Tag Archives: bergamot

Atelier Cologne: Bergamote Soleil: A Lasting Citrus

atelier bottle

 

This is the first time I have reviewed an Atelier Cologne scent and it won’t be the last. Founded in Paris by Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel in 2009, the concept of cologne is made into something more resonant, using ingredients that anchor the scent for longer. I found a sample of Bergamote Soleil in my Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box and wore it all day yesterday. I can report that this may be the longest lasting citrus fragrance I have ever tried.

Sylvie Ganton and Christophe Cervazel
Founders Sylvie Ganton and Christophe Cervasel

Bergamote Soleil is a cologne absolue and that means a 15% concentration: around three times an eau de toilette strength. Usually citrus has trouble sticking around, but not here. Coupled with bitter orange this is a stunning invigorating summer scent that won’t get lost as the day heats up. It’s no one-trick pony though: this has gentle musk from ambrette (a plant based sub for animal musk), jasmine, and a green, chypre finish with oakmoss, vetiver and amber. That bergamot never wavers and stays to the end, around nine hours later on my skin.

Atelier bottles, like Serge Lutens bottles, come with a removable spray so you can use your bottle as either spray of splash. This means you can add a few drops to your bath and give your bathroom that five star hotel aroma whilst you’re in there.

This Paris based perfume house made me stand up and pay attention, so you will be hearing more from me about this great perfume house in future.

Stockists

You can buy Atelier Colognes from several UK stockists. Try Selfridges, Les Senteurs or John Lewis. You can also buy from the website, but check shipping Ts &Cs. You can buy the Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box from The Perfume Society website.

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Fragonard Étoile: How Perfume Should Be

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 Fragonard provides everything I want from a perfume: Fantastic packaging, traditional scents unswayed by fleeting celeb fashions, good longevity and extremely good value for money.  Not so cheap I’m worried, but just expensive enough to reassure me.

 Fragonard Étoile is no exception when it comes to divine packaging. Just look at it.  I’d probably buy it even if it smelled horrible just to have that bottle in my possession.

 Étoile is in a Lime/White flowers mash up that smells like an expensive soap I once owned which was called French Lime and made both me and the bathroom smell amazing. The more Étoile blooms on my skin, the more I love it.

 Étoile has dominant Bergamot that works exceedingly well alongside Jasmine and Gardenia.  Gardenia can be a little cloying, like its friend Tuberose, but the Bergamot cuts through any cloying-ness and  lifts the white flowers from creamy to refreshing, even chalky, like wet cliffs. It’s utterly delightful and growing on me by the minute.

What I particularity admire about Fragonard is that despite their high quality and beautiful packaging, they offer very big refills at very good prices.  You can buy 600mls of Étoile for only 57Euros.  Compare to that many High Street scents and you have incredible Imagevalue.  My only concern is that if I did have 600ml of Étoile I would be splashing it everywhere, pouring it in the bath, and using it like Eau de Cologne, and then being sad because it would run out after a week. Sometimes small rations are best, so I would opt for the 100ml bottle, still a steal at under 30GBP.

If, dear readers, you can get yourselves down to Marks and Spencer, you can bag yourself Imagea 100ml EDT bottle for a mere £26.  You may see me in the queue with an overflowing basket. Oh! and have you seen the little sampler boxes? My dears! I’ll just have to tell my children that only one of them can go to university.  Did I say basket?  I meant trolley.

The Fragonard range is available at larger branches of Marks and Spencer and also online.

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Andy Tauer Une Rose Chyprée : Bring Me Pearls

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I do love a good rose, although a rose soliflore would be too bland for me.  I also love anything with Bergamot in, as well as a good spiky Patchouli and if possible, a bit of Oakmoss from time to time.

Lucky for me then, that Andy Tauer has created Une Rose Chyprée, which is all my favourite things in one big Perfume Sundae. Luckily Andy resisted sticking a cherry on top ( I am so over cherries! See my recent reviews of Delices de Cartier and Louve).

The opening notes of Une Rose Chyprée remind me a little of Noontide Petals.  It must be the Bergamot. Bergamot is so often used in hesperides and  colognes that it’s refreshing to  find it used in a powdery capacity in this floral Chypre.  Used in a similar way to Noontide Petals, the Bergamot has a lovely chalky quality, which I find thirst quenching, like wet chalky cliffs. It’s here in spades in Une Rose Chyprée.

Along with Bergamot comes a prickle of Patchouli and Vetiver, spiky Geranium and of course the Rose. The Rose is so intense that it becomes spicy. In fact, it reminds me of the kind of peppery rose scent that comes from the dried petals of a Tea Rose in a bowl of Pot Pourri. It’s not fresh and dewy, it’s aged, like good antique wood.

Put this together with a touch of Oakmoss and dried Vetiver grass, and you have a wonderfully spicy rose that is anything but bland. The powdery note gives this a charming retro feel. It makes me want to dress up when I wear it. Don your Pearls and lipstick ladies, this is elegant and ladylike.

Once again longevity is excellent. The only reason I kept respraying because I love the wet top note so much as it dries and settles. Une Rose Chyprée is ladylike, yes, but my addiction to it is not.

In the UK Tauer samples are available from Les Senteurs. Image Longevity is excellent, (around 12-14 hours per spray) and this is the Eau de Parfum concentration. Even the samples last over a week of constant daily wear on me, although I generally keep for them for best.

A Footnote Incidentally, Speaking of Tauers, I have just got back from the Hell that is Legoland (“L’Enfer est les Autres” J.P. Sartre). My scent was Carillon Pour Un Ange. It is the total antidote to crowds and hotdogs and commercialisation. I could handle the horrible bustle if I could just smell those Lily of The Valley and go to my happy place. There. I’ll bet you never thought you’d hear Carillon Pour Un Ange and Legoland in the same sentence, did you? Actually, neither did I.

Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: Papyrus and Patchouli and Other Non Sequitirs

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 I was dead against trying this, having read Luca Turin’s review of “Fancy”, (he labels it apple pie) and believing it to be in the same vein. It very much is not. What persuaded me to buy’n’try Fancy Nights was an amusing and charming review by Katrina of Australian Perfume Junkies who described an evening wearing this scent. On asking her husband what he thought of her fragrance, he mistakenly thought the smell was the taxi they were in. A celeb scent that smells like a new taxi? I’m there! Where do I sign up?

Some further praise from Katrina led me to believe this could be another celebuscent surprise, much in the vein of Hilary Duff With Love: a wonderfully maverick non fruity floral, that frankly, has balls.

The second thing that made me buy this was the ridiculously cheap price of£14.95 on Amazon.co.uk.

Today my bottle of Fancy Nights arrived. With it’s dark green glass and faux gilt lid, it’s Arabian Nights Vegas Style. The smell is great. Not a blueberry in sight. Not so much as a whiff of candy floss. This is grown up and not all that commercial, and thank Goodness for that! (We have Steve Demercado, the creator, to thank for this refreshing restraint).

The top note is Papyrus, possibly where the “new cab” smell comes from. I have never come across Papyrus in a scent before and I can tell you that there is a definite “new office” or “modern bookshop” whiff about it. For someone who loves the smell of fresh paint and new carpet, this was somewhat of a kinky find.

The drydown kicks in with milky Patchouli and Sandalwood, leaving a dusty and milky spice trail. I didn’t quite get the Jasmine and Rose notes that this supposedly has, but the hint of Bergamot was there, and rather nice in among the Amber and Sandalwood.

All in all, this is new books, a bit of patchouli and a kind of milky, quiet spice.

The blonde, ditsy, sexy starlet did well. I am reminded of a quote from Dolly Parton: “I don’t mind when people call me a dumb blonde, because I know I know I’m not dumb, and I also know I’m not blonde”

Fancy Nights joins With Love in my Inexpensive Celebrity Scent “Hidden Gem” Hall of Fame.

PS If you like Prada Amber, then this is exceedingly similar, but you didn’t hear that from me.  I wasn’t here, OK?

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Miller Harris La Pluie: Like the Weather, It’s Changeable

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My first ever experience with Miller Harris was but a few weeks ago when I sampled Fleurs de Sel and reviewed it for my good readers. Today I have in my hands a sample of La Pluie (The Rain). With a name like that, who could resist?

I was initially apprehensive, since I was afraid of coming across an ozonic aquatic mess, but I should know better. This is Miller Harris after all.

I was pleasantly surprised as I went about my day with La Pluie radiating off my skin with a lovely subtlety. There is soft background lavendar, a bowl of oranges somewhere  and some lovely bergamot  The initial burst of scent reminds me a little of the smell in a brand new office: all paper and new leather, but with a window open. There is definite heliotrope, which is maybe why this reminded me of  Guerlain Apres L’Ondee. They’re not the same, but I suspect Apres L’Ondee fans would find something to admire here. Just when you think you’re smelling the pages of your brand new book (I love that smell!), the flowers start emerging, almost one by one. It’s like having a vase of  white flowers behind you and not noticing until the smell finally becomes too delightful not to turn round and see them properly.

When all that has calmed down, there is a smell of grass or wheat, almost like the scent of an Italian kitchen at rest. In the end the story is all about vetiver, wheat, herbs (although not listed) and a teeny bit of Vanilla Bourbon to sweeten the dryness.

 La Pluie smells clean and new, just like it’s name.  More than that though, it changes as you wear it and in my mind’s eye it kind of tells the story of a day.  From getting caught in the rain, to coming into the hall where there are flowers, and then entering a warm, dormant kitchen ready for your evening. Some call it tropical. I call it a classic British Rainy Day- Rather beautiful and comforting.

I would happily buy this and spend all day sniffing the different stages, like Violet Beauregarde working her way through her three course gobstopper: “Hey it’s Tomato Soup, Mmm lovely, now it’s Roast Beef, oh wait a minute, its changing again…”

Well played Miller Harris.

Stockists

You can buy La Pluie from Amazon UK.  Sample is my own, as are my opnions.

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Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon: Missing That Je Ne Sais Quoi

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31 Rue Cambon  is named after Chanel’s four storey building, purchased by Gabrielle “CoCo” Chanel herself and which remains today, the site of Gabrielle’s apartment, and the main Paris branch of Chanel.

ImageImmediately, the stakes are high. Named after the Mothership? This better be good. And it is. But great? Not so much.

For one thing, I find this very subtle. My skin seems to swallow it up whole instantly. You may have more luck. Secondly, this strikes me as an odd sort of melange. It’s definitely a Chypre, and it has lovely Woody notes, but then clean, Citrussy Bergamot shows up, along with my old nemesis, Miss Carrot herself- Iris. I often have problems with Iris, but not with her cousin Violet. I find Iris dry and cardboard like, with an earthy rooty scent. I don’t always dislike it, but I can often spot it very soon into a fragrance these days, like a fussy eater who can spot a pea in a Shepherd’s Pie (I do that too).

One very wise reviewer on Fragrantica says that Rue Cambon needs and lacks Oakmoss. I think he has a point. It is neither a Chypre, nor Woody, not Citrus, but somehow all three, without ending up as a Green note scent. Frankly it baffled me, and didn’t stay around long enough for me to know it properly.

The jury’s out on Rue Cambon. I must confess to not loving all of the Les Exclusifs range (I haven’t tried them all yet, to be fair). Whilst I would bite your arm off for a full bottle of Coromandel, I would feel far more “meh” about a full bottle of Rue Cambon. It’s not badly made,  of course, and I know it would smell wonderful on the right wrist or neck, but those wrists and neck do not belong me, regrettably.

In my beloved Wales there is a lovely Welshism which sums up Rue Cambon for me:

“And there it was, gone!”

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Ô de Lancôme: Sparkle for Summer

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There have been almost three consecutive warm days here in Britain. Can we call it Summer yet? Granted Day Three was followed by freezing rain and wind, but trust me, three days still count.

When the weather is warm, it calls for a change in perfume as much as it calls for a change of clothes.  Wearing Gourmands in the hot sun just makes me feel sticky. Even Orientals must be super Lite. Personally, I think you can’t beat a good citrus or a shot of Bergamot when the temperature rises.

If I had to choose only one perfume to wear in the summer, I would have to say Ô de Lancôme narrowly gets my vote. In the top three would also be Chanel Cristalle, Guerlain Pamplelune, and maybe Yardley English Lavender, straight from the fridge.

What gives Ô de Lancôme the edge is that it is so unashamedly refreshing, that it almost crackles and sparkles on your skin when you apply it. It’s like ice cold lemonade, you can almost feel the tiny bubbles pop.

Top notes are , unsurprisingly  Lemon and Bergamot  with a crisp fresh hint of Orange, and a slight whisper of Honeysuckle. It’s the Lemon that dominates though.

Ô de Lancôme could almost be regarded as a spritz or cologne, so sharp and refreshing does it feel. However, it is worth taking this 1969 creation seriously. Oakmoss has been added (not real Oakmoss, thanks to IFRA, but it will do), along with Sandalwood and Vetiver. So what starts with high octane Lemons, slicing through a sultry heat, beds down into something more earthy and raw, but no less refreshing. In fact, it’s the perfect scent for a late afternoon. By evening, things will get a lot more interesting. Longevity is good. I could smell this in my wrist six hours after spraying it, albeit the Earthy, Woody base, but it was still there, doing its job.

Lancôme has also introduced Ô de Lancôme de L’Orangerie, which I can also vouch for, as well as Ô d’Azur de Lancôme. I‘ve tried the whole range, and they are all good, but I have a special place in my heart for the original.

This ladylike summer scent will never go out of fashion.

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Jasper Conran Mistress: Gingery Bergamot Heaven

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If Gingery Bergamot is your idea of a good time, then welcome to my world. Bergamot is one of my favourite notes, except when used alongside Green Tea.

Jasper Conran has created a delightful Green/Bergamot scent here with Mistress, and the scented candle that’s part of the range was the recipient of a FiFi Award for best Home Fragrance in 2008

I may have mentioned that I am a big fan of Eau de Cartier (just a few hundred times), and this is certainly along similar lines. I wouldn’t call them closely related, but they could be second cousins once removed.  The Bergamot is dominant, although being gentle and light, Bergamot could never be too loud. There is also a hint of Ginger, which makes me think of Gres Cabotine and its Ginger Lily notes.  Fruit notes are listed, although I don’t pick up on these, and gentle Musk softens the Bergamot and makes it almost chalk-powdery rather than talcum or face powdery.  Longevity isn’t exceptional, but it’s very people-friendly and won’t choke anyone to death on the morning train.

I was pleasantly surprised at this lovely fragrance, since I was expecting something more mainstream. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea*, but it’s certainly mine.

*NB Not Green Tea!

Eau de Cartier Essence D’Orange: Refreshing or Refresher?

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From Leathery Tobaccos to a citrussy hesperide: you have my permission to call me capricious. I must confess, I have  an ulterior motive writing about  Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange since it provides me with yet another excuse, as if one were needed, to wear my beloved Eau de Cartier again today ( see my earlier review). Just as a comparison you understand.

Eau de Cartier Essence D’Orange was created in 2010 as a follow up to the divine Eau de Cartier: an angelically light hesperide full of Bergamot and Lavender and still, in my opinion the best and only fragrance to wear when hungover.  It’s like having an aromatherapist helping you out when all is spent.  Despite reviewing fragrance daily (or as near as I can),  there are not many full sized bottle on my dressing table. Eau de Cartier is one of them. After smelling a spray sample I simply had to have it.  Luckily, it was just before Christmas and Santa got my letter in time.

When I saw there was an Essence D’Orange, I was keen to try it.  At first spray it smells very like Eau de Cartier, but very quickly the soft oranges quietly enter the room.  This is not, as you might expect, a sharp citrussy orange, but more of a fuzzy powdery orange.  In fact after around ten minuets I couldn’t escape persistent thoughts of Orange Refreshers. Opening with a burst of bergamot like its sister Eau de Cartier, the orange does sort of take over, along with a bunch of violets to calm it down and stop it being too dominant.  I also would have said lavender was a noticeable note, despite not being listed. Never mind, you can take my word it, I can definitely smell a hint of lavender.

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This is beautifully unisex and may even smell better on a man. I still prefer my Eau de Cartier, but I have ordered a stash of samples of Essence D’Orange so I always have access to it without investing in the 100ml or 200ml bottle.

This is fresh, airy, light and beautiful. The smell of Orange Refreshers is, admittedly, inescapable, but I rather like it. This, along with Eau de Cartier is the antidote to too many Leathers and Orientals. It is delicious, edible and thirst quenching.

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Halston Catalyst: Either You Go or I Go.

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I bought Halston Catalyst blind. Attracted by its amazing floral notes, many of which are favourites, and tempted by its attractive price, what could possibly go wrong?

The notes listed which are among my favourites are: Gardenia, Hyacinth, Bergamot, Carnation and Lily of the Valley. Base notes include Musk, Amber and Sandalwood.

What I actually got was this little scenario:

Imagine you had a curry in the 1970s, decided you didn’t like it, so hid it in the drawer of an antique wooden dresser, then poured cheap Men’s Eau de Cologne over it to hide the smell. Then imagine you opened the drawer in 1993, (the year Catalyst was created) and decided “Mmm, that’s nice, I’ll call it Catalyst and sell it to ladies for money”.

When I tried this, I was convinced there was cumin in it, or spice, although neither of these are listed. I did get sandalwood, in spades, but that is the only note listed that I picked up on. There was not a whiff of so much as a flower petal. My beloved Bergamot wasn’t even in the same time zone, let alone in this bottle. The notes don’t seem to match the accords, which are listed as “Woody, Warm Spicy, Floral, Powdery, White Floral”.  I got Woody and Spicy, but I have no idea where the others went.

This is what I refer to as a Howler. Not only could I not wash it off fast enough, but it was listed on eBay within 24 hours of receiving it. As if to back me up, there are currently 51 of these babies listed for sale on eBay. I am not alone. You will be if you wear this.

All reviews are of course, subjective and by no means a final word. This might smell great on you. Let me know your worst ever “Howler”, I’d be interested to know.