Category Archives: perfume

Chloe Original by Karl Lagerfeld 1975: A Seventies classic at Seventies prices.

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Chloe Original is not to be confused with the current Chloe with a bow around its neck. Chloe Original was created by Karl Lagerfeld in 1975 and is a little bit of a retro classic (although it was not called Original back then. The flotilla of remakes could not have been predicted).

Available for under 15GBP for 50ml (see below), this is easily obtained and a good use of anyone’s perfume budget.  When I first tried it, I found it cloying and too rich with no room to breathe.

However, fast forward a few years and my understanding of scent, and particularly Tuberose, persuades me that this is a very good perfume indeed, and a 1970s classic at that, worthy of standing shoulder to shoulder with its contemporary: Anais Anais.

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The most dominant top notes are Aldehydes (just in the beginning before they fade to powder), Peaches (sadly not a favourite) Honeysuckle and flowers galore. Even if Peaches are not your thing, and they’re certainly not my cup of tea, do bear with Chloe because after a while it turns into a Rose, Tuberose, Jasmine flowerfest with a little Sandalwood and Amber to round things off.

For some, the busy-ness of the many flowers may be de trop, but if you “get” or like Tuberose (they are not always mutually exclusive), then you have yourself a bargain. It is a warm, rich floral, as opposed to being a “fresh” floral or a light cologne floral.

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Longevity is very good at around eight hours, and the price is right too. You can find Chloe on Amazon for a mere 16.50 for 50ml, although I have seen it even cheaper in High Street stores such as Bodycare and Savers, should you be near a branch. I bought a bottle last year for 9.99 for 30ml in my local branch of Bodycare and they are still there.

I have a soft spot for Seventies perfumes and enjoy wearing them. It reminds me of the decade when I was a child and times seemed more simple.  When they are of good quality such as Chloe Original, it’s worth doling out a tenner for a blast from the past that has aged rather well.

 

 

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Michael Kors Very Hollywood: Very Gardenia

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 I underestimated Michael Kors Very Hollywood , seeing it for the first time in my local Asda in the bargain cabinet next to the ubiquitous bargain favourite: Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers.  However, when I got home, I unearthed a sample and tried it. Well, dear reader, I shall be returning to the Asda bargain shelf where this was a mere £15 for 30ml, and such a pretty bottle too.

My first thought after spraying was Tuberose, but it is in fact Gardenia, and a rather beautiful one at that.  There is fruit as well.  As you know, I am no fan of fruity floral accords unless we are talking citrus, but in between some “Frozen” Bergamot (pardon?) and some Mandarin, there sits a little Raspberry. However, the Raspberry is suitably reined in, preventing this from being too fruity floral/cookie jar.

Top notes are all about the fruit: Orange, Bergamot and Raspberry. A top note with too much fruit usually has me running for the hills and this one didn’t.  In fact, I would say the middle note of Gardenia comes through within minutes, followed by the Jasmine.  There are also middle notes of Orris Root and Ylang, neither of which I could discern, but maybe I didn’t want to to- so enchanted was I with the beautiful white Gardenia.

Basenotes are Amber ,Musk and Vetiver, all of which are present and correct and noticeable.  However, the Gardenia welcomes you in, shows you round and never leaves your side, reminding me of an over solicitous Elizabeth Taylor in white maribou.

All in all, the Raspberry shows just enough restraint to make me a fan, and that Jasmine/Gardenia combo is a knockout. The glitzy name covers up a rather gracious daytime floral.  Longevity could be better at around four hours, but spray clothes and hair for longer lasting power, and you’re all set for the day.

Robert Piguet Baghari 2006

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 From the House that brought us Fracas and Bandit comes this Autumnal Oriental Aldehydic treat.

I can’t pretend to know if this Baghari is better than the vintage, as I haven’t smelled it, but the 2006 certainly smells very vintage, with an old fashioned powdery finish and a cosy depth that you won’t find on any modern perfume counter.

In fact, I found Robert Piguet Baghari to have aspects of Coty  L’Aimant with its aldehydic opening and rich, creamy finish. It also smells a little similar to the fabulous, much mourned Avon Timeless- a powdery Oriental so good that Avon doesn’t want you to have it anymore.  Baghari also has some notes in common with a current cold-day favourite of mine: Lanvin Arpege. All in all, since I love all three of the perfumes it resembles, Robert Piguet Baghari is a rather marvellous little treasure.

Top notes are Aldehydes, Bergamot and Orange Blossom

Middle notes are: Rose, Jasmine, Iris and Violet

Basenotes are Amber, Musk, Vetiver and Vanilla.

Out of the notes listed on Fragrantica, I would say the Aldehydes, Jasmine, Rose, Amber and Vetiver stand out more than others.  I did not detect any Violet (shame) nor any Iris (hurrah!), but the overall combination of notes is delightful.

The difference between this and Arpege is that firstly, Baghari lacks the Peachyness of Arpege (which I could do without, but I overlook it in this case) and secondly: the fact that Baghari has a sort of dried fruit finish. The Aldehydes never seem to leave, and if you add the touch of  Jasmine to Amber and  Vetiver, it leaves an almost sherry-like afterglow, which is far from unpleasant.

Purists would say this isn’t a patch on the vintage, but I say hurrah for a 2006 refurb that smells like it should only be worn whilst doing the Charleston and  using a cigarette holder.

By the way, Baghari is very expensive at around £104 for 100ml, so if you are rich in spirit but poor of purse, treat yourself to some L’Aimant or a drop of Arpege instead. Much more reasonably priced and not a bad sub as subs go.

Histoire d’Eau by Mauboussin

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The weather today is my all time favourite: chilly and breezy but with a sky that is bright blue and sunny. Everything feels as if it is in glorious Technicolour and the trees are starting to go gold.

Histoire d’Eau by Mauboussin is the perfect scent for today. It is rich with spice and wood and even a hint of tar. The Amber notes reflect the golden trees and the leathery finish is perfect for Autumn.

 Mauboussin is a prestigious French jeweller: right up there with Tiffany and Cartier. Since 1870 Mauboussin has been producing fine jewellery and watches, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that they stepped into the fragrance market.  And I am so glad they did.

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The notes for Histoire d’Eau are as follows:

Top notes: Mandarin and Ylang (both noticeable),

Middle notes: Nutmeg, Pepper and Cardoman,

Base notes: Leather, Myrtle, Amber and Musk.

The combination of these toasty Autumnal notes is spot on for a chill wind. The Amber and Spices give heat to the sexy Leather.  The Orange makes things Christmassy and the Musk is barely a whisper, preventing this from being too girly. It would be perfect as a masculine or a feminine and reminds me of burnt tar on a fence.  This is a good thing, since I also rather like the smell of creosote in perfume.

Despite the hot tar and the slight cough mixture accord, this is prettier than it sounds. This is almost what Serge Noire would have smelled like on me if our chemistry had been right.  Histoire d’Eau is smoky, spicy and just what the doctor ordered on this bright, cold day.

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Serge Lutens Serge Noire: It’s Not You, It’s Me

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Created in 2008 by Uncle Serge himself and the legendary Christopher Sheldrake, Serge Noire, is a fabulously deep and dark spicy scent. On the right skin that is.  Sadly on me, there is a definite “off” note which was backed up my expert in residence, and three year olds don’t have an edit button.

The notes listed had my mouth watering. There is not one note that I don’t love: Patchouli, Amber, Incense, Ebony, Clove, Spices and Woods. I love it all. Pile it on, I can take it.

Or so I thought.  Just as I was blissing out in the smoky tones of the top notes, a note of Baked Bean-like body odour jumped Imageout and slapped me in the face.  How rude, I thought.  I tested a second time, later in the day. There it was again, the unmistakable smell of an unwashed truck driver’s armpits. Just to check it wasn’t me, I stuck my hand under the nose of my aforementioned three year old.  I was vindicated. “Yuk,” he said, “Cheese and onion”.

You see, it’s not just me, I promise. I did not prompt him, and he was in the middle of watching Numberjacks, so his verdict was both random and candid.  As if to torment me more, the other notes smell intoxicatingly good: smoky, dark, spicy and perfect for Autumn. I would love to smell like this, apart from the obvious drawback.

To eliminate random elements, I can assure my dear readers that my personal hygiene is of the highest order and that the side of my wrist has never smelt of BO even on the hottest of days.

It’s just  a combination of chemistry and bad luck. I actually love Serge Noire and will be jealous of anyone who can wear it without this truck driver barging in. I can smell it’s rich potential, in fact, there is even a wonderful hint of black pepper in there when I waft it past my disappointed nose.

I blame myself, I bet this smells lovely on everyone else, and I happen to know a certain reader has just bagged herself a bottle.  I bet she smells amazing in it too. Damn.

Amouage Jubilation for Women: The Gift of Kings

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The leaves on the trees are not the only ones who turn to Amber as the temperature drops.  Eschewing my fair weather hesperides, I was looking for something cosy to wrap up in and decided to try Amouage Jubilation For Women for the second time.

The first time I tried it, the weather was warm and the Vetiver aggravated my hayfever in a raspy sort of way.  Or maybe my nose was too naïve to cope with solid gold, because second time round, Jubilation is magnificent and my hayfever is a distant memory.

ImageI almost want to say never mind the top notes (I know, sacrilege) because almost from the first spray, it’s the base notes that provide the rich background for the Ylang, the Rose and the Tarragon (which aren’t very memorable). Right from the start, it’s the Patchouli, Myrrh, and Amber that are straight off the starting blocks and which envelope the less sturdy notes, showing off with their heavyweight stamina.  This is not to say they are overdone. In the cold weather when your cheeks feel chilled within minutes of leaving the house, these rich spices, along with the incense, could warm the coldest heart.

Jubilation gives me that lovely impression of old, slightly damp walls, like the walls of a Cathedral or Castle.  It’s like Aromatic ancient stone.

The prices are legendary.  I found a bottle for £208.95 for 100ml on Amazon.  I guess you could ask for it instead of an engagement ring.  Having fainted at the price, I can assure you that this is the kind of quality that you would always find in a  Perfume Hall of Fame.

To me, it smells like Aoud, even though there is none.  The Myrrh is as rich as Christmas Cake, without the sugar, and yet the Patchouli and Vetiver keep it just prickly enough to feel you’re not wearing any lightweight here.  This is the real thing.

Created in 2008, Amouage Jubilation for Women is as magnificent as its price. It is shamelessly exclusive, with the price tag keeping out the riff raff.  Even the website states ” The Gift of Kings”.  Let’s face it, they’re not going to do a Special Offer or a Buy One Get One Free anytime soon.  Amouage was created by Omani Royalty for their um…well, rich people.

But I still wish it was a leetle beet cheaper so that commoners such as myself could get a crack of the whip.  But I guess that’s the idea.  If like me, you can’t justify this eye watering price (or hide the joint bank statement), you could always try Serge Lutens Borneo 1834. It’s not quite the same, but it would certainly tick that “I NEED Patchouli NOW” box, and is of beautiful quality.

Thank you once again, for Lisa Wordbird for the loan of the sample. Even used sparingly, this is STUH-rong. and Stunning.

Bottega Veneta: Luxury Leather

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 Bottega Veneta is an Italian luxury handbag/leather company that has, like everyone else, entered the fragrance world.  Being makers of luxurious leather, it comes as no surprise that their 2011 fragrance is also a luxury leather. Described as a “leathery floral chypre”, I found it had a few notes in common with recent release Aura by Loewe (also a luxury leather company) and an enormous amount in common with the quintessential scent of quiet wealth that is Serge Lutens Daim Blond.

According to Fragrantica the notes are:

Top notes: Bergamot, Pink pepper,

Middle note: Jasmine

Base notes: Patchouli, Oakmoss and Leather

As much as I love Bergamot in just about anything, I cannot be certain that it goes with leather in this fragrance, and there is most definitely leather in Bottega Veneta EDP. This is not brash biker leather, nor weathered horsey leather as in Cuir de Russie (Mmm, so good). In fact, it is a muted leather: you could almost say suede.

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This is where the comparison to Daim Blond enters the frame.  Daim Blond is muted suede: the smell of the interior of a shop so exclusive that you need to show your stock portfolio just to walk past the window. Bottega Veneta is very similar, but without the apricots.  There’s not much in it though.  Take out the Bergamot and tone down the Jasmine and you pretty much have a doppelganger of Daim Blond. (I always think of Jasmine as a teenager who keeps turning the volume up to loud).

The Patchouli and Oakmoss in Bottega Veneta, which would be terrific if they cranked it up a bit into “Level Raspy”, are sadly, not bitey enough for my liking. If you’re going to put them on the stage, at least give them a few lines.  There was a note in this I couldn’t define.  It’s like a slightly sweet suede with a nutty flavour to it.  I searched the notes and could find nothing it could be, so maybe it’s just one of those notes that manifests itself from a hybrid of the others.

Between the two, I think Daim Blond has the edge.  Price wise, there’s not much in it.

Given the choice, I’d go for the Uncle Serge, but Bottega Veneta can certainly hold its own.

 

 

 

Fragonard Étoile: How Perfume Should Be

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 Fragonard provides everything I want from a perfume: Fantastic packaging, traditional scents unswayed by fleeting celeb fashions, good longevity and extremely good value for money.  Not so cheap I’m worried, but just expensive enough to reassure me.

 Fragonard Étoile is no exception when it comes to divine packaging. Just look at it.  I’d probably buy it even if it smelled horrible just to have that bottle in my possession.

 Étoile is in a Lime/White flowers mash up that smells like an expensive soap I once owned which was called French Lime and made both me and the bathroom smell amazing. The more Étoile blooms on my skin, the more I love it.

 Étoile has dominant Bergamot that works exceedingly well alongside Jasmine and Gardenia.  Gardenia can be a little cloying, like its friend Tuberose, but the Bergamot cuts through any cloying-ness and  lifts the white flowers from creamy to refreshing, even chalky, like wet cliffs. It’s utterly delightful and growing on me by the minute.

What I particularity admire about Fragonard is that despite their high quality and beautiful packaging, they offer very big refills at very good prices.  You can buy 600mls of Étoile for only 57Euros.  Compare to that many High Street scents and you have incredible Imagevalue.  My only concern is that if I did have 600ml of Étoile I would be splashing it everywhere, pouring it in the bath, and using it like Eau de Cologne, and then being sad because it would run out after a week. Sometimes small rations are best, so I would opt for the 100ml bottle, still a steal at under 30GBP.

If, dear readers, you can get yourselves down to Marks and Spencer, you can bag yourself Imagea 100ml EDT bottle for a mere £26.  You may see me in the queue with an overflowing basket. Oh! and have you seen the little sampler boxes? My dears! I’ll just have to tell my children that only one of them can go to university.  Did I say basket?  I meant trolley.

The Fragonard range is available at larger branches of Marks and Spencer and also online.

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Clarins Eau des Jardins: Summer In a Bottle

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Clarins Eau des Jardins is one of only a handful of fragrances that would cause me to blindly follow a stranger home until they named their scent to me.  It is utterly divine in its citrussy lightness.  Technically, like its sister Eau Dynamisante, it’s not  perfume at all, but a perfumed skin treatment, but put this on after a shower and spray on hair and  clothes for extra lasting power and you will smell incredible, guaranteed.

Impossibly clean and shower fresh, this scent is all about the citrus.  They’re all here like a basket from a market: Bergamot, Lemons, Oranges, Grapefruit. It’s all as light as a fluffy cloud and squeaky clean.  Just a few flowers, nothing heavy, a touch of Rose maybe, and then an alleged base note of Cedar, Vetiver and Patchouli.  I say alleged because this stays fresh and zingy on me and never ventures into the Autumnal Ooomph that Patchouli and Cedar can provide so well.

A hint of Mint and Bay, and all those thirst quenching fruits, and you’d be hard pushed to find anything more sparkling and  pretty.

Naturally, this is slightly out of season, but I felt compelled to review it alongside a bargain buy I had yesterday, which is in the same vein as this, and which, I felt, merited its own review, rather than a “smells like” mention.

If you ever want to persuade anyone that you are respectable, virtuous and as healthy as an apple from a tree, then wear Clarins Eau des Jardins. You will SO get the job.