Tag Archives: scent

Terre de Bois Miller Harris: Verbena, Lemon Verbena

millerharris.com

What joy to stumble across a Miller Harris I haven’t tried yet.  Miller Harris is  brand I would never turn down.  In fact I am taking delivery of a bottle of Miller Harris La Pluie tomorrow and I can’t wait. (see my earlier review, I swear it smells like a rainy day and is terribly British).

Miller Harris Terre de Bois is allegedly for men.  I say allegedly because naturally we take no notice of that. If it smells good wear it, whether it’s Old Spice from your Dad’s bathroom or something tres, tres chere from a boutique. If you like it, it will be so.

I happen to like Terre de Bois very much and see it as most certainly unisex.  It opens with Citrus, Clary Sage and Verbena and even a hint of Lavender. It makes an excellent cologne, yet has the strength of an Eau de Parfum. Not so much Butch as smooth and suave. Especially on me. The middle phase is only slightly less Verbena than the brash and bright opening, and starts to smell a bit  like lemonade in which the fizz is fading.  Just as that calms down a bit, the fading fizz segues into a resin like base with faded Vetiver Grass and clean Spice providing a polished finish. Quite frankly, it’s gorgeous.

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What I love about Miller Harris is that the ingredients actually smell like the ingredients.  There’s none of this synthetic faux perfume note that you get so much on the High Street, especially in male scents.  With Miller Harris, if they say there’s going to be Vetiver, then you will get Vetiver, not just some mish mash that smells shower fresh and then disappears in a blaze of factory chemicals.

Terre de Bois is no exception to the Miller Harris quality benchmark and with its clear Verbena singing out against the Lemons and Vetiver, I can guarantee that this is excellent.  It may not be your cup of tea, but it is excellent. Zingy, Spring like and yet as classy as leather upholstery and a walnut dashboard. I’m getting perfume lover’s neckache from sniffing my wrist.

Ralph Lauren Romance: Perfectly Good and Proper

 

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Wearing Ralph Lauren Romance makes me feel that whilst working the casual vibe, my jeans should be pressed, my T shirt should be white and it’s OK to add pearls.  It’s clean and bright and floral and pretty. It’s wholesome and harmless and you can wear it to meet the in laws for the first time.

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Out of all the bestsellers I have been reviewing lately, I think this one is the one I would be most likely to buy and wear (not counting Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere, which I would own by the gallon if I could).  Some may argue that being the owner of the much cheaper Next Just Pink amounts to the same thing as a bottle of Romance, and there are indeed similarities, but I wouldn’t say no to owning both.

Ralph Lauren Romance opens with  all things nice.  The prettiest of the flowers in the garden are all present and correct especially the delightful Freesia and her friend Rose. This is SO floral and clean smelling at the same time that it reminded me of Estee Lauder Pleasures, another scent I would never turn down. There is a citrus note and the faintest hint of Ginger in the top notes, just enough to anchor down the flowers and stop them  flying away.

The middle notes bring out a little of my old favourite Violet, but sniff once and it’s gone. The flowers in the middle are a little spicier: Carnation and Lily prepare us for the Musky, prickly base.

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The basenotes very much remind me of the exquisite Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely, a bottle that will always be on my dressing table.  Both Lovely and Romance start with flowers, all feminine and pretty, before bedding into a base of Woody Musks and Patchouli.  In fact, this also reminds me of Lanvin Rumeur by St Francis of Kurkdjian, beloved by me but dismissed waspishly by Luca Turin. Both have a base that is so Patchouli and Woody that it almost, but not quite, scratches your nose, and I mean that in a good way. Bring it on.

Overall, Romance has been knocking around since 1998, and is still a steady seller.  Flankers are almost too numerous to name. Shame really, as I always feel that if a good scent has too many flankers, people forget why the original was so good in the first place, so busy are we dodging the “Fraiche” or the “Summer” or the “Night” versions of all the pretty things on the counter.

Romance is reasonably priced at around 25GBP for 30ml. The only hard part is making sure you buy the original and not one of the eight flankers.

 

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4160 Tuesdays: Time to Draw The Raffle Numbers

4160 Tuesdays

You may recall my earlier review of a 4160 Tuesdays scent: The Dark Heart of Old Havana. It was a delightful and evocative scent and  today’s scent: Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers, is equally charming.

 4160 Tuesdays is named so because in a lifetime of 80 years, there are 4160 Tuesdays: use them well! The names are characteristically whimsical and so far, from what I have experienced of the line, they seem to me to evoke places and moments.

 The name: if we live until we’re 80, we have 4160 Tuesdays. That’s all. Let’s not waste them. Let’s use them to write, think, make and do lovely things. Or, if that sounds great but you don’t have time, to buy lovely things that other makers have put together.

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www.vivienlloydpreserves.com

Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers was inspired by the victory of Sir Bradley Wiggins: “Linden, trees, coffee, marmalade on toast and  a crowd of excited bodies”- says Sarah McCartney. Making my judgement before reading the inspiration, my impressions were: Mr Sheen furniture polish, tea urns, a spilled glass of sherry , dark oak floors and yes, marmalade.

It is quintessentially British, as is our national penchant for having a raffle at any  kind of fundraiser or social occasion. I should know, I’ve been on a Parish Church Council and am now currently a PTA member. Raffle tickets are in my blood!

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The scent is citrussy and sharp, yet dark and mellow.  It gives me a picture in my mind of an aged empty church hall, with a gleaming burnished floor, long after the crowds have gone. 

Longevity is excellent at around eight or nine hours and it would be equally good on a man or a woman.  I would wear it, and I would also be more than pleased if I could get my husband to wear it too.  He gets a bit wary now when I approach him with a glint in my eye saying “try this, give me your arm”. Don’t worry about him though, I make sure he is well stocked with suitable scents of his own.

Sarah McCartney, founder of 4160 Tuesdays has launched a refreshingly interesting line of scents and I look forward to trying some of the other samples in my possession (thank you Lisa, yet again, for the loan!). They are the opposite of High Street mass market scents, but they have a delightful  vividness and nostalgia about them.

If you can’t stretch to a blind buy, you may be interested to know that  several sample sets are available.,wrapped like old fashioned sweets in tissue paper.

A name to watch and a range to make you dream.

Stockists

You can find 4160 Tuesdays here.  Samples were a kind loan from friend Lisa Jones.

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Prada Candy: Not For Kids

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www.fragrantica.com

I was charmed by the Prada Candy TV ad campaign over Christmas.  The slightly dodgy but beautiful threesome having a party and the throaty, heavily accented voiceover simply saying “Prada Candy”.  It looked like fun, being them. I guess that was the idea. So anyway, I thought I’d better check it out.

I was bracing myself, as the very word “Candy” makes my heart sink. Was it going to be a Britney?  All candy floss and vanilla and fruit?  Not a bit of it.

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www.prada.com

This is playful, yet grown up: a bit like the strange and pretty girl in the TV ad. It’s very sweet in the opening notes but thankfully there is no red fruit and vanilla and  cake mix.  Phew! Right from the start though, there is caramel. And something prickly and delicious that had me interested straight away.  Well, who would have though it? It’s my old friend Benzoin, whose heated, resin-y tones I  am always pleased to stumble across.  It is the Benzoin that makes me take this seriously.

(NB not to be confused with Benylin, as that’s cough mixture)

Yes, there is Caramel, and a bit of sexy Musk, but the Benzoin really radiates through the base notes so that anyone asking what your scent was might be surprised, like me, to find the word Candy in it.

The Caramel sweetness makes Prada Candy start like a ditzy blonde and bed down into a husky voiced newsreader wearing stockings under the desk.

It’s most definitely worth a second look, and then a third.

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Estee Lauder Knowing: A Glorious Chypre Hiding on the High Street

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Many moons ago, when I was at university, a fellow student wore Estee Lauder Knowing.  She was also eighteen like me, and I felt it was wayyy too old for her. My Mum also wore it at the time and she was ancient- forty years old! (Three years younger than I am now).  I remember thinking it was OK for Mum to wear as she was “old” but not for my eighteen year old friend to wear it.

Fast forward 25 years and I am wearing Knowing today.  It’s a whole different story. I have a bit of a thing for greeny  retro chypres and Knowing doesn’t disappoint.  It opens with a full on blast of aldehydes that I initially thought nobody should be subjected to before cocktail hour.  However, after an hour, this becomes a wearable daytime chypre and it’s still there ten hours later.

Knowing makes its presence felt immediately: there is bergamot, aldehydes and green notes in the opening.  However thankfully, I could find none of the melon described (phew!).  It’s the base notes that are a real treat: patchouli, oakmoss and vetiver. In fact, all my favourites are in today, “Hello at the back!”

It’s almost as if Knowing was made with me in mind.  Not only greeny aldehydes, but then oakmoss and  a musty,  woody finish.  I adore it and despite its wide availability, it knocks hundreds of other High Street scents into a cocked hat.

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As for my fellow student back in 1988 (the year of its launch), she was way ahead of her time and really Imageonto something, whilst little old me was still wafting round in either LouLou or  Body Shop White Musk (which I still do sometimes, just for old times sake).

Stockists

Estee Lauder Knowing is widely available on the High Street and online.  Try  allbeauty.com for the best price ( at time of posting).

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4160 Tuesdays The Dark Heart of Old Havana: A New Voice

4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays is the brainchild of Sarah McCartney. Indpendent perfumers are to be cherished, and Sarah’s doing a pretty good job of being a treasure.  The school of thought here is that in an average life, we have 4160 Tuesdays and that we should make them count.  Creating your own brand of perfume is a pretty good start, Sarah.

Today I am reviewing The Dark Heart of Old  Havana and the quick review is that I like it very much.

Me visiting Sarah McCartney’s studio in 2014

Here is the longer review: I don’t know if you, like me, ever used to consider a nibbled sugar cube from a bowl a big treat as a child.  I wouldn’t do it now (sugar tongs, my dears!) but I remember clearly that white, almost nothing-y smell of white processed sugar.  Well, here is that smell again, only this time it’s combined with Tobacco, Coffee, Fruit, and a faint spiky hint of Geranium.

Imagine a dark Latin night, with music coming out of a brightly lit door, passing pavement cafes with Night Owls sipping Espresso and smoking in the night air.  If that’s what Sarah McCartney was imagining when she created this scent and this name, then she succeeded.  It’s one of those scents that takes you to a place in your imagination, rather than just changing your smell for a day.

Sarah is emerging as a British niche brand to watch. I have others to review from 4160 Tuesdays, so watch this space and if you can get hold of samples then do have a try.  Her Facebook Page tells me she gets around a lot (in the nicest possible way, of course) and also that she does perfume day courses, so it would not be unreasonable to think that one day you could meet her and do sniffage together. I like accessible brands and I like indie perfumers and I like The Dark Heart of Old Havana.

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Lanvin Rumeur 2 Rose: Wishy Washy Roses On a Wishy Washy Day.

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First of all, I love Lanvin Rumeur. It was made by St Francis of Kurkdjian, or rather re-launched by him after its original creation in 1934.  Rumeur is beautifully retro and feminine (see my earlier review), so you can imagine how my interest was piqued when I saw a 50ml bottle of Lanvin Rumeur 2 Rose on sale for 20GBP today (Superdrug).

Well it’s been fruitied up and flowered about for the younger market and result is disappointing.  It’s not unpleasant, but it would blend in with everything else that is worn today. Sillage is poor and the longevity reminds me of when you use your favourite shower gel.  It smells great in the shower, and possibly for another twenty minutes, but after that?  “There it was, gone!”as we say in Wales.

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Rumeur2Rose has almost nothing to do with the original Rumeur  as far as scent goes.  There are Roses, a bit of Pear and some nameless generic fruity notes, maybe some White Musk for a fleeting second, but that’s about all you get. It lasted nearly an hour on my skin, which would please me were this a cologne, but for an EDT that’s pretty poor.  It smells as if it had been washed off by the rain, which despite severe weather warnings for Wales, it was not.

Save your money and invest in Rumeur instead. It is all Magnolia, Patchouli and Woody florals. Divine.  Rumeur2Rose? Walk on by my friend.