Tag Archives: scent

Coty L’Aimant: A Classic since 1927

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Three great things about Coty L’Aimant:

1.  It’s really cheap

2.  It smells a bit like Chanel No 5 (Me and 27 Fragrantica reviewers can’t be wrong)

3. It doesn’t smell cheap

I could end it there, but Coty L’Aimant is so much more than a passable substitute for Chanel No 5.  L’Aimant is a perfume I can never wear since it was my late grandmother’s signature scent. Even in her seventies, she was classy and always smelled lovely. Peppermints, Lavender and L’Aimant. Sometimes a whiff of menthol in Winter.

It’s a perfume that I would love to see more people wearing. It’s old fashioned, yes, but you could also call it delightfully retro. It’s been around since 1927 and is still popular, so you could call it a classic.

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hprints.com

L’Aimant is an aldehyde, although it has such creamy white flowers and a powdery finish that it is sometimes hard to categorise it with other more astringent aldehydes such as Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass or First by Van Cleef and Arpels.  

It used to remind me of a slightly gone off old fashioned powder compact, which is in fact how Chanel No 5 smells to me ( I’ve never been a fan but I suppose I’ll have to review it at some point).

The top notes of L’Aimant are: Neroli, Bergamot, Peach and Aldehydic Notes. Personally, I didn’t get even a soupçon of Bergamot.  L’Aimant is more peachy  and soapy, with the Neroli providing a hint of rich white flowers.

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Middle notes are Jasmine, Geranium, Ylang, Rose and Orchid.  I can pick out Jasmine and Rose, but the others are a pleasant furry blur, with maybe a prickle of Spicy Geranium

Basenotes are Vetiver, Musk, Sandalwood, Cedar, Tonka and Vanilla. I definitely get the Vanilla, Sandalwood and Musk, if nothing else. It is after all, a creamy and warm finish with a flourish of powder puff.

What never ceases to amaze me is that a long lasting perfume of this calibre can still be had for a song.  Last time I looked it was under 8GBP for a 30ml Parfum de Toilette spray. A while back, I posted an article called “Good Perfumes Under Ten pounds: Is It Possible?”.  I’m amazed I left this out.  I’ll just have to do another list. (Look out for forthcoming Top Tens).

I may well be giving Coty L’Aimant  a second chance as homage to my late grandmother, who was always such a lady.

 

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LUSH Sikkim Girls: Don’t Be Seduced.

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 I have remained unimpressed by LUSH Series 2 Gorilla perfumes, although admittedly I have only tried three of them. I now come to the third and final LUSH Gorilla perfume in my possession: Sikkim Girls. Legend has it that the Sikkim Girls were dangerous seductresses who would attract men with their sensual swaying from side to side. The exotic line drawing on the bottle is a lovely, if rather menacing, illustration of this pair of minxes.

 I was so ready to like Sikkim Girls. It opens with Jasmine: a loud, floaty yellow cloud of it.  Sadly , this is not a good Jasmine. It reminded me of the kind of 99p perfume oils you would buy on a market stall. Or even,  public toilets  with the added gentility of Council supplied air freshener.  Jasmine can often have an indolic quality which may be why it makes people think of toilets, but I  reckon if I can handle Serge Lutens Sarrasins, I can handle anything.

 Just as I was  considering washing it off, the Frangipani kicked in. This did nothing to change my mind  and just left a nasty taste in my mouth, liking eating Bakewell Tart in a tiled lavatory. The Vanilla background reminded me of the dreaded Furze (my sofa still smells of it five weeks after my sons decanted a 7ml bottle of it onto the arms).  So what have we got? Cheap Jasmine toilet freshener against an oversweet synthetic Almond and Vanilla background.

 It baffles me why last year’s Gorillas were so good and why this years’ are so bad (again, I have only tried three, to be fair to LUSH). There was an excellent post recently from Another Perfume Blog who came up with an interesting theory:

” It makes me wonder if the Constantines are evolving as perfumers in a way that perhaps every perfumer does, with the difference that—because they own their own shop—they are selling what they make at each stage, where a perfumer working for a big brand might consider such products to be part of the learning process, or to be early-stage accords to be fleshed out into a perfume.”

I agree with this theory: these perfumes smell unfinished, or even crude to my nose. When I think of how lovely violetty Tuca Tuca was, I find it hard to believe that the same perfumers made this awful mess.

Another fact that shocked me is that the Jasmine that I find so cheap smelling is Jasmine Absolute. And yet never before has it smelled so trashy.

At £27.50 for a little 25 g bottle, it’s not the cheapest, despite how it smells. If I had £27.50 to spend on perfume, I can think of twenty other things I would rather do with it.

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Escada Especially Escada Delicate Notes: Dare to Breathe

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Created in 2012, this new release from Escada sits as delicately as a fairy’s wing in the palm of a hand. Standing out from the weekly rent a scent releases, this is refreshingly not a vanilla drenched fruity floral, although it is most definitely floral.

Kept light and airy as a feather with delicate notes (see, it lives up to its name!) of Rose, and Grapefruit, this is a scent that is almost translucent in its lightness of touch. Delicate Notes is feminine in the extreme, and I would normally say it wouldn’t work for a man, but I have it on good authority that in hotter climes, Roses work beautifully on male skin.

There are two types of Rose in Escada Especially Escada Delicate Notes, and the notes are used sparingly. It’s definitely the petals of a dew kissed Rose, but there’s no Turkish Delight. If La Fille De Berlin is the dark eyed Evil Twin of Rose Fragrances, then this is the pretty and good sister, who always gets good grades at school.

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Delicate Notes escaped my attention several times. I saw it in The Perfume Shop next to several other launches that inevitably came with a beach bag. Turning my snobby nose in the air, I turned and left. However, trying a free sample a week later made me think again. This is quite similar to Gucci Envy Me in that it is a gentle, light floral with a hint of clean laundry. The person who wears this is as fresh as a daisy and has never smoked a cigarette or gone to bed without taking off their make up first.  It’s pure and clean and lovely.

Lasting power isn’t bad at all, at around five hours, and I would seriously consider making this a full bottle purchase. Florals can be hard to get right, but this is light as air, and perfect just as it is.

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Givenchy Amarige: Jasmine via Megaphone

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Twenty years ago, I bought my first bottle of Givenchy Amarige and didn’t bother using it sparingly. Loud, proud, and distinctive, Amarige is instantly recognisable.

It claims that “  It is so opulent and floral that it seems like its composition includes all the beautiful flowers that exist in the world.”

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Launched in 1991 by our old friend Dominique Ropion, I was 21 when I bought my first, second and third bottles. There followed a hiatus in my love affair with Amarige, possibly because I met and fell in love with another fragrance, the quieter, greener Chanel Cristalle, to whom I was faithful for many years.

Recently, on my holiday sojourn (or staycation since I stayed in the UK and holidayed on the coast), I found Amarige in a sale for only 22GBP and Oops I bought it. The memories came rushing back. However, the 21 year old me, is very different to the me of today (although naturally we look the same age *cough*).

And it is.

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With more notes than an opera, Amarige has everything you could imagine:  Neroli, Mimosa, Jasmine, Gardenia, Yellow Flowers, Oranges, Peaches (thankfully light), Roses, Tuberose, Carnation, Woods, Amber, Vanilla, Cedar, Violet…you name it, it’s in there.  In the wrong hands, this could be a generic mess, but Dominique Ropion has fiddled with the dials until everything is just at the right volume. My youthful self  was right on one point, it certainly does smell more expensive than it is. Luca Turin nearly gave it four stars, despite disliking it.  In fact, in Perfumes The Guide he states “ If you are reading this because it is your darling fragrance, please wear it at home exclusively, and tape the windows shut.”

He calls this a “soapy-green tobacco-tuberose”. I really don’t know where to categorize it on my dressing table (my bottles stand in groups).  Despite the valid criticisms of it, I can’t help liking it, and can’t stop sniffing my wrists today as it whooshes me back to the early Nineties.

Divisive ain’t the word. There is an Amarige review on Fragrantica that makes me chuckle every time, It is written by a man whose ex girlfriend practically marinated herself in it to the maximum degree, despite his pleas to stop.  Dear crazykoffee you did give me a laugh as well as giving us all a sobering lesson on how NOT to use perfume! It is a brilliantly expressed review  and is a good balance to my gushing.

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Amarige is a distinct classic, with Tuberose and Jasmine rooted in a deep and redolent base. The Yellow flower notes remind me a little of Chloe Narcisse, a fragrance only suitable for bees.  At the same time it’s playful and sweet, without being candy-sugary. It beds down into a floral woodiness, and lasts for ages, even as an EDT. I can’t help liking it, but I promise never to wear it over breakfast.

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Elizabeth Taylor Diamonds and Emeralds: Almost Nearly Potentially Good

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As you may have realised by now, I am constantly on the trail of a low rent bargain: a high quality gem hiding behind its low price. Sometimes I am lucky, more often than not I am disappointed.  Still, I can always cheer myself up with a squirt of (non cheap) Carillon pour un Ange. It seems to be just what the Doctor ordered of late. It provides great comfort and succour for those moments when you are staring at your new low cost purchase in disillusionment. Again.

ImageSadly, Dame Elizabeth’s glamorous offering, Diamonds and Emeralds is that very purchase. Like a Magpie, I was attracted to the pretty box, the pretty bottle, and the image of Diamonds and Emeralds. Great name, great lady. Fabulous jewellery.

I have previously tried Diamonds and Rubies and found it shockingly bad. It’s in my Perfumed Turkey Hall of Infamy. It’s like being attacked by Peach flavoured Plasticine in a guest toilet that is dressed floor to ceiling in peach lace, right down to the toilet lid and toilet roll holder. It was an assault on my senses and easily one of the worst commercial smells I have ever encountered.

liz emeraldsDiamonds and Emeralds isn’t quite as nasty, and starts off showing a great deal of potential. First off, the Gardenia hits you rather prettily.  As soon as that has registered, rich, creamy tuberose comes out to play.  Just as I was enjoying the tuberose and feeling smug about my low cost purchase, along came a gang of aggressive peaches and sprayed me to death with cheap air freshener. Sadly this synthetic peach note is the longest lasting phase.  If they had just held back on the peaches, this could possibly have been a rather old fashioned, inexpensive tuberose classic  Not in the same category as the Great Fracas of course, but in a sort of “it’ll do”  category. Madonna made a good attempt at affordable tuberose in Truth or Dare, but Diamonds and Emeralds is a fleeting waft of synthetics in comparison.

How very sad, since I badly wanted this 80s Dynasty style diamanté encrusted bottle on my dressing table, but I’m afraid it might scare the good stuff away.

The only pleasure I had from Diamonds and Emeralds was found in looking at the photographs of the real McCoy at the auction of Dame Elizabeth’s jewellery.  How wonderful to look on such a masterpiece.  I guess nothing was ever going to match up to the real thing.

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Hello to my USA Readers, This is For You. Obsession by Calvin Klein

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I see from my blog dashboard that I have a lot of readers from the USA, a country that has given me several wonderful holidays (Hello San Jose, Yosemite, Carmel and San Francisco!). In honour of your special day, I thought it only right that I should review an American Classic.

Calvin Klein Obsession came along at a time when heavy, spicy perfumes were few and far between. There was Opium and Youth Dew and Cinnabar and that was about it on the Oriental Spicy front. Obsession was created in 1985, the same year as Dior’s Poison (Loud? Let’s just say it made an Aerosmith Concert sound like birdsong). Obsession had the big, brashness that was so characteristic of 1980s fragrance and fashion, think Alexis Carrington and her shoulder pads slamming open a dramatic set of double doors.  I miss you Joan. *sigh*

With a moody black and white ad campaign that was probably shot on a beach in the Hamptons, the market was ready for Obsession, even if train passengers were not.

Obsession opens with Spices, Amber, Sandalwood, a hint of Bitter Orange that’s pitched just right, and a whole host of other goodies that makes this shout “I’M HERE” as soon as you enter the room. Longevity is very good for a scent that’s High Street, mainstream and pretty inexpensive, and I have a sneaking fondness for it. On me, it unfolds in layers: Spice first, a slight booziness like Christmas,  Oranges, then Musk and Incense. I like it, but I am careful to spray just one squirt (base of throat) and no more, especially if I am going to be around food.  I love both perfume and food, but I do believe that perfume should never drown out the smell of either your meal or anybody else’s.

I had a bottle of Obsession in 1995, and again in 2005, and I don’t recall any differences in the formulation. Purists swear it’s been messed with, but I didn’t find  any  discernible anomalies .

 In a sea of fruits and berries and florals, this makes a welcome change and I wouldn’t object to a little mini revival, albeit sparingly. This has stood the test of the time and still feels current. One squirt usage makes the iconic egg shaped bottle last a very long time, making this a beauty bargain.

Happy Independence Day

LOEWE Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion: Death By Red Berries

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 I was sent this recently as part of my disappointing Discovery Box from The Fragrance Shop. Once a quarter they send out several samples and vouchers for the princely sum of 5GBP. As I may have mentioned before, I remain unimpressed, but my uncontrollable addiction to perfume samples, good or bad, prevents me from cancelling.

This month’s offering contained Loewe Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion, and I am reviewing it because two of the samples were for men, I haven’t got my head around Elvis Jesus yet (a  stingy 1ml sample, teeny), Mont Blanc smelled pretty similar to this, and after that I was left with Alien Aqua Chic, which I think the Universe wants me to review at some point since I now have three samples of the stuff.

 Loewe is a well established Spanish House that specialises in high end bags. They have now branched out into an extensive fragrance range, including  2007’s Quizas Quizas Quizas. In 2011 they launched a flanker, called Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to stop typing the long name and I’d like to call it QQQ Pasion. When I first sprayed it, a gang of overpowering Red Berries appeared from nowhere and whacked me over the head. As I came to, a faint whiff of pencil sharpenings and sickly flowers  poked their head through the Red Berry cloud, and a half acceptable note of Pale Woods made its presence felt, though not as much as I would liked. Then everything went a bit butch for a while, then disappeared in a puff of smoke, like a baddie at a Pantomine.

Yes, it’s a fruity floral, heavy on the red berries, and when I say heavy, I’m talking elephants and boulders. This is nothing new, it’s been done to death. However, there is an almost comical melodrama in the blurb, which was too good not to share:

“An aroma, more intense than the most erotic caresses. An eternal memory, never changing, never ending.”

Ahem. I don’t think so. However, if you are lacking in erotic caresses, do splash out on a  bottle of QQQ Pasion, as it’s apparently better than the aforementioned most erotic caresses.  If not, write to Trading Standards and complain that the smell of QQQ Pasion was NOT in fact more intense than the most erotic caresses and you would like your money back.

I might even do this myself, just for kicks.

LUSH Furze: Thanks. Thanks a lot.

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Oh dear LUSH, what happened? You have made so many beautiful scents such as Karma, Tuca Tuca, BScent, Icon and Smell of Weather Turning. Yet this year I have quite vehemently disliked 2013’s Euphoria, Sikkim Girls and now Furze.

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borrowed from www.thetimes.co.uk

I wasn’t going to review Furze today, but since my son just emptied my entire 7ml screw top bottle over the sofa, it looks like I have no choice. How I wish that he had chosen any other perfume but this one. It is now destined to be a semi permanent reminder of my dislike of Furze.

 Furze takes me back to my first ever Sindy Doll. Whenever I took her head off it smelled just like this. It’s sweet vinyl, drowned in some kind of bitterness. There are very few notes listed: Coconut, Neroli, Vanilla and Floral notes. The Coconut is concentrated to the point of being almost medicinal, the Vanilla is used with a heavy hand until it smells like Cyanide (Almonds), and the floral notes are a big sticky mess. This is not the Neroli I know and love. Frankly, this is dreadful. It’s overly sweet and it makes my eyes sting. Or maybe that’s emotion at the fact that my sofa is now one big giant room fragrance device smelling like Cleaning fluid and Sindy Dolls’ heads.

If you like sickly sweet, vinyl smells with a hint of petrol, then this is your lucky day.

Leo, this review is for you. Mummy not happy.

Robert Piguet FRACAS (EDP): Remarkable simplicity.

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 Fracas has been around since 1948 and was relaunched in 1998. It has been popular since its conception by the great Germaine Cellier (who I love just for making my beloved Balmain Jolie Madame).

Famous fans are rumoured to include  Supermodel Iman, Madonna, the late Edie Sedgewick,  the late, great Isabella Blow, and Joanna “Lovely”Lumley to name but a few (I left out Ivana Trump).

Fracas has inspired other perfumes too: Madonna’s Truth or Dare is said to be a homage to Fracas since it was her late Mother’s favourite scent. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chloe Original is a massive Tuberose, and not at all dissimilar.

I have been wearing Fracas today and could not help but admire it. It’s longevity is excellent, bordering on the clingy, like a guest that just won’t leave, but that’s no bad thing in a perfume.

I was surprised to see on Fragrantica that as many as 25 notes were listed for Fracas. After the admittedly fruity citrus top note, which smells similar to freshly sprayed Joy by Jean Patou, I got only one note in the drydwon. Tuberose. In spades, and shovels and with bows on. Tuberose has that unmistakable floral creaminess, rich and cloying, almost to the point of smelling medicinal, in the ways that Lilies can. I am growing to like Tuberose rather than love it, even though it has my great respect already.

I remember some years ago buying a 30ml bottle of KL Chloe Original, and passing it on after about a month of not getting on with it all. What I thought at the time were overly sweet flowers, was in fact a huge Tuberose note, so if you like Fracas, you might want to try Chloe Original. It’s usually not much more than around 15GBP for 30ml these days. Madonna’s Truth or Dare is even less, and not bad at all: surprisingly traditional and ladylike for one whose crotch seems so familiar to me.

Whilst I understand that Tuberose is very beautiful and greatly esteemed, I think it’s going to be something I grow into. At the moment I am not enamoured, although I do quite like its clean soapiness. Fracas is impossibly feminine and beautiful, and even though I’m not in love with it, it has certainly held my interest all day and I can’t stop sniffing it. I wish more people would wear it. I can certainly handle it on them, if not myself.

Classic and sophisticated, wear with a light hand, but do try it.

PS I have included a link to The Celebrity Fragrance GuideA fascinating list of celebrities’ favourite perfumes. I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but I went into a trance whilst reading it- utterly compulsive and fascinating.

 

Andy Tauer No 14 Noontide Petals: From Noon to Sundown

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It’s taken me a few days to think about what I’m going to say about Andy Tauer’s latest release Noontide Petals. Not because I’m trying to be tactful, no need for that: It’s because it’s like nothing else I’ve smelled before.

It’s floral but not a floral. It’s spicy but not an Oriental, it is very Bergamot but is not a Hesperide. It has powder but it’s not a Chypre. You can see my problem.

It is very beautiful and lives up to its whimsical name. At first spray, whilst still wet, it’s strong Bergamot with Geraniums catching up. Then a blast of aldehydes. Now this bit confused me. Its clearly aldehydic but the last aldehyde I sniffed was Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass i.e the opposite side of the subtlety spectrum to Noontide Petals.

Tauer’s aldehydes emerge gradually, like Royalty getting out of a car, whilst Blue Grass jumps out of the bottle and bops you in the face. So I guess this taught me that aldehydes come in many forms, many of which I don’t yet know.

 Noontide Petals has a long top note, with the Bergamot staying true with a hint of clean soapy notes. However, what I love about this, and I may be alone in even thinking this, is that there is a lovely chalkiness to Noontide Petals. That same chalkiness made me fall in love with Balmain Jolie Madame, which to my nose smells of damp moss and chalky cliffs (I adore it and bought a full 100ml bottle) Noontide Petals has that same faint chalkiness, which makes the Bergamot, so often used in more astringent style fragrances, into a powdery soft citrus.

It’s around this point that the flowers turn up: the Jasmine, the Ylang Ylang and the Roses. Petals indeed: they bring prettiness and a background aroma rather than taking over.

And finally, the closing act! The clever evening stage of Frankincense (often known as Olibanum), Styrax and Patchouli. It’s worth waiting for, and has an incense style spice, rather than gourmand, with a hint of High Church and a dash of something spiky.

As usual with a Tauer fragrance, it lasts and lasts. Twelve hours so far. It’s a perfume that can take you from night to day, like a good black dress. It starts all delicate and pretty, then gets deeper and more mysterious by the time the sun goes down.

A bit like me. (*cough*)

Noontide Petals can be purchased from the Tauer website or Les Senteurs. My sample is so strong that it has lasted me three days and is still half full. Top marks for longevity.