Tag Archives: Aqua Manda.

Looking back at 2015: My Top Ten

Welcome back. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. I am currently smelling of my Christmas present: First by Van Cleef and Arpels, and loving its classic aldehyde nuances. I smell like a proper lady.

2015 marks the third year of my blog and I always like to do a top ten round up as we say farewell to another twelve months. Scent wise, it’s been an interesting and busy year. I have thoroughly enjoyed several new scents and innovations and I only wish there were ten first places. This top ten then is in no order of preference. These are my ten favourite scent related things that happened in 2015. As far as I’m concerned, they are all joint first.

1. The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

Never has a postman seen a face light up like mine when these familiar boxes come my way. With around ten hard-to-get samples, carefully curated and with smelling notes too, each Discovery Box is a Treasure Chest. I have them all.

The Perfume Society
The Perfume Society

2. Papillon Salome

It astounds me that Liz Moores is a relative newbie. Every one of her first three début scents were nominated for coveted FiFi awards. Her fourth, Salome, is the kind of stuff Anais Nin would have worn.  It’s dirty, sexy and already smells like a vintage classic.  If this one doesn’t get a FiFi, bloggers and perfume fans will riot in the streets.

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3. Aftelier Perfumes.

Dear Mandy Aftel of Aftelier perfumes and I struck up a friendship this year and what an enriching friendship it was turned out to be. Amazingly Mandy uses all natural ingredients and the results are vivid, real and evocative. I’m looking forward to more from Mandy in 2016, and in the meantime, I really recommend the to-die-for Bergamoss EDP and the deliciously cosy Vanilla Smoke.

Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com
Mandy Aftel, from www.aftelier.com

4. 4160 Tuesdays Blooms and Grows

Sarah McCartney keeps innovating without saturating and this year is no different. I am yet to try many of the Crimes of Passion range ( and will soon be putting that right), but one of my favourite things about Sarah is that she makes affordable niche. If you can’t stretch to a full bottle ( and they are priced fairly), there are sample sets and purse sprays which puts high quality artisan niche within everyone’s reach. I like that.

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5. Library of Fragrance

This is the second year of my love affair with Library of Fragrance and I think we’re getting serious. With soliflores (Iris, Mango, Orange Blossom), the “quirkies” as I call them ( Rain, Bonfire, Play Doh) and the Whimsicals ( Pixie Dust, Moonbeam, Sunshine), Library of Fragrance continues to give me what I want. I can wear them alone, I can blend and I can find that favourite note that I only like on its own. Prices are very reasonable and longevity goes far beyond its cologne label. Happy to see purse sprays now as well!

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6. Pell Wall Perfumes

2015 was the year I discovered Pell Wall Perfumes. Chris Bartlett is an indie perfumer who sells good honest scent that he created himself. It’s quality stuff with a nod to vintage classics as well as a flair for staying modern. I’ve had fun discovering how versatile this brand is: violets in Deep Purple, leather in Sticky Leather Sky, rose in Pretty in Pink. Discovery Sets and a good sample service make Pell Wall user friendly. Chris gets a firm handshake from this blog.

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7. Lidl

Lidl’s Suddenly Madame Glamour is a well known, shall we say, “homage” to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, but did you know they have also launched Suddenly Woman which smells like Chanel No 5? or Suddenly Diamonds which smells like Boss Orange? Or Xbolt that smells like Hugo Boss Bottled? Big companies hate this, but I like that they’ve put scent within the reach of the most parsimonious shopper.  Whilst you’re there chuck in some Tiramisu ice cream if they’ve got it.

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8. Retro Returns

I’m talking about the joy of seeing Aqua Manda, Aqua Citra and Goya Black Rose again. Babe and Tribe are back. Yardley repackaged their timeless soliflores as Contemporary Classics (I’ve bought three bottles) I’m also talking about the fact that Geminesse, Lutece, Raffinee and Moon Drops are marching back too Watch this space. Further developments may well end up in 2016 Top Ten too.

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9. Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance Range

The Miller Harris Jardin D’Enfance range brings back the endless summers I spent making mud pies and eating blackberries in the 1970s. Miller Harris has made an evocative capsule collection of three fabulous fragrances, my favourite of which is Coeur de Jardin.

millerharris jardin denfance

10. Friedemodin

A capsule range created by Nina Freide and Elisabeth Modin, the Freidemodin range is ethereal, delicate and beautiful. I especially adore Vertine and Rosee de Nuit. I’m exscited to see what Freidemodin comes out with next. You can find them in Harvey Nichols.

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Happy New year everyone! I really value your kind loyalty and readership.

sam hat

Aqua Manda: Orange Flower Power, Man.

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Aqua Manda was the scent that scented the masses in the late sixties and early seventies, brining a tear of nostalgia to many a woman (and man) of a certain age. Although discontinued in the mid seventies after the brand was bought by ICI, it was brought back by popular demand in 2013, with the consent and co-operation of Christopher Collins , son of Douglas, Aqua Manda’s creator.

Over on Fragrantica, the response is mixed, with several very cheesed off people alongside several misty eyed fans who are happy to have it back.

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As for me, I was born in 1970 so only have vague olfactory memories of this pocket money favourite ( NB it’s not pocket money prices anymore!) but I can say that this orangey scent most definitely has a whiff of nostalgia and a distinct seventies vibe about it.

Smelling more grown up than I would have expected, Aqua Manda opens in the morning, stays open all day, and closes at night with many bitter oranges.  There is a hint of Refresher sweets in the middle, and some grown up flowers, before the base notes bed down into a spicy musk, with a hint of 1970s Duck A L’Orange (without the duck).  There are patchouli and herbs in there too, which smells unlike anything mainstream over-the-counter these days and for which I am grateful. i.e no vanilla, and no caramel or chocolate.

By the way, although this has oranges and flowers on the box, it is not orange flower, orange blossom or neroli.  It is citrus, herbs and spice wrapped up in a milky musk. It also reminds me of the smell of suntanned skin, although that might be the Seventies rearing their head in all their “sun cream is for sissies” glory. Lasting power is terrific at around seven hours, and  it has a definite feel-good factor.  I’m guessing this is because I always feel happy when I hark back to the Health and Safety dodging, brown wallpapered, tech free decade into which I was born.

Purists complain that this is not authentic and they may well be right- after all, my memory would struggle to go back 40 years to get it absolutely correct in my head.  However, I like it and I am happy to say welcome back Aqua Manda, it’s good to see you.

Stockists

You can find stockists here, and you can also get Aqua Manda from Debenhams, Amazon and Fenwick to name but three.

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My sample was very kindly supplied by Aqua Manda, for which I thank them, but I should point out that it was not conditional on a good review. Opinions are my own, and are genuine.

Panache : A Welcome Reminder of Perfumed Days Past.

I have an unerring soft spot for 70s perfumes. It was my first ever decade. I was born in 1970, although I only look 27 (*cough*). Women in the 70s and early 80s gave me my blueprint for the future. How they smelled, what they wore, what they did. I looked at them and thought “I too will wear jumpsuits and big sunglasses and smell of that perfume one day, whilst smoking Menthol cigarettes and drinking Babycham”. The scents that I can remember are Avon Sweet Honesty, and Timeless, Tweed by Lentheric, even Tramp by Lentheric (imagine giving that to someone today!) Charlie, Aqua Manda, Coty L’Aimant and of course, Panache.

The Seventies to me is a faded memory of being so short that I lived among a forest of legs, where every street had an Avon Lady, and where my Christmas present every year contained my first ever perfume: Avon’s Pretty Peach.

Having reviewed Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass, I thought I’d go back into the past again and review Yardley’s/Taylor of London’s/Lentheric’s Panache (The recipe has changed hands a bit). It used to be made by Lentheric, as did so many of its fellow drugstore classics. I even remember the TV advert where a glamorous woman went to a party and charmed everyone there with her smiley face and nice smell.

The actual one what I have got

Having bagged my bottle for the princely sum of 5.99GBP for 30ml, I couldn’t wait to try it.  I wasn’t disappointed. This a classic aldehyde right down to the tip of its 70s peeptoe sandals. It’s certainly a relation of Blue Grass: the common notes are Rose, Geranium and Aldehydes. However, it’s not quite as sharp as Blue Grass, with a powderiness that calms it down and makes it more wearable. The base notes come through right from the start: Myrrh, 70s style Sandalwood (in spades), and Oakmoss (or a good impression of it). However, despite the wood and spice in the base, this remains a light daytime scent, with all the flowers popping up to keep it pretty and not too in-your-face as Blue Grass can sometimes be. There’s citrus too: Oranges and Lemons, although I can only smell the Lemon, not the Orange.

The overall impression is a floral day time perfume with a powdery background, bedding down into woody notes with a hint of Palmolive.

Image Longevity is a surprise. For 5.99GBP this lasts around eight hours. It is excellent value for money and I would put it in the same category as Avon’s Timeless as a very cheap and massively underrated beauty.

I would love to see a revival of 70s drugstore classics to wipe out the sea of cheap vanilla and berries that seems to be everywhere.  Whatever you do this week, do it with Panache.

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