Category Archives: Fragrance for Spring

Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain: Unexpected Surprises

diptyqye 34

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.

diptyqye 34 detailing

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.

blvd_st-germain_sign6447

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.

Stockists

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.

Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose: A Little Beauty

rhw summer rose

Look at that! Two Marks and Spencer reviews in two days. As you may gather, I didn’t leave empty handed yesterday.  I came away with a tiny 15ml bottle of Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose.

Rosie Huntingdon Whitely is the face of many M&S lines, namely her lingerie and make-up range.  In 2015, the first scent, Rosie for Autograph, was launched, and jolly good it was too. You can read my review here.   I’ve recently run out and need another one.  It’s a fabulous centifolia rose scent.  After that, came Rosie for Autograph Nuit (which I haven’t tried) and in summer 2106, the latest flanker Summer Rose was launched, which is what I’m reviewing today.

summer rose

Summer Rose opens with pear and blackcurrant which hooks up with the sandalwood straight away. I’m afraid I got a few whiffs of pencil shavings before this settles down, but no matter, that phase didn’t last long.

The middle is all about the heady jasmine sambac,: a highly popular ingredient lately which appears in many bestsellers. If you read between the lines, you may see me roll my eyes (it’s in everything right now!). There are roses which are fairly prominent, and lily of the valley, which I couldn’t pick up at all- shame, because lily of the valley is one of my favourite notes.

The grand finale still has pear, roses, a bit of woody stuff and some heady jasmine. In a blind test, I would have said this was peony and patchouli, which gives you some idea of how it comes across. Even if the notes don’t match. This is of course, subjective- you may have a different experience.

florentyna ma and s shelf

Summer Rose is pretty and light and will be a big crowd pleaser.  I applaud the availability of 10ml and 15ml bottles in Marks and Spencer. It puts perfume treats within everyone’s reach and it’s a great way of testing a scent before committing to a full bottle. The rest of the perfume department is pretty good too: check out the Monotheme range, the Fragonard and the Roger & Gallet.

Stockists You can buy Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose instore or online. It’s exclusively stocked at Marks and Spencer.  A 30ml bottle is just £14 and makes a great gift.

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rhw 15ml mk2

Marks and Spencer Florentyna: I Took Another Look

florentyna bottle and box

Marks and Spencer Florentyna has been there for so long that it was almost off my radar. I tried it many years ago, declared it old fashioned and never bothered again. Until today. With a new attitude, I took another look at Florentyna, and if you’ve ruled it out, as I did, then I encourage you to re-sniff with new eyes- or should that be nostrils? Because, my dear fellow sniffalots, Florentyna is actually pretty good stuff.

florentyna 10ml

For years, I was convinced that this was mainly a rose scent. I’d even heard people say it smelled similar to Estee Lauder Beautiful. It sort of does-ish, a bit. Slightly. In fact, I went into my nearby House of Fraser and tried Estee Lauder Beautiful for comparison. I would say they are the same family, but not close relatives.

Florentyna opens with big, white, creamy, feminine Gardenia. Almost immediately all the other white flowers burst in then: jasmine, orange flower and lily of the valley. The base note is musk, but a clean laundry musk, not a sexy animalic thigh-sweat musk. This is so respectable it should wear pearls.

Oddly, tuberose, the Queen of the white flowers, is missing. Now this is actually an appropriate omission in the case of Florentyna, because, as much as I like tuberose, it can take over, and when it’s really strong, it can have that vegetal/celery note which I love, but not everyone does. Here, all the “naice” white flowers are included. That’s a deliberate misspelling by the way- you’re saying “nice” in a genteel voice with your pinkie finger sticking out as you hold your bone china tea cup.

florentyna ma and s shelf

The background and frame of these white flowers is a beautiful and very noticeable white soapy note.  It’s good old fashioned pure white, very posh, thrice milled luxury soap, and along with the  bigwhite flowers, it smells terrific.

Thinking about it, it reminded me of an eighties fragrance- remember how Dior Poison was all giant tuberose and  Givenchy Amarige was all big jasmine and green soapy tobacco? Well this is massive too.

As for longevity? Well, three squirts should last you an entire weekend. florentyna

 

Florentyna is worth a second look and worth a lot more than its small price, but please keep that price where it is M&S!

Stockists: You can buy Florentyna from Marks and Spencer.  I also recommend Florentyna White, which I reviewed here. Florentyna is available at prices starting at £3.50 for 10ml.

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Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond

royal pink bottle and box

I often find Yardley scents off the beaten track on the High Street and this is a shame because they deserve to be centre stage. If you go into Boots for example, there’s a wall of testers (all locked up these days. Humph) and a totally separate shelf around the corner for the lower budget scents, including the Yardley range.  Needless to say,  I spend more time in this aisle than I do pressing my nose agaisnt the locked glass shelves of  testers.

Yardley Royal Pink Diamond is an excellent fruity floral that deserves to sell like hot cakes on a cold day.  Let’s start with that darling little bottle: it’s cute as a button with its fancy lid and pink juice. I can see that it’s designed to appeal to the, shall we say, under forty-seven age group, but I really like this and am sorely tempted to add it to the many bottles on my groaning dressing table.

royal pink diamond

Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond opens with tempting summery fruits: peach, cassis and mandarin. These are juicy and clean, rather that sickly and sticky.

Early on in this, the cedar pops up and adds a few woody notes to the melange of fruit.   Just as I’m getting used to fruity and woody together, along come the peonies and orange flower.  There is also pink pepper, which is pretty much a ubiquitous note in fruity florals and is a tiny sweet berry, not a spice.  The woodsy base seems to get bigger and bigger until the cedar pretty much takes over. Personally, I don’t mind this, but you might. However, there’s a lovely clean white musk note that turns up later and hangs around for a while., keeping the flowers and fruit company  as they fade.

At under £20 for a 50ml bottle, this is a great gift for someone else or for yourself, and I’m a big believer in gifts for oneself!

latest launches

I feel quite protective about the Yardley name.  So many um…under forty sevens might think of it as a “Nan-brand” but it takes talent, stamina and innovation to have been making fragrance since the 1770s and still be going strong.  Yardley London Contemporary Classics has produced some of the best single note florals ever. I swear by Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Lavender ( which Marilyn Monroe wore, fact fans- not just Chanel No 5) and Yardley Jade. I also loved Yardley Bluebell and Yardley Freesia. They’re reasonably priced and you can wear them alone or layer them for a little bouquet on your skin.  What can I say? I’m a fan.

from www.YardleyLondon.co.uk
from www.YardleyLondon.co.uk

Stockists: Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond is available from the Yardley website or from Amazon UK.  I found my sample in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, which you can read about here.

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Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree: A Chypre for All

tenue

Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree is inspired by a Parisian woman getting ready for a night out.  It’s the anticipation of the evening ahead with a squoosh of this modern chypre adding a final touch to a presumably chic outfit.  Also- check out that pompom! Oh la la.

Tenue de Soiree is an unusual scent in that it professes to have only two notes: iris and patchouli. I love it because it is a chypre (pronounced sheep-ruh) for the millennial palate and for old bats like me at the same time.  That’s not easy.  These days, the old bats want chypres and the millennials want vanilla and fruit. Tenue de Soiree manages to meet in the middle without being too um “classic” nor too sweet.  Applause.

The notes are iris and patchouli.  Just those two.  Nothing else. However, I definitely get a whiff of sandalwood and the faintest hint of warm vanilla or tonka. In any case, there’s a subtle cosy note that doesn’t wander into cupcake territory.  Strictly, speaking this doesn’t adhere to the usual chypre make up: usually but not always bergamot, oakmoss and patchouli.  Tenue de Soiree however, does have that chypre style finish which is dry and woody and slightly earthy, thanks to the patchouli.

This is simply done and very effective and out of all the very good fragrances in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, this one really stood out for me. It’s a bit different and a bit daring, but it can also make a cupcake fan look twice.  I hope so, anyway.

latest launches

Stockists: Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree is available in sample form from the Perfume Society latest Launches Discovery Box or in full bottles from Selfridges or Escentual.

Further reading: Check out this wonderful article on chypres by Jo Fairley.

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Missoni Eau de Parfum: Something New and Something Old

MIS15_ADV A3_D

 

I have to admit, the sum total of my Missoni knowledge prior to this is posh stripy knitting, so I apologise in advance for my ignorance.  You can find out more about the origins of the brand here in this superb round up from our trusty friends at Fragrantica.

I was recently given a sample of Missoni Eau de Parfum as part of a goody bag from my Perfume Society Improve Your Sense of Smell workshop ( see my write up here) . The brand came to my attention again when it won a FiFi for best packaging back in May at the annual Fragrance Foundation UK Awards ( see my write up here. Again) . Sure enough, its simple white background and coloured stripes are certainly eye-catching and immediately says Missoni across a crowded perfume shop.  The bottle itself is a fabulous unicorn blend of irridescent colour, and since it’s pretty cheap (around £20 for 30ml) you could do a lot worse for your dressing table.

missoni amazon

So what does it smell like?

Well I have to admit, it’s not smashing any barriers or covering any new ground.  However, if you want a pretty “pink” scent that doesn’t dominate a room, this is just the ticket.

It opens with pear and citrus, which straight away makes it blend in like a school uniform in a school.  In the middle, there’s a big batch of florals: namely  synthentic “petalia” i.e man-made general petal scent, along with floral notes and the ubiquitious note-of-the-year jasmine sambac.  Then there’s a sort of woody cedar base where the sweetness of the pear and the synthetic florals kind of blend in with a floral woody finish and… voila! A generic pink beauty counter fragrance that fits right into summer 2017.

The  pear/ jasmine sambac/woody base thing has been done to death lately so either this lacks originality or it taps into what the kids are buying.   No harm done, but I’ll sit this one out.

Sorry Missoni. I guess you won’t be sending me a free stripy jumper any time soon. Good price and great bottle though.

Stockists

You can buy this from allbeauty.com. The price is very good at just over £20 for a 30ml bottle.  You can also try amazon.co.uk.

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4160 Tuesdays Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet

Photo from 4160 Tuesdays
Photo from 4160 Tuesdays

If you wear this perfume and someone says, as they probably will do, “You smell nice, what are you wearing?” you will then answer “four one six oh Tuesdays (OR four thousand one hundred and sixty Tuesdays- both are correct) Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet” and you may get looks, because the compliment giver was probably expecting something like “Lemon Dream” or “Citrus Sparkle.”  When you’re a 4160 Tuesdays fan,  you get used to giving admirers a gob full of whimsy in answer to their compliments,  but that’s how we roll.

4160 logo
photo from 4160 Tuesdays website

Mrs Gloss’s  Lemon Sherbet came about after Sarah McCartney (all her fault, again) collaborated with the hugely popular Facebook group, Mrs Gloss and The Goss. The group is very friendly and exchanges beauty and fragrance advice in a warm environment where women bare their souls and post make up free selfies and new hair dos.  It’s like a bunch of cyber sisters, basically.

A Mrs Gloss splinter group spent the day at the 4160 Tuesdays HQ and made a scent called Mrs Gloss Made Me Do it, which was named by Sarah because Mrs Gloss made her do it.  Willingly, I should add. There were no ligatures or blackmail involved.

The result was such a success (I haven’t smelled it so can’t comment) that offshoots, or flankers were created.  One of them is Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet and I am wearing it today.

Photo from the Mrs Gloss and The Goss Facebook page
Photo from the Mrs Gloss and The Goss Facebook page

Here’s the Goss on Mrs Gloss (Lemon Sherbet version)

Mrs Gloss’s Lemon Sherbet opens with the kind of lemon that seems to go in two directions.

Firstly there’s a fizzy sherbet scent, which will be familiar to those who like the sweets,  but shortly after,  limes come in and make this a refreshing lemon/lime drink with ice cubes on a hot day.  As this citrus note melts down onto your skin,  it melts into a citrussy vanilla.  Now, I like this because the vanilla is warm without being sweet. The lemon and lime stick around, but they’re softened and their edges are fuzzy now.  The scent is refreshing but not cold: clean but not sterile, sweet but not sticky. The lasting impression is a musky vanilla with that lovely hint of lime keeping it summery.   Perfect for Summer. Or Winter.  Or Autumn.  Or Spring.

Fig 1 (photo from RetroTuckShop.com)
photo from RetroTuckShop.com

Stockists- You can buy this from 4160 Tuesdays here, along with many other treats.   Prices start at £15 for a 9ml EDP purse spray.  Samples are also available for a small fee.   Prices correct at time of pressing “Publish”.

My sample was included with an order for which,  many thanks.   Opinions are my own.

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Dreaming my Dreams with Avon Dreams Eau de Parfum

dreams

Avon Dreams is known as Prima over in the USA, so if you’re over there, you can read this as a Prima review.   Same thing.

primaAvon Dreams is a delightfully pretty scent that almost immediately reminded me of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez For Her.  I discovered Dreams in the last Avon brochure when for the princely sum of £8, I purchased a 50ml EDP, a 10ml EDP and a gel nail polish called Sheer Love, which is a sort of ballet slipper pink.  That’s what I call stretching your perfume dollar.

Dreams opens with a bunch of white flowers and acetone.  Don’t be put off- this is the note in Jean Paul Gaultier Classique that reminds me of the inside of ladylike handbags. I think this note is actually pear. Pear drops always remind me of nail polish. There is allegedly plum, but I don’t spot it.

avon-dreams-edp

lovely pic

The middle phase is all about the flowers in a huge big posy:  jasmine,  centifolia roses and iris.  The effect is impossibly feminine and ladylike.  The roses are especially noticable.   What I like best about this is that there’s no cupcakes or vanilla ice cream here- all the sweetness is straight from the florist.

After an hour or so this becomes a white floral musk with a hint of dusky woody notes.  There’s just the right balance of patchouli and white flowers to give this a clean white musk finish that’s wonderfully full bodied.    You can see why I thought this resembled SJP Lovely with its white flowers, woods and musk.

narciso rod

Avon Dreams has pretty good longevity- I tried this on in the morning and after just two  small top up squirts at lunch time, it’s been on all day.

Interestingly, over on Fragrantica, one reader claims that this has changed over the last few years, with too much cedar being added.  At the same time, I thought that Dreams strongly resembled Avon Rare Diamonds, which is now discontinued. I can’t help wondering if there’s been a mix up in the lab. Then again, I don’t care if there was.  Dreams is wonderful. I could insert lots of puns here about dreams come true etc, but I won’t. You’re welcome.

Stockists

Dreams is available from Avon UK, or Avon USA as “Prima”. Prices change often, but are always very reasonable indeed.  Bottle is my own as are my opinions.

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Thierry Mugler Aura: The Mugler I’ve Been Waiting For

aura ad

A new Mugler female fragrance is big news in perfume land. There have been flankers a plenty, but only three big ones since gamechanger Angel barged in and took over beauty counters in 1992: Alien, Womanity and this one: Aura.

It was in 1995 that I first tried Angel in the Harrods Perfume Hall, which seemed such a good place to try a Mugler for the first time that I did it again on Saturday.  I managed to sweet talk the lovely Sales Assistant in the Harrods Perfume Hall into not one but two samples of Aura.   Also, it provided brief respite from supercar spotting with my son in Knightsbridge.

aura bottle parfumo net
Photo by profumo.net

Aura has two brand new ingredients that were invented to fox bloggers and perhaps to ensure a lack of imitation.  When you think of how many big patchouli gourmands Angel inspired, it’s hard not to expect the same here.  However, Aura is not so easy to describe.

It opens with rhubarb and orange flowers.  I love rhubarb in fragrance.  If you have ever smelled Jour D’Hermes or Aedes de Venustas original then you will know how fabulous it can be.  It has a kind of  vegetal autumnal fruitiness that is perfect alongside the other ingredients in Aura.  The orange flower is to my nose, very girly and has facets of clean white soap alongside its typical white-flower headiness.

Photo by Mugler.Fr
Photo by Mugler.Fr

The two secret ingredients are Wolfwood from Firmenech (The flavour and fragrance  brand) and Tiger Liana, which  is totally going to be my stripper name if times get tough.

Tiger Liana alleges to be a smoky sugared almond note, but it’s hard to pick out a note I’m only guessing at, so in all honesty, I can’t tell you if it’s there or if my brain is putting it there .  I can pick out some wonderful dry, smoky woods, but I don’t know if its Wolfwood or just dry, smoky woods. In any case, the woody notes are there alongside the big. big orange flower, which I found to one of the most prominent notes in Aura.

photo from Fragrantica
photo from Fragrantica

The strongest overall impression Aura gave me was one of huge, juicy leaves in a rainforest with added gourmand and floral facets that frame  this green scent for the modern palate.   Aura has a wonderful “wetness” note to it that smells as leafy as the bottle is green.

As for the vanilla bourbon, well I didn’t really notice that until the end of the day when the leafy footprints  had faded and left only a rich vanilla liqueur in its place.   Longevity, by the way, is excellent.  I wore two sprays from morning until night.

Of all the Muglers, this is my favourite.   I don’t think it will be the game changer Angel was, but I think it’s one of the most palatable of the Muglers and the turned-down volume of it will be a crowd pleaser.   As for the  chiselled green jewel of a bottle -it is a huge divine emerald, which, if it were real, would be unapologetically vulgar and would look great on my third finger.

aura 9

My verdict? This is my favourite Mugler, but not the best. The best one is Angel, but that’s not my favourite.

Further reading: Thomas Dunckley, aka The Candy Perfume Boy, is for me, the last word on Mugler.  Here’s his review of Aura, which, and I’m not just saying this, is better than mine.  Please don’t enter it in the Jasmine Awards Thomas. I’d like an outside chance next year.

Stockists

This launches on June 30th and will be widely available. You can currently pre order it from The Fragrance Shop UK.   You should be able to find it post launch  from John Lewis and Escentual to name but two.  The bottle is refillable, which I totally applaud in this wasteful day and age.

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First impressions of First Instinct For Her by Abercrombie and Fitch

 

abercrombie

Until this week, I had never tried any fragrance from Abercrombie and Fitch.  In fact, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know they did any.  I guess I’m not their targeted market,  being a 47 year old with a serious charity shop habit.  No matter.  With perfume, age means nothing, and it will ALWAYS fit, even after Christmas.

On my skin,  First Instinct  For Her opens with magnolia and orchids. Now,  I always have a problem with orchid.  No matter who makes the fragrance,  orchid always smells like plastic to me.  Unfortunately, the case is no different here.  However, the magnolia rallies and a touch of grapefruit lifts it a bit higher.  The passion fruit adds a faint hint of tropical taste, a bit like Lilt, and the orange flower comes in to give this a heady white flower  blanket that complements the magnolia and makes it even richer.  The base is warmed with some cosy sweet tonka and amber.

abercrombie ad

Unfortunately, the overall impression this gave me was white flowers, vanilla and orchid.  It reminded me of so many other fragrances that I just couldn’t get excited about it.  However, another way of saying it  is that it’s right on trend at the moment and there is clearly an appetite for fragrance of this genre.

If you like this, you may also be a fan of Paco Rabanne Olympea, or Avon Far Away Infinity or Avon Incandessence (very orchid-y) or Christian Lacroix Bijou for Avon.

Stockists

You can get a sample of this ( among others) from The Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, or buy a full bottle from The Fragrance Shop UK online or instore, or from Escentual.

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