Tag Archives: fragrance

Clinique Aromatics in Black

fragrantica
Photo by Fragrantica

Clinique has my full respect, if only for the iconic Aromatics Elixir and the newer Aromatics in White, which had a mixed reception but was much admired by yours truly (see my earlier review).

However today I tried Aromatics in Black whilst accidentally ending up in my local House of Fraser Fragrance Department (even though I was buying pyjamas for a large nine year old. Oops).

I had a few sprays on skin and enjoyed the opening notes which packed a punch and had some nice grapefruit and plum with a hint of powdery white flowers. However, twenty minutes later I couldn’t helping wondering if I was wearing Aromatics in Black or Avon Mesmerize Black For Her.

Aromatics in Black has something for everyone, which may be its failing, at least in my opinion. Is it fruity? Is it floral? Is it oriental? It’s all of them. It does opens beautifully with grapefruit and plum, but then quickly segues into something a bit non descript and, for want of a better word, “meh”.

On my skin now, and its barely there three hours later, is a kind of muted plum with some rich myrhh that has gone a bit bland. Reading the notes, I was excited to try this, but the results were disappointing. The plum seems to murder its rivals and stamp on the flowers, which leaves the myrhh and grassy vetiver into a dry, muted fuzz.

At around £50 a bottle, you’d have to really love this to buy it and just because I don’t like it, doesn’t mean you won’t, but If I had money to spend at the Clinique counter, it wouldn’t be on this. Sorry Clinique, I do love you, but I don’t love this.

Stockists

Aromatics in Black is widely available. You can buy it from from House of Fraser, FragranceX.com and John Lewis to name but a few.

Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage ( 2009)

unmatin dorage

Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage was a surprise Christmas gift from friend of the blog and friend of me, Lisa Wordbird. I haven’t thanked her yet so I will thank her through the medium of a blog post.

I was not expecting this, but Lisa knows me well and as she rightly guessed, I loved it immediately. It was such a lovely surprise in its pearlescent bottle with a gold lid and gold ribbon around its neck. My first impression, because I didn’t have my glasses on but my nose was awake, was that this was full of orange blossom. I read the label and thought it said “Orange”. I put my glasses on and read it again and saw it said “Matin D’Orage” which means stormy morning.  As the scent settled I realised it wasn’t oranges but lemons I could smell, and also ginger. But most of all I could smell beautiful blooming (and sometimes tricky) gardenia. This has gardenia in spades. A close cousin to tuberose, but somehow lighter, and with a faint mushroomy undertow, gardenia is white, waxy and as fresh as a spring morning.

gardenia
sugarcraft.com

Created in 2009 by Nose Isabelle Doyen, Matin D’Orage smells impossibly feminine, and the gardenia is so vivid its like having your nose right in the flower with its pure white petals. The ginger is just enough to give it a spicy fresh accent, and the Jasmine adds to the pretty factor whilst cranking up the richness. There is tea-like Champaca too, which enhances the greenery,  and then a base note of sandalwood, with the faintest touch of celery, as there often can be with thick intense white flowers.

This is an unusual scent in that it starts pretty and then becomes a little more sober, and I must say that I prefer the top notes to the base notes. However, this whimsical bottle of scent delights me and I would have missed out on it completely if lovely Lisa hadn’t thought “Ah! Sam!”. I’m very glad she did.

So Lisa, sorry I haven’t thanked you yet darling, but will this do?

Stockists

You can buy Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage from Amazon UK, Amazon.com, FragranceX, Escentual, Harrods and John Lewis. Prices vary and start from just under £40. You may have some luck on eBay, but I’ll never sell mine.

NB- I photographed the bottle against my cat Ian for no other reason other than that he was there and his tummy is fluffy. Matin D’Orage has no scent association with obscenely lazy Ginger Tom cats

ianmatindorage

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Library of Fragrance Orange Blossom and Mango

mangoandorangeblossom

Every fragrance wardrobe needs a good orange blossom.  It’s a fruitier less creamy version of tuberose. It has that hint of faint milky oranges in the background and it smells like petals, all at the same time.

Orange Blossom is widely used in so many fragrances that the landscape of the fragrant firmament would smell very different without it. Library of Fragrance Orange Blossom is one of the best Orange Blossom soliflores I have tried. It’s not the highest priced orange blossom, nor does it come in fancy packaging, but for a sweet, floral, milky hit with a hint of subtle oranges in the background, this is hard to beat. It’s fabulous on its own, but when I layered Library of Fragrance Mango over the top, I had something really addictive going on. Mango smells like a tropical version of Orange Refreshers, which didn’t hurt Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange, of which it reminded me. See my review earlier in this blog)

I didn’t used to like fruity florals and was a curmudgeon about them, but then the Caramel Sugar Tsunami took over and became such a ubiquitous note in mainstream perfume that I started to miss fruity florals and appreciated them anew.

Fragrantica
Fragrantica

The combination of Orange Blossom and Mango makes for a zingy, fresh and feminine scent that goes together so well that you could Brangelina its name: MangorangeBlossom? Orango? As for me, I couldn’t stop sniffing.

Both Orange Blossom and Mango are fabulous alone and true to the descriptions on their labels, but together, they really take off. My recommendation? Get both.

Stockists

All Library of Fragrance scents are available online from their website. Prices are either £9.99 or £15 for a full bottle, or £10 for a purse spray.

Boots also carries a range instore and online. In Boots you can buy two for £25.

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Angelo Orazio Pregoni for Odriu Milan: Olfactory Dada

angelo and dog

I was recently approached via email by Odriu Milano and asked if I would like some samples from their range. I agreed and provided my address, not knowing what to expect. Slightly embarrassingly I was out when the plain brown parcel arrived from “The Pleasure Factory” and had to knock my neighbours door to mumble a thank you for taking my parcel.

Opening the envelopes was like unravelling a puzzle. The website is even more bizarre, but I like it. I like it all, even if I had to do quite a bit of research to get the full picture.

The brand is Odriu Milano, the perfumer is Angelo Orazio Pregoni ( and check out his profile here because I can’t do it justice) and the ranges I’ve been sent are named Wet Dream and Vendetta. It took me a minute to figure out the Vendetta one. I had a sample called DET, one called TA, and one called VEN, until the penny dropped.

vendettasamples

I’ve always loved an eccentric so I got stuck in to see if this intriguing brand was all mouth and no trousers, as we say in Wales. In other words: are they any good or is it all talk? Now before you read on, it’s important to remember that Angelo Pregoni “ is also the founder of NoUseART, a movement which promotes performance based on smell“- Fragrantica.  Just bear it in mind.  Estee Lauder, this ain’t.

Peety

The first sample I tried was from the Wet Dream range and called Peety.  Initially it reminded me very much of Tauer L’Air du Desert Marocain,that mainstay of any classic niche collection. However Peety went a bit incensey on me then, more like Comme Des Garcons Avignon ( all of this good by the way, I’m a fan). The dry down is long, spicy and smoky and will have your nose glued to your wrist. There’s moss, tobacco and patchouli and some might find a bit of animal in there too, but on me it was more balsamic smoke. It’s excellent and would be equally good on male or female skin.

peetyfullimage

Satyricon:

This is tricky to describe because to me it smells like stale unwashed man. The thing is, I think it’s meant to. Remember that Angelo Pregoni is a performance artist that uses smell in his performance and one Fragrantica reviewer has memorably described this as “a wardrobe malfunction done on purpose”. What I got was cat pee, which then disappeared and turned into Crayola crayons, which then morphed into unwashed skin and dirty hair.  It’s remarkably clever but not something I’d want a full bottle of.

satyricon

VEN

Ven opens like Serge Lutens Louve- it’s all cherries and chocolate, but it quickly changes into something more than that. There was also a whiff of peppermint and, bizarrely, the smell of a brand new room- you know that new paint and new carpet sterile smell? It reminded me a little of LUSH Smell of Weather Turning, but this has bigger muscles and ends up smelling as if you are cuddling a hirsute man who is brusque, yet protective, and hasn’t washed since yesterday.  It’s very good.

ven

DET

I wasn’t sure what to make of Det when I first tried it so here’s what I wrote down: rum, booze, basil, woodiness, flowers, nutty?

I then looked at the notes listed on trusty Fragrantica. Who would have thought that a scent that incorporates white flowers, peanuts, red berries, basil and benzoin would ever smell so amazing? But it does. The peanuts add a warm savoury woody feel, the white flowers only overtake towards the finishing line and the whole comes together in an intriguingly changeable feast of a fragrance.

det

TA

Ta is an odd name for a perfume. Its a lazy colloquial way of saying thank you, but once I jiggled the samples as mentioned above, it became clear that this is the last piece of Vendetta. Ta is very green: almost too green: the cedar is strong and just holds back from being bitter. The moss tones it down a bit and the strawberry and cucumber come through at the very end, like the hint of melted sweets in a puddle.  This wasn’t my favourite but I would recommend you try it if you ever get the chance.

ta

Stockists

You can buy Odriu perfume from the Odriu Milan website, and they also do a sample service.

GIVEAWAY

Here’s the Good news: I am doing several give-aways throughout Advent as a thank you to my lovely readers for helping to get me to my third year blogaversary in January 2016. The give-away will consist of:

Odriu Milano Perfumes by Angelo Orazio Pregoni

Peety

Satyricon

Ven

Det

Ta

Simply tell me what you smell of at the time of writing.  That makes sense, right? For instance, I smell of six perfumes, minty Polos and coffee at the moment. The deadline for entries is Monday 7th December at midnight GMT. You can give me your answer via Facebook, email ( iscentyouaday@gmail.com), Twitter, or as a comment on the blog below.

Sorry, but the giveaway is for UK readers only due to postal restrictions. Apologies to my lovely overseas chums.

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Aftelier Vanilla Smoke: In Which Mandy Reinvents The Word Cosy

vanillasmoke1

Aftelier Vanilla Smoke is the latest launch from delightful Mandy Aftel of Aftelier , the friendly genius who kindly sends me samples from sunny California to overcast, chilly Wales.

Vanilla Smoke is exactly what this overcast chilly Welsh woman needed. If you look in the dictionary for the word “Cosy” you will find a description of Vanilla Smoke.

Vanilla Smoke opens with prickly spice and a creosote note that lands somewhere between Tauer Lonestar Memories and the smell of a leather jacket that’s just come in from the rain. I don’t know how Mandy achieves this, especially since she uses all natural ingredients, but this is what I could smell.

There is dark Lapsang tea, smoked over pinewood, and ambergris. Green mandarin is also listed but I could not detect it, unless its responsible for that slightly sharp tang on opening ? There are woods, or in my mind’s eye, logs, and there is saffron. But the star of the show, in every scene and frame, is vanilla.

Now what Mandy has done here is help me fall back in love with Vanilla. I used to love vanilla, and The Body Shop Vanilla Oil in the 1980s is to me, the epitome of a time when vanilla, worn alone, was good enough for any day.

mini

Lately however, all the joy has been sucked out of vanilla for me. Cheap, synthetic vanilla seems to have been used in every mainstream scent with an overly heavy hand and frankly, even in fragrances where it had no business. Sometimes mass produced fake smelling vanilla reminds me of vanilla candles that you find in the pound shop, when what I actually want from vanilla, is something that borders on liquor and marzipan.

Vanilla Smoke is exactly what I’m looking for. The smoke is the smoke of a winter fireplace and the vanilla, although sweet, has nothing of The Cupcake Accord that has ruined many a sniff for me in the last few years. Rich and boozy, Aftelier Vanilla Smoke is blended seamlessly with wood and smoky dark tea to make it smell like that log fire I can see when I smell it.

Lasting many hours- around eight in fact, the last of the base note that is left on my skin reminds me a little of Dior Hypnotic Poison, which I consider an enduring classic.

Vanilla Smoke is a glass of whisky by a log burning fire in a huge old fashioned fireplace that heats the whole room. If you’re me, you’ll be adding Christmas Tree lights very soon. Superb.

Stockists

Vanilla Smoke is available from the Aftelier website. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy Aftel. Opinions are my own.

fireplace.lifcow.com
fireplace.lifcow.com

Jo Loves Red Truffle 21

red truffle21

Jo Loves is the bijoux fragrance house founded by Jo Malone MBE of Jo Malone cologne fame. After selling Jo Malone to Estee Lauder, Jo attempted to retire but was drawn back to her passion for fragrance. Jo Loves is the result and the range consists of high quality scents inspired by memories that are dear to Jo, as the name suggests.  I have reviewed many of the scents on this blog and I give the brand a resounding thumbs up. Jo gets her inspirations from such eclectic moments as cocktails in New York (A Shot of Mango), her first job in a florists ( No 42 The Flower Shop-divine!) and now, the delicate aroma of truffle shavings in a restaurant. Red Truffle 21 is the result and I have a sample in my possession.

Red Truffle 21 opens with lemony bitter pine which is almost immediately toned down into a warm but tangy accord. There is an interesting combination of sharp cedar, fig, lemon and earth going on which is so addictive I don’t think there’s a cure.

www.Melissas.com
www.Melissas.com

In parts it reminds me a little of Tauer Pentachord Verdant, but with more citrus and less wet forest floor. The truffle hosts the party but doesn’t outshine the guests, and there is a suggestion of delicate mustiness in the background that never tips into mouldy territory. In this context, the mushroom is earthy and ripe, and the cedar is a superb foil for this.  Think damp vetiver, in a  good way.  Where the sharp, almost bitter cedar meets the earthiness of the ceps, you get Red Truffle 21.

Red Truffle 21 is perfectly unisex so if you can’t justify this indulgence buy it for your partner and steal it. This tip is one I often trot out in my attempts to be a devilish enabler.

Stockists

You can buy Red Truffle 21 from the Jo Loves website. Whilst you’re there, check out the Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience for £95 where you can buy 9 samples then choose a full size bottle of your favourite.

Goya Black Rose: Hello Again

Goya-Black-Rose-Feature (1)

 

Goya Black Rose, like Aqua Manda, went away and came back again, and I’m so glad it did. Thanks are due to Beauty Brand Development who had the good sense to bring it back to a willing audience. They also had the good sense to send me a sample.  I am very grateful indeed. Opinions are my own.

The brainchild of Douglas Collins, Goya Black Rose, Aqua Citra and Aqua Manda were created in the 50s and 60s respectively and were a great hit until dwindling sales led to them being discontinued.  Gradually the hum of longing for the good ole days of these classic fragrances reached the right ears , and all three scents have been brought back, using the same formula, with the cooperation of Christopher Collins, son of Douglas.

GBR_Perfume_100ml

Rose perfumes have been done in a thousand ways, for all budgets and throughout all trends and eras.  So what makes Goya Black Rose worth buying and trying in a market where Roses are prolific?

It’s a dusky rose that’s teamed with green notes and something retro- like those rose breath sweets.  It’s not quite Turkish Delight and it’s definitely not jam.  It’s a feminine pink rose with big waxy satin petals.  It’s the kind of rose that goes with a twin set and pretty shoes. But it’s more complex than that.  Just as you think you have it labelled “classic, feminine rose” here come the cloves!  Now there’s spice and a daring edge to it.  Add a peppery geranium or two and then soften the whole thing with a pretty white musk flourish and you have Goya Black Rose.

There’s something almost borderline foodie about this- maybe it’s the cloves, but it has a tang of bitterness  that complements the pretty florals which makes this a good girl with a dark side.  I’m just relieved that in this case foodie doesn’t mean saturated with vanilla, and for that I am jolly grateful.  In fact, I would call it an almondy finish.

Goya Black Rose is elegant, beautiful and classic and I’ll gladly call myself a fan, whilst drenching myself in it.  It makes me want to trot around town wearing smart gloves and saying Good Morning to passers by.  Longevity is great.

Stockists

Goya Black Rose is very reasonably priced- you can start with a purse spray if you’re not sure ( I LOVE a purse spray!) and you can buy it for around £15 for 15ml  on allbeauty.com or just under £40 for a big 100ml bottle. You can also try Amazon UK

Meanwhile elsewhere…

The Perfume Society has a lovely article about the Goya fragrances right here.

 

Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig: Pure, Beautiful Nostalgia

seyrig

 

Inspired by the aldehydic motifs of late sixties and early seventies perfume, Seyrig centers on an artistic interpretation of the Syringa flower — a relative of lilac that resists olfactory extraction.  – Bruno Fazzolari

Once again I find myself swooning over a Bruno Fazzolari scent. Not only is Bruno a talented artist based in one of my favourite cities ( San Francsico), but he makes considered, unique fragrances that really make their presence felt.

Bruno very kindly sent me a sample of Seyrig recently and I was delighted to receive it.  Naturally opinions are my own.

Seyrig is complex and I will get to the notes in a minute, but here’s what happened to me when I tried it:

First of all- wax crayons and roses for a minute or two until this segues into feminine powdery lilacs.  This reminded me so strongly of my late grandmother who loved lilacs and always smelled lovely: Think Coty L’Aimant, Lily of the Valley,  talc and  soap.  Lilac was her favourite flower and colour and to smell this  evoked vivid memories from way back in the early seventies.  Maybe it was the aldehydes- so popular back then and used in Seyrig with great retro effect. This reminded me of Amouage Dia  a little, so if you like that you may like this too.

semiswede.com
semiswede.com

As Seyrig settles, there is a faint woody spice seeping in, the way a summer day becomes evening.  You can still smell the lilacs but there is a more human note.  It reminded me of the Armistead Maupin scene, written so beautifully as usual, where Brian sniffs the back of the Mary Ann’s neck and smells her “six o’clock smell” and feels crazily in love with her.  I know exactly what he means.

Here’s the notes in Seyrig: Rose de Mai Absolute, Aldehydes, Red Mandarin,  Syringa accord ( a cvousin of lilac), Ylang Ylang absolute, Muguet accord, Oakmoss, Musk , and my favourite note “radical chic” your version of which may be different to mine!

Seyrig is fabulously retro with its aldehydes, lily of the valley, lilacs and rose.  I fell for it at first sniff and well…it’s hard to type with one wrist glued to your nose.  Very addictive! Thank you Bruno.

Stockists

You can buy Seyrig from Bruno Fazzolari’s website.  .  Further stockists can be found here . He gets five stars from me for providing a great sample service where you can take $15 off the price of a full bottle when you’ve chosen.  Great idea and very customer-friendly. The price for the sample set is $35 and a full bottle of Seyrig will set you back $110.

sureofyou

Gucci Bamboo: And…Rest

bamboo

I’m still in a sulk with Gucci for not bringing back Gucci Envy, so I tried Gucci Bamboo with a bitchy face on.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is a fresh break from the rich’n’cloying smellalikes that have been coming thick and fast of late.  It opened with a whisper and is still there now, all subtle and classy.

Gucci Bamboo opens with top notes of bergamot, and whilst in this case it was not zingy cologne time, it radiated like a muffled lime with lily accents- sounds like a Dulux advert doesn’t it?  Well if Gucci Bamboo were a room, it would have floor to ceiling windows and wispy white curtains billowing in a spring breeze.

keep2

pinterest.com
pinterest.com

The middle phase has the lily, orange blossom and gentle Ylang Ylang (or banana flower as I call it in my head).  There is a light floral sweetness to this that has nothing to do with the recent trend for caramel, chocolate, and candy floss in scent.  Phew!

In the basenotes, which is the phase it’s at now on my skin, there is a hint of vanilla, but it’s not that in-your-face-cakey smell that it’s so easy to get hold of these days, it’s more a soft pile of pillows that tones it all down before putting it to bed. I would almost call it a hint of powder in among the faint warmth of some very mild amber.

Gucci Bamboo is absolutely perfect as a daytime scent and to me, it had a nostalgia that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.  In any case, as a new release it stands apart from the crowd as a gentle “Shhh” among the noise.

Stockists

Gucci Bamboo is available from FragranceDirect, Escentual,  and Boots to name but a few.

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Marc Jacobs Decadence

marc jacobs decadence

 

Famous for his fabulous show stopping bottles, Marc Jacobs usually puts his money where his mouth is and produces good quality scent.  Not all of it is my cup of tea, but I respect the brand and like his work.  Not that my opinion will rock his world either way- they all shoot up the bestseller list without my help, as will Marc Jacobs Decadence.

I tried Decadence today after walking past the bottle twice thinking it was a free bag that you get with the bottle.  I opened the bag to find a little spray nozzle inside- how cute!  I was charmed.  I duly slathered on a good tsunami of it so it wouldn’t wear off by the time I got home (and it hasn’t).

Decadence opens with saffron and plum.  I also found the amber and vetiver comes through straight away making this  fruity and rich at the same time.  It’s heady stuff- It doesn’t pass the DayJob test at all so don’t wear it to the office.  Saffron, plum, amber and vetiver- all these come at you with a sledgehammer.  The 2015 Scent du Jour of Jasmine Sambac is also noticeable, as is  a hint of rose, although poor rose gets  a bit overlooked with everything else going on.

Decadence smells very masculine, but that doesn’t put me off.  There were  moments when this reminded me strongly of Elie Saab, and then for a few moments, it reminded me, oddly enough, of Paco Rabanne 1Million Cologne.  There is a rich statement-making trail to Decadence and I reckon it will scent many a night out for at least the next two years.  You will smell it in restaurants, powder rooms and wine bars and say “Oh! That’s Marc Jacobs Decadence, I’d know it anywhere” and you may or may not feel glad that it’s nudged Angel off the  Top Spot for a bit.  Mystic Sam also predicts it will a total sell out at Christmas too.

Whilst I don’t love this myself, I do like it  and  the bottle is good enough to buy on its own – it would grace any dressing table and it should , and probably will, win awards.

Stockists

You will find Marc Jacobs Decadence is stocked widely.  You could try House of Fraser, The Fragrance Shop, or Amazon UK. Prices are in the region of £49 and vary according to stockist.