Tag Archives: Alexis Carrington

National Fragrance Day: A Round up of the best Nostalgia Scents

#smellfie
#smellfie

Today is National Fragrance Day! I hope you’re all wearing something that makes you feel fabulous. I can’t make my mind up and have about five on each arm. Check out my #smellfie! Jolly hard without a selfie stick.

National Fragrance Day is the perfect time to look at the role that our sense of smell plays throughout our lives. Carrying on the theme of scent memory, I have rounded up ten of what I feel are the most evocative and triggering scents around. Smelling the fragrances below is like using a time machine. If ten scents could tell my life story, it would be these.

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1. Library of Fragrance Baby Powder

Although I never used baby powder on my children, the smell of this brought back what I fondly call The Wet Wipe Years. Little peachy baby bottoms and those chubby hands that gripped my finger- all brought back in an instant. They were the most magical years of my life. I have forgotten the torture of sleeplessness. All I remember is how entranced I was with everything they did. And yes, I was a crashing baby bore and I don’t care.

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2. What I Did On My Holidays 4160 Tuesdays

This fragrance from Sarah McCartney captures the smell of peppermint rock, sun lotion and the unique vinyl smell that says “seventies caravan interior”. Despite it’s playfulness, it’s worth taking seriously. However, it definitely wouldn’t be a bad thing to accessorize this with a Kiss Me Quick hat.

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3. Library of Fragrance Grass

I once described this as smelling like fairytale grass. This is the opulent green grass that was coveted by the The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Sweet, juicy and green, this is a knockout on a hot day. An honourable mention must go to Library of Fragrance Tomato which took me back to my late grandfather’s greenhouse faster than a TARDIS.


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4. Christian Dior Poison

Although I never wore this myself, one sniff transports me back to the sixth form common room in 1987 when Poison was still new and much beloved of my fellow sixth form girls. It was indisputably iconic and despite me not liking it at the time, one sniff today sends me into raptures that make think of Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter. More than any other fragrance around at the time, Poison WAS the Eighties.

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5. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey

In a similar vein the Nineties could be summed up by one fragrance. Most of my friends smelled of it and I can never smell  L’Eau D’Issey without thinking of those carefree years in London. I wore Chanel Cristalle unwaveringly during this era, but I remember what my friends smell like more than what I smelled like. No responsibilities, very few mobile phones and dog eared copies of Time Out to get my social life in order.

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6. Library of Fragrance Salt Air

This is a magical fragrance that does exactly what it promises. This is the salty air of the harbour in Tenby, without the fish. It has that unique tang of sea spray and seasides. Refreshing and addictive, Salt Air will take you back. And make you fancy a bag of chips from the paper.

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7. Cacharel LouLou

There I was, arriving at Exeter University in October 1988, having marinated myself in LouLou to tell this new world I was coming. You couldn’t miss me. It’s ironic that I thought Poison was too strong, but wore half a gallon of LouLou to breakfast. Belated apologies to my fellow diners.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Rex Features (1350527r) Anita Roddick of the Body Shop Various
Photo by Rex Features

8.The Body Shop White Musk

This is another Eighties scent I wore, which along with Dewberry, scented every bus, train, home, school and High Street throughout the decade. I yearn for the long gone Body Shop Perfume Bar. Huge bell jars of perfume oils with long glass dipping sticks. Sit and sniff and then go up and get a little plastic bottle filled from the counter. Sadly there are no plans to ever bring it back, but think how popular it would be if someone did! (hint, hint). Out of every perfume I have ever worn, this gets the most misty eyed comments.

millerharris jardin denfance

9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Collection

A beautiful capsule collection of three scents inspired by childhood memories of gardens. It’s spot on too: in Cassis D’un Feuille there’s earthy tomato and blackcurrant and fern. In Coeur de Jardin there’s pear, flower petals and moss. Poirier d’un Soir is very, very pear indeed, and has a lovely innocence about it.

19/10/2012 Product photography for Local Morsels web magazine which showcases local products and suppliers in the Bradford on Avon and Bath area.

10. Christmas

And finally, let’s not forget Christmas. For a trip right back to the Christmases of childhood, Serge Lutens Arabie is a rich gourmand that is saturated with rich dried fruit like my mother’s whisky drenched Christmas cake. It also smells very much like Nigella’s Black Cake, in which the fruit is so drunk it has to spend a night in the cells. If you can’t get hold of any, then Library of Fragrance Gingerbread or Fireplace will give you that fireside moment that says “is it cooked yet Mum? I don’t mind it warm.”

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Stockists:

All Library of Fragrance scents are available from the Library of Fragrance website. Prices range from £9.99-£15.00. 4160 Tuesdays What I Did on My Holidays is available from the 4160 Tuesdays website. Christian Dior Poison is available from Debenhams, Amazon UK and John Lewis. Issey Miyake L’Eau D’Issey is available from allbeauty.com, Boots and John Lewis. Cacharel LouLou is available from Boots and allbeauty.com to name but a few. The Body Shop White Musk is available from The Body Shop. The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range is available from the Miller Harris website.  Serge Lutens Arabie is available from allbeauty.com and Escentual.

Photo credits: Smellfie and photo of me and Leo- my own. Photo of misshapen lollies by Alison Oddy for World of Oddy. Photo of Christmas cake from www.localmorsels.co.uk. Photo of green grass from ravishingraw.com.  Photo of Three Billy Goats Gruff from Goodreads.com. Photo of Anita Roddick by Rex Features. Photo of sea- my own. Photo of Alexis Carrington www.der-denver-clan.de.

Hello to my USA Readers, This is For You. Obsession by Calvin Klein

obsess

I see from my blog dashboard that I have a lot of readers from the USA, a country that has given me several wonderful holidays (Hello San Jose, Yosemite, Carmel and San Francisco!). In honour of your special day, I thought it only right that I should review an American Classic.

Calvin Klein Obsession came along at a time when heavy, spicy perfumes were few and far between. There was Opium and Youth Dew and Cinnabar and that was about it on the Oriental Spicy front. Obsession was created in 1985, the same year as Dior’s Poison (Loud? Let’s just say it made an Aerosmith Concert sound like birdsong). Obsession had the big, brashness that was so characteristic of 1980s fragrance and fashion, think Alexis Carrington and her shoulder pads slamming open a dramatic set of double doors.  I miss you Joan. *sigh*

With a moody black and white ad campaign that was probably shot on a beach in the Hamptons, the market was ready for Obsession, even if train passengers were not.

Obsession opens with Spices, Amber, Sandalwood, a hint of Bitter Orange that’s pitched just right, and a whole host of other goodies that makes this shout “I’M HERE” as soon as you enter the room. Longevity is very good for a scent that’s High Street, mainstream and pretty inexpensive, and I have a sneaking fondness for it. On me, it unfolds in layers: Spice first, a slight booziness like Christmas,  Oranges, then Musk and Incense. I like it, but I am careful to spray just one squirt (base of throat) and no more, especially if I am going to be around food.  I love both perfume and food, but I do believe that perfume should never drown out the smell of either your meal or anybody else’s.

I had a bottle of Obsession in 1995, and again in 2005, and I don’t recall any differences in the formulation. Purists swear it’s been messed with, but I didn’t find  any  discernible anomalies .

 In a sea of fruits and berries and florals, this makes a welcome change and I wouldn’t object to a little mini revival, albeit sparingly. This has stood the test of the time and still feels current. One squirt usage makes the iconic egg shaped bottle last a very long time, making this a beauty bargain.

Happy Independence Day

Giorgio Beverly Hills: The Alexis Carrington of 80s Fragrance.

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Alexis Carrington, despite her deadly wiles, was actually  quite the femme at heart. She may have had the biggest balls in Colorado but she could still pull off a maribou peignoir and a dry Martini. She was unapologetically glamorous, and an icon of 1980s excesses.

Which brings us to Giorgio Beverly Hills.  Created in 1981, this had a kind of “damn you to Imagehell” sillage that would floor anyone in its wake. I can’t help chuckling at Luca Turin’s spot on description , “ a cute,twelve-foot-tall-singing-canary. At first impossible to ignore, and at length, too big to love“.

It must have been great PR for the brand when Giorgio was banned from several restaurants in LA. After all, to paraphrase Oscar Wilde, the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.  And the sillage?  If this were a noise, it would be on a par with being in the front row of an Aerosmith concert.

So what is this twelve foot canary like? To me, it smells one dimensional.  It’s almost like a very loud air freshener, packed with faker than fake Jasmine, Peaches and Tuberose.  Like its Los Angeles origins, this doesn’t even try for a dose of reality. It is shameless in its fakery, making synthetic a proud trademark, rather than something to hide.

giorgio ad

Back in 1990, I often had a lift home from a female colleague.  She wore Giorgio every day, spraying it in the morning and again at lunchtime. By the time I got in her Giorgio capsule, sorry, car, at 5.30pm, it was like a futuristic torture chamber made of scent.  High pitched, synthetic and for some reason, smelling as alarmingly yellow as it looked, this smelled loud, long and cheap. There was a kind of hollowness to it, as if there were no base to anchor it, just a high pitched screech of a scent.

I can’t tell you what the drydown smelled like since it never seemed to drydown.  It smelled linear to me.  Five hours later, it would smell the same as of it had just been applied.

giorgio ad bow

Having said that, I find it hard to dislike Giorgio and have a sneaking affection for it, in the same way that I loved Prince, Duran Duran, Dallas and Dynasty. I’ve seen it going cheap in discount shops lately, and it made me feel sad for it, like its best years were behind it, and its facelift was starting to sag.  But in it’s heyday, Wow, knock ’em dead Giorgio. There she goes.

Stockists  

You can find Giorgio Beverly Hills  from Amazon UK. I’ve also seen it in Home Bargains and Savers in store. Opinions are my own.

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