Tag Archives: Cabochard

Balmain de Balmain: My Conversion to Chypres

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Before starting this blog six months ago I  would often turn my nose up at any scent with powder in and call it “old lady”. Then one day, I smelled both Balmain Jolie Madame and Balmain de Balmain. Result? One total conversion to Chypres with all their aromatic powderiness and beauty.

The best definition of Chypres I have ever read is by ThePerfumeShrine. It blows the old lady powder nonsense out of the water. Chypres originated from Cyprus, hence the origins of the name, and were derived from aromatic powders and spices, hence the powdery note.

Since smelling the dreamy Balmain de Balmain, I have learned a new appreciation of the Chypre genre, and it is because of this that I now own a bottle of Gres Cabochard, a bottle of Avon Timeless and a bottle of Balmain Jolie Madame.  I have borrowed my review bottle of Balmain de Balmain, but will be buying a big one soon from Amazon, because, did I mention? Yes, this has been discontinued. Never fear though, it’s still around, but if you discover you like it, make like Tania Sanchez and buy at least two bottles.

Balmain de Balmain opens with an astringent and masculine burst of fresh Bergamot and Green Notes. The drydown turns more feminine, with a hint of Violets, Roses and Sandalwood. The Oakmoss emerges then: all manly, and Violet and her friend Rose both swoon and go demure in his rather butch presence. This has an overall aura of Mossy Greenery, with enough floral background to make it strong but pretty. It has presence, and strength: this is no wishy washy floral dew. I adore this.

This turned me into a fan of Chypres the way a David Bowie album could convert a Country fan to Glam Rock. It converted me the way a glass of Fitou once converted me from White Wine to Red. It was like the day I knew that fresh ground coffee from my coffee machine meant I could never enjoy Nescafe again.

Old ladies and powder? that’s a myth. Open the doors to Chypres and let Balmain de Balmain into your life.

And do it quickly before they run out! (although the Perfumed Dandy reliably informs me that plans may be afoot to reissue it, if enough of us clamour and buy).

Avon Week: Timeless

Avon.com
Avon.com


Now we’re talking. I bought a bottle of Timeless in 2012 and was dismissive of it.  In my naivety I labelled it “powdery” and “old lady”. Since my recent epiphany regarding the chypre genre (Thank you Balmain Jolie Madame, I’ve never been the same since), I have changed my outlook on Chypres.

timeless

In Timeless, we have in our midst an excellent and very affordable chypre  (sans oakmoss) that users compare to Rochas Femme or even Gres Cabochard.   Another fan says it is a cross between Obsession and Dana Tabu.

Prominent notes include aldehydes, opoponax, patchouli and amber.   It opens with spicy citrus, beds down into an old fashioned floral with roses and jasmine, and finishes off with an ambery powder accord that isn’t done enough these days.

Timeless was created in 1974 and has fans that have been wearing it ever since.   On the Avon Shop UK page,  buyers are clamouring for it.  On Fragrantica, it is praised to the skies.  On my humble left arm, it smells amazing and has great lasting power.  In fact Avon, did a very daft thing which they quickly put right after listening to their cusotmers.   Timeless was at one point, discontinued.  Such was the uproar from their non-millenial,  long term, customers that Avon very kindly brought it back again.  Wise move, Avon

I tried a sample of Timeless EDT today and was knocked for six. The powdery old fashioned smell I once foolishly tossed aside is terrific. It’s classic, spicy and feminine.  It could hold its own alongside many more expensive brands and not even blush.

Stockists: Timeless is available from Avon UK at the excellent price of £5, although prices and offers may vary.

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Parfums Gres: Hommage a Greta Garbo-Mythos: A Very, Very Minor Accolade

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Mythos has the enviable accolade of being the first perfume in which I can detect a note of Pineapple. I’ve seen it listed so many times on Fragrantica in so many fragrances, but this is the first one I have sniffed and actually thought, “Ah yes, there it is.” And that I’m afraid, is one of two rather minor good things I can find to say about Hommage to Greta Garbo Mythos.

 Parfums Gres used to be terribly respectable and respected, but  despite producing three perfumes that I consider excellent: Cabochard, Cabotine and Cabaret (I have reviewed all three, if you care to leaf back through my blog)  many others have remained to my mind, questionable. Parfums Gres have been a bit crafty on the old celeb scent front. They have created “homage” ranges to both Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich (whom I always considered to be a Vol de Nuit kind of gal). No copyright problems, no difficult celebrity lawsuits, and all the prestige of these classy icons. Nice.

However, I should imagine that La Garbo would be spinning in her urn over this cheap, shrill Pineapple juice that they have named in her honour. Opening notes include Pineapple, rather sticky and sweet, and Apples and Blackcurrant. There are some sickly air freshener style flowers in there too, but overall, it’s children’s fruity squash mixed with thin and cheap bubble bath. When all that’s worn off, (it doesn’t take long, despite being an Eau de Parfum), you are left with a shreiky poor quality aquatic. In fact it reminds me of an air freshener I once bought  for 59p called “Mountain Fresh”. So cheap and unpleasant did it smell, that I  refused to use it in the house and never bought it again.

I don’t know what’s going on. Is this really the same brand that created the Leathery and glamorous Cabochard? And the Green Floral go-anywhere Cabotine?

The second of two accolades I can award to Mythos , is that the bottle and packaging are very attractive. As you can see from the photo, it looks almost high end and classic. I have the bottle in front of me and I can vouch for its silvery prettiness.  After that, I run out of good things to say.

Parfums Gres, we know you can do it well and if you can’t do it well, then please don’t do it at all. I really think you owe Ms Garbo an apology.

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Good Perfumes Under Ten Pounds: Is it Possible?

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Today will be post number One Hundred on IScentYouADay.  I would like to thank my readers, followers and commenters from all over the world (there’s a little World Map on my Dashboard, I can see what countries are tuning in!). It has given me genuine cheer to know that you are there. I wonder if you would indulge me then, by allowing me to go slightly off tangent today? In the interests of inclusiveness, I want to write about my frugal finds. When the Money Tree is tightly budded, is it still possible to smell good, or great even?

Back in my twenties, I had a huge perfume habit, but once I settled on Chanel Cristalle, I pretty much stayed loyal to it until three years ago. It was during  a period of penury that, ironically, my perfume obsession came to the fore again. Realising that Cristalle was out of my league, I began to explore other, less expensive options. Three years later and I blush at the number of inexpensive bottles on my dressing table (and lucky me, I had a bottle of Cristalle for my birthday this year).

The things is, perfume needn’t be expensive. There are many ways in which you can dabble without having to smash your piggy bank. Ebay has a vast range of sellers who are disappointed with their birthday present or their blind buy, and eager to sell their brand new bottle that has maybe been sprayed once or twice. This is where you swoop in and buy a favourite for a song. I have bought several used bottles on eBay and never once had a problem with authenticity. In fact, when I have been disappointed with a blind buy, I re-list it and very often make my money back.

Alternatively, you can buy decants and smaller bottles of niche scents from eBay or even  by trawling  sites  such as Basenotes or Fragrantica for like minded perfume junkies who may want to swap something or sell you 10mls of a Serge Lutens.

Then of course, there are cheap perfumes. There are certainly good ones out there as I found out when big budget perfumes were out of my reach. I have had many a cheap perfume for under ten pounds and have indeed also had some howlers during my scented voyage. It pays to buy online from sites such as Allbeauty.com or Amazon. Buying from the High Street means paying a premium for rent, rates, staffing costs, heating etc. Believe me, I’ve shopped around. Even High Street fragrance Sales are often terrible value compared to online prices.

I have made a list below of ten perfumes under ten pounds (at the moment!) that I consider to be a good bet. I have listed a variety too, rather than one single genre. Many of these have already been listed and reviewed on my site, although  I cannot give you the links as my computer really doesn’t like it when I link to my site on my site. I guess it disapproves of Narcissism. In fact there are only three fragrances below that I have yet to review (Yardley Lavender, Little Black Dress and Green Tea), and they will be along soon. All the others can be found earlier on in my site.

I hope this list gives you hope that when all’s spent, there might, just might, be enough in the kitty to buy yourself something pretty.

  1. Dana Tabu– Spicy, Oriental; A classic.
  2. JLo Deseo, Tropical notes and White Flowers. Stock up for summer. Gorgeous  jewel like bottle.
  3. Gres Cabotine,  A Zingy Green, perfect for Summer. NB This is the original with the green lid, not one of the many flankers.
  4. Coty L’Aimant Fleur de Rose, Floral, Rose. A Baby Powder Floral. Currently £7.45 for a gift set containing a 30ml EDT on Amazon. Stock up, it’s discontinued but still around.
  5. Avon Little Black Dress– Floral. Just bought a half price bottle for £6.50 from this month’s Avon brochure. Although it’s usually £13.00, there are almost always offers on such as buy one, get one half price, or buy one, get a second for £2.
  6. Cabochard–  A classic Leather. Currently £8.99 for 100ml in my local Bodycare shop.
  7. Ambre de Cabochard– Oriental Amber: Recently spotted in Savers Chemist and online on Amazon. I’m on my second bottle.
  8. Body Shop White Musk– Musk. A small 15ml bottle is currently £7.00 in my local store,  and a large 30ml bottle is £11 instore. The oil goes much further than the spray. One 30ml bottle of oil lasts me a year!
  9. Yardley Lavender– Lavender: Good alone or in layers. I just bought 50ml in Boots for £9.99
  10. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea: a refreshing summer classic. I don’t like Green Tea personally, but I have to admit that this is done very well and for an excellent price. Currently under 10GBP, but prices change often.

Do you agree or disagree with the list above? Do let me know your perfume bargains and discoveries. I would love to hear about them.

High Street Fragrance Shopping:The Thrill Of The Chase

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Great perfumes may be more accessible than you think. Niche is nice work if you can get it, but sometimes you want instant gratification ( and testers!) and that’s where your local High Streets and Retail Parks come in handy. Without a doubt,  the fragrance market is half drowned in  mainstream celeb-tastic fruity florals and foodie florals, but if you look carefully, you might just strike Gold (and I do not mean Paco Rabanne 1 Million *shudder*).

Argos is currently selling an excellent mini set of perfumes that contains Rumeur, Arpege, First, Paul Smith Extreme and C’est la Fete. You might now see why I have reviewed all five. They come in 5 ml mini bottles and I was excited to see at least three good quality names in there. This does not happen very often.  Mini sets usually have Anais Anais, a Ted Baker, and two others of no consequence.  Contents may vary slightly. Get it while its hot. Or before I buy them all, whichever is quicker.

Meanwhile, in Bodycare, you can buy a 100ml bottle of Grès Cabochard for a mere £8.99, (instore only) which often retails at twice that price even on eBay. Buy it if you like classic leather notes.  Superdrug usually has a range of fragrance special offers, plus lots of lovely testers, so pop in if you’re passing.  I’ve picked up several bargains there in the past, including Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize for ten quid.

I often pop into my local Perfume Shop and although there prices are not competitive, every now and then they have a bargain box to rummage through and there are random bargains to be had if you get lucky.

Don’t overlook your local Boots either:  the old time classics such as Tweed and Coty L’Aimant can be had for a song.

These are for UK stores only, but if you hear of any other bargains anywhere, I am all ears.

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Swarovski Aura: For the Young and The Tasteless

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 Many perfumes have origins and a backstory that make the scent more interesting, even legendary. LouLou was inspired by the silent movie star Louise Brooks.  Guerlain Apres L’Ondée was inspired by the smell of a spring garden after a downpour, and Madame Grès created Cabochard after a trip to India where she discovered the beautiful scent of the Water Hyacinth.

 Swarovski Aura was inspired by a sparkly clutch bag.  I could just end my review here as it pretty much says what I think.

However, I’ll drag out this synthetic fruity floral in order to give you the full picture. In a faux alligator skin bottle, Swarovski Aura is a run of the mill fruity floral.  If you are fourteen and your duvet cover has The Wanted on it, you’ll love this. It’s very fruity.  Very floral. And you’ve smelt this a million times before.

Let’s just say, in fifteen years time, this won’t be changing hands on eBay. It will be long gone and not even missed. I hope.

This avalanche of smell-alike fruity floral scents makes me me wonder. Are they popular because people keep buying them? Or are they popular because nothing else is being offered right now? It’s like strapless wedding dresses.  Does everyone wear them because they are popular? Or does everyone wear them because that’s all the shops stock right now? It’s a vicious circle.

Swarovski, stick to the sparkly clutch bags.

Molinard Habanita: A Timeless Vintage

histoire_2Molinard Habanitaseemed right for today’s icy temperatures and like Edith Piaf, I have no regrets. Having tried several vintage woody chypres lately and not liking what they’ve done to me, I was pleasantly surprised to find a vintage fragrance that I like, admire, and want to add to my scent wardrobe.

Molinard  was founded in 1849, in Grasse, and remains a family business. The company can even count Queen Victoria among its early patrons. Habanita was created in 1921 to complement the growing trend for women to smoke. It was intended to “perfume cigarettes”, but has remained a steady seller ever since, even in the health conscious non-smoking 21st century.

It may be just me, but I find older perfumes have a whiff of nail polish about them when first applied. This is no bad thing, since it brings old fashioned dressing tables to mind, which feels right and proper when trawling through the history of fragrances. Habanita is no exception: it has that distinctive note of face powder and nail polish when it first goes on. However, the drydown happens quickly and after that it just gets better.

I often find chypres too harsh and woody, but Habanita is more of an oriental amber. I love amber, and already have Ambre de Cabochard (derided by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez, but loved by me), as well as J del Pozo Ambar.

Like all the best perfumes, Habanita changes as you wear it. It starts powdery, and then warms up into a beautiful, feminine scent that lasts a long time. It’s strong, with heavy sillage, so I would save it for evening rather than the office. As time wore on, I could smell a hint of lemon, even though this is not listed as a note, a hint of lilac, some pale musk, and finally strong leather, through an incense-like amber mist.

Fragranitca lists many fruity notes, such as peach and raspberry, but I didn’t get those at all. In fact, I didn’t get any of the top notes listed as Habanita sank into my skin and seemed to skip top notes and middle notes and go straight to base notes: amber, musk, oakmoss and leather. Fans of  Grès Cabochardwill certainly like this.

Habanita de Molinard is a timeless classic. Try it . It’ll bring out the panther in you.

 

EDIT: looking back at this post over a year after I wrote it, it’s very interesting how my tastes have changed.  I still adore Habanita, but these days, I’d be front of the queue for any vintage-y chypres. My journey has been a strange evolution of preferences. 

4th April 2014