Category Archives: White flowers

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique: A Fifties Style Nineties Classic

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 During the Nineties, Jean Paul Gaultier co hosted the late night post pub TV programme Eurotrash with the equally bonkers Antoine de Caunes. With his iconic Breton tops and kilts, and that Gallic twinkle in his smiley eyes, I was a fan of Jean Paul  from the start.

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In 1992 he launched Jean Paul Gaultier Eau de Parfum, now called Classique, thanks to a plethora of confusingly named flankers.  I recall reading an interview with him  around this time, though I sadly cannot find it now. The gist of it was that he wanted to base a perfume on the matriarchs in his family and he said that his Mother and Grandmother  smelled of  nail polish remover and face powder and he wanted to include that in his scent.

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rapidotv.com

He was as good as his word and I can never smell Classique without thinking how he understands that women, gorgeous as we are, often have messy handbags which smell of stuff we’ve spilled. It’s human. We don’t need to be perfect or smell perfect. A smell is a memory encapsulated in a bottle. As a result of this charming vignette, I have always had a soft spot for JPG , or Jpeg as we call him in the Digital Age (joke).

I haven’t ever owned a bottle of Classique myself since I once knew someone for whom this was a signature scent to the power of  a thousand. However, in isolation, it is  marvellous. It’s sweet with Vanilla, but not Britney Vanilla, and has a touch of Anise  and Pear which evoke the strange chemical hint of nail polish remover. It’s floral and feminine with Roses, Tuberose and Neroli, and beds down into a sandy finish with rich Amber and powdery Musk.

Bravo Jean Paul!

… and now a clip of some very large European breasts. Bon nuit mes little British chums and faîtes des bonnes rêves!

Dita Von Teese: Dita Von Teese for Women: Classy and Elegant

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Considering that Dita Von Teese For Women EDP is less than 20GBP a bottle, it’s not half bad. It certainly doesn’t smell as cheap as it is, despite the fact that the actual fragrance must have been produced cheaply once mark ups and overheads are taken into account.

Dita Von Teese is one of today’s classier stars. I’d rather see ladylike Dita’s spangly tassels than a barely dressed starlet on the red carpet letting it all hang out. Slim yet voluptuous, classic and elegant, Dita will never go out of style.

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Dita Von Teese for Women smells delightfully feminine, with a retro vibe about it that defies today’s sweet fruity candy floss efforts and Baby Angel derivatives. It is definitely for evening wear, or more specifically, date wear.  It opens, unusually, with Bergamot, which is a brave choice considering it ends in smoky Guaic woods, Patchouli and Musk. Through it all comes the heady Tiare flower, a creamy white flower, less intense than tuberose but no less pretty.  Somehow it works. The Bergamot and floral opening gives a grown up and prim impression that leads into something more seductive as the evening wears on. By the end of the evening you’ll be unfastening your pearls for sure.

I cannot review this perfume without mentioning the stunning bottle. Black and fluted, it has an unmistakeable vintage vibe, and its black tassel is a cute little quirk. This is what I was hoping Kylie Minogue Couture was going to smell like, except that it let me down with a cheap and empty smelling faux vanilla base note. Not so Dita Von Teese, with its classy basenotes ending the show with a smoky trail of spiced Musk in its wake.

Poor Dita is in the unenviable position of having her fragrance reviewed the very day after I have reviewed the masterpiece that is Un Jardin en Mediterranee. However, I have also had to clean up after a small boy and a wayward kitten today, so it’s all about balance.

 Dita Von Teese for Women probably won’t be a favourite Must Buy, but I admire and like it, and the little handbag bottle is just adorable.

Bravo Dita.

Estee Lauder Pleasures: Practically Perfect In Every Way

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Estee Lauder Pleasures was launched in 1995 and was a huge hit. After the excesses of the Look At Me 80s, this 90s fragrance was all about everything that was light, airy and pure. You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow.

 Pleasures was everywhere in the 90s including on me: I had a 100ml bottle and a body lotion no less.  It even tempted me away from my steadfast Chanel Cristalle for a  whole summer. There was a new optimism in the 90s. Everything was environmentally sound, and people were hugging trees and taking up Yoga and wearing white floaty shirts. You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow.

So what does it smell like? It smells like a photoshopped meadow on a summer’s day, all delicate blossom and green grass and fluffy clouds. It smells just like its advertising campaign, with original spokesmodel Elizabeth Hurley in the middle, looking ethereal all over billboards and fragrance shop windows.

To me Pleasures smells of Violet and Peony. It’s pretty as a picture. There are no dark or challenging notes, all is light as air. There are Green notes in the opening and  Violet Leaf making its presence felt. Lilac and Lily of The Valley make an appearance, and the basenotes introduce a little White Musk to this delightful bed of flower petals. It is impossibly feminine, almost bridal in its innocence and beauty.

Image I tried Pleasures recently and thought there was a silvery note in it. It’s hard to explain but it was more metallic than I remember, but not to any extreme, more of a tinkly silver wind chime.

Disappointingly, EL has seen the need to produce no less than SIXTEEN Pleasures flankers.  I’ve tried two: Pleasures Bloom and Pleasures Intense. Neither were a success for me.  It was as if someone had bulldozed my pretty meadow. It was as if someone had taken a Jane Austen novel, discovered people liked it and decided to make it into a Musical, a TV series and a range of dolls. Enough already!

 Pleasures is a classic. But leave the flankers well alone. You can have way too much of a good thing.  You know, like Gwyneth Paltrow.

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Paco Rabanne Lady Million: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

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Lady Million by Paco Rabanne established itself in my consciousness on three occasions before I actually tried it.

1. During Richard E Grant’s wonderful TV series on Hotels he was lying on a huge bed interviewing a famous ex groupie. After she had listed her conquests, he said “You smell fabulous, what is it?” Yep. Lady Million

2. Sitting at a  table in a very beautiful pub in Oxford, the next table was full of drunk women (nothing wrong with that, I have been one myself!). One of them was being encouraged to take her purchase out and try it, she did indeed. The familiar gold bottle was taken out of its cellophaned box and sprayed liberally over all and sundry. Yes, it was Lady Million.

3. In Wilkinsons at Christmas, hovering over the perfumes. The Assistant offered me Lady Million ( I ended up buying Blue Grass). Her colleague came up and said “Oh I love that, give me a spray!” and went off to finish her shift.

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photo by waugsberg

So it’s popular all over the world, and has a price tag of around 42GBP  for a 50ml EDT . However, It was a while before I realised what was turning me off. More of which anon.

Thankfully, Lady Million is nothing like her brother, Paco Rabanne 1 Million For Men, which makes me run away, with watering eyes and a rasping chest. 1 Million for Men is vile, loud and abrasive. You can smell it from thirty foot away. Thankfully, I don’t go to nightclubs any more, so I usually escape the toxic cloud.

Lady Million is white flowers, with Lily of The Valley, Gardenia and Neroli out and proud and dominating. Sadly, the white flowers smell horribly synthetic to me, or maybe I have been spoiled by better scents now.

The other sticking point with me is the Honey note. It seems to make the essential freshness of the white flowers sticky and cloying.  There is a place for sweetness in a perfume- Givenchy Amarige is a recent example of how sweet can work without sweeties, but in Lady Million the Honey took away the white, clean notes of the Gardenia and replaced it with something that left the flowers rather droopy and flat. It’s like a sticky stain on perfect white cotton.

It smells much cheaper than it is, and I have smelled cheaper scents that smell better too.  In any case, in not buying a full bottle of this, I am not only saving myself around 42GBP, but also escaping the fact that I will smell like everybody else should I wear it.  I call that a lucky escape.

Synthetic, over sweet, and ubiquitous, I’ll pass.

PS Thank you to The Fragrance Shop for kindly supplying this and other samples.

Givenchy Amarige: Jasmine via Megaphone

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Twenty years ago, I bought my first bottle of Givenchy Amarige and didn’t bother using it sparingly. Loud, proud, and distinctive, Amarige is instantly recognisable.

It claims that “  It is so opulent and floral that it seems like its composition includes all the beautiful flowers that exist in the world.”

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Launched in 1991 by our old friend Dominique Ropion, I was 21 when I bought my first, second and third bottles. There followed a hiatus in my love affair with Amarige, possibly because I met and fell in love with another fragrance, the quieter, greener Chanel Cristalle, to whom I was faithful for many years.

Recently, on my holiday sojourn (or staycation since I stayed in the UK and holidayed on the coast), I found Amarige in a sale for only 22GBP and Oops I bought it. The memories came rushing back. However, the 21 year old me, is very different to the me of today (although naturally we look the same age *cough*).

And it is.

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With more notes than an opera, Amarige has everything you could imagine:  Neroli, Mimosa, Jasmine, Gardenia, Yellow Flowers, Oranges, Peaches (thankfully light), Roses, Tuberose, Carnation, Woods, Amber, Vanilla, Cedar, Violet…you name it, it’s in there.  In the wrong hands, this could be a generic mess, but Dominique Ropion has fiddled with the dials until everything is just at the right volume. My youthful self  was right on one point, it certainly does smell more expensive than it is. Luca Turin nearly gave it four stars, despite disliking it.  In fact, in Perfumes The Guide he states “ If you are reading this because it is your darling fragrance, please wear it at home exclusively, and tape the windows shut.”

He calls this a “soapy-green tobacco-tuberose”. I really don’t know where to categorize it on my dressing table (my bottles stand in groups).  Despite the valid criticisms of it, I can’t help liking it, and can’t stop sniffing my wrists today as it whooshes me back to the early Nineties.

Divisive ain’t the word. There is an Amarige review on Fragrantica that makes me chuckle every time, It is written by a man whose ex girlfriend practically marinated herself in it to the maximum degree, despite his pleas to stop.  Dear crazykoffee you did give me a laugh as well as giving us all a sobering lesson on how NOT to use perfume! It is a brilliantly expressed review  and is a good balance to my gushing.

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Amarige is a distinct classic, with Tuberose and Jasmine rooted in a deep and redolent base. The Yellow flower notes remind me a little of Chloe Narcisse, a fragrance only suitable for bees.  At the same time it’s playful and sweet, without being candy-sugary. It beds down into a floral woodiness, and lasts for ages, even as an EDT. I can’t help liking it, but I promise never to wear it over breakfast.

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Robert Piguet FRACAS (EDP): Remarkable simplicity.

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 Fracas has been around since 1948 and was relaunched in 1998. It has been popular since its conception by the great Germaine Cellier (who I love just for making my beloved Balmain Jolie Madame).

Famous fans are rumoured to include  Supermodel Iman, Madonna, the late Edie Sedgewick,  the late, great Isabella Blow, and Joanna “Lovely”Lumley to name but a few (I left out Ivana Trump).

Fracas has inspired other perfumes too: Madonna’s Truth or Dare is said to be a homage to Fracas since it was her late Mother’s favourite scent. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chloe Original is a massive Tuberose, and not at all dissimilar.

I have been wearing Fracas today and could not help but admire it. It’s longevity is excellent, bordering on the clingy, like a guest that just won’t leave, but that’s no bad thing in a perfume.

I was surprised to see on Fragrantica that as many as 25 notes were listed for Fracas. After the admittedly fruity citrus top note, which smells similar to freshly sprayed Joy by Jean Patou, I got only one note in the drydwon. Tuberose. In spades, and shovels and with bows on. Tuberose has that unmistakable floral creaminess, rich and cloying, almost to the point of smelling medicinal, in the ways that Lilies can. I am growing to like Tuberose rather than love it, even though it has my great respect already.

I remember some years ago buying a 30ml bottle of KL Chloe Original, and passing it on after about a month of not getting on with it all. What I thought at the time were overly sweet flowers, was in fact a huge Tuberose note, so if you like Fracas, you might want to try Chloe Original. It’s usually not much more than around 15GBP for 30ml these days. Madonna’s Truth or Dare is even less, and not bad at all: surprisingly traditional and ladylike for one whose crotch seems so familiar to me.

Whilst I understand that Tuberose is very beautiful and greatly esteemed, I think it’s going to be something I grow into. At the moment I am not enamoured, although I do quite like its clean soapiness. Fracas is impossibly feminine and beautiful, and even though I’m not in love with it, it has certainly held my interest all day and I can’t stop sniffing it. I wish more people would wear it. I can certainly handle it on them, if not myself.

Classic and sophisticated, wear with a light hand, but do try it.

PS I have included a link to The Celebrity Fragrance GuideA fascinating list of celebrities’ favourite perfumes. I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but I went into a trance whilst reading it- utterly compulsive and fascinating.

 

Versace Baby Rose Jeans: As Seen On My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

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My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding on the UK’s Channel 4 is compulsive viewing. If you live outside the UK, it’s a reality show following Traveller families as they get married, usually aged 16 and usually in a dress that weighs about three times what they do. They have a unique style all of their own: Over The Top doesn’t begin to cover it. They make Alexis Carrington look unkempt. The dresses often cost tens of thousands of pounds, and  on the episode I saw, the skirt alone contained 500 metres of Imagechiffon. That’s half a kilometre. I’m not sure I can even swim as far as that. With wedding dresses that are too big to get down the aisle, and so painful on the hips they have to strap nappies underneath, you can imagine what my most pressing question was:

What perfume goes with that dress?

So, with the help of my trusty Pause button last week, my question was answered. Versace Baby Rose Jeans was seen on more than one Traveller counterpane. I immediately ordered some samples.

Initially, this is positively chaste in its innocent girlishness. It opens with Violets, Hyacinths, Freesias, Lily of the Valley and Roses. What could be prettier and more innocent? However, the drydown allows the dominant Vanilla to creep in, and that’s where it all goes wrong. The Vanilla cheapens the light-as-air petals and converts what could be a pretty and light floral, into something akin to discount bin babywipes. Cloying, fuzzy and overly sweet, the flowers are wrapped in a big pink Vanilla blankie and made to smell like a 99p shop.

Shame though. The floral notes contain some of my favourites. Take the vanilla out (PLEASE!) and I would consider wearing this.  Sadly, it has been ruined by it. Next time I buy babywipes, I will buy unfragranced, just in case they remind me of Baby Rose Jeans.

NB All photos by Channel 4 the makers of this addictive programme.

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Thierry Mugler Alien: Like Fireworks- Wonderful But Loud

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 Like Angel,  Thierry Mugler Alien has its fans and critics, although it must be said that Alien is not quite as divisive as Angel (see my earlier review about the Marmite of Perfumes). As for Mugler’s other big hitter, Womanity, let’s just move on, shall we? (I’m still offended by that stinking shock.)

The Alien bottle is critically acclaimed, and quite right too. Its blank faceless angles with slightly hunched shoulders has a unique strangeness.  I was initially put off from testing Alien after deciding that Angel wasn’t for me. However, I was going through an Amber phase and was attracted to the notes, so decided to order a few samples from eBay.

I was pleasantly surprised. It’s rather Christmassy and rich, and reminded me a bit of Church and incense. The Amber is LOUD and sweet, like a deaf Aunt with no dress sense, but likable all the same.

The notes are few: just Amber, Woods and Jasmine. You can smell all three, although Mugler does like to turn the volume up. The Wood notes smell like church pews permeated by the waft of a passing thurible. The jasmine is at its dirtiest, and the Amber sweetens it all up and smacks its bum to finish it off. Its Woody richness may stem from the fact that this is said to be aged in oak casks, like brandy.

Many people are averse to this, and I can understand why. It is the kind of perfume I cannot wear in great measure.  Nor should anyone wear it in close quarters to another human or animal before 5pm. It’s just not fair. Even if you have a cold and can’t smell it, trust me, one squirt is enough and will last a long time. I’m only talking about the Eau de Toilette here. If you have the Alien Essence Absolue Parfum Intense, then please don’t leave your house for Health and Safety reasons. You will have people keeling over in your wake like a Pied Piper gone wrong.

Alien is like hearing a love poem shouted through a megaphone. Pretty, yes, but turn it DOWN.

There are flankers aplenty, but I still rate this as the original and best.

PS Due to not wearing my glasses once, I ended up calling this Aileen by mistake and its rather fondly become a nickname.  Thierry Mugler Aileen.
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Jean Patou Joy: Here Comes The Heavyweight

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So big and mighty and famous is Joy that I feel almost unqualified to review it. However, as you may know  by now, IScentYouADay is all about my response to a scent, and therefore, like the Gallery Visitor swooning at their first Titian, I am merely reporting as a member of ImageJosephine Public.  Although slightly more scent obsessive, it must be said.

Joy was created in the middle of the Great Depression and was the most expensive perfume in the world. Jean Patou was quite unapologetic about this fact.  You can imagine how it must have gone down in PR terms during post war austerity. That being said, he had the talent to back up his chutzpah.

Joy was indeed costly, not just financially, but environmentally.  One bottle of Joy would use up 336 Roses and 10,600 jasmine flowers. As you can imagine, IFRA have since changed all that.  Lucky old moi, I have in my hands a vintage EDP sample (thank you LW yet again). On smelling Joy, it’s easy to remember that it was created for a woman in the 1930s since this is not a modern smell, and yet, at the same time, it is a timeless classic.

from The Black Narcissus
from The Black Narcissus

First impressions count. I had a burst of Aldehyde, the blatancy of which I hadn’t smelled since Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass. It’s Aldehydes loudly before Peaches and Jasmine barge in. A little Tuberose makes things creamy, and I could have sworn some Lemon was in there, but it seems I am wrong. As the sharpness dies down, the Roses begin to dominate, but with subtlety. They are so perfectly blended with the other ingredients that you couldn’t quite call this a Rose perfume. Or a straight forward floral. Civet is listed, though I found no trace, and the base notes settle down into something that I prefer far and away above the opening notes.

VintageAdBrowser
VintageAdBrowser

Jasmine is loud, Roses are strong to the point of  medicinal,  and sandalwood makes it cosy. A little musk softens all edges into a baby soft floral with the now milder Aldehydes in the background to give it a prickle. It’s easy to see why this has stood the test of time whilst others have fallen. I found Joy  hard to break down into pieces and notes. What Henri Almeras has created is a mood, or a tone. Unabashedly feminine, perfume makers could learn a lot at the knee of Madame Joy. It’s complicated and changeable, but the end result and the final basenotes are simple.

I like Joy, and so do millions of others, making this the second best selling perfume of all time after the ubiquitous Chanel no 5. (which I suppose I’ll have to get round to reviewing at some point. Reluctantly). Incidentally, I have discovered that I love to say “Jean Patou” aloud. It almost sounds like an exclamation: “Jean Patou! That was delicious” or “Jean Patou, look at the rain!” Jean Patou! That’s some good perfume.

You can buy Jean Patou Joy from allbeauty.com or Escentual.

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Andy Tauer No 11: Carillon Pour Un Ange

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Created by Andy Tauer in homage to his favourite flower Lily of the Valley,  (allegedly one of the reasons why he became a perfumer), Carillon Pour Un Ange immediately took me back to my past.

I couldn’t figure it out, although as the day wore on, the penny dropped.  It never ceases to amaze me how perfume can take me back to a day or a moment in my past that I had thought I had forgotten. It’s like a time machine.

As I smelt the divine muguets in Carillon Pour Un Ange, I was taken back to a sunny day in my late grandmother’s garden. We were very close and I treasure every moment I had with her. Around the base of her rose garden was a carpet of Lily of The Valley. I asked her what it was and she told me, and invited me to pick some to smell. The result was heavenly and heady.  All the best smells can be found in nature and I had almost forgotten that warm day when we were just standing around in her garden on our own.

Cicley Mary Barker Flower Fairies
Cicley Mary Barker Flower Fairies

Lily of the Valley doesn’t just grow for anyone. It is said that it is either very hard to grow or very easy, if you have the magic touch. There is no middle ground. This pretty sprig of white buds against its green background always says Spring to me, and it never fails to stop me in my tracks. As Andy himself says of Carillon Pour Un Ange “it is a green choir of flowers”

The burst of flora in the initial notes is clean and pure and natural. It does not smell synthetic. The Lilacs come through too, and the overall impression is of a dewy moistness. This is almost thirst quenching. The Rose is present too, but does not dominate in the Turkish Delight sort of way that it so often does. This almost borderline spicy Lily of The Valley scent is addictive.

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But it doesn’t stop there. Just a moment ago I was looking around the room for a Vetiver or Oud type smell until I realised it was on my arm. And it was not Vetiver or Oud, but Ambergris and Wood.  The Lily of The valley is still there though, and despite the more masculine base notes, the scent retains it delicacy and fragility. I tell you, it’s seriously clever.

Although Tauer scents are regarded as niche, and thus price tags are not in the everyday category, I cannot help but think that  a Tauer is excellent value. Like the gorgeous L’Air Du Desert Marocain, lasting power is nearly twelve hours. A lot of far cheaper fragrances have nothing like this sort of longevity. He also sells sample sets, which are perfect if you cannot buy in person but don’t want to buy blind.

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Whilst I am a fierce advocate of not smashing your piggy bank to smell good, I would also say that if you were going to invest in a full bottle of anything, an Andy Tauer scent would outlast all contenders.

My grandmother has not been with us these last ten years, but  were she here today she would have adored this.  And I would have got it for her.

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