Tag Archives: Summer fragrance

The IScent Review of The Perfume Society Men’s Edit Box

mens edit

The other day someone told me that men wear aftershave and women wear perfume. Now, as you can imagine, I begged to differ. My opponent was adamant. Men can’t wear perfume and women can’t wear after shave.  Since my adversary was my seven-year-old son, I couldn’t help feeling that I’d failed him as a mother. He also told me there’s no such name as Kenneth and that he can outrun a Jaguar, but I was less worried about that.

Let me be clear, as a politician would say (can’t remember which one, probably all of them), after shave is fragrance.  Perfume is fragrance. Whatever it says on the label,  if you like how it smells on you, you can wear it.

layton ad

I do occasionally stage a heist into my husband’s side of the bedroom, but seeing as I chose them all for him, that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

Those nice people at the Perfume Society recently sent me the Men’s Edit Discovery Box, and discovery is the right word. Reader, I have been enlightened. It’s all very well my bemoaning the fact that men don’t wear enough roses, but how about I put my money where my mouth is and wear more so called “mascs” myself? Well, after trying the Men’s Edit box, I can assure you that there are at least three I will be buying full bottles of. Join me why don’t you?

Here’s what’s in the box. I’m going to write mini reviews below and shall focus on some in more detail later in the blog

layton

 Parfums de Marly Layton 1.2ml eau de parfum (normally £145 for 75ml)

Parfums de Marly is a brand that’s new to me. In the previous Perfume Society Discovery Box- latest launches, the women’s fragrance, Delina, was a classy and distinctive mélange of rhubarb and the pinkest of flowers. Layton is of the same high quality and classy distinction. It opens with apples and lavender and calms down into a multi layered wood-fest of every wood from light to to dark to smoky. A flourish of vanilla warms it up. It reminds me of a cosy oak paneled tobacconist. Beware- the middle phase blew my socks off.

dunhill icon elite advert

  • Dunhill Icon Elite 2ml eau de parfum (£95 for 100ml)

The nose behind this is Carlos Benaim, who also made Dior Pure Poison, Viktor anf Rolf Flowerbomb and the original Ralph Lauren Polo fragrance, to name but a few from his staggeringly prestigious portfolio, My primary reaction to Dunhill Icon was “Aha! Suede”.

It’s a leathery nubuck scent, somehow stronger than suede, which I always identify as a softer toned down version of  leather. Icon is dark and tarry, and so leathery that it almost tipped me over into liquorice territory. Addictively sniffable, this smells like the bare chest of a man who has just removed his leather jacket. Trust me, that’s A Good Thing.

feuilles

  • Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac 2ml eau de parfum (£95 for 100ml)

I adore this classic  (pronounced Foy de Tabac) and declare it totally unisex. I reviewed it  a while back and remember that I rather fancied making my whole house smell this way. It’s the scent of a wood paneled gentleman’s club in Paris. Smoky, woody, herby, lovely.  You can read my review here.

escentric E

  • Escentric Molecules E 032ml eau de parfum (£72 for 100ml)

This opens with big stringent, clean scented lime.  With a hint of black pepper. The vetiver comes out straight away, and the whole thing stays that way for a few hours. After that, the base is sandalwood and clean musk. The lime and vetiver combo never quits though, and this had me thinking of dazzling white shirt cuffs and expensive suits. Yum

escentric m

  • Escentric Molecules M 03 2ml eau de parfum (£72 for 100ml)

The only note listed fior this is Vetiver. However, I beg to differ. This stunnjing fragrance smelled like scorched palm leaves for a few seconds then disappeared.  Then it came back as a sort of sharp, green citrus with a bitter orange edge.  Throughout the day, it gradually morphed into what I can only describe as a grapefruit chypre.  It’s the most vivid grapefruit scent: pith, juice and peel, with an earthy green base.  I completely fell headlong in love with this and I’m so glad I wandered out of my comfort zone, because I would never have stumbled across this otherwise.   Definitely a full bottle scent.

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  • Clive Christian Nobile VIII Magnolia 1.5ml eau de parfum (£350 for 50ml)

Getting my mitts on a Clive Christian sample is always a rare treat. They don’t come along every day, that’s for sure. This magnolia fragrance is utterly transporting, and as a magnolia fan, I loved it.  Again, I call this unisex. I’d marinate in it if I could. Longevity is outstandingly good. I shall be reviewing this one in more detail soon.

imortelle

  • Clive Christian Nobile VIII Immortelle 

1.5ml eau de parfum (£350 for 50ml)

This stuff really packs a bunch. Immortelle is also known as the everlasting flower- a bit like  a yellow cornflower. It has a spicy, faintly curry like nuance, but here it is overtaken by the robust vetiver. It’s a strong, statement fragrance that shouldn’t be worn before breakfast, but should be strongly encouraged for evening.

jimmy choo man ice

  • Jimmy Choo MAN ICE2ml eau de toilette (from £30 for 30ml)

This is an invigorating grapefruit and lemon scent that reminded me a little of Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien. It’s fantastically light and revitalizing  with a mossy finish and I’ve no idea why it’s “For Men” because I am seriously getting myself a full bottle.

initio

  • Initio Parfums Magnetic Blend 7 1.2ml eau de parfum (£154 for 90ml)

Amplifying the power of pheromonal molecules to provoke instinct through a sublime breed of violence.

initio adIt’s a lofty claim and one that’s hard to talk about objectively. On Fragrantica, the description doesn’t do it justice- the only note listed is musk. However, this musk will react differently on your skin than it will on mine. On mine it smells like plasticine. On you it may smell different. The jury’s out, but I remain intrigued. Maybe in six hours’ time I will become irresistible to all. I’ll get back to you.

EDIT- six hours later my cats keep sniffing my arm where I sprayed this but I can smell nothing. Don’t be put off, I get the feeling this is like one of those lipsticks that changes colour according to your body heats. Results will vary.

bentley momentumad

  • Bentley Momentum1.8ml eau de toilette (£59 for 100ml)

This has huge sillage and longevity and is full of ambergris, sandalwood, moss and musk, described as an oriental Fougere, the Nose behind it is the legendary Nathalie Lorson, who has created more major fragrances than I could list, but I can tell you that she made Black Opium, so she knows a thing or two about big hitters, as this one certainly is.

Photo from Sports Illustrated Getty Images
Photo from Sports Illustrated Getty Images
  • Cristiano Ronaldo Legacy 2ml eau de toilette (£29 for 30ml)

Finally, my sons and I have some middle ground to talk about. Football meets fragrance. This is a very decent offering in Ronaldo’s name (let’s not even pretend celebrities make them, OK?). This a leathery floral musk with daring hints of peony and violet. I say daring because football fans are not known for their penchant for peony. I am happy to be corrected. This is nothing too edgy or original, and you can only find the flowers if our nose seeks them out, but it is the same vein as a good David Beckham scent, only with more fuzzy violets. The Jury’s out on whether it helps you win football tournaments.

eye gel

  • Aromatherapy Associates Refinery Eye Gel15ml – worth £31

A generous sample in manly grey packaging. I like that there are other goodies in Perfume Society Discovery Boxes in sizes generous enough to have a decent trial of the product.

penhaligons moisturiser

  • Penhaligon’s No. 33 Moisturiser 5ml (normally £38 for 75ml)

This comes in the cutest tube in the world. It’s perfect for an overnight stay and smells divine, as you might expect.

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Where to buy

You can buy The Perfume Society Men’s Edit from The Perfume Society website for £19 or £15 to subscribers. Subscribing cots just £25  a year and gives a wide range of benefits of which discounted Discovery Boxes are just one. My box was sent ot me by the Perfume Society in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and this was not a sponsored post.

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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.

purse

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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Creed Silver Mountain Water: My Take On It

fragrantica
fragrantica

 

Creed Silver Mountain Water is a revered scent with a phalanx of fans that easily outnumber little old me, who is sitting here looking singularly unimpressed.

 Creed Silver Mountain Water evokes such purity and blue skies, that it was a disappointment to find that on my skin it bore only dried tea- and I emphasise the word dried as this reminded me of pot pourri.  Sadly the dried-leaf effect was dominant at the expense of the notes I was looking forward to meeting: namely galbanum, bergamot and my beloved petitgrain.

Silver Mountain Water led me to expect a scent that evoked a crashing cold wave on a baking hot day, or a froth of powdery snow as a dashing skier  whizzed past,  making the snow looking like confetti in his wake, but no.  I’m still there with the rather unpleasant pot pourri fragrance with a slightly scorched edge as if it’s been left on a hot windowsill too long.

After a couple of hours, this bizarrely turned into Carolina Herrera 212 For Men, which has negative connotations for me- so beloved was it of  a former flatmate who  marinated in it to  eclipse other less salubrious odours.

This is the third Creed fragrance I have reviewed and I remain underwhelmed.  It brought to mind a quote from Dr Cuddy in House MD ( my current favourite Netflix boxset) “Well she’s not as delightful as she thinks she is”, and if Creed Silver Mountain Water was a person, that is what I would say about them.

Stockists

Creed Silver Mountain water is available word wide- try Sephora.com, Amazon or the big department stores.  In the UK you can try Harrods, Liberty or House of Fraser.  At £160 a bottle, try before you buy.

With Thanks

With thanks to friend of the blog Patsi, who kindly supplied the sample.

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

Avon Wilderness for Men: I Will Let You Into A Secret

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 I have been trying not to review this, but since I  wore it off and on for five days and loved it (to me , five days on the trot is a long unbroken run), I thought I’d better get it off my Non-Hairy chest.

For a long time now, I have been getting impatient with Avon fragrance for women. I finally gave up after my eighth bottle of women’s fragrance ended up with the same nasty basenote as the previous seven, for which certain eBay buyers are grateful. When they discontinued the fabulous Timeless, I was indignant.  When they brought out yet another series of new fragrances in their last brochure, all fruity floral, their fate was sealed. No longer would I order any more Avon fragrances for Women (with the exception of Avon Soft Musk, which is a jolly good Musk and excellent alone or used for layering).

avon wilderness

However, over in the Men’s section, there were all sorts of good things going on. With promises of Musk, Patchouli, Amber, Juniper, Grapefruit, Cypress Greens, Woods, Orientals, Lavender and Mandarin zest, suddenly my ears pricked up again.

I ordered a bottle of Wilderness for Men simply because I liked the sound of the notes: Amber and Patchouli are enhanced by wood notes and musk and hints of juniper and grapefruit. At 7GBP for 100ml, I figured this blind buy wouldn’t bankrupt me and I suppose I could always give it to my husband.

When it arrived from Jill, my Avon Lady, it was a very hot day and I wasn’t sure if I wanted Amber and Patchouli. Actually what I wanted was an icy Pimms, but let’s not be greedy.

AVON-WILDERNESS-ERKEK-EDT-100-ml__44970405_0

The Patchouli and Amber were remarkably refreshing and this may be down to the Grapefruit and Juniper lightening both notes up. The juice itself is sea green, with a black lid, and unlike the women’s fragrance range, it actually smells like its ingredients. I can easily pick out the Grapefruit and the Patchouli. There’s a slight powderiness to it too, that I like.  The powderiness falls into the chalky and clean category, like a fresh white mist, making this a great summer buy and smelling more expensive than it should at this ludicrously cheap price.  It’s an EDT rather than an EDP, so longevity is only around three hours, but as usual, I spray clothes and hair to make it last longer.

Finally my Avon brochure is back in favour, or at least the back half of it is.  Sometimes you have to move stuff if you want to find something.

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.

grapefruit

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.

pamplelune

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.

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