Tag Archives: High Street perfume

YSL Black Opium Floral Shock

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As you may know, I’m not really a fan of Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium.  I am a fan of Old Opium or OO as dear Lisa Jones calls it,  but sadly,  Black Opium was a turkey for me.

Ironically, I have in the past complemented two strangers on smelling fabulous, only to find out it was YSL Black Opium.  I guess, like stilettoes, it’s good on other people but not for me.

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Recently I came across the latest Black Opium flanker,  Floral Shock. Anything with Shock in the title is always worth a punt and I tried two squirts on skin, one on sleeve and one on a blotter.  Reader, if I told you that the blotter is still going strong after a week, would you believe me? It is true. This stuff has nuclear longevity, which makes it a curse or a blessing depending on your preference.

Personally, I could define very few differences between Floral Shock and Black Opium.  The opening of Floral Shock is lighter than the opening of Black Opium and has more florals, as the name would suggest.  Both open with pear and vanilla and sweet syrupy fruit,  at least to my nose.  Both have strong coffee notes and thick vanilla.  In fact, the main difference between Black Opium and Black Opium Floral Shock is that the top notes of Floral Shock are slightly more floral.  The flowers do a little shimmy number, and then Floral Shock turns back into Black Opium again.

The Fragrance Shop UK
The Fragrance Shop UK

Apparently, Floral Shock has no patchouli in it, but I discerned plenty, or maybe I was getting confused because Black Opium has it and this is very similar.  What I know for sure is that if you already own a bottle of Black Opium then you probably don’t need this one too. There’s not much to play for.  In a fight it would be a draw.

This review  is, of course,  just my opinion and not gospel.  You may be one of the strangers I stopped and said “Sorry to bother you, but you smell amazing.  What is it please?” If you do wear this, you probably smell great, but trust me, on my skin this was red syrupy fruit, pears, coffee, vanilla and a little touch of migraine.

Fans of YSL Mon Paris and Dior Poison Girl may well enjoy this too.

Stockists: I found this in House of Fraser. You can also buy it from The Fragrance Shop UK among other places.

How About You?

Have you tried Black Opium or Black Opium Floral Shock? or are you a fan of the original? Or even the original original?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

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Zadig & Voltaire: This is Her

 

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Zadig & Voltaire is the achingly cool brand that’s so hip it that makes Hollister look like Country Casuals. Based in Paris and on the even more achingly cool Left Bank, This is Her and This Is Him are the new 2016 fragrance launches. Even the names sound like ready made cult products in that “wait til you meet them, this is the one I told you about” way. But you know, none of that’s any good if the fragrance is a turkey- or maybe it is? The way young people follow brands and labels these days! And policemen are looking younger too. I remember this when it was all fields etc #middleage

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Here are my thoughts….

Whipped cream and jasmine sambac anyone? Chestnuts and cashmere with that? This is Her is audacious to say the least, but it grew on me to the point where I started to wonder why nobody had thought of such a genius combo before. Don’t get me wrong- my first impression was “what on earth…?” and my second impression was “okay, this could actually work.”

The top notes are jasmine sambac, silkwood blossom and pink pepper. This is a heady floral opener- I could barely discern any pink pepper and I’m not sure I’d recognise silkwood blossom if it stood up in my soup and sang me a shanty. However, jasmine sambac has been enjoying much popularity of late. It’s a jasmine note that is almost so concentrated and refined that it borders on the oriental and just stops short. So into this heady opening act you then have whipped cream and chestnuts. It sounds weird, doesn’t it? But strangely, this really works. The whipped cream gives a sort of pillowy marshmallow effect and the chestnut adds a gourmand richness which  goes remarkably well alongside the jasmine sambac. The whole shebang is rounded off with smooth sandalwood and cashmere woods, but that nutty vanilla from the chestnuts is refusing to quit and stays til the end.

My verdict is that this is one you must try: definitely not a blind buy and it may take more than one go before you understand each other. This kind of originality doesn’t come along very often so I give This is Her 10/10 for originality and a deep bow of respect.

Stockists

You can buy Zadig & Voltaire This is Her from Superdrug and The Fragrance Shop. My sample was from The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box. Opinions are my own.

Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss: Don’t Kiss Me!

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I tried Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss today in my local Perfume Shop and was soon wishing I hadn’t.  I took a thorough squirting on arm and sleeve just in case it was in danger of fading before I got home.  It wasn’t.  It’s still there seven hours later, refusing to leave.

The funny thing is, my interpretation of this is completely different from its description.  Described as a Gourmand Floriental (which I think is kind of a cop out covering three crowd pleasing categories) I found Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss to be a sickly, cloying, sticky, overly sweet candy cane mess that me feel hot and sticky and bothered as the day went on.

According to trusty Fragrantica however, Loverdose Red Kiss is replete with nuts, apples, blackcurrant , bergamot and sugar, with an ambery finish.

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Photo by www.weheartit.com

Unfortunately I got sugar, sweets, chews, lollies, candy floss and sticky strawberry ice cream sauce. Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss made me want to brush my teeth and wash it off my arm.

You may like it.  You may get the tantalising promise of bergamot and blackcurrant, but I didn’t. Oh wait!  A whiff of toffee apple lollies  there. And a synthetic vanilla finish.

To get a good idea of my view on this, eat 24 strawberry lollies  and wash them down with cherryade and custard.

If you’ve tried it, do share your view with me.  Just because I don’t like this, doesn;t mean I’m right.  Perfume is like poetry- there’s no right or wrong interpretation.

Stockists:  Diesel Loverdose Red Kiss is available from The Perfume Shop and Amazon UK to name but a few.

weheartit.com
The Perfume Shop

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.

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 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.

Estee Lauder Very Estee: We Could Have Been Great Friends

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Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my valued US readers!  I hope you all find something to be thankful for.  We could all learn a lot from such a day. In your honour, I am reviewing a good old American brand. A stalwart of quality in the perfume world: yes, it’s the fabulous Estee Lauder.

I tried Very Estee  today on my spare arm (I only have two, but I kept one perfume- free for testing). If evolution is anything to go by, mothers would have at least four arms by now, in any case.

My very first impression of Very Estee was that I could smell Violets, then the Green notes.  My heartbeat quickened as I thought “Could this be another Balmain Jolie Madame?  But I was disappointed. Within minutes of spraying, the scent was so close to skin that it was barely there at all.  What I could smell, I liked very much, but if it fades within a minute what use is it?  I would never be so rude as to expect instant sillage to fill a room, but I would at least like to be able to smell it on myself for more than a few minutes.

Now, I love Estee Lauder as a brand: quality and ingredients are never less than excellent, but Very Estee was a disappointment. I read on Fragrantica that the notes contain Lotus Flower, Rose, Jasmine, Pink Pepper and Freesia, bedding down into Cashmere Woods, Cedar, Sandalwood and Musk.  It all sounds lovely, but all I got was Violet Leaf and Green notes, delicate as a dewdrop on the tongue and gone twice as fast.  Shame, since I love both of those notes and would have loved Very Estee to have hung round a bit longer.

This could be good if it had more resonance, or maybe it was just my cold skin swallowing it up.  I will still be a Lauder counter pest though, I just can’t stay away.

Paco Rabanne Lady Million: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

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Lady Million by Paco Rabanne established itself in my consciousness on three occasions before I actually tried it.

1. During Richard E Grant’s wonderful TV series on Hotels he was lying on a huge bed interviewing a famous ex groupie. After she had listed her conquests, he said “You smell fabulous, what is it?” Yep. Lady Million

2. Sitting at a  table in a very beautiful pub in Oxford, the next table was full of drunk women (nothing wrong with that, I have been one myself!). One of them was being encouraged to take her purchase out and try it, she did indeed. The familiar gold bottle was taken out of its cellophaned box and sprayed liberally over all and sundry. Yes, it was Lady Million.

3. In Wilkinsons at Christmas, hovering over the perfumes. The Assistant offered me Lady Million ( I ended up buying Blue Grass). Her colleague came up and said “Oh I love that, give me a spray!” and went off to finish her shift.

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photo by waugsberg

So it’s popular all over the world, and has a price tag of around 42GBP  for a 50ml EDT . However, It was a while before I realised what was turning me off. More of which anon.

Thankfully, Lady Million is nothing like her brother, Paco Rabanne 1 Million For Men, which makes me run away, with watering eyes and a rasping chest. 1 Million for Men is vile, loud and abrasive. You can smell it from thirty foot away. Thankfully, I don’t go to nightclubs any more, so I usually escape the toxic cloud.

Lady Million is white flowers, with Lily of The Valley, Gardenia and Neroli out and proud and dominating. Sadly, the white flowers smell horribly synthetic to me, or maybe I have been spoiled by better scents now.

The other sticking point with me is the Honey note. It seems to make the essential freshness of the white flowers sticky and cloying.  There is a place for sweetness in a perfume- Givenchy Amarige is a recent example of how sweet can work without sweeties, but in Lady Million the Honey took away the white, clean notes of the Gardenia and replaced it with something that left the flowers rather droopy and flat. It’s like a sticky stain on perfect white cotton.

It smells much cheaper than it is, and I have smelled cheaper scents that smell better too.  In any case, in not buying a full bottle of this, I am not only saving myself around 42GBP, but also escaping the fact that I will smell like everybody else should I wear it.  I call that a lucky escape.

Synthetic, over sweet, and ubiquitous, I’ll pass.

PS Thank you to The Fragrance Shop for kindly supplying this and other samples.

Eau de Cartier Essence D’Orange: Refreshing or Refresher?

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From Leathery Tobaccos to a citrussy hesperide: you have my permission to call me capricious. I must confess, I have  an ulterior motive writing about  Eau de Cartier Essence d’Orange since it provides me with yet another excuse, as if one were needed, to wear my beloved Eau de Cartier again today ( see my earlier review). Just as a comparison you understand.

Eau de Cartier Essence D’Orange was created in 2010 as a follow up to the divine Eau de Cartier: an angelically light hesperide full of Bergamot and Lavender and still, in my opinion the best and only fragrance to wear when hungover.  It’s like having an aromatherapist helping you out when all is spent.  Despite reviewing fragrance daily (or as near as I can),  there are not many full sized bottle on my dressing table. Eau de Cartier is one of them. After smelling a spray sample I simply had to have it.  Luckily, it was just before Christmas and Santa got my letter in time.

When I saw there was an Essence D’Orange, I was keen to try it.  At first spray it smells very like Eau de Cartier, but very quickly the soft oranges quietly enter the room.  This is not, as you might expect, a sharp citrussy orange, but more of a fuzzy powdery orange.  In fact after around ten minuets I couldn’t escape persistent thoughts of Orange Refreshers. Opening with a burst of bergamot like its sister Eau de Cartier, the orange does sort of take over, along with a bunch of violets to calm it down and stop it being too dominant.  I also would have said lavender was a noticeable note, despite not being listed. Never mind, you can take my word it, I can definitely smell a hint of lavender.

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This is beautifully unisex and may even smell better on a man. I still prefer my Eau de Cartier, but I have ordered a stash of samples of Essence D’Orange so I always have access to it without investing in the 100ml or 200ml bottle.

This is fresh, airy, light and beautiful. The smell of Orange Refreshers is, admittedly, inescapable, but I rather like it. This, along with Eau de Cartier is the antidote to too many Leathers and Orientals. It is delicious, edible and thirst quenching.

orange cartier

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