Tag Archives: Niche perfume

Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium

pelargonium

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.

photo by www. gardensonline.com.au
photo by www. gardensonline.com.au

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.

The Aedes de Venustas range at Shy Mimosa perfumery, Bristol
The Aedes de Venustas range at Shy Mimosa perfumery, Bristol

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).

Stockists

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.

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How I Improved My Sense of Smell with The Perfume Society

sam smile

Some blog posts are very hard to write because I’m so afraid I won’t do them justice. This is one of them.  I was on such a high after coming back from the Perfume Society Improve Your Sense of Smell Workshop that I was neither use nor ornament for about 48 hours.

lucky scarf
If ever a scarf were the right scarf for an occasion, it was my perfume scarf. It smells good too!

First of all, The Perfume Society is three years old and is the only body of its type in the world.  They know this because they googled to find a perfume society before realising there wasn’t one. The Perfume Society is the brainchild of legendary beauty editor and writer Jo Fairley and her business partner Lorna McKay.  I have been reading Jo’s work since around 2000 ish,  before blogging was invented and  back when I was a One Scent woman.   10299686_1560529210840279_596234111_a

The workshops are not just exclusive to London, so it really is worth subscribing to The Perfume Society, if only to get access to The Scented Letter and Discovery Box discounts.  The workshop I attended was in the basement of The New Moon Tapas Bar in Clifton.

It was a wonderfully informative, but informal session that made me feel like I was BFFs with everyone around the table, and not just my real life BFF Lisa, who was also there.  Jo is an engaging speaker and delivers the workshop in an accessible and inclusive way that felt like a chat with a friend except with far more “Wow! I never knew that” moments.

You may think that having written 817 blog posts about perfume that I might know a lot.  Well I know about  1% of what I actually want and need to know.   However, you very much do NOT have to be a blogger in order to attend.   For one thing, the amount of experience and knowledge you need to attend the workshop is ZERO.  No experience required.

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My perfect afternoon. Jo Fairley took this so is sadly not in it. Photo courtesy of The Perfume Society.

So, what happens? Well, we were made comfortable with  refreshments and introduced ourselves, which wasn’t cringy like work training, but friendly like meeting your tribe. There were six of us altogether and it was especially lovely to meet Claire, who I have been following on Instagram and talking to on the perfume group Eau my Soul.

Jo explained that part of the mission of The Perfume Society is to put us back in touch with our sense of smell, referred to by Helen Keller as “The Fallen Angel of the Senses” and she was right.   Back when we were cavewomen, we could sniff out herbs, non-toxic berries and woolly mammoths, but now our sense of smell has been blunted by modern conveniences.

The workshop goes about starting us on the path to putting this right.  We did some very interesting sniffing, giving our impressions in an atmosphere in which there was no right or wrong.  There was also a very interesting exercise in which we tried minty Green and Black’s chocolate to see if it was smell or taste that gave us the minty hit.  The answer really surprised me.  Plus, you know, Green and Blacks. *swoon* (something else we have Jo to thank for).

The third section was the bring a bottle party.  Some of it was 80% proof. Yes, I’m talking fragrance.  Prior to attending, we were asked to bring a bottle of our favourite scent.  I had to be very strict with myself and put the wheelbarrow back before leaving the house with just one: Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic.

our selection
Recognise any favourites?

My adorable colleagues, as I now thought of them,  brought a few each, so we had great fun diving on the stuff we hadn’t smelled yet and sharing opinions. On top of that we were given goody bags to take home. Reader, this was better than my birthday.

As if that wasn’t enough fun, we then got the chance to buy Discovery Boxes and the gorgeous Perfume Society Scented Skincare set at big discounts.  As if that wasn’t enough, we then go to visit a brand-new niche perfumery called Shy Mimosa, which I will write about separately, and where we also had a big discount.

aedes de venustes
The tempting shelves at Shy Mimosa

So, was it worth it going?  Did I improve my sense of smell? Yes, and yes and it was wonderful and I had several OMG moments where I made surprising discoveries and oh, my stars, what a day!

If you ever get the chance to attend one, go.  Just go.  They’re not just in London and you don’t need to know anything beforehand. If there’s not one near you, then email The Perfume Society and tell them.   They will listen.  Unless you live alone on a remote island that can only be reached by catamaran at high tide.  Apart from that, if enough people clamour, then you never know…

cocottes

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Our Modern Lives by 4160 Tuesdays: And…Breeeaaaaaathe

 

stressful-jobs (1)
Image from www.smartmeetings.com

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?

omlThe 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.

oml samples

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.

The synthetics

OML a

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

OML β

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.

oml my samples

The Naturals

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.

Red-Harvest- Gratitude

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.

orange sunset bbc
BBC

Orange-Sunset-peace

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.

photo by RHS.org
photo by RHS.org

Yellow-Sunrise-Hope

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.

orieldavies
Oriel Davies Gallery

Green- Leaf-New

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.

Aquamarine-Waves/Wi-Fi-Clarity

mermaid redYou 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

Moon Set by Nancy Brace
Moon Set by Nancy Brace

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.

Stockists

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.

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4160 Tuesdays: Goddess of Love and Perfume

goddess

Designed for Aphrodite, goddess of love, to seduce shepherd boys on the grassy banks of Roseberry Topping.

-Sarah McCartney

Yesterday I was the excited recipient of a box of Crimes of Passion samples from 4160 Tuesdays. This always feel like an occasion as the packaging is consistently hand done and beautiful. Each phial was wrapped in jewel coloured tissue before being wrapped in recycled hand made paper and finished with a leather bow ( The cats won’t give it back). After all that build up, my anticipation was huge.

4160 jan2016

What were the actual scents like? Well a trumpet fanfare wouldn’t have been out of place. They blew me away good and proper. I don’t get these thunderbolts very often and having now written 620 blog posts, I’d be exhausted if I did. But this was like being struck by cupid. I will write about the others in good time, but today I will attempt to do justice to Goddess of Love and Perfume.

Opening with citruses that smell freshly squeezed, there is a bright salty tang in the top notes, with a promising warmth. There’s enough fruit here for a market stall ( Yuzu, grapefruit, raspberry, strawberries, plum, peaches), but they are blended so seamlessly it makes a new accord that is akin to a tart raspberry flavour grapefruit. If it was a drink I’d order an ice filled jug of it.

The fruit segues subtly and gradually into a warm fruity chypre and the oakmoss and Myrhh (aka opoponax) give this a wonderfully retro nod in the direction of the old school chypres that have long gone. The peaches make their presence felt, but never in a soapy, tinned fruit sort of manner. Its more boozy brandied peaches that have been infused with dried fruit over Christmas. The classic chypre base of patchouli and oakmoss gives me the fix I want.

For some reason, the final stages of this long lasting beauty struck me as having a bunch of violets in it. There are none actually in this, but somehow, I found them, or they found me, along with some long lasting vintage musk. Leaving a slightly powdery finish, as a good chypre does, Goddess of Love and Perfume left me an infatuated suitor in her wake.

So, yes, I’ve been shot by cupid and I’m helpless to resist.

Stockists

You can buy Goddess of Love and Perfume from the website at 4160 Tuesdays. You can find other stockists here. I bought my samples from the site. I am reviewing the parfum strength.

Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904.
“Ta-dah!”

 

Painting: Aphrodite (Venus) bares herself before Paris, with Hera and Athena standing to her left
in The Judgment of Paris by Enrique Simonet, c. 1904. From www.myastrologybook.com

 

Bruno Fazzolari Seyrig: Pure, Beautiful Nostalgia

seyrig

 

Inspired by the aldehydic motifs of late sixties and early seventies perfume, Seyrig centers on an artistic interpretation of the Syringa flower — a relative of lilac that resists olfactory extraction.  – Bruno Fazzolari

Once again I find myself swooning over a Bruno Fazzolari scent. Not only is Bruno a talented artist based in one of my favourite cities ( San Francsico), but he makes considered, unique fragrances that really make their presence felt.

Bruno very kindly sent me a sample of Seyrig recently and I was delighted to receive it.  Naturally opinions are my own.

Seyrig is complex and I will get to the notes in a minute, but here’s what happened to me when I tried it:

First of all- wax crayons and roses for a minute or two until this segues into feminine powdery lilacs.  This reminded me so strongly of my late grandmother who loved lilacs and always smelled lovely: Think Coty L’Aimant, Lily of the Valley,  talc and  soap.  Lilac was her favourite flower and colour and to smell this  evoked vivid memories from way back in the early seventies.  Maybe it was the aldehydes- so popular back then and used in Seyrig with great retro effect. This reminded me of Amouage Dia  a little, so if you like that you may like this too.

semiswede.com
semiswede.com

As Seyrig settles, there is a faint woody spice seeping in, the way a summer day becomes evening.  You can still smell the lilacs but there is a more human note.  It reminded me of the Armistead Maupin scene, written so beautifully as usual, where Brian sniffs the back of the Mary Ann’s neck and smells her “six o’clock smell” and feels crazily in love with her.  I know exactly what he means.

Here’s the notes in Seyrig: Rose de Mai Absolute, Aldehydes, Red Mandarin,  Syringa accord ( a cvousin of lilac), Ylang Ylang absolute, Muguet accord, Oakmoss, Musk , and my favourite note “radical chic” your version of which may be different to mine!

Seyrig is fabulously retro with its aldehydes, lily of the valley, lilacs and rose.  I fell for it at first sniff and well…it’s hard to type with one wrist glued to your nose.  Very addictive! Thank you Bruno.

Stockists

You can buy Seyrig from Bruno Fazzolari’s website.  .  Further stockists can be found here . He gets five stars from me for providing a great sample service where you can take $15 off the price of a full bottle when you’ve chosen.  Great idea and very customer-friendly. The price for the sample set is $35 and a full bottle of Seyrig will set you back $110.

sureofyou

Friedemodin Rosée de Nuit

Friedemodin
Friedemodin

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.

pinterest
pinterest

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.

www.123rf.com
www.123rf.com

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.

Stockists:

Friedemodin Rosée de Nuit is available online from the website, or from Harvey Nichols.  Further stockists are listed on the website here.

Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule: Little Drops of Heaven

santal

 

 

It seems entirely apt that in this season of goodwill and nativity plays, Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule reminds me of Christmas, cosiness, and all things nice.

It’s an unusual but simple blend of Sandalwood, Rose and Cacao.  It seems as if one dominates, only to be taken over by another, then another, in rotation.  One minute I think this reminds me of the dried fruit in Serge Lutens Arabie, the next there is a droplet of rose against a dusty, rich sandalwood background, and then the slightly fruity, rich note comes in again.  In fact, at first sniff, I was convinced there was fig here.

Some sandalwood purists would have preferred this to have been made with Mysore sandalwood, but in all honesty, I am not discerning enough to differentiate. I’m just happy to have sandalwood, any time, any place.

Cacao refers to the seeds of an unripened cocoa pod before it becomes suitable for harvesting and growing advent calendars.  An unripe cocoa pod is green and bitter and here it is captured, not as green and bitter, but as if all the richness of dark chocolate has been captured before any sweetness has been added. Against sandalwood it works terrifically well, and a lack of sweetness, unlike in real life, becomes a virtue.

The whole melange works incredibly well and I would happily wear it every day in this icy weather, which is saying something for somebody as scentually promiscuous as me. (new word alert!)

Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule is wonderfully warm with just the right amount of  sandy prickliness to stop it being too gourmand-y.  I love it. It may well be my favourite Serge, and that’s a hard one to call.  Christopher Sheldrake steals my heart yet again.

Stockists:  In the UK You can buy Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule online from Selfridges, Liberty and Escentual.  In the USA and Canada you can try www.Fragrancenet.com  or Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.

4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard: And a Father’s Day Tale

 1400504034_4160- the lion cupboard

Today is a celebration of fathers and father figures.  I certainly want to celebrate my amazing Dad Mike,  as well as my husband, who also happens to be a great Dad to our two boys.  Sadly as I get older,  I know more and more people whose fathers have passed away.  Their memories remain, fond and untarnished and it is in this vein that I chose to review 4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard.

The Lion Cupboard was created at the request of Sarah McCartney’s sister, who asked for a scent to replicate the smell of their father’s wooden cupboard with a carving of a lion on it.  This idea appealed to me since, bluntly, every dad has a smell.  My Dad smells of Imperial Leather and shortly after leaving home to go to university many moons ago, I caught a whiff of Imperial Leather and had a big pang for home, and my Dad in particular. I’ve never told him that.

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The Lion Cupboard is where Sarah McCartney’s Dad kept his hats and scarves and the smell of the cupboard is replicated in the scent.  It does indeed have a wonderful Dad sort of smell and makes all sorts of visual images pop into my head, which to me, is a characteristic of 4160 fragrances.

I’m not going to list the notes, I’m just going to tell you what I personally smell from this multi layered scent: Opening notes: Vetiver and dark Wood, (think antiques), then a slightly squashed After Eight Mint, followed by a very faint hit of menthol or camphor and a final long phase that doesn’t smell a million miles away from Tauer L’Air Du Desert Marocain. It smells comfortingly masculine, like a Dad’s jumper, but the woods and Vetiver make it very wearable.

This was such a wistful and celebratory scent that I simply had to choose it for Father’s Day. Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad.

In my imagination it goes something like this...
In my imagination it goes something like this…

Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin: A Festive Brew

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 This is my second time of trying Serge Lutens Mandarine Mandarin.  The first time smelled like orange crème brulee, which as much as I would to try that, I feel sure that I don’t wish to smell of it.

The second time, I like this a little more, but there is a note like dried Pot Pourri that just stops me short of loving it.  Maybe it’s the tea?

 Suddenly the fragrance comes back to me. As a child, I would place the peel on a hot burner of the stove, rendering a scent I’ll never forget- Serge Lutens

First off, I love oranges in scent.  I love Jesus del Pozo Ambar,  LUSH Karma, Biotherm Eau Vitaminee, and Ô de Lancome to name but four.  In Mandarine Mandarin the orange is used differently, like a resonant background that gets deeper and darker like a rich spice. There’s no more creamy, burnt note like there was the first time round. This smells like herbal tea, infused with all the parts of an orange that dear Christopher Sheldrake could get his hands on.  There is also a smell like marmalade that has been reduced to gloop on the stove. It’s not an immediate fondness, but it grows.

The notes are Tonka Bean, Orange, Mandarin, Nutmeg, Tea, Labdanum and Amber.  I haven’t listed them in order as they don’t really emerge in order.  Oranges and Tea come though first, followed by Amber and Nutmeg, and then it kind of settles into a cross between the above mentioned pot pourri and Oranges being steeped in dark tea.

Longevity is as good as ever with Serge Lutens and  the quality of ingredients is excellent.  It’s not for me, but it  might be for you, if you like what you hear. Oh and it’s very Christmassy! I wouldn’t wear this, but it would be unbeatable as a room scent at this time of year.

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Serge Lutens Daim Blond: Apricots? And Suede? Mais oui!

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When I first smelled Serge Lutens Daim Blond, it was a sort of blind smelling in so far as I knew nothing about it and knew nothing of the notes. The first image that popped into my head, unbidden, was of a school corridor. I couldn’t fathom it out. Who wants to smell like a school corridor?

Fast forward a few months and I tried again. This time I had two samples and wore Daim Blond exclusively over a couple of days. Ah, now I get it.

 Daim Blond is a toned down leather, in fact, it’s suede rather than leather. Still cow hide, but softer.  In the background is something clean and medicinal. Hawthorn? Cardoman? Maybe this is where the school corridor image came from. Leather satchels and a hint of spicy Dettol? I tried again. This time, it made me think of something very expensive: say an Hermes handbag concession or a luxury car showroom. Must be all that new smelling suede.

And then there’s the curious Apricots. Normally one glimpse of anything  remotely Peachy on a list of notes and I run a mile in the other direction, but the apricots in Daim Blond kind of bloom like a rich juicy flower, and I found them quite pleasant, almost orangey.

It’s a curious blend, with fairly subtle sillage and longevity of around five hours.  Now that I’ve got it to know it better, the school corridor has gone and in it’s place is an expensive handbag on the seat of a brand new showroom-fresh luxury car that I can only look at by pressing my nose against the glass.

There is Heliotrope and Iris in there too, but I could smell neither. I could be ignoring the Iris though, since she and I don’t get on.

This is a subtle and classy scent. It doesn’t show off. It’s smooth, and pretty, but not so pretty that it tries to draw attention to itself. It would smell superb on a man, especially a billionaire.

Daim Blond smells of money.