Tag Archives: The Fragrance Shop

Missguided: Babe Power: Seriously Fun

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I was given a bottle of this at the recent Fragrance Foundation Awards, and I’m glad I was because the packaging and general image wouldn’t have otherwise tempted me.  However,  a good sniff of Babe Power converted this curmudgeon into a surprise fan.

Babe Power is the first fragrance from fashion label missguided.  It’s a hot on trend label for hot on trend people and this fragrance is no exception.  It steps out of class and sticks two fingers up at boring old glass perfume bottles and comes in a tin can that looks and feels exactly like a can of energy drink.

I did the sniff test on my family and gleaned the following verdicts: “bubble gum” “Haribo”  and the rather unimaginative response: “perfume.”

The very first thing I got from Babe Power was sour cherries.  Don’t be put off by the “sour” bit.  This is a sharp cherry scent, unlike a sweet sickly “normal” cherry scent. The vanilla is almost indistinguishable from the cherry note as they are so co-dependent and entwined.  In fact, just for fun, there’s also apple, pineapple, grapefruit and candy floss in here.  The ingredients remind me of a very colourful beach hut style kiosk.  There’s flowers too: very girly ones- jasmine, peony and orange flower.   The jasmine and peony just peek through, but frankly the big bright fruity notes are partying too loud to answer the door.

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This may sound like a mish mash, but actually it really, really works. I love the fact that it doesn’t take itself too seriously whilst getting the balance right.  The sour cherries had me at hello, and the slightly play doh vanilla makes me love it even more.

I would like to predict that this will be a big success, but before I could even review this, it has become a huge bestseller in The Fragrance Shop.   I wouldn’t sound very mystic and prophetic when this is already flying off the shelves so fast that passers-by have to duck.

Bravo missguided.  Encore!

Stockists

Missguided Babe Power is available from The Fragrance Shop for 27.50 for 80ml  EDP. Opinions are my own.

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The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box March 2017

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Every quarter, for the small sum of five pounds, I  receive a Discovery Box from the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club.  Sometimes there are fragrances I’ve already tried and sometimes there are lovely surprises. Either way, I’ve been a member since December 2013 and I always will be.

This month’s box contains six samples, as well as a five-pound voucher off a full bottle of any of your favourites from the box.  So far, my clear favourite is Elizabeth Arden White Tea.

Here’s what’s in the box

Elizabeth Arden White Tea

arden_white_teaAs you know Elizabeth Arden Green Tea has been a classic since it came out in 1999.  Green Tea was created by none other than His Majesty Francis Kurkdjian, and it has genius simplicity written all over it.   There have been many flankers, and I’ve liked all of them.  When I saw White Tea was now A Thing, I worried that they may have “over-flanked” themselves, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  Elizabeth Arden White Tea  is light, airy and floaty and smells like a pure white room in a dream home.   There’s clean white musks and sea notes and light notes of white tea.  This is like a spa in a bottle.  This will be on my dressing table very soon.

Jimmy Choo L’Eau

This is in a similar vein to DKNY below, but is slightly sweeter and Jimmy-Choo-Leaudelicately tiptoes onto the very edges of the gourmand spectrum.  I wrote about this last month and you can read my review here. It’s pretty and light and floral, and I predict it’ll be a big hit this summer.

DKNY Be Tempted Eau so Blush

dkny be temptedDKNY Be Tempted Eau So Blush is a light and feminine scent that has a fruity floral opening and big peony notes in the middle- and peony is going to be big this year.   The base is woody and fruity with apricots and musk.  This is a perfect daytime scent and ideal for work. It almost demands to be worn with a pretty frock.

Marc Jacobs Decadence

marc jacobs decadenceMarc Jacobs Decadence comes in such a fantastic bottle that when I first saw it,  I almost didn’t care what it smelled like, I just wanted that bottle. Luckily, it smells pretty good with its saffron and plums and a vetiver and musk base.  If you like Marc Jacobs Daisy, don’t buy this blind as they’re very different.   Decadence is fabulous for the evening whilst Daisy is lighter and better as a daytime fragrance.

Joop! Wow

wowThis one certainly lives up to its name. “Wow” was the first word I said when I sniffed it.  It opens with sharp lime and aromatic cardoman, and settles as a slightly gourmand, warm vanilla, via peppery geranium and dry grassy vetiver.  Despite not having any leathery notes, this reminded me of Dior Fahrenheit, only Joop!Wow! is sharper and with more citrus. I loved it. I sprayed it on me, my husband and my ten-year-old son.  Unanimous thumbs up! We all smell great.

Invictus Intense

invictus intenseI was surprised when I saw this as I thought “Hmm, Invictus is pretty intense anyway, what could they possibly do to make it bigger?”The answer, my friends, is that they turned up the volume and tweaked some knobs until it knocked out every canary within a fifty mile radius.  Invictus Intense is similar to the original, but cranked up to the power of ten.  The salt notes are very prominent.  It’s dry and masculine and not pretty.  It reminded me a lot of Paco Rabanne One Million Intense. If this sounds like your cup of tea, please use sparingly.  For all our sakes.

Stockists

fs disc boxAll of these fragrances are available from The Fragrance Shop.

The Discovery Club is easy to join with no long term red tape.  Just join to get your box and cancel if you want to.  But I bet you won’t! I’ve been getting these boxes for four years and the flat box they come in fits through the letterbox so it won’t end up in the Post Office depot if you’re out.

I purchased this myself and opinions are my own.

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Narciso Eau de Parfum Poudree by Narciso Rodriguez

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I do love a bit of Poudree. I love it in Chanel No 19 Poudree and I love it as a note in any perfume. The powderier, the better. Don’t be put off by the Poudree in the title if you’re not a powder fan- it’s a muted, muffled effect, and not remotely dated.

Narciso EDP Poudree goes on with a flourish of white flowers: namely trusty jasmine and orange flower. There’s no creamy tuberose here, although it would have worked well. There’s a comforting slink of musk running alongside the feminine flora, and this is what resonates most for me. The rose peeks in, but doesn’t get much of a say. The base is comprised of vetiver, tonka, woods, and patchouli.

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Mainly though, this is a big white floral, with sexy, musky overtones and a woody finish. It makes me feel like a proper grown up, as if I should do my nails and wear high heels before wearing it.

Narciso Eau de Parfum Poudree is exceptionally good and probably my favourite from The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box from whence it came. (It’s neck and neck with Stella McCartney POP.  Boxes are £5 each and sent quarterly. I would never have stumbled across this gem if it hadn’t been put under my nose. And that, my friends, is why I like Discovery Boxes.

Stockists

You can buy Narciso Eau de Parfum Poudree from The Fragrance Shop.

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The Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box Giveaway and More!

Poudree

I have exciting news about this quarter’s Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box. Not only is it a great selection of samples, but I have one to give away AND my very own discount code so that you can get one free when you subscribe. I feel properly famous now. I’ll probably be in Celebrity Big Brother next. (Day One.  Samantha heads straight for the kettle.  The other housemates have labelled her “boring.”)jimmycvhoo2

You may have correctly surmised by now that I am a huge fan of discovery boxes. Many a time have I stumbled across a fragrance that wasn’t even on my radar or my “Must Try” list and many a time has that fragrance ended up being a favourite. Discovery Boxes turn your head and whisper “I know you don’t think you’ll like this one, but have you actually tried it?” It’s also a great way to try new releases and new flankers without traipsing round endless shops wondering what your coat sleeves smell of after trying ten scents in one morning. (Guilty).

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This month, the Fragrance Shop sent me a Discovery Club Box to see what I thought. I have been a proud subscriber since the scheme began, so now I have two.  As I often tell my sons “It’s not fair to have two when your brother’s got none.”  I am therefore giving one of them away. The contents are a mix of established classics and new launches. There’s three for him and four for her, but that’s just labels. In my opinion, anyone can wear anything.  There’s also a Fragrance Shop booklet containing discount vouchers on a full bottle of each scent sample in the box. Ill be reviewing some of them shortly so watch this space.

What’s in the Box?

Samples are between 1.5ml and 2ml. Here’s what’s in it:fragshopdiscbox16

1. Stella McCartney POP

2. Narciso Rodriguez Eau de Parfum Poudree

3. Jimmy Choo Illicit

4. Hollister California Wave For Her

5. Hollister California Wave For Him

6. Hugo Boss Boss Bottled Unlimited

7. L’EauD’Issey Pour Homme

Here’s How to WIN

Simply tell me which of the above scents you would most like to try, and you could win the whole Discovery Box. You can comment below on the blog, or on Twitter, or on Facebook. Entries are picked via Randompicker. org and entries closes on July 26th at midnight GMT. Please note that this is a UK only giveaway due to postage regulations.

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There’s MORE! Exclusive Discount Code to my readers

But that’s not all. The lovely team at The Fragrance Shop has very kindly issued me with my very own discount code. If you want to join the Discovery Club, simply sign up online and use discount code SCENTDAY to get your first one free! Boxes are sent quarterly and cost £5.00 including postage.  This offer is available until 31st August. The offer applies to UK residents only due to postal regulations.

All that’s left to be said is Happy Sniffing!

Paco Rabanne Black XS Los Angeles EDT: For Him and For Her

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Paco Rabanne Black XS has been around for eleven years. In perfume years, that gives it almost legendary status. When you think of how many perfumes have come and gone since 2005, it takes something special to still be around, and still be selling well.

2016 sees the launch of Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For Him and For Her. I’ve been wearing both for a few days now, and my verdict is ready M’lud.

Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For Her

The face of this fragrance is Sky Ferreira. Coming from Venice beach, she is achingly current right now. I expected a fragrance that would be too cool and modern for me to wear (and I’ll try anything, me). Blow me down if I didn’t fall for this beautiful, feminine scent straight away. Opening with sweet oranges, kept tart with cranberries, this citrussy opening soon surrenders to roses and orchids. The roses are especially noticeable, and have an air of dusk. Not too sweet, and with a hint of the night- the orchids give them a rich, dark twist- like adding sequins to a daytime dress. The basenotes contain woods, amber and a hint of vanilla. Thankfully the vanilla doesn’t go down the cupcake route, but retains a hint of “cosy” that complements the amber.

What I have left on my arm after a good few hours (and longevity is excellent) is a woody amber fragrance with touches of roses and a background of citrus like a good summer cologne. Surprisingly timeless for a scent so modern. I’ve been wearing it non stop.

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Paco Rabanne Black XS For Him

With a Zippo like flip top lid, Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For Him opens with an aquatic burst of ocean, and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice. What could be more Californian? Well, there is one scent that I always associate with my past visits to California and that’s cinnamon. It’s in the air of every cafe you pass: especially if they’re serving the ubiquitous and majestic Cinnabun. Who can resist them? Not me. But I digress. It seems entirely appropriate that cinnamon is the next note that appears in Black XS LA. Whilst it opens clear and clean like crystal droplets from a wave, it warms up almost immediately on drying. The Clary Sage emerges somewhere in the middle. This adds a touch of leathery/herbal gentleman’s cologne. That dot of cinnamon blends in nicely; not enough to overpower, but certainly enough to add a touch of warmth.

To my nose, Black XS LA has a hint of clean cotton in amongst the base notes. It’s almost like sun bleached, laundered denim. There is a blue tone to this scent, as well as to the juice itself. The face of the scent is Gabriel-Kane Day-Lewis. So handsome he has four names. So cool he is just right for this campaign. But don’t let this youth put you off- this smells great on my husband and he won’t mind me telling you that he is fifty ( but doesn’t look it). He is cool too.

Stockists

You can buy Paco Rabanne Black XS LA For  Him  and For Her from the Fragrance Shop online and in store. My bottles were kindly provided by the Fragrance Shop, for which, I am very grateful.  Opinions are my own.

Kenzo Jeu D’Amour: the Best of The Bunch

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As much as I love my little Fragrance Shop Discovery Boxes, I was a little disappointed this month.  I am hoping that this means that they are going to over compensate in the December Box.

For those who don’t know, the Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box is a smart black box  containing perfume samples of fragrances available from the Fragrance Shop- usually, but not exclusively, new releases. It costs £5 a quarter and I’m a big fan of the scheme, even if I prefer some boxes over others.

One of the samples in this week’s box was Kenzo Jeu D’Amour and if you like tuberose, then you’re in for a treat.  It opens with tuberose straight away: creamy but floral.  It’s very much a commercial tuberose that has been made palatable and pretty, rather than the almost medicinal strand found in Serge Lutens Tubereuse Criminelle.

There are many notes listed but I found they were drowned out by the tuberose (not really a bad thing in my book).  So if you try this, do let me know if you found the green tea, the pomegranate and the mandarin, because I did not.  (Doesn’t it sound like a fabulous treasure hunt though?)

The addition of Freesia makes this user friendly and the base is indeed exactly as it says: sandalwood and musk.  However the tuberose never goes away.  If you like tuberose with a feminine, pretty angle to it then this is for you.  Out of all of the five samples I received in my Discovery Box, this was my favourite.  Bravo Kenzo.

Kenzo Jeu D’Amour is available from the Fragrance Shop in the UK in person or online. I can’t find USA stockists right now, so I guess its launching soon.  I’ll keep you posted!

 

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IScentYouADay: The Journey Will Continue

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On January 2nd 2013 I decided to start a blog that reviewed a perfume a day for a year.  My dear friend LisaWordbird kindly brought me half a house full of samples and full bottles that made me faint with a thud.  Bringing me round with a whiff off Muscs Koublai Khan, she explained I could borrow and write about anything I needed. Without her, my blog would have been about ten times harder and I would not have been able to write about any of the amazing gems she has let me borrow.

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However, at the risk of sounding like I am explaining that the dog ate my homework, I must confess that I have not managed to write 365 reviews.  I did manage to post 310 blog posts however, so I hope you will forgive me.  I should point out at this point that the missing blogs would have occurred during 14 weeks of school holidays, two weeks away from my trusty  computer, two children’s ear infections and viruses, my own sinus infection which rendered my nose useless and  four nights when I had to hand sew a snowflake costume (the result was more Liberace than snowflake, but my son didn’t mind). Blogs would have been even fewer had the ever patient Mr IScent not been an IT professional who has fixed my glitches in exchange for kisses and hot food.

I have found that blogging about perfume not only gives me the headspace that I need when Imageraising a seven year old and a four year old, but it has taken me to another world where I have encountered many fascinating and kind people from around the globe. I cannot stop now.  It’s addictive.

However it was the rather marvellous Perfumed Dandy  who came up with the idea of writing about 1001 scents.  I am therefore adopting this wonderful idea which also, hopefully, gets me off the hook for not quite reaching my 365 in a year target.

So here you are: IScentYouADay: 1001 days of perfume.

Do you like it?

The Without Whom bit:

I could not have done this without the comments, encouragement and shared anecdotes from my followers on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.For everyone who stops by or has a quick read, you have my deep appreciation.

To LisaWordbird, the most selfless fellow fragrance freak I have ever ever met. Her generosity has no limits, and her knowledge has been invaluable. My eyes have been truly opened and my nose has been taken to places I could never have imagined. Thank you.

To the lovely companies who have been kind enough to supply me with samples: Miller Harris, Jo Loves, the Fragrance Shop, LUSH, Yves Rocher and dear, kind Andy Tauer.  None of them have paid me for my opnions, and I should imagine Lush wishes they had paid me to shut up at times. I thank them all.

And finally thank you to the Perfumed Dandy who helped me with the idea of how I could continue seamlessly. My warm thanks to you dear Dandy.

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Aura by Loewe: The Tide is Turning

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We all know how celebrated the French perfume industry is, but let’s hear some good words about the lesser lauded Spanish perfume industry. As I may have mentioned, I am a big fan of  Jesus del Pozo Ambar (top of my Christmas Wish List as my small bottle is nearly empty), and of course, there’s Balenciaga, Paco Rabanne and even Dana, a Spanish born company that has taken over many drugstore classics such as Tabu, Chantilly and Le Jardin.  Loewe is a Spanish company that is famous for its luxe luggage and bags and has branched out, as have the world and his dog, into the fragrance world.

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FragranceShop.co.uk

The first time I tried a Loewe fragrance , it was from a previous Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box and it was called Quizas Quizas Quizas Pasion.  I believe I also called it “Death by Red Berries”. Aura is a great improvement, although the leftover red berries sadly didn’t go to waste.  Aura is, refreshingly, a mainstream High Street leather.  Can we call it a chypre? I think we can. I sometimes get muddled by the definition of a chypre, but the excellent Perfume Shrine blog has, what is to my mind, the definitive article on Chypres.  

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Aura is simply made. Top notes: Red Berries, Bergamot and Pink Pepper. Middle notes: Rose, Violet Leaf, Iris and Jasmine and Base notes : Cedar, Leather and Sandalwood.  It’s an unusual journey. Initially I was on the brink of dismissal when I caught a waft of red berries again, but as I persevered, I realised that the basenotes were as good as their word and what I am left with after a an hour is a Leather, Rose, Sandalwood mélange which is really rather good.

Longevity could be better: on me it fades after two hours, but that’s not to say it won’t last longer on you.  You may recall that Delices de Cartier evaporated immediately on my skin, yet others praise its twelve hour longevity on them.   If I were Queen of The World (and it’s just a matter of time), I would order Loewe to stop using the red berries, and crank up the Leather. But that’s just me.

It’s not a chypre in the same class as, say, my beloved Jolie Madame, nor is it a leather in the same league as Cuir de Russie or Bulgari Black. However, I am so thrilled to meet a new launch that doesn’t smell like a candy shop, that I feel it would be churlish to criticise.  When you finally coax something out the woodwork, you don’t want to scare it back off again.

Aura by Loewe is available from the Fragrance Shop for £53.50 for a 40ml EDP with body lotion.  Not to be confused with Aura by Swarowski.

Paco Rabanne Lady Million: All That Glitters

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Lady Million by Paco Rabanne established itself in my consciousness on three occasions before I actually tried it.

1. During Richard E Grant’s wonderful TV series on Hotels he was lying on a huge bed interviewing a famous ex groupie. After she had listed her conquests, he said “You smell fabulous, what is it?” Yep. Lady Million

2. Sitting at a  table in a very beautiful pub in Oxford, the next table was full of drunk women (nothing wrong with that, I have been one myself!). One of them was being encouraged to take her purchase out and try it, she did indeed. The familiar gold bottle was taken out of its cellophaned box and sprayed liberally over all and sundry. Yes, it was Lady Million.

3. In Wilkinsons at Christmas, hovering over the perfumes. The Assistant offered me Lady Million ( I ended up buying Blue Grass). Her colleague came up and said “Oh I love that, give me a spray!” and went off to finish her shift.

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So it’s popular all over the world, and has a price tag of around 42GBP  for a 50ml EDT . However, It was a while before I realised what was turning me off. More of which anon.

Thankfully, Lady Million is nothing like her brother, Paco Rabanne 1 Million For Men, which makes me run away, with watering eyes and a rasping chest. 1 Million for Men is vile, loud and abrasive. You can smell it from thirty foot away. Thankfully, I don’t go to nightclubs any more, so I usually escape the toxic cloud.

Lady Million is white flowers, with lily of the valley, gardenia and neroli out and proud and dominating. Sadly, the white flowers smell horribly synthetic to me, or maybe I have been spoiled by better scents now.

Dree Hemingway for Paco Rabanne

The other sticking point with me is the honey note. It seems to make the essential freshness of the white flowers sticky and cloying.  There is a place for sweetness in a perfume- Givenchy Amarige is an  example of how sweet can work without sweeties, but in Lady Million the honey took away the white, clean notes of the Gardenia and replaced it with something that left the flowers rather droopy and flat.  It’s like a sticky stain on perfect white cotton. I’ll pass, but it might smell better on you. Millions of fans can’t be wrong, but I can.

Stockists

You can buy Lady Million from The Fragrance Shop, or Boots to name but two. It’s widely available.

PS Thank you to The Fragrance Shop for kindly supplying this and other samples.

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