Tag Archives: smellalikes

Dear Aunty Sam: Your Perfume Problems Answered-Part Four

‘La mauvaise nouvelle’ (‘Bad News’) (1804) by Marguerite Gérard (1761-1837). Oil on canvas. Musée du Louvre, Paris

Once again, I am putting on my glasses and trying to look important  Yes, indeed:  it’s time for more of your perfume problems!

I must apologise to poor Charlotte who wrote in with this week’s problem.  It’s taken me so long to respond and I apologise profusely.  I do hope you still like me Charlotte! I blame the Easter Holidays,  a camping trip, several writing jobs, my two children,  four workmen,  a drain, a flood and a loss adjustor.  I’ll be quicker next time, so do write in! You can email me on iscentyouaday@gmail.com or comment below or on my Facebook page.

Here is Charlotte’s letter:

Dear Aunty Sam

I absolutely love Viktor &Rolf Flowerbomb but it is SO expensive! Can you suggest other scents that are very similar but not quite so pricy?

Charlotte

flowerbomb ad

My dear Charlotte,

rsz_dr_sam (1)This is an excellent question and I’m sure you’re not alone in wanting an answer.  Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb is much beloved, but as you point out,  not very cheap.   Many perfume fans reckon it smells similar to mega blockbuster Lancôme La Vie est Belle. To give credit where it’s due, Flowerbomb got there first, way back in 2005,  whereas La Vie est Belle didn’t emerge until 2012.

So what can I recommend that will make you smell amazingly Flowerbomb-like and still be budget friendly?  Here goes:

World Class Perfumes Perfumer’s Choice “Natalie”

natalieThe World Class Perfume Group owns Milton Lloyd and Taylor of London, who make a lot of the Lentheric and Yardley stuff of yesteryear such as Panache and Chique.

The Perfumer’s Choice arm of the business has a small range of very long-lasting fragrances which are guaranteed to last at least six hours, and I can vouch that they definitely do.  Natalie is so similar to La Vie est Belle that I thought I’d sprayed the wrong bottle.  It lasted around eight hours and has the combo of flowers and warm, sweet gourmand notes that make it so similar that this blogger was fooled.  The packaging ain’t fancy, but, boy, it’s value for money.  I reviewed it here and at the time, I couldn’t quite make the connection as I don’t think I was familiar with its doppelganger at the time,  but I smelled it recently and thought YES.

Coming in at the very reasonable price of £14 for 83m of EDP, or £7 for 50ml of Parfum de Toilette (to me PDT is stronger than EDT, not quite as strong as EDP) Perfumer’s Choice Natalie is available from this website or from Amazon UK.

Agent Provocateur Fatale

agentprovThis has the big white flowers and the patchouli and orchid of Flowerbomb.  Imagine Flowerbomb with an accent of grated dark chocolate and you’re not far off AP Fatale.  Available for just 12,95 from one of my favourite sites : allbeauty. com, this is far cheaper than Flowerbomb and possibly cheap enough to risk a blind buy.

I hope this helps you Charlotte, and again, I do apologise for the lengthy delay

Ask me for help!

Are you pensive about perfumes? Fanatical about fragrance?  Addled by aldehydes?  Confused dot com?  I’m here to answer any questions you might have, whether it’s a smellalike, a reformulation question or a where-can-I-buy-it query.  Just ask.  I always love to hear from you.

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Dear Aunty Sam: More of your Perfume Problems Answered

a passing cloud arthur hughes
A Passing Cloud by Arthur Hughes

Two weeks ago, I invited you to send me your perfume problems.  rsz_dr_samThis week  a dear friend of the blog, Cassieflower, came to me with the following problem.  Reader, I share her pain.  It hurts when a favourite is reformulated or discontinued .  Cassieflower, you are not alone!

Dear Aunty Sam,

I hope you, or indeed some of your readers, can help. My all-time favourite perfume is Fidji by Guy Laroche, and even though this can still be found cheaply on lots of sites it really is only a shadow of its former self. I used to wear it in parfum strength but nowadays the only offering is edt, and that just don’t cut the mustard with me. Any suggestions for a replacement would be most welcome. Pleeeze and fankoo

Firstly, you have excellent taste. That’s a given. Guy Laroche Fidji is quality stuff. I had a bottle back in the 80s and it was green and gorgeous andfidji beach landed me compliments. Unfortunately, reformulations are so very widespread, as we know. There’s a whole support group for traumatised fans of original YSL Opium, or at least there should be.

I went out today and tried Fidji in my local Perfume Shop to jog my memory. It is indeed far weaker than I remember it. However, it reminded me of two perfumes. The first is Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps.  Fidji is almost a greener flanker to L’Air du Temps.  Both have the orris root, carnation, iris, violet, spices, oakmoss and aldehydes.   The second scent that Fidji reminded me of is Clinique Calyx. It’s not as close a match, but Calyx has the transparent greenery that Fidji has, albeit with a  touch more tropical/botanical fruit going on.

As for Fidji itself, it does seem to be widely available in eau de toilette form and not much else. The only advice I can offer is drench yourself in the EDT in summer and break out the L’Air du Temps eau de parfum  in colder weather.  I promise you will always smell wonderful.

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I also had a plea from reader Mia who has fallen in love with Maison Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540– and who can blame her?  However with a hefty price tag,  Mia is looking for something in the same vein that is slightly kinder on the old budget. Mia- you are singing my song! I’m having a very frugal March at the moment.

Dear Aunty Sam

Hello! I’ve fallen in love with Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540. Smells like warmed skin and caramel but 100000x better. I can’t stop sniffing my wrists and cooing sweet nothings to this scent when I’m wearing. Problem is, I can’t afford it atm. Any cheaper recommendations to tide me over? Thank you so much!

Dear Mia,

Thanks so much for writing in. You’re among friends here.  Please help yourself to tissues.  We’re used to traumatised perfume fans.

Baccarat Rouge 540 is indeed as lovely as you say, although it barely stayed on my skin at all.  It was close to skin immediately after I baccaratsprayed and then poof! Gone.

I’ve been digging around on your behalf and I came across what I think is the best match.  There is a company called Dua Perfumes who make a scent called Casino Royale. This has many notes in common with MFK Baccarat Rouge 540: notably saffron, mandarin, cedar and  fir balsam ( actually pine in Baccarat,  but same forest).

The bad news is that they are based in the USA. The good news is that casinothere is a company in the UK called FragranceSamples UK who stock samples of other Dua perfumes, although not Casino Royale.  I’m sure if you ask them nicely they could get some in.  Sample prices are just over £11 for  a generous 5ml sample,  so not quite as spendy as Cap’n Kurk!  You could also try Givenchy Pi, which has a similar herby orange opening and a muted gourmand base via almond  and tonka notes.

Got a perfume problem?  A scent situation? A fragrant foible?

rsz_dr_samDo keep sending in your questions. If I can’t answer them, I am sure helpful readers will be able to share their experience and knowledge too.  We’re a lovely bunch.

Write your questions in the comments box below or email me on iscentyouaday@gmail.com.  If you are very shy, I will even answer them privately. I’m nice like that.

Over to you

Do you agree with my answers? Would you add or change anything? Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

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EDIT: With warm thanks to the BlackNarcissus whose kind advice led me to revising my first opinion! Thanks Neil xx

Perfume Questions? Ask Aunty Sam…

rsz_dr_sam

Dear beloved readers,

Lately I have been asked many questions by people with queries about perfume. These vary from “what smells like…?” queries to “Where can I get…?” queries. It got me thinking, my friends.  How about a little post that’s all about your perfume questions and queries?

Just email me or post your question below or on Twitter or Facebook and I will do my very best to answer them.  You can even be anonymous if you like!

So, fire away.  Do you want to know if there’s a smellalike to a long discontinued favourite?  Does a newly reformulated favourite resemble an old one?  Which are the best cheap and cheerfuls?  Tell Aunty Sam your scented dilemmas.  I’m  all ears and all nostrils!

Email iscentyouaday@gmail.com

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The Big Four Winners are…

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Thank you so much for all your entries in the Big Four giveaway to celeberate four years of this very blog.  I had a great response and can now announce the winers. (Drum roll please)

 

elizabeth-taylor-violet-eyes-adThe winner of Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes is @StephanTweets from Twitter. I will Tweet him and let him know. Congratulations Stephan!

nutmeg

The winner of Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream is Tania.  Congratulations Tania!

valerie

The winner of Perfumer’s Club “Valerie” is Jill Edwards. Congratualtions Jill!

victor1

And finally, the winner of Perfumer’s Club “Victor”is Steven Tuckwell. Congratualtions Steven!

Can all winners please email me their addresses to iscentyouaday@gmail.com please.

For those who didn’t win, there will be more giveaways throughout the year so watch this space.  Here are the details of stockists where you can buy the above fragrances, and none of them will break the bank!

Stockists

Elizabeth Taylor Violet Eyes is from Fragrance Direct at only £2.99 for 15ml. Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream is available from the Library of Fragrance website for just £15.  The Perfumer’s Club selection is available from the World Class website. A long lasting 83ml bottle is just £14 and longevity is a guaranteed six hour minimum. In my opinion, Valerie smells very similar to Black Opium, so if that’s your poison, you’ve found a real gem. Victor is all about the grapefruit and the vetiver and was my secret favourite of the four.

Photos: Envelope photo from www.thepeoplesdesignlab.org.uk Elizabeth Taylor photo from makeupalley.com. Valerie photo from www.World-Class.co.uk and others are my own.

Avon Tahitian Holiday: Cheerful Coconutty Holiday Fun

tahiti

 

Yesterday was a scorching hot day here in Wales (can I say sunny Wales?  I think I can).  The heat was unbearable to a freckled person like me. What could I possibly do to cool myself down? Bear in mind that air conditioning is not commonplace in Wales as heat waves tend to be the exception rather than the rule.  Hello and welcome to my new bottle of Avon Tahitian Holiday.

Many people have compared Avon Tahitian Holiday with Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess.  I will say this:  yes they both have coconut and white flowers and smell tropical and yes Tahitian Holiday isn’t a bad substitute for it.  However Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess has more resonance and richness and unfurls like a many layered flower:  there’s a waft of fig, an ambery base and a deep creamy richness to it which Tahitian Holiday doesn’t have.  Bronze Goddess costs between 40GBP and 50 GBP, whereas Tahitian Holiday only cost me a fiver. The choice is yours. It depends what you want from your perfume.

tahitain

Personally, I can’t stretch to a bottle of Bronze Goddess right now and my Wish List is already so full it’s not accepting new members.  However, for five quid I will say that Tahitian Holiday is pretty damn good.  It opens with coconuts, has a middle phase of white tropical flowers (that’ll be the Tiare Flower) and settles to a light floral cocnutty mist.  Lasting power is around four hours, making this Eau de Toilette longer lasting than a cologne.

My 50ml bottle has already gone down considerably in one day due to my frequent top ups- I adore the top note!  In summer, it’s fine to smell like flowery coconuts.  Winter is long and cold, we can get the rich’n’heavies out then.  But for now, for that holiday mood that doesn’t take itself too seriously, you can’t go wrong with a squoosh of Avon Tahitian Holiday.

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Marks and Spencer Limited Collection: Butterfly

 

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The Marks and Spencer fragrance department is a bit of a favourite stop off when I’m in town.  Sadly my local branch doesn’t carry the full gamut, but I often feel able to  buy myself a purse spray guilt free, especially when they have 20% off like they did yesterday.  Whilst not all of them are great, I can’t call any of them bad, except Florentyna *shudder*, which I can’t be cruel about since it has a steady and loyal fanbase.  For the prices I have paid, I have never been disappointed by a Marks and Spencer perfume.  Overall, they are decent affordable quality.

Today I am reviewing Limited Collection Butterfly, which comes in a pretty bottle and is an unmistakable homage to Marc Jacobs and his Dots and Daisies.

Fresh and light, this makes an ideal scent for a teenager, or for office day wear.  In other words, it’s more shower fresh than provocative or come hither.

Surprisingly, this opens with cucumber.  The surprise here is that usually I can’t bear cucumber in perfume, but this is combined with lemon, grapefruit and apple and smells wonderfully citrussy.  There are many comparisons with the more expensive DKNY Be Delicious, which also opens with lemons and cucumber, and has identical floral notes.

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www.fragrantica.com

However, just before it comes too “herbal facial wash”, the flowers step in, and some of my favourites too: rose, violet and magnolia.  The magnolia was particularly noticeable.  The base notes are nothing to email home about: amber and musk, and not particularly robust at that.  In fact I would say the base is more violet, citrus and magnolia than anything else.

Longevity is not bad at around four or five hours, and by not bad, I mean that this cost me £2.80 for a 10ml purse spray yesterday, so I’m not going to complain about longevity for that price.

All in all, this is a good buy that I would recommend for young girls testing the path into fragrance, or for day to day wear where sexy isn’t an option. It’s fresh and pretty and will cut through the heat on a muggy day,  if we can remember that far back. I am looking though a rain washed window at a grey rain washed sky as I write this, so we will just have to use our imagination.

www.walesonline.co.uk
www.walesonline.co.uk