Tag Archives: Summer fragrance

Gallivant Tel Aviv: The Gorgeous Underbelly of a City

tel_aviv_bottle

You may have read my recent review of London from new perfume house Gallivant founded by Nick Steward.

photo from www.visit-tel-aviv.com

I would never have thought that Tel Aviv would have ended up as a fragrance to love, but it really is.  Out of the four, I think it is my favourite.   My preconceptions were way out of kilter: I was imagining concrete and bombsites and traffic.  Hardly a premise for a fragrance, right?  Not for the first or last time where fragrance is concerned, I was wrong.  Wrong with a capital “W.”

Tel Aviv (the fragrance) made me think of open air markets selling melons and flowers.  It evokes a blue sky and greenery and big blousy flowers and fluffy clouds.  It’s poetic  and whimsical and not at all how I imagined. It’s irresistibly optimistic and reminded me that every city has a fluffy tummy if you make it roll over for you.

photo from www.tripadvisor.com
photo from www.tripadvisor.com

Tel Aviv opens with bergamot and oranges, giving a citrussy blast of sunshine and freshness. The middle blends into roses, jasmine and beautiful, light freesia. The freesia and roses are particularly prominent, but the citruses in the opening stick around, giving this a beautiful airy and pretty feel.  It’s irresistibly feminine.

The base adds a sort of sugar free sweetness in so far as there are touches of vanilla without any of the sticky sweetness that can sometimes happen. The base is sandalwood, benzoin and deer tongue, or liatrix, also known as wild vanilla (thank you Fragrantica, you fount of all knowledge, you!).

Tel Aviv is bright and summery and lightly floral and pretty.  It’s the exact opposite of how I would expect a scent called Tel Aviv to smell, but Gallivant is all about going off the beaten the track. It’s more Lonely Planet than Thomas Cook and thank goodness for that. This is the pretty underbelly of a sunny, seaside city, and not the busy towering, skyscraper beehive we see on the news.

Forgive me for sounding like a tourist brochure when I say take a closer look at Tel Aviv.

Stockists

You can buy Tel Aviv from the Gallivant website.  My sample was kindly sent to me by the Gallivant team, for which many thanks. Opinions are my own.

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Mary Greenwell Lemon: Niche Style Chypre on the High Street

lemon bottle

You may have gathered by now that I am a big fan of Mary Greenwell fragrances. I have previously reviewed Plum and the superb Fire, and today I will be reviewing Lemon.

Lemon is chock full of citrus when you first spray it on.  Not just the eponymous lemon, but bitter orange and sharp limes too. This is a beautifully fresh, astringent, cologne style opening.  Unlike a cologne, however, this lemon has staying power, which is no mean feat. It gets even better though. The middle notes are floral and light. There are spring petals in there: namely lily of the valley, hyacinth and  jasmine.  The lemon stays true throughout whilst sidestepping any temptation to smell like lemon meringue. Incidentally, if you like lemon meringue scent, try Boucheron Trouble or Marks and Spencer Gabriella, both discontinued but still alive and well on eBay.

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This really reminded me of O de Lancome– one of the most perfect summer scents ever, but this has more tart, bitter lemon.   What Lemon does so beautifully though, is merge from a zingy citrus into a lemony, green chypre. There’s oakmoss in abundance,  a touch of warm amber and a noticeable flourish of woody notes. It lasts around five or six hours and is one of my bargains of the year. It’s classy packaging and quality ingredients belie the £7.50 I paid for my gold 7.5ml purse spray. This is high end , low price chypre chic and I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Stockists

The Mary Greenwell range is available from The Fragrance Shop in store or online. Prices start at just £7.50 for a purse spray.

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The Body Shop Fijian Water Lotus.

water lotus

Fijian Water Lotus is the latest addition to the Body Shop’s excellent Voyage Collection, two of which I have reviewed elsewhere on this blog.  Today I treated myself to a little £5 for 10ml bottle of Fijian Water Lotus (for which, bravo Body Shop for offering affordable purse sprays!).

As the name suggests, this is an aquatic/ozonic sort of affair, which would please fans of say, L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake or Marks and Spencer Isis. It is full of sea notes, though without the salt, and the zinginess is maintained with sharp mandarin and lemony blossom (litsea cubeba if you must). It is often hard to maintain that “fraiche” accord for more than a top note presence, but here it is achieved successfully, although after two or three hours it does bed down into a very clean basket of laundry.  I must add that if anyone’s laundry smelled this good, I would be asking for the name of their fabric softener.

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In the latter stages, Fijian Water Lotus still maintains a blue image that makes me think of crashing waves and blue skies, and the citrus is still there, but don’t expect astringency to hang around for the entire show.  All in all, this is a great summer scent and I foresee several Body Shop Oceanus fans coming out of retirement to purchase this.  It’s not quite Oceanus, but it sure does tick all those sea spray/ crest of a wave/ ozonic boxes that feel just right on a sunny day.

Not QUITE Oceanus
Not QUITE Oceanus

Stockists

Available from the Body Shop online or in store starting at £5 for a 10ml purse spray and rising to £16 for 100ml EDP.  There are lots of nice ancillary products to match too if you want to do layering.

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Jil Sander Sun by Pierre Bourdon

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Well what do you know?  A Pierre Bourdon that I like. Bourdon is a gifted perfumer but sadly, everything he makes seems to rub me up the wrong way (for a visual, try doing this to a cat- the look on its face!)

My friend Lisa Wordbird, ever generous, let me borrow this one and I initiallythought it was a bottle of expensive after sun.  The packaging isn’t a million miles away from Piz Buin or Ambre Solaire. In fact, there are definite whiffs of both, more of which anon.

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

It was an almost immediate reaction to compare this to the 4160 Tuesdays scent “What I Did on My Holidays” ( see my earlier review).  Both have that appealing, sunny-days-are-ahead feel to them, and have included a little shot of a sun lotion note, and a hint of sugary sweets to keep the nostalgia going in gloomier climes.

Jil Sander Sun has a deceptively large number of notes.  I would have said Vanilla, Orange Blossom, Coconut and Tuberose, with an Amber and Patchouli base.  My evaluation was a bit hit and miss, but  will give you a clue as to which notes are dominant and which are back up singers i.e you don’t notice them individually but the performance would be different if they weren’t there.

Here are the notes as stated by Fragrantica (How I love that site!)

Top notes: Palisander Rosewood, Bergamot, Fruity notes, Cassis, Orange Blossom, Amalfi Lemon

Middle notes: Carnation, Ylang, Orris Root, Rose, Heliotrope and Lily of the Valley.

Base notes: Musk, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Amber, Benzoin, Tonka Bean, Styrax and Vanilla

 

photo by World of Oddy

This is a rather clever Oriental that is designed to work on a hot Summer day. Many Orientals are de trop in hot weather, but this one is perfect. Reading the notes and sniffing my wrist I am marvelling at M.Bourdon.  How does he doe it?

This has a floral sun cream style opening, with the Orange Blossom very noticeable, settling down to a creamy mid note of yes…barely there Heliotrope ( it reminded me briefly of Guerlain Apres L’Ondee in the middle). The flowers are  not light and airy, but rich and milky, with spicy Carnation and sombre Orris Root leading the way into the basenotes.  The base notes last for a long time and make for a pleasant Oriental finish that is both smooth and light. Despite containing heavy hitters such as Styrax and Benzoin, this miraculously seems just right for a day in the baking hot sun.

This is perfectly unisex, despite there being a men’s version, and if you time it right, it could take you from a sandy seaside afternoon into that cool, welcoming bar by the evening. The Oriental notes are just enough to catch on a breeze as you move. Nothing too heavy, but still enough to be interesting.

This is a  clever scent and one where I can finally enjoy a Pierre Bourdon. Prices start at around £20.  Jil Sander Sun would both complement and enhance the scent of any sun screen, but is great worn alone  when the sun can’t be had for love or money.

photo by World of Oddy
photo by World of Oddy

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune: Right Through To The Bitter End

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A small patch of blue sky was spotted for at least twenty the minutes the other day. I don’t care what anyone says, I’m calling it Spring. I am making excuses to get my Spring and Summer Scents out, if not my cooler clothes. In the world of fragrance, you’d be hard pushed to find anything more refreshing than a sharp citrus note on a hot day. And if we’re talking citrus, we have to talk about Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Pamplelune.

This is a slippery customer, old Pamplelune. Wearing it on two previous occasions, it has gone sour and bad on me, like a hard shrivelled Clementine that I removed from my fruit bowl recently. Looking at reviews all over the Internet, it would seem I am not alone.  Today, I can report that Pamplelune is behaving itself, and I have not yet reached the sour rotten note, nor the famous “cat pee” so often mentioned by disappointed wearers.

When this is first applied, it is pretty much agreed that the Grapefruit top note is sharp, refreshing and unbeatable in the Citrus Category. It’s the aftermath that creates problems. Like a beauty Queen with a sleazy past, positive first impressions are soon pricked like a bubble.

Today, Pamplelune is better than it was last time I tried it for a day. Maybe this is because my skin is warmer, or maybe because the more perfumes that take me out of my comfort zone, the more my tastes are changing.  In any case, when the delightful and sparkling Grapefruit notes softened down and drifted away today, the drydown was better than I remembered.  It’s green rather than bitter, with Petitgrain and Cassia Leaf providing a fresh spicy accord,  and I detected a bit of unsweetened Vanilla smoothing out the edges. The Grapefruit is still there but instead of being juicy and tart, it’s more like a palate soothing sorbet now.

This is hit and miss, depending on your skin, the weather and what your personal perfume tastes are. There seem to be an equal number of brickbats and bouquets for Pamplelune. I have a foot in both camps. I have had the sour rind smell before now on two occasions, yet today I have a unique and grown up citrus fragrance that has made itself at home.

Pamplelune was created in 1999, and like many fourteen year olds, it’s difficult and capricious. I implore you, no matter how much you like Citrus and Grapefruit, do not buy this blind, unless it’s a very small bottle.  You can love it from afar, but until you meet, you won’t know if there’s chemistry.