Gallivant is a perfume house that is masterminded by Nick Steward. Nick certainly has the credentials to create his own fragrance brand, having worked at L’Artisan Parfumeur for many years. Inspired by the unique vibes of each city that his scents are named after, each Gallivant fragrance has something quirky and rather wonderful to offer. The nose is Karine Chevallier.
Earlier in my blog, I reviewed Gallivant London and Gallivant Tel Aviv. If you haven’t tried either of these, then do try and get yourself some samples from here. Recently, two more have been launched, Berlin and Amsterdam. I am hoping to try those soon and report back. There is also Gallivant Brooklyn, which is in the blog processor machine waiting to dry (aka my brain).
Today, my wanderlusting friends, we are discovering Gallivant Istanbul. Follow me as I guide you around this olfactory marvel.
As you might imagine, with its Turkish history and ancient culture, there will be mysterious smoky incense facets to this, and there are. Lots of other brands have done smoky resinous scents but what makes Istanbul stand out is the fresh note that travels alongside the heavies.
It opens with crisp bergamot and red thyme, setting me up to think I’m about to dive into a cologne. I’m not massively off track here-because this is followed by a middle phase of lavender- a primary ingredient in colognes and fougeres.
The addition of aromatic cardoman that combines beautifully with the lime and thyme, lifts this out of deep resin territory, whilst keeping that mysterious myrrh note in there. Add some peppery geranium and a woody base of warm tonka and smooth sandalwood and you have Istanbul.
What I love about this is that it seems to include so many facets of a colourful city like Istanbul. There are hints of leather, herbs, citrus, patchouli and musk. It’s almost like a walk through a bazaar, starting with the exhilarating sea front and ending in the covered markets, still with a fresh breeze in your lungs. There’s kind of a wetness, or a juiciness to it that stops it being dark and tarry, as resinous scents can often be on my skin. This makes me want to sniff it in great gulps.
As for whether its male or female? It’s for everyone, except my son who declined my offer of a few sprays to wear to Primary School this morning.
You can buy Gallivant fragrances, including sample sets from here. My samples were kindly provided by Gallivant, in exchange for an a honest review, which I have written. This is not a sponsored post.
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.
Rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. In Firedance, Ruth presents a scorching, modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, as exotic leather dances in surprise harmony with the main character – smouldering Damask rose. Set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli, a shining amber note radiates from the skin in this memorably intimate and sexy perfume.
Today is the day that Ruth Mastenbroek launches the fourth fragrance in her collection: Firedance. Ruth is an experienced nose who has worked behind the scenes in the industry for fourdecades before going solo in 2010 with her first scent, aptly named RM Signature. You can read my review here. After that came the wonderful Amorosa, followed by Oxford. Now the trio becomes a quartet, with the arrival of Firedance. Ruth has also redesigned the brand to reflect that every drop tells a story and using a palette of black and gold, these new designs reminded me of the original illustrations to Grimm’s fairytales ( see pic and you’ll know what I mean).
So was Firedance worth the wait and is it a worthy member of this scented quartet? Absolutely. Here’s why.
Now, first of all, this is a rose/oud/leather fragrance. We all know that rose and oud and rose and leather have been done before, but dear reader, not like this. The leather and oud is there, of course, but the first thing I noticed about Firedance was the rich, dusky Damask rose and then, would you believe it? Carnations. In the same way that Serge Lutens Vitriol D’oeillet made me sit up and take notice, Firedance stopped me in my tracks. A drop of clove oil is the culprit, and whilst it doesn’t dominate, it adds a wonderful peppery spicy addition to proceedings.
I composed Firedance to capture those special moments that make me appreciate what I have.- Ruth Mastenbroek
For full disclosure, I’m not really a big oud fan (there, I’ve said it), but the oud here smells different. It doesn’t take over but still makes a contribution. In fact, it adds a kind of fruity earthy accord that makes the rose more robust. It seems to blend seamlessly with the amber to make a sort of amber-oud or oud-amber. The amber takes the edges off it.
To me, it adds layers and makes this a sort of 4D rose, with petals that have crisped through age, like dusty pot pourri, whilst still having plump satiny petals in the centre. My nose also picked up little facets of powder, which always makes me think of a 1950s dressing table. I often find this with rose, whether the powdery note is deliberate or not.
There is a measured heat and an autumnal feel to Firedance, which makes this a very appropriate launch for the first day of Autumn. This is rose with warmth, earthiness, spice and the kind of longevity that lingers on your pillow when you wake up the next day. It’s not cheap, but it is very good value. Ruth makes it herself. There’s no committee, no big factory, no billboard marketing. You’re paying for the ingredients and the expertise of a perfumer with four decades of skill and experience.
Firedance is a stand out earthy, dusty rose that’s not quite on the turn, not quite over. This is the perfect farewell to summer and a warm scented blanket for the colder days ahead.
Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance is available from the website and from Fenwick’s, where Ruth will be giving a talk on 14th September. Check out The Perfume Society website for details. My bottle was given to me by Ruth Mastenbroek in return for an honest review, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.
Do excuse the hiatus. I’m on a blogging go-slow due to the summer hols and a jolly nice time we’ve had too. The children go back to school on September 5th and I will be cranking up the Autumn Fragrance posts with aplomb.
Friend of the blog ( and of me) Lisa Wordbird, often gives me little loans of incredible stuff to sample. Among the booty on our most recent meet up was a bottle of Molinard Chypre D’Orient. Reader, I married it.
My favourite genre when it comes to scent is the mossy green chypre, and I could hardly believe my luck when this big 100ml bottle fell into my clutches. Ignore the “D’Orient” bit: this is chypres as chypres used to be-and still should be- in my humble opinion. All the gang’s here: oakmoss, patchouli, galbanum, amber, musk. It’s a hard hitter for sure. The patchouli is so prickly and spiky that at first I thought it was spices, but then realised it was more of an earthiness. The oakmoss steps in and takes over straight away like a boss, and peeking out from the edges are glimpses of jasmine and neroli.
Chypre D’Orient has been labelled the poor man’s Mitsouko, but this is a great in its own right. In danger of going under the radar, this treasure made me think of that legendary accord: Guerlinade. You know that tell-tale je ne sais quoi that makes you recognise a Guerlain Heritage with your eyes shut? Well Chypre D’Orient smells like THAT. Except that it’s under £40 for 100ml.
This is a vintage style chypre before modern life got in the way. There’s a touch of rose and powder to round off the ladylike picture and a handsome, vaguely Art Deco style weighty bottle to adorn the dressing table.
If that sounds up your street then bag yourself one now. These are getting harder to find. Chypre fans-remember: a rolling stone gathers no mossy chypres.
You can buy Molinard Chypre D’orient from Amazon UK. It’s currently £35.39 for 100ml. Price correct at time of posting.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Library of Fragrance really does have a scent for every occasion. For Christmas you can have Cranberry, Gingerbread and Fireplace. For Spring there’s Wet Garden, Peony, and of course , being the UK, Rain, There’s even birthday fragrance with Vanilla Cake Batter and Gin and Tonic. And now, right in front of me, there’s a bottle of Bonfire.
When sprayed on the three members of my family here tonight, ranging in age from five to forty nine, I’m afraid none of them liked it, one said “Pumpkin”, one said “Halloween” and one said “Yuk, Gerroff”. Well I liked it. What do they know? Huh.
Bonfire encapsulates the exact smell of a bonfire, which seems like an obvious thing to say but to me, it smells like someone has been playing with matches in my living room.
Over on basenotes, several commentators have remarked that it reminds them of hotdogs and I’ve no doubt that a variation of the same liquid smoke used to flavour hot dogs is likely to be used in scent as well as flavour. There is most certainly a smoky note, that is almost bitter on first sniff. However, bear with it, because this is worth hanging on for. After a while the smoke beds down into a sort of scorched maple, and what was once bitter fades down into a layer of smoky spice. In fact it seemed like a good idea at this point to fish out two of my favourite Library of Fragrance scents- Pipe Tobacco and Mahogany- and do a bit of layering.
Bonfire and Mahogany gives a lovely combination of both smoke and incense- and it is perfect for Autumn. It’s on the masculine spectrum but I like to smell a lot more butch in Autumn and Winter than I do in Spring and Summer.
When I blended Pipe Tobacco with Bonfire, the effect was even more interesting and equally pleasing. The cosy warmth of Pipe Tobacco gave smoky Bonfire a warm nuttiness that gave the impression of the wood surround of a fireplace in winter. You have smoke’n’cosy all in one and I really liked this combination.
In conclusion, Bonfire may not be for everyone, but for me that pang of Seventies childhood it gave me (sparklers, baked potatoes, real bonfires) was the portal that got me interested. A bit of blending with other woody and warm scents, and my bonfire was under control and made for a pleasant Autumn evening.