Tag Archives: spicy perfume

Library of Fragrance Chai Tea: Snug as a bug in a rug

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Have you ever heard the saying “snug as a bug in a rug”? My parents used to say it when I was growing up and I wondered if it was just me. The phrase seems very fitting for today’s blog post.

There I was, sipping my tea and wondering what to blog about on International Tea Day, when the penny dropped. I realised that our friends at The Library of Fragrance really, actually DO have a scent for every occasion. They very kindly sent me  a bottle of Chai Tea  last week and  reader, I can report that it is rather lovely.

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Suitable for men or women, and equally good on both, Library of Fragrance Chai Tea combines the seemingly incongruous mix of spices and milk.  Despite the strength and variety of the spices, this never borders on the Oriental, despite the presence of cloves, cinamon, star anise,  and even paprika.  It’s more of a gourmand scent than anything, but stops short of being too sweet or  cakey.

 

What I like best about this is that the aromatic qualities of cloves,  cardoman and ginger are all present and correct but they somehow add an airy green tea feel.  Think inviting spa treatment rooms rather than the spice rack in your kitchen.

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This is a lightly aromatic scent that never borders on the heavy.  It smells therapeutic and uplifting, whilst retaining that hint of cosy at the same time.  This fragrance is perfect hygge material.  Whack the  heating to “Code Sauna”  aaaand  Netflix and Chill. No need to go out.  You’re hibernating now.

Stockists

You can buy Library of Fragrance Chai Tea from the Library of Fragrance website.  Branches of Boots also carry a varied selection of Library of Fragrance scents.

Acknowledgements

Photo of my bottle of Chai Tea is my own, taken next to my favourite mug ( it really looks like my cat, Ian). Photo of Chai Tea ingredients from Houseboateats.com. My bottle was kindly sent to me by the Library of Fragrance PR team, for which, warm thanks. Opinions are my own.

Pell Wall Perfumes Anjin: Turn Up The Heat

Anjin-by-Pell-Wall-30ml

 

Pell Wall perfumes, based in Shropshire, is the brain child of Chris Bartlett, who left his job to become a full time perfumer.  Don’t you just love people who do that?  If people like Chris and other great indie perfumers  didn’t take the plunge, we’d all be missing out on original and exciting niche fragrances.

Pell Wall Perfumes Anjin is not like anything else I have smelled before because it has very dominant chillies in it, or pimentos to be precise.  I’ve never been one for gourmands in particular, but when they are as astringent and spicy as Anjin, I take it all back.  This could not be further away from your cupcakes and candy floss, which just goes to show how vast the gourmand spectrum can be.

This is no one trick pony though.  As Anjin’s  citrussy, almost stingy-eyed opening dries down, it becomes smooth yet prickly, a bit like sharp lemony patchouli.  With bold styrax adding an almost-but-not-quite creosote touch ( not a criticism, I love it), and clove and coriander making their spicy and herbal presence felt, Anjin  is a long-lasting  treat that smells equally good on male or female skin.  I loved it on me, but it smells even better on my 17 year old nephew, who also loved it, and now has the bottle.   I am always pleased when young folk try a fragrance that steps away from the High Street norm- and what a pleasant surprise to find a 17 year old who is NOT marinated in scent du jour Paco Rabanne One Million!

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 One of the things I admire about Pell Wall is the sheer versatility:  Chris has produced a range that includes violets, (Deep Purple), Lily of the valley and roses (Pretty in Pink), earthy leather (Sticky Leather Sky) and Red Hot Chilli Peppers (Anjin) without stinting on quality or showing any weak links.  Anjin would make an original choice for summer and refreshingly, didn’t smell synthetic.  In fact wearing this when you have a cold might even feel therapeutic.  That chill just cuts through everything.  Anjim impressed me and I would wear it myself had I not given it away in the name of olfactory education earlier today.

Pell Wall Perfumes

Stockists

Anjin is available from the Pell Wall website for the reasonable price of £23 for 10ml or £36 for 50ml.  Fret not about taking a gamble based on my word alone though, Chris offers great sample sets and discovery sets and I can vouch for the quality and longevity.  My particular favourite is Pretty in Pink, which I reviewed earlier in this blog.

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Dana Raffinée: A Touch of Brass

Raffinee Perfume Dana Raffinée used to be Houbigant Raffinée and sadly I cannot list the differences between the Dana formulation and the Houbigant formulation as I don’t have the old one to compare it to.  However, if you’re a fan of Caron Montaigne (rumoured to be endangered) then you may like this rather similar and classic fragrance.   raffinee-perfume-by-dana-for-women-personal-fragrances_24801_500

First impressions of Raffinée are yellow flowers and powder.  This is probably why it reminded me so much of Caron Montaigne- those were my first impressions of Montaigne too.  However if you take away the oranges from Montaigne you are left with pretty much a decent dead ringer in Raffinée.  The problem is, it looks like Raffinee’s days are numbered too.  In this case, the emergency drill would be to buy the cheapest, which is currently Caron Montaigne , being sold for a song right now over on Amazon.

Raffinée opens with mimosa and spices.  There is a hint of hyacinth in there too, lots of dry rooty orris root and some noticeably rich tuberose. The flowers are not soft nor delicate nor dainty.  There’s no peony here.  The flowers are more blousy and loud and wearing too much make up and trying to look young.

The middle notes are a raft of soapy, powdery spices and this phase seems to last a long time.  The base notes segue into a rather brassy evening scent that smacks of the late 1970s.  There’s no subtlety here.  There’s no delicacy.  But I tell you what Raffinée does remind me of, and that’s a Beryl Cook painting, leopard print, cleavage and a dirty laugh.

It’s not fashionable, but who wants fashionable?  Powdery, soapy, spicy and rocking a tarty, 70s vibe- if Raffinée was a person we’d be going out on the town tonight.

PS Thank you to my dear friend Lisa Wordbird for the loan of the bottle.  She is not rocking a tarty 70s vibe in case you were wondering.

artbrokerage.com
artbrokerage.com

 

Dior Dune: The Classic in the Corner

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Dior Dune is a steady seller that has had a firm fanbase for 22 years.  I cannot, off the top of my head, think of a recent launch that is anything quite like it, except perhaps for Penhaligon’s Love Potion No 9, created in 1998, which has some similarities.

Created just after the excesses of the Eighties, Dior’s 1991 creation was  almost a gateway between the heavy Orientals of the Eighties, and the “back to nature” feel of scent in the Nineties.  It kind of had a leg in each camp.

When I think of Orientals, I often think of strong scents such as YSL Opium or Estee Lauder Cinnabar that, although excellent, can sometimes be too much for daytime (but what the heck, right?). However Dune, with its Woody notes and smooth undercurrent of velvety Patchouli, is certainly light enough for daytime, even office wear, whilst still retaining its originality and character.

The funny thing is that smelling this really does remind me of sand.  It’s smooth, dry and smells like it’s been baked in a dry desert heat.  It opens like an aldehyde, and when I first tried it today, I thought “Things ain’t what they used to be.”, but after half an hour that old familiar smell from when I was 21 came back just as I remember it. There is a sweetness I hadn’t picked up on in my youth, and I would attribute it to the citrus fruit within: in this case Oranges.  I often find that Oranges can work well alongside spice or wood in the same way that it can be used in a fruit cake without taking over.

The basenotes come in fairly quickly and remain steady for around six or seven hours.  What I have at the end, when all has settled is a warm, Ambery, sandy scent like the heat of a Summer evening after a day on the beach. It’s not at the forefront of any big campaigns, it has just quietly got on with being a little bit of a classic.

Histoire d’Eau by Mauboussin

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The weather today is my all time favourite: chilly and breezy but with a sky that is bright blue and sunny. Everything feels as if it is in glorious Technicolour and the trees are starting to go gold.

Histoire d’Eau by Mauboussin is the perfect scent for today. It is rich with spice and wood and even a hint of tar. The Amber notes reflect the golden trees and the leathery finish is perfect for Autumn.

 Mauboussin is a prestigious French jeweller: right up there with Tiffany and Cartier. Since 1870 Mauboussin has been producing fine jewellery and watches, but it wasn’t until the year 2000 that they stepped into the fragrance market.  And I am so glad they did.

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The notes for Histoire d’Eau are as follows:

Top notes: Mandarin and Ylang (both noticeable),

Middle notes: Nutmeg, Pepper and Cardoman,

Base notes: Leather, Myrtle, Amber and Musk.

The combination of these toasty Autumnal notes is spot on for a chill wind. The Amber and Spices give heat to the sexy Leather.  The Orange makes things Christmassy and the Musk is barely a whisper, preventing this from being too girly. It would be perfect as a masculine or a feminine and reminds me of burnt tar on a fence.  This is a good thing, since I also rather like the smell of creosote in perfume.

Despite the hot tar and the slight cough mixture accord, this is prettier than it sounds. This is almost what Serge Noire would have smelled like on me if our chemistry had been right.  Histoire d’Eau is smoky, spicy and just what the doctor ordered on this bright, cold day.

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