Tag Archives: perfume

Flower by Kenzo: A True Modern Classic

kenzo flower

Flower by Kenzo just hasn’t been on my radar until I opened my Modern Classics Discovery Box from The Perfume Society. You know when something is so familiar that you don’t notice it anymore?  Well that must be why I didn’t actually know what Flower by Kenzo smelled like until now.  I see it everywhere and yet I pass by.  Now I’ve finally taken time to stop and smell the Flower (sorry) What a revelation!

talc

Flower by Kenzo opens with light citrus notes and atouch of herby hawthorn that beds down into soft violet and roses.  Now, you might be thinking YSL Paris when you hear violet and roses,  but this is more like very expensive luxury thrice milled talc.  There is a deliciously clean powdery note that has what can only be called a “fluffiness” about it.  It evoked memories of those talcum puffs I used to buy my late grandmothers- you know, a marabou puff in a little round box or tin.  Gorgeousness.

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The flowers in Flower by Kenzo are present but subdued, as if being inhaled through a diaphanous white veil.  The base has a faint spice thanks to the frankincense, but even that’s a mere puff and a wisp. The overriding finish is one of powdery white musk with a hint of violets. This is the ultimate perfect day time scent.  In fact, my dear teacher friend Janet (she’ll laugh when she sees this) wears this to work and I can’t think of a nicer way to scent a classroom.  This iscomforting, pure, and makes you smell as if you come from a good home with fluffy towels and clean laundry.

Flower by Kenzo is indeed a Modern Classic.  It suits all ages and would also make a great first perfume for a young fragrance rookie.

Stockists

Kenzo Flower is widely available.  Try allbeauty.com or John Lewis. Alternatively, you will find a sample in The Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box like wot I did.

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Exclusive! 4160 Tuesdays: Aquamarine Waves

mermaid red
Mermaid painting by Victor Nizovtsev

For a long time now, I have been searching for the perfect marine scent.  It has to remind me of the sea, be invigorating and NOT smell like cucumber.   Doesn’t seem like too much to ask, does it? But apparently it is.   Or was. Read on Macduff.

Before I go on, I’d like to ask if any of you remember a shampoo made by Boots Naturals called Sea Kelp?  I used to adore that scent and used it until they stopped making it.  I can’t even find an old photo on Pinterest.  It was a beautifully scented shampoo that had marine notes and made my hair smell so good that I often wished they made a perfume of it.

mermaid
John William Waterhouse

Many times have I have sniffed something in a vageuly aquamarine coloured bottle and  thought, “maybe this will smell like Sea Kelp shampoo?” and been disappointed.   Cucumber and melon- yes.  Sea notes?  No.

However, I recently received a small glass phial ( vial or phial? you can use either, I checked) of a scent that is currently being called “Sea Goddess”. This may or may not be its final name: it’s still in development at the hand of Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays. (EDIT- this is now called Aquamarine Waves)

Sea Goddess opens with a burst of citrus.  I could discern sharp lemon and bitter grapefruit: the kind that makes you do an involuntary wink when you eat it first thing in the morning.  This wakes you up and prepares you for the  swishy swish of sea notes that follow.

Sea notes are hard to define and are often subjective, but here’s my take on them here: with an invigorating tang and a hit of saltiness, Sea Goddess makes you wish you were next to the sea and makes you feel an urgent need to down tools and find some surf ,  like a Bisto kid following his nose.

sea goddess boxIt is rare to find a sea note perfume  that is as on the button  as this one .  What gives it that unique 4160 Tuesdays touch is a dose of Britishness towards the end. There is an almost, but not quite, dirty tang of seaweed towards the bottom.  Rather than put me off, this adds to its authenticity.  This is how the seaside really smells.

We can romanticise the  white crests of foam as the waves crash, and we can imagine ourselves getting a revitalizing burst of ozone into our poor urban lungs, but don’t forget what the beach really smells like.  There’s salt and wet sand and sea weed.  It’s all here, my friends.  Because a real Sea Goddess will get sand on her fins and seaweed on  her arms.

This is the ultimate sea note scent.  No cucumber. No melon. This is the sea and the beach, captured in a glass vial like a snow globe.

bsac
Bsac

Stockists
This is nearly available from 4160 Tuesdays, but not quite yet. It may be given a different name, but I will let you know. Talk about a teaser! Sorry about that.  My sample rollerball phial was from Sarah herself, for which, my deep gratitude.  Opinions are my own.

UPDATED 31st March 2017

Sea Goddess is to be called Aquamarine – Waves and is available via this link.  I’ll see you in the queue! I’m buying a couple of gallons.

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Share your #smellfie for #nationalfragranceday!

Yes, it’s National Fragrance Day 2017, although if you’re a fumehead like me, ( and you probably are if you’re reading this blog) then every day is Fragrance Day.  Taking a #smellfie is all the rage on this special day , and I felt I must run with the pack.

However,  being a bit of a luddite and not having fathomed out the selfie stick I had for Christmas, I  was forced to use the least worst shots of a lengthy smellfie session. Plus I seem to either stare or blink- no middle ground.

BeFunky Design triple smellfie

Dear reader, you can see the conclusion I arived at.   The scent I chose, by the way,  is Mary Greenwell Fire.  I bought it last year from The Fragrance Shop for the princley sum of £19.99 and it’s become a firm favourite.  Do not ever throw the lid at anything fragile though, unless you are trying to escape from a  dangerous animal.   The lid weighs a ton and could smash a phone box.  Remember phone boxes? That’s a #scentmemory I’d rather not revisit.

How about you? What would you take a smellfie with? Your SOTD or your favourite ever? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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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.

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Dear Aunty Sam: Your Perfume Problems Answered

 

perfume problem
A Tryst, John William Godward

Earlier this week, I asked you to send me your perfume problems. I then chewed the arm of my glasses and looked studious, whilst reading them,  just like a proper Mumsy Agony Aunt.

rsz_dr_sam

I was so pleased to get so many questions, some of which I answer below.  Incidentally,  I also see questions on my WordPress dashboard which tell me what people type into Google in order to be led to my site.

There are two questions that I see every single day without fail. Yes, my friends, the two most popular questions are:

What’s the best Avon perfume?

What cheap perfume smells good?

Now you may have noticed that these two particular questions have entre blog posts devoted to answering them.  Nobody can accuse me of not giving my readers what they want.

lbdfraiche-image-pic1With that having been said, here are some other questions that I received this week.

I am very grateful to all who sent me a Dear Aunty Sam question. I wish I could tell you that there’s a T-shirt and a mug on the way to you, but I can’t.  I think I may repeat this experience in future, so please do send any questions as they occur to you. I’ll be your olfactory DJ.

avon retro3

Dear Aunty Sam,

Like you, I miss Gucci Envy and only have a little bit left. What can I wear instead when this runs out?

rsz_dr_samA good question and one to which I still seek an answer myself. We’ve asked the Why Did it End? question but the wind took our words away and no answer was given. Meantime, here are some that I find have some of the Gucci Envy notes in common, namely green notes, lily of the valley and hyacinth.

envyJo Loves No 42 The Flower Shop, Chanel Cristalle, Issey Miyake A Scent and Isabella Rossellini Manifesto, if you can find it. Over on Fragrantica, some Envy fans claim that Penhaligon’s Lily of The Valley and Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue smell similar, but I haven’t smelled the form er and I don’t agree with the latter, due its dominant freesia, but worth a try to see what you think.

Dear Aunty Sam,

I’ve fallen in love with Yardley’s Polaire. But as ever with Yardley 20 minutes in and unless I’ve gone nose blind I can smell nothing at all. Is there something out there that smells the same, but with actual longevity and a bit more sillage?

rsz_dr_samI haven’t smelled Yardley Polaire recently so I’m working blind here.  However, I notice that the prominent notes are pear, freesia and rose. There are two scents that also contain these notes. One is Dior J’Adore and the other is Elizabeth Arden Fifth Avenue  ( although more freesia than pear) However, if you want to stick with Polaire, there are a couple of things you can do to extend its life.

polaireWhat I usually do is spray my hair.  Hair carries scent very well- usually until bedtime!  However, some people claim this dries hair out.   Secondly, and I’m going to talk boobs here, spray it in your cleavage before you get dressed. As your body heats up throughout the day, you get nice little wafts under your nose. You can also make scent last longer by moisturising skin before applying it. Don’t forget  a quick spray on your lapels or scarf.

There is another theory, however.  Some people say that when a perfume really suits you, you stop being able to smell it.  This is so subjective that I find it difficult to prove, but there may be some truth in it.  Maybe Polaire just really suits you!

 

EDIT: I have since discovered that the ebautiful Celine Dion Sensational is a smellaike too.  This one lasts ages on me.

Dear Aunty Sam

I have begun to make some fragrances.  I have at least three that are absolutely delightful, unlike anything else I’ve ever tried. I really feel there’s a market for these, especially in this size, being affordable for almost everyone.

 How do I go about getting someone to be willing to sell my fragrances in their shop (either online or not) or work with me in promoting mine?

 rsz_dr_samFirstly, congratulations on your perfumes.  I do love an entrepreneurial spirit.  Secondly, before you sell them commercially, do they meet the necessary compliance? There are many perfume ingredients that have been banned by IFRA in order to ensure that scents do not cause rashes or reactions. Forgive me if I’m preaching to the converted- you may well already know this. Thirdly, have you tried Etsy? There are many beautiful handmade scents there and it strikes me as a good starting point.

meandsm3
Me with Sarah McCartney at the 4160 Tuesdays studio in 2014.

I would really recommend one of the Studio days run by Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. What she doesn’t know about making and selling perfume just isn’t worth knowing. You can find out more from the 4160 Tuesdays website.  Oh, and in answer to your question about promoting your scent, my advice is, as you might imagine, harness the bloggers!

That’s all I’ve got room for this week. I hope you enjoyed my first brave fumble into the mailbag. Do you agree with my responses?  Do you have any questions of your own? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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“It Smells Like Sky” Perfumes for White Floaty Days.

edward robert hughes
Heart of Snow by Edward Robert Hughes

Back in the 1980s there was a fabric conditioner advert on the TV that had a small child sniffing clean laundry and proclaiming “it smells like sky.”  I know exactly what that child means when I smell certain perfumes.

klimt in white

There are days when we need something pure and clean and ethereal, especially after, shall we say, overindulgence?  You don’t need a reason, sometimes you just feel all  floaty.

The perfumes on the following list have been selected for those sorts of days. When you just want to be all mindful and press the reset button in your overloaded brain- and what generation before us, has ever had to remember as many passwords and pin numbers? Poor us, we deserve some soothing scents that say Shh…there, there.

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Philosophy Amazing Grace

This has to be the leader of the pack when it comes to smelling as if you live on a cloud. Pure and clean and smelling like you’ve been freshly laundered and dusted with Angel’s blessings, Philosophy Amazing Grace will suit just about anyone.

eaudecartier

Eau de Cartier

This was my go-to hangover scent back when I could drink more than two glasses without needing an early night and bed socks. Created by genius Christine Nagel, Eau de Cartier is a harmonious symphony of lavender, violet and bergamot. It’s so gentle, it almost make you feel better just by wearing it.

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Library of Fragrance Clean Skin

Library of Fragrance has a spotless record in my book. They always do what they say they’ll do, and they provide excellent quality scents, that despite being colognes, often outlast many eau de toilettes on my skin.  Library of Fragrance Clean Skin  has a purity about it that made me feel like I’d just stepped out of a regenerating spa bath without so much as a blemish on my character.

lalique lamour

Lalique L’Amour

Lalique makes superb light and airy scents. They just make me want to pour the whole bottle over my head.  Lalique L’Amour  is no exception. This is all gentle watercolours. With neroli, bergamot and jasmine, even the sandalwood and musk base enters the room on tip toe.

noa

Cacharel Noa

Cacharel Noa smells like clean, freshly washed hair, with a bloom’n’fade coffee bean in the middle of it. Trust me, the coffee bean seems to pin it down and stop it floating away. I love Noa and I call it excellent value at around £15.

pur blanca

Avon Pur Blanca

The harshest thing that people ever say about Pur Blanca is that it’s “boring.” Well, I don’t find it boring. Sometimes I want to smell like piles of white linen and white soap and fluffy towels, and that’s why I like the bargain that is Avon Pur Blanca.

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JLo Glow

I won’t hear a word against celebrity scents as long as JLo and Sarah Jessica Parker are churning them out.  JLo Glow was created in 2002. It’s long life, especially for a celeb scent, is testament to its universal appeal.  Glow opens with grapefruit and neroli and  segues inot jasmine and roses.  It’s light as a feather  and makes me want to wear something diaphanous. There are many flankers, but I still like the original one best of all.

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Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia

My most recent review prior to this one, was Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia. Totally unisex, with mint and bergamot, nothing says clear, crystal waters more than this heavenly scent.

painting by Edward Robert Hughes
painting by Edward Robert Hughes

How about you?

Do you agree with my list? What’s your favourite scent that says “I want the world to go away today and I’m staying under this lovely white duvet”?  Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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all white

Avon Viva La Vita: Viva La Spring!

viva la vita

Avon Viva La Vita is a fresh fruity floral that has enough sharpness to take you into Spring without being cloying or sweet.

viva-la-vita-parfum-2-300x131The most noticeable notes are apple and grapefruit, both of which smell fresh as a spring morning with just enough zing to get you going in the morning.

The middle phase is all about the roses and magnolia, adding a feminine touch to the fruity opening.  I couldn’t find the mimosa, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

The base is sandalwood and cashmere, although both were indistinct. I prefer the uplifting fruity top notes and the floral middle phase  to the base, which I found hard to discern,

Viva La Vita smells impossibly girly and pretty and I would consider getting a full bottle. I’m craving light feminine florals as winter begins to outstay its welcome.  avon femmeOver on Fragrantica,  some readers are jadorecomparing this to Dior J’Adore, but others claim it is a generic Avon scent that smells like the existing Avon Femme and Avon Dreams. I can’t remember what those two smell like, but I do have some Avon purse sprays arriving next week so maybe I can check it out then.

Stockists

Avon Viva La Vita is due for release this month, so I can’t tell you the price yet.  Check out Avon UK for news. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty good value though. I tested the EDP sample, which I paid for (75p!). Opinions are my own.

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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
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