Tag Archives: perfumes with Caramel

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.


Hermes Elixir Des Merveilles by Jean Claude Ellena


I spend so much time in the kitchen that it has put me right off Gourmand scents.  I don’t want to smell like I’ve been baking, because I usually have.  However there is one man who could persuade me to wear a gourmand and that is Jean Claude Ellena, creator of both Hermes Ambre Narguile (reviewed earlier in this blog), and today’s scent Elixir Des Merveilles for Hermes.

If you told me I would be both wearing and enjoying a scent that added up to Oranges and Caramel, I wouldn’t have believed it, but I am.

When JC Ellena is on board, he is never heavy handed. Elixir Des Merveilles is all sorts of gorgeous.  It has citrus (Oranges) but isn’t a Citrus.  It has Resins and Patchouli but isn’t just an Oriental. It has Caramel and Vanilla but isn’t just a Gourmand.

 Elixir Des Merveilles opens with buttery Oranges. Whilst the notes of the Orange are clear, the citrus does not dominate, but is made creamy by the addition of warm Vanilla Sugar (I know, I’m starting to think Nigella Lawson made this, not Jean Claude).

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This top note is brisk and sparkly, but the Patchouli slowly and subtly gets bigger until the middle and base is a kind of mouthwatering Woody symphony.  The Caramel note is definitely noticeable, but serves to enhance rather than dominate, like a great backing singer. The warmth of the gourmand notes seems to make this smoother and rounded, like polished wood. The base itself has lost almost all of the Orange, and ends with a warm Oriental finish. Lasting power is excellent: the base note just goes on and on.

In an Overcast March that can’t seem to make up its mind, this warm beauty is like a hug. It covers all bases but it never sells out.  Caramel and Oranges? Jean Claude not only makes it work but makes you wonder why it isn’t done more often. I wonder what his cooking is like?