Tag Archives: perfume

The Perfume Society Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box

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Excuse me a minute whilst I gush like a fan.  The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are my new guilty pleasure.  In fact, I don’t even feel guilty.  They are my new obsession and The Perfume Society haven’t asked me to say so.  I am besotted.

shadersYears ago, when I was a slip of a girl (many, many years ago) my late grandmother gave me a wonderful Christmas gift.  She had decorated a little basket with some fabric remnants, making a frilled lining, and filled it with beauty bits and bobbins.  In it were bath cubes, setting lotion, a sachet of Shaders and Toners (remember them?) bath pearls and various other mini delights.  It was such a cornucopia that I eked it out for a long time and have never forgotten what a treat it was to receive.  I’ve had nothing like it since, but the old feelings came rushing back when I received my first Perfume Society Discovery Box a few months back.  I’m now on my fourth and the thrill has not dissipated.

There is always a book of sniffing strips, postcards with notes about each perfume and discussion prompts in case you want to get a perfume club going ( and I do), and then last but not least, there is a selection of seven or eight perfume samples, often hard to get, and usually an “extra”, which in the past has consisted of Liz Earle skincare, Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream,  and L’Occitane Roses et Reines hand cream.

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This month I have the Beautiful Blossoms Discovery Box and it contains: a quad of Yardley floral EDTs,  Miller Harris Couer de Jardin, Fragonard Jasmine, Jimmy Choo Blossom, La Perla Peony Blossom, Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa, Agonist Isis, Chloe Love Story , Philosophy Amazing Grace and Elemis British Botanical Shower Cream.

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I can sit there sniffing away of an evening with the TV on, blissfully trying stuff out for my blog and feeling very much in my element.  It also means my sample selection has expanded in a way that makes my eyes light up like a miser in a goldmine.

So this isn’t a review of a perfume, but if you like perfume, these Discovery Boxes will save you a traipse round a  High Street smelling of so many perfumes you can’t remember the name of the one you liked.  Or they might fill a very pleasant evening of wrist sniffing whilst watching old reruns of House MD on Netflix with a  cup of tea.  Like what I do. Bliss.

Stockists

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are available on the Perfume Society website for £15, although subscribers get first dibs and a discount.

 

The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus.

water lotus

Fijian Water Lotus is the latest addition to the Body Shop’s excellent Voyage Collection, two of which I have reviewed elsewhere on this blog.  Today I treated myself to a little £5 for 10ml bottle of Fijian Water Lotus (for which, bravo Body Shop for offering affordable purse sprays!).

As the name suggests, this is an aquatic/ozonic sort of affair, which would please fans of say, L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake or Marks and Spencer Isis. It is full of sea notes, though without the salt, and the zinginess is maintained with sharp mandarin and lemony blossom (litsea cubeba if you must). It is often hard to maintain that “fraiche” accord for more than a top note presence, but here it is achieved successfully, although after two or three hours it does bed down into a very clean basket of laundry.  I must add that if anyone’s laundry smelled this good, I would be asking for the name of their fabric softener.

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In the latter stages, Fijian Water Lotus still maintains a blue image that makes me think of crashing waves and blue skies, and the citrus is still there, but don’t expect astringency to hang around for the entire show.  All in all, this is a great summer scent and I foresee several Body Shop Oceanus fans coming out of retirement to purchase this.  It’s not quite Oceanus, but it sure does tick all those sea spray/ crest of a wave/ ozonic boxes that feel just right on a sunny day.

Not QUITE Oceanus
Not QUITE Oceanus

Stockists

Available from the Body Shop online or in store starting at £5 for a 10ml purse spray and rising to £16 for 100ml EDP.  There are lots of nice ancillary products to match too if you want to do layering.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons

la chasse

With such a whimsical name, it was easy to be attracted to this scent like a butterfly to a buttercup.  With a seemingly mixed bag of reviews from the gushing to the nonplussed, I have to sadly align myself with the latter camp.

La Chasse aux Papillons opens with a whisper and then gets dirty, like twigs.  There is a hint of dried up buds, and an indolic background of jasmine.  Tuberose is alleged to be the dominant mistress here, but I could not smell any.  There is definitely Lime Blossom, but again, a dryness, like a flaky leaf, emerged on my skin.  Maybe Tauer’s Zeta spoiled me for other lime blossom scents.  There is freshness to this of sorts, and it certainly suits the spring season, but I was not enamoured of the white flowers with a hint of mud and dried leaves, nor of its light sillage and poor longevity.  I found it to smell almost medicinal or clinical, but that could be my brain getting confused because jasmine is often  used in commercial air freshener and soap.  Jasmine has many facets, and I didn’t care for this one.

Pinterest
Pinterest

Pity though, because I liked Premier Figuer and Timbuktu too and have a whole tin of L’Artisan samples to plough through yet.  But in the world of fragrance I would lack discernment if I loved everything a brand made, wouldn’t I?

I still love you L’Artisan Parfumeur, but I’ll leave this one to its fans.

Stockists

You can buy L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons on Amazon UK, Amazon.com and of course from www.lartisanparfumeur.com.  I have the sample tin, which is a great way to try before you buy, and you can buy it here.

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Penhaligon’s Bluebell

bluebell

I have long wanted to try Penhaligons Bluebell, despite knowing that it was a favourite of Mrs Thatcher, of whom I was not a fan.  Interestingly, it is also rumoured to have been a favourite of the late Princess Diana, and the very current Miss Kate Moss.

The reason I have longed to try this is two fold.  Firstly, when I was growing up there was a field and some woodland near our house which were  awash with bluebells every year.  I would pick huge bunches of them and the smell of them is a memory that has always stayed with me.  Olfactive memory is never to be underestimated and can pack more of a punch than a photo.

The second reason, tied in with the first reason, is that the very first bottle of perfume that  I ever bought myself with my own money was a little glass bottle of Bluebell perfume from Boots The Chemist.  It was a splash bottle, square, and made of frosted glass.  It has long since been discontinued but I remember buying it in my early teens and splashing it on liberally.

 

Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me
Bluebells in the Forest of Dean. Photo by me

I had a Penhaligons Scent Library sample tin for Christmas, but Bluebell was missing.  Luckily dear friend of the blog  Patsi came to the rescue and I was delighted to receive a sample of both Bluebell and Violetta from her yesterday, for which, many thanks indeed Patsi.  I cannot pick a favourite from the two!

Penhaligons Bluebell lived up to my expectations.  It smells exactly like a fresh bluebell, only cranked up a little and made more intense.  The natural smell of a bluebell is more subtle, but we’re not going for realism here, we are going for reproduction. There is slightly metallic, medicinal tang to it, a little like Jasmine at its freshest.  Alongside the central bluebell note ( listed as Hyacinth, but all the same family)  are other floral notes that fill in the gaps as the sharp, high pitched Bluebell wavers, unable to keep the fresh note going.  Here I can discern Lily of The Valley and a faint rose, before the Bluebell note melds into the spicier, base notes with its cloves and cinnamon, used sparingly, like a faint outline.

 

kew.org
kew.org

There is a definite vegetable note in the base, reminding me that bluebells are related to asparagus, but it is eclipsed by wafts of  pleasing flora.   Would I buy this? Yes.  And I would also buy Penhaligons Violetta and wear them together, because, oh boy, that smells amazing!

Stockists

You can buy Penhaligons Bluebell from Penhaligons and Penhaligons stockists and franchises, which you can find here.  You can also find Penhaligons on allbeauty.com, Amazon UK and Amazon.com, as well as eBay.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche

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The  Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire collection is a step away from the heritage Guerlains, giving the brand a modern twist to a new younger audience.  However, being an old fashioned sort, I never really took to either the raspberries or cherries in the EDT or the EDP.  I was also miffed at how misleadingly different the EDT and the EDP are.  Usually an eau de parfum is a stronger concentration of an eau de toilette, but in the case of La Petite Robe Noire, they were two totally different scents.  This annoyed me in light of the twenty hundred flankers that followed.  Surely if the EDP was so different from the EDT it should have been given the name of a flanker?  But there we are.  To use a diplomatic phrase in Blogging, I guess they didn’t make it for me.

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To add to the constantly evolving long list of flankers, which in terms of numbers is giving Givenchy Irresistible a run for its money (27 flankers and counting), Guerlain has launched La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche.  Or LPRB Eau Fraiche for short.

There are no cherries or raspberries, but just so the nougat factory doesn’t go out of business, there are a lot almonds and pistachios, which to me,  seem an odd choice for an eau fraiche.  The flowers are there too: noticeably heady Jasmine Sambac, some orange flower, and two types of rich rose, but the juxtaposition of these over the nuts and Tonka bean makes for a gourmand-lite.  Not something I want to wear in summer.

There is a bit of sparkly fun as it opens- like clean soapy talcum powder that turns into space dust when it hits your skin, but  it is quickly drowned by the naked praline.

I wouldn’t presume to tell genius Thierry Wasser (who can be deliciously blunt!) what to do, but I cannot help questioning the combination of  gourmand and heady flowers in an eau fraiche.  It’s not one I would choose to buy and if I had around £40 to spend on a bottle of Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche, I would probably spend it on something else.

I was underwhelmed and in a blind test, I would never have had this down as a Guerlain.

 

Stockists: Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Ma Robe Pétales Eau Fraiche is widely available  and in the UK you could try Escentual,  Selfridges, Amazon UK, House of Fraser and Debenhams.  Outside the UK, you can try Sephora, Amazon and most department store beauty counters.

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Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

Yesterday, just after lunch, I tried Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu and could NOT get it off.  It’s now Sunday evening.  I have had a shower, washed my hands many times and finally, only a bath shifted it.  Think cloying caramels and chocolate with a spiky base à la Thierry Mugler Angel, concentrated into essence form and with a staying power only rivalled by a tattoo.  I will even have to wash my coat as it rubs off onto my skin every time I wear it.

www.lorianzalone.com

Lancôme La Vie est Belle  has proved to be a bestseller and seems to have tapped into a trend that dictates that it’s desirable for your perfume to make you smell like Thorntons Chocolatier.  Personally I dislike anything too gourmand ( with a few notable exceptions)  because it feels like I  am eating perfume or using food on my skin : my senses get confused and don’t know what to tell my brain.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu was initially a pleasant surprise- finally I could smell those flowers and make out the iris, and… was that rose?  With a hint of blackcurrant?  Wonderful- for about twenty minutes. Then the caramel barged in and took over, smothering everything and turning up the volume until I was walking home holding the guilty arm away from my side as if I blamed it.

The verdict is this:  If you like this, you have a bargain on your hands.  Even a small bottle will outlast anything permanent in your life. Staying power is nuclear.  Your whole house will smell of it, and your friends will smell like this, and your car and the bus and your children and their friends.

Unfortunately I didn’t like it at all.

 

Stockists: Lancome La Vie est Belle L’Absolu is available from Sephora.com or Lancome-usa.com or lancome.ca if you are in the USA or Canada or Europe.  In the UK, you can buy it from John Lewis, Debenhams, Amazon UK or House of Fraser.

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Friedemodin Vertine: “The Feel of Cool, Damp Grass beneath your feet”

www.Friedemodin.com
www.Friedemodin.com

 

“The Feel of Cool, Damp Grass beneath your feet”

There is a new name emerging on the fragrant firmament.  That name is Friedemodin, and I am lucky enough to have four 5ml sample bottles from them to review.  I am always happy to receive samples for review and  at the risk of repeating myself, I will reiterate my usual disclaimer that by sending me  a sample, you risk my honesty.

Friedemodin- you have nothing to fear but your own success.  I have been wearing Vertine for the past couple of days and I have been quietly falling in love with it.

Friedemodin is the brainchild of German Nina Friede and Swede Elisabeth Modin, who worked with Virginie Daniau and legendary Nose Francois Robert to produce a range that is luxurious  and original without being elitist.

www.planetnatural.com
www.planetnatural.com

“Leafy, herbal, aromatic- you feel alive in this place, knowing you’ll never forget the reviving purity of this morning”

There are currently four scents in the range: Vertine, Jardin Mystique, Rosée de Nuit and Feu Follet. I am deliberately only trying one at a time and will come to the others presently, but today I am reviewing Vertine.

Vertine opens with a herb garden covered in springtime dewdrops.  Yes that sounds twee doesn’t it?  But Vertine made me go all poetic.  There is something very pure about it.  As far as blending goes, I could close my eyes and insist that this was made with the deft watercolour shading of Jean Claude Ellena, but I’d be wrong.  However, with a hint of dewy fig in the midst of it, it did ring a bell that sounded that Ellena’s Un Jardin En Mediterranee for Hermes.  However, Vertine also has a hint of peppermint which could have gone either way.  Peppermint can either smell like the inside of my handbag (Trebor Extra Strong Mints!), or be a gentle soothing presence like a fresh mint plant itself.  In the deft hands of Francois Robert,  it was the latter, green leaves and all.  Fans of Guerlain Herba Fresca will have their heads turned for sure.

 

www.Friedemodin.com
www.Friedemodin.com

Vertine smells as if it has healing qualities.  At the moment the perfume I wear when I need healing (I’m not using the word hangover!) is Eau de Cartier or Elizabeth Arden Spiced Green Tea, but I have disloyally  all but swept them off my dressing table to make way for my new even gentler friend.

I’m not mistaking gentle for weak either:  Vertine has its own identity and I can smell the galbanum, peppermint, basil and a faintest whisper of fig wrap itself around me.  Longevity is good at around seven hours, and if you like your scents cologne style, but with Eau de Parfum lasting power, then I can almost guarantee that you will like Vertine.  I do.  I love it.  I’m a fan.  I shall be watching Friedemodin with great interest.  Certainly an exciting name to watch.  I’m not alone either because those nice people at Harvey Nichols think so too.

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Stockists

You can buy Friedemodin scents at Harvey Nichols in the UK. Prices are £120 for 100ml or £60 for a discovery set of all four.  You can also buy samples from the Friedemodin website at £12 for 4 x 2ml samples of each scent in the range.  The Friedemodin range is also available in Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, India and Sweden.  See this link for details.

Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense: Not For Wallflowers

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Jean Paul Gaultier has been a favourite of mine since his Eurotrash days (do you remember that great post pub show he hosted on TV with Antoine de Caunes? Fabulous.)

JPG was the darling of the Nineties, getting men into kilts and Breton shirts and Madonna into her iconic pointy bras – and sometimes no bra at all if the iconic topless dress is anything to go by.  Those Gallic eyes have lost none of their twinkle and I declare myself a fan.

www.popsugar.com
www.popsugar.com

However, JPG loses a few points (but none of the love) for the sheer vast number of flankers around the fabulous Classique.  I have reviewed Jean Paul Gaultier Classique elsewhere in this blog and I liked its soapy/acetone-y/feminine vibe, but it looks like someone, somewhere thought “here’s an idea!  Let’s make so many flankers that even the die hard fans could never possibly list them all!” and so it was.

However, redemption is in sight for today I am wearing Jean Paul Gaultier Classique Intense and it’s marvellous.

Opening with bright white flowers and a hint of  vanilla, Classique Intense makes its presence felt straight away.  The choice of flowers is interesting:  there is no tuberose, but lots of Tiare flower.  This means you get headiness, with less full fat cream but plenty of coconut and soap.  I happen to love this so I don’t mind, but coconut dodgers (great mental image! Would make a good Wii game) may wish to take a back seat.

The middle phase goes a bit woody on me and lies flat for a little while, but then the base notes emerge and in comes patchouli, a few more white flowers coming back as the woodiness fades, and a delicate hint of vanilla that makes this confusingly, borderline frangipani in places, what with the coconutty foodie thing going on.  No matter, it’s marvellous and with just a touch of juiciness in the restrained pomegranate, you have a great, and intense, woody white floral.

Ignore the millions of flankers- I have neither the time nor the inclination to even know where to begin, but the original Jean Paul Gaultier Classique is worth seeking out if you haven’t done already.

Stockists  You can buy Classique Intense online ( or in store) from the Fragrance Shop in the UK, or online from Next or online and in store from Boots (who also do click and collect if you don’t want to pay postage).  I couldn’t find it on any USA sites so I am guessing the launch over there will be coming soon.

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Serge Lutens Gris Clair: Hot Lavender!

gris clairgood

 

On my skin, Serge Lutens scents last a very long time: usually around nine hours. The exception was Muscs Koublai Khan, which I detested and couldn’t get rid of. It’s the perfume Rule of Sod.  Love it?  It won’t last.  Hate it?  It won’t wash off.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair falls somewhere in the middle for me.  It’s long lasting but I neither hate nor love it.  Weirdly, it smells a little like hot starched linen on me: as if I have over-ironed a garment (chance would be a fine thing- ask my husband!).  It also smells very masculine, and if I may use a colour here, it smells silver.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair was created by the genius that is Christopher Sheldrake. I don’t love everything he makes, but everything he makes is quite brilliant, objectively speaking if not subjectively.  Woodsy lavender with a hint of resin, this is an unusual combo and I can think of few scents with which to compare it.

The notes include Iris, tonka bean, woods, lavender, incense, and amber.  What I admire about it is the fact that without the lavender, this would be a superb, if not unique, incense-y oriental.  However, the lavender jars and almost puts my teeth on edge, but I don’t regard this as a bad thing.  How would we have discovered that olives and Martini go so well together if someone hadn’t dared to try it?

So what we have in Gris Clair is a warm, spicy scent whose cosy edges are blown away.  Lavender is a cold scent.  Amber is warm.  Sheldrake has wrapped a woolly blanket around the hard edges of a skyscraper.  It’s hot and cold.  It’s different.  It’s audacious.  But it’s not for me.

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