Tag Archives: perfume reviews

Yves Rocher Orange Flower Lavender Petit Grain: So Nice I Bought it Thrice

Yes, this little bottle of light as air scent smelled so nice the first time I bought one that I stocked up and bought another three. If fairy wings had a smell, this would be it. Orange flower, lavender and petit grain are three of the prettiest scents you can get (aside form peony, but would that be overkill?), so when you put them all together, you have an impossibly pretty fragrance, that won’t break the bank.

This smells so good that if I didn’t already know its name, I would follow a stranger home until they told me their fragrance. It’s one of those that won’t fill a room but will leave subtle wafts of the prettiest petals in your wake. It’s light, airy and clean and if you like citrus colognes or light florals this is right up your street.


Lavender can sometimes smell a bit herbally and even a little bit metallic to my nose, but here it is buffeted by gentle orange flower and its close relation petit grain, which is the steam distilled scent of the leaf of the orange tree. Couple this with the orange flower and you can see how the lavender is flanked by sheer piquant petal-like prettiness. I’d swear there was a hint of clean laundry musk in the finish too because this smelsl squeaky clean and pure.

The best bit about this though is that it smells incredible yet costs so little.  I bought mine for £5.90 from the Yves Rocher website and it was buy one get one free. Somehow, I ended up buying four and only spent less than £12., making this incredible value.  The scent of this is so moreish that  our dear friends at YR could have charged me a lot more and I’d still pay , but thankfully I can buy this and still afford my son’s ridiculously top of the range goalkeeper gloves. Not very perfume-y or romantic, but jolly practical, and if I’m happy, everybody’s happy. Trust me.


You can buy Yves Rocher Orange Flower Lavender Petit Grain from the Yves Rocher UK website. It is also known by its French name of Fleur D’oranger Lavande Petit Grain. The range is called Les Plaisirs Nature and they are ALL equally good. (OK, this is my favourite, but I’d still buy them all)

Guest Blogger Lisa Wordbird at Your Command!

At the 4160 Tuesdays studio, on the famous swing.

Hello! Lisa Wordbird here. I’ve persuaded Sam to let me come and play, and I would love to know what you want to read about. I have a big box of samples and I’ll review things you’re interested in if I have them or I can get hold of them.

Like Sam, I’m a big fan of a bargain and I think an inexpensive perfume can be just as beautiful as something incredibly costly. Equally, I think that there are perfumes that justify a whopping pricetag. I’m a fan of artisan perfumers like Andy Tauer, Sarah McCartney and Liz Moores, and I appreciate how much goes into creating and producing their perfumes.


Equally, I recognise that some of the greatest geniuses in the fragrance industry are the ‘functional fragrance’ creators. These are the unsung heroes and heroines who produce delicious scents for shower gels, fabric softeners and shampoos on an ingredient budget of sixpence a kilo. Don’t believe me? I am eking out a Shower Crème from Lidl called Indian Summer, which is a gorgeous woody oriental. It cost less than £2 when I bought it 18 months ago.

Personally, I lean towards orientals, incense, chypres, leather and animalic fragrances. Some of the things I like make Sam say ‘Eurgh!’ and look at me as if I’ve left the house without my trousers. However, Sam likes some white flowery things that make me go ‘yikes!’ and feel like I’m a drag queen.

Some things we both love, like vintage Miss Dior. Oh, I love vintage perfumes, too. Partly this is because they can be so much cheaper on ebay, partly because things I bought years ago now count as vintage because they date back to before the IFRA made companies reformulate perfumes to reduce possible allergens. (They’ve done it a couple of times now. The IFRA are not my friends.)

So – what would you like to hear about? Vintage perfume? Scented toilet paper? My boundless love for the Yves Rocher Secrets d’Essences range? Please let me know, and I’ll do my best.


IScentYouADay Turns Four! It’s my Blogaversary.



Four years ago today I decided to start a blog about something I was passionate about.

My very first review was Lanvin Arpege

In that four years I have learned to love things I didn’t used to like, go off things I once loved,  and try things I’ve never tried before. I don’t want to scare you away by using the word “journey” but that’s what it’s been and that’s what it still is.   I never give up seeking treasure and thunderbolt moments and  even when I get them,  I am still thirsty for more.


The best bit has been meeting you lovely readers, albeit via the Internet. I have never met such a lovely or more generous bunch of folks. With your comments, likes, suggestions and shared memories and anecdotes, you have made every moment worthwhile. It’s been a tricky couple of years on the personal front, and I can honestly say that focussing on this has really helped me, even on those days when negative thoughts block out the sunshine.


The worst bit? Oh, that’s easy. The worst bit was smelling Etat Libre D’Orange Secretions Magnifiques. No contest, right Lisa?


It’s time to pay it forward, so watch this space for several giveaways.  It’s the least I can do to say thank you.

Here’s to having fork handles on my cake!


Elizabeth Arden Always Red EDT


Passing by the Elizabeth Arden counter today, I noticed two fragrances that had somehow passed me by: Always Red and Always Red Femme. I asked the sales assistant if she had any samples (well, it’s a worth a try!) and she said, no, they don’t send her samples as it’s a small branch. Huh! So I just had to marinate myself in it there and then so I could review it.

I decided to start with Always Red, since it was released last year and appears to be the original rather than the flanker. I may review Always Red Femme at a later date.

alwaysredAlways Red opens with plum and jasmine sambac. Those two were in straight away before anything else could emerge. Plum seems to be a popular choice lately, especially in wintery scents. Jasmine sambac is getting ubiquitous. However, this is decent enough and on the brisk walk home, my skin warmed it up and helped it bloom. It did a disappearing act for about half an hour before coming back with reinforcements. I could detect more jasmine, more pretty florals (pink freesia, no less) and something gourmandy starting to come out. Before I could name it there were nuts and chocolate nudging the plum out of the way and making this a fruity floral gourmand. The praline makes its presence felt so dominantly in the base that I wonder that it didn’t come through in the top notes and bash everyone else out of the way.

Always Red is nothing particularly new: many Fragrantica users are marvelling at how similar this is to Armani Si and they certainly have similar notes in common. However where Si used blackcurrant, Always Red uses plum. The rest is pretty similar.

I have a soft spot for Elizabeth Arden and I still feel that the Green Tea range and its flankers are peerless in their price category. Whilst Always Red is not on my wish list, it has mass appeal and is considerably cheaper than Armani Si. I found it quite Christmassy with all that praline and plum, so it might well be a good bet for  a Christmas party.


Elizabeth Arden Always Red is available from House of Fraser and Amazon UK , among others. Prices start at around £17 for 30ml.




L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc: Blackberries All Year Round

mure et musc

L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc has been floating around my radar for a while saying “try me! try me!” but it wasn’t until I received my sample in my Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box that I decided we should meet.

I’m not a huge fan of fruit in perfume, although my mind has been broadened of late and I’m open to change. Mure is blackberry and used here, it has a lovely almost bitter edge that avoids the cat pee of blackcurrant and the sweetness of red berries. When I first sprayed this I thought it was very similar to that most classic of colognes, 4711. It’s bursting with fresh feel good citrus and is immediately uplifting and refreshing. Within about ten minutes, there is a tender white musk background and the combination of that and blackberries is basically what this is built on.  There are other notes too: green fresh basil, (which borders on the minty), two types of sharp orange and Amalfi lemon. There is an almost negligible presence of the aforementioned red berries, but they don’t crowd this so that’s fine by me.

The base notes are a combination of blackberry, musk and oak moss: yet the citruses, seamlessly blended with the more grown up finishing notes, make this an absolute treat to wear at any time of the year. It’s easy to see why L’Artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc is one of their best sellers.


You can buy Mure et Musc from allbeauty.com or Sephora, as well as House of Fraser. My sample was from the Perfume Society Scent With Love Discovery Box, which is £17.50 or £12.50 to subscribers and comes with ten other fragrance treats and samples.


L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée

rose privee

L’Artisan Parfumeur has launched Rose Privée, created by legendary nose Bertrand Duchaufour and Stephanie Bakouche.

I have been wearing it for a couple of days exclusively and have fallen in love with the stuff. Rich or poor, rain or shine, you can get a rose fragrance any old day, so these days a rose scent has to make the discerning perfume purchaser sit up and take notice.

Rose Privée does just that and comes at the classic rose, (in this case Rose de Mai), at a different angle. By turns sour, then sharp, then rich, then peppery, Rose  Privékept me interested by pricking my preconceptions for a good eight hours.

Notes: basil, lilac, geranium, green mandarin, beeswax, blackcurrant, hay, chypre accord, magnolia, May Rose, patchouli, amber and violet leaf.

The rose comes out straight away with a sourness that is most likely that green mandarin note, but there is a peppery dryness about it too- almost like a tea note. This reminds me of those rose petals you find in pot pourri- they may be dried and papery but they have a vintage-y rose waft about them still. This could be dry grass feel of the hay note. The flowers come through strongly, with little scents of rose and magnolia drifting around me pleasantly throughout the day. I always find Rose de Mai quite exotic compared to other rose scents. Rather than going Turkish Delight, May Rose seems to go a bit tuberose on me- its heady and creamy.

The whole shebang is rounded off pleasantly with some earthy patchouli, some more of that hay we talked about, and the faintest girly trace of violet leaf and lilacs.

It’s a beautiful rose with faints hints of spiciness and heat that lends itself perfectly to Autumn.


L’Artisan Parfumeur Rose Privée is available from the L’Artisan Parfumeur website or from Sephora, Luckyscent  or Amazon UK or Amazon.Com, although it is currently sold out on Amazon at the moment.


Givenchy Dahlia Divin: There’s Good News and Bad News


Givenchy has launched their latest fragrance Dahlia Divin with the beautiful Alicia keys as the face of the campaign.  There’s good news and bad news.  Good news is that the prolific genius Francois Demachy made it and he pretty much created the monster’s share of the current Dior lines. No amateurs here.  The other good news is that it doesn’t smell like cake or candy floss.

OK so that’s the good news out of the way.  The bad news is that Dahlia Divin smells a little generic and I am sitting here racking my brains to name the scent that this reminds me of. In fact I think it smells like several: Jimmy Choo Flash and Loewe Aura.  Maybe it’s the fact that Jasmine Sambac and white flowers have been put centre stage, ubiquitous plum has been added, and then there’s the frequently used base of patchouli and vetiver.


The problem I have with white flowers is that that I feel they need a heavy base to ground them.  Say, tuberose for example.  Jasmine on its own tends to stray into all sorts of territories without being anchored and it can vary from shrill to indolic.  In this case, it’s borderline sweet and shrill at the same time.  I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing.

However, like I said, the good news is that there’s no vanilla, no red berries, no caramel and no chocolate.  So I really shouldn’t be ungrateful. It bugs me that this is labelled as a chypre when I don’t think it qualifies.  I am not a professional by any means, but this just doesn’t smell like a chypre to me.  To me, a chypre is Chanel No 19 or Balmain Jolie Madame.  Dahlia Divin has nothing in common with either. ANd there’s no oak moss. Not a whiff!

I enjoyed the opening notes that were soapy, powdery and feminine, but the middle and base notes smell like generic Avon perfumes, notably the scents from the Today, Tomorrow, Always range.  Either that’s a dig at Givenchy or a compliment to Avon.

My sample was obtained from my hotly anticipated Discovery Club Box from the Fragrance Shop.  I look forward to each and every one even if I end up not loving all the samples. What pure bliss to sit there wading through them though!

I can tell you this about Dahlia Divin: there’s not a whiff of Dahlia, but then they never pretend that there’s going to be.  The stunning and talented Alicia Keys, the name, the bottle:  all beautiful.

The scent?  It’ll fit right in on the High Street.

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Amouage Dia: A Memory in Glass


Amouage is a luxury brand: from its price tag right down to the pink crystal in the weighty glorious bottles. Amouage Dia was created by Jean Claude Ellena, a fact which I found out after trying it, and which didn’t surprise me at all. Jean Claude is yet to make a scent I dislike and this is a perfect example of his trademark “watercolour” style, all gentle edges and colours mingling softly.

When I first smelled Amouage Dia, it gave me a very strong reaction. Somehow, someone had bottled the exact smell of my Grandmother’s bedroom when I was around 11 or 12. I remember sleeping over in clean sheets, and fiddling about with the glass and bottles on her dressing table. Amouage Dia has captured this exact smell. It’s uncanny. Clean laundered sheets, pretty soft roses, and a hint of Elnett hairspray and Coty L’Aimant in the background. It’s a soft and gentle scent that lies close to skin like a reassuring secret. It was so vivid a comparison that I felt quite emotional. What a jolt! And what a happy memory to carry around in a bottle.

Sometimes perfume can be like a time machine, taking you back to a scene in your life so lucidly that you can almost hear people talking. Suddenly reality seems dreamlike. Who needs a Tardis when olfactory senses are so shockingly vivid at recall? My grandmother has been gone ten years now,  and this perfume seems almost magic in its ability to take me back to 1981 just via a scent. How I miss her.

Amouage has many notes listed, but the ones I can pick out are Turkish Rose Oil, Sage, Aldehydes, Sandalwood, and Soft Musk. As usual, JC Ellena has merged the ingredients so beautifully that they are almost hard to break up into pieces.

What I have is a bottle that holds a scent from my past. I don’t know how he did it.

It’s been emotional.


With thanks to Lisa Jones for letting me borrow her sample of Dia. You can buy Amouage Dia from The Fragrance Shop online and  Selfridges.