Just the other day Dawn sent me a collection of her fragrances that I hadn’t tried yet. You can imagine my excitement. There were so many that I made notes as I sniffed. It was very hard to pick a favourite and a blog post containing reviews of all of them would be too long, so here is the DSH fragrance that jumped out and shot me with cupid’s arrow. Please make way for DSH French Lily. (Don’t worry, the other reviews will be along soon!)
DSH French Lily has that wonderful soapy/green accord that lily often has in perfume. However, sometimes lily can teeter over the edge into vegetable soup powder territory (Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee had this effect), but you’ll be pleased to know there’s none of that here. The lily here is light and floral and draws me in like a bee to a flower. It’s almost clinically clean, but then something rather interesting happens. You know when you smell a flower that’s growing outside and there’s a kind of earthy background to it? Well, that’s what happens here. There’s the beautiful purity of the white lily scent, and then a hint of the earth and the bulb from whence it came.
I could list the notes here, but the above description is my experience and I’m not sure that listing the notes would make any difference to that. I did notice beeswax, aldehydes, lily of the valley, but most of all, that white lily that I can smell on my skin and see so clearly in my mind.
I cannot stop smelling my skin when I wear this. It really is a feel-good fragrance that makes me remember that in a world of technology and pressure, there is nothing as beautiful as a single natural flower blooming away above the ground and the dirt. Nature will win through even on a dark day.
Thank you Dawn for the beautiful samples. This is my honest opinion and is not a sponsored post.
All of Dawn’s beautiful fragrances are available from this website and yes, she does ship ot the UK.
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
In an industry where the pressure is on to launch something new that nobody’s ever smelled before, it’s not easy to keep ripping off a new sheet. Luxury perfume house Clive Christian is daring to be different and you may be surprised to learn how. I know I was. It’s as if this elegant, beautifully packaged brand has donned biker boots and decided to lead us astray. I don’t know about you, but I’m going on this trip with them.
Here’s the idea behind it:
Three perfume pairs with the the core ambition to disrupt the industry with its never been done before ‘mind enhancing’ concept and patented world first perfume artistry technology; Addictive Fusion.
Exclusive to Clive Christian, this unique form of perfumery combines headspace technology which captures the elusive scents of mood and mind enhancing narcotics, including Coco Leaf (cocaine) and Opium Poppy
In other words, this is more than a scent, it is an experience. It’s a step further for those who want to delve deeper and take things to another level. Don’t tell your parents.
I am lucky enough to have tried all six. They come in three pairs, a masculine and a feminine version, but of course, you can wear these any way you like and even layer them if you want to.
Here’s my impressions:
Chasing the Dragon Euphoric Femme
The big, big first note you get here is an iris and jasmine accord. The iris is smooth and soothing but still allows the ylang and jasmine to come through. The woody notes come in then, but the big florals never leave. There is a boozy nuance, like a small glass of expensive sherry filling the room with its sweet and dark aroma. This adds to the voluptuous richness, giving this an unmistakable touch of luxury.
Chasing the Dragon Hypnotic Masculine
As you know, I don’t really pay much heed as to whether a scent is masculine or feminine. If I like it, I’ll wear it, and this I like. There’s a leathery medicinal feel to it when you first dive in. After that, it’s every note you would asscoiate with being dark, alluring, spicy and even tar like. There’s elemi (also used in cough mixture), resins, black cherry (which adds a hint of the tobacconist), oakmoss, patchouli and smoky, smoky smokiness. This is cigars, dark wood panelling and very late nights. It also lasts until dawn, unlike me.
Jump Up and Kiss Me Ecstatic Femme
I love the name of this. I’m five feet two and irresistible so I hear this a lot. This is gigantic tuberose, but without any sugar coating. It smells medicinal, and creamy and almost lily like- you know when you stick your nose so deep into a lily that you get pollen on your nose? No? well don’t try it. It doesn’t come off. It’s that rich, high scent from a spectrum that covers clove, antiseptic, celery, cream, a florist and pure white soap. It’s finished off with a hint of smoky vanilla which feels like just the right note for this. Anything sweeter would have been wrong. This is utterly addictive. It doesn’t fade either. I was sniffing my pillow two days later thinking “Can it still be the tuberose?” Dear reader, it was.
Jump Up and Kiss Me Hedonistic Masculine
Opening with a burst of rather butch citrus (think of an upmarket barber shop) this beds into an herbal middle accord of clary sage and those black cherries again. I’m not used to black cherries in scent, but I think they really work with resin-y ambers like this and I’d like to see it more. I love the kind of deep fruity but tarry vibe that it adds. Somewhere within Jump Up and Kiss Me is a “secretive narcotic ingredient”. Now on this bit, I can’t be sure. I sniffed and sniffed and what did I get? Bitter dark chocolate. Now, that my friends, is my favourite drug, so maybe this bit is open to interpretation. Try it and report back to me next time you’re in Harrods.
Vision in a Dream Mesmeric Femme
My favourite out of all six samples. This is a beautiful oriental chypre that showcases green galbanum with violets and crisp, green fruit: and that’s just for starters. The big floral middle notes remind me of those classic floral chypres of days gone by, but with a sharp green modern twist. There’s jasmine, neroli, narcissus and a combination of heliotrope and orris that seem to be made for each other. There’s something almost powdery about the effect these two notes have on the big white flowers. Maybe that’s why I find this to have traditional nuances without feeling dated. The base is vetiver, patchouli and very noticeable cedarwood. Gorgeous.
Vision in a Dream Psychedelic Masculine
An interesting blend of bitter greens with smoked incense. This opens with kaffir lime and apple, but the papyrus (a relative of the heady head shop scent nagarmotha) adds an interesting vibe to this. Funnily enough, my first thought when smelling this blind was clean paper and joss sticks. It gets intense and complex, like slow burning fireworks and leaves spicy trails of clove, pepper and cinnamon.
I was dazzled by the quality and depth of all six of these fragrances. They have an edginess and an audacity that I really admire. Whether they had any kind of effect on my mind is hard to say and will be entirely subjective. I get my kicks from half a bottle of Malbec twice a month and a lot of chocolate. However, I love the concept of this. It’s almost “Fragrance as a portal” and now that Clive Christian has blazed a trail and laid down the gauntlet, I’d be very interested to see where others follow.
Launching TODAY, right now, as I type, the Clive Christian Addictive Arts range can be found exclusively at Harrods, Knightsbridge. Samples kindly provided by Seen PR, for which many thanks. This is not a sponsored post.
Welcome to MoodScent 4! Throughout the year, myself and my three Moodscent colleagues write a post on the same fragrant theme. There’s me, (Sam) in Wales, Tara in London, Esperanza in The Netherlands and last but not least, the ring leader and our inspiration, Megan in St Maxime.
You may have read our earlier posts about what scent we would wear as a wedding guests, or what our favourite mainstream fragrances are, or even our rainy day favourites. Today, we are all looking at uplifting fragrances. You know how certain scents can just make you happy even when your day is going wrong? Those.
It was quite hard to choose only five since I could bang on about perfume until we all grow beards and get wrinkly, but I managed to whittle my choice down to five that never fail to lift my spirits.
Writing about how scent can lift my mood is obviously going to be subjective. There’s no right or wrong in perfume. One woman’s Tweed is another woman’s Poison, so I don’t expect your list to be the same as mine. Do let me know what you’d choose though. I always love to hear from you.
Papillon Perfume Dryad
I have a full bottle of this holy grail mossy green chypre made by the wonderful Liz Moores from Papillon Artisan Perfumery. It smells as if it were made in the late 40s or 50s and as if it were a vintage chypre in perfect condition, but with pagan edges. The effect it
has on me is transformative. I can be dolefully embarking on the school run, in the drizzle, in my mac and my boots and jeans, but once I catch wafts of Dryad, I walk taller and feel like one of Dior’s New Look model, with hats and gloves, sashaying down a Paris rue, smelling of vintage style oakmoss and narcissus. I leave the house as a red-faced Mum, rushing and jangling keys, and I strut home as Barbara Mullen. Now that’s what I call a mood elevator.
We’ve been through a lot Cristalle and me. We were together for twenty years and this beautiful citrussy green chypre ( can you see a pattern yet?) saw me though my single days, my sad days, the day I got sacked, the days I got jobs, the day I got dumped, the day I got chatted up, and later still, the day I got married. We’ve sort of parted company now but that scent brings back a rush of memories like a fast-moving montage of film clips, full of scenes I’d forgotten about. Beautiful Cristalle, we’ll always have Paris. And London. And Berlin. And Pontnewydd.
Eau de Cartier
Eau de Cartier makes me feel like I need to wear full length white nightie and float about the house feeling all pure and ethereal. It has the perfect symphony of lavender, violet and bergamot and smells as pure as a snowflake. The nose behind it is Christine Nagel, and I label her a genius for this. Incidentally, if you’re looking for the perfect cure-all hangover scent, this is also good for that too.
Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse
There’s something happy and feel good about grapefruit. I seek it out in fragrances, and in all my fragrant adventures, I’ve yet to find a better grapefruit scent than Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse. Tragically discontinued (“Whyyyy?” I sob on my knees) you can still find this online before it runs out. Miller Harris like their customers so they might bring it back if there’s enough demand. Maybe I should start one of those petition things? Le Pamplemousse is full of petitgrain and herbs and oakmoss, so it’s pretty much everything I love in a bottle.
Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium
Last but not least is this floral beauty from New York firm Aedes de Venustas. The fiorst time I smelled this, I loved it so much I got emotional. That doesn’t happen all the time in this game, believe me. Pelargonium knocked me sideways (in a good way). With its velvety petals, soapy iris musks and mossy drydown, this is a floral that peaks into richness in a way that made me fall in love and greed with it. It’s not cheap, but it will be mine one day. Oh yes. It will be mine.
Check out my fellow moodscent colleagues here. I’m excited to read them myself as we never know what the others are posting until we all go live.:
It’s with reluctance that I put away my eau fraiche bottles and my sandals and my sunglasses. They didn’t get used much this “summer”, which I believe fell on a Tuesday here in Wales.
Being pale and slightly on the gingery side, I far prefer the cool weather to the hot, so I’m very comfortable in Autumn and the colours of the changing trees have me in raptures.
When it comes to choosing Autumn fragrance, I don’t just like to go for the warm spices, I like to go for the aldehydes, deep vanillas and the chypres too. I love the fact that the cold air brings out the best in some fragrances that might just be a bit much in the heat. In fact, I thought it was high time I did a list of the fragrances I like best in Autumn.
My list below is in no particular order because putting them in order of preference would be impossible. I would happily go through gallons of all ten of these and would find it impossible to choose a favourite.
4160 Tuesdays Eau My Soul
My most recent review and a real treat. This is the first ever truly democratic fragrance with each note being voted for by members of Facebook group Eau My Soul and used in accordance with its popularity. It does help of course if the person making it is genius perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. This is a sandalwood, incense-y, citrussy, floral delight. But don’t take my word for it. Order your Sample now.
Papillon Dryad is the creation of the uber talented Liz Moores and was born in the heart of New Forest among trees. It is THE mossy green chypre I have been searching for. You may think a scent as green as this belongs in spring, but trust me when I tell you chypres are sensational in cool weather. You can buy Papillon Dryad from here and read my review here.
Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir Russie
Le Jardin Retrouvé is a wonderful brand with a touching backstory. The perfumer Yuri Gutsatz sadly passed away in 2005, having created a collection of wonderful niche fragrances. His son Michel has revided the brand and carried the family torch into the Twenteens and thank goodness he did. Although I had smelled and enjoyed a sample of Cuir Russie, it wasn’t until I entered a room in which perfume writer Stephan Matthews was wearing it that I realised how many nuances this beautiful leather scent has. All the fragrances in the collection are excellent and the dreamy ethereal artwork by artist Clara Feder adds a unique whimsy and beauty. You can buy it from here and read my review of the whole collection here.
First by Van Cleef and Arpels
First is the nearest thing I have to a signature scent. It’s a long-lasting floral aldehyde created in 1977 that unfurls its notes in layerss as you wear it. I’m completely smitten and have nearly emptied my 60ml EDP bottle. Can’t live without this one. You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Firedance by Ruth Mastenbroek
You may recall my recent review of perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek’s fourth fragrance, Firedance. With big notes of rose, leather and oud, Firedance is a beautifully blended Damask rose scent that has incredible longevity and is perfect for Autumn. Wearing these feels both cosy and celebratory, like being wrapped in a warm blanket whilst fireworks go off. I love it. You can buy it from here.
Sarah Jessica Parker is the range I point people towards if they ever tell me they don’t “do” celebrity scents. With the enthusiasm of a true fume head, SJP knows her perfume like Carrie Bradshaw knew shoes. Stash is a unisex, woody, sandalwood, incense fragrance that is mature and audacious. You can buy it from Superdrug.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has this knack of creating modern perfume that make you think you have just prized the lid off an unopened chypre from 1920. How she gets them to smell vintage is beyond me, but she does it beautifully. Chinchilla evokes fur stoles, glamour, cigarette holders, and opera gloves. It is a superb example of a classic chypre. You can buy DSH fragrances from the website here and read my review of Chinchilla here.
Marina Barcenilla India
The multi-talented Marina Barcenilla is a gifted natural perfumer who has won not one, but two coveted Fragrance Foundation Awards (or Fifis). India has sandalwood and tuberose and roses all in one stunning Autumnal scent that radiates from skin and gives a good eleven hours longevity. I also have the rollerball skin oil, which also makes your skin smell incredible, as well as leaving it silky soft. You can buy MB Parfums from the website here and read my review of India here.
Tauerville Amber Flash
The delightful Andy Tauer has branched out into a wider reaching and more affordable range of fragrances under the umbrella name of the Tauerville Flash series. Not that his usual scents are overpriced- they’re worth every penny. I loved Amber Flash and reviewed it here. It is as it sounds, but so much more too. It gives off a cosy warmth and a heat that is just perfect in cold weather (and of course, unisex). You can buyTauerville scents here.
Aftelier Amber Tapestry
Somewhere in Berkeley California, Mandy Aftel mixes and measures until her natural fragrances are just right. Amber Tapestry is the perfect name for this. The fragrance opens with orange flower and gets warmer and more resinous as it unfurls its layers on your skin. Ending with a long lasting base of resinous, leathery vanilla, Amber Tapestry is just what I want to wrap myself in when its dark outside. You can buy Amber Tapestry from Aftelier.com and read my review here.
Over to you
How about you? What do you reach for in Autumn? ambers? vanilla? chypres? or something completely unexpected? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Over on Facebook (have you liked my page yet? Please do), there is a friendly perfume lovers group called Eau My Soul. The USP is that the group is welcoming, not critical of other’s choices and provides a warm atmosphere in which to discuss anything you like about fragrance.
The group is the brainchild of founderChristi Long, who wanted a forum that was a sanctuary from one upmanship and criticism of other’s choices. Some perfume groups can get quite heated and Eau My Soul is the gentle antidote.
Blog favourite and friend Sarah McCartney is a member and being a perfumer, it was just too irresistible to make a scent for the group and Eau My Soul the eau de parfum is the result.
Now, I feel as if I participated in this scent personally, because members were given a poll of ingredients that they would like to see in a perfume that represented the group. Sandalwood was heavily in the lead, and thus sandalwood features heavily. I love a sandalwood fragrance and was one of the voters, so to receive a sample of a fragrance I feel I had a small part in was a really unique and wonderful experience. Every member had a vote and there were many votes for different ingredients, all of which were included. A truly democratic fragrance!
So how does it smell?
Eau My Soul, like the group itself, is made up of many components which all play a valuable part.
It opens pleasingly with citrus, like a palate cleansing appetiser before the sensational main course.
The main player is sandalwood, but with smoky hints of cognac, incense and frankincense, it doesn’t stand alone. The flowers are the big strong ones: jasmine, iris, rose. There’s vanilla too, but when merged with leathery labdanum and tonka, it makes for a warm buttery background rather than the cakey vibe it brings in less carefully constructed mainstream fragrances (now, that’s tact!).
What I love about this is the smoky woodiness of it. It has resins but never gets too resinous- sometimes resins can come across as harsh and tarry to me, but here, all is gently blended. The citrus keeps it from getting too dense, whilst the floral notes break through to give this a floral tang that I am so addicted to I’ll need rehab.
In the base, as if this were made just for me, there is my favourite note: oakmoss. It rounds this off with a flourish, adding its earthiness to the smokiness and floweriness. It’s pure heaven.
Overall, I don’t think it would be going too far to say that this is, in my opinion, Sarah McCartney’s best work (and that’s saying something). It’s full bottle territory for sure, and having written 875 perfume blog posts, I don’t say that lightly.
You may be unsurprised to learn that this has sold out, but will be back in October from the 4160 Tuesdays website. This is good news because I’ll need to let Santa know. My sample was won in a Eau My Soul giveaway, so basically, I can say anything I like about it. And I have. You can join Eau My Soul on Facebook. We are friendly, kind, not snobby and we don’t judge. Thank you to Christi Long who runs the group like a good fairy.
Rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. In Firedance, Ruth presents a scorching, modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, as exotic leather dances in surprise harmony with the main character – smouldering Damask rose. Set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli, a shining amber note radiates from the skin in this memorably intimate and sexy perfume.
Today is the day that Ruth Mastenbroek launches the fourth fragrance in her collection: Firedance. Ruth is an experienced nose who has worked behind the scenes in the industry for fourdecades before going solo in 2010 with her first scent, aptly named RM Signature. You can read my review here. After that came the wonderful Amorosa, followed by Oxford. Now the trio becomes a quartet, with the arrival of Firedance. Ruth has also redesigned the brand to reflect that every drop tells a story and using a palette of black and gold, these new designs reminded me of the original illustrations to Grimm’s fairytales ( see pic and you’ll know what I mean).
So was Firedance worth the wait and is it a worthy member of this scented quartet? Absolutely. Here’s why.
Now, first of all, this is a rose/oud/leather fragrance. We all know that rose and oud and rose and leather have been done before, but dear reader, not like this. The leather and oud is there, of course, but the first thing I noticed about Firedance was the rich, dusky Damask rose and then, would you believe it? Carnations. In the same way that Serge Lutens Vitriol D’oeillet made me sit up and take notice, Firedance stopped me in my tracks. A drop of clove oil is the culprit, and whilst it doesn’t dominate, it adds a wonderful peppery spicy addition to proceedings.
I composed Firedance to capture those special moments that make me appreciate what I have.- Ruth Mastenbroek
For full disclosure, I’m not really a big oud fan (there, I’ve said it), but the oud here smells different. It doesn’t take over but still makes a contribution. In fact, it adds a kind of fruity earthy accord that makes the rose more robust. It seems to blend seamlessly with the amber to make a sort of amber-oud or oud-amber. The amber takes the edges off it.
To me, it adds layers and makes this a sort of 4D rose, with petals that have crisped through age, like dusty pot pourri, whilst still having plump satiny petals in the centre. My nose also picked up little facets of powder, which always makes me think of a 1950s dressing table. I often find this with rose, whether the powdery note is deliberate or not.
There is a measured heat and an autumnal feel to Firedance, which makes this a very appropriate launch for the first day of Autumn. This is rose with warmth, earthiness, spice and the kind of longevity that lingers on your pillow when you wake up the next day. It’s not cheap, but it is very good value. Ruth makes it herself. There’s no committee, no big factory, no billboard marketing. You’re paying for the ingredients and the expertise of a perfumer with four decades of skill and experience.
Firedance is a stand out earthy, dusty rose that’s not quite on the turn, not quite over. This is the perfect farewell to summer and a warm scented blanket for the colder days ahead.
Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance is available from the website and from Fenwick’s, where Ruth will be giving a talk on 14th September. Check out The Perfume Society website for details. My bottle was given to me by Ruth Mastenbroek in return for an honest review, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.
As we blow summer a kiss goodbye (and my kiss is as warm as the weather was) I find that my longing for the sea and for those uplifting crest-of- a wave scents stays with me throughout every season of the year. If it’s related to the sea, if it reminds me of the sea and if the bottle is the colour of the sea, and if I like it then it’s on my list.
So if, like me, you’re a mermaid out of the water (trust me- swimming is the only sport I can do well) then, do feel free, if you’ll excuse the pun, to dive in here.
Art de Parfum Sea Foam
The name says it all and this gorgeous scent really delivers. With milky fig and salty notes, this resembles the crashing sea, the sandy dunes and the green notes of the scrubby beach flora. I adored it and declared it one of the ebst sea scents I have ever tried. You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Our Modern Lives Aquamarine Waves by Sarah McCartney.
What a stunner! So authentic is this gem from Our Modern Lives, that it contains actual real seaweed (filtered out once its job has been done). This is a marine scent with no calone, and they are few and far between. You can read my review here and buy it from here. The nose behind Our Modern Lives is none other than blog favourite, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays.
Library of Fragrance Salt Air
Our dear chums at the Library of Fragrance come up with the goods once again. Salt Air is a fabulously salty, sea spray of a scent that really reminds me of damp beaches and seagulls and splashing around in the shallows. It’s both refreshing and salty, and will give you a ray of optimism throughout the British ten-month winter (well, it feels like ten months anyway). You can read my review here and buy it from the Library of Fragrance website.
Michael Kors Turquoise
I tried this at the beginning of summer, or what I thought was going to be summer, and it just made me think of those wonderful David Hockney paintings of swimming pools. With sea notes, water lily and zesty lime, just smelling this will quench thirst. You can read my review here and buy this from House of Fraser or John Lewis, among others.
Aqua di Parma Blue Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri
I delighted in this when I first sprayed it. Those bitter oranges just brought the Mediterranean Sea to life on my skin. There is allegedly a caramel note but thankfully it didn’t really show up on me. You can read my review here and buy it from John Lewis
Lancôme O d’Azur
This is one from the O de Lancôme range, so you just know it’ll be a fabulously refreshing hesperide. I’d happily take any from this range off your hands: there’s O de Lancôme, O de L’Orangerie and this one. It opens with sharp citrus and beds down into pretty peony, with a soft musky finish. You can buy it from here.
Fathom V by Beaufort London
This scent was like a scene from a Dickensian swampy dock playing out in my head. I sme ll pirates.
Like the green slimy flanks of a ship and with lily so heady it’s off the scale, this is one of my favourite sea scents. It’s a bit out there, but that’s what I love about it.
This is a classic that seems to have universal appeal. It’s a light calone scent (i.e melon and cucumber) with aquatic notes that smell fresh and clean, like stepping out of a shower. To be honest, the one for men is just as good so I regard the “for her” and “for him” labels as totally interchangeable. I didn’t used to like calone and still sometimes have a problem with cucumber in fragrance, but now that I’ve smelled eleventy billion perfumes, I keep a more open mind about it. You can buy it here, and it’s widely available in lots of other places too. Very inexpensive too.
Over to you
How about you? What scents make you think of the sea? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
I must thank each and every one of you who entered. I had some brilliant replies. I think how someone smells says so much about a moment in their lives, doesn’t it? From “something the dog rolled in” to “petrol” and the mouthwatering “chiocken, stuffing and gravy” I was hugely entertained and want to be friends with everyone of you.
Apologies if I couldn’t reply individidually. It’s currently the summer holdays, or as I call it, the season of “Mum, watch this” so I often get called away before I can finish a…
Anyway, without further ado, the winner is Kate Farrar!
Congratulations Kate. Please send your address to me at email@example.com.
To those who weren’t lucky this time, I’m often doing giveaways so stay tuned because they are random.
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.
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 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.
If 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
This 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
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
This 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
It 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)
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.