I’m a sucker for a good chypre. The greener, the mossier and the older, the better as far as I’m concerned. Serendipity twinned me with a bottle of Paris 1948 today, and reader, a bit of magic took place. Love was in the air and cupid shot me.
A few years back, I tried Paris 1948 and decided it wasn’t for me. I also tried Lady Rose Lion Monkey Unicorn and decided that wasn’t for me either. However, today I received a full bottle of Paris 1948, and by chance, a sample of Lady Rose Lion Monkey Unicorn, and whaddya know? They don’t half go! One complements the other in the way that Guerlain Apres l’Ondee brings out something new in Frederic Malle L’Eau D’Hiver. (Try it, you’ll see. Thanks Lisa!).
My first impression of Paris 1948 is of fresh cut grass in an aged bottle. Have you ever opened a really old bottle of fragrance that has ambered with age and has that sort of bitter powdery thing going on? That’s what Paris 1948 reminded me of. To me, the dominant note is, believe it or not, basil. This is a note that is also really prominent in 4160 Tuesdays Lady Rose Monkey Lion Monkey Unicorn, which is why they seem to go together so well.
Paris 1948 opens with citrus, specifically grapefruit, and peaches. Now, I used to have a problem with peaches until the penny dropped and I realised that many of the Grand Dames of fragrances carry peachy nuances: think Lanvin Arpege and Madame Rochas to name but two. Once this made sense to me, peaches always gave me a
friendly sort of retro yoo-hoo when they pop up. They certainly make their presence felt here, and that could be one of the reasons why I didn’t like this first-time round. The basil has a sweet, herbal thing going on that almost borders on the medicinal, but not quite. The flowers come out after the citrus has calmed down a bit and let them get a word in: roses and orange flower and leathery labdanum.
The base to my nose, at least, is a peachy, mossy (VERY mossy) herby, slightly medicinal chypre. I’m sorry I can’t make that sound more catchy, but it’s true. Call me an addict. Call me a fan. This is a permanent fixture.
Stockists: I bought this from 4160 Tuesdays and you can too. If you buy it before tomorrow afternoon (October 27th 2017) then it’s half price. After that it’s still jolly reasonable. This is not a sponsored post.
Halloween is not necessarily my favourite time of year, but if I ever told my children that they’d be horrified. So, I go along with it, and I hang round at the back when they go trick or treating (at selected homes so as not to be a nuisance). Meanwhile, for me, it’s a great excuse to have fun with fragrance and add something seasonal to my year-round head to toe black ensemble.
Here are a few ideas in case you want to make your mark on Halloween and add a bit of mystery to your night. Maybe you could play guess the E-numbers with your Haribo Haul? Or wonder why the only traditional Halloween songs are Monster Mash or Thriller? Or you could just cram your little hamster cheeks with chocolate until it’s all over. (I don’t do that. Nope. No Sir). In any case, the perfume world has something for every occasion, even this one.
REEK Perfumes Damn Rebel Witches
REEK Perfumes burst onto the scene in 2016 with Damn Rebel Bitches. This is a fragrance commemorating the intrepid and gutsy rebel Jacobite women who fought back against the English with all they had. The nose behind this is Sarah McCartney, and a fine job she has done too. This scent makes me think of wild women with twigs in their hair. The ingredients are inspired by what would have been around way back then so you have clary sage and malt and even broom ( appropriately enough for Halloween). But REEK didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, they gave the bitches a sister and Damn Rebel Witches was the result.
What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie. I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.
Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Spice is big news this time of year. It’s everywhere from Starbucks to the mouthwash in your dentist (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly) so you may as well as embrace it. Personally, I love a bit of Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie and every time I wear it, I get compliments. It’s just spicy and warm enough and not too cloyingly sweet. Don’t just keep it for Halloween! Sadly, the UK arm of Library of Fragrance has closed and will be much missed, but the European branch ships to the Uk for 6E per package.
4160 Tuesdays Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters
The name of this fruity, malty and jolly British fragrance comes from the ingredients. It is often believed that natural ingredients are best for your skin, but they’re not! (at least not always) Sarah has made these naughty naturals behave themselves via witchcraft and alchemy. Actually that last bit isn’t true, she made them behave through encyclopaedic knowledge of skin and substance. And the fragrance? Here’s what I wrote in my review which you can find here. The website link is here.
“…On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too”
Possets Perfumes Ghost Fart
Just for the name alone, this was irresistible, and once I smelled it, I thought the name didn’t do this lovely scent justice (though it did reel me in). There’s no authentic manual that states what a Ghost fart must smell like, so the team at Possets had a little fun with this. This is a chocolate minty gourmand in an oil form which is long lasting and smells delicious. If you haven’t come across Possets before, so check them out. They ship worldwide and are a vegan friendly brand. Here’s their website.
Papillon Perfumery Anubis
With hints of Egyptian mystery and ancient rites, this incredible debut from perfumer Liz Moores is both distinctive and resonant. If you like Shalimar, you’ll also appreciate the oriental spices and resins in Anubis, but I’m going to stick my blogger’s neck out here and say Anubis is better. Controversial, no? I’m sticking to my guns. Anubis has a dark, resiny enigma about it which I find both intriguing and alluring. Papillon has a good sample service if you want to smell this range for yourself, or you could pop into Les Senteurs in London where they are all stocked.
Dior Hypnotic Poison
The name is so perfect for this time of year, but so is the scent. This deep, almost boozy vanilla comes in a bottle that reminds me of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach after midnight. The vanilla in this borders on marzipan, which is fine by me but gives me cravings for Christmas Cake. I know, first world problem! But if your vanilla palate is jaded by cheap imitaions, then do revisit this beautiful treasure of a scent which always reminds me exactly how good vanilla can be, and should be. You can buy it from here, but it’s available in lots of places. I recommend the EDP over the EDT.
With a bottle like Snow White’s poison apple and a scent that smells like purple velvet, Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum is a great Halloween scent, in fact, it’s a great scent for anytime. Opening with green ivy, violet and liquorice, and a burst of deep cherries, this is rounded off with woody musk and vetiver. Suitably bewitching for a dark night. You can find it here and read my review here.
I love a bit of Karma. It always reminds me of my friend Alison who has made this her signature scent. It’s oranges, spices and patchouli. One of the main things I like about it, apart from its gentle hippie vibe is that it holds back on the sweetness and lets the bitter orange shine through without adding marmalade or vanilla. In fact, Alison, just uses the lotion and still smells enchanting and gorgeous, which she is. You can buy Karma from here.
Lancôme Magie Noire
OK, I don’t need a special occasion to wear this deep, mossy chypre. I love how Magie Noire does a dance of the seven veils and unfurls its layers and notes over the hours and hours that it lasts. There’s ivy, hyacinth and roses as it opens, then deep rich florals- all the big ones, then a wonderfully mossy and woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, incense and smoky resins. It’s like a fragrance chameleon, changing faces as the night goes on. Plus check out the divine poster ads! You can read my review here and buy it from here.
Over to you
So that’s my Halloween round up, although I’d wear any of these at any time of the year. What’s your Halloween fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.
Welcome to MoodScent 4! Throughout the year, myself and my three Moodscent colleagues write a post on the same fragrant theme. There’s me, (Sam) in Wales, Tara in London, Esperanza in The Netherlands and last but not least, the ring leader and our inspiration, Megan in St Maxime.
You may have read our earlier posts about what scent we would wear as a wedding guests, or what our favourite mainstream fragrances are, or even our rainy day favourites. Today, we are all looking at uplifting fragrances. You know how certain scents can just make you happy even when your day is going wrong? Those.
It was quite hard to choose only five since I could bang on about perfume until we all grow beards and get wrinkly, but I managed to whittle my choice down to five that never fail to lift my spirits.
Writing about how scent can lift my mood is obviously going to be subjective. There’s no right or wrong in perfume. One woman’s Tweed is another woman’s Poison, so I don’t expect your list to be the same as mine. Do let me know what you’d choose though. I always love to hear from you.
Papillon Perfume Dryad
I have a full bottle of this holy grail mossy green chypre made by the wonderful Liz Moores from Papillon Artisan Perfumery. It smells as if it were made in the late 40s or 50s and as if it were a vintage chypre in perfect condition, but with pagan edges. The effect it
has on me is transformative. I can be dolefully embarking on the school run, in the drizzle, in my mac and my boots and jeans, but once I catch wafts of Dryad, I walk taller and feel like one of Dior’s New Look model, with hats and gloves, sashaying down a Paris rue, smelling of vintage style oakmoss and narcissus. I leave the house as a red-faced Mum, rushing and jangling keys, and I strut home as Barbara Mullen. Now that’s what I call a mood elevator.
We’ve been through a lot Cristalle and me. We were together for twenty years and this beautiful citrussy green chypre ( can you see a pattern yet?) saw me though my single days, my sad days, the day I got sacked, the days I got jobs, the day I got dumped, the day I got chatted up, and later still, the day I got married. We’ve sort of parted company now but that scent brings back a rush of memories like a fast-moving montage of film clips, full of scenes I’d forgotten about. Beautiful Cristalle, we’ll always have Paris. And London. And Berlin. And Pontnewydd.
Eau de Cartier
Eau de Cartier makes me feel like I need to wear full length white nightie and float about the house feeling all pure and ethereal. It has the perfect symphony of lavender, violet and bergamot and smells as pure as a snowflake. The nose behind it is Christine Nagel, and I label her a genius for this. Incidentally, if you’re looking for the perfect cure-all hangover scent, this is also good for that too.
Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse
There’s something happy and feel good about grapefruit. I seek it out in fragrances, and in all my fragrant adventures, I’ve yet to find a better grapefruit scent than Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse. Tragically discontinued (“Whyyyy?” I sob on my knees) you can still find this online before it runs out. Miller Harris like their customers so they might bring it back if there’s enough demand. Maybe I should start one of those petition things? Le Pamplemousse is full of petitgrain and herbs and oakmoss, so it’s pretty much everything I love in a bottle.
Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium
Last but not least is this floral beauty from New York firm Aedes de Venustas. The fiorst time I smelled this, I loved it so much I got emotional. That doesn’t happen all the time in this game, believe me. Pelargonium knocked me sideways (in a good way). With its velvety petals, soapy iris musks and mossy drydown, this is a floral that peaks into richness in a way that made me fall in love and greed with it. It’s not cheap, but it will be mine one day. Oh yes. It will be mine.
Check out my fellow moodscent colleagues here. I’m excited to read them myself as we never know what the others are posting until we all go live.:
Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree is inspired by a Parisian woman getting ready for a night out. It’s the anticipation of the evening ahead with a squoosh of this modern chypre adding a final touch to a presumably chic outfit. Also- check out that pompom! Oh la la.
Tenue de Soiree is an unusual scent in that it professes to have only two notes: iris and patchouli. I love it because it is a chypre (pronounced sheep-ruh) for the millennial palate and for old bats like me at the same time. That’s not easy. These days, the old bats want chypres and the millennials want vanilla and fruit. Tenue de Soiree manages to meet in the middle without being too um “classic” nor too sweet. Applause.
The notes are iris and patchouli. Just those two. Nothing else. However, I definitely get a whiff of sandalwood and the faintest hint of warm vanilla or tonka. In any case, there’s a subtle cosy note that doesn’t wander into cupcake territory. Strictly, speaking this doesn’t adhere to the usual chypre make up: usually but not always bergamot, oakmoss and patchouli. Tenue de Soiree however, does have that chypre style finish which is dry and woody and slightly earthy, thanks to the patchouli.
This is simply done and very effective and out of all the very good fragrances in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, this one really stood out for me. It’s a bit different and a bit daring, but it can also make a cupcake fan look twice. I hope so, anyway.
Ever since Liz Moores launched her perfume house, Papillon Artisan Perfumery in 2014, I have been impressed, nay, blown away by the calibre of her fragrances. My superlatives have overtaken each other on each new launch and this fifth scent, named Dryad, was much anticipated by me and the many cohorts of Papillon fans. To say that I was not disappointed would be a vast understatement. In fact, I feel that this was made just for me, even though I know it wasn’t.
My favourite scent genre is the mossy green chypre. It’s hard to get the good ones these days, especially since IFRA made everything so safe that the fragrance industry suffered casualties in the purge. Green chypres have never quite regathered themselves into that glory-days retro mustiness that I am always seeking: like the end of the rainbow, it eludes me the nearer I get. Well, there’s a happy ending to my quest and that rainbow has ended in my lap with a pot of gold, because that’s how I felt when I sprayed my sample of Dryad.
Dryads are mythical wood nymphs, whose lives are intrinsically entangled to the tree they inhabit. When the tree dies, so do they. There’s a wonderful message in Dryad. In all the hectic noise of modern life, it is time we slowed down and inhaled the moss and the leaves and listened to the birdsong, because when the trees die, so do the dryads.
It didn’t surprise me at all that Liz Moores chose this as the name of her fifth fragrance: after all, she lives a sylvan existence nursing broken wings and wrangling stripy tailed lunatics in the heart of the New Forest. So the big question is of course, what does it smell like?
What does Dryad smell like?
Dryad opens with bergamot and oakmoss and a mass of herbs. I find it rare for oak moss to come out straight away: it’s usually a base note, sneaking in at the end. Dryad, though, is all about the oakmoss and it’s pretty much the main figure in this beautiful composition. The greenery is all encompassing: musty, mossy and mysterious, like a dark route through a forest. There’s fauna as well as flora: deer tongue absolute has been used to beautiful effect. Deer tongue has a herby/tobacco accord and it certainly makes its presence felt. This is everything you find in the woods.
The middle phase reminded me of genuine, vintage, Dior Diorissimo: that classic green ily of the valley chypre. You can still buy Diorissimo of course, but it’s not the same as the slightly dirty version I smelled from a vintage bottle a few years back. That bottle of Diorissimo gave me a whiff of sweaty, talcum powdered inner thigh.: not so much a sexy smell, as a womanly smell. It’s no sterile baby powder, but powder it most certainly is. The nymph tries out a ladylike phase before returning to her feral roots.
The base of Dryad, whilst never wavering from the chord I’ve named Oakmoss Major, is a little bit Guerlinade, but greener. There is narcissus and jonquil (a very vernal dafodilly posy) and they merge and move around like weather clouds from one phase to the next.
My overall sign off from Dryad is a picture in my mind of green damp woods, overrun by thick moss, a delicate glove from a vintage handbag, a whiff of Diorissimo and a fluffy talcum puff. Oh, and the warm flanks of a startled faun.
It’s not quite launched yet, but I’ll update when it is. You can currently buy Papillon fragrance from the website or from branches of Les Senteurs in the UK. Check the website for further stockists in Europe, USA and Canada. My sample was very kindly sent to me by Liz Moores, and opinions are my own. Papillon has an excellent sample service. You can read my reviews of the other Papillon scents here: Anubis, Tobacco Rose, Angelique, Salome.
It’s Autumn now, although it’s hard to tell. How do you define it? A run of ten days without sunshine? That’s summer, isn’t it? All I know is that I haven’t worn sandals for over two months now so I reckon it’s safe to say it’s Autumn.
The light colognes and airy florals are going to to sit at the back for a bit whilst I bring out the ambers, patchoulis and chypres. or in the case of La Perla, all three in one bottle.
Luckily enough, my friend Lisa, beloved friend of the blog and of me, popped in recently with a bottle of this beauty. Now this wasn’t on my radar at all. I probably would never have tried it if it hadn’t been put in my hands for a little borrow and a sniff. I’m ever so glad we met though, because this stuff not only smells terrific, but is very good value indeed.
My first impression of La Perla was that it is a ladylike powdery chypre scent. It’s the kind of classic scent that was everywhere in the seventies, although it wasn’t launched until 1987. There’s no subtlety here, so it fits nicely into the category of 1980s Powerhouse too, with its “Gangway! Here I come!” sort of sillage- (Think Alexis Carrington). Even the bottle has helmet hair and big shoulders. Having said that, this has an elegance that doesn’t normally go hand in hand with such a Look At Me scent, but elegant is certainly a word I would use.
My first impression was white soap. Very soapy, very aldehyde-y and with big piles of white talc. Sometimes that powderiness is the sign of a damn good chypre, and it counts for as much here. The oakmoss beds in straight away. Yes there’s a citrussy opening and some peppery carnation and ladylike rose, but the oakmoss shoves its way to the front and makes its presence felt. There is musty patchouli, aromatic sandalwood, feminine soapy musk and warm amber too. Interestingly, none of this happens in order. I didn’t get distinct top notes, a middle and a base. It went more like this: soapy chypre to musky to spicy- all within ten minutes. What I have on my skin now though, is a wonderfully powdery, massive , gorgeous chypre. And it’s under twenty quid.
Douse yourself in La Perla, then wear fake fur, red lipstick, and arch one eyebrow imperiously at everyone you meet. That’s what I want to do, anyway.
La Perla is very good value indeedy- try allbeauty.com for prices that start at just £15.95 for 30ml of EDT (NB I haven’t tried the EDT but it would be a good starting point if you’re unsure about the LOUD SILLAGE). I was testing a 50ml bottle of EDP and the current price for an 80ml bottle of EDP is just £26.
Do excuse the hiatus. I’m on a blogging go-slow due to the summer hols and a jolly nice time we’ve had too. The children go back to school on September 5th and I will be cranking up the Autumn Fragrance posts with aplomb.
Friend of the blog ( and of me) Lisa Wordbird, often gives me little loans of incredible stuff to sample. Among the booty on our most recent meet up was a bottle of Molinard Chypre D’Orient. Reader, I married it.
My favourite genre when it comes to scent is the mossy green chypre, and I could hardly believe my luck when this big 100ml bottle fell into my clutches. Ignore the “D’Orient” bit: this is chypres as chypres used to be-and still should be- in my humble opinion. All the gang’s here: oakmoss, patchouli, galbanum, amber, musk. It’s a hard hitter for sure. The patchouli is so prickly and spiky that at first I thought it was spices, but then realised it was more of an earthiness. The oakmoss steps in and takes over straight away like a boss, and peeking out from the edges are glimpses of jasmine and neroli.
Chypre D’Orient has been labelled the poor man’s Mitsouko, but this is a great in its own right. In danger of going under the radar, this treasure made me think of that legendary accord: Guerlinade. You know that tell-tale je ne sais quoi that makes you recognise a Guerlain Heritage with your eyes shut? Well Chypre D’Orient smells like THAT. Except that it’s under £40 for 100ml.
This is a vintage style chypre before modern life got in the way. There’s a touch of rose and powder to round off the ladylike picture and a handsome, vaguely Art Deco style weighty bottle to adorn the dressing table.
If that sounds up your street then bag yourself one now. These are getting harder to find. Chypre fans-remember: a rolling stone gathers no mossy chypres.
You can buy Molinard Chypre D’orient from Amazon UK. It’s currently £35.39 for 100ml. Price correct at time of posting.
Oh Magie Noire, how do I even begin to describe you? You have bewitched me.
Lancome Magie Noire was created in 1978 by genius Nose Gerard Goupy, who also created the equally superb Lancome Climat (which is a devil to get hold of these days. I only have a dim Duty Free memory of it, but I loved it).
Magie Noire opens as a mossy chypre. It’s loud, floral and powdery at first. I got tuberose, hyacinth and lily of the valley, with the volume turned up. That’s OK, I like them loud. Unusually, the oakmoss base comes through straight away. No waiting.
This is wonderfully earthy and green, and those flowers ( an entire garden full) just jostle for attention. There’s spice too, but nothing savoury- think incense and mysterious spice markets. You’ll find myrrh, vetiver, patchouli in spades, warm amber… There’s no fixed start, middle and finish for this. Apparently it was designed to unfurl like a figure of eight, but that feels to complicated even for my eager nose. I just love how it develops as my skin warms it.
Two hours after slathering it on at the beauty counter, it has settled into one of the best florals I have ever tried. The spices are around the edges warming it up and anchoring it down. The oakmoss is giving me that chypre fix that I always seek and the galbanum and bergamot are giving me my hit of “green”. It’s everything I want in a fragrance, all in one.
Lancome have brought this back in a modern formulation, which is the one I tried today. I can’t comment on the previous incarnation as I haven’t tried it, but I would happily buy a lorry load of this.
It’s been a long time coming, but we meet at last. Mossy green chypres are my favourite scent, so I had been longing to try Carven Ma Griffe for a good while.
Originally created in 1946, there is a lovely story around its launch. Samples of Ma Griffe were actually parachuted over Paris. Can you imagine a lovelier image? It would never happen today, but the idea of being in Paris and having samples of Ma Griffe raining down makes me so happy I could pop.
I can’t comment on previous formulations because I haven’t smelled them, but I can say that although my sample is a modern formula, it has that wonderfully vintage tang that makes think the juice should be dark amber, rather than the pale shade of hay it is in the phial I am using.
It opens with aldehydes and big white florals. There’s gardenia, lily of the valley. orange blossom and big bunches of jasmine. There is a powderiness about it straight away, which usually happens as fragrances of this type fade down into the base notes. It always brings to mind a fine layer of talc on a dressing table.
The iris sobers it up a bit, and there is definite citrus to pique that cloud of powder and florals. This reminds me of my late grandmother, although I don’t recall her wearing it.
The base is a classic chypre bases: heavy with oakmoss and labdanum, and greener than most. The sandalwood comes out nicely, as does the musk. Those white flowers never quit, making this a powdery white cloud of a scent with a good bit of oomph in the finish. It makes think it needs to be worn with Dior’s New Look and white gloves. But it will have to settle for the school run in comfy jeans on a brisk walk.
You may have gathered by now that I am a big fan of Mary Greenwell fragrances. I have previously reviewed Plum and the superb Fire, and today I will be reviewing Lemon.
Lemon is chock full of citrus when you first spray it on. Not just the eponymous lemon, but bitter orange and sharp limes too. This is a beautifully fresh, astringent, cologne style opening. Unlike a cologne, however, this lemon has staying power, which is no mean feat. It gets even better though. The middle notes are floral and light. There are spring petals in there: namely lily of the valley, hyacinth and jasmine. The lemon stays true throughout whilst sidestepping any temptation to smell like lemon meringue. Incidentally, if you like lemon meringue scent, try Boucheron Trouble or Marks and Spencer Gabriella, both discontinued but still alive and well on eBay.
This really reminded me of O de Lancome– one of the most perfect summer scents ever, but this has more tart, bitter lemon. What Lemon does so beautifully though, is merge from a zingy citrus into a lemony, green chypre. There’s oakmoss in abundance, a touch of warm amber and a noticeable flourish of woody notes. It lasts around five or six hours and is one of my bargains of the year. It’s classy packaging and quality ingredients belie the £7.50 I paid for my gold 7.5ml purse spray. This is high end , low price chypre chic and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
The Mary Greenwell range is available from The Fragrance Shop in store or online. Prices start at just £7.50 for a purse spray.