Tag Archives: Vanilla perfumes

Nina Ricci Luna For Women (2016)


I tried this today in my local House of Fraser just after the  school run.  The bottle cried out, “own me!” so loudly that I nearly got whiplash.   Like Snow White with a Bag for Life, I was rendered unable to pass such a beautiful tempting apple.

Luna is intended as the night time opposite to Nina Ricci Nina, which I have reviewed here.  Now although Nina isn’t my thing, I love it because my wonderful niece Liz wears it and she is very special to me. I decided to give Luna  a chance.  I fell headlong for its looks.

nina inaOn first spray, this is all synthetic citrus: not invigorating like lemon or grapefruit, more like Haribo  Party Mix.  The pear note burst forth and was rudely dominant, and then the vanilla and caramel poured in and rounded everything off.

In among the vanilla and pear is tiny bit of jasmine, sandalwood and musk, but all was indistinct and vague.

This is a fruity vanilla scent and is neither too strong nor too weak. It’s almost a confused gourmand.  Many Fragrantica readers say that it is almost exactly like YSL Manifesto, so if you like that, you’ll like this too.

I can’t dislike Luna as it’s bang on trend right now, but I will politely sit this one out since overly vanilla fruity scents are not my scene, man.

luna ad

The bottle, though- oh my days, that bottle! Who wouldn’t want a beautiful blue glass apple on their dressing table? With a tiny vapo spray that’s part of a gold apple stalk? It almost nudges Marc Jacobs Decadence off my list of favourites. Throw all the packaging medals at this one, but not too hard, because that beautiful glass is a work of art


I found this in House of Fraser, but it’s widely available. I used a tester (very thoroughly) and opinions are my own.


Ormonde Jayne Tsarina: Mysterious Madame

Portrait of Empress Alexandra Fedorovna, from wikiart

Tsarina captures opulence and passion. It demands furs, leather, brocade, heavy silks in sweeping dresses and fabulous jewels to go with her haughty heritage.

I have heard of Ormonde Jayne many times, and apart from a brief acquaintance with the lovely Vanille D’Iris, I have wanted to know more about this London based brand for some time now. The opportunity arose recently when Ormonde Jayne Tsarina was included in the Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box. It was time to have a sniff and do a bit of nosing around. Sometimes, in the right light, I look like Velma off Scooby Doo.


Niche brand Ormonde Jayne is the brain child of perfumer Linda Pilkington, who founded the house in 2002.  Linda took inspiration from her global adventures prior to opening shop on London’s Old Bond Street and the brand has gone from strength to strength, earning the respect of critics and peers alike.

Linda Pilkington

My first foray into Ormonde Jayne is Tsarina. Everything about it is understated and muted, like a classy boutique hotel where money is never discussed.  I must confess, dear reader, that I found this one hard to review. It gave me a run for my money as  I’ll explain.

The opening notes are orange, bergamot, cassis and coriander. However, this is one of those cases where the notes listed do not match my experience at all yet is none the poorer for not co-operating.  The top notes might lead you to expect a cologne style citrus opening, but that was not my experience. The middle notes made more sense to me: iris, suede, jasmine sambac and freesia. The base notes are sandalwood, cedar, labdanum, musk and vanilla.

What this was like to my nose was a classy suede affair with buttery orris and a pile of good vanilla. The jasmine sambac emerges with more subtlety than I was expecting and in fact, it was the leathery, ambery tones of the labdanum that had more muscles than petals. Tsarina blended into this leathery vanilla buttery accord almost straight away and stayed put as it was. It didn’t really change or move, but lasted very well. I confess that I wouldn’t buy a  full bottle, but it’s easy to see why the brand has a following: the quality is superb, with deep resonance and quality ingredients, seamlessly blended.

This was what I call a “problem perfume” in that I had to think for a very long time as to how I was going to describe it.

In a survey of three Welsh people, one Englishman, and a cat, the verdict was mixed. The family and I all had varying views of Tsarina that were nothing like the notes described. It made me think of Elastoplast.  My husband said it reminded him of Lynx Tobacco and Amber, and my seven year old said it reminded him of flapjacks. You can see how I had trouble writing about it. In the end, leathery, buttery vanilla felt like the most accurate description.


Intrigued?  Find out more at the Ormonde Jayne website, or visit the shop on London’s Old Bond Street. My sample was from The Perfume Society Precious Perfumes Discovery Box, which I bought  last week.

Avon Far Away Infinity



I recently managed to bag a 10ml purse spray of Avon Far Away Infinity in the last campaign brochure I was given by my lovely, and oft mentioned Avon Lady, Jill.

Avon Far Away is Avon’s best selling fragrance. It’s been around since 1994 and shows no sign of slowing down.  Many flankers have been introduced, but the original remains on the bestseller lists. Far Away Infinity, it has to be said, is not very much like Far Away.  It is, however,  remarkably similar to Paco Rabanne Olympea and several other high street launches of that ilk.


Far Away Infinity contains note-du-jour: Jasmine Sambac. Jasmine Sambac is like a cranked up version of jasmine that smells so heady that it almost borders on the orientail in its richness. If it was a colour it would be heavy gold.  Coupled with vanilla, it really packs a punch. There are other notes in Far Away Infinity, but they don’t get much of a look in once the jasmine sambac and the vanilla take over and chuck everyone else out of the party.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with this- it’s bang on trend, but don’t expect similarities to Avon Far Away. What you can expect is a  very reasonably priced fragrance that is in a similar vein to Paco Rabanne Olympea and Marc Jacobs Decadence, but don’t say it was me who told me.  It’s strictly between me, you and the internet. Shh!


You can buy Far Away Infinity from Avon UK. My purse sprays were a bargain 99p each for 10ml but I think that offer’s gone now, so don’t get excited. A 50ml bottle  of Far Away Infinity Eau de Parfum is currently only £7.


Library of Fragrance Cupcake: I Can Resist Everything Except Temptation



Those nice people at Library of Fragrance recently sent me a selection of their cosiest scents. By cosy, I mean the smells you associate with staying in, wearing fluffy socks, and whacking the heating up to “sauna”.  It’s my absolute favourite thing to do in this weather: staying in and being boring. I love it.

hyggeThe Danish have a word for that cosy feeling of well being you get when all is well in the world and you’re snug as a bug in a rug: Hygge ( pronounced Hoo-GUH). With this in mind, Library of Fragrance has created a range of scents that make perfect Hygge perfume. Cupcake is just one and I shall be reviewing others in the run up to Christmas.

So what does it smell like? Well it’s funny really, because I spent all day making cupcakes yesterday for a guest who didn’t show up (I know, right?) After a day of baking and spooning up butter icing, I sprayed this on my children and asked them what it reminded them of. I love doing this- the results vary from the hilarious to the surreal via the strangely accurate.  One  had no idea whatsoever because his brain was full of Hype T shirts he “needs” and the other one said “biscuits” which was pretty close.


Library of Fragrance Cupcake doesn’t smell of vanilla cake batter, because they already have one for that, and it does not smell of vanilla ice cream, because they already have one for that too. No, my friends, Library of Fragrance Cupcake actually smells of the crisp, light golden baked top of a cupcake when it’s been cooked somewhere between squishy and crunchy. You know the edges that are almost brown but not quite? It’s like that. In fact, freshly baked crispy biscuits was a pretty close guess. This is a dry, baked scent and very evocative it is too ( I know because I ate the trimmings round the edges yesterday).


There’s vanilla in here, which is just the right amount, and that’s what makes this cosy. It’s also handy if you’ve no time to cook and want your supermarket cupcakes to smell shop bought- I shall be employing this trick next time our No-Show guest arranges a visit.

Vanilla is ideal for winter and I decided to experiment with layering Cupcake over other Library of Fragrance scents. I can report that it is so delicious when coupled with Library of Fragrance Nutmeg Ice Cream that  you will want to eat your own arm. I can think of no greater praise!


Library of Fragrance fragrances are available from the Library of Fragrance website. You will also find purse sprays and extra large bottles and very often, fabulous sale items at under £10. You can also find a selection of Library of Fragrance scent on the High Street exclusively at Boots. My bottle was provided by Library of Fragrance in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own.


Photo credits

All photos are my own  from my kitchen yesterday ( even the tea and cake sign) except for the Hygge definition which comes from www.musefondue.blogspot.co.uk

Queen by Queen Latifah: Beneath The Bling, This Could Shine


I am no snob when it comes to celebrity fragrances, as you may have noticed.  I think that if a perfume was made by a professional and is priced to fit a low cost market, it’s worth a sniff.  You may just end up with a pleasant bargain.  I pay no heed to the name on the bottle.

Queen by Queen Latifah is a refreshing change for the normal sleb fare.  For one thing, it’s not fruity floral.  It is, however a little bit fruity patchouli hoo-hah, but with a bit of extra richness and a shot of Cognac, it is made rich rather then cheap smelling.

There is a big dose of Vanilla when you first spray it, but it is so rich that it avoids the usual error of smelling cakey.  This smells more like fermented Vanilla in a liqueur. That first loud shot of it is tempered by a few citrus notes, calming it down, like two sensible friends with a drunk.  After that the citruses fade and the Vanilla and Patchouli take centre stage and do a karaoke number together, so inseparable are they.

Forgive me if I wander into the metaphoric territory of a louche night time bar:  The booze in this and the last few festive days I’ve had are at the forefront of my mind when I smell this.

All in all, this is a rich winter gourmand. Yes it’s Vanilla, and yes its Patchouli but somehow, they have cranked up the volume and left out the candy floss and this works in the same way that eggnog works, but shouldn’t.

 The price makes it a total bargain too.  

Rochas Tocade: Like Seeing An Old Friend


 I wore Rochas Tocade back in my twenties and cannot remember now why I only bought one bottle, since I am very fond of it.  I have been wearing a sample today and have been enveloped in a warm, comforting aura.

Rochas Tocade is a cosy, daytime perfume full of vanilla, but it nicely sidesteps being a gourmand with its roses and amber taking the foodie edge off it.  Whilst being warm, I wouldn’t call it spicy.  Whilst being rich, I wouldn’t call it an evening scent, though it would work well as one.

We can deconstruct Tocade and it’s beautiful playful bottle, but it’s one of those perfumes that is so memorable that when you know it and smell it you just say “Oh Tocade!” rather than “Oh an interesting vanilla/rose daytime perfume”

The following notes are in it:  rose, sandalwood, magnolia, lily of the valley, freesia, iris and jasmine.  However, this never seems to be a floral on me.  The flowers just provide a backdrop in the distance. This is vanilla all the way, with an undercurrent of amber  and silky aromatic sandalwood as it settles on your skin.

Longevity is great: about nine hours.  The price is excellent too. Less than 40GBP for 100ml.  I don’t normally like too much vanilla, but for this I make an exception.  Even Luca Turin likes it.  Rochas Tocade is a modern, quietly classic marvel.