My dear scented chums, I must apologise for the lack of blog posts here lately. The heart was willing but my time was spread thinner than Marmite.
On my complicated Mind Map To Do List that makes my head spin, is a list of blog posts I have been meaning to get around to writing. Obviously, I haven’t written them, so it’s doubtful now that you will see them before Christmas.
Here then, is a list of blog posts you can look forward to after Christmas (Sorry they’re late. The cat ate my homework)
Purse Sprays and Rollerballs
How I love those handy little perfumes! Travel size, rollerball, mini sprays- I want them all.
I have three samples from Richard E Grant that I am looking forward to reviewing (initial thoughts are favourable) but it is Christmas Eve Eve now and I’m not going to get that one done before Christmas.
The Perfume Society Velvet Collection
Another winner of a box from our friends at the Perfume Society- this time with a bar of Green and Black’s chocolate that was gone faster than a stolen car.
100bon -Centbon perfumes
I have a full bottle of Davana &Vanille Bourbon and several wonderful samples to tell you about. The brand is pronounced Cent-bon as a play on words “c’est bon” = “that’s good”. I shall be getting stuck in very soon.
Avon for Men
My love affair with Avon continues and this time I’m looking at the men’s’ range. Watch this space for some great bargains.
I’ll be back now in a minute–
As we say in Wales. I shall have to sign off and come back to you after Christmas otherwise I’ll never get the stairs done or put the ham in for my troupe of Christmas Eve visitors. If my tales of woe and drudgery haven’t made you run away, please let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a wonderful 2018.
I hope to tempt you back with my scented tales and reviews as I approach my fifth blogaversary in January. Oh, and did I mention giveaways? Lots of them too.
Mandy Aftel is a revered world-wide authority on natural fragrances, and flavour too. To receive samples all the way from Berkeley California to my humble end of terrace home in overcast South Wales makes me feel very honoured. When I heard Mandy was working on a scent called Velvet Tuberose, my antenna twitched in anticipation. It’s no exaggeration that since learning more about fragrance, tuberose has become a firm favourite of mine. I couldn’t wait to see what Mandy would do with it.
Velvet Tuberose is in solid fragrance form. This means that you can travel with it, apply it on a train without annoying anyone and Mandy can post it to you, even in the UK. It also means that the waxy texture won’t dry your skin out. Reader, it lasts and lasts and lasts. Here’s what I thought about it:
Velvet Tuberose opens brightly and loudly. It’s heady and thick and reminds me of the hottest days in summer full of flowers and bees and heat. As this peaks, there is a pleasant woodiness to Velvet Tuberose, which takes over when the thick summer flowers tail off. You have the creamy headiness of the tuberose, that faintest hint of celery that plays hide and seek and a sweetness that lies somewhere between a florist and a snapped fern leaf. I found a lot of sharp greenery here, which offsets the richness of the tuberose absolute. Yes, Mandy has used tuberose absolute. It’s not the cheapest way of doing things, but Mandy sources her materials with great care. The quality of the ingredients really shows: not just in the longevity but in the fully rounded notes that seem to get plumper and richer, rather than tailing off and fading as some liquid fragrances can. Although it’s not listed as a note, my nose found traces of earthy honey in here that warms this big white floral up for winter.
Longevity is remarkable. Apply in the morning and when your head hits the pillow at bed time, you’re sniffing the air and thinking, is that still me? It is.
Velvet Tuberose is a high quality rich tuberose with a chorus of flowers to introduce it, and a finale of sandalwood and honey to round it off. Tuberose fans will adore it, and people who are not yet tuberose fans might find that this is the one that converted them to Tuberose Love.
You can but Velvet Tuberose from the Aftelier website. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy Aftel, for which, warmest thanks. No conditions were attached and this is not a sponsored post.
I was recently lucky enough to receive a little bundle of samples from the genius perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. I liked every single fragrance. However, some of them took hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go. Despite the Non-Spring weather here in chilly Wales I’m going through a big floral phase at the moment.
There were so many beautiful floral notes in these fragrances that it felt like a little olfactory tour of an exclusive florist.
DSH Perfumes Fleurs du Soleil
Fleurs du Soleil takes tuberose to the tropics and introduces it to new company. This is the kind of tuberose I am always seeking. I last found it in By Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad, and how I swooned!. It’s borderline vegetal, but at the same time, it feels like plunging your nose deep within the heady petals of this unique flower that always makes its presence felt. Around the tuberose is sweet honeysuckle, and a touch of citrussy fruit to stop everything going too flowery. It’s beautifully balanced and I keep getting little wafts as I move. Wonderful!
DSH Perfumes April
April smells exactly like playing in the garden as a child. The most prevalent note to me, is sweet pea. I remember the scent so well from my childhood. The olfactory memory is extraordinary and I remember garden scents from over forty years ago. Don’t ask me what I had for breakfast earlier today though.
April has just about every note you would expect from a Spring scent . It evokes green grass, spring flowers and tiny bunches of violets (which have no scent in real life, sadly). Also in here is sweet clover, which I used to actually eat when I was about five. If you pluck a juicy petal out of the flower, at the base you will find nectar and it tastes as good as it sounds. I also used to eat fuchsias and daisies, although this was not encouraged. I suppose I was rather odd, looking back.
What I like about April is that so many flowers are here, but somehow it smells clean and fresh, rather than sweet and overpowering, like some florals can smell. This is everything you can smell in a spring garden, buds, grass, moss and all.
DSH Perfumes Bluedaisy
I think of this as a daisy and blue sky all in one, such is its lightness and airiness. This comes from the grapefruit, which opens the fragrance, and the delicate flowers that follow the citrus notes. This would fit into the fruity floral category ( it has grapefruit, yuzu, passion fruit, oranges), but I still think of this as primarily a floral. The fruits here seem to frame the flowers and make them sing louder, almost like a conductor waving a baton.
I noticed the passion fruit, but then I thought- isn’t that perfect with sweet pea? I noticed the almondy, waxy petals of frangipani and the clean, almost herbal background of fresh, very green grass. This is a happy, Zippety Doo Dah feel good scent that really makes you appreciate how beautiful nature is.
All my samples were kindly supplied by Dawn herself, for which, warmest thanks. There were no conditions or obligations attached. The good news is that Dawn ships all over the world (with a few exceptions) so UK fans can order and enjoy these nature friendly scents. Here’s the website link.
When Mandy Aftel makes perfume it’s often about a discovery or a facet of nature that Mandy wants to celebrate. Her scents evoke scenes and visions so vividly that I can’t shake the feeling that she is more alchemist than perfumer. There is magic in her fingertips the way some people have green fingers and some people don’t.
Curious was inspired by Mandy’s new museum of scent in Berkeley California. Here she invites you to explore the curiosities of olfactory natural history. The museum is very much hands on. You don’t just look at stuff- this is an all-round sensory journey: touch it, smell it, sniff it, try it. I haven’t been there yet, but in a year’s time, I will be visiting. I’m booking flights very soon and boy, will my blog have coverage!
Curious lives up to its name. It opens intriguingly, with a green note that smells almost medicinal, with a herby clary sage style bitterness. It reminded me of the glorious smell I once caught as a child, watching a neighbour creosote his fence. Many of my friends wrinkled their noses but I loved the tarry earthy scent and it remains one of my favourite aromas today.
Curious contains hay and tobacco: two notes which are not often as you might imagine in fragrance. Tobacco can veer from green and soapy (think Givenchy Amarige), to dry and oaky (think Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan). Hay can smell sweet, grassy, musty, honeyed or dry, or a combination of all of them. In Curious, it smells damp to me, and coupled with woody tobacco it reminds me of a hot damp green field as the sun dries everything out. There is a deep earthiness to Curious which reflects its roots as a product of nature. After a while, the drying- out-in-the-sun feeling became an autumnal smokiness, like a bonfire in the distance.
Curious unfurls its layers like a tree in all seasons, merging from fresh bud to green bitterness, to dried leaves to twiggy stem, but always grounded by the earthiness from whence it came. It brings out the pagan in me. There’s nothing like it. Mandy has made a beautifully unique scent that I urge you to try should you ever get a chance. As with all of Mandy’s creations, every ingredient is natural.
Curious is available from the Aftelier website. There is also an excellent sample service. The museum details are also on the website. If you live within a ten-thousand-mile radius, it’s definitely worth a visit. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.
Off the top of your head, how many pin numbers do you need to remember? How many passwords and usernames? How many social media accounts do you have? How many text messages do you need to respond to? How many emails remain unanswered?
The digital age has done us all huge favours, such as Netflix and Facebook. But there’s a downside isn’t there? The digital age is both a privilege and a curse.
The cost of living has rocketed, house prices have gone insane, roads are congested, everything is conducted via a screen and more seems to be expected of us these days. Our modern lives are tough. No wonder relaxing has become a life skill that many have forgotten.
Which brings me nicely to the new range of fragrances from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays. Yes, that introduction was a bit of a transition, but if you nodded even once, then you’ll know where she was coming from with this collection: “Our Modern Lives.”
Alongside creating perfumes (usually on Tuesdays, hence the name), Sarah is also a yoga teacher. She knows how to stop the white noise.
Our Modern Lives is intended as a soothing balm to your soul. There’s a scent for when you need to look away from the damn screen (after you’ve read my blog, of course) and scents that uplift, energise and revitalize, without you having to go to a spa or anything. I would call them Mood Scents.
Here are my impressions of them, and at the end I’ll tell where you can get hold of them. They’re not expensive either. By the way, you can mix them all up if you like and make your own blend.
Butch and woody are two words that I would use to describe this, but they would also make good names for a duo of male strippers. The woods are dark and rich with lots of amber. It might be Butch and Woody (hi guys!) but it is, like all scent in my opinion, unisex, as are all of these fragrances
Tricky to type, but gorgeous to sniff. This starts off with a crystalline vodka scent and smells as pure as an icicle. It reminded me a little of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia, so if you like that, you might like this too.
Creating scent out of solely natural ingredients post IFRA bans and regulations is a bit like riding a unicycle whilst crossing the road, knitting and saying your five times table. But that’s not your problem to worry about. When you feel like screens are sucking your eyeballs out of your face, switch them off and sniff these.
This is beautiful. There are red berries and raspberries and roses. Rather than being like candy, it reminded me of my childhood and of cherries. It may give you different emotions and memories, but I am sure it will evoke happy thoughts.
Of course, there’s going to be orange in this, and there is, but there are also neroli (steam distilled orange blossom), peaches and a hint of beautiful geranium. This may be my favourite.
This gave me a boost of feel good citrus, like freshly squeezed orange juice, but also something else that I couldn’t initially put my finger on. Then it hit me: what goes with fresh orange juice? Fresh coffee! Genius. I can smell the narcissus in this one too, giving you a little posy of flowers to go with your juice and coffee.
As you may know, green is my favourite genre so I was bound to love this one, and I do. It’s so green it’s even got spinach in it, not that I could smell it, unless you count the sort of lush damp vegetal scent that hovered in the background. This has lime and mint and green mandarin essential oil. Do you know what? After ten minutes, I could smell spinach. This is beautiful and foresty. The Popeye muscles are up to you.
You may recall my recent gushing reviews about Aquamarine Waves. It’s working nick name was Sea Goddess prior to its launch.
This is a marine scent with no cucumber and melon accord- that would be too easy and lots of people have aloready done that. Not here, no Sir. Sarah used seaweed to get this right. She did filter it out afterwards, you’ll be pleased to know.
Blue Screen/Blue Horizon- Perspective
Equally good on skin or in the air around you, this is designed to aid meditation. We spend too long on screens, and it’s not always our fault in a digital dependent society. Many people use screens for their work and that goes round the clock now. This beautiful scent helps you to look up and see the blue of the sky instead of the screen. Frankincense, lavender, vetiver, mint and eucalyptus all help to transport you somewhere else for a bit.
Indigo-Into the Night
This is the strongest and richest in the collection. Indigo has definite 4160 Tuesdays fingerprints over it. This is the smell of that 3 a.m. Cognac when you can’t sleep- yes, there’s cognac in it but please don’t drink it, no matter how good the party was. There’s something dark and slightly rubbery about this one. It reminds me of cannabis and vinyl records. No bad thing. There’s also osmanthus absolute, cedarwood, rum and leathery labdanum.
It’s a mood in a bottle: after all, 3 a.m. is often called the darkest hour of the soul.
You can get all of these from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Personally, I reckon they should come in phials like a pencil case so you have a colour for every mood. It would be hard to stop at one. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have mood swings, mood slides and a mood roundabout in your head. My samples were kindly sent to me by Team Tuesdays and Sarah, for which, many thanks. Opinions are all my own.
Check me out! I’ve been experimenting with editing sites. The world is my lobster. Watch this space for disastrous pixellated pics and clumsy graphics until I get the hang of stuff. I’ll soon be running with the pack.
Well, dear readers, it’s time for me to sum up a busy fragranced year and award plaudits to my favourites from 2016. These are purely based on my opinion, which is therefore The Law.
Not all of these are actually 2016 launches: some have just impressed me so much after four years of blogging that I have declared that they deserve accolades. Now, we’d’d best get on before all this power goes to my head and I start doing villain’s laughter.
The IScent Award for Best Longevity
This has to be a three way tie between
4160 Tuesdays Midnight in the Palace Garden
Andy Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange
Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose
I sprayed 4160 Tuesdays Midnight in The Palace Garden into thin air yesterday and 24 hours later it is still there. This is despite eating a roast dinner in the same room and trying on various perfumes throughout the day. It smells like I have been burning very expensive incense among church pews and I love it.
I sprayed two sprays of Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange on my neck three days ago. Since then I have had three showers and changed my bedding. This morning when I woke up, I could still smell lily of the valley. This is a bottle I purchased in May 2015 and it has barely gone down. I think a genie keeps refilling it.
Made by the delightful Liz Moores in her compound in the New Forest, Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose lasted over fifteen hours on me. Rich, woody roses that just stay put. I could bask in it. Two sprays and you’re wrapped in spiced, woody roses until bedtime.
So all three of these niche brands get the Iscent 2016 Award for Longevity. Isn’t it interesting how they are all niche and not mainstream? Just sayin’
Best Summer Perfume – Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic
Gin &Tonic by Art de Parfum stopped me in my tracks with its new take on Gin &Tonic. So much more than just refreshing juniper, I wore this until my sample ran out and had compliments every time. A full bottle is in my sights in 2017. Check out my reviews on the rest of the range here.
Most Original Launch –REEK perfume Damn Rebel Bitches
This has to go to Reek Perfume for Damn Rebel Bitches. It’s a scent that smacks of rebellion. Rustic touches speak of the heritage of the strong women it pays tribute to. With notes of malt, blood orange and herbs, you won’t be surprised to learn that Sarah McCartney was the nose behind the scent Her fingerprints are all over it! (NB That is not her hand in the illustration).
Best Celebrity Launch-Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP
This one was easy. It goes to Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP. Breaking the mould of the usual celeb fare, SJP goes down the niche-style route of a churchy sandalwood incense unisex scent with not a hint of fruity floral fruitichouli in sight. It’s superb quality and I hope it will set the tone for other innovative celeb launches.
Best Flanker-Chanel No 5 L’Eau
It’s got to be Chanel no 5 L’Eau. Not a diluted version of the original, but a twiddling of the tuning knobs to bring out the lighter and muffle the darker. It’s divine and light and deserves classic status already.Oh, and lightness doesn’t mean a lack of longevity either: this really sticks around. Full marks to the beautifully simple marketing campaign showcasing the lovely Lily-Rose Depp.
Another three-way tie. I simply couldn’t choose! Here are the turkeys, the raspberries, the No-Nos. I don’t want to be mean but I’m going to be anyway. Dior Poison Girl,Estee Lauder Modern Muse Nuit and YSL Mon Paris left me wishing I’d never even taken the lid off. The prices are steep for what they are and the money seems to be going on the marketing rather than the ingredients (what’s new?) Least said soonest mended. Moving on!
Best Winter Fragrance- Le Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacre
This one has to go to Le Jardin Retrouvé. When I smelled Sandalwood Sacre for the first time, it was like cupid had shot me with an arrow. I simply had to own a bottle and now I do. You can read my review here. Don’t just keep it for winter though. I’m not.
Best Gourmand: Library of Fragrance Chai Tea and Library of Fragrance Tomato
Trust Library of Fragrance to come up with the goods once again. This was a tie between Chai Tea and Tomato. I am sure they won’t mind sharing the award with um…themselves.
Chai Tea combines lightness and spice to bring a new angle on the word “cosy.” if you don’t like your gourmands too sweet ( like me) then Chai Tea will win you over. Meanwhile, back in our very short summer of 2016, (it was a Tuesday afternoon as I recall) Library of Fragrance Tomato took me back to my grandfather’s greenhouse in the 70s faster than a Tardis. As fresh as a new bud and with accents of verbena, Tomato became one of my very favourite warm weather scents.
Best Chypre: DSH Mata Hari
Over the ocean in Boulder Colorado, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz brews and macerates her beautiful perfumes with skill and passion. I was floored by DSH Mata Hari Extrait and in a blind test I would have thought it a priceless original 1920s vintage. It made me want to wear long gloves and arch one eyebrow at people. Glorious! You can read my DSH reviews here.
Best New Scent 2016: Beaufort London Fathom V
Beaufort London Fathom V turned an unassuming day into a vivid montage of sea faring adventure. It transported me to the slimy flanks of a London ship and the distant calls of pirates in one sniff. This stuff is like letting a genie out of a bottle. It’s green times a thousand, with sea notes that you can almost hear. It’s the best sea scent ever, and I can’t see that anything will make me change my mind about that. You can read my love letter to Fathom V here.
Best Natural Fragrance 2016: Mandy Aftel – Aftelier Amber Tapestry
Using only natural ingredients ( and that takes some doing!) Mandy’s instinctive connection to nature transports you to another place, via taste and even flavour. Amber Tapestry unfurls, layer by layer, enveloping the wearer in the kind of warmth that has a uniquely human touch. You can read my review here.
The IScent Fellowship Award: The Perfume Society
I’ve invented a Fellowship Award because The Perfume Society defies other categopries. Not only do they provide white boxes of treasure that even the most jaded perfume palate would salivate at, but they’re a sort of Mothership that we can all turn to when we get a bit lost in the murky depths of fruity-florals-chypres-colognes-my-nose-is-confused-help! Ever had a day like that? I have. The Perfume Society Scented Letter magazine also makes me settle down with a contented sigh and think “I’ve found my tribe” as I read what other perfume obsessives are up to. Fumeheads, you are not alone.
I was delighted to receive a little parcel via Fed Ex all the way from Berkeley California recently. It was from master perfumer Mandy Aftel and was wrapped like a piece of precious treasure. Mandy is a fragrant and flavourist expert who has the worldwide respect of customers and peers alike.
I received my sample spray phial of Amber Tapestry last week and I have been taking my time in getting to know it before reviewing it. After all, Mandy didn’t rush making it, so I owe it such courtesy in return.
Amber Tapestry is suitably named. Each component makes up the overall picture with splashes of colour and vibrancy that make this scent a constant unfolding enigma.
The heliotrope, which my nose mistook for lilac, speaks of springtime optimism. There was a note of pollen in there too, that reminded me of the dust you get on your nose when you sniff a daffodil (I should know, it’s the National Flower of Wales). The orange and the jasmine together give this a creamy and alluring opening act. The combination of the two makes for a sort of exaggerated orange blossom.
The middle phase is where this gets more tapestry like. The resin-y incense tones of benzoin (often used in cough mixture) seem to add a faded grandeur to the big white flowers that start so brightly. The heady white blooms are toned down by the warmth of golden amber as the base notes cast a sunset over this evocative scent. There is a subtle touch of animal in the finale, but rather than being a body odour animalic, its more of an intimate back-of-the-neck scent- if you’re familiar with my review of Aftelier Memento Mori, you’ll know the honeyed skin scent I mean.
Each note is interwoven to give an overall accord of a resinous, leathery vanilla. It was a real grower on me. The longer I have worn it, the more I like it
Amber Tapestry is a scent for all seasons. From Spring to Autumn in one fell swoop, the floral optimism of its opening gives way to a cosy richness that ends with the feeling of being hugged by an amber blanket of warmth.
Mandy uses natural ingredients and to my nose, these have an authenticity that makes for a deep and rich olfactory experience. It is my ambition to visit her perfume museum in Berkeley one day. Like Aftelier fragrances, I just know it will be unforgettable.
Thousands of miles away in Boulder Colorado, perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz works her magic producing stunning and innovative scent. Dawn kindly couriered some scent samples to me and I was blown away by the quality. The first one I tried was Albino: A Study in White. I then went on try the rest of them, and found them to be seamlessly blended and bursting with innovation and flair.
Dawn has been making perfume since 1991 and her vast experience shows in the quality. The versatility of DSH perfumes amazes me: there’s botanical flowers and greenery, deep dark chypres, vintage style scents, animalic sexbombs, and innocent ladylike fragrances.
I’m going to give you a little tour of what Dawn very kindly sent me. Opinions are my own.
I reviewed this earlier and you can find my opinion here. An exciting and authentic animalic chypre that smacks of 1920s decadence and feminity. There’s a hint of sex too, and by hint, I mean sledgehammer- if you want subtle, look away. Chinchilla is up there with the greats.
By complete contrast, La Belle Saison is the purest most realistic lilac scent I have ever smelled, and I’m a big fan of lilac. Astonishingly, this is an all natural perfume and it really does smell as if a spring garden has been captured in a bottle. It’s like burying your head in the pale purple blossoms.
Another daring chypre with a hint of animal. This is right up my street. Mata Hari is rich and deep with all the classical ingredients of a chypre: oakmoss, patchouli, amber, coupled with a fruity opening and deep, rich rose de mai. This deserves to be a classic. It reminds me of turn-of-the-century Guerlain. I would go as far as saying that this is one of best chypres I have ever tried.
Described as the epitome of sunshine, Hansa Yellow is a feel good scent full of spring time optimism and yellow flowers. It reminded me of the scent of daffodils and that uplifting feeling I get when I see the first ones peeking out after a long winter ( Daffodils are the national flower here in Wales and we take them very seriously). There’s banana like Ylang alongside neroli and lemon, giving this a playful radiance. What could be more spring like?
Albino (A Study In White)
This is supposed to be for men, but I would buy a full bottle simply because I am a junkie for grapefruit in fragrance. Albino is unique: many of the ingredients are white and the result is a bright refreshing fougere that opens like a gentlemne’s cologne. You’ve got albino raspberry and grapefruit in there alongside pale, light woods and light musky finish. It’s addictively good. I LOVE the grapefruit.
A cleverly constructed bright floral aldehyde that turns into a chypre. Deco Diamonds opens with a crystalline, metallic accord that made me think of chandeliers. The middle phase has all the big florals of a classic, with soapy notes at the heart and a mossy, civet finish that tells the story of a night out from start to finish.
Souvenir de Malmaison
A beautiful carnation soliflore, Souvenir de Malmaison is enhanced with clove and pepper giving this a spicy spikiness that is complemented by the softer roses in the heart of it. If you ask me, Carnation doesn’t get enough love these days, so I am pleased to see it showcased here. It’s the spiky, sober cousin to rose and I love the piquant nature of it alongside those dark aromatic cloves. Lasting power on this was filed under category WOW.
FiFi nominated, Pandora is a rich green chypre with a “dusty nuance”, which appeals to me enormously. Unfortunately, Pandora eluded me. I was anosmic to this. My skin seems to just suck it up and make it disappear! This doesn’t mean the same will happen to you. For example, when I reviewed Cartier Delices de Cartier a few years back, it never showed up on my skin at all- it was as if I was spraying tap water. However, other users reported 12 hour longevity. Go figure! My experience with DSH perfumes is that they are constructed from high quality ingredients and very long lasting, so this is probably just me. Perfume’s funny like that. My loss.
All of the above fragrances are available from the DSH website. You can buy all sizes, from sample size to large spray bottles, and many other scents too. I can’t wait to explore more of Dawn’s beautiful work. Samples provided by Dawn with warm thanks. Opinions are my own.
Photo credit: Top photo from cafleurebon, Lady in fur from Pinterest, Mata Hari from Klimbin, chandelier from fixmasters.net, Pandora’s Box painting from talesbeyondbelief.com, photo of Dawn Spencer Hurwitz from Cafleurebon.
Looking through my blog I found it hard to believe that I’ve never done a Spring round up. Since I am a devoted fan of hesperides and green notes, this seemed nothing short of a shortfall. Spring is that time when you can leave the heavy hitters behind and start to wear the scents that reflect a cold earth coming back to life. Many of my favourite flowers are Spring flowers: daffodils, bluebells and hyacinths. I love them in real life and I love them in my garden.
1. 4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green
This brings to mind a madrigal I can sing (the only one actually) “Each with his merry lass/Upon the greene grass”. This is, as that quote might suggest, green and grassy and a little chalky and violetty in the base, like a mossy white cliff. I adore it. You can buy it from 4160 Tuesdays. I reviewed it here.
2. Aftelier Palimpsest
Dear Mandy Aftel sent me a lovely sample of Palimpsest and my first thought was “she has captured the daffodil!”. It is an exact capture, and being Welsh, I know my daffodils. My review is here. You can buy Mandy’s wonderful (and all natural) creations from her website.
3.Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange
I could not leave out a lily of the valley scent in a Spring line up. I am attempting to grow lily of the valley for the first time this year and I hope my late grandmother’s green fingered genes will live on. I have a full bottle of Carillon Pour Un Ange on my dressing table and believe me when I say a little goes a long way. Here’s my review. You can buy it from the Tauer website or you could try Les Senteurs.
4. Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom
What could be more springlike than blossom? Here you really get the cherries as well as the petals. I have a full bottle of this and the packaging alone is worth owning. It’s a joy to look at and to wear. You can read my review here. You can buy Shay and Blue from trusty Marks and Spencer.
5. Friedemodin Vertine
A delightfully green and refreshing scent with hints of mint and basil. It is as gentle as a watercolour. This is one of four beautiful scents in this small but superb capsule range. You can read my review of it here. You can now buy Freidemodin in TK Maxx as well as instore at Harvey Nichols.
6. Library of Fragrance
There are two Library of Fragrance scents that sum up Spring for me: Wet Garden has a touch of earthiness and bags of fresh hyacinth. My review is here. It smells like total heaven on my friend Alison!
Library of Fragrance Tomato proved that if ever it was worth smelling something blind it was this. I was sent it as a surprise and I fell for it hard. Replete with green shoots, leaves and that rhubarby/lemon scent of a true greenhouse tomato, this is an uplifting scent that deserves it place in any Spring list. My recent review is here. You can buy Wet Garden and Tomato from Library of Fragrance or Boots.
7. Penhaligon’s Bluebell
How can it be Spring unless there are bluebells? Bluebells are one of my favourite flowers. Penhaligon’s has captured it better than anything else I have tried. My review is here. You can buy Bluebell from Penhaligon’s, Amazon UK or allbeauty.com.
8. Carven L’Eau de Toilette
I reviewed this beautiful green scent recently ( see link here) and it was light, airy and clean smelling. This is a delight to wear on a spring day and reasonably priced too. You can buy it from Amazon UK or from Fragrance Direct.
9. Miller Harris Coeur de Jardin
Miller Harris, ever reliable, comes up with the goods yet again. Coeur de Jardin is a beautifully spring like fragrance that teams pear, tuberose, jasmine and moss together for the scent of a garden straight from your childhood. My review is here. I also recommend Cassis en Feuille (review here), which is blackcurrants and tomatoes, but a realistic greenhouse version. You can buy these from the Miller Harris website.
10. Jo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop
No 42 The Flower Shop is named after Jo Malone’s first workplace. Jo Malone MBE of Jo Malone fame (does that make sense?) has created a second, more personal perfume house. Using fragrance notes she is passionate about,No 42 the Flower Shop has that lovely accord of a florists that is as much about stems and leaves as it about fresh petals and buds. My review is here. You can buy this from Jo Loves.
Photos: Top photo of cherry blossom from www.brambleberry.com. Tomato photo from www.westmillorganics.co.uk. Miller Harris photo from Miller Harris. Jo Loves photo from Jo Loves. . Library of Fragrance photo from Library of Fragrance. Photo of Mandy Aftel from www.aftelier.com. “Wet Plants” photo from Pinterest. All others are from Fragrantica
You may recall my recent review of Bergamoss solid perfume from the lovely Mandy Aftel. Well dear Mandy has now launched Bergamoss as an eau de parfum. To say it works well is a understatement.
Bergamoss is an unusual green chypre in that it is delightfully spiky and refreshing in summer but rich enough to be perfect for winter too. It’s hard to do but as usual, Mandy has pulled it off, and amazingly, by using only natural ingredients too.
Bergamoss opens with lime juice so fresh it makes your nose tingle. It’s as fresh and immediate as if you’ve just sliced into the lime that very minute. With the subtle sweetness of a peach giving this a pretty face, the nutmeg and herbs take over giving this a slightly savoury bite with a mossy finish. I find the notes jump out at me more in this liquid form. The solid Bergamoss has the same notes but the nuances emerge at different times. The EDP spray has more of an immediate impact. The base notes have a delightful thick greenery, although I didn’t quite catch the civet- you may find it, but I did not. This does not mean it isn’t there- I often find civet where there is none and fail to find it when it’s there.
As much as I loved the solid Bergamoss (and how I long for more solid perfumes!) I found the EDP pleased my need for instant gratification. Longevity is the same, but the EDP is slightly louder. My advice is buy both. The solid is perfect for inoffensive office wear and commuter train etiquette. The EDP is when you want to take Bergamoss out on the road and see what it can do.
Green chypres are my favourite type of scent and Bergamoss is up there with the greats.
NB Whilst Bergamoss solids are now a long term Aftelier item, the EDP is only available until Valentine’s Day. All Aftelier scent can be ordered from the Aftelier website. With warmest thanks to Mandy for sending this to me.