Category Archives: Library of Fragrance

Halloween Perfume: How to choose Your Witches’ Brew

Halloween is not necessarily my favourite time of year, but if I ever told my children that they’d be horrified.  So, I go along with it, and I hang round at the back when they go trick or treating (at selected homes so as not to be a nuisance). Meanwhile, for me, it’s a great excuse to have fun with fragrance and add something seasonal to my year-round head to toe black ensemble.

vintage Halloween card.

 

Here are a few ideas in case you want to make your mark on Halloween and add a bit of mystery to your night. Maybe you could play guess the E-numbers with your Haribo Haul? Or wonder why the only traditional Halloween songs are Monster Mash or Thriller? Or you could just cram your little hamster cheeks with chocolate until it’s all over. (I don’t do that. Nope. No Sir). In any case, the perfume world has something for every occasion, even this one.

REEK Perfumes Damn Rebel Witches

REEK Perfumes burst onto the scene in 2016 with Damn Rebel Bitches. This is a fragrance commemorating the intrepid and gutsy rebel Jacobite women who fought back against the English  with all they had. The nose behind this is Sarah McCartney, and a fine job she has done too. This scent  makes me think of wild women with twigs in their hair. The ingredients are inspired by what would have been around way back then so you have clary sage and malt and even  broom ( appropriately enough for Halloween).  But REEK didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, they gave the bitches a sister and Damn Rebel Witches was the result.

Here’s what I had to say about it in my review here:

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.

Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice is big news this time of year. It’s everywhere from Starbucks to the mouthwash in your dentist (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly) so you may as well as embrace it. Personally, I love a bit of Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie and every time I wear it, I get compliments. It’s just spicy and warm enough and not too cloyingly sweet. Don’t just keep it for Halloween! Sadly, the UK arm of Library of Fragrance has closed and will be much missed, but the European branch ships to the Uk for 6E per package.

4160 Tuesdays Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters

The  name of this fruity, malty and jolly British fragrance  comes from the ingredients.  It is often believed that natural ingredients are best for your skin, but they’re not! (at least not always) Sarah has made these naughty naturals behave themselves via witchcraft and alchemy.  Actually that last bit isn’t true, she made them behave through encyclopaedic knowledge of skin and substance.  And the fragrance? Here’s what I wrote in my review  which you can find here. The website link is here.

“…On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too”

vintage Halloween card

Possets Perfumes Ghost Fart

Just for the name alone, this was irresistible, and once I smelled it, I thought the name didn’t do this lovely scent justice (though it did reel me in). There’s no authentic manual that states what a Ghost fart must smell like, so the team at Possets had a little fun with this. This is a chocolate minty gourmand in an oil form which is long lasting and smells delicious. If you haven’t come across Possets before, so check them out. They ship worldwide and are a vegan friendly brand. Here’s their website.

Papillon Perfumery Anubis

With hints of Egyptian mystery and ancient rites, this incredible debut from perfumer Liz Moores is both distinctive and resonant.  If you like Shalimar, you’ll also appreciate the oriental spices and resins in Anubis, but I’m going to stick my blogger’s neck out here and say Anubis is better. Controversial, no?  I’m sticking to my guns.  Anubis has a  dark, resiny enigma about it which I find  both  intriguing and alluring.  Papillon has a good sample  service if you want to smell this range for yourself,  or you could pop into Les Senteurs  in London where they are all stocked.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

The name is so perfect for this time of year, but so is the scent. This deep, almost boozy vanilla comes in a bottle that reminds me of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach after midnight. The vanilla in this borders on marzipan, which is fine by me but gives me cravings for Christmas Cake. I know, first world problem! But if your vanilla palate is jaded by cheap imitaions, then do revisit this beautiful treasure of a scent which always reminds me exactly how good vanilla can be, and should be. You can buy it from here, but it’s available in lots of places. I recommend the EDP over the EDT.

Lolita Lempicka

With a bottle like Snow White’s poison apple and a scent that smells like purple velvet, Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum is a great Halloween scent, in fact, it’s a great scent for anytime.  Opening with green ivy, violet and liquorice, and a burst of deep cherries, this is rounded off with woody musk and vetiver. Suitably bewitching for a dark night. You can find it here and read my review here.

 LUSH Karma

I love a bit of Karma. It always reminds me of my friend Alison who has made this her signature scent.  It’s oranges, spices and patchouli. One of the main things I like about it, apart from its gentle hippie vibe is that it holds back on the sweetness and lets the bitter orange shine through without adding marmalade  or vanilla. In fact, Alison, just uses the lotion and still smells enchanting and gorgeous, which she is. You can buy Karma from here.

Lancôme Magie Noire

OK, I don’t need a special occasion to wear this deep, mossy chypre. I love how Magie Noire does a dance of the seven veils and unfurls its layers and notes over the hours and hours that it lasts. There’s ivy, hyacinth and roses as it opens, then deep rich florals- all the big ones, then a wonderfully mossy and woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, incense and smoky resins. It’s like a fragrance chameleon, changing faces as the night goes on. Plus check out the divine poster ads! You can read my review here and buy it from here.

Over to you

So that’s my Halloween round up, although I’d wear any of these at any time of the year. What’s your Halloween fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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Welcome to MoodScent 4! In the Mood for Mainstream Scent

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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.

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First by Van Cleef and Arpels

first by van cleefOur 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.

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Coty L’Aimant

laimant bottl;eAnother 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps

lairdutempsLike 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.

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Library of Fragrance

lof scentsLibrary 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.

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Cacharel LouLou

loulouLouLou 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:

  • Tara on A Bottled Rose (representing England) and
  • Esperanza in the Netherlands with her blog L’Esperessence,
  • and last but not least, the lovely Megan, who came up with this idea and brought us all together. Megan is based in France and you can read her blog MeganinSainteMaxime here.

Over to you

What’s your favourite High Street or main stream fragrance? Is there one you’ll never be without? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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Vanilla Fragrances for People who Don’t Like Vanilla

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In the past few years, vanilla has appeared in just about everything you care to name from cheap candles to mass produced mainstream fragrances to room sprays. It’s enough to put you off. In fact, that’s exactly what it did and I confess to having become a vanilla swerver.

However, several vanilla fragrances have turned my head and made me look again. From under the mass market tsunami of vanilla abuse come rays of hope, and reminders that vanilla, before its over exposure, was one of the greats and still can be.  The right vanilla, blended with flair and instinct, can give heart and warmth to a fragrance, and offers respite from the sickly cupcake confections and synthetic waxy imitations.

Huff post
Huff post

Here’s a roundup of the vanilla scents I would never tire of wearing. If you’re no vanilla fan, these beauties will turn your head and change your mind. Not all vanilla is equal.

Tauerville Vanilla Flash

vanilla-flash-bttleVanilla is not the first thing you will notice about Vanilla Flash. In fact, with me, it was the roses. Andy Tauer, a true gentleman and frankly, a modest genius too, has created a vanilla scent that frames the vanilla rather than allowing it to take over. Here vanilla is teamed with spice, tobacco, roses and patchouli and is chilly rather than warm.

My review is here. I could wear this all day and all night. Bravo Andy. Here’s the link to the Tauerville website.

Aftelier Perfumes Vanilla Smoke

vanillasmoke1If I could sum up cosy in one scent it would be this. The wonderful Mandy Aftel, who works only with natural ingredients, has taken the warm heart of vanilla and added it to the subtle wood smoke of a hearth. One sniff and my brain thinks it’s Christmas. You can read my review here and buy it from here.

 

Agonist Vanilla Marble

vanillamarblebottleThis is another scent that portrays vanilla as chilled rather than warm and it works to great effect.  In fact, I sent my dear friend Pippa a sample of this prior to her wedding and she chose it as her wedding day fragrance. She made a beautiful Edwardian bride and she smelled glorious. You can read my review here and  buy Agonist from here.

 

DSH Perfumes Vanilla Chantilly

DSH perfumes
DSH perfumes

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz mixes and macerates her stunning potions in Boulder, Colorado and is always a joy to deal with. Like Mandy Aftel, Dawn also uses natural ingredients and Vanilla Chantilly manages to take the buttery woodiness of vanilla without adding any sugar and syrup.  It smells both clean and warm, both cool and dark. Dawn has kept the sticky woody pod character of vanilla and blended it into a musky, spicy accord with a hint of almonds.  I get so many compliments! You can buy it from the DSH website.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

hypnoticThis is the richest deepest vanilla on the High Street. With hints of almond, this is pure luxury with nary a cup cake nor a Pound Shop candle in sight. This feels wonderful to wear and really opened my eyes to how great vanilla can be.  My review of it is here.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com and John Lewis.

Library of Fragrance Play Doh

PlayDoh-30_grandeIt may have a playful name, but it’s worth taking seriously.  This is a superb vanilla scent that yes, smells like Playdoh, but then Playdoh smells like vanilla. In fact, this reminded me of marzipan, which always gets my mouth watering.  Here’s the link  to my review and here’s the link to the Library of Fragrance website.

4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on The Planet Ever (IMHO)

4160 Tuesdays
. 4160 Tuesdays

Last but by no means least, comes this cult classic from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays.  I always think of the vanilla in this as golden and fuzzy, so add that to a cup of Earl Grey with its bergamot infusion, and stir in the scent of antique dark wood, and this is the pleasing result.  It’s good vanilla, rich and warm, with not a cupcake in sight. You can read my review here. and buy it from here.

Over to you

What’s your opinion on vanilla? Do you have a favourite vanilla scent? Do let me know, I always love to hear from you.

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Shay & Blue Dandelion Fig: The Scent of the Garden

dandelion fig bottle

If you spent hours playing in the garden as a child, you may well stop in your tracks and think that Shay & Blue London Dandelion Fig is like a Tardis, taking you back there. That’s certainly the effect it had on me.

dandelion figShay & Blue London make the kind of scents you always wished people would make. Dandelion Fig is one of those.  It’s not a fruity floral and despite its fig notes, not really a gourmand, although the scent of it certainly made my mouth water.  Dandelion Fig takes every refreshing and earthy note from the garden (and not necessarily a neat garden) and brings them all together in one uplifting, leafy, earthy accord.

Dandelion Fig opens with dandelion and lemongrass. When I was growing up, there was a rumour that picking dandelions would make you wet the bed. As a result, they were often seen, sniffed and never picked, at least not until they became clocks.

dandelion quora

The handy thing about dandelions, and one of the reasons why I love this fragrance, is that dandelions provide dock leaves.  Dock leaves when crushed can cure the heat of nettle rash when you’re playing out all day and can’t be bothered to go home and get Germolene (another great smell, if you ask me).  It’s left me with a lifelong liking for green leafy notes in fragrance.

Like THIS!
Like THIS!

After the dandelion there is tomato vine and lemongrass.   You may recall my review of Library of Fragrance Tomato, which I raved about.  It had hints of lemon verbena and that uplifting earthy green scent of the slightly furry vines that hold those juicy plum tomatoes.   Well, tomato vine is here again and teamed with juniper.  The last word goes to fig, which is eked out into a perfectly sized measure against the other ingredients,  enhancing the  juiciness and adding a touch of depth. Dark, juicy fig, to my nose, always borders on wrong and stops just short of it.

This is a scent that doesn’t try to please the masses, but ends up pleasing little old me in spades.  Muddy garden spades.   Dandelion Fig is green, fresh and earthy and out of all the scents in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Box, this and the Annick Goutal stood out from the rest as my absolute favourites.  This is a great fig scent for people who are still unsure about fig. fig tree

Further reading: Check out my reviews of other Shay & Blue fragrances: Framboise Noire, Amber Rose, English Cherry Blossom, Blood Oranges.

Stockists

You can buy Dandelion Fig from the Shay & Blue London website, or you can obtain a sample from the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, like I did.   You can also find this in store and online  Marks and Spencer.
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MoodScent 4: Perfumes for a Rainy Day

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Welcome to the first joint blogging project by MoodScent4! We are four perfume bloggers based in France, Holland, England and Wales who will be posting on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we will individually pick a selection of five or so fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll 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 in the comments.

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Wales in the rain. NB This is not us.

Dear readers, and by that, I mean my beloved existing readers, and hopefully some new ones too.: Welcome!

I have not been hijacked. I am excited to be a part of a new seasonal collaboration with three excellent bloggers, whom you may already know if you are fume heads, fragonerds or perfumistas.  Megan, Tara, Esperanza and me will all be putting our own take on a scent theme and our first one feels particularly relevant to your favourite Welsh perfume blogger (I hope that’s me).

Wales, as you may know, is very green and lush and this is because it rains like mad. I therefore feel like an expert when I talk about Rainy Day Scents.  Here’s my pick of five rainy day scents and the reasons behind my choices:

1 Library of Fragrance Paperback

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Hearing the rain patter against the window makes me long for a window seat and a good book.  In my mind’s eye I am a painting called “woman with book”, but in reality I haven’t got a window seat and I might steal five minutes on my phone Kindle whislt stirring spag bol, feeding the cat and kicking the dishwasher shut  if I’m lucky.

Library of Fragrance Paperback has the vaguely coconutty smell of the aged page of a book.  It’s more Hay on Wye than Waterstones, and I love it for that.  You can read my review here,

2. Miller Harris La Pluie

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You know how some perfume gives you vivid pictures in your head?  La Pluie made me think of cosy houses, red buses and puddles, It’s enormously comforting, despite being inspired by the tropics. I found it terribly, terribly English and thoroughly beautiful.  You can read my thoughts here.

3. Elizabeth Arden White Tea

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Not a typo.  Not a drill. The classic Elizabeth Arden Green Tea has a new friend called White Tea, which I tried earlier last week.  You may recall my post about floaty white fragrances, and had this been known to me then, I most certainly would have included it.  Elizabeth Arden White Tea is a soft, clean musk that makes you feel like you are wearing clean white cotton and living in clean white rooms: neither of which matches the reality of my life, but this scent is the one I want to wear when the weather’s gone to hell outside and I want to feel calm within.

4. Marina Barcenilla India

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I reviewed this gorgeous spicy woody scent recently and it is exactly what you need when the rain is lashing down outside and you want to remember what heat and warmth smells like. This will make you feel snug as a bug in a rug.  On my skin, India unfolds like a dance of the seven veils.  How it starts is not how it ends, which also sums up the kind of film you should curl up and watch whilst wearing this cosy blanket of a scent.

4160 Tuesdays Aquamarine Wave

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When I reviewed this recently, the working name was Sea Goddess. It’s not officially released yet, as it’s part of a crowd funding project that you can take part in.  However, this is the best marine scent I think I have ever smelled and when the drizzle through the window looks unwelcoming, it’s good to remind myself that summer days on the beach will be mine to enjoy soon.  One day.  Maybe not today,  Maybe not tomorrow.  Maybe not until August, but one day. And Wales has ALL the best beaches.

Find out what my MoodScent 4 colleagues have to say on rainy day scents right here:

Tara’s blog A Bottled Rose

Megan’s blog : MeganinStMaxime

Esperanza’s blog L’Esperessence

I am particularly delighted that this piece marks my 800th post on this blog.  I can think of no lovelier way to mark it than by collaborating with these three wonderful bloggers.  Moodscent 4 will be a seasonal and occasional project throughout the year, so I do hope that you will enjoy this one and look forward to the next one.

PS Normal Iscentyouaday service will be resumed tomorrow.

How about you?

What are your favourite rainy day scents?  Do let us know.  We’d love to hear from you.

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“It Smells Like Sky” Perfumes for White Floaty Days.

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Heart of Snow by Edward Robert Hughes

Back in the 1980s there was a fabric conditioner advert on the TV that had a small child sniffing clean laundry and proclaiming “it smells like sky.”  I know exactly what that child means when I smell certain perfumes.

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There are days when we need something pure and clean and ethereal, especially after, shall we say, overindulgence?  You don’t need a reason, sometimes you just feel all  floaty.

The perfumes on the following list have been selected for those sorts of days. When you just want to be all mindful and press the reset button in your overloaded brain- and what generation before us, has ever had to remember as many passwords and pin numbers? Poor us, we deserve some soothing scents that say Shh…there, there.

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Philosophy Amazing Grace

This has to be the leader of the pack when it comes to smelling as if you live on a cloud. Pure and clean and smelling like you’ve been freshly laundered and dusted with Angel’s blessings, Philosophy Amazing Grace will suit just about anyone.

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Eau de Cartier

This was my go-to hangover scent back when I could drink more than two glasses without needing an early night and bed socks. Created by genius Christine Nagel, Eau de Cartier is a harmonious symphony of lavender, violet and bergamot. It’s so gentle, it almost make you feel better just by wearing it.

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Library of Fragrance Clean Skin

Library of Fragrance has a spotless record in my book. They always do what they say they’ll do, and they provide excellent quality scents, that despite being colognes, often outlast many eau de toilettes on my skin.  Library of Fragrance Clean Skin  has a purity about it that made me feel like I’d just stepped out of a regenerating spa bath without so much as a blemish on my character.

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Lalique L’Amour

Lalique makes superb light and airy scents. They just make me want to pour the whole bottle over my head.  Lalique L’Amour  is no exception. This is all gentle watercolours. With neroli, bergamot and jasmine, even the sandalwood and musk base enters the room on tip toe.

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Cacharel Noa

Cacharel Noa smells like clean, freshly washed hair, with a bloom’n’fade coffee bean in the middle of it. Trust me, the coffee bean seems to pin it down and stop it floating away. I love Noa and I call it excellent value at around £15.

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Avon Pur Blanca

The harshest thing that people ever say about Pur Blanca is that it’s “boring.” Well, I don’t find it boring. Sometimes I want to smell like piles of white linen and white soap and fluffy towels, and that’s why I like the bargain that is Avon Pur Blanca.

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JLo Glow

I won’t hear a word against celebrity scents as long as JLo and Sarah Jessica Parker are churning them out.  JLo Glow was created in 2002. It’s long life, especially for a celeb scent, is testament to its universal appeal.  Glow opens with grapefruit and neroli and  segues inot jasmine and roses.  It’s light as a feather  and makes me want to wear something diaphanous. There are many flankers, but I still like the original one best of all.

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Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia

My most recent review prior to this one, was Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia. Totally unisex, with mint and bergamot, nothing says clear, crystal waters more than this heavenly scent.

painting by Edward Robert Hughes
painting by Edward Robert Hughes

How about you?

Do you agree with my list? What’s your favourite scent that says “I want the world to go away today and I’m staying under this lovely white duvet”?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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all white

Buying Perfume for Tweens and Teens

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Young folk of today are getting older much faster than we fortysomethings ever did back in the 70s.  At the age of eleven, I was curious_britney_competitionstill playing with Sindy dolls. Eleven year olds today have their own phones and Snapchat accounts. I have a ten year old son so chanceI see children of his age group regularly and as a general rule, they are a lovely bunch of interesting people with the world at their feet.  But my Goodness, have you seen their Christmas lists? I used to be  happy with new felt pens and some bubble bath! ( still am).

Teens and Tweens today are influenced by the media more than any other generation that has ever lived and this has given them a penchant for labels, names and fitting in. So how do you please the hard-to-please? Well, as sensible adults the last thing we want is for our youngsters to smell provocative. We’re not looking for sexy. That is completely off the menu here. In general, you’ll be looking at gourmands and fruity florals or florals, and side stepping anything with civet or big patchouli notes.  I wouldn’t start with Angel or Coco Mademoiselle, for example.

With that in mind, I have compiled  a little list of what I consider to be suitable fragrance gifts for the teen or tween in your life. I’ve tried not to give any ideas that are “square” or “uncool” so you should be all right. I’ve also kept it fairly reasonable in price, with just a couple of higher prices ideas for your little diva or divo.

Celebrity Perfumes

incredible taylorI’m no snob- I’ll wear anything- and my proclamation about celeb scents goes something like this

“all celebrity scents are made by professional perfumers from respected houses and fragrance companies. Most celebrity scents are cheaper than other scents by big brand names. Ergo- celebrity scents are A Good Thing. Here endeth the lesson.” For the youngster, I recommend JLo Glow ( a clean hair scent) or Britney Spears Curious. It was Britney’s first and its  a light, non-sexy fruity floral that pleases onedpostereven my fussy nose. Also in the running is Taylor Swift Incredible Things with its interesting suede notes.  I also recommend the One Direction scents, if only for the packaging. One Direction That Moment has been reviewed here and is an inoffensive fruity floral. My son seems happy with David Beckham and I have to say I have yet to find any of them unpleasant or too overly sexy. They seem to be generic, but that’s not a bad start for a ten year old setting out on a lifelong scent journey. Try David Beckham Classic Blue for a light sport scent.

Avon

Have you guessed I’m a fan yet? The nice thing about Avon is that they are affordable and they launch new scent to fit in withcherish the moment fast moving market demands. Avon Cherish and Cherish The Moment are ideal for young scent wearers. Cherish is similar to Lancome La Vie est Belle with a strong caramel note over the florals. Cherish The Moment is even sweeter!  Both can be obtained from Avon UK for around £12.

Marks and Spencer

butteflyMarks and Spencer does a great job of producing affordable perfumes in crowd pleasing varieties that are packaged in very attractive bottles.  One of the most appealing to the age group we’re looking at today is Marks and Spencer Butterfly. With calone notes of melon and cucumber, this gives the pricier DKNY Be Delicious a run for its money. The bottle reminds me of the Marc Jacobs bottles which, I understand, are much coveted by this age group! Which brings me nicely to…

The High Street Beauty Counters

www.thedieline.com

If you’re looking for something special, then Marc Jacobs has the bottle you want. If I were you, I’d keep Decadence and its rich sexiness for yourself and go instead for the delightful Marc Jacobs Daisy, Daisy Eau so Fraiche or Daisy Dream ( see photo- right). All are light florals that pass the office/school test by not being too in-yer-face or come-hither. Stella McCartney is another good bet. Cool enough to please even the most bored looking teen, yet good perfume that varies from the deliciously airy floral of STELLA to the tuberose/sandalwood of Stella McCartney POP.

If money is no object, or you’re buying for a tween with expensive taste ( so that’s championquite a few of them from where I’m standing), then Chanel Chance makes a delightfully airy introduction to Chanel and the good stuff in general

For boys (and whilst I reject gender stereotypes, my boy does not, sadly), you can’t go wrong with Tommy Hilfiger or Calvin Klein Eternity For Him. I would avoid Paco Rabanne One Million at this age because it will floor any asthmatic within a fifty foot radius. Waaay too strong. I recently bought Davidoff Champion for my nephew and was very impressed with its light green freshness. Davidoff Cool Water is another scent cool enough to please them and cheap enough to buy. A light, ozonic classic, this can be had for well under £15.

Library of Fragrance

Library of Fragrance is a great starting point that will help your budding perfumista get used to different notes and layering scent. They can lof crowd shotexperiment with several bottles without breaking the bank. I especially like Moonbeam, Mango, and Vanilla Ice Cream, but the world is your lobster! Library of Fragrance is the perfect way to begin a fragrance wardrobe. The website is here and you can usually find special offers and wonderful exclusive colognes.

For Under Tens, Go Contintental

yvesrocherPerfume for “les enfants” is more usual among our European friends. One of my favourite French brands, Yves Rocher, does a range of beautifully simple and wholesome scents for children that find their inspiration from innocent facts of nature. For the younger child asking for perfume, you can buy Peach, Strawberry or blackberry in a little vapo spray for just a few pounds.  Personally, I think children smell lovely as they are, but if  young people really want perfume, then peaches and blackberries play it safe and sweet.

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Library of Fragrance Does Wimbledon: New Balls, Strawberries & Cream and Grass Court

 

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Library of Fragrance really do have a scent for every occasion. Yes, even Wimbledon. Those nice people at Library of Fragrance kindly sent me a trio of Wimbledon themed scents to see what I thought of them. I’m not easily bribed unless it’s Scottish Butter Tablet*, so opinions really are my own.

strawberries

Strawberries and Cream

What could be more English, more Wimbledon-y than strawberries and Cream? Well yes, umbrellas, but apart from that, strawberries and cream are so much a part of Wimbledon that everyone takes extra strawberry money with them, even if they don’t like strawberries. Library of Fragrance Strawberries and Cream smells utterly delicious. It’s not sticky, like some overly fruity scents, it’s more aromatic and retro, with that lovely scent of a fresh strawberry, clear as day.  It then goes into a slight waxiness, like expensive candles, which I rather liked. The cream note tones down the sweetness of the strawberries and stops them getting above themselves.

Now here’s an interesting experiment that I did with my sons, age 6 and 9. In a blind test, they said this smells like “candy floss,””marshmallows” and “sweets”. It does, but if you, like me, step away from candy fragrances, then give this one a try.  I too am a candy dodger, but I loved this one.

grass court

Grass Court

Fans of Library of Fragrance Grass will find much to like here. Whereas Grass smells sweeter, like a green meadow, Grass Court is a little sharper and greener,  more like cut grass.  There’s a sharp, almost citrussy note at the heart of this, that keeps it fresh and cologne-like. It’s perfect for a hot summer day. If you like green scents, you’d be hard pushed to find greener than this.

newballs zimbio dot com

New Balls

You didn’t misread me. That’s right, there’s a fragrance called New Balls. You see, this is what I like about Library of Fragrance. Fragrance isn’t always about what you want to smell like. Often it’s about what you want to smell. Fourteen year old blogger Catherine Talbot wanted to smell the scent of a newly opened tube of tennis balls, and her wish was granted. Never afraid of a bit of “quirk” (This is the company who make Pizza and Play Doh scent, remember), Library of Fragrance duly produced New Balls.

As you would imagine, there is rubber, but to my nose there is also honey. It smells a bit like a pillow that has dried saliva on it. This is not necessarily a horrible smell. My sons’s pillows get sniffed by me when they are not around and I rather like it. It reminds me of babies’ cheeks. So make of that what you will: rubber, honey and babies cheeks.

 

*Scottish Butter Tablet would make a nice fragrance. Just sayin’ (hint, hint)

Stockists

You can buy all of these from the Library of Fragrance website for just £15 each. You may find a varied selection in Boots as well.

Photo Credits

Top photo: Library of Fragrance, strawberry photo: Ralph Lauren,  Grass court photo: borongaja.com, New balls photo: zimbio.com

 

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Library of Fragrance Pipe Tobacco: Indulge in Alchemy

 

pipe

I have reviewed many Library of Fragrance scents now and I remain a big fan.  The reasons I love the brand are twofold: You can pick out your favourite notes and wear them alone ( Musk #7 is  a good start or Iris), or you can do a bit of perfume DIY and layer different notes over others until you find a  favourite combo. Either way, at £15 for 30ml, it’s win/win.

 

Today I am reviewing Library of Fragrance Pipe Tobacco and it’s sort of a two pronged review.

McGaheys
McGaheys

Firstly- Pipe Tobacco on its own smells authentically like Pipe Tobacco.  This naturally, won’t come as a surprise to you, but Pipe Tobacco on its own is a rather appealing smell, and if you ever pass that rare thing, a tobacconists, then do pop in and sniff the air.  It’s a kind of toasted dry woody scent with hints of richness and dark fruit.  It reminds me particular of a wonderful old tobacconists in Exeter called McGahey.

During my university days there, my friend Pippa and I would go and buy posh cigarettes to go to a ball with ( This was in the 80s when smoking was trendy and often done alongside cheap red wine whilst wearing too much LouLou).  St Moritz would be a favourite as they had a posh cover and gold foil on the filters and were by appointment to one of the European Royal families that you find in Hello Magazine ( but I digress).  Inside McGahey the shelves were wooden and the jars were see through and it always smelled like an old wood panelled study. In fact, I did occasionally see a professor in there.

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Pipe tobacco may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found a lot to like about it.

So here’s the second prong of my review:  layer Pipe Tobacco over Library of Fragrance Mahogany and you have a gorgeous woody, spicy, dry scent that made me swoon.  In fact, ( and purists will pelt me with tomatoes for this)  it reminded me of Serge Lutens Chergui when layered together. You have here notes of the aforementioned toasty warm woods, whiffs of hay, the faintest hint of liquorice, spice, dark oak and tobacco.  Together they are dynamite. Worn together yuou have the most terrific woody Autumnal combo with a masculine edge that smells a lot more expensive than it costs.

When people throw tomatoes at you, make chutney.

Stockists

Library of Fragrance Pipe Tobacco and Library of Fragrance Mahogany are available from the website.  Boots also carries a range of Library of Fragrance scents at £15 or £25 for two.