Tag Archives: Cinnabar

The IScentYouADay Guide to Buying Perfume For Mother’s Day

keepmumcrop

Mother’s Day is one of the busiest times in High Street perfume departments and no wonder. For many people (not me!) perfume is a luxury item that they feel self indulgent buying for themselves. It is seen as a treat, in a similar vein to a box of chocolates.

There are usually three problems with buying Mother’s Day Fragrance: a) Either you don’t know what your Mum likes or,  b) you think you know what she likes but she secretly went off it years ago and has to make happy faces when she unwraps it for the umpteenth time, or c) what she used to like has been discontinued or reformulated and she wants something new.

I’m going to put a few ideas out here that ought to help with  all of the above.  There’s the Classics, the Discovery Sets, and finally, at pocket money prices, there are the Cheap and Cheerfuls.  At these prices, if you’re buying for your Mum, you may as well pick something up for yourself…

brambleberry

THE CLASSICS

These are the stalwarts that have been around for years and which, in my opinion, don’t get enough love from younger perfume fans. If your Mum likes the mossy chypres, orientals and aldehydes of the Seventies and Eighties, these are all safe bets.

parfumdepub.com

Ysatis

Good enough to make a grown woman weep, Ysatis fans are rarely casual about their love for this oriental chypre. Ysatis is priced very reasonably for such classic quality and prices start at £24.50. You can read my review here. Ysatis can be bought from Boots, Amazon and trusty allbeauty.com

cinnabar

Estee Lauder Cinnabar

For oriental fans, Cinnabar is a classic that’s  hard to beat. It’s been around for a long time whilst fashions have come and gone, and it still stands majestic on the beauty counter. You can read my review here and buy it from Amazon, House of Fraser and John Lewis.

Opium_by_YSL

Yves Saint Laurent Opium

It’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still a very good oriental. Find my review here. There’s another review here which compares old and new. Die hard fans really know their stuff, but sadly the original formulation is only on eBay these days. You can buy Opium from John Lewis, Boots and House of Fraser to name but a few. Do not confuse this with Black Opium, which is very different indeed. (I’m pulling a face and being tactful).

chanel no5Chanel No 5

Arguably the most famous fragrance in the world. I have seen more red faced men buying this than women. Personally I’m not keen, but its popularity shows no signs of waning ever. At all.  I like it on other people, but on me it smells like stale face powder. My review is here and you can buy it everywhere: Boots, John Lewis,  and Escentual to name but a few.

miss dior originale

Miss Dior Originale

This is the one that’in the glass houndstooth check bottle, not the pretty floral Miss Dior that comes with a little bow. It’s green and mossy and longlasting.  I much prefer it to the latest incarnation of Miss Dior (which is pretty good, but is more of a fruity floral) You can buy Miss Dior Originale from John Lewis, House of Fraser and Amazon.

aromatics elixir

Clinique Aromatics Elixir

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this one. With aldehydes, spices and oakmoss, I often happily find myself in a miasma of this whilst gadding about town. It’s usually on more mature perfume lovers: the youth of today are missing a trick. You can buy Aromatics Elixir from House of FraserAmazon and John Lewis.

semiswede.com

TASTER SETS AND DISCOVERY SETS

Many perfume houses offer a “Try Some Then Buy One” service, which is a great way of getting some samples to try and a follow on bottle of your choice afterwards. Another alternative is buy a sample set and a voucher. Here’s a selection of the best:

4160 taster

4160 Tuesdays

I’m a big fan of 4160 Tuesdays and can’t hide it.: quirky artisan scent hand made with passion in a London studio. If you haven’t tried any yet, enter the portal now! For £95 you can get 7 samples and a voucher for a full 100ml bottle of whichever is her favourite. It works out cheaper than buying the bottle and samples separately by £20. Here’s the link you need to the site.

Jo Loves

Jo Loves is the brainchild of Jo Malone MBE, former CEO and founder of Jo Malone. Jo couldn’t stay away from fragrance and started her own perfume house on a smaller scale after stepping down from her original flagship business. You can buy a Fragrance Discovery Gift Experience  for £100 which includes samples and a voucher for a full bottle.

scentwithlove

The Perfume Society Discovery Boxes

These boxes contain around ten hard to get samples and a couple of very good beauty treats such as hand cream, skin serum or nail polish.  A VIP Subscription at just £25  gets you a free Discovery Box and a discount off all the other Discovery Boxes on offer as well as many more benefits throughout the year.  Your Mum might well find a brand new favourite and learn something along the way: each box has testing notes and sniffing strips. Quick plug- I have five VIP subscriptions up for grabs, but be quick- entries must be in by 25th February at midnight. See my post here to find out how to enter.

Pell Wall Perfumes
Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall Perfumes

Pell Wall is a perfume house that consists of a delightfully eclectic mix by Shropshire based Nose Chris Bartlett. A set of minis costs just £49 for 9 x 10ml bottles. My favourites are Pretty in Pink and Deep Purple. Try the website and read my reviews here and here.

pig

THE CHEAP AND CHEERFULS

Cheap needn’t smell cheap. Some of my favourite and most frequently worn perfumes cost under ten quid. You can often find me wearing some of the following. In fact I wear them more often than my posh stuff because I know I can afford to replace them when they’re empty.

Coty L’Aimant

This was my grandmother’s favourite. It came hot on the heels of Chanel No 5 and there are many similarities in this powdery aldehydic gem, created in the 1920s. My review is here and you can buy it from allbeauty.com or Fragrance Direct. Often you can get beautiful gift sets with talc, body spray and a little cosmetics bag for under ten pounds. (The one pictured is from Fragrance Direct and is 6.99 currently).

tweed old1

Tweed

Tweed makes some people pull faces and say “old Lady”- a term I avoid, but I say don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. It used to be made by Lentheric but is now made by Taylor of London. My Mum wears Tweed and it smells amazing on her. It’s woody and mossy with a nice bit of citrus in the opening notes. You can read my review here and buy it from Boots, allbeauty.com and Fragrance Direct.

Avon.com

Avon

Avon has been a favourite among several generations of women in my family. My late Nanna used to like Soft Musk and Timeless, as does my Mum today. Avon launches new scents all the time, and prices are so reasonable that even a blind buy won’t break the bank. Here’s my guide to my Avon Top Ten. You can buy online from AvonShop UK.

 

fragrantica

Marks and Spencer Rosie for Autograph

This is an excellent rose scent, that smells far more expensive than it’s low price. Containing centifolia roses, this is a beautiful perfume and the one I chose for myself for Mother’s Day last year. Here’s my review.  It’s currently  only £11.20.

blue_grass_edp

Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass

Blue Grass was another of my late grandmother’s favourites. It is widely available for under a tenner and is especially good sprayed fridge cold in hot weather. I reviewed it here. You can buy Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass from Half Price Perfumes , Fragrance Direct or Superdrug.

Freesia-refracta-cultivars

That’s my round up for Mums everywhere, including me! So what scent reminds you of your Mum? Do feel free to comment below. I always love to hear from you.

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

Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush: Nothing to See Here, Move Along…

Image

Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush is Vera Wang Lovestruck with the volume turned up and a squoosh more synthetic musk. It doesn’t last very long. I have been using a 1.2 ml sample today and it ran out at lunchtime.

I smelt the original Vera Wang Lovestruck at a beauty counter recently and had almost no reaction to it. The impact was mild. It’s another light floral. There’s lots of them around right now. I went about my business as if nothing had happened. The day I wore Cinnabar and Lanvin Rumeur, to name but two, I couldn’t get my nose from my wrist. When I tried Lovestruck Floral Rush, I guess I was left waiting for it to live up to its name. There’s nothing new here. This is pulp fiction for the modern perfume consumer.

It sounds very glamorous with its top note of Champagne Darling, and it’s Passion Flower and Marigold. The base claims to be Cashmere Woods, Musk and White Amber. However, whilst I did catch some synthetic and rather cheap smelling Musk, I would still describe this as a light  modern floral whose only USP is it’s fabric sprig on the lid.

Vera Wang is globally famous for her exquisite bridal gowns and I can see that this simple and inoffensive  scent (I’m trying not to say bland) would be a good bridal fragrance since it would neither offend or dominate. But sometimes I WANT to offend and dominate, dammit!

Lovestruck Floral Rush– wear and conform. Zzzz.

Givenchy Organza: Falling In Love Again, Never Wanted To…

 

 Image

What am I to do? I can’t help it. The perfume quest bears similarities to life itself. It has chapters and passionate phases which burn bright and fade to ash. It is often littered with disappointments and dashed hopes, but contains bursts of joy and contentment and if you’re very lucky, an occasional thunderbolt of deep love that leads to a lifelong companionship.

Just yesterday, I was struck by a thunderbolt. I fell in love. I didn’t mean to. It wasn’t convenient, and I can assure you with some vehemence, that I sure as hell wasn’t dressed for the occasion.

It happened in Boots the Chemist. I was rain spattered and cold and you really don’t want to know what I was wearing. Let’s just say I was built for comfort and not for speed that day. I sighed as I looked at all the new fruity florals promising the same old same old. Then I saw a familiar bottle that looked like it had come out of retirement. With the strange Greek looking bottle, created in 1992, it wasn’t one I see regularly on the glass tester shelf. I had a vague memory of trying it around the time of it’s launch and thinking well of it, but not pursuing it further. I was younger back then. I’ve changed now.

Fast forward to my local Boots yesterday: I sprayed once and fell in love with it. I sprayed again, on both wrists, and on my coat sleeves as well. It was love all right. I’d been shot with cupid’s arrow.  Givenchy Organza is a perfect balance between White Flowers, namely Peony, Gardenia, and its non identical twin Tuberose, coupled with White Woods, dark Guaic woods, Amber and Nuts. I’ll say it again: “nuts”. This is not too Woodsy, as the Flowers calm it down. It’s not too Flowery as the Woods and Amber spice it up. The Walnut and Nutmeg add an oiliness with a hint of woody bitterness. The bitterness is taken on by the soft Florals, and so it comes full circle…Somehow the perfect balance has been achieved. This adorable and wearable Oriental Floral has had me sniffing my coat sleeve and afraid to wash my arm for two days. (Note- I have washed my arm, you may have no fears on that score. Your blogger is both spotless and fragrant, dear reader).

There are other Oriental Florals, sure, but this one stopped me in my tracks. It’s strong, yet pretty, and has resonance and depth. It’s perfume-y in the way I remember my mother and her friends smelling when I was growing up: exotic and heady. However, it is sweetened up by the flowers, and not merely an Oriental Spice like say, Opium or the wonderful Cinnabar. 

I love it so much that my immediate fear is that it may be discontinued and I will need to shoplift great crates of the stuff. (Another Note: I do not advocate crime and speak of shoplifting only to describe an impulse. Other methods of procurement are available). However, this is a healthily non-cheap price: just under £30 for 30ml, and seems to be widely available. At the moment.  My fragrance abandonment issues may come from a total inability to forgive Gucci for discontinuing the unique and beautiful Gucci Envy. A moment of silence please for a lost and perfect jewel. (Well, sometimes it’s on eBay, but even those are dying out).

I have had lots of perfume flings. I’ve bought bottles that I have liked, used, and then parted with on good terms. I have perfumes I am friends with, and will always have in my life, but am not in love with. However, only four times have I ever truly fallen in love and entered into a long term relationship with a fragrance. I’m not a total slut- I know all of their names: Chanel Cristalle, Gucci Envy, Eau de Cartier and now, Givenchy Organza. I need it in my life. I think it’s serious. All I have is my coat sleeve, like half a phone number on the back of a soggy bus ticket.

Organza will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Follow

The Mighty Cinnabar

Image

Estee Lauder launched Cinnabar within weeks of YSL Opium coming out. The gauntlet was well and truly thrown down. That they are competitors cannot be coincidence with such a close time lapse between them and such unmistakable  similarities.

Cinnabar was created in 1978 and has become somewhat of a standby classic.  I don’t smell this very often on under 50s, which is a great shame .  I would love to see younger people seek out  fragrances like this and escape from the fog of modern fruity florals.

 Cinnabar has a lot to offer.  It is an Oriental Spice perfume, with other notes that make it chameleon-like in its adaptability.  On first spray it is loud, fresh and spicy before drying down into a talcum powder masculine scent .  But bear with it, as it soon changes again and becomes a delightful Incense fragrance with a hint of powdery orange and peach, and a definite loud-ish note of clove standing in the background.  This is serious perfume: it’s not playful.   I can’t help thinking of rather sombre females in dark suits, or elegant dames with pearls and no laughter lines.

On me I’m afraid it reminds me of a Toilet in a rather well to do house I visited years ago.  I can’t help it.  I smell a fragrance and a long forgotten memory just pops up and won’t go away.  I think the hint of Jasmine, which is often indolic, has made this hard for me to love, but easy to admire.  It also reminds me of a soap called Shield, used by a former adversary, which has kind of spoilt it for me.   Strangely enough, I found this so similar to Estee Lauder Youth Dew, now in its 60th year, that I am not entirely clear why they made two fragrances so very similar.  Yesterday I wore Cinnabar on one arm and Youth Dew on the other.   At one point they were so alike I thought I was going to have to write “This one is Youth Dew” on my arm.

Cinnabar is not for me, but I hope it sticks around as we need more classics like this.  It would be a tragedy if a beautiful Oriental were to be discontinued through lack of sales.  With today’s trends for the lighter more modern fruits and vanillas, I sometimes fear for the good guys like Cinnabar.