Tag Archives: white flowers in perfume

Chanel Gabrielle: A Tribute to the Modern Woman

From Harpers Bazaar Singapore

Chanel Gabrielle is a major launch for Chanel, being its first mainstream non flanker launch for fifteen years (I’m not including Les Exclusifs in this).

It’s always hard when a brand as big as this tries to please the new crowd and the old crowd at the same time. Guerlain Mon Guerlain had a mixed response for example, with the youngsters liking the gourmand notes and the old crowd wearing a lot of black and looking mulish.  Brands have it tough. They need new fans going forward but they have to keep the old guard on board too.  An impossible task, I’d say, so I’m going to be gentle about this.

Watching the uplifting Gabrielle TV and cinema ad made me want to totally buy into this.  Kristen Stewart is an unusual choice, but I can see why they picked her. Despite having been almost indelibly stamped with the Twilight franchise, she now bangs her own drum, cropping her hair short, taking the roles she feels like taking and eschewing the Hollywood clamour for glamour.  In other words, she ignores what’s expected of her, just the same as Gabrielle Coco Chanel did. Let’s face it, successful businesswomen were hard to find in the 1930s, but that didn’t stop Chanel. Nothing did.  #girlboss

So let’s talk about how Gabrielle smells.

The suggestion is that this is a golden scent, but I found it more of a white fragrance. The citrus notes it opens with seem to add little zaps of sharpness and freshness. I absolutely agree with descriptions that say that it sparkles when it first goes onto your skin. It seems to pop joyously like prosecco bubbles. It has a feel-good factor for sure.

photo from Fragrantica

In the main though, Gabrielle is all about the big white flowers. There’s tuberose, orange flower, jasmine and ylang.  What struck me though, was how pristine and proper this smells. It made me think of formal flower arrangements in hotels. It made me think of pure white soap and clean laundry.  It made me think of clean linen, ironed to a knife edge and stored with care in a sparkling clean house.  I can’t explain to you why I thought of soap and cleanliness and posh bouquets.  Maybe it’s because this lacks any gourmand touches or vanilla notes, giving it a traditional feel. Maybe because the absence of patchouli lets the flowers be themselves without segueing into anything else (Coco Mademoiselle, anyone?)

I’m going to stop the description there because  on my skin, the flowers  were the beginning, middle and end.  After that, everyone went home.  It was beautiful, but like all the best divas, it left me crying for more and quit whilst it was ahead.

So you can imagine that my main, and only, complaint about Gabrielle is that it didn’t stick around for me to get to know it better. I had to sniff very hard, right up against my skin, to get even the faintest whiff after an hour. This is the Eau de Parfum, so I was hoping for more. You may have different results.

My verdict? If those flowers can stick around I’m all over it. Chanel Cristalle and I were together for twenty years, but I don’t see a future for Gabrielle and me unless she can sort out her commitment issues.

Stockists

You can buy Chanel Gabrielle from Boots or The Fragrance Shop to name but two. It is, or will be, widely available around the world.

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Ruth Mastenbroek Amorosa: Verdict- Impressed

ruth photo

I was recently sent a sample of Amorosa by Ruth Mastenbroek by the lovely Nick Gilbert.  (Check out his blog). What he doesn’t know about scent ain’t worth knowing. He thought I might find Amorosa interesting and he was right.

amorosa bottleRuth Mastenbroek is a niche perfumer, with over twenty five years’ experience in perfume. She has a small but beautifully formed collection of scent that you can find out more about here on her website. Ruth has a degree in chemistry and has worked for Jo Malone, Kenneth Turner and Jigsaw over her lengthy career. She has also been President of The British Society of Perfumers. I think we can say that Ruth is unequivocally a safe pair of hands when it comes to perfume.

I will start by saying that I like Amorosa very much, but I will also say that I didn’t take to it at first. I was wearing airy hesperides the day I got this in the post, which may have been a contrast too far.

This floral bucks the trend by being rich and woody straight away. It opens with a light flourish, but the rich amber, vetiver and patchouli can’t wait their turn. I therefore get an interesting juxtaposition of feminine white flowers,( namely: tuberose, tiare and jasmine) with prickly, dark edges. The galbanum provides a cologne like touch of leafy greenery. I thought I could smell lavender in this, and it does indeed have something of the fougere in there, but it may be the violet leaf. The watermelon is another interesting find in so far as you wouldn’t normally discover it in such a rich fragrance alongside patchouli and creamy tuberose, but it really works.

Amorosa is like nothing else I have ever smelled, and that’s not damning with faint praise, it’s more a round of applause for Mastenbroek’s audacity. This is a scent that kept me guessing. When all’s done though, and the basenotes are there (for a long time incidentally), I am left with a fabulous rich white floral, lightened by watermelon that doesn’t smell watery or cucumbery as it so often can. The base is heavy, but balanced, and those heady white petals never take their leave.

The more I wear this, the more I like it, and I am jolly grateful to Nick for thinking of me. It wasn’t on my radar, but I’m so glad he tapped me on the shoulder and turned my head in the direction of beautiful, complex Amorosa. I look forward to getting to know Ruth Mastenbroek’s work more closely after this impressive first encounter.

Stockists

Ruth has an immediate fan in me by providing a user friendly sample service. At just £3 per vial, postage is free. I like this. Full bottles are available from the website and you can also buy Ruth’s fragrances from these stockists.

Photos: Photo of Ruth Mastenbroek from www.ruthmastenbroek.com. Photo of Amorosa from Fragrantica.

Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage ( 2009)

unmatin dorage

Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage was a surprise Christmas gift from friend of the blog and friend of me, Lisa Wordbird. I haven’t thanked her yet so I will thank her through the medium of a blog post.

I was not expecting this, but Lisa knows me well and as she rightly guessed, I loved it immediately. It was such a lovely surprise in its pearlescent bottle with a gold lid and gold ribbon around its neck. My first impression, because I didn’t have my glasses on but my nose was awake, was that this was full of orange blossom. I read the label and thought it said “Orange”. I put my glasses on and read it again and saw it said “Matin D’Orage” which means stormy morning.  As the scent settled I realised it wasn’t oranges but lemons I could smell, and also ginger. But most of all I could smell beautiful blooming (and sometimes tricky) gardenia. This has gardenia in spades. A close cousin to tuberose, but somehow lighter, and with a faint mushroomy undertow, gardenia is white, waxy and as fresh as a spring morning.

gardenia
sugarcraft.com

Created in 2009 by Nose Isabelle Doyen, Matin D’Orage smells impossibly feminine, and the gardenia is so vivid its like having your nose right in the flower with its pure white petals. The ginger is just enough to give it a spicy fresh accent, and the Jasmine adds to the pretty factor whilst cranking up the richness. There is tea-like Champaca too, which enhances the greenery,  and then a base note of sandalwood, with the faintest touch of celery, as there often can be with thick intense white flowers.

This is an unusual scent in that it starts pretty and then becomes a little more sober, and I must say that I prefer the top notes to the base notes. However, this whimsical bottle of scent delights me and I would have missed out on it completely if lovely Lisa hadn’t thought “Ah! Sam!”. I’m very glad she did.

So Lisa, sorry I haven’t thanked you yet darling, but will this do?

Stockists

You can buy Annick Goutal Matin D’Orage from Amazon UK, Amazon.com, FragranceX, Escentual, Harrods and John Lewis. Prices vary and start from just under £40. You may have some luck on eBay, but I’ll never sell mine.

NB- I photographed the bottle against my cat Ian for no other reason other than that he was there and his tummy is fluffy. Matin D’Orage has no scent association with obscenely lazy Ginger Tom cats

ianmatindorage

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WANTED! The Notorious Tubereuse Criminelle.

 

 vapo_tubereuse_criminelle-360x430

The first time I heard of Tubereuse Criminelle  was on Mumsnet. A Mumsnetter found it so appallingly bad that she was inspired to start a thread entitled “Worst Ever Perfumes”.  The thread is now in its sixth incarnation, which means over 5,000 replies have been posted and the thread has evolved from worst to best, from SOTDs to recommendations hither and thither.  Samples have been swapped and perfume true loves have been discovered.  And all because of the notorious Tubereuse Criminelle.

fragrancelife.ru
fragrancelife.ru

Created by the prestigious and prolific Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens, Criminelle is certainly a Madame with dark intentions.  I have long thought that Tuberose, when good quality, is creamy almost to the point of being medicinal, and Christopher Sheldrake must have thought the same (I flatter myself to think we agree, he is a genius and I, a mere passionate amateur). Sheldrake has taken the almost chemical notes of uber strong, nuclear Tuberose and concentrated it to the Nth degree until it smells like something else, at least initially.

On first spray, Criminelle smells like  TCP antiseptic along with clean fabric sticking plasters.  This is not a complaint: I rather like it. Then it smells like the pink mouth wash you get at a dentist, then it finally calms down a bit and the Tuberose (XXX strong), starts to come out after doing a rather tricky striptease in the opening Act.

The Tuberose is accompanied by Jasmine, Hyacinth, and Orange Blossom, with a base of Styrax,  Clove and Nutmeg.  What this translates to on my skin is: Antiseptic, then Tuberose to the Max, and finally a faint whiff of dried leaves, like old pot pourri still with satiny Tuberose infusing everything.

This is utterly dastardly in its deception and its tricksy opening, and then a triumph as the bud opens to reveals the flower.

wiki
wiki

Longevity, as you would expect from a Serge, is around nine hours.  Two things: don’t wear it in company before noon, and don’t buy it blind. I would love a full bottle of this, and would treasure it like gold.

I have a very kind soul to thank for this sample- follower and friend of the blog, meganinstmaxime sent me this sample all the way from France.  In keeping with its crafty nomenclature, this sample disappeared into thin air after I tried it.  I looked everywhere- even going through the bin at one point. I turned my house upside down, raiding drawers, my handbag, my desk, the sofa, the kitchen and everywhere you could think of.

This morning I found it- on the chopping board.  Why? What on earth…? I tell you, this is a crafty one.

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Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse: A Cluedo Mystery Beckons

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 Miller Harris is a high quality brand, and I have yet to be disappointed by any of their scents. Whether I like them all or not, I cannot claim that they are anything other than beautifully put together and of the highest quality. Naturally with a wide range, there will be some I don’t like alongside the many I do.

We can put Noix de Tubereuse into the category of “The Jury’s Still Out”.

I’ve been wearing it for two days now and I’m still not certain about it. Its Tuberose for sure, that much is immediately clear, but there was a question mark over this that I couldn’t quite get past.

The first time I tried it, I thought of biscuits. The second time I thought of Hay or the Nuts (noix) of the title. The more I thought about it the more I thought there  was a kind of savoury note in this (dramatic flashbacks to the savoury note in hideous Womanity *scream face*). There are no nut notes listed in this, but I was sure I could detect the scent or taste of them.

There are several notes in Noix de Tubereuse that could be guilty. One of them is Clover. Could Clover be the culprit? Another is Mimosa, a straw like yellow flower scent. Was that the meanie killing my White Flower buzz?

Then there is Orris root. Not a million miles from the  rooty smell of Iris, maybe it was the Orris root?

Starting to feel like Poirot in a parlour full of suspects, I never did get enough evidence to get to the bottom of what is stopping me enjoying Noix de Tubereuse. It could be a solo culprit, or it could have several accomplices.

If I’m completely honest and ignoring the list of notes, I will say hand on heart, that this smells like Tuberose and Nuts. It really does. And I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.

I’m not in love with it, but I would ask for it’s phone number at a later date. Who knows. I might even give it a call.

Stockists

You can buy Miller Harris Noix de Tuberose from Escentual.com.

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