heady head shop scent nagarmotha) adds an interesting vibe to this. Funnily enough, my first thought when smelling this blind was clean paper and joss sticks. It gets intense and complex, like slow burning fireworks and leaves spicy trails of clove, pepper and cinnamon.
I was dazzled by the quality and depth of all six of these fragrances. They have an edginess and an audacity that I really admire. Whether they had any kind of effect on my mind is hard to say and will be entirely subjective. I get my kicks from half a bottle of Malbec twice a month and a lot of chocolate. However, I love the concept of this. It’s almost “Fragrance as a portal” and now that Clive Christian has blazed a trail and laid down the gauntlet, I’d be very interested to see where others follow.
Launching TODAY, right now, as I type, the Clive Christian Addictive Arts range can be found exclusively at Harrods, Knightsbridge. Samples kindly provided by Seen PR, for which many thanks. This is not a sponsored post.
You may have gathered by now that I’m a bit of an Avon fangirl. I like how Avon stays on top of current trends and I like how they keep it affordable.
In the run up to Christmas (yes, we can say it, it’s October) fragrance launches emerge into a market where customers often want to cosset themselves as the weather goes colder and summer scents are put away. Avon Eve Duet is a great end of summer/start of Autumn fragrance as it has two fragrances in one bottle. This is not the first time this has been done: I recall a bejewelled Britney Spears sphere containing two half botles of scent, but I haven’t seen it done other than that.
Avon Eve Duet has Radiant Allure in one end and Sensual Allure in the other. Both have a note in common: Water Lily. So, imagine a light and watery floral that smells slightly similar to Marks and Spencer Butterfly. Add a bit of apple blossom-crisp and pretty. There’s a bit of jasmine in there too and an unremarkable base of amber and wood which is less prominent than the pretty, watery floral notes.
Sensual Allure, in the other end, also has Water Lily, but opens with rich plum and fruity pink pepper before the water lily peeps out, less prominently than in Radiant Allure, but still there. It reminded me of a less sweet version of Avon Luck, so if you like that you might like this too. The note that makes the biggest difference here is the patchouli. It adds an earthy depth to Sensual Allure that makes its presence felt, but really comes into its own when sprayed over the top of Radiant Allure.
Alone, these are good, but together, you get something quite different and rather wonderful. Together you get a fabulous blend of florals, patchouli and crisp fruits. If it was me, I’d wear Radiant Allure in the day, then spray Sensual Allure over the top to go out at night. When these are together, I can even smell a hint of violets, which aren’t there, but seem to emerge as a ghost note when everything is mixed up.
With the fragrance industry launching new scent left, right and centre, brands have to up their game, and Avon has certainly done so with this head turning novelty. This will work because this is good quality scent that doesn’t rely on its dual-ended novelty. Alone or solo, Eve Duet is a winner.
Eve Duet is available from your Avon rep or the Avon UK website. My sample was paid for by me so I am under no obligation to like it, but I do.
Welcome to MoodScent 4! Throughout the year, myself and my three Moodscent colleagues write a post on the same fragrant theme. There’s me, (Sam) in Wales, Tara in London, Esperanza in The Netherlands and last but not least, the ring leader and our inspiration, Megan in St Maxime.
You may have read our earlier posts about what scent we would wear as a wedding guests, or what our favourite mainstream fragrances are, or even our rainy day favourites. Today, we are all looking at uplifting fragrances. You know how certain scents can just make you happy even when your day is going wrong? Those.
It was quite hard to choose only five since I could bang on about perfume until we all grow beards and get wrinkly, but I managed to whittle my choice down to five that never fail to lift my spirits.
Writing about how scent can lift my mood is obviously going to be subjective. There’s no right or wrong in perfume. One woman’s Tweed is another woman’s Poison, so I don’t expect your list to be the same as mine. Do let me know what you’d choose though. I always love to hear from you.
Papillon Perfume Dryad
I have a full bottle of this holy grail mossy green chypre made by the wonderful Liz Moores from Papillon Artisan Perfumery. It smells as if it were made in the late 40s or 50s and as if it were a vintage chypre in perfect condition, but with pagan edges. The effect it
has on me is transformative. I can be dolefully embarking on the school run, in the drizzle, in my mac and my boots and jeans, but once I catch wafts of Dryad, I walk taller and feel like one of Dior’s New Look model, with hats and gloves, sashaying down a Paris rue, smelling of vintage style oakmoss and narcissus. I leave the house as a red-faced Mum, rushing and jangling keys, and I strut home as Barbara Mullen. Now that’s what I call a mood elevator.
We’ve been through a lot Cristalle and me. We were together for twenty years and this beautiful citrussy green chypre ( can you see a pattern yet?) saw me though my single days, my sad days, the day I got sacked, the days I got jobs, the day I got dumped, the day I got chatted up, and later still, the day I got married. We’ve sort of parted company now but that scent brings back a rush of memories like a fast-moving montage of film clips, full of scenes I’d forgotten about. Beautiful Cristalle, we’ll always have Paris. And London. And Berlin. And Pontnewydd.
Eau de Cartier
Eau de Cartier makes me feel like I need to wear full length white nightie and float about the house feeling all pure and ethereal. It has the perfect symphony of lavender, violet and bergamot and smells as pure as a snowflake. The nose behind it is Christine Nagel, and I label her a genius for this. Incidentally, if you’re looking for the perfect cure-all hangover scent, this is also good for that too.
Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse
There’s something happy and feel good about grapefruit. I seek it out in fragrances, and in all my fragrant adventures, I’ve yet to find a better grapefruit scent than Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse. Tragically discontinued (“Whyyyy?” I sob on my knees) you can still find this online before it runs out. Miller Harris like their customers so they might bring it back if there’s enough demand. Maybe I should start one of those petition things? Le Pamplemousse is full of petitgrain and herbs and oakmoss, so it’s pretty much everything I love in a bottle.
Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium
Last but not least is this floral beauty from New York firm Aedes de Venustas. The fiorst time I smelled this, I loved it so much I got emotional. That doesn’t happen all the time in this game, believe me. Pelargonium knocked me sideways (in a good way). With its velvety petals, soapy iris musks and mossy drydown, this is a floral that peaks into richness in a way that made me fall in love and greed with it. It’s not cheap, but it will be mine one day. Oh yes. It will be mine.
Check out my fellow moodscent colleagues here. I’m excited to read them myself as we never know what the others are posting until we all go live.:
Chanel Gabrielle is a major launch for Chanel, being its first mainstream non flanker launch for fifteen years (I’m not including Les Exclusifs in this).
It’s always hard when a brand as big as this tries to please the new crowd and the old crowd at the same time. Guerlain Mon Guerlain had a mixed response for example, with the youngsters liking the gourmand notes and the old crowd wearing a lot of black and looking mulish. Brands have it tough. They need new fans going forward but they have to keep the old guard on board too. An impossible task, I’d say, so I’m going to be gentle about this.
Watching the uplifting Gabrielle TV and cinema ad made me want to totally buy into this. Kristen Stewart is an unusual choice, but I can see why they picked her. Despite having been almost indelibly stamped with the Twilight franchise, she now bangs her own drum, cropping her hair short, taking the roles she feels like taking and eschewing the Hollywood clamour for glamour. In other words, she ignores what’s expected of her, just the same as Gabrielle Coco Chanel did. Let’s face it, successful businesswomen were hard to find in the 1930s, but that didn’t stop Chanel. Nothing did. #girlboss
So let’s talk about how Gabrielle smells.
The suggestion is that this is a golden scent, but I found it more of a white fragrance. The citrus notes it opens with seem to add little zaps of sharpness and freshness. I absolutely agree with descriptions that say that it sparkles when it first goes onto your skin. It seems to pop joyously like prosecco bubbles. It has a feel-good factor for sure.
In the main though, Gabrielle is all about the big white flowers. There’s tuberose, orange flower, jasmine and ylang. What struck me though, was how pristine and proper this smells. It made me think of formal flower arrangements in hotels. It made me think of pure white soap and clean laundry. It made me think of clean linen, ironed to a knife edge and stored with care in a sparkling clean house. I can’t explain to you why I thought of soap and cleanliness and posh bouquets. Maybe it’s because this lacks any gourmand touches or vanilla notes, giving it a traditional feel. Maybe because the absence of patchouli lets the flowers be themselves without segueing into anything else (Coco Mademoiselle, anyone?)
I’m going to stop the description there because on my skin, the flowers were the beginning, middle and end. After that, everyone went home. It was beautiful, but like all the best divas, it left me crying for more and quit whilst it was ahead.
So you can imagine that my main, and only, complaint about Gabrielle is that it didn’t stick around for me to get to know it better. I had to sniff very hard, right up against my skin, to get even the faintest whiff after an hour. This is the Eau de Parfum, so I was hoping for more. You may have different results.
My verdict? If those flowers can stick around I’m all over it. Chanel Cristalle and I were together for twenty years, but I don’t see a future for Gabrielle and me unless she can sort out her commitment issues.
You can buy Chanel Gabrielle from Boots or The Fragrance Shop to name but two. It is, or will be, widely available around the world.
It’s with reluctance that I put away my eau fraiche bottles and my sandals and my sunglasses. They didn’t get used much this “summer”, which I believe fell on a Tuesday here in Wales.
Being pale and slightly on the gingery side, I far prefer the cool weather to the hot, so I’m very comfortable in Autumn and the colours of the changing trees have me in raptures.
When it comes to choosing Autumn fragrance, I don’t just like to go for the warm spices, I like to go for the aldehydes, deep vanillas and the chypres too. I love the fact that the cold air brings out the best in some fragrances that might just be a bit much in the heat. In fact, I thought it was high time I did a list of the fragrances I like best in Autumn.
My list below is in no particular order because putting them in order of preference would be impossible. I would happily go through gallons of all ten of these and would find it impossible to choose a favourite.
4160 Tuesdays Eau My Soul
My most recent review and a real treat. This is the first ever truly democratic fragrance with each note being voted for by members of Facebook group Eau My Soul and used in accordance with its popularity. It does help of course if the person making it is genius perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. This is a sandalwood, incense-y, citrussy, floral delight. But don’t take my word for it. Order your Sample now.
Papillon Dryad is the creation of the uber talented Liz Moores and was born in the heart of New Forest among trees. It is THE mossy green chypre I have been searching for. You may think a scent as green as this belongs in spring, but trust me when I tell you chypres are sensational in cool weather. You can buy Papillon Dryad from here and read my review here.
Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir Russie
Le Jardin Retrouvé is a wonderful brand with a touching backstory. The perfumer Yuri Gutsatz sadly passed away in 2005, having created a collection of wonderful niche fragrances. His son Michel has revided the brand and carried the family torch into the Twenteens and thank goodness he did. Although I had smelled and enjoyed a sample of Cuir Russie, it wasn’t until I entered a room in which perfume writer Stephan Matthews was wearing it that I realised how many nuances this beautiful leather scent has. All the fragrances in the collection are excellent and the dreamy ethereal artwork by artist Clara Feder adds a unique whimsy and beauty. You can buy it from here and read my review of the whole collection here.
First by Van Cleef and Arpels
First is the nearest thing I have to a signature scent. It’s a long-lasting floral aldehyde created in 1977 that unfurls its notes in layerss as you wear it. I’m completely smitten and have nearly emptied my 60ml EDP bottle. Can’t live without this one. You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Firedance by Ruth Mastenbroek
You may recall my recent review of perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek’s fourth fragrance, Firedance. With big notes of rose, leather and oud, Firedance is a beautifully blended Damask rose scent that has incredible longevity and is perfect for Autumn. Wearing these feels both cosy and celebratory, like being wrapped in a warm blanket whilst fireworks go off. I love it. You can buy it from here.
Sarah Jessica Parker is the range I point people towards if they ever tell me they don’t “do” celebrity scents. With the enthusiasm of a true fume head, SJP knows her perfume like Carrie Bradshaw knew shoes. Stash is a unisex, woody, sandalwood, incense fragrance that is mature and audacious. You can buy it from Superdrug.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has this knack of creating modern perfume that make you think you have just prized the lid off an unopened chypre from 1920. How she gets them to smell vintage is beyond me, but she does it beautifully. Chinchilla evokes fur stoles, glamour, cigarette holders, and opera gloves. It is a superb example of a classic chypre. You can buy DSH fragrances from the website here and read my review of Chinchilla here.
Marina Barcenilla India
The multi-talented Marina Barcenilla is a gifted natural perfumer who has won not one, but two coveted Fragrance Foundation Awards (or Fifis). India has sandalwood and tuberose and roses all in one stunning Autumnal scent that radiates from skin and gives a good eleven hours longevity. I also have the rollerball skin oil, which also makes your skin smell incredible, as well as leaving it silky soft. You can buy MB Parfums from the website here and read my review of India here.
Tauerville Amber Flash
The delightful Andy Tauer has branched out into a wider reaching and more affordable range of fragrances under the umbrella name of the Tauerville Flash series. Not that his usual scents are overpriced- they’re worth every penny. I loved Amber Flash and reviewed it here. It is as it sounds, but so much more too. It gives off a cosy warmth and a heat that is just perfect in cold weather (and of course, unisex). You can buyTauerville scents here.
Aftelier Amber Tapestry
Somewhere in Berkeley California, Mandy Aftel mixes and measures until her natural fragrances are just right. Amber Tapestry is the perfect name for this. The fragrance opens with orange flower and gets warmer and more resinous as it unfurls its layers on your skin. Ending with a long lasting base of resinous, leathery vanilla, Amber Tapestry is just what I want to wrap myself in when its dark outside. You can buy Amber Tapestry from Aftelier.com and read my review here.
Over to you
How about you? What do you reach for in Autumn? ambers? vanilla? chypres? or something completely unexpected? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Over on Facebook (have you liked my page yet? Please do), there is a friendly perfume lovers group called Eau My Soul. The USP is that the group is welcoming, not critical of other’s choices and provides a warm atmosphere in which to discuss anything you like about fragrance.
The group is the brainchild of founderChristi Long, who wanted a forum that was a sanctuary from one upmanship and criticism of other’s choices. Some perfume groups can get quite heated and Eau My Soul is the gentle antidote.
Blog favourite and friend Sarah McCartney is a member and being a perfumer, it was just too irresistible to make a scent for the group and Eau My Soul the eau de parfum is the result.
Now, I feel as if I participated in this scent personally, because members were given a poll of ingredients that they would like to see in a perfume that represented the group. Sandalwood was heavily in the lead, and thus sandalwood features heavily. I love a sandalwood fragrance and was one of the voters, so to receive a sample of a fragrance I feel I had a small part in was a really unique and wonderful experience. Every member had a vote and there were many votes for different ingredients, all of which were included. A truly democratic fragrance!
So how does it smell?
Eau My Soul, like the group itself, is made up of many components which all play a valuable part.
It opens pleasingly with citrus, like a palate cleansing appetiser before the sensational main course.
The main player is sandalwood, but with smoky hints of cognac, incense and frankincense, it doesn’t stand alone. The flowers are the big strong ones: jasmine, iris, rose. There’s vanilla too, but when merged with leathery labdanum and tonka, it makes for a warm buttery background rather than the cakey vibe it brings in less carefully constructed mainstream fragrances (now, that’s tact!).
What I love about this is the smoky woodiness of it. It has resins but never gets too resinous- sometimes resins can come across as harsh and tarry to me, but here, all is gently blended. The citrus keeps it from getting too dense, whilst the floral notes break through to give this a floral tang that I am so addicted to I’ll need rehab.
In the base, as if this were made just for me, there is my favourite note: oakmoss. It rounds this off with a flourish, adding its earthiness to the smokiness and floweriness. It’s pure heaven.
Overall, I don’t think it would be going too far to say that this is, in my opinion, Sarah McCartney’s best work (and that’s saying something). It’s full bottle territory for sure, and having written 875 perfume blog posts, I don’t say that lightly.
You may be unsurprised to learn that this has sold out, but will be back in October from the 4160 Tuesdays website. This is good news because I’ll need to let Santa know. My sample was won in a Eau My Soul giveaway, so basically, I can say anything I like about it. And I have. You can join Eau My Soul on Facebook. We are friendly, kind, not snobby and we don’t judge. Thank you to Christi Long who runs the group like a good fairy.