Tag Archives: First by Van Cleef and Arpels

My Top Ten Autumn Fragrances 2017

Photo of the Forest of Dean Gloucestershire, taken by me.

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.

Photo of my home town Cwmbran, taken by me

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.

Photo by Thomas Dunckley for Papillon Perfumery

 Papillon Dryad

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.

SJP Stash

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. 

DSH Chinchilla

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.

Follow

Welcome to MoodScent 4! In the Mood for Mainstream Scent

moodscent4 turquoise

We are four perfume bloggers based in France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months. This time we have chosen Mainstream perfumes. You will find links to the other blogs at the end of the post. We hope you have fun reading our different choices and adding your own selection in the comments.

Now, doing this was fun, as it always is, but this particular theme had a touch of serendipity about for me. There I was racking my brains on what to write about and idling fiddling with the bottles on my dressing table. and the answer was right in front of me. I picked up five of my most reached for bottles and realized they are all mainstream scents bought from my local shopping centre.  So here are five fragrances that I bought from the High Street in my local medium sized town in South Wales. In other words, if I can find them, then you’ll definitely be able to.  PS  By a happy coincidence, they are all really cheap.

first big

First by Van Cleef and Arpels

first by van cleefOur love story began when I obtained a mini bottle of this in a set from Argos.  It was true love and I was in full bottle territory shortly afterwards.  This is the one I reach for when I want to feel grounded.  In other words, it’s the nearest thing I have to a signature scent.

It unfolds from sophisticated aldehyde down to big peppery florals and ends in a mossy flourish. The genius behind it is none other than Jean Claude Ellena.  A 60ml bottle of the eau de parfum is under £30, which I call outstanding value for money.

l-aimant-1947

Coty L’Aimant

laimant bottl;eAnother classic that I wear for comfort and when I want to feel like my old self.  It was created in 1927, on the coat tails of Chanel No 5 and was made in the same style.  L’Aimant was the signature scent of my late grandmother, who was always such a lady.  It’s a stunning scent and the parfum de toilette is plenty strong enough.  I wasn’t so keen on the cologne though.

L’Aimant opens with aldehydes and peaches and travels through a middle phase of all the best flowers: geranium, roses and jasmine. They segue seamlessly into the woody vetiver base with a dusty, powdery flourish that speaks of decades of class and untouched perfection. I still keep thinking the price is a joke, but it’s not, and neither is this excellent classic.

lovely

Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely.

I feel very strongly about SJP Lovely. It is my response to people who say they would never wear celebrity perfume and that cheap perfume doesn’t  smell good.  Lovely ticks both boxes. It’s a superb fragrance that I wear often. It’s long lasting and classy and the price is so low for quality of this calibre.

lovely pic

I was introduced to this by my dear friend and shameless perfume enabler Lisa Jones. She said she wore it for the school run, you know, those moments when you notice the time, grab a bottle of what goes with everything and run out of the house. Within days of trying her bottle, I had my own 100ml bottle. It was one of those  fragrances.

Lovely is described as a silky white amber, but it’s so much more.  It opens with lavender and apple martini (don’t ask me!)  and orchid, which I don’t usually like.  The whole thing morphs into a feminine, pretty floral, but as soon as that’s registered, it becomes woody and gets a bit of texture from the patchouli.   Rounded off with amber and white musk, this is a stunning floral with an earthy, warm finish.  I just love the lavender in it that keeps it so ladylike and timeless.

lovely

Lovely has outrun many celebrity fragrances and is regarded by many critics as  being excellent in its own right.  What makes me love it even more is that SJP herself was involved on every level and had very definite ideas about what she wanted. This was no mere “sign-here” deal.  She got in the way and rolled her sleeves up.

Having said that, credit must go tothe talented noses who actually made it- Laurent le Guernec and Clement Gavarrry for Coty.

lair du temps ad

Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps

lairdutempsLike L’Aimant and First, this is a scent that will always be on my dressing table. There’s nothing like it, and that’s hard to find these days in a busy and often generic market. L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the dove on the bottle is the dove of peace in the turbulent post war period.

The scent is so familiar to me that it’s almost hard to deconstruct. It’s a gentle, luminous floral that also has peppery carnation, roses, jasmine, violet, a hint of talc and a warm mossy, woody amber finish.

Listing the notes does nothing to do it justice.  If you’ve never tried it, you must, and if you have, then I’m sure you’ll know why I love it so. Nothing the brand has done since has ever beaten this.

the_library_of_fragrance

Library of Fragrance

lof scentsLibrary of Fragrance really, absolutely and truly does have a scent for every occasion. It’s a brand that has a friendly, playful image, yet provides serious quality perfume. It is ideal for building a scent wardrobe and learning to layer fragrance, or just for pinning down that nostalgic note you couldn’t put your finger on until now. My recommendations are Musk # 7, Mahogany, Play Doh (see my love for it here), Salt Air, Rain, Snow, Grass, Orange Flower, Four Leaf Clover, Gingerbread and Myrrh.  Some of friends collect them and they look fabulous in the bathroom with their pharmacy style silver lid bottles.

loulouadvert

Cacharel LouLou

loulouLouLou has a special place in my heart.  This was the scent I was wearing when I  was catapulted into adult life from home to university back in 1988.  Everything I did for three years smelled of this.  I still have a bottle of this intriguing anise, plum, patchouli, oriental floral that pays homage to silent movie star Louise Brooks.  I’m certain it doesn’t smell as it did, though  Today’s version smells thinner and more metallic. I remember it was earthier and had a deeper resonance back in the 80s.   Like all of us, it was best in its youth, but spraying this into the air takes me back to  goth nightclubs, red wine, red lipstick and cigarette smoke faster than a time machine could.

It remains remarkably low priced and I adore the Art Deco bottle and  stylised flowers on the box.  I have a soft spot for all the Cacharel range, especially Noa and Anais Anais.

My Mood Scent 4 Chums

Find out what my Mood Scent colleagues put in their round ups.  Read what their thoughts on mainstream scents are from the links below:

  • Tara on A Bottled Rose (representing England) and
  • Esperanza in the Netherlands with her blog L’Esperessence,
  • and last but not least, the lovely Megan, who came up with this idea and brought us all together. Megan is based in France and you can read her blog MeganinSainteMaxime here.

Over to you

What’s your favourite High Street or main stream fragrance? Is there one you’ll never be without? Do let me know. I always love to hear from you.

Follow

BeFunky Collage

Chanel No 5 Eau Premiere: Ta dah!

 prem

You may recall my earlier review of Chanel no 5.  It’s not a favourite, but I understand and admire it.  However, Chanel no 5 Eau Premiere is a different story.

Still faithful to and recognisable as Chanel No 5, Eau Premiere is lighter, and to me, more wearable.

Eau Premiere still has the Aldehydes and the powdery notes of its sister, but the heavy Iris has gone, and the Ambery base.  As a fan of Green chypres, this is more my style. It smells reassuringly expensive too, but whereas a bottle of Chanel No 5 would gather dust on my (overcrowded) dressing table, Eau Premiere would soon run dry.

chanel-limited-edition-no-5-eau-premiere-_3
www.luxury-insider.com

In many ways, it reminds me of First by Van Cleef and Arpels.  It almost smells too brisk and soapy on first application.  However, on warm skin, on a cold day, both First and Eau Premiere seem to bloom and grow as your day progresses. It smells more floral too: the Neroli, Rose and Jasmine radiate proudly, but do not dominate.

The base is warmer with a hint of dusty Sandalwood and a rasp of Vetiver. Longevity is excellent at around eight or nine hours.  I wouldn’t be tempted to top up in the middle of the day as I enjoy the milder middle and base too much.

This is a more palatable version of No 5 seemingly made for people like me who struggle with the thickness and creaminess of the original. Despite being a lighter version, there is no compromise on quality or sillage. This has not been simply watered down or made into cologne.  Eau Premiere can stand alone as a superb perfume in its own right.

Green, chypre, powdery, light and thoroughly adorable.  Thank you and Bravo to  legendary Nose Jacques Polge.

Follow

Van Cleef by Van Cleef and Arpels: Is it a Cliché to Say It’s a Gem?

 Image

I’m a big fan of First by Van Cleef and Arpels and I was more than happy when I stumbled across a sample of Van Cleef by Van Cleef and Arpels. (Have I said Van Cleef and Arpels too much in one sentence?  It’s hard to stop!)

Image I realised I wanted it badly, and I also realised that apart from some Oriental-lites (Cacharel LouLou, Jesus del Pozo Ambar), I do not have an Oriental bottle in my collection.  Yes, it’s very much a First World problem, but I have to put this right and soon!

Image
Gratuitous photo of Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery for me to drool over

Van Cleef smells a lot more expensive than it is.  I couldn’t figure this out until those clever articles in Fragrantica pointed out that Cedar, used liberally in Van Cleef, is also a bit of a trademark of many Serge Lutens scents. This may explain my feeling that Van Cleef smelled like a good niche scent.  Add to this some bitter Galbanum and a miasma of Sandalwood and you have a rather lovely all season Oriental.

I don’t really find this very floral, despite the presence of Marigold, Roses, Jasmine, Neroli and Orange Blossom.  What I smell more than anything is Oriental Spice and Cedar and all things piquant to the point of bitter, but just stopping in time and bedding down into a rich, Ambery cloud. (NB There is no Amber in this, but crikey it smells like it!).  All in all, this is very reasonably priced at under 35GBP for a 50ml EDP and longevity is loooong at around nine hours.

 I’m adding it to my Wish List. It will be mine. Oh yes.

Image
Original Van Cleef and Arpels  Catalogue cover from 1924

B by Boucheron: Patchouli for Daywear

 Image

Boucheron is another jewellery house that has entered the fragrance arena. You might ask why diamond grinders think they know about smells, but after Van Cleef and Arpels used Jean Claude Ellena to produce First, I decided to sit back and enjoy.

B by Boucheron is a pleasant daytime scent that is slightly off the beaten track.  Whereas many daytime perfumes seem to be florals, B by Boucheron might be worn by someone who longs for her daytime colleagues to see that she has an edgy side and is secretly in a band.

I find this very similar to Rochas Soleil Rochas: a pleasant orangey Patchouli with a sandy finish which I have reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Both B by Boucheron and Rochas Soleil  have Orange Blossom and Patchouli in common.

B by Boucheron starts off with a hint of Apricots (so much better than Peaches in fragrance!) and immediately the Patchouli snakes in, followed by Osmanthus, which smells like  an “intricate dentelle of fruity-leathery smells evoking plums, apricots and prunes hidden in the suede pouch upon a warrior-poet’s belt”- from Fragrantica.

The base trails away into Patchouli and Orange Blossom and stays put for a good few hours.  At around £20 for 30ml, it’s not bad value.  Not quite strong enough for evening, it makes a statement in the day. It says “Don’t overlook me, this is just my day job.  You should see me at night”

Follow

Coty L’Aimant: A Classic since 1927

Image

Three great things about Coty L’Aimant:

1.  It’s really cheap

2.  It smells a bit like Chanel No 5 (Me and 27 Fragrantica reviewers can’t be wrong)

3. It doesn’t smell cheap

I could end it there, but Coty L’Aimant is so much more than a passable substitute for Chanel No 5.  L’Aimant is a perfume I can never wear since it was my late grandmother’s signature scent. Even in her seventies, she was classy and always smelled lovely. Peppermints, Lavender and L’Aimant. Sometimes a whiff of menthol in Winter.

It’s a perfume that I would love to see more people wearing. It’s old fashioned, yes, but you could also call it delightfully retro. It’s been around since 1927 and is still popular, so you could call it a classic.

hprints.com
hprints.com

L’Aimant is an aldehyde, although it has such creamy white flowers and a powdery finish that it is sometimes hard to categorise it with other more astringent aldehydes such as Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass or First by Van Cleef and Arpels.  

It used to remind me of a slightly gone off old fashioned powder compact, which is in fact how Chanel No 5 smells to me ( I’ve never been a fan but I suppose I’ll have to review it at some point).

The top notes of L’Aimant are: Neroli, Bergamot, Peach and Aldehydic Notes. Personally, I didn’t get even a soupçon of Bergamot.  L’Aimant is more peachy  and soapy, with the Neroli providing a hint of rich white flowers.

coty gift

Middle notes are Jasmine, Geranium, Ylang, Rose and Orchid.  I can pick out Jasmine and Rose, but the others are a pleasant furry blur, with maybe a prickle of Spicy Geranium

Basenotes are Vetiver, Musk, Sandalwood, Cedar, Tonka and Vanilla. I definitely get the Vanilla, Sandalwood and Musk, if nothing else. It is after all, a creamy and warm finish with a flourish of powder puff.

What never ceases to amaze me is that a long lasting perfume of this calibre can still be had for a song.  Last time I looked it was under 8GBP for a 30ml Parfum de Toilette spray. A while back, I posted an article called “Good Perfumes Under Ten pounds: Is It Possible?”.  I’m amazed I left this out.  I’ll just have to do another list. (Look out for forthcoming Top Tens).

I may well be giving Coty L’Aimant  a second chance as homage to my late grandmother, who was always such a lady.

 

Follow

First by Van Cleef and Arpels: Soapy and Glorious

First by Van Cleef and Arpels was Jean-Claude Ellena’s first fragrance creation, and what a début it was! A classic green aldehyde that, like all good fragrances, changes as you wear it, revealing different layers as your skin warms and cools.

I first tried this in my local House of Fraser, just having  a squirt on my arm in passing. I didn’t like it much, but it had such good reviews, and contained Green notes, (which are my favourite), that I thought I’d give it a second chance.  I’m so glad I did.

I got my hands on a 5ml bottle (from a set bought in Argos would you believe?),  certainly enough to wear generously for two or three days. Its strong stuff and my beautiful little mini bottle didn’t have a spray, so I applied it straight to my skin. What a difference.

Forgive me if I say it reminds me of Palmolive soap, because it does. Then again, many detergents and fabric softeners use aldehydes in similar fashion to many fragrance houses. You may often find that a fragrance reminds you of Dove or Lenor, and neither is any bad thing in my view.

Once First was on, I immediately sensed acetone, like nail polish, just for a second or two (I often find this with older scents but it may just be me), then the aldehyde soared, then the green notes kicked in, then light florals (definitely a whisper of Tuberose and Hyacinth) and then it changes and grows and develops over time. When you’re hot, it smells softer, but when out in the snow, it is sharper and greener, although the aldehyde tones it down into an oakmossy green rather than a fresh green. It’s a scent that kept my interest, and I respected it even more for talking me round after a disastrous First date in House of Fraser (excuse the pun).

 

I was shocked at how reasonably priced it is. I was expecting to pay upwards of sixty quid for a small bottle, but it’s currently less than £30 for 60ml .  I am getting my credit card out as soon as I finish this (I’m serious, I want a big bottle). Naturally, it has been reformulated since 1976, but I like it enough in its present form not to become a vintage purist in this case.

 

Follow