Category Archives: perfume samples

Friedemodin Vertine: “The Feel of Cool, Damp Grass beneath your feet”

www.Friedemodin.com
www.Friedemodin.com

 

“The Feel of Cool, Damp Grass beneath your feet”

There is a new name emerging on the fragrant firmament.  That name is Friedemodin, and I am lucky enough to have four 5ml sample bottles from them to review.  I am always happy to receive samples for review and  at the risk of repeating myself, I will reiterate my usual disclaimer that by sending me  a sample, you risk my honesty.

Friedemodin- you have nothing to fear but your own success.  I have been wearing Vertine for the past couple of days and I have been quietly falling in love with it.

Friedemodin is the brainchild of German Nina Friede and Swede Elisabeth Modin, who worked with Virginie Daniau and legendary Nose Francois Robert to produce a range that is luxurious  and original without being elitist.

www.planetnatural.com
www.planetnatural.com

“Leafy, herbal, aromatic- you feel alive in this place, knowing you’ll never forget the reviving purity of this morning”

There are currently four scents in the range: Vertine, Jardin Mystique, Rosée de Nuit and Feu Follet. I am deliberately only trying one at a time and will come to the others presently, but today I am reviewing Vertine.

Vertine opens with a herb garden covered in springtime dewdrops.  Yes that sounds twee doesn’t it?  But Vertine made me go all poetic.  There is something very pure about it.  As far as blending goes, I could close my eyes and insist that this was made with the deft watercolour shading of Jean Claude Ellena, but I’d be wrong.  However, with a hint of dewy fig in the midst of it, it did ring a bell that sounded that Ellena’s Un Jardin En Mediterranee for Hermes.  However, Vertine also has a hint of peppermint which could have gone either way.  Peppermint can either smell like the inside of my handbag (Trebor Extra Strong Mints!), or be a gentle soothing presence like a fresh mint plant itself.  In the deft hands of Francois Robert,  it was the latter, green leaves and all.  Fans of Guerlain Herba Fresca will have their heads turned for sure.

 

www.Friedemodin.com
www.Friedemodin.com

Vertine smells as if it has healing qualities.  At the moment the perfume I wear when I need healing (I’m not using the word hangover!) is Eau de Cartier or Elizabeth Arden Spiced Green Tea, but I have disloyally  all but swept them off my dressing table to make way for my new even gentler friend.

I’m not mistaking gentle for weak either:  Vertine has its own identity and I can smell the galbanum, peppermint, basil and a faintest whisper of fig wrap itself around me.  Longevity is good at around seven hours, and if you like your scents cologne style, but with Eau de Parfum lasting power, then I can almost guarantee that you will like Vertine.  I do.  I love it.  I’m a fan.  I shall be watching Friedemodin with great interest.  Certainly an exciting name to watch.  I’m not alone either because those nice people at Harvey Nichols think so too.

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Stockists

You can buy Friedemodin scents at Harvey Nichols in the UK. Prices are £120 for 100ml or £60 for a discovery set of all four.  You can also buy samples from the Friedemodin website at £12 for 4 x 2ml samples of each scent in the range.  The Friedemodin range is also available in Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, India and Sweden.  See this link for details.

Pell Wall Perfumes Sticky Leather Sky: Fifty Shades of Tan

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I love perfumes with a good back story and the story behind the creation of Pell Wall Sticky Leather Sky is so whimsical I simply had to share it with you.

I have often thought that perfume and poetry have much in common:  both are open to interpretation.  For example, a poem I love may not move you at all, and my revulsion towards, say, Theirry Mugler Womanity may not be shared by its fans, but nobody is wrong.  Both perfume and poetry are open to personal response, as is the Charles Ives concert  described in the poem.

Sticky Leather Sky was inspired by a poem by Claire Trévian, which was written for a poetry festival called Penning Poems, the brainchild of Odette Toilette and Claire herself.  This artistic collaboration set a chain reaction in place which resulted in a fragrance : Sticky Leather Sky. The poem is beautiful and reading it whilst wearing Sticky Leather Sky puts the experience into a new dimension (my son would call it 4D).

I have reproduced Claire’s poem in full here, because it is too beautiful to cut short.

 

Listening to Charles Ives
The street vainly imitates a theatre,
dropped pennies and reflectors footlight my walk
the rumble of a crowd gathers and storms.

Beats rain down and hide in the gutter,
rivulets form around the clutter
of the pavement’s percussion orchestra.

Hush.

Sticky leather sky.

The air vibrates still
through drum-buildings.

I think of us listening to Charles Ives.
You heard cacophony, I heard the silence
after the tempest, when the bells

had ceased, but their ripples
reached to our seats like
the promise of a tomorrow.

©Claire Trévien

 

Now you can see where the scent got its name, but what does it smell like?

My first impression was that of walking through a market (think Camden- raw and noisy) where the belt stall gives off an almost nutty, animalic waft as you walk past.  Wait a bit longer and it is the smell of the hint of chest hair belonging to a man who has just arrived on a motorbike.

yjstorecom
www.yjstore.com

In amongst all this is a bit of vetiver and bergamot to give the opening that manly, just-got-out-of-the-shower feeling ( I can definitely smell Palmolive Soap!).  However, this is equally good on women and hangs around a lot longer than a bad boyfriend. In fact, I couldn’t help thinking it ties in rather nicely with the current Fifty Shades of Grey Meme.  Sticky Leather Sky may well bring out the animal in you.  This is dirty leather, not sensible shoes.

sticky leather sky
Pell Wall Perfumes

 

Giveaway news!

I have one boxed 30ml bottle of Sticky Leather Sky to give away.  Simply tell me the name of a poem you like.  It can be anything at all from Spike Milligan (who is one of my favourites) to Shakespeare, from John Donne to Wendy Cope.  I will pick a name randomly on Tuesday 24th February so do get your answers in by midnight that day if you can.  Please note that due to posting regs, the giveaway is UK only.

 Stockists:  The Pell Wall perfumes website sells bottles of Sticky Leather Sky and two types of great sample packs too if you want to try before you buy.   My bottle was provided by Pell Wall perfumes, for which, many thanks.

 

Happy Valentine’s Day: This is My Special Treat

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arlesienneHappy Valentine’s Day even if you’re not celebrating it.  Love doesn’t have to be romantic so I hope that you, dear reader, have someone to love and to love you in return today. Love is all you need. The Beatles were right.

Rather than focus on one fragrance today, I wanted to share my salacious wonderment at the arrival of another Discovery Box from the Perfume Society.

carven bottle

When I was younger, my late and much missed grandmother Nanna T, used to give me wonderful Christmas presents that consisted of a wicker basket with a hand sewn floral lining, which was then filled with goodies.

valeThis is the 1980s we are talking about so I would get for example,:  some bath pearls (remember them?), a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them too?), bath cubes (ditto!), and all manner of tiny treats.  I loved this gift above all others and have never forgotten it.

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Fast forward to 2015 and I got  a similar thrill at opening my Love Scents Discovery Box from The Perfume Society. and here’s what was in it:

  1.  A tube of Love Heart sweets,
  2. A spray sample of L’Amour Lalique
  3. A spray sample of Carven L’Eau de Toilette
  4. A spray sample of Dear Rose I Love My Man
  5. A spray sample of Van Cleef and Arpels Rose Velours No 17785QY
  6. A 4ml splash bottle of 4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO)
  7. A spray sample of Signorina Eleganza by Salvatore Ferragamo
  8. A spray sample of Artemisia by Penhaligons
  9. A 4ml splash bottle of Valentino Uomo
  10. A spray sample of Roads Cloud 9 Parfum
  11. A boxed splash bottle of L’Occitane L’Arlesienne Eau de toilette.
  12. A 10ml tube of L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream
  13. A spray sample of Juliette Has a Gun Lady Vengeance

There is a rose theme running throughout and I am particularly blown away by the high calibre of the samples included. Instead of focussing on one fragrance today,  I shall be working my way through this delightful box bit by biSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESt, and hotly anticipating the next one.  It’s like getting a little birthday present, and speaking of which, these make perfect perfume-y gifts.

Stockists

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes cost £15 from the website. Annual subscription is £25 a year and includes the e-zine Scented Letter, access to meet ups and special perfume events throughout the country, and first dibs on Discovery Boxes, often at a discounted price for members.

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Juliette Has A Gun Lady Vengeance: Roses in Yer Face

juliettehasagun

 

 Lady Vengeance  from Juliette Has A Gun immediately makes you feel all feisty just by reading the name, so I cannot use delicate watercolour analogies her, nor would I, since sillage and longevity is nuclear.  No shrinking violets here.

Lady Vengeance was included in the utterly incredible Perfume Society Love Scents Discovery Box (more of which anon) which this month contains a selection of fragrances themed around The Mighty Rose. Very apt with February 14th looming ahead.

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On first spray, Lady Vengeance bashes you about the face with a bunch of roses like a jealous lover. This Bulgarian rose has a pepperiness about it, and a dried rose petal waft, like pot pourri, which runs parallel to the fresh, soft dewy rose petals which are also there.  I also found a hint of nuttiness in it, which for a brief moment brought to mind Tauer PHI Rose de Kandahar.

The middle phase seems to pay homage to Narciso Rodriguez For Her for about half an hour before the rose rallies back wearing several different faces and carrying a hint of spice and amber.  This may well be the effect of the Ambroxan and the ISO E super rather than the inclusion of any spice or actual nuts and cloves.

ISO E super is a synthetic note used widely in modern perfume and it has the effect of making a scent “fuzzy” round the edges with an ambery/woody hint.  It is used very widely in men’s fragrances but, as I found here, when used with the right lightness of hand, it can give depth and a classy finish to a hardcore rose/patchouli/vanilla mélange like Lady Vengeance.

(There is an excellent article on Fragrantica about ISO E Super which was my source).

Juliette Has Gun Lady Vengeance has loud sillage and atomic lasting power.  Roses and Patchouli mean business and they showed up on a motorbike.  It is almost too much for a morning, but I wore it to the 9.15a.m. PTA meeting anyway.  Like me, it becomes more ladylike once the morning is over with.

Stockists:  You can buy Juliette Has a Gun from the website in France, or in the UK from Selfridges and Escentual.  In the USA you can get it from Amazon.com and in Canada from Amazon.ca.

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green

fragrantica
4160 Tuesdays

 

Sometimes when I want to really get a feel for a fragrance, I decant a few drops on a scarf which I drape over my bedroom door.  If I like it every time I go into my bedroom (usually with a pile of laundry… we’re not that sort of blog), then I know I properly, really truly like it.

So it was with 4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green.  I like green scents, always have, so if its got Green in the title, I’ll be interested.

Ealing Green, like all 4160 Tuesday scents has a lovely back-story which I will duplicate in full from the 4160 Tuesday website.

 “I’d long wanted to make a scent for Ealing, my adopted home. I met my husband at Ealing Studios on Ealing Green, at a wedding. Then I was invited to make a midsummer scent for a charity evening, using plants and flowers named in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I combined the two ideas and created the scent of Ealing Green on a summer evening, but in the early 17th Century.” Sarah McCartney.

You can smell the grass and the thyme notes that are listed and the scent reminds me of maypoles and monks and madrigals.  This is a very clean scent and I was surprised there was no mint there, but that could have been my mind playing tricks on me with the  zingy herbal grass and thyme.  This takes refreshing to another level altogether, although it stops short of being astringent.  I also love the  quite distinct whiff of violets, which I adore in fragrance.  The whole shebang ends up in a happy mélange of  my beloved oakmoss, some roses and the very faintest hint of earth like  damp knees from a  picnic.

Ealing Green lasts around six to seven hours on me and despite it being a deliciously pure and summery scent, it also goes very well on ice cold skin in modern day ice cold Wales.  It is now all over my favourite scarf and the scent has lasted days on fabric. Ealing Green has done many a school run in the past few days, and has made these chilly mornings a little more bearable.

Stockists

Ealing Green is very reasonably priced, starting at £6 for a 4ml splash bottle, and rising to £10 for a handbag sized 7ml bottle, £40 for 30ml, £60 for 50ml, and £90 for 100ml. When you think how much scent sells for on the High Street ( and its often same-old-same-old) , I regard this as a bargain.

You can buy 4160 Tuesdays from the website,   as well as in person from 4160 HQ ( let them know first to check they’re about),  or from Burgin’s in York, and from Rouiller White.  In the USA and Canada you can buy a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scents from Indiescents, LuckyScent and excitingly- the Virgin Atlantic website to buy before you fly.

www.pgwodehousesociety.org.uk
www.pgwodehousesociety.org.uk

Clinique Aromatics in White

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

I have almost, but not quite, given up on new releases on the High Street.  Whilst not blinding myself with prejudices, too many disappointments have rendered me cautious and jaded.

However, Clinique Aromatics in White caught me off guard.  I sniffed it, sprayed it, sniffed it again and went back the next day to spray it again and wheedle a sample or two from the nice sales assistant.

Don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say it reminded me strongly of Chanel Les Exclusifs Coromandel.  Yes Coromandel- that Holy Grail that is so exclusive they even put exclusive in the name. You have to travel to a major city just to try them.

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I haven’t gone mad I can assure you.  Allow me to plead my case.  In my earlier review of Coromandel I said it reminded me of damp castle walls and a Milky Bar.  Clinique Aromatics in White has a distinct milkiness that stops short of being rich and creamy.  Coromandel has spiky patchouli and an underlying heat, as does Aromatics in White. Both have delicate watercolour roses radiating subtly throughout: enough to intrigue and just enough to stop these warm scents from going down the manly chest route, but  at the same time, both  have enough Benzoin to make them appealingly unisex.

I should point out at this stage that Aromatics in White is in no way a duplicate or even a copy of Coromandel, but they had enough qualities in common to remind me of each other.

As far as the original Aromatics Elixir goes, this is not similar, apart from a certain retro chypre feel to it that smacks of a classic already. If you like Aromatics Elixir, first of all, may I congratulate you on your great taste? And secondly, Aromatics in White may or may not be your thing, but I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a good go.  Launch time is usually when its easiest to get samples from the sales assistants so strike while the iron is hot.  It’s Limited Edition, which worries me, because I want it to stick around.

In a blind test I would have said Aromatics in White was either a Serge Lutens or an Eau Legere type thingy of Coromandel.  You can imagine how thrilled I am that I can bag something of such calibre on my High Street for around £55 for 50ml. Sniff and sigh.  Sniff and sigh…

Stockists

Clinique Aromatics in White is available from House of Fraser, Selfridges, the Clinique website and Amazon, to name but four.

The Perfume Society Discovery Box

 

scented letter

The Perfume Society is for people like you and me.  At least I’m assuming you are interested in perfume if you are reading this, in which case, we‘re already on the same page: quite literally as a matter of fact.

 We know that once you really start to explore this extraordinary world, it’s a bit like stepping through the wardrobe into Narnia. So be prepared to awaken your senses…The Perfume Society

The Perfume Society exists to encourage and *cough* enable perfume fans (they are temptresses!) to explore existing classics and discover a few new favourites along the way.  It is a welcoming presence and they’re a friendly bunch of people.

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So why am I raving about the Perfume Society Discovery Box?  Well, I already subscribe to one Discovery Club Box with The Fragrance Shop and whilst I love getting the smart black boxes through the post, I have yet to be hugely inspired or excited by them.  They are usually made up of brand new releases with a definite commercial mass market appeal.  In other words, I like getting a box of samples, but I don’t feel the Fragrance Shop Boxes were made for me.

Cut to the Perfume Society Discovery Box and here’s what it contained:

A spray sample of Chloe,

A spray sample of Viva La Juicy Noir

a spray sample of L’Air du Temps,

a splash  sample of Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel ( reviewed on this blog),

a spray sample of Paco Rabanne Lady Million,

a small bottle of Salavador Dali Wild (in adorable leopard print bottle),

a boxed spray of  Atkinsons 24 old Bond Street,

a tube of Crabtree and Evelyn Lily hand cream,

and a mini bottle of Versace Black Crystal in a cute little box.

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Also included was a smart handbag sized notebook for writing down the name of something you try and can’t later put a name to ( if you’re me),  a pad of detachable scented strips made of nice porous blotting paper, and some rather smart postcards with  both fragrance notes and  cues for discussion, just like a book club, but with perfume.

In fact The Perfume Society encourages you to start your own perfume club, which I plan to do, and I already have two willing candidates in mind.  To be honest, I’m getting too old for hangovers but an excuse to crack open the Battenburg and unleash the Big Sample Box sounds right up my street.

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The Perfume Society costs £25 a year for VIP membership and includes the first discovery box free of charge.  After that you can buy discovery boxes for discounted prices  as a member (non members pay full price).  You also get sent an e-magazine called The Scented Letter which will be gladly received by me at least – look as I might, I have not found a perfume magazine anywhere on the High Street. There are also UK events such as workshops and talks that are refreshingly not just in London.

So yes, I welcome the Perfume Society and as a perfume fan, I know they welcome me too.

 

4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer: Coup De Foudre

knicker drw

 

As a perfume lover, (as I imagine you are too if you are reading this), I am always searching for that thunderbolt moment when you find treasure.  You know that moment when you smell a perfume that you love immediately and plot to own by fair means or foul as soon as you’ve sniffed it?  Well that happened to me with Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays.

Sarah McCartney, founder, Nose and Grande Dame of 4160 Tuesdays, very kindly sent me some samples recently for my perusal.  As always, I am  delighted to receive them, on the proviso that I will be honest  whether or not I like them.  She also kindly included a very glossy coloured chart which categorises the many 4160 Tuesdays scents.  This is jolly handy and I wish more places would do this.

photo by World of Oddy via Flickr with kind permission of A.Oddy

 

Tart’s Knicker Drawer happened, as often the best things do, by accident.  Sarah had been mixing so many potions in the lab that she joked she would be getting on the bus smelling like “a tart’s boudoir”. Encouraged by several voices of approval and generally egged on to bottle it up, Tart’s Boudoir became Tart’s Knicker Drawer and golly, I’m glad, because I love it.

What I smell:  violets, some pretty green notes, the contents of a messy dressing table covered in snowy white talc with a blob of Pond’s Cold Cream spilled onto it, some ambery spice making it smell a bit chypre-y (new word alert!) and a strong, strident resonance that arrives in the room and says “I’m impossibly feminine and glamorous and if I want to wear a velvet dress and red lipstick before cocktail hour, then I shall.”

The official description of the notes is very different to my interpretation above .  I wondered if I should list them all because the list of notes alone does not do justice to this lovely retro, powdery, powerhouse of a scent that smells like it was made for ladies in stockings who have very messy dressing tables and perfectly set hair that stays put for a week.  What I would say is don’t look at them too closely because if you try and imagine them in your head, you will miss the serendipity of this happy accident.

Here are the notes:

top notes: bergamot, orange, grapefruit, pink peppercorn,

heart notes: raspberry, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, cedarwood, violet, tuberose, guaiac wood

base notes: amber, musk, vanilla, benzoin, tobacco.

cities collection samples
The Cities Collection- 4160 Tuesdays

As for me, I want to always have a bottle of this so here’s a message for the lovely Sarah : Thank you for making it and please don’t stop!

Stockists:  prices are very reasonable indeed at £40 for 30ml,  £60 for 50ml or £90 for 100ml of eau de parfum.  When you think how many rent-a-scent beauty counter fragrances  cost the same and can be so forgettable, then it makes really good sense to go niche for the same price, or even less.

In the UK you can buy Tart’s Knicker Drawer from the 4160 Tuesdays website, in Europe (Benelux) 4160 scents are available from www.parfumaria.com  and in the USA you can buy  a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scent from www.luckyscent.com and in Canada from  www.indiescents.com

Don’t forget the cute sample sets (Tart’s Knicker Drawer comes under Frocks and Hats) and handbag sized bottles from the 4160 website.

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4160 Tuesdays Tokyo Spring Blossom (Urura’s Tokyo Café): A Modern Marvel

 

4160 bottle

I have reviewed several 4160 Tuesdays scents before, but in case you missed them, here’s what you need to know:  Perfumer Sarah McCartney founded 4160 Tuesdays and says that if we live to be 80 we will have 4160 Tuesdays.  Use them to do something you love.  Sarah uses Tuesdays to make perfumes.  And I’m jolly glad she does.

www.cotswoldsweetcompany.co.uk
www.cotswoldsweetcompany.co.uk

4160 Tuesdays Urura’s Tokyo Café now called Tokyo Spring Blossom opens with grapefruit and mandarin, then beds down into the heart notes: rose and violet, before merging gloriously into the base notes: raspberry leaf and myrhh.

It was intended to smell like a Spring Breeze and was made for a charity event at thec Café of Sarah’s friend Urura, whose name, spookily enough, turns out to mean Spring Breeze.  In other words, this was meant to be!

Tokyo Spring Blossom does indeed open with citruses and then beds down into strong rose and violet.  They are almost as one, and you can hardly tell them apart, which I love.  It reminds me of a cross between those little violet breath sweets and  a gob full of top quality Turkish Delight at the same time.  However the Myrrh ( or Opoponax if you will) gives this a  nice churchy feel, as if you have entered a medieval church at a Christmas Market whilst eating Narnia street food.

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The quality is excellent: resonance and longevity both get  10/10 and the price is right too: £40 for 30ml.  Bear in mind that this lasts as long as a winter, so you don’t need frequent top ups like you do with other cheaper scents.

What sets 4160 Tuesdays apart from other brands is that there is a hand made artisan vibe about the scents.  It’s as if the ingredients still have their rough edges and haven’t been over processed.  The rose really smells like sticking your nose in a rose, rather than smelling like an impression of synthetic roses.  If these scents were drawings, they would be  pavement oil pastels and they wouldn’t stay in the lines.

Urura’s Tokyo Café is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website,  and if you’re in the USA or Canada, you can buy  a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scents from  Rouiller White ( though sadly not this one, at least not yet)  Also check out the cute  sample sets– good British niche that needn’t break the bank.

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