Tag Archives: aldehydes

Bewitched by Lancome Magie Noire

magie noireOh Magie Noire, how do I even begin to describe you? You have bewitched me.

Lancome Magie Noire was created in 1978 by genius Nose Gerard Goupy, who also created the equally superb Lancome Climat  (which is a devil to get hold of these days. I only have a dim Duty Free memory of it, but I loved it).

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Magie Noire opens as a mossy chypre. It’s loud, floral and powdery at first.  I got tuberose, hyacinth and lily of the valley, with the volume turned up. That’s OK, I like them loud. Unusually, the oakmoss base comes through straight away. No waiting.

This is wonderfully earthy and green, and those flowers ( an entire garden full) just jostle for attention. There’s spice too, but nothing savoury- think incense and mysterious spice markets. You’ll find myrrh, vetiver, patchouli in spades, warm amber… There’s no fixed start, middle and finish for this. Apparently it was designed to unfurl like a figure of eight, but that feels to complicated even for my eager nose. I just love how it develops as my skin warms it.

Two hours after slathering it on at the beauty counter, it has settled into one of the best florals I have ever tried. The spices are around the edges warming it up and anchoring it down. The oakmoss is giving me that chypre fix that I always seek and the galbanum and bergamot are giving me my hit of “green”. It’s everything I want in a fragrance, all in one.

Lancome have brought this back in a modern formulation, which is the one I tried today. I can’t comment on the previous incarnation as I haven’t tried it, but I would happily buy a lorry load of this.

Stockists

You can buy Lancome Magie Noire from House of Fraser, Escentual and Amazon UK.

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Estee by Estee Lauder: Not to be Messed With

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I have a soft spot for perfumes that were popular in the 70s when I was growing up.  The scent of 70s perfume was my blueprint for the glamorous appealing world I would one day inhabit as a grown up.

 

Estee by Estee Lauder was created in 1968 so by the time I was born in 1970, it was pretty much all the rage.  A textbook 70s aldehyde, my first impression on smelling the bottle in my possession was that it smelled like Panache.  Panache incidentally is one of my favourite present day perfumes.  It’s cheap as chips, and one spray lasts round 14 hours.  It unfurls beautifully on skin as the day goes on and is still there when you go to bed.

 

In fact, it’s more likely that Panache was walking in Estee’s footsteps, having been launched in 1976 (though some sources cite it as late as 1979). Classics have always been “homaged” by cheaper drugstore version of the same trend, and it still happens today.

 

 

photo from Pinterest
photo from Pinterest

 

Estee opens with aldehydes and mossy greens straight away. The opening is brisk and prickly and there’s no time for frills.  However, as the chilly ( and wonderful) exterior melts away the floral middle notes drift in.  Here you have everything a good florist could throw at you: prickly carnation, sombre Orris root,  pretty roses and lily of the valley and a tiny smidgeon of sweet honey.  The blending is seamless and the scent a classic: perfect as it is.  The base notes are all serious and rich: Oakmoss and styrax make for a deep, lasting mossy finish.

 

If you like your day scents classic, powdery, floral and aldehydic, this could have been made just for you.  Or me, actually.  I love it.

 

One of the things I love about Estee Lauder is that when trends come and go, EL stands its ground and keeps producing the classics.  They might not be for the Britney crowd or the vanilla cup cake fan, but they are the excellent coat and the simple shift dress that you will always need, no matter what.

Big thanks to Lisa Wordbird for letting me borrow her bottle of Estee Lauder Estee Super Eau de Parfum on which this review is based..

 

Estee Lauder White Linen: A High Street Classic

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It’s taken me a while to get round to Estee Lauder White Linen. The reason why is that I have, in the past, found it a bit too metallic and silvery, akin to getting foil in your back teeth *shudder*.  Unfortunately Chanel No 22 had the same effect on me (and many perfumistas would  beg to differ on that beauty).

However, with perfume my motto is never say never ( except with Theirry Mugler Womanity, which is a permanent estrangement) and thus I have been trying White Linen for a couple of days now. White Linen opens with  a fog bomb of aldehydes, which normally I like, but still this is somehow too metallic for me, like chrome or rusty silver. After an hour, things look up and the flowers all seem to turn from bud to bloom, and many of my favourites too.: Hyacinth, Lilac, Lily of the Valley and Violets.

In a garden , these would be like paradise for me and in a perfume the effect is similar.  The aldehydes lose their metallic edge but still give these flower buds a punchy frame for their blooms.

The base note is very long lasting and equally as delicious as the middle phase. There’s Amber, Benzoin,  Vetiver and Oakmoss.  However, this isn’t quite as pungent and spicy as you might imagine. The flowers never went away you see, so all these wondrously strong base notes are made feminine, whilst still retaining a  warm zing of heat.

The base note lasts around thirteen hours, making this fabulous value at around 40GBP.  I have often smlled this on older ladies, but rather than label it old lady, as many have, I credit the more experienced perfume user with excellent taste. Despite White Linen being American, I have always thought there is something quintessentially English and proper about White Linen.  I’ll bet you a tenner Camilla has a bottle. And I bet Charles doesn’t mind. He loves flowers too.

Guerlain Chamade: When Retro Glamour Is Required

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Guerlain Chamade is like a trip back into the early seventies.  I don’t mean the flares and the joss sticks but a time when ladies wore suits and court shoes just to go to town. Created in 1969, this green spiky aldehyde is a beautiful tribute to all that is ladylike and harks back to a time when everyone said “Good Morning” and “How do you do?”

Opening with the green and musky notes of the dominant Galbanum, as if to say “Don’t mess with me”, it then beds down and shows its feminine side with Lilac and Hyacinth showing a flash of finely turned ankle.

The aldehydes provide a clean, soapy background against which the prickly notes of Vetiver, Balsam and medicinal Benzoin shine through boldly as the longlasting basenotes make their presence felt.

Chamade was named after the drumbeat of retreat during Napoleonic times and is meant to represent the beating of a heart in love.  Even the bottle looks like a teardrop.  It is out of step with today’s brash modernity, but this to me, is all the more reason to wear it. I feel sure that the existence of Chamade went on to influence many 70s drugstore classics: all those greeny, raspy chypres that smell so classic now but were everywhere way back when.

It’s a grown up perfume that I would love to smell on more people today.  It reminds me of an elegant women with a green, tweed suit, a brooch, and a smart leather handbag, off to town to run errands on a pleasant day when the sun didn’t go down without asking permission first.

Midnight Star by Neil Morris: Christmas is Coming!

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 This would be the first time I have ever tried a Neil Morris fragrance, and judging by the quality and my enjoyment of it, it won’t be my last.

 Midnight Star opens with Aldehydes.  These are Tauer style Aldehydes rather than drugstore, although I don’t mind any sort of Aldehydes myself.  There are sharp, soapy notes that turn into summery flowers  with a hint of sharp Salt.  I found this slightly marine in nature, which was no Imagebad thing in my book when done well. When I say marine, I don’t mean Ozonic, which can so often go a bit air freshener.

 The middle notes are yellow flowers: Linden and Mimosa. They are sweet and respectable, never quite being rude enough to dominate or take over, as the basenotes enter politely and join them.

The base is an agreeable mixture of those lasting Aldehydes and fading Honeysuckle with a  calming base of Musk and Wood. In amongst all this I can smell sour lemons, which is no bad thing.  It just means that Midnight Star bangs its own drum and  doesn’t run with the pack.

Looking through the Neil Morris website, he has many more scents that tempt me, such as Cathedral, Leather Garden, and Hologram. I have a sample of the delightfully named “Prowl” which I intend to review soon.

Neil Morris is a one man show, just like Andy Tauer. Both men create what they love, not what a marketing brief tells them, and I  will never get tired of perfumers like them.

Prices for Neil Morris scents are reasonable at $70 for 30ml and he ships worldwide.

A Trio of Worth: Je Reviens

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It was suggested to me , by the Perfumed Dandy no less, that when shopping for Je Reviens, I should look out for the Couture version (2005).  Just as I was searching for it (online of course, it’s not in any High Street near me), my head was turned by a tempting trio and I committed a blind buy sale before you could say Amazon dot co dot UK.

Created  by Maurice Blanchet in 1932, this pre war classic has not aged well I fear.  Where is the  Lilac? the Jasmine? the Hyacinth? the Violet?  the Rose? I certainly had plenty of aldehydes, but not in a  good way.  This was high pitched and cheap smelling. Where did it all go wrong?

ImageI have two theories. Firstly, Je Reviens is an aldehyde meaning that many of its notes are also used in soap and detergent. This is no bad thing- look at the marvellous First by Van Cleef and Arpels– a soapy and heavenly scent that I cannot find fault with.

However in 1932 when Je Reviens was created, soaps and detergents were more basic and Je Reviens would have smelled sophisticated and different to the discerning  scent buyer of the Thirties.  Indeed, it began as a luxury product before it became a mainstream inexpensive classic. Therefore to my spoilt Twenty First century nose, used to Ambi Pur, Cistern blocks and Toilet Duck,  Je Reviens sadly has too much in common with them.

My second theory is that the formula for Je Reviens has been changed so much that it is barely a shadow of its former self.  A few IFRA tweaks are to be expected these days,  usually with stoicism, but Je Reviens has been super morphed into something different.  It would be like making Grandma’s fruit cake but leaving out the fruit. And the nuts. And the ImageCherries. And the butter. And the eggs. In fact, you’d just have flour and sugar, but could you still call it Grandma’s fruit cake?  The House of Worth closed in 1956, was bought by the Maurice Blanchet Society and then sold again in 1992.  It’s changed hands, formulae, and probably budgets too.

It smells very similar to Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass, of which I am fond. However this is like Blue Grass that has been kept in a tropiquarium under hot lights and has gone shrill and bitter, like an unemployed diva.  I can  pick out spicy geranium and carnation and the aldehydes (in spades) but there is a  twang of Bloo cistern blocks about it, which could explain why its lost in translation. I bet if my modern nose hadn’t been so desensitised to aldehyde and cleaning products, I would probably like this more.

I won’t give up straight away. It took me a few goes to appreciate Guerlain Apres L’Ondee and Mitsouko after all. I would still try the Couture version, which I understand is nearer the original vintage formulation. However when Je Reviens wears off (it doesn’t take long), I get excited about choosing something else to wear instead.  Never a good sign.

Panache : A Welcome Reminder of Perfumed Days Past.

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I have an unerring soft spot for 70s perfumes. It was my first ever decade. I was born in 1970, although I only look 27 (*cough*). Women in the 70s and early 80s gave me my blueprint for the future. How they smelled, what they wore, what they did. I looked at them and thought “I too will wear jumpsuits and big sunglasses and smell of that perfume one day, whilst smoking Menthol cigarettes and drinking Babycham”. The scents that I can remember are Avon Sweet Honesty, and Timeless, Tweed by Lentheric, even Tramp by Lentheric (imagine giving that to someone today!) Charlie, Aqua Manda, Coty L’Aimant and of course, Panache.

The Seventies to me is a faded memory of being so short that I lived among a forest of legs, where every street had an Avon Lady, and where my Christmas present every year contained my first ever perfume: Avon’s Pretty Peach.

Having reviewed Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, I thought I’d go back into the past again and review Yardley’s/Taylor of London’s/Lentheric’s Panache (The recipe has changed hands a bit). It used to be made by Lentheric, as did so many of its fellow drugstore classics. I even remember the TV advert where a glamorous woman went to a party and charmed everyone there with her smiley face and nice smell.

Having bagged my bottle for the princely sum of 5.99GBP for 30ml, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I wasn’t disappointed. This a classic aldehyde right down to the tip of its 70s peeptoe sandals. It’s certainly a relation of Blue Grass: the common notes are Rose, Geranium and Aldehydes. However, it’s not quite as sharp as Blue Grass, with a powderiness that calms it down and makes it more wearable. The base notes come through right from the start: Myrrh, 70s style Sandalwood (in spades), and Oakmoss (or a good impression of it). However, despite the wood and spice in the base, this remains a light daytime scent, with all the flowers popping up to keep it pretty and not too in-your-face as Blue Grass can sometimes be. There’s citrus too: Oranges and Lemons, although I can only smell the Lemon, not the Orange.

The overall impression is a floral day time perfume with a powdery background, bedding down into woody notes with a hint of Palmolive.

Image Longevity is a surprise. For 5.99GBP this lasts around eight hours. It is excellent value for money and I would put it in the same category as Avon’s Timeless as a very cheap and massively underrated beauty.

I would love to see a revival of 70s drugstore classics to wipe out the sea of cheap vanilla and berries that seems to be everywhere.  Whatever you do this week, do it with Panache.

Happy Father’s Day! It’s Our Old Friend Old Spice.

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 Old Spice has been a fixture in shops and bathroom shelves ever since I can remember. So ubiquitous was it that I have never really bothered to sit down and sniff it properly. It was my husband’s idea for me to review this on Father’s Day, and I thought it was a great idea. I had to Imageagree, especially since he had caught me raiding his fragrance collection because I was in a “manly” mood.

Cheap as Chips, and as common as grass, Old Spice is far more complex than I ever realised. My first visceral associations were naturally talc and toothpaste, but I realised that these were associations, rather than the notes that build it.

So complex is Old Spice that I feel that listing its range of notes explains it best: Nutmeg, Lemon, Orange, Star Anise, Aldehydes, Carnation, Jasmine, Geranium, Cinnamon, Heliotrope, Pimento, Ambergris, Benzoin, Cedar, Vanilla, Tonka Bean and Musk.

Prior to wearing it all day long today in the name of research I would have described it as “white and soapy”. After a day of wear (and top ups) I can honestly say that if they put this in a pretty bottle and sold it as a feminine fragrance, I reckon it would do very well indeed. I would certainly buy it, and you can rest assured that this is not the last time I will be wearing it. (with apologies to my husband, who’s bottle I am using).

The opening is indeed powdery like talc, but also has Carnation and Geranium notes i.e floral but spicy. The Aldehydes do indeed give it the soapy feel that you would associate with bathrooms and shower rooms, but this is more than clean talc. These three notes are also found in Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, and sometimes, Old Spice smells a tiny bit similar, as if I’m smelling Blue Grass from  ten yards away four hours after its been applied. There’s the same faint floral heat against a background of Aldehydes.

In a similar fashion to Dana’s Tabu, this has a light spice that doesn’t go too deep or resonant. It’s almost a surface Oriental, with its Star Anise and  Pimiento, but with less of the “joss stick smoke” than Tabu.

The drydown is a Musky, spiced powder, with the powder  having remained constant throughout. It’s like Spice through a white fluffy towel. The Spice is indeed there, but always cushioned by something softer.

All in all, this is a great cologne with its clean, soapy feel and its added prickle of spice to keep it interesting.  It’s been around so long I almost didn’t see it anymore, but now I feel sure that I will be thinking outside the box when choosing my day’s fragrance, and reaching for the beautiful white glass bottle with its little stopper.

The last word on longevity goes to my husband who said: “it lasts long enough to kiss your wife in the morning but is gone by the time you reach the office.”

Having said that, Old Spice is inexpensive enough to top up regularly, usually to be found well under 10GBP.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers, and to all who may be missing one.

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Andy Tauer No 14 Noontide Petals: From Noon to Sundown

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It’s taken me a few days to think about what I’m going to say about Andy Tauer’s latest release Noontide Petals. Not because I’m trying to be tactful, no need for that: It’s because it’s like nothing else I’ve smelled before.

It’s floral but not a floral. It’s spicy but not an Oriental, it is very Bergamot but is not a Hesperide. It has powder but it’s not a Chypre. You can see my problem.

It is very beautiful and lives up to its whimsical name. At first spray, whilst still wet, it’s strong Bergamot with Geraniums catching up. Then a blast of aldehydes. Now this bit confused me. Its clearly aldehydic but the last aldehyde I sniffed was Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass i.e the opposite side of the subtlety spectrum to Noontide Petals.

Tauer’s aldehydes emerge gradually, like Royalty getting out of a car, whilst Blue Grass jumps out of the bottle and bops you in the face. So I guess this taught me that aldehydes come in many forms, many of which I don’t yet know.

 Noontide Petals has a long top note, with the Bergamot staying true with a hint of clean soapy notes. However, what I love about this, and I may be alone in even thinking this, is that there is a lovely chalkiness to Noontide Petals. That same chalkiness made me fall in love with Balmain Jolie Madame, which to my nose smells of damp moss and chalky cliffs (I adore it and bought a full 100ml bottle) Noontide Petals has that same faint chalkiness, which makes the Bergamot, so often used in more astringent style fragrances, into a powdery soft citrus.

It’s around this point that the flowers turn up: the Jasmine, the Ylang Ylang and the Roses. Petals indeed: they bring prettiness and a background aroma rather than taking over.

And finally, the closing act! The clever evening stage of Frankincense (often known as Olibanum), Styrax and Patchouli. It’s worth waiting for, and has an incense style spice, rather than gourmand, with a hint of High Church and a dash of something spiky.

As usual with a Tauer fragrance, it lasts and lasts. Twelve hours so far. It’s a perfume that can take you from night to day, like a good black dress. It starts all delicate and pretty, then gets deeper and more mysterious by the time the sun goes down.

A bit like me. (*cough*)

Noontide Petals can be purchased from the Tauer website or Les Senteurs. My sample is so strong that it has lasted me three days and is still half full. Top marks for longevity.

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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