Tag Archives: White Flowers

Clive Christian 1872 For Women: Living the Dream


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I was recently sent a bottle of Clive Christian 1872  For Women to see what I thought of it.  I already had friendly feelings towards the brand as I had met the legendary Keith at the Clive Christian desk at Fortnum and Mason.  He knows the brand better than I know myself.

cliveMy second visit to the same desk yielded a fascinating tour of the scents and some samples from the lovely Tamara.  Both were charming and did not appear to mind that I did not (could not) purchase a bottle.

Let’s get the awkward money chat out of the way right now- this stuff is really expensive.  Doesn’t mean we can’t sniff anf enjoy though.  In fact, if you did have money to invest in scent, you could do a lot worse than Clive Christian with its rich heritage dating from, yes, you’ve guessed it, 1872.   Queen Victoria let the  Crown Perfumery company use the image of her crown as a symbol of quality on their bottles, and when they went out of business, Clive Christian stepped in and the brand was born (and the beautiful bottles are the same design).

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So, what does it smell like?

The first things that make their presence felt in 1872 are citrus and herbs, namely lemon and rosemary.  Rather than give this a culinary feel, however, it gives it a light, clean sorbet opening.  It cleanses the palate before you’ve eaten the entrée.

The middle note brings out the chorus of jasmine and freesia, but the big diva here is the Rose de Mai.  Whilst this precious rose is very much in the room, there is something cold and metallic about 1872. Maybe because it smells faintly aquatic,  or because it lacks a warmth- I don’t know.  Sometimes, in the hot weather, a cold scent is what you need to cool  down so I declare this an excellent scent for summer,  (if memory serves.  Haven’t seen sun for a loooong time).

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As the base notes kick in, this becomes a floral lemon/lime melange.  It smells crisp and cool, like  pressed linen, and with only a trace of the oak moss I was hoping to be enveloped by.  The base then settles like a sunset into richer notes: a hit of patchouli and a satisfying fix of dark guaiac wood.

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Some Fragrantica readers reckon that this smells a bit like Calvin Klein CK One.  Now, whilst I can see similarities, Clive Christian 1872 has more depth and resonance and far more complexity.  I have always found CK One to be a bit shrill on me, in any case.

All in all, if I had a money tree in my garden like my children think I have, then yes, this beautiful green and gold bottle would live happily on my dressing table, and I’d let it bring all its friends.

Stockists

Clive Christian is available from Fortnum and Mason or from Harrods.  My bottle is on loan  and opinions are my own. Which rhymes.

Thank you to Claudia: this is on its way back after its little holiday chez IScent.

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L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons

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With such a whimsical name, it was easy to be attracted to this scent like a butterfly to a buttercup.  With a seemingly mixed bag of reviews from the gushing to the nonplussed, I have to sadly align myself with the latter camp.

La Chasse aux Papillons opens with a whisper and then gets dirty, like twigs.  There is a hint of dried up buds, and an indolic background of jasmine.  Tuberose is alleged to be the dominant mistress here, but I could not smell any.  There is definitely Lime Blossom, but again, a dryness, like a flaky leaf, emerged on my skin.  Maybe Tauer’s Zeta spoiled me for other lime blossom scents.  There is freshness to this of sorts, and it certainly suits the spring season, but I was not enamoured of the white flowers with a hint of mud and dried leaves, nor of its light sillage and poor longevity.  I found it to smell almost medicinal or clinical, but that could be my brain getting confused because jasmine is often  used in commercial air freshener and soap.  Jasmine has many facets, and I didn’t care for this one.

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Pity though, because I liked Premier Figuer and Timbuktu too and have a whole tin of L’Artisan samples to plough through yet.  But in the world of fragrance I would lack discernment if I loved everything a brand made, wouldn’t I?

I still love you L’Artisan Parfumeur, but I’ll leave this one to its fans.

Stockists

You can buy L’Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons on Amazon UK, Amazon.com and of course from www.lartisanparfumeur.com.  I have the sample tin, which is a great way to try before you buy, and you can buy it here.

sample tin

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Byredo Inflorescence: Spring in December

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After all the excitement of hosting the Andy Tauer Advent Calendar, I am plum tuckered out.  It was wonderful to read all the great comments that readers left: they varied from hilarious, to eclectic and back again.  So many lovely stories were shared, thank you.

So now I am back to normal and scenting you a day again. The word I was looking for yesterday, and which eluded me until today, was incongruous.  Today I am reviewing a scent that may seem incongruous in December as it is so filled with Spring flowers.

Byredo Inflorescence is white flowers to the power of a hundred.  In fact, I was amazed there was no tuberose here and had to do some serious jasmine sniffing in order to figure out what I was smelling here.  Inflorescence is all the white flowers EXCEPT tuberose, but you find its ghost in there, since it is so often with its sister jasmine.

The top notes are freesia and rose.  The middle notes are magnolia and lily of the valley and the base is simply jasmine.  Byredo Inflorescence is so startlingly rich that it almost has a salty tang in the opening.  It has a vegetable-y tang that just stops short of going into celery territory, but which is by no means unpleasant.  It’s the same sort of apex that you get when tuberose gets so rich that it starts to smell as if it were made of double cream.

As Inflorescence dries down and settles, the lily of the valley comes to the fore.  The overall accord is one of rich, rich, sweet white flowers with nothing else to take away that silkiness.  No woods, no moss, and no patchouli:  This is all flowers and nothing else.  The effect is like eating lunch in a hot, flora filled greenhouse.  The tang is everywhere, and pure and spring like.

So why am I reviewing this in December?  Well, because I like it and because it is so rich that I think it passes muster for a winter perfume as well as a spring scent. Its been on my coat sleeve and on my clothes and I keep catching rich floral wafts as I move.  A rather lovely reminder of warmer times and climes.

Stockists 

Byredo Inflorescence can be bought  online from Strawberrynet  or from Liberty in the UK, and in the USA, you can get it from Amazon.com right here and in Canada from Amazon.ca  here.

Elie Saab L’Eau Couture: Better Than It Says On The Tin

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  Hooray and Huzzah, for my Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box has arrived and it’s full of treats.  Some I like, some I don’t, but half the fun is trying them on and being nosey (quite literally). Today I am reviewing Elie Saab L’Eau Couture. This is one of those occasions where the notes of a perfume don’t match the end result.  If you read the notes of Elie Saab L’Eau Couture: Almonds, Orange Blossom and Vanilla, you might imagine a foodie/floral. However, this is much better than the notes would suggest.

You may recall my earlier review of Elie Saab EDP, worn with aplomb by my lovely friend Jo on a night out. Elie Saab L’Eau Couture is simply the same scent with the heaviness taken out, yet it retains the lasting power. nd.12258 Elie Saab EDP has Patchouli and Cedar, whereas Elie Saab L’Eau Couture does not: yet it still has that woody base, except, this being a summer release, that wood is more of a leafy copse.

At first spray there are indeed Almonds, although not exclusively. Rather than going all Marzipan on me, they are so concentrated that they smell almost medicinal. Fine by me. The Vanilla is there, but thankfully, it’s more of a sweetened roundness rather than a fully fledged cup cake. I can smell Honey too, but it is, in the end, the Orange Blossom that dominates the foodie aspects, whilst still smelling like the sister of the Original Elie Saab EDP.

If you like Elie Saab’s original EDP for evening wear, then this is your answer for daytime.  It’s not like they’ve made it smell totally different and flogged it as a flanker (like so many we could mention), it actually smells like a relative of its originator scent. It still has that slightly prickly base which I like, whilst bringing a hint of summer to the proceedings.  Very clever.  But then guess who made it?  Francis Kurkdjian. No wonder.

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Dior Pure Poison: Scary Name, But Very Well Behaved.

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 With a name like Pure Poison and a nuclear sister like Dior Poison ( see my earlier review), you would expect Pure Poison to smell sort of “Back away and put down the baseball bat”. However, it is about as scary as a librarian .

Whilst this is not my personal cup of tea, I do like it and was sufficiently intrigued to wear it two days in a row just to be sure of what I wanted to say about it.

It opens with a hint of citrus: almost to the pint of being astringent.  For a few seconds it’s vodka, then it turns into Cacharel Noa (mm, I love that one).  After that an aura of sophisticated Jasmine, Neroli and Gardenia kick in, making this a delightful heady floral, though a rich one rather than a refreshing summery one. It makes me think that older women should wear it, rather than young women, even though this goes against the grain of my belief that anyone should wear anything if it lights their fire.

Image There is, however, a definite whiff of the 80s about this, and I was reminded of the notoriously unapologetic Giorgio Beverly Hills. 

This is not for me, but it is not half bad.  If you had sat next to me wearing this rich white floral, I would never have guessed it was Pure Poison.  As always in the world of fragrance, smelling is believing.

Fragonard Étoile: How Perfume Should Be

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 Fragonard provides everything I want from a perfume: Fantastic packaging, traditional scents unswayed by fleeting celeb fashions, good longevity and extremely good value for money.  Not so cheap I’m worried, but just expensive enough to reassure me.

 Fragonard Étoile is no exception when it comes to divine packaging. Just look at it.  I’d probably buy it even if it smelled horrible just to have that bottle in my possession.

 Étoile is in a Lime/White flowers mash up that smells like an expensive soap I once owned which was called French Lime and made both me and the bathroom smell amazing. The more Étoile blooms on my skin, the more I love it.

 Étoile has dominant Bergamot that works exceedingly well alongside Jasmine and Gardenia.  Gardenia can be a little cloying, like its friend Tuberose, but the Bergamot cuts through any cloying-ness and  lifts the white flowers from creamy to refreshing, even chalky, like wet cliffs. It’s utterly delightful and growing on me by the minute.

What I particularity admire about Fragonard is that despite their high quality and beautiful packaging, they offer very big refills at very good prices.  You can buy 600mls of Étoile for only 57Euros.  Compare to that many High Street scents and you have incredible Imagevalue.  My only concern is that if I did have 600ml of Étoile I would be splashing it everywhere, pouring it in the bath, and using it like Eau de Cologne, and then being sad because it would run out after a week. Sometimes small rations are best, so I would opt for the 100ml bottle, still a steal at under 30GBP.

If, dear readers, you can get yourselves down to Marks and Spencer, you can bag yourself Imagea 100ml EDT bottle for a mere £26.  You may see me in the queue with an overflowing basket. Oh! and have you seen the little sampler boxes? My dears! I’ll just have to tell my children that only one of them can go to university.  Did I say basket?  I meant trolley.

The Fragonard range is available at larger branches of Marks and Spencer and also online.

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Jimmy Choo Flash: I mean Lady Million, I mean Flash…

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 It’s  a good news day!

Good news if you like Paco Rabanne Lady Million: Here is a perfume almost identical. If they ever discontinue Lady Million, you’ll be quite safe if you stock up on Jimmy Choo Flash.

Good news if you hate Lady Million: I’ve just stopped you wasting your money on this!

Flashevokes the promise, excitement and high octane atmosphere of going out”. In other words, it’s meant for a younger flashier crowd rather than the kind of tiny crowd I hang around in. Clearly aimed at the late teen/twenty something market, this is keeping in step with current modes and with its glittery box, it will do well, no doubt.

However, it is, like Lady Million,  a huge bunch of fake, synthetic white flowers, so synthetic that it borders on sour. Tuberose, Jasmine, Pink Pepper and Strawberry are all listed, but all I get is fake, fake, fake, with a sour, hollow ending.

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photo by www.vogue.it

The biggest shock for me is that the Nose behind this scent is none other than the great Christine Nagel, creator of  one of my favourite ever scents: Eau de Cartier.  Since I love Eau de Cartier so much, I can forgive her anything.  I guess the revered Ms Nagel can certainly turn her hand to  current market demands, but current market demands are not to my taste.

In fact, next on my list of FBs is a bottle of Je Reviens, created in 1932 and still going strong. On matters of fragrance, I was born in the wrong decade.

Paco Rabanne Lady Million: All That Glitters Is Not Gold

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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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photo by waugsberg

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.

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 a recent 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.

It smells much cheaper than it is, and I have smelled cheaper scents that smell better too.  In any case, in not buying a full bottle of this, I am not only saving myself around 42GBP, but also escaping the fact that I will smell like everybody else should I wear it.  I call that a lucky escape.

Synthetic, over sweet, and ubiquitous, I’ll pass.

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

Celeb Scents 5: Madonna Truth or Dare

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Nipple flashing, crotch grabbing, rule breaking, trailblazing Madonna has surprised me in three ways with this fragrance.  Not only has she turned up late in the game after everyone else has had a go, but she has produced a fragrance that is both traditional and ladylike and dare I say it, safe.

Truth or Dare was launched globally in May 2012. A flanker scent, Truth or Dare Naked, was launched in December 2012. My theory about why she is late is that she is so inhumanly busy that the team from Coty probably took two years to get an appointment into her watertight schedule. But that, of course, is conjecture.

The fragrance itself is overwhelmingly Tuberose and White Flowers, but especially Tuberose. It has been said that her mother, whom she lost at a young age, wore Fracas by Robert Piguet: the last word in Tuberose fragrance after which all-comers were a mere imitation.

Although Truth or Dare has other notes in it, it is the creamy Tuberose that dominates and almost sees the rest of them off. It’s not bad though, not bad at all, and smells more expensive than it is.  It is worth buying if you like White Flowers and Tuberose and Gardenia all together in one place. Personally I don’t like it on me, but I enjoyed wearing the sample I purloined from a beauty counter. It’s rich and heady and feminine, and not at all what I was expecting from Madonna. The price was a surprise as well, since the woman has no qualms in charging fans around £200 a ticket to see her in a (short) concert. She is giving us a bargain here.

The third thing that surprised me was the bottle. It’s made of white plastic. It’s quite rare to have plastic perfume bottles these days. Even the cheapest brands manage to use glass bottles, but maybe the team at Coty blew the budget on the ingredients and ran out of steam. Like I said, it doesn’t smell cheap, but the packaging sure looks it.

So what I expected was Madonna being first off the block with an edgy unusual fragrance that nobody else had thought of, in some sort of dagger or crucifix shaped glass bottle that cost around £200 a pop.

What she has actually done is produced a classy and ladylike scent cheapened by a bobbly plastic bottle, that is both affordable and wearable.

I’ve seen her boobs and she’s flashed her crotch, but Madonna giving us a high quality, accessible fragrance that is even on the cheap side of affordable? Now that really was a surprise. Whatever next? Madonna Twinsets? Madonna pearls? You think you know someone…