Category Archives: Fruity Floral

How to Get Perfume Samples

 

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

 

Blind Buys have taught me a lesson many times and it’s often a lesson I choose to ignore.  So many times have I seen a bargain perfume, read some reviews of it, looked up the notes and decided to buy it, only to be disappointed.  You can always sell your disappointments on eBay but you rarely get the same price back that you paid for it.

In the frugal month of January, which is usually grey and makes Christmas look sad and outdated within days, something nice in the post always cheers me up.  A set of samples to work through can help you make a considered decision about your next perfume buy, whilst being a very pleasant way to spend an evening indoors as the wind and rain lash outside.

Samples are the best way to live with a scent for a few days and below is a round up of the best.   They also make great gifts for people when you don’t know what they like, and more importantly- when they don’t know what they like either!  When you come across samples that you don’t like, hang on to them as they are great for swapping (see point 12 below)

So here are my twelve best places to get samples. I’ve done the homework so you don’t have to. These are all UK.

Where do you get yours?

 

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box. – Every quarter, for five quid, you get sent a Discovery Club Box with between six and nine samples in.  Some you may already know and some may be new releases.  All High Street popular stuff rather than niche, but it works for me.

 

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

The Perfume Society Beauty Box when you subscribe to the Perfume Society for £25 a year you receive a Discovery Box, free of charge, full of scented goodies.  After that you can buy a Discovery Box for the discounted price of only £10. A great way to learn about scent new and old.

 

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

Penhaligon’s Library of Scent– ten samples- five male, five females (but knickers to that, I wear men’s stuff very often) at the very reasonable price of £12.80 on allbeauty.com or on Amazon.

 

http://www.penhaligons.com/scent-library/

L’Artisan Parfumeur Boite a Parfums– you can get these online and each pretty tin contains ten 2ml splash samples of L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances.

sample tin

Papillon Perfumes– To experience what critics are talking about right now, you can order a sample set of all four Papillon scents for just £15 plus £3 shipping .   Critically acclaimed and beloved of perfume fans and bloggers alike, the Papillon collection could lead to you buying a full bottle. A little goes a long way. Heed my warning.  You will fall in love.

sample

4160 Tuesdays: There are all sorts of ways to sample these unique scents from handbag sized bottles to a full set of samples.  Prices start from just £6 for a generous 4ml splash bottle.  I’m a big fan. Here’s the link to the 4160 Tuesdays website.

4160samples

Pell Wall Perfumes-A Shropshire based UK independent perfumery which is the brainchild of Nose Chris Bartlett. There are  some great variations here: £5 for 5 x 1ml samples including postage (four of your choice and one “lucky dip”), or 9 generous 10ml bottles for £49. Here’s the link.

Discover-Pell-Wall-Box small

 

Les Senteurs– The biggest range of niche samples I know of in the UK – they have just about everything I can think of and many more I had never heard of or tried.  Here’s the website– but be careful- you can get quite lost in it. Heaven!

 

at Les Senteurs
at Les Senteurs: I’m the passer by, not the glamorous customer.

Cath Collins: A “cottage” perfumery which makes great zesty scents inspired by flowers from Cath’s own garden. Three  EDT samples for £5.25 inc shipping or £7.00 for four, including shipping. Full sized bottles are reasonably priced at £29.50 for 30ml. Here’s the link to the website.

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Jo Loves: Try the Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience which gives you a sample set and the option of a full bottle of your favourite. All fabulous quality and mouth wateringly good. Here’s the website link.

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EBay: you’d be amazed what people sell. Try for bulk packs of samples such as Thierry Mugler Angel– sometimes cheaper than buying the smallest bottle and handy for your handbag.

ebaylogo

 

Swapping  Swap with other perfume lovers on Fragrantica, basenotes and Facebook groups.  Join up, join in and get involved. Perfume lovers are generous souls and love to spread the joy and share.  This is where all those samples you don’t care for come in handy and can be used as swapping currency.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream

 

 daisydreambottle

The popularity of Marc Jacobs fragrances is indisputable, but I have often wondered, does the prettiest peacock have to try harder in the personality stakes? In other words, are they all mouth and no trousers? (as we say in Wales).

To be honest I quite like the Marc Jacobs scents that I’ve tried, and I’ve tried Daisy, Honey,  Dot and Daisy Eau so Fraiche.  They are perfectly nice and inoffensive and whenever I smell them on other people I always remark how lovely they are.  However, I can’t help thinking my perfume dollar is going to the posh bottle factory and not to the quality ingredients department, and it doesn’t come cheap at  £40 for a 30ml bottle.

daisydreamWhen Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream was launched last year, I noted the beautiful bottle with its cut out daisies and its pleasing, nay delightful, sunny skies bottle and I confess, I felt a little cynical towards it.  But saturation has a way of influencing you – says this new fan of Strictly Come Dancing.

Here’s  a funny thing: I have started to like Daisy Dream and can’t seem to stop trying it whenever I go into Boots (the chemist not the footwear, for non UK readers).

Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream opens as lightly as a fairy doing ballet.  It’s all delicate peachy fruits and light as air flower petals. (Although in fact, it’s blackberries, grapefruit and pear). The middle note goes a bit weird on me though, and I can’t help thinking of tinned tropical fruit:  think wet lychees and slightly gone over mango. The base has a slightly synthetic sickly note, but there are still sticky wet fruits and delicate flowers in there as it all beds down into what is supposed to be musk, woods and coconut  ( not on me!).  Longevity is around four hours, but no more than that.

It’s a youthful, modern scent that I don’t think will stand the test of time as a classic. However, I can’t help wishing that I had an Alice in Wonderland potion that made the bottles into impossibly pretty little necklaces made of jewels.  Start making those, and I will be a living advert for the brand.

The truth is, Daisy Dream and I are not compatible in the long term.  I only like the top notes.  I guess that’s why I keep visiting the bottle in Boots instead of owning one.   Like a bad boyfriend, I lose interest after the honeymoon period.

Stockists:  Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream is available just about everywhere, but if you’re shopping online you can try Amazon.co.uk  or allbeauty.com.

www.thedieline.com
www.thedieline.com

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4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer: Coup De Foudre

knicker drw

As a perfume lover, (as I imagine you are too if you are reading this), I am always searching for that thunderbolt moment when you find treasure.  You know that moment when you smell a perfume that you love immediately and plot to own by fair means or foul as soon as you’ve sniffed it?  Well that happened to me with Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays.

Sarah McCartney, founder, Nose and Grande Dame of 4160 Tuesdays, very kindly sent me some samples recently for my perusal.  As always, I am  delighted to receive them, on the proviso that I will be honest  whether or not I like them.  She also kindly included a very glossy coloured chart which categorises the many 4160 Tuesdays scents.  This is jolly handy and I wish more places would do this.

photo by World of Oddy via Flickr with kind permission of A.Oddy

 

Tart’s Knicker Drawer happened, as often the best things do, by accident.  Sarah had been mixing so many potions in the lab that she joked she would be getting on the bus smelling like “a tart’s boudoir”. Encouraged by several voices of approval and generally egged on to bottle it up, Tart’s Boudoir became Tart’s Knicker Drawer and golly, I’m glad, because I love it.

What I smell:  violets, some pretty green notes, the contents of a messy dressing table covered in snowy white talc with a blob of Pond’s Cold Cream spilled onto it, some ambery spice making it smell a bit chypre-y (new word alert!) and a strong, strident resonance that arrives in the room and says “I’m impossibly feminine and glamorous and if I want to wear a velvet dress and red lipstick before cocktail hour, then I shall.”

The official description of the notes is very different to my interpretation above .  I wondered if I should list them all because the list of notes alone does not do justice to this lovely retro, powdery, powerhouse of a scent that smells like it was made for ladies in stockings who have very messy dressing tables and perfectly set hair that stays put for a week.  What I would say is don’t look at them too closely because if you try and imagine them in your head, you will miss the serendipity of this happy accident.

Here are the notes:

top notes: bergamot, orange, grapefruit, pink peppercorn,

heart notes: raspberry, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, cedarwood, violet, tuberose, guaiac wood

base notes: amber, musk, vanilla, benzoin, tobacco.

cities collection samples
The Cities Collection- 4160 Tuesdays

As for me, I want to always have a bottle of this so here’s a message for the lovely Sarah : Thank you for making it and please don’t stop!

Stockists:  prices are very reasonable indeed at £40 for 30ml,  £60 for 50ml or £90 for 100ml of eau de parfum.  When you think how many rent-a-scent beauty counter fragrances  cost the same and can be so forgettable, then it makes really good sense to go niche for the same price, or even less.

In the UK you can buy Tart’s Knicker Drawer from the 4160 Tuesdays website, in Europe (Benelux) 4160 scents are available from www.parfumaria.com  and in the USA you can buy  a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scent from www.luckyscent.com and in Canada from  www.indiescents.com

Don’t forget the cute sample sets (Tart’s Knicker Drawer comes under Frocks and Hats) and handbag sized bottles from the 4160 website.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense: Not For Wallflowers

classiqueintense

Jean Paul Gaultier has been a favourite of mine since his Eurotrash days (do you remember that great post pub show he hosted on TV with Antoine de Caunes? Fabulous.)

JPG was the darling of the Nineties, getting men into kilts and Breton shirts and Madonna into her iconic pointy bras – and sometimes no bra at all if the iconic topless dress is anything to go by.  Those Gallic eyes have lost none of their twinkle and I declare myself a fan.

www.popsugar.com
www.popsugar.com

However, JPG loses a few points (but none of the love) for the sheer vast number of flankers around the fabulous Classique.  I have reviewed Jean Paul Gaultier Classique elsewhere in this blog and I liked its soapy/acetone-y/feminine vibe, but it looks like someone, somewhere thought “here’s an idea!  Let’s make so many flankers that even the die hard fans could never possibly list them all!” and so it was.

However, redemption is in sight for today I am wearing Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense and it’s marvellous.

Opening with bright white flowers and a hint of  vanilla, Classique Intense makes its presence felt straight away.  The choice of flowers is interesting:  there is no tuberose, but lots of Tiare flower.  This means you get headiness, with less full fat cream but plenty of coconut and soap.  I happen to love this so I don’t mind, but coconut dodgers (great mental image! Would make a good Wii game) may wish to take a back seat.

The middle phase goes a bit woody on me and lies flat for a little while, but then the base notes emerge and in comes patchouli, a few more white flowers coming back as the woodiness fades, and a delicate hint of vanilla that makes this confusingly, borderline frangipani in places, what with the coconutty foodie thing going on.  No matter, it’s marvellous and with just a touch of juiciness in the restrained pomegranate, you have a great, and intense, woody white floral.

Ignore the millions of flankers- I have neither the time nor the inclination to even know where to begin, but the original Jean Paul Gaultier Classique is worth seeking out if you haven’t done already.

Stockists  You can buy Classique Intense online ( or in store) from the Fragrance Shop in the UK, or online from Next or online and in store from Boots (who also do click and collect if you don’t want to pay postage).  I couldn’t find it on any USA sites so I am guessing the launch over there will be coming soon.

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Yves Rocher Quelques Notes D’Amour: A Grown Up Rose

quelquenotes

 

Yves Rocher is a brand I am rather fond of.  I have at least four full bottles* and have yet to try one I disliked.  I was kindly sent a bottle of Quelques Notes D’Amour by Yves Rocher and I thank them warmly for their generosity.  I am always happy to receive perfume to review, on the proviso that I may not like it and I may say so!  However, I will always be honest and well mannered.

Here goes then:  At first I did not like Quelques Notes D’Amour but after three days of wearing it in day time and even overnight in bed (a very good test of a scent) it has won me over.

purse spray

When I first smelled it on day one, I thought it was fairly generic and it went a bit cardboard-y/Crayola crayons on me after around half an hour.  However, the bottle was so pretty and the reviews so positive on Fragrantica that I wondered if I was missing something so tried again.

This time round I really started to respect the kind of rose scent this is.  The rose is not a watercolour rose, as it is in the rather lovely Comme Une Evidence, but more of a sophisticated, complex, woody rose.  In fact the first phase is pink pepper, which may have put me off at first.  Pink pepper is a red berry that is often used in fruity florals, and in my opinion, has been used with too heavy a hand of late.  In Quelques Notes D’Amour its just the warm up act because the middle phase becomes a thick, rich woody Damascene rose.  It’s definitely an Autumn/Winter rose rather than a light one for summer and would also serve you well as an evening fragrance.

The base note is long and rich and even a little spiky with patchouli and Guaiac wood (used so well in Hilary Duff With Love). There’s  warm benzoin and green cedar too, but I can’t help thinking that the pink pepper and the rose never really went away.

 Quelques Notes D’Amour comes in a beautiful bottle and is, in my opinion, not for teens -and hooray for that!  Those young people get wayyyy too many new launches aimed at them.  We “over 27s” ( Okay I’m 44) like being catered for and for that alone I am giving this a thumbs up.  For being a rich, woody rose that repelled me then changed my mind and reeled me in, I give this another thumbs up.  If I had a third thumb, I would give yet another thumbs up because Yves Rocher have a purse spray on offer, which is a great way of trying a fragrance before buying a full bottle.  I have a thing for purse sprays, so this pleased me no end.

Yves Rocher, keep up the sterling work.  As you were.

fragrantica
fragrantica

 Stockists:  You can buy Quelques Notes D’Amour from the UK Yves Rocher website. To my chums in the USA and Canada- sadly this is not yet available over on your patch, but I can heartily recommend Moment de Bonheur, Comme Une Evidence and So Elixir, all of which are on the Yves Rocher USA site.

* The Yves Rocher scents I own are; Comme Une Evidence, Cléa, Yria, and Yves Rocher Fraicheur Vegetale Verveine.  I also recommend the lovely So Elixir. You can find reviews of them all on this blog.

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YSL Black Opium: Look Away Opium Fans!

black opium

 

You may recall my earlier reviews of old and new Opium.  You may recall how passionate the love is for old Opium, and the cries of dismay when that powdery, heady treasure was sanitised for a modern market.

Well the people that loved old Opium will be most upset when they read that the name of Opium has been used in vain. YSL Black Opium is frankly, a disappointment.

The name alone would hint at a possible return to the old richness of Opium, with a moniker that suggests the nocturnal and wicked.  “Black Opium” you would think, “sounds all mysterious and grown up” you would think. But no.

In fact, having plastered myself in it today and wishing I hadn’t done so, the first thing this made me think of was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle on steroids.

opiumOpium_by_YSL

There’s the Coco Mademoiselle Orange Blossom and Patchouli in spades, and Pear and Pink Pepper giving it a fruity tang, but there’s kind of an unwelcome butch note at the bottom of it all that reminds me of Thierry Mugler Angel when it goes all Brut For Men on me.

The basenotes of Black Opium are actually very similar to the basenotes of Angel, with an overly sweet vanilla richness juxtaposed over a load of immovable patchouli.  Oh yes, and don’t forget a ton of coffee and extra syrup in the middle.

black opium ad

It’s a sad state of affairs that perfumes today are generally launched at the 17-27 year old market, which would explain a lot.  However, us “over 27s” are getting short changed and Black Opium is like seeing your best cashmere coat getting covered in crayon.

YSL Black Opium was not made for me and of course, I have to accept it. That doesn’t mean I have to like it though.  In fact, it should have been given a completely different name altogether, because Black Opium and old Opium are not just unrelated, they are not even passing acquaintances.

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Library of Fragrance Moonbeam: Angelically Beautiful

Moonbeam.jpg_grande

You may well guess why I chose  “angelically” to describe Library of Fragrance Moonbeam.  With a mixture of chocolate and vanilla over floral notes, it rang loud perfumey bells in my head.

Yes indeed, Library of Fragrance Moonbeam smells very similar to Thierry Mugler Angel, if Angel had been made with a lighter hand and with less patchouli and more flowers.

In other words, if Angel is too Titanic, then Moonbeam is your escape dinghy.  And there I was, thinking I would never get to use the word dinghy in a perfume review…

So if you like Angel, but find it too heavy (you wouldn’t be alone in thinking this, there are others like you), then Moonbeam is a good choice.

I would also add that if you were buying for a teenager, this would be a perfect gift, coming in at only £15 a bottle,  where Angel is more than twice that.  Longevity isn’t quite the same as Angel, nor sillage ( let’s face it, Angel could knock a boxer out at twenty paces without putting its gloves on), but I think I actually prefer Moonbeam to Angel.

Both have  flowers, in this case Jasmine and Lily of the Valley, both have Amber, and both have the all important chocolate note.  Moonbeam is a sprinkle where Angel is a fire hydrant.

What celestial names we are discussing on this autumnal Sunday! Maybe on Monday you can go out and catch a Moonbeam.

moonbeammoonbeammoonbeam

 

My Top Ten Favourite Avon Fragrances

 

photo by totallymystified on Flickr
photo by totallymystified on Flickr

In the past, I may have mentioned before that I find Avon a bit hit and miss as far as fragrances go, but I have noticed a definite change lately. Whilst I still question the relentless frequency of new launches, every now and then they come up trumps and deliver the goods, and this has been happening more frequently of late.  The strongest quality in Avon’s favour is the price.  Competitive doesn’t even begin to cover it.  Sometimes the low budget really shows, and sometimes you may find that you have in your hands a genuine bargain.

I also like that they listen to their customers.  When Timeless was discontinued in 2012, Avon customers clamoured for its return.  To their credit, Avon listened and brought it back earlier this year.  I like it when that happens.

timeless

In the last six months, I have tried a number of Avon fragrances that have really impressed me.  When you think that they usually cost around between £5 each when on special offer or £13 for two at full price , then the value is unimpeachable ( only Premiere Luxe reaches the dizzy heights of £14, but it reminds me of Armani Si).  However, the question remains- at these prices do you have to compromise on quality?  Well the answer is yes and no.

pretty peach

One range that I don’t get on with is the Today Tomorrow Always range.  I have tried them all and don’t like any of them.  They seem to have a flat synthetic base note in common that seems to disagree with my skin.  Full marks for gorgeous heavy glass bottles and glossy packaging though. I know the range has many fans, so it may just be me.

Avon 1968 from Mew Deep on Flickr
Avon 1968 from Mew Deep on Flickr

Avon, if you are reading this, thanks for years of fond memories of trusty favourites such Eau Givrée, Foxfire, Charisma and my first ever perfume, Pretty Peach.   Many a childhood Christmas was enhanced by novelty soaps almost too pretty to use and pretty perfume bottles and all sorts of wonders that my mother and grandmother ordered for me from their Avon lady.  For all those memories, thank you.

odyssey

And one last point- please can we have Avon Odyssey back in our UK brochures?  It’s available in the USA and we would like it too.  Thank you very much. As you were.

 

You may have noticed that here at IScentYouaDay I like to slip in a Top Ten every now  and then,  so here’s my Avon Top Ten. Prices vary between £5 and £14.

 

1. Avon Little Black Dress: A light white floral that keeps its shape: gardenia and honeysuckle with a woodsy finish

lbd

2. Avon Timeless:  created in 1974, discontinued in 2012 and bought back by popular demand in 2014.  Ambery spicy and powdery.  A winter treat.

timeless

3. Avon Premiere Luxe: A fabulous chypre with blackcurrant, gardenia and woods.  Could pass for something three times the price on the High Street.

premluxe

4. Avon Soft Musk : A classic floral musk that lasts for hours and costs the same as a bottle of wine. (in Lidl)

soft musk

5. Avon Tahitian Holiday: Reviewed earlier in my blog.  A coconutty white floral. Perfect for hot weather.  The poor woman’s Bronze Goddess.

tahiti

6. Avon True Life For Her: A light and pleasant rose/peony combo ideal for everyday casual wear and cheap as chips.

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7. Avon Eternal Magic: a dead ringer for Lancôme Hypnôse for a fraction of the price

eternal magic

 

8. Avon Rare Diamonds: reminds me of Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and even Narciso Rodriguez For Her. Nice bottle too.

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9. Avon Summer White Sunrise: a change from the norm for Avon: a refreshing floral scent with notes of pear and orange blossom.

Avon UK
Avon UK

10. Avon Far Away: not my personal favourite but I couldn’t leave it off the list.  This is Avon’s bestseller and I know several people who adore it.  It’s rich with Vanilla, coconut , sandalwood and floral notes. It’s instantly recognisable, and a customer favourite.

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And sneaking this one in on the end in the hope that our friends at Avon are reading this…

Top Ten of fragrances I Would Love Avon to Bring Back

1. Avon Eau Givrée

2. Avon Odyssey

3. Avon Charisma

4. Avon Foxfire

5. Avon Ophelia

6. Avon Rare Rubies

7. Avon  Topaze

8. Avon Tasha

9. Avon Casbah

10. Avon Ariane

 

odysseyariane

photo from saltycotton on Flickr
photo from saltycotton on Flickr

 

 

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StormFlower by Cheryl: Does it Have The X Factor?

stormflower

 

Cheryl  Fernandez-Versini re-debuts tonight on the UK’s X Factor. She also debuts her first ever perfume StormFlower this week.  Coincidence?  No just common sense PR.

Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini  has the dubious honour of being Mr IScent’s favourite member of Girls Aloud.  He has all their albums and Cheryl’s too.  Naturally, Cheryl is not a patch on me in any way, and he loves me the most, we decided.

I tried StormFlower today and I must say that yes, I quite liked it.  I was hoping it wouldn’t be the bearer of too much vanilla as so many celeb scents have been lately,  and I was fearing it would be too sweet for my taste, knowing that Cheryl is partial to a bit of Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb.

o.27497My first impression of StormFlower is freshly sliced Papaya, followed by Freesia, followed by a pretty generic base note of faded top notes with a faintly spicy synthetic finish.

In fact, the top notes are mandarin and nectarine.  Nectarine is thankfully not as talcum powdery or as sickly as peach can sometimes be, and seems to be juicier and lighter.  Mandarin is always welcome with its citrussy refreshing tang.  Middle notes are Freesia, which is noticeable and is coupled well with the juicy top notes.  Added to the mix is a touch of peach blossom which again shows restraint from an all too easy peach fest.

The disappointment here is in the base note which dries down into a nothing-special cheap smelling synthetic muddle.  It’s supposed to be sandalwood, vanilla and musk (nothing new there), but falls rather badly at the final hurdle. The base note cheapens the promising start and pretty, feminine middle phase.

It can come as no surprise that I’m about to start using X Factor metaphors, so here goes.  Would I put StormFlower through to the next round?  Well for starters it depends on the calibre of the other candidates. Some years in X Factor, there are mediocre finalists that wouldn’t have got to the finals had they been on the show the year before.  I feel that this is the case with StormFlower.  In light of nothing else particularly robust in the celeb field this year, this is a strong contender, but had this been the year that say, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely was launched, then it wouldn’t have even got to Boot Camp.

But don’t listen to me: this pleasantly uplifting tropical and fruity scent will sell and sell and then probably sell some more. Madame Ferndandez-Versini  (how exotic that sounds!) can sleep tight, knowing all her direct debits will go out this month with a bit of change in the bank for a treat.

I won’t be buying this, but I’m pretty sure thousands of others will, and fair play to them.