Category Archives: Floral Oriental

Why I LOVE Gallivant Istanbul (in Capital Letters)

Gallivant is a perfume house that is masterminded by Nick Steward. Nick certainly has the credentials to create his own fragrance brand, having worked at L’Artisan Parfumeur for many years. Inspired by the unique vibes of each city that his scents are named after, each Gallivant fragrance has something quirky and rather wonderful to offer. The nose is Karine Chevallier.

photo of Istanbul from UnisonTurkey.com

Earlier in my blog, I reviewed Gallivant London and Gallivant Tel Aviv. If you haven’t tried either of these, then do try and  get yourself some samples from here.  Recently, two more have been launched, Berlin and Amsterdam. I am hoping to try those soon and report back. There is also Gallivant Brooklyn, which is in the blog processor machine waiting to dry (aka my brain).

Today, my wanderlusting friends, we are discovering Gallivant Istanbul. Follow me as I guide you around this olfactory marvel.

As you might imagine, with its Turkish history and ancient culture, there will be mysterious smoky incense facets to this, and there are. Lots of other brands have done smoky resinous scents but what makes Istanbul stand out is the fresh note that travels alongside the heavies.

Photo from thatbackpacker.com

It opens with crisp bergamot and red thyme, setting me up to think I’m about to dive into a cologne. I’m not massively off track here-because this is followed by a middle phase of lavender- a primary ingredient in colognes and fougeres.

The addition of aromatic cardoman that combines beautifully with the lime and thyme, lifts this out of deep resin territory, whilst keeping that mysterious myrrh note in there. Add some peppery geranium and a woody base of warm tonka and smooth sandalwood and you have Istanbul.

Photo from LonelyPlanet.com

What I love about this is that it seems to include so many facets of a colourful city like Istanbul. There are hints of leather, herbs, citrus, patchouli and musk.  It’s almost like a walk through a bazaar, starting with the exhilarating sea front and ending in the covered markets, still with a fresh breeze in your lungs.   There’s kind of a wetness, or a juiciness to it that stops it being dark and tarry, as resinous scents can often be on my skin. This makes me want to sniff it in great gulps.

As for whether its male or female? It’s for everyone, except my son who declined my offer of a few sprays to wear to Primary School this morning.

Stockists

You can buy Gallivant fragrances, including sample sets from here.  My samples were kindly provided by Gallivant, in exchange for an a honest review, which I have written. This is not a sponsored post.

Follow

Halloween Perfume: How to choose Your Witches’ Brew

Halloween is not necessarily my favourite time of year, but if I ever told my children that they’d be horrified.  So, I go along with it, and I hang round at the back when they go trick or treating (at selected homes so as not to be a nuisance). Meanwhile, for me, it’s a great excuse to have fun with fragrance and add something seasonal to my year-round head to toe black ensemble.

vintage Halloween card.

 

Here are a few ideas in case you want to make your mark on Halloween and add a bit of mystery to your night. Maybe you could play guess the E-numbers with your Haribo Haul? Or wonder why the only traditional Halloween songs are Monster Mash or Thriller? Or you could just cram your little hamster cheeks with chocolate until it’s all over. (I don’t do that. Nope. No Sir). In any case, the perfume world has something for every occasion, even this one.

REEK Perfumes Damn Rebel Witches

REEK Perfumes burst onto the scene in 2016 with Damn Rebel Bitches. This is a fragrance commemorating the intrepid and gutsy rebel Jacobite women who fought back against the English  with all they had. The nose behind this is Sarah McCartney, and a fine job she has done too. This scent  makes me think of wild women with twigs in their hair. The ingredients are inspired by what would have been around way back then so you have clary sage and malt and even  broom ( appropriately enough for Halloween).  But REEK didn’t stop there. Earlier this year, they gave the bitches a sister and Damn Rebel Witches was the result.

Here’s what I had to say about it in my review here:

What I find curious about this is that when you think Damn Rebel Witches has left you completely, it disappears and comes back as a sort of light floral ghostie.  I was sniffing my arm wondering what petal like scent I had sprayed earlier, only to realise that Damn Rebel Witches dies and comes back! How’s that for a party trick? And where did the dark orangey flowers come from? They’re not even listed as notes. It’s witchcraft, I tell you.

Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice is big news this time of year. It’s everywhere from Starbucks to the mouthwash in your dentist (okay, I’m exaggerating slightly) so you may as well as embrace it. Personally, I love a bit of Library of Fragrance Pumpkin Pie and every time I wear it, I get compliments. It’s just spicy and warm enough and not too cloyingly sweet. Don’t just keep it for Halloween! Sadly, the UK arm of Library of Fragrance has closed and will be much missed, but the European branch ships to the Uk for 6E per package.

4160 Tuesdays Mother Nature’s Naughty Daughters

The  name of this fruity, malty and jolly British fragrance  comes from the ingredients.  It is often believed that natural ingredients are best for your skin, but they’re not! (at least not always) Sarah has made these naughty naturals behave themselves via witchcraft and alchemy.  Actually that last bit isn’t true, she made them behave through encyclopaedic knowledge of skin and substance.  And the fragrance? Here’s what I wrote in my review  which you can find here. The website link is here.

“…On some damp aromatic moss, on a cedar bench after the rain, with a glassful of sticky Pimms and pear pips. Which is not just fine by me, but wholeheartedly agreeable. If birdsong could be bottled, that would be in here too”

vintage Halloween card

Possets Perfumes Ghost Fart

Just for the name alone, this was irresistible, and once I smelled it, I thought the name didn’t do this lovely scent justice (though it did reel me in). There’s no authentic manual that states what a Ghost fart must smell like, so the team at Possets had a little fun with this. This is a chocolate minty gourmand in an oil form which is long lasting and smells delicious. If you haven’t come across Possets before, so check them out. They ship worldwide and are a vegan friendly brand. Here’s their website.

Papillon Perfumery Anubis

With hints of Egyptian mystery and ancient rites, this incredible debut from perfumer Liz Moores is both distinctive and resonant.  If you like Shalimar, you’ll also appreciate the oriental spices and resins in Anubis, but I’m going to stick my blogger’s neck out here and say Anubis is better. Controversial, no?  I’m sticking to my guns.  Anubis has a  dark, resiny enigma about it which I find  both  intriguing and alluring.  Papillon has a good sample  service if you want to smell this range for yourself,  or you could pop into Les Senteurs  in London where they are all stocked.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

The name is so perfect for this time of year, but so is the scent. This deep, almost boozy vanilla comes in a bottle that reminds me of Cinderella’s pumpkin coach after midnight. The vanilla in this borders on marzipan, which is fine by me but gives me cravings for Christmas Cake. I know, first world problem! But if your vanilla palate is jaded by cheap imitaions, then do revisit this beautiful treasure of a scent which always reminds me exactly how good vanilla can be, and should be. You can buy it from here, but it’s available in lots of places. I recommend the EDP over the EDT.

Lolita Lempicka

With a bottle like Snow White’s poison apple and a scent that smells like purple velvet, Lolita Lempicka Eau de Parfum is a great Halloween scent, in fact, it’s a great scent for anytime.  Opening with green ivy, violet and liquorice, and a burst of deep cherries, this is rounded off with woody musk and vetiver. Suitably bewitching for a dark night. You can find it here and read my review here.

 LUSH Karma

I love a bit of Karma. It always reminds me of my friend Alison who has made this her signature scent.  It’s oranges, spices and patchouli. One of the main things I like about it, apart from its gentle hippie vibe is that it holds back on the sweetness and lets the bitter orange shine through without adding marmalade  or vanilla. In fact, Alison, just uses the lotion and still smells enchanting and gorgeous, which she is. You can buy Karma from here.

Lancôme Magie Noire

OK, I don’t need a special occasion to wear this deep, mossy chypre. I love how Magie Noire does a dance of the seven veils and unfurls its layers and notes over the hours and hours that it lasts. There’s ivy, hyacinth and roses as it opens, then deep rich florals- all the big ones, then a wonderfully mossy and woody base of vetiver, oakmoss, incense and smoky resins. It’s like a fragrance chameleon, changing faces as the night goes on. Plus check out the divine poster ads! You can read my review here and buy it from here.

Over to you

So that’s my Halloween round up, although I’d wear any of these at any time of the year. What’s your Halloween fragrance? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Follow

Clive Christian Addictive Arts: A New Dimension in Fragrance?

In an industry where the pressure is on to launch something new that nobody’s ever smelled before, it’s not easy to keep ripping off a new sheet.  Luxury perfume house Clive Christian is daring to be different and you may be surprised to learn how.  I know I was. It’s as if this elegant, beautifully packaged brand has donned biker boots and decided to lead us astray.  I don’t know about you, but I’m going on this trip with them.

Here’s the idea behind it:

Three perfume pairs with the the core ambition to disrupt the industry with its never been done before ‘mind enhancing’ concept and patented world first perfume artistry technology; Addictive Fusion. 

Exclusive to Clive Christian, this unique form of perfumery combines headspace technology which captures the elusive scents of mood and mind enhancing narcotics, including Coco Leaf (cocaine) and Opium Poppy

In other words, this is more than a scent, it is an experience. It’s a step further for those who want to delve deeper and take things to another level. Don’t tell your parents.

I am lucky enough to have tried all six. They come in three pairs, a masculine and a feminine version, but of course, you can wear these any way you like and even layer them if you want to.

Here’s my impressions:

Chasing the Dragon Euphoric Femme

The big, big first note you get here is an iris and jasmine accord. The iris is smooth and soothing but still allows the ylang and jasmine to come through. The woody notes come in then, but the big florals never leave. There is a boozy nuance,  like a small glass of expensive sherry filling the room with its sweet and dark aroma. This adds to the voluptuous richness, giving this an unmistakable touch of luxury.

Chasing the Dragon Hypnotic Masculine

As you know, I don’t really pay much heed as to whether a scent is masculine or feminine. If I like it, I’ll wear it, and this I like. There’s a leathery medicinal feel to it when you first dive in. After that, it’s every note you would asscoiate with being dark, alluring, spicy and even tar like. There’s elemi (also used in cough mixture), resins, black cherry (which adds a hint of the tobacconist), oakmoss, patchouli and smoky, smoky smokiness. This is cigars, dark wood panelling and very late nights. It also lasts until dawn, unlike me.

Jump Up and Kiss Me Ecstatic Femme

I love the name of this. I’m five feet two and irresistible so I hear this a lot. This is gigantic tuberose, but without any sugar coating. It smells medicinal, and creamy and almost lily like- you know when you stick your nose so deep into a lily that you get pollen on your nose? No? well don’t try it. It doesn’t come off. It’s that rich, high scent from a spectrum that covers clove, antiseptic, celery, cream, a florist and pure white soap. It’s finished off with a hint of smoky vanilla which feels like just the right note for this. Anything sweeter would have been wrong. This is utterly addictive. It doesn’t fade either. I was sniffing my pillow two days later thinking “Can it still be the tuberose?” Dear reader, it was.

Jump Up and Kiss Me Hedonistic Masculine

Opening with a burst of rather butch citrus (think of an upmarket barber shop) this beds into an herbal middle accord of clary sage and those black cherries again. I’m not used to black cherries in scent, but I think they really work with resin-y ambers like this and I’d like to see it more. I love the kind of deep fruity but tarry vibe that it adds. Somewhere within Jump Up and Kiss Me is a “secretive narcotic ingredient”. Now on this bit, I can’t be sure. I sniffed and sniffed and what did I get? Bitter dark chocolate. Now, that my friends, is my favourite drug, so maybe this bit is open to interpretation. Try it and report back to me next time you’re in Harrods.

Vision in a Dream Mesmeric Femme

My favourite out of all six samples. This is a beautiful oriental chypre that showcases green galbanum with violets and crisp, green fruit: and that’s just for starters. The big floral middle notes remind me of those classic floral chypres of days gone by, but with a sharp green modern twist. There’s jasmine, neroli, narcissus and a combination of heliotrope and orris that seem to be made for each other. There’s something almost powdery about the effect these two notes have on the big white flowers. Maybe that’s why I find this to have traditional nuances without feeling dated. The base is vetiver, patchouli and very noticeable cedarwood. Gorgeous.

Vision in a Dream Psychedelic Masculine

An interesting blend of bitter greens with smoked incense. This opens with kaffir lime and apple, but the papyrus (a relative of the heady head shop scent nagarmotha) adds an interesting vibe to this. Funnily enough, my first thought when smelling this blind was clean paper and joss sticks. It gets intense and complex, like slow burning fireworks and leaves spicy trails of clove, pepper and cinnamon.

 

 

The Verdict

I was dazzled by the quality and depth of all six of these fragrances. They have an edginess and an audacity that I really admire. Whether they had any kind of effect on my mind is hard to say and will be entirely subjective. I get my kicks from half a bottle of Malbec twice a month and a lot of chocolate.  However, I love the concept of this. It’s almost “Fragrance as a portal” and now that Clive Christian has blazed a trail and laid down the gauntlet, I’d be very interested to see where others follow.

Stockists

Launching TODAY, right now, as I type, the Clive Christian Addictive Arts range can be found exclusively at Harrods, Knightsbridge. Samples kindly provided by Seen PR, for which many thanks. This is not a sponsored post.

 

Follow

My Top Ten Autumn Fragrances 2017

Photo of the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire, taken by me.

It’s with reluctance that I put away my eau fraiche bottles and my sandals and my sunglasses. They didn’t get used much this “summer”, which I believe fell on a Tuesday here in Wales.

Being pale and slightly on the gingery side, I far prefer the cool weather to the hot, so I’m very comfortable in Autumn and the colours of the changing trees have me in raptures.

Photo of my home town Cwmbran, taken by me

When it comes to choosing Autumn fragrance, I don’t just like to go for the warm spices, I like to go for the aldehydes, deep vanillas and the chypres too.  I love the fact that the cold air brings out the best in some fragrances that might just be a bit much in the heat.  In fact, I thought it was high time I did a list of the fragrances I like best in Autumn.

My list below is in no particular order because putting them in order of preference would be impossible. I would happily go through gallons of all ten of these and would find it impossible to choose a favourite.

4160 Tuesdays Eau My Soul

My most recent review and a real treat.  This is the first ever truly democratic fragrance with each note being voted for by members of Facebook group Eau My Soul and used in accordance with its popularity.  It does help of course if the person making it is genius perfumer Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays. This is a sandalwood, incense-y, citrussy, floral delight.  But don’t take my word for it. Order your Sample now.

Photo by Thomas Dunckley for Papillon Perfumery

 Papillon Dryad

Papillon Dryad is the creation of the uber talented Liz Moores and was born in the heart of New Forest among trees. It is THE mossy green chypre I have been searching for. You may think a scent as green as this belongs in spring, but trust me when I tell you chypres are sensational in cool weather. You can buy Papillon Dryad from here and read my review here.

 

Le Jardin Retrouvé Cuir Russie

Le Jardin Retrouvé is a wonderful brand with a touching backstory. The perfumer Yuri Gutsatz sadly passed away in 2005, having created a collection of wonderful niche fragrances.  His son Michel has revided the brand and carried the family torch into the Twenteens and thank goodness he did. Although I had smelled and enjoyed a sample of Cuir Russie, it wasn’t until I entered a room in which  perfume writer Stephan Matthews was wearing it that I realised how many nuances this beautiful leather scent has. All the fragrances in the collection are excellent and the dreamy ethereal artwork by artist Clara Feder adds a unique whimsy and beauty. You can buy it from here and read my review of the whole collection here.

First by Van Cleef and Arpels

First is the nearest thing I have to a signature scent. It’s a long-lasting floral aldehyde created in 1977 that unfurls its notes in layerss as you wear it.  I’m completely smitten and have nearly emptied my 60ml EDP bottle. Can’t live without this one. You can read my review here and buy it from here. 

Firedance by Ruth Mastenbroek

You may recall my recent review of perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek’s fourth fragrance, Firedance. With big notes of rose, leather and oud, Firedance is a beautifully blended Damask rose scent that has incredible longevity and is perfect for Autumn.  Wearing these feels both cosy and celebratory,  like being wrapped in a warm blanket whilst fireworks go off.  I love it. You can buy it from here.

SJP Stash

Sarah Jessica Parker is the range I point people towards if they ever tell me they don’t “do” celebrity scents. With the enthusiasm of a true fume head, SJP knows her perfume like Carrie Bradshaw knew shoes. Stash is a unisex, woody, sandalwood, incense fragrance that is mature and audacious. You can buy it from Superdrug. 

DSH Chinchilla

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz has this knack of creating modern perfume that make you think you have just prized the lid off an unopened chypre from 1920. How she gets them to smell vintage is beyond me, but she does it beautifully. Chinchilla evokes fur stoles, glamour, cigarette holders, and opera gloves. It is a superb example of a classic chypre. You can buy DSH fragrances from the website here and read my review of Chinchilla here.

Marina Barcenilla India

The multi-talented Marina Barcenilla is a gifted natural perfumer who has won not one, but two coveted Fragrance Foundation Awards (or Fifis).  India has sandalwood and tuberose and roses all in one stunning Autumnal scent that radiates from skin and gives a good eleven hours longevity.  I also have the rollerball skin oil, which also makes your skin smell incredible, as well as leaving it silky soft. You can buy MB Parfums from the website here and read my review of India here.

Tauerville Amber Flash

The  delightful Andy Tauer has branched out into a wider reaching and more affordable range of fragrances under the umbrella name of the Tauerville Flash series.  Not that his usual scents are overpriced- they’re worth every penny.  I loved Amber Flash and reviewed it here. It is as it sounds, but so much more too. It gives off a cosy warmth and a heat that is just perfect in cold weather (and of course, unisex). You can buyTauerville scents here.

 

Aftelier Amber Tapestry

Somewhere in Berkeley California, Mandy Aftel mixes and measures until her natural fragrances are just right.  Amber Tapestry is the perfect name for this.  The fragrance opens with orange flower and gets warmer and more resinous as it unfurls its layers on your skin. Ending with a long lasting base of resinous, leathery vanilla, Amber Tapestry is just what I want to wrap myself in when its dark outside. You can buy Amber Tapestry from Aftelier.com and read my review here.

Over to you

How about you? What do you reach for in Autumn? ambers? vanilla? chypres? or something completely unexpected? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Follow

A Flanker with a Difference: Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Eclat EDP

Lancôme La Vie est Belle needs no introduction. Since its launch in 2013, its success has gone orbital, leaving trails of imitators quivering in its wake.  Its army of flankers shows no sign of slowing the pace either.  Until now, they have all escaped my radar, but the one I tried today stopped me in my tracks.  Yes, I nearly walked past it, thinking “Really Lancôme? Another one?” but  once I sprayed the gorgeous bottle, this grumpy cynic  was silenced.

Let’s start with the irresistibly touchy feely faceted glass bottle. It’s impossible not to run your fingers over it.  It’s a delight to fiddle about with and it looks good too.  Apart from that, the display in Boots looked the same as the usual LVEB displays. But what’s this? I thought at first spray. This is pretty good.

The original La Vie est Belle

LVEB L’Eclat immediately reminded me of something  I’d smelled before and I couldn’t put my finger on it until about twenty minutes later. It was then that I realised that it reminded me of Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial. Indeed, it has more in common with Parfum Initial than it does with La Vie est Belle.

The opening note is bergamot which immediately clings to the pretty orange blossom and “white flowers.” Fragrantica doesn’t elaborate but I’m calling jasmine.  I couldn’t pick out any tuberose, but the orange blossom is definitely in there.

from Lancome UK

Now, around this point, I was waiting for the heavy praline fountain to drown out the pretty notes like a Nutella Tsunami. Although this is what I like least about  the original LVEB, it seems to be the bit that many fans like best.  However, the praline never came.  Instead, I was rewarded with a base of rather delicate sandalwood and a silky flourish of buttery vanilla. There’s no praline. There’s no patchouli. There’s just citrus, white flowers, and subtle vanilla.

Fragrantica

The vanilla, it must be said, is delicious. It has heart and warmth with none of the vibe of an overfull bowl of sickly frosting that it can sometimes have. It ends on vanilla and stays with vanilla, which does make it more gourmand than floral, but La Vie est Belle L’Éclat has restraint.  I probably wouldn’t buy a full bottle, but it’s the LVEB flanker that I thus far like best. Bravo and 10/10 for the divine bottle.

Stockists

You can buy Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Eclat EDP from Boots UK, and from the Lancome UK and Lancome USA websites.

Follow

Three Things I Love About Bronnley Zealous Flower

In the past, Bronnley has had a reputation as being a classic floral brand that “older” ladies liked.  Personally, I’ve always loved classic florals and soaps in wrappers so it’s never stopped me.  However,  the upcoming bright young things of the Twenteens are a capricious bunch with more choices than any other generation that has ever lived.  Brands have to move with the times.

Bronnley has not only moved with the times but added a bit of an edge that is putting them firmly on my list of favourites. Their collection of Eclectic Elements fragrances is packaged for a new generation, but pleases this 47 year old no end.

Today I am wearing Bronnley Eclectic Elements Zealous Flower and I love it. Why do I love it? Well, that’s easy.

  1. It comes in an adorable roll on bottle. (more about roller balls soon because I’m obsessed).
  2. It’s available in a 9ml version so you can live with it for a good few weeks before buying a big one.
  3. It’s inexpensive but doesn’t smell like it is.

Here’s what it smells like:

It opens with pear, orange and bergamot. Now pear has been used A LOT in the past two years, to the point where I pull non-selfie faces when I smell it.

However, in Zealous Flower, it’s the flowers that come out first, not the fruit.  In fact the fruit adds clean edges to the roses and jasmine, which are BIG.  Even the pear knows its place and doesn’t take over.

It must be said that there was briefly a pencil shavings phase which came and went, before the vetiver and amber rounded things off. They never quite see off the jasmine though, which remains the main player here. In fact, at first, I thought this had tuberose in it, such is the white flower richness.

Zealous Flower leaves me with a pleasing autumnal floral on my skin. What I’m left with is a very agreeable accord of vetiver, jasmine, hints of leathery labdanum flower, and some faded roses.

Now, about that adorable roller ball. This has a little metal rollerball that applies just the right amount to skin and stops you going overboard before a day at work. The rollerball version comes in an attractive narrow box in 9ml size and is a good compromise between a big bottle blind buy and having to judge it on a few sprays from a tester. I want more brands to do this.

Zealous Flower is or has also been known as Savage Flower, but I prefer Zealous to Savage.

Stockists

You can buy the Bronnley Eclectic Elements range from Boots in store or online.  The rollerballs cost £10 and contain 9ml of scent.  You can also buy this cute set of whole range minis for £20 from the Bronnley website. My rollerball bottle was kindly provided by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which mine is. This is not a sponsored post. 
Follow

Firedance: The New Fragrance from Ruth Mastenbroek 2017

Rejoicing in each moment of contentment in life. In Firedance, Ruth presents a scorching, modern interpretation of the classic rose perfume, as exotic leather dances in surprise harmony with the main character – smouldering Damask rose. Set against a warming backdrop of oudh and patchouli, a shining amber note radiates from the skin in this memorably intimate and sexy perfume.

Today is the day that Ruth Mastenbroek launches the fourth fragrance in her collection: Firedance.  Ruth is an experienced nose who has worked behind the scenes in the industry for fourdecades before going solo in 2010 with her first scent, aptly named RM Signature.  You can read my review here. After that came the wonderful Amorosa, followed by Oxford. Now the trio becomes a quartet, with the arrival of Firedance.  Ruth has also redesigned the brand to reflect that every drop tells a story and using a palette of black and gold, these new designs reminded me of the original illustrations to Grimm’s fairytales ( see pic and you’ll know what I mean).

So was Firedance worth the wait and is it a worthy member of this scented quartet? Absolutely. Here’s why.

Now, first of all, this is a rose/oud/leather fragrance. We all know that rose and oud and rose and leather have been done before, but dear reader, not like this.  The leather and oud is there, of course, but the first thing I noticed about Firedance was the rich, dusky Damask rose and then, would you believe it? Carnations.  In the same way that Serge Lutens Vitriol D’oeillet made me sit up and take notice, Firedance stopped me in my tracks.   A drop of clove oil is the culprit, and whilst it doesn’t dominate, it adds a wonderful peppery spicy addition to proceedings.

This is me with my treasured bottle from Ruth.

I composed Firedance to capture those special moments that make me appreciate what I have.- Ruth Mastenbroek

For full disclosure, I’m not really a big oud fan (there, I’ve said it), but the oud here smells different. It doesn’t take over but still makes a contribution.  In fact, it adds a kind of fruity earthy accord that makes the rose more robust. It seems to blend seamlessly with the amber to make a sort of amber-oud or oud-amber. The amber takes the edges off it.

To me, it adds layers and makes this a sort of 4D rose, with petals that have crisped through age, like dusty pot pourri, whilst still having plump satiny petals in the centre. My nose also picked up little facets of powder, which always makes me think of a 1950s dressing table. I often find this with rose, whether the powdery note is deliberate or not.

Ruth Mastenbroek. Photo from Twitter

There is a  measured heat and an autumnal feel to Firedance, which makes this a very appropriate launch for the first day of Autumn.  This is rose with warmth, earthiness, spice and the kind of longevity that lingers on your pillow when you wake up the next day.  It’s not cheap, but it is very good value.   Ruth makes it herself. There’s no committee, no big factory, no billboard marketing. You’re paying for the ingredients and the expertise of a perfumer with  four decades of skill and experience.

Firedance is a stand out earthy, dusty rose that’s not quite on the turn, not quite over. This is the perfect farewell to summer and a warm scented blanket for the colder days ahead.

Stockists

Ruth Mastenbroek Firedance is available from the website and from Fenwick’s, where Ruth will be giving a talk on 14th September. Check out The Perfume Society website for details. My bottle was given to me by Ruth Mastenbroek in return for an honest review, for which, my warmest thanks. Opinions are my own.

 

Follow

Parfums de Marly Delina: This Extravagant Beauty

The thing I love about discovery boxes is that they put brands under your nose that would otherwise have been off your radar. This was the story with Parfums de Marly Delina- a brand and a scent I had never even heard of. I found this sample in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box.

Parfums de Marly was established in France in 2009 and Delina is its most recent launch.  There is a group of noses (can we please think of a word to describe a group of noses?) who work together and alone on the fragrance collection.  Delina was created by Quentin Bisch. The brand name comes from the Louis XVI era of extravagance and luxury that ended with revolution.  Louis dedicated the Chateau de Marly to his beloved horses and celebrated  each race victory with new fragrances.  Louis had his own court perfumer in Jean Fargeon so  all this scented extravagance  makes for a fertile place for inspiration.

Delina opens with bergamot, rhubarb, lychee (or litchi). Middle notes are Turkish rose, lily of the valley and peony. Base notes are vanilla, musk and cashmeran.

On paper, this looks like it would make for an overly fruity opening, but in fact the rose and the rhubarb kind of burst out at the same time.  I love how well these two go together. The rose gets jammy but never sticky and the rhubarb adds a thick richness to the roses.  The musk pitches in fairly early on and softens all the edges, making this in my mind at least, a thick velvety deep rose blanket with delicate fruity nuances darting around delicately.

fragrantica

The base contains cashmeran, which according to Fragrantica (because I’d never heard of it) has a wet concrete facet, and funnily enough, I could detect this in the background.  Rather than being a disaster, it adds a pleasant dampness to proceedings, like wet stone.  Thankfully the vanilla was either part of the rhubarb note or was playing quietly in the distance. It didn’t overtake. This one is all about rose and rhubarb together. They go so well I’m amazed more people aren’t doing it.

photo from Fragrantica

I’m delighted to see that rhubarb does seem to be enjoying a renaissance lately, however. It features in Thierry Mugler Aura and also in Aedes de Venustas eau de parfum (the first one). I also found it in Jour D’Hermes but I’m not sure whether it was supposed to be in there. If I had to isolate a rhubarb note I would describe it as juicy, green, sharp like a gooseberry and sweet like deep red apples. It has a wintery feel that soaks up spices particularly well.  Now I’m thinking about rhubarb crumble. Oh boy.

Parfums de Marly Delina is very long lasting. Two sprays on each arm from my sample kept me going all day with delightful rosy, rhubarb wafts.  It doesn’t come cheap, but when I look at the beautiful moulded pale powder pink bottle I ache to own it. #greed

Stockists

My sample was included in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Discovery Box, but you can also buy  a full bottle from Selfridges and House of Fraser. Prices start at £175 so try before you buy.  I’ve tried and I want to buy.

Follow

Ten Bottles Please: L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez for her EDP 2015

Escentual.com
Escentual.com

Narciso Rodriguez is a rare thing these days: a brand that is as popular with critics as it is with fans.  Even the big name bestsellers have their fair share of critics, but the NR range appears to be pretty universally loved, like Joanna Lumley or Sir David Attenborough.

I was recently sent a sample of L’Absolu NR For Her, (Patsi, was this from you? If so, thank you!)  and despite there being many, many NR flankers, they are good enough to stand alone and are not merely mass churned money spinners.  Narciso Rodriguez Poudre is a particular favourite of mine ( see why here).

labsolu for her

L’Absolu turns up the volume on three of my favourite notes. It opens with powdery tuberose and jasmine, making a fluffy edged cloud of creamy white flowers. The background of white musk starts emerging slowly until it joins the white flowers in size and volume. White flowers and white musk together needs a bit of grounding,  so along come robust patchouli to anchor it down and give this a musky, musty, loud but chic accord that makes me want bottles and bottles of it. There’s a bit of aromatic sandalwood in there too, which just sort of smooths the edges a bit.

labsolu bottleWhat I love about this is that fact that there are many fragrances with jasmine sambac and patchouli out there, and they smell platitudinous i.e. so familiar they all smell the same. Usually, they add vanilla too.

With L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez For Her, this doesn’t happen.  The ingredients are blended beautifully into a final accord that smells like white soap, clean musk, earthy patchouli, and big tuberose, all in one big beautiful long-lasting flourish.

This makes me feel impeccable, like a proper lady. It won’t go with my school run outfit of jeans and a stripy top. This is what I will wear with grown up clothes and everyone will admire me and want to do my bidding because I am so chic.  When a perfume makes you feel this good, you need to buy it all.

Stockists

L’Absolu Narciso Rodriguez For Her eau de parfum is available from The Fragrance Shop UK, allbeauty and Escentual. Sample was a gift from friend of the blog and of me, Patsi. xxx  Opinions are my own.

Follow

Top Ten Avon Fragrances 2017 (Actually the Top Eighteen)

avon 2017 collage

Guess what the most searched for item on my blog dashboard is? Yep. By a country mile, it’s Avon perfume reviews or best Avon perfume. You may have gathered by now that I’m a big Avon fan and I see no sign of that changing any time soon.

avon retro3With a rapid turnover of scents, Avon is almost simultaneously discontinuing and launching fragrance faster than my little fingers can type, but that’s the nature of the game when you’re keeping up with ever changing trends in the beauty market.

The Avon Unique Selling Point is that they provide decent quality fragrance that fits in with current trends and places them at an affordable price point. You won’t get Guerlain quality nor the originality of niche, but you will get good fragrance that could hold its own on the High Street at far higher prices.

5155b918703f01941a1ee0f5323efc22

My first Avon round up was in 2014 and my second was in 2016. Both get more hits than any post I have ever written, proving that Avon is definitely getting it right.

Here then, is my third and most up to date Avon round up based on what’s in the brochure right now. I promise not to include anything that’s discontinued nor anything I haven’t personally tried. Nostrils a-flaring? Let’s go.

avon sequin dress ad

  1. Avon Little Sequin Dress

The very latest flanker in the Avon little dress series.  This is a fruity floral that’s light and pretty and does the job nicely, thank you. You can read my review here.

imari

  1. Avon Imari

A recent import from Avon USA, Imari is roses, lemon, sandalwood and aldehydes.  You can read my review here.  I have the EDT, but I would prefer it to be in eau de parfum form. It’s still a good handbag scent though.

luck

  1. Avon Luck

A vanilla scent right down to its toes. This doesn’t work on me but smells utterly divine on my friend Ellie who fell in love with it.  It lasted ages on her and she couln’t stop smelling her wrist.  My review is here.

dreams

  1. Avon Dreams

Definitely in my top five favourite Avon scents. This is a woody floral that is dazzlingly feminine. Fans of Sarah Jessica parker Lovely will like this.  My review is here. In eth USA it’s called Prima.

far-awayinfinity

  1. Avon Far Away Infinity

If you like jasmine sambac and vanilla- a combination that has been huge in the last year, then you will love this one.  I found it very similar to Paco Rabanne Olympea, as did many Fragrantica readers. My review is here.far away bottle

  1. Avon Far Away

Avon’s bestseller for so long that I’m willing to bet they will never stop making it.  It even comes in 100ml bottles from time to time. This is a scent I smell very often on other people, possibly more than any other.  It’s vanilla to the point of coconut, teamed with freesia, roses and jasmine,  which ends up, as it began really: vanilla, coconut and white flowers.  I always think it smells warm and woolly like a cosy white blanket. You can buy it here.


little black dress

  1. Avon Little Black Dress

Another bestseller. I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like it. This is an elegant mix of plum, gardenia, jasmine and peony, with a musky base of sandalwood. Some say its smells like Dior J’Adore, and they’re not completely wrong.  You can buy it here.

little lace dress

  1. Avon Little Lace Dress

A bang-on trend combo of jasmine sambac and patchouli. It reminded me of so many far more expensive scents that I’ve smelled over beauty counters, but costs under ten quid.  You’ll know what I mean when you try it. My review is here.

far away bella

  1. Avon Far Away Bella

I love this fruity floral and wear it often. It’s light, long lasting and very- can I say girly? Is that OK? There it is.  It’s very girly. And it wears a little scarf.  Check out my review here.

perceive-oasis

  1. Avon Perceive Oasis

Not just my favourite Avon, but in my top ten perfumes of all time. This is another long lasting fragrance: this time its peony, roses and jasmine that makes me smell like a pale pink bouquet. My review is here.

press-release_avon_life_main

  1. Avon Life

Created by Kenzo Takada himself, no less, Avon Life is a delightful take on violets that’s light as air and perfect for daytime.  Every note is delicate and translucent, as if painted in watercolours. There’s waterlily, green tea, apple and cherry blossom. You can read my review here.

viva la vita

  1. Avon Viva La Vita

Created for spring, but pretty all year round, Viva la Vita is crisp and fresh. It opens with apple and citrus, and  morphs into a mimosa floral before settling into a cashmere woody scent. My review is here.

rare-plat

  1. Avon Rare Platinum

A knockout tuberose scent that combines this unmistakable creamy white flower with the tang of grapefruit. It’s presented in a bottle that reminds me of those American air bullet caravans in the 1950s.  Rare Platinum is sensational and I’m never without a bottle.  At £7 it’s a real bargain.  Read my review here.

silky soft musk

  1. Avon Silky Soft Musk

Not actually my favourite Avon, but again, they’ve come up with the goods by taking their bestselling Soft Musk scent and cloaking it in a silky vanilla accord. Very popular and only about a fiver last time I looked. My review is here.

soft musk

  1. Avon Soft Musk

I own a 50ml bottle of Soft Musk, as does my mother and as does my sister. It is a timeless floral musk with a hint of honeysuckle and peach. A couple of sprays and you can still smell it by tea time. My review is here. 

timeless

  1. Avon Timeless

An ambery powdery scent that was created in 1974. Avon discontinued this, only to bring it back thanks to customer demand, which was loud and long. My Avon Lady says this is her bestseller- many of her older customers have been using and buying it for decades. My review of Timeless  is here.

attraction ad

17. Avon Attraction

Attraction is a fruity floral with a bit of praline in it, making it bang on the money right now. It opens with pear and pink pepper, travels via jasmine and orchid, and ends up with a gourmand woody finish. You can read my review here. 

pur blanca

18. Avon Pur Blanca

Last but not least, and todays’ scent, is Pur Blanca.  This is a beautifully clean smelling scent that’s full of powdery white musk notes and smells like you’ve just been freshly bathed. It’s one of my favourite clean laundry musks and always makes me feel fresh as a  white linen sheet on a breezy washing line. My review of Pur Blanca is here.

avon retro3

Stockists

Everything you see here is available from Avon UK and some are available from Avon USA.  You can of course, also buy from your Avon rep if you are lucky enough to have one. I do and she’s lovely- Hello Jill!

Opinions are my own. I’m just a superfan and paid for all my own stuff.

Over to you

What’s your favourite Avon? Can you remember getting Avon stuff for Christmas when you were little?  Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

Follow