Tag Archives: Lancome La Vie Est Belle

A Flanker with a Difference: Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Eclat EDP

Lancôme La Vie est Belle needs no introduction. Since its launch in 2013, its success has gone orbital, leaving trails of imitators quivering in its wake.  Its army of flankers shows no sign of slowing the pace either.  Until now, they have all escaped my radar, but the one I tried today stopped me in my tracks.  Yes, I nearly walked past it, thinking “Really Lancôme? Another one?” but  once I sprayed the gorgeous bottle, this grumpy cynic  was silenced.

Let’s start with the irresistibly touchy feely faceted glass bottle. It’s impossible not to run your fingers over it.  It’s a delight to fiddle about with and it looks good too.  Apart from that, the display in Boots looked the same as the usual LVEB displays. But what’s this? I thought at first spray. This is pretty good.

The original La Vie est Belle

LVEB L’Eclat immediately reminded me of something  I’d smelled before and I couldn’t put my finger on it until about twenty minutes later. It was then that I realised that it reminded me of Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial. Indeed, it has more in common with Parfum Initial than it does with La Vie est Belle.

The opening note is bergamot which immediately clings to the pretty orange blossom and “white flowers.” Fragrantica doesn’t elaborate but I’m calling jasmine.  I couldn’t pick out any tuberose, but the orange blossom is definitely in there.

from Lancome UK

Now, around this point, I was waiting for the heavy praline fountain to drown out the pretty notes like a Nutella Tsunami. Although this is what I like least about  the original LVEB, it seems to be the bit that many fans like best.  However, the praline never came.  Instead, I was rewarded with a base of rather delicate sandalwood and a silky flourish of buttery vanilla. There’s no praline. There’s no patchouli. There’s just citrus, white flowers, and subtle vanilla.

Fragrantica

The vanilla, it must be said, is delicious. It has heart and warmth with none of the vibe of an overfull bowl of sickly frosting that it can sometimes have. It ends on vanilla and stays with vanilla, which does make it more gourmand than floral, but La Vie est Belle L’Éclat has restraint.  I probably wouldn’t buy a full bottle, but it’s the LVEB flanker that I thus far like best. Bravo and 10/10 for the divine bottle.

Stockists

You can buy Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Eclat EDP from Boots UK, and from the Lancome UK and Lancome USA websites.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal: Here’s the Dish

Before we start, I just want  to say how much I love Jean Paul Gaultier.  I love the twinkle in his eye and how he has never taken himself too seriously. He has fun with fashion and is never afraid to put it out there.

From TheMirror.co.uk

When Scandal came along, I thought “this should be good”. After all, this was the designer who made a perfume bottle snow shaker for us to play with and who gave Madonna rocket boobs.  I still love him from his Eurotrash days with Antoine de Caunes.  It was the perfect 1990s post pub TV show,  and best accompanied by a bowl of Supernoodles and some Alka Seltzer.

Ok, I’ll shut up now and tell you what the fragrance is like, shall I? The notes are blood orange, honey, gardenia and patchouli. The blood orange came and went.  I barely noticed the gardenia.  In fact, the first half hour was a JPG Classique moment for me.  There were accent s of it poking through: that unmistakable nail polish/face powder combination  that’s so original and almost exaggeratedly ladylike.  That phase didn’t last long enough for my liking, and was shortly replaced with some kind of syrupy vanilla sundae with synthetic and unremarkable patchouli.  So far, so what.

However, then a great big dollop of honey comes along and plonks itself in the middle. Now to me, honey is a kind of sexy smell. It smells like dried spit, which can either mean your pillow needs washing or you’ve just had a massive snog.  I like it in small doses, preferring the massive snog to the dirty pillow.  In Scandal, it was a redeeming feature.

Unfortunately, the overall lasting effect of Scandal is that of a Lancôme La Vie est Belle flanker. I couldn’t tell you which one because there are eleventy billion of them, but if I had smelled this blind, I would have hazarded a guess that this was La Vie est Belle Honey Summer Blah Blah or whatever it might be called.

There has been a popular generic confectionary/patchouli accord hanging around since 2013 when LVEB launched.  It has infiltrated way too many fragrances for my taste,  although sales figures  disagree with me.  On the other hand, if that’s what’s selling and if consumers are voting with their perfume dollar, then it would be foolish not to capitalise on it.  I’ll just have to sit a few launches out until my stuff comes along. That will happen when green mossy chypres and seventies aldehydes make a come back on the High Street. Oh well. I’m in for a long wait.

By the way, the bottle reminds me of a much earlier fragrance by Revlon called Head Over Heels. It doesn’t make the bottle any less fun, but  neither did it make this curmudgeon gasp at the originality of it.

Meanwhile, enjoy the still-fabulous-anyway bottle that has the typical wink of JPG humour about it. It makes me think of someone falling backwards into a taxi at 3 am.  Ah!   How I mourn my lost youth.

Stockists

Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal is available from The Fragrance Shop, Sephora, Duty Free shops and Escentual to name but a few.

Further Reading

Check out The Candy Perfume Boy’s take on Scandal.  Thomas writes brilliantly, as per.  Dammit.

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Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything for Her: By Olivier Cresp 2017

tta my everything bottle

There are some  fragrance fans who would never consider celebrity scents or Avon perfumes.  There are some who say that in fragrance you get what you pay for.  I dispute that. I’ve smelled amzing, cheap scents and unpleasant expensive ones.  In fact, if this were an episode of Newsnight, I’d be on the panel, looking sternly over the top of my glasses and arguing the case that inexpensive fragrance can be good, great even.

I would present the case for Avon Today, Tomorrow, Always, My Everything for Her.  I would make allowances for the name that is, admittedly a bit of a mouthful, and I would point out that the nose behind this inexpensive beauty is none other than living legend Olivier Cresp, who co created the iconic and perennial Angel for Thierry Mugler.

First of all, it’s OK if we abbreviate, so let’s call this TTA My Everything.  There’s a For Him too, but we’re talking about the  For Her version, if labels matter (another Newsnight topic?).

tta ad

There are only three notes: bergamot, rose and crowd-pleasing praline.  Personally, praline isn’t my cup of Typhoo, but only a fool ignores public demand.  Praline is one of the main notes in Lancôme La Vie est Belle, which has been scenting the streets of Britain since it came out way back in 2012.  The fragrance buying public have gone mad for gourmands in the last five years and whilst I’m more of a mossy chypre kind of woman, I can understand the buzz.

TTA My Everything opens with powerful bergamot and rose. The bergamot makes the rose smell sharper and mingles with it until you think you’re smelling a lime coloured rose or a rose-coloured lime. They blend seamlessly, giving this a delicate opening that gets stronger the longer you wear it.

Thorntons
Thorntons

The praline comes in gradually, and despite being one third of the notes, it doesn’t overtake or dominate. In fact I would say this is a rose citrus with warm sweet edging. It really reminded me of Nina Ricci Nina which combines apples and praline, so if you like that you might like this too.  I love the different rose nuances in My Everything.  It seems to come and go in waves.  In fact, if you’ve ever tried the aforementioned La Vie est  Belle and found it too sweet and wished the floral notes were stronger, then this would suit you down to your boots.

Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything For Her is coming soon. I was lucky enough to get a sample from my lovely Avon Lady, so watch this space for when it comes out.  Opinions are my own.

Stockists

This will be available  soon from your Avon brochure or from Avon UK. The current prices of other fragrances in TTA range is £14 for 50ml EDP, so I imagine this would be in that price bracket too. Owning an Olivier Cresp for £14? Yes, indeed.

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Balmain Extatic: It’s Not Quite What I Had in Mind.

extatic

 

There’s a wonderful Twitter account called Very British Problems that always has something to make me chuckle with its acute observations of British idiosyncrasies.

“It’s Not Quite What I Had in Mind” is translated as “What the Bloody Hell is This?” and those, my friends, are the words that came out of my mouth, unbidden and unedited when I tried Balmain Extatic.

 

Very Britisj Problems
Very British Problems

Let’s not start with the irritating Franglais misspelling, let’s crowd in and sniff.

If you blindfolded me and asked me to smell this (and please don’t, not my thing), I would have said it was probably a chart topping B List Babe who had just jumped on the fragrance bandwagon and was all packaging and no substance.  If you’d told me it was from the same house that gave me my beloved Jolie Madame, I simply would not have believed it.

Balmain Extatic owes a lot to Lancome La Vie est Belle:  a perfume that’s not my cup of tea but which has caused a big splash and spawned lots of flankers and homages.  Extatic is another homage, although not as well made.  There’s caramel and sugar, fruit and sweetness and loads of fake  synthetic flowers and… frankly, it’s awful.  But wait!  What’s this?  Could it be a fleeting whiff of classy leather?  Nope, sorry, it’s gone.  False Alarm.

Balmain, you’re a class act, you don’t need to do this.

Stockists

If you like Lancome La Vie est Belle, you might like this too.  Just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean nobody will.  You can buy this from our friends at Escentual, or from John Lewis, Debenhams and Amazon UK.  Overseas you can buy it from Sephora and Amazon.com

PS The Black Narcissus writes brilliantly on Balmain Extatic: the title alone made me laugh!

Escentual_Brand_Banner_Balmain

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Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

Yesterday, just after lunch, I tried Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu and could NOT get it off.  It’s now Sunday evening.  I have had a shower, washed my hands many times and finally, only a bath shifted it.  Think cloying caramels and chocolate with a spiky base à la Thierry Mugler Angel, concentrated into essence form and with a staying power only rivalled by a tattoo.  I will even have to wash my coat as it rubs off onto my skin every time I wear it.

www.lorianzalone.com

Lancôme La Vie est Belle  has proved to be a bestseller and seems to have tapped into a trend that dictates that it’s desirable for your perfume to make you smell like Thorntons Chocolatier.  Personally I dislike anything too gourmand ( with a few notable exceptions)  because it feels like I  am eating perfume or using food on my skin : my senses get confused and don’t know what to tell my brain.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu was initially a pleasant surprise- finally I could smell those flowers and make out the iris, and… was that rose?  With a hint of blackcurrant?  Wonderful- for about twenty minutes. Then the caramel barged in and took over, smothering everything and turning up the volume until I was walking home holding the guilty arm away from my side as if I blamed it.

The verdict is this:  If you like this, you have a bargain on your hands.  Even a small bottle will outlast anything permanent in your life. Staying power is nuclear.  Your whole house will smell of it, and your friends will smell like this, and your car and the bus and your children and their friends.

Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all.

 

Stockists: Lancome La Vie est Belle L’Absolu is available from Sephora.com or Lancome-usa.com or lancome.ca if you are in the USA or Canada or Europe.  In the UK, you can buy it from John Lewis, Debenhams, Amazon UK or House of Fraser.

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The Perfumer’s Choice Range: Luxe for Less  

rafael natalie

jeanmarieemilie

 

Yes my wish list is long, and expensive to the point of being a work of fiction and fancy, but there is a place on every (realistic) wish list for fragrance that is high quality but won’t bankrupt either you or Santa.

Those nice people at World Class (incorporating Milton Lloyd) have created a range of perfumes called Perfumer’s Choice and kindly sent me some to review, for which, many thanks.  The aim of the range is to “remove the financial barrier” between good scent and those whose Money Trees have not yet yielded a harvest this year.  My children appear to firmly believe we have such a tree in the garden.

World Class (and Milton Lloyd) save costs by not marketing widely.  You won’t see them on billboards, nor will you see TV adverts or magazine spreads.  You may hear about them via word of mouth, and via bloggers.  To be honest, this is fine by me.  I am so “ovah” disappointing High Street perfumes with huge price tags and aggressive global campaigns that smell …well…meh. There are of course, exceptions to this rule, but I am also quite happy to look at the goods from the guys without the big ad agency accounts.

So what are they like?  Well they’re pretty darn good, and they last for a guaranteed eight hours.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that they are currently a bit elusive but that will not be a problem for long.  I am putting this down to being the early days of a launch.  You can buy them direct from the website here.

Each one comes in a nice glass bottle with silver lid and sturdy frosted plastic case.  Each bottle is, unusually, 83ml and  they all cost a mere £14 each. Here’s my take on them:

 

No 3: Jean –Marie (for men)

jeanmarieFrom first spray, this is green vetiver and citrus.  The top phase lasts for an hour before segueing into a heart of something smokier and darker.  The final phase, believe it or not, reminded me of Miller Harris La Fumée.  There is dark, dried, resinous smoke with a hint of that vetiver that we started out with.  It reminds me of a very manly, modern bathroom, all chrome and glass with a leathery finish and a hint of chest hair.  Quality is high and longevity lives up to its promise.

This how it is officially described:

A sparkling fresh Citrus Grapefruit top note enhanced with invigorating Coriander and Incense lift the elegant heart of Cedarwood and exotic spices – Black Pepper, Nutmeg and Cardamon. The base notes are a sophisticated accord of Vetiver and Patchouli enriched with warm tenacious Amber notes.”

 

No.6 Rafael (for men)

rafaelNo 6 is a classic marine/ozonic masculine scent.  Opening with citruses which stay true, it beds down into a zingy summery delight that doesn’t smell unlike Davidoff Cool Water, only stronger!  Imagine a parfum version. There’s a pleasant tang of manliness in the base note:  a hint of patchouli, musk and vetiver, but if this were a colour it would, unsurprisingly, be light blue.

Here’s what the blurb says:

Radiant citrus top notes of Mandarin and Lemon entwine with fresh accents of Black Pepper, Peppermint and a hint of Vetiver. A tantalising heart of Grapefruit and Geranium, deepened with spicy woody accords of Cedar, Nutmeg and rich Labdanum combine to effortlessly fall into a sensual base of Cardamom, Incense, and precious woods, surrounded by Musks which envelope this elegant male tonality.”

 

 No 12. Emilie 

emilieEmilie smells like peaches.  Usually I don’t like peaches, but here they lose some of the twee sickly sweetness and keep the pleasanter lighter aspects of peach.  Coupled with noticeable orange blossom, which can veer from sickly to indolic with a raw greenness in between, here it is more blossom than orange.  Although described as a floral chypre, I would hesitate to name it as such, but then, I’m not expert. This smells like something I have sniffed across a posh beauty counter, but I’m blowed if I can remember it.   If you like peachy orange blossom with a base of fruity musk, this is for you.

Here’s the official description:

A radiant orange blossom originated from North Africa blooms on top. Its natural fruity side is sublimated by an accord of apple. Ambrette, a noble ingredient, harvested in Peru, gives a luxury character to the fragrance. The heart unveils a luxuriant floral bouquet, a delicate blend of majestic rose (Bulgaria) with a voluptuous Peony. A hint of lychee accord magnifies this seductive pink heart in a final fruity touch. The base notes are dominated by deep and mysterious woods. The vibrant enigmatic Patchouli from Indonesia highlights an alluring signature, while Sandalwood and Musks bring a creamy and round tonality in the trail.”

 

 No 4 Natalie

natalieTo me, Natalie smells purple, just like its packaging.   There are berries in the opening, and once they’ve bloomed  all over the shop, a caramel note steps in, making this a potential hot seller.  It falls somewhere in the nether world between Lancome La Vie est Belle  and Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire.  I’m sure there are cherries and raspberries in here.  It has vanilla in the base and dries to a finish which could be described as Oriental-lite.

Here’s what the blurb says:

“The vibrant top note of a delicious fruity accord combined with the sophistication of a powdery iris. A feminine and velvety floral heart accord tenderly envelopes the transition to a warm and addictive dry down composed of gourmand and sensual woody ambery notes.”

La Vie est Belle Legere: Now it’s Just Right

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Forgive my brief absence.  I spent a few days in beautiful West Wales with family (the photograph is of Cenarth Falls, Pembrokeshire). Sadly I did not make it to nearby  Caldey Island, nor did I manage to purchase the world famous Lavender soliflore that the Monks of Caldey make. It’s considered the best Lavender soliflore in the world by none other than Luca Turin himself. There is still time though.  I’ll be going back when there are fewer big waves. Image

I reviewed Lancome’s La Vie est Belle earlier in my blog and found it pretty, but  a little too gourmand for true love.  At the time I remember wishing they’d crank up the flowers and phase out the praline.  Well, it looks like my wish came true.

 La Vie est Belle L’Eau de Parfum Legere (also known as La Vie est Belle Legere is a perfect balance.  You can still smell the Angel influence (as with most modern gourmands) but they have turned up the volume on the Jasmine (Jasmine Sambac to be precise) and really toned down the Caramel and Praline notes that put me off the original.

I also found the top Blackcurrant note very pleasing and more noticeable this time round.  As much as I dislike red fruit and an over use of berries in scent, I rather like a touch of thirst quenching Blackcurrant if it’s done without too much sweetness.

I did hesitate before reviewing this since I have already covered La Vie est Belle, but I found this different enough to merit its own review.  The drawback is that you will still smell like other people. It’s very mainstream.  Imagine if you diluted Angel by 90%, added some fresh, sharp blackcurrants and filled the gaps with radiant Jasmine. You’d pretty much have this at the end.  I found this far more wearable than the original, and wouldn’t turn down a bottle, but I probably wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase it. A good scent though: very pretty.

Stockists

You can buy  La Vie est Belle Legere  from Debenhams or allbeauty.com .

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Giorgio Armani Si: The Box Ticker


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Giorgio Armani Si is being heavily publicised right now on a perfume counter near you.  Armani’s 2013 new release was created by the legendary Christine Nagel, who is capable of works of genius (Eau de Cartier for example), and  generic bestsellers (Jimmy Choo Flash).

But does Armani Si live it up to the hype? Can it hold its own against other Oh So Rare new perfume launches? (Did that sound sarcastic? It was meant to).  Do join me, dear reader, on my unremarkable journey into the world of Giorgio Armani Si.

This is what I call a box ticker. It is also remarkably like La Vie est Belle by Lancome.

Endorsement campaign by beautiful but classy actress? Tick.

Simple glass bottle, no gimmicks? Tick.

Smells a bit gourmand with a Vanilla overload? Tick.

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fragrantica.com

Now I hesitate to put the boot in, since Cate Blanchett seems to exude a calming serenity where’re she glides, and it seems almost rude to criticise anything she endorses. However, in the hope that the exquisite and talented Cate never reads this, I feel I have to be honest with you and say this is not great.

The opening of Violet Leaf and Green notes (albeit rather synthetic smelling) could be saved if the Vanilla baseball bat of Doom hadn’t waded in and bludgeoned everything. This could have been a pretty Green and Violet scent, in the same vein as Balmain Ivoire (the new, not the old). But no, the promising opening turns into a gourmand and stays a gourmand all the way through. Sad to report, it’s not even a good gourmand. It’s too sweet. Too synthetic. Even the promised Patchouli was beaten into submission by the villainous Vanilla.

How I long for a new launch to blow me away.  Recommendations welcome.  Giorgio Armani Si? Mais non.

Marks and Spencer Per Una Originale For Women: Haven’t We Met Someplace Before?

 realperuna

Marks and Spencer is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the High Street Fragrance Wars.  Lyn Harris of Miller Harris fame has climbed on board and produced a remarkable range at a reasonable price. Roger and Gallet are also to be found on their shelves, as are Fragonard, with their exquisite packaging.  Sadly, and apologies for the anti climax, none of the aforementioned ranges have reached my local branch. Sadface.  There’s a still a good selection though, if you keep walking past choky, cloying Florentyna.

I have it on good authority that Per Una Exquisite smells almost exactly like the much missed Houbigant’s Quelques Fleurs. Autograph New York is a fresh floral with gourmand vanilla basenotes.  It’s also no secret that Marks and Spencer Isis smells very similar to Issy Miyake L’Eau D’Issey, the ozonic fragrance hit of the Nineties.

This review is for Per Una Originale Eau de Toilette. Although Per Una Originale  is not a dupe or a copy, I  could not help noticing that it is very similar to Sarah Jessica Parker’s Lovely.  Here’s what the M and S website says “Flowers of magnolia, jasmine, rose and summer freesias mingle with a sensuous background of woods, heliotrope and patchouli to give added depth.”

Just like Lovely, the opening is all fresh, light flowers, no Tuberose, nothing too heady, followed by a background of Patchouli to give it that slightly Fresh Spicy accord. It is hard to point out the differences as they are so slim. I think Lovely has the edge though, certainly on longevity. Prices are good for Per Una Originale, starting at £4 for a 10ml purse spray: a good way to try before investing in a big bottle. However, at £12 for a 50ml bottle, you wouldn’t have to sell your house to afford it. Looking online, current offers include buy one get one half price, so you may as well buy a few different ones to test. Any excuse…

I have bought a 10ml bottle which is the perfect size for my handbag. It is slightly more floral than Lovely (more Magnolia and Rose), but a very close contender: a pleasant fresh fragrance with a resonant Patchouli-Lite base.

Affordable, accessible, and a wide enough range to avoid smelling like everyone else, Marks and Spencer have got it right.