Tag Archives: best High Street perfumes

Gucci Gucci Bloom by Alberto Morillas: A Floribundance

Harrods

Today, when out and about and at large,  I tried Gucci Bloom.  Reader, I may well be back on speaking terms with Gucci again.  You may recall that we’ve been to marriage counselling because I couldn’t forgive them for ending my beloved Gucci Envy, but  our Italian friends may be creeping back onto my Christmas Card list after this little treasure.

I do love a good blast of tuberose. The bigger the better, as far as I’m concerned, so Gucci Bloom was right up my street.  I had no expectations and  I had read no reviews.  I’m going through a bit of floral phase lately so thought I’d give myself a good soaking with the tester en passant..

My first impression was that I had stumbled across a cheaper version of my beloved Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad, which I fell in love with in London last July.  Both fragrances are rich, thick, creamy tuberose with that green soapiness that I adore.  Both scents dance around the periphery of celery territory- which tuberose can sometimes topple into, but both hold back and keep their waxen petals and lily like stalks intact.

Funnily enough, the nose behind Gucci Bloom is Alberto Morillas, who incidentally also made  the flanker By Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad Extreme .  He certainly knows how to handle his tuberose.

Alongside my beloved there is also jasmine sambac, which has had short shrift from me lately having been every-bleedin-where , but which nestles in snugly among its own kind in this white flower fest.  Really, jasmine sambac is so much nicer when not paired with pears, patch and vanilla. It has featured far too often in this year’s Eau de Generic.

Also present in Gucci Bloom is orris root and honeysuckle.  I didn’t think there was orris root in it at all until I noticed that everyone I walked past today smelled vaguely of iris and I realised it must be me, my coat, my wrist, my neck and I.  The honeysuckle is pretty and light and made me think of butterflies. It feels like exactly the right note to use alongside all this ladylike headiness.

All in all, I adored Gucci Bloom and want to pour a bottle over my head so I smell of it forever.  I still miss Gucci Envy, but this is a pretty decent apology.

Over to you

How about you? Have you tried Gucci Bloom? Do you like tuberose as a note in fragrance? Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

Stockists

You can buy Gucci Bloom from The Fragrance Shop, Harrods or Escentual.

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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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Jimmy Choo L’Eau: Little Pink Petals

Jimmy-Choo-Leau

I must confess, dear reader, that I was not an immediate fan of earlier Jimmy Choo fragrances. However, blogging about perfume for four years can do funny things to you. Once upon a time I was quite sniffy about fruity florals (pun intended) and despaired of finding any new launches outside that genre.  A few years later, and I’ve started running after the fruity floral wagon crying “I’ve changed my mind!”

jimmychoo leau my bottleJimmy Choo L’Eau is not, as some might think, a watered-down version of the original, but a more delicate take on it, with less sugary sweetness than I recall from Jimmy Choo EDP.  Maybe that’s why I like it. Maybe after the deluge of vanilla and caramel notes in perfume of late, fruity florals don’t smell too sickly after all now.

Opening with hibiscus and bergamot, this gives a light floral with a juiciness at the heart but no syrup. The middle notes are nectarine and girly peony- one of my favourite floral notes. The base is cedar and musk, but to be honest, I didn’t find any cedar, only a touch of musk to round things off nicely. This is pretty, and great for teens, but not too “young” for this 46-year-old.

Why am I suddenly craving girly florals? Is it this endless winter? Do I think that if I smell of flowers then buds will peek out and petals will bloom? It’s worth a try.

Stockists

HeavenScent2017shopAWI bagged my sample from my Perfume Society Heaven Scents Box, but you can buy full bottle from the Fragrance Shop and The Perfume Shop or House of Fraser.  Sample is my own and opinions are my own,

 

 

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Lancome Poeme: A Riddle

poeme

Like a fragrance DJ, I do requests, and a request to write a review of Lancome Poême came from friend of the blog, Vivienne Tuffnell. Vivienne asked if I have ever reviewed Poême and it occurred to me that I hadn’t and I couldn’t think why not. The very next day I took myself off to my local House of Fraser and decided to try some. I won’t comment on the fact that there were seven testers of La Vie est Belle and nothing else. All right then, I will. Please put ALL the Lancome testers out!  How am I supposed to get my fix of Lancome Magie Noire if I can only see La Vie Est Belle?  The nice sales assistants had to get Poême out of a drawer so I could try it. Several hours later and the scent is still on my arm.

This is a complex scent that cannot be summed up concisely. It’s more of a riddle than a poem. It was created by legendary genius Jacques Cavallier, who deserves his status of Legend. For starters he made L’Eau D’Issey, Jean Paul Gaultier Classique, and pretty much all of Stella McCartney’s fragrance line, except POP. Poême was always going to be good stuff.

Juliette Binoche. isn't she beautiful?
Juliette Binoche. isn’t she beautiful?

Poême opens with yellow flowers, but also gave me a hint of Beeswax a la Burts Bees. It has both a golden warmth and a clean laundry thing going on at the same time. This is clever stuff. There is orange blossom right from the start, and peaches and plum. The flowers come in around now: freesias, roses, mimosa. This is a pretty floral but at the same time, so much more.

Poême is a slippery character when it comes to sticking a label on it, and that’s no bad thing. This is a perfect scent for Spring, with its narcissus and mimosa, yet it has a warmth in the base that lends it to Autumn: namely amber, cedar and musk. Underneath the dainty spring flowers there is hard wood and polish ( that beeswax again!).

I rather like this lack of structure. I like people who shrug labels, and I like perfume that does it too. Poême had me foxed. Fragrantica has it down as a Floral Oriental, but I wouldn’t say it quite fits either category. Poême does its own thing in free verse.

Yellow and white flowers, peaches, beeswax, orange flower and back again. That’s Poême. I think.

Stockists

I tried this in House of Fraser. Poeme is widely available. Try Amazon UK.

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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.

Library of Fragrance Orange Blossom and Mango

mangoandorangeblossom

Every fragrance wardrobe needs a good orange blossom.  It’s a fruitier less creamy version of tuberose. It has that hint of faint milky oranges in the background and it smells like petals, all at the same time.

Orange Blossom is widely used in so many fragrances that the landscape of the fragrant firmament would smell very different without it. Library of Fragrance Orange Blossom is one of the best Orange Blossom soliflores I have tried. It’s not the highest priced orange blossom, nor does it come in fancy packaging, but for a sweet, floral, milky hit with a hint of subtle oranges in the background, this is hard to beat. It’s fabulous on its own, but when I layered Library of Fragrance Mango over the top, I had something really addictive going on. Mango smells like a tropical version of Orange Refreshers, which didn’t hurt Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange, of which it reminded me. See my review earlier in this blog)

I didn’t used to like fruity florals and was a curmudgeon about them, but then the Caramel Sugar Tsunami took over and became such a ubiquitous note in mainstream perfume that I started to miss fruity florals and appreciated them anew.

Fragrantica
Fragrantica

The combination of Orange Blossom and Mango makes for a zingy, fresh and feminine scent that goes together so well that you could Brangelina its name: MangorangeBlossom? Orango? As for me, I couldn’t stop sniffing.

Both Orange Blossom and Mango are fabulous alone and true to the descriptions on their labels, but together, they really take off. My recommendation? Get both.

Stockists

All Library of Fragrance scents are available online from their website. Prices are either £9.99 or £15 for a full bottle, or £10 for a purse spray.

Boots also carries a range instore and online. In Boots you can buy two for £25.

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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.

keep2

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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The Body Shop Italian Summer Fig EDT

 

figbox

 

I popped into my local Body Shop today and was delighted to see a classy display of fragrances in beautiful faceted glass bottles.  There were the regulars: Atlas Mountain Rose and Fijian Water Lotus among them, and a new fragrance I hadn’t seen before that had a summery looking green juice.  That fragrance was Italian Summer Fig and I can report that it is truly scrumptious.

 

Telegraph.co.uk
Telegraph.co.uk

Fig works very well in summer,  after all, its good enough for our continental cousins who know a thing or two about heat.  It reminds me of perfumed sultanas:  the fruit is deep and rich, yet aromatic and tangy too. With obvious comparisons of L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier drifting in and out of my scent memory, I helped myself to several squirts and ten hours later I can still smell traces of it- not bad for an eau de toilette.

The notes, according to our trusty friends at Fragrantica, are:

 Top notes: Fig, green notes and vine

Middle notes: Rose, saffron and floral notes

Base notes: Oak and amber

In fact, on me, although it opens and closes with fig, there are definite traces of flowers, especially rose, and I got a whiff of woodiness at the end, which I always thinks  complements fig so well

Italian Summer Fig makes a refreshing choice for summer and I applaud the Body Shop for going down this route rather than the more traditional mainstream routes so often found in summer. My only criticism is that I like to see purse spray versions of new scents available so you can make your mind up before buying a full sized bottle.  Marks and Spencer does this and I love treating myself to an affordable handbag spray. You can get purse sprays containing some of the other fragrances in the Body Shop range for £5 for 10ml, so maybe this plan is in the pipeline.

 Stockists

 Italian Summer Fig  is available from the Body Shop in store and online and retails at £18 for 50ml. Ancillary products are also available so you can layer the fragrance  nicely.

 

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.