Category Archives: perfume samples

4160 Tuesdays Pillow Talk: Come Here
4160 Tuesdays

 Pillow Talk is one of the latest launches from Sarah McCartney, Grande Dame of 4160 Tuesdays. Sarah doesn’t over- launch or saturate us, but neither does she let the grass grow under her feet.

 As always, there is a charming backstory to it.  A Hollywood Agent dropped into 4160 HQ at Issigonis House ( it’s very nice, like a parlour) with the idea of launching her own scent.  Whilst that project didn’t have lift off, the resulting perfume did and is now Pillow Talk.

 Pillow Talk was intended as the smell of a shared pillow upon which secrets are shared as intimacy grows. To me, it brings to mind hotel rooms rather than bedroom: Posh country hotels where you go for a mini break once the dating has hit its stride and you tell them that you were secretly married and have a police record, and they don’t mind because they have a love child in Venezuela- you know how it goes…

Darling, I have a love child in Venezuela...
Darling, I have a secret love child in Venezuela… (

I will say though, that this has a strong accord in common with 4160 Tuesdays Sexiest Scent on The Planet Ever (IMHO), so if you don’t like that I’m not sure this will be your  cup of tea (Earl Grey, of course)

 As visual as it is, and I find all 4160 scents very visual,  I could not find a way into Pillow Talk, so I asked my son.  My son Freddie is nine and memorably declared that Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac smelled like “hot sand” .  So I sprayed my arm and said “sniff this and say the first thing that come into your head” and without hesitation, he said “Liquorice”.
4160 Tuesdays

It did!  Liquorice!  Not listed, not included, but somehow, there is a hint of liquorice in this.  I often find this happens- my nose finds a random note that has gone rogue.  Either liquorice is in my olfactory memory and imprinted on this scent, or two notes have a baby and make a third note out of the juxtaposition. Either way, I smelled Liquorice.

 Liquorice was was my way in.  Once I had liquorice, it opened a portal into heavy, dark woods (dark oak panelling  for some reason) which in turn led to vanilla, but not sweet shop vanilla, more drunken boozy liquor,  then a fuzzy background of bergamot, followed by indelicate flowers.  No petals, no tweeness: this is ladies’ talc on a thigh.  It’s a bit spicy, but there’s no spice.  It reminds me of the smell of the bed just after my lovely husband has left it, before his shower: a masculine undertow, but faded from the day before. The intimacy is there, and a tiny hint of complacency has set in. So what if I left make up on the pillow?  He already fancies me….

 Pillow Talk scores a ten on the nuzzle-o-meter


You can buy all 4160 Tuesdays scents from the website, and recently Escentual has started stocking them too,  Further stockist information is here. My sample was kindly sent to me by Sarah McCartney, to whom I am enormously grateful. Opinions are my ow

Boss Ma Vie: Freesias Forever

Boss is a brand that I didn’t used pay a lot of attention too, but they have produced two scents that have really made me sit up and take notice.  Boss Jour Pour Femme is a lovely green scent that I immediately liked and today, having tried Boss Ma Vie Pour Femme, I have found another Boss favourite.

Boss Ma Vie takes the unusual and modern step of using green cactus as one of its main flagship notes.  In case you were wondering (and I was too) it smells as you would expect a cactus to smell: green and succulent and juicy, which actually makes it an excellent choice for a summer day time scent.  Add a large bunch of freesias to this green and juicy opening act and you have a very feminine, pleasing fragrance that I have really been enjoying. There’s a touch of jasmine too, and a whisper of rose, but it’s the freesia which is the star here. There are allegedly cedar and woods in the base but to me, the freesia stayed true throughput and longevity was pretty good too at around five hours.  I could still smell wafts of it on my sleeves at bedtime too.

Thankfully this has neither gone down the synthetic fruity floral route nor the  gourmand/ vanilla overkill route that has been so popular over the past few years, and what I see emerging is a rather pretty, non-cloying daytime floral that would suit all ages.


Boss Ma Vie is widely available:  you could try Boots, House of Fraser, the Fragrance Shop, and Amazon.

My sample came from the June edition of the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box.

Papillon Perfumery Salome: Beauty Has a Dark Side


Papillon Perfumery Salome is the latest release from Papillon, with this being the fourth release from Nose Liz Moores.  Liz has the awe inspiring accolade of having had all three of her first ever perfumes nominated for a FiFi.  That’s an incredible achievement.

So expectations are high for any future releases and Liz must be feeling “Difficult Second Album Syndrome”, but she has nothing to fear.

Salome by Gaston Bussiere

Salome is both beautiful and disturbing, like its namesake.  This is a daring toe in the water.  Salome was never going to be mainstream. If we want mainstream, we know where we can get it.  This is the special “If you like that, I’ve got something round the back you might appreciate” sort of perfume.  It has a dark side.

Here are the notes: Jasmine, Carnation, Turkish rose, Africa stone, Patchouli, Bitter orange, Oakmoss, Styrax, Bergamot, Orange blossom.

Here’s what I got from it:  This is like opening a bottle of perfume that hasn’t been opened since the 1940s.  It smells vintage already.  It has that dark smoky richness that makes you sigh with pleasure. There is jasmine and orange blossom in among some dried leathery tobacco- Think Caron Tabac Blond.  Then the whiff of sex comes out like an animalic siren call.  A whiff of styrax brings to mind that jolt that Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles gives you, but the blending is so seamless that you can’t tell where one phase starts and another ends.  Salome is from another decade.  It makes me think of a time when le Smoking was de rigeur, when women wore aged fur stoles and when perfumes lasted days on a dirty neck where soap never reached. Anais Nin would have worn it.

Salome is rich, glorious, vintage, sexy and dark. It reminded me of vintage Ivoire de Balmain, or Bourdon’s Courtesan: with a hint of crotch, and a lot of crumpled sheets on a double bed.  It’s the walk of shame at dawn wearing yesterday’s knickers and carrying your shoes in your hand.

I loved it.

Liz, you’ve done it again.

Stockists:  Salome is available from the Papillon website, which also does a good sample service (honestly they’re all amazing).  Papillon is also stocked at Les Senteurs, Check out the Papillon website for further details of stockists in Europe.

Chanel Chance Eau Vive EDP

chance   Chanel Chance Eau Vive is the latest Chance flanker from Chanel. Launched just this week, I was eager to try it and entered my local Perfume Shop to ask for a squirt. A squirt was fine , but when I asked for a sample, the assistant looked at me like I owed her money. What’s going on with the sample thing these days? I’m even a card carrying Perfume Shop Club Points Scheme member, but it was an unhesitating, unapologetic No. Nevertheless, I had several sprays on skin and coat sleeve and it was pleasant enough. Actually I was impressed by longevity since I can still smell traces of this from this morning, albeit a masculine vetiver-y trace.


Chanel Chance Eau Vive opens with quiet fanfare awash with robust grapefruit notes that make this a perfect fresh pick me up for summer. It reminded me very much of Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh, with very little difference between the two. I should imagine that if you love one you love the other. In the middle, some light and airy florals emerge that were fairly non-descript and mingled in summery fashion with citrussy notes. The drydown was a bit cucumber/melon on me, but at the end of the day there was, as I mentioned, a trace of vetiver.

chance x4

Created by the great Olivier Polge, this will be greeted warmly by fans of light, summery feminine scents, and it certainly holds it own. Personally I prefer my fragrances to have bit more oomph, but this does the job it was meant to and would make a great wedding guest scent. Never overpowering, always pretty and unobtrusive: this is a bridesmaid scent that would let the bride shine.

 Stockists Chanel Chance Eau Vive is widely available.  You could try, Boots, or Harrods. It’s also availblae on Amazon UK . It doesn’t appear to be available in the states yet but I imagine it’ll be along in a minute.


The Perfume Society Summer Scentsations Discovery Box.



Yes I’ve done it again.  I’ve shown no restraint at all and before I’ve reviewed even half of what was in the last Discovery Box, I’ve ordered another one.  And I’ve got another on the way!  Is it too much?  Nope.

The Perfume Society Summer Scentsations Discovery Box contains the following items, all in a trademark Perfume Society white box.  Postage is free and my box cost me £10, which is the subscriber price.

Here’s what’s in it:

  •  7ml splash bottle of Fragonard Soleil
  • 1.5ml splash of Atelier Cologne Cedrat Enivrant
  • 2ml spray sample of Balmain Extatic
  • 2ml spray sample of Parfum Divin by Caudalie
  • 2ml splash sample of Yardley London Jade
  • 1.5 ml spray sample of Prada Candy Florale
  • Cute little tube of L’Occitane en Provence Shea Butter Hand Cream
  • 1.5ml splash sample of Vaara by Penhaligons
  • 2ml splash sample of Orla Kiely EDP
  • 1.2ml splash of L’Occitane en Provence La Collection de Grasse Neroli & Orchidee
  • 30ml bottle of The Body Shop Smoky Rose EDT

Not bad for a tenner.


I am quietly working my way through the box, but what is emerging is that I am finding out what I don’t like as well as what I do.  It’s important to establish your own taste, although I have also learned lately to never “outlaw” a note.  This was a lesson taught to me by two 4160 Tuesdays scents.  What Katie Did on Friday Night  ( which is now known as Fruits of The Tree of Knowledge) smells of tart cherry jam , but also has cucumber and melon in it- two notes which I elaborately sidestep- but not any more.  Then there was 4160 Tuesday New York 1955 from the 4160 Vintage Cities Range.  I fell in love with it after sniffing a sample and now have an 18ml spray bottle.  It’s only full of ice cream and vanilla and candy floss!  What am I doing wearing that?  Well it seduced me with a bunch of violets so I forgave everything.


The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are excellent for learning a few new tricks and finding out those must have fragrances that you can’t live without.  In every box I have favourites and turkeys, but I love the whole experience.   The courier likes me because I always say “ooh lovely! I know what this is!” whenever he calls.


The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the website to members and non members, although members get discounts and first dibs. They make great presents and thank you gifts too.

Aftelier Perfumes: Palimpsest



 Palimpsest: A manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing

Mandy Aftel is an independent perfumer based in California with a die-hard fan base, and more accolades than you can shake a stick at- and after trying several samples that she very kindly Fed-Exed to me, I can see why.

Firstly- the name:  After I’d read it a few times and stopped saying Pample-est in my head, I realised that, aside from some Yuzu, this was nothing to do with grapefruit (it’s not Pamplelune) and everything to do with layers.

A Palimpsest is “A manuscript or piece of writing material on which later writing has been superimposed on effaced earlier writing.”

(  You can see why this is a great name for a perfume that is a cornucopia of layers and which constantly changes on my skin and which juxtaposes the old with the new.

My preconceptions were torn asunder when I first tried Palimpsest, and I have been learning more than ever lately that it will never do to cross olfactory notes off my list of “Likes”.  I usually sidestep peach, honey and yellow flowers, but Palimpsest has all three tied together with a hint of citrussy yuzu, and most interestingly of all, an edge that smells like dried incense smoke.

Initially, there was a sourness to this, which isn’t always a bad thing, but then loud peaches took over, bedding down into richer, dried apricots enveloped in a waft of joss sticks.  Some borderline indolic Jasmine wafts by, leaving an impression but not staying long.  I wouldn’t like to break this down into top,middle and base notes  because it doesn’t stay still.


Mandy Aftel, from
Mandy Aftel, from

One overwhelming impression that it left me with, is that Palimpsest is the exact, and I mean the exact smell that you get when you stick your nose right into a fully blooming daffodil. There’s honey, yellow flowers and pollen and vanilla and that hint of natural spice in a daff that reminds you that it came from a vegetable like bulb. I don’t even know if it was deliberate or if it’s my take on it- is after all the national flower of Wales where I live, so I consider myself an aficidando of sticking noses in Daffodils.


wiki commons
wiki commons

Palimpsest is not only a superb, multi layered and interesting scent, but it is that rare thing- an all natural perfume.  Personally, I don’t mind what’s in my perfume as long as it smells good, but it is no mean feat to maintain this principal.

Mandy is remarkably successful- she was named in the top seven bespoke perfumers in the world by Forbes and Basenotes rated her in the top twenty five most influential people in perfume ( and they know what they’re talking about over there). Her very first brand, Grandiflorum was sold to Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus, and she has been her own boss at Aftelier perfumes since 1997.


Despite her success, Mandy remains approachable and down to earth, and her passion shines through in all she does.

I would like to also point you in the direction of a blog that is so good that I treat it like textbook: Perfume Shrine.  The review of Palimpsest on PerfumeShrine is superb and tells you more than I do in fascinating detail. I’m not worthy!


Aftelier perfumes are available from the Aftelier website. Prices vary, and samples start at $6 a phial.

The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box



Excuse me a minute whilst I gush like a fan.  The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my new guilty pleasure.  In fact, I don’t even feel guilty.  They are my new obsession and The Perfume Society haven’t asked me to say so.  I am besotted.

shadersYears ago, when I was a slip of a girl (many, many years ago) my late grandmother gave me a wonderful Christmas gift.  She had decorated a little basket with some fabric remnants, making a frilled lining, and filled it with beauty bits and bobbins.  In it were bath cubes, setting lotion, a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them?) bath pearls and various other mini delights.  It was such a cornucopia that I eked it out for a long time and have never forgotten what a treat it was to receive.  I’ve had nothing like it since, but the old feelings came rushing back when I received my first Perfume Society Discovery Box a few months back.  I’m now on my fourth and the thrill has not dissipated.

There is always a book of sniffing strips, postcards with notes about each perfume and discussion prompts in case you want to get a perfume club going ( and I do), and then last but not least, there is a selection of seven or eight perfume samples, often hard to get, and usually an “extra”, which in the past has consisted of Liz Earle skincare, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream,  and L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream.


This month I have the Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box and it contains: a quad of Yardley floral EDTs,  Miller Harris Couer de Jardin, Fragonard Jasmine, Jimmy Choo Blossom, La Perla Peony Blossom, Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa, Agonist Isis, Chloe Love Story , Philosophy Amazing Grace and Elemis British Botanical Shower Cream.


I can sit there sniffing away of an evening with the TV on, blissfully trying stuff out for my blog and feeling very much in my element.  It also means my sample selection has expanded in a way that makes my eyes light up like a miser in a goldmine.

So this isn’t a review of a perfume, but if you like perfume, these Discovery Boxes will save you a traipse round a  High Street smelling of so many perfumes you can’t remember the name of the one you liked.  Or they might fill a very pleasant evening of wrist sniffing whilst watching old reruns of House MD on Netflix with a  cup of tea.  Like what I do. Bliss.


The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the Perfume Society website for £15, although subscribers get first dibs and a discount.


4160 Tuesdays: Fruits of the Tree of Knowledge

Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder
Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach the Elder


Fruits of the Tree of knowledge has taught me a valuable lesson.  It has taught me to completely disregard the notes a perfume has before trying it.  I used to read the notes and form preconceptions like a fussy eater reading a menu.  But I fell hard for  Fruits of the Tree of knowledge, and  having done so, found myself feeling surprised that  after falling for it, I realised that many of the notes would have been roundly and foolishly rejected by me and may have caused  me missing out on a gem.

This reminds me of maraschino cherries:  that rich, deep almond like taste that enhances any throwback drink, or indeed, tastes wonderful alone, eaten with a cocktail stick straight from the jar.  Described by Maria Angelidou as smelling like “tart cherry jam” its borderline sourness is what gives it its USP, and I remain addicted.

Previously I had tried and rejected cherry scents: I was almost anosmic to Cartier Delices de Cartier which faded as soon as it landed on my skin, despite other reviewers reporting twelve hour longevity. I had also turned my nose up at anything containing watermelon or cucumber, but here they are, giving the sour cherries a dewy lightness. I hadn’t much liked raspberries either, but here they smell just right.  I realise I am beginning to sound like my five year old son “There are brown bits on the edge of my egg”, “my sandwiches aren’t triangles”, but I have been taught a lesson.

This is the second time Sarah McCartney has had me learning to love things I would have previously eschewed.  New York 1955 contains ice cream and candy floss, two things would have put me off completely, but the addition of violets made me buy a bottle and wear it with pride.

Fruits of the Tree of Knowledge is a revelation and has made this fussy eater start ignoring the menus.


You can buy  Fruits of The Tree of Knowledge ( previously called What Katie Did on Friday Night) from the 4160 website.  You can find further stockists here.  Big kudos to 4160 for making several affordable sample and discovery set options which you can buy here.

L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons

la chasse

With such a whimsical name, it was easy to be attracted to this scent like a butterfly to a buttercup.  With a seemingly mixed bag of reviews from the gushing to the nonplussed, I have to sadly align myself with the latter camp.

La Chasse aux Papillons opens with a whisper and then gets dirty, like twigs.  There is a hint of dried up buds, and an indolic background of jasmine.  Tuberose is alleged to be the dominant mistress here, but I could not smell any.  There is definitely Lime Blossom, but again, a dryness, like a flaky leaf, emerged on my skin.  Maybe Tauer’s Zeta spoiled me for other lime blossom scents.  There is freshness to this of sorts, and it certainly suits the spring season, but I was not enamoured of the white flowers with a hint of mud and dried leaves, nor of its light sillage and poor longevity.  I found it to smell almost medicinal or clinical, but that could be my brain getting confused because jasmine is often  used in commercial air freshener and soap.  Jasmine has many facets, and I didn’t care for this one.


Pity though, because I liked Premier Figuer and Timbuktu too and have a whole tin of L’Artisan samples to plough through yet.  But in the world of fragrance I would lack discernment if I loved everything a brand made, wouldn’t I?

I still love you L’Artisan Parfumeur, but I’ll leave this one to its fans.


You can buy L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons on Amazon UK, and of course from  I have the sample tin, which is a great way to try before you buy, and you can buy it here.

sample tin