Category Archives: Floral

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize: My Treat of The Week

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 Yesterday I went into my local Superdrug to try out the testers by the till, as I often do.  I tried Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize, left the shop, did a U turn and returned to buy some immediately.

 I was pretty surprised, since I have gone off Elizabeth Arden as a brand, having been unimpressed by so many EA scents, and although I admire the classic Green Tea, I often find that a note of Tea smells too metallic for my liking.

However, wearing Green Tea Revitalize was a different experience altogether.  The first thought that went through my head was Clarins Eau des Jardins. It’s not quite as delicious, but it gives it a damn good run for its money.  It also reminded me of O de Lancome, only without the Mossy base.  It is similar to Clinique Happy with its Orangey Zzzing!  The price of Green Tea Revitalize was a mere £10GBP for a 100ml bottle (sadly I can’t see it online, but check out your local branch if you have one).  Now that’s what I call a bargain.

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Yes, it’s a bit cool outside for these delightful summery hesperides, but I was thrilled with my purchase. I never thought I would buy a Green Tea flanker, although I own and like Spiced Green Tea, with its peppery lightness.

Top notes in Green Tea Revitalize are: are Blood Orange, Watermint and Mandarin.  The Watermint thankfully sidesteps the peril of falling into the ozonic/aquatic category. The Oranges are present and correct.

Middle notes are Magnolia ( a favourite of mine), Lotus, Bamboo and Green Tea.  Last time I had Bamboo and Tea in a perfume, I couldn’t offload it quickly enough. I won’t mention any names, (Givenchy Eau Torride). However in Green Tea Revitalize the metallic Tea and Bamboo notes are softened by the lovely citruses and the soft Magnolia until they don’t give that silvery jarring effect anymore. Some perfumes make my teeth jangle such as White Linen and Chanel No 22 (The Perfumed Dandy will surely have the vapours again!). They are metallic and silvery to my nose.  I think there is a term for this but I can’t remember it, perhaps one of my knowledgeable readers knows?

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In any case, Green Tea Revitalize is my  bargain of the week and  despite my having to spray hair and clothes to keep it going (my scarf smells lovely), it was totally worth the ten pound note I handed over, spent within five minutes of coming out of the cash machine.  Plus it’s a  big 100ml bottle. What’s not to love?

Clarins Eau des Jardins: Summer In a Bottle

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Clarins Eau des Jardins is one of only a handful of fragrances that would cause me to blindly follow a stranger home until they named their scent to me.  It is utterly divine in its citrussy lightness.  Technically, like its sister Eau Dynamisante, it’s not  perfume at all, but a perfumed skin treatment, but put this on after a shower and spray on hair and  clothes for extra lasting power and you will smell incredible, guaranteed.

Impossibly clean and shower fresh, this scent is all about the citrus.  They’re all here like a basket from a market: Bergamot, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit. It’s all as light as a fluffy cloud and squeaky clean.  Just a few flowers, nothing heavy, a touch of Rose maybe, and then an alleged base note of Cedar, Vetiver and Patchouli.  I say alleged because this stays fresh and zingy on me and never ventures into the Autumnal Ooomph that Patchouli and Cedar can provide so well.

A hint of Mint and Bay, and all those thirst quenching fruits, and you’d be hard pushed to find anything more sparkling and  pretty.

Naturally, this is slightly out of season, but I felt compelled to review it alongside a bargain buy I had yesterday, which is in the same vein as this, and which, I felt, merited its own review, rather than a “smells like” mention.

If you ever want to persuade anyone that you are respectable, virtuous and as healthy as an apple from a tree, then wear Clarins Eau des Jardins. You will SO get the job.

 

 

Shalimar Parfum Initial EDP

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Image Sadly, I don’t get on with Shalimar.  I apologise to its fans. It’s not you, it’s me. On my skin it turns to Castrol GTX Engine oil. It’s not good.  However, despite the fact it doesn’t suit me, I do like the “rasp” and the “roughness” of it. Shalimar Parfum Initial was created in 2011 by Thierry Wasser who has a prolific Guerlain portfolio, including the previously reviewed La Petite Robe Noir EDT and EDP. Amusingly, the picture of him on Fragrantica (left) has him wreathed in cigarette smoke.

I was not expecting to like Shalimar Parfum Initial but the Sales Assistant at my local (small) Guerlain counter had laid out a whole load of free samples on the counter and then walked away. Old IScent brushed past with capacious handbag. I only took one.  OK. Two. All right then, I swiped four of them.  It’s love, I tell you.

Shalimar Parfum Initial is unusual in that it is both powdery and green at the same time. Before it has dried on my arm, it smells like a brand new ream of paper, but that impression dies away as it dries.  First impressions once it’s dried is of a Bergamot and Musk merger taking place, the combination of which really seems to work. Bergamot is one of my favourite notes so I was all nostrils a-quiver. However, this is no summer  lightweight.  Against the background of the refreshing but muffled Bergamot, there are delicious hearty Patchouli notes, with raspy Vetiver and pretty Jasmine and Rose.  The Rose is particularly dominant.

There is reportedly a caramel base in the note, but thankfully I cannot detect it.  I get disappointed when a scent I am enjoying goes all sweet shop on me, but that doesn’t happen here.  Shalimar Parfum Initial is different to other scents coming out today.  Its ingredients ensure that this is no “also-ran” in the raft of new launches. It is wonderfully Woody, softened by Musk, but it’s those Green notes that are a real knockout. As it’s Autumn, I am appreciative of the dry, grassy Vetiver which often disagrees with me, but is perfect here. It’s hard to give it a label.  If I had to I would call it a floral Oriental.  But you could also call it a gutsy Green with a prickly Patchouli base. On the Guerlain website it is described as “A radiant amber floral signature”. Whatever you call it, do try it if you get the chance.  This is a modern Guerlain worthy of the name.

Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Iris Poudre by Pierre Bourdon: Behold My Nemesis

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 I’m amazingly lucky to have been able to try Iris Poudre.  It doesn’t exactly fill the shelves at my local branch of Superdrug. Thank you LisaWordbird and your sample collection that would make a grown perfumista weep with joy (she has a phial of vintage Schiaperelli Shocking. Oh boy!).

For the Editions de Parfums range Frederic Malle used many of the greatest Noses in the world to produce their own scents under the Frederic Malle umbrella, giving them complete creative freedom.

 Iris Poudre is in no way a bad scent. It is well made, by expert Nose Pierre Bourdon, who I can now spot a mile off.  If there is a scent that repels me or disturbs me, you can bet that it’s a Bourdon. But that’s just me. Worth Courtesan had a similar effect. A growing sense of unwashed underwear bloomed on my skin when I wore it.  Who made it? Yep. M. Bourdon.  Serge LutensFeminite du Bois with its beautiful opening of smoky Woods turned to knickers on my skin.  Who made it?  Yep. You’ve gusset correctly, sorry guessed correctly, it was my old friend Pierre.

 Iris Poudre was the start of my realisation that when it comes to perfume, Monsieur Bourdon is my frenemy. That is to say, he is a great name in his field and his work is to be admired, but he and I are just a NO GO.

Iris Poudre had a profound effect on me. It was a vehement dislike that induced vivid visuals in my mind. A stuffy car, some kind of threatening menacing female presence (Cruella de Vil?).  An inability to find fresh air.  Someone open the window. I need to breathe!

It is as, the name suggests, a strong Iris that dominates. The Iris has been muffled , like a blanket over the face. Notes include: Iris, Tonka Bean, Vanilla, Musk, Vetiver and Sandalwood.

The Musk does give it a femininity and softness, although to me it still feels like being suffocated.  The Iris is in its Sunday best, having had a good wash.  There is no carroty soil smell here. All is dry and powdery and there is no relief. In keeping with the Perfume Law of Sod, since I dislike this, it lasts nearly fifteen hours.  I had to scrub it off and it was still there, getting on my nerves like a drunken bore at Christmas.  If I had liked it, it probably would have faded pretty quickly. That is the Perfume Law of Sod.

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 Iris Poudre costs megabucks, which is a good thing if it stops people wearing it around me.  However, if you like it and cannot find it or afford it, try the much cheaper Gianfranco Ferre: Ferre for Women.  It is the spitting image of Iris Poudre ( Myself and 60 Fragrantica users agree).  Guess who made it?  Yep, Pierre Bourdon.   Try not to confuse it with  Gianfranco Ferre Essence D’Eau which is a bright honey like yellow flowers scent.

My views are purely subjective of course, you may well love Iris Poudre, especially if you are a fan of Iris.  However I always think smelling a scent you hate is never a waste of time as it helps you establish what you love.

 

JLo Glow: Off to a Great Start

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Jennifer Lopez was one of the first celebrities to launch her own signature fragrance line.  She follows early pioneers of Celeb scents Cher, Elizabeth Taylor and Antonio Banderas.  JLo Glow was launched back in 2002, and has broken records with its hugely successful sales figures. It is worth looking at an early celeb scent to see how and why things changed so much  from Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds and JLo Glow (both very good) to the fruity floribundances we have today.  (PS I just made up the word floribundances. You may use it. You’re welcome).

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Amazon.co.uk

Today in 2013, High Street perfume shops would look very meagre without the vast range of celeb scents padding out the shelves. It has become a phenomenon. I often tell people (and my Mum) it is worth remembering that all celeb scents are made by professional, experienced Noses, but are often at the cheaper end of the market. Keep looking past the tacky packaging (I’m looking at you Justin Bieber) and you stumble across a gem such as Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights or Hilary Duff With Love: both celeb scents that I consider excellent. The name means nothing to me, I just want to know if it smells good. And if it does, I’ll wear it. I don’t care whose name is on the bottle. My snobbery went out the window a while back when I spent 3.99 on 15ml of Duff’s With Love and I had an epiphany smelling the rich Tropical Guaic Wood . Not what I expected at all.

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Amazon.co.uk

I often think the celeb scent market is like a jumble sale. It may look unpromising, but if you keep trying, you may find treasure.

Right at the start, before the boom began, there was JLo with Glow. Still around now, and still a steady seller, I tried it recently and was very pleasantly surprised. It’s soapy and clean smelling, like freshly shampooed hair. It reminded me a little of Cacharel Noa, only without the bloom’n’fade coffee bean opening.

The soapiness is not aldehydic, like say, First by Van Cleef and Arpels which stands a league above, but it is more Herbal Essences.  If you, like me, buy your shampoo based on whether you like the smell, then you may like this clean hair scent with light flower petals, light grapefruit, and gentle White Musk.

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After the soap faded into an innocent gentility, there was some definite Tuberose action going on, which lasted until the very end. Longevity was excellent in fact.  I tried two sprays of Glow at 9.15am and at 6pm it was still close to skin. Not bad at all for a good value scent.  I had a slight issue with the fact that the very last hours of the basenotes were a bit synthetic, but the good points outweigh the bad by a long chalk.

Adding to the bonhomie I am feeling towards this gem is the rumour that JLo is very involved in her scents, and they are much more than a sign off to her.  I am already a fan of JLo Deseo, and now I am a fan of Glow too.

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You can buy Glow from many places, including allbeauty.com and Amazon UK to name but two.

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box: A Box of Delights

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The Discovery Club Box is a scheme  from The Fragrance Shop that sends you five (now six) samples every quarter for the princely sum of five pounds. Inside the box are £10 vouchers for each of the samples should you wish to buy a full bottle.

My first box arrived in March and was chock full of floral fruity fruity floral scents which Imagewere all very fruity and floral. You may have noticed I didn’t review any of them. The second Box in June was a mixed bag. The dreadful Elvis Jesus, the redcurrant frenzy that was Loewe Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion, Legend by Mont Blanc, a Decent Givenchy for Men, and the terrifying Angel Aqua Chic, which I honestly don’t have the guts to even try. I look upon it with fear. I swear I hear it hiss to me at night.

However, to be fair to the Fragrance Shop, they always ask for, and aim to act upon, feedback and were very accommodating towards my sniffy mutterings, sending me several complementary samples to cheer me up. Looking at the third box they have issued, I think they listened.

The third Discovery Club Box, out now, is the best yet. My greedy eyes lit up like a villain when I took the lid off and I finally had a good, mixed selection of new launches. Inside Imagethe box were Aura by Loewe (A Leather! An actual leather!), Si by Giorgio Armani ( see my earlier review), La Vie est Belle L’Eau de Parfum Legere, Untold by Elizabeth Arden, ( see my earlier review) Boss Jour Pour Femme ( see my earlier review) and  one masculine: Gucci Made to Measure (excellent!)

I can’t confess to loving them all, but none of them were terrible, and it was a good varied mix. I was genuinely interested in trying all of them. Most exciting of all was the fact that there was not one generic fruity floral. Is the tide changing? Are we finally getting there?

I take my hat off to you Fragrance Shop. You got it so right this time. There’s only one thing I want to complain about now.

I wish they were monthly.

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Arden Untold: Something Familar About This Angelic Creation.


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fragrantica.com

I have mixed feelings about Elizabeth Arden.  The smart packaging, the prestigious name and the accessible prices all appeal to me. However, the more EA fragrances I try, the more I am disappointed. I do like Fifth Avenue, but didn’t like Sunflowers, True Love, Mediterranean. Red Door or SplendorGreen Tea is excellent, and I say that objectively as one who doesn’t like Tea as a note.  Elizabeth Arden Untold is probably one of the better ones and they seem to have gone to some trouble with the pretty faceted bottle too.

I first tried Elizabeth Arden Untold as a spray across a beauty counter and wandered around pondering it a little. After receiving a sample in my Fragrance Shop Discovery Box (more of which anon), I was able to wear it a little longer.  This is very like Rochas Soleil Rochas, a lovely scent that I have on my dressing table, although the more perfume I try, the more I find its borderline too sweet for me.

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 Elizabeth Arden Untold has three quite dominant notes in common with Rochas Soleil: Pink Pepper, Pear and the Patchouli basenote.  It starts as a light white floral: the Pear and Pink Pepper are certainly discernible, but it ends up smelling not unlike an Angel Lite, although with a touch more of the old floral notes than Angel’s nuclear finish. The Patchouli base swamps all other notes, hence the slight Angel comparison. NB A slight comparison to Angel is like describing being only slightly knocked over by a demolition wrecking ball.

 Untold was created for its 2013 launch by Clement Gaverry, who is also credited with one of my favourite scents: Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely. He is obviously fond of the Patchouli base, which is no bad thing.

I was ready to like Untold, but at £38.50  for a 30ml bottle, I’ll stick with my almost identical Rochas Soleil Rochas for £11.75. There is very little difference, except in the twenty odd quid you’ll have left to buy something else.

Estee Lauder Modern Muse: A New Launch I Love

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It’s finally happened. A new fragrance has been launched that I love. There wasn’t even a free tote bag to bribe me with. My sample was free from the lovely lady at my local Estee Lauder concession. No obligation to write a nice review, but I will because I love it. (I may have accidentally agreed to a makeover in order to get the sample, however).

I do apologise if I have been sounding like a grumpy old lady when it comes to new launches of late. Muttering away about everything smelling the same and too much vanilla, and too much fruit, and then finally…a miracle! Estee Lauder Modern Muse has only a touch of citrus orange to its name. No red berries. No candy floss, no discernible vanilla, and no overloaded sugary Baby Angel finish.

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fragrantica.com

For every person that thinks new launches are either a Britney or an Angel homage (i.e me), there are equally those who think many new launches are copies of the much revered Narciso Rodriguez For Her. Modern Muse could be accused of such. Indeed, there are many Fragrantica users who vote that it smells like NR for Her.

However, as much as I love fragrances in the style of NR for Her (SJP Lovely is a permafixture on my dressing table), I feel it would be unfair to simply label Modern Muse as a smellalike. It is in fact, only the base notes which hold any similarity to NR for Her.

Modern Muse opens with clean Petals, Jasmine (in spades) and Tuberose. It is a bouquet of a smell, prevented from being too cloying with a spritz of orange in there somewhere. The middle notes retain the Jasmine and Tuberose, but are now turning woodier as the Patchouli starts to gradually make its present felt.

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The basenotes are a wonderful mix of Patchouli, Wood, Musk and Tuberose. It’s at this point that I feel it must be said that whilst the Musky Patchouli base has much in common with NR for Her, the flowers make Modern Muse, dare I say it, a cut above.

Impossibly feminine, with good longevity and arms’ length sillage, this is a great buy and an important launch.

Estee Lauder still remains, in my eyes, the best quality fragrance you can buy on the High Street. Among all the ubiquitous brands and newbies and celebuscents, Estee Lauder can still provide accessible classics such as Cinnabar, Youth Dew, Private Collection , Alliage, White Linen and Pleasures.  Modern Muse can stand alongside the EL greats without a blush.

 

Giorgio Armani Si: The Box Ticker


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Giorgio Armani Si is being heavily publicised right now on a perfume counter near you.  Armani’s 2013 new release was created by the legendary Christine Nagel, who is capable of works of genius (Eau de Cartier for example), and  generic bestsellers (Jimmy Choo Flash).

But does Armani Si live it up to the hype? Can it hold its own against other Oh So Rare new perfume launches? (Did that sound sarcastic? It was meant to).  Do join me, dear reader, on my unremarkable journey into the world of Giorgio Armani Si.

This is what I call a box ticker. It is also remarkably like La Vie est Belle by Lancome.

Endorsement campaign by beautiful but classy actress? Tick.

Simple glass bottle, no gimmicks? Tick.

Smells a bit gourmand with a Vanilla overload? Tick.

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Now I hesitate to put the boot in, since Cate Blanchett seems to exude a calming serenity where’re she glides, and it seems almost rude to criticise anything she endorses. However, in the hope that the exquisite and talented Cate never reads this, I feel I have to be honest with you and say this is not great.

The opening of Violet Leaf and Green notes (albeit rather synthetic smelling) could be saved if the Vanilla baseball bat of Doom hadn’t waded in and bludgeoned everything. This could have been a pretty Green and Violet scent, in the same vein as Balmain Ivoire (the new, not the old). But no, the promising opening turns into a gourmand and stays a gourmand all the way through. Sad to report, it’s not even a good gourmand. It’s too sweet. Too synthetic. Even the promised Patchouli was beaten into submission by the villainous Vanilla.

How I long for a new launch to blow me away.  Recommendations welcome.  Giorgio Armani Si? Mais non.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique: A Fifties Style Nineties Classic

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 During the Nineties, Jean Paul Gaultier co hosted the late night post pub TV programme Eurotrash with the equally bonkers Antoine de Caunes. With his iconic Breton tops and kilts, and that Gallic twinkle in his smiley eyes, I was a fan of Jean Paul  from the start.

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In 1992 he launched Jean Paul Gaultier Eau de Parfum, now called Classique, thanks to a plethora of confusingly named flankers.  I recall reading an interview with him  around this time, though I sadly cannot find it now. The gist of it was that he wanted to base a perfume on the matriarchs in his family and he said that his Mother and Grandmother  smelled of  nail polish remover and face powder and he wanted to include that in his scent.

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He was as good as his word and I can never smell Classique without thinking how he understands that women, gorgeous as we are, often have messy handbags which smell of stuff we’ve spilled. It’s human. We don’t need to be perfect or smell perfect. A smell is a memory encapsulated in a bottle. As a result of this charming vignette, I have always had a soft spot for JPG , or Jpeg as we call him in the Digital Age (joke).

I haven’t ever owned a bottle of Classique myself since I once knew someone for whom this was a signature scent to the power of  a thousand. However, in isolation, it is  marvellous. It’s sweet with Vanilla, but not Britney Vanilla, and has a touch of Anise  and Pear which evoke the strange chemical hint of nail polish remover. It’s floral and feminine with Roses, Tuberose and Neroli, and beds down into a sandy finish with rich Amber and powdery Musk.

Bravo Jean Paul!

… and now a clip of some very large European breasts. Bon nuit mes little British chums and faîtes des bonnes rêves!