Category Archives: perfume samples

4160 Tuesdays: Goddess of Love and Perfume

goddess

Designed for Aphrodite, goddess of love, to seduce shepherd boys on the grassy banks of Roseberry Topping.

-Sarah McCartney

Yesterday I was the excited recipient of a box of Crimes of Passion samples from 4160 Tuesdays. This always feel like an occasion as the packaging is consistently hand done and beautiful. Each phial was wrapped in jewel coloured tissue before being wrapped in recycled hand made paper and finished with a leather bow ( The cats won’t give it back). After all that build up, my anticipation was huge.

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What were the actual scents like? Well a trumpet fanfare wouldn’t have been out of place. They blew me away good and proper. I don’t get these thunderbolts very often and having now written 620 blog posts, I’d be exhausted if I did. But this was like being struck by cupid. I will write about the others in good time, but today I will attempt to do justice to Goddess of Love and Perfume.

grapefruitOpening with citruses that smell freshly squeezed, there is a bright salty tang in the top notes, with a promising warmth. There’s enough fruit here for a market stall ( Yuzu, grapefruit, raspberry, strawberries, plum, peaches), but they are blended so seamlessly it makes a new accord that is akin to a tart raspberry flavour grapefruit. If it was a drink I’d order an ice filled jug of it.

The fruit segues subtly and gradually into a warm fruity chypre and peach sorbetthe oakmoss and Myrhh (aka opoponax) give this a wonderfully retro nod in the direction of the old school chypres that have long gone. The peaches make their presence felt, but never in a soapy, tinned fruit sort of manner. Its more boozy brandied peaches that have been infused with dried fruit over Christmas. The classic chypre base of patchouli and oakmoss gives me the fix I want.

For some reason, the final stages of this long lasting beauty struck me as having a bunch of violets in it. There are none actually in this, but somehow, I found them, or they found me, along with some long lasting vintage musk. Leaving a slightly powdery finish, as a good chypre does, Goddess of Love and Perfume left me an infatuated suitor in her wake.

So, yes, I’ve been shot by cupid and I’m helpless to resist.

Stockists

You can buy Goddess of Love and Perfume from the website at 4160 Tuesdays. You can find other stockists here. I bought my samples from the site. I am reviewing the parfum strength.

Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904.
“Ta-dah!”

Painting: Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left
in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904. From www.myastrologybook.com

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Looking back at 2015: My Top Ten

Welcome back. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I am currently smelling of my Christmas present: First by Van Cleef and Arpels, and loving its classic aldehyde nuances. I smell like a proper lady.

2015 marks the third year of my blog and I always like to do a top ten round up as we say farewell to another twelve months. Scent wise, it’s been an interesting and busy year. I have thoroughly enjoyed several new scents and innovations and I only wish there were ten first places. This top ten then is in no order of preference. These are my ten favourite scent related things that happened in 2015. As far as I’m concerned, they are all joint first.

1. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

Never has a postman seen a face light up like mine when these familiar boxes come my way. With around ten hard-to-get samples, carefully curated and with smelling notes too, each Discovery Box is a Treasure Chest. I have them all.

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

2. Papillon Salome

It astounds me that Liz Moores is a relative newbie. Every one of her first three début scents were nominated for coveted FiFi awards. Her fourth, Salome, is the kind of stuff Anais Nin would have worn.  It’s dirty, sexy and already smells like a vintage classic.  If this one doesn’t get a FiFi, bloggers and perfume fans will riot in the streets.

salome

3. Aftelier Perfumes.

Dear Mandy Aftel of Aftelier perfumes and I struck up a friendship this year and what an enriching friendship it was turned out to be. Amazingly Mandy uses all natural ingredients and the results are vivid, real and evocative. I’m looking forward to more from Mandy in 2016, and in the meantime, I really recommend the to-die-for Bergamoss EDP and the deliciously cosy Vanilla Smoke.

Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com
Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com

4. 4160 Tuesdays Blooms and Grows

Sarah McCartney keeps innovating without saturating and this year is no different. I am yet to try many of the Crimes of Passion range ( and will soon be putting that right), but one of my favourite things about Sarah is that she makes affordable niche. If you can’t stretch to a full bottle ( and they are priced fairly), there are sample sets and purse sprays which puts high quality artisan niche within everyone’s reach. I like that.

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5. Library of Fragrance

This is the second year of my love affair with Library of Fragrance and I think we’re getting serious. With soliflores (Iris, Mango, Orange Blossom), the “quirkies” as I call them ( Rain, Bonfire, Play Doh) and the Whimsicals ( Pixie Dust, Moonbeam, Sunshine), Library of Fragrance continues to give me what I want. I can wear them alone, I can blend and I can find that favourite note that I only like on its own. Prices are very reasonable and longevity goes far beyond its cologne label. Happy to see purse sprays now as well!

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6. Pell Wall Perfumes

2015 was the year I discovered Pell Wall Perfumes. Chris Bartlett is an indie perfumer who sells good honest scent that he created himself. It’s quality stuff with a nod to vintage classics as well as a flair for staying modern. I’ve had fun discovering how versatile this brand is: violets in Deep Purple, leather in Sticky Leather Sky, rose in Pretty in Pink. Discovery Sets and a good sample service make Pell Wall user friendly. Chris gets a firm handshake from this blog.

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7. Lidl

Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour is a well known, shall we say, “homage” to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, but did you know they have also launched Suddenly Woman which smells like Chanel No 5? or Suddenly Diamonds which smells like Boss Orange? Or Xbolt that smells like Hugo Boss Bottled? Big companies hate this, but I like that they’ve put scent within the reach of the most parsimonious shopper.  Whilst you’re there chuck in some Tiramisu ice cream if they’ve got it.

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8. Retro Returns

I’m talking about the joy of seeing Aqua Manda, Aqua Citra and Goya Black Rose again. Babe and Tribe are back. Yardley repackaged their timeless soliflores as Contemporary Classics (I’ve bought three bottles) I’m also talking about the fact that Geminesse, Lutece, Raffinee and Moon Drops are marching back too Watch this space. Further developments may well end up in 2016 Top Ten too.

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9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Range

The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range brings back the endless summers I spent making mud pies and eating blackberries in the 1970s. Miller Harris has made an evocative capsule collection of three fabulous fragrances, my favourite of which is Coeur de Jardin.

millerharris jardin denfance

10. Friedemodin

A capsule range created by Nina Freide and Elisabeth Modin, the Freidemodin range is ethereal, delicate and beautiful. I especially adore Vertine and Rosee de Nuit. I’m exscited to see what Freidemodin comes out with next. You can find them in Harvey Nichols.

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Happy New year everyone! I really value your kind loyalty and readership.

sam hat

The Perfume Society Les Infusions de Prada Discovery Box

PRADA PINK

Being a fan and a full bottle owner of Prada Infusion D’Iris, I was delighted to see that iris has been joined by some new friends in a beautiful capsule collection. It’s hard to believe that Prada Infusion D’Iris has been around since 2007.  I came to it only last year and found it quite ground breaking.

NowSmellThis
Photo of Daniela Andrier from NowSmellThis

I have had a complicated relationship with Iris: sometimes it turns me right off, and sometimes it attracts me like a bee to nectar. It often depends who it’s hanging out with.  Prada Infusion D’Iris pleased me no end since it seemed to fuse my love of hesperides with a gentler, watercolour version of iris.

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All of the Infusions de Prada range were created by Daniela Andrier, who has this to say:

“At first they appear to be very simple, as if you were “tattooing” water with an ingredient-but in reality each is a very complex formula…the base composition allows the beauty of a flower, wood or fruit to be revealed in a bright sensitive way”

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Imagine my delight at finding a Discovery Box with all of the following inside:

Les Infusions de Prada Iris Cedre

Imagine Infusion D’Iris with a drier, more sober iris within. The galbanum keeps this springlike and the very faintest wisp of incense adds a unisex edge. The iris used here is Iris Pallida which is matured for four years after picking. It would feel rude not to appreciate it after all that time. Luckily it’s dreamy and gorgeous, so no forced politeness required.

Les Infusions de Prada Fleur D’Oranger

Playful and light as air, the orange flower green notes are present, with the orange being more dainty than sharp. There is a base note of serenglide which adds a ghost of floaty white musk.

Les Infusions de Prada Oeillet

Oeillet is carnation, and this opening is zingy like lime. There is bold styrax, but it’s used with a light hand. There is definitely patchouli, but its done with faint watercolours rather than bold acrylics. The spices within are on the herbal spectrum rather than the foodie spectrum and in fact I found the wispiest wisp of liquorice.

Les Infusions de Prada Amande

I’m not usually a fan of gourmands, but I’m always going to be a fan of this almond infusion. There is vanilla, but it is sugar free. No cupcakes or candy floss here. This is creamy and classy, like expensive cashmere. The mandarin and lime that is pretty much a characteristic of the collection, keeps this bright, rather than sweet.

Les Infusions de Prada Vetiver

This could easily play a little trick on your nose. In a blind test, you would not pick this out as Vetiver. However, after about half an hour, coaxed by touches of ginger and citrus, the dried grasses finally emerge. This would make a great unisex scent as it has a slightly masculine finish, but starts like an expensive herbal cologne. It reminds me of very expensive hotel bathrooms. NB Here on my blog, there is of course, no gender barriers to whatever you want to wear. Or do.

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Les Infusions de Prada Iris

The original beautiful, ethereal scent that started the wheel turning. I would be hard pushed to think of a more likeable scent. This is green, light, airy and floral and never overpowers.

Stockists

The Infusions de Prada Discovery Box is available exclusively from The Perfume Society.  The boxes costs £36 (£30 to subscribers) and contain 6 x 8ml bottles and postcards with notes and information about each one.  The box would make a great gift and would be a safe bet for recipients who like light, airy perfumes.

If you want to the full bottles, try John Lewis, Escentual or Selfridges

Thank you to the Perfume Society who kindly provided me with this beautiful box.  Opinions are my own.

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Angelo Orazio Pregoni for Odriu Milan: Olfactory Dada

angelo and dog

I was recently approached via email by Odriu Milano and asked if I would like some samples from their range. I agreed and provided my address, not knowing what to expect. Slightly embarrassingly I was out when the plain brown parcel arrived from “The Pleasure Factory” and had to knock my neighbours door to mumble a thank you for taking my parcel.

Opening the envelopes was like unravelling a puzzle. The website is even more bizarre, but I like it. I like it all, even if I had to do quite a bit of research to get the full picture.

The brand is Odriu Milano, the perfumer is Angelo Orazio Pregoni ( and check out his profile here because I can’t do it justice) and the ranges I’ve been sent are named Wet Dream and Vendetta. It took me a minute to figure out the Vendetta one. I had a sample called DET, one called TA, and one called VEN, until the penny dropped.

vendettasamples

I’ve always loved an eccentric so I got stuck in to see if this intriguing brand was all mouth and no trousers, as we say in Wales. In other words: are they any good or is it all talk? Now before you read on, it’s important to remember that Angelo Pregoni “ is also the founder of NoUseART, a movement which promotes performance based on smell“- Fragrantica.  Just bear it in mind.  Estee Lauder, this ain’t.

Peety

The first sample I tried was from the Wet Dream range and called Peety.  Initially it reminded me very much of Tauer L’Air du Desert Marocain,that mainstay of any classic niche collection. However Peety went a bit incensey on me then, more like Comme Des Garcons Avignon ( all of this good by the way, I’m a fan). The dry down is long, spicy and smoky and will have your nose glued to your wrist. There’s moss, tobacco and patchouli and some might find a bit of animal in there too, but on me it was more balsamic smoke. It’s excellent and would be equally good on male or female skin.

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Satyricon:

This is tricky to describe because to me it smells like stale unwashed man. The thing is, I think it’s meant to. Remember that Angelo Pregoni is a performance artist that uses smell in his performance and one Fragrantica reviewer has memorably described this as “a wardrobe malfunction done on purpose”. What I got was cat pee, which then disappeared and turned into Crayola crayons, which then morphed into unwashed skin and dirty hair.  It’s remarkably clever but not something I’d want a full bottle of.

satyricon

VEN

Ven opens like Serge Lutens Louve- it’s all cherries and chocolate, but it quickly changes into something more than that. There was also a whiff of peppermint and, bizarrely, the smell of a brand new room- you know that new paint and new carpet sterile smell? It reminded me a little of LUSH Smell of Weather Turning, but this has bigger muscles and ends up smelling as if you are cuddling a hirsute man who is brusque, yet protective, and hasn’t washed since yesterday.  It’s very good.

ven

DET

I wasn’t sure what to make of Det when I first tried it so here’s what I wrote down: rum, booze, basil, woodiness, flowers, nutty?

I then looked at the notes listed on trusty Fragrantica. Who would have thought that a scent that incorporates white flowers, peanuts, red berries, basil and benzoin would ever smell so amazing? But it does. The peanuts add a warm savoury woody feel, the white flowers only overtake towards the finishing line and the whole comes together in an intriguingly changeable feast of a fragrance.

det

TA

Ta is an odd name for a perfume. Its a lazy colloquial way of saying thank you, but once I jiggled the samples as mentioned above, it became clear that this is the last piece of Vendetta. Ta is very green: almost too green: the cedar is strong and just holds back from being bitter. The moss tones it down a bit and the strawberry and cucumber come through at the very end, like the hint of melted sweets in a puddle.  This wasn’t my favourite but I would recommend you try it if you ever get the chance.

ta

Stockists

You can buy Odriu perfume from the Odriu Milan website, and they also do a sample service.

GIVEAWAY

Here’s the Good news: I am doing several give-aways throughout Advent as a thank you to my lovely readers for helping to get me to my third year blogaversary in January 2016. The give-away will consist of:

Odriu Milano Perfumes by Angelo Orazio Pregoni

Peety

Satyricon

Ven

Det

Ta

Simply tell me what you smell of at the time of writing.  That makes sense, right? For instance, I smell of six perfumes, minty Polos and coffee at the moment. The deadline for entries is Monday 7th December at midnight GMT. You can give me your answer via Facebook, email ( iscentyouaday@gmail.com), Twitter, or as a comment on the blog below.

Sorry, but the giveaway is for UK readers only due to postal restrictions. Apologies to my lovely overseas chums.

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The IScentYouADay Guide to Fragrant Gift Buying

4160 test set

On the subject of gift shopping, I often hear people say to me (and it’s usually to me as I’m a perfume blogger), “She wants perfume but I don’t know what she likes ” or “she fancies a change.”

Many partners either try and guess what their beloved will like- “it’s in a square sort of bottle”- or just buy Chanel No 5 because its the most famous one.  Coupled with this is the fact that perfume is often thought of by many as a luxury that smacks of self indulgence when buying it for yourself, hence the thousands of people who ask for it for Christmas or birthdays.

So what do you buy for someone who wants perfume but is saying “surprise me”?

The best idea is,of course, a Discovery Set.

Discovery Sets often, but not always, consist of a set of samples and a voucher for a full price bottle. They are a great way of experimenting and finding new things you like and new things you don’t.

Here’s my round up of the best fragrance Discovery Boxes in the UK (in my opinion). I won’t sell you short, I’d be happy to get any of these myself (hint, hint) Are you reading this darling? No, he’s looking at cars on his phone. Never mind, I’ll email him the link. 

1 Jo Loves

Jo Malone found the lure of the fragrant world was calling her back  after the sale of Jo Malone the brand and she began again as Jo Loves. I recommend just about all of them. I was kindly sent a sample set early in my blogging days and the quality was just wonderful. As far as gift buying goes, Jo Loves offers two great sets. The Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience consists of nine miniatures and a 50ml full bottle of your choice to follow at £95, or nine miniatures and a bigger 100ml bottle for £135. You’ll be spoilt for choice. Jo Loves fragrances are mouthwatering and irresistible.

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2. 4160 Tuesdays

There all sorts of goodies over at 4160- samples, handbag sizes, try’n’buy sample and full bottle sets. You name it, Sarah McCartney has something for all budgets and tastes. Dip your toe in, I dare you! Where do I start? Well there’s the taster boxes at £35 for ten minis, or the Taster Box Plus Bottle Later for £100, or for £125 a whole day’s workshop with Sarah including food, chocolate and lots of sniffage and mixing. Or for under £20, you can buy an array of minis and testers in order to find your 4160 groove.  Check out the site shop right here. Incidentally, this article was written on Black Friday which is being called Hot Pink Friday over at 4160 Tuesdays. How refreshing!

4160 test set

4. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my passion. I have them all. I swoon when a new one comes out and have set world speed records in buying them. I receive the newsletter that alerts VIP members that a new Box is available, and I’ve ordered it and paid for it before I’ve finished reading it. The Discovery Boxes contain around ten perfume samples, often very hard to get on the High Street, along with a postcard containing discussion notes about each scent, and usually a couple of non perfume goodies such as nail polish or skin treats. The boxes are between £10 and £15 to VIP members and a few pounds more for non members. They make a great introduction to fragrance and are the cutest gifts ever in their little white boxes

In fact VIP Membership (£25 a year) can lead to free or subsidized perfume hobnobbing evenings at launches and events around the country, not to mention a free Discovery Box. I reckon a membership and Discovery Box would make a great gift. Check out the Perfume Society Shop Here.

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5. The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Boxes.

Each box Includes a set of samples and generous discount vouchers off full size bottles- often ten pounds off, but more usually five. Boxes are dispatched quarterly and cost £5 each. A year’s worth of boxes  at just £20 would make a lovely gift for all seasons. When the site has stopped crashing because of Black Friday, I’ll post the link.

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

6. Pell Wall Perfumes Discovery Box

For £49 you get no less than nine 10ml fragrances from perfumer Chris Bartlett at Pell Wall perfumes. Made in Shropshire, Pell Wall is an eclectic mix of good quality perfume with excellent longevity and lovely Jeeves and Wooster style packaging. Chris is a jolly nice chap too. You can get them from the website. I particularly recommend Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple.

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Aftelier Vanilla Smoke: In Which Mandy Reinvents The Word Cosy

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Aftelier Vanilla Smoke is the latest launch from delightful Mandy Aftel of Aftelier , the friendly genius who kindly sends me samples from sunny California to overcast, chilly Wales.

Vanilla Smoke is exactly what this overcast chilly Welsh woman needed. If you look in the dictionary for the word “Cosy” you will find a description of Vanilla Smoke.

Vanilla Smoke opens with prickly spice and a creosote note that lands somewhere between Tauer Lonestar Memories and the smell of a leather jacket that’s just come in from the rain. I don’t know how Mandy achieves this, especially since she uses all natural ingredients, but this is what I could smell.

There is dark Lapsang tea, smoked over pinewood, and ambergris. Green mandarin is also listed but I could not detect it, unless its responsible for that slightly sharp tang on opening ? There are woods, or in my mind’s eye, logs, and there is saffron. But the star of the show, in every scene and frame, is vanilla.

Now what Mandy has done here is help me fall back in love with Vanilla. I used to love vanilla, and The Body Shop Vanilla Oil in the 1980s is to me, the epitome of a time when vanilla, worn alone, was good enough for any day.

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Lately however, all the joy has been sucked out of vanilla for me. Cheap, synthetic vanilla seems to have been used in every mainstream scent with an overly heavy hand and frankly, even in fragrances where it had no business. Sometimes mass produced fake smelling vanilla reminds me of vanilla candles that you find in the pound shop, when what I actually want from vanilla, is something that borders on liquor and marzipan.

Vanilla Smoke is exactly what I’m looking for. The smoke is the smoke of a winter fireplace and the vanilla, although sweet, has nothing of The Cupcake Accord that has ruined many a sniff for me in the last few years. Rich and boozy, Aftelier Vanilla Smoke is blended seamlessly with wood and smoky dark tea to make it smell like that log fire I can see when I smell it.

Lasting many hours- around eight in fact, the last of the base note that is left on my skin reminds me a little of Dior Hypnotic Poison, which I consider an enduring classic.

Vanilla Smoke is a glass of whisky by a log burning fire in a huge old fashioned fireplace that heats the whole room. If you’re me, you’ll be adding Christmas Tree lights very soon. Superb.

Stockists

Vanilla Smoke is available from the Aftelier website. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy Aftel. Opinions are my own.

fireplace.lifcow.com
fireplace.lifcow.com

The Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box: Part Deux

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(Because Part Deux sounds more perfumey than Part Two). Now that my boy has turned six and eaten the sweets and done the soft play party and blown out the candles, I can wade through the debris to my trusty PC and write the second part of my review of the Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box.

Here’s what else was in the little white box:

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Agonist No 10 White Oud

This fragrance opens like an extrait version of Body Shop White Musk ( and I don’t care what anyone says, that’s a classic), and then kind of gets more expensive smelling by the minute. The oud is more of a nuance than a main player and I like that. What I did NOT get were all the flowers that are listed such as May rose, violet and lily of the valley. The note that did come out quite strongly, however was Nagarmotha, or Cypriot oil which was used so effectively in Bruno Fazzolari’s wonderful Lampblack ( it reminds me of soot and ink). Number 10 White Oud is a gentle and cosy oud for those who like oud but don’t want to leave a big trail in their wake.

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Ormonde Jayne Vanille D’Iris

Ormonde Jayne Vanille D’Iris is my first ever Ormonde Jayne sample and it was worth waiting for. I dislike too much vanilla and have a love/hate relationship with iris, but this combination of the two takes the best points of both and blends them seamlessly until you cannot separate them. It gives the grown-up-lady feel of iris that I like coupled with the cosy warmth of vanilla that I enjoy. My problem comes when Iris is too cold and vanilla too sweet, but together they get on so well that I reckon they should get married and have kids.

Beaufort London Male grooming Eau de Parfum Leo Crabtree photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography
photographed by Andrew Ogilvy Photography

Beaufort London 1805

The point of a Discovery Box is to discover not just what you like, but what you definitely don’t like. It hopefully takes you out of your comfort zone too. Well Beaufort London 1805 took me out of my comfort zone and sadly, gave me nothing I liked. It smelled like the enamel covered saucepan that I almost set fire to recently in my quest to make hearty soup. It’s a terrible scorched vinyl scent that’s bound to suit someone, but that someone ain’t me. If you like smoky scents, it’s worth a  try.

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Connock London KuKui EDP

I tried this four times to be sure and it won me round. It opens with glorious blousy white flowers: lilies, white jasmine and gardenia. It’s beautifully feminine and I could waft about in it all day. However, it then morphs into a woody floral. There was a moment when it could have teetered over into Coco Mademoiselle territory if it wasn’t careful, but thankfully, it stayed on the jasmine/gardenia path and is all the better for it. There is sandalwood and amber in the base and it gives this beautiful floriental a warmth that is welcome in this chilly weather. The Connock London Kukui eau de parfum came about when customers of Amanda Connock kept asking for a fragrance to match the scent of Connock’s body products. I’m glad they asked. This is the gorgeous result.

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Atkinson’s Rose in Wonderland

The rose in Atkinsons Rose in Wonderland made me think of perfect Mary Poppins nursery rooms. The rosa centifolia is a definite childhood nostalgia sort of rose. It smells of breath sweets or rose creams. This is a clever scent though because just as you’re enjoying that fresh, almost zingy rose, it changes and becomes those papery rose petals you find in pot pourri. This is the combination of dry grassy vetiver and peppery geranium and it all contributes to a delightful English Country Garden feel.

So that’s all of them, in mini bite sized reviews. And you’ll never believe what arrived in the post yesterday- yes, the latest Perfume Society Discovery Box. This one is called Putting on The Spritz. I’ll let you know how I get on.

Keep sniffing, my dear readers!

Stockists

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available from the website and you don’t have to be a subscriber to buy one, but you do have to be in the UK  to receive one due to postal regulations. They make great Christmas presents exactly as they are.

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The Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box.

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I can’t help it. I’ve ordered another one. I think I’ve got them all now ( and one on the way) except the Prada one. Yes I’m talking about those tempting treasure troves of perfume samples and goodies- The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes. This time I’m writing about the Secret Scentsations Box.

The Perfume Society Secret Scentsations Discovery Box contains the following items. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Agonist No 10 White Oud spray 2ml
  • Pierre Bourdon La Dame en Rose spray 2ml
  • Annick Goutal Vent de Folie spray 2ml
  • Living Lalique EDP spary 2ml
  • Neela Vermeire Pichola splash 2ml
  • Comme des Garcons Floriental EDP 9ml
  • Connock London Kukui EDP 1.5ml
  • Beaufort London 1805 EDP 1.2ml spray
  • Sisley Eau du Soir splash EDP 2ml
  • Ormonde Jayne Vanille D’Iris 2ml
  • Atkinsons Rose in Wonderland 2ml
  • L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis 2ml
  • Sarah Chapman Skinesis Intense Hydrating Booster

It’s an incredibly generous haul and these samples would be almost impossible to find on the High Street.  The goodies arrive in a trademark Perfume Society white box. Postage is free and my box cost me £12.50, which is the subscriber price. VIP/subscriber memberships costs £25 a year and gets you all sorts of perks, not least discounted Discovery Boxes.

Now with one of my youngsters turning six this week, I am up to my eyes in cakes, invitations and wrapping paper, but I can disclose my first impressions of those I have tried in the fleeting minutes I had to myself recently.

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Living Lalique– My favourite by far. I have looked up the price of full bottles despite my groaning dressing table. Airy and crystalline at first, it beds down into such delightful nuances of orris butter and woods that the blending seems seamless. A dream of a scent.

Eau du Sisley– as a fan of hesperides this cute mini bottle won me over instantly.  This is another one I would buy a full bottle of without hesitation. This opens like a cologne and ends like a chypre.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Noir Exquis– If you’re looking for Christmas in a bottle, stop here and buy one. With chestnuts, coffee and booze, cosy winters are yours.

Annick Goutal Vent de Folie– lighthearted and playful: this is raspberries and sweetpeas and roses. Another gorgeous hit from Annick Goutal

Neela Vermeire Pichola: This one I wasn’t so keen on. The tuberose absolu went all celery on me and the spices smelled off centre. I’m interested in smelling more from the brand though- this was my first. Never say never.

Pierre Bourdon La Dame en Rose –Like a grown up version of Yves Saint Laurent Paris, this opens with roses and violets and then goes all sophisticated. Playful by day, seriously gorgeous at night, like moi.

Comme des Garcons Floriental: Smoky and dark, this was more oriental than floral, but I was too busy sniffing with my eyes closed saying “Ahhh!” to do a Venn diagram about it. A great winter unisex scent.

Okay so that’s as far as I got. There are six more scents to write mini reviews about, but I ran out of arm space so I’m going to sleep in one and try as many as I can tomorrow.

Do come back fro Part Two, dear readers.

Stockists

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.

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Jo Loves Red Truffle 21

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Jo Loves is the bijoux fragrance house founded by Jo Malone MBE of Jo Malone cologne fame. After selling Jo Malone to Estee Lauder, Jo attempted to retire but was drawn back to her passion for fragrance. Jo Loves is the result and the range consists of high quality scents inspired by memories that are dear to Jo, as the name suggests.  I have reviewed many of the scents on this blog and I give the brand a resounding thumbs up. Jo gets her inspirations from such eclectic moments as cocktails in New York (A Shot of Mango), her first job in a florists ( No 42 The Flower Shop-divine!) and now, the delicate aroma of truffle shavings in a restaurant. Red Truffle 21 is the result and I have a sample in my possession.

Red Truffle 21 opens with lemony bitter pine which is almost immediately toned down into a warm but tangy accord. There is an interesting combination of sharp cedar, fig, lemon and earth going on which is so addictive I don’t think there’s a cure.

www.Melissas.com
www.Melissas.com

In parts it reminds me a little of Tauer Pentachord Verdant, but with more citrus and less wet forest floor. The truffle hosts the party but doesn’t outshine the guests, and there is a suggestion of delicate mustiness in the background that never tips into mouldy territory. In this context, the mushroom is earthy and ripe, and the cedar is a superb foil for this.  Think damp vetiver, in a  good way.  Where the sharp, almost bitter cedar meets the earthiness of the ceps, you get Red Truffle 21.

Red Truffle 21 is perfectly unisex so if you can’t justify this indulgence buy it for your partner and steal it. This tip is one I often trot out in my attempts to be a devilish enabler.

Stockists

You can buy Red Truffle 21 from the Jo Loves website. Whilst you’re there, check out the Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience for £95 where you can buy 9 samples then choose a full size bottle of your favourite.

Goya Black Rose: Hello Again

Goya-Black-Rose-Feature (1)

 

Goya Black Rose, like Aqua Manda, went away and came back again, and I’m so glad it did. Thanks are due to Beauty Brand Development who had the good sense to bring it back to a willing audience. They also had the good sense to send me a sample.  I am very grateful indeed. Opinions are my own.

The brainchild of Douglas Collins, Goya Black Rose, Aqua Citra and Aqua Manda were created in the 50s and 60s respectively and were a great hit until dwindling sales led to them being discontinued.  Gradually the hum of longing for the good ole days of these classic fragrances reached the right ears , and all three scents have been brought back, using the same formula, with the cooperation of Christopher Collins, son of Douglas.

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Rose perfumes have been done in a thousand ways, for all budgets and throughout all trends and eras.  So what makes Goya Black Rose worth buying and trying in a market where Roses are prolific?

It’s a dusky rose that’s teamed with green notes and something retro- like those rose breath sweets.  It’s not quite Turkish Delight and it’s definitely not jam.  It’s a feminine pink rose with big waxy satin petals.  It’s the kind of rose that goes with a twin set and pretty shoes. But it’s more complex than that.  Just as you think you have it labelled “classic, feminine rose” here come the cloves!  Now there’s spice and a daring edge to it.  Add a peppery geranium or two and then soften the whole thing with a pretty white musk flourish and you have Goya Black Rose.

There’s something almost borderline foodie about this- maybe it’s the cloves, but it has a tang of bitterness  that complements the pretty florals which makes this a good girl with a dark side.  I’m just relieved that in this case foodie doesn’t mean saturated with vanilla, and for that I am jolly grateful.  In fact, I would call it an almondy finish.

Goya Black Rose is elegant, beautiful and classic and I’ll gladly call myself a fan, whilst drenching myself in it.  It makes me want to trot around town wearing smart gloves and saying Good Morning to passers by.  Longevity is great.

Stockists

Goya Black Rose is very reasonably priced- you can start with a purse spray if you’re not sure ( I LOVE a purse spray!) and you can buy it for around £15 for 15ml  on allbeauty.com or just under £40 for a big 100ml bottle. You can also try Amazon UK

Meanwhile elsewhere…

The Perfume Society has a lovely article about the Goya fragrances right here.