Tag Archives: High Street perfumes

The ISCENT Awards and Review of 2017

 

Welcome to the I Scents 2017! Find your seat. The drinks will be around in a minute. I hope you’ve got your glad rags on and are ready for a fragrant bonanza.

2017 has been a very interesting year for fragrance, with even the big hitters bringing out major new launches.  If I’m honest, I found far more to love in the world of niche and indie than I did over the beauty counters.  I also had some wonderful real-life perfume experience to break the loneliness of the long distance blogger.  It was a delight to meet up with Sarah McCartney, Jo Fairley, Suzy Nightingale (albeit briefly in the toilets at the Jasmines!), Marina Barcenilla, Ruth Mastenbroek, Stephan Matthews, Thomas Dunckley, Persolaise and Nick Gilbert.  If that sounds like star struck name dropping, that’s because it is.

Ladies and gentlemen, here are the awards, presented by your hostess, Samantha Scriven (applause. Whooping. Wolf whistles.)

Best mainstream

I was moved by very few mainstream launches this year and we saw some big ones come from Chanel, Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier and Guerlain. Whilst I liked Chanel Gabrielle, I didn’t think it was worth the high price and I found longevity very poor at around an hour.  Can’t stop singing the Beyoncé song from the fabulous advert though.

There were, however four launches that really made me sit up and take notice. I’m not even going to pick a favourite, because they all were. If you pushed me into owning just one though, it would be Alberto Morillas’ Gucci Bloom for Gucci. I’m a sucker for a bunch of white flowers at the best of times and I’m pleased to see them hopefully capturing some new hearts with this beautiful scent and stunning campaign.

Gucci Bloom -winner

Gucci  really made me sit up  and take notice with this one. I have been in a sulk with them since envy was scrapped, but they may be back in my good books again. Gucci Bloom is a wonderful white flower fragrance that is unapologetically feminine and floral.  I love that it takes floral scents back to basics,  stripping away all sugary artifice, whilst showcasing all the best bits of nature. Read my rave review here.

Cartier Baiser Fou

Baiser Fou is the flanker to lily based pillar scent Cartier Baiser Vole, and in my opinion, the better of the two.  Baiser Fou is all about  raspberries, Milky Bars and posh lipstick.  I love this playful and lovable scent, which always makes me think of summer weddings. My review is here.

Mugler Aura

It’s not very often Mugler brings out a brand new pillar scent, although flankers are frequent.  Aura is one of the most wearable Muglers.  It doesn’t have the nuclear sillage of Angel or Alien, nor the  divisive  love/hate of the discontinued Womanity (shudder).  However, with new notes of Tiger Liana (my future stripper name) and Wolfwood, this makes for an unusual and audacious scent. You can read my review here.

La Vie Est Belle L’Eclat

from Lancome UK

Whilst I feel Lancome La Vie est Belle has become ubiquitous, spawning many homages and dupes in its wake, La Vie est Belle L’Eclat offers something new.

The floral notes are there but the sugary caramel of the pillar fragrance  has been toned down, leaving a rather classy floral scent, with a hint of sweetness. The bottle is stunning too- I can’t stop touching the elaborate chiselled glass.  Lancôme, I salute you.

 Fragrances I Can’t Live Without

It is frankly impossible to only issue one award in this category.  It’s like asking me which is my favourite cat (don’t).  To choose one implies I don’t love the others as much, and that’s not true.  I have therefore listed the fragrances I fell headlong in love with in 2017.  If you have to take away my whole collection, just leave me these and I’ll be happy.

Aftelier Velvet Tuberose

4160 Tuesdays Killer Rose 

4160 Tuesdays Eau My Soul

Photo by Thomas Dunckley for Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Dryad

Marina Barcenilla India

DSH French Lily

Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance

Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium

Best New Perfume House 2017

Gallivant -winner

Nick Steward founded Gallivant with years of experience in his pocket from his previous tenure at L’Artisan Parfumeur. Basing each scent on a city vibe, Nick has created a scent wardrobe that takes you all around the world. What I like about this brand is that he hasn’t gone for the obvious, but has suggested the unseen underbelly of a city.  He’s gone for Brooklyn rather than Central Park and has given Tel Aviv a feel-good optimism. Gallivant is innovative, evocative and original. I look forward to seeing more from this exciting new house.

Best bargain brand

Bargain perfumes are my speciality. I believe that everyone should be able to have affordable perfume and I eschew all snobbery on my blog. In fact, the perfume I reached for most often in 2017 was my trusty £5.99 of Coty L’Aimant.

Avon-Winner

Avon has been producing some wonderful fragrances that whilst recognisably Avon, are bang on trend and can easily stand shoulder to shoulder with more expensive mainstream brands. In fact, the list of perfumers that have worked for Avon read like a Who’s Who of fragrance; Christopher Sheldrake, Oliver Cresp and Sonia Constant to name but three. Most of my Avon fragrances cost me around £7. Unbeatable.

Bronnley

Some superb fragrances from Bronnley who are shaking up their image to attract the younger scent buyer. Whilst I will always be a fan of the classic lemon soaps and floral bath goodies, (don’t ever stop making them!) there are now innovative roller balls and  50ml eau de toilettes in the Eclectic Elements range. My particular favourites are Wild Green and Exotic Embers. The prices are right too with 30ml eau fraiche bottles, rollerballs and candles all within the £10 range (prices are current as from day of publishing this).

Marks and Spencer

My local Marks and Spencer is next door to The Perfume Shop and I find myself in  there far more often than I find myself in the Perfume Shop.  Also, The Perfume Shop deletes all your loyalty points if you don’t use them fast enough, which doesn’t make me feel very loyal anymore.  Marks and Spencer hosts some of my favourite brands such as Fragonard and Monotheme, but their own brand stuff is pretty good too. I’m a big fan of Autograph Blush, Florentyna White and Rosie by Rosie Huntington Whitely. With 10ml purse sprays starting from a fiver, you can cheer yourself up without breaking the bank.

Yves Rocher

My beloved Yves Rocher! Whenever I order from them, I am always sent a free gift (usually something good like perfume) three samples, some sort of BOGOF deal and usually some sort of little surprise or purse spray. I am currently awaiting an order in which I spent £30 and will be receiving four bottles of perfume, a Swarovksi necklace and three samples.  This is not because I am a blogger, but because I am a customer and they are all treated this well. Fragrance quality is very high and I have never been disappointed. Check out my most recent Yves Rocher review here.

 Perfume Superstars Award

The Perfume Society

The Perfume Society

For the second year in a row I hail the beloved Mothership.  The Perfume Society not only hosts workshops and events that are a delight to attend, but I have an addiction to the Discovery Boxes which always, without fail, introduce me to a scent or brands I have never come across before.  Alexander Pope once declared that the point of literature was to instruct delightfully and The Perfume Society certainly fulfill this edict. The Scented Letter is a brilliant read, with breathtakingly good visuals and superb guest writers.  The latest Discovery Box I had even contained Green & Black’s Chocolate. chocolate. #dreamcometrue

2017 Highlights

I’m giving all of these equal placing because every one is indelibly engraved into my memory for when I’m an old lady and don’t get out much.

The Jasmine Awards

What can I say? Such an honour to be a finalist and such a day of contrasts. I began my day at BAFTA, followed by tea at the former Simpsons on The Strand with Sarah McCartney and Ruth Mastenbroek and ended it with the 3.15pm school run in Cwmbran.  Unforgettable! You can read about it here.

FiFis

I shall remember my night at the Fragrance Foundation awards for many years to come. I was invited as a guest of Clive Christian fragrance and the team made me feel so welcome. I got to wear a long dress, which doesn’t happen very often to me anymore, and mingle with the movers and shakers in the Fragrance World. It also marked the start of a friendship with FiFi winner Marina Barcenilla and the lovely Stephan Matthews.

photo by kind permission of Sarah McCartney

The Perfume Society Improve your Sense of Smell Workshop

Photo courtesy of The Perfume Society.

The Perfume Society held a workshop fairly near-ish to me in Clifton.  Since this is nearer than London, it was easy for me to attend, being across the water from South Wales (we have up to two bridges now).

I learnt so much in that afternoon  from Perfume Society Founder Jo Fairley, and would wholeheartedly recommend these workshops to anyone, even if you’ve been before!  Read my review of the day here.

Also featured in…

Check me out! I feel wanted and special. I got to work with all these delightful people this year and feel extremely flattered to be on their radar.

Stephan Matthews

Stephan’s Six- I join the ranks of hallowed predecessors and felt very flattered to be included in this legendary column.

Escentual.com

Escentual-  Perfume Expert Thomas Dunckley, (aka The Candy Perfume Boy)   called me a perfume expert too! I’m not in the same league as  Thomas, but I am thrilled to bits anyway. This is where I give my opinion on the most Christmassy perfume ever: Serge Lutens Arabie.  The photo is Thomas’s own.

 

My Beauty Matches– I’ve written several pieces for My Beauty Matches. You can check them out here and here.  A lovely team of people.

 

WOW Beauty– the amazing Denise of Wow beauty asked me to contribute to her fabulous site and I was delighted to join the fun. If you haven’t checked it out, do drop in. Such a lovely environment!

 

Collaborated with…Moodscent Four

This year saw me collaborate with  my wonderful Mood Scent Four colleagues, Esperanza, Tara and Megan. It was all Megan’s idea, so blame her. Megan is a Kiwi, based in the south of France  (meganinstsemaxime) and came up with the idea that four bloggers from four different countries could share their perfume recommendations for different moods and occasions. Every few months we all write about what to wear as a wedding guest, what scent to wear when uplifting is called for, and most recently, our favourite Night Out perfumes. They’re a joy to work with and I am honoured to be their colleague.

Over to you

What were your perfume highlights of 2017? What are you hoping to see more of in 2018? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and thank you for taking the time and trouble to read my blog posts and follow what I’m up to. it would be very lonely without you all and each one of you is appreciated.

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Halloween Perfume: How to choose Your Witches’ Brew

Halloween is not necessarily my favourite time of year, but if I ever told my children that they’d be horrified.  So, I go along with it, and I hang round at the back when they go trick or treating (at selected homes so as not to be a nuisance). Meanwhile, for me, it’s a great excuse to have fun with fragrance and add something seasonal to my year-round head to toe black ensemble.

vintage Halloween card.

 

Here are a few ideas in case you want to make your mark on Halloween and add a bit of mystery to your night. Maybe you could play guess the E-numbers with your Haribo Haul? Or wonder why the only traditional Halloween songs are Monster Mash or Thriller? Or you could just cram your little hamster cheeks with chocolate until it’s all over. (I don’t do that. Nope. No Sir). In any case, the perfume world has something for every occasion, even this one.

REEK Perfumes Damn Rebel Witches

REEK Perfumes burst onto the scene in 2016 with Damn Rebel Bitches. This is a fragrance commemorating the intrepid and gutsy rebel Jacobite women who fought back against the English  with all they had. The nose behind this is Sarah McCartney, and a fine job she has done too. This scent  makes me think of wild women with twigs in their hair. The ingredients are inspired by what would have been around way back then so you have clary sage and malt and even  broom ( appropriately enough for Halloween).  But REEK didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, they gave the bitches a sister and Damn Rebel Witches was the result.

Here’s what I had to say about it in my review here:

What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie.  I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.

Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice is big news this time of year. It’s everywhere from Starbucks to the mouthwash in your dentist (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly) so you may as well as embrace it. Personally, I love a bit of Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie and every time I wear it, I get compliments. It’s just spicy and warm enough and not too cloyingly sweet. Don’t just keep it for Halloween! Sadly, the UK arm of Library of Fragrance has closed and will be much missed, but the European branch ships to the Uk for 6E per package.

4160 Tuesdays Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters

The  name of this fruity, malty and jolly British fragrance  comes from the ingredients.  It is often believed that natural ingredients are best for your skin, but they’re not! (at least not always) Sarah has made these naughty naturals behave themselves via witchcraft and alchemy.  Actually that last bit isn’t true, she made them behave through encyclopaedic knowledge of skin and substance.  And the fragrance? Here’s what I wrote in my review  which you can find here. The website link is here.

“…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”

vintage Halloween card

Possets Perfumes Ghost Fart

Just for the name alone, this was irresistible, and once I smelled it, I thought the name didn’t do this lovely scent justice (though it did reel me in). There’s no authentic manual that states what a Ghost fart must smell like, so the team at Possets had a little fun with this. This is a chocolate minty gourmand in an oil form which is long lasting and smells delicious. If you haven’t come across Possets before, so check them out. They ship worldwide and are a vegan friendly brand. Here’s their website.

Papillon Perfumery Anubis

With hints of Egyptian mystery and ancient rites, this incredible debut from perfumer Liz Moores is both distinctive and resonant.  If you like Shalimar, you’ll also appreciate the oriental spices and resins in Anubis, but I’m going to stick my blogger’s neck out here and say Anubis is better. Controversial, no?  I’m sticking to my guns.  Anubis has a  dark, resiny enigma about it which I find  both  intriguing and alluring.  Papillon has a good sample  service if you want to smell this range for yourself,  or you could pop into Les Senteurs  in London where they are all stocked.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

The name is so perfect for this time of year, but so is the scent. This deep, almost boozy vanilla comes in a bottle that reminds me of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach after midnight. The vanilla in this borders on marzipan, which is fine by me but gives me cravings for Christmas Cake. I know, first world problem! But if your vanilla palate is jaded by cheap imitaions, then do revisit this beautiful treasure of a scent which always reminds me exactly how good vanilla can be, and should be. You can buy it from here, but it’s available in lots of places. I recommend the EDP over the EDT.

Lolita Lempicka

With a bottle like Snow White’s poison apple and a scent that smells like purple velvet, Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum is a great Halloween scent, in fact, it’s a great scent for anytime.  Opening with green ivy, violet and liquorice, and a burst of deep cherries, this is rounded off with woody musk and vetiver. Suitably bewitching for a dark night. You can find it here and read my review here.

 LUSH Karma

I love a bit of Karma. It always reminds me of my friend Alison who has made this her signature scent.  It’s oranges, spices and patchouli. One of the main things I like about it, apart from its gentle hippie vibe is that it holds back on the sweetness and lets the bitter orange shine through without adding marmalade  or vanilla. In fact, Alison, just uses the lotion and still smells enchanting and gorgeous, which she is. You can buy Karma from here.

Lancôme Magie Noire

OK, I don’t need a special occasion to wear this deep, mossy chypre. I love how Magie Noire does a dance of the seven veils and unfurls its layers and notes over the hours and hours that it lasts. There’s ivy, hyacinth and roses as it opens, then deep rich florals- all the big ones, then a wonderfully mossy and woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, incense and smoky resins. It’s like a fragrance chameleon, changing faces as the night goes on. Plus check out the divine poster ads! You can read my review here and buy it from here.

Over to you

So that’s my Halloween round up, although I’d wear any of these at any time of the year. What’s your Halloween fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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First impressions of First Instinct For Her by Abercrombie and Fitch

 

abercrombie

Until this week, I had never tried any fragrance from Abercrombie and Fitch.  In fact, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t even know they did any.  I guess I’m not their targeted market,  being a 47 year old with a serious charity shop habit.  No matter.  With perfume, age means nothing, and it will ALWAYS fit, even after Christmas.

On my skin,  First Instinct  For Her opens with magnolia and orchids. Now,  I always have a problem with orchid.  No matter who makes the fragrance,  orchid always smells like plastic to me.  Unfortunately, the case is no different here.  However, the magnolia rallies and a touch of grapefruit lifts it a bit higher.  The passion fruit adds a faint hint of tropical taste, a bit like Lilt, and the orange flower comes in to give this a heady white flower  blanket that complements the magnolia and makes it even richer.  The base is warmed with some cosy sweet tonka and amber.

abercrombie ad

Unfortunately, the overall impression this gave me was white flowers, vanilla and orchid.  It reminded me of so many other fragrances that I just couldn’t get excited about it.  However, another way of saying it  is that it’s right on trend at the moment and there is clearly an appetite for fragrance of this genre.

If you like this, you may also be a fan of Paco Rabanne Olympea, or Avon Far Away Infinity or Avon Incandessence (very orchid-y) or Christian Lacroix Bijou for Avon.

Stockists

You can get a sample of this ( among others) from The Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, or buy a full bottle from The Fragrance Shop UK online or instore, or from Escentual.

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Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman EDP

provocative ad

I’ve been circling this one for a while and wondering how to review it. It sort of does and doesn’t fit into a neat category.  It’s sort of a fruity floral and a spicy woody scent.  It’s sort of provocative but you could wear it to work without inadvertently turning anyone on.   In other words,  it has cast its net very wide.

Created in 2004, the Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman campaign was fronted by my fellow Welshwoman Catherine Zeta Jones.  We also happen to be the same age, but the similarity ends there.  We won’t get confused as twins anytime soon.

provocative woman bottle

Provocative Woman opens with quince, raspberry, peach, ginger and lotus.  The middle notes are apricot, freesia, papaya and orchid.  The basenotes are hinoki wood, amber, red amber, sandalwood and cedar.

So you can see my problem.  All the fruit from the fruit salad is in here, but with added spice and heat from the ginger and a warm woody finish.  It’s hard to pick out the individual notes. It’s sort of a fruit Pimms accord with a touch of chai tea . There’s a lovely clean whiff of freshly washed hair in among the jelly but the flowers struggle to come to the fore.

provo box

All in all, I can’t help liking this crowd pleasing effort, even if it is a little bit of a mish mash.  I didn’t used to be a fan of fruity florals but I smelled so many different ones that I was won over, and this one has won me over too.

I think the youth market is missing a trick with this fruity number and may well rule it out as being a “Mum” perfume.  In fact, the fruitiness is fun and light and even playful.   The woods don’t get too dark or deep and the faint, faint flowers offer a little flourish of girliness.  I wouldn’t call this provocative,  but it’s certainly womanly.  It’s also a massive bargain. My bottle is a 30ml EDP and lasting power is not bad at around four hours.

Stockists

Elizabeth Arden Provocative Woman is widley available. Try  Amazon UK and Half Price Perfumes to name but two.  Opinions are my own, as is this bottle.

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Elizabeth Arden Always Red EDT

always-red-banner-resized-103911

Passing by the Elizabeth Arden counter today, I noticed two fragrances that had somehow passed me by: Always Red and Always Red Femme. I asked the sales assistant if she had any samples (well, it’s a worth a try!) and she said, no, they don’t send her samples as it’s a small branch. Huh! So I just had to marinate myself in it there and then so I could review it.

I decided to start with Always Red, since it was released last year and appears to be the original rather than the flanker. I may review Always Red Femme at a later date.

alwaysredAlways Red opens with plum and jasmine sambac. Those two were in straight away before anything else could emerge. Plum seems to be a popular choice lately, especially in wintery scents. Jasmine sambac is getting ubiquitous. However, this is decent enough and on the brisk walk home, my skin warmed it up and helped it bloom. It did a disappearing act for about half an hour before coming back with reinforcements. I could detect more jasmine, more pretty florals (pink freesia, no less) and something gourmandy starting to come out. Before I could name it there were nuts and chocolate nudging the plum out of the way and making this a fruity floral gourmand. The praline makes its presence felt so dominantly in the base that I wonder that it didn’t come through in the top notes and bash everyone else out of the way.

Always Red is nothing particularly new: many Fragrantica users are marvelling at how similar this is to Armani Si and they certainly have similar notes in common. However where Si used blackcurrant, Always Red uses plum. The rest is pretty similar.

I have a soft spot for Elizabeth Arden and I still feel that the Green Tea range and its flankers are peerless in their price category. Whilst Always Red is not on my wish list, it has mass appeal and is considerably cheaper than Armani Si. I found it quite Christmassy with all that praline and plum, so it might well be a good bet for  a Christmas party.

Stockists

Elizabeth Arden Always Red is available from House of Fraser and Amazon UK , among others. Prices start at around £17 for 30ml.

 

 

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Shay and Blue London Blood Oranges

 

blood oranges

Shay and Blue London continues to impress. After wearing Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom all weekend and recently raving about Framboise Noire, I did wonder if Blood Oranges would meet my expectations. The answer is no, it excelled my expectations and it has now been added to my Full Bottle Wish List (It’s longer than my street now. Oops!).

blood orangesBlood Oranges opens, and stays, with bitter sharp citrus notes. What impressed me the most is that the citrus sticks around for the whole time. This is not particularly common, although I have enjoyed a spate of long lasting citruses lately so maybe the tide is happily turning. Blood Oranges pierces through the heat of (dare I say it yet?) summer and gives me all the clean scent of a freshly peeled orange without the marmalade stickiness. In the middle there’s a bit of leather which softens the edges without taking over. The basenotes are warm, with amber, musk and woods, but the oranges never leave. Longevity is excellent at around six or seven hours, and although it’s a warm scent, the citrus keeps it fresh and therefore ideal for summer. There’s no staleness, no hint of dried up peel: this stays as juicy as if you’ve just peeled it.  It makes an excellent unisex scent, being an invigorating cologne style fragrance that would suit anyone, especially, but not exclusively, in summer.

Stockists

I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy full bottles from trusty Marks and Spencer. Big shout out for the stunning packaging too.

 

 

Jimmy Choo Blossom

blossom

 

A while back I reviewed Loewe Quizas Quizas Quizas and labelled my review “Death By Red Berries”.  Lately however, I have learned not to discount an ingredient due to previous disappointment, so I gave Jimmy Choo Blossom a fair hearing (or sniffing to be exact).

Sadly, it did indeed open with red berries and very little else to my nose.  It reminded me of the kind of bubble bath bubbles my two sons, aged five and eight have a penchant for.  Imagine if there were a very inexpensive bubble bath called “Cherry Bubble Gum Strawberry” or some such. You now have in your head my precise interpretation of the sickly, fruity, vinyl opening notes of Jimmy Choo Blossom.  But! (and there’s a big but!)  Hold the front page!  I have more to say.

I wore this today when I took my sons to the park.  I could feel the sun’s rays on my arm making my skin hot and I decided to have a sniff of the Jimmy Choo Blossom I had applied an hour or so before coming out.  It was starting to change.  It was still synthetic, but the berries were dying down and something interesting was happening that I couldn’t put my finger on.  A few hours later we were back at home and I sniffed again.  The basenotes are lovely.  A combo of sandalwood and musk makes for a very feminine and less bubblegum finishing touch that I would happily wear and buy.  The red berries are like a trace of faint soap from the morning, but the sandalwood and musk are much more palatable.

After a three hour wait for something nice, this is a bit like having to sit through a pantomime to get to the Chekhov, so I won’t be buying a ticket to this romp anytime soon.

Stockists

This is sold widely: You can try Amazon UK, Boots, John Lewis or Sephora.com.  Prices are around £32 for 40ml. My sample is from the wonderful Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box, which is all about the flowers.

Givenchy Very Irresistible: It Started Here

veryirresistibleveryirresistibleveryirresistibleveryirresistible

Givenchy Very Irresistible is not only a test of character for my spell checker ( I am having so much trouble writing irresistible!), but the fragrance that launched a thousand flankers.  Well maybe not quite a thousand, but near enough if you ask me.

It opens with Anise, Cassis, and Lemon Verbena, and you can smell all of these quite clearly:  it’s not just glib perfume-speak. Cassis comes from blackcurrants and anise is liquorice-y so Very Irresistible sings a fairly dark opening number.

However, as the heart blossoms into rose, peony, more rose, some magnolia and some extra rose, it becomes more irresistible with the opening notes providing a pleasant purple sort of background.  The base is more roses and this is no bad thing.  Sometimes in High Street scents, floral perfume notes can get lost among too many ingredient, but Very Irresistible remembers the power of the rose and uses it to good effect here.

Overall, it would pass the commuter test, it would be good for work and every day wear and wouldn’t tread on anyone’s toes in a lift. But don’t go mad before 9am.

www.canadiangardening.com
www.canadiangardening.com

My bugbear with Givenchy Very Irresistible is the fact it spawned nearly thirty flankers, and the fact that it isn’t groundbreaking or particularly unique.  But then again, if I want ground breaking or unique I know where to go when I’m in that mood.

This would make a good Christmas gift for the floral fragrance lover in your life.  I don’t think the price is amazingly good: it’s between 30 and 40 quid for 30ml, and whenever you search for it online, all the flankers pop up instead.

Stockists: In the UK you can buy Givenchy Very Irresistible from www.Escentual.com or Debenhams online.  In the USA  and Canada you can try Amazon.com or Amazon.ca respectively.

www.bbc.co.uk
www.bbc.co.uk

The Body Shop Red Musk: Red, White and New

redmusk

 

The Body Shop White Musk is such a well loved classic that they wouldn’t dare to discontinue it.  Popular since the 1980s, it remains a steady seller and even those who don’t wear it have some nostalgia for it.  I know this because whenever I wore it to meetings in my previous job I would often hear “that reminds me of my first girlfriend/ the student house I shared/my wife when we first met”. Personally, I am never without my little bottle of Body Shop White Musk oil, which lasts me about a year. (But then I am promiscuous when it comes to other scents)

Good old White Musk
Good old White Musk

The Body Shop has already launched two flankers, both of which I have reviewed on this blog: White Musk Libertine and White Musk Smoky Rose. Sadly neither blew me away, but the new launch for 2014 is Red Musk, and they could be onto something here.

Red Musk opens with vodka and spice and beds down into a very tobacco-y haze that reminded one Fragrantica user of Serge Lutens Chergui.  A compliment indeed.  In fact, although lacking in the hay notes of Chergui, there is a touch of  Serge Lutens Louve in the dried scent of cherry tobacco as the drydown kicks in.  Several hours later, this is White Musk with a hint of spiced fruit cake, but a sugar free cake, solid with dense dark spice and none of the sickly cakiness I get so tired of in scent.

This has a masculine tang about it which makes it a perfect unisex fragrance, and is rounded off nicely with a tobacco-y musk Final Act.  All round, it’s not bad at all and I’m pleased to see this veer away from the sweet and further towards the rich.  Longevity is good at around six hours so far on skin and its been making my coat sleeves smell delicious.

Stockists:  Body Shop Red Musk is available online or in store. Readers in the USA can also get it online or instore via The Body Shop USA and in Canada there’s The Body Shop Canada.

Yves Saint Laurent Opium: Old-vs-New: The Prosecution Speaks

 

YSL

You may have noticed that I reviewed YSL Opium  recently.  Now I do not claim to have a preference between the old and the new and cannot until I have tried the old one.  I thought it would be only fair to give the other side of the coin after my fan letter to new Opium.  My review inspired two impassioned replies from die hard pre refurb Opium lovers.

Friend of the blog Sally wrote such a heartfelt and erudite reply about her love for “Old” Opium that I thought it would make a blog post in its own right.  Fellow friend of the blog and guest writer Lisa Wordbird agrees  “I’m in absolute agreement with Sally’s fantastic comments. I am a fellow ‘Old Opium’ lover. It was almost a signature scent for me through the nineties and early noughties and I have a stash of the good stuff that I amassed when I heard they were going to reformulate. At least they were honest. At least they changed the bottles and the packaging and relaunched with a new fragrance that is a tribute to the dear old duchess and that you can see the resemblance to. But she’s not my girl.”

Here’s Sally’s post in full- she really knows her stuff:

“Oh dear – here I was, quietly drinking my morning cuppa in the relative cool of the day before the thermometers reach breaking point again, and enjoying “blog time.” I see the word “Opium” in the heading of your post in my email box and pounce to open it. Yes! At last, a post about The Holy Grail from your good self. Then I slump in despair as I see the pic of the reformulated version and my head falls to my desk. For I am admittedly one of those Purists who most definitely will shriek that today’s version of Opium ain’t the same – in fact I go so far as to say I think it’s a positive travesty compared to The Beloved One.

I have tried – several times – to readjust my thinking about the modern. I’ve tried to stop thinking the name “Opium” when I’ve smelled it, attempting to lull myself into a false sense of security that it really is all right, don’t compare the two, smell it as a standalone perfume and take it for what it’s worth. Can’t do it. In fact, I almost envy you for not having smelled the original, as you can truly be objective and provide, as usual, a great review – a review, I might add, that if I didn’t have the ghost of Opium Past stuck firmly in my olfactory memories – would have me heading to try the perfume in question.

I think the main problem with the modern is that it *can* be described as “light and pretty” and not the “woah there!” fragrance that is was and still should be. That “woah there!” is the very reason why legions of women simply opened office windows to accommodate 16 feet of sillage. BIG was the word back then and the thought of the (increasing) number of fragrance free public spaces of today, would have set us guffawing in disbelief.

I alone, kept YSL afloat in the late 70s and 80s with Opium everything. Now L’Oreal gets not one penny from my purse.   I would love to send you a decant of the vintage original – I still have a large supply from the early 80s as I bought huge bottles in duty free every year for several years. I’d be interested to know your opinion!”

Thanks Sally- you have made me long to try the old one and luckily Lisa can help me out on this with a sample.  I’ll keep you posted!

PS The photo of the aged looking bottle is borrowed from fragrantica.com.

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