Just the other day Dawn sent me a collection of her fragrances that I hadn’t tried yet. You can imagine my excitement. There were so many that I made notes as I sniffed. It was very hard to pick a favourite and a blog post containing reviews of all of them would be too long, so here is the DSH fragrance that jumped out and shot me with cupid’s arrow. Please make way for DSH French Lily. (Don’t worry, the other reviews will be along soon!)
DSH French Lily has that wonderful soapy/green accord that lily often has in perfume. However, sometimes lily can teeter over the edge into vegetable soup powder territory (Frederic Malle Lys Mediterranee had this effect), but you’ll be pleased to know there’s none of that here. The lily here is light and floral and draws me in like a bee to a flower. It’s almost clinically clean, but then something rather interesting happens. You know when you smell a flower that’s growing outside and there’s a kind of earthy background to it? Well, that’s what happens here. There’s the beautiful purity of the white lily scent, and then a hint of the earth and the bulb from whence it came.
I could list the notes here, but the above description is my experience and I’m not sure that listing the notes would make any difference to that. I did notice beeswax, aldehydes, lily of the valley, but most of all, that white lily that I can smell on my skin and see so clearly in my mind.
I cannot stop smelling my skin when I wear this. It really is a feel-good fragrance that makes me remember that in a world of technology and pressure, there is nothing as beautiful as a single natural flower blooming away above the ground and the dirt. Nature will win through even on a dark day.
Thank you Dawn for the beautiful samples. This is my honest opinion and is not a sponsored post.
All of Dawn’s beautiful fragrances are available from this website and yes, she does ship ot the UK.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over on Facebook (have you liked my page yet? Please do), there is a friendly perfume lovers group called Eau My Soul. The USP is that the group is welcoming, not critical of other’s choices and provides a warm atmosphere in which to discuss anything you like about fragrance.
The group is the brainchild of founderChristi Long, who wanted a forum that was a sanctuary from one upmanship and criticism of other’s choices. Some perfume groups can get quite heated and Eau My Soul is the gentle antidote.
Blog favourite and friend Sarah McCartney is a member and being a perfumer, it was just too irresistible to make a scent for the group and Eau My Soul the eau de parfum is the result.
Now, I feel as if I participated in this scent personally, because members were given a poll of ingredients that they would like to see in a perfume that represented the group. Sandalwood was heavily in the lead, and thus sandalwood features heavily. I love a sandalwood fragrance and was one of the voters, so to receive a sample of a fragrance I feel I had a small part in was a really unique and wonderful experience. Every member had a vote and there were many votes for different ingredients, all of which were included. A truly democratic fragrance!
So how does it smell?
Eau My Soul, like the group itself, is made up of many components which all play a valuable part.
It opens pleasingly with citrus, like a palate cleansing appetiser before the sensational main course.
The main player is sandalwood, but with smoky hints of cognac, incense and frankincense, it doesn’t stand alone. The flowers are the big strong ones: jasmine, iris, rose. There’s vanilla too, but when merged with leathery labdanum and tonka, it makes for a warm buttery background rather than the cakey vibe it brings in less carefully constructed mainstream fragrances (now, that’s tact!).
What I love about this is the smoky woodiness of it. It has resins but never gets too resinous- sometimes resins can come across as harsh and tarry to me, but here, all is gently blended. The citrus keeps it from getting too dense, whilst the floral notes break through to give this a floral tang that I am so addicted to I’ll need rehab.
In the base, as if this were made just for me, there is my favourite note: oakmoss. It rounds this off with a flourish, adding its earthiness to the smokiness and floweriness. It’s pure heaven.
Overall, I don’t think it would be going too far to say that this is, in my opinion, Sarah McCartney’s best work (and that’s saying something). It’s full bottle territory for sure, and having written 875 perfume blog posts, I don’t say that lightly.
You may be unsurprised to learn that this has sold out, but will be back in October from the 4160 Tuesdays website. This is good news because I’ll need to let Santa know. My sample was won in a Eau My Soul giveaway, so basically, I can say anything I like about it. And I have. You can join Eau My Soul on Facebook. We are friendly, kind, not snobby and we don’t judge. Thank you to Christi Long who runs the group like a good fairy.
I must thank each and every one of you who entered. I had some brilliant replies. I think how someone smells says so much about a moment in their lives, doesn’t it? From “something the dog rolled in” to “petrol” and the mouthwatering “chiocken, stuffing and gravy” I was hugely entertained and want to be friends with everyone of you.
Apologies if I couldn’t reply individidually. It’s currently the summer holdays, or as I call it, the season of “Mum, watch this” so I often get called away before I can finish a…
Anyway, without further ado, the winner is Kate Farrar!
Congratulations Kate. Please send your address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To those who weren’t lucky this time, I’m often doing giveaways so stay tuned because they are random.
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.
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 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.
If 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
This 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
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
This 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
It 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)
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.
We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn
Reek is an independent Scottish brand who worked with prolific Nose Sarah McCartney (Um, I might have mentioned her a few times) to produce the fragrance Damn Rebel Bitches. The scent was created to honour and commemorate the women who fought back in the Jacobite rebellion and the name the English had for them is used to name the fragrance in a rebellious two fingered salute. You can read my review here.
This year, launching,appropriately on Halloween 2017, comes Damn Rebel Witches. At the march for women earlier this year, placards read “We are the granddaughters of the witches you couldn’t burn,” and that to me, is the demographic for this stunning statement scent. In other words, all of us.
Damn Rebel Witches is in a similar vein to Damn Rebel Bitches, but has a sharper opening and a darker finish. The blood orange comes out immediately, and the tobacco- here a rich woody note- adds an earthy finesse. There’s hearty malt, and a horsey whiff of leather. Both scents are created from ingredients that would have been around at the time of the women they celebrate i.e the 1700s (Okay, maybe not the oranges, but I’m happy to stand corrected). In both you’ll find malt, pink pepper, berries and blood oranges and they do have several similarities: these two are blood sisters for sure.
Witches is woodier than Bitches, and the orange is sharper. You know when you peel an orange and you accidentally get some in your eye? That’s the smell, although your eyes won’t sting if you smell this.
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.
Damn Rebel Witches is currently available in a set of two: Bitches and Witches, which gives you a phial of each from the REEK website. Full size bottles of Damn Rebel Witches will be available from Halloween this year. You can already buy Damn Rebel Bitches in full size as well as purse size. My sample was kindly supplied by REEK in return for an honest review, which I have given. Opinions are my own and this is not a sponsored post.
There’s a bit of a back story here. A few years ago, dear Lisa Jones, my friend, mentor and bad girl enabler let me try some Vero Profumo Rubj EDP that she had. My dear friends, I’m sorry to say that I did not care for it. I haven’t tried it since and my only lingering memory of it was cumin with muscles.
So, in the random and serendipitous way that such things happen, I was recently offered a batch of “Naughty and Animalic” samples from dear friend of the blog Lânáis-Bambi, for which many thanks my friend. The scent bundle was one of the sample collections that you can buy from Bloom Perfumery in London, so I knew it would be good stuff.
I went straight for Rubj, thinking I knew what my reaction would be, but I was wrong.
Vero Profumo Rubj Voile D’extrait is a beautiful deep floral that I was convinced was as full of violets as Guerlain Insolence. But it’s not. In fact, the flowers, once they settle, are a classy bouquet of tuberose, jasmine and neroli. They don’t come in straight away though, there’s mandarina and bergamot giving this a much lighter entrance than the one I was expecting.
The base notes anchor the flowers with oak moss and musk, giving this a ladylike and classic feel that I wasn’t expecting. Oh, and the cumin? Well, it’s not there, but the cedar gives this a herby, woody nuance that takes a back seat and lets the flowers take centre stage. Its presence gives this a touch of supportive sobriety as the flowers get loud.
I loved this so much that I have taken a lesson from it; don’t write off a different formulation of a scent you didn’t take to. I could drench myself in this stuff and It wouldn’t be too much. It’s glorious and feminine and makes me feel like I am too. I’m so glad that serendipity led me back to it.
Check me out! I’ve been experimenting with editing sites. The world is my lobster. Watch this space for disastrous pixellated pics and clumsy graphics until I get the hang of stuff. I’ll soon be running with the pack.
Well, dear readers, it’s time for me to sum up a busy fragranced year and award plaudits to my favourites from 2016. These are purely based on my opinion, which is therefore The Law.
Not all of these are actually 2016 launches: some have just impressed me so much after four years of blogging that I have declared that they deserve accolades. Now, we’d’d best get on before all this power goes to my head and I start doing villain’s laughter.
The IScent Award for Best Longevity
This has to be a three way tie between
4160 Tuesdays Midnight in the Palace Garden
Andy Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange
Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose
I sprayed 4160 Tuesdays Midnight in The Palace Garden into thin air yesterday and 24 hours later it is still there. This is despite eating a roast dinner in the same room and trying on various perfumes throughout the day. It smells like I have been burning very expensive incense among church pews and I love it.
I sprayed two sprays of Tauer Carillon Pour Un Ange on my neck three days ago. Since then I have had three showers and changed my bedding. This morning when I woke up, I could still smell lily of the valley. This is a bottle I purchased in May 2015 and it has barely gone down. I think a genie keeps refilling it.
Made by the delightful Liz Moores in her compound in the New Forest, Papillon Perfumes Tobacco Rose lasted over fifteen hours on me. Rich, woody roses that just stay put. I could bask in it. Two sprays and you’re wrapped in spiced, woody roses until bedtime.
So all three of these niche brands get the Iscent 2016 Award for Longevity. Isn’t it interesting how they are all niche and not mainstream? Just sayin’
Best Summer Perfume – Art de Parfum Gin &Tonic
Gin &Tonic by Art de Parfum stopped me in my tracks with its new take on Gin &Tonic. So much more than just refreshing juniper, I wore this until my sample ran out and had compliments every time. A full bottle is in my sights in 2017. Check out my reviews on the rest of the range here.
Most Original Launch –REEK perfume Damn Rebel Bitches
This has to go to Reek Perfume for Damn Rebel Bitches. It’s a scent that smacks of rebellion. Rustic touches speak of the heritage of the strong women it pays tribute to. With notes of malt, blood orange and herbs, you won’t be surprised to learn that Sarah McCartney was the nose behind the scent Her fingerprints are all over it! (NB That is not her hand in the illustration).
Best Celebrity Launch-Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP
This one was easy. It goes to Sarah Jessica Parker Stash SJP. Breaking the mould of the usual celeb fare, SJP goes down the niche-style route of a churchy sandalwood incense unisex scent with not a hint of fruity floral fruitichouli in sight. It’s superb quality and I hope it will set the tone for other innovative celeb launches.
Best Flanker-Chanel No 5 L’Eau
It’s got to be Chanel no 5 L’Eau. Not a diluted version of the original, but a twiddling of the tuning knobs to bring out the lighter and muffle the darker. It’s divine and light and deserves classic status already.Oh, and lightness doesn’t mean a lack of longevity either: this really sticks around. Full marks to the beautifully simple marketing campaign showcasing the lovely Lily-Rose Depp.
Another three-way tie. I simply couldn’t choose! Here are the turkeys, the raspberries, the No-Nos. I don’t want to be mean but I’m going to be anyway. Dior Poison Girl,Estee Lauder Modern Muse Nuit and YSL Mon Paris left me wishing I’d never even taken the lid off. The prices are steep for what they are and the money seems to be going on the marketing rather than the ingredients (what’s new?) Least said soonest mended. Moving on!
Best Winter Fragrance- Le Jardin Retrouvé Sandalwood Sacre
This one has to go to Le Jardin Retrouvé. When I smelled Sandalwood Sacre for the first time, it was like cupid had shot me with an arrow. I simply had to own a bottle and now I do. You can read my review here. Don’t just keep it for winter though. I’m not.
Best Gourmand: Library of Fragrance Chai Tea and Library of Fragrance Tomato
Trust Library of Fragrance to come up with the goods once again. This was a tie between Chai Tea and Tomato. I am sure they won’t mind sharing the award with um…themselves.
Chai Tea combines lightness and spice to bring a new angle on the word “cosy.” if you don’t like your gourmands too sweet ( like me) then Chai Tea will win you over. Meanwhile, back in our very short summer of 2016, (it was a Tuesday afternoon as I recall) Library of Fragrance Tomato took me back to my grandfather’s greenhouse in the 70s faster than a Tardis. As fresh as a new bud and with accents of verbena, Tomato became one of my very favourite warm weather scents.
Best Chypre: DSH Mata Hari
Over the ocean in Boulder Colorado, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz brews and macerates her beautiful perfumes with skill and passion. I was floored by DSH Mata Hari Extrait and in a blind test I would have thought it a priceless original 1920s vintage. It made me want to wear long gloves and arch one eyebrow at people. Glorious! You can read my DSH reviews here.
Best New Scent 2016: Beaufort London Fathom V
Beaufort London Fathom V turned an unassuming day into a vivid montage of sea faring adventure. It transported me to the slimy flanks of a London ship and the distant calls of pirates in one sniff. This stuff is like letting a genie out of a bottle. It’s green times a thousand, with sea notes that you can almost hear. It’s the best sea scent ever, and I can’t see that anything will make me change my mind about that. You can read my love letter to Fathom V here.
Best Natural Fragrance 2016: Mandy Aftel – Aftelier Amber Tapestry
Using only natural ingredients ( and that takes some doing!) Mandy’s instinctive connection to nature transports you to another place, via taste and even flavour. Amber Tapestry unfurls, layer by layer, enveloping the wearer in the kind of warmth that has a uniquely human touch. You can read my review here.
The IScent Fellowship Award: The Perfume Society
I’ve invented a Fellowship Award because The Perfume Society defies other categopries. Not only do they provide white boxes of treasure that even the most jaded perfume palate would salivate at, but they’re a sort of Mothership that we can all turn to when we get a bit lost in the murky depths of fruity-florals-chypres-colognes-my-nose-is-confused-help! Ever had a day like that? I have. The Perfume Society Scented Letter magazine also makes me settle down with a contented sigh and think “I’ve found my tribe” as I read what other perfume obsessives are up to. Fumeheads, you are not alone.
I was delighted to receive a little parcel via Fed Ex all the way from Berkeley California recently. It was from master perfumer Mandy Aftel and was wrapped like a piece of precious treasure. Mandy is a fragrant and flavourist expert who has the worldwide respect of customers and peers alike.
I received my sample spray phial of Amber Tapestry last week and I have been taking my time in getting to know it before reviewing it. After all, Mandy didn’t rush making it, so I owe it such courtesy in return.
Amber Tapestry is suitably named. Each component makes up the overall picture with splashes of colour and vibrancy that make this scent a constant unfolding enigma.
The heliotrope, which my nose mistook for lilac, speaks of springtime optimism. There was a note of pollen in there too, that reminded me of the dust you get on your nose when you sniff a daffodil (I should know, it’s the National Flower of Wales). The orange and the jasmine together give this a creamy and alluring opening act. The combination of the two makes for a sort of exaggerated orange blossom.
The middle phase is where this gets more tapestry like. The resin-y incense tones of benzoin (often used in cough mixture) seem to add a faded grandeur to the big white flowers that start so brightly. The heady white blooms are toned down by the warmth of golden amber as the base notes cast a sunset over this evocative scent. There is a subtle touch of animal in the finale, but rather than being a body odour animalic, its more of an intimate back-of-the-neck scent- if you’re familiar with my review of Aftelier Memento Mori, you’ll know the honeyed skin scent I mean.
Each note is interwoven to give an overall accord of a resinous, leathery vanilla. It was a real grower on me. The longer I have worn it, the more I like it
Amber Tapestry is a scent for all seasons. From Spring to Autumn in one fell swoop, the floral optimism of its opening gives way to a cosy richness that ends with the feeling of being hugged by an amber blanket of warmth.
Mandy uses natural ingredients and to my nose, these have an authenticity that makes for a deep and rich olfactory experience. It is my ambition to visit her perfume museum in Berkeley one day. Like Aftelier fragrances, I just know it will be unforgettable.
Le Jardin Retrouvé is a perfume house that’s both new and old. The nose behind the scents, Yuri Gutsatz, sadly died in 2005 and the brand closed. We owe Yuri a debt of gratitude, because not only did he create these beautiful scents, but he was also one of the founders of the legendary Osmothéque. His original work has been honoured and continued by his son Michel and his wife Clara, who have relaunched Le Jardin Retrouvé using Yuri’s original formulations.
The happy result is that the world gets to revisit these delightful, high quality fragrances anew, and what a joy they are!
I was sent a small selection and asked for my opinion, which I happily give, unburdened by bias or bribery. The tricky bit is choosing a favourite. That, my friends, is the hardest bit of all. Each scent comes with its own whimsical scenario that prompted my ever ready imagination to wander even further into colourful and fanciful territory.
Eau des Délices
1970: The garden of delight, painted in 1503 by Heironymous Bosch, intrigues everyone who comes to see it, including you
A bouquet of lavender, bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain and lemon makes this eau fraiche a classic cologne. Uplifting and invigorating, each ingredient is distinct, yet blended seamlessly. This makes me want to throw open the windows and belt out a Julie Andrews number. Fans of Eau de Cartier, O de Lancome and 4711 Aqua Colonia will love this.
1786:You walk towards a sacred grove that houses a small Hindu Temple…
This beautiful 70s style sandalwood reminded me of those wonderful ethnic market stalls I used to frequent as a teen. I’d buy pungent patchouli oil and floaty skirts with tiny mirrors on them. The sandalwood is soft with floral nuances (via orange blossom), a subtle undertow of patchouli and a delicately feminine white musk finish. It’s addictively sniffable and leaves a beautiful wake.
1878: You walk in the Summer Garden in the heart of St Petersburg…
With ingredients that smell so-fresh-it-tingles, this is a happy, playful scent in a similar vein to Eau des Délices above. With basil, lemon, bergamot and the all important verbena, this is the best verbena scent I have ever smelled, and I’ve smelled a fair few on my travels. There’s a trail of oakmoss in the basenotes, which makes me even happier.
Cuir de Russie
1920:The opera ball is packed. Diaghilev is presenting his Ballet Russes.
For some reason, I always get cuir (leather) mixed up with cuisse (thigh), so I initially read this as Russian Thigh. Actually, I’m not far off since this scent was inspired by the Russian Ballet. Cuir de Russie reminded me of those wonderful vintage chypres with strong powdery notes muffling the oakmoss in time honoured fashion. Specifically, this reminded me of the day I entered the chypre portal via Balmain de Balmain and never looked back. Cuir de Russie is violets, cinnamon, wood and styrax. The wood and spice gives it muscles and the violets give it delicate fairy wings. This is a stunning juxtaposition.
1935: Behind you, the Eiffel Tower. Before you, the Trocadero Palace.
Rose Trocadero is not your typically pretty rose petal scent. It’s darker than that. Using hefty Bulgarian Rose Absolute, this stuff will fill a room (in a good way). There’s something spicy and dark at the heart, but it may just be the genre of the rose. Fans of Miller Harris Rose En Noir will love this take on roses. I found hints of spice and heady jasmine. This rose is rich and deep and makes a bold statement.
2000: The view of Florence is stunning, but a grotto on your right draws you with chilled air.
This is another lemon based scent but has the distinction of added spice, namely cloves and black pepper. Opening with greener than green petitgrain, and bursting with the freshness of citrus, the spiciness gives this an almost sherbetty kick. I loved it.
1689:You are headed towards the Trianon in the garden of Versailles where the King has had a profusion of flowerheads planted.
I have somehow gone nuts for tuberose lately and cannot get enough. This may have begun back in October when I entered the By Kilian boutique in London and was greeted by Good Girl Gone Bad. Tubereuse Trianon opens with both tuberose and jasmine. The creamy headiness of both brings out the best in each other and this gives me an almost exaggerated soapiness that I cannot get enough of. The blurb says “your heart just encountered love. It melts” It did. It melted. I love this so much I think I may have to marry it.
You can buy these fragrances from the website, which launches November 2016 ( i.e now)
Acknowledgenments: samples kindly supplied by Le Jardin Retrouve. All photos are my own.