Category Archives: Summer fragrance

Miller Harris Coeur de Fleur: A Peach

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 This may be the first Miller Harris that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy.  I love the brand, the quality of the ingredients and just about every scent of theirs that I have ever smelled.  However, Couer de Fleur has a couple of ingredients that I find too sweet.

 Top notes are Sweet Pea and Mimosa, which can be almost too summery and honey like for my taste, but to other noses, it can be English Country Garden.

Middle notes are Raspberry and Peach, which I think is where they lost me.  I have a real problem with Peach and cannot like it in any perfume, even the legendary Mitsouko, which I would wear all the time if they did a Peach free flanker (I know, I know sacrilege!)

The bases notes of Couer de Fleur are Vanilla, Musk and Jasmine, although I found the Jasmine comes out quite early on.

All in all, it was possibly the honey like yellow Mimosa that started to put me off (I was quite enjoying the Sweet Pea), followed by the Peach and Raspberry together (which makes a lovely Peach Melba sauce, but I don’t want to smell like one).

I will say that it is very good, but not to my taste.  I would recommend you try it if you ever stumble across it as you may have a different view, but this one’s not for me.

Biotherm Eau Vitaminee: Sparkling, Fizzy, Delightful

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 When I first tried Biotherm Eau Vitaminee I wrote it off as being a soliflore that smelled like Tropicana Orange Juice.  However, coming back to it today, I can see that I didn’t do it justice.  Eau Vitaminee is how I imagine I would smell if I was just leaving a very expensive spa (imagination will have to do for now!)

 I would bracket this with Askett and English Essential, Clarins Eau des Jardins and Jo Loves Green Orange and CorianderEau Vitaminee is a delightful blend of citrus: Oranges and Lemons make for an effervescent opening.  The notes smell fresh, crisp and authentic.  The middle note is Jasmine ( although I wouldn’t have said so) and the base notes are Freesia and Musk (which I would say is an accurate description).

This may have been better placed in Summer, but I think we need a spritz of something fresh in winter when central heating and rib sticking food can make us feel in need of something light, and a reminder of sunny days and sparkling, ice cold drinks is always welcome as the nights grow dark.

The price is nice at around £30 for 50ml, but even better on eBay.

Marc Jacobs Daisy: The Ubiquitous Daisy

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Marc Jacobs Daisy has been a steady bestseller since its launch in 2007. With its distinctive bottle, it was the scent that launched countless flankers. Trying it today, it reminded me very strongly of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre.  I can barely tell them apart in fact. Both scents are pretty, subdued, and overtly feminine.  Both make inoffensive office wear and both would suit a young girl starting on her perfume odyssey.

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I was initially sceptical when trying it, since it really does smell ubiquitous and overly familiar: a victim of its own success. However, the violet and violet leaf won me over slightly, which stopped me disliking this. The violets come out almost immediately, followed by muffled grapefruit.  That is to say the grapefruit isn’t sharp and citrus, more subdued and covered by white flowers.  The gardenia comes out alongside the violet, and the base is a pleasant melange of pale woods and violet leaf.  All in all, it’s light and pretty and feminine, but my problem is its popularity.

Maybe I’m being a terrible snob (although if you saw my many cheapo scent bottles, you might not agree). However, both Daisy and Chance Eau Tendre are everywhere right now, even in Winter and whilst I sometimes like a pretty floral, this doesn’t break any barriers down for me, but then again, it wasn’t meant to.  I’d rather smell this than  a fruity-chouli rent-a-scent, but then again there are lots of others things I’d rather smell than this.  Eleven out of ten for the pretty bottle .

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Estee Lauder Private Collection: The Ultimate Evergreen

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Precious and quite rare…like a gathering of flowers, green leaves and spices from your private greenhouse.

Reader, I think I am in love again. If you could see my dressing table (modest by blogger standards) you would see immediately that greens are my thing. Recently I have tamed my greedy impulse to try on five scents at once and go home muttering that everything smells the same.  These days I’m a one scent woman, at least at the counter (at home I practice perfume promiscuity), and thus I came to really know Estee Lauder Private Collection.

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To say it is Green would be an understatement. Bring it on, I say.

As soon as it goes on, it reminds me of the woody base left when O de Lancome has settled down, yet it effervesces as it lands on your skin.

Lemon and Bergamot keep this brisk, and there is a powdery note that arrives after an hour.  This just makes it more wonderful and establishes its status as a classic.  The end is a green, mossy dream, where the green, citrus notes lighten it up whilst it dries down into its woody patchouli finish, like expensive rough green tweed that you just want to keep forever.

I didn’t get the  promised heliotrope, nor the chrysanthemums (thank goodness- I don’t even like them in real life!), but to me this is a masterpiece for green lovers.  Indeed, Mrs Lauder kept it to herself until 1973, but I am very glad she chose to share it.

Longevity is good on my skin: around eight hours and I could NOT stop sniffing it.  My coat sleeve still bears witness several days later and I won’t be getting it dry cleaned anytime soon.

This has made it onto my Top Five  Wish List, (which is almost impossible to whittle down).  It would suit any season, any occasion, and I want ME to smell like THIS all the time.

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Estee Lauder Very Estee: We Could Have Been Great Friends

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Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my valued US readers!  I hope you all find something to be thankful for.  We could all learn a lot from such a day. In your honour, I am reviewing a good old American brand. A stalwart of quality in the perfume world: yes, it’s the fabulous Estee Lauder.

I tried Very Estee  today on my spare arm (I only have two, but I kept one perfume- free for testing). If evolution is anything to go by, mothers would have at least four arms by now, in any case.

My very first impression of Very Estee was that I could smell Violets, then the Green notes.  My heartbeat quickened as I thought “Could this be another Balmain Jolie Madame?  But I was disappointed. Within minutes of spraying, the scent was so close to skin that it was barely there at all.  What I could smell, I liked very much, but if it fades within a minute what use is it?  I would never be so rude as to expect instant sillage to fill a room, but I would at least like to be able to smell it on myself for more than a few minutes.

Now, I love Estee Lauder as a brand: quality and ingredients are never less than excellent, but Very Estee was a disappointment. I read on Fragrantica that the notes contain Lotus Flower, Rose, Jasmine, Pink Pepper and Freesia, bedding down into Cashmere Woods, Cedar, Sandalwood and Musk.  It all sounds lovely, but all I got was Violet Leaf and Green notes, delicate as a dewdrop on the tongue and gone twice as fast.  Shame, since I love both of those notes and would have loved Very Estee to have hung round a bit longer.

This could be good if it had more resonance, or maybe it was just my cold skin swallowing it up.  I will still be a Lauder counter pest though, I just can’t stay away.

Elizabeth Arden Spiced Green Tea: A Cologne with Bite

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 Despite not actually liking the Green Tea note in Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, I am a fan of several of it’s flankers.  For example, Green Tea Revitalize reminds me of Clinique Happy, with the Green Tea firmly in the background and smelling more like Bergamot than Tea anyway.  Spiced Green Tea is another excellent scent that is much beloved of this Green Tea Dodger. I see that a Green Tea Camellia flanker has come out, and I long to try it.

 Today’s review is about Elizabeth Arden Spiced Green Tea, created by the legendary Francis Kurkdjian. This reminds me of Clarins Eau Ressourcante: they are both fresh colognes with a little spice.

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The notes in Spiced Green Tea include Rhubarb (which I can’t smell), Green Tea, of course, which is not dominant, then Ginger, Lemon and Incense.  And don’t forget the Lemon Verbena, which really makes its presence felt.

This goes on light but settles to an airy, spiced Patchouli. The Lemon keeps it fresh and crisp, never going over to the sultry side. Despite being cologne-like I find I prefer this in winter, when strong spice feels too heavy under a blazing blue Autumn sky, but this feels just right somehow.

Priced at under £30 for 100ml, I consider this excellent value, and I am surprised that many bottles are on eBay as I have been going through a Spiced Green Tea phase lately where I haven’t wanted to wear any other fragrance: very unusual for a fragrance tart like me who’ll try anything and move on within a day.

Mr Kurkdjian triumphs again. When does he ever not?

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: A Thousand Ballerinas

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I occasionally stop by the Chanel counter on my wanderings, although it’s usually to sniff Chanel No 19 and top up my Cristalle levels.  I am not enamoured of No 5, and usually ignore the others (I know! Shame on me).  However, I was sent a sample of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre by those nice people at The Fragrance Shop and I have to say that it is prettier than I imagined.

Opening with Grapefruit, Quince and Hyacinth, it’s pure and Spring like, almost ethereal.  The Quince is like the lightest of apple/pear scents, and the hyacinth, although noticeable, is done with a delicate hand without going all Zoflora on me.  Little Wonder when you find that the legendary Jacques Polge is responsible.

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There’s no heavy vanilla or red fruit or spice, or in fact anything heavy enough to pin it down.  It’s like a Will’O the Wisp in its delicacy.  It makes me think of ballerinas in white tulle and pink satin ballet shoes and tinkly melodies and everything that is lovely and nice and pretty and girly.

There are not many perfumes that I would regard as only for men or only for women, but Eau Tendre really does seem to be only for women.  Pale, pretty, dancing women that are elusive like nymphs. It’s so pure that it has a comforting feel to it, like freshly washed crisp cotton sheets, or a soft white blanket.

There is allegedly Amber and Cedar in the base, but all I get is a fluffy sort of Musk, light as clouds. This would be an ideal “first perfume” for a teenager.  It’s not remotely provocative. Longevity is in keeping with its floaty image.  Now you smell it, now you don’t.  Pouf! it’s gone.  Like Tinkerbell in a floaty nightie.

Marc Jacobs Ivy (Splash): Saw Price. Fainted.

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It was only recently that I realised how many fragrances were in the Marc Jacobs stable. In my ignorance, I thought it was Daisy and Dot and that Honey one and that was about it.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, but then the fragrance world has been such a steep learning curve for me that I am almost doing a complete loop the loop.

I started counting his scents and got muddles at around 30. For a start, Marc Jacobs has a range of incredibly classy splashes in sleek urban bottles that look as if they are from the World’s most expensive spa. There’s Cucumber (which I will gladly skip, thank you), Amber, Violet, Cranberry, pomegranate, Grass, Fig and Gardenia.  I haven’t smelled them, but I would move mountains to own any or all.

I have in my hands a sample of Marc Jacobs Ivy, courtesy of LisaWordbird, to whom I owe so much. My first impression was “Oh it’s green”, then “It’s for men”, then after  a few more minutes “Ahh, Vetiver”. Indeed, Ivy is  beautiful and green, and for men, and women, and gives a great Vetiver hit.

It is one of those wonderful scents that moves and changes as you wear it.  One minute it’s Gentleman’s cologne, the next it’s as green and fresh as mossy undergrowth in a wood,. Finally , there’s a Vetiver finish with a hint of suede to finish that smells like hiding in the silky lining of a man’s leather jacket.

Male or female, this will smell good on anyone. Vetiver used to bring out my asthma (elderly alert!)  but here it is smooth and mixed seamlessly with pricky Autumnal spice. There is Cardoman and  a hint of sharp Orange for sure, but what makes this so refreshing in Autumn is its lack of gourmand notes.  The spice is used as if it is part of nature, rather than a  shelf in your kitchen. It prickles your senses like a chilly walk through crunchy leaves on the ground.

Price wise, I nearly choked on my mug of tea, sorry, I mean elegant Martini. Yes this is generous and comes in a 10oz bottle,  and no, I’m  not spending  £299 on it.

fragrantica.com

Nina Ricci: L’Air du Temps

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When I first tried Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps in 1991, I was 21 and thought it an innocuous and pretty light floral.  Revisiting it in 2013, aged 43 (but I look younger, we decided *cough*), I realised that my first impression was way off the mark.  This is a floral with a bit of bite. This one is all about the  warmth. The flowers are just the picture frame.

 L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the classic bottle represents the dove of peace: a poignant symbol in post war Europe.  The fragrance itself is a complex mix of light and shadow.  The light comes from Rose, Bergamot and Violet: made airy and floaty with a light hand. The shadow comes from spicy warm Amber, raspy Vetiver, Benzoin and deep, dark Cloves. In other words, just when you think you’ve got it sussed, it changes into something different.

lair du temps adThe balance of the two results in a fragrance of genius.  It is light enough to be as delicate as a cloud, yet the base that remains makes it smoky, warm and rich.  When I tried it yesterday the most prominent note was Amber. It was there from beginning to end.  However, this is no rich Oriental: all warm and cosy.  This is almost a sleight of hand.  All those light, pretty florals promise one thing and then they fade into that classy and gently spiced finish that seems to say “there’s more to me than meets the eye.”

This is a classic scent that everyone should have in their collection.  I understand there have been reformulations across the decades, but I cannot speak for them unless I have smelled them.  It is also interesting, that I can’t for the life of me, name a scent that it resembles. (Fragrantica readers say Prince Matchabelli Wind Song, but I would have to have smelled that in order to agree).

For a flawless classic, this is a great price, starting  at around 15GBP.  I’ve run out again, but will be putting that right very soon.

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Thierry MuglerAngel Aqua Chic 2013: Well Blow Me Down With a Feather

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My views on Angel are written elsewhere in my blog.  I’m pretty much on the anti Angel side of the battleground and battleground it is, since its critics and apologists seem equally vehement.

The thought of Angel Aqua Chic filled me with horror and I thought I would only ever try it as a joke.  I’m not keen on Aquatic scents and putting that idea next to the bombastic Angel was more than my nose could take.

However, here’s a surprise:  it’s not that bad.  That is to say that the chocolate note has gone and has been replaced by Raspberry Blossom.  On first application, when still wet, the fruit is so cloying and sweet it almost peaks, as if it is overripe and about to burst.  However, as it calms down a bit (and it needs to, believe me!), I have a perfectly acceptable fruity perfume with a definite Patchouli base and a hint of rather delicate flowers.

I have spent a lot of energy spouting off against fruity-florals and fruity-choulis and I am relieved that the tide is turning somewhat.  However, there is room for a little Raspberry or Blackcurrant in my life when it is done right.  I often find Strawberries and Cherries can be overkill and border on candy floss (and don’t get me started on peaches and pineapple!), but the Raspberry Blossom in Angel Aqua Chic seems to be about right.

It’s not my usual cup of tea, but it’s certainly not repellent as I imagined it would be.  It is most definitely an improvement on the original Angel, although I wouldn’t be so rude as to wear this in a small crowded space.

Oh and the good news is that there’s not a whiff of Aqua.