Tag Archives: best summer perfumes

Yardley English Freesia

yardley freesia

When I need  a floral that does what it says it will do, I go to Yardley. They don’t add vanilla and caramel and syrup: they showcase the flower and add a few notes that enhance it.  I already have Yardley English Rose, Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Bluebell and Yardley English Lavender in my collection. They are brilliant alone or layered over other scent that you want to “flower-up.”

I recently obtained a sample of Yardley English Freesia from the Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box and I can report that standards remain high on the flower front.

Freesia is a naturally light spring time flower, and is often hard to pin down in a fragrance.  However, the addition of a chorus of stars makes this an all singing floral treat.

mod class official

English Freesia opens with, as you might guess, freesia but this is surrounded by refreshing eau de cologne style citrus notes. There’s bergamot, lemon and mandarin as well as a touch of lavender, giving this a unisex appeal, although I am yet to persuade my husband that wearing freesia to the office is a good idea.

photo by www.bakker.com
photo by www.bakker.com

The middle notes carry spicy ginger and pepper. You might not think they would go, but actually the ginger goes particularly well with the freesia, helping this airy fairy note to stay grounded.

The base is both woody and floral, although I wouldn’t really call it sandalwood. The mandarins are still there at the end, as is the ginger. All in all, this opens as a citrus, segues into a spicy floral, and beds down into a combination of the two.  Longevity wasn’t as good as I might have liked, but I have ways of making it last ( sleeves, hair, lapels, moisturised skin).

For the price, this is a steal. I will probably buy a bottle to add it to the Yardley bouquet on my dressing table.

Stockists

Yardley English Freesia is available from Boots or Amazon.co.uk. Prices range from around £9.99 for 50ml upwards, making this a bargain.  My sample was from the Perfume Society Modern Classic Discovery Box which is available here. Opinions are my own.

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L’Occitane Terre de Lumiere: The Perfect Summer’s Day

terre de lumiere big bottle

L’Occitane en Provence is one of my favourite brands and I was not surprised to discover that once again they have come up with the goods and produced yet another gorgeous fragrance.  L’Occitane Terre de Lumiere encapsulates the perfect lazy summer day. Its evocative powers are as potent as a genie.

terre de lumiere advert

It was inspired by the “Golden Hour” i.e that bit before dusk where the sun starts to wane and you decide it’s not too early for a glass of special grape juice (ahem). To me though, this made me think of an English country garden with lavender bushes and birds chirping and bees quietly humming in the mixed borders, and “is there honey still for tea?”

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Terre de Lumiere (land of sun) opens with bergamot, gentle musks and pink pepper.  Apart from a clean citrus blast of fuzzy lime though, this marches straight into honey and lavender territory and this is really its main characteristic.  Lavender and honey go so brilliantly well together that I don’t know why it isn’t done more often. This just hums with July heat and lazy bees. I’m also heartened to see the lavender being used, as I think its vastly underrated and underused.

terre de lumiere

The base of Terre de Lumiere is vaguely gourmand, but in a warm, nutty way, rather than a sticky cakey vanilla way. I hope my technical language isn’t blinding anyone with science today! There are almonds and tonka in the base, but to be honest, the lavender and honey are the Taylor and Burton of this movie and nobody else gets much of a look in.

This is a beautiful summer scent, but beware! Wearing it makes you want to be very lazy and seek out a hammock and a cold drink.

Stockists

L’Occitane en Provence Terre de Lumiere is available from L’Occitane stores and online at L’Occitane. I received my delightful mini 5ml splash bottle from the Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box, which you can buy here.

modernclassics ps

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Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess 2016

bronze goddess

I last reviewed Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess when it was the 2013 version (There’s a new version every year). Back then, I compared it to Hawaiian Tropic. I could see no further.  However, its popularity is indisputable and since foolishly writing it off, I have walked past the queue of people buying it many a time. However, this week I turned on my heel and gave it another chance. I liberally slathered on Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess 2016 Eau Fraiche Skin Scent and I was transported.

Now I only have my blog post to remind me what the 2013 version smelled like, and it was sun lotion. I was a bit flummoxed really. However, coming back to it with three years’ more experience of sniffage and far fewer prejudices, I can say that I really adored the 2016 version and it took me a couple of days to understand why.

bronze disaply
First of all, the long list of notes is pretty true to form. If you look, you can find lavender, amber, jasmine, citrus fruit and orange flower in Bronze Goddess. Naturally the coconut and tiare flower comes out straight away: certain notes are never allowed to leave, regardless of annual edits. I also got a hint of celery, which can happen when white flowers really show their muscles.

However, it took me all day to realise why I love this so much: it’s the sandalwood. That delicately aromatic woodiness that’s lighter than just woods and with less bite than spice lingered for around nine hours. It reminded me of what I consider to be the best sandalwood scent of all time: Diptyque Tam Dao. Take the best bits of Tam Dao, add white flowers and coconut and some warm amber and that to me, is this year’s Bronze Goddess. Bear in mind, that each year is a limited edition, although this year’s was allegedly similar to the 2011, if we’re going to sound like wine buffs. This has proved to me that I should never rule anything out and that I should really try more stuff I didn’t used to like.

It looks like I’ll be joining that queue.

Stockists

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skin Scent is is widely available. Try John Lewis or House of Fraser or the Estee Lauder website.

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.

 

 

L’Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade

green tea

This new collection from L’Occitane combines the scents of the French Riviera with the aromas of nature’s landscapes. L’Occitane Thé Vert & Bigarade is one of four scents in this small capsule collection.

As summer tentatively dips its toe in the water, it’s time to start exploring lighter scents. This one fits the bill perfectly. There are few notes that I can call more refreshing than Green Tea. You only have to look at the long term, unwavering success of the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea range to see this.

The way L’Occitane has done this is, as you would expect from this brand, impressive and innovative

The green tea comes through at first spray, but it is not alone. This a cologne style eau de toilette. Like all good colognes, there are citrus and herbs in there: notably bitter blood orange and aromatic thyme. The whole blends down into a faintly white musk, clean finish, but the lovely sharp opening settles into a light and refreshing base note that almost smells floral in its delicacy. I have a 7.5 ml Splash bottle, but it also comes in bottles ten times this size. Usually a light, citrus fragrance doesn’t last long, but this one does. I wore it for around four or five hours yesterday. It made me feel and smell like I had just stepped out of the cleanest most invigorating shower ever.

Stockists

I obtained my splash bottle from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy theses boxes from The Perfume Society website. Full bottles are available from John Lewis and Marks and Spencer.

Chanel Chance Eau Vive EDP

chance   Chanel Chance Eau Vive is the latest Chance flanker from Chanel. Launched just this week, I was eager to try it and entered my local Perfume Shop to ask for a squirt. A squirt was fine , but when I asked for a sample, the assistant looked at me like I owed her money. What’s going on with the sample thing these days? I’m even a card carrying Perfume Shop Club Points Scheme member, but it was an unhesitating, unapologetic No. Nevertheless, I had several sprays on skin and coat sleeve and it was pleasant enough. Actually I was impressed by longevity since I can still smell traces of this from this morning, albeit a masculine vetiver-y trace.

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Chanel Chance Eau Vive opens with quiet fanfare awash with robust grapefruit notes that make this a perfect fresh pick me up for summer. It reminded me very much of Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh, with very little difference between the two. I should imagine that if you love one you love the other. In the middle, some light and airy florals emerge that were fairly non-descript and mingled in summery fashion with citrussy notes. The drydown was a bit cucumber/melon on me, but at the end of the day there was, as I mentioned, a trace of vetiver.

chance x4

Created by the great Olivier Polge, this will be greeted warmly by fans of light, summery feminine scents, and it certainly holds it own. Personally I prefer my fragrances to have bit more oomph, but this does the job it was meant to and would make a great wedding guest scent. Never overpowering, always pretty and unobtrusive: this is a bridesmaid scent that would let the bride shine.

 Stockists Chanel Chance Eau Vive is widely available.  You could try www.Sephora.fr, Boots, or Harrods. It’s also availblae on Amazon UK . It doesn’t appear to be available in the states yet but I imagine it’ll be along in a minute.

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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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Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea: A Perfect Summer Launch

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Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea is a bit of a mouthful. It’s a new launch Limited Edition for 2014 and it has charmed me in today’s hot weather (yes, even in Wales).

I’m actually a bit of a fan of the original Light Blue. Having expected an ozonic melon fest, I was pleasantly surprised at how floral and multi layered it was.  There have been several flankers since: all seemingly named after a page in a holiday brochure or made-up adventure films, but today’s review is about Light Blue Escape to Panarea. (see what I mean about sounding like an adventure film?)

profumeriaweb.com
profumeriaweb.com

First of all, this is a light floral. Yes there is fruit in it, namely pear, but I wouldn’t regard it as a typical fruity floral.  It holds back on the sweetness for a start and has completely left out any ubiquitous vanilla that seems so unavoidable these days.

Top notes are simply bergamot and pear, both of which I like.  Middle notes are: Jasmine and Orange Flower, both of which work well in summer, and base notes, unusually, consist of Ambergris, Tonka bean and musk.

Put all these together and what you get is a refreshing citrus floral with a base that lacks the expected weight of the ambergris but is instead a well rounded and faintly sweet daytime perfume that would pass the commuter train test with flying colours.

The most prominent notes are the orange flower and pear, with the Musk just feathering the edges gently as the base notes meld together.

I like it because it’s not cloying or overly sweet, because the flowers stay true and don’t merge into a hollow mess, and because it’s pretty and delicate on a hot day.

Even you splash it all over, it has more staying power than a cologne, but enough delicacy not to be remotely offensive if you wear too much.  Lasting power is around four hours.  Frankly, I’m a fan.

Chloe Narcisse: Busy As A Bee

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I have happy memories of Chloe Narcisse. It was created in 1992 and I remember coming back from my local House of Fraser with a bottle of it in a little beribboned gift bag. For about two months I smelled of this every day before ending my fling and returning to my old faithful Chanel Cristalle. It was great whilst it lasted and we had some good times.

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www.discoverlife.org

However, I tried it again more recently and I’m on the fence about it.  It has too many yellow flowers and honeyed sweetness for my taste these days, but it’s not unpleasant, it’s a bestseller, it’s good quality and very cheap (around 10GBP for 30ml).

The opening notes are bright and sillage can fill a room.  Sticky Marigold, yellow Narcissus , Sweet orange blossom and even  sweeter peaches.  The problem here is that my dislike of peaches means I can pick out the slightest hint from a mile off and this is a turn off alongside other sweet flowers.

The middle is equally sweet and reminds me of a very hot day: so sunny you can’t move for the heat, and a loud buzzing of bees in the overwhelmingly overstuffed flower beds. It’s all a little too much. Thankfully the pineapple that’s alleged to be present is not present, at least to my nose.  Many a pineapple has ruined a perfume for me. They are strictly for eating only.narcisse ad

The base is a little calmer, with surprisingly, Tolu balsam as a base note. There is a little spice and sandalwood and I think I prefer the base notes to the rest of it.  It’s like the smell that lingers after the overly lavish bouquet has been taken out of the room.  A faint trace that flowers were here once, but what remains is much more palatable.

I bought a bottle of this last year and had such mixed feelings about  it that I ended up selling it on eBay.  I can’t hate it, it gives me happy memories and I love the little green metallic neck on the bottle, but try as I might, my nose has changed too much to still be that 22 year old with the little gift bag and the free body lotion.

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Askett & English Essential: Wake Up, It’s a Beautiful Morning

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My sense of smell is slowly creeping back so I thought I’d try something fresh and astringent. We’re not quite firing on all cylinders, but Askett & English Essential is so fresh and bright, it could break through any fog and stuffiness.

Askett & English is a small English perfume company based in the scenic Chiltern Hills. With only two scents to their name (so far I hope), their reputation depends on quality far more than a larger company who can hide a weak link.

The two perfumes are Essential and Absolute. I have only tried Essential, which I am reviewing today.

If You like O de Lancome or Eau Dynamisante, you’ll love this. It’s an Eau de Cologne with lasting power, and it smells heavenly.  Opening notes are Lemon and Bergamot, and middle notes are Lavender and Jasmine. Base notes are Woodier, with Oakmopss, Vetiver and Cedar. The base notes particularly remind me of O de Lancome with’s its Zingy opening and green, prickly base.

Primarily, the Lime comes through stronger than anything, which is lucky, since I love Lime. It’s sparkling: almost like a gin and tonic. You can imagine the bubbles and the ice cubes in a frosty cold glass.

It smells quintessentially English: as English  as cricket whites and tea roses and honey for tea.  It’s not clear if it’s directed at men or women, but it matters not at all. This would smell excellent on either.

Available from limited stockists, I was kindly provided with a sample from Scent and Sensibility. Both Essential and Absolute cost £60 for 100ml.

In  all honesty, if you already  owned O de Lancome and Eau Dynamisante as well, you probably wouldn’t need this (although need and want mean the same thing when talking about perfume), but if you have neither, this will do nicely.