Tag Archives: Chanel Cristalle

“Lettuce Spray”: The IScent Guide to the Best Green Scents

sea circe
Circe Poisoning the Sea by John William Waterhouse

In an effort to shake off the gloomy torpor of February, and in acknowledgment of the lettuce and courgette shortage, I thought it was high time I looked more closely at my favourite perfume genre: the green note.

garden
photo from hello-moments-s.tumblr.com

I always put green notes into three categories: there’s the hesperide green,  the mossy green and the floral green.  Hesperide greens are usually light, airy and citrussy and smell clean and crystalline, like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea.  Mossy greens would be chypres such as Chanel No 19 or Lancôme Magie Noire.  Floral greens would be Chanel Cristalle, Issey Miyake A Scent or Balenciaga Florabotanica.

green lake
gardentipsandtricks.com

Green scents give me that hit of purity and greenery I need when I’ve been stuck indoors or when I tire of Orientals (rarely happens, but you know…). The biggest perfume love affair of my life was my twenty year stint with Chanel Cristalle.  In all weathers and on all occasions, and even on my wedding day, it was my signature scent until I got promiscuous and sprayed around behind its back.

I have about twenty five favourite green scents.  Here is a curated list of some of my favourites:

 Chanel Cristalle.

cristalleWe had a very happy twenty-year marriage, Cristalle and I. We’re not together anymore, but I think of it fondly and may rekindle our affair one day. What can I say? I had wandering nostrils and couldn’t stay faithful.  For years, this light, green scent with a mossy base fragranced my every move.  As Edith would say ( who wore Robert Piguet Bandit, incidentally) Je ne regrette rien.

Lancôme O de Lancôme

Lands on skin like tiny lemonade bubbles and broken ferns.  Bursting o de lancomewith bergamot and lemon, this is  greener than Kermit and as refreshing as standing under a waterfall.  O de Lancôme is a classic that has never gone out of fashion, even though they don’t use real oakmoss any more *sob.*

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea

lizardengreenteaElizabeth Arden Green Tea is an accessible classic.  It does what it says on the tin, but it does it well and without fuss.  I adore all the flankers too. They are a safe bet as a blind buy if you like light green floral scents, or as a gift. I particularly like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize.

Le Jardin Retrouvé Eau des Delices

You may recall my recent foray into this revived brand from Paris. I jr-eau-des-deliceswas kindly sent several samples last year and every single one of them was divine.   Eau des Delices is a fabulously citrussy, herby green that smells like a greener, cranked up, version of the classic 4711 cologne, only greener than green with an extra big dose of green. It’s the lime, neroli, mandarin and oakmoss that gives it that eau de cologne oomph, but with more lasting power.

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green

fragrantica
fragrantica

4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green is one of my favourite 4160 Tuesdays scents, and that’s saying something.  This is as green as a grass stain on your knee at a picnic. It’s also a firm favourite over on Mumsnet, and has a delicate herby, grassy vibe going on.  It reminds me of maypoles and madrigals.

 

Carven Ma Griffe 

Now we’re in deep moss territory and I can’t ma griffe adsee the exit.  Didn’t want to find it anyway. Carven Ma Griffe was everything I’d hoped for.  Entrenched in the classic chypre genre,  with a blast of retro aldehydes in the opening, Ma Griffe was launched in 1946 and is as ladylike as wearing a skirt suit to the milliners.

Art de Parfum Gin and Tonic

gin-and-tonicArt de Parfum was another brand that I came to know late in 2016. I fell hook, line and sinker for the delightful  Art de Parfum Gin and Tonic. Just enough greenery and tonic bubbles and flowers to keep this unfolding prettily throughout the day. It’s my SOTD.

Chanel No 19

This beauty has an icy detachment that makes me want more. With Chanel No 19neroli, lily of the valley, bergamot and oak moss, Chanel No 19 is both unique and unmistakable.  Perfect your look of hauteur, look down your nose, then spray as much as you damn well please.

 

Library of Fragrance Grass and Four Leaf Clover.

photo by stormfashion.dk
photo by stormfashion.dk

Library of Fragrance does green notes extremely well.  Library of Fragrance Grass reminds me of the kind fairy-tale grass that the Billy Goats Gruff wanted to eat. It’s sweet, clean and juicy.  Library of Fragrance Four Leaf Clover is deliciously sharp and pretty and has that just stepped out of the shower vibe.

How about you?

So that’s my round up of my favourite green scents.  I had to resist the temptation to make this about ten pages long, but I’d happily own the lot of them.  What’s your favourite?  Do let me know, I love to hear from you.

green and white dress
painting by Daniel F Gerhartz
green dress1
painting by John White Alexander
green dress cat
painting by John White Alexander

Follow

National Fragrance Day: How Scent and Memory Go Together

ME AND FRED HEAD TO HEAD
.

From an early age, scent plays a huge part in our olfactory memory. Even if someone hasn’t got perfumania like me (and you probably have too if you’re reading this), you can bet your bottom dollar that they can at least remember their mother’s perfume from when they were a child, or the smell of their grandparents house, or even the soap in the school toilets.  Revisiting a familiar scent can be like flicking a switch in your memory bank. Perfume and memory are intrinsically linked. The Alzheimers Society has recognised this and is examining it.

“We only have very preliminary results from this test, but together with mounting evidence in the field, we believe odours may be much better facilitators of memory and emotions than, for example, pictures and trigger quite different parts of the brain. These are brain areas that cannot be probed in any other way, yet which are central to diseases like Alzheimer’s.”-Dr Jason Warren, Alzheimers Research UK.

The full article can be found here and is well worth a read.  It’s early days as far as research goes, but it is an indisputable fact that smell can trigger not just recollection, but emotion.  On a personal level, and leaving my groaning dressing table of bottles alone for a minute (if I must), I can trace my whole life journey through an odyssey of scent: there’s the fresh cut grass of my childhood and the wildflowers you don’t see as much now. The smell of dirt and tomatoes and broken ferns can rush me back in time faster than any modern digital device. Scent is primal.

Pentacon

It’s no coincidence that the very first perfume I bought as a young teenager was called “Bluebell” from Boots, now long discontinued. Near where I lived as a child there were  fields and woods full of them and Mum always had a posy from me in a yogurt pot on the kitchen windowsill.

sambeach

Holidays provided their own unique library of scent too: coconutty sun screen, weak orange squash with sand in the bottom, and the malty smell of Dad’s pint of John Smiths. Don’t worry, my parents were never drunk in charge of three scamps, but they must have needed one after taking us all to a caravan for a week. Add the smell of roast lamb, real chips cooked in lard (Heavenly then, prohibitive now), and the smell of soil from my mud pies, and that pretty much sums up the smell of my seventies childhood.

loulouadvert

As I got older, perfume played a bigger part in my life. In the 80s, you still had to take a roll of camera film to the chemist and wait three days to see if you had any good ones. As a result there are blessedly few photographs of my hectic social life throughout my teenage years and university, and no selfies at all. One sniff of Cacharel LouLou though, and I am transported to the exact songs I danced to in the Timepiece in Exeter, in a cloud of Marlboro Lights and the smell of feet that you get in dark nightclubs. I still have a bottle of LouLou, but it’s not the same now I’m a non smoking mother of two with firm dance floor inhibitions. My only late night fantasies now involve an early night and a good book, but one sniff of LouLou? Ah, those were the days.

www.myluxury.itIn my early twenties I discovered Chanel Cristalle and it got me through five years of 90s Cool Britannia London. I barely wavered from it, apart from a flirtation with original Monsoon fragrance with the brown pointy cap. Only Gucci Envy in my thirties made me stray. Once I hit 42, I fell headlong into the fragrance portal that made me want to try them all with a thirst I couldn’t shake and here I am, having written 653 posts about fragrance.

 

My favourite smell, perfume aside, is the smell of my sons’ hair. One sniff and it tells me the story of them. Elder son smells of football games in the park. Younger son smells of school and still a little bit of baby. They don’t seem to mind their mother giving their heads a good sniff during a hug and I’m making the most of it before they get too tall for me- not difficult as I’m five foot two. Scent plays a huge part in my life, past and present. And you don’t have to own a flotilla of pretty bottles to think so ( but it helps!).

hairsniff

What smells take you back? Can you remember your mother’s perfume? The smell of holidays? Grandma’s house? The smell of your first kiss? Do share your thoughts. I always love to hear from you.

Photo credits: Top photo of Photo of me with my son Freddie aged two. Taken by Alison Oddy. LouLou ad from beautyofdawn.com. Cristalle photo from artofcosmetics.com. All others my own.

Carven L’Eau de Toilette: Is That You, Spring?

carven bottle

With Spring springing up everywhere with a “boing”, along with the snowdrops and daffodils, it seems an appropriate time to emerge from the winter heavies and seek out fragrances new. Carven L’Eau de Toilette is a light as air green floral scent that ticks all the boxes for me.

Carven L’Eau de Toilette opens with with a green, light flourish: there’s lemon, sweet pea and peony- surely one of the prettiest flowers in fragrance. The middle notes are  hyacinth, wisteria and light-as-air freesia. The base notes are sandalwood, white woods and musk.

This combination makes for a very airy and feminine scent that fans of Issey Miyake’s A Scent and Chanel Cristalle will appreciate (so that’s me sorted). It’s most definitely office friendly and perfect for daytime. There’s no cloying candy and no vanilla to make it syrupy or rich. This is how you would want to smell straight from the shower: fresh as a daisy, light as a cologne and as pretty as a posy. The base notes, although promising woods and sandalwood, are surprisingly light, rounding off the petal accord with a white musk flourish.

Carven L’Eau de Toilette scores 10/10 from me. Spring has finally bloomed on my dressing table.

Stockists

You can buy Carven L’Eau de Toilette from allbeauty.com Sephora, Escentual and John Lewis. Prices start at 29.99 for 30ml.

The Ultimate (And Not Entirely Serious) Guide to Wedding Perfumes by IScentYouADay

fragrancelife.ru
fragrancelife.ru

It’s wedding season, and what better excuse to think about dreamy wedding perfumes?  Scent evokes such vivid memories that it’s important to get it right for a big occasion.  I have had fun over the past few days picking out perfumes for every kind of bride (I hope).  This guide is of course, subjective and you may have other ideas, or choose to wear a trusty old favourite, as I did. Don’t forget the Golden Rule: Your partner has to buy you a bottle on every anniversary,  so pick wisely.

 

raw silk wedding
My actual wedding dress and tiara. And the pearls are real.

If you’re planning a wedding, I would love to know what scent you have chosen.  If you are already married, I would love to know what you wore to your wedding.  As for me, I wore Chanel Cristalle, but if I had to marry Mr IScent all over again, it would be  4160 Tuesdays Raw Silk and Red Roses.    Incidentally, just because this article is angled towards brides, doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate marriage in all its wonderful forms regardless of gender, race and age.

I support marriage equality wholeheartedly and at the same time, I say knickers to gender stereotypes in perfume.   All you need is love. And a wink and a smile.

The Classy Bride

lilyChanel No 19– Think Kristen Scott Thomas in a simple shift looking incredible.  Think hauteur.

Chanel Cristalle:  Green, beautiful, simple.

Miss Dior Original:  Not the one that smells like strawberries and flowers, the oakmossy one in the bumpy houndstooth bottle.

Lanvin Arpege:  Gets better as the day goes on, like a wedding once the Bar has opened.

The Romantic BridemSKAx_OXlZ3X_Oq1qPIlBqA

Especially Escada Delicate Notes: Light as air and pretty as a picture. This delicate scent lives up to its name.

Estee Lauder Beautiful: Retro memories of Paulina Porizkova looking beautiful as a bride in the ad campaign. I think it has just about every flower in the world.

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre: Like a thousand ballerinas.  Light, airy and  feminine.

Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop: Utterly delightful and smells like a posh florist: stems, petals and greenery.

Estee Lauder Private Collection Tuberose and Gardenia: White flowers on a wedding day. Rich and longlasting. Like the groom, hopefully.

800px-Ballet

The I Want to Be Different Bride

frankenstein

Noontide Petals by Andy Tauer:  Smelling is believing; Bergamot and aldehydes in perfect harmony.

The Sexiest Scent On The Planet Ever IMHO by 4160 Tuesdays: Earl Grey tea with Vanilla and a Woody finish.  This would be a good day to see if it lives up to its name.

Etat Libre D’Orange Fat Electrician.  Never smelled it.  Love the name.  Couldn’t leave it out.

I Fancy You by Jessica Simpson– Just for the name, just so people can say “what are you wearing?” and you can answer them, deadpan. With your new spouse right next to you.  Especially funny if your mother in law is present.  Awkward if it is she who is asking.

download (3)

The Caribbean Wedding Bride

photo by www.festivalbrides.co.uk
photo by www.festivalbrides.co.uk

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess: Sun cream, coconuts, fig and white flowers. Longlasting and multi layered. Like your marriage, hopefully.

O de Lancome: When it’s hot, you’ll be needing the citrus.  It will cool you down and is one of the most refreshing scents that I know.

Miller Harris La Pluie: Tropical flowers with a powdery finish.  This changes and blooms the longer you wear it.

nd.187

The Sexy Bride Who Can’t Wait For the Honeymoon

photo from brideways.com
photo from brideways.com

Worth Courtesan– smells like knickers.  Not freshlay laundered knickers, the other sort of knickers.

Miller Harris L’Air De Rien– This was made for Jane Birkin and it smells like an unwashed andunmade bed and joss sticks. Incredibly sexy.

Serge Lutens Feminite Du Bois– smells like wooden knickers in a woody wood.

l'air de rien

 The Unforgettable Bride With a Dangerous Glint In Her Eye

bigskirt

Jean Desprez Bal a Versailles– despite having written over 400 reviews of perfume, this is the only one that made my husband stand up and protest loudly.  Could be fun at a wedding.

Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques.  It’s got the word secretions in its name.  It smells like it sounds. You may smell like you just had urgent sex with a tramp en route to the church.  But hey, nobody will forget your wedding.  Check out my review, and brace yourself.

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Follow

Chanel No 19: I Bow Before Thee

 

Chanel No 19

Chanel No 19 is, judging by its lack of mainstream lovin’, one of the less fashionable Chanels.  In my local Perfume Shop and just about every beauty counter I have visited, it’s rarely on display and you often have to ask for the under the counter tester. I  am wearing the EDT today as my local Perfume Shop didn’t have an EDP tester. Meanwhile, its more popular sister, Coco Mademoiselle, will go home with many  a stranger every day. Chanel No 19 is like the brainy girl at the sidelines, and nobody realises how beautiful she is until she takes her glasses off and lets down her hair.  I always say give her a chance.

photo from ecarter.com. Princess Mara Ruspoli print ad 1975
photo from ecarter.com. Princess Mara Ruspoli print ad 1975

Chanel No 19 opens like a good old fashioned chypre.  It could almost be used as a blueprint. It wasn’t until recently in fact that I realised how much the opening of Chanel no 19 has in common with my dear chum Balmain Jolie Madame. It must be the combination of Leather and Oakmoss and the way in which these two notes seem to make the spring like florals blend seamlessly into a woody powderiness rather than a high pitched shriek that floral scents can often end up as.

Chanel No 19 has two distinct phases to my nose.  Firstly, you get a blast of not-quite aldehydes as all the ingredients seem to have a lively dance of Powder, Leather, Bergamot and Galbanum (which reminds me of my beloved Chanel Cristalle) before they all settle down for the day.  The second phase is the unmistakable and long lasting phase of Galbanum (which never leaves), Powder, Leather and Vetiver with Rose and Hyacinth standing by the whole time like beautiful sentinels. The flowers seem to change shifts on an hourly basis, for an hour the Rose comes through, then next its the Hyacinth, they they change over again…

I could happily wear this for decades, in all seasons, at all times of day and never get bored of it. It’s a white soapy powder (like old fashioned cold cream soap)with a sweetness that only comes from a florist, and not from sugar. You know that smell you get as all the flower petals and stems give off that botanical tang in flower shops? That. Round it all off with Woody Moss and Vetiver, powder it’s nose- and you have Chanel No 19.

I could recognise Chanel No 19 on anyone instantly, but sadly I rarely experience this. My friend Catherine first got me interested in this  in the mid 1990s as she said it was the only perfume she could wear that suited her.  I tried it out of curiosity and liked it, but stuck by my Cristalle. Years later, my tastes have changed and my goodness, do I love No 19!

On one hand I want people to buy it so it never gets discontinued (very capricious, perfume houses),  but on the other hand, I want it to remain the unfashionable sister so that I will smell unique when I get my mitts on a bottle. (It will be mine. Oh yes) Chanel No 19  may not be the popular girl, but I will be her friend forever.

 

 

Yardley Jade: a welcome Déjà Vu

o.23075

 

Whilst having a quick browse around Boots today between errands, I came across a perfume I hadn’t seen before : Yardley Jade. Naturally I couldn’t resist testing it and by the time I reached the exit, I was thinking “Hmm. Chanel Cristalle. I bet that phase won’t last.”  Yet here I am, nd.12three hours later, and it still smells as if I am wearing Chanel Cristalle.

As you may know from my previous reviews, I was in an exclusive relationship with Chanel Cristalle  for nearly twenty years, with occasional forays into temporary favourites. Green, light and floral, Cristalle is paradoxically no lightweight, with its Oakmossy finish and long lasting Galbanum touches.

It’s looking as if Jade by Yardley is singing the same song, but, as you might imagine,  for a fraction of the price. I’m never without a bottle of Cristalle and on a wrist to wrist experiment, there was very little in it.  Jade claims to have Peaches, but thankfully, I can smell none.  Both open with Bergamot. Both perfumes have that translucent green feel to them, with a hint of fresh, clean hyacinth, and both have a mossy finish.

Time for the maths bit: The current price for Yardley Jade is £7.99 for a 50ml EDT in Boots.  The current price for Chanel Cristalle EDT is £49 for  a 60ml EDT. (I felt it was only fair to compare like with like, although I tested Jade alongside the Cristalle EDP not EDT).

So there you have it. I wish Yardley had invented this during the period of my life when I couldn’t  afford Cristalle, but better late than never. Oh and a huge Hallelujah that this totally lacks Vanilla, red fruit or anything candy floss. Common Sense prevailed at Yardley.

 

 

Givenchy Amarige: Jasmine via Megaphone

 Image

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.

eva

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.

Follow

I Scent You A (Holi)day

ImageImageImage

 Do you see what I did there ^^? I’ll get my coat. I am taking a short break for a family holiday but when I come back I will be continuing in my mission to write 365 perfume reviews in a year. There are occasional days when life and complications prevent me from blogging, but I am a dogged blogger and shall endeavour to keep my word.

 My main problem,  and admittedly it is a First World problem, is what perfumes to take for a Imageweek? I am so used to browsing my dressing table and sample coffers in the morning that predicting my mood and penchants for the next seven days seems limiting. I know it’s going to be hot, so Yardley Lavender and my trusty Chanel Cristalle will be coming with me.  I may be out in the evening, so something more resonant might be called for- Tauer Incense Rose, or even Balmain’s Jolie Madame. 

If I overindulge (and I intend to) there is always soothing Eau de Cartier for whatever ails you. My Imageseven year old likes Dana Tabu and my three year old likes Broccoli headed Cabotine. I’ll be at the coast, so maybe Miller Harris Fleur de Sel?

 Of course, the reality is that I will probably spend a week smelling of Factor 30 and seaweed, but perfume is all about creating your own little dimension, so I will probably just empty the whole shelf into a suitcase.

 We nearly had the wit and wisdom of LisaWordbird standing in during my sojourn, but the lucky woman is off to Rome if you please. She has promised to update us on her return with a guest blog.

 Happy holidays, bon vacances and have a great vacation.

Lostmarc’h Din Dan: Lemon Sherbert For Grown Ups

Image

A random sample of Din Dan was kindly given to me recently. As luck would have it, it was a very hot day, which is in fact, the perfect weather to wear Din Dan.

Lostmarch is a company based in Brittany with an ethos that insists on locally sourced natural products and which celebrates the beautiful region in which it is 10-mediumbased. Wild and beautiful stretches of beach, and the nearby flora and fauna: all have inspired their creations. In fact the name Din Dan means “underbush” in the local Bretagne dialect. All their perfumes are guaranteed to contain no parabens, propylene glycol, Pthalate or mineral oils, so if you know anyone who often has allergic reactions to perfume, point them in the direction of Lostmarch.

Image
www.avondaletraditionalsweets.com

Din Dan is bright and playful and fun. It smells exactly like Sherbet Lemons. To a UK nose, you will know that this means those hard lemon sweets with a sour and sugary sherbet in the middle.

It is surprisingly delightful as a perfume,  and not what I was expecting. There is supposed to be Mint, which I could not detect. There is also a dominant Lemon Verbena note, which just makes it greener and sharper. I remember smelling Lemon Verbena as a child and rubbing the leaves between my fingers. It’s divine in perfume and they have captured it well here.

Looking at the base notes, I was a bit worried as I saw Peach Blossom. Could this be a case of a sharp citrussy scent meeting a disastrous end of twee proportions? Thankfully not. The Lemon stays true and the Peach Blossom holds none of the cringey Peach notes that to me can be the difference between me buying a scent and me running away from it fast. No to Peaches!  I am pleased to report that the Peach Blossom in Din Dan is more Blossom than Peach and acts a calming back drop when the zingy-ness can no longer keep going.

Lostmarch Din Dan makes a welcome and refreshing change to the summer scents being sold on the High Street. On a hot day, this is almost unbeatable. If you like Chanel Cristalle and Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien, then it’s definitely worth giving this one a try.