I am the proud owner of a Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box and jolly pleased I am too! In this beautiful box, which, by the way, would make a perfect gift exactly as it is, you will find the following items:
Nails Inc nail polish in sparkly Electric Avenue
30ml Molton Brown bath and shower gel in Rose Absolute
Sample of Miller Harris new Etui Noir
Sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540
In my book (or on my blog, which this is) I call that excellent value. There are nine decent spray samples that you would be very hard pushed to find at any beauty counter. This all comes in a lovely white box with explanatory postcards and sniffing strips. It makes an excellent gift if you can bear to part with it. I can’t so I’m keeping it. Sorry, not sorry.
I shall be reviewing some of the items within over the next few weeks so watch this space. I have already reviewed Scent of A Dream and was very taken with it. One of the scents that really jumped out at me was Fathom V by new house Beaufort London. I was delighted to see Galop D’Hermes as I have wanting to try it for ages. Oh and the Nails Inc nail polish is like liquid tinsel. Talk about Christmassy! I’m sure you will enjoy this box as much as I am. It’s so good I won’t share. It’s MINE.
Dear readers, I am now back from what can only be described as an extravaganza of sniffage and olfactory wonder. Imagine a day spent in the most vibrant and beautiful capital city in the world (because I can’t fall out of love with London), add lots of like minded fume-heads, add perfumeries, boutiques and perfume halls, then stick afternoon tea on the end and fill your bag with samples ready to go home. You can see what I mean if I tell you it was as if all my birthdays had come at once.
The day was organised by Pia Long and Nick Gilbert, who you may know from social media where they have a strong and influential presence. Do try and visit their wonderful vlog : Love To Smell. What those two don’t know about scent, probably ain’t worth knowing.
You would be hard pressed to meet two lovelier, more generous people. The work that Pia and Nick put in to arrange this day, at no profit to themselves, goes some way to explaining what Good Eggs these two are. Also, Nick has a dirty laugh and gives good bear hugs.
My dear friend Lisa Wordbird (who is how I got dragged into this heavenly mess) offered to drive. This is because A) I cannot and B) because she knows no fear and is actually willing to cheerfully tackle central London in a car on a Saturday. Mad. Good driver, but mad. We left Wales at 8.30am and hit the M4 seamlessly. “Look at us!” we thought,”We’re on time!” we thought, fitting in a sugar’n’caffeine stop at the services. London, however, had other plans for us and decided to hide all its parking spaces from Lisa’s tiny, nippy car. So our trip was: two hours of motorway and two hours of driving round central London, which despite our frustration, didn’t bring us down, since London is The World’s Best Place For People Watching ( a.k.a trying not run over very rich people with shopping bags in Knightsbridge).
The Smells of London Town
We were due in Fenwicks’ at 11am but instead just about caught up with our group at 1pm. We were Moomins for the day, which meant our group was led by Pia. The other group were Flamingoes and led by Nick. We arrived at By Killian in Burlington Arcade and were given a talk by the beautiful Davina. Not only was she knowledgeable, but she let us sniff everything, whilst explaining the background and inspiration to the aromas that filled the little boutique. Funnily enough, the day was a bit like wedding dress shopping. I loved the first thing I tried on and even though I tried millions of others, I fell deeply in love with the first one. That scent was the first thing I smelled as I walked into the Killian Boutique: “Good Girl Gone Bad.” Nothing I smelled that day beat this and I left with a tiny sample in my sweaty paw.
There were all sorts of innovations going on in Killian: notably scented jewellery that means that people with sensitive skin can smell good all day. This involves a tiny unglazed ceramic disc that’s doused in scent and heats up with skin temperature. There were also home fragrance items: glorifiers, candles, scented paperweights and intriguing tasselled discs that you can hang anywhere, or if you’re Killian Hennessey himself, you can hang loads in your wardrobe. Because you made them. And your wardrobe is probably already very posh. There was some sniggering from me because I was standing next to the legend that is Val Cookie Queen Sperrer, who made some remark about tassels. I can’t remember the remark, but it gave me inappropriate mental images. #DitaVonTeese: that sort of image.
Lost in Fortnum and Mason
There was a break in the timetable for lunch-on-the-go before the next talk at Miller Harris on Monmouth Street. Lisa went to move the car before the charges matched her mortgage payments, and I filtered towards Fortnums with a splinter gang. The Perfume Hall at Fortnums is a sight to behold. I could spend hours there and not even look at my watch. Even as a perfume blogger having written 730 reviews, there were brands and bottles I had never even heard of. However, from the corner of my eye, I saw the Clive Christian salesperson giving out samples so I sidled up and flashed hungry eyes at her. I can’t afford Clive Christian but I collect samples like a miser. The lovely Tamara gave me a long tour of the brand and I was indeed rewarded with some treats to take home at the end. Unfortunately when I looked up, the other fume-heads had gone.
I used to live in London in the 90s so I have a fading muscle memory of routes, which led me vaguely towards Covent Garden Plaza. It wasn’t where I thought it was. Someone had moved it, surely? I ended up power walking around three miles through the throngs and masses. It was actually very liberating and a big change from my usual school run routine. I rang Lisa, who was somewhere completely different and she told me I was heading to the wrong Miller Harris branch. I eventually used an old fashioned method of navigation that you don’t see much these days- I looked at a map on the wall. I was back on track.
Meeting My She-roes
I reached Miller Harris out of puff, but not too late, and what joy! I finally got to meet someone that both Lisa and I had been looking forward to seeing for the first time. I met Liz Moores of Papillon Artisan Perfumes. We have been Facebook friends for a good while and it was a delight to meet her in person. She is tiny and witty and I like her enormously.
If you are reading this, you are most likely already a perfume fan, so you will know that to people like us, the perfumers are our pop stars.
As the group fondled their generous Miller Harris goody bags and moved to Bloom Perfumery, I also managed to meet another perfumer I admire and have reviewed: Ruth Mastenbroek. Unfortunately we missed Ruth’s talk in Fenwick, but she was wonderfully friendly. She is elegant and softly spoken with a reserve that I suspect may be a soupçon of shyness. Ruthwas a pleasure to meet and very kindly completed my missing RM sample collection for me. I adored her third scent:Oxford but have yet to try her first signature: Ruth Mastenbroek so watch this space for a review of both soon. A fourth scent is currently in development.
I was also delighted to meet fellow blogger Vanessa Musson from Bonkers About Perfume. We have been Facebook friends for a long time now, and have a mutual friend in Lisa. Vanessa was immensely generous to me with samples, and not for the first time. She is responsible for much of the content in the photo of my swag. Vanessa and I also share a love of cats and I always enjoy seeing the photos of the Bonkerscat, Truffle on social media. You can read Vanessa’s beautifully written account of the day here.
It was a pleasure to see the charming Thomas Dunckley again a.k.a The Candy Perfume Boy. Thomas is great company and deserves all his Jasmine Awards. Some days his writing is so good it makes me jealous.
Bloom on, Bloom
Bloom is a fascinating perfumery that arranges it scents not by brand, but by family. So you’ll have all the sandalwoods, then all the leathers, then the spices and so on. It is fairly Spartan inside, which is refreshing after the opulence of the perfume halls and the bling, but this makes for more of a studio feel.
Shortly after Bloom, the group split into fragments again. Some of us were heading off to the afternoon tea which Pia had booked for us, and some were making their way home. Many fond goodbyes were said and many Facebook friendships began that day.
Food, Glorious Food
At B Bakery in Covent Garden, we were treated like VIPs with our own individual pots of tea, (which were readily replenished) and a three tier cake stand. I had to compose myself when I saw it, rather than allow my greedy eyes to pop out on stalks. I am still fantasizing about that baby Lemon Meringue Pie. I have become firm friends with my two fellow diners who donated their pistachio macarons to me. Lisa didn’t give me hers, so that’s thirty years of friendship out the window. Her fault. Kirk and Nafia are my new best friends now. Hi guys!
Homeward Bound (small discreet burp)
Groaning with full tummies and sloshing with tea, we bade a reluctant farewell to a wonderful, but tiring day and headed back to Wales. The next morning when I woke up in bed in my house in South Wales (covered in sons who had missed me), I wondered if I had dreamed it all. And then I smelled my pillow. Tuberose, aldehydes, leather and incense. It was all true.
Lumiere Doree is one of the latest in a small collection of new launches from IScent favourite: Miller Harris. I was recently lucky enough to actually visit an actual branch (Covent Garden) on a recent whistle stop away day with my friend Rachael. I couldn’t walk past- I simply had to pop in. It’s Heaven for Fumeheads as it’s right next door to Penhaligon’s. My cup runneth over…
Now, I wasn’t going to buy anything. We had taken a finite amount of dosh with us, and I had an emergency credit card in my bra. Well, Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse was a third of the usual price and it’s my favourite ever Miller Harris, so that, to me, constituted an emergency. Unfortunately, on that particular day Miller Harris only had gigantic bags, so it was more Pretty Woman than a tiny package in a rucksack next to my water bottle. Apologies to all those I stabbed with the sharp corners of my giant bag. You can see why I needed a cupcake at Sweetheart Cupcakes to get over the trauma.
The lovely assistant in Miller Harris kindly gave me two samples: Lumiere Doree and Vetiver Insolent. Today I am reviewing Lumiere Doree whilst trying not to think about the runny centred Nutella cupcake I ate shortly afterwards.
Ordinarily, I would love Lumiere Doree, but in reality it was not to be. It opens with sharp summery bitter orange and woody petitgrain. So far, so fresh-out-of-the-shower-and-wide-awake. The middle notes are orange flower and jasmine, which always go together well and this is no exception. However, I could not get on with the base notes. It consists of musk and amber, but for some reason smelled a bit burnt and resinous on me- as if it was on the fringe of being singed. It made the white flowers and orange kind of butch and borderline savoury. In fact, when I first sniffed it blind, I was convinced there was some sort of oud-lite in there. In any case, it certainly warms things up and gives it a little golden glow befitting its name.
Lumiere Doree was sadly, not for me, but it might be for you. In the meantime I shall sniff rapturous sprays of Le Pamplemousse and sigh “Ah! Heaven!”
Miller Harris is a reliable brand. To me I can rely on the fact that their scent will always be very good quality and long-lasting. You pay a little more than High Street prices, but the quality is of a much higher calibre which makes it worth it in my book (or should I say on my blog?)
Fleur du Matin is a well made lemon-y herbal cologne. Nothing new there you may think, but what makes this different is the longevity and the quality of the ingredients which can both stand out individually and, like a good choir, can do harmony too.
So you can pick out the Basil, Galbanum, Marjoram, Neroli , Grapefruit, Pine, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, and of course the all pervading tartness of the Amalfi lemon. However, you can also enjoy the long lasting herby/lemon base note where all is blended and all stays fresh and zingy for at least six hours- no mean feat for a citrus.
Everything that is fresh and revitalising has been used, and I don’t mean in the kind of way where you cast your nets wide and hope for the best. Fleur du Matin smells almost impossibly clean and fresh, like sticking your face in a bowl of fresh cut lemons after an invigorating shower just after a big rainfall outside whilst the back door is wide open, letting in the fresh air.
It will wake you up and it will delight you. I also declare it office and commuter friendly.
What joy to stumble across a Miller Harris I haven’t tried yet. Miller Harris is brand I would never turn down. In fact I am taking delivery of a bottle of Miller Harris La Pluie tomorrow and I can’t wait. (see my earlier review, I swear it smells like a rainy day and is terribly British).
Miller Harris Terre de Bois is allegedly for men. I say allegedly because naturally we take no notice of that. If it smells good wear it, whether it’s Old Spice from your Dad’s bathroom or something tres, tres chere from a boutique. If you like it, it will be so.
I happen to like Terre de Bois very much and see it as most certainly unisex. It opens with Citrus, Clary Sage and Verbena and even a hint of Lavender. It makes an excellent cologne, yet has the strength of an Eau de Parfum. Not so much Butch as smooth and suave. Especially on me. The middle phase is only slightly less Verbena than the brash and bright opening, and starts to smell a bit like lemonade in which the fizz is fading. Just as that calms down a bit, the fading fizz segues into a resin like base with faded Vetiver Grass and clean Spice providing a polished finish. Quite frankly, it’s gorgeous.
What I love about Miller Harris is that the ingredients actually smell like the ingredients. There’s none of this synthetic faux perfume note that you get so much on the High Street, especially in male scents. With Miller Harris, if they say there’s going to be Vetiver, then you will get Vetiver, not just some mish mash that smells shower fresh and then disappears in a blaze of factory chemicals.
Terre de Bois is no exception to the Miller Harris quality benchmark and with its clear Verbena singing out against the Lemons and Vetiver, I can guarantee that this is excellent. It may not be your cup of tea, but it is excellent. Zingy, Spring like and yet as classy as leather upholstery and a walnut dashboard. I’m getting perfume lover’s neckache from sniffing my wrist.
On January 2nd 2013 I decided to start a blog that reviewed a perfume a day for a year. My dear friend LisaWordbird kindly brought me half a house full of samples and full bottles that made me faint with a thud. Bringing me round with a whiff off Muscs Koublai Khan, she explained I could borrow and write about anything I needed. Without her, my blog would have been about ten times harder and I would not have been able to write about any of the amazing gems she has let me borrow.
However, at the risk of sounding like I am explaining that the dog ate my homework, I must confess that I have not managed to write 365 reviews. I did manage to post 310 blog posts however, so I hope you will forgive me. I should point out at this point that the missing blogs would have occurred during 14 weeks of school holidays, two weeks away from my trusty computer, two children’s ear infections and viruses, my own sinus infection which rendered my nose useless and four nights when I had to hand sew a snowflake costume (the result was more Liberace than snowflake, but my son didn’t mind). Blogs would have been even fewer had the ever patient Mr IScent not been an IT professional who has fixed my glitches in exchange for kisses and hot food.
I have found that blogging about perfume not only gives me the headspace that I need when raising a seven year old and a four year old, but it has taken me to another world where I have encountered many fascinating and kind people from around the globe. I cannot stop now. It’s addictive.
However it was the rather marvellous Perfumed Dandy who came up with the idea of writing about 1001 scents. I am therefore adopting this wonderful idea which also, hopefully, gets me off the hook for not quite reaching my 365 in a year target.
So here you are: IScentYouADay: 1001 days of perfume.
Do you like it?
The Without Whom bit:
I could not have done this without the comments, encouragement and shared anecdotes from my followers on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.For everyone who stops by or has a quick read, you have my deep appreciation.
To LisaWordbird, the most selfless fellow fragrance freak I have ever ever met. Her generosity has no limits, and her knowledge has been invaluable. My eyes have been truly opened and my nose has been taken to places I could never have imagined. Thank you.
To the lovely companies who have been kind enough to supply me with samples: Miller Harris, Jo Loves, the Fragrance Shop, LUSH, Yves Rocher and dear, kind Andy Tauer. None of them have paid me for my opnions, and I should imagine Lush wishes they had paid me to shut up at times. I thank them all.
And finally thank you to the Perfumed Dandy who helped me with the idea of how I could continue seamlessly. My warm thanks to you dear Dandy.
As much as I love Fig, if it is overdone or used with a heavy hand, I can feel as if I have eaten too many sultanas. However, when used with a light hand and blended beautifully with other ingredients, as it has been here, Fig can hold its own and be drop dead gorgeous.
Miller Harrisis a trusty brand. You will never buy a bad Miller Harris. Packaging is good, quality of ingredients is good, Perfumer Lyn Harris is highly respected within the industry and they don’t produce mass market crowd pleasers.
Miller Harris Figue Ameretakes Fig Leaf and surrounds it with friends so that it looks good. Alone, I find it de trop, but here it is deliciously musky, with a little Ambery heat and a depth that is both golden and glorious.
Fig Leaf is combined with Violet Leaf to keep things as light as a petal. Bergamot and Mandarin are used to keep it sharp. The basenote brings in the heavy mob with Cedar, Moss and Amber. Every stage is divine and addictive, and somehow Oriental. It is rich, seductive, warm and yet light at the same time. Fig Leaf is showcased against three different backgrounds, like a Three Act Play, and in each one, it emerges as the star. Miller Harris once again comes up trumps. This is wonderful stuff, and if you ever get the chance, or get your mitts on a sample, I urge you to give it a go.
This may be the first Miller Harris that I wouldn’t be tempted to buy. I love the brand, the quality of the ingredients and just about every scent of theirs that I have ever smelled. However, Couer de Fleurhas a couple of ingredients that I find too sweet.
Top notes are Sweet Pea and Mimosa, which can be almost too summery and honey like for my taste, but to other noses, it can be English Country Garden.
Middle notes are Raspberry and Peach, which I think is where they lost me. I have a real problem with Peach and cannot like it in any perfume, even the legendary Mitsouko, which I would wear all the time if they did a Peach free flanker (I know, I know sacrilege!)
The bases notes of Couer de Fleur are Vanilla, Musk and Jasmine, although I found the Jasmine comes out quite early on.
All in all, it was possibly the honey like yellow Mimosa that started to put me off (I was quite enjoying the Sweet Pea), followed by the Peach and Raspberry together (which makes a lovely Peach Melba sauce, but I don’t want to smell like one).
I will say that it is very good, but not to my taste. I would recommend you try it if you ever stumble across it as you may have a different view, but this one’s not for me.
I have often complained of my dislike for Iris, despite trying what feels like every permutation before putting it to bed and saying goodbye for good.
However, in the perfume world, the mood can change on a sixpence. Thus I sampled Miller Harris Terre D’Iris with a heavy resignation, only to be pleasantly surprised. Within minutes my eyes had lit up and my nose was firmly attached to my wrist. At last an Iris I really, genuinely love! Iris knows how to get on my good side, and opens with two of my favourite notes: Bergamot and bitter orange. The Iris, which is there from start to finish, is framed in a different way that I haven’t previously come across . Rather than bringing out its rooty carroty notes that have been so offputting before, the jangling citrus opening showcases the best of Iris, bringing its feminine and floral qualities, previously hidden from me, to the fore.
The middle is herbal: Rosemary and Clary Sage, and this keeps it light, almost presenting Iris as hesperide/cologne style, which for me, really works.
The basenotes are again herbal, with patchouli, green fir, and a rich, green balsamic finish. It’s like a citrussy pine forest, gracefully sidestepping any kind of disinfectant similarity, thankfully.
This fresh approach to Iris works brilliantly and I can finally say, hand on heart, that this is an Iris scent that I would truly love to own. Another triumph from Miller Harris.
I asked my seven year old son what he thought of Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac. I didn’t prompt him, just told him to say the first thing that came into his head. This is not always without risk and is usually about Star Wars, but in this case he said “Some sort of spice: it smells like hot sand”. I was pretty impressed, although it’s usually L’Air Du Desert Marocainthat makes me think of hot sand.
Giles Deacon, no slacker when it comes to good taste, is a big fan of Feuilles de Tabac and scents his home with it. Feuilles (pronounced “Foy”) means leaves or pages or layers. Feuilles de Tabac is marketed as a masculine, but I say knickers to that, being a fan of Old Spice and Dior Fahrenheit.
I have finally got around to reviewing this treasure because the hot weather just doesn’t do it justice. In the cold air of Autumn, this can come out to play and hit the open road.
Feuilles de Tabac was created to “take you to the romantic brasseries of St Germain”, and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to go to Paris on a chilly day, you may recognise a fug of tobacco, spice and old books. Paris also smells of tarmac, body odour and garlic, but let’s not break the spell.
As usual with Miller Harris, quality and longevity are outstanding and Feuilles de Tabac gives a rich, leathery spice trail with sillage that is around arms’ length but would be very welcome in even a small space.
Top note is Chilli, and middle notes are Sage and Pine. Basenotes are Tobacco, Patchouli and Tonka bean. Unlike other fragrances who claim to have notes that are not there, with Miller Harris, every note listed is very much discernible, despite being seamlessly blended.
The overall impression is one of green sharp herbs, Patchouli and deep aromatic smoke. It’s more attractive than the other Miller Harris masculine La Fumee, which I found a bit dry. Masculine or feminine, this is fabulous for Autumn and I feel quite sorry that I only have a small phial of it.
I’ll leave the last words to a great Parisian, and one of my idols, now sadly in Pere Lachaise. Edith Piaf’s beautiful song, Autumn Leaves popped into my head whilst writing this review.
Since you went away, The days grow long, and soon I’ll hear old winter songs. But I miss you most of all my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall