Tag Archives: perfume

Agent Provocateur Fatale: Love on The Third Date

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It took a few goes, but like my husband, it was worth getting to know after a few dates.

 Agent Provocateur Fatale is the latest release from the Agent Provocateur stable and the face of the scent is the beautiful Monica Cruz, who has a rather attractive brother in law called Javier Bardem (obviously not a patch on Mr IScent, of course).

It took me a few tries to like this but on Day Three I drew my conclusion.  I love it.

At first I thought it was a bit of a generic new release that smells like so many these days, although it deftly avoids falling into the fruity floral category (phew!).  After wearing Fatale for three days, I realised that not only does it remind me of the utterly dreamy coffee-like Valentino Uomo, which I fell in love with earlier this year, but the patchouli packs a punch that I missed on the first two tries.

Agent Provocateur Fatale opens with dark blackcurrant, which despite my aversion to  non citrus fruit in perfume, I always enjoy.  Along with the blackcurrant comes spicy pink pepper and  a whiff of clean, rich Gardenia,  followed by the aforementioned patchouli.  As all this blends rather pleasantly together in a grown up way, a hint of chocolate creeps in and takes a seat.  Now thankfully the chocolate isn’t the nougat-y, overly vanilla variety but more like bitter unsweetened real cocoa.  In fact it smells like slightly bitter coffee beans like to my nose, which is partly what swung it for me (I fell hard for Uomo).

Fatale is a change of direction from the trusty Agent Provocateur EDP and the sometimes divisive Petale Noir .  In living up to its name, Agent Provocateur doesn’t play it safe, and I like that.

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Paco Rabanne Lady Million Eau My Gold! All Change!

nd.24913     Here is another example of a perfume that replaces another perfume with a different name and is given yet another new name.   (Here’s VoiceOver Man with “Previously on IScentYouADay”) You may recall Dior changed Miss Dior into Miss Dior Originale and introduced Miss Dior Cherie as the new Miss Dior, discontinuing Miss Dior Cherie? It’s like replacing Joan Collins with Sir Ian Mckellan and still calling the character Alexis Carrington.  Its confusing isn’t it?  Does it makes you want to run away?  I tell you what: it doesn’t half give bloggers a headache when they do this. lady million

According to Fragrantica, Eau My Gold has been launched by Paco Rabanne with the intention that it will replace the current Lady Million EDT.  The thing is they smell different and Lady Million EDT is a very big seller, so I’m scratching my head over this one. Whenever I am in a perfume shop or at a counter I always ask “What’s your bestseller?” and they always tell me it’s Lady Million.  From House of Fraser to the Perfume Shop to Superdrug.

However, I have at my disposal a sample of Eau My Gold, and despite it ticking many boxes of things I don’t normally go for, I ended up liking it,  even with melon!.  Alongside it I tried Lady Million and had forgotten how floral it was: white flowers mainly.  I  disliked Lady Million initially but I find that when you put a perfume away for a while and bring it back out again, you can often view it differently. (Can I just confess that despite loathing Thierry Mugler Angel I sometimes sniff it incessantly when I am home alone? I may turn yet)

Lady Million EDT has many of my favourite notes on paper but loses my loyalty when it goes a bit synthetic: lily of the valley, neroli, patchouli, hyacnith and gardenia.  On paper, it should be a sure-fire hit with me, but the ingredients seem to be made from plastic flowers rather than real ones. However, it’s by no means as bad as I remember it.

Eau My Gold has top notes of very noticeable melon, mango, mandarin and grapefruit. This is thirst quenching in a sort of J20 way.  You know those orange and passion fruit drinks you can get in UK pubs?

Imagine one of those over ice.

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Not bad.  The fruit cocktail is followed by violet, amber, musk and orange blossom, which don’t really go with the fruit if I’m honest.  It’s refreshing and pleasant, but beds down into a fruity cocktail mish mash.  The top notes are lovely though. If I had to pick between the two, I’d go for Lady Million EDT.

Which begs the question: why change it so much?  It’s not like it wasn’t selling.  Conclusion: Eau my Gold will sell, but Lady Million EDT should be kept on in its own right as it is dazzlingly different from the new incumbent. If Fragrantica is correct, and they usually are, Lady Million EDT fans need to get busy buying!

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Estee by Estee Lauder: Not to be Messed With

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I have a soft spot for perfumes that were popular in the 70s when I was growing up.  The scent of 70s perfume was my blueprint for the glamorous appealing world I would one day inhabit as a grown up.

Estee by Estee Lauder was created in 1968 so by the time I was born in 1970, it was pretty much all the rage.  A textbook 70s aldehyde, my first impression on smelling the bottle in my possession was that it smelled like Panache.  Panache incidentally is one of my favourite present day perfumes.  It’s cheap as chips, and one spray lasts round 14 hours.  It unfurls beautifully on skin as the day goes on and is still there when you go to bed.

In fact, it’s more likely that Panache was walking in Estee’s footsteps, having been launched in 1976 (though some sources cite it as late as 1979). Classics have always been “homaged” by cheaper drugstore version of the same trend, and it still happens today.

photo from Pinterest
photo from Pinterest

Estee opens with aldehydes and mossy greens straight away. The opening is brisk and prickly and there’s no time for frills.  However, as the chilly ( and wonderful) exterior melts away the floral middle notes drift in.  Here you have everything a good florist could throw at you: prickly carnation, sombre Orris root,  pretty roses and lily of the valley and a tiny smidgeon of sweet honey.  The blending is seamless and the scent a classic: perfect as it is.  The base notes are all serious and rich: Oakmoss and styrax make for a deep, lasting mossy finish.

If you like your day scents classic, powdery, floral and aldehydic, this could have been made just for you.  Or me, actually.  I love it.

One of the things I love about Estee Lauder is that when trends come and go, EL stands its ground and keeps producing the classics.  They might not be for the Britney crowd or the vanilla cup cake fan, but they are the excellent coat and the simple shift dress that you will always need, no matter what.

Big thanks to Lisa Wordbird for letting me borrow her bottle of Estee Lauder Estee Super Eau de Parfum on which this review is based..

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Givenchy Dahlia Divin: There’s Good News and Bad News

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Givenchy has launched their latest fragrance Dahlia Divin with the beautiful Alicia keys as the face of the campaign.  There’s good news and bad news.  Good news is that the prolific genius Francois Demachy made it and he pretty much created the monster’s share of the current Dior lines. No amateurs here.  The other good news is that it doesn’t smell like cake or candy floss.

OK so that’s the good news out of the way.  The bad news is that Dahlia Divin smells a little generic and I am sitting here racking my brains to name the scent that this reminds me of. In fact I think it smells like several: Jimmy Choo Flash and Loewe Aura.  Maybe it’s the fact that Jasmine Sambac and white flowers have been put centre stage, ubiquitous plum has been added, and then there’s the frequently used base of patchouli and vetiver.

www.Crocus.co.uk
www.Crocus.co.uk

The problem I have with white flowers is that that I feel they need a heavy base to ground them.  Say, tuberose for example.  Jasmine on its own tends to stray into all sorts of territories without being anchored and it can vary from shrill to indolic.  In this case, it’s borderline sweet and shrill at the same time.  I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.

However, like I said, the good news is that there’s no vanilla, no red berries, no caramel and no chocolate.  So I really shouldn’t be ungrateful. It bugs me that this is labelled as a chypre when I don’t think it qualifies.  I am not a professional by any means, but this just doesn’t smell like a chypre to me.  To me, a chypre is Chanel No 19 or Balmain Jolie Madame.  Dahlia Divin has nothing in common with either. ANd there’s no oak moss. Not a whiff!

I enjoyed the opening notes that were soapy, powdery and feminine, but the middle and base notes smell like generic Avon perfumes, notably the scents from the Today, Tomorrow, Always range.  Either that’s a dig at Givenchy or a compliment to Avon.

My sample was obtained from my hotly anticipated Discovery Club Box from the Fragrance Shop.  I look forward to each and every one even if I end up not loving all the samples. What pure bliss to sit there wading through them though!

I can tell you this about Dahlia Divin: there’s not a whiff of Dahlia, but then they never pretend that there’s going to be.  The stunning and talented Alicia Keys, the name, the bottle:  all beautiful.

The scent?  It’ll fit right in on the High Street.

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The Best Grapefruit Scent I have ever smelled is Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse

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Creating a good grapefruit scent that doesn’t end up cardboard-y or smelling a bit sour is tough.  In my opinion, even Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune  didn’t quite pull it off ( see my earlier review on this blog), and Guerlain only lets geniuses work on their stuff (genii?)

Miller Harris kindly sent me a sample of Le Pamplemousse to try, and as always when I am sent something free, it is on the understanding that I don’t have to either like it or fake delight.  Luckily, in this case, I am gushing like a girl with a crush.  Le Pamplemousse feels like a tall drink of water on a hot day.  It’s like a thirst quenching mirage in a desert.

pamplemousse with boxIt opens, naturally, with grapefruit, but the top notes are actually melon, rhubarb and grapefruit.  In case you’re worried this would smell like a fruit salad, don’t be.  It smells like the best shower you ever had in the poshest hotel you ever stayed in.  The melon simply isn’t there (phew!  I’m not a melon fan), and I’m not even sure the rhubarb is, although rhubarb can work in summery scents. It’s fresh and zingy and if Vitamin C had a smell it would be this.

pampleIn case I didn’t love it enough, there’s even a dab of my beloved oakmoss in it to keep me faithful for life. Where this outshines Guerlain Pamplelune though is that the basenote stays fresh and light and pretty and doesn’t end up smelling like dried up orange rind (Pamplelune is guilty of this although  it smelled very good the day I reviewed it.  It’s as if it knew it had an exam)

For a scent as hesperide-y as this one, lasting power is good at over five hours a spray.  Maybe it’s the clingy green oakmoss.  Maybe it’s the pretty Orangegrapefruit Blossom.  Maybe it’s the herbs, giving this a resonant botanical tang.

Whatever it is, this is the best grapefruit fragrance I have ever smelled, bar none.  In this weather, to which me and my freckles are not accustomed, we should get this on prescription.  Feel good factor- off the scale.

EDIT- Since this review, le Pamplelousse has sadly been discontinued. You can find it at TK Maxx and on eBay.  Shame!

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Avon Tahitian Holiday: Cheerful Coconutty Holiday Fun

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Yesterday was a scorching hot day here in Wales (can I say sunny Wales?  I think I can).  The heat was unbearable to a freckled person like me. What could I possibly do to cool myself down? Bear in mind that air conditioning is not commonplace in Wales as heat waves tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  Hello and welcome to my new bottle of Avon Tahitian Holiday.

Many people have compared Avon Tahitian Holiday with Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess.  I will say this:  yes they both have coconut and white flowers and smell tropical and yes Tahitian Holiday isn’t a bad substitute for it.  However Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess has more resonance and richness and unfurls like a many layered flower:  there’s a waft of fig, an ambery base and a deep creamy richness to it which Tahitian Holiday doesn’t have.  Bronze Goddess costs between 40GBP and 50 GBP, whereas Tahitian Holiday only cost me a fiver. The choice is yours. It depends what you want from your perfume.

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Personally, I can’t stretch to a bottle of Bronze Goddess right now and my Wish List is already so full it’s not accepting new members.  However, for five quid I will say that Tahitian Holiday is pretty damn good.  It opens with coconuts, has a middle phase of white tropical flowers (that’ll be the Tiare Flower) and settles to a light floral cocnutty mist.  Lasting power is around four hours, making this Eau de Toilette longer lasting than a cologne.

My 50ml bottle has already gone down considerably in one day due to my frequent top ups- I adore the top note!  In summer, it’s fine to smell like flowery coconuts.  Winter is long and cold, we can get the rich’n’heavies out then.  But for now, for that holiday mood that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you can’t go wrong with a squoosh of Avon Tahitian Holiday.

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Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle: A Big Improvement

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Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle is thankfully very different from Eau de Lacoste, which if you recall from my earlier review on this blog, was all synthetic pineapple and stickiness.  I was not a fan, despite it being a steady seller.

lacosteHowever, Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle is a different story.  There is no pineapple, which already puts this in my good books.  There is a pretty combination of appealing pink pepper and blackcurrant in the opening blast, which despite my previous moans about fruity florals, actually makes for a lovely scent.  I usually like blackcurrant in fragrance and this is no exception.

The middle notes are rose, sweet pea and gladioli and I have to say I have never smelled gladioli in a perfume before, and cannot smell it here. I suspect it may be one of those amalgamates that is more beloved of the copywriter than the chemist. In any case, smooth woody florals with fuzzy fruity edges are the order of the day.

The base stays fairly true to the blackcurrant and the floral notes. Unusually, the base claims to be a mixture of amber and nougat, which is a new one on me.  However, despite today’s frequent glorification of all things confectionary on the perfume shelf, the nougat is more of a almondy background, which may be why my first thought when smelling this was of a watered down, fruitier Dior Hypnotic Poison.

All in all, this is pretty good.  It’s not on my wish list (bursting at the seams as usual) but I like it.

Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea: A Perfect Summer Launch

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Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea is a bit of a mouthful. It’s a new launch Limited Edition for 2014 and it has charmed me in today’s hot weather (yes, even in Wales).

I’m actually a bit of a fan of the original Light Blue. Having expected an ozonic melon fest, I was pleasantly surprised at how floral and multi layered it was.  There have been several flankers since: all seemingly named after a page in a holiday brochure or made-up adventure films, but today’s review is about Light Blue Escape to Panarea. (see what I mean about sounding like an adventure film?)

profumeriaweb.com
profumeriaweb.com

First of all, this is a light floral. Yes there is fruit in it, namely pear, but I wouldn’t regard it as a typical fruity floral.  It holds back on the sweetness for a start and has completely left out any ubiquitous vanilla that seems so unavoidable these days.

Top notes are simply bergamot and pear, both of which I like.  Middle notes are: Jasmine and Orange Flower, both of which work well in summer, and base notes, unusually, consist of Ambergris, Tonka bean and musk.

Put all these together and what you get is a refreshing citrus floral with a base that lacks the expected weight of the ambergris but is instead a well rounded and faintly sweet daytime perfume that would pass the commuter train test with flying colours.

The most prominent notes are the orange flower and pear, with the Musk just feathering the edges gently as the base notes meld together.

I like it because it’s not cloying or overly sweet, because the flowers stay true and don’t merge into a hollow mess, and because it’s pretty and delicate on a hot day.

Even if you splash it all over, it has more staying power than a cologne, but enough delicacy not to be remotely offensive if you wear too much.  Lasting power is around four hours.  Frankly, I’m a fan.

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Nina by Nina Ricci

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I love Nina Ricci for making L’Air du Temps.  I will always have a bottle in my scent wardrobe and if they never make anything again of that calibre, I will still love Nina Ricci just for that.

Nina by Nina Ricci is not of the same calibre as L’Air du Temps, but it’s not a bad little scent at all.  I wore it for three days before writing this since at the end of Day One I changed my mind about it.

Initially I was going to mark this down as another fruity floral and review it as such, but then, if I can say such a thing, I listened to my nose, if that makes sense.  If you’re reading this you’re probably a perfume fan and you probably know exactly what I mean.

Far from being a fruity floral, Nina is in fact a juxtaposition of Lime and Praline that deftly misses smelling like Key Lime Pie.  In fact it was the lime that won me over and got me liking this, and I don’t normally like praline unless it’s in a Thorntons box.

Nina opens with Lime and Lemon, both strong, noticeable and refreshing.  The middle  section is not quite as zesty, but pretty with peony, and crisp with sharp Granny Smith apples.  The praline seems like an unusual add-on, and I would have liked this more without it I think, but it certainly doesn’t ruin a pretty day time scent.  The base is sadly a little cardboardy on me and reminds me of  Delices de Cartier ( see my earlier review). However after a while, a little bit of shy apple and lime peeks through the door again and I get a second shot at longevity.

Like I said it’s not bad and I would squirt it liberally on a hot day just to get those top notes and the early middle phase, but the base isn’t great on me. I don’t hate the praline and I am utterly besotted by the gorgeous bottle. Worth a try. Worth a few tries actually.

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Alfred Sung Forever: Stuck Together For Eternity

sung I have been keeping half an eye on Alfred Sung Forever for quite some time.  Should I/Shouldn’t I?  I was drawn in by the promise of Lily of the Valley, by the promise that it was green and the promise that it was made with brides in mind and therefore so would be pretty. Yesterday my bottle finally arrived: a nice big 75ml bottle too.  I took the cellophane off (oh !  I love that feeling!) and sprayed. And then I felt a bit sad, as if my ice cream just fell on the floor after one lick. Elizabeth-Arden-Splendor-Edp-Spray-for-Women-8418

Alfred Sung Forever is so similar to Elizabeth Arden Splendor that they could be interchangeable.  Both have that metallic, hollow almost-but-not-quite floral note running through the middle.  It’s borderline ozonic. There was Lily of the Valley, but so fake and so plastic that it gave me less pleasure than just looking at a photograph of Lily of The Valley.  There is a plastciky, mass produced note to it that wasn’t a million miles away from the dreadful  Karl Lagerfeld Sun Moon Stars. The base note is baby talcum powder.

The reviews on Fragrantica raved about it.  Mine will not be one of them.   It’s curious that both Forever and Splendor smell the same and both come in large bottles:  Splendor  comes in a 125ml bottle and Forever arrived in a big 75ml bottle.  The price was good at under a tenner, and you know how strong my convictions are on the “You can smell good without being rich” stance, but I guess this was a turkey. I have visions of a giant vat of the stuff, cobbled together for a song and being pumped into various bottles and sold off cheaply. Any leftovers are used in inexpensive “Ocean Fresh” toilet fresheners.

You may be familiar with my Law of Sod when it comes to perfumes:  if you hate it, it will never leave you, even with soap and water.  If you love it, it won’t hang around.  And thus it was that four hours later, I scrubbed and scrubbed and in the end had a shower to get rid of it.  It sure does last Forever.

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