Category Archives: Tuberose

Five Decades of #Scent Memories: National Fragrance Day 2017

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Dear reader, I am now in my fifth decade and due to toast the start of my sixth in 2020 when I turn 50.

To me, scent is like a Tardis. It takes you back in time so fast that you can be stepping out the Tardis door into 1976 after one whiff of Panache.  More instantly evocative than a photograph or a song,  a fragrance can whisk you back to the scent of the primary school teacher whose name you forget, but whose perfume you can recall as if a switch has been flicked in your head.

Please join me on my mini odyssey through the smell of the 70s, 80s, 90s, Noughties and Twenteens and do share your #scentmemories below.

The Smell of the 1970s.

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I was born in 1970. The first ten years of my life can be summed up, at least in the olfactory sense, as a combination of cigarette smoke (not mine), the smell of a roast cooking, mud, ferns, bluebells, Woogiraffedleigh Green Apple Shampoo, Avon Pretty Peach and Avon Occur, in a giraffe shaped bottle, no less. Quite how giraffes and perfume go together, I never thought to question, but he literally had some brass neck.

My teachers wore Cacharel Anais Anais, which hasn’t changed to this day, as long as you sidestep the “Delice” version. I can’t remember what scent my mother wore, but she always smelled nice.  My grandmother wore Coty L’Aimant, which I didn’t recognise then, but which moves me to gusty sighs of melancholy  now she isn’t here.

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The Smell of the 1980s.

Formative years mean a thirst to both stand out and blend in at the same time. I was groping for an identity and slowly moving into and out of adolescence. It was 1981 before I gradually weaned myself off

sindyplaying with Sindy dolls. I can still vividly recall the smell of the vinyl heads and strange nylon hair, inevitably knotted to all hell within a week of ownership.

My first ever scent that I paid for myself was a splash bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots No 7. Long since discontinued, I have sought that bluebell scent ever since.  My mother bought me a bottle of Jontue from a trip she went on, and one Christmas I had a bottle of Cachet.  I wore this A LOT.  I also remember Avon Eau Givreé: a beautiful green hesperide that has long since been discontinued.

My teens saw me receive my first ever bottle of proper fragrance from my father for my 18th birthday. It was Estee Lauder Beautiful and I still love it now. 1988 saw me leave home at go to Exeter Uni, where the most memorable scents were Marlboro cigarettes, red wine and lashings of Cacharel LouLou.

1980s collage

Meanwhile, over in Denver Colorado, Alexis Carrington was cracking the whip.  Excess, big shoulder pads, big hair and big smells were all the rage.  On the High Street, there was the unmistakable cloud of Giorgio Beverly Hills and a miasma of Dior Poison mingled with Body Shop White Musk and Dewberry. The Nightclubs smelled of Calvin Klein Obsession, and my one little egg shaped bottle took me into the 1990s.

The Smell of the 1990s

The caring, sharing Nineties sobered everyone up and made us wear ozonic scents in an urge to cleanse ourselves of the Eighties excesses. All my friends smelled of Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, which is no bad thing. I had discovered Chanel Cristalle, also a light scent that was the opposite side of the spectrum to Poison, Obsession and Giorgio. The 1990s saw me graduate and move to London, which smelled very different to Devon.  London air is thicker, dirtier and there were more cigarettes smoked and more traffic fumes, but reader, to me it was the smell of freedom and wonder and possibility.

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1992 saw the launch of the iconic Thierry Mugler Angel. I remember smelling it for the first time in Harrods Perfume Hall and thinking “but why would I want to smell like chocolate?” I appreciate it now of course, for the multi-faceted classic it is, but back then it was revolutionary among the ozonic and airy fairy Nineties scents. Meanwhile, in 1997, Gucci launched the now much-mourned Gucci Envy.  So good was this floral green scent with a vein of metal running through it, that I dumped Cristalle and remained almost exclusive to Gucci Envy until it was cruelly taken from us in 2007.

The Smell of The Noughties

The Noughties saw a revolution in celebrity fragrance.  Elizabeth Taylor had been churning them out since 1991, but they were largely seen as fan fodder until 2002 when Jennifer Lopez launched the brilliant Glow. It was a clean, white fragrance that pleased the crowds and began a snowball of celebrity fragrances taking off.  Britney Spears got in on it, as did many of her contemporaries and soon the perfumeries were chock full of celeb scents. Sarah Jessica Parker brought new possibilities with SJP Lovely and some of the snobbery dissipated when we realised that celebrity stuff can be pretty darn good. (I’m still a celeb scent geek)

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The noughties also mark the only two years of my adult life where I have been without any fragrance and that’s because I had my sons during that decade.  Their first scent memory is of my skin.  No deodorant, no perfume, just me.  It wasn’t easy getting those babies, but it was worth it.

The Smell of the Twenteens

Now things really start to spice up. I started my blog on January 2nd 2013. It was a combination of an urge to write and a channel for my reawakened perfume passion. This was brought about by a lean period, during which Chanel was very much out of reach.  As a result, I developed a bit of a cheap and cheerful habit as my receipts from allbeauty.com will attest.  From that, and the three huge boxes of samples that dear Lisa Jones let me borrow, the floodgates opened.

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The biggest scent launch of the Twenteens has to be the seminal Lancome La Vie est Belle. The fruity floral explosion of the early ‘teens segued into a river of caramel and praline   Hot on its heels was YSL Black Opium , which dismayed many Opium fans, but brought a  cohort of new fans to the brand.

In recent  times, I’ve been coming across the semi-ubiquitous jasmine sambac note that  seems to be so popular right now.  You can find it in  Paco Rabanne Olympea,  Givenchy Dahlia Divin and Versace Eros. The big launch of 2017 is Mon Guerlain, and whilst it’s not my cup of tea, I do harbour hopes that it will  lead us into a big lavender  trend.

As we point in the direction of 2020, I’m looking forward to the alleged forthcoming trends of milk notes, peony and a renaissance of my favourite genre: green notes.

Interestingly, celebrity fragrance sales are on the wane, but guess what’s on the up?  Niche perfume.  Which is very good news indeedy.

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How about you?

What scents bring back instant memories for you?  It doesn’t matter how random or everyday they are, I always love to hear from you.

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My Trip to The Jasmine Awards 2017 by Samantha Scriven aged 47 and one month.

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My dears, I returned from the Jasmines only yesterday and it has taken until now for me to process the explosion of glamour and excitement that happened to me.

It was a thrill to receive that first email from the Fragrance Foundation back in January, letting me know I had been shortlisted.  Since then, it has been the biggest event in my calendar.

But What Fragrance to Wear?

I wasn’t too worried about what clothes what to wear, although I had a last-minute lingerie malfunction which meant I ended up looking like I was going for a job interview in an undertaker’s.  Still, wearing black all the time never hurt Margot Fonteyn or Edith Piaf (is what I keep telling myself). The biggest problem I had was what scent to wear? That one kept me awake for a while, I can tell you. *

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The Awards were to be hosted at Bafta, and due to its early 8.45 am start, I had to come up the night before.  I stayed in a hotel near the most beautiful station in the world, St Pancras. This was rather handy since there was a large branch of Pret a Manger in St Pancras station.  We don’t have Pret in Wales (violins)  so, it’s my eatery of choice when I’m back in the Big Smoke.

The Big Day Arrives. I’m All a-Quiver!

Being a swot, I arrived in Piccadilly an hour early on the morning of The Jasmines and made use of a nearby Costa (This is why London is never cheap when I visit). I was as nervous as if I was going to a job interview.  As a natural introvert,  networking makes my armpits prickle, but perfume people are outrageously lovely, as was the case later on.bafta sign

Crossing the Bafta threshold was a thrill. Seeing the big gold mask on the wall and seeing uniformed doormen made my heart go all fluttery.

When I arrived, there was a huge floral centrepiece with scented rose petals a-wafting through the air, along with coffee and posh pastries (sorry for the food writing. I’m really hungry). My nerves left me as conversation began to flow.

Here I am, Name Dropping

At one point, I shook hands with a dapper looking Roja Dove. Yes, he was wearing silk slippers, and no, he hadn’t heard of my blog.

Me, Nick and Sarah. Photo from the Fragrance Foundation
Me, Nick and Sarah. Photo from the Fragrance Foundation

I was delighted to see the impossibly glamorous Suzy Nightingale again, and chuffed to beans to meet one of my sheroes, Jo Fairley of The Perfume Society.  I have been reading Jo’s writing since the year 2000 and never thought I would  be acquainted with her in real life.  I also met lovely Penny from The Perfume Society, but it was in the Ladies Toilets so we didn’t get to chat more, sadly.  The Perfume Society is my mothership.

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I had a lovely surprise when I saw perfume guru Nick Gilbert and  perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays arrive. I wasn’t expecting them and I was over the moon to see familiar faces.  An added bionus was that I also got to meet the delightful Marina Barcenilla, who I wrote about only last week.

If I tell you that Sarah McCartney was wearing colour block fortuny pleats with dragon fins on, would you believe me? She was and she pulled it off, although rumour has it she startled a dog earlier in the day: and comedian Jeremy Hardy, but that’s another story.

The Big Moment

At 9.30am we were ushered into the awards room. There was a big screen and a stage at the front, where the judges and hosts were seated. The category I was shortlisted for was the “Best Digital Experience” award for my article about Mandy Aftel’s Memento Mori.  I had stiff competition, and was honoured to be among them. Thomas Dunckley, aka The Candy Perfume Boy won, and deservedly so.

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Thomas is a gifted writer who manages to combine unimpeachable expertise with wit and warmth.  He won two in total, leading me to ask him to please start writing badly in order that I may have a chance one year.  He gallantly agreed, but reader, I think he is incapable of writing badly.

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There were many winners that morning, and all of them deserving and worthy of the beautiful Lalique awards. What struck me most, however, was the atmosphere.  It was friendly, celebratory and warm. The perfume world has people from all walks of life, including a mum of two from Cwmbran who grew up in a council house (ahem), and Roja Dove.

Earl Grey at Simpson’s

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I felt deeply honoured to be treated to a pot of Earl Grey at the former Simpson’s on the Strand by perfumer extraordinaire Sarah McCartney,  Sarah is fantastic company and so curious about the world and the people in it.

We were joined by another very talented perfumer, Ruth Mastenbroek. I tell you, I was not ignorant of the privilege this affords to a perfume blogger and I felt quite tongue tied despite them both being engaging and lovely.

They did lose me when they started talking about parabens, but I was thinking “Wow, look at me. With them. Up here!”   We were also, by pure coincidence, just a few tables away from comedian Jeremy  Hardy.   Sarah had bumped into him a  total of four times that day and  I can promise that none of it was planned, officer.outside bafta

Home Time

Like the best dreams, the bubbles popped and by 3.15 I was  back in Cwmbran collecting my son from school, wondering what to make for tea and thinking “This is what Pam Ewing must have felt like when Bobby got out of the shower”  It couldn’t have been a dream. It felt too real.

My dear chums, I am financially poorer after the hotel and train bill, (and Pret and Costa) but I don’t think I have ever  felt richer or luckier.  Thank you to the Fragrance Foundation for letting me experience such an unforgettable day.

*My SOTD was Sandalwood Sacre by le Jardin Retrouvé.

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And the Winners are…

Best Digital Fragrance Experience
‘Six Scents to Put Hairs on Your Chest’ by Thomas Dunckley for The Candy Perfume Boy

Jasmine Literary Award
‘Every Scent Tells a Tale’ by Joanne Harris for Good Housekeeping

Best Digital Article on Fragrance
‘A Scent for Self-Appreciation’ by Lizzie Ostrom for The Pool

Jasmine Soundbite (News Press)
‘Smells Like Tom Hiddleston (I Wish)’ by Lesley Thomas for The Times

Jasmine Visual Award
‘A Perfume Paints a Thousand Words’ by Jan Masters (words & creative) and Roberto Greco (creative) for Harrods Magazine

Best Article in a Consumer Magazine
The Wearing of the Green’ by James Craven for Les Senteurs

Most Creative Visual Award
‘All of a Quiver’ by Jan Masters (words) and Rebecca Baio, David Newton & Barney Pickard (creative) for Harrods Magazine.

Jasmine Soundbite (Independent)
‘Eau so Masc – Thoughts on Gender in Perfumer & the Rive Gauche Rebellion’ by Thomas Dunckley for The Candy Perfume Boy

Jasmine Rising Star Award
‘2017 – The Year of the Milk Notes’ by Lauren Crabran for Scents Blog

Jasmine Soundbite (Magazines)
‘Midnight Garden’ by Jan Masters for Harrods Magazine

Jasmine Independent Literary Award
‘Scenting my Mental Illness’ by Laurin Taylor for Basenotes

Jasmine Soundbite (News Press)
‘Smells Like Tom Hiddleston (I Wish)’ by Lesley Thomas for The Times

Best Practical Guide to Fragrance
‘The Top Ten Niche Fragrances Every Beginner Should Sample’ by Clare Vukcevic for Basenotes

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The Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box: My Review

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I have in front of me The Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box. I’ve spoken of these little boxes before.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve missed one since they first began.

The Modern Classics Box is a must for anyone on their first foray into fragrance.  Even if you’re not, it’s great to have the classics at your fingertips, and classics they are: each and every one.

I’m going to be reviewing some of these in more detail soon, but in the meantime, here’s the list of what’s in the box:

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Yardley Contemporary Classics English Freesia

I’m a big fan of florals, and Yardley, bless ‘em, have been doing florals for generations. They do them very well, and Freesia is no exception. I have a whole bouquet of Yardley scents on my dressing table: April Violets, English Rose,  English Lavender,  Bluebell, and after today, it looks like a full bottle of Yardley Freesia won’t be far behind.

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Cartier Baiser Fou

This new scent from Cartier is worlds apart from the original and far more sober Baiser Vole.  Cartier Baiser Fou (crazy kiss) smells like lipstick kisses, strawberries and milky bar.  I didn’t think I was going to like it, as it sounded too sweet for me, but actually I was completely charmed by it.flower by kenzo

Flower by Kenzo

I wasn’t sure if I knew this one, until I sprayed it and realised “Oh! THAT’S Kenzo Flower!” It’s baby powder, wet wipes, fluffy towels and innocent flowers. I’ll be reviewing this one in more detail soon.

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Marc Jacobs Daisy

Both ubiquitous and glorious, this light, airy crowd pleaser will never go out of fashion, and its not just because of the delightful toy town flower bottles.  See my review here.

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L’Occitane Terre de Lumiere

A stunning summer scent from L’Occitane with notes of lavender honey, bergamot and a warm base of almond and tonka. This makes me want to lie in the sun with a straw hat on and be very, very indolent.columbia

Angela Flanders Columbia Rose

Columbia Road in achingly cool Shoreditch is the scene of the famous Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday, when the street is filled with greenery and botany and petals and buds. Worth visiting for the scent alone, it’s little wonder that  perfumer Angela Flanders saw fit to open her shop here.

This is how roses used to smell before factory farming chased the old-fashioned scent away.  There’s something slightly earthy about it too, thanks to the patchouli and amber in the base. This is patchouli with rough edges and it complements the centrifola rose like Mellors complemented  Lady Chatterley.

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Illuminum White Gardenia Petals

This scent of green notes and heady white gardenia may well be my absolute favourite from the box.  As worn by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge on her wedding day, this beautiful fragrance is right up my street, even if I can’t quite compete with Catherine’s untouchable glamour. I’ll be reviewing it in more detail very soon.

Narciso Rodriguez for her EDP

This beauty has been a classic since its launch.  NR For Her was created by the ultimate dream team of Christine Nagel and Francis Kurkdjian and I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t smell wonderful in it, including me! You can read my review here.

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Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Eye (lotion tube)

I don’t know what this is like yet, but buy the sound of the name, I need it BADLY.  After squinting at computer screens and phone screens, and being tormented by hay fever and contact lenses, my forty-seven-year-old eyes need all the help they can get.  I’m fifty in three years’ time but I don’t want to look like I am!

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Minnies Literally Lovely Shimmering Body Lotion.

A sachet sized treat that is going in my overnight bag. Possibly too glamorous for the school run, but I’ll be spoiling myself with this next time I get away from it all.

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As usual with Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, there are scent sniffing strips and handy postcards with discussion prompts and facts about each item.  All the goodies come in a smart white gift box with the Perfume Society Logo on. They make excellent gifts for your friends or for Mothers Day,  but I’m not giving mine away!

Stockists

These boxes are exclusive to The Perfume Society, and cost £17.50 each or £12.50 if you are a VIP subscriber. My box was kindly sent to me by The Perfume Society.  Opinions are my own.

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Perfume Questions? Ask Aunty Sam…

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Dear beloved readers,

Lately I have been asked many questions by people with queries about perfume. These vary from “what smells like…?” queries to “Where can I get…?” queries. It got me thinking, my friends.  How about a little post that’s all about your perfume questions and queries?

Just email me or post your question below or on Twitter or Facebook and I will do my very best to answer them.  You can even be anonymous if you like!

So, fire away.  Do you want to know if there’s a smellalike to a long discontinued favourite?  Does a newly reformulated favourite resemble an old one?  Which are the best cheap and cheerfuls?  Tell Aunty Sam your scented dilemmas.  I’m  all ears and all nostrils!

Email iscentyouaday@gmail.com

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Vero Profumo Rubj Voile D’Extrait

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There’s a bit of a back story here. A few years ago, dear Lisa Jones, my friend, mentor and bad girl enabler let me try some Vero Profumo Rubj EDP that she had. My dear friends, I’m sorry to say that I did not care for it. I haven’t tried it since and my only lingering memory of it was cumin with muscles.

sample of rubjSo, in the random and serendipitous way that such things happen, I was recently offered a batch of “Naughty and Animalic” samples from dear friend of the blog Lânáis-Bambi, for which many thanks my friend. The scent bundle was one of the sample collections that you can buy from Bloom Perfumery in London, so I knew it would be good stuff.

I went straight for Rubj, thinking I knew what my reaction would be, but I was wrong.

Vero Profumo Rubj Voile D’extrait is a beautiful deep floral that I was convinced was as full of violets as Guerlain Insolence.  But it’s not.  In fact, the flowers, once they settle, are a classy bouquet of tuberose, jasmine and neroli. They don’t come in straight away though, there’s mandarina and bergamot giving this a much lighter entrance than the one I was expecting.

The base notes anchor the flowers with oak moss and musk, givingtuber this a ladylike and classic feel that I wasn’t expecting. Oh, and the cumin? Well, it’s not there, but  the cedar gives this a herby, woody nuance that takes a back seat and lets the flowers take centre stage. Its presence gives this a touch of supportive sobriety as the flowers get loud.

I loved this so much that I have taken a lesson from it; don’t write off a different formulation of a scent you didn’t take to. I could drench myself in this stuff and It wouldn’t be too much. It’s glorious and feminine and makes me feel like I am too. I’m so glad that serendipity led me back to it.

Stockists

You can buy Vero Profumo Rubj Voile D’Extrait from Bloom Perfumery. Check out the Bloom sample service too.

Acknowledgments

Thank you to Lânáis-Bambi for the beautiful set of samples.

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Avon Rare Platinum: Tip Top Tuberose

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Confession time: Reader, I broke my No Blind Buy Rule because of a scratch’n’sniff.  You know those little patches in Avon brochure that say “rub me and buy one?” well I did just that and ended up the delighted owner of a full bottle of Avon Rare Platinum.

I was slightly miffed when Avon stopped selling Avon Rare Rubies.  I was a bit more miffed when they stopped selling Avon Rare Diamonds, but having just got my hands on a bottle of Rare Platinum, I can honestly say all is forgiven.

tuberRare Platinum is all about the tuberose.  I have been thirsting for tuberose ever since my visit to By Kilian.  Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad made this respectable citizen want to tell fibs and steal. Good Girl Gone Bad is way out of my league. I can’t justify that sort of money this near to Christmas , especially since my ten year old son has just got “into clothes.” However, Rare Platinum scratches that tuberose itch and  cost me a paltry SEVEN QUID.

It opens with thick, heady tuberose and jasmine with a touch of grapefruit to cut through the cream.  This agrees with me very much, in the way that  sharp fruits and thick double cream agrees with me. The tuberose is good stuff, especially when you think of the tiny price. It has that crescendo where it builds from white petals to thick and creamy to borderline teetering-on-the-brink-of celery before relaxing and making me think of the loud tuberose scents of the 1980s.

Lasting power is pretty good and it smells especially good on sleeves and coats ( I am joyfully plastered in it!). What I really love about it is that fact that there’s no sugary sweetness or caramel or vanilla. This is an honest to goodness straightforward floral.  If you like your white flowers big and blousy with a hint of lilies, buy this. Actually, buy several and stash them away. When perfume is this good, and costs so little, you need to pin it down.

Stockists

You can buy Avon Rare Platinum from your Avon rep or from Avon UK online. Prices are currently £7 a bottle at the time of writing.

Photos: Top photo by Avon, Tuberose photo from Fragrantica.

 

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“They’ve asked for perfume but I don’t know what they like”

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Many people see perfume as an indulgence, like a box of chocolates. They don’t feel they can buy it for themselves. I am not like this. I have more trouble NOT buying it for myself, but I digress.

When Christmas and birthdays come around, people often ask me what to buy. Because perfume is so subjective, it’s very hard to pick something for somebody else so this is where I recommend the Selection Box. Yes indeed, a selection box that has no calories and won’t make you gain weight. I like both so I’ll be having a selection of perfume AND a selection of Cadbury nonsense this year.

scentsofstyleWhen buying for others, unless you know their signature scent, it’s a safer bet to buy them a choice. Many companies have a set that contains several samples and a voucher for a full bottle, and this seems like a very good idea to me. Other companies have Discovery Boxes or selections of minis that make equally good gifts. Personally, I love the idea of introducing someone to a scent they love but haven’t met yet. I’m like a fragrance marriage bureau. I live in hope of setting up the perfect match.

I have made a list of what I think make the best “suggestion boxes” as gifts. This applies all year round and not just at Christmas. It’s worth remembering that if you don’t get what you were hoping for, eBay will have the “I hate this” gifts at bargain prices shortly after Christmas.

4160 Tuesdays

4160samplesAs an introduction to handmade artisan niche perfumes using top ingredients, you 4160bottlecan’t go wrong with 4160 Tuesdays. Taster sets of samples start at just £25. If you want to provide your recipient with a large bottle of their choice, then for £95 you can buy seven samples and have a voucher for a generous 100ml bottle. I can guarantee that it will be beautifully packaged too.  No, I’m not on the payroll, but I am a very satisfied customer.

The Perfume Society

shayblushopwidgetawThe Perfume Society has something for everyone.  They have a dangerously tempting selection of Discovery Boxes for starters. OR, you can buy a VIP subscription MoltonBrownShopAW2-350x346which  gets you a free Discovery Box, discounts off further boxes and invites to many exclusive events, as well as a free online subscription to The Scented Letter magazine. The vast collection of Discovery Boxes makes me twitch with greed.  You can buy carefully curated sets such as Beautiful Blossoms or Eaux La La, or you can buy exclusive selections from your favourite brands such as Shay & Blue, Molton Brown or Agonist to name but a few.  I’m a big fan.

vivaboxes-viva-box-for-her-999023820002-vivaboxThe Perfume Shop

The Perfume Shop Viva Box continues to be a popular choice but I’ve noticed they’re not publicised much in the branches. For £39.99 you get a selection of mainstream popular sample and a voucher for the full bottle of your choice. You can buy them here.

Boots

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Boots the Chemist, that bastion of temptation, is also offering a little perfume selection box. In a smart cardboard gift set you will find seven contemporary samples, including recent hits Stella McCartney POP and Moschino Fresh Couture.  Seven samples and a voucher for just £40 and nicely gift boxed. You can buy it here.

For The Men In Your Life (or the life in your men)

marks-menThe Perfume Society has two excellent Discovery Boxes: Scent of A Gent and Scent of A Man. Each one contains a selection of mainstream and new-to-you samples, as well as a couple of manly beauty treats.  It all comes in a lovely white Perfume Society box.

Trusty Marks and Spencer also has some quality men’s grooming miniatures. Check out this set of six. Wrap up a box of these and an M &S voucher and Bob’s your fragrant uncle. Speaking of Marks and Sparks…

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Marks and Spencer

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Marks and Spencer has such a superb perfume department these days that florentynaI almost don’t dare to go in. If you added the Marks and Sparks perfume dept and the TK Maxx perfume department together I’d be bankrupt. I’d smell fabulous, but I’d be bankrupt. There’s a lot of choice at very reasonable prices. I don’t know where to start or stop.

Marks is affordably tempting. Check out the Florentyna mini set for just ten quid and the mixed EDT mini set, also for ten quid. Either would make a fabulous stocking filler, if you can manage to get to the till without buying seventeen bottles of something nice for yourself on top. I’m not sure I can make it past Monotheme or Shay & Blue without saying “but do my children really NEED school shoes after all?” That’s if I haven’t already filled the trolley with Fragonard…

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Pell Wall Perfumes

In the heart of beautiful Shropshire, perfumer Chris Bartlett pours and macerates to make niche brand Pell Wall perfumes a force to be reckoned with. The set I find most tempting is this little set of 10ml bottles. For £59 you get nine 10 ml bottles of Pell Wall fragrances in small spray bottles.  When you think that one bottle of mainstream High Street perfume costs more than this, then I reckon this is excellent value that allows you to vary your scent throughout the seasons  and the year ahead. You can buy it here.

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DSH Giverny in Bloom: Bringing art alive

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Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is an early pioneer in the world of indie perfumes. US based, Dawn (or DSH to fans), constantly innovates and has a wide fan base worldwide. In fact, I’m astonished I took so long to get here.

monet-gvI was recently sent two samples of DSH scents by friend of the blog (and friend of me!) Patsi, who is always very generous and supportive of my perfume habit, having a serious habit herself. Thank you Patsi!

Today I am reviewing Giverny in Bloom. It seems appropriate to look at the pictures of Monet’s gardens in Giverny as I sniff them since this scent was created to go alongside the “in Bloom” scent experience at Denver Art Museum.

This scent will be instantly recognizable to anyone who remembers playing in the garden as a child. Did you ever pick flowers, snap ferns and sniff leaves or was that just me? If so, you will easily imagine how transporting this earthy, realistic fragrance is.

bridgeThis was almost astringent on first spray, like rubbing a broken fern between your fingers. After that the flowers come in. Not just petals, but stems, stamens, buds: the whole shebang. It smells like a very good florists: it’s flower heads, yes, but seeds and leaves too. It is springlike and abundant. There’s lilacs, carnations, mimosa, roses, jasmine, neroli, violets, linden blossom- it’s all there. But what makes this stand apart from a good spring floral is the addition of the greenery and earthiness. There’s soil tincture, oakmoss, galbanum, ambergris, and patchouli. All this works not against, but alongside, the prettiness of the flowers, giving a dose of realism that makes this really stand out. A good gardener knows you have to get your hands dirty and that’s what this smells like: a real garden, with all the flowers, the sharpness of green leaves and a woody, earthy base. Like the strokes of an Impressionist’s brush, the blending is cleverly done to give an artless feel that allows each note to blur into the next without losing itself.

Viewed alongside the legendary paintings, this makes for a wonderfully uplifting experience.

I shall be seeking out more DSH after this. Thank you Patsi for this fabulous intro.

Stockists.

All scents are available from the DSH website.  This just in-I have it on good authority that  DSH does indeed ship to the UK! There is also a good sample service, and free samples with every full bottle purchase.

Photo credits

Top photo from Fragrantica. Middle photo from www.famousartistsgallery.com. Bottom photo from www.lifo.gr

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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The Ultimate (And Not Entirely Serious) Guide to Wedding Perfumes by IScentYouADay

fragrancelife.ru
fragrancelife.ru

It’s wedding season, and what better excuse to think about dreamy wedding perfumes?  Scent evokes such vivid memories that it’s important to get it right for a big occasion.  I have had fun over the past few days picking out perfumes for every kind of bride (I hope).  This guide is of course, subjective and you may have other ideas, or choose to wear a trusty old favourite, as I did. Don’t forget the Golden Rule: Your partner has to buy you a bottle on every anniversary,  so pick wisely.

 

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My actual wedding dress and tiara. And the pearls are real.

If you’re planning a wedding, I would love to know what scent you have chosen.  If you are already married, I would love to know what you wore to your wedding.  As for me, I wore Chanel Cristalle, but if I had to marry Mr IScent all over again, it would be  4160 Tuesdays Raw Silk and Red Roses.    Incidentally, just because this article is angled towards brides, doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate marriage in all its wonderful forms regardless of gender, race and age.

I support marriage equality wholeheartedly and at the same time, I say knickers to gender stereotypes in perfume.   All you need is love. And a wink and a smile.

The Classy Bride

lilyChanel No 19– Think Kristen Scott Thomas in a simple shift looking incredible.  Think hauteur.

Chanel Cristalle:  Green, beautiful, simple.

Miss Dior Original:  Not the one that smells like strawberries and flowers, the oakmossy one in the bumpy houndstooth bottle.

Lanvin Arpege:  Gets better as the day goes on, like a wedding once the Bar has opened.

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Especially Escada Delicate Notes: Light as air and pretty as a picture. This delicate scent lives up to its name.

Estee Lauder Beautiful: Retro memories of Paulina Porizkova looking beautiful as a bride in the ad campaign. I think it has just about every flower in the world.

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: Like a thousand ballerinas.  Light, airy and  feminine.

Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop: Utterly delightful and smells like a posh florist: stems, petals and greenery.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose and Gardenia: White flowers on a wedding day. Rich and longlasting. Like the groom, hopefully.

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The I Want to Be Different Bride

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Noontide Petals by Andy Tauer:  Smelling is believing; Bergamot and aldehydes in perfect harmony.

The Sexiest Scent On The Planet Ever IMHO by 4160 Tuesdays: Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and a Woody finish.  This would be a good day to see if it lives up to its name.

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician.  Never smelled it.  Love the name.  Couldn’t leave it out.

I Fancy You by Jessica Simpson– Just for the name, just so people can say “what are you wearing?” and you can answer them, deadpan. With your new spouse right next to you.  Especially funny if your mother in law is present.  Awkward if it is she who is asking.

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The Caribbean Wedding Bride

photo by www.festivalbrides.co.uk
photo by www.festivalbrides.co.uk

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Sun cream, coconuts, fig and white flowers. Longlasting and multi layered. Like your marriage, hopefully.

O de Lancome: When it’s hot, you’ll be needing the citrus.  It will cool you down and is one of the most refreshing scents that I know.

Miller Harris La Pluie: Tropical flowers with a powdery finish.  This changes and blooms the longer you wear it.

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The Sexy Bride Who Can’t Wait For the Honeymoon

photo from brideways.com
photo from brideways.com

Worth Courtesan– smells like knickers.  Not freshlay laundered knickers, the other sort of knickers.

Miller Harris L’Air De Rien– This was made for Jane Birkin and it smells like an unwashed andunmade bed and joss sticks. Incredibly sexy.

Serge Lutens Feminite Du Bois– smells like wooden knickers in a woody wood.

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 The Unforgettable Bride With a Dangerous Glint In Her Eye

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Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles– despite having written over 400 reviews of perfume, this is the only one that made my husband stand up and protest loudly.  Could be fun at a wedding.

Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques.  It’s got the word secretions in its name.  It smells like it sounds. You may smell like you just had urgent sex with a tramp en route to the church.  But hey, nobody will forget your wedding.  Check out my review, and brace yourself.

 

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