Tag Archives: gourmand perfume

Missguided: Babe Power: Seriously Fun

babe power

I was given a bottle of this at the recent Fragrance Foundation Awards, and I’m glad I was because the packaging and general image wouldn’t have otherwise tempted me.  However,  a good sniff of Babe Power converted this curmudgeon into a surprise fan.

Babe Power is the first fragrance from fashion label missguided.  It’s a hot on trend label for hot on trend people and this fragrance is no exception.  It steps out of class and sticks two fingers up at boring old glass perfume bottles and comes in a tin can that looks and feels exactly like a can of energy drink.

I did the sniff test on my family and gleaned the following verdicts: “bubble gum” “Haribo”  and the rather unimaginative response: “perfume.”

The very first thing I got from Babe Power was sour cherries.  Don’t be put off by the “sour” bit.  This is a sharp cherry scent, unlike a sweet sickly “normal” cherry scent. The vanilla is almost indistinguishable from the cherry note as they are so co-dependent and entwined.  In fact, just for fun, there’s also apple, pineapple, grapefruit and candy floss in here.  The ingredients remind me of a very colourful beach hut style kiosk.  There’s flowers too: very girly ones- jasmine, peony and orange flower.   The jasmine and peony just peek through, but frankly the big bright fruity notes are partying too loud to answer the door.

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This may sound like a mish mash, but actually it really, really works. I love the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously whilst getting the balance right.  The sour cherries had me at hello, and the slightly play doh vanilla makes me love it even more.

I would like to predict that this will be a big success, but before I could even review this, it has become a huge bestseller in The Fragrance Shop.   I wouldn’t sound very mystic and prophetic when this is already flying off the shelves so fast that passers-by have to duck.

Bravo missguided.  Encore!

Stockists

Missguided Babe Power is available from The Fragrance Shop for 27.50 for 80ml  EDP. Opinions are my own.

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Dear Aunty Sam: Your Perfume Problems Answered-Part Four

‘La mauvaise nouvelle’ (‘Bad News’) (1804) by Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837). Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris

Once again, I am putting on my glasses and trying to look important  Yes, indeed:  it’s time for more of your perfume problems!

I must apologise to poor Charlotte who wrote in with this week’s problem.  It’s taken me so long to respond and I apologise profusely.  I do hope you still like me Charlotte! I blame the Easter Holidays,  a camping trip, several writing jobs, my two children,  four workmen,  a drain, a flood and a loss adjustor.  I’ll be quicker next time, so do write in! You can email me on iscentyouaday@gmail.com or comment below or on my Facebook page.

Here is Charlotte’s letter:

Dear Aunty Sam

I absolutely love Viktor &Rolf Flowerbomb but it is SO expensive! Can you suggest other scents that are very similar but not quite so pricy?

Charlotte

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My dear Charlotte,

rsz_dr_sam (1)This is an excellent question and I’m sure you’re not alone in wanting an answer.  Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb is much beloved, but as you point out,  not very cheap.   Many perfume fans reckon it smells similar to mega blockbuster Lancôme La Vie est Belle. To give credit where it’s due, Flowerbomb got there first, way back in 2005,  whereas La Vie est Belle didn’t emerge until 2012.

So what can I recommend that will make you smell amazingly Flowerbomb-like and still be budget friendly?  Here goes:

World Class Perfumes Perfumer’s Choice “Natalie”

natalieThe World Class Perfume Group owns Milton Lloyd and Taylor of London, who make a lot of the Lentheric and Yardley stuff of yesteryear such as Panache and Chique.

The Perfumer’s Choice arm of the business has a small range of very long-lasting fragrances which are guaranteed to last at least six hours, and I can vouch that they definitely do.  Natalie is so similar to La Vie est Belle that I thought I’d sprayed the wrong bottle.  It lasted around eight hours and has the combo of flowers and warm, sweet gourmand notes that make it so similar that this blogger was fooled.  The packaging ain’t fancy, but, boy, it’s value for money.  I reviewed it here and at the time, I couldn’t quite make the connection as I don’t think I was familiar with its doppelganger at the time,  but I smelled it recently and thought YES.

Coming in at the very reasonable price of £14 for 83m of EDP, or £7 for 50ml of Parfum de Toilette (to me PDT is stronger than EDT, not quite as strong as EDP) Perfumer’s Choice Natalie is available from this website or from Amazon UK.

Agent Provocateur Fatale

agentprovThis has the big white flowers and the patchouli and orchid of Flowerbomb.  Imagine Flowerbomb with an accent of grated dark chocolate and you’re not far off AP Fatale.  Available for just 12,95 from one of my favourite sites : allbeauty. com, this is far cheaper than Flowerbomb and possibly cheap enough to risk a blind buy.

I hope this helps you Charlotte, and again, I do apologise for the lengthy delay

Ask me for help!

Are you pensive about perfumes? Fanatical about fragrance?  Addled by aldehydes?  Confused dot com?  I’m here to answer any questions you might have, whether it’s a smellalike, a reformulation question or a where-can-I-buy-it query.  Just ask.  I always love to hear from you.

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Perfumer’s Choice: Valerie

 

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I was recently sent two fragrances from Milton Lloyd to see what I thought. What I thought was “Wow” and “Crikey! Major sillage!” so I thought I’d share my opinion with you, my lovely readers. Perfumer’s Choice  Chosen By Valerie is  from a range of very reasonably priced fragrances made by World Class Perfumes, who also own Milton Lloyd and Taylor of London. I have reviewed four of them before and all were very good with great longevity. The two new ones are Valerie (being reviewed today) and Victor, which is also excellent. All Perfumer’s Choices fragrances are guaranteed to last a minimum of six hours, making these excellent value.

valerieIf you are of a delicate disposition, you may need to take a back seat for this one, because it’s LOUD and BIG. At first spray, there are big white flowers, lots of vanilla and a sledgehammer of patchouli. Now if this all sounds too much for first thing is the morning, well, that’s because it probably is. However, for the evening, this is an absolute must. One or two squirts will comfortably see you through until morning. After the big white petals of the top notes subside ( I reckon jasmine and orange blossom are in cahoots), you get a strong whiff of espresso coffee.

valerie

This works very well with the vanilla and takes this from a  rich floral into an even richer patchouli gourmand. In fact, it reminded very much of YSL Black Opium. The coffee, patchouli and vanilla are all there, just like Black Opium.  This is not a dupe, however, but I’m certain that if you like Black Opium, then this will suit you down to the ground. At only £14 for an 83ml bottle of EDP, this is great value, and trust me when In tell you that sillage and longevity goes far above and beyond the call of duty.

 Stockists

You can buy Perfumer’s Choice perfume here  from the Milton Lloyd website. With thanks to Milton Lloyd for the bottle of this and Perfumer’s Choice Victor, to be reviewed soon. Opinions are my own.

Paco Rabanne Lady Million Privé 2016

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Autumn means new perfume launches, tying in with Christmas shopping and the change in temperature. Usually the weather plummets from O de Lancome to Oh My Toes Are Cold and the spices and patchouli come out to play around now-ish.

In the case of bestseller Paco Rabanne Lady Million Privé it’s safe to assume the launch ties in with Christmas Party season. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be thinking about your scent more than your outfit.

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The original Lady Million was an instant bestseller and shows little sign of waning despite fierce competition. This flanker, Lady Million Privé still has the muscles and the strong white flower oomph, but something else is giving it its power this time. Privé opens with woody notes and the orange blossom that was a major player in the original. However, the gourmand comes out to play almost straight away. There’s chocolate in spades here, reminding me of Agent Provocateur Fatale, but with bigger patchouli. The raspberry and vanilla is definitely noticeable: this is sweet and rich. Add the honey and you’ve nearly got enough sweet stuff for a cake.

Not much happens after the chocolate and vanilla show up, although the patchouli tries to makes its presence felt and  and makes a fair fist of it. In fact, if it weren’t for the traces of white flowers and patchouli, this would be standard cupcake fare.

Longevity was disappointing on me,. I tried the EDP today and after three hours it was close to skin and barely there.

Sadly, this won’t be making it onto my embarrassingly long and greedy Wish List, but I predict strong sales will ensure a bright future.

Stockists

This is widely available.  You can try and/or buy at The Fragrance Shop or The Perfume Shop on your local UK High Street.

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Dior Poison Girl: I tried..really I did.

poison girl

I’m a big fan of Dior Poison. If you ever want to smell what the eighties smelled like, get yourself a bottle of this tuberose/jasmine nuclear bomb. It’s a classic. I also love Hypnotic Poison, which is as different as could be, but a beauty in its own right. Therefore I approached Dior Poison Girl with an open mind and friendly wave. But sadly, we are not going to be friends.

Trying Dior Poison Girl made my heart slump in the same way as YSL Black Opium did. I love Opium, and when I tried Black Opium I felt like I had been bitten and scratched and told to scram. Poison Girl had much the same effect.

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Opening with bitter orange, yet still being overly sweet, Poison Girl blossoms like a generic fruity floral, and indeed there is a whiff of those roses in there somewhere. However, the vanilla, super strength if you please, soon barges in and plonks itself down rudely. After that it takes over. There is some almond in there, which dares to peek in, but to me it smelled more like coffee and chocolate. I usually like almond: done with a light hand it can be creamy and nutty, but not here. Here it smells like a 4D Augustus Gloop Experience. I’m drowning in it and I long to go up the pipe and escape.

Sillage wise, this falls somewhere between Angel and Coco Mademoiselle parfum strength. I’ll quit before IT does.

I predict this will be a big seller, in the same vein as YSL Black Opium and Thierry Mugler Angel. It has the fruity floral hook, followed by the sweet, sweet, SWEET gourmand punch that knocks you out and sticks around. There’s a definite taste for that now, and I can’t argue with sales figures.  But subjectively? I’ll pass on this one.  When I say “pass” I mean “swerve dramatically.”

Dior Poison Girl, I wanted to like you, but we’re never going to be friends.

Stockists

Dior Poison Girl is available from House of Fraser, John Lewis and Debenhams to name but a few.

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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.

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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Thierry Mugler Angel: The Marmite of Perfumes

angel naomi Non UK readers may be unaware that Marmite spread has a love/hate ad campaign. There’s no middle ground. You either love Marmite or you hate it. Thierry Mugler Angel is the same.  Angel’s critics are as vehement as its fans.  In the perfume industry however, it is regarded as a masterpiece.  Even hard to please Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez gave it five stars in Perfumes The Guide.

In 2007, Angel was the recipient of the FiFi Hall of Fame Award, an accolade not given lightly. Sales show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. Its creator, Olivier Cresp, will be remembered more for Angel than he will for the rest of his illustrious back catalogue, which is outstanding even without the success of Angel.

angel jerry

 

So why the hate? Well, it’s strong. It’s uncompromising. It doesn’t disappear after ten minutes and it has sillage that could floor a man at twenty paces. It is a Gourmand Patchouli of all things i.e spiky but chocolately. Caramel and Vanilla with prickles. Gourmand smells alongside Patchouli confuse my palate and make me feel like I am eating perfume or snorting food. Sensory confusion is not my thing. (I will  make an exception for Coromandel, see my earlier review)

So why the love? See above: strong, uncompromising, doesn’t disappear after ten minutes… Some people say that Angel trod the path for the popularity of Gourmands. In fact, Fragrantica lists no fewer than 24 notes for Angel, including Bergamot, Peach, Lily of the Valley, Jasmine, Melon, Roses and Blackberries- not one of which I angel flashcould detect.

When I first tried it shortly after its debut in 1992 (in the Harrods Perfume Hall no less, get me!), the displays were huge. It was the Next Big Thing. Jerry Hall, model du jour in ’92, made it her signature scent and mentioned it in all her interviews.  Everybody wanted it. Every magazine carried the ads for it.

I tried it on my wrist and walked away to consider it. What did I get? Chocolate and… Talc? Cologne? In hindsight I know it was Patchouli but did not identify it back then as a 22 year old.

I tried again a few months later: Chocolate and Caramel. I tried again no less than twenty years later. It still made me smell as if I had just finished my shift on the production line in a Thornton’s Chocolate Factory.  Big thumbs down.  And yet I regularly walk through clouds of this in pubs, on High Streets and in restaurants. I can recognise it from a mile off. Millions of women love Angel, but I’m not one of them. My husband, on smelling this, grimaced and said “Eurgh, that’s what the train smells like in the morning”.

There comes a time in life when you realise that you are outnumbered by the number of people who disagree with you and so it may well be you who is in the wrong.  However, in fragrance, as I have said before, there is no right or wrong, only your response. So my response is not wrong- I cannot bear this!  The vast cohorts of Angel fans tells me that others see this rather differently.  Its success, and the admiration of its peers, tell me that its apologists are not wrong either.   As for me: well, I don’t “get” Angel.  It’s as if the joke’s on me

angel smallIf you love this, good luck to you. If you don’t, that’s OK too.  However, I have yet to meet anyone who stands in the No Mans Land between the two camps and just says “it’s not bad, I wear it sometimes, it’s OK”.  And that, my fragrant friends, is why I call it Marmite. I would never, ever spend money on a bottle of  Thierry Mugler Angel.  And for every woman like me, there is another who swears by it and who would never, ever let herself run out of it.

EDIT: Since writing this I have become secretly obsessed with Angel and wear little samples of it around the house.  We’re definitely on flirtation terms now.  Never say never.

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