Category Archives: High Street perfumes

Four Candles: The Best Candles at Christmas

Or is it Fork Handles? (If you like the Two Ronnies you’ll be nodding.) I’m going a bit off piste here and writing a post that’s not actually about a bottle of perfume. It’s still about fragrance though, and I’m dying to add a joke about waxing lyrical, but I won’t. Yes, my dear scented chums, today I’m writing about my absolute favourite candles. Do join me. There’s tea in the pot and a cat will be on your lap in just a moment. After this, I want you to tell me what your favourite candles are so I can tell Father Christmas to get me some too.

Crabtree and Evelyn White Cardamom

Crabtree and Evelyn can always be relied upon to produce fabulous scented goodies in irresistible packaging and this beautiful candle is no exception.  I chose White Cardamom. The thought of cardamom in a Christmas candle really appealed to me and this does not disappoint. The candle burns cleanly with no flickering or spitting and after a few minutes, a distinctly clean and spiced waft permeates the room. When I say spiced, I’m not talking about the mulled wine or mince pie kind of spice, but a kind of aromatic, nutty woody spice with a faint pine tree nuance. Actually, it reminded me slightly of my recent trip to the Celtic Manor spa. The aroma there was a waxy, clean, pine scent very much like this one. Delicious.  Also, you can get a room spray and a reed diffuser in the same range. Try the website.

Safety warning: If you spill a reed diffuser and you have cats, make sure it doesn’t get near their skin as it can really cause them some damage.  Keep our fluffy friends safe from seasonal harm! Also, don’t burn candles near tinsel. I’ve only done it for the photos and it made me nervous.

 

Parks London Gingerbread

This stood out as my absolute favourite. When I hear the word gingerbread I  always think it will smell like rich dense cake. Gourmand scents don’t particularly appeal to me for fear of smelling as if I’ve been cooking all day ( which I often have). Parks of London Gingerbread, however,  manages to take all the best bits of gingerbread i.e the warmth and the uplifting gingery spices, and add a dash of smoky woods to keep everything both spicy and fresh at the same time.  You can buy them here.

True Story: When this arrived in the post I put it on the mantel piece, unlit. When the kids got home the response was thus: “what’s that nice smell? Have you made cookies?” “What’s in the oven?”. This was before I had even lit the candle. It is the nicest candle I have ever owned.

photo from Clive Christian

 

Clive Christian 1872 

What a treat! Clive Christian candles! Due to budget anomalies, I can only admire this brand with my nose pressed against the glass, but I’m a big fan.

I recently received the 1872 top notes candle as a no-strings gift, but of course, I can’t resist telling you about it anyway. Clive Christian 1872 (see my review) smells very similar to the eau de parfum, but has a thicker quality to it, almost like a scented wool blanket. I’ve been keeping the candle next to my bed (again unlit) and the whole room smells as if I wear Clive Christian (I wish). The most prominent notes are the white florals and the mossy herbs and that’s before you light it. When lit, it gives 22 hours burn time and the floral notes come out on top. Utterly gorgeous. You can get these in a trio from here.

True story This may be the second time I’ve mentioned this, but I was lucky enough to meet Clive Christian’s daughter, Victoria at the FiFi’s in May. She was warm and engaging and smelled unbelievably gorgeous. She was wearing her initials: Clive Christian V and Clive Christian C.

Baylis and Harding Pink Prosecco and Cassis

From Clive Christian to Baylis and Harding, there’s something for all budgets here. This pink prosecco and cassis may sound slightly gimmicky (prosecco slogans are everywhere this Christmas) but actually it makes for a lightly floral and fruity scent that would go perfectly next to your bath. And a glass of prosecco. The candle is white and come in a glass jar.  I got mine from Amazon UK

Answers on a postcard If you have ever succeeded in using a candle jar as an actual jar after the candle has finished, please tell me how. I am convinced it is not possible.

Over to you

So that’s my favourite four candles, what are yours? How do you scent your home at Christmas? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Follow

How to Smell like Christmas

There are certain smells associated with Christmas that we don’t come across in the course of the ordinary year (i.e. the boring non-Christmas period). Now, I might be romanticising things here, but I have vivid Christmas memories of the exact smell of 1970s tinsel, the smell of roasting beef (we didn’t eat turkey) and Mum and Dad smoking all day. In the 1970s you were  encouraged to smoke all day and anywhere you pleased. Unimaginable now, I know, but the scent of cigarettes always takes me back to the family home back where chocolate advent calendars hadn’t been invented  and the internet was just a twinkle in the sky.

These days, any kind of foodie/boozy scent has me thinking wistfully of Christmas and I use it as an excuse to step outside my usual chypre scented comfort zone and into cosy, smoky gourmands.  Basically, I want to smell good enough to eat.

Here are five fragrances that have me salivating around Christmas time. They are rich, evocative, wintry and absolutely delicious. Dive in with me.  Sherry?

Zadig et Voltaire This Is Her

The plain white bottle from this achingly cool Parisian brand doesn’t look particular festive but it has dominant chestnut notes and lashings of whipped cream. This is an unusual fragrance, but I like it because of that.  They could have played it safe but no, they thought they’d confuse our brains with jasmine and chestnuts and whipped cream and cashmere wool and pink pepper and, did I say whipped cream? It sounds confusing but I promise you, this scent really works and I could happily plough through a whole bottle, and the body lotion and candle too. You can find it here.

4160 Tuesdays at Pitti

4160 Tuesdays Captured by Candlelight

With overtones of Cluedo and Agatha Christie in the intriguing title, this fragrance smells as Christmassy as a tangerine in the bottom of your pillow case. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Christingle service, but it reminded me vividly of that. What happens is that children attend a simplified Christmas service in a church (an old one for preference) and each child is given an orange with a candle embedded in it. Jutting out of the orange are cocktail stick with little Haribo gummy sweets on. Combine the old wood of church pews with the orange, the sweets, the candlelight and the flask of Baileys you have in your bag, and you’ve got Captured by Candlelight. Check it out here on the 4160 website, which is dangerously tempting at this time of year.

Hypnotic Poison

Christmas isn’t Christmas without some sort of marzipan encounter.  Hypnotic poison allows you to carry that scent around on your skin. With rich, boozy vanilla and thick, rich almonds, Hypnotic Poison is hard to beat, and very long lasting. By the way, just holding the pumpkin shaped bottle feels like magic. I keep thinking its going to turn into a tiny coach at midnight.  You can buy it here.

Hermes Elixir des Merveilles

The nose behind Hermes Elixir des Merveilles is none other than legend Jean Claude Ellena.  Famous for his blending, which is often described as having the delicacy of a watercolour painting, Elixir des Merveilles is a gourmand that has the kind of mouth-watering appeal that never feels too rich for a second helping.  To my nose, this smells like caramelised oranges, but without any stickiness.  Imagine a crème brûlée with slightly seared bitter orange fruit.  I’m not usually a fan of gourmands, except at Christmas, obvs, but this one has me drooling with undisguised avarice. You can buy it here.

Yves Rocher Bourbon Vanilla

Never let it be said that I don’t cater for all budgets.  This cheap and cheerful vanilla scent from trusty Yves Rocher stopped me in my tracks and made me check the price again. Twice. This is a rich, golden vanilla scent that smacks of boozy vanilla liquor, rather than the more commonly found synthetic cupcake note that sometimes poses as vanilla.  Not, this one, though, No Sir. Yves Rocher Bourbon Vanilla will make everyone ask what you are wearing. Even the most curmudgeonly perfume resister will be unable to stop sniffing you. Don’t blame me. Blame Yves Rocher! Oh, and the price? My 30ml bottle was the princely sum of £3.99 five weeks ago.

How about you?

What will be wearing this Christmas? Something cosy? Something new? Do you always wear the same fragrance at Christmas? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Follow

Fragrance Selection Boxes: How to Let Them Choose at Christmas

 

Marks and Spencer

I don’t know about you but I like all selection boxes. From chocolate to fragrance, I’ll take the lot.  I am in no way advocating that fragrance selection boxes should replace chocolate ones, but rather that they should be avidly encouraged in addition to chocolate selection boxes.

The chocolate sort is strongly encouraged in my house

Right then, now we’ve cleared that up, let’s begin.

It’s a common refrain. People want perfume, after shave and toiletries for Christmas. You ask them what sort and they may say “I don’t mind” or “anything.”

The sheer volume of unwanted fragrances on eBay the day after Christmas tells me that this system of vague politeness doesn’t work for anyone. So what’s the solution? Fragrance selection boxes.

These will offer a variety of fragrances that your intended recipient can then choose from.  If you can add a full bottle gift voucher, even better.

I’ve scouted around and made a list of my absolute favourites, none of which I would turn down (are you reading this in the North Pole Mr S.Claus?)

The Marks and Spencer Ferris Wheel

Marks and Spencer

I salivated when I saw this. Not just miniatures, but generous 12ml bottles of 12 fragrances.

Marks and Spencer

It’s currently reduced to the bargain price of £22. The box is beautiful and your recipient (or you, if you’re weak willed like me and end up keeping it) may find a new favourite. If I was a betting woman I would say this will sell out.

Whilst you’re in there, check out the mini Fragonard sets. I had one a few years ago and the longevity was incredible. You honestly can’t go wrong with Fragonard. Trust me, I’m a perfume blogger. I know this stuff.

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These smart white boxes from The Perfume Society are my guilty pleasure throughout the year. I don’t think there’s a single one I’ve missed since they began. They’re beautifully wrapped so you can give them as they are, and inside there are between eight and ten perfume samples, often with generous beauty treats too such as shower gel or hand cream and I’ve even had  a tiny perfume bottle keyring and a nail polish.

Each box contains postcards with notes about the perfumes within, so it’s a great way to learn what you like and discover new brands.

I’m not on the pay roll, but as a grown up, they are my absolute favourite toy and I love to sit there playing. They also do them for men too- try the Men’s Edit or For Him and there’s a sharing box for couples, which, teamed with a bottle of champagne, makes a fine wedding/anniversary/Christmas gift.

Buy British and Smell Good with 4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays

4160 Tuesdays is one of my favourite perfume houses. Probably in the top three but don’t make me choose, okay? Too hard.  With delightfully named sets of samples such as “Frocks and Hats” (my favourite), “Love & Life Stories” and “Best of British”, you get seven spray samples and then you add your gift voucher so your recipient can fall in love with his or her favourite and buy up a big bottle with their voucher. Here’s the link.  

4160 Tuesdays

The samples will be wrapped up like little Quality Street in brightly coloured tissue so this is a very user-friendly Christmas gift. There’s no extra charge for the wrapping, it’s all part of the normal service. with 4160 Tuesdays. My favourites are Raw Silk and Red Roses, Killer Rose, Doe in The Snow, Tarts Knicker Drawer and Fruits of The Tree of Knowledge.

Pell Wall: Nine Beautiful Bottles from A Shropshire Lad

Pell Wall Perfumes

Over in beautiful Shropshire, Chris Bartlett of Pell Wall perfumes makes and sells beautiful fragrances  made with his own hands. If you haven’t heard of Pell Wall, you’re in for a treat.  I have tried several from the range and thoroughly recommend them. Best of all, you can buy a Pell Wall Discovery Set containing NINE generous 10ml spray bottles, for only £70.  They come in a box ( see above) and these nine bottles should see you through at least a whole year. My personal favourites are Pretty in Pink, Deep Purple and Anjin.

Jo Malone

My local Jo Malone shop (nearest is Cardiff) is always very busy, no matter what time of year you go there. Fans are die hard and devoted. At Christmas, there is a wide choice of mini sets and selection boxes from which to choose your gift.

Jo Malone

You can buy the London Cologne Collection from Jo Malone or John Lewis, and there’s also the Intense Cologne Collection, and a scented candle selection box too.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is a smaller company, also founded by Jo Malone MBE, long after Jo Malone the company was sold to Estee Lauder in 1999.  Jo Loves is a smaller, more personal fragrance house, but no less addictive.  Try the “Can’t Go Wrong” Discovery Set which involves ten sample sprays and a voucher for either a 50ml or a 100ml bottle of scent.  Check out the site here.

This Year’s No Shows

Walter Langley Never Morning Wore to Evening 1894

Sadly, this year there is an absence of the Perfume Shop Viva Boxes, and also of the similar set at Boots, which is also no longer available. Both shops do little mini sets of branded scents (i.e Estee Lauder, Lancôme) but the little mixed sets with a gift voucher are no longer there.  Also, the Fragrance Shop no longer does the Discovery Club, but they do have a new subscription service where you can “date” a fragrance before buying it. You can find details here, but I do miss my little quarterly box of surprises. Sniff. I’ll have to cheer myself with some more chocolate.

PS Try TK Maxx. The stock is always changing, but you sometimes get wonderful variety sets around Christmas time. Last year I saw a Juicy Couture Rollerball set for around £12. This year they have Chloe mini sets, Modern Muse and  Marc Jacobs. Quick!

How about you?

Have you discovered any variety boxes that i’ve missed? Share your tips and insider knowledge!

Follow

Fragrance Shopping for Boys and Teens: The Perfume Society For Him Discovery Box

Many people ask me what to buy the beloved youngsters in their life as their first fragrance. It’s a tricky one. You like that they are taking care of the appearance and image, but  because they’re still young, you definitely don’t want anything provocative. All the seductive and alluring stuff can stay on the shelves, thank you.

I was lucky enough today to press gang my own son, Freddie, aged eleven ( on the right), and his lovely friend Morgan, aged twelve (on the left), into trying out a few scents for me.  I launched them onto the Perfume Society For Him Discovery Box and let them spray with abandon. I absolutely loved their reactions, although our dear chums at Jovoy did not fare so well among this age group!. They both smell great today and Morgan went away with a freebie.

I did not sway them and their responses are unedited.

L-R, Morgan and my son Freddie

Cartier L’Envol 1.5ml eau de toilette (50ml normally £63)

“Smells like a garden centre.” “Not sure.”

 

Cristiano Ronaldo CR7 2ml eau de toilette (30ml/£19.00)

“Smells lush”, “really nice, I love this one.”

This one was a favourite of both boys. Morgan went home with the sample and both were a-sniffing with impressed looks on their faces.

It may have something to do with the fact that they are both excellent football players and avid fans, so this may have swayed them. In any case, a resounding success

Coach For Men 2ml eau de toilette (40ml/£39)

“Oh yeah. That’s nice.” “The Coach one is good.”

Morgan and Fred both liked this one. Cool, fresh and clean, and not remotely provocative.

Dunhill Racing 2ml eau de parfum (50ml/£63)

“Nice.” “Clean” “My joint favourite.”

As for me, I think Dunhill Racing was my favourite, although I was taking a back seat today.

Ferrari Man in Red 1.2ml eau de toilette (50ml/£42)

“Lush,” “I like this one.” “sort of sweet. I really like it.” “Yeah the Ferrari one is my favourite. That and the CR7.”

Jaguar Black Chromite 1.8ml eau de toilette (100ml £55.00)

“Joint favourite” “I like this one, the Ronaldo and the Ferrari one.”  “Can I keep this one, Mum?”

Aww. Of course he can keep it.

Jovoy Private Label 2ml eau de parfum (100ml £125)

Jovoy, my apologies in advance. The exact response was “minging”, “disgusting”, “wash it off”, “rank” “smells like tar.”

Well, thank goodness, they didn’t like this one (It was the most expensive of the lot). Parents stressing over bank accounts will breathe a sigh of relief if they have to get an iPhone as well this Christmas (cough) I imagine.

I’m sorry Jovoy, I still love you!

Kenneth Cole Mankind 1.5ml eau de toilette (£30 for a 30ml)

“Oh wow.” “Yep. it’s good.”

 

Missoni Parfum Pour Homme 5ml eau de parfum (50ml £45.00)

“What’s this for?”  “There’s no spray on it.” “I can smell it now.  Not bad.” “That bottle’s really cute.”

 

Vince Camuto Homme 1.5ml eau de toilette (£45 for a 50ml)

“That smells amazing!” “Like it.” “Who’s Vince Camuto?”

NB The box also contains a 150ml Heath face wash and a mini size Missoni after shave balm and bath and shower gel, making this a great gift set.

The verdict?

Favourites were CR7, Ferrari and Jaguar, with Dunhill Racing, Vince Camuto and Coach coming up close seconds. Sadly Jovoy was not quite for this age group, but their faces were a picture!

Stockists

You can buy this fabulous gift box from The Perfume Society. Mine was sent to me as a gift with no conditions attached.  Opinions are those of my son and his friend.  Thanks boys! Take your pick as a reward.

Follow

The Perfume Society Fashion Fabric and Fragrance Discovery Box: My Review

The Perfume Society

 

I am a helpless addict when it comes to Discovery Boxes and I bless the day Jo Fairley thought “Hmm. That’s funny. There doesn’t seem to be a Perfume Society,” and founded one.  The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes are to me, as an adult, what Sindy Dolls were to me as a child. I can sit there and play with samples and lose track of time and be perfectly lost in my own scented world.

Fashion, Fabric and Fragrance actually arrived a few weeks ago but then half term happened and I had to wrangle some small argumentative people.  Finally, peace reigns and I can stick my nose in the familair white box and share my thoughts.

What I’m going to do is give you a mini review of each one and go into more depth about my favourites in subsequent posts. The box contains the following items:

  • Jasper Conran Nightshade 1.2ml eau de parfum (full price £60)

This opens with sweet, sharp fruit and freesia. There’s the perennial favourite pink pepper, and sharp oranges.  All that blends nicely into a very flowery middle note, which then beds down into a more evening stylee fragrance of cedar, musk and patchouli. This wonderful woody/musky finish was my favourite bit. Funnily enough, although the bottle is purple, this actually smells purple to me as well. Do you ever smell a colour?

  • Elie Saab Girl of Now 1ml eau de parfum (full size £38)

What I like about this flanker is that, unlike many flankers, you can actually recognise the original scent in this.  There’s the original orange flower and patchouli from Le Parfum Elie Saab, but Girl of Now offers a different angle. There is a wonderfully almost-not-quite-marzipan in the opening bars of this. It comes as no surprise to find that there are notes of pistachio and almond here. The white flowers complement the almonds so well, you wonder why it’s not done more.  The base has note du jour cashmeran alongside tonka and patchouli. Cashmeran is that wet-concrete nuance that makes me say “it’s on the tip of my tongue!” as my brain tries to connect a fragrance to a concrete mixer and gets confused. Girl of Now is a wonderful scent and my favourite out of the whole box.

  • By Terry Délectation Splendide 5ml eau de parfum (full size £175) This fragrance comes from Terry de Gunzberg, who also made the wonderful Terry-ific Oud. My first impressions of Délectation Splendide is that it is a gentleman’s cologne that belongs in a very exclusive wood panelled barber shop. It opens with juicy spices: citrus and ginger, and as it calms down it smells of dry, flaked pipe tobacco, black pepper, almonds and patchouli. Like I say, it’s very masculine, but don’t let that stop you. Let’s tear down the walls!

  • Lalique Satine 1.8ml eau de parfum (full size £64)

I’ve never smelled a Lalique I didn’t like. and this lovely scent is no exceptio.   Lalique Satine is a rich feminine fragrance that reminded me of Annick Goutal Tenue de Soiree: a wonderful woody/floral that exudes class and elegance. Satine has beautiful big flowers and on my skin, goes straight into it’s woody patchouli base. In the middle is supposedly pink pepper, vanilla and tonka, but I don’t find this to have vanilla- it’s woodier rather than sweet.  Sometimes in fragrance, you find what you seek so if you look for the vanilla here you might find it..   Lalique Satine was made by genius Nathalie Lorson, who is the goddess responsible for Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium.

fragrantica
  • Estée Lauder Modern Muse 7ml miniature eau de parfum (full size £49)

Modern Muse is a wonderful fragrance that contains a classic selection of flowers: tuberose, jasmine, lily, and then is softened with wood, amber and musk.  It’s one of my favourite Estee Lauder fragrances, although I find the flankers are hit and miss for me.  This is in a similar fragrance family to Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely and Narciso Rodriguez For Her, so you like those, you’ll probably like this too.

  • La Perla La Mia Perla 8ml miniature (full size £39)

La Perla comes in a pearlized box, which had me at hello.  The fragrance is a delicate floral musk, with pretty peony notes and classy orris (I can’t help it, I always think orris is classy). Most of all, though, this is a musk above all else, so musk fans will like this and musk dodgers will not. I’d have liked this to have been a little stronger, but otherwise, it’s rather lovely.

  • MUGLER AURA MUGLER 1.2ml eau de parfum (full size £49)

Using exclusive trademarked Givauden ingredients, namely Tiger Liana and Wolfwood, this rhubarb, vanilla, green and woody scent is beautifully blended and comes in a bottle that looks like a giant emerald.  It reminds me of succulent dark green leaves in a jungle, with sweet fruity edges. You can read my review here.

  • AERIN Evening Rose 2ml eau de parfum (full size £96)

This is my first ever Aerin Lauder, although I’ve heard only positive things about the collection.  Evening Rose is more than just a rose, although the rose is the star. Firstly, two types of roses have been used: Bulgarian and Rose de Mai. Both are known for their uniquely rich facets and together, this is almost like an extrait strength rose. The roses are framed by a touch of cognac, blackberry, black pepper and incense, and that’s pretty much it. The beauty of this heady, rich rose is in its strength and its simplicity.  It’s mega-rose with a European accent.

  • Molton Brown Russian Leather Shower Gel 30ml (full size £20), together with Scented Tattoos- scented tattoos! These are so much fun. They are temporary skin transfers that contain a stunning Russian leather fragrance. The shower gel gave me two generous and beautifully scented bubble baths, although you can of course, actually use it as shower gel. I always associate Molton Brown with every expensive hotel I’ve stayed in (not many!). Gorgeous.

  • Percy & Reed’s A Walk in the Rain Shine & Fragrance Mist FULL SIZE (Normally £15 and launches in the UK in October).

Living in Britain, walking in the rain is a pretty common occurrence. In fact, I miss it when it doesn’t happen for a while. This light hair mist from Percy & Reed not only leaves a little bit of gloss on your hair, but also gives little wafts as you move your head. The scent is green, fresh and slightly minty.

When your mini photo shoot gets totally invaded.

So, there you have it. My favourite was Elie Saab Girl of Now, although there were none that I disliked. This makes for a wonderful collection, and once again, the beauty of this is that the choice of perfumes were out of my hands. I was taken out of my comfort zone and made to meet new friends.  And Reader, it feels good to have new friends.

PS Bottom photo is entitled Invasion of the Cats.

Over to you

How about you? Have you had a Discovery Box lately? Or have  you tried any of the scents in this one? Do let me know.  I always love to hear from you.

Stockists

You can buy the Fashion, Fabric and Fragrance Discovery Box exclusively from the Perfume Society website, along with several other rather nice Discovery Boxes that I will be putting under Santa’s nose.  I bought mine and this is an honest review.

Follow

Avon Alpha: Fruity and Flirty

Avon Alpha is a new release from Avon and even in a blind test, I would be able to tell it was an Avon. It has a lot of Avon materials in common, but this is not a bad thing. In fact many brands have a particular in-house accord and its usually down to the particular range of ingredients they use to colour in the fragrances, to use a metaphor.

Avon Alpha is, first and foremost and beyond any question, fruity floral.  The opening is raspberry, lychee and blood orange. There are floral notes in the middle, and I would hazard a  guess at jasmine leading the gang. In the base there is an interesting ingredient that is getting very popular lately. Cashmeran is a synthetic note and has a “wet cement” accord.  It doesn’t smell as weird as it sounds, more like bland wet stone. It’s actually pretty good as a base note in a flirty floral scent like this and just blends into the background and helps the loud notes to do their thing.

Over on Fragrantica (a brilliant site if you’ve yet to venture over) many readers claim that Avon Alpha smells similar to Nina Ricci Nina, Givenchy Absolutely Irresistible and Givenchy Hot Couture. Not a bad comparison, especially at such a low price.

This isn’t may favourite Avon, since I have a thing about Avon Perceive (peony) and Avon Rare Platinum (tuberose) but this certainly holds its own against other high street bestsellers and makes a great gift.

Stockists

I bought my bottle on special offer from the Avon brochure last month. It was £4.50 for 30ml. You can find it here.

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

Mood Scent 4: Uplifting Fragrances

Welcome to MoodScent 4! Throughout the year, myself and my three Moodscent colleagues write a post on the same fragrant theme. There’s me, (Sam) in Wales, Tara in London, Esperanza in The Netherlands and last but not least, the ring leader and our inspiration, Megan in St Maxime.

You may have read our earlier posts about what scent we would wear as a wedding guests, or what our favourite mainstream fragrances are, or even our rainy day favourites.  Today, we are all  looking at uplifting fragrances.  You know  how certain scents can just make you happy even when your day is going wrong? Those.

It was quite hard to choose only five since I could bang on about perfume until  we all grow beards and get wrinkly, but I managed to whittle my choice down to five that never fail to lift my spirits.

Writing about how scent can lift my mood is obviously going to be subjective. There’s no right or wrong in perfume. One woman’s Tweed is another woman’s Poison, so I don’t expect your list to be the same as mine.  Do let me know what you’d choose though.  I always love to hear from you.

Photo by Thomas Dunckley for Papillon Perfumery

Papillon Perfume Dryad

I have a full bottle of this holy grail mossy green chypre made by the wonderful Liz Moores from Papillon Artisan Perfumery.  It smells as if it were made in the late 40s or 50s and as if it were a vintage chypre in perfect condition, but with pagan edges.  The effect it

Me making the other mums jealous with my smell.

has on me is transformative.  I can be dolefully embarking on the school run, in the drizzle, in my mac and my boots and jeans, but once I catch wafts of Dryad, I walk taller and feel like one of Dior’s New Look model, with hats and gloves, sashaying down a Paris rue, smelling of vintage style oakmoss and narcissus.  I leave the house as a red-faced Mum, rushing and jangling keys, and I strut home as Barbara Mullen. Now that’s what I call a mood elevator.

Chanel Cristalle

We’ve been through a lot Cristalle and me. We were together for twenty years and this beautiful citrussy green chypre ( can you see a pattern yet?) saw me though my single days, my sad days, the day I got sacked, the days I got jobs, the day I got dumped, the day I got chatted up, and later still, the day I got married. We’ve sort of parted company now but that scent brings back a rush of memories like a fast-moving montage of film clips, full of scenes I’d forgotten about. Beautiful Cristalle, we’ll always have Paris. And London. And Berlin. And Pontnewydd.

Eau de Cartier

Eau de Cartier makes me feel like I need to wear full length white nightie and float about the house feeling all pure and ethereal. It has the perfect symphony of lavender, violet and bergamot and smells as pure as a snowflake. The nose behind it is Christine Nagel, and I label her a genius for this. Incidentally, if you’re looking for the perfect cure-all hangover scent, this is also good for that too.

Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse

There’s something happy and feel good about grapefruit. I seek it out in fragrances, and in all my fragrant adventures, I’ve yet to find a better grapefruit scent than Miller Harris Le Pamplemousse. Tragically discontinued (“Whyyyy?” I sob on my knees) you can still find this online before it runs out. Miller Harris like their customers so they might bring it back if there’s enough demand. Maybe I should start one of those petition things? Le Pamplemousse is full of petitgrain and herbs and oakmoss, so it’s pretty much everything I love in a bottle.

Aedes de Venustas Pelargonium

Last but not least is this floral beauty from New York firm Aedes de Venustas.  The fiorst time I smelled this, I loved it so much I got emotional.  That doesn’t happen all the time in this game, believe me. Pelargonium knocked me sideways (in a good way). With its velvety petals, soapy iris musks and mossy drydown, this is a floral that peaks into richness in a way that made me fall in love and greed with it.  It’s not cheap, but it will be mine one day. Oh yes. It will be mine.

Check out my fellow moodscent colleagues here. I’m excited to read them myself as we never know what the others are posting until we all go live.:

L’ Esperessence

A Bottled Rose

MeganinSainteMaxime

Over to you

What’s on your list? What are your go-to feel good fragrances? I’d love to know. Join the discussion. xx

Follow

A Green for All Seasons: Bronnley Wild Green

It may be Autumn, and the leaves may be on the turn, but my passion for fragrances with green notes stays with me all year round.

Bronnley Wild Green fits the bill for every season of the year and wearing it today brings a bit of nature into the stuffy central heated indoors like an invigorating open window.

Wild Green opens with bergamot, orange flower and patchouli. This green floral symphony gathers uplifting, spicy facets on its journey: namely aromatic cardoman and coriander (the spice not the leaf). It claims to have pink pepper, which makes me pull faces, but actually I could find no trace of it here. This is a clean, spicy green that fits perfectly with this transitional time of year.  The green is an evergreen that never wavers, yet the spice suggests that cosier times are beckoning. There’s a touch of smoky incense, but just a touch, just enough to say bonfire night is over a month away.

Having said all that, there’s nothing to stop us wearing this all year round. Wild Green suits Spring and Summer and the spices really come into their own in Autumn and Winter.

Although this is aimed at women, it makes a brilliant unisex fragrance, and is definitely a firm favourite with me. I am quite devoted to my little purse sized rollerball.

Stockists

Bronnley Wild Green is available from the Bronnley website or from Boots and online  from allbeauty.com. My rollerball was kindly sent to me by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which this is. 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