Have you ever smelled a perfume that’s so good it makes you want to write a love song about how much you love it? A scent that shoots you in the heart like cupid? A scent that makes the need to own it feel more powerful than lust?
Welcome to Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium.
A pelargonium is a member of the geranium family and has bright velvety petals as vivid as a flame. This flower is more or less the main star in this fragrance, but the supporting cast makes this unforgettably wonderful.
It opens with clary sage and lime. The herby clary sage note complements the peppery petals of the pelargonium until it gives me a vivid image of an English country garden on a cool damp day. The herby floral accord makes me think of very expensive soap- the kind that makes your bathroom smell like an unaffordable hotel suite. The musk is an almost iris-like musk with its muted, classy subtlety, yet it is unmistakable and lingers on long after the citrus opening has bloomed and faded.
There is allegedly a carrot note in here somewhere, but unless I’m mistaking one root for another, it comes across as more iris like, which as you know, can smell earthy and rooty.
The base is guaiac wood, vetiver and moss, giving enhancement to the earthiness that peeks out in the middle phase. The oakmoss adds a touch of damp greens, which only makes me fall for it harder. I’ve always found geraniums to smell faintly medicinal, and this facet is showcased with touches of elemi, often used in cough syrup and medicines. Don’t let this put you off, there’s no TCP note here, more of a clove/violet thing going on.
This is primarily a floral, but it’s as if each facet of the pelargonium scent has been given a partner to showcase its talents and double its impact. Perfumer Nathalie Feisthauer is a genius and I will be her fan forever.
This is the fragrance I will buy for myself when I get that novel published (and I will).
Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium is available from Selfridges at £210. My novel will have to be a bestseller I guess. My sample was a kind gift from Aspects beauty PR, 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.
This is a crowd funding project and it’s still possible to bag your swag by following this link. 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.
Inspired by our childhood gardens in northern Sweden and Germany, we invite you on our olfactory journey. Insert the key and enter through the heavy wooden door to find yourself in the wild enchanted garden surrounded by the beautiful scents of green leafy plants, jasmin and fresh herbs.
Friedemodin is the brainchild of Elisabeth Modin and Nina Friede. The collection of four scents encapsulates their combined love of travel and fragrance. Previously on this blog I have reviewed Vertine and Jardin Mystique, both of which were excellent, and today I am reviewing Rosée de Nuit.
Incongruously, there are no roses, as you would expect. However, I could swear there was a whisper of lovely satin rose petal in the background. There is a light airiness about the Friedemodin collection that reminds me of watercolour paintings. If you read the notes in each perfume, you would think these would be hard hitters with monster sillage, but in fact they are gentle and even ethereal.
Rosée de Nuit has definite woody notes and comes at this from several angles: there’s teak, there’s “Woodsy notes” (thanks Fragrantica!) and there’s sandalwood and allspice. But overall, this is gentle petals in a sylvan surrounding, with a hint of spice floating on air.
Maybe it’s the patchouli or the violet or the combination of both, but this is an incredibly elegant feminine perfume that makes me feel wonderful.
It’s taken me a few days to think about what I’m going to say about Andy Tauer’s latest release Noontide Petals. Not because I’m trying to be tactful, no need for that: It’s because it’s like nothing else I’ve smelled before.
It’s floral but not a floral. It’s spicy but not an Oriental, it is very Bergamot but is not a Hesperide. It has powder but it’s not a Chypre. You can see my problem.
It is very beautiful and lives up to its whimsical name. At first spray, whilst still wet, it’s strong Bergamot with Geraniums catching up. Then a blast of aldehydes. Now this bit confused me. Its clearly aldehydic but the last aldehyde I sniffed was Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass i.e the opposite side of the subtlety spectrum to Noontide Petals.
Tauer’s aldehydes emerge gradually, like Royalty getting out of a car, whilst Blue Grass jumps out of the bottle and bops you in the face. So I guess this taught me that aldehydes come in many forms, many of which I don’t yet know.
Noontide Petals has a long top note, with the Bergamot staying true with a hint of clean soapy notes. However, what I love about this, and I may be alone in even thinking this, is that there is a lovely chalkiness to Noontide Petals. That same chalkiness made me fall in love with Balmain Jolie Madame, which to my nose smells of damp moss and chalky cliffs (I adore it and bought a full 100ml bottle) Noontide Petals has that same faint chalkiness, which makes the Bergamot, so often used in more astringent style fragrances, into a powdery soft citrus.
It’s around this point that the flowers turn up: the Jasmine, the Ylang Ylang and the Roses. Petals indeed: they bring prettiness and a background aroma rather than taking over.
And finally, the closing act! The clever evening stage of Frankincense (often known as Olibanum), Styrax and Patchouli. It’s worth waiting for, and has an incense style spice, rather than gourmand, with a hint of High Church and a dash of something spiky.
As usual with a Tauer fragrance, it lasts and lasts. Twelve hours so far. It’s a perfume that can take you from night to day, like a good black dress. It starts all delicate and pretty, then gets deeper and more mysterious by the time the sun goes down.
A bit like me. (*cough*)
Noontide Petals can be purchased from the Tauer website or Les Senteurs. My sample is so strong that it has lasted me three days and is still half full. Top marks for longevity.
“She’s a rose with thorns, don’t mess with her. She’s a girl who goes to extremes.
When she can, she soothes; and when she wants … ! Her fragrance lifts you higher, she rocks and shocks.”
I like a rose. The smell of rose petals has me inhaling deeply and satisfyingly. There is nothing to beat the smells found in nature. My grandmother’s rose garden was her pride and joy and her passion was infectious. She grew deep velvety red roses, roses with coral petals named after the Queen Mother, and a lovely yellow rose whose petals were tinged pink like a blush. My grandmother died ten years ago but she is with me every time I smell a rose in the sunshine. Roses make me happy.
Or so I thought until I smeltSerge Lutens La Fille de Berlin. My first impression, admittedly after a day of trawling Sephora and Marionnaud, was “After Eight Mints”. Don’t ask me why. Maybe it was the high concentration of the roses giving them a slightly medicinal scent, bordering on herbal, or even antispectic. Maybe it was the fact I was saturated in more than seven fragrances at the time. I had broken my golden rule of “one scent, one arm, and then go home”. But when faced with a sweet shop, it’s hard to just buy one humbug.
La Fille de Berlin is like having concentrated essence of Roses squirted up each nostril and then being shoved face down into black cherry jam, whilst being read stark war poetry. You may well feel differently. The combination of Rose and Pepper is considered by some to be a perfect balance: a sort of serendipity, like bacon and maple syrup. What lucky chance that these two were thrown together to make a symphony worthy of Kings. I once knew a girl who loved Marmalade with her Sausages. It’s remarkably good, though not, of course as a fragrance.
With La Fille de Berlin the image and name contribute to my aversion. There is an impression of sadness, war and grief beneath the fragrance. The video on the Serge Lutens website left me feeling bereft and hollow, helpless with a compassion that has no direction or use. It’s all cold thorns, snow and suffering. Wearing La Fille de Berlin ruins a good memory and paints bad memories over the top of it. It repels me and makes me scared of losing cherished memories of smelling roses. It stamps over the petals, reminding me only of the thorns and bloody fingers. Even the bottle is a bit too red for comfort.
This is melancholy and tragic and the roses are too many, like a nightmarish replication that suffocates until roses become your enemy. Give me back a rose I can enjoy.
Jo Loves… is Jo Malone in her new incarnation. Jo Malone the person left Jo Malone the brand in capable hands in 2006, and has gone it alone once again. So much for retirement! Fragrance has a strong pull and it wasn’t long before Jo found herself creating fragrance again.
Like the beginning of so many good stories, it all began in a bar in New York…
From crushed Mangoes and Limes, Jo’s mind got working as cocktails were created and fruits crushed before her eyes (and nose). Fruit into fruit created new blends and intoxicating aromas, even before they added the vodka.
Jo Malone the brand is often referred to as perfume for people who don’t like perfume, and many Jo Malone fragrances are based on those found in nature. Now that Jo has “gone rogue” it would seem that she has gone back to nature again, this time with fruits: fresh, citrussy, zingy fruits in many incarnations from Cocktails and Lime zest to suave, crisp Pomelo with its suede-y richness and Rosy base. But it doesn’t stop there. There is also Pink Vetiver, A Shot of Oud Over Mango, Gardenia and Orange Tulle. Jo Loves…is exactly that: notes and fragrances that Jo is passionate about. It is very refreshing to see a line of fragrance that is not governed by focus groups and mass markets, but geared to the taste and passion of an individual. . And the kind of creative freedom that can only be coveted.
If Niche means exclusive suppliers (in this case a website and a showroom is all) and a limited line, then this is New British Niche, and as you would expect, it’s very good. Quality is high and is reflected in the price. Good ingredients are worth paying for. The Mango scent that Jo Loves has captured is so mouthwateringly realistic that it induced a genuine craving in me for ripe mangoes.
Since the range is not cheap if you’re buying blind, it would be great if Jo Loves sold a sample or starter kit, since bottles start at £45. The website sells a collection of four 30ml scents for £120 ( see photo above). That’s a lot to spend on a blind buy. You can take my word for it, and read reviews and blogs, but until you try a scent on your own skin you cannot know if it will suit you. You can only make an educated guess. A sample kit would solve this problem, and having tried some samples myself, I can happily predict that samples kits will lead to full bottle purchases. This week I will be reviewing some of the fragrances in more detail.
I am currently wearing Mango Nectar and the temptation to lick my own wrist is almost overwhelming.
It’s only nine months to Christmas, never too soon to start a (very long) wish list…Jo Loves could be the UK’s answer to Frederic Malle and Andy Tauer.