Tag Archives: Guerlain Apres L’Ondee

Retro Perfecto: 4160 Tuesdays Paris 1948

I’m a sucker for a good chypre. The greener, the mossier and the older, the better as far as I’m concerned.  Serendipity twinned me with a bottle of Paris 1948 today, and reader, a bit of magic took place. Love was in the air and cupid shot me.

A few years back, I tried Paris 1948 and decided it wasn’t for me. I also tried Lady Rose Lion Monkey Unicorn and decided that wasn’t for me either. However, today I received a full bottle of Paris 1948, and by chance, a sample of Lady Rose Lion Monkey Unicorn, and whaddya know? They don’t half go! One complements the other in the way that Guerlain Apres l’Ondee brings out something new in Frederic Malle L’Eau D’Hiver. (Try it, you’ll see. Thanks Lisa!).

My first impression of Paris 1948 is of fresh cut grass in an aged bottle. Have you ever opened a really old bottle of fragrance that has ambered with age and has that sort of bitter powdery thing going on? That’s what Paris 1948 reminded me of.  To me, the dominant note is, believe it or not, basil.  This is a note that is also really prominent in 4160 Tuesdays Lady Rose Monkey Lion Monkey Unicorn, which is why they seem to go together so well.


With my brand new 4160 Tuesdays phone sticker.

Paris 1948 opens with citrus, specifically grapefruit, and peaches. Now, I used to have a problem with peaches until the penny dropped and I realised that many of the Grand Dames of fragrances carry peachy nuances: think Lanvin Arpege and Madame Rochas to name but two.  Once this made sense to me, peaches always gave me a

Photo of Paris in 1948 by Edouard Boubat

friendly sort of retro yoo-hoo when they pop up. They certainly make their presence felt here, and that could be one of the reasons why I didn’t like this first-time round.  The basil has a sweet, herbal thing going on that almost borders on the medicinal, but not quite. The flowers come out after the citrus has calmed down a bit and let them get a word in: roses and orange flower and leathery labdanum.

The base to my nose, at least, is a peachy, mossy (VERY mossy) herby, slightly medicinal chypre.  I’m sorry I can’t make that sound more catchy, but it’s true. Call me an addict. Call me a fan.  This is a permanent fixture.

Jacqueline de Francois “Mademoiselle de Paris” 1948

Stockists: I bought this from 4160 Tuesdays and you can too.  If you buy it before tomorrow afternoon (October 27th 2017) then it’s half price. After that it’s still jolly reasonable. This is not a sponsored post.


Tauer Pentachord White 2011: More Than the Sum of Its Parts



The Tauer Pentachord Range is a bit like a side chapel in a Cathedral of scent ( imagine  a Cathedral of scent- wow!).  The Pentachord series, of which there are three, always makes me think of  a barman in  a whisky bar saying “You like that oak aged single malt?  Come round the back, I’ve got something very special for you to try”.  It’s as if the Pentachords are a special invitation for those who want to go right down to the bare bones of a scent with no fanfare and an open mind.

photo by wikipedia

Pentachord White does not disappoint.  You know that interesting side effect that you sometimes get in perfume? The one where two notes are paired together and by serendipity you get a third note that isn’t listed?  Well that’s what happens with Pentachord White. It’s like using primary colours to create a palette of 30 other shades (and you only need primary colours to do that anyway). Five notes give a rich  and detailed picture indeed.


The notes are ( in no particular order) : Iris, Violet, Ambergris, Vanilla, Rosewood

Pentachord White opens with iris and violet, but on my skin there is initially a kind of vinyl note which beds down into vanilla.  Not sponge cake vanilla that seems so overused in  High Street scents, but more of a rich milky wood vanilla. In fact, if I was smelling this blind I would have said it was a hint of honey layered over the top.  This is Bourbon vanilla, which is aptly named because it kicks off smelling boozy.


The Iris is rooty and dry, which can sometimes seem dour to me in a scent, but here the violets and vanilla bring it out of itself and make it prettier. The prickly amber gris slowly and gradually emerges, making this a multi faceted work in progress, before finally it all comes together bit by bit, like a story, where all the chapters merge into a satisfying dénoument.

The Final Act, despite having only five ingredients,  brings to mind a salty tang,   a hint of church incense, a dry, almost vegetable backdrop,  the tiniest soupcon of Spring,  pebbles on a beach, and sun-bleached driftwood.  There is a carefully rationed sweetness that ekes itself out moment by moment rather than in one big gush.


Its complex and ever changing, and all from only five ingredients.

What interested me about  Pentachord White is that I can think of two excellent fragrances which also have violets and iris prominently, and yet which smell nothing like this: namely Guerlain Insolence and Guerlain Apres L’Ondee.  This just goes to prove how diverse a fragrance note can be and the genius of the Pentachord simplicity.  It’s the choice of ingredients and how they are put together that makes this stand out. Vanilla and iris?  Ambergris and violets? Yes!

Pentachord White may not please every palate, but I urge you to try it if you ever get a chance. It is unique.  It’s never smelled exactly the same on me twice which makes this worth a second look and a third.

Stockists:  In the UK you can buy Pentachord White from Scent and Sensibility, and Les Senteurs.  In the USA and Canada try LuckyScent and in Europe try the Tauer website.


Tauer-perfumes pentachords white auburn verdant
photo by kind permission of duftarchiv.de

All I Want For Christmas… Guest Post by Lisa Wordbird for IScentYouADay

Or maybe just this humble fridge for my bedroom
Maybe just this humble fridge for my bedroom


Another great guest post from dear friend  and fellow perfume-obsessive Lisa Wordbird.  Thank you Lisa!

All I want for Christmas…

I can’t be the only person for whom Christmas is about buying things for other people, not for yourself.  I already gave some suggestions on what to buy for the perfume lovers in your life. But do you know what? I’m also going to offer a few thoughts on what I’d like to get myself. Just in case Santa is reading…

I have heard a lot about a new perfume called Maai this year, and I’d love Santa to drop off a sample for me to try. It’s from a tiny niche company called Bogue Profumo and is the creation of an indie perfumer named Antonio Gardoni, who is an architect in his ‘real life’ (just as our beloved Andy Tauer was once a commercial chemist in ‘real life’, before he went for it and became a full-time perfumer). Since Sam IScent passed me a little vial containing a sample of Serge Lutens’ Tubereuse Criminelle in the summer, I have discovered the strange joys of tuberose this year, and Maai is a retro animalic tuberose that has had nothing but praise from friends and bloggers who have tried it.


If Santa would like to bring a few full bottles down the chimney for me, I’d love a full bottle of Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, which for me is incredibly ladylike and feminine, even though Sam thinks it smells a little bit rude. (I like rude!) I would also adore a bottle of Serge Lutens Arabie; so rich, spiced and warm it is like wearing a Christmas feast. I tried some on our trip to Les Senteurs and was hard pushed not to nibble my arm. And while Santa is at Uncle Serge’s, he could also pick me up a bottle of the buttery-soft apricot suede fragrance that is Serge Lutens Daim Blond. (I’m wishing, not expecting, after all, and I’m terribly greedy.)


And finally, if Santa was feeling incredibly generous and could find me absolutely anything, I would kill for a bottle of the discontinued gem that was Creed’s Angelique Encens. Rumoured to have been worn by Marlene Dietrich, this floral incense was the perfect balance of light and shade and incredibly easy to wear. I once held a bottle in my hand and had the money in my pocket to buy it, but didn’t. I still kick myself about that.

Inside Les Senteurs, Elizabeth Street
Inside Les Senteurs, Elizabeth Street

But since Santa only brings presents for good girls and boys, and as you have probably guessed, I feature on the ‘Naughty’ list, I made a pre-emptive strike on our trip to London.  Having recently come into a few bob, I splashed out on something I have wanted for a very long time: my first full bottle of a Frederic Malle.  I am now the proud owner of my very own beautiful L’Eau d’Hiver, created by Jean Claude Ellena. Created with all of JCE’s signature transparency and lightness of touch, it is his homage to Guerlain’s sad beauty Après L’Ondée. The core notes of heliotrope and iris with a sweetener – vanilla for Guerlain, honey for Ellena – are fleeting and melancholy in Après l’Ondée, but by some deft juggling JCE has added both longevity and warmth to his Winter Water, making it a much more hopeful soul.

Have a cool Yule, and I hope Santa slips something fragrant into your stocking this year.


Miller Harris La Pluie: Like the Weather, It’s Changeable


My first ever experience with Miller Harris was but a few weeks ago when I sampled Fleurs de Sel and reviewed it for my good readers. Today I have in my hands a sample of La Pluie (The Rain). With a name like that, who could resist?

I was initially apprehensive, since I was afraid of coming across an ozonic aquatic mess, but I should know better. This is Miller Harris after all.

I was pleasantly surprised as I went about my day with La Pluie radiating off my skin with a lovely subtlety. There is soft background lavendar, a bowl of oranges somewhere  and some lovely bergamot  The initial burst of scent reminds me a little of the smell in a brand new office: all paper and new leather, but with a window open. There is definite heliotrope, which is maybe why this reminded me of  Guerlain Apres L’Ondee. They’re not the same, but I suspect Apres L’Ondee fans would find something to admire here. Just when you think you’re smelling the pages of your brand new book (I love that smell!), the flowers start emerging, almost one by one. It’s like having a vase of  white flowers behind you and not noticing until the smell finally becomes too delightful not to turn round and see them properly.

Daily Express

When all that has calmed down, there is a smell of grass or wheat, almost like the scent of an Italian kitchen at rest. In the end the story is all about vetiver, wheat, herbs (although not listed) and a teeny bit of Vanilla Bourbon to sweeten the dryness.

 La Pluie smells clean and new, just like it’s name.  More than that though, it changes as you wear it and in my mind’s eye it kind of tells the story of a day.  From getting caught in the rain, to coming into the hall where there are flowers, and then entering a warm, dormant kitchen ready for your evening. Some call it tropical. I call it a classic British Rainy Day- Rather beautiful and comforting.

I would happily buy this and spend all day sniffing the different stages, like Violet Beauregarde working her way through her three course gobstopper: “Hey it’s Tomato Soup, Mmm lovely, now it’s Roast Beef, oh wait a minute, its changing again…”

Well played Miller Harris.


You can buy La Pluie from Amazon UK.  Sample is my own, as are my opnions.