Tag Archives: Best citrus perfume

Miller Harris Le Petit Grain: Welcome Spring!

petitgrain

The weather has been warm for a total of more than a day here in Wales and we have declared it Spring.   Sartorially, Spring is always a problem. You can’t wear sandals with a trench coat but is two cardigans overdoing it?  We don’t know.  Scent-wise, it’s much easier. Warm weather means break out the citruses (like I needed an excuse).

lepg sampleStill smarting from the disappointment that Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse has been tragically discontinued, I managed to dry my eyes and give a wobbly sniffle when I tried Le Petit Grain. What do you know? In researchiong for this post, I find that Le Petit Grain is discontinued too!  You can still buy it, but there won’t be any more by the look of things.

Bah. I’m going to review it anyway.

Petit grain is a bitter green flowery note extracted from the leaves and the unripe twigs of an orange tree. It’s not as sweet as blossom, nor quite as sour as pith, but if you want zingy, stop here and buy one.

Le Petit Grain bowls you over with every citrus it can throw at you. However, this simply gives me my Julie Andrews moment. I want to open the window and sing to the cartoon bluebirds when I wear this. There’s lavender, which offers a lovely clean feel and a nod in the direction of classic gentleman’s cologne.  Herby notes include tarragon and rosemary  which add a touch of English Country Garden.  The base notes are oak moss, vetiver and patchouli, just missing the chypre genre by a whisker.  This is sharp, herby and grassy by turns and I love it.

Photo by Brambleberry.com
Photo by Brambleberry.com

Miller Harris Le Petit Grain is a beautiful scent for summer, spring, or anytime you feel like an inner boost.  It feels like therapy to wear it and fills me with optimism. I love it when that happens.

Stockists

Miller Harris Le Petit Grain is available from Amazon UK and escentual.com and TK Maxx if you’re lucky.   My sample is from my own collection and opinions are my own.

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Le Jardin Retrouvé: Scents that Tell a Story

jr-selection

 

yuriLe Jardin Retrouvé is a perfume house that’s both new and old. The nose behind the scents, Yuri Gutsatz, sadly died in 2005 and the brand closed.  We owe Yuri a debt of gratitude, because not only did he create these beautiful scents, but he was also one of the founders of the legendary Osmothéque. His original work has been honoured and continued by his son Michel and his wife  Clara, who have relaunched Le Jardin Retrouvé using Yuri’s original formulations.

The happy result is that the world gets to revisit these delightful, high quality fragrances anew, and what a joy they are!

I was sent a small selection and asked for my opinion, which I happily give, unburdened by bias or bribery. The tricky bit is choosing a favourite. That, my friends, is the hardest bit of all. Each scent comes with its own whimsical scenario that prompted my ever ready imagination to wander even further into colourful and fanciful territory.

 

Eau des Délices

1970: The garden of delight, painted in 1503 by Heironymous Bosch, intrigues everyone who comes to see it, including you

jr-eau-des-delices

A bouquet of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain and lemon makes this eau fraiche a classic cologne. Uplifting and invigorating, each ingredient is  distinct, yet blended seamlessly. This makes me want to throw open the windows and belt out a Julie Andrews number. Fans of Eau de Cartier, O de Lancome and 4711 Aqua Colonia will love this.

 

Sandalwood Sacre

1786:You walk towards a sacred grove that houses a small Hindu Temple…

jr-sandalwood

This beautiful 70s style sandalwood reminded me of those wonderful ethnic market stalls I used to frequent as a teen. I’d buy pungent patchouli oil and floaty skirts with tiny mirrors on them.  The sandalwood is soft with floral nuances (via orange blossom),  a subtle undertow of patchouli and a delicately feminine white musk finish.  It’s addictively sniffable and leaves a beautiful wake.

Verveine d’Etè

1878: You walk in the Summer Garden in the heart of St Petersburg…

jr-verbena

With ingredients that smell so-fresh-it-tingles, this is a happy, playful scent in a similar vein to Eau des Délices above. With basil, lemon, bergamot and the all important verbena, this is the best verbena scent I have ever smelled, and I’ve smelled a fair few on my travels.  There’s a trail of oakmoss in the basenotes, which makes me even happier.

Cuir de Russie

1920:The opera ball is packed. Diaghilev is presenting his Ballet Russes.

jr-cuir-de-russie

For some reason, I always get cuir (leather) mixed up with cuisse (thigh), so I initially read this as Russian Thigh. Actually, I’m not far off since this scent was inspired by the Russian Ballet.  Cuir de Russie reminded me of those wonderful vintage chypres with strong powdery notes muffling the oakmoss in time honoured fashion. Specifically, this reminded me of the day I entered the chypre portal via Balmain de Balmain and never looked back. Cuir de Russie is violets, cinnamon, wood and styrax. The wood and spice gives it muscles and the violets give it delicate fairy wings. This is a stunning juxtaposition.

Rose Trocadero

1935: Behind you, the Eiffel Tower. Before you, the Trocadero Palace.

jr-rose

Rose Trocadero is not your typically pretty rose petal scent. It’s darker than that. Using hefty Bulgarian Rose Absolute, this stuff will fill a room (in a good way). There’s something spicy and dark at the heart, but it may just be the genre of the rose. Fans of Miller Harris Rose En Noir will love this take on roses. I found hints of spice and heady jasmine. This rose is rich and deep and makes a bold statement.

Citron Boboli

2000: The view of Florence is stunning, but a grotto on your right draws you with chilled air.

jr-boboli

This is another lemon based scent but has the distinction of added spice, namely cloves and black pepper. Opening with greener than green petitgrain,  and bursting with the freshness of citrus, the spiciness gives this an almost sherbetty kick. I loved it.

Tubereuse Trianon

1689:You are headed towards the Trianon in the garden of Versailles where the King has had a profusion of flowerheads planted.

jr-tuberose

I have somehow gone nuts for tuberose lately and cannot get enough. This may have begun back in October when I entered the By Kilian boutique in London and was greeted by Good Girl Gone Bad.  Tubereuse Trianon opens with both tuberose and jasmine. The creamy headiness of both brings out the best in each other and this gives me an almost exaggerated soapiness that I cannot get enough of. The blurb says “your heart just encountered love. It melts” It did. It melted. I love this so much I think I may have to marry it.

Stockists

You can buy these fragrances from the website, which launches November 2016 ( i.e now)

Acknowledgenments: samples kindly supplied by Le Jardin Retrouve. All photos are my own.

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Shay and Blue London Blood Oranges

 

blood oranges

Shay and Blue London continues to impress. After wearing Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom all weekend and recently raving about Framboise Noire, I did wonder if Blood Oranges would meet my expectations. The answer is no, it excelled my expectations and it has now been added to my Full Bottle Wish List (It’s longer than my street now. Oops!).

blood orangesBlood Oranges opens, and stays, with bitter sharp citrus notes. What impressed me the most is that the citrus sticks around for the whole time. This is not particularly common, although I have enjoyed a spate of long lasting citruses lately so maybe the tide is happily turning. Blood Oranges pierces through the heat of (dare I say it yet?) summer and gives me all the clean scent of a freshly peeled orange without the marmalade stickiness. In the middle there’s a bit of leather which softens the edges without taking over. The basenotes are warm, with amber, musk and woods, but the oranges never leave. Longevity is excellent at around six or seven hours, and although it’s a warm scent, the citrus keeps it fresh and therefore ideal for summer. There’s no staleness, no hint of dried up peel: this stays as juicy as if you’ve just peeled it.  It makes an excellent unisex scent, being an invigorating cologne style fragrance that would suit anyone, especially, but not exclusively, in summer.

Stockists

I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy full bottles from trusty Marks and Spencer. Big shout out for the stunning packaging too.

 

 

Prada Candy Florale: A Clever Surprise

nd.24487   Remember that shampoo from the 80s that was called Once?  It was two tone and  you had to shake it before use and presto!  It was both shampoo and conditioner. Why did I think of Once when I was trying out Prada Candy Florale?  Mainly because Prada Candy Florale surprised me and completely changed half way through wearing it. nd.12426

I have reviewed Prada Candy  elsewhere in this blog (I won’t do a link to my own blog as it gets very weird),  and despite its name making me think it was going to smell like a sweet shop, it was  actually very good and not too sweet at all. Prada Candy was simply Musk, Benzoin and Caramel.

Prada Candy Florale has all of these but with added Peony and wait for it: Limoncello- that bitter, palate cleansing lemon liquer that you only drink in tiny shots. Prada Candy Florale doesn’t smell like a close relation to Prada Candy,

limoncello.com
limoncello.com

but the Florale bit is as good as its word.  Florale uses the prettiest and girliest of flowers: the Peony.  It does the job and it’s a safe bet if you’re not going for an edgy floral. Here’s what happens when you wear it:  it opens as a very pretty, almost green floral with dominant Peony and very little trace of Benzoin or Caramel or anything else really.

Then, and here’s the clever bit, it changes into a delightful lemon eau de cologne style scent that hangs around for about four hours.  The transitional bit is interesting: a sort of citrussy floral bouquet with a hint of creosote-y benzoin, but when it settles it smells so much like a lemon eau de cologne that I had to check which tester  I had used, thinking I must have sprayed one over the top of it.  

Prada Candy Florale impressed me a great deal.  Sometimes new launches are all so samey that I think I will always be buying old school scents from the bottom shelf for evermore.  But then something like this comes along and I applaud its audacity in not playing it safe.  I don’t like it enough to shove anything off my existing over crowded wish list, but thank you Prada for giving us something a bit new and a bit different.

 

PS My sample comes from the latest quarterly  Discovery Club Box from The Fragrance Shop. I love them- make it monthly Fragrance Shop!

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