Tag Archives: floral perfume

Jimmy by Bruno Fazzolari.

Jimmy_1500

 

 

Fresh flowers and daylight. Violet, cassis and rose over a base of moss and ambergris.

Jimmy is one of three samples I was kindly sent by artist and perfumer Bruno Fazzolari, from his studio in San Francisco . Inspired by artist James Schuyler, Jimmy is all about the violets, but it doesn’t stop there.

To me Jimmy awakened many nostalgic memories of my childhood, where I remember being outside more than I was in, and endlessly picking flowers ( True. Ask my Mum who had an almost permanent yoghurt pot of wild flowers in the windowsill from me).

What Jimmy illustrates to me is that sometimes the list of notes in a scent bears no relation to your interpretation.

The notes, as listed on Fragrantica, are: Ylang, Ylang, Lemon, Rose, Geranium, Heliotrope, Sandalwood and Violet Leaf.

@Bruno Fazzolari
@Bruno Fazzolari

What I actually  get is a sunny day with the smell of mossy violets,  a bit of banana skin, presumably from the ylang ylang, and armfuls of bluebells. It is as if a long forgotten scent from the 1970s has emerged.

It is “fresh flowers and daylight” and it certainly fits the job description and goes the extra mile too.  This is the smell of a summer’s day through the eyes of a child.  It’s faint earthiness is the smell of muddy knees, a dress that needs a wash, and flowers and sun and that priceless era where you never have to look at a clock or check a bank balance.

Jimmy is uplifting and nostalgic and has taken me on an unexpectedly touching trip down memory lane.

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Stockists

Jimmy is available from these stockists in the USA, or you can order a preview set from here.

 

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STELLA Eau de Toilette by Stella McCartney

stella

I have heard several positive noises about Stella and was delighted to find the eau de toilette in this quarter’s Fragrance Shop Discovery Club Box, along with several other great samples that made my eyes light up. To recap- The Fragrance Shop has a Discovery Club whereby they send you a box of fragrances samples once a quarter for the princely sum of £5, plus money off coupons for any or all of the featured fragrances.  It’s a good way to avoid pricey blind buys and I have been a member since December 2013. You can join here.

The Fragrance Shop
The Fragrance Shop

Stella eau de toilette is a light airy floral with a manly clean cut edge, just like one of Stella’s beautifully cut trouser suits. The opening is all pretty peony and freesia, with a lightness of hand that makes me think of floaty chiffon and flower petals.  Then the slightly more butch amber emerges in the base notes, making this a floral that refuses to be taken at face value.

Stella is gloriously wearable, and as you would come to expect from a practising vegan, no animals were harmed in its making, not even a ladybird. What I particularly like about it is that it has no vanilla or syrupy sweetness- it is all about the flower.

www.etsy.com
www.etsy.com

Whilst Stella will suit all ages, it is an excellent choice if you are buying for a teenager.  Along with Chanel Chance Eau Tendre and Especially Escada Delicate Notes, Stella has that delicacy of touch and lightness of hand that makes this a perfect daytime scent, or even a bridal scent.  Nobody could possibly find Stella de trop, yet its subtlety is its strength.

Stockists Stella eau de toilette is widely available but since I got my sample from the Fragrance Shop (UK), I should probably give them a mention.  In the USA and Canada, you can get it from  Sears or Sephora to name but two.

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Fragonard Emilie: A Beautiful Jewel on Your High Street

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At the risk of sounding like a gushing fan, I adore Fragonard.  With packaging that makes my dressing table weep with joy, scents that go back to their Grasse roots ( pun intended), ingredients of high quality and prices that are very reasonable indeed, the only fault I could find with Fragonard is that they weren’t near enough for me to try and buy.

Well that last niggle has finally been solved by dear old Marks and Spencer, provider of knickers to Britain’s women in times of peace and crisis. Even in my tiny local M and S, there is now a decent Fragonard range and after dropping some subtle hints around my recent birthday, my husband and children bagged me a box of three mini Fragonards in parfum strength and today I am wearing Emilie.  (I got the soaps too).

soaps

Emilie has been compared to Yves Saint Laurent Paris  since it has dominant roses and violets, but I think Emilie is more intense and more of a classic blend.  Whereas Paris has a whiff of the eighties about it  (no bad thing, I love Paris and I love the eighties) I find that Fragonard scents remind me of thrice milled soap- the kind you find in hotel bathrooms in high end establishments.

There is a timelessness about Emilie.  It has the roses and violets, but it also has my favourite ingredient- Lily of The Valley, which makes Emilie the choice of a modern girl with taste, but could just have easily been found on a dressing table in the 1930s.

Today and yesterday I have been wearing the parfum and boy, does it last!  After ten hours of wear I got back home and thought I had just sprayemilieed something on my sleeve ( I usually have) but no, it was just Emilie enjoying a little renaissance after I had come in from the rain- it was almost self renewing.

So if you like your roses, your lily of the valley, the smell of expensive pure white soap, a hint of violets and a whisper of heat from an ambery basenote, then you have a treat in store, just left of the Food Hall if you’re local to me.fragmini

The box I am using is this one ( see left) but you can buy full bottles of Emilie from Marks and Spencer for just  £26 for 100m. Just look at that packaging- I’ll take ten!

emilie

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Prada Candy Florale: A Clever Surprise

nd.24487   Remember that shampoo from the 80s that was called Once?  It was two tone and  you had to shake it before use and presto!  It was both shampoo and conditioner. Why did I think of Once when I was trying out Prada Candy Florale?  Mainly because Prada Candy Florale surprised me and completely changed half way through wearing it. nd.12426

I have reviewed Prada Candy  elsewhere in this blog (I won’t do a link to my own blog as it gets very weird),  and despite its name making me think it was going to smell like a sweet shop, it was  actually very good and not too sweet at all. Prada Candy was simply Musk, Benzoin and Caramel.

Prada Candy Florale has all of these but with added Peony and wait for it: Limoncello- that bitter, palate cleansing lemon liquer that you only drink in tiny shots. Prada Candy Florale doesn’t smell like a close relation to Prada Candy,

limoncello.com
limoncello.com

but the Florale bit is as good as its word.  Florale uses the prettiest and girliest of flowers: the Peony.  It does the job and it’s a safe bet if you’re not going for an edgy floral. Here’s what happens when you wear it:  it opens as a very pretty, almost green floral with dominant Peony and very little trace of Benzoin or Caramel or anything else really.

Then, and here’s the clever bit, it changes into a delightful lemon eau de cologne style scent that hangs around for about four hours.  The transitional bit is interesting: a sort of citrussy floral bouquet with a hint of  benzoin, but when it settles it smells so much like a lemon eau de cologne that I had to check which tester  I had used, thinking I must have sprayed one over the top of it.  

Prada Candy Florale impressed me a great deal.  Sometimes new launches are all so samey that I think I will always be buying old school scents from the bottom shelf for evermore.  But then something like this comes along and I applaud its audacity in not playing it safe.  I don’t like it enough to shove anything off my existing over crowded wish list, but thank you Prada for giving us something a bit new and a bit different.

PS My sample comes from the latest quarterly  Discovery Club Box from The Fragrance Shop. I love them- make it monthly Fragrance Shop!

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Dolce by Dolce and Gabbana

 

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The new launch  Dolce from  Dolce and Gabbana represents a welcome burst of floral Spring fragrances on the beauty counters. With its pale green juice and faux Ivory flower lid, I would happily award ten out of ten for packaging and presentation.

My initial feeling within the first few minutes of smelling this was that it was a little like Gucci Envy.  Sadly that phase only lasted a few minutes before it settled down into a fairly generic but agreeable floral.  At first I thought I could smell Vanilla in the drydown but in fact the sweetness comes from the flowers used: Amaryllis is a cross between rose and nectarine, and Papaya flower is sweet enough without having two sugars in its tea.

dolce advert

The notes, according to Fragrantica are :

Top notes: Neroli and Papaya Flower

Middle notes: Amaryllis, Narcissus and Water Lily,

Base notes: Musk and Woods.

The Neroli is certainly a dominant note, and this manages to be a very floral scent without troubling the White Flower genre, nor the Green notes genre, nor, (thankfully) the Vanilla Cupcake genre that seems to permeate everything.

It’s a hard one to categorise so I shall say it’s a pretty and light floral with a toned down yet noticeable sweetness. I didn’t really get Musk and Woods in the base though, more like Peach and Vanilla.  Longevity is decent: after five hours it’s very close to skin but still there, just about.

Out of many new releases tried lately, Dolce is one of the better ones, and worth a sniff if you’re passing by a counter.

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Cath Collins: Flowers of The Orient

 lily fandango

You may recall my earlier review of Cath Collins Lily Fandango.  She is a an Indie perfumer with a small range of fragrances concentrating on quality rather than quantity.  All made in England and inspired by the garden, this is a range I recommend for those who like Jo Malone and Jo Loves.

Flowers of the Orient really reminds me of a more famous fragrance and for the life of me I can’t put my finger on it.  Suffice to say, if this were sold in High Street outlets it would fly off the shelves.

cathcollinsThis is a warm floral Oriental that opens boldly with a hint of citrus: at a guess I would say Bergamot. The middle notes pick all the prettiest flowers, rather than the heavy hitters such as Tuberose or Gardenia.  In the middle there is Freesia, Peony and Rose. The flowers are kept on the fruity spectrum with the aid of a little Pink Pepper, without quite going down the well trodden fruity floral track. The base notes are Amber, Vetiver and Patchouli and it’s their influence that stops this from being too light a floral.

Maybe it’s Loewe Aura  that this reminds me of, or maybe even a less synthetic, less sweet version of Armani Si. That dash of Vanilla is widespread today, but Cath Collins holds back and uses it with a light hand, so it doesn’t go all Vanilla cupcake on us.

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telegraph.co.uk

Either way, it’s an excellent warm floral that is light enough for daytime wear in the Autumn or evening wear all year round. The ingredients smell more natural than many mainstream scents today. If you wore this reasonably priced EDT (usual price £39.50 for 50ml), you would smell like you a spent a lot more than you actually did. Besides which, we need to support the Indies or they won’t stick around.

Cath Collins wisely offers a decent sample service so you can try before you choose. So refreshing when you don’t want to risk £40 on a blind buy.

Nina Ricci: L’Air du Temps

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When I first tried Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps in 1991, I was 21 and thought it an innocuous and pretty light floral.  Revisiting it in 2013, aged 43 (but I look younger, we decided *cough*), I realised that my first impression was way off the mark.  This is a floral with a bit of bite. This one is all about the  warmth. The flowers are just the picture frame.

 L’Air du Temps was created in 1948 and the classic bottle represents the dove of peace: a poignant symbol in post war Europe.  The fragrance itself is a complex mix of light and shadow.  The light comes from Rose, Bergamot and Violet: made airy and floaty with a light hand. The shadow comes from spicy warm Amber, raspy Vetiver, Benzoin and deep, dark Cloves. In other words, just when you think you’ve got it sussed, it changes into something different.

lair du temps adThe balance of the two results in a fragrance of genius.  It is light enough to be as delicate as a cloud, yet the base that remains makes it smoky, warm and rich.  When I tried it yesterday the most prominent note was Amber. It was there from beginning to end.  However, this is no rich Oriental: all warm and cosy.  This is almost a sleight of hand.  All those light, pretty florals promise one thing and then they fade into that classy and gently spiced finish that seems to say “there’s more to me than meets the eye.”

This is a classic scent that everyone should have in their collection.  I understand there have been reformulations across the decades, but I cannot speak for them unless I have smelled them.  It is also interesting, that I can’t for the life of me, name a scent that it resembles. (Fragrantica readers say Prince Matchabelli Wind Song, but I would have to have smelled that in order to agree).

For a flawless classic, this is a great price, starting  at around 15GBP.  I’ve run out again, but will be putting that right very soon.

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Kylie Minogue Sexy Darling:More Of a Dear Than A Darling

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Kylie and her arched eyebrow have been pretty busy with her eponymous fragrance line that shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

I have previously reviewed Kylie Minogue Couture, which was frankly cheap smelling and shrill, but Sexy Darling is a big improvement. Where Couture was light and cheap smelling, Sexy Darling is Dark and Musky. In my Couture Review, I gave it the thumbs up, and I still do, although I have changed my mind slightly about it being “expensive smelling”..

You can never be wrong in your opinion of a perfume. It’s like saying a poem is a bad because you don’t like it. Someone somewhere will be framing the same poem and calling it a favourite. I don’t love Sexy Darling, but it’s really not bad and I can easily see why it’s a big seller.

 Sexy Darling has an opening note of Pears, almost to the point of being spicy. In there somewhere are some pretty floral notes: Roses bloom, although not good Rose, more like cheaper synthetic Rose. However, it just avoids being a clanging run of the mill fruity floral by getting the balance right. The Pear is just subtle enough not to overpower the Rose. The Rose is passably good when balanced with the Pear, and as the scent blooms and settles, you get a bit of Musk, and finally, believe it or not, a bit of Dark Chocolate. Lasting power is good, sillage quite strong. You’d really know if someone had sprayed this in the Ladies. (By the way don’t spray perfume in the Ladies unless you want your perfume to be associated with the smell of toilets.)

The basenotes are far superior to Couture (and my pet hate of infamous Poundland vanilla candles!). Sexy Darling is deeper and more resonant. Maybe a bit rich for breakfast time, but certainly good for a late supper somewhere quiet.

I wouldn’t buy a full bottle of this myself, but dear Kylie can hold her lovely head high. This affordable Musky Rose wouldn’t stop traffic, but it’s respectable enough.

In the eyes of my husband, the woman can do no wrong…Back off Minogue, he’s married!