Avon Far Away is Avon’s best-selling fragrance in the UK. Avon daren’t discontinue it for fear of riots . It also has the distinction of being the fragrance I smell most when out and about here in South Wales. The women who love it REALLY love and most of them are repeat buyers.
It occurred to me that I have reviewed many, MANY Avon fragrances but not this one. In the past I have dismissed it and not paid it much heed, but last night I sat down and really paid attention to it. Reader, I learned a thing or two along the way.
Firstly, I once dismissed this as so vanilla-y that it borders on coconuts (true-ish, there are coconut notes and vanilla). However, last night, as I let it unfold on my skin, I noticed many facets I hadn’t previously found. First of all, this is a grand white flower fragrance. It bursts with jasmine and gardenia. I thought I could discern tuberose, but no, it was jasmine and gardenia- a pretty heady combo at any time of day. Also present is karo karoundee- a white flower that has similar nuances to tuberose and is often paired with it. No, I hadn’t heard of it, and yes, I did have to look that up. (Thanks, Fragrantica!).
Before the flowers go anywhere, the peaches emerge, coupled with apricotty osmanthus, giving this a very peachy, powdery accord. This gets stronger until it peaks at freesia, peach and white flowers before relaxing into a base note you will recognise when you walk down my local High Street.
The base notes ares rich in vanilla, musk and woods, but mainly settle to a sweet, peachy and powdery vanilla.
Far Away reminds me of another early Nineties fragrance: Cassini by Oleg Cassini. I wore it a lot as I worked in the evening wear department of a House of Fraser store. There was a display bottle on a stand and we sales assistants all drenched ourselves in it. The peaches, vanilla and flowers have a sweetness in common with Far Away.
Far Away was created in 1994 and its popularity shows no signs of dipping. There have been several flankers, and the one most like the original is Far Away Gold, which is very similar, note by note, but has stronger amber notes and less fruitiness. Also, fact fans, Far Away Infinity smells very similar to Paco Rabanne Olympea but is less than ten quid. Just saying.
To sum up, Far Away is not my favourite Avon, but taking a good look at it really opened my eyes to what a great scent this is. Avon has made a wonderful peachy, powdery, vanilla classic that puts good fragrance into an accessible price range. I couldn’t ask for more.
Avon Far away is widely available. Try Avon UK, Amazon UK and eBay. I get mine off my Avon Lady because then she gets commission and she is lovely.
I was recently lucky enough to receive a little bundle of samples from the genius perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I liked every single fragrance. However, some of them took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. Despite the Non-Spring weather here in chilly Wales I’m going through a big floral phase at the moment.
There were so many beautiful floral notes in these fragrances that it felt like a little olfactory tour of an exclusive florist.
DSH Perfumes Fleurs du Soleil
Fleurs du Soleil takes tuberose to the tropics and introduces it to new company. This is the kind of tuberose I am always seeking. I last found it in By Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad, and how I swooned!. It’s borderline vegetal, but at the same time, it feels like plunging your nose deep within the heady petals of this unique flower that always makes its presence felt. Around the tuberose is sweet honeysuckle, and a touch of citrussy fruit to stop everything going too flowery. It’s beautifully balanced and I keep getting little wafts as I move. Wonderful!
DSH Perfumes April
April smells exactly like playing in the garden as a child. The most prevalent note to me, is sweet pea. I remember the scent so well from my childhood. The olfactory memory is extraordinary and I remember garden scents from over forty years ago. Don’t ask me what I had for breakfast earlier today though.
April has just about every note you would expect from a Spring scent . It evokes green grass, spring flowers and tiny bunches of violets (which have no scent in real life, sadly). Also in here is sweet clover, which I used to actually eat when I was about five. If you pluck a juicy petal out of the flower, at the base you will find nectar and it tastes as good as it sounds. I also used to eat fuchsias and daisies, although this was not encouraged. I suppose I was rather odd, looking back.
What I like about April is that so many flowers are here, but somehow it smells clean and fresh, rather than sweet and overpowering, like some florals can smell. This is everything you can smell in a spring garden, buds, grass, moss and all.
DSH Perfumes Bluedaisy
I think of this as a daisy and blue sky all in one, such is its lightness and airiness. This comes from the grapefruit, which opens the fragrance, and the delicate flowers that follow the citrus notes. This would fit into the fruity floral category ( it has grapefruit, yuzu, passion fruit, oranges), but I still think of this as primarily a floral. The fruits here seem to frame the flowers and make them sing louder, almost like a conductor waving a baton.
I noticed the passion fruit, but then I thought- isn’t that perfect with sweet pea? I noticed the almondy, waxy petals of frangipani and the clean, almost herbal background of fresh, very green grass. This is a happy, Zippety Doo Dah feel good scent that really makes you appreciate how beautiful nature is.
All my samples were kindly supplied by Dawn herself, for which, warmest thanks. There were no conditions or obligations attached. The good news is that Dawn ships all over the world (with a few exceptions) so UK fans can order and enjoy these nature friendly scents. Here’s the website link.
I am a helpless addict when it comes to Discovery Boxes and I bless the day Jo Fairley thought “Hmm. That’s funny. There doesn’t seem to be a Perfume Society,” and founded one. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are to me, as an adult, what Sindy Dolls were to me as a child. I can sit there and play with samples and lose track of time and be perfectly lost in my own scented world.
Fashion, Fabric and Fragrance actually arrived a few weeks ago but then half term happened and I had to wrangle some small argumentative people. Finally, peace reigns and I can stick my nose in the familair white box and share my thoughts.
What I’m going to do is give you a mini review of each one and go into more depth about my favourites in subsequent posts. The box contains the following items:
Jasper Conran Nightshade 1.2ml eau de parfum (full price £60)
This opens with sweet, sharp fruit and freesia. There’s the perennial favourite pink pepper, and sharp oranges. All that blends nicely into a very flowery middle note, which then beds down into a more evening stylee fragrance of cedar, musk and patchouli. This wonderful woody/musky finish was my favourite bit. Funnily enough, although the bottle is purple, this actually smells purple to me as well. Do you ever smell a colour?
Elie Saab Girl of Now 1ml eau de parfum (full size £38)
What I like about this flanker is that, unlike many flankers, you can actually recognise the original scent in this. There’s the original orange flower and patchouli from Le Parfum Elie Saab, but Girl of Now offers a different angle. There is a wonderfully almost-not-quite-marzipan in the opening bars of this. It comes as no surprise to find that there are notes of pistachio and almond here. The white flowers complement the almonds so well, you wonder why it’s not done more. The base has note du jour cashmeran alongside tonka and patchouli. Cashmeran is that wet-concrete nuance that makes me say “it’s on the tip of my tongue!” as my brain tries to connect a fragrance to a concrete mixer and gets confused. Girl of Now is a wonderful scent and my favourite out of the whole box.
By Terry Délectation Splendide 5ml eau de parfum (full size £175) This fragrance comes from Terry de Gunzberg, who also made the wonderful Terry-ific Oud. My first impressions of Délectation Splendideis that it is a gentleman’s cologne that belongs in a very exclusive wood panelled barber shop. It opens with juicy spices: citrus and ginger, and as it calms down it smells of dry, flaked pipe tobacco, black pepper, almonds and patchouli. Like I say, it’s very masculine, but don’t let that stop you. Let’s tear down the walls!
Lalique Satine 1.8ml eau de parfum (full size £64)
I’ve never smelled a Lalique I didn’t like. and this lovely scent is no exceptio. Lalique Satine is a rich feminine fragrance that reminded me of Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree: a wonderful woody/floral that exudes class and elegance. Satine has beautiful big flowers and on my skin, goes straight into it’s woody patchouli base. In the middle is supposedly pink pepper, vanilla and tonka, but I don’t find this to have vanilla- it’s woodier rather than sweet. Sometimes in fragrance, you find what you seek so if you look for the vanilla here you might find it.. Lalique Satine was made by genius Nathalie Lorson, who is the goddess responsible for Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium.
Estée Lauder Modern Muse 7ml miniature eau de parfum (full size £49)
Modern Muse is a wonderful fragrance that contains a classic selection of flowers: tuberose, jasmine, lily, and then is softened with wood, amber and musk. It’s one of my favourite Estee Lauder fragrances, although I find the flankers are hit and miss for me. This is in a similar fragrance family to Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez For Her, so you like those, you’ll probably like this too.
La Perla La Mia Perla 8ml miniature (full size £39)
La Perla comes in a pearlized box, which had me at hello. The fragrance is a delicate floral musk, with pretty peony notes and classy orris (I can’t help it, I always think orris is classy). Most of all, though, this is a musk above all else, so musk fans will like this and musk dodgers will not. I’d have liked this to have been a little stronger, but otherwise, it’s rather lovely.
MUGLER AURA MUGLER 1.2ml eau de parfum (full size £49)
Using exclusive trademarked Givauden ingredients, namely Tiger Liana and Wolfwood, this rhubarb, vanilla, green and woody scent is beautifully blended and comes in a bottle that looks like a giant emerald. It reminds me of succulent dark green leaves in a jungle, with sweet fruity edges. You can read my review here.
AERIN Evening Rose 2ml eau de parfum (full size £96)
This is my first ever Aerin Lauder, although I’ve heard only positive things about the collection. Evening Rose is more than just a rose, although the rose is the star. Firstly, two types of roses have been used: Bulgarian and Rose de Mai. Both are known for their uniquely rich facets and together, this is almost like an extrait strength rose. The roses are framed by a touch of cognac, blackberry, black pepper and incense, and that’s pretty much it. The beauty of this heady, rich rose is in its strength and its simplicity. It’s mega-rose with a European accent.
Molton Brown Russian Leather Shower Gel 30ml (full size £20), together with Scented Tattoos- scented tattoos! These are so much fun. They are temporary skin transfers that contain a stunning Russian leather fragrance. The shower gel gave me two generous and beautifully scented bubble baths, although you can of course, actually use it as shower gel. I always associate Molton Brown with every expensive hotel I’ve stayed in (not many!). Gorgeous.
Percy & Reed’s A Walk in the Rain Shine & Fragrance Mist FULL SIZE (Normally £15 and launches in the UK in October).
Living in Britain, walking in the rain is a pretty common occurrence. In fact, I miss it when it doesn’t happen for a while. This light hair mist from Percy & Reed not only leaves a little bit of gloss on your hair, but also gives little wafts as you move your head. The scent is green, fresh and slightly minty.
So, there you have it. My favourite was Elie Saab Girl of Now, although there were none that I disliked. This makes for a wonderful collection, and once again, the beauty of this is that the choice of perfumes were out of my hands. I was taken out of my comfort zone and made to meet new friends. And Reader, it feels good to have new friends.
PS Bottom photo is entitled Invasion of the Cats.
Over to you
How about you? Have you had a Discovery Box lately? Or have you tried any of the scents in this one? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
You can buy the Fashion, Fabric and Fragrance Discovery Box exclusively from the Perfume Society website, along with several other rather nice Discovery Boxes that I will be putting under Santa’s nose. I bought mine and this is an honest review.
Avon Alpha is a new release from Avon and even in a blind test, I would be able to tell it was an Avon. It has a lot of Avon materials in common, but this is not a bad thing. In fact many brands have a particular in-house accord and its usually down to the particular range of ingredients they use to colour in the fragrances, to use a metaphor.
Avon Alpha is, first and foremost and beyond any question, fruity floral. The opening is raspberry, lychee and blood orange. There are floral notes in the middle, and I would hazard a guess at jasmine leading the gang. In the base there is an interesting ingredient that is getting very popular lately. Cashmeran is a synthetic note and has a “wet cement” accord. It doesn’t smell as weird as it sounds, more like bland wet stone. It’s actually pretty good as a base note in a flirty floral scent like this and just blends into the background and helps the loud notes to do their thing.
Over on Fragrantica (a brilliant site if you’ve yet to venture over) many readers claim that Avon Alpha smells similar to Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Absolutely Irresistible and Givenchy Hot Couture. Not a bad comparison, especially at such a low price.
This isn’t may favourite Avon, since I have a thing about Avon Perceive (peony) and Avon Rare Platinum (tuberose) but this certainly holds its own against other high street bestsellers and makes a great gift.
I bought my bottle on special offer from the Avon brochure last month. It was £4.50 for 30ml. You can find it here.
You may have gathered by now that I’m a bit of an Avon fangirl. I like how Avon stays on top of current trends and I like how they keep it affordable.
In the run up to Christmas (yes, we can say it, it’s October) fragrance launches emerge into a market where customers often want to cosset themselves as the weather goes colder and summer scents are put away. Avon Eve Duet is a great end of summer/start of Autumn fragrance as it has two fragrances in one bottle. This is not the first time this has been done: I recall a bejewelled Britney Spears sphere containing two half botles of scent, but I haven’t seen it done other than that.
Avon Eve Duet has Radiant Allure in one end and Sensual Allure in the other. Both have a note in common: Water Lily. So, imagine a light and watery floral that smells slightly similar to Marks and Spencer Butterfly. Add a bit of apple blossom-crisp and pretty. There’s a bit of jasmine in there too and an unremarkable base of amber and wood which is less prominent than the pretty, watery floral notes.
Sensual Allure, in the other end, also has Water Lily, but opens with rich plum and fruity pink pepper before the water lily peeps out, less prominently than in Radiant Allure, but still there. It reminded me of a less sweet version of Avon Luck, so if you like that you might like this too. The note that makes the biggest difference here is the patchouli. It adds an earthy depth to Sensual Allure that makes its presence felt, but really comes into its own when sprayed over the top of Radiant Allure.
Alone, these are good, but together, you get something quite different and rather wonderful. Together you get a fabulous blend of florals, patchouli and crisp fruits. If it was me, I’d wear Radiant Allure in the day, then spray Sensual Allure over the top to go out at night. When these are together, I can even smell a hint of violets, which aren’t there, but seem to emerge as a ghost note when everything is mixed up.
With the fragrance industry launching new scent left, right and centre, brands have to up their game, and Avon has certainly done so with this head turning novelty. This will work because this is good quality scent that doesn’t rely on its dual-ended novelty. Alone or solo, Eve Duet is a winner.
Eve Duet is available from your Avon rep or the Avon UK website. My sample was paid for by me so I am under no obligation to like it, but I do.
Avon Femme Exclusive is one of three fragrances in the Avon Femme range. I’ve already reviewed Avon Femme and Avon Femme Icon, so here’s my review of Avon Femme Exclusive.
Avon Femme Exclusive opens with pear. I also detected some plum as well: this is deeply, darkly fruity. . The jasmine in the middle comes out at pretty much the same time as the pear and makes for a pear jasmine combo that, whilst not particularly original, certainly runs with the pack and is bezzie mates with the popular set. To be honest, the pear dominates so all the others notes tend to fall into the background, except for vanilla. It says here that there is black vanilla in this, but that’s sort of corporate speak for extra strong evening style vanilla. In fact the vanilla is not my favourite boozy liquor vanilla, it’s more of a milky vanilla, and alongside the pear, I couldn’t help thinking of pear, pastry and custard. There’s just enough jasmine to stop me thinking this is pudding flavour.
All in all, this will do the job nicely and is priced affordably. It does smell very similar to Avon Luck (all the vanilla), so if you like that, you’ll like this. It’s not my favourite, but there’s certainly a fan base out there for this bargain.
Avon Femme Exclusive is available from Avon UK or from your Avon rep if you are lucky enough to have one. My little purse spray was just £3, and it’s a great way of living with a scent for a bit before deciding to get a big bottle. Viva purse sprays!
Lancôme La Vie est Belle needs no introduction. Since its launch in 2013, its success has gone orbital, leaving trails of imitators quivering in its wake. Its army of flankers shows no sign of slowing the pace either. Until now, they have all escaped my radar, but the one I tried today stopped me in my tracks. Yes, I nearly walked past it, thinking “Really Lancôme? Another one?” but once I sprayed the gorgeous bottle, this grumpy cynic was silenced.
Let’s start with the irresistibly touchy feely faceted glass bottle. It’s impossible not to run your fingers over it. It’s a delight to fiddle about with and it looks good too. Apart from that, the display in Boots looked the same as the usual LVEB displays. But what’s this? I thought at first spray. This is pretty good.
LVEB L’Eclat immediately reminded me of something I’d smelled before and I couldn’t put my finger on it until about twenty minutes later. It was then that I realised that it reminded me of Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial. Indeed, it has more in common with Parfum Initial than it does with La Vie est Belle.
The opening note is bergamot which immediately clings to the pretty orange blossom and “white flowers.” Fragrantica doesn’t elaborate but I’m calling jasmine. I couldn’t pick out any tuberose, but the orange blossom is definitely in there.
Now, around this point, I was waiting for the heavy praline fountain to drown out the pretty notes like a Nutella Tsunami. Although this is what I like least about the original LVEB, it seems to be the bit that many fans like best. However, the praline never came. Instead, I was rewarded with a base of rather delicate sandalwood and a silky flourish of buttery vanilla. There’s no praline. There’s no patchouli. There’s just citrus, white flowers, and subtle vanilla.
The vanilla, it must be said, is delicious. It has heart and warmth with none of the vibe of an overfull bowl of sickly frosting that it can sometimes have. It ends on vanilla and stays with vanilla, which does make it more gourmand than floral, but La Vie est Belle L’Éclat has restraint. I probably wouldn’t buy a full bottle, but it’s the LVEB flanker that I thus far like best. Bravo and 10/10 for the divine bottle.
In the past, Bronnley has had a reputation as being a classic floral brand that “older” ladies liked. Personally, I’ve always loved classic florals and soaps in wrappers so it’s never stopped me. However, the upcoming bright young things of the Twenteens are a capricious bunch with more choices than any other generation that has ever lived. Brands have to move with the times.
Bronnley has not only moved with the times but added a bit of an edge that is putting them firmly on my list of favourites. Their collection of Eclectic Elements fragrances is packaged for a new generation, but pleases this 47 year old no end.
Today I am wearing Bronnley Eclectic Elements Zealous Flower and I love it. Why do I love it? Well, that’s easy.
It comes in an adorable roll on bottle. (more about roller balls soon because I’m obsessed).
It’s available in a 9ml version so you can live with it for a good few weeks before buying a big one.
It’s inexpensive but doesn’t smell like it is.
Here’s what it smells like:
It opens with pear, orange and bergamot. Now pear has been used A LOT in the past two years, to the point where I pull non-selfie faces when I smell it.
However, in Zealous Flower, it’s the flowers that come out first, not the fruit. In fact the fruit adds clean edges to the roses and jasmine, which are BIG. Even the pear knows its place and doesn’t take over.
It must be said that there was briefly a pencil shavings phase which came and went, before the vetiver and amber rounded things off. They never quite see off the jasmine though, which remains the main player here. In fact, at first, I thought this had tuberose in it, such is the white flower richness.
Zealous Flower leaves me with a pleasing autumnal floral on my skin. What I’m left with is a very agreeable accord of vetiver, jasmine, hints of leathery labdanum flower, and some faded roses.
Now, about that adorable roller ball. This has a little metal rollerball that applies just the right amount to skin and stops you going overboard before a day at work. The rollerball version comes in an attractive narrow box in 9ml size and is a good compromise between a big bottle blind buy and having to judge it on a few sprays from a tester. I want more brands to do this.
Zealous Flower is or has also been known as Savage Flower, but I prefer Zealous to Savage.
You can buy the Bronnley Eclectic Elements range from Boots in store or online. The rollerballs cost £10 and contain 9ml of scent. You can also buy this cute set of whole range minis for £20 from the Bronnley website. My rollerball bottle was kindly provided by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which mine is. This is not a sponsored post. Follow
Before we start, I just want to say how much I love Jean Paul Gaultier. I love the twinkle in his eye and how he has never taken himself too seriously. He has fun with fashion and is never afraid to put it out there.
When Scandal came along, I thought “this should be good”. After all, this was the designer who made a perfume bottle snow shaker for us to play with and who gave Madonna rocket boobs. I still love him from his Eurotrash days with Antoine de Caunes. It was the perfect 1990s post pub TV show, and best accompanied by a bowl of Supernoodles and some Alka Seltzer.
Ok, I’ll shut up now and tell you what the fragrance is like, shall I? The notes are blood orange, honey, gardenia and patchouli. The blood orange came and went. I barely noticed the gardenia. In fact, the first half hour was a JPG Classique moment for me. There were accent s of it poking through: that unmistakable nail polish/face powder combination that’s so original and almost exaggeratedly ladylike. That phase didn’t last long enough for my liking, and was shortly replaced with some kind of syrupy vanilla sundae with synthetic and unremarkable patchouli. So far, so what.
However, then a great big dollop of honey comes along and plonks itself in the middle. Now to me, honey is a kind of sexy smell. It smells like dried spit, which can either mean your pillow needs washing or you’ve just had a massive snog. I like it in small doses, preferring the massive snog to the dirty pillow. In Scandal, it was a redeeming feature.
Unfortunately, the overall lasting effect of Scandal is that of a Lancôme La Vie est Belle flanker. I couldn’t tell you which one because there are eleventy billion of them, but if I had smelled this blind, I would have hazarded a guess that this was La Vie est Belle Honey Summer Blah Blah or whatever it might be called.
There has been a popular generic confectionary/patchouli accord hanging around since 2013 when LVEB launched. It has infiltrated way too many fragrances for my taste, although sales figures disagree with me. On the other hand, if that’s what’s selling and if consumers are voting with their perfume dollar, then it would be foolish not to capitalise on it. I’ll just have to sit a few launches out until my stuff comes along. That will happen when green mossy chypres and seventies aldehydes make a come back on the High Street. Oh well. I’m in for a long wait.
By the way, the bottle reminds me of a much earlier fragrance by Revlon called Head Over Heels. It doesn’t make the bottle any less fun, but neither did it make this curmudgeon gasp at the originality of it.
Meanwhile, enjoy the still-fabulous-anyway bottle that has the typical wink of JPG humour about it. It makes me think of someone falling backwards into a taxi at 3 am. Ah! How I mourn my lost youth.
The thing I love about discovery boxes is that they put brands under your nose that would otherwise have been off your radar. This was the story with Parfums de Marly Delina- a brand and a scent I had never even heard of. I found this sample in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box.
Parfums de Marly was established in France in 2009 and Delina is its most recent launch. There is a group of noses (can we please think of a word to describe a group of noses?) who work together and alone on the fragrance collection. Delina was created by Quentin Bisch. The brand name comes from the Louis XVI era of extravagance and luxury that ended with revolution. Louis dedicated the Chateau de Marly to his beloved horses and celebrated each race victory with new fragrances. Louis had his own court perfumer in Jean Fargeon so all this scented extravagance makes for a fertile place for inspiration.
Delina opens with bergamot, rhubarb, lychee (or litchi). Middle notes are Turkish rose, lily of the valley and peony. Base notes are vanilla, musk and cashmeran.
On paper, this looks like it would make for an overly fruity opening, but in fact the rose and the rhubarb kind of burst out at the same time. I love how well these two go together. The rose gets jammy but never sticky and the rhubarb adds a thick richness to the roses. The musk pitches in fairly early on and softens all the edges, making this in my mind at least, a thick velvety deep rose blanket with delicate fruity nuances darting around delicately.
The base contains cashmeran, which according to Fragrantica (because I’d never heard of it) has a wet concrete facet, and funnily enough, I could detect this in the background. Rather than being a disaster, it adds a pleasant dampness to proceedings, like wet stone. Thankfully the vanilla was either part of the rhubarb note or was playing quietly in the distance. It didn’t overtake. This one is all about rose and rhubarb together. They go so well I’m amazed more people aren’t doing it.
I’m delighted to see that rhubarb does seem to be enjoying a renaissance lately, however. It features in Thierry Mugler Aura and also in Aedes de Venustas eau de parfum (the first one). I also found it in Jour D’Hermes but I’m not sure whether it was supposed to be in there. If I had to isolate a rhubarb note I would describe it as juicy, green, sharp like a gooseberry and sweet like deep red apples. It has a wintery feel that soaks up spices particularly well. Now I’m thinking about rhubarb crumble. Oh boy.
Parfums de Marly Delina is very long lasting. Two sprays on each arm from my sample kept me going all day with delightful rosy, rhubarb wafts. It doesn’t come cheap, but when I look at the beautiful moulded pale powder pink bottle I ache to own it. #greed