Category Archives: modern

Aftelier Fig: Welcome to Narnia


Aftelier is the brainchild of Mandy Aftel, who creates perfumes from natural and botanical essences.  This is the first perfume I have reviewed from Aftelier, but I hope it won’t be my last.

Aftelier Fig does not open with Fig.  In fact, despite its name, this is not strictly a Fig perfume, although it has an important cameo.

Aftelier Fig opens with bold Pine (Fir) and brash Lemon, and initially reminded me of the smell of damp old stone.  This is by no means a complaint: its one of my favourite smells.  According to Fragrantica, Fig contains Castoreum (from our beaver friends) and Civet (often giving an intimate “skanky” smell).  Neither of these presented themselves to me, but what I did get was a blast of outdoors and a good dose of old, antique dark wood.

Fig itself  is one of those notes I grew to love gradually, thanks largely to the efforts of Jean Claude Ellena and his delectable Un Jardin en Mediterranee and also via Premier Figeur from L’Artisan Parfumeur (both reviewed on this blog).  However its juicy over ripeness is almost absent from Aftelier Fig, or so you think before this beds down into the long, lazy basenote phase.  With a whiff of Oud, a hint of Musk and a figgy juicyness that actually comes from Yuzu, not Fig, this has a deliciously woody, musty end phase that made me a big fan. It smells like the back of the wardrobe that leads to Narnia: all damp aged wood and fresh pine with the grown up juicy heart adding a hint of something delicious and tempting.

They should issue bottles of this with every book of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. If you get a hint of Mr and Mrs Beaver, even better.  Interesting. Very interesting…

The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry Eau de Toilette: Hello Summer!



As you may know, I mourn the loss of the late great Body Shop Perfume Bar in the 80s and 90s and the Body Shop has confirmed that it has no plans to bring it back in any form.  I feel I therefore have to accept this and embrace the Body Shop of the Twenteens.

In fact the Body Shop of the Twenteens is not doing a bad job on the old fragrance front. There is the we-wouldn’t-dare-discontinue White Musk range, with several flankers, the delightful  florals of the Scents of The World Collection, and more recently,  a collection of soliflores that match the flavours of the Body Shop Body Butters.

photo by wiki
photo by wiki

Today I am going to review The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry.  Yesterday I tried this on and didn’t expect very much from it.  However the raspeberry is thirst quenching and juicy, like a lolly on a hot day.  In fact the only thing that spoiled this was  the fact that either me or my children often smell of raspberry lollies or Haribo.  Expect to be inexplicably popular with children when you wear this.

The top note is juicy and bursting with fruit, and the middle phase is stickier, but not overly sweet, thank goodness: this is a common mistake in fruity perfumes. The base is not quite  as tartly raspberry-ish, but I think this  because of the difficulty in keeping a sharp note sharp, rather than a sign of poor quality. If you think about how hard it is to keep lemons or oranges  sharp and tart in the basenote phase, then you can see why I’m not being hard on the Body Shop here.

What I like about this is that it contains genuine raspberry extract and therefore avoids smelling as synthetic as other juicy fruity scents can often be. It makes no claims about making you beautiful, nor promises you a sensuality that’s unforgettable blah-di-blah, but it does smell of raspberries and if you like that idea, then this is a reasonably priced raspberry scent.

Longevity was a real surprise at over eight hours close to skin. At £8.50 for 30ml I call that a bargain.

So here we are back to basics: it does what it says on the tin,  it’s playful and pretty, you might smell of lollies, it lasts long time and it’s cheap. Nice Work.

Andy Tauer Eau D’Epices: A Sparkling Spice For Summer

I have just received my sample of Eau D’Epices from Scent and Sensibility and I have fallen for it already, despite us having only just met. Despite my deep love for L’Air Du Desert Marocain (my first experience of Tauer scents) I find it too heavy on a hot day (but just right for a hot night).  However, Eau d’Epices provides my answer for the Summer.

Imagine if you will, L’Air Du Desert Marocain with its dusty dried incense notes, so reminiscent of hot spiced sand, but with an ice cube dropped into the middle of it as if to quench a thirst. The Citrus notes in Eau D’Epices give me that sparkling brightness, making it ideal for when the heat is on.

However, don’t be fooled by the “Eau”: this is no lightweight cologne.  With typical Tauer longevity (which is why I never criticise the price: you pay for quality), Eau D’Epices lasted at least fifteen hours on me and there was still a hint of it on my arm when I woke up.

What lightens it are the bold white notes of Jasmine and, most prominently, Neroli.  As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, I don’t really get on with Neroli when it’s a solo star, but when surrounded by other notes I find it can be showcased beautifully, as it is here.  The Neroli lasts through the top, middle and base notes, and blends into the embers of a typical Tauer base of Vetiver, Ambergris and Incense.

Eau D’Epices changes and evolves throughout the day so that it starts as a bright spicy citrus, morphs into a dusky white floral and ends up as smoky amber embers. My nose can’t leave my wrist alone today.

Speaking of white flowers, I can’t wait to see what the forthcoming Sotto La Luna will be like in September 2014. Gardenia is one of my favourite notes and I can’t wait to see what Andy does with it.

Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum: On a Dark Velvety Night


Lolita Lempicka make the most delightful bottles: the gilded apples bring to mind Eve in the Garden of Eden. When quality is this high, and prices are this low, then temptation is afoot.

 Lolita Lempicka EDP was launched in 1997 and seems a decade late. I like this scent because I am a fan of Cacharel LouLou.  LouLou is full of Licorice-y notes and if you don’t like that, then you might not fall for Lolita Lempicka EDP.  There are however, many other scents to the brand that are worth trying, which I am looking forward to reviewing in future.

photo from
photo from

This slightly Gothic-y fragrance opens boldly with Green Ivy, Violet, Licorice, Almonds and if you wait a few minutes…Chocolate.  On paper it sounds like a mish mash but on skin it gives an edgy, Eighties nightclub feel that brings to mind my student years in Goth nightclubs.  Had this been invented then, it might have been my signature instead of my beloved LouLou. If this were a fabric, it would be dark plum velvet.  If it were a drink it would be absinthe, and if it were a woman it would be Siouxsie Sioux.

This is rich and sweet, but not in a candy  floss way because the dark Orris Root and sober Vetiver calm it down. On me there is a hint of vinyl, which fits the visuals in my head: a Goth student in the Eighties playing vinyl records (probably Sisters of Mercy and The Cure) late into the night. The cherries give it a medicinal flavour and add a boozy note, like Cherry Brandy. The whole shebang ends on a long glide of Liquorice and Musk. Longevity is good on me at around six hours.

I wouldn’t recommend buying this blind, but if you like it, you have a bargain that doesn’t smell like a bargain.  It’s both unusual and widely available and yet I have never, ever met anyone who wears this (except friend of the blog Lisa Wordbird, I’m sure she has it). In any case, despite being easy to get hold of (the perfume, not Lisa- she’s a lady) this still smells a bit niche, so it’s great to smell a bit different to everyone else for under twenty quid.

Avon Summer White Sunrise: Bravo Avon!

Avon UK
Avon UK

Regular readers of IScentYouADay might be familiar with my views on Avon. If not, here is a potted version: 1. The Golden Oldies were fantastic, 2. To me, many of the current scents have the same cardboardy basenote 3. Now and then they throw a real gem into the mix.

 Avon Summer White Sunrise falls into category three “Now and then they throw a real gem into the mix”.  Sunrise is new to me: I hadn’t seen a big launch anywhere and I never miss an Avon brochure, but looking at Fragrantica, I see there are three in the series. Summer White, Summer White Sunset, and Summer White Sunrise. I can happily report that Avon Summer White Sunrise is rather lovely and will not be given away or sold on eBay as I have often done in the past.

Summer White Sunrise opens with very distinctive Pear, which lasts from Top Note to Base Note. There is often a slightly sharp tinge to Pear, akin to the Acetone/Pear Drops similarity.  If you like Pear, read on, if you don’t, then this might not be your cup of tea.

Along with the Pear is a pleasant burst of Mandarin, which prevents this from being a typical fruity floral, and more of a citrus floral. The middle notes include Orchid, which you may recall was also present in all its synthetic glory in the dreadful Avon Incandessence.  Thankfully, it’s not detectable here, or at least to my nose it isn’t. This is a simple scent with  simple notes done well.  You may also find Orange Blossom  and a hint of Rose in there- I certainly did.  The whole thing is pleasantly rounded off with a Musky base: not too much to be sexy, but just enough to calm the notes down pleasantly before they retire for the day.  I often find a Musk base rounds things off smoothly and this is certainly the case here.

There is a hint of hairspray when you first spray this but that could be the association between Pears and Acetone.  Summer White Sunrise is delightfully light and pretty, and makes a good summer daytime fragrance, especially since it only cost me five quid in the last brochure. Bravo Avon!  More like this please!

WANTED! The Notorious Tubereuse Criminelle.



The first time I heard of Tubereuse Criminelle  was on Mumsnet. A Mumsnetter found it so appallingly bad that she was inspired to start a thread entitled “Worst Ever Perfumes”.  The thread is now in its sixth incarnation, which means over 5,000 replies have been posted and the thread has evolved from worst to best, from SOTDs to recommendations hither and thither.  Samples have been swapped and perfume true loves have been discovered.  And all because of the notorious Tubereuse Criminelle.

Created by the prestigious and prolific Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens, Criminelle is certainly a Madame with dark intentions.  I have long thought that Tuberose, when good quality, is creamy almost to the point of being medicinal, and Christopher Sheldrake must have thought the same (I flatter myself to think we agree, he is a genius and I, a mere passionate amateur). Sheldrake has taken the almost chemical notes of uber strong, nuclear Tuberose and concentrated it to the Nth degree until it smells like something else, at least initially.

On first spray, Criminelle smells like  TCP antiseptic along with clean fabric sticking plasters.  This is not a complaint: I rather like it. Then it smells like the pink mouth wash you get at a dentist, then it finally calms down a bit and the Tuberose (XXX strong), starts to come out after doing a rather tricky striptease in the opening Act.

The Tuberose is accompanied by Jasmine, Hyacinth, and Orange Blossom, with a base of Styrax,  Clove and Nutmeg.  What this translates to on my skin is: Antiseptic, then Tuberose to the Max, and finally a faint whiff of dried leaves, like old pot pourri still with satiny Tuberose infusing everything.

This is utterly dastardly in its deception and its tricksy opening, and then a triumph as the bud opens to reveals the flower.


Longevity, as you would expect from a Serge, is around nine hours.  Two things: don’t wear it in company before noon, and don’t buy it blind. I would love a full bottle of this, and would treasure it like gold.

I have a very kind soul to thank for this sample- follower and friend of the blog, meganinstmaxime sent me this sample all the way from France.  In keeping with its crafty nomenclature, this sample disappeared into thin air after I tried it.  I looked everywhere- even going through the bin at one point. I turned my house upside down, raiding drawers, my handbag, my desk, the sofa, the kitchen and everywhere you could think of.

This morning I found it- on the chopping board.  Why? What on earth…? I tell you, this is a crafty one.


Whisky and water and a river valley…


Hello, Wordbird here. While IScent is away on her holibobs, she left me the keys to the shop. So when I smelled something nice today, I thought I’d sneak in and tell you about it. She won’t mind. Honest.

I saw a display of some new toiletries in my local House of Fraser store today and had to try a couple of them out. I’d seen a range called Noble Isle in the Latest In Beauty samples that I keep putting into my online basket and then taking back out with a sigh when I remember the gas bill. So I was curious to find out what these rather luxurious bath and shower products actually smelled and felt like.

On the back of my left hand went a dollop of Whisky and Water hand lotion and on the back of my right hand went some Fireside body lotion. Five hours later there are still traces of both when I press my nose to my skin, which is actually looking a little less battered than usual.

I chose well (though pretty arbitrarily) and both are very woody, slightly smoky fragrances. Whisky and Water was absolutely gorgeous – deep woods and an almost incense-like smoke on top of something oaky and peaty that does indeed remind me of whisky. If pressed, I’d say it reminded me of Comme Des Garcons Avignon and their original Eau de Parfum, and the famous Cumming. It would layer perfectly with the gorgeous Aqua Alba from Angela Flanders . This would absolutely suit a man, but I know a lot of women who would enjoy it too. However, at £20 for 250mls, it’s rather too expensive for me to splash out on.

Top notes: Rose, Davana Blossom 
Heart notes: Jasmine, Orange Blossom
Base notes: Tonka Bean, Amber

Similarly, Fireside body lotion at £25 for 250mls is also too expensive for me; though perfect for Christmas presents, hint hint. I was particularly drawn to this because its second name is ‘Mynwy Valley’, which is pretty much where IScent and I were born and bred (ish). This was brighter and more refreshing, a little greener and more springlike, but still with a woody base that has lingered beautifully. This I would love to have in a perfume, and it’s utterly unisex, in case that sort of thing matters to you. Here’s how they describe it on the Noble Isle website:

“Fireside kindles the warm, spicy aromas of a country inn with cinnamon and cypress oil, comforting vanilla and vitamin-rich organic beet extract. Top notes: Grapefruit, Pink Pepper
Heart notes: Black Pepper, Ginger
 Base notes: Oakmoss, Vanilla”

I liked both very much and would love to try more of them, so I’m happy to give you a link to the Noble Isle website. I would like to smell the Rhubarb Rhubarb next. I wonder if it will make me crumble? (Sorry. I’ll go now.)



Armani Code For Women: Does Not Compute


This’ll have to be quick I’m afraid.  My four year old son told me on the way home that he can take his Easter bonnet in tomorrow. This was news to me.  Apparently it was a last minute change of plan.  But this is a perfume blog not a  blog about how much notice I need when I have to magic an Easter Hat out of approximately no Easter craft items whatsoever.

Armani Code For Women baffles me.  It is a code I cannot decipher.  On a Mumsnet perfume thread once,  I encountered several women who adored this and one who wore it on her wedding day.  I tried it today, all hopeful and anticipating a thunderbolt moment of fragrance love, but it never came.  This is all orange scented white flowers that remind me of a watered down version of Alien, mixed with a bucket full of yet more Orange Blossom and a blob of honey.  In fact, looking at the notes on Fragrantica I wasn’t far wrong.  I may have said earlier that I only like Orange Blossom in a chorus rather than as a solo and this is no exception.

I’m not keen, it doesn’t smell original, and there are about thirty flankers. It’s not that good Armani! I just don’t get it.



Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Eau En Rose: A Fair and Fleeting Rose

I like a pretty Rose scent at any time of the year and I quite like Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Eau en Rose.  However, I would like to say one thing to Givenchy: You have not only made twenty nine Very Irresistible flankers but why are no less than EIGHT of them Rose flankers with slightly different names?

This is a serious turn off and if Givenchy  was trying to date me, this alone would stop me from calling them back after the first date.

I always find too many flankers can start to look both self congratulatory and complacent.  One or two carefully made flankers can be good (one example is Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte– a divine flanker that deserved to be made), but make too many and the original becomes devalued in a stack ‘em high sort of way.


However, having got that moan out of the way, I will say that Givenchy Very Irresistible L’Eau en Rose (what a mouthful!) is a delightful and fresh, clean smelling Rose that sadly goes a little bit vinyl on my skin after half an hour. It is described by Givenchy as a “frosted rose”, and that’s a pretty idea, but I’m not sure quite what that translates to.  It makes me visualise frosted fruit with a faint sugary bloom.

There are only three notes listed on Fragrantica and they are: Blackberry, Rose and Musk.  What I like about this is that the Blackberry, whist adding juice and a bit of weight to the airy Rose petal, is restrained enough to prevent this from being a fruity floral mélange.

L’Eau en Rose is pretty, feminine and lasts about, oh let me see now, nearly two hours.  I do actually like it: there is a realistic feel to the initial blast of fresh rose petals, but sadly it cannot be maintained.  If it could, I would be all ears ( and nostrils!). Longevity could do with a bit of a push as well. Conclusion? So nearly there and so nearly wonderful. And for Goodness sake, Givenchy, calm down on the flanker overkill!