Reviewing Katy Perry Indi was a case of “forget what you think you know.” I think of Katy Perry as the gorgeous and talented Teen Queen who sings catchy pop like no-one else. Her fragrances are cute and funny and have a wry grandeur, all done with a wink of irony. So when I heard she had a new one coming out, I thought, I’ll pass thanks. It’s probably like her other stuff: on trend but not my bag.
Boy, was I wrong. For a minute, there I’d forgotten that she’d shaved her head and done a studio album. Change of image, much? You bet. Indi is outstanding.
From Killer Queen to Meow and Katy Perry’s Mad Potion, Katy Perry’s fragrance range has taken a U Turn. Gone are the flashy,playful bottles with oodles of bling. In comes the simple black and white pillar bottle for Indi. It celebrates individuality, which in these troubled times, is a much-needed hand of compassion and acceptance, and I’m all for it.
So what does it smell like? Well it doesn’t smell like your run of the mill celebrity High Street scent, that’s for sure.
Top notes: Plum, tea, bergamot.
Middle notes: cyclamen, lily of the valley, cedar
Base notes: tonka, amber, musk, musk, musk etc
The combination of plum and tea gave me a milky, sultana, figgy vibe, and although this alleges to have cyclamen and lily of the valley in, I could only detect a generic musky “pink” flower- could well be cyclamen. It’s not a note I know well. The base is where the musk comes in: musk, musk, musk. Musk is a bit like vanilla in that it covers a vast spectrum within its category, and this is certainly the case here.
It’s not dirty musk, nor leathery musk, nor sexy inner thigh musk, but an ever-changing musk, at least on my skin. On me this musk smells clean, then chalky, then figgy, then patchouli-like, then earthy, then slightly mossy, then floral. It lasts hours and hours. It’s a beautiful chameleon of a scent and smells like it costs about four times the price.
Indi is of course, without gender. Nowhere will you find “For Men” or “For Women” and hurrah for that. My motto is, and always will be, if it smells good, wear it. Labels don’t matter.
Indi celebrates individuality and I salute this superb fragrance.
You can buy Indi from Superdrug– which seems to have the monopoly on it at the moment. Pop along and test it- I am sure you won’t be sorry. Prices start at £28 for 50ml. I bought mine and opinions are my own.
Excuse me, I’ve been away but I’m back now. I went camping in West Wales and smelled lots of interesting smells, none of which were from a bottle, some of which I am in no hurry to revisit (wet shoes, calorgas), and some which were delightful (wildflowers, grass, burning logs, ozone).
Now that I’m back in the land of civilisation, the current Wales temperature is turning my thoughts to Autumn already. No, I’m not wishing my life away, but overcast and dull seems to be the default weather this August. This has had me turning to warmer scents and away from my beloved hesperide section.
Do you ever spray a sample and sniff it, and find yourself quite unable to stop? Thus was my reaction to E Coudray Ambre et Vanille.
Now, you may recall my recent article about vanilla, and about how I felt that it had been cheapened, but the right stuff is still GOOD. Well, this treasure fits right into that category. I am helpless to move my nose and may need smelling salts.
Ambre et Vanille opens with the kind of vanilla that smells unprocessed. It’s like licking a vanilla pod before it falls into the hands of the lets-make-cheap-copies scoundrels. This is like cold, rich butter. There’s no sugar, just a silky wood feel to it that smells both elegant and cool. It’s opening notes are framed by bitter citrus: oranges and limes. These are hard to distinguish, but they take off the rich edges, which in my opinion, stops this smelling too crème brulee in the first few minutes.In the middle there are stately and sober flowers, namely iris and heliotrope, both doing their job quietly. The vanilla, however, really lets go on the dance floor and sweeps everything under its warm, smoky broom with a touch of robust patchouli. The amber is there, but is never as dominant as this glorious vanilla with its edges tinged in cinamon and tonka. It is saved by a lack of syrup, yet keeps its warmth. This is a gourmand for the anti gourmand i.e yours truly.
Remarkably, this was first created in 1935. I doubt very much that we are smelling the original formula post IFRA regulations, but this is a beautifully blended vanilla scent that bears no resemblance to the synthetics that are so over-used on today’s saturated beauty counters.
E Coudray has been creating fragrance since 1822, despite several changes of hands. Their classic scents and ornate glass bottles deserve to be on every dressing table, namely mine.
You can buy E Coudray Ambre et Vanille from Escentual, Amazon.UK or House of Fraser. I find prices are reasonable at around £60 for a big 100ml bottle. Sample is my own, as is my opinion. I can’t actually remember where the sample came from, so if I have forgotten to say thank you, please forgive me.
Guess what the most searched for item on my blog dashboard is? Yep. By a country mile, it’s Avon perfume reviews or best Avon perfume. You may have gathered by now that I’m a big Avon fan and I see no sign of that changing any time soon.
With a rapid turnover of scents, Avon is almost simultaneously discontinuing and launching fragrance faster than my little fingers can type, but that’s the nature of the game when you’re keeping up with ever changing trends in the beauty market.
The Avon Unique Selling Point is that they provide decent quality fragrance that fits in with current trends and places them at an affordable price point. You won’t get Guerlain quality nor the originality of niche, but you will get good fragrance that could hold its own on the High Street at far higher prices.
My first Avon round up was in 2014 and my second was in 2016. Both get more hits than any post I have ever written, proving that Avon is definitely getting it right.
Here then, is my third and most up to date Avon round up based on what’s in the brochure right now. I promise not to include anything that’s discontinued nor anything I haven’t personally tried. Nostrils a-flaring? Let’s go.
Avon Little Sequin Dress
The very latest flanker in the Avon little dress series. This is a fruity floral that’s light and pretty and does the job nicely, thank you. You can read my review here.
A recent import from Avon USA, Imari is roses, lemon, sandalwood and aldehydes. You can read my review here. I have the EDT, but I would prefer it to be in eau de parfum form. It’s still a good handbag scent though.
A vanilla scent right down to its toes. This doesn’t work on me but smells utterly divine on my friend Ellie who fell in love with it. It lasted ages on her and she couln’t stop smelling her wrist. My review is here.
Definitely in my top five favourite Avon scents. This is a woody floral that is dazzlingly feminine. Fans of Sarah Jessica parker Lovely will like this. My review is here. In eth USA it’s called Prima.
Avon Far Away Infinity
If you like jasmine sambac and vanilla- a combination that has been huge in the last year, then you will love this one. I found it very similar to Paco Rabanne Olympea, as did many Fragrantica readers. My review is here.
Avon Far Away
Avon’s bestseller for so long that I’m willing to bet they will never stop making it. It even comes in 100ml bottles from time to time. This is a scent I smell very often on other people, possibly more than any other. It’s vanilla to the point of coconut, teamed with freesia, roses and jasmine, which ends up, as it began really: vanilla, coconut and white flowers. I always think it smells warm and woolly like a cosy white blanket. You can buy it here.
Avon Little Black Dress
Another bestseller. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like it. This is an elegant mix of plum, gardenia, jasmine and peony, with a musky base of sandalwood. Some say its smells like Dior J’Adore, and they’re not completely wrong. You can buy it here.
Avon Little Lace Dress
A bang-on trend combo of jasmine sambac and patchouli. It reminded me of so many far more expensive scents that I’ve smelled over beauty counters, but costs under ten quid. You’ll know what I mean when you try it. My review is here.
Avon Far Away Bella
I love this fruity floral and wear it often. It’s light, long lasting and very- can I say girly? Is that OK? There it is. It’s very girly. And it wears a little scarf. Check out my review here.
Avon Perceive Oasis
Not just my favourite Avon, but in my top ten perfumes of all time. This is another long lasting fragrance: this time its peony, roses and jasmine that makes me smell like a pale pink bouquet. My review is here.
Created by Kenzo Takada himself, no less, Avon Life is a delightful take on violets that’s light as air and perfect for daytime. Every note is delicate and translucent, as if painted in watercolours. There’s waterlily, green tea, apple and cherry blossom. You can read my review here.
Avon Viva La Vita
Created for spring, but pretty all year round, Viva la Vita is crisp and fresh. It opens with apple and citrus, and morphs into a mimosa floral before settling into a cashmere woody scent. My review is here.
Avon Rare Platinum
A knockout tuberose scent that combines this unmistakable creamy white flower with the tang of grapefruit. It’s presented in a bottle that reminds me of those American air bullet caravans in the 1950s. Rare Platinum is sensational and I’m never without a bottle. At £7 it’s a real bargain. Read my review here.
Avon Silky Soft Musk
Not actually my favourite Avon, but again, they’ve come up with the goods by taking their bestselling Soft Musk scent and cloaking it in a silky vanilla accord. Very popular and only about a fiver last time I looked. My review is here.
Avon Soft Musk
I own a 50ml bottle of Soft Musk, as does my mother and as does my sister. It is a timeless floral musk with a hint of honeysuckle and peach. A couple of sprays and you can still smell it by tea time. My review is here.
An ambery powdery scent that was created in 1974. Avon discontinued this, only to bring it back thanks to customer demand, which was loud and long. My Avon Lady says this is her bestseller- many of her older customers have been using and buying it for decades. My review of Timeless is here.
17. Avon Attraction
Attraction is a fruity floral with a bit of praline in it, making it bang on the money right now. It opens with pear and pink pepper, travels via jasmine and orchid, and ends up with a gourmand woody finish. You can read my review here.
18. Avon Pur Blanca
Last but not least, and todays’ scent, is Pur Blanca. This is a beautifully clean smelling scent that’s full of powdery white musk notes and smells like you’ve just been freshly bathed. It’s one of my favourite clean laundry musks and always makes me feel fresh as a white linen sheet on a breezy washing line. My review of Pur Blanca is here.
Everything you see here is available from Avon UK and some are available from Avon USA. You can of course, also buy from your Avon rep if you are lucky enough to have one. I do and she’s lovely- Hello Jill!
Opinions are my own. I’m just a superfan and paid for all my own stuff.
Over to you
What’s your favourite Avon? Can you remember getting Avon stuff for Christmas when you were little? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
We are four perfume bloggers based in France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months. This time we have chosen Mainstream perfumes. You will find links to the other blogs at the end of the post. We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own selection in the comments.
Now, doing this was fun, as it always is, but this particular theme had a touch of serendipity about for me. There I was racking my brains on what to write about and idling fiddling with the bottles on my dressing table. and the answer was right in front of me. I picked up five of my most reached for bottles and realized they are all mainstream scents bought from my local shopping centre. So here are five fragrances that I bought from the High Street in my local medium sized town in South Wales. In other words, if I can find them, then you’ll definitely be able to. PS By a happy coincidence, they are all really cheap.
First by Van Cleef and Arpels
Our love story began when I obtained a mini bottle of this in a set from Argos. It was true love and I was in full bottle territory shortly afterwards. This is the one I reach for when I want to feel grounded. In other words, it’s the nearest thing I have to a signature scent.
It unfolds from sophisticated aldehyde down to big peppery florals and ends in a mossy flourish. The genius behind it is none other than Jean Claude Ellena. A 60ml bottle of the eau de parfum is under £30, which I call outstanding value for money.
Another classic that I wear for comfort and when I want to feel like my old self. It was created in 1927, on the coat tails of Chanel No 5 and was made in the same style. L’Aimant was the signature scent of my late grandmother, who was always such a lady. It’s a stunning scent and the parfum de toilette is plenty strong enough. I wasn’t so keen on the cologne though.
L’Aimant opens with aldehydes and peaches and travels through a middle phase of all the best flowers: geranium, roses and jasmine. They segue seamlessly into the woody vetiver base with a dusty, powdery flourish that speaks of decades of class and untouched perfection. I still keep thinking the price is a joke, but it’s not, and neither is this excellent classic.
Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.
I feel very strongly about SJP Lovely. It is my response to people who say they would never wear celebrity perfume and that cheap perfume doesn’t smell good. Lovely ticks both boxes. It’s a superb fragrance that I wear often. It’s long lasting and classy and the price is so low for quality of this calibre.
I was introduced to this by my dear friend and shameless perfume enabler Lisa Jones. She said she wore it for the school run, you know, those moments when you notice the time, grab a bottle of what goes with everything and run out of the house. Within days of trying her bottle, I had my own 100ml bottle. It was one of those fragrances.
Lovely is described as a silky white amber, but it’s so much more. It opens with lavender and apple martini (don’t ask me!) and orchid, which I don’t usually like. The whole thing morphs into a feminine, pretty floral, but as soon as that’s registered, it becomes woody and gets a bit of texture from the patchouli. Rounded off with amber and white musk, this is a stunning floral with an earthy, warm finish. I just love the lavender in it that keeps it so ladylike and timeless.
Lovely has outrun many celebrity fragrances and is regarded by many critics as being excellent in its own right. What makes me love it even more is that SJP herself was involved on every level and had very definite ideas about what she wanted. This was no mere “sign-here” deal. She got in the way and rolled her sleeves up.
Having said that, credit must go tothe talented noses who actually made it- Laurent le Guernec and Clement Gavarrry for Coty.
Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps
Like L’Aimant and First, this is a scent that will always be on my dressing table. There’s nothing like it, and that’s hard to find these days in a busy and often generic market. L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the dove on the bottle is the dove of peace in the turbulent post war period.
The scent is so familiar to me that it’s almost hard to deconstruct. It’s a gentle, luminous floral that also has peppery carnation, roses, jasmine, violet, a hint of talc and a warm mossy, woody amber finish.
Listing the notes does nothing to do it justice. If you’ve never tried it, you must, and if you have, then I’m sure you’ll know why I love it so. Nothing the brand has done since has ever beaten this.
Library of Fragrance
Library of Fragrance really, absolutely and truly does have a scent for every occasion. It’s a brand that has a friendly, playful image, yet provides serious quality perfume. It is ideal for building a scent wardrobe and learning to layer fragrance, or just for pinning down that nostalgic note you couldn’t put your finger on until now. My recommendations are Musk # 7, Mahogany, Play Doh (see my love for it here), Salt Air, Rain, Snow, Grass, Orange Flower, Four Leaf Clover, Gingerbread and Myrrh. Some of friends collect them and they look fabulous in the bathroom with their pharmacy style silver lid bottles.
LouLou has a special place in my heart. This was the scent I was wearing when I was catapulted into adult life from home to university back in 1988. Everything I did for three years smelled of this. I still have a bottle of this intriguing anise, plum, patchouli, oriental floral that pays homage to silent movie star Louise Brooks. I’m certain it doesn’t smell as it did, though Today’s version smells thinner and more metallic. I remember it was earthier and had a deeper resonance back in the 80s. Like all of us, it was best in its youth, but spraying this into the air takes me back to goth nightclubs, red wine, red lipstick and cigarette smoke faster than a time machine could.
It remains remarkably low priced and I adore the Art Deco bottle and stylised flowers on the box. I have a soft spot for all the Cacharel range, especially Noa and Anais Anais.
My Mood Scent 4 Chums
Find out what my Mood Scent colleagues put in their round ups. Read what their thoughts on mainstream scents are from the links below:
“We are the grandaughters of the witches you couldn;t burn”
You may have read my recent review of Damn Rebel Witches, the second offering from our Scottish friends at REEK, created by the gifted Sarah McCartney. Well, due to a postal mix up, I now have more than one purse spray of REEK Damn Rebel Bitches and I thought the decent thing would be to do a giveaway. As much as I’d like to keep it, the perfume situation at Fort Scriven is getting a little out of hand now.- not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing.
In order to win the 7.5ml purse spray ( worth £25), just tell me your smell right now. Mine is Goulash, Vosene and First by Van Cleef and Arpels. What’s yours?
Entries will be chosen via randompicker.org and the giveaway will close five days from now at midnight on the 30th July 2017. Please do not enter if you are outside the UK as I will not be able to send you your prize, and would hate to disappoint you.
Put your comment below or on Twitter or on Facebook. Whilst you’re at it, why not follow me on all of my social media?
When Mandy Aftel makes perfume it’s often about a discovery or a facet of nature that Mandy wants to celebrate. Her scents evoke scenes and visions so vividly that I can’t shake the feeling that she is more alchemist than perfumer. There is magic in her fingertips the way some people have green fingers and some people don’t.
Curious was inspired by Mandy’s new museum of scent in Berkeley California. Here she invites you to explore the curiosities of olfactory natural history. The museum is very much hands on. You don’t just look at stuff- this is an all-round sensory journey: touch it, smell it, sniff it, try it. I haven’t been there yet, but in a year’s time, I will be visiting. I’m booking flights very soon and boy, will my blog have coverage!
Curious lives up to its name. It opens intriguingly, with a green note that smells almost medicinal, with a herby clary sage style bitterness. It reminded me of the glorious smell I once caught as a child, watching a neighbour creosote his fence. Many of my friends wrinkled their noses but I loved the tarry earthy scent and it remains one of my favourite aromas today.
Curious contains hay and tobacco: two notes which are not often as you might imagine in fragrance. Tobacco can veer from green and soapy (think Givenchy Amarige), to dry and oaky (think Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan). Hay can smell sweet, grassy, musty, honeyed or dry, or a combination of all of them. In Curious, it smells damp to me, and coupled with woody tobacco it reminds me of a hot damp green field as the sun dries everything out. There is a deep earthiness to Curious which reflects its roots as a product of nature. After a while, the drying- out-in-the-sun feeling became an autumnal smokiness, like a bonfire in the distance.
Curious unfurls its layers like a tree in all seasons, merging from fresh bud to green bitterness, to dried leaves to twiggy stem, but always grounded by the earthiness from whence it came. It brings out the pagan in me. There’s nothing like it. Mandy has made a beautifully unique scent that I urge you to try should you ever get a chance. As with all of Mandy’s creations, every ingredient is natural.
Curious is available from the Aftelier website. There is also an excellent sample service. The museum details are also on the website. If you live within a ten-thousand-mile radius, it’s definitely worth a visit. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.
We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn
Reek is an independent Scottish brand who worked with prolific Nose Sarah McCartney (Um, I might have mentioned her a few times) to produce the fragrance Damn Rebel Bitches. The scent was created to honour and commemorate the women who fought back in the Jacobite rebellion and the name the English had for them is used to name the fragrance in a rebellious two fingered salute. You can read my review here.
This year, launching,appropriately on Halloween 2017, comes Damn Rebel Witches. At the march for women earlier this year, placards read “We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn,” and that to me, is the demographic for this stunning statement scent. In other words, all of us.
Damn Rebel Witches is in a similar vein to Damn Rebel Bitches, but has a sharper opening and a darker finish. The blood orange comes out immediately, and the tobacco- here a rich woody note- adds an earthy finesse. There’s hearty malt, and a horsey whiff of leather. Both scents are created from ingredients that would have been around at the time of the women they celebrate i.e the 1700s (Okay, maybe not the oranges, but I’m happy to stand corrected). In both you’ll find malt, pink pepper, berries and blood oranges and they do have several similarities: these two are blood sisters for sure.
Witches is woodier than Bitches, and the orange is sharper. You know when you peel an orange and you accidentally get some in your eye? That’s the smell, although your eyes won’t sting if you smell this.
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.
Damn Rebel Witches is currently available in a set of two: Bitches and Witches, which gives you a phial of each from the REEK website. Full size bottles of Damn Rebel Witches will be available from Halloween this year. You can already buy Damn Rebel Bitches in full size as well as purse size. My sample was kindly supplied by REEK in return for an honest review, which I have given. Opinions are my own and this is not a sponsored post.
The other day someone told me that men wear aftershave and women wear perfume. Now, as you can imagine, I begged to differ. My opponent was adamant. Men can’t wear perfume and women can’t wear after shave. Since my adversary was my seven-year-old son, I couldn’t help feeling that I’d failed him as a mother. He also told me there’s no such name as Kenneth and that he can outrun a Jaguar, but I was less worried about that.
Let me be clear, as a politician would say (can’t remember which one, probably all of them), after shave is fragrance. Perfume is fragrance. Whatever it says on the label, if you like how it smells on you, you can wear it.
I do occasionally stage a heist into my husband’s side of the bedroom, but seeing as I chose them all for him, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Those nice people at the Perfume Society recently sent me the Men’s Edit Discovery Box, and discovery is the right word. Reader, I have been enlightened. It’s all very well my bemoaning the fact that men don’t wear enough roses, but how about I put my money where my mouth is and wear more so called “mascs” myself? Well, after trying the Men’s Edit box, I can assure you that there are at least three I will be buying full bottles of. Join me why don’t you?
Here’s what’s in the box. I’m going to write mini reviews below and shall focus on some in more detail later in the blog
Parfums de Marly Layton 1.2ml eau de parfum (normally £145 for 75ml)
Parfums de Marly is a brand that’s new to me. In the previous Perfume Society Discovery Box- latest launches, the women’s fragrance, Delina, was a classy and distinctive mélange of rhubarb and the pinkest of flowers. Layton is of the same high quality and classy distinction. It opens with apples and lavender and calms down into a multi layered wood-fest of every wood from light to to dark to smoky. A flourish of vanilla warms it up. It reminds me of a cosy oak paneled tobacconist. Beware- the middle phase blew my socks off.
Dunhill Icon Elite 2ml eau de parfum (£95 for 100ml)
The nose behind this is Carlos Benaim, who also made Dior Pure Poison, Viktor anf Rolf Flowerbomb and the original Ralph Lauren Polo fragrance, to name but a few from his staggeringly prestigious portfolio, My primary reaction to Dunhill Icon was “Aha! Suede”.
It’s a leathery nubuck scent, somehow stronger than suede, which I always identify as a softer toned down version of leather. Icon is dark and tarry, and so leathery that it almost tipped me over into liquorice territory. Addictively sniffable, this smells like the bare chest of a man who has just removed his leather jacket. Trust me, that’s A Good Thing.
Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac 2ml eau de parfum (£95 for 100ml)
I adore this classic (pronounced Foy de Tabac) and declare it totally unisex. I reviewed it a while back and remember that I rather fancied making my whole house smell this way. It’s the scent of a wood paneled gentleman’s club in Paris. Smoky, woody, herby, lovely. You can read my review here.
Escentric Molecules E 032ml eau de parfum (£72 for 100ml)
This opens with big stringent, clean scented lime. With a hint of black pepper. The vetiver comes out straight away, and the whole thing stays that way for a few hours. After that, the base is sandalwood and clean musk. The lime and vetiver combo never quits though, and this had me thinking of dazzling white shirt cuffs and expensive suits. Yum
Escentric Molecules M 03 2ml eau de parfum (£72 for 100ml)
The only note listed fior this is Vetiver. However, I beg to differ. This stunnjing fragrance smelled like scorched palm leaves for a few seconds then disappeared. Then it came back as a sort of sharp, green citrus with a bitter orange edge. Throughout the day, it gradually morphed into what I can only describe as a grapefruit chypre. It’s the most vivid grapefruit scent: pith, juice and peel, with an earthy green base. I completely fell headlong in love with this and I’m so glad I wandered out of my comfort zone, because I would never have stumbled across this otherwise. Definitely a full bottle scent.
Clive Christian Nobile VIII Magnolia 1.5ml eau de parfum (£350 for 50ml)
Getting my mitts on a Clive Christian sample is always a rare treat. They don’t come along every day, that’s for sure. This magnolia fragrance is utterly transporting, and as a magnolia fan, I loved it. Again, I call this unisex. I’d marinate in it if I could. Longevity is outstandingly good. I shall be reviewing this one in more detail soon.
Clive Christian Nobile VIII Immortelle
1.5ml eau de parfum (£350 for 50ml)
This stuff really packs a bunch. Immortelle is also known as the everlasting flower- a bit like a yellow cornflower. It has a spicy, faintly curry like nuance, but here it is overtaken by the robust vetiver. It’s a strong, statement fragrance that shouldn’t be worn before breakfast, but should be strongly encouraged for evening.
Jimmy Choo MAN ICE2ml eau de toilette (from £30 for 30ml)
This is an invigorating grapefruit and lemon scent that reminded me a little of Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien. It’s fantastically light and revitalizing with a mossy finish and I’ve no idea why it’s “For Men” because I am seriously getting myself a full bottle.
Initio Parfums Magnetic Blend 7 1.2ml eau de parfum (£154 for 90ml)
Amplifying the power of pheromonal molecules to provoke instinct through a sublime breed of violence.
It’s a lofty claim and one that’s hard to talk about objectively. On Fragrantica, the description doesn’t do it justice- the only note listed is musk. However, this musk will react differently on your skin than it will on mine. On mine it smells like plasticine. On you it may smell different. The jury’s out, but I remain intrigued. Maybe in six hours’ time I will become irresistible to all. I’ll get back to you.
EDIT- six hours later my cats keep sniffing my arm where I sprayed this but I can smell nothing. Don’t be put off, I get the feeling this is like one of those lipsticks that changes colour according to your body heats. Results will vary.
Bentley Momentum1.8ml eau de toilette (£59 for 100ml)
This has huge sillage and longevity and is full of ambergris, sandalwood, moss and musk, described as an oriental Fougere, the Nose behind it is the legendary Nathalie Lorson, who has created more major fragrances than I could list, but I can tell you that she made Black Opium, so she knows a thing or two about big hitters, as this one certainly is.
Cristiano Ronaldo Legacy 2ml eau de toilette (£29 for 30ml)
Finally, my sons and I have some middle ground to talk about. Football meets fragrance. This is a very decent offering in Ronaldo’s name (let’s not even pretend celebrities make them, OK?). This a leathery floral musk with daring hints of peony and violet. I say daring because football fans are not known for their penchant for peony. I am happy to be corrected. This is nothing too edgy or original, and you can only find the flowers if our nose seeks them out, but it is the same vein as a good David Beckham scent, only with more fuzzy violets. The Jury’s out on whether it helps you win football tournaments.
A generous sample in manly grey packaging. I like that there are other goodies in Perfume Society Discovery Boxes in sizes generous enough to have a decent trial of the product.
Penhaligon’s No. 33 Moisturiser 5ml (normally £38 for 75ml)
This comes in the cutest tube in the world. It’s perfect for an overnight stay and smells divine, as you might expect.
Where to buy
You can buy The Perfume Society Men’s Edit from The Perfume Society website for £19 or £15 to subscribers. Subscribing cots just £25 a year and gives a wide range of benefits of which discounted Discovery Boxes are just one. My box was sent ot me by the Perfume Society in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and this was not a sponsored post.
This fragrance came about as the result of a mad idea: capture the scent of the original shop at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain and make it into a perfume. Diptyque
Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard St- Germain was created to honour and remember the original shop where it all began: the scent of its wooden panels, resins and that unmistakable scent that only a cloistered interior can seem to conjure and retain.
The idea behind this fragrance was that it would take many of the classic facets of Diptyque bestsellers and wrap them into one fragrance, in order ot recreate the air inside the shop. Imagine if they did it with LUSH (sherbet flowers) or L’Occitane (fruited tea and roses) or Starbucks (coffee beans and chocolate). I’d buy them all.
I am woefully unfamiliar with many Diptyque scents so I can’t comment on whether this is an olfactory collage or not. However, what I can tell you is that the notes did not represent my impressions at all. In the same way, you can look at music score and hum the tune, but it won’t sound the same when it’s played by a symphony orchestra.
I was expecting a masculine, spicy, woody scent, reminiscent of a Savile Row tailor. After all, there were wooden panels and resins and spices within. However, what I actually get from this fragrance is an uplifting and feminine scent.
34 Boulevard Saint Germain opens with citruses which are vivid and restorative. These team up with bright, fresh green notes from fig and eucalyptus giving the impression of the world’s most uplifting herbal tea. I smelled grapefruit, lemon and orange. This bright, feel-good opening is almost immediately coupled with a feminine bouquet of peppery geraniums, along with roses, jasmine, iris and violet. I found the floral accord to be the most dominant of all, and radiantly beautiful.
The base is wood, resins and eucalyptus, but to be honest t, this stays true and sharp and never falls into heavy woody territory as I imagined it would. Towards the final act, I could smell that wood panelling, but this remained an intriguing unisex mélange of flowers, citrus and a lightly spice woody finale.
Diptyque 34 Boulevard St Germain is an intriguing scent that I’ve spent three days wearing and trying to describe. It’s full of contradictions and utterly addictive. It also has a hugely sunny outlook- maybe it was all those citruses that radiate and linger. I would definitely buy a great big full bottle.
You can buy Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain from John Lewis or the Diptyque website. There is of course, a matching candle too. Sample is my own, as is my opinion.
Today is National Chocolate Day. If you live in our house, it will feel no different to any other day.
It’s almost impossible to ignore the avalanche of gourmand scent that has hit the streets and wrists of the nation in the past few decades. Personally, I blame Thierry Mugler Angel, if blame is the right word. I first tried it back in 1992 and I regard it as the Grandmother of the chocolate explosion. Since then many have paid homage with varying results, and some have gone rogue and come up with new angles on chocolate and got it just right.
There are of course many different types of chocolate, from white to dark and everything in between. I’m going to try and avoid listing the pralines and caramels here, because that’s a much longer list. I am therefore going to list what might feel like a small selection, but you can bet that I’ve tried every one. If your favourite is missing, it’s only because I haven’t tried it and not because I don’t rate it.
Thierry Mugler Angel
This was a shocker back in 1992 when everyone was recovering from a decade of DiorPoison and Calvin Klein Obsession worn in great quantities. The vastly popular L’Eau D’Issey was launched the same year, all pure and full of healing-vibes. Mugler came along, bashed it on the head like an iconoclast and unleashed his vanilla, chocolate and patchouli throughout the world. It’s still going strong 25 years later, which is no mean feat in Perfume Land.
Cartier Baiser Fou
A beautiful white chocolate scent that smells like Milky Bars and lipstick. I absolutely adored this fun scent and far preferred it to the original Baiser Volé. You can check out my review here. I also listed it as one of my recommendations for wedding guest scents too.
DSH Dark Moon
Genius perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz uses a bitter dark chocolate to great effect in Dark Moon. It’s almost like a naked vanilla bean with no sugar, with an added sharp edge that lingers between gourmand and wood. Add in the nuances of red wine notes, and you have my perfect lunch. Dark Moon is like the best 80% chocolate: it has more in common with the coffee bean than a hot fudge sundae.
Sarah Jessica Parker Covet
This is a daring blend of dark chocolate and lavender, which confuses my palate no end. Do I eat it? Sniff it? My brain goes haywire. This was by no means her most popular scent but fumeheads in the know hold it in great esteem. It’s discontinued now but if you have a branch of Savers near you, I found a 100ml bottle of EDP for only £14.99 very recently.
Agent Provocateur Fatale
This is an absolute bargain and taps into the trend of big patchouli, big flowers and big chocolate. You can read my review here. It’s currently available from allbeauty.com at under £15. Many Fragrantica users compare it to Lancome La Vie est Belle, but that’s a whole other ball game.
Al Rehab Choco Musk
I bought one of these in a bundle after Christmas and a friend of mine loved it so much I gave it to her. After all, I can safely say I have enough to be able to miss one. It has many notes, but the only ones that really came through were vanilla, chocolate and musk. This is so cheap it’s laughable, (£2.99) but it has some serious longevity and is pretty good quality. Being a rollerball, this is ideal for your handbag or for layering with other scents when you need to choc up the choc factor.
Thierry Mugler Angel is widely available. Try The Fragrance Shop for their refill service and lovely staff.