Category Archives: White flowers

Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue: My Lofty Classic

5th

 

Elizabeth Arden fragrances,although  very reasonably priced, can be hit and miss:

Hits: Fifth Avenue, Untold, Green Tea and all its flankers, Sunflowers Summer Bloom, Blue Grass

Misses: Sunflowers, Red Door, Mediterranean, Splendor, True Love.

My lists are of course purely subjective, but I would add a great big thumbs up to Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue, which I am reviewing today. It deserves a place right at the helm of the Hit list. Fifth Avenue was created in 1996 by legendary nose Ann Gottlieb  and to me, it has stood the test of time where others have fallen.  With it’s light feminine florals and its warm amber base, I would go as far as to say it has a lot in common with Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps.

lazada.com.ph
lazada.com.ph

I mistakenly thought that Fifth Avenue was all about freesia, but in fact I find there is no freesia in it.  Instead, it is chock full of the most classic florals, namely rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, violet, iris, tuberose, lilac and carnation. If flowers had their own version of Who’s Who , all these would be in it. Rather than being cloying though, this floribunda of an accord is lightened with citruses in the opening gambit, bedding down to a floral base with hints of white musk and amber.  Unlike several other Elizabeth Arden scents, lasting power is pretty good.  I thought I’d lost it after an hour or two, but it wafted back to me in the evening when I let my hair down (in the literal sense, I didn’t go and party when the kids were in bed).

I like Fifth Avenue so much that I have a 125ml bottle on my dressing table and its sky scraper style bottle dwarfs my collection with its lofty glass column and its gold lid. I call this a classic, and I call it great value too.  It’s a pretty safe bet as a gift too- it’s sure to please anyone who likes floral scents without killing bystanders ( Hey, Angel, I’m talking to you!)

Stockists

Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue is currently available for a bargain price  at allbeauty.com and is widely available on your High Street or on Amazon UK.

Duty Free Shopping: It’s Just a Showroom To Me

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www.frontiermagazine.co.uk

I have just got back from a sensational holiday in California where I was visiting my wonderful family over there. I enjoyed heat, outdoor swimming, fantastic food ( the USA has the best food ever!), and saw wild turkeys, sea otters, dolphins, pelicans, hummingbirds and sea lions.  It was idyllic and I cannot thank my wonderful relatives enough ( although Interflora will shortly be helping me out).

aqua12

 

Naturally, whilst I was en route there and back, I made a beeline for World Duty Free (Heathrow Terminal Two) and made several conclusions:

  1. Nowhere will you find cuter mini sets of virtually every brand in cute boxes and cute bottles.
  2. Nowhere will you find bigger price hikes. Even Harrods is cheaper.

So what did I do at Duty Free?  I used it like a showroom and enjoyed testing the wide range of scents that I have not been able to try before.

 

Notably, one scent that stood out was Chanel No 19 Poudre, which I adored immediately ( I didn’t even dare look at the price), and several Guerlain Aqua Allegorias, which, in San Francisco International Airport, retailed at $75 (or £48.87).  In UK shops you can buy these from around £41.50 ( try Boots), or online at Amazon for just £31.12. In San Francisco Duty Free, I saw Elizabeth Arden Green Tea flankers, (which can be widely had for under £12 in the UK High Street),  retailing at $35, or £22.81.

gtlotus

There has recently been controversy over the fact that supposedly VAT free retailers in airports have not been  passing on the discounts to customers.  So the retailers are getting away without paying VAT, but still marking up the prices and fooling customers that they are getting a bargain.

Now I’m a realist and I don’t expect airports to be cheaper than High Streets, but a 100% mark up with no VAT taken off is really taking the biscuit.

What’s the one advantage of buying at Duty Free? My husband doesn’t know the above and thinks it’s traditional for me to pick up a bottle on holiday. The voice of my conscience was too loud, however, and I left the beautifully lit, fully stocked perfume outlets empty handed, but smelling great. For free.

Stockists

You can buy Chanel No 19 Poudre from Boots for around £68, Elizabeth Arden flankers for under ten quid on allbeauty.com, and Guerlain Aqua Allegorias for around £31 on Amazon UK.

With love from Santa Cruz
With love from Santa Cruz

Jean Patou: Joy Forever

Jean Patou
Jean Patou

 

Sometimes when a classic gets a flanker, I feel apprehensive. Let’s face it, sometimes flankers are bad news. There are of course, marvellous exceptions such as Chanel No 5 Eau Premier and Chanel Cristalle Eau Vert, but on the other hand you have the 27 odd flankers to Givenchy Irresistible which frankly, puts me right off the original. Let’s not even speak of the new incarnation of Miss Dior- once a mossy chypre, now a strawberry floral.

I can assure you dear reader, that you may have no such fears from Joy Forever. As so many scents modernise their classic nuances for the modern and youthful palate (often excluding we over 40s!), Joy Forever manages to be contemporary without selling out. Phew!

So what’s it like? It opens with a flourish of citrussy bergamot and fresh, dewy petals. For about ten minutes the marigold comes out in all its yellow flower, peppery glory and there is a definite resemblance to Chloe Narcisse. Panic not though if you’re not a fan, because when that phase segues into the middle note, you have a full blown, soapy, heady bunch of white flowers. Jasmine is particularly dominant, as is orange flower, and there is an almost, but not quite aldehydic soapiness with an outline of freshening citrus around the edges.

It all blends down seamlessly into a prickly, white musky finish full of sandalwood and patchouli.

joy forever

Joy Forever is almost asking to be a bridal perfume with a name like that, but would be suitable for anyone all year round. It is beautiful quality at a reasonable price. I am seriously tempted to buy a bottle, even though I feel that slight sense of shame when I look at my groaning dressing table. Joy Forever is impossibly feminine and as lovely as sticking your face in a big bouquet of fresh florists flowers.

Stockists

Joy Forever is widely available: try  Selfridges , Amazon UK, allbeauty (one of the cheapest), John Lewis or Harrods. In the US you can buy it from Neiman Marcus

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Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto

manifesto

Yves Saint Laurent Manifesto is not to be confused with the magnificent Manifesto by Isabella Rossellini, of which I’m a big fan

I knew nothing about YSL Manifesto before trying it today so had no preconceptions.  I generally like most if not all YSL fragrances though, so I had high hopes.  High hopes that were dashed.

I know all too well that they don’t make all mainstream perfume just for me:  if I don’t like a scent that doesn’t make it bad, but this lemon meringue pie of a scent was all wrong for me.

Despite containing lily of the valley, jasmine, bergamot, blackcurrant, vanilla and Tonka bean, all I could smell was vanilla and creamy lemon pie, with maybe a blackcurrant coulis- a mere trail a la nouvelle cuisine.  This smells so much like dessert that I simply don’t want it on my skin.  Years of mopping up after messy sons have put me off smelling of food so I’m not really a gourmand fan.  I have mellowed recently and  lost many of my perfume prejudices by keeping an open mind, but smelling of lemon syllabub is a step too far for me.  Oddly enough there are no lemons in this at all, but then again, I couldn’t find any lily of the valley or jasmine either: they were supposed to have turned up but ended up being a no-show.

My overall impression is that Manifesto doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.   It’s not quite a gourmand, not quite a fruity floral, not a chypre, not a floral.  It’s just a sort of a mash up.

Of the two Manifestos, I’ll be voting Rossellini.

 Stockists

YSL Manifesto is widely available .  You will find it in Boots, Amazon UK, House of Fraser and Debenhams to name but a few.   Overseas you can try Sephora or Amazon.com

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Yardley Contemporary Classics: English Rose

www.superdrug.com
www.superdrug.com

 

Yardley is one of those classic, trusty brands where you can be assured of quality.  It’s a refreshing change to find a range of fragrance that isn’t constantly trying to reinvent the wheel.  As trends come and go, fans of classics can often find themselves left out, but we can always fall on back on Yardley to provide us with the traditional, simple scents that every fragrance wardrobe needs.

Yardley English Rose is a simple rose  done very well.  It goes on at first spray smelling like delicate rose breath sweets, which at first made me think of Parma violets, but this is purely rose from start to finish.   Despite being an Eau de Toilette, it is light enough to feel like a refreshing eau de cologne, but the lovely light airiness sticks around much longer than it would for a cologne.

On Fragrantica, there are several notes listed:

Rose and Geranium are in the top notes, white flowers are in the middle and the finish consists of spice, musk and woods.  To me, that hint of geranium provides the spice, although the rose is dominant throughout.   The finish is a beautiful clean musk that had me sniffing my arm and wondering when I’d sprayed white musk on that day. Coupled with the roses, it makes a beautifully feminine accord.

This beautiful rose is ideal for layering with musks or even a heavy oriental- it could lighten it up for daytime wear.  Yardley English Rose works best for me in summer though, wearing florals and smelling like them too.

This is unbeatable value at around £10 for 50ml, and sometimes the 125ml bottle is around that price too, if you shop around.

Stockists

Yardley Contemporary Classic English Rose is widely available from Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, Amazon UK, Boots and many other stockists throughout the UK.

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Chloe Love Story

lovestory

 

Chloe Love Story comes in the trademark Chloe Bottle, but has been tweaked a little to look like one of the many padlocks attached to the bridges of Paris right now (It’s a romantic gesture a bit like carving a love heart into a tree) and was launched in September 2014.

When I first tried it I thought “peony” because there is something rose like but lighter in the opening notes.  After a few minutes however, I found myself feeling drenched in the orange flower in all its forms: orange blossom, orange flower and neroli.  Add to that some African Jasmine (aka stephanotis) and you have a bouquet of almost bridal white flowers, with none of the cloying creaminess that tuberose often adds at this point. There is a definite greenery and foliage too, just to enhance the bouquet imagery.  This is as green as it is clean.

 

www.olisa.tv
www.olisa.tv

The neroli and jasmine reminded me of a much missed and now discontinued Body Shop Jasmine and Neroli, but is more “laundry fresh” .  The neroli is so prominent that it is almost borderline coconutty, but stops just short of that.

 

The Body Shop
The Body Shop

The base dries down into a soapy, just-stepped-out-of –the –shower accord that seems to contain a wisp of baby powder too.  It would be perfect for a wedding, but I didn’t find it particularly unique.  In fact, it also reminded me of my recent review of Versace Eros Pour Femme and also of Givenchy Dahlia Divin.  That soapy white flower accord won’t be falling out of favour any time soon by the look of it, and after what feel like decades of mainstream perfumes containing cheap vanilla and caramel, I’m not going to complain.

 

Fragrantica
Fragrantica

Stockists:

Chloe Love Story is widely available and can be bought from Sephora, Debenhams, Boots and allbeauty.com. prices start at around £40 for 30ml. My sample is from The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box.

Jimmy Choo Blossom

blossom

 

A while back I reviewed Loewe Quizas Quizas Quizas and labelled my review “Death By Red Berries”.  Lately however, I have learned not to discount an ingredient due to previous disappointment, so I gave Jimmy Choo Blossom a fair hearing (or sniffing to be exact).

Sadly, it did indeed open with red berries and very little else to my nose.  It reminded me of the kind of bubble bath bubbles my two sons, aged five and eight have a penchant for.  Imagine if there were a very inexpensive bubble bath called “Cherry Bubble Gum Strawberry” or some such. You now have in your head my precise interpretation of the sickly, fruity, vinyl opening notes of Jimmy Choo Blossom.  But! (and there’s a big but!)  Hold the front page!  I have more to say.

I wore this today when I took my sons to the park.  I could feel the sun’s rays on my arm making my skin hot and I decided to have a sniff of the Jimmy Choo Blossom I had applied an hour or so before coming out.  It was starting to change.  It was still synthetic, but the berries were dying down and something interesting was happening that I couldn’t put my finger on.  A few hours later we were back at home and I sniffed again.  The basenotes are lovely.  A combo of sandalwood and musk makes for a very feminine and less bubblegum finishing touch that I would happily wear and buy.  The red berries are like a trace of faint soap from the morning, but the sandalwood and musk are much more palatable.

After a three hour wait for something nice, this is a bit like having to sit through a pantomime to get to the Chekhov, so I won’t be buying a ticket to this romp anytime soon.

Stockists

This is sold widely: You can try Amazon UK, Boots, John Lewis or Sephora.com.  Prices are around £32 for 40ml. My sample is from the wonderful Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box, which is all about the flowers.

The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box

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Excuse me a minute whilst I gush like a fan.  The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my new guilty pleasure.  In fact, I don’t even feel guilty.  They are my new obsession and The Perfume Society haven’t asked me to say so.  I am besotted.

shadersYears ago, when I was a slip of a girl (many, many years ago) my late grandmother gave me a wonderful Christmas gift.  She had decorated a little basket with some fabric remnants, making a frilled lining, and filled it with beauty bits and bobbins.  In it were bath cubes, setting lotion, a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them?) bath pearls and various other mini delights.  It was such a cornucopia that I eked it out for a long time and have never forgotten what a treat it was to receive.  I’ve had nothing like it since, but the old feelings came rushing back when I received my first Perfume Society Discovery Box a few months back.  I’m now on my fourth and the thrill has not dissipated.

There is always a book of sniffing strips, postcards with notes about each perfume and discussion prompts in case you want to get a perfume club going ( and I do), and then last but not least, there is a selection of seven or eight perfume samples, often hard to get, and usually an “extra”, which in the past has consisted of Liz Earle skincare, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream,  and L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream.

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This month I have the Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box and it contains: a quad of Yardley floral EDTs,  Miller Harris Couer de Jardin, Fragonard Jasmine, Jimmy Choo Blossom, La Perla Peony Blossom, Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa, Agonist Isis, Chloe Love Story , Philosophy Amazing Grace and Elemis British Botanical Shower Cream.

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I can sit there sniffing away of an evening with the TV on, blissfully trying stuff out for my blog and feeling very much in my element.  It also means my sample selection has expanded in a way that makes my eyes light up like a miser in a goldmine.

So this isn’t a review of a perfume, but if you like perfume, these Discovery Boxes will save you a traipse round a  High Street smelling of so many perfumes you can’t remember the name of the one you liked.  Or they might fill a very pleasant evening of wrist sniffing whilst watching old reruns of House MD on Netflix with a  cup of tea.  Like what I do. Bliss.

Stockists

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the Perfume Society website for £15, although subscribers get first dibs and a discount.

 

L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons

la chasse

With such a whimsical name, it was easy to be attracted to this scent like a butterfly to a buttercup.  With a seemingly mixed bag of reviews from the gushing to the nonplussed, I have to sadly align myself with the latter camp.

La Chasse aux Papillons opens with a whisper and then gets dirty, like twigs.  There is a hint of dried up buds, and an indolic background of jasmine.  Tuberose is alleged to be the dominant mistress here, but I could not smell any.  There is definitely Lime Blossom, but again, a dryness, like a flaky leaf, emerged on my skin.  Maybe Tauer’s Zeta spoiled me for other lime blossom scents.  There is freshness to this of sorts, and it certainly suits the spring season, but I was not enamoured of the white flowers with a hint of mud and dried leaves, nor of its light sillage and poor longevity.  I found it to smell almost medicinal or clinical, but that could be my brain getting confused because jasmine is often  used in commercial air freshener and soap.  Jasmine has many facets, and I didn’t care for this one.

Pinterest
Pinterest

Pity though, because I liked Premier Figuer and Timbuktu too and have a whole tin of L’Artisan samples to plough through yet.  But in the world of fragrance I would lack discernment if I loved everything a brand made, wouldn’t I?

I still love you L’Artisan Parfumeur, but I’ll leave this one to its fans.

Stockists

You can buy L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons on Amazon UK, Amazon.com and of course from www.lartisanparfumeur.com.  I have the sample tin, which is a great way to try before you buy, and you can buy it here.

sample tin

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Versace Eros Pour Femme

fragrantica

fragrantica

I had a sample of Versace Eros Pour Femme in the most recent Discovery Club Box from the Fragrance Shop.  This might be a good time to confess here that I am shamefully unfamiliar with a lot of Versace scent, having only actually reviewed two or three.  Something about the brand leaves me feeling like I can’t identify with anything they have to offer.  No offence Versace, we’re just from different worlds.  However, I rather liked Eros, but enough to buy a bottle?  We shall see.

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

Versace Eros Pour Femme opens with citrus and pomegranate,  both of which were very much present and correct.  The opening is sharp and refreshing,  and the pomegranate provides a little juiciness.  Then straight away, we’re heading into Jasmine Sambac territory.  Now Jasmine Sambac seems to be this year’s caramel.  Last year caramel and praline notes seemed to be everywhere, and this year I have noticed Jasmine Sambac, (sometimes called Arabian Jasmine) has been providing lots of rich white floral notes to  lots of mainstream new releases.

versace eros

Jasmine Sambac is that white flower note with a seam of not-quite-spice going through it- an almost metallic, borderline oriental richness that  screams floral , but not the light petally delicate floral, more the rich gilt chaise for the delicate Laura Ashley cushion.  It seems fitting then that it used here in a Versace scent- so renowned for the dripping luxe that is synonymous with the brand.

The Jasmine Sambac very much dominates and drowns out the initial lightness of the citrus, though if I’m not mistaken there is a faint note of lemon curd if I close my eyes and concentrate.

This is described on the sample card as belonging to the olfactive family of “floral, woody, musk” and I would say that’s a fair description.  The basenotes meld into a  sandalwoody, musky, jasmine miasma.  This is not quite a daytime summer scent, but would be at its best on hot oily skin after a day at the beach.

The bottle and packaging is suitably luxurious as you would expect, but I baulk a little at the high price tag.  I think you can get similar for less, but I’m blowed if I can think of any names right now.  This is a bit like a Marc Jacobs without the lightness maybe?  Or maybe its reminding me of Givenchy Dahlia Divin.

Conclusion:  Yes, I don’t dislike it, but no I wouldn’t buy a bottle

Stockists

Almost ubiquitous, you can buy Versace Eros Pour Femme from Debenhams, Escentual, The Fragrance Shop, Harrods, and Boots to name but a few.  If you’re outside the UK, you could try  all the big department stores and Amazon.com or Sephora.com

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The Candy Perfume Boy, once again, writes a review with which I wholeheartedly agree. I deliberately don’t read the reviews of others until after I have written my own, and I found afterwards that Thomas and I both found this rather lacking.  Sadface.