Category Archives: retro perfume

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.

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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.

 

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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

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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.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal: Here’s the Dish

Before we start, I just want  to say how much I love Jean Paul Gaultier.  I love the twinkle in his eye and how he has never taken himself too seriously. He has fun with fashion and is never afraid to put it out there.

From TheMirror.co.uk

When Scandal came along, I thought “this should be good”. After all, this was the designer who made a perfume bottle snow shaker for us to play with and who gave Madonna rocket boobs.  I still love him from his Eurotrash days with Antoine de Caunes.  It was the perfect 1990s post pub TV show,  and best accompanied by a bowl of Supernoodles and some Alka Seltzer.

Ok, I’ll shut up now and tell you what the fragrance is like, shall I? The notes are blood orange, honey, gardenia and patchouli. The blood orange came and went.  I barely noticed the gardenia.  In fact, the first half hour was a JPG Classique moment for me.  There were accent s of it poking through: that unmistakable nail polish/face powder combination  that’s so original and almost exaggeratedly ladylike.  That phase didn’t last long enough for my liking, and was shortly replaced with some kind of syrupy vanilla sundae with synthetic and unremarkable patchouli.  So far, so what.

However, then a great big dollop of honey comes along and plonks itself in the middle. Now to me, honey is a kind of sexy smell. It smells like dried spit, which can either mean your pillow needs washing or you’ve just had a massive snog.  I like it in small doses, preferring the massive snog to the dirty pillow.  In Scandal, it was a redeeming feature.

Unfortunately, the overall lasting effect of Scandal is that of a Lancôme La Vie est Belle flanker. I couldn’t tell you which one because there are eleventy billion of them, but if I had smelled this blind, I would have hazarded a guess that this was La Vie est Belle Honey Summer Blah Blah or whatever it might be called.

There has been a popular generic confectionary/patchouli accord hanging around since 2013 when LVEB launched.  It has infiltrated way too many fragrances for my taste,  although sales figures  disagree with me.  On the other hand, if that’s what’s selling and if consumers are voting with their perfume dollar, then it would be foolish not to capitalise on it.  I’ll just have to sit a few launches out until my stuff comes along. That will happen when green mossy chypres and seventies aldehydes make a come back on the High Street. Oh well. I’m in for a long wait.

By the way, the bottle reminds me of a much earlier fragrance by Revlon called Head Over Heels. It doesn’t make the bottle any less fun, but  neither did it make this curmudgeon gasp at the originality of it.

Meanwhile, enjoy the still-fabulous-anyway bottle that has the typical wink of JPG humour about it. It makes me think of someone falling backwards into a taxi at 3 am.  Ah!   How I mourn my lost youth.

Stockists

Jean Paul Gaultier Scandal is available from The Fragrance Shop, Sephora, Duty Free shops and Escentual to name but a few.

Further Reading

Check out The Candy Perfume Boy’s take on Scandal.  Thomas writes brilliantly, as per.  Dammit.

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Guy Laroche Fidji: Be Strong for Me

fidji bottle big

Guy Laroche Fidji has been around longer than me. Like my husband, it is 51, and like him, it still smells great.

I first owned Fidji many moons ago, back in 1987 when I was dipping my toe in perfumed waters for the first time.  I could have gone down the Fidji route, but once my head was turned by Cacharel LouLou in 1987, there was no going back.

fidji ad1

A recent enquiry from reader Cassieflower (see my response here)  had me thinking about Fidji again.  I’ve been trying it at every opportunity and I can only find one single fault with it- the eau de parfum is nowhere to be seen. A giant bottle of eau de toilette is therefore in order for regular top ups. Apart from that, it’s perfect.

Fidji smells classic, like a mossy traditional scent.  However, it opens more like Estee Lauder White Linen. In fact, when Cassieflower asked me what smells like Fidji, I think I should have said White Linen, because it’s a close-ish match.

Fidji has huge greenery in the opening, fidji parfumand that oakmoss comes out straight away. It has a powdery mustiness that you often find in aldehydes, and its framed with bright, feel good lemon and lime.  Its fair to say tha the opening  is dominated by green and bitter galbanum. Now, I like galbanum but its not everyone’s cup of tea. If you like Chanel Cristalle,  Givenchy Ysatis or Lancome Magie Noire, then you might already be a galbanum fan.  I’m a card-carrying fan club member myself so Fidji suits me down ot the ground.

fidji beachAfter the citrussy and bright opening come the flowers: my favourites too. Hyacinths, violets, roses and jasmine emerge like a spring day. This gives Fidji a wonderfully old fashioned feel to my nose-  soemthing I miss in the sea of modern stuff of late.

The flowers are long lasting and they pretty much stick around until bedtime. With an oakmoss and vetiver base rounding off my beloved green notes and cherished hyacinth and violets, this might just be top of the Christmas list this year.  I saw a big 100ml bottle on sale today in my local House of Fraser for £37.  I sprayed it on ( a LOT) at around 9.30am this morning and I’m still getting little wafts of sweet floral notes,: that is to say, sweet like a garden flower, not sweet like sugar. I should imagine this beauty doesn’t have the teeth of its earlier 1966 incarnation, but I’m glad to see it’s still around and still smelling fabulous.  Like I do when I wear it and like you will when you try it.

Stockists

fidji small bottleGuy Laroche Fidji eau de toilette is available from  Amazon UK or The Perfume Shop . Prices vary but  are around £30 for 50ml eau de toilette.  You can find the rare eau de parfum here for twice the price.

 

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E Coudray Ambre et Vanille: Irresistible Me

 

E._Coudray_Ambre_Et_Vanille
Escentual

 

Excuse me, I’ve been away but I’m back now.  I went camping in West Wales and smelled lots of interesting smells, none of which were from a bottle, some of which I am in no hurry to revisit (wet shoes, calorgas), and some which were delightful (wildflowers, grass, burning logs, ozone).

Now that I’m back in the land of civilisation, the current Wales temperature is turning my thoughts to Autumn already.  No, I’m not wishing my life away, but overcast and dull seems to be the default weather this August. This has had me turning to warmer scents and away from my beloved hesperide section.

e coudray vanilla

Do you ever spray a sample and sniff it, and find yourself quite unable to stop? Thus was my reaction to E Coudray Ambre et Vanille.

Now, you may recall my recent article about vanilla, and about how I felt that it had been cheapened, but the right stuff is still GOOD. Well, this treasure fits right into that category.  I am helpless to move my nose and may need smelling salts.

Ambre et  Vanille opens with the kind of vanilla that smells  unprocessed.  It’s like licking a vanilla pod before it falls into the hands of the lets-make-cheap-copies scoundrels.  This is like cold, rich butter.  There’s no sugar, just a silky wood feel to it that smells both elegant and cool. It’s opening notes are framed by bitter citrus: oranges and limes. These are hard to distinguish, but they take off the rich edges, which in my opinion, stops this smelling too crème brulee in the first few minutes.coudray retroIn the middle there are stately and sober flowers, namely iris and heliotrope, both doing their job quietly.  The vanilla, however, really lets go on the dance floor and sweeps everything under its warm, smoky broom with a touch of robust patchouli.  The amber is there, but is never as dominant as this glorious vanilla with its edges tinged in cinamon and tonka.   It is saved by a lack of syrup, yet keeps its warmth. This is a gourmand for the anti gourmand i.e yours truly.

e coudray selection

Remarkably, this was first created in 1935. I doubt very much that we are smelling the original formula post IFRA regulations, but this is a beautifully blended vanilla scent that bears no resemblance to the synthetics  that are so over-used on today’s saturated beauty counters.

E Coudray has been creating fragrance since  1822, despite several changes of hands. Their classic scents and ornate glass bottles deserve to be on every dressing table, namely mine.

Stockists

You can buy E Coudray Ambre et Vanille from Escentual, Amazon.UK or House of Fraser.  I find prices are reasonable at around £60 for a big 100ml bottle.  Sample is my own, as is my opinion. I can’t actually remember where the sample came from, so if I have forgotten to say thank you, please forgive me.

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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.

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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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Welcome to MoodScent 4! In the Mood for Mainstream Scent

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We are four perfume bloggers based in France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months. This time we have chosen Mainstream perfumes. You will find links to the other blogs at the end of the post. We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own selection in the comments.

Now, doing this was fun, as it always is, but this particular theme had a touch of serendipity about for me. There I was racking my brains on what to write about and idling fiddling with the bottles on my dressing table. and the answer was right in front of me. I picked up five of my most reached for bottles and realized they are all mainstream scents bought from my local shopping centre.  So here are five fragrances that I bought from the High Street in my local medium sized town in South Wales. In other words, if I can find them, then you’ll definitely be able to.  PS  By a happy coincidence, they are all really cheap.

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First by Van Cleef and Arpels

first by van cleefOur love story began when I obtained a mini bottle of this in a set from Argos.  It was true love and I was in full bottle territory shortly afterwards.  This is the one I reach for when I want to feel grounded.  In other words, it’s the nearest thing I have to a signature scent.

It unfolds from sophisticated aldehyde down to big peppery florals and ends in a mossy flourish. The genius behind it is none other than Jean Claude Ellena.  A 60ml bottle of the eau de parfum is under £30, which I call outstanding value for money.

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Coty L’Aimant

laimant bottl;eAnother classic that I wear for comfort and when I want to feel like my old self.  It was created in 1927, on the coat tails of Chanel No 5 and was made in the same style.  L’Aimant was the signature scent of my late grandmother, who was always such a lady.  It’s a stunning scent and the parfum de toilette is plenty strong enough.  I wasn’t so keen on the cologne though.

L’Aimant opens with aldehydes and peaches and travels through a middle phase of all the best flowers: geranium, roses and jasmine. They segue seamlessly into the woody vetiver base with a dusty, powdery flourish that speaks of decades of class and untouched perfection. I still keep thinking the price is a joke, but it’s not, and neither is this excellent classic.

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Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.

I feel very strongly about SJP Lovely. It is my response to people who say they would never wear celebrity perfume and that cheap perfume doesn’t  smell good.  Lovely ticks both boxes. It’s a superb fragrance that I wear often. It’s long lasting and classy and the price is so low for quality of this calibre.

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I was introduced to this by my dear friend and shameless perfume enabler Lisa Jones. She said she wore it for the school run, you know, those moments when you notice the time, grab a bottle of what goes with everything and run out of the house. Within days of trying her bottle, I had my own 100ml bottle. It was one of those  fragrances.

Lovely is described as a silky white amber, but it’s so much more.  It opens with lavender and apple martini (don’t ask me!)  and orchid, which I don’t usually like.  The whole thing morphs into a feminine, pretty floral, but as soon as that’s registered, it becomes woody and gets a bit of texture from the patchouli.   Rounded off with amber and white musk, this is a stunning floral with an earthy, warm finish.  I just love the lavender in it that keeps it so ladylike and timeless.

lovely

Lovely has outrun many celebrity fragrances and is regarded by many critics as  being excellent in its own right.  What makes me love it even more is that SJP herself was involved on every level and had very definite ideas about what she wanted. This was no mere “sign-here” deal.  She got in the way and rolled her sleeves up.

Having said that, credit must go tothe talented noses who actually made it- Laurent le Guernec and Clement Gavarrry for Coty.

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Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps

lairdutempsLike L’Aimant and First, this is a scent that will always be on my dressing table. There’s nothing like it, and that’s hard to find these days in a busy and often generic market. L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the dove on the bottle is the dove of peace in the turbulent post war period.

The scent is so familiar to me that it’s almost hard to deconstruct. It’s a gentle, luminous floral that also has peppery carnation, roses, jasmine, violet, a hint of talc and a warm mossy, woody amber finish.

Listing the notes does nothing to do it justice.  If you’ve never tried it, you must, and if you have, then I’m sure you’ll know why I love it so. Nothing the brand has done since has ever beaten this.

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Library of Fragrance

lof scentsLibrary of Fragrance really, absolutely and truly does have a scent for every occasion. It’s a brand that has a friendly, playful image, yet provides serious quality perfume. It is ideal for building a scent wardrobe and learning to layer fragrance, or just for pinning down that nostalgic note you couldn’t put your finger on until now. My recommendations are Musk # 7, Mahogany, Play Doh (see my love for it here), Salt Air, Rain, Snow, Grass, Orange Flower, Four Leaf Clover, Gingerbread and Myrrh.  Some of friends collect them and they look fabulous in the bathroom with their pharmacy style silver lid bottles.

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Cacharel LouLou

loulouLouLou has a special place in my heart.  This was the scent I was wearing when I  was catapulted into adult life from home to university back in 1988.  Everything I did for three years smelled of this.  I still have a bottle of this intriguing anise, plum, patchouli, oriental floral that pays homage to silent movie star Louise Brooks.  I’m certain it doesn’t smell as it did, though  Today’s version smells thinner and more metallic. I remember it was earthier and had a deeper resonance back in the 80s.   Like all of us, it was best in its youth, but spraying this into the air takes me back to  goth nightclubs, red wine, red lipstick and cigarette smoke faster than a time machine could.

It remains remarkably low priced and I adore the Art Deco bottle and  stylised flowers on the box.  I have a soft spot for all the Cacharel range, especially Noa and Anais Anais.

My Mood Scent 4 Chums

Find out what my Mood Scent colleagues put in their round ups.  Read what their thoughts on mainstream scents are from the links below:

  • Tara on A Bottled Rose (representing England) and
  • Esperanza in the Netherlands with her blog L’Esperessence,
  • and last but not least, the lovely Megan, who came up with this idea and brought us all together. Megan is based in France and you can read her blog MeganinSainteMaxime here.

Over to you

What’s your favourite High Street or main stream fragrance? Is there one you’ll never be without? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

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BeFunky Collage

Vanilla Fragrances for People who Don’t Like Vanilla

vanilla collage

In the past few years, vanilla has appeared in just about everything you care to name from cheap candles to mass produced mainstream fragrances to room sprays. It’s enough to put you off. In fact, that’s exactly what it did and I confess to having become a vanilla swerver.

However, several vanilla fragrances have turned my head and made me look again. From under the mass market tsunami of vanilla abuse come rays of hope, and reminders that vanilla, before its over exposure, was one of the greats and still can be.  The right vanilla, blended with flair and instinct, can give heart and warmth to a fragrance, and offers respite from the sickly cupcake confections and synthetic waxy imitations.

Huff post
Huff post

Here’s a roundup of the vanilla scents I would never tire of wearing. If you’re no vanilla fan, these beauties will turn your head and change your mind. Not all vanilla is equal.

Tauerville Vanilla Flash

vanilla-flash-bttleVanilla is not the first thing you will notice about Vanilla Flash. In fact, with me, it was the roses. Andy Tauer, a true gentleman and frankly, a modest genius too, has created a vanilla scent that frames the vanilla rather than allowing it to take over. Here vanilla is teamed with spice, tobacco, roses and patchouli and is chilly rather than warm.

My review is here. I could wear this all day and all night. Bravo Andy. Here’s the link to the Tauerville website.

Aftelier Perfumes Vanilla Smoke

vanillasmoke1If I could sum up cosy in one scent it would be this. The wonderful Mandy Aftel, who works only with natural ingredients, has taken the warm heart of vanilla and added it to the subtle wood smoke of a hearth. One sniff and my brain thinks it’s Christmas. You can read my review here and buy it from here.

 

Agonist Vanilla Marble

vanillamarblebottleThis is another scent that portrays vanilla as chilled rather than warm and it works to great effect.  In fact, I sent my dear friend Pippa a sample of this prior to her wedding and she chose it as her wedding day fragrance. She made a beautiful Edwardian bride and she smelled glorious. You can read my review here and  buy Agonist from here.

 

DSH Perfumes Vanilla Chantilly

DSH perfumes
DSH perfumes

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz mixes and macerates her stunning potions in Boulder, Colorado and is always a joy to deal with. Like Mandy Aftel, Dawn also uses natural ingredients and Vanilla Chantilly manages to take the buttery woodiness of vanilla without adding any sugar and syrup.  It smells both clean and warm, both cool and dark. Dawn has kept the sticky woody pod character of vanilla and blended it into a musky, spicy accord with a hint of almonds.  I get so many compliments! You can buy it from the DSH website.

Dior Hypnotic Poison

hypnoticThis is the richest deepest vanilla on the High Street. With hints of almond, this is pure luxury with nary a cup cake nor a Pound Shop candle in sight. This feels wonderful to wear and really opened my eyes to how great vanilla can be.  My review of it is here.  You can buy it from allbeauty.com and John Lewis.

Library of Fragrance Play Doh

PlayDoh-30_grandeIt may have a playful name, but it’s worth taking seriously.  This is a superb vanilla scent that yes, smells like Playdoh, but then Playdoh smells like vanilla. In fact, this reminded me of marzipan, which always gets my mouth watering.  Here’s the link  to my review and here’s the link to the Library of Fragrance website.

4160 Tuesdays The Sexiest Scent on The Planet Ever (IMHO)

4160 Tuesdays
. 4160 Tuesdays

Last but by no means least, comes this cult classic from Sarah McCartney at 4160 Tuesdays.  I always think of the vanilla in this as golden and fuzzy, so add that to a cup of Earl Grey with its bergamot infusion, and stir in the scent of antique dark wood, and this is the pleasing result.  It’s good vanilla, rich and warm, with not a cupcake in sight. You can read my review here. and buy it from here.

Over to you

What’s your opinion on vanilla? Do you have a favourite vanilla scent? Do let me know, I always love to hear from you.

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