Tag Archives: unisex fragrance

A Fragrance Evolution: Katy Perry’s Indi eau de parfum

katy perry indi bottle

Reviewing Katy Perry Indi was a case of “forget what you think you know.”  I think of Katy Perry as the gorgeous and talented Teen Queen who sings catchy pop like no-one else. Her fragrances are cute and funny and have a wry grandeur, all done with a wink of irony.  So when I heard she had a new one coming out, I thought, I’ll pass thanks. It’s probably like her other stuff: on trend but not my bag.

katy perry indi peopleBoy, was I wrong. For a minute, there I’d forgotten that she’d shaved her head and done a studio album. Change of image, much? You bet. Indi is outstanding.

From Killer Queen to Meow and Katy Perry’s Mad Potion, Katy Perry’s fragrance range has taken a U Turn. Gone are the flashy,playful bottles with oodles of bling. In comes the simple black and white pillar bottle for Indi.  It celebrates individuality, which in these troubled times, is a much-needed hand of compassion and acceptance, and I’m all for it.

Katy Perry collage

 

So what does it smell like? Well it doesn’t smell like your run of the mill celebrity High Street scent, that’s for sure.

Top notes: Plum, tea, bergamot.

Middle notes: cyclamen, lily of the valley, cedar

Base notes: tonka, amber, musk, musk, musk etc

The combination of plum and tea gave me  a milky, sultana, figgy vibe, and although this alleges to have cyclamen and lily of the valley in, I could only detect a generic musky “pink” flower- could well be cyclamen.  It’s not a note I know well. katy perry ini fragrantica  The base is where the musk comes in:  musk, musk, musk. Musk is a bit like vanilla in that it covers a vast spectrum within its category, and this is certainly the case here.

It’s not dirty musk, nor leathery musk, nor sexy inner thigh musk, but an ever-changing musk, at least on my skin. On me this  musk smells clean, then chalky, then figgy, then patchouli-like, then earthy, then slightly mossy, then floral.  It lasts hours and hours.  It’s a beautiful chameleon of a scent and smells like it costs about four times the price.

Indi is of course, without gender. Nowhere will you find “For Men” or “For Women” and hurrah for that. My motto is, and always will be, if it smells good, wear it. Labels don’t matter.

Indi celebrates individuality and I salute this superb fragrance.

Katy Perry from KatyPerry.com
Katy Perry from KatyPerry.com

Stockists

You can buy Indi from Superdrug– which seems to have the monopoly on it at the moment.  Pop along and test it- I am sure you won’t be sorry. Prices start at £28 for 50ml. I bought mine and opinions are my own.

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Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain: Unexpected Surprises

diptyqye 34

This fragrance came about as the result of a mad idea: capture the scent of the original shop at 34 boulevard Saint-Germain and make it into a perfume.  Diptyque

Diptyque’s 34 Boulevard St- Germain was created to honour and remember the original shop where it all began: the scent of its wooden panels, resins and that unmistakable scent that only a cloistered interior can seem to conjure and retain.

The idea behind this fragrance was that it would take many of the classic facets of Diptyque bestsellers and wrap them into one fragrance, in order ot recreate the air inside the shop.  Imagine if they did it with LUSH (sherbet flowers) or L’Occitane (fruited tea and roses) or Starbucks (coffee beans and chocolate).  I’d buy them all.

diptyqye 34 detailing

I am woefully unfamiliar with many Diptyque scents so I can’t comment on whether this is an olfactory collage or not. However, what I can tell you is that the notes did not represent my impressions at all.  In the same way, you can look at music score and hum the tune, but it won’t sound the same when it’s played by a symphony orchestra.

I was expecting a masculine, spicy, woody scent, reminiscent of a Savile Row tailor. After all, there were wooden panels and resins and spices within.  However, what I actually get from this fragrance is an uplifting and feminine scent.

blvd_st-germain_sign6447

34 Boulevard Saint Germain opens with citruses which are vivid and restorative. These team up with bright, fresh green notes from fig and eucalyptus giving the impression of the world’s most uplifting herbal tea. I smelled grapefruit, lemon and orange.  This bright, feel-good opening is almost immediately coupled with a feminine bouquet of peppery geraniums, along with roses, jasmine, iris and violet. I found the floral accord to be the most dominant of all, and radiantly beautiful.

The base is wood, resins and eucalyptus, but to be honest t, this stays true and sharp and never falls into heavy woody territory as I imagined it would. Towards the final act, I could smell that wood panelling, but this remained an intriguing unisex mélange of flowers, citrus and  a lightly spice woody finale.

Diptyque 34 Boulevard St Germain is an intriguing scent that I’ve spent three days wearing and trying to describe. It’s full of contradictions and utterly addictive.  It also has a hugely sunny  outlook- maybe it  was all those citruses that  radiate and linger. I would definitely buy a great big full bottle.

Stockists

You can buy Diptyque 34 Boulevard Saint Germain from John Lewis or the Diptyque website. There is of course,  a matching candle too. Sample is my own, as is my opinion.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia: Like the Tears of an Angel

aqua celestia fb

Reviewing a Maison Francis Kurkdjian scent feels slightly intimidating, like entering a posh hotel in my oldest pyjama bottoms. I don’t feel as if I am qualified, if you like.  I am pretty much in awe of M. Kurkdjian so spent  a lot of time learning how to spell his surname for a start.  Least I could do really.

aqua celestia sampleI obtained a sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia from the recent Perfume Society Heaven Scents Discovery Box. It had an  immediate impact on me.  It felt like the ultimate in crystalline, fresh, pure scent.  You know that feeling when you’re so hot that only an ice cold waterfall will do? Well Aqua Celestia is for when you can’t find one.

Opening with mint and lime in spades, this will make you smell impossibly clean: as if you’ve never sweated a milli drop in your whole life.  There is  a hint of mimosa, which is lightly floral with a faint tinge of sweetness around the edges, like a blurry border.  The lime and mint meets a base of clean musk, and Aqua Celestia sits on my skin, like the tears of an angel.  It smells like I live on a  cloud. Pure bliss.

My only teeny whinge is that it’s not as radiant, nor as longlasting as I would have liked, but then I am only testing the eau de toilette, so I’ll have to wait for the eau de parfum, if it’s coming.HeavenScent2017shopAW

Stockists

You can get a sample of Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia from the Perfume Society Heaven Scents Discovery Box, or a full bottle from Selfridges  in the UK or Neiman Marcus in the USA.Opinions are my own.

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Tauerville Vanilla Flash: Review

vanilla-flash-bttle

 

Vanilla Flash is the kind of fragrance that will convert vanilla dodgers into vanilla lovers. As I have said before in this blog, in my opinion, vanilla has been frankly abused and overused in its synthetic cheapest forms in High Street commercial scents, to the point where we can lose sight of why it was so beloved in the first place.

cupcake-4
Not like this
vanillabean
Like this

Tauerville Vanilla Flash has restored my faith in vanilla and made me love it again. There’s nothing synthetic smelling or cheap smelling about this beauty. This is the smell of the vanilla pod when you open the little perspex tube it came in before it has been used: that wizened, bendy twig like pod in its most pristine, ripe form. THAT sort of vanilla is what we’re talking about here: milky and rich. There’s no bucket of sugar and no cake flavouring.

The addition of cheap vanilla to floral scents has ruined many a decent sniff for me.  Here, on the flip side of that coin, rose has been added to very high quality vanilla. Rose and tobacco in fact. What you have here is a vanilla scent in which vanilla is part of the chorus, and a very harmonic chorus that is.

The tobacco gives an oaky, coconutty feel to the rose that reminded me both of pipe smoke and the actual wood of a pipe at the same time. The roses are subtle yet impossible to miss. Put both of these alongside vanilla and you have a unisex vanilla that has absolutely nothing to do with a cupcake and everything to do with a cool milkiness infused with woody roses and a hint of pipe smoke. Round it off with some patchouli and a gentle hint of spice, and you have Vanilla Flash. 

This vanilla dodger will be getting a full bottle. My faith in vanilla has been fully restored.

Stockists

You can buy the Tauerville range from Les Senteurs in the UK, Lucky Scent in the USA, or, of course, the Tauerville website.

Photos-top photo by Fragrantica, photo of pod by ZoeBakes.com, Photo of cupcake from HealthyRise.com

 

Lynx Urban Daily Iced Musk and Ginger

lynx urban daily

You may recall that I recently reviewed Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber. I loved it so much I bought my husband one and it smells amazing on him. Also, this way, I can borrow it in winter when the warmth will really bloom on cold skin. It’s a fragrance, not a deodorant by the way. I’d be here for everemore if I started reviewing those.

Today I tried Lynx Urban Daily Iced Musk and Ginger and it was equally good. The Iced Musk in the name makes this sound a more obvious choice in hot weather, and I wasn’t wrong. The musk is subtle white musk and the ginger spices it up in an astringent sort of way, that’s cool like menthol, but with more of a peppery flourish. I can also find a bit of amber in there as it settles and a pale woody finish.

Even in this heat, Iced Musk and Ginger won’t be too much for work wear or the all important commuter test. After three hours, it is subtle, but still there. At 3.95 you can afford a refreshing lunch time top up. Just putting it on felt cooling, like cologne from the fridge.

The Lynx Urban Daily range is a real bargain with classy packaging and a pleasantly non generic take on everyday male fragrance. My husband will be getting all three. And I will be “borrowing” them.

Stockists

I found this in Superdrug, but you can also get it from Asda.

Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber

lynx t and amb

I always get excited by a bargain and today I am very excited about a fabulous men’s fragrance that kind of came at me by surprise out of the supermarket. Picking out my husband’s usual anti perspirant order,  I stumbled across a daily fragrance range from Lynx.  Not a body spray, not an anti perspirant- a fragrance.

The one I bought was Lynx Urban Daily Tobacco and Amber for the princely sum of £4, leaving enough change from a fiver to add some Green and Black’s chocolate to the basket. I was very pleasantly surprised.oud vanilla

Tobacco and Amber is ridiculously sniffable. There is a background of cosy pipe smoke vanilla and just a hint of woody tobacco. Lob some warm amber in and- Voila! A great fragrance that I will be definitely be unapologetically thieving from his chest of drawers. I have smelled men’s fragrances for ten times the price that I haven’t liked as much as this.

muskginger

There are two others in the range and I take my hat off to Lynx for not going for the obvious mainstream “Sport” vibe. There’s Oud Wood and Dark Vanilla and also Iced Musk and Ginger. At £4 a pop, I might get them all.

So it’s just a quick one today but I couldn’t resist writing a review even if just to make the point that good fragrance can pop up in the most unlikely of places. I am seriously gladdened to think that the young males of today might soon be wafting Oud and Vanilla and Tobacco and Amber under our noses. What a nice surprise that will be.

Stockists

Cheap as chips- you can get these from Asda for £4 each for a 100ml boxed bottle but that might be an introductory price.

Library of Fragrance Pipe Tobacco: Indulge in Alchemy

 

pipe

I have reviewed many Library of Fragrance scents now and I remain a big fan.  The reasons I love the brand are twofold: You can pick out your favourite notes and wear them alone ( Musk #7 is  a good start or Iris), or you can do a bit of perfume DIY and layer different notes over others until you find a  favourite combo. Either way, at £15 for 30ml, it’s win/win.

 

Today I am reviewing Library of Fragrance Pipe Tobacco and it’s sort of a two pronged review.

McGaheys
McGaheys

Firstly- Pipe Tobacco on its own smells authentically like Pipe Tobacco.  This naturally, won’t come as a surprise to you, but Pipe Tobacco on its own is a rather appealing smell, and if you ever pass that rare thing, a tobacconists, then do pop in and sniff the air.  It’s a kind of toasted dry woody scent with hints of richness and dark fruit.  It reminds me particular of a wonderful old tobacconists in Exeter called McGahey.

During my university days there, my friend Pippa and I would go and buy posh cigarettes to go to a ball with ( This was in the 80s when smoking was trendy and often done alongside cheap red wine whilst wearing too much LouLou).  St Moritz would be a favourite as they had a posh cover and gold foil on the filters and were by appointment to one of the European Royal families that you find in Hello Magazine ( but I digress).  Inside McGahey the shelves were wooden and the jars were see through and it always smelled like an old wood panelled study. In fact, I did occasionally see a professor in there.

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Pipe tobacco may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I found a lot to like about it.

So here’s the second prong of my review:  layer Pipe Tobacco over Library of Fragrance Mahogany and you have a gorgeous woody, spicy, dry scent that made me swoon.  In fact, ( and purists will pelt me with tomatoes for this)  it reminded me of Serge Lutens Chergui when layered together. You have here notes of the aforementioned toasty warm woods, whiffs of hay, the faintest hint of liquorice, spice, dark oak and tobacco.  Together they are dynamite. Worn together yuou have the most terrific woody Autumnal combo with a masculine edge that smells a lot more expensive than it costs.

When people throw tomatoes at you, make chutney.

Stockists

Library of Fragrance Pipe Tobacco and Library of Fragrance Mahogany are available from the website.  Boots also carries a range of Library of Fragrance scents at £15 or £25 for two.

Montecristo by Masque Milano: A New Cult Classic?

montecristo

I was recently approached by Alessandro and Riccardo of Masque Milano to ask if I would be receptive to a few samples of their fragrances.  Naturally I was delighted (me? Turn down samples?) and just a few days later, the Fed Ex man interrupted me pruning the fuchsia to give me a parcel from Italy. Both fuchsia and perfumes are now in good order, apart from one small phial which shattered in transit and made the package smell wonderful.

Today I shall be reviewing Montecristo because it had such a big impact on me.  In fact, I would go as far as saying that it has the potential to become a cult classic.  Montecristo was created in 2013 by nose Delphine Thierry.

At first spray, Montecristo is almost a citrussy like cologne, but within minutes something interesting happens.  There is a combination of tobacco, leather and um… well body odour.   Skank if you will.  The smell of sex.   If you met a man wearing this you would find him irresistible and not quite know why. NB – this isn’t a guarantee, just an impression.  Please don’t pursue me if it goes horribly wrong.

At this point I could not stop sniffing it, but the note seems to blend in and calm down a bit as it enters the middle phase.  Whilst there is celery seed in this, it is more subtle than say, Caron Yatagan, but has a faint herby, vegetable smell which is a lot nicer than the way I am phrasing it.

The dirty/sexy/skanky note that I mentioned really caught my attention and whilst for me, it dominated; it was so beautifully framed and enhanced by other notes that it takes Montecristo into a league of its own.

Strike a pose… (photo by Fragrantica)

The note is Hyrax and according to my bible, aka Fragrantica, it is from an animal that is, almost unbelievably, the closest living relative to the elephant, despite resembling a squirrel with a knowing look. As an alternative to Castoreum (from beavers) and Civet (which look like small raccoons), the essence of Hyrax is harvested from its crystallised pee. Alarming as that sounds, it is a cruelty free way of injecting the smell of musky armpit or sweaty post coital inner thigh into a fragrance whilst allowing the animals to roam freely in the wild, free of harm.

In Montecristo, this note is complemented by woody, leather and tobacco notes which give it an intensely masculine vibe, which, even if I say so myself, smells wonderfully androgynous on a woman. Namely me.

fr_montecristo

Longevity is fourteen hours, during which time the base notes emerge, leaving a scent of vetiver, leather, dark smoky woods, and, well how can I put this?  Dried spit.  After a while it smells like I have saliva on my arm, but before you think that’s derogatory, I actually loved it.  It smelled like a human.  It was comforting, smoky, manly and delicious.

I predict great things for Montecristo and I also predict that Lisa Wordbird will fall hard for it.

Montecristo by Masque Milano is the smell of the bad boy on the motorbike that your parents didn’t want you to date.

Stockists

Please don’t hate me UK readers, this is not available over here, but a list of stockists for Europe and the USA is here, and  if you want to try before you buy, there is a discovery set available.

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Chanel Egoiste: Pour Homme, pour me.

egoiste

 

 Chanel Égoïste is supposedly for men, but we say knickers to gender labels on this blog.  I have been wearing this for a couple of days now and I have to say it knocks spots off every male fragrance I have smelled in the last year (with an honourable mention to the wonderful Valentino Uomo).

As the weather cools down, with occasional erratic bursts of heat, Chanel Égoïste seems to fit the bill perfectly.  At first spray, it is a refreshing citrus scent with mandarin and peppery carnations. As it beds down, the cinnamon, woods and sandalwood emerge, but they are tempered with the strong peppery (almost dusty) carnation that hangs on with tenacity.  This is no bad thing: Égoïste proves that carnation and sandalwood compliment each other so perfectly that I don’t know why it isn’t done more often.

The base note, which lasts around eight hours on my thirsty skin, is divine.  With leather, tobacco and warm rich amber, this is so seamlessly blended you can hardly break the notes up.

Unlike many male fragrances on the High Street today, Chanel Égoïste doesn’t have the generic base note I have mentioned in previous posts.  To be honest I would wear more male scents if the bothersome everyman note wasn’t added to male fragrance so often.  The most memorable exceptions I have come across are Coty Aspen, Valentino Uomo (coffee, lavender and leather *swoon*) and believe it or not, Old Spice.

However, we have no such worries with Égoïste.  I would happily wear this all winter if a) I had a limitless budget and b) there weren’t so many other bottles on my overcrowded wish list. As a wise fellow blogger once told me, it is probably synthetic violet leaf.

Peppery, dusty, spicy leather.  Pure heaven. I am an Égoïste.