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Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense: Not For Wallflowers

classiqueintense

Jean Paul Gaultier has been a favourite of mine since his Eurotrash days (do you remember that great post pub show he hosted on TV with Antoine de Caunes? Fabulous.)

JPG was the darling of the Nineties, getting men into kilts and Breton shirts and Madonna into her iconic pointy bras – and sometimes no bra at all if the iconic topless dress is anything to go by.  Those Gallic eyes have lost none of their twinkle and I declare myself a fan.

www.popsugar.com
www.popsugar.com

However, JPG loses a few points (but none of the love) for the sheer vast number of flankers around the fabulous Classique.  I have reviewed Jean Paul Gaultier Classique elsewhere in this blog and I liked its soapy/acetone-y/feminine vibe, but it looks like someone, somewhere thought “here’s an idea!  Let’s make so many flankers that even the die hard fans could never possibly list them all!” and so it was.

However, redemption is in sight for today I am wearing Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense and it’s marvellous.

Opening with bright white flowers and a hint of  vanilla, Classique Intense makes its presence felt straight away.  The choice of flowers is interesting:  there is no tuberose, but lots of Tiare flower.  This means you get headiness, with less full fat cream but plenty of coconut and soap.  I happen to love this so I don’t mind, but coconut dodgers (great mental image! Would make a good Wii game) may wish to take a back seat.

The middle phase goes a bit woody on me and lies flat for a little while, but then the base notes emerge and in comes patchouli, a few more white flowers coming back as the woodiness fades, and a delicate hint of vanilla that makes this confusingly, borderline frangipani in places, what with the coconutty foodie thing going on.  No matter, it’s marvellous and with just a touch of juiciness in the restrained pomegranate, you have a great, and intense, woody white floral.

Ignore the millions of flankers- I have neither the time nor the inclination to even know where to begin, but the original Jean Paul Gaultier Classique is worth seeking out if you haven’t done already.

Stockists  You can buy Classique Intense online ( or in store) from the Fragrance Shop in the UK, or online from Next or online and in store from Boots (who also do click and collect if you don’t want to pay postage).  I couldn’t find it on any USA sites so I am guessing the launch over there will be coming soon.

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Yves Rocher Quelques Notes D’Amour: A Grown Up Rose

quelquenotes

 

Yves Rocher is a brand I am rather fond of.  I have at least four full bottles* and have yet to try one I disliked.  I was kindly sent a bottle of Quelques Notes D’Amour by Yves Rocher and I thank them warmly for their generosity.  I am always happy to receive perfume to review, on the proviso that I may not like it and I may say so!  However, I will always be honest and well mannered.

Here goes then:  At first I did not like Quelques Notes D’Amour but after three days of wearing it in day time and even overnight in bed (a very good test of a scent) it has won me over.

purse spray

When I first smelled it on day one, I thought it was fairly generic and it went a bit cardboard-y/Crayola crayons on me after around half an hour.  However, the bottle was so pretty and the reviews so positive on Fragrantica that I wondered if I was missing something so tried again.

This time round I really started to respect the kind of rose scent this is.  The rose is not a watercolour rose, as it is in the rather lovely Comme Une Evidence, but more of a sophisticated, complex, woody rose.  In fact the first phase is pink pepper, which may have put me off at first.  Pink pepper is a red berry that is often used in fruity florals, and in my opinion, has been used with too heavy a hand of late.  In Quelques Notes D’Amour its just the warm up act because the middle phase becomes a thick, rich woody Damascene rose.  It’s definitely an Autumn/Winter rose rather than a light one for summer and would also serve you well as an evening fragrance.

Fragrantica

The base note is long and rich and even a little spiky with patchouli and Guaiac wood (used so well in Hilary Duff With Love). There’s  warm benzoin and green cedar too, but I can’t help thinking that the pink pepper and the rose never really went away.

 Quelques Notes D’Amour comes in a beautiful bottle and is, in my opinion, not for teens -and hooray for that!  Those young people get wayyyy too many new launches aimed at them.  We “over 27s” ( Okay I’m 44) like being catered for and for that alone I am giving this a thumbs up.  For being a rich, woody rose that repelled me then changed my mind and reeled me in, I give this another thumbs up.  If I had a third thumb, I would give yet another thumbs up because Yves Rocher have a purse spray on offer, which is a great way of trying a fragrance before buying a full bottle.  I have a thing for purse sprays, so this pleased me no end.

Yves Rocher, keep up the sterling work.  As you were.

fragrantica
fragrantica

 Stockists:  You can buy Quelques Notes D’Amour from the UK Yves Rocher website. To my chums in the USA and Canada- sadly this is not yet available over on your patch, but I can heartily recommend Moment de Bonheur, Comme Une Evidence and So Elixir, all of which are on the Yves Rocher USA site.

* The Yves Rocher scents I own are; Comme Une Evidence, Cléa, Yria, and Yves Rocher Fraicheur Vegetale Verveine.  I also recommend the lovely So Elixir. You can find reviews of them all on this blog.

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YSL Black Opium: Look Away Opium Fans!

black opium

 

You may recall my earlier reviews of old and new Opium.  You may recall how passionate the love is for old Opium, and the cries of dismay when that powdery, heady treasure was sanitised for a modern market.

Well the people that loved old Opium will be most upset when they read that the name of Opium has been used in vain. YSL Black Opium is frankly, a disappointment.

The name alone would hint at a possible return to the old richness of Opium, with a moniker that suggests the nocturnal and wicked.  “Black Opium” you would think, “sounds all mysterious and grown up” you would think. But no.

In fact, having plastered myself in it today and wishing I hadn’t done so, the first thing this made me think of was Chanel Coco Mademoiselle on steroids.

opiumOpium_by_YSL

There’s the Coco Mademoiselle Orange Blossom and Patchouli in spades, and Pear and Pink Pepper giving it a fruity tang, but there’s kind of an unwelcome butch note at the bottom of it all that reminds me of Thierry Mugler Angel when it goes all Brut For Men on me.

The basenotes of Black Opium are actually very similar to the basenotes of Angel, with an overly sweet vanilla richness juxtaposed over a load of immovable patchouli.  Oh yes, and don’t forget a ton of coffee and extra syrup in the middle.

black opium ad

It’s a sad state of affairs that perfumes today are generally launched at the 17-27 year old market, which would explain a lot.  However, us “over 27s” are getting short changed and Black Opium is like seeing your best cashmere coat getting covered in crayon.

YSL Black Opium was not made for me and of course, I have to accept it. That doesn’t mean I have to like it though.  In fact, it should have been given a completely different name altogether, because Black Opium and old Opium are not just unrelated, they are not even passing acquaintances.

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Library of Fragrance Moonbeam: Angelically Beautiful

Moonbeam.jpg_grande

You may well guess why I chose  “angelically” to describe Library of Fragrance Moonbeam.  With a mixture of chocolate and vanilla over floral notes, it rang loud perfumey bells in my head.

Yes indeed, Library of Fragrance Moonbeam smells very similar to Thierry Mugler Angel, if Angel had been made with a lighter hand and with less patchouli and more flowers.

In other words, if Angel is too Titanic, then Moonbeam is your escape dinghy.  And there I was, thinking I would never get to use the word dinghy in a perfume review…

So if you like Angel, but find it too heavy (you wouldn’t be alone in thinking this, there are others like you), then Moonbeam is a good choice.

I would also add that if you were buying for a teenager, this would be a perfect gift, coming in at only £15 a bottle,  where Angel is more than twice that.  Longevity isn’t quite the same as Angel, nor sillage ( let’s face it, Angel could knock a boxer out at twenty paces without putting its gloves on), but I think I actually prefer Moonbeam to Angel.

Both have  flowers, in this case Jasmine and Lily of the Valley, both have Amber, and both have the all important chocolate note.  Moonbeam is a sprinkle where Angel is a fire hydrant.

What celestial names we are discussing on this autumnal Sunday! Maybe on Monday you can go out and catch a Moonbeam.

moonbeammoonbeammoonbeam

 

Creed Love in Black: Pure Elegance

loveinblack

 

As you may recall from my recent review of Creed Love in White, I was under whelmed by Creed’s offering, but Creed Love in Black is a different matter.

First of all, on first application (I have a splash sample) it bursts with violets: beautiful sweet, woody violets.  I adore violets and it’s a safe bet that I will enjoy any scent that has them.  However, as you can imagine, this is no one trick pony and the violets segue into a darker more serious fragrance as the cloves emerge in the middle phase.  Cloves don’t always agree with me:  whilst they provide the kind of heat I often seek out, I find they have a burnt edge to them, as if at the bottom of a scorched mulled wine pan.

They are blended beautifully with the violets here though and give the violets a more serious, even sombre edge. The combination of the cloves and violets together frames the Iris, which is prominent, and the base notes dry off into a long lasting and intriguing burst of flowers that are both spicy/rich and delicate at the same time.  The rich Bulgarian Rose rounds things off nicely.

Rather charmingly, Creed Love in Black was inspired by the life of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: still the epitome of cool elegance even years after her death.  Were she alive today, you would never, ever find her taking a selfie. (take note Mrs K.West of Los Angeles).

 Creed Love in Black has the overall effect of restrained prettiness with a hint of spiced wine (probably the cloves reminding me of Christmas) and whilst I like it and enjoyed wearing it today, I probably wouldn’t go as far as spending over £100 on it.  It would make an elegant and distinctive signature scent for the right woman.  I like to think Jackie would have loved it.

shoera.com
shoera.com

StormFlower by Cheryl: Does it Have The X Factor?

stormflower

 

Cheryl  Fernandez-Versini re-debuts tonight on the UK’s X Factor. She also debuts her first ever perfume StormFlower this week.  Coincidence?  No just common sense PR.

Cheryl Tweedy Cole Fernandez-Versini  has the dubious honour of being Mr IScent’s favourite member of Girls Aloud.  He has all their albums and Cheryl’s too.  Naturally, Cheryl is not a patch on me in any way, and he loves me the most, we decided.

I tried StormFlower today and I must say that yes, I quite liked it.  I was hoping it wouldn’t be the bearer of too much vanilla as so many celeb scents have been lately,  and I was fearing it would be too sweet for my taste, knowing that Cheryl is partial to a bit of Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb.

o.27497My first impression of StormFlower is freshly sliced Papaya, followed by Freesia, followed by a pretty generic base note of faded top notes with a faintly spicy synthetic finish.

In fact, the top notes are mandarin and nectarine.  Nectarine is thankfully not as talcum powdery or as sickly as peach can sometimes be, and seems to be juicier and lighter.  Mandarin is always welcome with its citrussy refreshing tang.  Middle notes are Freesia, which is noticeable and is coupled well with the juicy top notes.  Added to the mix is a touch of peach blossom which again shows restraint from an all too easy peach fest.

The disappointment here is in the base note which dries down into a nothing-special cheap smelling synthetic muddle.  It’s supposed to be sandalwood, vanilla and musk (nothing new there), but falls rather badly at the final hurdle. The base note cheapens the promising start and pretty, feminine middle phase.

It can come as no surprise that I’m about to start using X Factor metaphors, so here goes.  Would I put StormFlower through to the next round?  Well for starters it depends on the calibre of the other candidates. Some years in X Factor, there are mediocre finalists that wouldn’t have got to the finals had they been on the show the year before.  I feel that this is the case with StormFlower.  In light of nothing else particularly robust in the celeb field this year, this is a strong contender, but had this been the year that say, Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely was launched, then it wouldn’t have even got to Boot Camp.

But don’t listen to me: this pleasantly uplifting tropical and fruity scent will sell and sell and then probably sell some more. Madame Ferndandez-Versini  (how exotic that sounds!) can sleep tight, knowing all her direct debits will go out this month with a bit of change in the bank for a treat.

I won’t be buying this, but I’m pretty sure thousands of others will, and fair play to them.

Dana Raffinée: A Touch of Brass

Raffinee Perfume Dana Raffinée used to be Houbigant Raffinée and sadly I cannot list the differences between the Dana formulation and the Houbigant formulation as I don’t have the old one to compare it to.  However, if you’re a fan of Caron Montaigne (rumoured to be endangered) then you may like this rather similar and classic fragrance.   raffinee-perfume-by-dana-for-women-personal-fragrances_24801_500

First impressions of Raffinée are yellow flowers and powder.  This is probably why it reminded me so much of Caron Montaigne- those were my first impressions of Montaigne too.  However if you take away the oranges from Montaigne you are left with pretty much a decent dead ringer in Raffinée.  The problem is, it looks like Raffinee’s days are numbered too.  In this case, the emergency drill would be to buy the cheapest, which is currently Caron Montaigne , being sold for a song right now over on Amazon.

Raffinée opens with mimosa and spices.  There is a hint of hyacinth in there too, lots of dry rooty orris root and some noticeably rich tuberose. The flowers are not soft nor delicate nor dainty.  There’s no peony here.  The flowers are more blousy and loud and wearing too much make up and trying to look young.

The middle notes are a raft of soapy, powdery spices and this phase seems to last a long time.  The base notes segue into a rather brassy evening scent that smacks of the late 1970s.  There’s no subtlety here.  There’s no delicacy.  But I tell you what Raffinée does remind me of, and that’s a Beryl Cook painting, leopard print, cleavage and a dirty laugh.

It’s not fashionable, but who wants fashionable?  Powdery, soapy, spicy and rocking a tarty, 70s vibe- if Raffinée was a person we’d be going out on the town tonight.

PS Thank you to my dear friend Lisa Wordbird for the loan of the bottle.  She is not rocking a tarty 70s vibe in case you were wondering.

artbrokerage.com
artbrokerage.com

 

Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Bloom

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I’m going to start by saying right away that I don’t like the original Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers -to me it’s nothing special at all.   However,  I tried Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers Summer Bloom today and yes, it’s a fruity floral, and no I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but this one is rather lovely and is excellent value.  It was a big 100ml bottle that came in a penny under ten quid and as an eau de toilette the expectation is that it lasts around six hours (so said the sales assistant who sold it to me, but then she would say that wouldn’t she?)

As a fruity floral, this smells like many others, but its strength is that the smellalike-ness (just made that word up) is to your advantage when the price is 9.99.  In other words if you like fruity florals, you may as well get Summer Bloom over the megapriced smellalikes in the higher price range that ultimately do the same job.

Here are the notes according to out trusty friends at Fragrantica:

Top notes: pear, water lily and ivy, middle notes: violet, jasmine and hortensia, base notes: cedar vanilla musk

What I actually got is this:  it opens as a fruity floral, with an emphasis on the floral rather than the fruity.  The fruit is actually pear, which is one of the least offensive fruity notes you can get (the worst offenders are synthetic red fruits). The flowers that come out are the jasmine and the violet.  The base is not really vanilla, cedar and musk, but a faded version of the top notes, but not too bad at all. Longevity is around three hours and a bit.

This is a case of the flanker being much better than the original.  If you’ve got a tenner and you’re feeling summery you could do a lot worse than this pretty and light scent.

The drawback is that this is hard to find and seems to be exclusively available in The Perfume Shop in the UK.  My fear is that this exclusivity will lead to low sales and discontinuing. This will be a shame, but since it only launched in April 2014, maybe there’s still time.

hydrangeas_1528827c

 PS In case you were wondering, hortensia is another name for hydrangea and  apparently has “clean, camphorous tonalities” according to Fragrantica.  Personally, I wouldn’t dwell on it, as the note wasn’t there, but I do love them in the garden and have therefore posted  a gratuitous photo of them.

Yves Saint Laurent Opium Old-vs-New:  The Verdict

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESopium

  For a few days now I have been mulling over the comments of readers and my own response to old and new YSL Opium.  We’ve heard passionate arguments in favour of the older formulation, and several positive comments about the new one ( including from yours truly). Now that friend of the blog Lisa has kindly let me borrow her gorgeous bottle of old Opium ( see photo) and I have tried both the old and the new, I feel qualified to give my opinion.

emily blunt opium

New Opium is still a wonderful daytime scent that I would happily have on my dressing table. It’s widely available and there’s nothing wrong with it at all: it’s even suitable for daywear in August.

Old Opium, which I am wearing now, is indeed the “woah there” scent that friends of the blog Sally and Lisa argued so passionately in favour of and can only be had on eBay it would seem.  It’s a whopper with sillage that could kill a canary.  It’s shamelessly blousy and glamorous: like a drunk at a party- loud and unmissable but witty and fun.  It’s powdery and classic (some would say old fashioned, I say classic) and has done a trolley dash through the Oriental Perfume Ingredients Store and bought everything.  It’s fabulous and it was in its day, a groundbreaker.

opium old

Here’s my verdict:  New Opium is indeed a shadow of the Old Opium, to the point where it is in fact a lite version and should have been labelled as such.  New Opium is excellent in its own right but the very fact that I would recommend it for daywear even in August goes to show how weak it is compared to its night-time-only- it’ll-blow-your-socks-off original. What YSL should have done is kept old Opium intact and called new Opium by the name of a flanker such as Eau D’Opium or Opium Summer (In fact confusingly there is an Opium Summer-Eau d’été- a name which would have suited the current formulation)

I therefore declare YSL guilty of murdering a perfectly good scent and replacing it with an imposter.  A good imposter, but an imposter nonetheless.  They may be cousins  but  they don’t even look alike. *gavel*

digitaltrends.com
digitaltrends.com

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Prada Candy Florale: A Clever Surprise

nd.24487   Remember that shampoo from the 80s that was called Once?  It was two tone and  you had to shake it before use and presto!  It was both shampoo and conditioner. Why did I think of Once when I was trying out Prada Candy Florale?  Mainly because Prada Candy Florale surprised me and completely changed half way through wearing it. nd.12426

I have reviewed Prada Candy  elsewhere in this blog (I won’t do a link to my own blog as it gets very weird),  and despite its name making me think it was going to smell like a sweet shop, it was  actually very good and not too sweet at all. Prada Candy was simply Musk, Benzoin and Caramel.

Prada Candy Florale has all of these but with added Peony and wait for it: Limoncello- that bitter, palate cleansing lemon liquer that you only drink in tiny shots. Prada Candy Florale doesn’t smell like a close relation to Prada Candy,

limoncello.com
limoncello.com

but the Florale bit is as good as its word.  Florale uses the prettiest and girliest of flowers: the Peony.  It does the job and it’s a safe bet if you’re not going for an edgy floral. Here’s what happens when you wear it:  it opens as a very pretty, almost green floral with dominant Peony and very little trace of Benzoin or Caramel or anything else really.

Then, and here’s the clever bit, it changes into a delightful lemon eau de cologne style scent that hangs around for about four hours.  The transitional bit is interesting: a sort of citrussy floral bouquet with a hint of  benzoin, but when it settles it smells so much like a lemon eau de cologne that I had to check which tester  I had used, thinking I must have sprayed one over the top of it.  

Prada Candy Florale impressed me a great deal.  Sometimes new launches are all so samey that I think I will always be buying old school scents from the bottom shelf for evermore.  But then something like this comes along and I applaud its audacity in not playing it safe.  I don’t like it enough to shove anything off my existing over crowded wish list, but thank you Prada for giving us something a bit new and a bit different.

PS My sample comes from the latest quarterly  Discovery Club Box from The Fragrance Shop. I love them- make it monthly Fragrance Shop!

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