Tag Archives: patchouli

Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree: A Chypre for All

tenue

Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree is inspired by a Parisian woman getting ready for a night out.  It’s the anticipation of the evening ahead with a squoosh of this modern chypre adding a final touch to a presumably chic outfit.  Also- check out that pompom! Oh la la.

Tenue de Soiree is an unusual scent in that it professes to have only two notes: iris and patchouli. I love it because it is a chypre (pronounced sheep-ruh) for the millennial palate and for old bats like me at the same time.  That’s not easy.  These days, the old bats want chypres and the millennials want vanilla and fruit. Tenue de Soiree manages to meet in the middle without being too um “classic” nor too sweet.  Applause.

The notes are iris and patchouli.  Just those two.  Nothing else. However, I definitely get a whiff of sandalwood and the faintest hint of warm vanilla or tonka. In any case, there’s a subtle cosy note that doesn’t wander into cupcake territory.  Strictly, speaking this doesn’t adhere to the usual chypre make up: usually but not always bergamot, oakmoss and patchouli.  Tenue de Soiree however, does have that chypre style finish which is dry and woody and slightly earthy, thanks to the patchouli.

This is simply done and very effective and out of all the very good fragrances in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, this one really stood out for me. It’s a bit different and a bit daring, but it can also make a cupcake fan look twice.  I hope so, anyway.

latest launches

Stockists: Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree is available in sample form from the Perfume Society latest Launches Discovery Box or in full bottles from Selfridges or Escentual.

Further reading: Check out this wonderful article on chypres by Jo Fairley.

Follow

Marina Barcenilla Patchouli Clouds: There’s Patchouli, and then there’s Patchouli…

patchouli clouds

One of the many highlights of my trip to the Jasmine Awards was the lovely surprise of bumping into Marina Barcenilla of MB Parfums. I had reviewed Marina’s beautiful scent India only last week, and in fact she had a phial of India body oil in her bag for me as a gift. Marina is as delightful as I’d imagined and it is a pleasure to write about her beautiful scents. Today I’m going to review MB Parfums Patchouli Clouds, because it stopped me in my tracks and made me say “Wow” out loud to an empty room.

patchouli flower_zpsy3n6t9lu
Fragrantica

Patchouli is a big old spectrum. The patchouli you find in the base notes of say, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, will be nothing like the unctuous oil you might have bought in the 70s or 80s ( if you are as old as I am), but it’s all patchouli, in some form.

Patchouli Clouds has a wonderful mixture of spice, citrus,  and damp woods. It starts off as an almost musty wet wood, and calms down into a beautifully aromatic earthiness that made me think of forests after the rain and slightly rotten wood.  Believe it or not, I mean that in a good way.  I love the smell of wood in all its stages: crumbly, freshly sawn, still with the bark on: you name it, I like it. There are flowers too: I found jasmine and roses entwined among the earthy bark.

mb parfums allIn Patchouli Clouds, the scent has more in common with the oils from the Indian joss stick stall in Newport market that I hung around in during my teens.  You know the sort of place: you could buy floaty skirts with tiny mirrored sequins on and leather purses with elephants on the front.  The patchouli you could buy there was not in fancy packaging and it smelled more authentic and natural than anything I’ve ever sniffed over a pristine beauty counter.

Patchouli Clouds reinvents that in a less primitive way.  It still has the patchouli kick of earthiness I seek, but it’s blended beautifully with rich florals and incense to ensure that the star of the show really shines with the right chorus in the background.

Stockists

MB Perfumes Patchouli Clouds is available from the  MB Parfums website, which also has a good sample service. My sample is from Marina herself, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.

Follow

Avon Little Lace Dress (2016): It’s SO Right Now!

little lace dress

Avon has a knack of launching scents that are bang on trend and have the “IT”-notes of the moment. You could accuse them of bringing out too many and spreading them too thin, but perfume moves fast. What’s very NOW could be SO last month before you can use up a whole bottle.  Some come and go, and some remain Avon classics. Only sales figures will tell.

black laceToday I am reviewing one of the Little Black Dress flankers: in this case, Little Lace Dress. I bought a purse spray (can I just say yet again how much I love a purse spray?)  for just 1.99 and a jolly good buy it was too.

Little Lace Dress opens with  a burst of orange citrus and note-du-jour blackcurrant. Then the middle phase goes straight into big, creamy jasmine.  It’s so rich you couldn’t eat a whole one. The patchouli flounces in and works its throaty magic, giving this an edge over a standard floral.

lld my bottleLittle Lace Dress smells very similar to many best sellers that are currently flying off the shelves on the High Street.  Over on Fragrantica, readers are comparing it to Coco Mademoiselle, Chanel Chance Eau Tendre and Estee Lauder Modern Muse.  I’m on the fence a little bit here.  This has a floral sweetness that is cranked up a few more notches than Modern Muse, and doesn’t smell exactly like Coco Mademoiselle, but certainly has the big jasmine and patchouli, giving it an instantly recognisable 2017 accord..  This would suit the young palate that thirsts for the big names but may not have the banknotes to capture one.

This month’s Avon brochure has about twelve purse sprays, each at 1.99, so expect more reviews in this vein. Purse sprays just thrill me to bits. It’s the hit of a new perfume, without the guilt of a big price tag. I would definitely recommend Little Lace Dress as a go to scent for not much money. It’s modern, on trend and ticks all the boxes except for the one marked “expensive”

Stockists

You can buy Avon Little Lace Dress from Avon UK (  at the time of going to press, you can buy two bottles of selected Avon fragrance for just £14)  or from your Avon rep, like I do. I bought this myself and views are my own.little dress
Follow

Library of Fragrance Patchouli: Taking Me Back to The Good Old Days

Patchouli_LOF_Hero.jpg_1024x1024

Library of Fragrance Patchouli is a single note patchouli that is a rare thing indeed in today’s fragrance market.  Patchouli has been overused and over sweetened and often coupled with vanilla and red berries and fruits and chocolate and Ooh… everything in the candy store until its true identify has been quashed.

What I want from patchouli is that earthy, unctuous oily fragrance that I used to buy from the Indian market stall of my teenage years.  Surrounded by floaty skirts and joss skirts there clustered the tiny bottles of patchouli oil that did exactly what it said on the tin.  Library of Fragrance Patchouli brought those days back to me.  It is a single note patchouli that retains that unctuous oiliness that I recall from my youth and makes me think of denim jackets covered in Led Zeppelin badges that I remember so well from the 70s and early 80s.

the_library_of_fragrance

It embodies one of the great qualities of the Library of Fragrance range in so far as it is perfect alone or layered with other scents.  Friend of the Blog Heather in Texas (Hi Heather!) has written to me about the joys of layering, (although she uses mainly oils), and I reckon she’s onto something.

Out of so many new launches in the past year, and there have been hundreds, I have only found a rare handful that I genuinely like and would wear.  All too often the industry is  playing to their biggest market and that market is the young end of the market with a taste for fruity florals and candy sweet fruitichoulis.  You can’t blame them, it’s business not a charity after all, but some of us are feeling a bit left out, right?

Layering means I don’t have to put up with this, and Library of Fragrance Patchouli is an ideal way for me to add a bit of muscle to lighter scents, or to layer it with the excellent Library of Fragrance Musk#7.

Library of Fragrance scents are available from Boots on your local High Street or from their own website  Library of Fragrance.

Library of Fragrance- you can never have too many!
Follow

Christian La Croix C’est La Fete Patchouli: A Rough Diamond In The Earth

Image

 Christian La Croix C’’est La Fete Patchouli  is a drag to type and a bit of a mouthful to say.

Mmm, you smell nice, what is it?”

“Oh, do you like it? It’s Christian La Croix C’est La Fete Patchouli. Don’t make me write it down.”

 C’est La Fete has been reviewed earlier in my blog and was a very acceptable scent not dissimilar to the delightful Rochas TocadeC’est La Fete Patchouli smells nothing like either, but is not too bad in its own right.

Although Patchouli is only listed as a base note, it’s practically the only note, but for a Patchouli fan like moi, this is no bad thing. This is rough, cheap smelling Patchouli, like the tiny unctuous bottles you would get from a market stall.  I don’t mind though, I take my Patchouli where I can get it. There are also elements of Elemi resin, a tree resin often used in bronchitis remedies, which may explain the slight cough mixture background to this.

No matter, I like it.  However, if you had just finished sniffing Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, you would hate this by comparison. If you had never smelled Borneo, you might think this isn’t too bad.

You will note that I am not raving about CLCLFP, to give it its keyboard friendly acronym, but this is because I think it could have been done better. It’s as if the rough edges haven’t been sanded down. Don’t get me wrong, I’m kinky for a cough syrup note and some nose tingling Patchouli, but even though there is a time and a place for such a scent, they could possibly have fine tuned it a little better.

This would be excellent on either a man or a woman, or even dabbed on the collar of a winter coat for a little warmth on a cold day.

 

Footnote: Both full bottles and samples are currently available on Amazon.

Clarins Eau Dynamisante: Fresh Air After The Thunder

Image

 Dramatic Thunderstorms this week: exactly overhead, just one scant second between the thunder and lightning. The weather has been unbearable sticky and close, I might have known a storm was on its way.  What can you wear when you feel so humid that even standing within three feet of others makes you feel uncomfortably hotter (and not in a  good way)?  The answer is Clarins Eau Dynamisante.

 Eau Dynamisante slices through heat and humidity like a cool open window in a muggy house. Immediately fresh, the Lemon, Coriander and Petitgrain rush to the rescue, chasing away a sticky hot day. The base note is Patchouli,  although even the Patchouli is refreshing, rather than being a winter warmer. I can’t neglect the herbs either: Thyme, Rosemary and Cardoman. This many herbs could  remind you of hot soup, but in this case they are fresh as a dew dropped posy. 

 Eau Dynamisante is not meant as a fragrance, although it is popular as such. It is technically a fragrance skin treatment, but people buy it for the incredible scent. If there is a scent that makes you smell more shower fresh and spotlessly clean than this, then I’ve yet to smell it.

 This fits into the Eau de Cologne category in that it is refreshing, Herbal and Citrussy and not expected to last long.  However, I was pleasantly surprised that a citrus tinged Patchouli basenote was present after around four hours.

 Widely available, and reasonably priced at  around £24 for 100ml, this is a classic for a hot day. Keep it in the fridge and spray and spray on hot skin. Bliss.

Image

Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: Papyrus and Patchouli and Other Non Sequitirs

Image

 I was dead against trying this, having read Luca Turin’s review of “Fancy”, (he labels it apple pie) and believing it to be in the same vein. It very much is not. What persuaded me to buy’n’try Fancy Nights was an amusing and charming review by Katrina of Australian Perfume Junkies who described an evening wearing this scent. On asking her husband what he thought of her fragrance, he mistakenly thought the smell was the taxi they were in. A celeb scent that smells like a new taxi? I’m there! Where do I sign up?

Some further praise from Katrina led me to believe this could be another celebuscent surprise, much in the vein of Hilary Duff With Love: a wonderfully maverick non fruity floral, that frankly, has balls.

The second thing that made me buy this was the ridiculously cheap price of£14.95 on Amazon.co.uk.

Today my bottle of Fancy Nights arrived. With it’s dark green glass and faux gilt lid, it’s Arabian Nights Vegas Style. The smell is great. Not a blueberry in sight. Not so much as a whiff of candy floss. This is grown up and not all that commercial, and thank Goodness for that! (We have Steve Demercado, the creator, to thank for this refreshing restraint).

The top note is Papyrus, possibly where the “new cab” smell comes from. I have never come across Papyrus in a scent before and I can tell you that there is a definite “new office” or “modern bookshop” whiff about it. For someone who loves the smell of fresh paint and new carpet, this was somewhat of a kinky find.

The drydown kicks in with milky Patchouli and Sandalwood, leaving a dusty and milky spice trail. I didn’t quite get the Jasmine and Rose notes that this supposedly has, but the hint of Bergamot was there, and rather nice in among the Amber and Sandalwood.

All in all, this is new books, a bit of patchouli and a kind of milky, quiet spice.

The blonde, ditsy, sexy starlet did well. I am reminded of a quote from Dolly Parton: “I don’t mind when people call me a dumb blonde, because I know I know I’m not dumb, and I also know I’m not blonde”

Fancy Nights joins With Love in my Inexpensive Celebrity Scent “Hidden Gem” Hall of Fame.

PS If you like Prada Amber, then this is exceedingly similar, but you didn’t hear that from me.  I wasn’t here, OK?

Follow

Miss Dior: no longer for maiden aunts

Image

WRITTEN BY LISA JONES

Once upon a time Christian Dior released a perfume that was a classic green chypre, full of oak moss, jasmine, patchouli and galbanum, and very chic and elegant. It was 1947 and things were far more prim and proper then. Young ladies wore neat tailored houndstooth suits, prim little hats with veils and carried white gloves.

To a young lady in 2013 those clothes would feel like a costume for a party, and perhaps Miss Dior felt similarly out of date. Because she has been completely replaced. The Miss Dior that I have a bottle of is now called Miss Dior Originale and has been put very politely but firmly on the back shelf of the Dior counter.

In her place is the pink-tinted Miss Dior incarnated by the delightful Natalie Portman. Previously known as Miss Dior Cherie, this has also ‘had a little work done’ to lose the strawberry top note, has been renamed Miss Dior and is now a flagship scent for the Dior line. It comes in all permutations – from parfum and eau de parfum to eau de toilette and eau fraiche, plus assorted body lotions, gels and all that stuff nobody buys unless it’s as presents. (Do you know anyone who buys or uses ‘official’ body lotion if it hasn’t come in a gift set or as part of a hotel toiletries haul?)(My daughter’s love of Hermes Eau d’Orange Vert can be traced to a very posh hotel suite and a generous friend of mine.)

However, dear, prim and proper original Miss Dior had a secret. Though she might have looked as prim and proper as Grace Kelly on the surface with her bitter oakmoss, give dear old MD a chance to warm up on the skin and that bitterness evaporates. Then the jasmine comes out to play and the oakmoss and woody old-school patchouli become rounder and warmer than JLo’s derriere in thermal undies.

I’ve been wondering how the new Miss Dior eau de toilette with her top notes of blood orange, heart of neroli and rose and base of patchouli will compare. So today I got out the little sample and spritzed. The top notes are sweet and very briefly citrus, though that is so fleeting as to be cheetah-like. The heart is fruity and floral with an element of something artificial but not in a bad way. Then there’s the base note of patchouli; this is the clean, radiant and persistent patchouli that is a staple in modern perfumery. It doesn’t remind me of JLo’s booty, I’m afraid; not in any kind of thermal clothing. Well OK, maybe in snowboarding pants.

You know how I have been whining about frootichoolis? This is one. I expected to want to chew my arm off and profoundly regret spraying my décolletage, but in fact, it’s OK. It’s not offensive in any way, it seems to be well-balanced, it wears reasonably close to the skin and doesn’t have enormous sillage and the longevity isn’t enormous – it was gone completely within 6 hours. That made me quite happy. I should repeat that this review is for the Eau de Toilette; I imagine the eau de parfum or parfum concentrations would last quite a bit longer and have a bit more projection. Be aware though that often fragrance compositions differ between the concentrations, so sniff the format before you buy it to avoid disappointment.

Serge Lutens Chergui: Smoke and Velvet in a Dark Corner

Image

It took me three attempts to “get” Serge Lutens Chergui  but when I did, it was worth the journey.  My first attempt left me thinking “meh, Patchouli again!”, my second was, bizarrely, “Raw Pot Noodle or Soup Powder” (Don’t ask, no idea), and finally, on a third attempt, it dawned on me that this is actually as beautiful as everyone says.

I was starting to think it was a case of Emperor’s New Clothes and that I “should” like it, just so I wouldn’t be the odd one out. But no, it truly is the real thing. The Patchouli is high pitched but stops just before being eye watering (Amouage Jubilation could have stopped around this stage instead of becoming an asthmatics nightmare).  There is smoky incense, but not quite cigarette smoke, more a hint of pipe tobacco or aromatic dustiness.  After about an hour I had a memory of a shop I had long forgotten.  In my student days in Exeter, Devon, there was a marvellous shop in Cathedral Close that sold dried flowers. The shop was full of products from nature and everything was dried.  I think it was called Hay Fever. The smell of dried flowers, Hay, Papery Leaves and hessian sacks of Pot Pourri was arrestingly gorgeous. That smell drifted up from Chergui and took me back there so vividly.  I checked the notes, and there it is: Hay.

There are supposedly notes of Iris and Rose in Chergui  but I didn’t get any floral or petal notes.  This is a very masculine scent, although designed to be feminine or unisex.  It’s dry and non girly and non frilly. It’s  a serious contender, maybe too much for the office or casual wear. It would be like wearing a floor length black velvet coat on a commuter train. Very beautiful indeed, but in the wrong place, impact is lost.

It may sound expensive, at over £70 a bottle, but it lasts so long that used sparingly and kept correctly, it could last well over a year, especially if you have other fragrances in your scent wardrobe.

It’s darkly glamorous, rich and aromatic, long lasting and mysterious. It’s after-hours seductive. Wear Serge Lutens Chergui to a Jazz Club at 2 in the morning. Wear it on a first date.  But only if you want a second date.

Chanel Les Exclusifs Coromandel: Milky Bars and Old Stone

Image

I tried Coromandel reluctantly, having read that there were hints of White Chocolate in it. If anything is designed to put me off a scent it’s the smell of the kind of stuff I wipe off my hands all day (I have a three year old). I also read there were Patchouli notes and that it was an Oriental. Sounds good to me, I thought, apart from the choc. But I will always sniff an Oriental, with open arms and a flaring nostril.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was very taken with her Chinese lacquered screens, and in tribute to these, Coromandel was created in 2007. Indeed there is a definite mysterious Eastern vibe going on here, but still in the back of my mind was the nervous question “When will it smell of Milky Bar?”

At first spray, the Patchouli is strong and musty. Perfume gives me very visual impressions, often at random. The immediate visual that Coromandel gave me was of a bar in Krakow that I visited  around fifteen years ago. Until I smelt Coromdanel, I had completely forgotten about this bar. As you may know, Krakow is a very ancient town and this wine bar was no exception. It was accessed via a flight of stairs going down into the basement and the walls were solid ancient stone, like a castle dungeon. It gave off one of my favourite smells: old stone. I adore that musty smell that is both damp and dusty at the same time. I can safely say that Coromandel’s Patchouli is of the ancient musty old stone genre. And I love it.

There are floral notes too: Rose, of which there is a hint, Jasmine which I couldn’t find, and Orange Blossom which didn’t turn up.

The White Chocolate did turn up shortly afterwards with a “Sorry I’m late” and it was very polite and sat down quietly at the back. The milkiness calms the Patchouli down and makes it very addictive and soft. Staying power is tenacious. Bad luck if you don’t like it, because you’ll need an Eviction Notice and a Bailiff to get rid of this one. Longevity kind of compensates for price: £200 for 200ml.

Coromandel was created as part of the Chanel Les Exclusifs Range. They weren’t kidding either. You’ll buy hen’s teeth and unicorn droppings off Lord Lucan before you can get your mitts on this stuff. Do they care at Chanel? Not a jot. They’re just playing hard to get to make you want it more.

It worked.