It may be Autumn, and the leaves may be on the turn, but my passion for fragrances with green notes stays with me all year round.
Bronnley Wild Green fits the bill for every season of the year and wearing it today brings a bit of nature into the stuffy central heated indoors like an invigorating open window.
Wild Green opens with bergamot, orange flower and patchouli. This green floral symphony gathers uplifting, spicy facets on its journey: namely aromatic cardoman and coriander (the spice not the leaf). It claims to have pink pepper, which makes me pull faces, but actually I could find no trace of it here. This is a clean, spicy green that fits perfectly with this transitional time of year. The green is an evergreen that never wavers, yet the spice suggests that cosier times are beckoning. There’s a touch of smoky incense, but just a touch, just enough to say bonfire night is over a month away.
Having said all that, there’s nothing to stop us wearing this all year round. Wild Green suits Spring and Summer and the spices really come into their own in Autumn and Winter.
Although this is aimed at women, it makes a brilliant unisex fragrance, and is definitely a firm favourite with me. I am quite devoted to my little purse sized rollerball.
Bronnley Wild Green is available from the Bronnley website or from Boots and online from allbeauty.com. My rollerball was kindly sent to me by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which this is. This is not a sponsored post.
Chanel Gabrielle is a major launch for Chanel, being its first mainstream non flanker launch for fifteen years (I’m not including Les Exclusifs in this).
It’s always hard when a brand as big as this tries to please the new crowd and the old crowd at the same time. Guerlain Mon Guerlain had a mixed response for example, with the youngsters liking the gourmand notes and the old crowd wearing a lot of black and looking mulish. Brands have it tough. They need new fans going forward but they have to keep the old guard on board too. An impossible task, I’d say, so I’m going to be gentle about this.
Watching the uplifting Gabrielle TV and cinema ad made me want to totally buy into this. Kristen Stewart is an unusual choice, but I can see why they picked her. Despite having been almost indelibly stamped with the Twilight franchise, she now bangs her own drum, cropping her hair short, taking the roles she feels like taking and eschewing the Hollywood clamour for glamour. In other words, she ignores what’s expected of her, just the same as Gabrielle Coco Chanel did. Let’s face it, successful businesswomen were hard to find in the 1930s, but that didn’t stop Chanel. Nothing did. #girlboss
So let’s talk about how Gabrielle smells.
The suggestion is that this is a golden scent, but I found it more of a white fragrance. The citrus notes it opens with seem to add little zaps of sharpness and freshness. I absolutely agree with descriptions that say that it sparkles when it first goes onto your skin. It seems to pop joyously like prosecco bubbles. It has a feel-good factor for sure.
In the main though, Gabrielle is all about the big white flowers. There’s tuberose, orange flower, jasmine and ylang. What struck me though, was how pristine and proper this smells. It made me think of formal flower arrangements in hotels. It made me think of pure white soap and clean laundry. It made me think of clean linen, ironed to a knife edge and stored with care in a sparkling clean house. I can’t explain to you why I thought of soap and cleanliness and posh bouquets. Maybe it’s because this lacks any gourmand touches or vanilla notes, giving it a traditional feel. Maybe because the absence of patchouli lets the flowers be themselves without segueing into anything else (Coco Mademoiselle, anyone?)
I’m going to stop the description there because on my skin, the flowers were the beginning, middle and end. After that, everyone went home. It was beautiful, but like all the best divas, it left me crying for more and quit whilst it was ahead.
So you can imagine that my main, and only, complaint about Gabrielle is that it didn’t stick around for me to get to know it better. I had to sniff very hard, right up against my skin, to get even the faintest whiff after an hour. This is the Eau de Parfum, so I was hoping for more. You may have different results.
My verdict? If those flowers can stick around I’m all over it. Chanel Cristalle and I were together for twenty years, but I don’t see a future for Gabrielle and me unless she can sort out her commitment issues.
You can buy Chanel Gabrielle from Boots or The Fragrance Shop to name but two. It is, or will be, widely available around the world.
It’s with reluctance that I put away my eau fraiche bottles and my sandals and my sunglasses. They didn’t get used much this “summer”, which I believe fell on a Tuesday here in Wales.
Being pale and slightly on the gingery side, I far prefer the cool weather to the hot, so I’m very comfortable in Autumn and the colours of the changing trees have me in raptures.
When it comes to choosing Autumn fragrance, I don’t just like to go for the warm spices, I like to go for the aldehydes, deep vanillas and the chypres too. I love the fact that the cold air brings out the best in some fragrances that might just be a bit much in the heat. In fact, I thought it was high time I did a list of the fragrances I like best in Autumn.
My list below is in no particular order because putting them in order of preference would be impossible. I would happily go through gallons of all ten of these and would find it impossible to choose a favourite.
4160 Tuesdays Eau My Soul
My most recent review and a real treat. This is the first ever truly democratic fragrance with each note being voted for by members of Facebook group Eau My Soul and used in accordance with its popularity. It does help of course if the person making it is genius perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. This is a sandalwood, incense-y, citrussy, floral delight. But don’t take my word for it. Order your Sample now.
Papillon Dryad is the creation of the uber talented Liz Moores and was born in the heart of New Forest among trees. It is THE mossy green chypre I have been searching for. You may think a scent as green as this belongs in spring, but trust me when I tell you chypres are sensational in cool weather. You can buy Papillon Dryad from here and read my review here.
Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir Russie
Le Jardin Retrouvé is a wonderful brand with a touching backstory. The perfumer Yuri Gutsatz sadly passed away in 2005, having created a collection of wonderful niche fragrances. His son Michel has revided the brand and carried the family torch into the Twenteens and thank goodness he did. Although I had smelled and enjoyed a sample of Cuir Russie, it wasn’t until I entered a room in which perfume writer Stephan Matthews was wearing it that I realised how many nuances this beautiful leather scent has. All the fragrances in the collection are excellent and the dreamy ethereal artwork by artist Clara Feder adds a unique whimsy and beauty. You can buy it from here and read my review of the whole collection here.
First by Van Cleef and Arpels
First is the nearest thing I have to a signature scent. It’s a long-lasting floral aldehyde created in 1977 that unfurls its notes in layerss as you wear it. I’m completely smitten and have nearly emptied my 60ml EDP bottle. Can’t live without this one. You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Firedance by Ruth Mastenbroek
You may recall my recent review of perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek’s fourth fragrance, Firedance. With big notes of rose, leather and oud, Firedance is a beautifully blended Damask rose scent that has incredible longevity and is perfect for Autumn. Wearing these feels both cosy and celebratory, like being wrapped in a warm blanket whilst fireworks go off. I love it. You can buy it from here.
Sarah Jessica Parker is the range I point people towards if they ever tell me they don’t “do” celebrity scents. With the enthusiasm of a true fume head, SJP knows her perfume like Carrie Bradshaw knew shoes. Stash is a unisex, woody, sandalwood, incense fragrance that is mature and audacious. You can buy it from Superdrug.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has this knack of creating modern perfume that make you think you have just prized the lid off an unopened chypre from 1920. How she gets them to smell vintage is beyond me, but she does it beautifully. Chinchilla evokes fur stoles, glamour, cigarette holders, and opera gloves. It is a superb example of a classic chypre. You can buy DSH fragrances from the website here and read my review of Chinchilla here.
Marina Barcenilla India
The multi-talented Marina Barcenilla is a gifted natural perfumer who has won not one, but two coveted Fragrance Foundation Awards (or Fifis). India has sandalwood and tuberose and roses all in one stunning Autumnal scent that radiates from skin and gives a good eleven hours longevity. I also have the rollerball skin oil, which also makes your skin smell incredible, as well as leaving it silky soft. You can buy MB Parfums from the website here and read my review of India here.
Tauerville Amber Flash
The delightful Andy Tauer has branched out into a wider reaching and more affordable range of fragrances under the umbrella name of the Tauerville Flash series. Not that his usual scents are overpriced- they’re worth every penny. I loved Amber Flash and reviewed it here. It is as it sounds, but so much more too. It gives off a cosy warmth and a heat that is just perfect in cold weather (and of course, unisex). You can buyTauerville scents here.
Aftelier Amber Tapestry
Somewhere in Berkeley California, Mandy Aftel mixes and measures until her natural fragrances are just right. Amber Tapestry is the perfect name for this. The fragrance opens with orange flower and gets warmer and more resinous as it unfurls its layers on your skin. Ending with a long lasting base of resinous, leathery vanilla, Amber Tapestry is just what I want to wrap myself in when its dark outside. You can buy Amber Tapestry from Aftelier.com and read my review here.
Over to you
How about you? What do you reach for in Autumn? ambers? vanilla? chypres? or something completely unexpected? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Over on Facebook (have you liked my page yet? Please do), there is a friendly perfume lovers group called Eau My Soul. The USP is that the group is welcoming, not critical of other’s choices and provides a warm atmosphere in which to discuss anything you like about fragrance.
The group is the brainchild of founderChristi Long, who wanted a forum that was a sanctuary from one upmanship and criticism of other’s choices. Some perfume groups can get quite heated and Eau My Soul is the gentle antidote.
Blog favourite and friend Sarah McCartney is a member and being a perfumer, it was just too irresistible to make a scent for the group and Eau My Soul the eau de parfum is the result.
Now, I feel as if I participated in this scent personally, because members were given a poll of ingredients that they would like to see in a perfume that represented the group. Sandalwood was heavily in the lead, and thus sandalwood features heavily. I love a sandalwood fragrance and was one of the voters, so to receive a sample of a fragrance I feel I had a small part in was a really unique and wonderful experience. Every member had a vote and there were many votes for different ingredients, all of which were included. A truly democratic fragrance!
So how does it smell?
Eau My Soul, like the group itself, is made up of many components which all play a valuable part.
It opens pleasingly with citrus, like a palate cleansing appetiser before the sensational main course.
The main player is sandalwood, but with smoky hints of cognac, incense and frankincense, it doesn’t stand alone. The flowers are the big strong ones: jasmine, iris, rose. There’s vanilla too, but when merged with leathery labdanum and tonka, it makes for a warm buttery background rather than the cakey vibe it brings in less carefully constructed mainstream fragrances (now, that’s tact!).
What I love about this is the smoky woodiness of it. It has resins but never gets too resinous- sometimes resins can come across as harsh and tarry to me, but here, all is gently blended. The citrus keeps it from getting too dense, whilst the floral notes break through to give this a floral tang that I am so addicted to I’ll need rehab.
In the base, as if this were made just for me, there is my favourite note: oakmoss. It rounds this off with a flourish, adding its earthiness to the smokiness and floweriness. It’s pure heaven.
Overall, I don’t think it would be going too far to say that this is, in my opinion, Sarah McCartney’s best work (and that’s saying something). It’s full bottle territory for sure, and having written 875 perfume blog posts, I don’t say that lightly.
You may be unsurprised to learn that this has sold out, but will be back in October from the 4160 Tuesdays website. This is good news because I’ll need to let Santa know. My sample was won in a Eau My Soul giveaway, so basically, I can say anything I like about it. And I have. You can join Eau My Soul on Facebook. We are friendly, kind, not snobby and we don’t judge. Thank you to Christi Long who runs the group like a good fairy.
Avon Femme Exclusive is one of three fragrances in the Avon Femme range. I’ve already reviewed Avon Femme and Avon Femme Icon, so here’s my review of Avon Femme Exclusive.
Avon Femme Exclusive opens with pear. I also detected some plum as well: this is deeply, darkly fruity. . The jasmine in the middle comes out at pretty much the same time as the pear and makes for a pear jasmine combo that, whilst not particularly original, certainly runs with the pack and is bezzie mates with the popular set. To be honest, the pear dominates so all the others notes tend to fall into the background, except for vanilla. It says here that there is black vanilla in this, but that’s sort of corporate speak for extra strong evening style vanilla. In fact the vanilla is not my favourite boozy liquor vanilla, it’s more of a milky vanilla, and alongside the pear, I couldn’t help thinking of pear, pastry and custard. There’s just enough jasmine to stop me thinking this is pudding flavour.
All in all, this will do the job nicely and is priced affordably. It does smell very similar to Avon Luck (all the vanilla), so if you like that, you’ll like this. It’s not my favourite, but there’s certainly a fan base out there for this bargain.
Avon Femme Exclusive is available from Avon UK or from your Avon rep if you are lucky enough to have one. My little purse spray was just £3, and it’s a great way of living with a scent for a bit before deciding to get a big bottle. Viva purse sprays!
Lancôme La Vie est Belle needs no introduction. Since its launch in 2013, its success has gone orbital, leaving trails of imitators quivering in its wake. Its army of flankers shows no sign of slowing the pace either. Until now, they have all escaped my radar, but the one I tried today stopped me in my tracks. Yes, I nearly walked past it, thinking “Really Lancôme? Another one?” but once I sprayed the gorgeous bottle, this grumpy cynic was silenced.
Let’s start with the irresistibly touchy feely faceted glass bottle. It’s impossible not to run your fingers over it. It’s a delight to fiddle about with and it looks good too. Apart from that, the display in Boots looked the same as the usual LVEB displays. But what’s this? I thought at first spray. This is pretty good.
LVEB L’Eclat immediately reminded me of something I’d smelled before and I couldn’t put my finger on it until about twenty minutes later. It was then that I realised that it reminded me of Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial. Indeed, it has more in common with Parfum Initial than it does with La Vie est Belle.
The opening note is bergamot which immediately clings to the pretty orange blossom and “white flowers.” Fragrantica doesn’t elaborate but I’m calling jasmine. I couldn’t pick out any tuberose, but the orange blossom is definitely in there.
Now, around this point, I was waiting for the heavy praline fountain to drown out the pretty notes like a Nutella Tsunami. Although this is what I like least about the original LVEB, it seems to be the bit that many fans like best. However, the praline never came. Instead, I was rewarded with a base of rather delicate sandalwood and a silky flourish of buttery vanilla. There’s no praline. There’s no patchouli. There’s just citrus, white flowers, and subtle vanilla.
The vanilla, it must be said, is delicious. It has heart and warmth with none of the vibe of an overfull bowl of sickly frosting that it can sometimes have. It ends on vanilla and stays with vanilla, which does make it more gourmand than floral, but La Vie est Belle L’Éclat has restraint. I probably wouldn’t buy a full bottle, but it’s the LVEB flanker that I thus far like best. Bravo and 10/10 for the divine bottle.
In the past, Bronnley has had a reputation as being a classic floral brand that “older” ladies liked. Personally, I’ve always loved classic florals and soaps in wrappers so it’s never stopped me. However, the upcoming bright young things of the Twenteens are a capricious bunch with more choices than any other generation that has ever lived. Brands have to move with the times.
Bronnley has not only moved with the times but added a bit of an edge that is putting them firmly on my list of favourites. Their collection of Eclectic Elements fragrances is packaged for a new generation, but pleases this 47 year old no end.
Today I am wearing Bronnley Eclectic Elements Zealous Flower and I love it. Why do I love it? Well, that’s easy.
It comes in an adorable roll on bottle. (more about roller balls soon because I’m obsessed).
It’s available in a 9ml version so you can live with it for a good few weeks before buying a big one.
It’s inexpensive but doesn’t smell like it is.
Here’s what it smells like:
It opens with pear, orange and bergamot. Now pear has been used A LOT in the past two years, to the point where I pull non-selfie faces when I smell it.
However, in Zealous Flower, it’s the flowers that come out first, not the fruit. In fact the fruit adds clean edges to the roses and jasmine, which are BIG. Even the pear knows its place and doesn’t take over.
It must be said that there was briefly a pencil shavings phase which came and went, before the vetiver and amber rounded things off. They never quite see off the jasmine though, which remains the main player here. In fact, at first, I thought this had tuberose in it, such is the white flower richness.
Zealous Flower leaves me with a pleasing autumnal floral on my skin. What I’m left with is a very agreeable accord of vetiver, jasmine, hints of leathery labdanum flower, and some faded roses.
Now, about that adorable roller ball. This has a little metal rollerball that applies just the right amount to skin and stops you going overboard before a day at work. The rollerball version comes in an attractive narrow box in 9ml size and is a good compromise between a big bottle blind buy and having to judge it on a few sprays from a tester. I want more brands to do this.
Zealous Flower is or has also been known as Savage Flower, but I prefer Zealous to Savage.
You can buy the Bronnley Eclectic Elements range from Boots in store or online. The rollerballs cost £10 and contain 9ml of scent. You can also buy this cute set of whole range minis for £20 from the Bronnley website. My rollerball bottle was kindly provided by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which mine is. This is not a sponsored post. Follow
Today, when out and about and at large, I tried Gucci Bloom. Reader, I may well be back on speaking terms with Gucci again. You may recall that we’ve been to marriage counselling because I couldn’t forgive them for ending my beloved Gucci Envy, but our Italian friends may be creeping back onto my Christmas Card list after this little treasure.
I do love a good blast of tuberose. The bigger the better, as far as I’m concerned, so Gucci Bloom was right up my street. I had no expectations and I had read no reviews. I’m going through a bit of floral phase lately so thought I’d give myself a good soaking with the tester en passant..
My first impression was that I had stumbled across a cheaper version of my beloved Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad, which I fell in love with in London last July. Both fragrances are rich, thick, creamy tuberose with that green soapiness that I adore. Both scents dance around the periphery of celery territory- which tuberose can sometimes topple into, but both hold back and keep their waxen petals and lily like stalks intact.
Funnily enough, the nose behind Gucci Bloom is Alberto Morillas, who incidentally also made the flanker By Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad Extreme . He certainly knows how to handle his tuberose.
Alongside my beloved there is also jasmine sambac, which has had short shrift from me lately having been every-bleedin-where , but which nestles in snugly among its own kind in this white flower fest. Really, jasmine sambac is so much nicer when not paired with pears, patch and vanilla. It has featured far too often in this year’s Eau de Generic.
Also present in Gucci Bloom is orris root and honeysuckle. I didn’t think there was orris root in it at all until I noticed that everyone I walked past today smelled vaguely of iris and I realised it must be me, my coat, my wrist, my neck and I. The honeysuckle is pretty and light and made me think of butterflies. It feels like exactly the right note to use alongside all this ladylike headiness.
All in all, I adored Gucci Bloom and want to pour a bottle over my head so I smell of it forever. I still miss Gucci Envy, but this is a pretty decent apology.
Over to you
How about you? Have you tried Gucci Bloom? Do you like tuberose as a note in fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
You can buy Gucci Bloom from The Fragrance Shop, Harrods or Escentual.
Before we start, I just want to say how much I love Jean Paul Gaultier. I love the twinkle in his eye and how he has never taken himself too seriously. He has fun with fashion and is never afraid to put it out there.
When Scandal came along, I thought “this should be good”. After all, this was the designer who made a perfume bottle snow shaker for us to play with and who gave Madonna rocket boobs. I still love him from his Eurotrash days with Antoine de Caunes. It was the perfect 1990s post pub TV show, and best accompanied by a bowl of Supernoodles and some Alka Seltzer.
Ok, I’ll shut up now and tell you what the fragrance is like, shall I? The notes are blood orange, honey, gardenia and patchouli. The blood orange came and went. I barely noticed the gardenia. In fact, the first half hour was a JPG Classique moment for me. There were accent s of it poking through: that unmistakable nail polish/face powder combination that’s so original and almost exaggeratedly ladylike. That phase didn’t last long enough for my liking, and was shortly replaced with some kind of syrupy vanilla sundae with synthetic and unremarkable patchouli. So far, so what.
However, then a great big dollop of honey comes along and plonks itself in the middle. Now to me, honey is a kind of sexy smell. It smells like dried spit, which can either mean your pillow needs washing or you’ve just had a massive snog. I like it in small doses, preferring the massive snog to the dirty pillow. In Scandal, it was a redeeming feature.
Unfortunately, the overall lasting effect of Scandal is that of a Lancôme La Vie est Belle flanker. I couldn’t tell you which one because there are eleventy billion of them, but if I had smelled this blind, I would have hazarded a guess that this was La Vie est Belle Honey Summer Blah Blah or whatever it might be called.
There has been a popular generic confectionary/patchouli accord hanging around since 2013 when LVEB launched. It has infiltrated way too many fragrances for my taste, although sales figures disagree with me. On the other hand, if that’s what’s selling and if consumers are voting with their perfume dollar, then it would be foolish not to capitalise on it. I’ll just have to sit a few launches out until my stuff comes along. That will happen when green mossy chypres and seventies aldehydes make a come back on the High Street. Oh well. I’m in for a long wait.
By the way, the bottle reminds me of a much earlier fragrance by Revlon called Head Over Heels. It doesn’t make the bottle any less fun, but neither did it make this curmudgeon gasp at the originality of it.
Meanwhile, enjoy the still-fabulous-anyway bottle that has the typical wink of JPG humour about it. It makes me think of someone falling backwards into a taxi at 3 am. Ah! How I mourn my lost youth.
The thing I love about discovery boxes is that they put brands under your nose that would otherwise have been off your radar. This was the story with Parfums de Marly Delina- a brand and a scent I had never even heard of. I found this sample in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box.
Parfums de Marly was established in France in 2009 and Delina is its most recent launch. There is a group of noses (can we please think of a word to describe a group of noses?) who work together and alone on the fragrance collection. Delina was created by Quentin Bisch. The brand name comes from the Louis XVI era of extravagance and luxury that ended with revolution. Louis dedicated the Chateau de Marly to his beloved horses and celebrated each race victory with new fragrances. Louis had his own court perfumer in Jean Fargeon so all this scented extravagance makes for a fertile place for inspiration.
Delina opens with bergamot, rhubarb, lychee (or litchi). Middle notes are Turkish rose, lily of the valley and peony. Base notes are vanilla, musk and cashmeran.
On paper, this looks like it would make for an overly fruity opening, but in fact the rose and the rhubarb kind of burst out at the same time. I love how well these two go together. The rose gets jammy but never sticky and the rhubarb adds a thick richness to the roses. The musk pitches in fairly early on and softens all the edges, making this in my mind at least, a thick velvety deep rose blanket with delicate fruity nuances darting around delicately.
The base contains cashmeran, which according to Fragrantica (because I’d never heard of it) has a wet concrete facet, and funnily enough, I could detect this in the background. Rather than being a disaster, it adds a pleasant dampness to proceedings, like wet stone. Thankfully the vanilla was either part of the rhubarb note or was playing quietly in the distance. It didn’t overtake. This one is all about rose and rhubarb together. They go so well I’m amazed more people aren’t doing it.
I’m delighted to see that rhubarb does seem to be enjoying a renaissance lately, however. It features in Thierry Mugler Aura and also in Aedes de Venustas eau de parfum (the first one). I also found it in Jour D’Hermes but I’m not sure whether it was supposed to be in there. If I had to isolate a rhubarb note I would describe it as juicy, green, sharp like a gooseberry and sweet like deep red apples. It has a wintery feel that soaks up spices particularly well. Now I’m thinking about rhubarb crumble. Oh boy.
Parfums de Marly Delina is very long lasting. Two sprays on each arm from my sample kept me going all day with delightful rosy, rhubarb wafts. It doesn’t come cheap, but when I look at the beautiful moulded pale powder pink bottle I ache to own it. #greed