It may be Autumn, and the leaves may be on the turn, but my passion for fragrances with green notes stays with me all year round.
Bronnley Wild Green fits the bill for every season of the year and wearing it today brings a bit of nature into the stuffy central heated indoors like an invigorating open window.
Wild Green opens with bergamot, orange flower and patchouli. This green floral symphony gathers uplifting, spicy facets on its journey: namely aromatic cardoman and coriander (the spice not the leaf). It claims to have pink pepper, which makes me pull faces, but actually I could find no trace of it here. This is a clean, spicy green that fits perfectly with this transitional time of year. The green is an evergreen that never wavers, yet the spice suggests that cosier times are beckoning. There’s a touch of smoky incense, but just a touch, just enough to say bonfire night is over a month away.
Having said all that, there’s nothing to stop us wearing this all year round. Wild Green suits Spring and Summer and the spices really come into their own in Autumn and Winter.
Although this is aimed at women, it makes a brilliant unisex fragrance, and is definitely a firm favourite with me. I am quite devoted to my little purse sized rollerball.
Bronnley Wild Green is available from the Bronnley website or from Boots and online from allbeauty.com. My rollerball was kindly sent to me by Bronnley in return for an honest review, which this is. This is not a sponsored post.
If you spent hours playing in the garden as a child, you may well stop in your tracks and think that Shay & Blue London Dandelion Fig is like a Tardis, taking you back there. That’s certainly the effect it had on me.
Shay & Blue London make the kind of scents you always wished people would make. Dandelion Fig is one of those. It’s not a fruity floral and despite its fig notes, not really a gourmand, although the scent of it certainly made my mouth water. Dandelion Fig takes every refreshing and earthy note from the garden (and not necessarily a neat garden) and brings them all together in one uplifting, leafy, earthy accord.
Dandelion Fig opens with dandelion and lemongrass. When I was growing up, there was a rumour that picking dandelions would make you wet the bed. As a result, they were often seen, sniffed and never picked, at least not until they became clocks.
The handy thing about dandelions, and one of the reasons why I love this fragrance, is that dandelions provide dock leaves. Dock leaves when crushed can cure the heat of nettle rash when you’re playing out all day and can’t be bothered to go home and get Germolene (another great smell, if you ask me). It’s left me with a lifelong liking for green leafy notes in fragrance.
After the dandelion there is tomato vine and lemongrass. You may recall my review of Library of Fragrance Tomato, which I raved about. It had hints of lemon verbena and that uplifting earthy green scent of the slightly furry vines that hold those juicy plum tomatoes. Well, tomato vine is here again and teamed with juniper. The last word goes to fig, which is eked out into a perfectly sized measure against the other ingredients, enhancing the juiciness and adding a touch of depth. Dark, juicy fig, to my nose, always borders on wrong and stops just short of it.
This is a scent that doesn’t try to please the masses, but ends up pleasing little old me in spades. Muddy garden spades. Dandelion Fig is green, fresh and earthy and out of all the scents in the Perfume Society Latest Launches Box, this and the Annick Goutal stood out from the rest as my absolute favourites. This is a great fig scent for people who are still unsure about fig.
Ever since Liz Moores launched her perfume house, Papillon Artisan Perfumery in 2014, I have been impressed, nay, blown away by the calibre of her fragrances. My superlatives have overtaken each other on each new launch and this fifth scent, named Dryad, was much anticipated by me and the many cohorts of Papillon fans. To say that I was not disappointed would be a vast understatement. In fact, I feel that this was made just for me, even though I know it wasn’t.
My favourite scent genre is the mossy green chypre. It’s hard to get the good ones these days, especially since IFRA made everything so safe that the fragrance industry suffered casualties in the purge. Green chypres have never quite regathered themselves into that glory-days retro mustiness that I am always seeking: like the end of the rainbow, it eludes me the nearer I get. Well, there’s a happy ending to my quest and that rainbow has ended in my lap with a pot of gold, because that’s how I felt when I sprayed my sample of Dryad.
Dryads are mythical wood nymphs, whose lives are intrinsically entangled to the tree they inhabit. When the tree dies, so do they. There’s a wonderful message in Dryad. In all the hectic noise of modern life, it is time we slowed down and inhaled the moss and the leaves and listened to the birdsong, because when the trees die, so do the dryads.
It didn’t surprise me at all that Liz Moores chose this as the name of her fifth fragrance: after all, she lives a sylvan existence nursing broken wings and wrangling stripy tailed lunatics in the heart of the New Forest. So the big question is of course, what does it smell like?
What does Dryad smell like?
Dryad opens with bergamot and oakmoss and a mass of herbs. I find it rare for oak moss to come out straight away: it’s usually a base note, sneaking in at the end. Dryad, though, is all about the oakmoss and it’s pretty much the main figure in this beautiful composition. The greenery is all encompassing: musty, mossy and mysterious, like a dark route through a forest. There’s fauna as well as flora: deer tongue absolute has been used to beautiful effect. Deer tongue has a herby/tobacco accord and it certainly makes its presence felt. This is everything you find in the woods.
The middle phase reminded me of genuine, vintage, Dior Diorissimo: that classic green ily of the valley chypre. You can still buy Diorissimo of course, but it’s not the same as the slightly dirty version I smelled from a vintage bottle a few years back. That bottle of Diorissimo gave me a whiff of sweaty, talcum powdered inner thigh.: not so much a sexy smell, as a womanly smell. It’s no sterile baby powder, but powder it most certainly is. The nymph tries out a ladylike phase before returning to her feral roots.
The base of Dryad, whilst never wavering from the chord I’ve named Oakmoss Major, is a little bit Guerlinade, but greener. There is narcissus and jonquil (a very vernal dafodilly posy) and they merge and move around like weather clouds from one phase to the next.
My overall sign off from Dryad is a picture in my mind of green damp woods, overrun by thick moss, a delicate glove from a vintage handbag, a whiff of Diorissimo and a fluffy talcum puff. Oh, and the warm flanks of a startled faun.
It’s not quite launched yet, but I’ll update when it is. You can currently buy Papillon fragrance from the website or from branches of Les Senteurs in the UK. Check the website for further stockists in Europe, USA and Canada. My sample was very kindly sent to me by Liz Moores, and opinions are my own. Papillon has an excellent sample service. You can read my reviews of the other Papillon scents here: Anubis, Tobacco Rose, Angelique, Salome.
In an effort to shake off the gloomy torpor of February, and in acknowledgment of the lettuce and courgette shortage, I thought it was high time I looked more closely at my favourite perfume genre: the green note.
I always put green notes into three categories: there’s the hesperide green, the mossy green and the floral green. Hesperide greens are usually light, airy and citrussy and smell clean and crystalline, like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea. Mossy greens would be chypres such as Chanel No 19 or Lancôme Magie Noire. Floral greens would be Chanel Cristalle, Issey Miyake A Scent or Balenciaga Florabotanica.
Green scents give me that hit of purity and greenery I need when I’ve been stuck indoors or when I tire of Orientals (rarely happens, but you know…). The biggest perfume love affair of my life was my twenty year stint with Chanel Cristalle. In all weathers and on all occasions, and even on my wedding day, it was my signature scent until I got promiscuous and sprayed around behind its back.
I have about twenty five favourite green scents. Here is a curated list of some of my favourites:
We had a very happy twenty-year marriage, Cristalle and I. We’re not together anymore, but I think of it fondly and may rekindle our affair one day. What can I say? I had wandering nostrils and couldn’t stay faithful. For years, this light, green scent with a mossy base fragranced my every move. As Edith would say ( who wore Robert Piguet Bandit, incidentally) Je ne regrette rien.
Lancôme O de Lancôme
Lands on skin like tiny lemonade bubbles and broken ferns. Bursting with bergamot and lemon, this is greener than Kermit and as refreshing as standing under a waterfall. O de Lancôme is a classic that has never gone out of fashion, even though they don’t use real oakmoss any more *sob.*
Elizabeth Arden Green Tea
Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is an accessible classic. It does what it says on the tin, but it does it well and without fuss. I adore all the flankers too. They are a safe bet as a blind buy if you like light green floral scents, or as a gift. I particularly like Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Revitalize.
Le Jardin Retrouvé Eau des Delices
You may recall my recent foray into this revived brand from Paris. I was kindly sent several samples last year and every single one of them was divine. Eau des Delices is a fabulously citrussy, herby green that smells like a greener, cranked up, version of the classic 4711 cologne, only greener than green with an extra big dose of green. It’s the lime, neroli, mandarin and oakmoss that gives it that eau de cologne oomph, but with more lasting power.
4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green
4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green is one of my favourite 4160 Tuesdays scents, and that’s saying something. This is as green as a grass stain on your knee at a picnic. It’s also a firm favourite over on Mumsnet, and has a delicate herby, grassy vibe going on. It reminds me of maypoles and madrigals.
Carven Ma Griffe
Now we’re in deep moss territory and I can’t see the exit. Didn’t want to find it anyway. Carven Ma Griffe was everything I’d hoped for. Entrenched in the classic chypre genre, with a blast of retro aldehydes in the opening, Ma Griffe was launched in 1946 and is as ladylike as wearing a skirt suit to the milliners.
Art de Parfum Gin and Tonic
Art de Parfum was another brand that I came to know late in 2016. I fell hook, line and sinker for the delightful Art de Parfum Gin and Tonic. Just enough greenery and tonic bubbles and flowers to keep this unfolding prettily throughout the day. It’s my SOTD.
Chanel No 19
This beauty has an icy detachment that makes me want more. With neroli, lily of the valley, bergamot and oak moss, Chanel No 19 is both unique and unmistakable. Perfect your look of hauteur, look down your nose, then spray as much as you damn well please.
Library of Fragrance Grass and Four Leaf Clover.
Library of Fragrance does green notes extremely well. Library of Fragrance Grass reminds me of the kind fairy-tale grass that the Billy Goats Gruff wanted to eat. It’s sweet, clean and juicy. Library of Fragrance Four Leaf Clover is deliciously sharp and pretty and has that just stepped out of the shower vibe.
How about you?
So that’s my round up of my favourite green scents. I had to resist the temptation to make this about ten pages long, but I’d happily own the lot of them. What’s your favourite? Do let me know, I love to hear from you.
Now the kids are back in school, I finally had the chance to skulk around in Debenhams Perfume Hall without reprisals. Bravely soldiering through the enticing displays, I managed to whittle my list down to Perfumes I Hadn’t Tried Before, rather than revisiting old favourites. I was aiming for Florabotanica, but the Tester wasn’t there. I’m quite glad, because today, reader, I found a fragrance to fall in love with. Call it serendipity, or call it Rosabotanica.
Rosabotanica opens with an abundance of green notes: glorious leafy fig and tomato leaves. Even greener were the orange leaves, aka petitgrain, which added a zingy bitterness that was most welcome. This delightful opening was enhanced by touches of citrus, namely grapefruit. After this vibrant opening, the roses and hyacinth start to come in. The rose smells authentically deep: red and velvety. I could almost feel those cool, waxy petals. The green figgy notes stop it from being cloying. Not that I mind cloying rose- I’ll take my rose in any old form, I’ve never turned one down. The rose hooks up with the fig and all settles down into a beautiful floral scent with a good dose of woody cedar and earthy patchouli as the base notes settle down for the day.
My only wish is that it were stronger, because I wanted to really marinade in this. Rosabotanica has all the best bits from a fresh garden: grassy cuttings, fresh figs and green tomato vines. The rose is delicate yet rich and the hyacinth always says spring to me. I’d wear this all year round and every day.
Jardin Mystique from Friedemodin is one of a range of four perfumes from Nina Friede and Elisabeth Modin, two friends united by their love of travel and their love of fragrance. You may recall my glowing review of Friedemodin Vertine earlier in this blog, which, as a fan of green notes, was nothing short of a delight to me.
Jardin Mystique is in a similar vein and left me equally charmed. Whilst it purports to be more about the flowers than Vertine, it retains a light greenness that keeps the floral notes as fresh and transparent as a raindrop. In fact, you can wear them together:
“The leafy freshness of Vertine enhances the green wild notes of Jardin Mystique”- Friedemodin
Jardin Mystique opens with Cassis, Bergamot and Grass notes, and the blast of green grass with the almost bitter black currant tones of the Cassis makes a refreshing change from all the sweetness that is, in my humble opinion, vastly over used in modern launches. (Enough with the caramel!)
As the grassy opening act conjures up a picture of dew frosted gardens in my head, out comes one of my favourite scents: lily of the valley. Couple that with the kind of jasmine that adds a light handed hint of white flowers (petals only, there is restraint here) and you have a floral that is both delicate and distinctive. As all of these green and floral notes merge and bloom, a faint hint of woodiness creeps in to give the ending a bit of longevity. It feels as if the light and airy notes would float away without it. I would have named it sandalwood, but it appears there is no sandalwood here, just white woods and a hint of patchouli leaves.
Created by genius Francois Robert, a prolific nose who is also the nose behind Mary Greenwell Plum, Friedemodin Jardin Mystique is an exquisitely blended scent which to my nose reminds me of my childhood in the seventies. It has a classic, almost retro feel to it that harks back to a more innocent time somehow, like grass and daisies.
My only note of gloom is how fast I went through my 5ml spray. I did find that I couldn’t smell it anymore on myself after around an hour, but apparently it was still there as others could smell it.
There is a new name emerging on the fragrant firmament. That name is Friedemodin, and I am lucky enough to have four 5ml sample bottles from them to review. I am always happy to receive samples for review and at the risk of repeating myself, I will reiterate my usual disclaimer that by sending me a sample, you risk my honesty.
Friedemodin- you have nothing to fear but your own success. I have been wearing Vertine for the past couple of days and I have been quietly falling in love with it.
Friedemodin is the brainchild of German Nina Friede and Swede Elisabeth Modin, who worked with Virginie Daniau and legendary Nose Francois Robert to produce a range that is luxurious and original without being elitist.
“Leafy, herbal, aromatic- you feel alive in this place, knowing you’ll never forget the reviving purity of this morning”
There are currently four scents in the range: Vertine, Jardin Mystique, Rosée de Nuit and Feu Follet. I am deliberately only trying one at a time and will come to the others presently, but today I am reviewing Vertine.
Vertine opens with a herb garden covered in springtime dewdrops. Yes that sounds twee doesn’t it? But Vertine made me go all poetic. There is something very pure about it. As far as blending goes, I could close my eyes and insist that this was made with the deft watercolour shading of Jean Claude Ellena, but I’d be wrong. However, with a hint of dewy fig in the midst of it, it did ring a bell that sounded that Ellena’s Un Jardin En Mediterranee for Hermes. However, Vertine also has a hint of peppermint which could have gone either way. Peppermint can either smell like the inside of my handbag (Trebor Extra Strong Mints!), or be a gentle soothing presence like a fresh mint plant itself. In the deft hands of Francois Robert, it was the latter, green leaves and all. Fans of Guerlain Herba Fresca will have their heads turned for sure.
Vertine smells as if it has healing qualities. At the moment the perfume I wear when I need healing (I’m not using the word hangover!) is Eau de Cartier or Elizabeth Arden Spiced Green Tea, but I have disloyally all but swept them off my dressing table to make way for my new even gentler friend.
I’m not mistaking gentle for weak either: Vertine has its own identity and I can smell the galbanum, peppermint, basil and a faintest whisper of fig wrap itself around me. Longevity is good at around seven hours, and if you like your scents cologne style, but with Eau de Parfum lasting power, then I can almost guarantee that you will like Vertine. I do. I love it. I’m a fan. I shall be watching Friedemodin with great interest. Certainly an exciting name to watch. I’m not alone either because those nice people at Harvey Nichols think so too.
You can buy Friedemodin scents at Harvey Nichols in the UK. Prices are £120 for 100ml or £60 for a discovery set of all four. You can also buy samples from the Friedemodin website at £12 for 4 x 2ml samples of each scent in the range. The Friedemodin range is also available in Estonia, Germany, Netherlands, India and Sweden. See this link for details.
Sometimes when I want to really get a feel for a fragrance, I decant a few drops on a scarf which I drape over my bedroom door. If I like it every time I go into my bedroom (usually with a pile of laundry… we’re not that sort of blog), then I know I properly, really truly like it.
So it was with 4160 Tuesdays Ealing Green. I like green scents, always have, so if its got Green in the title, I’ll be interested.
Ealing Green, like all 4160 Tuesday scents has a lovely back-story which I will duplicate in full from the 4160 Tuesday website.
“I’d long wanted to make a scent for Ealing, my adopted home. I met my husband at Ealing Studios on Ealing Green, at a wedding. Then I was invited to make a midsummer scent for a charity evening, using plants and flowers named in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, so I combined the two ideas and created the scent of Ealing Green on a summer evening, but in the early 17th Century.” Sarah McCartney.
You can smell the grass and the thyme notes that are listed and the scent reminds me of maypoles and monks and madrigals. This is a very clean scent and I was surprised there was no mint there, but that could have been my mind playing tricks on me with the zingy herbal grass and thyme. This takes refreshing to another level altogether, although it stops short of being astringent. I also love the quite distinct whiff of violets, which I adore in fragrance. The whole shebang ends up in a happy mélange of my beloved oakmoss, some roses and the very faintest hint of earth like damp knees from a picnic.
Ealing Green lasts around six to seven hours on me and despite it being a deliciously pure and summery scent, it also goes very well on ice cold skin in modern day ice cold Wales. It is now all over my favourite scarf and the scent has lasted days on fabric. Ealing Green has done many a school run in the past few days, and has made these chilly mornings a little more bearable.
Ealing Green is very reasonably priced, starting at £6 for a 4ml splash bottle, and rising to £10 for a handbag sized 7ml bottle, £40 for 30ml, £60 for 50ml, and £90 for 100ml. When you think how much scent sells for on the High Street ( and its often same-old-same-old) , I regard this as a bargain.
You can buy 4160 Tuesdays from the website, as well as in person from 4160 HQ ( let them know first to check they’re about), or from Burgin’s in York, and from Rouiller White. In the USA and Canada you can buy a selection of 4160 Tuesdays scents from Indiescents, LuckyScent and excitingly- the Virgin Atlantic website to buy before you fly.
4160 Tuesdays has a knack of giving perfumes such great names that you’re brimming with the anticipation of a little voyage into a vignette before you even put it on. It’s like having a pair of shoes called “Magic Carpet” or a coat called “Russian Princess”. Immediately, life gets more interesting and fantastical through the power of suggestion.
Thus it was in merry, hippy Carnaby Street mood,with “here comes Georgie Girl” in my head, that I first tried 4160 Tuesdays London 1969. Now you may notice that certain brands have a recognition factor. This is no bad thing: The old Guerlains have it and you can usually tell a Serge or a Tauer by its je ne sais quoi. 4160 Tuesdays has it too: a kind of rich, woody blank canvas base that makes it recognisable…or so I thought until I tried London 1969.
Alert with zingy lemon, zesty grapefruit and a kind of lime sherbert that took me back to my childhood, London 1969 is like licking a lolly on a hot day in a floppy hat, in glorious techniclour as you mingle with the cool cats outside Biba. No, I wasn’t around then, ( it was the year my Dad looked at my Mum in a funny way though, I was born the following year) but Sarah McCartney is the Doctor Who of perfumers: she can take you back in time and space with a mere smell.
The Dark Heart of Havana had me sipping coffee in a Cuban Pavement Café, Time to Draw The Raffle Numbers was all polished floors and marmalade in an empty church hall, and The Lion Cupboard had a whiff of peppermints, old wood and pocket fluff and made me feel pleasantly Narnia-ish.
Despite the grass in my garden currently being sodden and the earth being on the boggy side, and despite the fact that we are bracing ourselves for torrential rain later (again), I haven’t given up on my Pollyanna fantasy of wearing fresh summer scents whilst wafting around in the sunshine.
Trusty Guerlain has created a brilliantly green and grassy scent in Aqua Allegoria Herba Fresca. I must admit I didn’t used to like it due to the inclusion (which is by no mean heavy) of Green Tea. I didn’t used to like Green Tea at all as a note, finding it metallic and cold. However, since trying Green Tea flankers from Elizabeth Arden, and exploring the note further, I have come round to the fact that since it is best friends with my favourite Bergamot, I ought to get to know it better.
Indeed Herba Fresca challenges my preconceptions on a couple of levels. A few years ago I would have rejected not just the Green Tea, but the Mint too. Today, having been around the block a bit in terms of fragrance, I fully embrace Herba Fresca and want to have this beautiful gilded bottle on my dressing table.
The mint reminds me a little of LUSH Smell of Weather Turning ( see my earlier review): a pleasing combo of mint, hay and tarmac that frankly, I am a bit addicted to. In Herba Fresca, created by none other than Jean Paul Guerlain, the combination of Green Tea, damp green grass and Mint makes this so refreshing that they should find another name for refreshing: Revitalizing? Invigorating? Reviving?. I wouldn’t say astringent: it’s not as harsh as that. It has Lemon but is so much more than a citrus. It’s more botanical, yet carries the memory of dewy grass on your skin for as long it lasts.
I couldn’t really find the Cyclamen or the Pear, but I was very happy to sniff and sniff at this pastoral beauty as the rain drizzles on the windows. Longevity is about four hours, possibly five, which is about the going rate for an Eau de Toilette. The price is under £40 but you get a generous 75ml bottle for that. I wouldn’t turn one down at any time of the year.