Tag Archives: eBay

Andy Tauer L’Air Du Desert Marocain: At Last We Meet

 Image

I’ve seen perfumistas on many a board sing the praises of L’Air du Desert Marocain. I was curious to try a sample, but not curious enough to buy a full bottle. I remember all too well my eager foray into the equally revered Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, only to dislike it quite violently.

 L’Air du Desert Marocain was quite the opposite, however. I’ve heard a lot about it. I’ve seen it around (in my friend’s scent stash at least) , and finally, today my wrist met the spray. It’s no coincidence that the immediate adjectives that come to mind are ecclesiastical: Divine and Heavenly were the first words that entered my head. This is a close relative to my beloved Comme Des Garcons Series 3 Incense:Avignon, the ultimate scent of Catholicism, with authentic guilt inducing price tag.

What Tauer has produced however, is less linear that CDG Avignon and more complex.  L’Air Du Desert Marocain has several layers and even after a first spray , has a lovely faded grandeur about it. It smells like a background smell. It’s not harsh or loud. If you met me right now you would ask me how Evensong went ( I would be infused with the smoke of incense), but probably not think I was wearing a scent at all.

Top notes are Caraway, Coriander and Petitgrain, but I must confess, all I get is incense and a whiff of hay. Middle notes include Rosehip and Jasmine, but I get no flowers at all. Base notes include Vetiver, which  is used beautifully and sparingly to add a grassy leather note, as well as Amber, which is also warmly noticeable, and Cedar, which I don’t detect at all.

This is the perfect Christmas Eve scent, and therefore totally out of step with today’s sunny weather. However, I am going out this evening, so all bets are off and I’ll wear what I like. And what I like is this. If there’s any left on my skin on Sunday, then even better. It smells like Sunday morning anyway.

Like CDG Avignon, this is playing hard to get in the UK, although samples and full bottles are available online from UK suppliers Les Senteurs.  I adore the smell of church incense, and I adore this. It would smell incredible on a man too, but if I did manage to get hold of a bottle, I can’t see me sharing it.

Follow

Good Perfumes Under Ten Pounds: Is it Possible?

 Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ava Luxe Madeline: Milk and Whisky in Front of A Log Fire

 Image

Ava Luxe is a growing fragrance brand founded by Serena Ava Franco and is based on Rhode Island, USA.  This is a new kid on the block compared to many long standing big brands and it’s always interesting to see what passionate individuals come up with, rather than a board room, a focus group and a marketing department.

Serena is inspired by the exotic, the mystical and the arts. She is no boring wallflower. All products are completely cruelty free and are made to order. I’m not the only fan over here, but it is a bit tricky to get hold of Ava Luxe in the UK. The momentum is growing however, so watch this space, or look out for decants and bottles on eBay, Basenotes and Fragrantica.

So today I have in my hands a bottle of Ava Luxe Madeline. I accidentally got a smear on my hands and it was oily and unctuous, rather than watery and alcoholic. In my experience, this usually means a perfume has the clinging power of a barnacle after a round the world cruise. I was right. Madeline was still there about nine hours later, showing no signs of leaving.

But would you want Madeline as a house guest? I would say yes, especially in winter. I couldn’t shake the idea that there are Oranges in here somewhere. Orange is not listed as a note, but it could be down to the fact that this smells a little like Christmas baking, so maybe that’s where visions of Clementines came from. There is a delicate smokiness permeating the thick Vanilla Bourbon, as if I am smelling the ashes form a Vanilla joss stick. It adds an ingeniously clever hint of a crackling log fire. Madeline also has a flicker of Licorice and a splash of Milk. This would make a ghastly drink, but in a fragrance, the Licorice smells spicy and adds a little mystery to the spell. The Milk is comforting and soft.

Overwhelmingly, this is smoky Vanilla: Good vanilla, like the real beans and flecks that you see in expensive ice cream. There is no Vanilla essence here, this is the real thing, to the point of glorious headiness.

My only qualm about Madeline is that it may be too rich, like eating half a whisky soused Christmas Cake in one sitting. It sounds like a good idea, it’s nice at the time, but at the end you might need some fresh air.

Ava Luxe is definitely worth a second look. And a third. And a fourth…

Image

Chanel Cristalle: I Wouldn’t Change A Thing

Image

 Chanel Cristalle was my signature scent from the age of 24 until about three years ago. Suddenly I ran out and other priorities took over, preventing me from replacing it (Oh did I mention my two children? That may have had a lot to do with it). Its absence from my life served a purpose however, and it certainly opened my eyes to cristalle addifferent perfumes and “creative” fragrance purchasing. That is to say, I could no longer afford Chanel Cristalle and had to shop in a different bracket. Whilst doing so, I became a fervent believer that not all cheap perfumes are bad and not all expensive perfumes are good. I learned to never judge a perfume by its price tag. Had I stuck to Chanel Cristalle I never would have discovered Gres Cabotine, Coty L’Aimant Fleur de Rose, Supermarket perfume such as Lidl’s hidden gem: Suddenly Madame Glamour, or the joy of eBay. There are indeed bargains to be had, and good ones too, that can get a perfume lover through the lean years.

However, it is my birthday today and my husband presented me with cristalle claudiaa bottle of Chanel Cristalle Eau de Parfum. You can bet your bottom dollar he’s a pretty popular guy today. So why has this fragrance outlasted all the others on my hit list? Why has it kept running the Marathon as Also- Rans fell by the wayside?

Cristalle is a very green scent, described as a Floral Chypre. However, to me it is as green as they come. The first spray reminds me of Nettles and Ferns, and within minutes, Citrussy Lemons take over, bringing in a spring like posy of Lily of the Valley. Base notes of Oakmoss give it a bit of earthy depth as the lightness melts away, but it stays green and refreshing from start to finish. It’s perfect for the office. Nobody ever fainted in a lift from Cristalle. It’s fresh and clean and light. It has a hint of Lemonade when you first spray it, as if it fizzes and crackles on the skin. Think adding ice cubes to a jug of sparking water on a hot day.

cristalle ad2

It’s re-entry into my life has illuminated a different approach to Perfume. Whereas in my younger days I always had a signature scent, as I grew older and more capricious, I preferred to have a “Scent Wardrobe”, dependent on mood, temperature, weather, occasion and even what I’m wearing. (NB for “capricious” read opinionated and changeable). Now that I am in my thirties (*cough* Okay, I’m 43 today), I feel more assured of my identity and can therefore mess with it. I don’t need a signature scent, when I have a choice before me every day (mostly many pounds cheaper than Cristalle), but when I do wear my old favourite, it’s like finding a fabulous coat you’d forgotten about, or a favourite necklace you wore during only happy times.

Welcome back my little gem, you may consider yourself Queen of all the other bottles on my dressing table. This is where it all began.

Follow

Celeb Scents 6: Kylie Minogue Couture

 Image

Kylie’s been in the perfume game since 2006 with her first offering “Darling” being a Chypre Floriental.  Since then she has produced ten more and sales show no signs of slowing down. Kylie Minogue Darling is highly rated so I had high hopes for Couture.

Now I like Kylie, and her strange pointy eyebrow. She’s a woman’s woman and always cheerful, and sometimes that’s enough to make me like someone (are you listening Posh Spice?). I finally got round to investigating the Kylie phenomenon by purchasing a bottle of Kylie Minogue Couture. With its hint of corsetry and its aspirational name, I thought I was onto a winner.

Sadly not.

The top notes in Couture are Cherries, Violets and Lemon Blossom. However, what I had was Violets, something vaguely Aquatic and a bit of Jasmine (listed as a middle note). Within the first half an hour I got quite excited by this, despite acknowledging that “generic” was very much the state of play. I thought it was a light and airy floral and was so affordable that I thought I’d found a new favourite for daytime casual wear.

However, a problem occurred that I have experienced before with cheaply produced scents. A very synthetic and thin Vanilla note crept in and cancelled out everything else. Vanilla and “Musk Stripes” are listed as base notes, but the Vanilla was cheap and smelt like my old enemy, Poundland Vanilla candles.   I don’t know what Musk Stripes are (they are described as giving a cashmere effect), but maybe it is another way of saying “Well it’s not actual Musk but we found something thinner and cheaper but we’re not allowed to call it Musk”. In any case, I haven’t seen it listed anywhere else. This is mixed with “Vanilla Sorbet” in other swords sweet, synthetic cheap Vanilla that I couldn’t wait to wash off.

Now although this review is subjective, I have noticed on allbeauty.com that it is cheaper to buy 75ml of the EDT than it is to buy 30ml. There is also a lot for sale on eBay. Make of that what you will, but I felt let down and couldn’t sell it fast enough! Without eBay I’d have a really terrible perfume collection.

Sorry Kylie, this was more Poundland than Couture.

Footnote: I have just tried Sexy Darling and I am impressed! I guess I would be wrong in writing off the whole range based on one review. SD is a bright expensive smelling musky floral. MUCH better than its lightweight sister Couture.

 

Image

Halston Catalyst: Either You Go or I Go.

Image

I bought Halston Catalyst blind. Attracted by its amazing floral notes, many of which are favourites, and tempted by its attractive price, what could possibly go wrong?

The notes listed which are among my favourites are: Gardenia, Hyacinth, Bergamot, Carnation and Lily of the Valley. Base notes include Musk, Amber and Sandalwood.

What I actually got was this little scenario:

Imagine you had a curry in the 1970s, decided you didn’t like it, so hid it in the drawer of an antique wooden dresser, then poured cheap Men’s Eau de Cologne over it to hide the smell. Then imagine you opened the drawer in 1993, (the year Catalyst was created) and decided “Mmm, that’s nice, I’ll call it Catalyst and sell it to ladies for money”.

When I tried this, I was convinced there was cumin in it, or spice, although neither of these are listed. I did get sandalwood, in spades, but that is the only note listed that I picked up on. There was not a whiff of so much as a flower petal. My beloved Bergamot wasn’t even in the same time zone, let alone in this bottle. The notes don’t seem to match the accords, which are listed as “Woody, Warm Spicy, Floral, Powdery, White Floral”.  I got Woody and Spicy, but I have no idea where the others went.

This is what I refer to as a Howler. Not only could I not wash it off fast enough, but it was listed on eBay within 24 hours of receiving it. As if to back me up, there are currently 51 of these babies listed for sale on eBay. I am not alone. You will be if you wear this.

All reviews are of course, subjective and by no means a final word. This might smell great on you. Let me know your worst ever “Howler”, I’d be interested to know.