Tag Archives: fragrance

Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters, (2016) 4160 Tuesdays

mothr nature bottle

Supra-naturals: The ones we make with the posh naturals combined with most excellent synthetic molecules to make scents of great beauty.- Sarah McCartney

Perfumer Sarah McCartney (I’m going to add the word inexhaustible) has an encyclopaedic knowledge of perfume regulations. If you don’t believe me, put her on Mastermind. This knowledge, which by necessity would resemble several complex  mazes in someone’s head,  led her to concoct a “Supra-Natural” scent.

Why are Mother’s Nature’s Daughters Naughty? Well they’re more rule-bendingly naughty than wicked, but they have a twinkle in their eye.

Many of the off grid, twigs-in-your-hair style fragrance notes involved in Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters are prohibited or severely regulated in their natural and absolute form by both IFRA and the EU . There’s also the complication that these truly natural ingredients have a lot of variables when they land on skin. Sarah has therefore, rather resourcefully, used natural ingredients to create a synthetic sure-fire replication of these notes without actually breaking any rules. Still with me? Trust me, she knows what she’s doing.

horlicks-malted-drink-light-169784So having gone through all that, whilst exploring the delightful sounding broom absolute for the first time along the way, what does Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters smell like?  This is a rosy chypre (complete with textbook woody, mossy base), but at the same time, it’s a playful fruity floral that also happens to be a gourmand. In other words, this will please fans of all three genres.

What I have here is an opening that reminded me briefly of calvados: orchard fruits and booze. The fruit is framed with praline which gave me an instant hit of those divine liquid centred boozy liqueurs you get at Christmas (which I could eat endlessly, with my eyes closed going “MMM”).  Blackcurrants come out, which can smell like cat pee, but here they are rich and bitter in a good red wine-y sort of way. There is a syrupy note that bridges the top phase to the middle, although nothing is as prescriptive as that here. pimmsRoses pop out, but with brown sugar frosting their petals. Is that the broom I can smell? It is reportedly a nutty, woody, hay-like note and that’s certainly there, along with a waft of warm Horlicks (that’ll be the malt).

So far this has given us a little tour covering most of an English Country Garden. So where does the base leave us? On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too.

Stockists

Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website.

Made with this kind of broom before it becomes a broom.
Made with this kind of broom before it becomes a broom.

Photo credits: Top photo from www.4160Tuesdays.com , Horlicks photo from www.caloriecount.com, Pimms photo from www.christinascucina.com and broom photo from www.thingsthatgoboo.com.

Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 20: Review

liz earle 20I once walked past the Liz Earle shop in the pretty streets of Ryde, on the Isle of Wight. I had the children with me and they had spotted the Wimpy, so I had slim chance of going in. However, I can see why Liz Earle chooses to base her company on this beautiful island. In fact, she has an affiliation with Ventnor Botanical Gardens, from where the company sources many of its botanical ingredients.

ventnor

So far, there are four fragrances in the Liz Earle Botanical Essences range: No 100, No 15, No 20 and No 1. Today I will be reviewing No 20, which was made to celebrate 20 years of the brand.

Damask Rose is clearly the star of the show. It is a heavier, richer rose than say, Yardley English Rose, which is more akin to rose breath sweets ( and none the worse for it, says this owner of a full bottle).  The rose in No 20 is combined with jasmine, which comes out beautifully after a few minutes.  Bergamot and mandarin cut through the richness.  Pink pepper makes it presence felt: those tiny red berries add a fruity spice that holds back from being too sweet, as pink pepper often has a tendency to do. This is union-store-fronta stunning floral with a hint of something different. I noticed a vegetal note, in the same vein that heavy white florals can produce a touch of celery: in this instance, it is carrot seed. This has a slightly iris-like feel, when iris is “rooty” and earthy. Combined with the sandalwood, this gives No 20 a robust woody feel as it blends into the rich rose and rounds it off.

This is a grown-up woody floral that will take you from day to evening. The more I wear it, the more I like it. It’s a tough call to produce a rose scent that stands out from so many others, but nose Domitille Bertier has created a beautiful fragrance, worthy of celebrating Liz Earle’s twenty years in the business.

Stockists

You can buy Liz Earle products online, or in store and online at John Lewis. If you ever get the chance to visit the Isle of Wight, I would recommend it highly. Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 20 retails at 49.00 for 50ml.

Acknowledgments: Top and bottom photos from UK.Lizearle.com. Middle photo from Ventnor Botanical Gardens.  Sample is my own.

 

DSH Giverny in Bloom: Bringing art alive

dsh bottle

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is an early pioneer in the world of indie perfumes. US based, Dawn (or DSH to fans), constantly innovates and has a wide fan base worldwide. In fact, I’m astonished I took so long to get here.

monet-gvI was recently sent two samples of DSH scents by friend of the blog (and friend of me!) Patsi, who is always very generous and supportive of my perfume habit, having a serious habit herself. Thank you Patsi!

Today I am reviewing Giverny in Bloom. It seems appropriate to look at the pictures of Monet’s gardens in Giverny as I sniff them since this scent was created to go alongside the “in Bloom” scent experience at Denver Art Museum.

This scent will be instantly recognizable to anyone who remembers playing in the garden as a child. Did you ever pick flowers, snap ferns and sniff leaves or was that just me? If so, you will easily imagine how transporting this earthy, realistic fragrance is.

bridgeThis was almost astringent on first spray, like rubbing a broken fern between your fingers. After that the flowers come in. Not just petals, but stems, stamens, buds: the whole shebang. It smells like a very good florists: it’s flower heads, yes, but seeds and leaves too. It is springlike and abundant. There’s lilacs, carnations, mimosa, roses, jasmine, neroli, violets, linden blossom- it’s all there. But what makes this stand apart from a good spring floral is the addition of the greenery and earthiness. There’s soil tincture, oakmoss, galbanum, ambergris, and patchouli. All this works not against, but alongside, the prettiness of the flowers, giving a dose of realism that makes this really stand out. A good gardener knows you have to get your hands dirty and that’s what this smells like: a real garden, with all the flowers, the sharpness of green leaves and a woody, earthy base. Like the strokes of an Impressionist’s brush, the blending is cleverly done to give an artless feel that allows each note to blur into the next without losing itself.

Viewed alongside the legendary paintings, this makes for a wonderfully uplifting experience.

I shall be seeking out more DSH after this. Thank you Patsi for this fabulous intro.

Stockists.

All scents are available from the DSH website.  This just in-I have it on good authority that  DSH does indeed ship to the UK! There is also a good sample service, and free samples with every full bottle purchase.

Photo credits

Top photo from Fragrantica. Middle photo from www.famousartistsgallery.com. Bottom photo from www.lifo.gr

Orla Kiely by Orla Kiely

orla kiely bottle

Orla Kiely is the Irish designer who always reminds me of a 21st century Barbara Hulanicki with her quirky geometric prints and repeat patterns. It seemed inevitable that a fragrance would follow and I’m glad it did. This pretty scent is not only ideal for daytime and work wear, but has a very agreeable price: retailing at under £20 a bottle.

Orla Kiely opens with refreshing bergamot, tea and peach. You’ll be pleased to know that my description doesn’t make it smell like Liptons Iced Tea, although I wouldn’t mind if it did. The flowers emerge gradually and there are some pretty petals in here- namely roses, geranium and peachy osmanthus. A little hint of juicy fig peeks out and there is a whisper of chocolate. The chocolate is thankfully used sparingly here  The tea and the bergamot restrain it from going down an overly sweet route.

orla collection

The base is sandalwood, fig and again the very mild soupcon of chocolate. For a few moments there was a definite hint of pencil shavings on my arm, but sandalwood can sometimes do that to me. The finish is a woody floral melange with a refreshing tang of tea. All in all, a good buy that will stand you in good stead for Spring and Summer. It should almost go without saying that the box is pretty too!

One Fragrantica user reckons that this is similar to Must de Cartier Eau Fine, which can’t be a bad thing with change from a twenty pound note.

Stockists

Orla Kiely is available from Amazon.co.uk at 19.95 for 100ml. I received my sample in a Perfume Society Discovery Box.

Photos

Photographs: Top photo from Fragrantica, bottom photo from www.thewomensroomblog.com

Andy Tauer: Lonesome Rider: Muscles With a Sensitive Side

lonesome

At last I have my mitts on a new Tauer. Those pesky postal regulations have left me frustrated of late and I have been missing my Tauer fix, although I know Andy is looking into it for his UK fans.  However I have managed to bagsy a sample of the latest release: Lonesome Rider. It’s a follow up to the great Lonestar Memories of ten years ago and thankfully, it is neither a flanker nor a lightweight. What we have here is a great unisex scent with Tauer’s trademark stupendously good longevity.  Yes, they are pricey, but they are worth every penny and in my book (or my blog) I reckon such longevity makes them excellent value. I have a bottle of Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange  and it seems to never go down, no matter how often I wear it.

lonesome 4

Lonesome Rider smells peppery and spicy at first spray: like carnations or geraniums. There’s a bit of citrus making it fresh and invigorating. Shortly after this lovely début, it becomes a heavier leather scent. There is a cloud of bonfire smoke  hanging around it, giving me some nice cowboy imagery in my mind’s eye. The orris root makes it presence felt and this is a note I fell in love with via Papillon Angelique which really showcases orris. The combination of orris, citrus, leather and spices makes this a fabulous fragrance. I thought I had this nicely all summed up until I had a nice bonus after about an hour: roses. Beautiful clean roses in the background, smoked in incense and nestled snugly alongside the spice and leather. Smoky, butch and leathery but with the orris and roses to lighten it up, this stuff has muscles and a sensitive side.  If you liked Tauer Eau D’Epices and Tauer Incense Rose, you’ll like this too. I certainly do! Looks like Andy has another hit on his hands.

Stockists

You can buy Lonesome Rider  from this website . You can buy Tauer scents from the Tauer website, and you can buy the Flash series from Tauerville which ships to the UK. In the UK you can buy Tauer scent from Les Senteurs, including a sample service.

4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess

sex goddess

4160 Tuesdays Sex Goddess is one of the samples included in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, but I already had a sample from my recent purchase of a full set of Crimes of Passions samples.

With The Discovery Box comes a postcard of smelling notes, with conversation prompts which are ideal if you are part of a perfume club (and I’m starting one soon).

One of the questions stood out for me. “If this fragrance was a movie star, who would it be?” My immediate answer is Ava Gardner, the woman Frank Sinatra went loopy for.  She was stunning, sexy and classically glamorous, which seems like a good place to start for my review of 4160Tuesdays Sex Goddess.

www.doctormacro.com
“You’re late”

Sarah McCartney has unbuttoned my uptightness about fruity florals and this is no exception. There’s peach, blackcurrant ( but no cat pee!), along with strawberries, peppery geraniums, amber, bergamot and a last word of vanilla and musk.

So far so good on paper, but what does it smell like in glorious technicolour reality?

There’s a definite whiff of the vanilla and bergamot combo from Sexiest Scent on the Planet Ever (IMHO) which provides a golden background (I can’t help seeing it as golden and fuzzy), but the fruit makes this playful and gives it a vintage feel, in line with say, Madame Rochas and her peaches. Somehow, all together, and in the nicest possible way, this smells as if it was made decades ago. Maybe its the oakmoss. Maybe its the peaches. Maybe I should buy a bottle.

It’s blended with just the right balance of everything and if, like me, the tidal wave of modern mediocre fruity florals has put you off, I can assure you that this could not be more different. It stands in a class of its own. Like beautiful Ava.

Stockists

You can buy Sex Goddess from the 4160 Tuesdays website, with prices starting at a very reasonable £15 for a purse spray. After that, you may want a bigger one and you can buy those as well. You can also get a sample by buying the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box from The Perfume Society website.

Photo of Ava Garner by www.doctormacro.com

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The Body Shop Black Musk

black musk

 

Today I tried Black Musk in my local Body Shop. I’ve always been a fan of The Body Shop White Musk and consider it a staple in my fragrance wardrobe. There have been several brave flankers, but I still rate the original as the best. After trying Black Musk today, nothing changed that view.

Black Musk opens with a tang of fruit: the red berry like pink pepper was super strength and combined as it was with pear and vanilla, I was not impressed. In fact this reminded me a little of Clinique Aromatics in Black ( overall consensus: meh). Black Musk did improve however, and as it morphed into something reasonable I noticed some pleasant sandalwood and vetiver.

The base notes were recognizably a relative of White Musk, and if it had just been wrapped in the vetiver and sandalwood, I would have liked it. But no. There had to be chocolate and vanilla lobbed in at the end. It’s not so bad now it’s really settled. The confectionery has settled to a pleasant background sweetness, tamed by an infinitesimal touch of sober heliotrope. It has a masculine finish in fact, which means little to me as I think that if you like it, ignore the label and slap it on, regardless of gender.

Overall, I’ve yet to find a Body Shop fragrance as classic as White Musk, although I do rate Italian Summer Fig, Atlas Mountain Rose, Fijian Water Lotus and Honeymania. I don’t seem to be able to write any Body Shop review without mourning the Body Shop of the 80s and 90s. Oh Perfume Bar, how I long for you!

Stockists

You can buys Black Musk online or try it in store. I have noticed that they do lots more special offers online so you might like to try in the shop then buy from the website.

Moschino Fresh Couture

moschino fresh couture

Moschino are having fun again and supplying a cheeky wink with your fragrance.  Moschino Fresh Couture looks like a bottle of Febreze ( which I love), complete with handy spray gun.  However, that doesn’t mean the juice inside isn’t to be taken seriously as a good fragrance, because it is very good indeed.

Moschino Fresh Couture is a beautifully light and uplifting fragrance. Opening with eau de cologne style notes of mandarin and bergamot and banana-y Ylang Ylang ( if bananas had petals, that’s how they would smell), there is an immediate feel good vibe going on.

Middle notes are dominated by the playful combination of raspberry and peony, making this pretty and feminine. Base notes are white patchouli, which gives this a pleasant oomph, matched with Ambroxan and woody notes, which I did not really discern.

linda evangelista

This is right up my street for Spring and Summer. Unsurprisingly, there is a pleasing fresh laundry accord, and with the citrus, raspberry and pretty peony, this so light and refreshing that you are sure to get compliments. It’s impossible not to feel its optimism and playfulness, and not just from the post ironic bottle.

I obtained my sample from the Perfume Society Scent With Love  Discovery Box, which seems to have a plethora of fruity florals. Once upon a time I would have pulled a face, but somehow the raspberry and peony blend so well together, this could sway the surliest of curmudgeons into wanting to ditch work and fly a kite.

Stockists

You can get a sample of this, along with many others, from The Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, or buy a full bottle from Selfridges or Amazon.

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.