Tag Archives: Summer perfumes

Yardley English Freesia

yardley freesia

When I need  a floral that does what it says it will do, I go to Yardley. They don’t add vanilla and caramel and syrup: they showcase the flower and add a few notes that enhance it.  I already have Yardley English Rose, Yardley April Violets, Yardley English Bluebell and Yardley English Lavender in my collection. They are brilliant alone or layered over other scent that you want to “flower-up.”

I recently obtained a sample of Yardley English Freesia from the Perfume Society Modern Classics Discovery Box and I can report that standards remain high on the flower front.

Freesia is a naturally light spring time flower, and is often hard to pin down in a fragrance.  However, the addition of a chorus of stars makes this an all singing floral treat.

mod class official

English Freesia opens with, as you might guess, freesia but this is surrounded by refreshing eau de cologne style citrus notes. There’s bergamot, lemon and mandarin as well as a touch of lavender, giving this a unisex appeal, although I am yet to persuade my husband that wearing freesia to the office is a good idea.

photo by www.bakker.com
photo by www.bakker.com

The middle notes carry spicy ginger and pepper. You might not think they would go, but actually the ginger goes particularly well with the freesia, helping this airy fairy note to stay grounded.

The base is both woody and floral, although I wouldn’t really call it sandalwood. The mandarins are still there at the end, as is the ginger. All in all, this opens as a citrus, segues into a spicy floral, and beds down into a combination of the two.  Longevity wasn’t as good as I might have liked, but I have ways of making it last ( sleeves, hair, lapels, moisturised skin).

For the price, this is a steal. I will probably buy a bottle to add it to the Yardley bouquet on my dressing table.

Stockists

Yardley English Freesia is available from Boots or Amazon.co.uk. Prices range from around £9.99 for 50ml upwards, making this a bargain.  My sample was from the Perfume Society Modern Classic Discovery Box which is available here. Opinions are my own.

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Shay and Blue London Blood Oranges

 

blood oranges

Shay and Blue London continues to impress. After wearing Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom all weekend and recently raving about Framboise Noire, I did wonder if Blood Oranges would meet my expectations. The answer is no, it excelled my expectations and it has now been added to my Full Bottle Wish List (It’s longer than my street now. Oops!).

blood orangesBlood Oranges opens, and stays, with bitter sharp citrus notes. What impressed me the most is that the citrus sticks around for the whole time. This is not particularly common, although I have enjoyed a spate of long lasting citruses lately so maybe the tide is happily turning. Blood Oranges pierces through the heat of (dare I say it yet?) summer and gives me all the clean scent of a freshly peeled orange without the marmalade stickiness. In the middle there’s a bit of leather which softens the edges without taking over. The basenotes are warm, with amber, musk and woods, but the oranges never leave. Longevity is excellent at around six or seven hours, and although it’s a warm scent, the citrus keeps it fresh and therefore ideal for summer. There’s no staleness, no hint of dried up peel: this stays as juicy as if you’ve just peeled it.  It makes an excellent unisex scent, being an invigorating cologne style fragrance that would suit anyone, especially, but not exclusively, in summer.

Stockists

I got my sample from The Perfume Society Eaux La La Discovery Box. You can buy full bottles from trusty Marks and Spencer. Big shout out for the stunning packaging too.

 

 

Fragonard Soleil: The Sunny Side of The Street

Pinterest
Pinterest

 

Fragonard has yet to make a fragrance that disappoints me.  With consistently high quality, great packaging, good longevity and fair prices, it is to me, the perfect brand.  Fragonard Soleil is no exception.

From the name and the gold sun on the lid, you might expect something of the coconutty/sun cream genre, but in fact what you’re getting is a rather bold bouquet of white flowers that trip over themselves to make you smell impossibly feminine and pretty on a hot day.

My mini bottle

The strongest note to my nose is the Freesia.  Freesia sometimes gets lost in translation.  In fact, this initially reminded me of Avon Today, which opens similarly, but falls flat on its face not long afterwards (see my earlier review).  With Fragonard Soleil, the freesia opens quite dominantly and then the other white flower notes ( most notably orange flower) crowd in shortly afterwards, making this both rich and summery at the same time.

On hot skin, this is radiant.  I know because I wore it down the park yesterday and it was boiling, but I could smell those summer flowers drifting up to my nose from my forearms. NB I don’t put perfume on my wrists as I wash my hands a lot and it comes off, but on the front of my forearm?  Well that only gets washed once a day!

Fragonard Soleil allegedly beds down into sandalwood with an ambery finish, but I found that the orange flower, freesia, and slightly peppery wisteria just stayed put the whole time.  This is great on the beach and equally great in the bar afterwards.  Yes there are colognes to cool you down, but actually flowers like this  are sort of perfect on a hot day.

 Stockists

You can buy Fragonard Soleil from the Fragonard website ( one of the prettiest websites in the world! IMO) or from Marks and Spencer online or instore.

My 7ml splash bottle is from the Perfume Society Summer Scentsations Discovery Box.

 

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Colognes For Summer: My Pick of the Best

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shop.4711.com

As the weather changes, so does our perfume wardrobe.  The spicy patchoulis and leathers take a back seat, (although with changeable UK weather they never go away), and the pretty cologne bottles come out to play.  Cologne traditionally doesn’t have staying power.  The high alcohol content cools skin on application and not much more is expected of it.  However many of the fragrances labelled cologne today have the lasting power of an eau de toilette, that is between 4-6 hours, making colognes a good bet for the summer and justifying a cooling lunch time top up.

I’ve trawled through some of my favourites and have listed them below.  Although they vary in price, I consider all of them to be good quality and value for money, otherwise I wouldn’t rave about them to you.   Do feel free to tell me of any of yours too-I always love to hear from you.

Escentual.com
Escentual.com

4711 Original cologne:  The classic.  It reminds me of a school exchange trip to Germany in 1986 where I first discovered this timeless scent. The scent itself  doesn’t last long, but reapplying it is a pleasure in itself.  This  has been around since 1793 and the closely guarded formula contains herbs, citrus and a mossy backdrop.  This is the textbook classic which many say provided the blueprint for all colognes that followed, and still smells great today. You can buy it just about everywhere.  Try Amazon UK,   Escentual.com or allbeauty.com.

immortelle
Cologne and Cotton Immortelle

Cologne and Cotton Immortelle:  A citrussy spicy opening leads into traditional style orange and lemon cologne with a handful of green notes that lasted an easy four or five hours on me. It beds down into a deeper, slightly bitter citrus that reminded me of Guerlain Pamplelune.  Available from Cologne and Cotton online or in store. A big thumbs up to the glorious heritage style packaging and generous 150ml bottles too!

thelibraryoffragrance.com
thelibraryoffragrance.com

 

Library of Fragrance Rain:  The lovely Vanessa Musson of Bonkers About Perfume described this as “minty tangerines”, and I totally agree.  It has an ozonic, refreshing tang that smells as fresh and clean as a rainy day.  Lasting powder was around four hours. You can buy it from Boots or from Library of Fragrance online

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Cologne and Cotton Niobe

Cologne and Cotton Niobe I reviewed this recently and liked it so much that I decanted it into a Travelo and carry it round in my handbag.  It opens with citrus and ends with spice, but is never cloying- always uplifting.  Made for men, but used by me.  You can buy a generous 150ml bottle from Cologne and Cotton online or instore.

westinidanlime
West Indian Lime by Crabtree and Evelyn

Crabtree and Evelyn West Indian Lime Cologne I tried this on in winter and it lasted around six hours on me and I stood there in my damp coat and wet boots dreaming of summer. Here’s my review. This is a glorious lime that packs a punch and lingers around like a good mood.  You can buy it from  Marks and Spencer, and Amazon.co.uk

eaudecartier
Eau de Cartier

Eau de Cartier  One of my early loves, which I reviewed within months of starting this blog.  It’s my hangover scent: Lavender, mint and bergamot in perfect harmony- even Luca Turin thinks so.  Strictly, it’s an eau de toilette, but it behaves like cologne and smells like cologne, so I will shoe horn it in anyway.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com.

eau dhadrien
Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien

 

Annick Goutal Eau D’Hadrien  Lemons, lemons, lemons, citrus and lemons.  With a hint of aldehydes. Don’t buy it if you don’t like lemons, but what could be better in summer?  This is a classic that will never go out of style. Here’s my review.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com, Escentual.com and Amazon.co.uk to name but a few.

farina
Jeanne Marie Farina

 

Roger & Gallet Jean Marie Farina eau de cologne  There is a complicated back story here as to whether Roger & Gallet introduced the very first cologne to the world, or whether it was the 4711 gang.   There is a great article here which explains it more fully, but I think its’s safe to say that the Roger  and Gallet brand has been around since 1693, pre-dating the 4711 history.

Jean Marie Farina is my favourite Roger & Gallet and is named after the heir of the original recipe, who converted aqua mirabilis into eau de cologne back in 1806.  It combines spices and lightness with herbs and citrus and in my eyes at least, it is a classic.  It is widely available, but I like buying it from my local Marks and Spencer, one of the few High Street stockists outside big cities.

eaudynami
Clarins.com

 

Clarins Eau Dynamisante  Bright, astringent and refreshing, Eau Dynamisante has it all.  In my previous review of ED here on this very blog, I described it as the freshness of an open window on a stuffy day. This Clarins range defies categorization as it is neither a cologne nor an eau de toilette but a firming skin treatment.  However, by being full of citrus and herbs and having a short but refreshing staying power, I would say that as cologne, it fits the bill.  I also adore Clarins Eau Des Jardins (see my review) which smells so good I almost want to drink it (but don’t!). You can buy it from any good beauty counter, or you can try allbeauty.com,  or Amazon.co.uk.

 

Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea: A Perfect Summer Launch

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Dolce and Gabbana Light Blue Escape to Panarea is a bit of a mouthful. It’s a new launch Limited Edition for 2014 and it has charmed me in today’s hot weather (yes, even in Wales).

I’m actually a bit of a fan of the original Light Blue. Having expected an ozonic melon fest, I was pleasantly surprised at how floral and multi layered it was.  There have been several flankers since: all seemingly named after a page in a holiday brochure or made-up adventure films, but today’s review is about Light Blue Escape to Panarea. (see what I mean about sounding like an adventure film?)

profumeriaweb.com
profumeriaweb.com

First of all, this is a light floral. Yes there is fruit in it, namely pear, but I wouldn’t regard it as a typical fruity floral.  It holds back on the sweetness for a start and has completely left out any ubiquitous vanilla that seems so unavoidable these days.

Top notes are simply bergamot and pear, both of which I like.  Middle notes are: Jasmine and Orange Flower, both of which work well in summer, and base notes, unusually, consist of Ambergris, Tonka bean and musk.

Put all these together and what you get is a refreshing citrus floral with a base that lacks the expected weight of the ambergris but is instead a well rounded and faintly sweet daytime perfume that would pass the commuter train test with flying colours.

The most prominent notes are the orange flower and pear, with the Musk just feathering the edges gently as the base notes meld together.

I like it because it’s not cloying or overly sweet, because the flowers stay true and don’t merge into a hollow mess, and because it’s pretty and delicate on a hot day.

Even if you splash it all over, it has more staying power than a cologne, but enough delicacy not to be remotely offensive if you wear too much.  Lasting power is around four hours.  Frankly, I’m a fan.

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Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca: A Meadow in a Bottle  

herba

Despite the grass in my garden currently being sodden and the earth being on the boggy side, and despite the fact that we are bracing ourselves for torrential rain later (again), I haven’t given up on my Pollyanna fantasy of wearing fresh summer scents whilst wafting around in the sunshine.

garden

Trusty Guerlain has created a brilliantly green and grassy scent in Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca.  I must admit I didn’t used to like it due to the inclusion (which is by no mean heavy) of Green Tea.  I didn’t used to like Green Tea at all as a note, finding it metallic and cold.  However, since trying Green Tea flankers from Elizabeth Arden, and exploring the note further, I have come round to the fact that since it is best friends with my favourite Bergamot, I ought to get to know it better.

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Indeed Herba Fresca challenges my preconceptions on a couple of levels.  A few years ago I would have rejected not just the Green Tea, but the Mint too.  Today, having been around the block a bit in terms of fragrance, I fully embrace Herba Fresca and want to have this beautiful gilded bottle on my dressing table.

The mint reminds me a little of  LUSH Smell of Weather Turning ( see my earlier review):  a pleasing combo of mint, hay and tarmac that frankly, I am a bit addicted to.  In Herba Fresca, created by none other than Jean Paul Guerlain, the combination of Green Tea, damp green grass and  Mint makes this so refreshing that they should find another name for refreshing: Revitalizing? Invigorating? Reviving?.  I wouldn’t say astringent: it’s not as harsh as that.  It has Lemon but is so much more than a citrus. It’s more botanical, yet carries the memory of dewy grass on your skin for as long it lasts.

green lake

I couldn’t really find the Cyclamen or the Pear, but I was very happy to sniff and sniff at this pastoral beauty as the rain drizzles on the windows. Longevity is about four hours, possibly five, which is about the going rate for an Eau de Toilette.  The price is under £40 but you get a generous 75ml bottle for that.  I wouldn’t turn one down at any time of the year.

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Yves Rocher Moment de Bonheur: Roses, Roses, Roses

moment de bonheur

  As you may know, I’m a big fan of Yves Rocher and awaiting a parcel for them later this week.  I love that the quality is high and the freebies and special offers are plentiful.

It’s shame there are no stores in the UK and I have had to make a few blind buys, but I have never been disappointed.  I am particularly fond of Yves Rocher Cléa, which, if you’re a fan, smells a bit like Dove and makes for a deliciously creamy, ambery fragrance. Today I am reviewing Yves Rocher Moment de Bonheur, a rather lovely, simple floral. It opens with drunken rose petals.  By drunken I mean that it reminds me of the rose petal perfume I used to make when I was little.  I would collect rose petals from the garden and keep them in a jar of water.  The resulting perfume would not be um…commercial, but it smelled like rose petals that were on the turn: over ripe if you like and on the point of being fermented.  I’m not painting a pretty picture but in fact the rose scent from the stewed and dampened petals really summed up summer for me.

Moment de Bonheur was in fact created for Autumn and was launched in September 2011.  This would make sense, since the base has a hint of spice and warmth in the patchouli and cedar finish.  However, despite the geranium and green notes, Moment de Bonheur, to me will always be roses, roses, roses: stem, leaves and all. It’s light as a petal and borderline soapy in places, but I love it. If you like rose fragrances you can’t go wrong with this one.

photo by theimaginationtree.com
photo by theimaginationtree.com

Yardley Jade: a welcome Déjà Vu

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Whilst having a quick browse around Boots today between errands, I came across a perfume I hadn’t seen before : Yardley Jade. Naturally I couldn’t resist testing it and by the time I reached the exit, I was thinking “Hmm. Chanel Cristalle. I bet that phase won’t last.”  Yet here I am, nd.12three hours later, and it still smells as if I am wearing Chanel Cristalle.

As you may know from my previous reviews, I was in an exclusive relationship with Chanel Cristalle  for nearly twenty years, with occasional forays into temporary favourites. Green, light and floral, Cristalle is paradoxically no lightweight, with its Oakmossy finish and long lasting Galbanum touches.

It’s looking as if Jade by Yardley is singing the same song, but, as you might imagine,  for a fraction of the price. I’m never without a bottle of Cristalle and on a wrist to wrist experiment, there was very little in it.  Jade claims to have Peaches, but thankfully, I can smell none.  Both open with Bergamot. Both perfumes have that translucent green feel to them, with a hint of fresh, clean hyacinth, and both have a mossy finish.

Time for the maths bit: The current price for Yardley Jade is £7.99 for a 50ml EDT in Boots.  The current price for Chanel Cristalle EDT is £49 for  a 60ml EDT. (I felt it was only fair to compare like with like, although I tested Jade alongside the Cristalle EDP not EDT).

So there you have it. I wish Yardley had invented this during the period of my life when I couldn’t  afford Cristalle, but better late than never. Oh and a huge Hallelujah that this totally lacks Vanilla, red fruit or anything candy floss. Common Sense prevailed at Yardley.