Category Archives: Floral

Prada Infusion D’Iris: My New BFF

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

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

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

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photo:wiki

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

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

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

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

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

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Marks and Spencer Florentyna White Flowers: A Lily, Ungilded.

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I tried this yesterday on my travels, and I was very impressed with it.  At its highest price, it is only 6.50GBP for a 30ml bottle, but the current sale means that a gift set containing a 30ml EDT and body lotion is only 4.75 today (see website or your local store, but hurry!).

It does what it says on the tin.  It is white flowers and nothing more, nothing less, but it is done very well.  It opens with unmistakable Lily, which sidesteps its occasional tendency to go all Image

vegetable soup on me,  and is enhanced by the addition of pretty orange flower and jasmine.  That’s about it really.  There’s no fancy allusions or long lists of aspirational base notes or middle notes.  It’s a clean, white scent that lingers for around four or five hours and is very feminine.  There is a hint of posh white soap in there somewhere too, which , as a fan of posh white soap, I never object to.

For a clean, inoffensive daytime Lily scent, this is the cheapest I’ve seen.  The price tag is deceptive: you could pay a lot more for lower grade tat elsewhere on the High Street.  This is classy and damned good.

Calvin Klein Downtown: For Bright Young Things

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This is a recent launch for Calvin Klein (September 2013) and it is intended for the young.  In which case, it is ideal.  Calvin Klein Downtown  caters for the current youthful preference for sweet, berry like fragrances.  However, it (thankfully) holds back from the ubiquitous Vanilla Bazooka that is blasted hither and thither today, and produces a decent enough daytime scent.

Reading the top notes of Lemon, Bergamot and Plum, I would have expected a fruitier opening, or at least a citrus opening, but it was sweet in a milky Vanilla way, like white chocolate.  Interestingly, Vanilla is not listed as a note, but the sweetness certainly hints at its shadow. Middle notes are Gardenia, Pink Pepper and Patchouli, but I found these notes indistinct and wouldn’t have guessed from a blind sniff.

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A few hours later and I’m sniffing my arm again.  It’s now become a milky musk, not a million miles from Just Cavalli.  Oh wait!  Here’s a faint hint of Gardenia. Better late than never.

As a scent for the young, it is a toned down version of all the fruity floral vanilla horrors I have previously reviewed (Taylor Swift I’m looking at you).  I wouldn’t wear it myself, but then, at 43, it wasn’t made for me. However, as a blessed relief  from the overuse of heavy handed ingredients currently en vogue, it fits the bill.

I found it a little non-descript, and borderline gourmand, but sometimes that’s better than “get out of the lift, she’s doused herself in that stuff again”.

Stockists

The price is reasonable at under £30 for 50ml of EDP on Amazon UK or you can find it on allbeauty.com. The face of the fragrance is the beautiful Rooney Mara.

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Miller Harris Coeur de Fleur: A Peach

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 This may be the first Miller Harris that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy.  I love the brand, the quality of the ingredients and just about every scent of theirs that I have ever smelled.  However, Couer de Fleur has a couple of ingredients that I find too sweet.

 Top notes are Sweet Pea and Mimosa, which can be almost too summery and honey like for my taste, but to other noses, it can be English Country Garden.

Middle notes are Raspberry and Peach, which I think is where they lost me.  I have a real problem with Peach and cannot like it in any perfume, even the legendary Mitsouko, which I would wear all the time if they did a Peach free flanker (I know, I know sacrilege!)

The bases notes of Couer de Fleur are Vanilla, Musk and Jasmine, although I found the Jasmine comes out quite early on.

All in all, it was possibly the honey like yellow Mimosa that started to put me off (I was quite enjoying the Sweet Pea), followed by the Peach and Raspberry together (which makes a lovely Peach Melba sauce, but I don’t want to smell like one).

I will say that it is very good, but not to my taste.  I would recommend you try it if you ever stumble across it as you may have a different view, but this one’s not for me.

Serge Lutens Bois de Violette

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 As a fan of Violets I couldn’t resist trying Serge Lutens Bois de Violette.  Having tried its cousin, Feminite du Bois, I was interested to smell how this branch of it  fared on its own.  As you may recall from my earlier review of Feminite du Bois, it frankly, smelled a bit like pants on me, despite its delicious woody top notes.

 Bois de Violette does rather better, although the Violets provide the chorus, rather than being the leading lady.  It opens with Woods and Violets, and beds down into more woodiness.  In fact, this gave me a vivid scent of a schoolroom: there was wax and chalk dust and the rich aged scent of old fashioned teak desks.

Created by the legendary Christopher Sheldrake, who co created Feminite du Bois, you can tell that Bois de Violette and Feminite are from the same hand.  Where Feminite was  a bit too intimate for me, Bois de Violette still has that human touch, although the basenote is more of a subtle smell of dried spit.  This is no bad thing, it’s a bit like the smell left after a long kiss, so not quite as bad as the old pants aroma.

The Violets remain both sweet and woody throughout, as if made from the bark of a mythical Violet tree. Longevity is stupendous.  I could swear I could smell it the following day, almost 18 hours later. Sometimes it’s really worth splashing out.

Marc Jacobs Daisy: The Ubiquitous Daisy

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Marc Jacobs Daisy has been a steady bestseller since its launch in 2007. With its distinctive bottle, it was the scent that launched countless flankers. Trying it today, it reminded me very strongly of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre.  I can barely tell them apart in fact. Both scents are pretty, subdued, and overtly feminine.  Both make inoffensive office wear and both would suit a young girl starting on her perfume odyssey.

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I was initially sceptical when trying it, since it really does smell ubiquitous and overly familiar: a victim of its own success. However, the violet and violet leaf won me over slightly, which stopped me disliking this. The violets come out almost immediately, followed by muffled grapefruit.  That is to say the grapefruit isn’t sharp and citrus, more subdued and covered by white flowers.  The gardenia comes out alongside the violet, and the base is a pleasant melange of pale woods and violet leaf.  All in all, it’s light and pretty and feminine, but my problem is its popularity.

Maybe I’m being a terrible snob (although if you saw my many cheapo scent bottles, you might not agree). However, both Daisy and Chance Eau Tendre are everywhere right now, even in Winter and whilst I sometimes like a pretty floral, this doesn’t break any barriers down for me, but then again, it wasn’t meant to.  I’d rather smell this than  a fruity-chouli rent-a-scent, but then again there are lots of others things I’d rather smell than this.  Eleven out of ten for the pretty bottle .

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Estee Lauder Private Collection: The Ultimate Evergreen

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Precious and quite rare…like a gathering of flowers, green leaves and spices from your private greenhouse.

Reader, I think I am in love again. If you could see my dressing table (modest by blogger standards) you would see immediately that greens are my thing. Recently I have tamed my greedy impulse to try on five scents at once and go home muttering that everything smells the same.  These days I’m a one scent woman, at least at the counter (at home I practice perfume promiscuity), and thus I came to really know Estee Lauder Private Collection.

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To say it is Green would be an understatement. Bring it on, I say.

As soon as it goes on, it reminds me of the woody base left when O de Lancome has settled down, yet it effervesces as it lands on your skin.

Lemon and Bergamot keep this brisk, and there is a powdery note that arrives after an hour.  This just makes it more wonderful and establishes its status as a classic.  The end is a green, mossy dream, where the green, citrus notes lighten it up whilst it dries down into its woody patchouli finish, like expensive rough green tweed that you just want to keep forever.

I didn’t get the  promised heliotrope, nor the chrysanthemums (thank goodness- I don’t even like them in real life!), but to me this is a masterpiece for green lovers.  Indeed, Mrs Lauder kept it to herself until 1973, but I am very glad she chose to share it.

Longevity is good on my skin: around eight hours and I could NOT stop sniffing it.  My coat sleeve still bears witness several days later and I won’t be getting it dry cleaned anytime soon.

This has made it onto my Top Five  Wish List, (which is almost impossible to whittle down).  It would suit any season, any occasion, and I want ME to smell like THIS all the time.

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Avon Rare Diamonds: I’ll Let You Into a Secret

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As I have written before, Avon fragrance used to be hit and miss. At one point I stopped ordering fragrance from them after one disappointment too many. Things have picked up however.  I recently ordered Rare Diamonds and I might just have stumbled across an Avon treasure (along with Avon Premiere Luxe, which is also pretty good- see my earlier review).

Rare Diamonds is at the end of a pyramid of “If you like that, you’ll love this”.

If you like Narciso Rodriguez for Her, you’ll like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely (which I own and rate very highly).  If you like Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, you will probably like Avon Rare Diamonds. This list is also in order of price.  Narciso Rodriguez is around  50GBP for 50ml. SJP Lovely is  a bargain at under 20GBP for 100ml (try Fragrance Direct) and finally, my bottle of Rare Diamonds set me back 6GBP for 50ml of EDP.

Rare Diamonds opens with strong florals in Gardenia, Jasmine and Plum Blossom, bedding down into a rich Woody Patchouli base, tinged with Amber. Thankfully, the promised Guava was absent (why did they even think it would work here?). Staying power is around four hours, and sillage is about arms length but it dies down into a more subtle pleasant aura after a while.

All in all, for six quid you can’t go wrong. The bottle is pretty too, with a faux Diamond stopper and a round glass base. My beauty bargain of the month!

Stockists:  You can buy Avon Rare Diamonds from your Avon rep or online at AvonShop UK

Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose: Less Than I Hoped For

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I tried The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rosetoday on my travels and was so attracted to the idea of the name that I asked the staff to open  a new tester, since the existing one was empty: a sure sign of the interest surrounding it.

When I first sprayed it, and when it was still wet, I could smell nothing at all.  When it dried, I could smell a faint hint of Musk, and , would you believe it? Caramel. If there are Roses I can’t smell them.  If they is a smokiness, it manifests itself as the smokiness you get from burnt sugar, or the bottom of a crème caramel.

Image This is pretty popular and has a good fanbase, but I think that’s because vanilla based gourmands seems to soar in popularity around Wintertime.  I love the idea of Smoky Rose, and I’ve always been a fan of TBS White Musk, so you would think this would be a winner. A smoked rose sounds so delicious in winter, but it wasn’t to be.  Sillage is very faint: close to skin straight away.  Longevity is so far two  hours, but faint.

I would love to get the Tobacco Flower, Roses, Frankincense  and Blackcurrant that I was promised, but for some reason this smells like heavily diluted White Musk with a Caramac bar rubbed over the top.

A great idea, poorly executed. Worth a try though, it might smell different on you. Incidentally, The Body Shop online works out much cheaper than buying instore. Sniff instore, buy online.

Estee Lauder Very Estee: We Could Have Been Great Friends

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Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my valued US readers!  I hope you all find something to be thankful for.  We could all learn a lot from such a day. In your honour, I am reviewing a good old American brand. A stalwart of quality in the perfume world: yes, it’s the fabulous Estee Lauder.

I tried Very Estee  today on my spare arm (I only have two, but I kept one perfume- free for testing). If evolution is anything to go by, mothers would have at least four arms by now, in any case.

My very first impression of Very Estee was that I could smell Violets, then the Green notes.  My heartbeat quickened as I thought “Could this be another Balmain Jolie Madame?  But I was disappointed. Within minutes of spraying, the scent was so close to skin that it was barely there at all.  What I could smell, I liked very much, but if it fades within a minute what use is it?  I would never be so rude as to expect instant sillage to fill a room, but I would at least like to be able to smell it on myself for more than a few minutes.

Now, I love Estee Lauder as a brand: quality and ingredients are never less than excellent, but Very Estee was a disappointment. I read on Fragrantica that the notes contain Lotus Flower, Rose, Jasmine, Pink Pepper and Freesia, bedding down into Cashmere Woods, Cedar, Sandalwood and Musk.  It all sounds lovely, but all I got was Violet Leaf and Green notes, delicate as a dewdrop on the tongue and gone twice as fast.  Shame, since I love both of those notes and would have loved Very Estee to have hung round a bit longer.

This could be good if it had more resonance, or maybe it was just my cold skin swallowing it up.  I will still be a Lauder counter pest though, I just can’t stay away.