Tag Archives: Lisa Wordbird

What Wordbird is Buying for Christmas

Many of you will know that Lisa Wordbird is a dear friend of this blog.  Her expertise and generosity have been given unconditionally and cheerfully.  Not only that but she found us a parking space a few metres away from Les Senteurs in the middle of the day in Belgravia last week.  This makes her a bona fide Wonder Woman.  She has very kindly written a piece about Christmas shopping for perfume, so I am going to let Lisa take over and go back into the kitchen where I am peeling things.  Over to you Lisa, and thank you for taking the time to write for us.


What Wordbird is buying for Christmas

There has been a lot of debate on the Basenotes forums over the years on how best to give perfume as a gift. If you buy something for a perfumista like me, I’m likely to already have it, or something like it, or already know about it and hate it.  Fans are dreadful people to buy for, unless they’ve told you beforehand what they want, in which case it’s not a surprise. How to deal with this? Samples.

The consensus of opinion on the ladies’ board at Basenotes was that the nicest thing to do would be to order half a dozen samples from a specialist such as Les Senteurs in the UK, Lucky Scent in the US or Aus Liebe Zum Duft in EU, along with a gift voucher from the shop, so the lucky recipient could choose the fragrance they liked and then order a full bottle.


This method works just as well for mainstream perfumes, by the way. Pop into your favourite department store, blag a few samples of perfumes you think might be appropriate and buy a gift voucher. It has the merits of simplicity as well as offering you a way to show thoughtfulness without actually having to be thoughtful. Sneaky, huh? Excellent for Mothers-in-Law or very new girlfriends.

If you insist on handing over a bottle on Christmas morning, and you want to give a gift that is a little bit out of the eclatordinary, I would head over to Marks and Spencer’s and try the Fragonard and Monotheme ranges.  Both are excellent quality, neither will break the bank, and if the recipient decides to look on Fragrantica or Basenotes to read reviews, they will find that they are well respected.

I will suggest Monotheme’s Cuir as an excellent leather fragrance that’s favourably compared to Tom Ford Tuscan Leather.  So, buy that for your Dad or hubby and pinch a bit for yourself every now and then.  Sam has already reviewed their lush lemony Boccioli di Limoni, which I love and recommend highly for some Italian sunshine in midwinter.

From Fragonard, Etoile has been likened to Light Blue (high praise in my book), Eclat has been compared to a light, gourmand version of Lancome Hypnose, and Ile d’Amour is likened to L’Eau de Issey Miyake, while my favourite – Soleil – has jasmine and orange blossom floating over amber and sandalwood. What’s not to like?

I’ll also give a shout to the Le Couvent des Minimes line, which is a sub-brand of L’Occitaine. As you would expect, there are some lovely skincare and bathing products in their line, but they also have a range of colognes, which I have tried and liked at a large branch of Tesco in the UK. One product that is getting a lot of love on the perfume boards is their Eau des Missions, an oriental gourmand eau de cologne that is often compared to my beloved Guerlain Spiriteuse Double Vanille. For some strange reason it’s not available on the UK website, but if you’re in Europe or the US, you’re in luck!


Guess who?
Dear Father Christmas…



Talking About…Chanel No 19

Chanel No 19

In Which Lisa Wordbird and Samantha IScent Talk About Chanel No 19

 IScent In my best Sir David Frost voice, Hello, good evening and welcome to an evening with Wordbird and IScent. Now you may be familiar with Lisa Wordbird as she has popped up as guest blogger from time to time and her sample collection and full bottle collection has helped me on many a day when I have had Blog Block and not known what to review. Without Lisa I would never have entered the chypre portal, been introduced to the wondrous world of Tauers or been able to try a rather pleasant niche line called Serge Lutens. Without Lisa, my blog would be once a month, and rather forlorn.

Now although I have already reviewed Chanel No 19, I thought it would be interesting to get a second opinion. Lisa, welcome, sit down, take your coat off and have a drink, don’t worry it’s chilled. Now then, Chanel no 19, whaddya say?

LisaWordbird *sips* Oooh, that’s nice! Funnily enough, ‘chilled’ is a word I’d use for Chanel No 19, too. Or even ‘chilly’, if you believe that Luca Turin. The review that he and Tania Sanchez gave it in Perfumes, The Guide, was less than enthusiastic, talking about it being all green and mean and ‘stillettoes in the boardroom’. But I find it fresh and yet warm at the same time, quite a feat. Maybe it’s because I wear jeans and t-shirts all the time? Or maybe it’s because I’m so non-threatening?

IScent Yes Luca Turin implies its all boardrooms and cold formality but like you, I find it very pretty and impossibly elegant.  It’s not too try hard and it seems to be one of those perfumes that’s widely available but you can still buy it without smelling like everyone else. *cough* Coco Mademoiselle*cough*. I think you once made the analogy of Chanel No 19 being like  an elegant wedding guest who just threw on a beautifully cut linen shift and ended up looking better then everyone else. You know, like Kristen Scott Thomas.  She should SO be the poster girl for Chanel No 19.

LisaWordbird  Did I say that? I must have been taking my ‘insight’ pills. Yes, it is very crisp white linen – so much more simply elegant than all those frilly, fussy floral print  dresses that make you sweat in the sun. It’s very Kristen Scott Thomas, yes! You know how she’s all elegant and cool and then she does a Dowager Duchess on you and comes out with a real zinger of a remark? I think Chanel No 19 is a bit like that, too. It isn’t just a simple citrus, there is a green zinger in there too. A bit like when you remember that Gin and Tonic is more ‘bitey’ than you thought.

I wonder if younger women wear Chanel No 19? I mean 20 year olds. Because there MUST be some 20 year olds who don’t want to smell like the marketing departments tell them to. What are they wearing?

 IScent The 20 year olds?  I think they are all wearing Marc Jacobs Daisy.  Even they grew out of Britney when they hit fifteen.

Disclaimer- this is neither of us. This is the luminous Kristen Scott Thomas.

Readers- you may be interested to know that Lisa and I recently guested on Lipglossiping too for the lovely Charlotte.  We talked about Thierry Mugler Angel.  Here’s the link.



IScentYouADay: The Journey Will Continue


On January 2nd 2013 I decided to start a blog that reviewed a perfume a day for a year.  My dear friend LisaWordbird kindly brought me half a house full of samples and full bottles that made me faint with a thud.  Bringing me round with a whiff off Muscs Koublai Khan, she explained I could borrow and write about anything I needed. Without her, my blog would have been about ten times harder and I would not have been able to write about any of the amazing gems she has let me borrow.


However, at the risk of sounding like I am explaining that the dog ate my homework, I must confess that I have not managed to write 365 reviews.  I did manage to post 310 blog posts however, so I hope you will forgive me.  I should point out at this point that the missing blogs would have occurred during 14 weeks of school holidays, two weeks away from my trusty  computer, two children’s ear infections and viruses, my own sinus infection which rendered my nose useless and  four nights when I had to hand sew a snowflake costume (the result was more Liberace than snowflake, but my son didn’t mind). Blogs would have been even fewer had the ever patient Mr IScent not been an IT professional who has fixed my glitches in exchange for kisses and hot food.

I have found that blogging about perfume not only gives me the headspace that I need when Imageraising a seven year old and a four year old, but it has taken me to another world where I have encountered many fascinating and kind people from around the globe. I cannot stop now.  It’s addictive.

However it was the rather marvellous Perfumed Dandy  who came up with the idea of writing about 1001 scents.  I am therefore adopting this wonderful idea which also, hopefully, gets me off the hook for not quite reaching my 365 in a year target.

So here you are: IScentYouADay: 1001 days of perfume.

Do you like it?

The Without Whom bit:

I could not have done this without the comments, encouragement and shared anecdotes from my followers on the blog, on Facebook and on Twitter.For everyone who stops by or has a quick read, you have my deep appreciation.

To LisaWordbird, the most selfless fellow fragrance freak I have ever ever met. Her generosity has no limits, and her knowledge has been invaluable. My eyes have been truly opened and my nose has been taken to places I could never have imagined. Thank you.

To the lovely companies who have been kind enough to supply me with samples: Miller Harris, Jo Loves, the Fragrance Shop, LUSH, Yves Rocher and dear, kind Andy Tauer.  None of them have paid me for my opnions, and I should imagine Lush wishes they had paid me to shut up at times. I thank them all.

And finally thank you to the Perfumed Dandy who helped me with the idea of how I could continue seamlessly. My warm thanks to you dear Dandy.


L’Instant de Guerlain: Nice to Meet You, Iris


 From yesterday’s High Street fluff back to majestic Guerlain, and L’Instant de Guerlain to be precise.  I have on loan the Parfum itself, in its tiny glass bottle (see photo) and enormous box.  By the time I opened the box, removed the inner sleeve,  and removed the 7.5ml bottle from its little case, it seemed like a tiny Queen on a huge throne  Using the glass stopper as a dabber, I wore this on my throat and forearms (putting a scent on my wrists means it gets washed off many times over the day).

I was amazed to see that L’Instant de Guerlain does not contain violets. My very first thought was violets and then iris. In fact, after a few moments I decided this was a little like smelling Apres L’Ondee through several layers of musk daubed white chiffon.  It’s warmed up with a little honey and some magnolia. It’s classy and timeless: you could wear this as a teen and as a 90 year old Grand Dame. There is powder too, but it’s a mere velvety muffler, rather than an old lady’s make up case. It’s a muted Iris/Violet with the light musk softening any sharpness or earthiness

Now I feel that at this point I should pause for thought on the matter of iris. I love iris the flower, and my much beloved late grandmother was called Iris, so I have always associated it with love and beauty. However, in the world of fragrance, I have not got on with it at all. I have been encouraged to persevere, despite the fact that Malle’s Iris Poudre utterly repels me and even suffocates me. I recently tried Maitre Parfumeur et GantierFleur D’Iris and didn’t like that either. I also tried Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile and didn’t much care for that either (although it did defrost me somewhat with it’s prettiness).

Recently my friend and co blogger Lisa Wordbird, whose writing you will now be familiar with, gave me a curious experiment which cured me of Iris phobia. Spraying Guerlain Apres L’Ondee on one arm and Frederic Malle L’Eau D’Hiver on the other, I do believe I finally saw the light. Sniffing one then in the other in rotation brought out the best in both of them and made L’Eau D’Hiver (one of my earliest reviews), much more floral and prettier than it was when I first encountered it. So as my esteemed fellow blogger The Perfumed Dandy told me recently “Never give up on a note”.  Sometimes I guess you just have to look at it from a different angle.

So could I accuse L’Instant de Guerlain with its honeyed, musky Iris notes to have converted me into an Iris fan? I almost think I can.

Disclaimer: I still can’t bloody stand Iris Poudre though!