Tag Archives: best summer perfumes

Celebrity Perfume: Still by Jennifer Lopez

still ad

 You may have seen my recent post about celebrity perfumes in which I nailed my colours to the mast. I’m a fan. Celebrity fragrances are made by experts and priced to sell.  What’s not to love?

stillToday I am reviewing my new bottle of Still by Jennifer Lopez. It was recommended to me by friend of the blog Rachael, who is a fan of Still and told me she would love to read a review.  Like an olfactory DJ, I’m always happy to do requests. Rachael, this is for you.

Still opens with Earl Grey Tea and oranges,  giving this a lovely fresh and clean opening straight away.  My first thought is that this would make the perfect work scent.  It’s light and clean and surely would offend nobody.  The light opening pretty much stays put throughout, just gathering some lily of the valley, fressia and jasmine along the way.  None of this becomes rich or cloying; the orangey citrus notes keep everything light and zingy.

The base is allegedly sandalwood, amber, musk and pepper, but this really doesn’t end up as rich and spicy as those notes might suggest. In fact, I would say some nice clean musks, like freshly shampooed hair, and the faintest tang of clean spices, like a chai tea for example. still amazon

All in all, my bottle of eau de parfum was jolly good value at just over £10 for 30ml from Amazon UK. This would make a great gift for a teen since it is no way provocative, but clean, light and pretty.  Don’t worry if your teenage years are an embarrassing distant blur of cringiness- you can wear this even if you’re, ooh, I don’t know…47?  (Ahem).

JLo Still is absolutely bang on the money for summer, for work or for a young perfume recipient.  Or an attractive older woman.  From Wales.

Stockists

You can buy this from Amazon UK like I did. Opinions are my own and I bought this for myself.

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Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection 2017 (The Pink One).

elie saab resort

Today, in my local House of Fraser fragrance department (they really should name it after me by now), my eye was attracted to a bottle of coral pink juice.  Thinking it was some sort of playful fruity floral for “The Youth”, I almost didn’t stop, but then I saw it was a bottle of Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection.  Well, I had to stop and drench myself in it, didn’t I?

The intersteing thing about flankers is that some flankers do not resemble the original in the slightest ( Dior Poison -vs-Dior Poison Girl, anyone?) and some smell like the original, but with a different top note. This one falls into the latter category. ES_RESORT COLLECTION 2017_LR (1)

The opening notes are full of tropical fruit and flowers.  It’s playful and summery and rather lovely.  There’s mandarin, frangipani and fruity pink pomegranate.  It would please  the youngsters as well as the picky fortysomethings (who, me?).  However, the top phase lasts about an hour,  and then it’s Elie Saab Le Parfum again.  That is to say,  the fruit disappears and it’s all about the white flowers and the patchouli.  Now, if you like Elie Saab Le Parfum, this won’t be a problem for you, but if you don’t, it might be.

I rather like it, but I wouldn’t see a need a to own both, due to the similarities.  I’ll leave you to decide about that one. The juice is REALLY coral pink, though.- very cute!

How about you?

What’s your take on flankers? Do you like it to resemble the original or be completely different? Or do you just follow your nose?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Stockists

Elie Saab Le Parfum Resort Collection 2017 is available from House of Fraser or Amazon UK to name but a few.

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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?”

lav

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.

chance-eau-vive-s

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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Penhaligon’s Bluebell

bluebell

I have long wanted to try Penhaligons Bluebell, despite knowing that it was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher, of whom I was not a fan.  Interestingly, it is also rumoured to have been a favourite of the late Princess Diana, and the very current Miss Kate Moss.

The reason I have longed to try this is two fold.  Firstly, when I was growing up there was a field and some woodland near our house which were  awash with bluebells every year.  I would pick huge bunches of them and the smell of them is a memory that has always stayed with me.  Olfactive memory is never to be underestimated and can pack more of a punch than a photo.

The second reason, tied in with the first reason, is that the very first bottle of perfume that  I ever bought myself with my own money was a little glass bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots The Chemist.  It was a splash bottle, square, and made of frosted glass.  It has long since been discontinued but I remember buying it in my early teens and splashing it on liberally.

 

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me
Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me

I had a Penhaligons Scent Library sample tin for Christmas, but Bluebell was missing.  Luckily dear friend of the blog  Patsi came to the rescue and I was delighted to receive a sample of both Bluebell and Violetta from her yesterday, for which, many thanks indeed Patsi.  I cannot pick a favourite from the two!

Penhaligons Bluebell lived up to my expectations.  It smells exactly like a fresh bluebell, only cranked up a little and made more intense.  The natural smell of a bluebell is more subtle, but we’re not going for realism here, we are going for reproduction. There is slightly metallic, medicinal tang to it, a little like Jasmine at its freshest.  Alongside the central bluebell note ( listed as Hyacinth, but all the same family)  are other floral notes that fill in the gaps as the sharp, high pitched Bluebell wavers, unable to keep the fresh note going.  Here I can discern Lily of The Valley and a faint rose, before the Bluebell note melds into the spicier, base notes with its cloves and cinnamon, used sparingly, like a faint outline.

 

kew.org
kew.org

There is a definite vegetable note in the base, reminding me that bluebells are related to asparagus, but it is eclipsed by wafts of  pleasing flora.   Would I buy this? Yes.  And I would also buy Penhaligons Violetta and wear them together, because, oh boy, that smells amazing!

Stockists

You can buy Penhaligons Bluebell from Penhaligons and Penhaligons stockists and franchises, which you can find here.  You can also find Penhaligons on allbeauty.com, Amazon UK and Amazon.com, as well as eBay.