Tag Archives: Balmain Jolie Madame

Where Do You Keep Yours? #ScentStorage

 

selfie collection 2

A recent article from The Perfume Society got me thinking. Our dear chums at The Perf Soc invite us to show them our pictures of  how we store our collections on Instagram and Twitter for a future feature in The Scented Letter. ( hashtag  #scentstorage)

I warily approached my groaning dressing table with my temperamental camera phone and noticed it was a big messy jumble. Once I tidied up for the photo sesh ( see above) I felt it was high time for an edit.  I therefore picked my absolute  favourites and took a family photo of them looking their best and all facing the right way.

In a non-subtle attempt to get you all to tell me about your essential kit, I thought I’d take the vain liberty of giving you a mini tour of my curated core collection.

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Le Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacre, 4160 Tuesdays The Gathering of The Clans, Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic, Papillon Perfumery Angelique, JLo Deseo, Gucci Envy, Jolie Madame vintage, Andy Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange, Hilary Duff With Love.

my stash

 

jr-sandalwoodLe Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacré: This has been my SOTD for the past 3 days. The sweet, aromatic sandalwood hangs out like a lovable hippy until it turns into a woody, spiced musk.

 

4160 Tuesdays the Gathering of The gatheringClans:

The Gathering of The Clans is a wonderful blackcurrant, herby, citrus chypre that will always remind me of Christmas 2016 because I could NOT stop wearing it. Plus, there was a real-life Gathering of The Clans.

 

gin-and-tonicArt de Parfum Gin &Tonic:

This is so much more than gin and tonic. It’s a fresh breeze blowing through your life. On my skin, it bursts into tiny flowers as the day goes on.

 

Papillon Perfumery Angelique:

This was love at first sniff, although I angeliquefound it very hard to describe at first. It defies genre. I always wear it to christenings so it has happy associations for me. It smells like priceless buttery suede and iris and mimosa. There’s nothing like it.

JLo Deseo:

deseo bigThis was an astounding bargain that I refer people to whenever they cast doubt on the quality of celebrity scent. This 30ml bottle cost me a mere £8.95, but before I could stock up, it was discontinued and is now like hen’s teeth. The bottle makes me think of wet jewels. The scent is jasmine, orange flower, yuzu and tiare flower.

Gucci Envy.

Ah, my beloved Envy.  It led me astray from my fidelity to Chanel gucci_envy_reklama3Cristalle.  Envy and I were together for several formative years.  My house, my bedroom, my clothes and my desk all smelled of hyacinth and lily of the valley and that strange metallic Nineties chime in the middle. Pure Heaven. It was pointlessly discontinued in 2007.  Despite a huge clamour for it,  Gucci remain tight lipped.  I have just over an inch left.  Can’t go on.  Hankies please.

Balmain Jolie Madame vintage

joliemadameThis was a gift from dear chum Lisa Jones. She watched as I entered the chypre portal and never looked back over my shoulder.  It’s all her fault and I love her for it. I was once asked what I would put in my dream fragrance. I answered “violets, leather and oak moss” before I realised that I had just described Balmain Jolie Madame.

 

Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange

I was an immediate slave to the  green notes in Carillon Pour un carillonpicAnge. It is one of the longest lasting perfumes I have ever tried. It starts with angelic lily of the valley, goes even greener for a bit, and then comes storming back to an Ambergris finish. I love how it lingers on my pillow.

Hilary Duff with Love

withloveBefore this was sadly discontinued, I picked up a 15ml bottle in my local branch of Home Bargains for just £3.99. It wasn’t the mainstream fruity florals that were so typical of 2013: it was a thrilling surprise of tropical dark wood and yes, mango. It’s a woody, cedar treat and I’m loath to use it up until I can wangle another off eBay. Oh, and check out the dreamy bottle! It’s like a jewel.

How about you?

And to think life was so simple when once upon a time I had a signature scent. Sigh. Once you’re bitten, there’s no going back.

Now I’ve shared mine, how about yours? How do you store them? Where do you keep them? If you had to really edit your collection what would be in it?   Are your favourites discontinued or reformulated? Are they posh and pricey or chypre and cheerful?  Am I asking too many questions?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

PS Don’t forget to post your photos to @ThePerfumeSociety on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #scentstorage

Dorsal view
Dorsal view

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Balmain Extatic: It’s Not Quite What I Had in Mind.

extatic

 

There’s a wonderful Twitter account called Very British Problems that always has something to make me chuckle with its acute observations of British idiosyncrasies.

“It’s Not Quite What I Had in Mind” is translated as “What the Bloody Hell is This?” and those, my friends, are the words that came out of my mouth, unbidden and unedited when I tried Balmain Extatic.

 

Very Britisj Problems
Very British Problems

Let’s not start with the irritating Franglais misspelling, let’s crowd in and sniff.

If you blindfolded me and asked me to smell this (and please don’t, not my thing), I would have said it was probably a chart topping B List Babe who had just jumped on the fragrance bandwagon and was all packaging and no substance.  If you’d told me it was from the same house that gave me my beloved Jolie Madame, I simply would not have believed it.

Balmain Extatic owes a lot to Lancome La Vie est Belle:  a perfume that’s not my cup of tea but which has caused a big splash and spawned lots of flankers and homages.  Extatic is another homage, although not as well made.  There’s caramel and sugar, fruit and sweetness and loads of fake  synthetic flowers and… frankly, it’s awful.  But wait!  What’s this?  Could it be a fleeting whiff of classy leather?  Nope, sorry, it’s gone.  False Alarm.

Balmain, you’re a class act, you don’t need to do this.

Stockists

If you like Lancome La Vie est Belle, you might like this too.  Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean nobody will.  You can buy this from our friends at Escentual, or from John Lewis, Debenhams and Amazon UK.  Overseas you can buy it from Sephora and Amazon.com

PS The Black Narcissus writes brilliantly on Balmain Extatic: the title alone made me laugh!

Escentual_Brand_Banner_Balmain

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Chanel No 19: I Bow Before Thee

 

Chanel No 19

Chanel No 19 is, judging by its lack of mainstream lovin’, one of the less fashionable Chanels.  In my local Perfume Shop and just about every beauty counter I have visited, it’s rarely on display and you often have to ask for the under the counter tester. I  am wearing the EDT today as my local Perfume Shop didn’t have an EDP tester. Meanwhile, its more popular sister, Coco Mademoiselle, will go home with many  a stranger every day. Chanel No 19 is like the brainy girl at the sidelines, and nobody realises how beautiful she is until she takes her glasses off and lets down her hair.  I always say give her a chance.

photo from ecarter.com. Princess Mara Ruspoli print ad 1975
photo from ecarter.com. Princess Mara Ruspoli print ad 1975

Chanel No 19 opens like a good old fashioned chypre.  It could almost be used as a blueprint. It wasn’t until recently in fact that I realised how much the opening of Chanel no 19 has in common with my dear chum Balmain Jolie Madame. It must be the combination of Leather and Oakmoss and the way in which these two notes seem to make the spring like florals blend seamlessly into a woody powderiness rather than a high pitched shriek that floral scents can often end up as.

Chanel No 19 has two distinct phases to my nose.  Firstly, you get a blast of not-quite aldehydes as all the ingredients seem to have a lively dance of Powder, Leather, Bergamot and Galbanum (which reminds me of my beloved Chanel Cristalle) before they all settle down for the day.  The second phase is the unmistakable and long lasting phase of Galbanum (which never leaves), Powder, Leather and Vetiver with Rose and Hyacinth standing by the whole time like beautiful sentinels. The flowers seem to change shifts on an hourly basis, for an hour the Rose comes through, then next its the Hyacinth, they they change over again…

I could happily wear this for decades, in all seasons, at all times of day and never get bored of it. It’s a white soapy powder (like old fashioned cold cream soap)with a sweetness that only comes from a florist, and not from sugar. You know that smell you get as all the flower petals and stems give off that botanical tang in flower shops? That. Round it all off with Woody Moss and Vetiver, powder it’s nose- and you have Chanel No 19.

I could recognise Chanel No 19 on anyone instantly, but sadly I rarely experience this. My friend Catherine first got me interested in this  in the mid 1990s as she said it was the only perfume she could wear that suited her.  I tried it out of curiosity and liked it, but stuck by my Cristalle. Years later, my tastes have changed and my goodness, do I love No 19!

On one hand I want people to buy it so it never gets discontinued (very capricious, perfume houses),  but on the other hand, I want it to remain the unfashionable sister so that I will smell unique when I get my mitts on a bottle. (It will be mine. Oh yes) Chanel No 19  may not be the popular girl, but I will be her friend forever.

 

 

Estee Lauder Very Estee: We Could Have Been Great Friends

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Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my valued US readers!  I hope you all find something to be thankful for.  We could all learn a lot from such a day. In your honour, I am reviewing a good old American brand. A stalwart of quality in the perfume world: yes, it’s the fabulous Estee Lauder.

I tried Very Estee  today on my spare arm (I only have two, but I kept one perfume- free for testing). If evolution is anything to go by, mothers would have at least four arms by now, in any case.

My very first impression of Very Estee was that I could smell Violets, then the Green notes.  My heartbeat quickened as I thought “Could this be another Balmain Jolie Madame?  But I was disappointed. Within minutes of spraying, the scent was so close to skin that it was barely there at all.  What I could smell, I liked very much, but if it fades within a minute what use is it?  I would never be so rude as to expect instant sillage to fill a room, but I would at least like to be able to smell it on myself for more than a few minutes.

Now, I love Estee Lauder as a brand: quality and ingredients are never less than excellent, but Very Estee was a disappointment. I read on Fragrantica that the notes contain Lotus Flower, Rose, Jasmine, Pink Pepper and Freesia, bedding down into Cashmere Woods, Cedar, Sandalwood and Musk.  It all sounds lovely, but all I got was Violet Leaf and Green notes, delicate as a dewdrop on the tongue and gone twice as fast.  Shame, since I love both of those notes and would have loved Very Estee to have hung round a bit longer.

This could be good if it had more resonance, or maybe it was just my cold skin swallowing it up.  I will still be a Lauder counter pest though, I just can’t stay away.

One Direction Our Moment: Dear Father Christmas…

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It goes without saying that boyband One Direction are a phenomenon. They have broken the notoriously tough American market, and their star is still on the rise, going orbital.  The only surprising thing about their perfume Our Moment, is that it didn’t come out sooner.

It’s getting a little tougher to get perfume samples over the counter these days. There’s a thriving market for them on eBay and I have to set my blogger’s charm to “Stun” in order to get them from sales assistants. However, the nice lady in the Perfume Shop gave me lots of these saying “You’re welcome to these, we’ve got loads, here you are, put them in your bag”. So I did. Thank you Perfume Shop Lady.

Now you don’t need to be a media expert to realise that “Our Moment” is speaking directly to the heart of One Direction fans. It’s saying  “Psst, you, yes you, this is just between you and me. This Our Moment. I approve of this product, so if you buy it I will approve of you too. Love Harry/Zayn/the other three X X X.”

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www.onedirectionmusic.com

Our Moment makes me feel old. When I realised I was older than Harry Styles’ Mum I felt ancient. When I released that I was old enough to be his grandmother (I’m 43), I  buttoned up my cardigan and put the kettle on in despair.  Back in 1983 Boy George first appeared on the television. My Dad was appalled and said rude words about him. I remember thinking that Dad was like, really old and stuff.  Now here I am, thinking that Harry has too many tattoos and I hope they’re staying away from drugs and being sensible. How time flies.

Now to the smell. In its favour I will say that since this is marketed at young girls, pre teens and teens, that they have got one thing exactly right. It’s not sexy. Nor is it provocative or seductive or alluring. Excellent work. I approve.

It does however, fit in with a little perfume conspiracy theory I have been quietly forming. My theory is this: Somewhere there is a giant bubbling vat of extremely fruity perfume. Everybody uses it and puts it into different bottles, inventing the notes and using Imagedifferent packaging. Britney uses it a lot, as does Beyoncé, and even Loewe used it for Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion. And now the One Direction boys are using it too. It’s just one big red fruit, strawberry flavoured, sugary, fruity floral vat with a queue of celebrities’ flunkies waiting to fill their bottles with it and add a different moniker.

Top notes are listed as: Redcurrants, Forest Fruits and Lemon. Middle notes are Freesia, Jasmine and Frangipani, and Base notes are Patchouli Musk and Woody notes.  Getting back to reality for a minute, what it actually smells like is forest fruits and redcurrants with added candy floss. And that goes for top notes, middle notes and base notes.

I smelled this on one hand and Beyoncé Midnight Heat on the other and could not tell them apart.

Frankly, this would sell by the shelfload even if it smelled of cat pee. Putting my personal preferences aside for a minute (I’ll be wearing Balmain Jolie Madame later today), this will clearly be a bestseller. Prepare to smell this Princessy  bottle  everywhere. It will be on every Under 12s’ Christmas wish list. Brace yourself for the OMGs. This ticks every box.

Oh and the inevitable flankers. It’s just a matter of time.

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I Scent You A (Holi)day

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 Do you see what I did there ^^? I’ll get my coat. I am taking a short break for a family holiday but when I come back I will be continuing in my mission to write 365 perfume reviews in a year. There are occasional days when life and complications prevent me from blogging, but I am a dogged blogger and shall endeavour to keep my word.

 My main problem,  and admittedly it is a First World problem, is what perfumes to take for a Imageweek? I am so used to browsing my dressing table and sample coffers in the morning that predicting my mood and penchants for the next seven days seems limiting. I know it’s going to be hot, so Yardley Lavender and my trusty Chanel Cristalle will be coming with me.  I may be out in the evening, so something more resonant might be called for- Tauer Incense Rose, or even Balmain’s Jolie Madame. 

If I overindulge (and I intend to) there is always soothing Eau de Cartier for whatever ails you. My Imageseven year old likes Dana Tabu and my three year old likes Broccoli headed Cabotine. I’ll be at the coast, so maybe Miller Harris Fleur de Sel?

 Of course, the reality is that I will probably spend a week smelling of Factor 30 and seaweed, but perfume is all about creating your own little dimension, so I will probably just empty the whole shelf into a suitcase.

 We nearly had the wit and wisdom of LisaWordbird standing in during my sojourn, but the lucky woman is off to Rome if you please. She has promised to update us on her return with a guest blog.

 Happy holidays, bon vacances and have a great vacation.

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.