Tag Archives: unisex fragrance

A Fragrance Evolution: Katy Perry’s Indi eau de parfum

katy perry indi bottle

Reviewing Katy Perry Indi was a case of “forget what you think you know.”  I think of Katy Perry as the gorgeous and talented Teen Queen who sings catchy pop like no-one else. Her fragrances are cute and funny and have a wry grandeur, all done with a wink of irony.  So when I heard she had a new one coming out, I thought, I’ll pass thanks. It’s probably like her other stuff: on trend but not my bag.

katy perry indi peopleBoy, was I wrong. For a minute, there I’d forgotten that she’d shaved her head and done a studio album. Change of image, much? You bet. Indi is outstanding.

From Killer Queen to Meow and Katy Perry’s Mad Potion, Katy Perry’s fragrance range has taken a U Turn. Gone are the flashy,playful bottles with oodles of bling. In comes the simple black and white pillar bottle for Indi.  It celebrates individuality, which in these troubled times, is a much-needed hand of compassion and acceptance, and I’m all for it.

Katy Perry collage

 

So what does it smell like? Well it doesn’t smell like your run of the mill celebrity High Street scent, that’s for sure.

Top notes: Plum, tea, bergamot.

Middle notes: cyclamen, lily of the valley, cedar

Base notes: tonka, amber, musk, musk, musk etc

The combination of plum and tea gave me  a milky, sultana, figgy vibe, and although this alleges to have cyclamen and lily of the valley in, I could only detect a generic musky “pink” flower- could well be cyclamen.  It’s not a note I know well. katy perry ini fragrantica  The base is where the musk comes in:  musk, musk, musk. Musk is a bit like vanilla in that it covers a vast spectrum within its category, and this is certainly the case here.

It’s not dirty musk, nor leathery musk, nor sexy inner thigh musk, but an ever-changing musk, at least on my skin. On me this  musk smells clean, then chalky, then figgy, then patchouli-like, then earthy, then slightly mossy, then floral.  It lasts hours and hours.  It’s a beautiful chameleon of a scent and smells like it costs about four times the price.

Indi is of course, without gender. Nowhere will you find “For Men” or “For Women” and hurrah for that. My motto is, and always will be, if it smells good, wear it. Labels don’t matter.

Indi celebrates individuality and I salute this superb fragrance.

Katy Perry from KatyPerry.com
Katy Perry from KatyPerry.com

Stockists

You can buy Indi from Superdrug– which seems to have the monopoly on it at the moment.  Pop along and test it- I am sure you won’t be sorry. Prices start at £28 for 50ml. I bought mine and opinions are my own.

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Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain: Unexpected Surprises

diptyqye 34

This fragrance came about as the result of a mad idea: capture the scent of the original shop at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain and make it into a perfume.  Diptyque

Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard St- Germain was created to honour and remember the original shop where it all began: the scent of its wooden panels, resins and that unmistakable scent that only a cloistered interior can seem to conjure and retain.

The idea behind this fragrance was that it would take many of the classic facets of Diptyque bestsellers and wrap them into one fragrance, in order ot recreate the air inside the shop.  Imagine if they did it with LUSH (sherbet flowers) or L’Occitane (fruited tea and roses) or Starbucks (coffee beans and chocolate).  I’d buy them all.

diptyqye 34 detailing

I am woefully unfamiliar with many Diptyque scents so I can’t comment on whether this is an olfactory collage or not. However, what I can tell you is that the notes did not represent my impressions at all.  In the same way, you can look at music score and hum the tune, but it won’t sound the same when it’s played by a symphony orchestra.

I was expecting a masculine, spicy, woody scent, reminiscent of a Savile Row tailor. After all, there were wooden panels and resins and spices within.  However, what I actually get from this fragrance is an uplifting and feminine scent.

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34 Boulevard Saint Germain opens with citruses which are vivid and restorative. These team up with bright, fresh green notes from fig and eucalyptus giving the impression of the world’s most uplifting herbal tea. I smelled grapefruit, lemon and orange.  This bright, feel-good opening is almost immediately coupled with a feminine bouquet of peppery geraniums, along with roses, jasmine, iris and violet. I found the floral accord to be the most dominant of all, and radiantly beautiful.

The base is wood, resins and eucalyptus, but to be honest t, this stays true and sharp and never falls into heavy woody territory as I imagined it would. Towards the final act, I could smell that wood panelling, but this remained an intriguing unisex mélange of flowers, citrus and  a lightly spice woody finale.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard St Germain is an intriguing scent that I’ve spent three days wearing and trying to describe. It’s full of contradictions and utterly addictive.  It also has a hugely sunny  outlook- maybe it  was all those citruses that  radiate and linger. I would definitely buy a great big full bottle.

Stockists

You can buy Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain from John Lewis or the Diptyque website. There is of course,  a matching candle too. Sample is my own, as is my opinion.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia: Like the Tears of an Angel

aqua celestia fb

Reviewing a Maison Francis Kurkdjian scent feels slightly intimidating, like entering a posh hotel in my oldest pyjama bottoms. I don’t feel as if I am qualified, if you like.  I am pretty much in awe of M. Kurkdjian so spent  a lot of time learning how to spell his surname for a start.  Least I could do really.

aqua celestia sampleI obtained a sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia from the recent Perfume Society Heaven Scents Discovery Box. It had an  immediate impact on me.  It felt like the ultimate in crystalline, fresh, pure scent.  You know that feeling when you’re so hot that only an ice cold waterfall will do? Well Aqua Celestia is for when you can’t find one.

Opening with mint and lime in spades, this will make you smell impossibly clean: as if you’ve never sweated a milli drop in your whole life.  There is  a hint of mimosa, which is lightly floral with a faint tinge of sweetness around the edges, like a blurry border.  The lime and mint meets a base of clean musk, and Aqua Celestia sits on my skin, like the tears of an angel.  It smells like I live on a  cloud. Pure bliss.

My only teeny whinge is that it’s not as radiant, nor as longlasting as I would have liked, but then I am only testing the eau de toilette, so I’ll have to wait for the eau de parfum, if it’s coming.HeavenScent2017shopAW

Stockists

You can get a sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia from the Perfume Society Heaven Scents Discovery Box, or a full bottle from Selfridges  in the UK or Neiman Marcus in the USA.Opinions are my own.

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Tauerville Vanilla Flash: Review

vanilla-flash-bttle

 

Vanilla Flash is the kind of fragrance that will convert vanilla dodgers into vanilla lovers. As I have said before in this blog, in my opinion, vanilla has been frankly abused and overused in its synthetic cheapest forms in High Street commercial scents, to the point where we can lose sight of why it was so beloved in the first place.

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Not like this
vanillabean
Like this

Tauerville Vanilla Flash has restored my faith in vanilla and made me love it again. There’s nothing synthetic smelling or cheap smelling about this beauty. This is the smell of the vanilla pod when you open the little perspex tube it came in before it has been used: that wizened, bendy twig like pod in its most pristine, ripe form. THAT sort of vanilla is what we’re talking about here: milky and rich. There’s no bucket of sugar and no cake flavouring.

The addition of cheap vanilla to floral scents has ruined many a decent sniff for me.  Here, on the flip side of that coin, rose has been added to very high quality vanilla. Rose and tobacco in fact. What you have here is a vanilla scent in which vanilla is part of the chorus, and a very harmonic chorus that is.

The tobacco gives an oaky, coconutty feel to the rose that reminded me both of pipe smoke and the actual wood of a pipe at the same time. The roses are subtle yet impossible to miss. Put both of these alongside vanilla and you have a unisex vanilla that has absolutely nothing to do with a cupcake and everything to do with a cool milkiness infused with woody roses and a hint of pipe smoke. Round it off with some patchouli and a gentle hint of spice, and you have Vanilla Flash. 

This vanilla dodger will be getting a full bottle. My faith in vanilla has been fully restored.

Stockists

You can buy the Tauerville range from Les Senteurs in the UK, Lucky Scent in the USA, or, of course, the Tauerville website.

Photos-top photo by Fragrantica, photo of pod by ZoeBakes.com, Photo of cupcake from HealthyRise.com

 

Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber

lynx t and amb

I always get excited by a bargain and today I am very excited about a fabulous men’s fragrance that kind of came at me by surprise out of the supermarket. Picking out my husband’s usual anti perspirant order,  I stumbled across a daily fragrance range from Lynx.  Not a body spray, not an anti perspirant- a fragrance.

The one I bought was Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber for the princely sum of £4, leaving enough change from a fiver to add some Green and Black’s chocolate to the basket. I was very pleasantly surprised.oud vanilla

Tobacco and Amber is ridiculously sniffable. There is a background of cosy pipe smoke vanilla and just a hint of woody tobacco. Lob some warm amber in and- Voila! A great fragrance that I will be definitely be unapologetically thieving from his chest of drawers. I have smelled men’s fragrances for ten times the price that I haven’t liked as much as this.

muskginger

There are two others in the range and I take my hat off to Lynx for not going for the obvious mainstream “Sport” vibe. There’s Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla and also Iced Musk and Ginger. At £4 a pop, I might get them all.

So it’s just a quick one today but I couldn’t resist writing a review even if just to make the point that good fragrance can pop up in the most unlikely of places. I am seriously gladdened to think that the young males of today might soon be wafting Oud and Vanilla and Tobacco and Amber under our noses. What a nice surprise that will be.

Stockists

Cheap as chips- you can get these from Asda for £4 each for a 100ml boxed bottle but that might be an introductory price.

Chanel Egoiste: Pour Homme, pour me.

egoiste

 

 Chanel Égoïste is supposedly for men, but we say knickers to gender labels on this blog.  I have been wearing this for a couple of days now and I have to say it knocks spots off every male fragrance I have smelled in the last year (with an honourable mention to the wonderful Valentino Uomo).

As the weather cools down, with occasional erratic bursts of heat, Chanel Égoïste seems to fit the bill perfectly.  At first spray, it is a refreshing citrus scent with mandarin and peppery carnations. As it beds down, the cinnamon, woods and sandalwood emerge, but they are tempered with the strong peppery (almost dusty) carnation that hangs on with tenacity.  This is no bad thing: Égoïste proves that carnation and sandalwood compliment each other so perfectly that I don’t know why it isn’t done more often.

The base note, which lasts around eight hours on my thirsty skin, is divine.  With leather, tobacco and warm rich amber, this is so seamlessly blended you can hardly break the notes up.

Unlike many male fragrances on the High Street today, Chanel Égoïste doesn’t have the generic base note I have mentioned in previous posts.  To be honest I would wear more male scents if the bothersome everyman note wasn’t added to male fragrance so often.  The most memorable exceptions I have come across are Coty Aspen, Valentino Uomo (coffee, lavender and leather *swoon*) and believe it or not, Old Spice.

However, we have no such worries with Égoïste.  I would happily wear this all winter if a) I had a limitless budget and b) there weren’t so many other bottles on my overcrowded wish list. As a wise fellow blogger once told me, it is probably synthetic violet leaf.

Peppery, dusty, spicy leather.  Pure heaven. I am an Égoïste.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair: Hot Lavender!

gris clairgood

 

On my skin, Serge Lutens scents last a very long time: usually around nine hours. The exception was Muscs Koublai Khan, which I detested and couldn’t get rid of. It’s the perfume Rule of Sod.  Love it?  It won’t last.  Hate it?  It won’t wash off.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair falls somewhere in the middle for me.  It’s long lasting but I neither hate nor love it.  Weirdly, it smells a little like hot starched linen on me: as if I have over-ironed a garment (chance would be a fine thing- ask my husband!).  It also smells very masculine, and if I may use a colour here, it smells silver.

Serge Lutens Gris Clair was created by the genius that is Christopher Sheldrake. I don’t love everything he makes, but everything he makes is quite brilliant, objectively speaking if not subjectively.  Woodsy lavender with a hint of resin, this is an unusual combo and I can think of few scents with which to compare it.

The notes include Iris, tonka bean, woods, lavender, incense, and amber.  What I admire about it is the fact that without the lavender, this would be a superb, if not unique, incense-y oriental.  However, the lavender jars and almost puts my teeth on edge, but I don’t regard this as a bad thing.  How would we have discovered that olives and Martini go so well together if someone hadn’t dared to try it?

So what we have in Gris Clair is a warm, spicy scent whose cosy edges are blown away.  Lavender is a cold scent.  Amber is warm.  Sheldrake has wrapped a woolly blanket around the hard edges of a skyscraper.  It’s hot and cold.  It’s different.  It’s audacious.  But it’s not for me.

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4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard: And a Father’s Day Tale

 1400504034_4160- the lion cupboard

Today is a celebration of fathers and father figures.  I certainly want to celebrate my amazing Dad Mike,  as well as my husband, who also happens to be a great Dad to our two boys.  Sadly as I get older,  I know more and more people whose fathers have passed away.  Their memories remain, fond and untarnished and it is in this vein that I chose to review 4160 Tuesdays The Lion Cupboard.

The Lion Cupboard was created at the request of Sarah McCartney’s sister, who asked for a scent to replicate the smell of their father’s wooden cupboard with a carving of a lion on it.  This idea appealed to me since, bluntly, every dad has a smell.  My Dad smells of Imperial Leather and shortly after leaving home to go to university many moons ago, I caught a whiff of Imperial Leather and had a big pang for home, and my Dad in particular. I’ve never told him that.

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The Lion Cupboard is where Sarah McCartney’s Dad kept his hats and scarves and the smell of the cupboard is replicated in the scent.  It does indeed have a wonderful Dad sort of smell and makes all sorts of visual images pop into my head, which to me, is a characteristic of 4160 fragrances.

I’m not going to list the notes, I’m just going to tell you what I personally smell from this multi layered scent: Opening notes: Vetiver and dark Wood, (think antiques), then a slightly squashed After Eight Mint, followed by a very faint hit of menthol or camphor and a final long phase that doesn’t smell a million miles away from Tauer L’Air Du Desert Marocain. It smells comfortingly masculine, like a Dad’s jumper, but the woods and Vetiver make it very wearable.

This was such a wistful and celebratory scent that I simply had to choose it for Father’s Day. Anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a Dad.

In my imagination it goes something like this...
In my imagination it goes something like this…

Coty Aspen For Men: It’s Always the Quiet Ones

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Coty Aspen For Men  is sort of under the radar a bit.  I found it on Amazon when searching for all the brands that Coty makes (clue: it’s a LOT).

I was a bit sneaky in as far as I bought this for my husband with an ulterior motive.  He was looking for some more scent for his paltry collection (compared to mine) and I was keen to try this.  The 3.99 price tag was a sweetener that made me buy this blind.  Disclaimer:  I am by no means tight fisted when buying scent for others, but I do strongly believe that cheap doesn’t always mean nasty and in this case, I was right). I love this as much on me as I do on him.  I’ll have to buy him something else to compensate for his loss.

pine tree
wikipedia

Coty Aspen was a revelation for me.  After smelling many High Street mainstream male scents lately (call it a phase I’m going through)  I was delighted to find that this actually smells exactly like it says it will.

So when you read the notes of Lavender, Galbanum, Balsam Fir and Oakmoss, I can promise you that you will smell them.

Here are the notes according to Fragrantica:

Top notes: Bergamot, Galbanum, Green notes and Citrus. Middle notes: Coriander, Geranium, Cyclamen, Jasmine, Lavender, Juniper and Orange Blossom. Base notes: Amber, Oakmoss, Cedar, Balsam Fir and Musk.

Interestingly, no fewer than 120 Fragrantica users vote that this smells like Green Irish Tweed by Creed. Can’t be bad for 3.99.

Coty Aspen smells to me like a freshly aired room that has clean linen sheets in it that have just been dried by the breeze outside.  There is a pot of lavender on the window sill and the window opens onto snow capped mountains and pine trees, letting in crisp mountain air.  It’s stunning, and longevity is excellent at around eight hours.

Once again, Coty has proved that excellent scent can be made for a low price.  I often think of this when I smell something unremarkable but expensive. Which happens a lot in this game!