Category Archives: perfume samples

The Perfume Society Molton Brown Discovery Box: Review

my molton

Once again I find myself picking over another box of delights from our friends at The Perfume Society. This time, it’s just one brand: Molton Brown.

Molton Brown is familiar to many as providers of posh toiletries in posh hotels (that I resist stealing with difficulty), but their fragrance range puts them rightfully in the frame as a perfume house to be reckoned with.

What makes this range stand out is that the notes used are instantly recognisable. There are no euphemisms: Ylang Ylang smells like Ylang Ylang , Honeysuckle and White Tea smells like honeysuckle and white tea etc., you get the picture. This is in fact one of the strengths of this little set. It is absolutely ideal for someone who wants to learn to recognise individual notes having recently entered the Perfume Portal of Endless Discovery. There is a gentle clarity in each one giving these a cologne like transparency, yet with eau de parfum staying power. (They are in fact all eau de toilettes, but have great longevity)

I shall give you a mini review of each one below to help you make up your mind. Details on how to buy the set or the full bottles will be at the end.

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Fiery Pink Pepper

This one was a lovely surprise. You may have heard me have a moan recently that fruity pink pepper ( which is a berry not peppercorn) is being overused and fruity florals are being doused in the stuff. But wait! Here my faith in pink pepper as a note is restored. There is a rosy fruitiness about this one, but teamed with citrus, nutmeg and ginger, you have a more refreshing astringent take on it, with a nice warm finish.

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Blossoming Honeysuckle and White Tea

Honeysuckle is one of my favourite flowers. I can’t walk past it without leaning into a front garden for a sneaky snort. In fact I bought myself a honeysuckle bush just yesterday. Honeysuckle is sweet, with a slightly peachy, milky accord and in real life, it’s a little piece of heaven.  It is coupled here with white tea, and a touch of tuberose and jasmine to bring out the floral tones rather than the fruitiness. The white tea makes this a clean, fresh-out-of-the shower scent.

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Bushukan

This is allegedly for men, but would smell equally good on a woman. It opens with classic cologne touches of citrus and herbs: notably lemon and basil, and beds down into a balsamic woody finish.

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Mesmerising Oudh Accord and Gold

This is ideal if you’ve ever been tempted to ask “what’s all this oudh business?” Oudh has flooded the market in the last two years and this fragrance is a good way to isolate that oudh note and see if you like it. Oudh stems from rotten agar wood, but don’t let that put you off. Rot, like moss or certain natural fungi can smell both rich and sweet and not unpleasant. Here it is combined with all the richest notes: tobacco, myrrh, vetiver and cinnamon. It’s like a little gentleman’s club in a bottle.

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Recharge Black Pepper

I thought there was lime in this, but in fact it is lemon, which goes very well with black pepper whether as a scent or on green beans! With a refreshing zingy opening, this beds down into an almost but not quite chypre finish, with oak moss, vetiver and ambergris. It has a clean masculine scent that smells great.

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Orange and Bergamot

This does what it says on the tin, but better. In a similar vein to Jo Malone Lime Mandarin Bergamot, (but stronger) this is an astringent, bright cologne that has strength and staying power. These two notes together are a classic combination and I would happily bathe in this till the cows come home.

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Heavenly Gingerlily

This is another fragrance that has spices but remains almost crystalline in its transparency. It has the slightly honeyed spice of marigolds, the tartness of ginger, and a big bunch of white flowers in the middle. All the way through it remains light, like a rain shower. It’s a very clever blend indeed.

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Ylang Ylang

I always think of Ylang Ylang as leathery banana flowers and since I tried Anya’s Garden Ylang Ylang absolute, I think I’ve definitely got the hang of Ylang Ylang. Molton Brown Ylang Ylang has added leather which seems to accentuate this aspect, but teamed with ginger, vanilla and cedar, this makes for an interesting fragrance that left a sweet honeyed trail of woody notes on my skin after around an hour.

So that’s all eight of them and I hope done this lovely collection justice.

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Stockists

You can buy the Molton Brown Discovery Set from the Perfume Society via this link here, or you can buy full bottles from Molton Brown, Boots or House of Fraser.

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Avon Perceive Oasis: I’ll Take The Lot

perceive oasis

Avon is a prolific launcher of fragrances. I don’t think a brochure goes by without a new fragrance and I particularly love the scratch and sniff pages.  This week I was given a little sample of a new Avon perfume by my lovely Avon Lady Jill, who I mention frequently.  She comes to my door like a fragrance dealer and delivers her packages round the neighbourhood.  She no longer brings her adorable Basset Hound Cody, since my Ginger Tom cat Ian saw him off. I digress.

Avon to me, is hit and miss, but that’s just because they cast their nets wide.  For instance, Avon Far Away is not my cup of tea but is their Number one best-seller.  I smell it everywhere when I’m out and about.  However, their latest launch: Perceive Oasis is so good that I plan to stock up in case they discontinue it like they did with Perceive Dew a few years ago.

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Perceive Oasis is all about the peony. Peony is one of the most delicate and feminine floral notes in fragrance.  It doesn’t have the headiness of jasmine or the creaminess of tuberose- it’s all delicate flowers and ballerinas and fairy wings.  Perceive Oasis combines peony with violet leaf and a white musk finish.

It is an uplifting scent, with hints of clean laundry and springtime in it, yet done very simply.  It veers towards the ozonic if anything, but that just adds to the clean, clean, clean vibe.

On Fragrantica, some members list this as smelling similar to Chloe, and I would agree with that, although this is lighter and is more peony than rose.

It is currently only £7 a bottle and I have already placed my order. What a lovely surprise this was. Poor Jill will have to use a wheelbarrow to deliver my Avon if they keep this up.

Stockists

You can buy Avon Perceive Oasis from Avon Shop UK,  and prices vary from £7 to £11 depending on that month’s offer.  In my book, that makes this a solid gold bargain.

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Perfume Society VIP Subscription Giveaway-The Winners Are..

scentwithlove

Thank you to everyone who entered this fabulous giveaway. Big thanks also to The Perfume Society for supplying the  wonderful prize of five VIP Subscriptions.

The winners are: (drumroll)

Maralyn Smith, Alison Oddy, Margaret, Alison Fox Hay and Amanda Pritchard.  

Entries were picked via RandomPicker.com. If you have won, please email me at iscentyouaday@gmail.com and I will forward the details to The Perfume Society. Congratulations! This is a great prize and I just know that you will be delighted.

Here are the benefits the winners will be enjoying

  • A free Discovery Box, containing up to ten great perfume samples, two beauty products, and postcards on each item to help you get the most out of them.
  • Opportunities to join very special perfume events around the country: launches, talks and workshops all with like minded perfumistas.
  • Free access to the online Perfume Society magazine The Scented Letter and discounts on glossy hard copies.
  • Generous discounts on all Perfume Society Discovery Boxes e.g VIPs pay £10 for Boxes which cost £15 and £12.50 for Boxes which cost £17.50
  • First dibs on boxes before they launch on the site.
  • All this for one year!

 

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If you didn’t win this time, don’t worry, there are more giveaways coming up on  IScentYouADay.  You can also buy or gift a VIP Subscription from the Perfume Society Website here for £25.

Winners:

1. VIP Subscription

Maralyn Smith

2: VIP Subscription

Alison Oddy

3: VIP Subscription

Margaret

4: VIP Subscription

Alison Fox Hay

5: VIP Subscription

Amanda Pritchard

 

The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day

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Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.

There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or,  b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.

I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with  all of the above.  There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls.  At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…

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THE CLASSICS

These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.

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Ysatis

Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots, Amazon and trusty allbeauty.com

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Estee Lauder Cinnabar

For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s  hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

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Yves Saint Laurent Opium

It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).

chanel no5Chanel No 5

Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all.  I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis,  and Escentual to name but a few.

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Miss Dior Originale

This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting.  I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.

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Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of FraserAmazon and John Lewis.

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TASTER SETS AND DISCOVERY SETS

Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:

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4160 Tuesdays

I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience  for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.

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The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish.  A VIP Subscription at just £25  gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year.  Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.

Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.

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THE CHEAP AND CHEERFULS

Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.

Coty L’Aimant

This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).

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Tweed

Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, allbeauty.com and Fragrance Direct.

Avon.com

Avon

Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.

 

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Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph

This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review.  It’s currently  only £11.20.

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Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.

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That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.

The Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box- Review and GIVEAWAY

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Enormous excitement here at IScent HQ as The Perfume Society has made me their blogger of the month. I knew I was a fan of theirs, and I am delighted to know that they are a fan of mine too. You can find their article about IScentYouADay right here.

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Truly, I’m blushing all over the shop today.

It seems fitting then to review the latest Discovery Box I ordered last month. (There’s another coming soon- more of which anon.)

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’m a huge fan of The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes. Each box offers a carefully curated selection of perfume samples that would take even a sample hustler like me a good year and several cities to get under my own steam. Each box has a handy postcard with history, notes and discussion prompts. There’s usually a couple of beauty treats such as hand cream or nail polish too. It’s like getting a birthday present. So today I am reviewing the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box  and here’s what’s in it:

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1. Agonist Vanilla Marble EDP

 I recently reviewed this beauty (see link here) and would heartily recommend it to lovers of vanilla, and more importantly, those who are not, because Vanilla Marble gives you the rich black vanilla pod without the sugar. I thought I had seen enough Vanilla but this comes at it from a  different angle and it’s very addictive.

incredible bottle

2. Taylor Swift Incredible Things

With so many Grammys to arrange on her mantelpiece, I don’t know how Taylor Swift found the time to collaborate on Incredible Things. The nice thing about this latest fragrance from her is that it didn’t take the most obvious route down fragrant Celebrity Street. There’s suede and vetiver that lifts this above the competition, and at a great price too. See my earlier review here.

elie saab rose

3. Elie Saab Rose Couture

I’ve yet to smell anything by Elie Saab that I didn’t like. Rose Couture is no exception. The orange blossom that is used so seamlessly in the original, is coupled with roses upon roses and rounded off with sandalwood and patchouli. This is a terrific scent for anytime of day. It manages to be both sophisticated and accessible. If you’re a sucker for a good rose, you can’t go wrong.

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4. Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom

I fell hard for this, which surprised me as I can usually take or leave cherry blossom. My glowing review is here so you can see for yourself how much I liked it. Perfect for Spring.

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5. Moschino Fresh Couture

I loved this one too: a post ironic take on the laundry fresh accord, but made invigorating with citrus and pretty flowers, and with a flourish of white patchouli. You can read my review here.

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6. Narciso Rodriguez For Her EDP

I have long been a lover of this one. See my review of the EDT here. It comes as no surprise to find that the two legendary noses behind it were none other than Christine Nagel and His Majesty Francis Kurkdjian. If you haven’t yet tried it, this sample will be a portal.

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7. 4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess

I reviewed this one recently. You can find my review here. Sex Goddess comes from Sarah McCartney’s Crimes of Passion series and like the rest of the scents in the capsule collection, the ingredients and blending are, I believe, her best yet.

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8. L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc

I was new to his classic but loved its combination of dark fruit- both sweet and bitter, combined with soft musk. Such a killer combination and yet so simple. You can read my review here.

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9. Juicy Couture I Am Juicy

I Am Juicy is everything you want from the fruity floral genre. Raspberry and passion fruit segue into pretty sweet pea and roses, and its all rounded off with an amber-y musky finish. I even got a hint of rhubarb from it, which was very welcome.

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10. Beauty Treat One: Aurelia Probiotic Skincare Firm and Revitalise Dry Body Oil

I recently had an allergic reaction which left my hands dry like cracked desert earth. Soothing this on them was like finding an oasis. Scented with neroli and lavender and containing a shot of Vitamin E, my hands are starting to look normal again. It’s all organic too.

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11. Beauty Treat Two: Time Bomb Hand to Hand Combat Hand Cream.

This beautifully scented hand cream, has been just what I needed lately. Evidence? It’s now empty and I miss it. However, in the Discovery Box, on the Time Bomb postcard is a discount code for 30% off a full tube.

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So there you have it. By turns playful, feminine and innovative, the Scent With Love Discovery Box gets full marks from this blogger.

Exciting news!

I have FIVE one year VIP subscription to the Perfume Society to give away. What does this mean? Well you can:

  • Attend very special one off Perfume Society workshops, launches and talks around the country (and one was even in Paris. Guerlain no less!).
  • Get big discounts on Discovery Boxes e.g only pay £10 for a £15 box and £12.50 for a £17.50 box. You also get first dibs on new Boxes that come out, before anyone else.
  • Get free access to the Perfume Society online magazine The Scented Letter (and discounts on glossy hard copies).
  • Oh and did I mention? When you get a VIP Subscription, you also get a free Discovery Box.

VIP subscriptions cost just £25, so if you don’t win, you can still buy one from the Perfume Society website.

 

What You Have To Do

Just name which one of the above items from the Scent With Love Discovery Box appeals to you most. You can comment on Twitter @iscentyouaday, my Facebook page, or here on the blog. The giveaway closes at midnight on Thursday  25th February. Sadly, it can only be sent within the UK because of postal regulations.

Orla Kiely by Orla Kiely

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Orla Kiely is the Irish designer who always reminds me of a 21st century Barbara Hulanicki with her quirky geometric prints and repeat patterns. It seemed inevitable that a fragrance would follow and I’m glad it did. This pretty scent is not only ideal for daytime and work wear, but has a very agreeable price: retailing at under £20 a bottle.

Orla Kiely opens with refreshing bergamot, tea and peach. You’ll be pleased to know that my description doesn’t make it smell like Liptons Iced Tea, although I wouldn’t mind if it did. The flowers emerge gradually and there are some pretty petals in here- namely roses, geranium and peachy osmanthus. A little hint of juicy fig peeks out and there is a whisper of chocolate. The chocolate is thankfully used sparingly here  The tea and the bergamot restrain it from going down an overly sweet route.

orla collection

The base is sandalwood, fig and again the very mild soupcon of chocolate. For a few moments there was a definite hint of pencil shavings on my arm, but sandalwood can sometimes do that to me. The finish is a woody floral melange with a refreshing tang of tea. All in all, a good buy that will stand you in good stead for Spring and Summer. It should almost go without saying that the box is pretty too!

One Fragrantica user reckons that this is similar to Must de Cartier Eau Fine, which can’t be a bad thing with change from a twenty pound note.

Stockists

Orla Kiely is available from Amazon.co.uk at 19.95 for 100ml. I received my sample in a Perfume Society Discovery Box.

Photos

Photographs: Top photo from Fragrantica, bottom photo from www.thewomensroomblog.com

Andy Tauer: Lonesome Rider: Muscles With a Sensitive Side

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At last I have my mitts on a new Tauer. Those pesky postal regulations have left me frustrated of late and I have been missing my Tauer fix, although I know Andy is looking into it for his UK fans.  However I have managed to bagsy a sample of the latest release: Lonesome Rider. It’s a follow up to the great Lonestar Memories of ten years ago and thankfully, it is neither a flanker nor a lightweight. What we have here is a great unisex scent with Tauer’s trademark stupendously good longevity.  Yes, they are pricey, but they are worth every penny and in my book (or my blog) I reckon such longevity makes them excellent value. I have a bottle of Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange  and it seems to never go down, no matter how often I wear it.

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Lonesome Rider smells peppery and spicy at first spray: like carnations or geraniums. There’s a bit of citrus making it fresh and invigorating. Shortly after this lovely début, it becomes a heavier leather scent. There is a cloud of bonfire smoke  hanging around it, giving me some nice cowboy imagery in my mind’s eye. The orris root makes it presence felt and this is a note I fell in love with via Papillon Angelique which really showcases orris. The combination of orris, citrus, leather and spices makes this a fabulous fragrance. I thought I had this nicely all summed up until I had a nice bonus after about an hour: roses. Beautiful clean roses in the background, smoked in incense and nestled snugly alongside the spice and leather. Smoky, butch and leathery but with the orris and roses to lighten it up, this stuff has muscles and a sensitive side.  If you liked Tauer Eau D’Epices and Tauer Incense Rose, you’ll like this too. I certainly do! Looks like Andy has another hit on his hands.

Stockists

You can buy Lonesome Rider  from this website . You can buy Tauer scents from the Tauer website, and you can buy the Flash series from Tauerville which ships to the UK. In the UK you can buy Tauer scent from Les Senteurs, including a sample service.

4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess

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4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess is one of the samples included in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, but I already had a sample from my recent purchase of a full set of Crimes of Passions samples.

With The Discovery Box comes a postcard of smelling notes, with conversation prompts which are ideal if you are part of a perfume club (and I’m starting one soon).

One of the questions stood out for me. “If this fragrance was a movie star, who would it be?” My immediate answer is Ava Gardner, the woman Frank Sinatra went loopy for.  She was stunning, sexy and classically glamorous, which seems like a good place to start for my review of 4160Tuesdays Sex Goddess.

www.doctormacro.com
“You’re late”

Sarah McCartney has unbuttoned my uptightness about fruity florals and this is no exception. There’s peach, blackcurrant ( but no cat pee!), along with strawberries, peppery geraniums, amber, bergamot and a last word of vanilla and musk.

So far so good on paper, but what does it smell like in glorious technicolour reality?

There’s a definite whiff of the vanilla and bergamot combo from Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO) which provides a golden background (I can’t help seeing it as golden and fuzzy), but the fruit makes this playful and gives it a vintage feel, in line with say, Madame Rochas and her peaches. Somehow, all together, and in the nicest possible way, this smells as if it was made decades ago. Maybe its the oakmoss. Maybe its the peaches. Maybe I should buy a bottle.

It’s blended with just the right balance of everything and if, like me, the tidal wave of modern mediocre fruity florals has put you off, I can assure you that this could not be more different. It stands in a class of its own. Like beautiful Ava.

Stockists

You can buy Sex Goddess from the 4160 Tuesdays website, with prices starting at a very reasonable £15 for a purse spray. After that, you may want a bigger one and you can buy those as well. You can also get a sample by buying the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box from The Perfume Society website.

Photo of Ava Garner by www.doctormacro.com

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L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc: Blackberries All Year Round

mure et musc

L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc has been floating around my radar for a while saying “try me! try me!” but it wasn’t until I received my sample in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box that I decided we should meet.

I’m not a huge fan of fruit in perfume, although my mind has been broadened of late and I’m open to change. Mure is blackberry and used here, it has a lovely almost bitter edge that avoids the cat pee of blackcurrant and the sweetness of red berries. When I first sprayed this I thought it was very similar to that most classic of colognes, 4711. It’s bursting with fresh feel good citrus and is immediately uplifting and refreshing. Within about ten minutes, there is a tender white musk background and the combination of that and blackberries is basically what this is built on.  There are other notes too: green fresh basil, (which borders on the minty), two types of sharp orange and Amalfi lemon. There is an almost negligible presence of the aforementioned red berries, but they don’t crowd this so that’s fine by me.

The base notes are a combination of blackberry, musk and oak moss: yet the citruses, seamlessly blended with the more grown up finishing notes, make this an absolute treat to wear at any time of the year. It’s easy to see why L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc is one of their best sellers.

Stockists

You can buy Mure et Musc from allbeauty.com or Sephora, as well as House of Fraser. My sample was from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, which is £17.50 or £12.50 to subscribers and comes with ten other fragrance treats and samples.

Agonist Vanilla Marble: This is How Vanilla Should Be Done

 

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Agonist is a Swedish perfume house that is the brainchild of Christine and Niclas Lydeen. With Christine’s fashion background in Paris and Niclas’s design flair, together they launched Agonist in 2008 and their popularity as a major niche house is snowballing.

This is the first Agonist scent I have reviewed, although not the first I’ve tried. I shall be revisiting the other two I have after this, since Agonist Vanilla Marble really piqued my interest.

You may know of my oft lamented vanilla ennui, but believe it or not, this new take on vanilla has won my heart. Agonist Vanilla Marble somehow manages to use the warm butteriness of vanilla with none of the added sugar.

agonist creators
Christine and Niclas Lydeen

Top notes are tiare flower, vanilla and almond. Now despite not being a fan of gourmands, I really like almond in vanilla scents. It seems to make this one more of a liqueur and is a welcome step further away from the smell alike confectionery scent that we are currently saturated with at beauty counters. Tiare flower always smells like floral coconuts to me and in this instance, it gives Vanilla Marble a lovely hint of pipe smoke.

Middle notes are orchid, white fig, amber and patchouli. I didn’t catch orchid, but the hint of sultana like fig is in there, along with the welcome warmth of amber and the subtle spikiness of patchouli. The base notes are tonka bean, sandalwood, more vanilla and benzoin.

All in all, this is has a coolness as well as a warmth, reminding me of a milky bar straight from the fridge , but with a grown up tobacco vibe and a golden heat that makes for a cosy, unfussy, not overly sweet vanilla scent that becomes slightly addictive the more I wear it. Equally good on men or women, this is a real gem and gives me hope that a good vanilla scent, done well, will still always be worth doing. Imitators need not apply. This is how vanilla should be done.

Stockists:

My sample was from The Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, available from here.  You can buy Agonist Vanilla Marble from the Agonist website or from Liberty or Selfridges.  The full list of international stockists  can be found on the Agonist website, where they also provide a sample service and a rather nice discovery box.