Tag Archives: fragrance

Tableau de Parfums: Ingrid by Andy Tauer : There is Warmth Behind the Hauteur

Image

This is the latest scent from the Tableau de Parfums range.: a collaboration between filmmaker Brian Pera and Perfumer Andy Tauer.  Ingrid joins previous creations Loretta (which I haven’t tried) and Miriam (which I have reviewed in this blog and which I liked very much).

It’s a new launch, only recently released, and I am lucky enough to have been able to obtain a sample from Scent and Sensibility, which for UK Tauer fans, is a very good way of sampling them without the annoying perfume posting regulations that are the bane of our lives. My sample was £4.50 for a 2ml spray. I consider this excellent value as longevity is so good.Image

Ingrid is hard to categorise.  I recently reviewed Vitriol d’œillet by Serge Lutens which is a Clove/Carnation combo.  At first I thought Ingrid was similar but I was wrong. Ingrid is earthy and reminds me of birch or tar or dried bracken. There is winter spice too, but not in a chintzy Christmas way, you’ll be relieved to know. The Rose is prevalent, and as with other Tauer scents, no Rose is the same twice.  In this case, the Rose reminds me of dried petals in a pot pourri- they have gone paper thin and their colour has faded but their scent has gone faintly peppery. Nevertheless it can still be recognised as Rose.

Image Ingrid is rich and spicy, but dry rather than sweet. It left me thinking I could smell the deep dark scent of Myrrh, but it may have been the resinous Styrax which is used so beautifully.

On my skin, the base notes of Ingrid are Clove, dried Roses, Resin and Frangipani. It’s rich, dark and mysterious yet the ingredients have been used lightly enough not to overwhelm.  It’s a winter scent that would make you stand out in the crowd for all the right reasons. It reminds me of bare wintery trees and faded petals and hot spiced brandy. It is layered and complex and beautiful. Longevity, as ever is excellent. Around ten hours. If ever a perfume was created to be worn in snow against a backdrop of stark bare branches, it was this. It injects spice into winter and warmth into frost.  It makes me think of a woman who is always immaculately dressed,  maybe a little scary, but deep down she has a heart of gold. I will always be friends with Ingrid and Miriam.

EDIT: Scent and Sensibility has now sadly closed.

 

 

Andy Tauer PHI Rose de Kandahar-It’s Here!

 Image

I am an unabashed fan of Andy Tauer. That doesn’t mean I blindly love everything he does: for some reason Reverie au Jardin disagrees with me, but I’d pretty much take a Tauer scent any day of the week.

What I love about Tauers is that Andy is a one man show.  He’s not a boardroom full of shirts looking at focus groups and trends.  He doesn’t have to go through a comittee and he’s not part of a global organisation (apart from having a distribution partner).  He’s a lone wolf and that makes things very interesting right from the start.

The development of PHI Rose de Kandahar has been well documented via Andy’s blog and Facebook page and it’s finally available in the UK.  This is a limited edition as Andy’s vat of Rose de Kandaher absolute is not bottomless (hence its inclusion in the “Collectibles” range). So now I finally have my treasured sample. Was it worth it?  Oh yes.

Image
fragrantica.com

PHI Rose de Kandahar has a Middle Eastern richness to it. Initially it’s honeyed roses and almonds and dried apricots: it reminds me of a scented Souk. At first this edible combination was very Turkish Delight, just for a moment.  But what happens next is that it transforms into, unless I’m mistaken, something not unlike a good Arabian Oud.  I often find Oud too strong for me, but in Rose de Kandahar it’s like a robust backdrop to something altogether more delicate. The irony is that there is no Oud in it, but the combination of tobacco, ambergris, vetiver and patchouli gives this a very rich and almost prickly base.   It’s like serving an aromatic Bacchanalian feast on a rough granite table. The contrast of the rough with the smooth enhances the delicacy of the ingredients.

Here are the notes as listed on Fragrantica:

 apricot, cinnamon,
bitter almond, bergamot

Rose of Kandahar essential oil,
Bulgaria rose absolute, Bourbon geranium, dried tobacco leaves.

patchouli, vetiver, vanilla,
tonka beans, musk, ambergris.

 There is an interesting Feel Good back-story to this.  The Kandahar roses that produce this absolute were grown in Afghanistan by farmers that have been subsidised to produce roses instead of growing plants that provide the base materials for drug use (“Hungerhilfe”). In other words, Make Roses, Not Drugs.

The wonderful fragrance alone is reason enough to love this, but  add the milk of human kindness and  you have just one of the many reasons to love PHI Rose de Kandahar.

Follow

Diesel Zero Plus Masculine: Stolen From My Husband

 Image

Out of all the fragrances I have bought for Mr IScent, Diesel Zero Plus Masculine is the one he wears every day and likes best. He smells wonderful in it, although it smells different on him than it does on me.  On him, it is a fresh, milky musk which is never overpowering, even at 7am when he kisses me goodbye for the day.

On me, it is fresh, green and spicy and could easily be marketed as a feminine Autumn scent without anyone batting an eyelid.  The most prominent notes when first sprayed are Green notes, Mandarin, Bergamot and  Spice: specifically Cinnamon and Nutmeg. The Green notes are woody and musty, like sodden leaves, but fresh and zingy at the same time.  After a while this beds down into a Musky Sandalwood finish, but with sharpness from the Oranges and Cardoman.  The Anise sneaks in for the final flourish, with warm Amber and Patchouli rounding things off nicely.

It’s ridiculously cheap for this kind of likable quality.  I bought this for around eight pounds in my local Bodycare shop, but it’s pretty much everywhere and very often less than ten pounds.

The bottle has lasted since last Christmas despite daily wear and is still nearly half full, making this extraordinary value for money.  It’s not up there with the Serges or the Guerlains, but it’s an excellent buy and I say phooey to male/female labels.  This is just a great Autumnal scent.

 

Follow

YSL Saharienne: Cologne? In Autumn? Yes Please.

Image

 I have been to visit my local perfume counter several times over the past few weeks. No surprises there. However, what’s been different is that I have been visiting only one bottle.  In passing, I carelessly tried YSL Saharienne a few weeks ago and several hours later, I was still obsessively sniffing my sleeve trying to remember which bottle that heavenly smell was from.

Image Saharienne is so good it is on my long list for Christmas.  That’s no backhanded compliment. I am planning to request a special bottle of something from Santa and I am finding it so hard to narrow it down to just one from hundreds that I love. It’s like an X factor audition. Last year it was Eau de Cartier, which will always remind me of Christmas Day 2012. But I digress.

I have always loved a good cologne, and Saharienne fits the bill and then some.  What makes this stand out from all my beloved O de Lancomes and 4711s and  Eau Dynamisantes, is that Saharienne is packing heat.  Right there in the base, after the Bergamot and divine citrussy Mandarins have calmed down, out comes the smoothest of Sandalwood with a hint of spiced Ginger Beer.  It’s smoother than David Niven in his heyday. It’s blended so seamlessly that the Ginger and Sandalwood look like they’ve always been friends with the Citrus family. It’s as if they’ve been going on holiday Imagetogether for years and have started to look alike.

Sadly, Saharienne’s drawback is longevity, or lack of it.  A few hours at most, I would say.  However, my coat sleeve smelled lovely for days and it’s jolly good value at under £30 for 50ml of EDT. The faceted glass bottle is rather pretty too, bringing to mind Ralph Lauren Safari or YSL Cinema.

It’s a cologne for Autumn. It’s both refreshing and warm, like ice cold Ginger Ale over ice, with a little bit of bite.  Good work YSL. Very nicely done.

In fact, maybe at this price, I’ll get two.

La Vie est Belle Legere: Now it’s Just Right

Image

Forgive my brief absence.  I spent a few days in beautiful West Wales with family (the photograph is of Cenarth Falls, Pembrokeshire). Sadly I did not make it to nearby  Caldey Island, nor did I manage to purchase the world famous Lavender soliflore that the Monks of Caldey make. It’s considered the best Lavender soliflore in the world by none other than Luca Turin himself. There is still time though.  I’ll be going back when there are fewer big waves. Image

I reviewed Lancome’s La Vie est Belle earlier in my blog and found it pretty, but  a little too gourmand for true love.  At the time I remember wishing they’d crank up the flowers and phase out the praline.  Well, it looks like my wish came true.

 La Vie est Belle L’Eau de Parfum Legere (also known as La Vie est Belle Legere is a perfect balance.  You can still smell the Angel influence (as with most modern gourmands) but they have turned up the volume on the Jasmine (Jasmine Sambac to be precise) and really toned down the Caramel and Praline notes that put me off the original.

I also found the top Blackcurrant note very pleasing and more noticeable this time round.  As much as I dislike red fruit and an over use of berries in scent, I rather like a touch of thirst quenching Blackcurrant if it’s done without too much sweetness.

I did hesitate before reviewing this since I have already covered La Vie est Belle, but I found this different enough to merit its own review.  The drawback is that you will still smell like other people. It’s very mainstream.  Imagine if you diluted Angel by 90%, added some fresh, sharp blackcurrants and filled the gaps with radiant Jasmine. You’d pretty much have this at the end.  I found this far more wearable than the original, and wouldn’t turn down a bottle, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it. A good scent though: very pretty.

Stockists

You can buy  La Vie est Belle Legere  from Debenhams or allbeauty.com .

Follow

Rochas Tocade: Like Seeing An Old Friend

Image

 I wore Rochas Tocade back in my twenties and cannot remember now why I only bought one bottle, since I am very fond of it.  I have been wearing a sample today and have been enveloped in a warm, comforting aura.

Rochas Tocade is a cosy, daytime perfume full of vanilla, but it nicely sidesteps being a gourmand with its roses and amber taking the foodie edge off it.  Whilst being warm, I wouldn’t call it spicy.  Whilst being rich, I wouldn’t call it an evening scent, though it would work well as one.

We can deconstruct Tocade and it’s beautiful playful bottle, but it’s one of those perfumes that is so memorable that when you know it and smell it you just say “Oh Tocade!” rather than “Oh an interesting vanilla/rose daytime perfume”

The following notes are in it:  rose, sandalwood, magnolia, lily of the valley, freesia, iris and jasmine.  However, this never seems to be a floral on me.  The flowers just provide a backdrop in the distance. This is vanilla all the way, with an undercurrent of amber  and silky aromatic sandalwood as it settles on your skin.

Longevity is great: about nine hours.  The price is excellent too. Less than 40GBP for 100ml.  I don’t normally like too much vanilla, but for this I make an exception.  Even Luca Turin likes it.  Rochas Tocade is a modern, quietly classic marvel.

Follow

Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang: A Perfect Balance

Image

 I have been wearing Estee Lauder Private Collection Amber Ylang Ylang today and I am more than satisfied with this tender golden treasure.  Sometimes I want some heat and spice, but not too much. Yesterday I went overboard with the very robust La Fumée, and today I wanted to tone things down a bit.

Amber Ylang Ylang does what it says on the tin.  However, it doesn’t end there. The genius here is not just in matching these two, but in the expert blending so that one enhances the other without taking over.

Amber is one of my favourite notes for Autumn: it’s the gentler side of the Oriental genre. Ylang Ylang is one of those flowers that rarely overpowers.  Estee Lauder wisely held back from using dominant Jasmine in this one and played a gentler card alongside the rich Amber.

Longevity is very good.  I tried this not long after 9am and it’s there, although close to skin, eight hours later. It reminded me of sparkling ginger ale in that it is both spicy and refreshing at the same time.

There is Bergamot in the opening notes, which probably gives this its sparkle, whilst Cinnamon, Incense and Sandalwood warm up the Amber without getting heavy handed.

Overall, this is a delightfully warm and cosy scent, but what makes it stand out for me is the restraint used.  It’s an Oriental Lite pleasant enough for daywear.  In fact, daywear should be positively encouraged. I would love more people to wear this.

Jo Loves A Shot Of Muguet and Cedar

Image

 This is the last of the Jo Loves trio of new releases.  As with the previous two, I only have a sealed blotter i.e a blotting strip in its own cellophane casing.  I therefore cannot tell you about longevity or how this is on skin, but it’s worth reviewing anyway, since Jo Loves is a small brand and  a new launch is a big deal. It’s not as if they will be releasing weekly flankers like so many other fragrance houses today.

A Shot of Muguet and Cedar is a simple affair, but its simplicity is its strength.  It is a characteristic of Jo Loves scents that ingredients are never overcrowded.  It is also worth knowing that Jo Malone’s first job was in a  florist shop, and it shows.  It always interests me when florists create scent.  I feel they are perfectly placed to do so.  Luggage and pen manufacturers, not so much.

lotv2

A Shot  of Muguet and Cedar is a light, almost retro, scent that took me back to the Avon catalogues of the 70s once again.  This is no bad thing.  It’s refreshing to have Lily of The Valley celebrated again and I never get tired of any new formulation containing it.  However, if you, like me,  are mad about Muguets, then in my opinion, nothing beats Andy Tauer’s Carillon Pour Un Ange,  which is in another league, and for want of a better word “heartier” than the light whispery Jo Loves version of Lily of the Valley.

It was a clever touch to match it with Cedar.  It brings it down a peg or two like the straight man in a comedy act. This Lily of The Valley is delightfully light and green, but it would float away without just a faint rasp of serious Cedar.

Out of all three of the samples I have been kindly sent, I vote No 42 The Flowershop as my favourite, although I wouldn’t turn any of them down. Jolly Good Show all round, and it brings a little of  the perfect English Country Garden to a rather damp Autumn.

Image