Category Archives: Summer fragrance

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.

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Chanel Gabrielle: A Tribute to the Modern Woman

From Harpers Bazaar Singapore

Chanel Gabrielle is a major launch for Chanel, being its first mainstream non flanker launch for fifteen years (I’m not including Les Exclusifs in this).

It’s always hard when a brand as big as this tries to please the new crowd and the old crowd at the same time. Guerlain Mon Guerlain had a mixed response for example, with the youngsters liking the gourmand notes and the old crowd wearing a lot of black and looking mulish.  Brands have it tough. They need new fans going forward but they have to keep the old guard on board too.  An impossible task, I’d say, so I’m going to be gentle about this.

Watching the uplifting Gabrielle TV and cinema ad made me want to totally buy into this.  Kristen Stewart is an unusual choice, but I can see why they picked her. Despite having been almost indelibly stamped with the Twilight franchise, she now bangs her own drum, cropping her hair short, taking the roles she feels like taking and eschewing the Hollywood clamour for glamour.  In other words, she ignores what’s expected of her, just the same as Gabrielle Coco Chanel did. Let’s face it, successful businesswomen were hard to find in the 1930s, but that didn’t stop Chanel. Nothing did.  #girlboss

So let’s talk about how Gabrielle smells.

The suggestion is that this is a golden scent, but I found it more of a white fragrance. The citrus notes it opens with seem to add little zaps of sharpness and freshness. I absolutely agree with descriptions that say that it sparkles when it first goes onto your skin. It seems to pop joyously like prosecco bubbles. It has a feel-good factor for sure.

photo from Fragrantica

In the main though, Gabrielle is all about the big white flowers. There’s tuberose, orange flower, jasmine and ylang.  What struck me though, was how pristine and proper this smells. It made me think of formal flower arrangements in hotels. It made me think of pure white soap and clean laundry.  It made me think of clean linen, ironed to a knife edge and stored with care in a sparkling clean house.  I can’t explain to you why I thought of soap and cleanliness and posh bouquets.  Maybe it’s because this lacks any gourmand touches or vanilla notes, giving it a traditional feel. Maybe because the absence of patchouli lets the flowers be themselves without segueing into anything else (Coco Mademoiselle, anyone?)

I’m going to stop the description there because  on my skin, the flowers  were the beginning, middle and end.  After that, everyone went home.  It was beautiful, but like all the best divas, it left me crying for more and quit whilst it was ahead.

So you can imagine that my main, and only, complaint about Gabrielle is that it didn’t stick around for me to get to know it better. I had to sniff very hard, right up against my skin, to get even the faintest whiff after an hour. This is the Eau de Parfum, so I was hoping for more. You may have different results.

My verdict? If those flowers can stick around I’m all over it. Chanel Cristalle and I were together for twenty years, but I don’t see a future for Gabrielle and me unless she can sort out her commitment issues.

Stockists

You can buy Chanel Gabrielle from Boots or The Fragrance Shop to name but two. It is, or will be, widely available around the world.

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

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

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

The original La Vie est Belle

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

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

from Lancome UK

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

Fragrantica

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

Stockists

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

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Three Things I Love About Bronnley Zealous Flower

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

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

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

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

Here’s what it smells like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stockists

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

Yves Rocher is a trusty brand that’s been going strong since 1959. Although there are no branches in the UK, they have a good UK mail order service and send you freebies and extras every time you order. I just ordered 6 x 20ml bottles of fragrances that I will be reviewing soon, but as a bonus, I was also sent a 10ml bottle of latest launch Oui a L’Amour.  This may have been a freebie, or it may have been a blogger perk. I’m not sure. Not to worry. Free perfume is never turned away!

Oui a L’Amour is a simple affair.  It opens with herby Angelica.  If I said this was a herby sort of rose scent you might expect something botanical and green, but actually the Angelica is plump and juicy like a cactus.  It’s neither sweet nor sharp but somewhere in the middle. In fact, when I first smelled this I wanted to call it a fruity floral even though I could see that it wasn’t.

After the Angelica comes the rose and it’s very prominent and beautiful with clean, powdery facets.  After that comes tonka bean (kind of like nutty dried grass) which I mistook for vanilla, and not for the first time. There’s cedar in the base, which comes across as slightly tangy and almost citrussy.

Tie all that together and what have we got? A very clean rose fragrance with touches of juicy garden leaves and a sharp woody finish.

It smells clean and light and very feminine. It’s perfect for work and passes the commuter and the office test with flying colours.

There’s no sickly syrup, no big, rich jasmine overtaking anything,, and none of the usual rent-a-scent suspects that I have come across so often lately.

I say oui to Oui a L’Amour.

Stockists

You can buy Oui a L’Amour from Yves Rocher UK, Yves Rocher.Fr   Extra thumbs up for selling affordable 10ml purse sprays. Opinions are my own.

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Into the Blue: The Best Scents of Sea and Summer

by Vladimir Volegov. Photo from volegov.com

As we blow summer a kiss goodbye (and my kiss is as warm as the weather was) I find that my longing for the sea and for those uplifting crest-of- a wave scents stays with me throughout every season of the year.  If it’s related to the sea, if it reminds me of the sea and if the bottle is the colour of the sea, and if I like it then it’s on my list.

So if, like me, you’re a mermaid out of the water (trust me- swimming is the only sport I can do well) then, do feel free, if you’ll excuse the pun, to dive in here.

Art de Parfum Sea Foam

The name says it all and this gorgeous scent really delivers. With milky fig and  salty notes, this resembles the crashing sea, the sandy dunes  and the green notes of the scrubby beach flora. I adored it and declared it one of the ebst sea scents I have ever tried. You can read my review here and buy it from here.

Mermaid by Victor Nizovtsev

 

Our Modern Lives Aquamarine Waves by Sarah McCartney.

What a stunner! So authentic is this gem from Our Modern Lives, that it contains actual real seaweed (filtered out once its job has been done). This is a marine scent with no calone, and they are few and far between. You can read my review here and buy it from here. The nose behind Our Modern Lives is none other than blog favourite, Sarah McCartney of 4160 Tuesdays.

 

Library of Fragrance Salt Air

Our dear chums at the Library of Fragrance come up with the goods once again.  Salt Air is a fabulously salty, sea spray of a scent that really reminds me of damp beaches and seagulls and splashing around in the shallows. It’s both refreshing and salty, and will give you a  ray of optimism throughout the British ten-month winter (well, it feels like ten months anyway). You can read my review here and buy it from the Library of Fragrance website.

By David Hockney, shared from the TES

Michael Kors Turquoise

I tried this at the beginning of summer, or what I thought was going to be summer, and it just made me think of those wonderful David Hockney paintings of swimming pools.  With sea notes, water lily and zesty lime, just smelling this will quench thirst.  You can read my review here and buy this from House of Fraser or John Lewis, among others.

Aqua di Parma Blue Mediterraneo Arancia di Capri

I delighted in this when I first sprayed it. Those bitter oranges just brought the Mediterranean Sea to life on my skin. There is allegedly a caramel note but thankfully it didn’t really show up on me. You can read my review here and buy it from John Lewis

Lancôme O d’Azur

This is one from the O de Lancôme range, so you just know it’ll be a fabulously refreshing hesperide.  I’d happily take any from this range off your hands: there’s O de Lancôme,  O de L’Orangerie and this one. It opens with sharp citrus and beds down into pretty peony, with a soft musky finish.  You can buy it from here.

John William Waterhouse

Fathom V by Beaufort London

This scent was like a scene from a Dickensian swampy dock playing out in my head.  I sme ll pirates.

Like the green slimy flanks of a ship and with lily so heady it’s off the scale, this is one of my favourite sea scents. It’s a bit out there, but that’s what I love about it.

 You can read my love letter to it here and buy it from Rouiller White or from the Beaufort London website.

Davidoff Cool Water

This is a classic that seems to have universal appeal. It’s a light calone scent (i.e melon and cucumber) with aquatic notes that smell fresh and clean, like stepping out of a shower. To be honest, the one for men is just as good so I regard the “for her” and “for him” labels as totally interchangeable.  I didn’t used to like calone and still sometimes have a problem with cucumber in fragrance, but now that I’ve smelled eleventy billion perfumes, I keep a more open mind about it. You can buy it here, and it’s widely available in lots of other places too. Very inexpensive too.

Over to you

How about you? What scents make you think of the sea? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

from GoNautical.com

 

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Parfums de Marly Delina: This Extravagant Beauty

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

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

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

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

fragrantica

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

photo from Fragrantica

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

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

Stockists

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

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L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier: Cherry Blossom and more

fleurs de cerisier bottle

 

Trusty L’Occitane never lets me down and this cherry blossom fragrance is no exception.  My bottle was part of a wonderful gift set contaning  four 7.5ml mini fragrance splash bottles and matching shower gel. The shower lingered long after my shower and the fragrance was spot on for a hot summer’s day when you want to feel cool and feminine and not cross and sweaty (well, I tried).

uk.loccitane.com
uk.loccitane.com

I always think Cherry Blossom is not too far away from peony note-wise. Both are pink, inoffensive and delightfully crowd pleasing without being too sweet. I still maintain that peony is the prettiest of all the floral notes, but cherry blossom comes a close second.

L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier is an unpretentious cherry blossom fragrance that does what it says it will do.  It has a faint hint of sweet cherries in the background all the way through, but the cherry blossom petals in the foreground are powdery, sweet, slightly tart even, but always uplifting with a Springtime feel good vibe.

There are also hints of dark and borderline bitter blackcurrant and unless I’m going mad,  a hint of rose?. The star of the show though, is the cherry blossom, and no matter who else comes on stage, they just make up the chorus.  There’s a slightly woody base but it’s still very much a cherry blossom sort of woodiness.

Loccitane box
My lovely box of treats!

Thinking about other cherry blossom scents, I found this less robust than Shay and Blue London English Cherry Blossom, which lasts around nine hours on me.  However, my mini of Fleurs de Cerisier is only an eau de toilette so that may be a factor.

This is ideal for people who love light florals and inoffensive day time scents.  It’s shower fresh and makes me want to wear flowery tea dresses and run through a meadow.  Feel good factor is off the scale.

 Stockists

You can buy Fleurs de Cerisier from the L’Occitane website and from Amazon UK, listed as Cherry Blossom. You can also find it online at Sephora. Sample is my own, as are my opinions.

L'occitane
L’occitane

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Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything for Her: By Olivier Cresp 2017

tta my everything bottle

There are some  fragrance fans who would never consider celebrity scents or Avon perfumes.  There are some who say that in fragrance you get what you pay for.  I dispute that. I’ve smelled amzing, cheap scents and unpleasant expensive ones.  In fact, if this were an episode of Newsnight, I’d be on the panel, looking sternly over the top of my glasses and arguing the case that inexpensive fragrance can be good, great even.

I would present the case for Avon Today, Tomorrow, Always, My Everything for Her.  I would make allowances for the name that is, admittedly a bit of a mouthful, and I would point out that the nose behind this inexpensive beauty is none other than living legend Olivier Cresp, who co created the iconic and perennial Angel for Thierry Mugler.

First of all, it’s OK if we abbreviate, so let’s call this TTA My Everything.  There’s a For Him too, but we’re talking about the  For Her version, if labels matter (another Newsnight topic?).

tta ad

There are only three notes: bergamot, rose and crowd-pleasing praline.  Personally, praline isn’t my cup of Typhoo, but only a fool ignores public demand.  Praline is one of the main notes in Lancôme La Vie est Belle, which has been scenting the streets of Britain since it came out way back in 2012.  The fragrance buying public have gone mad for gourmands in the last five years and whilst I’m more of a mossy chypre kind of woman, I can understand the buzz.

TTA My Everything opens with powerful bergamot and rose. The bergamot makes the rose smell sharper and mingles with it until you think you’re smelling a lime coloured rose or a rose-coloured lime. They blend seamlessly, giving this a delicate opening that gets stronger the longer you wear it.

Thorntons
Thorntons

The praline comes in gradually, and despite being one third of the notes, it doesn’t overtake or dominate. In fact I would say this is a rose citrus with warm sweet edging. It really reminded me of Nina Ricci Nina which combines apples and praline, so if you like that you might like this too.  I love the different rose nuances in My Everything.  It seems to come and go in waves.  In fact, if you’ve ever tried the aforementioned La Vie est  Belle and found it too sweet and wished the floral notes were stronger, then this would suit you down to your boots.

Avon Today Tomorrow Always My Everything For Her is coming soon. I was lucky enough to get a sample from my lovely Avon Lady, so watch this space for when it comes out.  Opinions are my own.

Stockists

This will be available  soon from your Avon brochure or from Avon UK. The current prices of other fragrances in TTA range is £14 for 50ml EDP, so I imagine this would be in that price bracket too. Owning an Olivier Cresp for £14? Yes, indeed.

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