Tag Archives: Paris

Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac: Smoke and Brasseries

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 I asked my seven year old son what he thought of Miller Harris Feuilles de Tabac. I didn’t prompt him, just told him to say the first thing that came into his head.  This is not always without risk and is usually about Star Wars, but in this case he said “Some sort of spice: it smells like hot sand”.  I was pretty impressed, although it’s usually L’Air Du Desert Marocain Imagethat makes me think of hot sand.

Giles Deacon, no slacker when it comes to good taste, is a big fan of Feuilles de Tabac and scents his home with it. Feuilles (pronounced “Foy”) means leaves or pages or layers. Feuilles de Tabac is marketed as a masculine, but I say knickers to that, being a fan of Old Spice and Dior Fahrenheit.

I have finally got around to reviewing this treasure because the hot weather just doesn’t do it justice.  In the cold air of Autumn, this can come out to play and hit the open road.

Feuilles de Tabac was created to “take you to the romantic brasseries of St Germain”, and if you’ve ever been lucky enough to go to Paris on a chilly day, you may recognise a fug of tobacco, spice and old books. Paris also smells of tarmac, body odour and garlic, but let’s not break the spell.

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taken on my last trip to Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As usual with Miller Harris, quality and longevity are outstanding and Feuilles de Tabac gives a rich, leathery spice trail with sillage that is around arms’ length but would be very welcome in even a small space.

Top note is Chilli, and middle notes are Sage and Pine. Basenotes are Tobacco, Patchouli and Tonka bean.  Unlike other fragrances who claim to have notes that are not there, with Miller Harris, every note listed is very much discernible, despite being seamlessly blended.

The overall impression is one of green sharp herbs, Patchouli and deep aromatic smoke.  It’s more attractive than the other Miller Harris masculine La Fumee, which I found a bit dry. Masculine or feminine, this is fabulous for Autumn and I feel quite sorry that I only have a small phial of it.

I’ll leave the last words to a great Parisian, and one of my idols, now sadly in Pere Lachaise. Edith Piaf’s beautiful song, Autumn Leaves popped into my head whilst writing this review.

Since you went away, The days grow long, and soon I’ll hear old winter songs. But I miss you most of all my darling, when autumn leaves start to fall

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Chanel Les Exclusifs 31 Rue Cambon: Missing That Je Ne Sais Quoi

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31 Rue Cambon  is named after Chanel’s four storey building, purchased by Gabrielle “CoCo” Chanel herself and which remains today, the site of Gabrielle’s apartment, and the main Paris branch of Chanel.

ImageImmediately, the stakes are high. Named after the Mothership? This better be good. And it is. But great? Not so much.

For one thing, I find this very subtle. My skin seems to swallow it up whole instantly. You may have more luck. Secondly, this strikes me as an odd sort of melange.  It’s definitely a chypre, and it has lovely woody notes, but then clean, citrussy bergamot shows up, along with my old nemesis, Miss Carrot herself- iris. I often have problems with iris, but not with her cousin violet. I find iris dry and cardboard like, with an earthy rooty scent. I don’t always dislike it, but I can often spot it very soon into a fragrance these days, like a fussy eater who can spot a pea in a Shepherd’s Pie (I do that too).

One very wise reviewer on Fragrantica says that Rue Cambon needs and lacks Oakmoss. I think he has a point. It is neither a chypre, nor woody, nor citrus, but somehow all three, without ending up as a green note scent. Frankly it baffled me, and didn’t stay around long enough for me to know it properly.

The jury’s out on Rue Cambon.  I must confess to not loving all of the Les Exclusifs range (I haven’t tried them all yet, to be fair). Whilst I would bite your arm off for a full bottle of Coromandel, I would feel far more “meh” about a full bottle of Rue Cambon. It’s not badly made,  of course, and I know it would smell wonderful on the right wrist or neck, but those wrists and neck do not belong me, regrettably.

In my beloved Wales there is a lovely Welshism which sums up Rue Cambon for me:

“And there it was, gone!”

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YSL Paris: J’ai Deux Amours…

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 As an escape from heavy woods and intense incense, sometimes I want to take sanctuary in a  simple  pleasant floral. In the same way that wearing something floaty and cool on a hot day offers relief,  sometimes I want the simplicity of a floral like Yves Saint Laurent Paris.

Ignoring the faintly Turkish Delight overtones, to me , Paris has two notes: Violet and Rose. There’s other stuff too, like Soft Musk and a hint of Powder, but it is Violet and Rose, like two fragrant sisters, who sit firmly in the centre of this bouquet of a scent.

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There’s no Fruit. There’s no Vanilla, no foody Praline, no cheap basenotes. I mean, this is Sophia Grojsman here! It’s simply fresh flowers, it’s pleasant to  be around, and it’s light and airy.

Created in 1983, I have distinct memories of the Sixth Form Common Room in school in the late Eighties, and one co student in particular loved to marinate herself in this before 9am.  However, unlike other Eighties heavyweights around at the time (yes I’m old), too much Paris was never as bad as too much Poison or too much Giorgio Beverly Hills *shudder*., which were also popular at the time.

paris springNaturally, Paris the fragrance doesn’t smell like Paris the City. Paris the City actually smells of Body odour, cigarette smoke, wine, asphalt, traffic and wafts of expensive perfume and coffee.  A wonderful smell actually, but it would never sell if you bottled it. Although having said that, I bet someone somewhere would create it and someone somewhere would buy it.  Maybe Library of Fragrance  could make “Dirty City”.  I know they’d do a great job.

Paris the perfume is mainstream, easy to get hold of and frankly, adorable. The price stops it being totally ubiquitous and the fragrance  trends of the last two years have changed, making Paris not so common now, and frankly, a refreshing change.  There are flankers, but this is the original and best.  Don’t makie the mistake of seeking this kind of classic quality among the flankers. (*cough* Mon Paris *cough*)

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LouLou? c’est moi.

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When it launched in 1987, Cacharel LouLou was a sellout. Its glamorously dark advertising campaign full of classy Louise Brooks images and its whisper of Bohemia  have made it a steady success for nearly 25 years. I recall buying it by the armful and wearing it by the bucketload as a goth-ish student in the late 80s and even now, whenever I wear it, it takes me back to those heady early years after leaving home and finding my way in the world.

LouLou seems to be loved and hated in equal measure, a bit like the ubiquitous Thierry Mugler Angel, yet it is highly rated by perfumistas, if not by early morning commuters.

So what does it smell like? It’s different for everyone but on me, the highest note at first spray is anise, followed by dark plum, blackcurrant, incense and tuberose. On paper, this may sound like a list, but it always makes me visualise some kind of Parisian nightclub in the 1920s. To me it’s a musky licorice, on others it’s vanilla and incense. It changes constantly throughout the day, although I still maintain it’s an evening scent, Oh, and do spare those early morning commuters, it’s way too much before cocktail hour.

The bottle is deliberately retro: it recalls Art Nouveau cinemas with their chunky and elegant towers and entrances. This is not surprising considering its muse was silent movie star Louise Brooks, star of Pandora’s Box, whose glossy chic bob started a phenomenon  Either way, it’s distinctive, and the thrill of buying the cellophaned box with its dark and naif flower motif has never left me.

I often find with LouLou that wearing it influences what I wear. Once I put it on, I have to wear black, with pillar box red lipstick. And I have to have adventures….

Cabotine cuts through the cold

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After yesterday’s grown up lady perfume, I decided I wanted something lighter and more playful as a contrast today.  Cabotine, from Parfums Gres, Paris, is an affordable classic if you like green notes. Created on a budget and with quiet publicity, it’s been a steady seller since it’s creation in 1990.

Despite its “Broccoli” lid, Gres Cabotine is fresh and almost bitter on first spray, but the drydown happens quickly. Its USP is the use of ginger lily. Unfortunately, this rare flower only  blooms for a few weeks each year so continuous production would have been a problem.  However, once a satisfactory synthetic substitute had been found, Cabotine was away and running.

The gingery note is barely perceptible  but enough to stop this from being  a plain common or garden “green” scent. What I get is carnation with the faintest of floral spice, but softened into something wearable and clean scented. A hint of soap, a big bunch of carnations, a pinch of ginger lily and a lasting, floral, green fragrance…that’s Cabotine.

Luca Turin might hate it, but I don’t.

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Cabotine is available from our friends at allbeauty.com right here and is jolly good value!