Category Archives: White flowers

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

Yesterday, just after lunch, I tried Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu and could NOT get it off.  It’s now Sunday evening.  I have had a shower, washed my hands many times and finally, only a bath shifted it.  Think cloying caramels and chocolate with a spiky base à la Thierry Mugler Angel, concentrated into essence form and with a staying power only rivalled by a tattoo.  I will even have to wash my coat as it rubs off onto my skin every time I wear it.

www.lorianzalone.com

Lancôme La Vie est Belle  has proved to be a bestseller and seems to have tapped into a trend that dictates that it’s desirable for your perfume to make you smell like Thorntons Chocolatier.  Personally I dislike anything too gourmand ( with a few notable exceptions)  because it feels like I  am eating perfume or using food on my skin : my senses get confused and don’t know what to tell my brain.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu was initially a pleasant surprise- finally I could smell those flowers and make out the iris, and… was that rose?  With a hint of blackcurrant?  Wonderful- for about twenty minutes. Then the caramel barged in and took over, smothering everything and turning up the volume until I was walking home holding the guilty arm away from my side as if I blamed it.

The verdict is this:  If you like this, you have a bargain on your hands.  Even a small bottle will outlast anything permanent in your life. Staying power is nuclear.  Your whole house will smell of it, and your friends will smell like this, and your car and the bus and your children and their friends.

Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all.

 

Stockists: Lancome La Vie est Belle L’Absolu is available from Sephora.com or Lancome-usa.com or lancome.ca if you are in the USA or Canada or Europe.  In the UK, you can buy it from John Lewis, Debenhams, Amazon UK or House of Fraser.

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Fragonard Emilie: A Beautiful Jewel on Your High Street

emiliemands

At the risk of sounding like a gushing fan, I adore Fragonard.  With packaging that makes my dressing table weep with joy, scents that go back to their Grasse roots ( pun intended), ingredients of high quality and prices that are very reasonable indeed, the only fault I could find with Fragonard is that they weren’t near enough for me to try and buy.

Well that last niggle has finally been solved by dear old Marks and Spencer, provider of knickers to Britain’s women in times of peace and crisis. Even in my tiny local M and S, there is now a decent Fragonard range and after dropping some subtle hints around my recent birthday, my husband and children bagged me a box of three mini Fragonards in parfum strength and today I am wearing Emilie.  (I got the soaps too).

soaps

Emilie has been compared to Yves Saint Laurent Paris  since it has dominant roses and violets, but I think Emilie is more intense and more of a classic blend.  Whereas Paris has a whiff of the eighties about it  (no bad thing, I love Paris and I love the eighties) I find that Fragonard scents remind me of thrice milled soap- the kind you find in hotel bathrooms in high end establishments.

There is a timelessness about Emilie.  It has the roses and violets, but it also has my favourite ingredient- Lily of The Valley, which makes Emilie the choice of a modern girl with taste, but could just have easily been found on a dressing table in the 1930s.

Today and yesterday I have been wearing the parfum and boy, does it last!  After ten hours of wear I got back home and thought I had just sprayemilieed something on my sleeve ( I usually have) but no, it was just Emilie enjoying a little renaissance after I had come in from the rain- it was almost self renewing.

So if you like your roses, your lily of the valley, the smell of expensive pure white soap, a hint of violets and a whisper of heat from an ambery basenote, then you have a treat in store, just left of the Food Hall if you’re local to me.fragmini

The box I am using is this one ( see left) but you can buy full bottles of Emilie from Marks and Spencer for just  £26 for 100m. Just look at that packaging- I’ll take ten!

emilie

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Happy Valentine’s Day: This is My Special Treat

PerfumeSociety_valentine-copy-350x341

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.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

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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Papillon Artisan Perfumes Anubis: An Extraordinary Début

anubis

IScentYouADay turns two today, so I guess  being two I can throw a few things, bite stuff and go to bed early.  This is also my 500th post, so it is a significant day to me.  It wasn’t easy to pick a scent for my 500th post and 2nd birthday, but then I had a lightbulb moment.  I have already reviewed two of the terrific perfumes from Papillon Artisan Perfumes, but that elusive Anubis kept escaping me.  Twice it has been lost and twice it has been found.  The second time was today,  and it felt right to choose it when it turned up again as if fated to.  I am therefore choosing ( and wearing) Papillon Artisan Perfumes Anubis for my 500th post.  It is quite simply outstanding and well on its way to becoming a cult classic.

It’s fair to say that 2014 was an extraordinary year for Papillon Artisan Perfumes.  With only three scents to the name, the critical response has been enormous with the industry sitting up and taking notice in the very first year of their launch.

For Nose Liz Moores, Anubis holds a personal place in her heart, initially being a creation for herself.  After  being asked so many times what her perfume was, Liz made it available to the public (hooray!) and after several incarnations, Anubis was born.

anubistrio

Oddly enough, when I reviewed Papillon Angelique, it was instant love but I really struggled to describe it.  It was almost as if it were a classic already and as such, impossible to deconstruct.  I found myself in the same position with Anubis.  I know I love it, but it’s hard to explain why.  I could tell you the notes, but it would be like looking at the sheet music instead of listening to the opera.

Here’s what it smells like to me:  An ancient stone walled chapel, as old as a millennium and infused with the smoke from a thousand thuribles. Imagine all that, only on leather, with a bonfire in the middle distance, and a hint of Egyptian embalming oils. That is what Anubis says to me.

But here are the notes so that you can pad out my  subjective description:  suede, jasmine, pink lotus, castoreum, immortelle, saffron, myrrh, benzoin, rose and frankincense.

pinterest.com
pinterest.com

Anubis has been blended so seamlessly that each note segues flawlessly into the next.  As a whole, it makes one resounding chord, as if it’s always been around.  If you like Tauer Lonestar Memories or Cuir Ottoman by Parfum D’Empire (both excellent), then I am almost certain you will like Anubis too.  Longevity is around ten hours on my skin, and this is eau de parfum strength.

Anubis has already made waves and friend of the blog MeganInStMaxime named it as her favourite launch of 2014.  The great Persolaise has also lauded it, and dear Thomas aka the Candy Perfume Boy has awarded fellow Papillon scent  Tobacco Rose one of his coveted “Candy” Awards. The mighty Kafkaesque writes a superb and comprehensive review of Anubis that I cannot begin to compete with, you can find it here.

Anubis is unique: by turns it is smoky, leathery, spicy and redolent with incense and enigma.

And as for Liz Moores?  Utterly charming and a delight to deal with.

During my visit to Les Senteurs way back in Oh…2014, I was pleased to see the trio of Papillons by the door, among illustrious company, as they have every right to be.  I believe there will be more brewing over at Papillon one day and I believe there will be a queue around the block…

 

Happy Blog-aversary to me! and thank you for popping by!

Stockists:  Papillon Artisan Perfumes are available from the Papillon website, from Les Senteurs, or in the USA from Indigo Perfumery.

Per Una Gabriella: Affordable Quality on the High Street

gabriella

 

I have often wittered on about the good things that are happening over in the Marks and Spencer Fragrance Department and I was delighted to find a bottle of Per Una Gabriella in my Christmas stocking, bought by my crafty sister in law who managed to buy it when I was actually with her. It must have been when I got lost by the Christmas party dresses. We had to text each other in the end, but I digress…

scarf

I was delighted with Gabriella for two reasons: One- it smells lovely, and Two: the packaging is so delightful it was a pleasure to receive.

Let’s talk about the first one:  Gabriella opens with citrus, namely lemons, and blends into abundant white flowers.  The white flowers are not too creamy and heady: we’re not talking hardcore tuberose, more like a bit of jasmine here, a bit of orange blossom there…  and when that has finished blooming and being all feminine and pretty, the base comes out with a hint of light musk (which would be toasty beige if it were a colour) and a light woody finish.  It’s fresh and uplifting and a very pretty floral.  The combination of lemon and flowers briefly reminded me of Boucheron Trouble (yes a hint of lemon cheesecake very briefly), but I actually prefer Gabriella to the much loved but sadly discontinued Trouble.

Now to the packaging:  Not only does Gabriella come in a delightful patterned  gift box somewhere between leopard print and giraffe, but the 100ml bottle has a flipping neck scarf on like a fancy woman! Impossibly charming, Gabriella became an instant favourite and I have been wearing it lots.

The other nice thing about Marks and Spencer fragrance is that you can buy most of their range in little 10ml or 25ml bottles, so if you don’t like it, you haven’t bankrupted yourself. These days I would happily skip many a High Street Perfume Shop for dear old M and S.  And nobody can knock their knickers as far as I’m concerned.

gabriella little

Stockists: Gabriella is available from Marks and Spencer in store or on online for £7.50 for a 25ml bottle, or £16.00 for 100ml.

Givenchy Ysatis: File Under Classics

ysatis

I was inspired to review Givenchy Ysatis by a kind reader who wrote in and told me how much she loves it.  It prompted me to ask why on earth I have left this wonderful classic so long?

parfumdepub.com
parfumdepub.com

Created in 1984, Givenchy Ysatis ( “Eeh-Sah-Teece”) was down among the brash Eighties hard hitters such as Dior Poison, Giorgio Beverly Hills and YSL Opium (which is technically late 70s, but was very suited to the excesses of 80s life). Eighties perfumes still have a what-the-heck nostalgia about them ( I will always have a bottle of Cacharel LouLou), but Givenchy Ysatis has somehow quietly acquired a bit of a classic status and still holds it own to this day, but not as a gimmick,  more out of sheer respect.  In fact, if I smelled it blind I would have attributed it to Estee Lauder.  It reminds me of Private Collection, Knowing and White Linen.

The notes in Ysatis are too numerous to list here, so I will tell you my impressions of it (which are, as always subjective).  Ysatis opens with strong aldehydes, lemon and woods. This phase lingers on for over an hour (reminding me very much of Taylor of London Tweed).  In the middle, the notes blend into a woody, green phase with a few flowers around the powdery edges.  Not girly freesias or peony though: spiky geraniums and rooty Iris, still with a background of aldehydes and greenery (think ferns and greenhouses).

The finish lasts for several more hours and has more of that delightful powderiness to it. It is rounded off with a hint of rich resins, a soupcon of honey, more woods, vetiver, oakmoss and even a hint of tobacco.

I tried this on my skin and my coat sleeves a few days ago and again today and every time my coat touched my skin, a bit more Ysatis would waft up deliciously.  Use sparingly on skin, and add to a scarf and coat sleeve for a scent that lasts all winter.

Ysatis has die hard fans and is here to stay, I hope ( although you can never say for sure in PerfumeLand).  From the glitzy excesses of the eighties, we found elegance and daring that still looks good today.  Oh and don’t worry about the eau de toilette version being weak, it absolutely is not!

Stockists: in the UK you can get Ysatis online or in store from Boots at 24.99 for the 30ml EDT, or  the 100ml can be ordered from Escentual for only 47.33. In the USA you can get it from  Amazon.com, and in Canada, from Amazon.ca.

4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer: Coup De Foudre

knicker drw

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Here are the notes:

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

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

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

cities collection samples
The Cities Collection- 4160 Tuesdays

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

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

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

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

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Library of Fragrance Jasmine: Clear and Present Jasmine

Jasmine-30_grande

Jasmine, like vanilla, has been (over) used so widely and added to so many other ingredients that it’s all too easy to lose sight of what jasmine actually smells like.  Even then it can be hard to say because there’s a whole spectrum of jasminec characteristics.

I have wavered on jasmine in the past, finding it a little indolic, like so many others before me.  There could be an explanation for this:  synthetic Jasmine is used so widely to mask unpleasant smells (think cheap air freshener in public loos)  that the nose can start to associate it with toilets, hence the indolic tag that keeps cropping up.  The other end of jasmine is that it can be very heady: not in the same league as tuberose, but on the same track, and often paired with orange blossom so that the two become difficult to isolate as separate notes.

www.theguardian.com

However, my mind was firmly made up for me when I smelled Serge Lutens Sarrasins ( bear with me, I know where I’m going).  It immediately took me back to my childhood when I would pick enormous bunches of bluebells and take them home (I wouldn’t do that now- I would leave them there!).  Bluebells remain my favourite flower (like little fairy’s hats) and funnily enough, jasmine, naked and plain, really reminds me of freshly picked bluebells.  It wasn’t until I reviewed Sarrasins that I realised this and fully entered the portal of Jasmine fandom.

www.nhm.ac.uk
www.nhm.ac.uk

 

Which brings me to Library of Fragrance Jasmine: where does it fall on the Jasmine spectrum?  Right where I hoped it would.  It smells like clean, freshly unfurled petals with a hint of characteristic pure jasmine soapiness.  Even better news: on me it lasted over eight hours and I kept getting delightful little wafts well into my evening, having applied it late morning.

Although Library of Fragrance scents are perfect for layering, opening up all sorts of wonderful possibilities, I would actually wear this one alone. Jasmine has been stuck in the crowd too long.  How refreshing to find it doing a beautiful solo.

Jasmine-Purse-Hero-LOF_grandeWhere to buy it The  Library of Fragrance range is available in branches of Boots across the UK- even quite small branches like my local one.  You can also try the Library of Fragrance website, which often has fantastic special offers, inclusind purse sprays.