Formerly known as Yardley Lace and now made by Taylor of London, this review of Lace follows on from my recent post about Wearing Your Mum’s perfume. I didn’t wear Lace first time round, when I was in my teens, since I assumed it was “For Mums”. Well now I am a Mum and a fan of mossy chypres, and I reckon Lace deserves a hug for staying true in a world of ever changing scent fashion. Yes, Lace carried on wearing court shoes when everyone else wore trainers and that my friends, take guts.
I have worn Lace, and Lace alone for a good couple of days in order to draw my conclusions and here they are: Lace does not suit its white lacy powder blue bottle, as it’s a tough old bird full of spice and body and moss. Fragrantica only lists only three notes listed: aldehydes, rose and oakmoss. In fact, in Lace you will find a good dose of sandalwood, patchouli, cedarwood, musk, and amber in among that gorgeous oakmoss.
I found the aldehydes very dominant: Lace smells of pure white soap and good old fashioned talcum powder. It took me years to appreciate this accord, but now I do I can’t get enough. After a couple of hours, for this has fab longevity, the spicy, mossy base emerges and you now have a pleasantly green accord with the powdery overlay, which always reminds me of antique dressing tables covered in talc and lipsticks.
Yardley no longer makes this, but Taylor of London does and the teeny weeny price makes this a big, big, retro bargain.
Are you one of those people who recoils at the idea of smelling like their Mum? I am. I confess that I very rarely wear the same perfume as my Mum, no matter how much I like it. In fact I try not to introduce her to perfumes I love for that very reason. No offence Mum, if you’re reading this! ( I bet she’s not) and happy birthday for tomorrow.
However, as a child of the seventies I am having a big fit of nostalgia lately. So many new releases from the last two years have been berry-heavy, vanilla heavy and have more in common with an ice cream sundae than a cosmetics counter. It used to be aldehydes and oakmoss and now its all candy floss and Kate Moss (which rhymes if you say it right). When did it become cool to smell like cupcakes instead of eating them? Is it any wonder that I long for the seventies?
Seventies fragrances are generally looked down on by the youth of today and no wonder: modern tastes have moved on. However, as an ardent fan of Coty L’Aimant and Panache and Avon Timeless I fully embrace those aldehydic affordable scents from my formative years and I reckon retro scents are due for a comeback.
I’ve picked ten of my favourites out below just in case you, like me, fancy a shot of retro fragrant frugality. I have only selected perfumes you can still buy today and perfumes that are still comparably affordable (not counting eBay where even the discontinued can be had for the right price)). In fact, the added bonus is that all the fragrances I have listed come in at well under a tenner and some are nearer five pounds. Is it too early to use the C word? Of course not. Here I go then- these would make great affordable Christmas presents. Check these out:
Avon Timeless:An ambery, powdery scent created in 1974. Avon discontinued it in favour of more modern releases but customer demand brought it back in 2012. My Avon Lady tells me it’s her bestseller.
Tweed:Tweed is underrated if you ask me. Its chock full of citruses and flowers, goes a bit Mr Sheen for a bit with lavender and beeswax, then ends up with a woody, patchouli afterglow that lasts a whole day. Cheap as chips and a pleasant change among the sweety/cakey miasma of the Twenteens.
Panache: I wear this often. Its jasmine, aldehydes and roses last around twelve hours on me, making my little 3.95 bottle fantastic value for money. You can still get it for well under a tenner.
Coty L’Aimant: Many Chanel No 5 fans eschew this gem, when actually, they were launched a few years apart in the late 1920s and smell very similar. Longevity is excellent and despite its tiny price, it never smells cheap.
Yardley Lavender: I’ve got the lot: Yardley Rose, Yardley April Violets and Yardley English Lavender. You can’t beat a classic floral. I also love to layer April Violets over existing scent that isn’t, in my open ion, “violetty enough”
Lace: Formerly Yardley Lace, this is now made by Taylor of London. Lace opens with aldehydes and citrus notes, goes through a blousy, rather loud floral phase and beds down into moss, amber and patchouli. It’s similar to Chique, but soapier.
Chique: With hand on heart I can genuinely tell you that this mossy chypre reminds me of Estee Lauder Knowing and gets better the longer you wear it. Chique isunder ten quid and I proudly own a wear a bottle myself. Wouldn’t be without it.
Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass: another spicy aldehyde, full of peppery geranium and classic roses. Perfect from the fridge in summer. Still very good value and widely available.
Charlie Blue: Okay I admit, I didn’t used to like this at all, but once I entered the chypre portal, it made more sense to me. It’s very cheap, very long lasting and has a mossy, spicy base that is harder to find over the High Street counter today. Its remarkably cheap, usually under £4.
Jovan Musk For Women: Launched in 1972 and still going strong today: Every Fragrance Wardrobe needs a musk and this is a good one. This has not dated since its launch and is not just a good quality musk on its own but is excellent for layering too. I bagged my bottle locally but you can find it on Fragrance Direct or Amazon UK.
I was in my local chemist yesterday waiting a long time for my husband’s prescription. The fragrance of the week was on the counter, and like a moth to a flame, I naturally had to completely drench myself in it. It was Rihanna’s Rogue, which I had never tried before. Expectations were low. A little cynical voice in my had said “Nah, just another celeb-bandwagon-thingy” and as I smelled it I thought “If this was air freshener it would be called Vanilla Bouquet”. I was unimpressed with the initial melange of fruit, flowers and vanilla overkill and thought little more of it.
But wait! After getting home about half an hour later I sniffed the air and thought “I can smell Serge Lutens Daim Blond”. That’s the second time this week my olfactory memory has come up with the file on Serge Lutens. It must be the universe’s way of telling me to buy one.
I looked on Fragrantica to see if I was alone in finding this similarity. I was not. Well sort of. Several readers voted that Rogue smelled similar to Bottega Veneta, which in turn is also voted on as smelling like Daim Blond, so indirectly we were on the same page ( well the same site anyway). With a base note of vanilla and suede, Rogue is like a slightly less smooth version of Daim Blond’s distinctive suede and apricot finish. Rogue is not as seamlessly blended, nor as long lasting, but it is about one sixth of the price. Neither does it have apricots, but rather plums and vanilla, but the similarities rang out nonetheless.
So whether it was homage or a happy accident, fans of Serge Lutens Daim Blond may have a low budget treat on their hands.
Avon Mesmerize Black for Her is a new release from Avon: one of many new releases, which can be a good thing or a bad thing. On one hand, too many new releases can dilute quality and impact, but on the other hand if you don’t like one, just hang on a bit because another will be along in a minute, a bit like British Weather.
I have tried two Avon new releases in as many months and I don’t think either of them were sufficiently unique or special enough to rave about. I recently reviewed Avon Cherish, which was an acceptable, marketable fruity floral with lots of caramel (you can find my review elsewhere on this blog. The search box is to your right. Strange things happen when I provide a link to my own site on my site!) Avon Mesmerize Black For Her is also fruity floral and also marketable and will probably sell, but I do not find it either unique or exciting.
There are only three notes listed: mandarin, jasmine and sandalwood. It is packaged as a floral oriental but I have to say that what I got was a rather sickly overly fruity scent with too much sandalwood, which was ridiculously synthetic smelling, thus preventing it from being enjoyable. Luckily I only bought the purse spray and not the full bottle. It’s kind of like when you’ve left an orange in a bag and you can smell it through the fabric, only the fabric has been sprayed with some kind of wintry air freshener.
Sorry Avon, I know you still do some good stuff at unbeatable prices but this did not move me.
Avon Mesmerize Black For Her is available from AvonShop UK or from your Avon rep. This week the price is only £7 for a 50ml bottle. My Avon Lady is called Jill and is lovely.
For the last three days I have sporadically spraying myself with an inexpensive men’s cologne, and liking it. A lot.
Kudos for Men retails for £5 and frankly, my only disappointment is that I didn’t discover this in the middle of winter as it’s rich, spicy and addictive. Having said that, it’s not so thickly cloying that you can’t wear it in warmer weather as the citruses, especially the grapefruit, stop it from being too fuzzy, for want of a better word (It’s the Easter Holidays, bear with me).
What I love about Kudos is the slightly leathery, smokiness of it that goes on like a cologne, has a hint of oranges and cardoman, beds down into a spicy chypre, and lingers like an eau de parfum i.e six hours at least. I have been unable to stop myself having a spray every time I walk past it.
Kudos reminds me of the interior of an old church: there is a hint of aged wood and a soupcon of incense, and since old churches are one of my favourite smells, I am giving Kudos full marks. It will be a staple on my dressing table, even if it doesn’t really “go” with the menagerie of prettier bottles on there at the moment.
You can buy Kudos for men from the Milton Lloyd website or Amazon UK, and you can usually find some on eBay. Prices are usually no more than five quid.
My sample was kindly provided by Milton Lloyd, but opinions are my own.
Tweed is one of those drugstore classics that still has a loyal following. Many perfume lovers who love their woody chypres adore cheap and cheerful Tweed with its great longevity and mossy woods, but a new take is needed for the modern palate (or should that be nostril?): after all, business is business.
Tweed Mademoiselle is not like Tweed. Tweed lovers may not even like it. However, it’s still good stuff and could well serve to revive the Tweed name . Yes, it’s a fruity floral, but don’t be put off if you’re not a fan of the genre. This smells like many far more expensive new releases I have smelled over many a perfume counter in the past year except for one thing: it costs just over a fiver. That’s enough to get my attention for a start. But would I lead my dear readers on a merry dance if it wasn’t worth buying? No, of course not.
Tweed Mademoiselle has the following notes: Top notes: bergamot, melon Middle notes: jasmine, rose and violet. Base notes: oakmoss, amber, patchouli, vanilla
The floral notes are very prominent, and I have to say the melon is also noticeable but rather coming across as a calone, it’s more strawberry like. The base is reassuringly woody, in keeping with the original Tweed, but without the same depth. It’s kind of an Oakmoss-lite.
In other words, you have a very decent modern floral fruity chypre for less than the price of a bottle of wine. Longevity isn’t bad at around four to five hours (I’m using the parfum de toilette).
Tweed has changed hands many times: it started as Lentheric, then became Yardley and then became Taylor of London and is now owned by Milton Lloyd for World Class. Milton Lloyd is a brand with much to offer the frugal perfumista. They have launched a range of updated classics (Chique Mademoiselle is next on my list) as well as the excellent Grasse Experience which I reviewed earlier this week. I have only tried a few out of the range but what they have all in common is that they are excellent budget buys and the packaging is nice enough to give as a gift too. In fact at these prices you could even risk a few blind buys.
Grasse Experience is one of those perfumes that is almost worryingly cheap but still smells good. They are out there, and you have to be selective, but good quality perfume can indeed be had for song.
Regular readers will no doubt be familiar with my adage that you don’t have to be rich to smell good. Jean Yves Grasses Experience made by Milton Lloyd Cosmetics for World Class is a great example of this.
Fans of Clinique Aromatics Elixir will certainly enjoy this smellalike, with its aldehydic opening and its rich finish replete with vetiver, patchouli and clove. The notes are very similar to Aromatics Elixir, and it has a wonderful powdery traditional feel about it. The differences lie in the fact that Grasse Experience doesn’t have the same resonance or longevity as the legendary all-day long Aromatics Elixir, but for a mere 4.99, its unbeatable and you can afford to top up. However, this is no puny weakling- its still there for a good four hours.
There’s more to come from Milton Lloyd this week as I have other treats in store- including a Tweed flanker and a Chique flanker. I always welcome low price perfume ranges that dare to be different and don’t go down the most obvious crowd pleasing route, so watch this space.
As I may have mentioned before, I am a strong believer in perfume for all. If your budget is more Aldi than Amouage, you can still smell good. The trick lies in being selective: quality is there if you know where to look. It’s also in portion control: yes you can wear niche, but a sample or discovery set usually works out cheaper than a full bottle if eked out judiciously. When the purse is empty, I can still smell of Tauer Noontide Petals, just not every day.
Last year I made a list of best perfumes under ten pounds. Due to constant price changes and discontinued this and that, I thought it appropriate to do another one. I won’t quote prices as they are so variable, but all of these were under 10GBP at the time of going to press, and not in a sale.
I’ve tried to include a bit of everything so in the list below you have a musk, a rose, an oriental, a cologne, a floral, and a patchouli. Hope you like it! Oh and do let me know of your favourite bargains. I always love to hear from you.
1. Coty L’Aimant: still under a tenner, still smells like Chanel No 5, still easy to find. Oddly, not often worn by the young. Time to put this right! Think, as the Perfumed Dandy does, of an Agatha Christie heroine.
3. The Body Shop Early Harvest Raspberry EDP 30ml. You know the adage K.I.S.S? (Keep It Simple Stupid)? Well that’s what the Body Shop has done and this lovely raspberry soliflore is suitable for all ages, even children, and is one of the most searched for posts on my blog.
4. Alyssa Ashley Musk: A classic Musk that has been going since the 70s. You can’t go wrong.
5. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A creamy combo of Papyrus and Patchouli. It’s not your typical celebuscent and smells like it cost a lot more than it did. I wear it often.
6. Chique by Taylor of London: This was a pleasant surprise to me: a mossy chypre that reminded me of Estee Lauder Knowing but was a fraction of the price. The packaging is dated and bland but it smells terrific.
7. The Body Shop Atlas Mountain Rose oil, 15ml. A great base for layering, or wearing alone. Because it’s an oil and has no alcohol in it, I find it lasts longer than anything else on a very hot summer day.
8. Avon Timeless: Currently a fiver a bottle. Avon created this classic in 1974 and discontinued it in 2012. Customer demand brought it back. Amber and Patchouli and aldehydes. Buy it before they change their mind again. Available from your Avon rep.
9. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea flankers: widely available and usually 9.99, I have tried several of these now and I can honestly say that they are all delightful. Light, pretty florals that refresh on a hot day and impossibly feminine to boot. Real crowd pleasers. I especially like the Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle, Green Tea Tropical and Green Tea Revitalize.
10. Next Just Pink: Smells like Ralph Lauren Romance, but even prettier! I adore this and always have a purse spray in my handbag.
Incidentally, if you are not afraid to go a few pence over the ten quid limit, I suggest Avon Premier Luxe , any of The Body Shop Scents of The World Range, and a trawl through allbeauty.com.
Others that I recommend are Tweed, Panache, A quick peek in TK Maxx to see what they’ve got in this week (stock changes constantly) a basket full of purse sprays from Marks and Spencer, the ever changing array of scents and prices in your local bargain stores such as Wilkinson and Home Bargains, the Yardley soliflores … Oh and don’t forget eBay!
If you were a child of the Seventies, you may remember the adverts on TV for Vanderbilt jeans. Daring designer Gloria Vanderbilt, she of the impeccable heritage, launched a range of jeans that were tighter than the world had seen before. Suddenly the derriere was very much “in” and fashionable backsides had Gloria’s name all over them.
Between scandal, tragedy and court cases, Vanderbilt, a talented artist and writer, also launched a range of perfumes with L’Oreal and the original scent: Vanderbilt by Gloria Vanderbilt, has become a quiet classic with no signs of quitting yet, rather like it’s 90 year old creator.
The success of Vanderbilt led to the launch of twelve flankers, including fragrances for men, but none have eclipsed the success of this slow and steady grafter that can be bought just about anywhere for under ten pounds.
If I had been asked to describe this blind, I would have said it was most definitely Iris against a sweet Tuberose and Musk base. Two out of three ain’t bad, as Meatloaf would say, and I was very surprised to see that this contains no Iris at all.
Here are the notes according to Fragrantica: Top notes: Aldehydes, Pineapple, Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Lavender, Green notes. Middle notes: Carnation, Tuberose, Orris Root, Rose, Jasmine, Ylang. Base notes: Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Opoponax, Vetiver, Civet, Musk
Many of these ingredients are absent to my nose (no Civet and thankfully, no Pineapple), you may find it’s different for you. Considering there are so many varied ingredients, I still find that rooty note that is usually associated with Iris, is the most dominant. However, I think it’s probably a combination of vegetable-like Orris Root and creamy rich Tuberose. The drydown is a pleasant crowd pleasing White Musk with a hint of something woody: maybe a whisper of Vetiver and rasp of Sweet Myrrh aka Opoponax, but overall, I still say that Iris lovers will go for this.
Age wise, this could suit young or old, although today’s young tastes might initially eschew it in favour of more sugary scents. It’s versatile for day or night, inoffensive and cheap enough to wear every day. Longevity is pretty good at around six hours and you can easily top up from just about anywhere should you run out. Frankly, these things are all I ask from a drugstore classic.
Gloria Vanderbilt had such a colourful and interesting life, it would make a great movie. With her wealth, she could have gone down the exclusive route where fragrance was concerned and produced something with a “no riff raff” price tag, but she didn’t and she created something entirely pleasant and accessible. Kudos and my respect to this Grande Dame of Design.
You can buy Vanderbilt from Amazon or allbeauty.com if you’re in the UK or from Sears if you’re in the USA or Canada, but it’s pretty much everywhere.
Like good shoes and a good coat, every fragrance wardrobe should have a good rose. This needn’t break the bank, as The Body Shop Mountain Atlas Rose proves so beautifully.
You may recall my recent review of The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily. It was excellent quality and being an oil, it does not intrude on the personal space of other people when applied.
Likewise, the Mountain Atlas Rose that I am reviewing today is also in the form of an oil. I often find oils longer lasting than sprays since they don’t contain alcohol, which, in cheaper scents, evaporates quickly on application and sometimes takes the scent with it, if quality is poor. In fact, I tried the spray EDT of Atlas Mountain Rose sometime ago and it disappeared by the time I got home. The oil is a different story ( and is cheaper!), which is why I have chosen it today.
Rose is a tricky one to get right and I applaud The Body Shop for going back to basics in this case. There is clearly a market for a simple rose scent: Paul Smith Rose is rarely out of the top ten these days, amongst all the fruity-choulis and fruity florals.
Atlas Mountain Rose has several notes: Citrus notes, Rose, Musk and Amber.
Whilst I would say that all these notes are present, they are so minor that they hardly need a mention in the credits. They serve to round off the corners of a big rose splash and they serve to stop the Rose from getting a bit medicinal, which I find that Rose can sometimes do when untempered and unfettered.
This is a fabulous Turkish Delight style Rose and the faint Musk makes it soft and fuzzy like velvet. Longevity is not quite what I had hoped for from a Body Shop oil. For instance, Body Shop White Musk oil lasts about twelve hours on me (and a bottle lasts a year!). However, I got a decent five hours wear out of Atlas Mountain Rose and at £7.50 a bottle, I’m not complaining at all.
This is an excellent Rose scent for any fragrant wardrobe and I much prefer it to a spray. This is very pretty, does what it says on the tin and is a very good price.