Tag Archives: High Street fragrance

Nina Ricci Luna For Women (2016)

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I tried this today in my local House of Fraser just after the  school run.  The bottle cried out, “own me!” so loudly that I nearly got whiplash.   Like Snow White with a Bag for Life, I was rendered unable to pass such a beautiful tempting apple.

Luna is intended as the night time opposite to Nina Ricci Nina, which I have reviewed here.  Now although Nina isn’t my thing, I love it because my wonderful niece Liz wears it and she is very special to me. I decided to give Luna  a chance.  I fell headlong for its looks.

nina inaOn first spray, this is all synthetic citrus: not invigorating like lemon or grapefruit, more like Haribo  Party Mix.  The pear note burst forth and was rudely dominant, and then the vanilla and caramel poured in and rounded everything off.

In among the vanilla and pear is tiny bit of jasmine, sandalwood and musk, but all was indistinct and vague.

This is a fruity vanilla scent and is neither too strong nor too weak. It’s almost a confused gourmand.  Many Fragrantica readers say that it is almost exactly like YSL Manifesto, so if you like that, you’ll like this too.

I can’t dislike Luna as it’s bang on trend right now, but I will politely sit this one out since overly vanilla fruity scents are not my scene, man.

luna ad

The bottle, though- oh my days, that bottle! Who wouldn’t want a beautiful blue glass apple on their dressing table? With a tiny vapo spray that’s part of a gold apple stalk? It almost nudges Marc Jacobs Decadence off my list of favourites. Throw all the packaging medals at this one, but not too hard, because that beautiful glass is a work of art

Stockists

I found this in House of Fraser, but it’s widely available. I used a tester (very thoroughly) and opinions are my own.

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The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box March 2017

fs disc box neat

Every quarter, for the small sum of five pounds, I  receive a Discovery Box from the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club.  Sometimes there are fragrances I’ve already tried and sometimes there are lovely surprises. Either way, I’ve been a member since December 2013 and I always will be.

This month’s box contains six samples, as well as a five-pound voucher off a full bottle of any of your favourites from the box.  So far, my clear favourite is Elizabeth Arden White Tea.

Here’s what’s in the box

Elizabeth Arden White Tea

arden_white_teaAs you know Elizabeth Arden Green Tea has been a classic since it came out in 1999.  Green Tea was created by none other than His Majesty Francis Kurkdjian, and it has genius simplicity written all over it.   There have been many flankers, and I’ve liked all of them.  When I saw White Tea was now A Thing, I worried that they may have “over-flanked” themselves, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Elizabeth Arden White Tea  is light, airy and floaty and smells like a pure white room in a dream home.   There’s clean white musks and sea notes and light notes of white tea.  This is like a spa in a bottle.  This will be on my dressing table very soon.

Jimmy Choo L’Eau

This is in a similar vein to DKNY below, but is slightly sweeter and Jimmy-Choo-Leaudelicately tiptoes onto the very edges of the gourmand spectrum.  I wrote about this last month and you can read my review here. It’s pretty and light and floral, and I predict it’ll be a big hit this summer.

DKNY Be Tempted Eau so Blush

dkny be temptedDKNY Be Tempted Eau So Blush is a light and feminine scent that has a fruity floral opening and big peony notes in the middle- and peony is going to be big this year.   The base is woody and fruity with apricots and musk.  This is a perfect daytime scent and ideal for work. It almost demands to be worn with a pretty frock.

Marc Jacobs Decadence

marc jacobs decadenceMarc Jacobs Decadence comes in such a fantastic bottle that when I first saw it,  I almost didn’t care what it smelled like, I just wanted that bottle. Luckily, it smells pretty good with its saffron and plums and a vetiver and musk base.  If you like Marc Jacobs Daisy, don’t buy this blind as they’re very different.   Decadence is fabulous for the evening whilst Daisy is lighter and better as a daytime fragrance.

Joop! Wow

wowThis one certainly lives up to its name. “Wow” was the first word I said when I sniffed it.  It opens with sharp lime and aromatic cardoman, and settles as a slightly gourmand, warm vanilla, via peppery geranium and dry grassy vetiver.  Despite not having any leathery notes, this reminded me of Dior Fahrenheit, only Joop!Wow! is sharper and with more citrus. I loved it. I sprayed it on me, my husband and my ten-year-old son.  Unanimous thumbs up! We all smell great.

Invictus Intense

invictus intenseI was surprised when I saw this as I thought “Hmm, Invictus is pretty intense anyway, what could they possibly do to make it bigger?”The answer, my friends, is that they turned up the volume and tweaked some knobs until it knocked out every canary within a fifty mile radius.  Invictus Intense is similar to the original, but cranked up to the power of ten.  The salt notes are very prominent.  It’s dry and masculine and not pretty.  It reminded me a lot of Paco Rabanne One Million Intense. If this sounds like your cup of tea, please use sparingly.  For all our sakes.

Stockists

fs disc boxAll of these fragrances are available from The Fragrance Shop.

The Discovery Club is easy to join with no long term red tape.  Just join to get your box and cancel if you want to.  But I bet you won’t! I’ve been getting these boxes for four years and the flat box they come in fits through the letterbox so it won’t end up in the Post Office depot if you’re out.

I purchased this myself and opinions are my own.

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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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DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom

tokopedia

Today I tried DKNY Fresh Blossom, which was in Superdrug and priced at £18.  I couldn’t resist having a thorough  couple of squirts, but now I’m home I have only my memories.  Yes, short longevity doesn’t begin to cover it.  This was a bit of a funny one on me.  At first its pretty and light: there is apparently grapefruit and apricot as it opens, neither of which I could detect. I did find a few light and pretty floral notes- certainly a touch of rose. The base notes are allegedly woods and apple, but I didn’t get that far.

It reminded me very much of the much cheaper Intimately Beckham For Her which I reviewed earlier in the blog  and which I liked a lot.

However DKNY Be Delicious strangely began to smell like wet shoes before disappearing altogether. Two hours later there is no trace whatsoever on me. Did I dream it?

It’s a bland and feminine fruity floral that on me at least, had a touch of wet wellies before deserting me completely.  It was a genuine sample, so no questions on that score, but it left me thinking “What just happened?” So I’ll hang on to my eighteen quid if you don’t mind, Donna Karan.

As always, this is just my point of view.  It may smell great on you and last for ages! Let me know if it does.

Stockists

DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom is available from Superdrug and many other retailers.  Try Boots or Amazon, but try before you blind buy.

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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.

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne: It’s Got Muscles

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perfumeshop.com

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “if you can’t say something nice, say nothing”. Maybe that’s why I’ve never reviewed Paco Rabanne 1 Million.  No, scratch that, I’ve written several reviews for fragrances I couldn’t stand, and I love to read other bloggers too when they are in acerbic mood. I like to think that derogatory blogatory pricks the bubbles of perfumed pomposity like comedians and governments.

It’s ironic that the blurb for Paco Rabanne 1 Million says “It represents power, wealth, luxury, durability…” because where I live, it represents teenage boys on the pull with quiffs, ludicrously tight trousers (what bird is that?  Must be a thrush, sorry where was I?) and a whiff of cider and cigarettes. They do not leave the house until they are marinated in it.

When I came across a sample of Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne recently, I pulled a face like a bulldog sucking a lemon sherbet.

 

Amazon UK
Amazon UK

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne nearly rights a few wrongs for me, but not quite.  For example, Paco Rabanne 1 Million gives off a thick fuzziness to me, that gets right on and into my chest, like cobwebs and dust.  I’m mildly asthmatic but it very rarely flares up or affects me, unless I smell Paco Rabanne 1 Million.  At the same time, there’s too much going on: there’s fruit, amber, patchouli, leather, citrus, mint, spices, cinnamon, and Uncle Tom Cobley an’ all.

The cologne is, as you might expect, a toned downversion, with slightly less thick fuzziness  and more sea notes and more citrus. At first spray its light and refreshingly, but after five minutes it gets far too rich for a summer’s day and starts to smell like sherry. This smells a bit like Paco Rabanne 1 Million from the night before that has worn off on bed sheets- something I will never experience since Mr IScent will never have a bottle. (I’m not a control freak- he doesn’t want one, honest! Phew.)  The Cologne is a watered down version of the original with extra citrus, but at the end, when all’s spent, it’s the same old story with a different opening chapter.

I’ll leave this one for the kids.

 Stockists:

You can buy Paco Rabanne 1 Million and Paco Rabanne 1 Million Cologne from The Fragrance Shop, from where I got my sample (The Discovery Club Box to be precise). You can also get it from Amazon UK, Escentual and Boots.

Elie Saab Le Parfum Eau de Toilette

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 On Friday I went out with my dear school friend Jo.  I was in her slipstream most of the evening (everyone was taller than me that night) and she smelled incredible.  Naturally I asked her what it was and had a try.

Elie Saab is a brilliant perfume that really stands out from the crowd.  Whereas many High Street perfume counters these days are guilty of selling the same stuff in different bottles, with Elie Saab, you would be stepping out of the line and banging your own drum. And you would smell amazing.

It came as no surprise to me at all that this was created by the legendary Francis Kurkdjian who has made several superb fragrances that I love.  Indeed, Elie Saab does smell like a cousin of LANVIN Rumeur, with that hint of retro acetone/nail polish and glamour to it. It always makes me think of the inside of an elegant lady’s handbag in the 1950s.

 Elie Saab opens with Orange Blossom, but what I could really smell was the Gardenia, one of my favourite floral scents.  This is no simple floral however, and with Mr Kurkdjian in the driving seat, it will never be as simple as that.   The Vetiver melds into the Gardenia, taking it from innocence to seduction in one smooth move. The long lasting ending is both tart and woody. I didn’t smell any of the Honey that was promised, which is fine by me.  This was a wonderful scent to smell among the melange of same old same old, and it lasted all night long.

Unlike me.

Guess Seductive: Vanilla, We Are O.V.A.H

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 Guess Seductive smells so generically of the recent fad for vanilla florals that it is almost as if someone invented one scent that summed up all the others as an example of its time.  Imagine a perfume museum of the future. Visitors want to smell what was all the rage between around 2007 and 2013. “Smell this” says the curator of the Perfume Museum Of My Dreams “it’s like a mixture of all that was bad back then, whisked together into one bottle. If you smell this, you won’t need to smell the others”

 Guess Seductive opens with fruit: namely Pear, Blackcurrant and allegedly Bergamot (there was NO Bergamot and I can always seek it out). Pear can work on its own, in moderation. Blackcurrant can be pleasantly sharp and clean.  Mix them together and you have overly sweet Pear and Blackcurrant cordial: undiluted and sticky.  If you look up, all will go dark as the giant Vanilla Bulldozer wipes out the light from the sun and renders you unable to smell anything but sticky fruit and tooth achingly sweet synthetic Vanilla.  We are talking cheap Vanilla essence from the home baking aisle, not the seeds from a good vanilla pod that can occasionally be used for the good (sparingly. SPARINGLY!).

Whilst your nose begs for mercy, the cheap fake white flowers come out in all their plastic glory, like a tawdry, gold digging bride.

At just under £15 for 30ml, this is money badly spent. I hope I have saved you the trouble. I am so glad I tried before I buyed. (NB I know that’s bad grammar, but it rhymes).

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Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rose: Less Than I Hoped For

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I tried The Body Shop White Musk Smoky Rosetoday on my travels and was so attracted to the idea of the name that I asked the staff to open  a new tester, since the existing one was empty: a sure sign of the interest surrounding it.

When I first sprayed it, and when it was still wet, I could smell nothing at all.  When it dried, I could smell a faint hint of Musk, and , would you believe it? Caramel. If there are Roses I can’t smell them.  If they is a smokiness, it manifests itself as the smokiness you get from burnt sugar, or the bottom of a crème caramel.

Image This is pretty popular and has a good fanbase, but I think that’s because vanilla based gourmands seems to soar in popularity around Wintertime.  I love the idea of Smoky Rose, and I’ve always been a fan of TBS White Musk, so you would think this would be a winner. A smoked rose sounds so delicious in winter, but it wasn’t to be.  Sillage is very faint: close to skin straight away.  Longevity is so far two  hours, but faint.

I would love to get the Tobacco Flower, Roses, Frankincense  and Blackcurrant that I was promised, but for some reason this smells like heavily diluted White Musk with a Caramac bar rubbed over the top.

A great idea, poorly executed. Worth a try though, it might smell different on you. Incidentally, The Body Shop online works out much cheaper than buying instore. Sniff instore, buy online.