Tag Archives: perfumes with caramel notes

Shay & Blue London: Amber Rose


Shay and Blue London Amber Rose is one of those fragrances that I tried in warm weather and dismissed, then tried in cold weather and ending up loving. The same thing happened with First by Van Cleef and Arpels, which is now the nearest thing I have to a signature scent.

In the summer, I found Amber Rose too sweet and too gourmand in the sticky heat. However, in cold weather, it tells a different story and it was a story that had me hooked from page one.

Amber Rose only has three notes: Rose, Dulche de Leche ( caramel) and Amber.  The rose is a clean rose that has a hint of papery dried petals around the edges: think the dried rose petals in pot pourri. It combines satiny petals with a tea like dryness. The  delectable dulche de leche note acts a bridge between the rose and the amber and  it’s a genius bit of blending.  The sweetness of the rose rises and melts into the caramel and then sobers up again as it segues into the woody amber finish. This is perfect for cold weather and the sweetness level is pitched just right for a wintery day.  The combination of roses and milky, woody warmth is irresistibly cosy.  I can see my Shay and Blue collection starting to grow. Oh well!



You can find a selection of Shay and Blue fragrance in branches of Marks and Spencer. Alternatively, you can buy a mini selection of Shay & Blue fragrances from The Perfume Society ( see photo above). The link is here. Sample and opinions are my own.

Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Absolu



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.


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.


Aquolina Pink Sugar: Candy for Grown ups


Providing yet another example of how  all perfumes deserve more than one chance, I have been proved wrong yet again, this time by Aquolina Pink Sugar. I recently dismissed Pink Sugar as another candy floss scent but my dear friend Lisa Wordbird prompted me to take another look.  She was right about it.  It’s not a typical candy floss scent.  Aquolina has come at this from a different angle.

First of all the sugar in it is gourmet for grown ups.  There’s no ice cream like scent, no cheap vanilla cake flavouring, it’s more like sophisticated burnt maple sugar, with a caramel tang.

Opening notes claim to be fruity, but I did not find any Bergamot or Oranges anywhere as promised, and I can usually pick a citrus out like a bloodhound.

What makes this interesting, is a distinct note of vinyl, like a plastic doll’s head.  This gives me the impression that it‘s not taking itself too seriously.  It’s an ironic nod to fruity florals and has shrugged off the tendency to smell like a hundred other perfumes by offering a Demerera cube with your coffee, instead of a bowl of white sugar.  It may have a teenage market, but  with a mischievous wink, it’s making them smell like the dollies they so recently tossed aside.

This is one of those scents that I like and admire but don’t want to wear.  It’s a new take on pink and girly scents,  but it has brains.  Germaine Greer could get away with it beautifully.

Aquolina Pink Sugar is available on www.allbeauty.com for just 15.95.