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Three Things I Love About Bronnley Zealous Flower

In the past, Bronnley has had a reputation as being a classic floral brand that “older” ladies liked.  Personally, I’ve always loved classic florals and soaps in wrappers so it’s never stopped me.  However,  the upcoming bright young things of the Twenteens are a capricious bunch with more choices than any other generation that has ever lived.  Brands have to move with the times.

Bronnley has not only moved with the times but added a bit of an edge that is putting them firmly on my list of favourites. Their collection of Eclectic Elements fragrances is packaged for a new generation, but pleases this 47 year old no end.

Today I am wearing Bronnley Eclectic Elements Zealous Flower and I love it. Why do I love it? Well, that’s easy.

  1. It comes in an adorable roll on bottle. (more about roller balls soon because I’m obsessed).
  2. It’s available in a 9ml version so you can live with it for a good few weeks before buying a big one.
  3. It’s inexpensive but doesn’t smell like it is.

Here’s what it smells like:

It opens with pear, orange and bergamot. Now pear has been used A LOT in the past two years, to the point where I pull non-selfie faces when I smell it.

However, in Zealous Flower, it’s the flowers that come out first, not the fruit.  In fact the fruit adds clean edges to the roses and jasmine, which are BIG.  Even the pear knows its place and doesn’t take over.

It must be said that there was briefly a pencil shavings phase which came and went, before the vetiver and amber rounded things off. They never quite see off the jasmine though, which remains the main player here. In fact, at first, I thought this had tuberose in it, such is the white flower richness.

Zealous Flower leaves me with a pleasing autumnal floral on my skin. What I’m left with is a very agreeable accord of vetiver, jasmine, hints of leathery labdanum flower, and some faded roses.

Now, about that adorable roller ball. This has a little metal rollerball that applies just the right amount to skin and stops you going overboard before a day at work. The rollerball version comes in an attractive narrow box in 9ml size and is a good compromise between a big bottle blind buy and having to judge it on a few sprays from a tester. I want more brands to do this.

Zealous Flower is or has also been known as Savage Flower, but I prefer Zealous to Savage.

Stockists

You can buy the Bronnley Eclectic Elements range from Boots in store or online.  The rollerballs cost £10 and contain 9ml of scent.  You can also buy this cute set of whole range minis for £20 from the Bronnley website. My rollerball bottle was kindly provided by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which mine is. This is not a sponsored post. 
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Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal: Here’s the Dish

Before we start, I just want  to say how much I love Jean Paul Gaultier.  I love the twinkle in his eye and how he has never taken himself too seriously. He has fun with fashion and is never afraid to put it out there.

From TheMirror.co.uk

When Scandal came along, I thought “this should be good”. After all, this was the designer who made a perfume bottle snow shaker for us to play with and who gave Madonna rocket boobs.  I still love him from his Eurotrash days with Antoine de Caunes.  It was the perfect 1990s post pub TV show,  and best accompanied by a bowl of Supernoodles and some Alka Seltzer.

Ok, I’ll shut up now and tell you what the fragrance is like, shall I? The notes are blood orange, honey, gardenia and patchouli. The blood orange came and went.  I barely noticed the gardenia.  In fact, the first half hour was a JPG Classique moment for me.  There were accent s of it poking through: that unmistakable nail polish/face powder combination  that’s so original and almost exaggeratedly ladylike.  That phase didn’t last long enough for my liking, and was shortly replaced with some kind of syrupy vanilla sundae with synthetic and unremarkable patchouli.  So far, so what.

However, then a great big dollop of honey comes along and plonks itself in the middle. Now to me, honey is a kind of sexy smell. It smells like dried spit, which can either mean your pillow needs washing or you’ve just had a massive snog.  I like it in small doses, preferring the massive snog to the dirty pillow.  In Scandal, it was a redeeming feature.

Unfortunately, the overall lasting effect of Scandal is that of a Lancôme La Vie est Belle flanker. I couldn’t tell you which one because there are eleventy billion of them, but if I had smelled this blind, I would have hazarded a guess that this was La Vie est Belle Honey Summer Blah Blah or whatever it might be called.

There has been a popular generic confectionary/patchouli accord hanging around since 2013 when LVEB launched.  It has infiltrated way too many fragrances for my taste,  although sales figures  disagree with me.  On the other hand, if that’s what’s selling and if consumers are voting with their perfume dollar, then it would be foolish not to capitalise on it.  I’ll just have to sit a few launches out until my stuff comes along. That will happen when green mossy chypres and seventies aldehydes make a come back on the High Street. Oh well. I’m in for a long wait.

By the way, the bottle reminds me of a much earlier fragrance by Revlon called Head Over Heels. It doesn’t make the bottle any less fun, but  neither did it make this curmudgeon gasp at the originality of it.

Meanwhile, enjoy the still-fabulous-anyway bottle that has the typical wink of JPG humour about it. It makes me think of someone falling backwards into a taxi at 3 am.  Ah!   How I mourn my lost youth.

Stockists

Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal is available from The Fragrance Shop, Sephora, Duty Free shops and Escentual to name but a few.

Further Reading

Check out The Candy Perfume Boy’s take on Scandal.  Thomas writes brilliantly, as per.  Dammit.

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Yves Rocher Oui a L’Amour: I say OUI

Yves Rocher is a trusty brand that’s been going strong since 1959. Although there are no branches in the UK, they have a good UK mail order service and send you freebies and extras every time you order. I just ordered 6 x 20ml bottles of fragrances that I will be reviewing soon, but as a bonus, I was also sent a 10ml bottle of latest launch Oui a L’Amour.  This may have been a freebie, or it may have been a blogger perk. I’m not sure. Not to worry. Free perfume is never turned away!

Oui a L’Amour is a simple affair.  It opens with herby Angelica.  If I said this was a herby sort of rose scent you might expect something botanical and green, but actually the Angelica is plump and juicy like a cactus.  It’s neither sweet nor sharp but somewhere in the middle. In fact, when I first smelled this I wanted to call it a fruity floral even though I could see that it wasn’t.

After the Angelica comes the rose and it’s very prominent and beautiful with clean, powdery facets.  After that comes tonka bean (kind of like nutty dried grass) which I mistook for vanilla, and not for the first time. There’s cedar in the base, which comes across as slightly tangy and almost citrussy.

Tie all that together and what have we got? A very clean rose fragrance with touches of juicy garden leaves and a sharp woody finish.

It smells clean and light and very feminine. It’s perfect for work and passes the commuter and the office test with flying colours.

There’s no sickly syrup, no big, rich jasmine overtaking anything,, and none of the usual rent-a-scent suspects that I have come across so often lately.

I say oui to Oui a L’Amour.

Stockists

You can buy Oui a L’Amour from Yves Rocher UK, Yves Rocher.Fr   Extra thumbs up for selling affordable 10ml purse sprays. Opinions are my own.

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Firedance: The New Fragrance from Ruth Mastenbroek 2017

Rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. In Firedance, Ruth presents a scorching, modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, as exotic leather dances in surprise harmony with the main character – smouldering Damask rose. Set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli, a shining amber note radiates from the skin in this memorably intimate and sexy perfume.

Today is the day that Ruth Mastenbroek launches the fourth fragrance in her collection: Firedance.  Ruth is an experienced nose who has worked behind the scenes in the industry for fourdecades before going solo in 2010 with her first scent, aptly named RM Signature.  You can read my review here. After that came the wonderful Amorosa, followed by Oxford. Now the trio becomes a quartet, with the arrival of Firedance.  Ruth has also redesigned the brand to reflect that every drop tells a story and using a palette of black and gold, these new designs reminded me of the original illustrations to Grimm’s fairytales ( see pic and you’ll know what I mean).

So was Firedance worth the wait and is it a worthy member of this scented quartet? Absolutely. Here’s why.

Now, first of all, this is a rose/oud/leather fragrance. We all know that rose and oud and rose and leather have been done before, but dear reader, not like this.  The leather and oud is there, of course, but the first thing I noticed about Firedance was the rich, dusky Damask rose and then, would you believe it? Carnations.  In the same way that Serge Lutens Vitriol D’oeillet made me sit up and take notice, Firedance stopped me in my tracks.   A drop of clove oil is the culprit, and whilst it doesn’t dominate, it adds a wonderful peppery spicy addition to proceedings.

This is me with my treasured bottle from Ruth.

I composed Firedance to capture those special moments that make me appreciate what I have.- Ruth Mastenbroek

For full disclosure, I’m not really a big oud fan (there, I’ve said it), but the oud here smells different. It doesn’t take over but still makes a contribution.  In fact, it adds a kind of fruity earthy accord that makes the rose more robust. It seems to blend seamlessly with the amber to make a sort of amber-oud or oud-amber. The amber takes the edges off it.

To me, it adds layers and makes this a sort of 4D rose, with petals that have crisped through age, like dusty pot pourri, whilst still having plump satiny petals in the centre. My nose also picked up little facets of powder, which always makes me think of a 1950s dressing table. I often find this with rose, whether the powdery note is deliberate or not.

Ruth Mastenbroek. Photo from Twitter

There is a  measured heat and an autumnal feel to Firedance, which makes this a very appropriate launch for the first day of Autumn.  This is rose with warmth, earthiness, spice and the kind of longevity that lingers on your pillow when you wake up the next day.  It’s not cheap, but it is very good value.   Ruth makes it herself. There’s no committee, no big factory, no billboard marketing. You’re paying for the ingredients and the expertise of a perfumer with  four decades of skill and experience.

Firedance is a stand out earthy, dusty rose that’s not quite on the turn, not quite over. This is the perfect farewell to summer and a warm scented blanket for the colder days ahead.

Stockists

Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance is available from the website and from Fenwick’s, where Ruth will be giving a talk on 14th September. Check out The Perfume Society website for details. My bottle was given to me by Ruth Mastenbroek in return for an honest review, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.

 

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Ten Bottles Please: L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez for her EDP 2015

Escentual.com
Escentual.com

Narciso Rodriguez is a rare thing these days: a brand that is as popular with critics as it is with fans.  Even the big name bestsellers have their fair share of critics, but the NR range appears to be pretty universally loved, like Joanna Lumley or Sir David Attenborough.

I was recently sent a sample of L’Absolu NR For Her, (Patsi, was this from you? If so, thank you!)  and despite there being many, many NR flankers, they are good enough to stand alone and are not merely mass churned money spinners.  Narciso Rodriguez Poudre is a particular favourite of mine ( see why here).

labsolu for her

L’Absolu turns up the volume on three of my favourite notes. It opens with powdery tuberose and jasmine, making a fluffy edged cloud of creamy white flowers. The background of white musk starts emerging slowly until it joins the white flowers in size and volume. White flowers and white musk together needs a bit of grounding,  so along come robust patchouli to anchor it down and give this a musky, musty, loud but chic accord that makes me want bottles and bottles of it. There’s a bit of aromatic sandalwood in there too, which just sort of smooths the edges a bit.

labsolu bottleWhat I love about this is that fact that there are many fragrances with jasmine sambac and patchouli out there, and they smell platitudinous i.e. so familiar they all smell the same. Usually, they add vanilla too.

With L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez For Her, this doesn’t happen.  The ingredients are blended beautifully into a final accord that smells like white soap, clean musk, earthy patchouli, and big tuberose, all in one big beautiful long-lasting flourish.

This makes me feel impeccable, like a proper lady. It won’t go with my school run outfit of jeans and a stripy top. This is what I will wear with grown up clothes and everyone will admire me and want to do my bidding because I am so chic.  When a perfume makes you feel this good, you need to buy it all.

Stockists

L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez For Her eau de parfum is available from The Fragrance Shop UK, allbeauty and Escentual. Sample was a gift from friend of the blog and of me, Patsi. xxx  Opinions are my own.

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L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier: Cherry Blossom and more

fleurs de cerisier bottle

 

Trusty L’Occitane never lets me down and this cherry blossom fragrance is no exception.  My bottle was part of a wonderful gift set contaning  four 7.5ml mini fragrance splash bottles and matching shower gel. The shower lingered long after my shower and the fragrance was spot on for a hot summer’s day when you want to feel cool and feminine and not cross and sweaty (well, I tried).

uk.loccitane.com
uk.loccitane.com

I always think Cherry Blossom is not too far away from peony note-wise. Both are pink, inoffensive and delightfully crowd pleasing without being too sweet. I still maintain that peony is the prettiest of all the floral notes, but cherry blossom comes a close second.

L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier is an unpretentious cherry blossom fragrance that does what it says it will do.  It has a faint hint of sweet cherries in the background all the way through, but the cherry blossom petals in the foreground are powdery, sweet, slightly tart even, but always uplifting with a Springtime feel good vibe.

There are also hints of dark and borderline bitter blackcurrant and unless I’m going mad,  a hint of rose?. The star of the show though, is the cherry blossom, and no matter who else comes on stage, they just make up the chorus.  There’s a slightly woody base but it’s still very much a cherry blossom sort of woodiness.

Loccitane box
My lovely box of treats!

Thinking about other cherry blossom scents, I found this less robust than Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom, which lasts around nine hours on me.  However, my mini of Fleurs de Cerisier is only an eau de toilette so that may be a factor.

This is ideal for people who love light florals and inoffensive day time scents.  It’s shower fresh and makes me want to wear flowery tea dresses and run through a meadow.  Feel good factor is off the scale.

 Stockists

You can buy Fleurs de Cerisier from the L’Occitane website and from Amazon UK, listed as Cherry Blossom. You can also find it online at Sephora. Sample is my own, as are my opinions.

L'occitane
L’occitane

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Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything for Her: By Olivier Cresp 2017

tta my everything bottle

There are some  fragrance fans who would never consider celebrity scents or Avon perfumes.  There are some who say that in fragrance you get what you pay for.  I dispute that. I’ve smelled amzing, cheap scents and unpleasant expensive ones.  In fact, if this were an episode of Newsnight, I’d be on the panel, looking sternly over the top of my glasses and arguing the case that inexpensive fragrance can be good, great even.

I would present the case for Avon Today, Tomorrow, Always, My Everything for Her.  I would make allowances for the name that is, admittedly a bit of a mouthful, and I would point out that the nose behind this inexpensive beauty is none other than living legend Olivier Cresp, who co created the iconic and perennial Angel for Thierry Mugler.

First of all, it’s OK if we abbreviate, so let’s call this TTA My Everything.  There’s a For Him too, but we’re talking about the  For Her version, if labels matter (another Newsnight topic?).

tta ad

There are only three notes: bergamot, rose and crowd-pleasing praline.  Personally, praline isn’t my cup of Typhoo, but only a fool ignores public demand.  Praline is one of the main notes in Lancôme La Vie est Belle, which has been scenting the streets of Britain since it came out way back in 2012.  The fragrance buying public have gone mad for gourmands in the last five years and whilst I’m more of a mossy chypre kind of woman, I can understand the buzz.

TTA My Everything opens with powerful bergamot and rose. The bergamot makes the rose smell sharper and mingles with it until you think you’re smelling a lime coloured rose or a rose-coloured lime. They blend seamlessly, giving this a delicate opening that gets stronger the longer you wear it.

Thorntons
Thorntons

The praline comes in gradually, and despite being one third of the notes, it doesn’t overtake or dominate. In fact I would say this is a rose citrus with warm sweet edging. It really reminded me of Nina Ricci Nina which combines apples and praline, so if you like that you might like this too.  I love the different rose nuances in My Everything.  It seems to come and go in waves.  In fact, if you’ve ever tried the aforementioned La Vie est  Belle and found it too sweet and wished the floral notes were stronger, then this would suit you down to your boots.

Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything For Her is coming soon. I was lucky enough to get a sample from my lovely Avon Lady, so watch this space for when it comes out.  Opinions are my own.

Stockists

This will be available  soon from your Avon brochure or from Avon UK. The current prices of other fragrances in TTA range is £14 for 50ml EDP, so I imagine this would be in that price bracket too. Owning an Olivier Cresp for £14? Yes, indeed.

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Guy Laroche Fidji: Be Strong for Me

fidji bottle big

Guy Laroche Fidji has been around longer than me. Like my husband, it is 51, and like him, it still smells great.

I first owned Fidji many moons ago, back in 1987 when I was dipping my toe in perfumed waters for the first time.  I could have gone down the Fidji route, but once my head was turned by Cacharel LouLou in 1987, there was no going back.

fidji ad1

A recent enquiry from reader Cassieflower (see my response here)  had me thinking about Fidji again.  I’ve been trying it at every opportunity and I can only find one single fault with it- the eau de parfum is nowhere to be seen. A giant bottle of eau de toilette is therefore in order for regular top ups. Apart from that, it’s perfect.

Fidji smells classic, like a mossy traditional scent.  However, it opens more like Estee Lauder White Linen. In fact, when Cassieflower asked me what smells like Fidji, I think I should have said White Linen, because it’s a close-ish match.

Fidji has huge greenery in the opening, fidji parfumand that oakmoss comes out straight away. It has a powdery mustiness that you often find in aldehydes, and its framed with bright, feel good lemon and lime.  Its fair to say tha the opening  is dominated by green and bitter galbanum. Now, I like galbanum but its not everyone’s cup of tea. If you like Chanel Cristalle,  Givenchy Ysatis or Lancome Magie Noire, then you might already be a galbanum fan.  I’m a card-carrying fan club member myself so Fidji suits me down ot the ground.

fidji beachAfter the citrussy and bright opening come the flowers: my favourites too. Hyacinths, violets, roses and jasmine emerge like a spring day. This gives Fidji a wonderfully old fashioned feel to my nose-  soemthing I miss in the sea of modern stuff of late.

The flowers are long lasting and they pretty much stick around until bedtime. With an oakmoss and vetiver base rounding off my beloved green notes and cherished hyacinth and violets, this might just be top of the Christmas list this year.  I saw a big 100ml bottle on sale today in my local House of Fraser for £37.  I sprayed it on ( a LOT) at around 9.30am this morning and I’m still getting little wafts of sweet floral notes,: that is to say, sweet like a garden flower, not sweet like sugar. I should imagine this beauty doesn’t have the teeth of its earlier 1966 incarnation, but I’m glad to see it’s still around and still smelling fabulous.  Like I do when I wear it and like you will when you try it.

Stockists

fidji small bottleGuy Laroche Fidji eau de toilette is available from  Amazon UK or The Perfume Shop . Prices vary but  are around £30 for 50ml eau de toilette.  You can find the rare eau de parfum here for twice the price.

 

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A Fragrance Evolution: Katy Perry’s Indi eau de parfum

katy perry indi bottle

Reviewing Katy Perry Indi was a case of “forget what you think you know.”  I think of Katy Perry as the gorgeous and talented Teen Queen who sings catchy pop like no-one else. Her fragrances are cute and funny and have a wry grandeur, all done with a wink of irony.  So when I heard she had a new one coming out, I thought, I’ll pass thanks. It’s probably like her other stuff: on trend but not my bag.

katy perry indi peopleBoy, was I wrong. For a minute, there I’d forgotten that she’d shaved her head and done a studio album. Change of image, much? You bet. Indi is outstanding.

From Killer Queen to Meow and Katy Perry’s Mad Potion, Katy Perry’s fragrance range has taken a U Turn. Gone are the flashy,playful bottles with oodles of bling. In comes the simple black and white pillar bottle for Indi.  It celebrates individuality, which in these troubled times, is a much-needed hand of compassion and acceptance, and I’m all for it.

Katy Perry collage

 

So what does it smell like? Well it doesn’t smell like your run of the mill celebrity High Street scent, that’s for sure.

Top notes: Plum, tea, bergamot.

Middle notes: cyclamen, lily of the valley, cedar

Base notes: tonka, amber, musk, musk, musk etc

The combination of plum and tea gave me  a milky, sultana, figgy vibe, and although this alleges to have cyclamen and lily of the valley in, I could only detect a generic musky “pink” flower- could well be cyclamen.  It’s not a note I know well. katy perry ini fragrantica  The base is where the musk comes in:  musk, musk, musk. Musk is a bit like vanilla in that it covers a vast spectrum within its category, and this is certainly the case here.

It’s not dirty musk, nor leathery musk, nor sexy inner thigh musk, but an ever-changing musk, at least on my skin. On me this  musk smells clean, then chalky, then figgy, then patchouli-like, then earthy, then slightly mossy, then floral.  It lasts hours and hours.  It’s a beautiful chameleon of a scent and smells like it costs about four times the price.

Indi is of course, without gender. Nowhere will you find “For Men” or “For Women” and hurrah for that. My motto is, and always will be, if it smells good, wear it. Labels don’t matter.

Indi celebrates individuality and I salute this superb fragrance.

Katy Perry from KatyPerry.com
Katy Perry from KatyPerry.com

Stockists

You can buy Indi from Superdrug– which seems to have the monopoly on it at the moment.  Pop along and test it- I am sure you won’t be sorry. Prices start at £28 for 50ml. I bought mine and opinions are my own.

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E Coudray Ambre et Vanille: Irresistible Me

 

E._Coudray_Ambre_Et_Vanille
Escentual

 

Excuse me, I’ve been away but I’m back now.  I went camping in West Wales and smelled lots of interesting smells, none of which were from a bottle, some of which I am in no hurry to revisit (wet shoes, calorgas), and some which were delightful (wildflowers, grass, burning logs, ozone).

Now that I’m back in the land of civilisation, the current Wales temperature is turning my thoughts to Autumn already.  No, I’m not wishing my life away, but overcast and dull seems to be the default weather this August. This has had me turning to warmer scents and away from my beloved hesperide section.

e coudray vanilla

Do you ever spray a sample and sniff it, and find yourself quite unable to stop? Thus was my reaction to E Coudray Ambre et Vanille.

Now, you may recall my recent article about vanilla, and about how I felt that it had been cheapened, but the right stuff is still GOOD. Well, this treasure fits right into that category.  I am helpless to move my nose and may need smelling salts.

Ambre et  Vanille opens with the kind of vanilla that smells  unprocessed.  It’s like licking a vanilla pod before it falls into the hands of the lets-make-cheap-copies scoundrels.  This is like cold, rich butter.  There’s no sugar, just a silky wood feel to it that smells both elegant and cool. It’s opening notes are framed by bitter citrus: oranges and limes. These are hard to distinguish, but they take off the rich edges, which in my opinion, stops this smelling too crème brulee in the first few minutes.coudray retroIn the middle there are stately and sober flowers, namely iris and heliotrope, both doing their job quietly.  The vanilla, however, really lets go on the dance floor and sweeps everything under its warm, smoky broom with a touch of robust patchouli.  The amber is there, but is never as dominant as this glorious vanilla with its edges tinged in cinamon and tonka.   It is saved by a lack of syrup, yet keeps its warmth. This is a gourmand for the anti gourmand i.e yours truly.

e coudray selection

Remarkably, this was first created in 1935. I doubt very much that we are smelling the original formula post IFRA regulations, but this is a beautifully blended vanilla scent that bears no resemblance to the synthetics  that are so over-used on today’s saturated beauty counters.

E Coudray has been creating fragrance since  1822, despite several changes of hands. Their classic scents and ornate glass bottles deserve to be on every dressing table, namely mine.

Stockists

You can buy E Coudray Ambre et Vanille from Escentual, Amazon.UK or House of Fraser.  I find prices are reasonable at around £60 for a big 100ml bottle.  Sample is my own, as is my opinion. I can’t actually remember where the sample came from, so if I have forgotten to say thank you, please forgive me.

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