Tag Archives: Coty L’Aimant

Welcome to MoodScent 4! In the Mood for Mainstream Scent

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We are four perfume bloggers based in France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months. This time we have chosen Mainstream perfumes. You will find links to the other blogs at the end of the post. We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own selection in the comments.

Now, doing this was fun, as it always is, but this particular theme had a touch of serendipity about for me. There I was racking my brains on what to write about and idling fiddling with the bottles on my dressing table. and the answer was right in front of me. I picked up five of my most reached for bottles and realized they are all mainstream scents bought from my local shopping centre.  So here are five fragrances that I bought from the High Street in my local medium sized town in South Wales. In other words, if I can find them, then you’ll definitely be able to.  PS  By a happy coincidence, they are all really cheap.

first big

First by Van Cleef and Arpels

first by van cleefOur love story began when I obtained a mini bottle of this in a set from Argos.  It was true love and I was in full bottle territory shortly afterwards.  This is the one I reach for when I want to feel grounded.  In other words, it’s the nearest thing I have to a signature scent.

It unfolds from sophisticated aldehyde down to big peppery florals and ends in a mossy flourish. The genius behind it is none other than Jean Claude Ellena.  A 60ml bottle of the eau de parfum is under £30, which I call outstanding value for money.

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Coty L’Aimant

laimant bottl;eAnother classic that I wear for comfort and when I want to feel like my old self.  It was created in 1927, on the coat tails of Chanel No 5 and was made in the same style.  L’Aimant was the signature scent of my late grandmother, who was always such a lady.  It’s a stunning scent and the parfum de toilette is plenty strong enough.  I wasn’t so keen on the cologne though.

L’Aimant opens with aldehydes and peaches and travels through a middle phase of all the best flowers: geranium, roses and jasmine. They segue seamlessly into the woody vetiver base with a dusty, powdery flourish that speaks of decades of class and untouched perfection. I still keep thinking the price is a joke, but it’s not, and neither is this excellent classic.

lovely

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.

I feel very strongly about SJP Lovely. It is my response to people who say they would never wear celebrity perfume and that cheap perfume doesn’t  smell good.  Lovely ticks both boxes. It’s a superb fragrance that I wear often. It’s long lasting and classy and the price is so low for quality of this calibre.

lovely pic

I was introduced to this by my dear friend and shameless perfume enabler Lisa Jones. She said she wore it for the school run, you know, those moments when you notice the time, grab a bottle of what goes with everything and run out of the house. Within days of trying her bottle, I had my own 100ml bottle. It was one of those  fragrances.

Lovely is described as a silky white amber, but it’s so much more.  It opens with lavender and apple martini (don’t ask me!)  and orchid, which I don’t usually like.  The whole thing morphs into a feminine, pretty floral, but as soon as that’s registered, it becomes woody and gets a bit of texture from the patchouli.   Rounded off with amber and white musk, this is a stunning floral with an earthy, warm finish.  I just love the lavender in it that keeps it so ladylike and timeless.

lovely

Lovely has outrun many celebrity fragrances and is regarded by many critics as  being excellent in its own right.  What makes me love it even more is that SJP herself was involved on every level and had very definite ideas about what she wanted. This was no mere “sign-here” deal.  She got in the way and rolled her sleeves up.

Having said that, credit must go tothe talented noses who actually made it- Laurent le Guernec and Clement Gavarrry for Coty.

lair du temps ad

Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps

lairdutempsLike L’Aimant and First, this is a scent that will always be on my dressing table. There’s nothing like it, and that’s hard to find these days in a busy and often generic market. L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the dove on the bottle is the dove of peace in the turbulent post war period.

The scent is so familiar to me that it’s almost hard to deconstruct. It’s a gentle, luminous floral that also has peppery carnation, roses, jasmine, violet, a hint of talc and a warm mossy, woody amber finish.

Listing the notes does nothing to do it justice.  If you’ve never tried it, you must, and if you have, then I’m sure you’ll know why I love it so. Nothing the brand has done since has ever beaten this.

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Library of Fragrance

lof scentsLibrary of Fragrance really, absolutely and truly does have a scent for every occasion. It’s a brand that has a friendly, playful image, yet provides serious quality perfume. It is ideal for building a scent wardrobe and learning to layer fragrance, or just for pinning down that nostalgic note you couldn’t put your finger on until now. My recommendations are Musk # 7, Mahogany, Play Doh (see my love for it here), Salt Air, Rain, Snow, Grass, Orange Flower, Four Leaf Clover, Gingerbread and Myrrh.  Some of friends collect them and they look fabulous in the bathroom with their pharmacy style silver lid bottles.

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Cacharel LouLou

loulouLouLou has a special place in my heart.  This was the scent I was wearing when I  was catapulted into adult life from home to university back in 1988.  Everything I did for three years smelled of this.  I still have a bottle of this intriguing anise, plum, patchouli, oriental floral that pays homage to silent movie star Louise Brooks.  I’m certain it doesn’t smell as it did, though  Today’s version smells thinner and more metallic. I remember it was earthier and had a deeper resonance back in the 80s.   Like all of us, it was best in its youth, but spraying this into the air takes me back to  goth nightclubs, red wine, red lipstick and cigarette smoke faster than a time machine could.

It remains remarkably low priced and I adore the Art Deco bottle and  stylised flowers on the box.  I have a soft spot for all the Cacharel range, especially Noa and Anais Anais.

My Mood Scent 4 Chums

Find out what my Mood Scent colleagues put in their round ups.  Read what their thoughts on mainstream scents are from the links below:

  • Tara on A Bottled Rose (representing England) and
  • Esperanza in the Netherlands with her blog L’Esperessence,
  • and last but not least, the lovely Megan, who came up with this idea and brought us all together. Megan is based in France and you can read her blog MeganinSainteMaxime here.

Over to you

What’s your favourite High Street or main stream fragrance? Is there one you’ll never be without? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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Fragrance for the Frugal 2017

thrift

Now that my blog is four, I thought I’d better do some housekeeping. One of my most popular articles is “Perfume for Paupers”, written two years ago. It  was my guide to how you can smell good without blowing the budget. It was written from the heart (and from past experience ), since I believe that you don’t have to be rich to smell good.

pandora
Nope. No money in the money box.

However, as you know, the industry changes faces like a kaleidoscope in even a short space of time.  For example, many celeb scents that I reviewed  then, have been discontinued, and many new affordable options have appeared on the market in just two years.  However, much of what I wrote in my earlier article still stands: shop around, be selective, use eBay, look past the label.  I reckon it’s time for an update.  Here’s my guide on how to smell good without feeling bad.

Edith Evena as Lady Bracknell
Edith Evans as Lady Bracknell

Leave your snobbery at the door

I used to be in an exclusive long term relationship with Chanel Cristalle and would only rarely have flings with other scent on the side.  During a frugal period in my life, I decided to shop around, and my love affair with scent truly blossomed.  I hold allbeauty.com and Home Bargains responsible for this. I bought the cheapest scent I could afford and ended up finding some firm favourites.   High price tags do not always mean high quality., and vice versa.  Don’t overlook celebrity fragrances either. They are all made by professional Noses and  are usually cheaper than other brands. Some of my favourite celeb scents are under £10. 

Recommended: Celine Dion Sensation,  Sarah Jessica Parker  Lovely,  JLo Glow, Madonna Truth or Dare.

avon retro3

Avon

Ok, I’m starting to sound obsessed with Avon now, but when you an find a decent perfume for under seven quid, well, then it’s very hard to stay away. In fact my SOTD is Avon Rare Platinum and those tuberose wafts are very pleasing to my nose today. Avon Perceive Oasis was my summer scent more than any other in 2016. I even bought a back up bottle.  I give Avon a further thumbs up for selling purse sprays at just £3 and for currently selling Scent Essence Lime Verbena for just £2.50 for 30ml.  All prices correct at time of posting.

Recommended:  Lime Verbena, Avon Little Black Dress Eau Fraiche, Avon Rare Platinum, Avon Perceive Oasis, Avon Tahitain Holiday, and for fans of La Vie est Belle, Avon Cherish.

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Go for preloved

I have bought a lot of perfume from eBay and have never been let down. EBay is pretty strict on counterfeit and it’s not worth most people’s trouble to try and sell the odd fake. Having said that, there’s no guarantee it’ll never happen to you, but in seven years I’ve not been conned.  EBay is also great for perfume samples which helps avoid costly blind buys. I’ve also scored some blinders from a local car boot sale.  Never underestimate how much somebody else can dislike a perfectly good bottle of perfume and be desperate to get rid of it. That, my friends, is when you  circle and swoop.

Success stories:  100ml of Cabotine for £3.99 on eBay, bottle of LouLou and assorted samples for £7 on eBay, bottle of half used 100ml of Rive Gauche for £4 at car boot sale.  Full 50ml bottle of Chanel Coco EDP for £26 on eBay.

coty

Go retro

Some of my favourite cheap and cheerfuls are the kind of scent young folk today might label as “Nan perfume”.  I prefer the term “classic. ” Nobody will put me off Coty L’Aimant or Chique and I could buy both bottles with ten quid and still have change for a Daim Bar.

Recommended: Coty L’Aimant, Yardley April Violets,  Chique.

 

mysamples

Get good samples

If you’re saving for a bottle of the good stuff and in between bottles,, why not just buy a few samples and use your favourites on high days and holidays? It’s cheaper than a full bottle and you can always smell expensive without having a shelf full of posh bottles and no money in the bank.

Recommended: The Perfume Society for great, hard-to-find samples, and The Fragrance Shop for a quarterly box of new releases.

sam collection

Swapsies

You’d be amazed how many of your friends have been given perfume they don’t like and don’t wear. Nobody seems to throw it away though, so get asking. You might find they have one of your favourites and that dusty bottle you can’t get rid of might be just their cup of tea. I dare you to ask four friends if they have a bottle of perfume they don’t really wear.  It also works on forums such as Fragrantica, Mumsnet and Fragcomm.

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I bet beautiful Ruby Rose wears whatever the hell she likes. Photo from Pride.

Go unisex

Many men’s fragrances are cheaper than women’s ( though not all). There’s no rule that says you can’t wear his stuff or that he can’t wear yours. Having said that, although I reguarly raid my husband’s scent collection (I chose most of it- ergo it’s mine.) I can’t see my husband borrowing my SJP Lovely to wear for work anytime soon. Shame. Florals can smell good on men.

grand-canyonHere’s what I mean by cheap and cheerful for chaps:  Old Spce (cheap as chips) doesn’t smell a million miles away from Yves Saint Laurent Opium. (Thanks for the tip Portia of APJ), and Avon men’s fragrances are truly excellent. I wore Wilderness for Men for the whole of August one year, with a pretty sun dress. I say Pah! to labels. If it smells good wear it.

Recommended: Avon Destination Grand Canyon ( reputed to smell like Terre D’Hermes), Lynx  Urban DailyTobacco and Amber, Jovan Musk For Men, Lidl XBolt (pleasant, apple-y top note.)

white musk

Al-Rehab, Al Aneeq and Crown perfumes

These mini rollerballs are available from Amazon and eBay. Containing no alcohol,  and usually in rollerball format, these are an unbeatably cheap way to layer notes or wear the scent alone.  The violetjasmine and the rose single note fragrances are pretty good too. They make good presents and a 10ml rollerball is perfect for even the smallest of handbags.

Recommended:  I particularly like Violet and  the White Musk. neither cost me more than 2.99. A friend of mine adores Choco Musk at only £1.99.

How About You?

What’s been your best frugal fragrance?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

photo by Alison Oddy
photo by Alison Oddy

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The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day

keepmumcrop

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.

There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or,  b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.

I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with  all of the above.  There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls.  At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…

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THE CLASSICS

These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.

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Ysatis

Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots, Amazon and trusty allbeauty.com

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Estee Lauder Cinnabar

For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s  hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

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Yves Saint Laurent Opium

It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).

chanel no5Chanel No 5

Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all.  I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis,  and Escentual to name but a few.

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Miss Dior Originale

This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting.  I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.

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Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of FraserAmazon and John Lewis.

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TASTER SETS AND DISCOVERY SETS

Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:

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4160 Tuesdays

I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience  for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.

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The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish.  A VIP Subscription at just £25  gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year.  Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.

Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.

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THE CHEAP AND CHEERFULS

Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.

Coty L’Aimant

This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).

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Tweed

Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, allbeauty.com and Fragrance Direct.

Avon.com

Avon

Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.

 

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Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph

This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review.  It’s currently  only £11.20.

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Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.

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That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.

Wearing Your Mum’s Perfume- Drugstore Classics From the 1970s

tweed ad

Are you one of those people who recoils at the idea of smelling like their Mum? I am.  I confess that I very rarely wear the same perfume as my Mum, no matter how much I like it.  In fact I try not to introduce her to perfumes I love for that very reason. No offence Mum, if you’re reading this! ( I bet she’s not) and happy birthday for tomorrow.

However, as a child of the seventies I am having a big  fit of nostalgia lately. So many new releases from the last two years have been berry-heavy, vanilla heavy and have more in common with an ice cream sundae than a cosmetics counter.  It used to be aldehydes and oakmoss and now its all candy floss and Kate Moss (which rhymes if you say it right). When did it become cool to smell like cupcakes instead of eating them? Is it any wonder that I long for the seventies?

alibaba.com
alibaba.com

Seventies fragrances are generally looked down on by the youth of today and no wonder: modern tastes have moved on.  However, as an ardent fan of Coty L’Aimant and Panache and Avon Timeless I fully embrace those aldehydic affordable scents from my formative years and I reckon retro scents are due for a comeback.

I’ve picked ten of my favourites out below just in case you, like me, fancy a shot of retro fragrant frugality.  I have only selected perfumes you can still buy today and perfumes that are still comparably affordable (not counting eBay where even the discontinued can be had for the right price)).  In fact, the added bonus is that all the fragrances I have listed come in at well under a tenner and some are nearer five pounds.   Is it too early to use the C word?  Of course not.  Here I go then- these would make great affordable Christmas presents. Check these out:

Avon.com
Avon.com

Avon Timeless:An ambery, powdery scent created in 1974.  Avon discontinued it in favour of more modern releases but customer demand brought it back in 2012. My Avon Lady tells me it’s her bestseller.

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Tweed:Tweed is underrated if you ask me.  Its chock full of citruses and flowers,  goes a bit Mr Sheen  for a bit with lavender and beeswax, then ends up with a woody, patchouli afterglow that lasts a whole day. Cheap as chips and a pleasant change among the sweety/cakey miasma of the Twenteens.

alibaba.com
alibaba.com

Panache: I wear this often.  Its jasmine, aldehydes and roses last around twelve hours on me, making my little 3.95 bottle fantastic value for money. You can still get it for well under a tenner.

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hprints.com

Coty L’Aimant: Many Chanel No 5 fans eschew this  gem, when actually, they were launched a few years apart in the late 1920s and smell very similar.  Longevity is excellent and despite its tiny price, it never smells cheap.

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Yardley Lavender: I’ve got the lot: Yardley Rose, Yardley April Violets and Yardley English Lavender. You can’t beat a classic floral. I also love to layer April Violets over existing scent that isn’t, in my open ion, “violetty enough”

zando.co.za
zando.co.za

Lace: Formerly Yardley Lace, this is now made by Taylor of London. Lace opens with aldehydes and citrus notes, goes through a  blousy, rather loud  floral phase and beds down into moss, amber and  patchouli.  It’s similar to Chique, but soapier.

amazon.co.uk
amazon.co.uk

Chique: With hand on heart I can genuinely tell you that this mossy chypre reminds me of Estee Lauder Knowing and gets better the longer you wear it.  Chique is under ten quid and I proudly own a wear a bottle myself.  Wouldn’t be without it.

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Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass: another spicy aldehyde, full of peppery geranium and classic roses.  Perfect from the fridge in summer. Still very good value and widely available.

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Charlie Blue: Okay I admit, I didn’t used to like this at all, but once I entered the chypre portal, it made more sense to me. It’s very cheap, very long lasting and has a mossy, spicy base that is harder to find over the High Street counter today. Its remarkably cheap, usually under £4.

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Jovan Musk For Women: Launched in 1972 and still going strong today: Every Fragrance Wardrobe needs a musk and this is a good one. This has not dated since its launch and is not just a good quality musk on its own but is excellent for layering too. I bagged my bottle locally but you can find it on Fragrance Direct or Amazon UK.

 

Stockists

Jovan Musk is available from FragranceX, Coty L’Aimant is available from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct, Tweed, Chique, Lace and Panache are all available from Amazon UK and allbeauty.com, Yardley fragrances are available from Boots or allbeauty.com, Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass is available from Escentual or allbeauty.com, Charlie Blue is available from Boots or Amazon UK, Avon Timeless is available from AvonShop UK.

Acknowledgments

With thanks to Milton Lloyd who kindly provided me with Tweed, Panache, Chique and Lace. Opinions are my own.

 

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Perfumes For Under A Tenner- The 2015 Updated Guide

successimg.com
successimg.com

I still stand by my motto- you don’t have to be rich to smell good ( but you’d be in trouble if you had an Amouage habit). Seriously though, I get so many searches for “budget perfume” and “cheap perfume that smells good” that I know there is still a strong demand for good, accessible scent. Buy cheap doesn’t mean smell cheap.  There.  That’s another motto.

In writing this guide, I have to put out this disclaimer: prices may vary from site to site and store to store and month to month, but today, these prices are pretty much the norm with just a quid or two either way depending on stockist.  This guide is similar to the 2014 guide elsewhere on this blog, but with just a few changes to reflect changing prices or new discoveries.

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1. Coty L’Aimant– it’s at the top of every bargain guide I write. If you like Chanel No 5, this was made six years later in 1927. It’s a powdery floral with lasting power that many more expensive perfumes still can’t match.  My tip is buy the Parfum de Toilette and not the cologne.  I bought my bottle from Boots.

 

www.fruugo.co.uk

www.fruugo.co.uk

2. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A bargain buy that smells remarkably like Prada Eau de Parfum.  Its has papyrus and patchouli and makes for a smooth  milky, spicy scent that is far from the usual celeb-u-scent fruity floral.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com.

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3. Intimately Beckham For Her: I see this around a lot and it’s always well under ten quid.  But here’s why it’s a good seller:  it’s a light and pretty floral that is ideally suited to work or everyday and passes the commuter test ( i.e nobody will faint on the morning train).  Available from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon UK, or my local chemist!

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4. Next Just Pink: A darling of a scent that is very much in the same vein as Narciso Rodriguez For Her or Ralph Lauren Romance.  Available from Next.  A 30ml bottle costs just £8.

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5. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Flankers. There are no less than five of these on allbeauty.com right now- all under ten quid and all good.  I know because I’ve tried them.  They make great presents for friends  and are crowd pleasing refreshing daytime florals.  This is not to say they are dull or predictable, but it’s a good brand that’s a safe bet, and they are all particularly wearable in summer.  Try Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia or Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle.

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6. Kantali by Milton Lloyd. Now don’t shoot me, but this smells a bit like Opium and only costs five quid. When I say YSL Opium, I don’t mean the fabulous powdery pre- reformulation stuff , but a thinner version of the new one that you can buy everywhere.  It lasts at least six hours and I like it.  Think a pared-down Opium style  eau de cologne with  eau de parfum staying power.  You can buy it from Amazon UK.

Karma

7. LUSH solid perfumes:  LUSH Gorilla are a bit hit and miss with me, but having said that, they inspire passionate reactions, which is a good thing.  LUSH solid perfumes come in delightful quirky tins and are priced between £6 and £9 depending on the scent.  Try LUSH Karma for £9. Longevity is… Wow.  You can buy it from LUSH instore or online.

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8. Jovan Musk For Women. You’ve got to have a musk on in your scent wardrobe and  Jovan is a good bet.  Currently under £10 on allbeauty.com,  either Jovan or Alyssa Ashley are a safe pair of hands for a decent and affordable musk fragrance.

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9. The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Eau de Toilette 30ml. Currently £8.50 and part of a range of 30ml scents at the same price.  Smoky Poppy is an Oriental-lite which I was quite taken by, and there are others in the range such as Honeymania, Vanilla, Moringa, Strawberry and Coconut.  Great for layering, but only eau de toilette strength so may need lunch time top ups.

Copy of sparklycitrus10.  Avon: You can’t do a bargain perfume list without including our dear friends Avon.  Avon Timeless retails at around £6 ( depending on the brochure) and is an ambery chypre that was brought back by popular demand after being discontinued.  Little Pink Dress is a lovely day time floral with lots of Peony, and Avon no 1 Bestseller Far Away and all its flankers were recently on sale for as little as £7 a bottle.  I also love the Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus which I bought for only £4.

Ten Perfumes Under a Tenner: Revised for 2014

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As I may have mentioned before, I am a strong believer in perfume for all. If your budget is more Aldi than Amouage, you can still smell good. The trick lies in being selective: quality is there if you know where to look.  It’s also in portion control: yes you can wear niche, but a sample or discovery set usually works out cheaper than a full bottle if eked out judiciously. When the purse is empty, I can still smell of Tauer Noontide Petals, just not every day.

Last year I made a list of best perfumes under ten pounds.  Due to constant price changes and discontinued this and that, I thought it appropriate to do another one. I won’t quote prices as they are so variable, but all of these were under 10GBP at the time of going to press, and not in a sale.

I’ve tried to include a bit of everything so in the list below you have a musk, a rose, an oriental, a cologne, a floral, and a patchouli. Hope you like it!  Oh and do let me know of your favourite bargains.  I always love to hear from you.

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1. Coty L’Aimant: still under a tenner, still smells like Chanel No 5, still easy to find.  Oddly, not often worn by the young. Time to put this right!  Think, as the Perfumed Dandy does, of an Agatha Christie heroine.

2. Dana Tabu: An affordable Oriental classic.

3. The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry EDP 30ml. You know the adage K.I.S.S? (Keep It Simple Stupid)?  Well that’s what the Body Shop has done and this lovely raspberry soliflore is suitable for all ages, even children, and is one of the most searched for posts on my blog.

4. Alyssa Ashley Musk: A classic Musk that has been going since the 70s.  You can’t go wrong.

5. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A creamy combo of Papyrus and Patchouli. It’s not your typical celebuscent and smells like it cost a lot more than it did. I wear it often.

6. Chique by Taylor of London: This was a pleasant surprise to me:  a mossy chypre that reminded me of Estee Lauder Knowing but was a fraction of the price.  The packaging is dated and bland but it smells terrific.

7.  The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose oil, 15ml.  A great base for layering, or wearing alone.  Because it’s an oil and has no alcohol in it, I find it lasts longer than anything else on a very hot summer day.

8. Avon Timeless:  Currently a fiver a bottle.  Avon created this classic in 1974 and discontinued it in 2012.  Customer demand brought it back.  Amber and Patchouli and aldehydes. Buy it before they change their mind again.  Available from your Avon rep.

9.  Elizabeth Arden Green Tea flankers: widely available and usually 9.99, I have tried several of these now and I can honestly say that they are all delightful.  Light, pretty florals that refresh on a hot day and impossibly feminine to boot. Real crowd pleasers.  I especially like the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle, Green Tea Tropical and Green Tea Revitalize.

10. Next Just Pink: Smells like Ralph Lauren Romance, but even prettier!  I adore this and always have a purse spray in my handbag.

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Incidentally, if you are not afraid to go a few pence over the ten quid limit, I suggest  Avon Premier Luxe , any of The Body Shop Scents of The World Range,  and a trawl through allbeauty.com.

Others that I recommend are  Tweed, Panache, A quick peek in TK Maxx to see what they’ve got in this week (stock changes constantly) a basket full of purse sprays from Marks and Spencer, the ever changing array of scents and prices in your local bargain stores such as Wilkinson and Home Bargains, the Yardley soliflores … Oh and don’t forget eBay!

Money schmoney- Who needs mega bucks?

Perfume for Paupers: How to Smell Good on a Budget

Frugal Fragrance, Scents on a Shoestring, Perfume for Paupers: phrase it how you will.  The truth is that these days the cost of living is high and luxuries are the first to go. Choosing my perfume for the day is a few minutes I treasure. I certainly have plenty of choice but only around four bottles on my dressing table cost more than thirty quid (and were mostly gifts).

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

I am often asked how I can afford to sample a new perfume every day and I always answer almost apologetically: I have very few expensive full bottles and sometimes a review is prompted by a few free squirts at my local beauty counter. The rest are inexpensive bottles, samples or purse sprays. If I had had to spend a lot of money to do this it wouldn’t have been possible.

Granted, I have two advantages: a very generous friend without whom this blog would be shorter and harder to write.  I know how lucky I am.  The second advantage is that as a blogger, I often get sent free sample sizes to trial.  However, apart from that, I truly believe that it is possible to smell good without breaking the bank.

 On the High Street

There are several ways in which to enjoy perfume on the cheap.  Firstly, I no longer dismiss cheap perfume the way I used to long ago.  Rummage long enough in the nd.10934High Street fare, and you will find gems that cost well under a tenner, and even a few for under a fiver. In my local Bodycare shop, I have bought  100ml of Cabochard for £8.99 and a bottle of Jovan White Musk for Women for £6.19.  Then there is the bargain Queen of them all: Coty’s L’Aimant– and I am neither the first nor the last to find similarities between L’Aimant and Chanel No 5.  Created in 1927, L’Aimant has a retro feel that reminds my esteemed fellow blogger The Perfumed Dandy, of an Agatha Christie heroine. A small bottle can cost just over a fiver and is widely available.

 

Be Unfashionable

Back in the 70s, drugstore classics were everywhere and everyone wore them.  They have lost popularity now but are worth revisiting.  Their lack of popularity means they are cheap too, so it’s a win-win situation if you like bargain chypres tweedand aldehydes. I have purchased Panache for just £4.99 on Fragrance Direct- and the longevity is around 12 hours, making this classic aldehyde excellent value.  I have also managed to purloin (I love that word) a bottle of retro favourite Tweed from my local chemist for £4.99.  Recently a little bottle of Chique arrived in the post for just £3.99 and it is full of Citrus and Oakmoss. (see my rave review).

 

 In Praise of Purse Sprays

Then there are the purse sprays.  I have a bouquet of these on my dressing table, none costing over a fiver.  Marks and Spencer does an excellent range of perfume and purse spray ma nd salmost all of them are available in 10ml and 25ml sizes, starting at £4, making these affordable treats. I also find that very often there is a sales brochure in my Avon catalogue and I have in the past bought a purse spray of Little Red Dress for just £3.99. Avon are doing these more regularly now and you can get them for just £3. I recently picked up a 10ml bottle of Next Just Pink for just £2 in my local Next Clearance store, and it’s become a firm favourite.

Go Niche and Bijoux

 4160 test setIf you have a lot of perfumes and samples, a small amount can last nearly a year if you rotate it with other scents. It is possible to have sample sizes of great niche scents for special occasions that would normally be prohibitive when bought in full size bottles. However, there’s no reason why anyone should be left out, regardless of budget.

Samples of niche scent enable you to smell unique and fabulous without breaking the bank. In the UK I recommend Pell Wall, 4160 TuesdaysThe Perfume Society Discovery Boxes, Les Senteurs or eBay. In the USA, try The Perfumed Court or Surrender to Chance. Which leads me to my next heading…

 Buy Online

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

Determined and lengthy browsing on Amazon has helped me find Coty Chanson D’Eau a citrussy hesperide at only £6.99 for 50ml including a shower gel.  Even I was sceptical at that price, but pleasantly surprised at this lovely green cologne on receipt of it. Another recent Coty find was Coty Aspen for Men at £8.29 a delightful Lavender/Pine combo that smells like Creed Green Irish Tweed . Don’t rule out Old Spice either- it was originally meant for women and smells like a lighter version of Dana Tabu).

Yves Rocher is a minefield of bargains, but sadly my nearest branch is in France.  Their online service for the UK is excellent however.  I just bought 2 bottles for the price of one: Clea and Yria. They were blind buys, but I looked them up on Fragrantica, liked the reviews and went ahead.  I was not disappointed and now own two bottles for the total price of £15. They usually let you choose three free samples and a free gift too.

One of my favourite sites is Allbeauty.com, formerly CheapSmells.com.  They have a huge variety of genuine big names, but can sell cheap since they are without the High Street overheads. Prices are very low and there is a vast selection of perfume under £10. Postage is free  when you spend over £15 but it does take about week.  They don’t pay me to say how great they are, but their delivery guy could find my house without sat nav.

 Samples

 Being a blogger I have the advantage of having been sent some free samples from discoveryclub_headerimgvery generous companies, and I am lucky to have a good friend in my chum Lisa, whose generosity in letting me loose on two big boxes of phials, knows no bounds.

Samples are getting harder to cadge over the counter: believe, me I’ve turned on the charm!  But there are other methods.

The Fragrance Shop Discovery Box (see photo) is a good way to bolster my sample collection.  At only £5 a quarter, I receive a box of mixed samples and vouchers for money off full sized bottles. My absolute favourite Discovery Box comes from The Perfume Society, which provides around ten samples, smelling notes, sniffing strips, and a couple of scented goodies that vary from facial serum, to hand cream or shower gel.

 Look Beneath the Glitz

Don’t rule out tacky looking celeb scents either: Who cares what it says on nd.8925the label?  If you like it, go ahead.  Two of my favourites are Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights (very Vegas!), bought for £8.95 which smells of Papyrus and Patchouli ( and very similar to Prada EDP), and JLo Deseo, which looks like wet jewel and smells eau so fraiche!

 eBay

Ebay is an excellent source of cheap fragrance trawling, especially after big events such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day when people sell their disappointments.  Some buyers are afraid of being sold a dud, but I can honestly say everything I have bought has been authentic and eBay are pretty strict about fake stuff, so it’s a good place to shop around.

Swaps, Decants and Splits

If you get stuck into the talk boards on Basenotes, Fragrantica, Facebook Fragrance Groups or even Mumsnet Style and Beauty threads, you can not only find friendly like minded fellows, but can usually swap decants, full bottles, or even go in on an expensive niche bottle by just buying, say a quarter if a full bottle with some fellow fragheads. Perfume lovers are generous souls and genuinely want to spread the joy.

Photo by World of Oddy: Wishing Pool in Portmeirion
Photo by World of Oddy: Wishing Pool in Portmeirion

How about you?

What’s the best bargain you’ve ever scooped?  Have you found a hidden gem? Do share so we can share your joy, follow in your footsteps or just sit here being all jealous. Perfume is such a treat, I truly wish it for everyone.

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This Week’s Latest Avon Release: Avon Femme

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There’s an air of mystery in this week’s Avon brochure.  There is a full page advert for a forthcoming perfume with a little silhouette and  a call to “ask your representative for a sample today!”. Well my Avon lady, the lovely Jill, didn’t need to be asked and I had my sample with today’s order.

Top notes are: Lemon, Plum and Violet.

Middle notes: Jasmine, Orchid and Magnolia

Base notes: Amber, Peach, Wood, and Musk. (Thank you Fragrantica)

Avon Femme opens with bold Magnolia and Plum and wouldn’t smell out of place alongside many other shimmering treats on any beauty counter today. It reminded me of both Next Just Pink and Ralph Lauren Romance (another smellalike! It’s hard to stop seeing them once you start looking). One reviewer on Fragrantica compared it to Versace Bright Crystal and I will take their word for it since I am not familiar with many Versaces (yet).

versace bright crystalHowever, and herein lies the rub, as is the case so often with Avon, the basenotes go all Avon-ade on me.  You know how Guerlain perfumes have the Guerlainade accord?  Well the Avonade is always there too, except unlike Guerlain, it’s not very good.  So many Avon perfumes have been ordered by me. So many times my hopes have been raised and dashed. So many of them have ended with the Avonade base which smells like a cross between sweet plastic and cardboard. Sadly, Femme is no exception. One reason for this may be because Avon is are churning out new fragrances at a rate of knots, hence the sarcastic title of this article. In the last two months Avon has launched Instinct, Ultra Sexy, Our Story, Avon True Life, and now Femme.

rockrollstar.blogspot.com
rockrollstar.blogspot.com

Another reason could be that their low prices means that they compromise on good ingredients.  This shouldn’t be the case when Coty can churn out the excellent Coty L’Aimant for just over a fiver.  Perfume can be done cheaply and well. Sadly Avon seems to be  just doing it cheaply.

Avon never used to be like this.  They had a great stable of reliable perfumes that were ordered again and again by loyal fans. Foxfire, Topaze, Odyssey and Charisma were just some of my favourites. We could even talk about the delightful bottles which are now collectibles on eBay. (I had a beautiful glass and gold giraffe with Occur in it!)

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Wouldn’t it be better if Avon brought back some of their heritage perfumes and made their stable of scents better quality, and with fewer of them?  I feel that we customers are being labelled as having very short attention spans, when most people find something they love and become loyal, if not monogamous, for life.

The only Avon scents I can think of that do not have the Avon accord/Avonade are Soft Musk (which I can’t wear because my mother and my sister wear it) and Rare Diamonds.  The celebrity scents also seem to sidestep the Avonade too, so they’re a safe bet, especially the LaCroix range. Quality not quantity Avon!

I guess I’m saying make me President of Avon Fragrance. Not much to ask. You will find me in the Avon archives for most of the week. Lots of freebies to take home and test.  I can start Monday.

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Robert Piguet Baghari 2006

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 From the House that brought us Fracas and Bandit comes this Autumnal Oriental Aldehydic treat.

I can’t pretend to know if this Baghari is better than the vintage, as I haven’t smelled it, but the 2006 certainly smells very vintage, with an old fashioned powdery finish and a cosy depth that you won’t find on any modern perfume counter.

In fact, I found Robert Piguet Baghari to have aspects of Coty  L’Aimant with its aldehydic opening and rich, creamy finish. It also smells a little similar to the fabulous, much mourned Avon Timeless- a powdery Oriental so good that Avon doesn’t want you to have it anymore.  Baghari also has some notes in common with a current cold-day favourite of mine: Lanvin Arpege. All in all, since I love all three of the perfumes it resembles, Robert Piguet Baghari is a rather marvellous little treasure.

Top notes are Aldehydes, Bergamot and Orange Blossom

Middle notes are: Rose, Jasmine, Iris and Violet

Basenotes are Amber, Musk, Vetiver and Vanilla.

Out of the notes listed on Fragrantica, I would say the Aldehydes, Jasmine, Rose, Amber and Vetiver stand out more than others.  I did not detect any Violet (shame) nor any Iris (hurrah!), but the overall combination of notes is delightful.

The difference between this and Arpege is that firstly, Baghari lacks the Peachyness of Arpege (which I could do without, but I overlook it in this case) and secondly: the fact that Baghari has a sort of dried fruit finish. The Aldehydes never seem to leave, and if you add the touch of  Jasmine to Amber and  Vetiver, it leaves an almost sherry-like afterglow, which is far from unpleasant.

Purists would say this isn’t a patch on the vintage, but I say hurrah for a 2006 refurb that smells like it should only be worn whilst doing the Charleston and  using a cigarette holder.

By the way, Baghari is very expensive at around £104 for 100ml, so if you are rich in spirit but poor of purse, treat yourself to some L’Aimant or a drop of Arpege instead. Much more reasonably priced and not a bad sub as subs go.