Tag Archives: perfume

REEK Perfumes: Damn Rebel Bitches Giveaway

reek giveaway

“We are the grandaughters of the witches you couldn;t burn”

You may have read my recent review of Damn Rebel Witches, the second offering from our Scottish friends at REEK, created by the gifted Sarah McCartney.  Well, due to a postal mix up,  I now have more than one purse spray of REEK Damn Rebel Bitches and I thought the decent thing would be to do a giveaway. As much as I’d like to keep it, the perfume situation at Fort Scriven is getting a little out of hand now.- not that I’m saying that’s a bad thing.

In order to win the 7.5ml purse spray ( worth £25), just tell me your smell right now. Mine is Goulash, Vosene and First by Van Cleef and Arpels.  What’s yours?

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Entries will be chosen via randompicker.org  and the giveaway will close five days from now at midnight on the 30th July 2017. Please do not enter if you are outside the UK as I will not be able to send you your prize, and would hate to disappoint you.

Put your comment below or on Twitter or on Facebook.  Whilst you’re at it, why not follow me on all of my social media?

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest.

WHAT’S YOUR SMELL RIGHT NOW?

Acknowledgments: With warm thanks to Bethany and the team at REEK.

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Aftelier Perfumes: Curious by Mandy Aftel 2017

curious aftelier

 

When Mandy Aftel makes perfume it’s often about a discovery or a facet of nature that Mandy wants to celebrate.  Her scents evoke scenes and visions so vividly that I can’t shake the feeling that she is more alchemist than perfumer. There is magic in her fingertips the way some people have green fingers and some people don’t.

Curious was inspired by Mandy’s new museum of scent in Berkeley California. Here she invites you to explore the curiosities of olfactory natural history.  The museum is very much hands on.  You don’t just look at stuff- this is an all-round sensory journey: touch it, smell it, sniff it, try it.  I haven’t been there yet, but in a year’s time, I will be visiting. I’m booking flights very soon and boy, will my blog have coverage!

from www.aftelier.com
from www.aftelier.com

Curious lives up to its name. It opens intriguingly, with a green note that smells almost medicinal, with a herby clary sage style bitterness. It reminded me of the glorious smell I once caught as a child, watching a neighbour creosote his fence. Many of my friends wrinkled their noses but I loved the tarry earthy scent and it remains one of my favourite aromas today.

CuriousGroup-ss

Curious contains hay and tobacco: two notes which are not often as you might imagine in fragrance. Tobacco can veer from green and soapy (think Givenchy Amarige), to dry and oaky (think Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan).  Hay can smell sweet, grassy, musty, honeyed or dry, or a combination of all of them.  In Curious, it smells damp to me, and coupled with woody tobacco it reminds me of a hot damp green field as the sun dries everything out. There is a deep earthiness to  Curious which reflects its roots as a product of nature.  After a while, the drying- out-in-the-sun feeling became an autumnal smokiness, like a bonfire in the distance.

aftel museum two

Curious unfurls its layers like a tree in all seasons, merging from fresh bud to green bitterness, to dried leaves to twiggy stem, but always grounded by the earthiness from whence it came.  It brings out the pagan in me.  There’s nothing like it. Mandy has made a beautifully unique scent that I urge you to try should you ever get a chance.  As with all of Mandy’s creations, every ingredient is natural.

Stockists

Curious is available from the Aftelier website. There is also an excellent sample service. The museum details are also on the website. If you live within a ten-thousand-mile radius, it’s definitely worth a visit. My sample was kindly sent to me by Mandy, for which, many thanks. Opinions are my own.

curious
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Damn Rebel Witches: REEK Perfumes gives the Bitches a Sister

drw hands

We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn

Reek is an independent Scottish brand who worked with prolific Nose Sarah McCartney (Um, I might have mentioned her a few times) to produce the fragrance Damn Rebel Bitches. The scent was created to honour and commemorate the women who fought back  in the Jacobite rebellion and the name the English had for them is used to name the fragrance in a rebellious two fingered salute. You can read my review here.

This year, launching,appropriately on Halloween 2017, comes Damn Rebel Witches.  At the march for women earlier this year, placards read “We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn,” and that to me, is the demographic for this stunning statement scent. In other words, all of us.

My freckly arm in rebellious mode.
My freckly arm in rebellious mode.

Damn Rebel Witches is in a similar vein to Damn Rebel Bitches, but has a sharper opening and a darker finish. The blood orange comes out immediately, and the tobacco- here a rich woody note- adds an earthy finesse. There’s hearty malt, and  a horsey whiff of leather.  Both scents are created from ingredients that would have been around at the time of the women they celebrate i.e the 1700s (Okay, maybe not the oranges, but I’m happy to stand corrected).  In both you’ll find malt, pink pepper, berries and blood oranges and they do have several similarities: these two are blood sisters for sure.

photo by REEK
photo by REEK

 

Witches is woodier than Bitches, and the orange is sharper. You know when you peel an orange and you accidentally get some in your eye? That’s the smell, although your eyes won’t sting if you smell this.

What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie.  I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.

Stockists

Damn Rebel Witches is currently available in a set of two: Bitches and Witches, which gives you a phial of each from the REEK website. Full size bottles of Damn Rebel Witches will be available from Halloween this year. You can already buy Damn Rebel Bitches in full size as well as purse size. My sample was kindly supplied by REEK in return for an honest review, which I have given.  Opinions are my own and this is not a sponsored post.

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Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain: Unexpected Surprises

diptyqye 34

This fragrance came about as the result of a mad idea: capture the scent of the original shop at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain and make it into a perfume.  Diptyque

Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard St- Germain was created to honour and remember the original shop where it all began: the scent of its wooden panels, resins and that unmistakable scent that only a cloistered interior can seem to conjure and retain.

The idea behind this fragrance was that it would take many of the classic facets of Diptyque bestsellers and wrap them into one fragrance, in order ot recreate the air inside the shop.  Imagine if they did it with LUSH (sherbet flowers) or L’Occitane (fruited tea and roses) or Starbucks (coffee beans and chocolate).  I’d buy them all.

diptyqye 34 detailing

I am woefully unfamiliar with many Diptyque scents so I can’t comment on whether this is an olfactory collage or not. However, what I can tell you is that the notes did not represent my impressions at all.  In the same way, you can look at music score and hum the tune, but it won’t sound the same when it’s played by a symphony orchestra.

I was expecting a masculine, spicy, woody scent, reminiscent of a Savile Row tailor. After all, there were wooden panels and resins and spices within.  However, what I actually get from this fragrance is an uplifting and feminine scent.

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34 Boulevard Saint Germain opens with citruses which are vivid and restorative. These team up with bright, fresh green notes from fig and eucalyptus giving the impression of the world’s most uplifting herbal tea. I smelled grapefruit, lemon and orange.  This bright, feel-good opening is almost immediately coupled with a feminine bouquet of peppery geraniums, along with roses, jasmine, iris and violet. I found the floral accord to be the most dominant of all, and radiantly beautiful.

The base is wood, resins and eucalyptus, but to be honest t, this stays true and sharp and never falls into heavy woody territory as I imagined it would. Towards the final act, I could smell that wood panelling, but this remained an intriguing unisex mélange of flowers, citrus and  a lightly spice woody finale.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard St Germain is an intriguing scent that I’ve spent three days wearing and trying to describe. It’s full of contradictions and utterly addictive.  It also has a hugely sunny  outlook- maybe it  was all those citruses that  radiate and linger. I would definitely buy a great big full bottle.

Stockists

You can buy Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain from John Lewis or the Diptyque website. There is of course,  a matching candle too. Sample is my own, as is my opinion.

Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose: A Little Beauty

rhw summer rose

Look at that! Two Marks and Spencer reviews in two days. As you may gather, I didn’t leave empty handed yesterday.  I came away with a tiny 15ml bottle of Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose.

Rosie Huntingdon Whitely is the face of many M&S lines, namely her lingerie and make-up range.  In 2015, the first scent, Rosie for Autograph, was launched, and jolly good it was too. You can read my review here.   I’ve recently run out and need another one.  It’s a fabulous centifolia rose scent.  After that, came Rosie for Autograph Nuit (which I haven’t tried) and in summer 2106, the latest flanker Summer Rose was launched, which is what I’m reviewing today.

summer rose

Summer Rose opens with pear and blackcurrant which hooks up with the sandalwood straight away. I’m afraid I got a few whiffs of pencil shavings before this settles down, but no matter, that phase didn’t last long.

The middle is all about the heady jasmine sambac,: a highly popular ingredient lately which appears in many bestsellers. If you read between the lines, you may see me roll my eyes (it’s in everything right now!). There are roses which are fairly prominent, and lily of the valley, which I couldn’t pick up at all- shame, because lily of the valley is one of my favourite notes.

The grand finale still has pear, roses, a bit of woody stuff and some heady jasmine. In a blind test, I would have said this was peony and patchouli, which gives you some idea of how it comes across. Even if the notes don’t match. This is of course, subjective- you may have a different experience.

florentyna ma and s shelf

Summer Rose is pretty and light and will be a big crowd pleaser.  I applaud the availability of 10ml and 15ml bottles in Marks and Spencer. It puts perfume treats within everyone’s reach and it’s a great way of testing a scent before committing to a full bottle. The rest of the perfume department is pretty good too: check out the Monotheme range, the Fragonard and the Roger & Gallet.

Stockists You can buy Rosie for Autograph Summer Rose instore or online. It’s exclusively stocked at Marks and Spencer.  A 30ml bottle is just £14 and makes a great gift.

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rhw 15ml mk2

Marks and Spencer Florentyna: I Took Another Look

florentyna bottle and box

Marks and Spencer Florentyna has been there for so long that it was almost off my radar. I tried it many years ago, declared it old fashioned and never bothered again. Until today. With a new attitude, I took another look at Florentyna, and if you’ve ruled it out, as I did, then I encourage you to re-sniff with new eyes- or should that be nostrils? Because, my dear fellow sniffalots, Florentyna is actually pretty good stuff.

florentyna 10ml

For years, I was convinced that this was mainly a rose scent. I’d even heard people say it smelled similar to Estee Lauder Beautiful. It sort of does-ish, a bit. Slightly. In fact, I went into my nearby House of Fraser and tried Estee Lauder Beautiful for comparison. I would say they are the same family, but not close relatives.

Florentyna opens with big, white, creamy, feminine Gardenia. Almost immediately all the other white flowers burst in then: jasmine, orange flower and lily of the valley. The base note is musk, but a clean laundry musk, not a sexy animalic thigh-sweat musk. This is so respectable it should wear pearls.

Oddly, tuberose, the Queen of the white flowers, is missing. Now this is actually an appropriate omission in the case of Florentyna, because, as much as I like tuberose, it can take over, and when it’s really strong, it can have that vegetal/celery note which I love, but not everyone does. Here, all the “naice” white flowers are included. That’s a deliberate misspelling by the way- you’re saying “nice” in a genteel voice with your pinkie finger sticking out as you hold your bone china tea cup.

florentyna ma and s shelf

The background and frame of these white flowers is a beautiful and very noticeable white soapy note.  It’s good old fashioned pure white, very posh, thrice milled luxury soap, and along with the  bigwhite flowers, it smells terrific.

Thinking about it, it reminded me of an eighties fragrance- remember how Dior Poison was all giant tuberose and  Givenchy Amarige was all big jasmine and green soapy tobacco? Well this is massive too.

As for longevity? Well, three squirts should last you an entire weekend. florentyna

 

Florentyna is worth a second look and worth a lot more than its small price, but please keep that price where it is M&S!

Stockists: You can buy Florentyna from Marks and Spencer.  I also recommend Florentyna White, which I reviewed here. Florentyna is available at prices starting at £3.50 for 10ml.

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Avon Luck For Her: Lady Luck

luck

My Avon blog posts are always, almost without exception, in my top three most viewed posts. Along the way, I’ve picked up a bit of an Avon obsession, so you could say it’s a win-win situation.

What Avon does particularly well is tap into the trend of the moment with scents that are bang on the money whilst leaving you with some in the bank. They remain almost unbeatable on price and even if you don’t like many of them, Avon never enters rip off territory.   They give women current on-trend fragrances  at accessible prices.

luck my photo

Avon Luck is an excellent example  and this is what I’ll be reviewing today.

Avon Luck is not my personal cup of tea but there is a lot to like about it. When it comes to the kind of fragrance that’s flying off the High Street shelves right now, Avon Luck could fit right in, but for a single figure price.  My 30ml bottle of EDP was only £4.50 and comes nicely presented and boxed. ( see pic).  I just can’t find better value than that.

The notes are as follows:

Top notes– bergamot, red berries, oranges Middle notes: white flowers and night blooming cereus (a cactus flower that smells like vanilla)  Base notes: sandalwood

Reading the notes, you might expect a sweet citrusy opening, some creamy white flowers and a woody finish.

No.

This is a vanilla scent from head to toe. It opens with vanilla, almost to the point of almonds and playdoh, and has big, creamy, borderline oriental white flowers, and well, it pretty much stays that way.   If you like Paco Rabanne Olympea, Juicy Couture, Viva La Juicy, Victoria’s Secret Angel Gold, or Versace Eros or anything else with big vanilla and jasmine sambac (there are too many to list, honestly) then you will love this adorable bargain.

Stockists

I bought my 30ml bottle from my Avon brochure. If you don’t have a lovely Avon Lady like I do, try Avon UK or Avon.com.  Online it’s currently on offer at £9 for 30ml, but you get another travel spray for just £2.

 

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Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond

royal pink bottle and box

I often find Yardley scents off the beaten track on the High Street and this is a shame because they deserve to be centre stage. If you go into Boots for example, there’s a wall of testers (all locked up these days. Humph) and a totally separate shelf around the corner for the lower budget scents, including the Yardley range.  Needless to say,  I spend more time in this aisle than I do pressing my nose agaisnt the locked glass shelves of  testers.

Yardley Royal Pink Diamond is an excellent fruity floral that deserves to sell like hot cakes on a cold day.  Let’s start with that darling little bottle: it’s cute as a button with its fancy lid and pink juice. I can see that it’s designed to appeal to the, shall we say, under forty-seven age group, but I really like this and am sorely tempted to add it to the many bottles on my groaning dressing table.

royal pink diamond

Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond opens with tempting summery fruits: peach, cassis and mandarin. These are juicy and clean, rather that sickly and sticky.

Early on in this, the cedar pops up and adds a few woody notes to the melange of fruit.   Just as I’m getting used to fruity and woody together, along come the peonies and orange flower.  There is also pink pepper, which is pretty much a ubiquitous note in fruity florals and is a tiny sweet berry, not a spice.  The woodsy base seems to get bigger and bigger until the cedar pretty much takes over. Personally, I don’t mind this, but you might. However, there’s a lovely clean white musk note that turns up later and hangs around for a while., keeping the flowers and fruit company  as they fade.

At under £20 for a 50ml bottle, this is a great gift for someone else or for yourself, and I’m a big believer in gifts for oneself!

latest launches

I feel quite protective about the Yardley name.  So many um…under forty sevens might think of it as a “Nan-brand” but it takes talent, stamina and innovation to have been making fragrance since the 1770s and still be going strong.  Yardley London Contemporary Classics has produced some of the best single note florals ever. I swear by Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Lavender ( which Marilyn Monroe wore, fact fans- not just Chanel No 5) and Yardley Jade. I also loved Yardley Bluebell and Yardley Freesia. They’re reasonably priced and you can wear them alone or layer them for a little bouquet on your skin.  What can I say? I’m a fan.

from www.YardleyLondon.co.uk
from www.YardleyLondon.co.uk

Stockists: Yardley London Royal Pink Diamond is available from the Yardley website or from Amazon UK.  I found my sample in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, which you can read about here.

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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.

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Missoni Eau de Parfum: Something New and Something Old

MIS15_ADV A3_D

 

I have to admit, the sum total of my Missoni knowledge prior to this is posh stripy knitting, so I apologise in advance for my ignorance.  You can find out more about the origins of the brand here in this superb round up from our trusty friends at Fragrantica.

I was recently given a sample of Missoni Eau de Parfum as part of a goody bag from my Perfume Society Improve Your Sense of Smell workshop ( see my write up here) . The brand came to my attention again when it won a FiFi for best packaging back in May at the annual Fragrance Foundation UK Awards ( see my write up here. Again) . Sure enough, its simple white background and coloured stripes are certainly eye-catching and immediately says Missoni across a crowded perfume shop.  The bottle itself is a fabulous unicorn blend of irridescent colour, and since it’s pretty cheap (around £20 for 30ml) you could do a lot worse for your dressing table.

missoni amazon

So what does it smell like?

Well I have to admit, it’s not smashing any barriers or covering any new ground.  However, if you want a pretty “pink” scent that doesn’t dominate a room, this is just the ticket.

It opens with pear and citrus, which straight away makes it blend in like a school uniform in a school.  In the middle, there’s a big batch of florals: namely  synthentic “petalia” i.e man-made general petal scent, along with floral notes and the ubiquitious note-of-the-year jasmine sambac.  Then there’s a sort of woody cedar base where the sweetness of the pear and the synthetic florals kind of blend in with a floral woody finish and… voila! A generic pink beauty counter fragrance that fits right into summer 2017.

The  pear/ jasmine sambac/woody base thing has been done to death lately so either this lacks originality or it taps into what the kids are buying.   No harm done, but I’ll sit this one out.

Sorry Missoni. I guess you won’t be sending me a free stripy jumper any time soon. Good price and great bottle though.

Stockists

You can buy this from allbeauty.com. The price is very good at just over £20 for a 30ml bottle.  You can also try amazon.co.uk.

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