Tag Archives: best High Street perfumes

Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond

royal pink bottle and box

I often find Yardley scents off the beaten track on the High Street and this is a shame because they deserve to be centre stage. If you go into Boots for example, there’s a wall of testers (all locked up these days. Humph) and a totally separate shelf around the corner for the lower budget scents, including the Yardley range.  Needless to say,  I spend more time in this aisle than I do pressing my nose agaisnt the locked glass shelves of  testers.

Yardley Royal Pink Diamond is an excellent fruity floral that deserves to sell like hot cakes on a cold day.  Let’s start with that darling little bottle: it’s cute as a button with its fancy lid and pink juice. I can see that it’s designed to appeal to the, shall we say, under forty-seven age group, but I really like this and am sorely tempted to add it to the many bottles on my groaning dressing table.

royal pink diamond

Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond opens with tempting summery fruits: peach, cassis and mandarin. These are juicy and clean, rather that sickly and sticky.

Early on in this, the cedar pops up and adds a few woody notes to the melange of fruit.   Just as I’m getting used to fruity and woody together, along come the peonies and orange flower.  There is also pink pepper, which is pretty much a ubiquitous note in fruity florals and is a tiny sweet berry, not a spice.  The woodsy base seems to get bigger and bigger until the cedar pretty much takes over. Personally, I don’t mind this, but you might. However, there’s a lovely clean white musk note that turns up later and hangs around for a while., keeping the flowers and fruit company  as they fade.

At under £20 for a 50ml bottle, this is a great gift for someone else or for yourself, and I’m a big believer in gifts for oneself!

latest launches

I feel quite protective about the Yardley name.  So many um…under forty sevens might think of it as a “Nan-brand” but it takes talent, stamina and innovation to have been making fragrance since the 1770s and still be going strong.  Yardley London Contemporary Classics has produced some of the best single note florals ever. I swear by Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Lavender ( which Marilyn Monroe wore, fact fans- not just Chanel No 5) and Yardley Jade. I also loved Yardley Bluebell and Yardley Freesia. They’re reasonably priced and you can wear them alone or layer them for a little bouquet on your skin.  What can I say? I’m a fan.

from www.YardleyLondon.co.uk
from www.YardleyLondon.co.uk

Stockists: Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond is available from the Yardley website or from Amazon UK.  I found my sample in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, which you can read about here.

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Moschino Fresh Couture

moschino fresh couture

Moschino are having fun again and supplying a cheeky wink with your fragrance.  Moschino Fresh Couture looks like a bottle of Febreze ( which I love), complete with handy spray gun.  However, that doesn’t mean the juice inside isn’t to be taken seriously as a good fragrance, because it is very good indeed.

Moschino Fresh Couture is a beautifully light and uplifting fragrance. Opening with eau de cologne style notes of mandarin and bergamot and banana-y Ylang Ylang ( if bananas had petals, that’s how they would smell), there is an immediate feel good vibe going on.

Middle notes are dominated by the playful combination of raspberry and peony, making this pretty and feminine. Base notes are white patchouli, which gives this a pleasant oomph, matched with Ambroxan and woody notes, which I did not really discern.

linda evangelista

This is right up my street for Spring and Summer. Unsurprisingly, there is a pleasing fresh laundry accord, and with the citrus, raspberry and pretty peony, this so light and refreshing that you are sure to get compliments. It’s impossible not to feel its optimism and playfulness, and not just from the post ironic bottle.

I obtained my sample from the Perfume Society Scent With Love  Discovery Box, which seems to have a plethora of fruity florals. Once upon a time I would have pulled a face, but somehow the raspberry and peony blend so well together, this could sway the surliest of curmudgeons into wanting to ditch work and fly a kite.

Stockists

You can get a sample of this, along with many others, from The Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, or buy a full bottle from Selfridges or Amazon.

Gucci Bamboo: And…Rest

bamboo

I’m still in a sulk with Gucci for not bringing back Gucci Envy, so I tried Gucci Bamboo with a bitchy face on.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a fresh break from the rich’n’cloying smellalikes that have been coming thick and fast of late.  It opened with a whisper and is still there now, all subtle and classy.

Gucci Bamboo opens with top notes of bergamot, and whilst in this case it was not zingy cologne time, it radiated like a muffled lime with lily accents- sounds like a Dulux advert doesn’t it?  Well if Gucci Bamboo were a room, it would have floor to ceiling windows and wispy white curtains billowing in a spring breeze.

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pinterest.com
pinterest.com

The middle phase has the lily, orange blossom and gentle Ylang Ylang (or banana flower as I call it in my head).  There is a light floral sweetness to this that has nothing to do with the recent trend for caramel, chocolate, and candy floss in scent.  Phew!

In the basenotes, which is the phase it’s at now on my skin, there is a hint of vanilla, but it’s not that in-your-face-cakey smell that it’s so easy to get hold of these days, it’s more a soft pile of pillows that tones it all down before putting it to bed. I would almost call it a hint of powder in among the faint warmth of some very mild amber.

Gucci Bamboo is absolutely perfect as a daytime scent and to me, it had a nostalgia that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  In any case, as a new release it stands apart from the crowd as a gentle “Shhh” among the noise.

Stockists

Gucci Bamboo is available from FragranceDirect, Escentual,  and Boots to name but a few.

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Fragonard Soleil: The Sunny Side of The Street

Pinterest
Pinterest

 

Fragonard has yet to make a fragrance that disappoints me.  With consistently high quality, great packaging, good longevity and fair prices, it is to me, the perfect brand.  Fragonard Soleil is no exception.

From the name and the gold sun on the lid, you might expect something of the coconutty/sun cream genre, but in fact what you’re getting is a rather bold bouquet of white flowers that trip over themselves to make you smell impossibly feminine and pretty on a hot day.

My mini bottle

The strongest note to my nose is the Freesia.  Freesia sometimes gets lost in translation.  In fact, this initially reminded me of Avon Today, which opens similarly, but falls flat on its face not long afterwards (see my earlier review).  With Fragonard Soleil, the freesia opens quite dominantly and then the other white flower notes ( most notably orange flower) crowd in shortly afterwards, making this both rich and summery at the same time.

On hot skin, this is radiant.  I know because I wore it down the park yesterday and it was boiling, but I could smell those summer flowers drifting up to my nose from my forearms. NB I don’t put perfume on my wrists as I wash my hands a lot and it comes off, but on the front of my forearm?  Well that only gets washed once a day!

Fragonard Soleil allegedly beds down into sandalwood with an ambery finish, but I found that the orange flower, freesia, and slightly peppery wisteria just stayed put the whole time.  This is great on the beach and equally great in the bar afterwards.  Yes there are colognes to cool you down, but actually flowers like this  are sort of perfect on a hot day.

 Stockists

You can buy Fragonard Soleil from the Fragonard website ( one of the prettiest websites in the world! IMO) or from Marks and Spencer online or instore.

My 7ml splash bottle is from the Perfume Society Summer Scentsations Discovery Box.

 

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Chloe Love Story

lovestory

 

Chloe Love Story comes in the trademark Chloe Bottle, but has been tweaked a little to look like one of the many padlocks attached to the bridges of Paris right now (It’s a romantic gesture a bit like carving a love heart into a tree) and was launched in September 2014.

When I first tried it I thought “peony” because there is something rose like but lighter in the opening notes.  After a few minutes however, I found myself feeling drenched in the orange flower in all its forms: orange blossom, orange flower and neroli.  Add to that some African Jasmine (aka stephanotis) and you have a bouquet of almost bridal white flowers, with none of the cloying creaminess that tuberose often adds at this point. There is a definite greenery and foliage too, just to enhance the bouquet imagery.  This is as green as it is clean.

 

www.olisa.tv
www.olisa.tv

The neroli and jasmine reminded me of a much missed and now discontinued Body Shop Jasmine and Neroli, but is more “laundry fresh” .  The neroli is so prominent that it is almost borderline coconutty, but stops just short of that.

 

The Body Shop
The Body Shop

The base dries down into a soapy, just-stepped-out-of –the –shower accord that seems to contain a wisp of baby powder too.  It would be perfect for a wedding, but I didn’t find it particularly unique.  In fact, it also reminded me of my recent review of Versace Eros Pour Femme and also of Givenchy Dahlia Divin.  That soapy white flower accord won’t be falling out of favour any time soon by the look of it, and after what feel like decades of mainstream perfumes containing cheap vanilla and caramel, I’m not going to complain.

 

Fragrantica
Fragrantica

Stockists:

Chloe Love Story is widely available and can be bought from Sephora, Debenhams, Boots and allbeauty.com. prices start at around £40 for 30ml. My sample is from The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense: Not For Wallflowers

classiqueintense

Jean Paul Gaultier has been a favourite of mine since his Eurotrash days (do you remember that great post pub show he hosted on TV with Antoine de Caunes? Fabulous.)

JPG was the darling of the Nineties, getting men into kilts and Breton shirts and Madonna into her iconic pointy bras – and sometimes no bra at all if the iconic topless dress is anything to go by.  Those Gallic eyes have lost none of their twinkle and I declare myself a fan.

www.popsugar.com
www.popsugar.com

However, JPG loses a few points (but none of the love) for the sheer vast number of flankers around the fabulous Classique.  I have reviewed Jean Paul Gaultier Classique elsewhere in this blog and I liked its soapy/acetone-y/feminine vibe, but it looks like someone, somewhere thought “here’s an idea!  Let’s make so many flankers that even the die hard fans could never possibly list them all!” and so it was.

However, redemption is in sight for today I am wearing Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense and it’s marvellous.

Opening with bright white flowers and a hint of  vanilla, Classique Intense makes its presence felt straight away.  The choice of flowers is interesting:  there is no tuberose, but lots of Tiare flower.  This means you get headiness, with less full fat cream but plenty of coconut and soap.  I happen to love this so I don’t mind, but coconut dodgers (great mental image! Would make a good Wii game) may wish to take a back seat.

The middle phase goes a bit woody on me and lies flat for a little while, but then the base notes emerge and in comes patchouli, a few more white flowers coming back as the woodiness fades, and a delicate hint of vanilla that makes this confusingly, borderline frangipani in places, what with the coconutty foodie thing going on.  No matter, it’s marvellous and with just a touch of juiciness in the restrained pomegranate, you have a great, and intense, woody white floral.

Ignore the millions of flankers- I have neither the time nor the inclination to even know where to begin, but the original Jean Paul Gaultier Classique is worth seeking out if you haven’t done already.

Stockists  You can buy Classique Intense online ( or in store) from the Fragrance Shop in the UK, or online from Next or online and in store from Boots (who also do click and collect if you don’t want to pay postage).  I couldn’t find it on any USA sites so I am guessing the launch over there will be coming soon.

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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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Guerlain Insolence: Where Have You Been All My Life?

insolence

 

Sometimes when I’m  exploring new fragrances to blog about, something comes along that makes me wonder why on earth I have taken so long to get round to it.  Guerlain Insolence is one example- why haven’t I tried it before?

This gorgeous violetty dream was created in 2006 by Maurice Roucel  and Sylvaine Delacourte, both solidly experienced Guerlain Noses.  It could be said that this was Guerlain’s answer to the thirst for  fruity florals, but using Violet and Iris as the florals and including Bergamot and Lemon as the fruit, they have created a masterpiece that ticks the fruity floral boxes yet remains unique in the field.

Yes there are strawberries and red berries , but somehow the restrained use just serves to make the Violets smell sweeter, but not sickly:  like sugar free Parma Violets.  Then the Iris comes in and stops the Violet getting overly sweet, framing it in that very slightly rooty, dry sort of way that Iris has. There is a gorgeous soapiness that I happen to love in a fragrance:  here it smells like high-end soap from a luxury hotel, thrice milled and pure white.

insolence

Resonance and longevity are not just good, but could go nuclear with overspraying, in an Angel sort of way.  With Insolence, two sprays will last till lunch, eight would bring down an elephant.

I adore this violet perfume that has such a thick soapy background and yet remains pretty and complex at the same time.  I have a wish list of Guerlain fragrance and it goes like this:  Chamade, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar and now, Insolence. Maybe I will print this off and send it up the chimney for Santa or Mary Poppins.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

white-company-soap-dish

 

 

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Prada Infusion D’Iris: My New BFF

iris-

My dislike of Iris has been a running theme throughout this blog, possibly because my first experiencew with Iris was the legendary Iris Poudre by Pierre Bourdon. It’s hard core Iris and brings out the root like vegetable smell of it, like a flower bulb.

However, despite valiant attempts to like Iris, I couldn’t pretend any longer.  Like a long polite lunch with disagreeable in laws,  I decided me and Iris were through, and I wasn’t going to try anymore.

So how come an Iris fragrance has just rocketed to the top of Christmas Wish List?  Step forward Prada Infusion D’Iris, you gorgeous creature you.

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photo:wiki

You may recall that I was recently enamoured with Miller Harris Terre D’Iris which was a citrussy Mediterranean take on the flower. The zing brought out a prettiness in Iris I hadn’t smelled before but I assumed it was a fluke.

Looks like it wasn’t a fluke after all, for Prada Infusion D’Iris has just knocked several competitors off the top spot and Mr IScent will shortly be directed towards a large bottle of it in time for Christmas.

Maybe it’s because the notes are extracted via the soaking method, producing a sweeter result, or maybe it’s because citrus, in this case, orange, brings out a bright, floral side to Iris that I found too grey and powdery before.

The basenotes are Incense, vetiver and galbanum, and whilst they all come through in their own measured way, at the top of the pile is iris, ladylike and prim and sophisticated.  All the carotty, dry root smell has gone, and in its place, a perfect, supremely chic flower.

Superb, excellent, marvellous, splendid and wonderful. Je t’aime, Iris.

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Givenchy Amarige: Jasmine via Megaphone

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Twenty years ago, I bought my first bottle of Givenchy Amarige and didn’t bother using it sparingly. Loud, proud, and distinctive, Amarige is instantly recognisable.

It claims that “  It is so opulent and floral that it seems like its composition includes all the beautiful flowers that exist in the world.”

amarige

Launched in 1991 by our old friend Dominique Ropion, I was 21 when I bought my first, second and third bottles. There followed a hiatus in my love affair with Amarige, possibly because I met and fell in love with another fragrance, the quieter, greener Chanel Cristalle, to whom I was faithful for many years.

Recently, on my holiday sojourn (or staycation since I stayed in the UK and holidayed on the coast), I found Amarige in a sale for only 22GBP and Oops I bought it. The memories came rushing back. However, the 21 year old me, is very different to the me of today (although naturally we look the same age *cough*).

And it is.

givenchy11

With more notes than an opera, Amarige has everything you could imagine:  Neroli, Mimosa, Jasmine, Gardenia, Yellow Flowers, Oranges, Peaches (thankfully light), Roses, Tuberose, Carnation, Woods, Amber, Vanilla, Cedar, Violet…you name it, it’s in there.  In the wrong hands, this could be a generic mess, but Dominique Ropion has fiddled with the dials until everything is just at the right volume. My youthful self  was right on one point, it certainly does smell more expensive than it is. Luca Turin nearly gave it four stars, despite disliking it.  In fact, in Perfumes The Guide he states “ If you are reading this because it is your darling fragrance, please wear it at home exclusively, and tape the windows shut.”

He calls this a “soapy-green tobacco-tuberose”. I really don’t know where to categorize it on my dressing table (my bottles stand in groups).  Despite the valid criticisms of it, I can’t help liking it, and can’t stop sniffing my wrists today as it whooshes me back to the early Nineties.

Divisive ain’t the word. There is an Amarige review on Fragrantica that makes me chuckle every time, It is written by a man whose ex girlfriend practically marinated herself in it to the maximum degree, despite his pleas to stop.  Dear crazykoffee you did give me a laugh as well as giving us all a sobering lesson on how NOT to use perfume! It is a brilliantly expressed review  and is a good balance to my gushing.

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Amarige is a distinct classic, with Tuberose and Jasmine rooted in a deep and redolent base. The Yellow flower notes remind me a little of Chloe Narcisse, a fragrance only suitable for bees.  At the same time it’s playful and sweet, without being candy-sugary. It beds down into a floral woodiness, and lasts for ages, even as an EDT. I can’t help liking it, but I promise never to wear it over breakfast.

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