Category Archives: Scent

Miller Harris Citron Citron: A Citrus With Staying Power


 The problem with most citrus scents is that they start all zingy and end up a bit sour and depleted, like a dried up orange. Take Guerlain Pamplelune for instance. Regarded by many as a citrus masterpiece, but many reviewers report a gone off note or a BO note in the drydown.

Miller Harris Citron Citron stays citrussy to the very end. It was Lyn Harris’s first ever offering, and whilst I love it, Luca Turin does not, preferring the more recent Fleurs de Sel which I reviewed earlier in my blog.

My first thought on trying Citron Citron was that it was almost exactly the same as Biotherm Eau Vitaminee, which to my nose, is a Tropicana Orange Juice soliflore. However, Citron Citron, whilst staying true to its orange openings, dries down into a pretty and  light citrus, as delicate as a shower of petals.

Once the thirst quenching orange, lime and lemon zest has calmed down a little, in its place sits Basil and a lighter touch of Mint. This smelled floral to me, with a light prettiness that I could have sworn came from petals and Peony. Apparently not, although woody Oakmoss and Cedar are listed.  Personally, I didn’t find that this went Woody or Mossy in the drydwon as other citrus scents do: I’m thinking of Cristalle with its  beautiful Woody drydown, and O de Lancome with its mossy basenotes.

 Citron Citron stays light and pretty and harmless. It would make an ideal office perfume since its lightness is its strength. Our friend Luca Turin states his opinion in Perfumes The Guide:” (An) antiseptic-smelling citrus that lazy teenagers can spray around the kitchen to convince Mon and Dad they’ve done their chores”.

But I disagree. This is light, pretty and clean smelling and stays true to its opening.  As citruses go, this is nicer than Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca (not so Mint heavy) and Guerlain Pamplelune (No dried up Grapefruit rind at the end).

This may well be a full bottle worth saving for, although prices are fair at £65 for 50ml, and lasting power makes this good value.


Balmain Ivoire de Balmain: Sweaty Betty Fills a Room


Have you ever sat on a bus and wrinkled your nose , silently wishing people would wash more and change their clothes daily? Sadly, this was the image that Ivoire de Balmain put into my head.

I was introduced to this by my friend and perfume expert Lisa Wordbird. We were drinking tea and eating Battenberg at the time. She sprayed my arm with Ivoire de Balmain. “Yuk!” I exclaimed, “It smells like an old lady Walk of Shame”. “Really?” said Lisa, “My mother wears it to Church”. Many Battenberg crumbs landed far away from my plate, dear reader.

I hope you don’t recoil from the vivid imagery, but this smells like a hot gusset on a warm day. It’s how hot nylon smells without deodorant, or how sweaty thighs smell after a few  shower free days, drowned in talc to hide the smell. (I am guessing incidentally, my hygiene is of unimpeachable order).

It dries down into a sort of lemon talc, but the 32 notes listed on Fragrantica seemed almost completely absent, bar a few.  I will list the notes that I considered noticeable, since the ones that appeared absent  are too numerous to list here.

Present and correct in the opening notes: Asfoetida, Chamomile, Lemons and Aldehydes. Middle notes that I recognised were Lily of the Valley (although in talc form) and possibly Nutmeg. In the basenote I could smell Sandalwood and Lemon and talc.

Throughout every stage, there was kind of BO staleness. Hot hosiery, poor hygiene.  Not  good, and certainly not something I want to smell of. However, I am reviewing the Ivoire de Balmain with the white plastic lid, labelled “Edition Prestige”. Recently I tried Balmain Ivoire in John Lewis. The packaging and bottle were both different. When I tried it, the smell was different too. There was Imageno scent of sweaty body, it has been sanitised. I was left with a pretty Violet Green scent, admittedly, with less character than my gussety friend here.

I do apologise to any fans of original Ivoire de Balmain, but do please remember that this is only my personal response. Try the new one if my review has put you off the old one. Other Balmains are excellent and being phased out, so if you find one you like, buy it twice.



Cartier Baiser Volé (2011)

baiser vole

I must apologise to Cartier, since I truly love  Eau de Cartier and its flanker Essence D’Orange, but I have been disappointed lately in other Cartier scents.  As you may know, I recently reviewed the fist-eatingly expensive Baiser du Dragon and found it overpriced and baiser bottlerather an anti climax. I then tried Delices de Cartier., and found it had no staying power on me and left me smelling like pencil shavings. Determined to love the brand, I soldiered on and tried Baiser Volé. Oh dear.

 Baiser Volé left me underwhelmed. It’s not bad by any means, but its glossy packaging and posh Zippo style bottle out-glams the content within. Its top notes, middle notes and basenotes are Lily and Green notes.

It doesn’t change at all and it lasts around four hours. Sadly, as much as I love Lilies and ImageGreen notes, this left me very strongly in mind of Neutradol room deodorisers. You know, those white pots that you leave in a corner until your home smells of Baiser Volé?

At least four Fragrantica members agree that this smells very similar to Yardley Peony, which is only £9.99 for 50ml. Just saying…

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Andy Tauer No 14 Noontide Petals: From Noon to Sundown


It’s taken me a few days to think about what I’m going to say about Andy Tauer’s latest release Noontide Petals. Not because I’m trying to be tactful, no need for that: It’s because it’s like nothing else I’ve smelled before.

It’s floral but not a floral. It’s spicy but not an Oriental, it is very Bergamot but is not a Hesperide. It has powder but it’s not a Chypre. You can see my problem.

It is very beautiful and lives up to its whimsical name. At first spray, whilst still wet, it’s strong Bergamot with Geraniums catching up. Then a blast of aldehydes. Now this bit confused me. Its clearly aldehydic but the last aldehyde I sniffed was Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass i.e the opposite side of the subtlety spectrum to Noontide Petals.

Tauer’s aldehydes emerge gradually, like Royalty getting out of a car, whilst Blue Grass jumps out of the bottle and bops you in the face. So I guess this taught me that aldehydes come in many forms, many of which I don’t yet know.

 Noontide Petals has a long top note, with the Bergamot staying true with a hint of clean soapy notes. However, what I love about this, and I may be alone in even thinking this, is that there is a lovely chalkiness to Noontide Petals. That same chalkiness made me fall in love with Balmain Jolie Madame, which to my nose smells of damp moss and chalky cliffs (I adore it and bought a full 100ml bottle) Noontide Petals has that same faint chalkiness, which makes the Bergamot, so often used in more astringent style fragrances, into a powdery soft citrus.

It’s around this point that the flowers turn up: the Jasmine, the Ylang Ylang and the Roses. Petals indeed: they bring prettiness and a background aroma rather than taking over.

And finally, the closing act! The clever evening stage of Frankincense (often known as Olibanum), Styrax and Patchouli. It’s worth waiting for, and has an incense style spice, rather than gourmand, with a hint of High Church and a dash of something spiky.

As usual with a Tauer fragrance, it lasts and lasts. Twelve hours so far. It’s a perfume that can take you from night to day, like a good black dress. It starts all delicate and pretty, then gets deeper and more mysterious by the time the sun goes down.

A bit like me. (*cough*)

Noontide Petals can be purchased from the Tauer website or Les Senteurs. My sample is so strong that it has lasted me three days and is still half full. Top marks for longevity.

Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: Papyrus and Patchouli and Other Non Sequitirs


 I was dead against trying this, having read Luca Turin’s review of “Fancy”, (he labels it apple pie) and believing it to be in the same vein. It very much is not. What persuaded me to buy’n’try Fancy Nights was an amusing and charming review by Katrina of Australian Perfume Junkies who described an evening wearing this scent. On asking her husband what he thought of her fragrance, he mistakenly thought the smell was the taxi they were in. A celeb scent that smells like a new taxi? I’m there! Where do I sign up?

Some further praise from Katrina led me to believe this could be another celebuscent surprise, much in the vein of Hilary Duff With Love: a wonderfully maverick non fruity floral, that frankly, has balls.

The second thing that made me buy this was the ridiculously cheap price of£14.95 on

Today my bottle of Fancy Nights arrived. With it’s dark green glass and faux gilt lid, it’s Arabian Nights Vegas Style. The smell is great. Not a blueberry in sight. Not so much as a whiff of candy floss. This is grown up and not all that commercial, and thank Goodness for that! (We have Steve Demercado, the creator, to thank for this refreshing restraint).

The top note is Papyrus, possibly where the “new cab” smell comes from. I have never come across Papyrus in a scent before and I can tell you that there is a definite “new office” or “modern bookshop” whiff about it. For someone who loves the smell of fresh paint and new carpet, this was somewhat of a kinky find.

The drydown kicks in with milky Patchouli and Sandalwood, leaving a dusty and milky spice trail. I didn’t quite get the Jasmine and Rose notes that this supposedly has, but the hint of Bergamot was there, and rather nice in among the Amber and Sandalwood.

All in all, this is new books, a bit of patchouli and a kind of milky, quiet spice.

The blonde, ditsy, sexy starlet did well. I am reminded of a quote from Dolly Parton: “I don’t mind when people call me a dumb blonde, because I know I know I’m not dumb, and I also know I’m not blonde”

Fancy Nights joins With Love in my Inexpensive Celebrity Scent “Hidden Gem” Hall of Fame.

PS If you like Prada Amber, then this is exceedingly similar, but you didn’t hear that from me.  I wasn’t here, OK?


LUSH Gorilla Perfume: Smell of Weather Turning


Launched in 2011, Smell of Weather Turning is no Rent a Scent High Street number. It doesn’t really even make you smell pretty. It’s unisex, and not particularly feminine. There’s Mint in it too, which usually makes me think of discarded chewing gum.

It sounds like I’m not really selling it, doesn’t it? But I love it.  I love it so much I want to have a song played for it on the radio and send it a Valentine’s Day card. I want to write its name on my pencil case and have a poster of it on my bedroom wall.

Smell of Weather Turning  is the kind of perfume that fills my head with imagery both beautiful and ominous. It’s so cleverly put together it’s like watching a film clip using just your nose. First you have the smell of Hay and Grass and a Hedgerow (hence the Honey and Wild Mint notes). Then…here it comes, the weather turns and you can smell Asphalt and Tarmac and fresh air. The drydown smells slightly medicinal with a hint of Creosote, which is probably what put me in mind of Lonestar Memories. Longevity is very good, though the top notes are so wonderful I had to hold off spraying the sample several times just to revisit them.

 Smell of Weather Turning is beautiful and clever and makes me think of huge landscapes with rolling thunderclouds and hot pavements. Its refreshing rather than smoggy. It’s like fresh air and elements. It’s like having a spell in your handbag. It’s British Weather in a bottle. This should be standard issue to homesick ex pats all over the world.

It’s not pretty, but it is magical and wondrous and tells an epic tale.

I’m in love.

J’Adore L’Eau Cologne Florale: The Less Intense Younger Sister


J’Adore by Dior has the famous all guns blazing, no expense spared ad campaign with Gazelle-like Charlize Theron strutting through gold, wearing gold, against a gold background, with golden hair. J’Adore is a best selling floral that I have reviewed earlier in my blog, but J’Adore L’Eau Cologne Florale really made me sit up and take notice.

Firstly, and I won’t say this very often, but it’s a hot and sunny day here in the UK. I have even worn sunglasses. For some reason, this seems to be the right weather to wear J’Adore LEau as it’s light and delicate, unlike its Tuberose heavy big sister.

I sometimes find J’Adore a bit cloying and in your face, but J’Adore L’Eau is made with a lighter hand, with the lighter elements added more strongly, and the stronger elements used more lightly.  In other words, this is more like the scent of light flower petals than the thick, tuberose, white floral miasma of J’Adore.

It may be the addition of citrus notes and bergamot that make this more of a floral hesperide, and therefore perfect for hot weather. It’s J’Adore with a lighter touch,  and a few summery bits added in to freshen it up. Thankfully, wise creator Francois Demachy has resisted the temptation to read the word Summer and add cucumber and melon.

J’Adore has more flankers than I’ve had hot dinners, and they haven’t really captured my interest, however this is agreeably pretty and would make a perfect wedding day perfume. It’s delightful, inoffensive and impossibly pretty, like a perfect bride in fact. I think I adore J’Adore L’Eau more than I adore J’Adore.

Try saying that when you’ve been at the Pimms.




Guerlain Mitsouko: Well Who Would Have Thought It?


 Mitsouko is spoken of in revered whispers by perfume lovers. Reviews are dripping with love and awe.  It’s top of every list as a classic, as a best ever, as a masterpiece. It got to the point where I  was starting to feel a bit “Emperor’s New Clothes” about it.  Should I pretend to like it just to fit in?  It smelled like gone off old paper and lemons last time I tried it.

So what happened to change my mind and tempt me into the web of love for Mitsouko? All I can think of is that must be the weather. I last tried Mitsouko in Winter and it smelled like petrol.  It also reminded me of  Guerlain Jicky, which I still can’t love.  I was starting to think I wasn’t a proper perfume lover and all the other perfumistas would laugh at me. But no, they’re not like that for one thing, and for another thing, as I have said before, there is no right or wrong in perfume, only your personal response.

I tried some Mitsouko this morning, rather disconsolately, before writing it off as an unloved scent. It is a bright, sunny day: more demanding of a light citrus if anything. Suddenly, I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist. There is a delightful roughness to Mitsouko today, almost like a prickle that I often find in aldehydes or chypres. It’s probably the oakmoss. The peaches are there, which I still have a bit of a problem with, but the spices, lilac, amber, and vetiver make this a delightful, slightly raspy beauty.

It is important to remember that this was made in 1919, the year WWI ended. The lives of women were far more austere then, with a post war lack of frivolity. Their tastes were different. They had not been exposed to years of talc, soap, bleach, air freshener and the thousands of perfumes available to us today. I therefore couldn’t help noticing that what makes Mitsouko stand out is an almost total lack of sweetness or sugariness so common in  thousands of scents today. It’s as if Mitsouko could teach us a thing or two about going back to basics.

No vanilla, no blueberries, no gourmand notes (unless you count those peaches): just the spice, flowers, bergamot, oakmoss, and vetiver grass, made complex by their juxtaposition.  I prefer this when it has settled and the peaches have retreated. When that’s happened, you are left with an addictive chypre, replete with spice and a pepperiness that balances all the flowers and stops this from  being just another bouquet.

The only fragrances similar to Mitsouko are L’Heure Bleu and Jicky. However having said that, these three would have smelled very different to a woman in 1919, in the same way that in a few decades time, all our fruity flroals will smell identical to someone looking back at perfumes made from 2005 onwards.

It is said that L’Heure Bleu represented the start of the war, and Mitsouko the end.  Mitsouko is  a combination of melancholia and optimism.

Mitsouko is as essential to a scent wardrobe as a good coat is to your sartorial needs. If you like perfume at all, the Guerlain Heritage scents are a living museum of where modern scent began and it is important to try them, even if you don’t like them.



Yardley Royal Diamond: So Nearly a Gem


Yardley makes excellent soliflores. That is a single note, unchanging fragrance that  doesn’t have a top note, a middle note and a basenote. It is usually a simple one trick pony such as Lily of The Valley or Rose, both of which Yardley make exceedingly well and at a very agreeable price.

Yardley Royal Diamond is a recent foray into hybrids. I am still not sure they shouldn’t stick to what they do best. Royal Diamond smells like vodka when you first put it on, followed closely by strong Pear and a little Bergamot. You would think, that as a hesperide lover, I would love this. Sadly I do not.. It is a clean smell, with Lily of the Valley and Roses in the heart. However I think the note that jars for me, and which stops me loving this, is a Honey note. It kind of stops it being the lovely crystalline clean scent that it promises to be. There is also foodie Vanilla in it. It spoils it the way that cake crumbs would spoil an ice cold sparkling gin and tonic.

After a while, I went off this when it turned into a vaguely ozonic scent, of which I’m not a fan. In fact, in the latter stages it smelled so similar to  Parfums Gres Cabotine Bleu that I wore one on each arm and kept getting them mixed up.

Yardley Royal Diamond  was launched in 2012. I love their simple floral scents such as April Violets, English Lavender and Orange Blossom. However, apart from a sneaking fondness for the nostalgic Panache (which Yardley last owned in 1999), I do prefer Yardley when they keep their ingredients separate.  I just think if you’re going to use clean and pure notes such as Lily of The Valley, Bergamot and Peony, then you don’t add Honey and Vanilla.

It’s not unpleasant, worth a try if you come across it, but it’s not on my Wishlist either. If you will forgive me the clumsy paraphrase, I would like to say to Yardley “You do it best, when you mix nothing at all”

Balmain de Balmain: My Conversion to Chypres


Before starting this blog six months ago I  would often turn my nose up at any scent with powder in and call it “old lady”. Then one day, I smelled both Balmain Jolie Madame and Balmain de Balmain. Result? One total conversion to Chypres with all their aromatic powderiness and beauty.

The best definition of Chypres I have ever read is by ThePerfumeShrine. It blows the old lady powder nonsense out of the water. Chypres originated from Cyprus, hence the origins of the name, and were derived from aromatic powders and spices, hence the powdery note.

Since smelling the dreamy Balmain de Balmain, I have learned a new appreciation of the Chypre genre, and it is because of this that I now own a bottle of Gres Cabochard, a bottle of Avon Timeless and a bottle of Balmain Jolie Madame.  I have borrowed my review bottle of Balmain de Balmain, but will be buying a big one soon from Amazon, because, did I mention? Yes, this has been discontinued. Never fear though, it’s still around, but if you discover you like it, make like Tania Sanchez and buy at least two bottles.

Balmain de Balmain opens with an astringent and masculine burst of fresh Bergamot and Green Notes. The drydown turns more feminine, with a hint of Violets, Roses and Sandalwood. The Oakmoss emerges then: all manly, and Violet and her friend Rose both swoon and go demure in his rather butch presence. This has an overall aura of Mossy Greenery, with enough floral background to make it strong but pretty. It has presence, and strength: this is no wishy washy floral dew. I adore this.

This turned me into a fan of Chypres the way a David Bowie album could convert a Country fan to Glam Rock. It converted me the way a glass of Fitou once converted me from White Wine to Red. It was like the day I knew that fresh ground coffee from my coffee machine meant I could never enjoy Nescafe again.

Old ladies and powder? that’s a myth. Open the doors to Chypres and let Balmain de Balmain into your life.

And do it quickly before they run out! (although the Perfumed Dandy reliably informs me that plans may be afoot to reissue it, if enough of us clamour and buy).