Have you ever tried an inexpensive perfume that was so good you thought you’d been undercharged? That’s how I felt when my little Yves Rocher consignment arrived recently. Tucked away on the website is a small selection of excellent 20ml scents that cost me only £4 a bottle. Vanille Bourbon was one of them and all I can say is Crikey Moses, this is good stuff.
Now vanilla, as you know, can smell like cheap candles or like delicious buttery boozy liqueur that makes you want to swoon. You have to try a lot of bottles to find the latter and this one falls into that category.
Despite being an eau de toilette, Vanille Bourbon lasted ages on my skin and I was getting delightful wafts up to five hours later when I found myself sniffing the air and saying “mm, someone smells nice,” realising later that it was me. I was the someone.
The only note listed for this fragrance is vanilla, but that’s a wide net. This has facets of woods, soft musk, some unidentifiable floral notes, and an edge of smoky toasted sugar, like the singed edges of a Crème Caramel. For a fleeting second, it smelled like spiced whisky, but overall, I would call this a milky, musky, floral and a very, very rich (kazillionaire) vanilla. It’s as satisfying as a mouthful of good crème brûlée and cost me a mere £4. Yes, I had change from a fiver. Well, I would have if I hadn’t bought four others in the range, more of which anon.
Yves Rocher Vanilla Bourbon is fantastic value and a dream of a vanilla scent. Not a cheap candle in sight.
Yves Rocher Vanilla Bourbon 20ml EDT is only £4 from the Yves Rocher UK website. I won’t be parted from mine.
Yves Rocher is a trusty brand that’s been going strong since 1959. Although there are no branches in the UK, they have a good UK mail order service and send you freebies and extras every time you order. I just ordered 6 x 20ml bottles of fragrances that I will be reviewing soon, but as a bonus, I was also sent a 10ml bottle of latest launch Oui a L’Amour. This may have been a freebie, or it may have been a blogger perk. I’m not sure. Not to worry. Free perfume is never turned away!
Oui a L’Amour is a simple affair. It opens with herby Angelica. If I said this was a herby sort of rose scent you might expect something botanical and green, but actually the Angelica is plump and juicy like a cactus. It’s neither sweet nor sharp but somewhere in the middle. In fact, when I first smelled this I wanted to call it a fruity floral even though I could see that it wasn’t.
After the Angelica comes the rose and it’s very prominent and beautiful with clean, powdery facets. After that comes tonka bean (kind of like nutty dried grass) which I mistook for vanilla, and not for the first time. There’s cedar in the base, which comes across as slightly tangy and almost citrussy.
Tie all that together and what have we got? A very clean rose fragrance with touches of juicy garden leaves and a sharp woody finish.
It smells clean and light and very feminine. It’s perfect for work and passes the commuter and the office test with flying colours.
There’s no sickly syrup, no big, rich jasmine overtaking anything,, and none of the usual rent-a-scent suspects that I have come across so often lately.
I say oui to Oui a L’Amour.
You can buy Oui a L’Amour from Yves Rocher UK, Yves Rocher.Fr Extra thumbs up for selling affordable 10ml purse sprays. Opinions are my own.
Over on Fragrantica several Fragrantica visitors are comparing it to Thierry Mugler Angel, and the rich vanilla and heavy patchouli certainly will have some bearing on this. I find the original So Elixir very similar to Chanel Coco Mademoiselle too. Certainly fans of those two mega sellers will find something to enjoy here.
On my skin Bois Sensual has vanilla and woods immediately, with a rich autumnal heat that I could have sworn was amber. This smells very similar to Parfums Gres Ambre de Cabochard.
In fact there is no amber, and don’t let the fact that I have just compared it to three other scents give the impression that this is generic. It’s a crowd pleaser yes, but I find it both rich and contemporary .
Oddly enough, this rich warm scent claims to have only three notes: Iris, vanilla and patchouli, but I found woods and amber framing everything right from the start. The iris was harder to find, but iris and I have a chequered relationship anyway.
The full bottle price is reasonable at £18.90 for 30ml but it was a blind buy so I just bought the purse spray for £8. I love it when brands make purse sprays- it’s better than a sample and cheaper than a full bottle. I think it’s a smart move on the part of Yves Rocher since they have no shops in this country for you to go and have a sniff.
Yves Rocher is a brand I am rather fond of. I have at least four full bottles* and have yet to try one I disliked. I was kindly sent a bottle of Quelques Notes D’Amour by Yves Rocher and I thank them warmly for their generosity. I am always happy to receive perfume to review, on the proviso that I may not like it and I may say so! However, I will always be honest and well mannered.
Here goes then: At first I did not like Quelques Notes D’Amour but after three days of wearing it in day time and even overnight in bed (a very good test of a scent) it has won me over.
When I first smelled it on day one, I thought it was fairly generic and it went a bit cardboard-y/Crayola crayons on me after around half an hour. However, the bottle was so pretty and the reviews so positive on Fragrantica that I wondered if I was missing something so tried again.
This time round I really started to respect the kind of rose scent this is. The rose is not a watercolour rose, as it is in the rather lovely Comme Une Evidence, but more of a sophisticated, complex, woody rose. In fact the first phase is pink pepper, which may have put me off at first. Pink pepper is a red berry that is often used in fruity florals, and in my opinion, has been used with too heavy a hand of late. In Quelques Notes D’Amour its just the warm up act because the middle phase becomes a thick, rich woody Damascene rose. It’s definitely an Autumn/Winter rose rather than a light one for summer and would also serve you well as an evening fragrance.
The base note is long and rich and even a little spiky with patchouli and Guaiac wood (used so well in Hilary Duff With Love). There’s warm benzoin and green cedar too, but I can’t help thinking that the pink pepper and the rose never really went away.
Quelques Notes D’Amour comes in a beautiful bottle and is, in my opinion, not for teens -and hooray for that! Those young people get wayyyy too many new launches aimed at them. We “over 27s” ( Okay I’m 44) like being catered for and for that alone I am giving this a thumbs up. For being a rich, woody rose that repelled me then changed my mind and reeled me in, I give this another thumbs up. If I had a third thumb, I would give yet another thumbs up because Yves Rocher have a purse spray on offer, which is a great way of trying a fragrance before buying a full bottle. I have a thing for purse sprays, so this pleased me no end.
Yves Rocher, keep up the sterling work. As you were.
Stockists: You can buy Quelques Notes D’Amour from the UK Yves Rocher website. To my chums in the USA and Canada- sadly this is not yet available over on your patch, but I can heartily recommend Moment de Bonheur, Comme Une Evidence and So Elixir, all of which are on the Yves Rocher USA site.
* The Yves Rocher scents I own are; Comme Une Evidence, Cléa, Yria, and Yves Rocher Fraicheur Vegetale Verveine. I also recommend the lovely So Elixir. You can find reviews of them all on this blog.
When I reach a milestone I like to do a top ten, just for fun. Today’s milestone sees me reaching 400 posts.
Being June it seems apt to write about my favourite summer scents, although if I was guessing the month by the weather, I would probably think it was November. It’s hard to choose ten favourite summer scents. As soon as I complete the list, I think of another ten and I have to rearrange them all again as if I’m doing a seating plan at a small wedding. The other factor of course is that British weather is so very changeable. As soon as I dust off the astringent colognes, the sky goes dark and the winds go chilly so I’m dusting off the winter stuff again. Here I am talking as if I ever put any of my perfumes away ever! Of course I don’t, and it’s just as well as I’m looking out at a very gloomy damp day here in Wales.
However, I have managed to cull it down to ten, which doesn’t mean that I don’t love about fifty or so others, but you can’t go far too wrong with the following mash-up. Do let me know if you agree or if you have a favourite yourself. I love to hear from you.
1. Chanel Cristalle
To me, Chanel Cristalle is the definitive classy green scent. I’ve worn it for two decades and I never tire of it. In fact its mossy base is just as good in winter. My review is here.
2. O de Lancome
O de Lancome fizzes like lemonade on my skin and smells like summer in a bottle. It’s all bergamot and mosses and leaves and stems and citruses. What more can we ask for in a summer perfume? Lasting power is also excellent. My review is here.
3. Un Jardin en Mediterranee
Since fig seems to flourish in the continental heat, you can’t go far wrong with Un Jardin en Mediterranee in summer. Created by Jean Claude Ellena, everything has his characteristic lightness of touch. As a result, this is thirst quenchingly good ,with a fruitiness that works well in chilled wine too. My review is here.
4. Eau D’Epices
A Tauer spice with dewdrops in it. Similar to L’Air du Desert Marocain, there is something about the Eau in Eau D’Epices that means this is never too heavy on a hot day. It lasts from dawn til dusk too. My review is here.
5. Yves Rocher Fraicheur Vegetale de Verveine (Verbena)
I’m a recent convert to Eau de Sisley 1 having reviewed just last week. Totally unisex, this is earthy and fresh at the same time. Longevity is excellent. My review is here.
7. Muelhens original 4711
When budgets forbid and profligacy is out of the question, you can never go wrong with this steadfast classic. I never tire of 4711 Original and wish more people would wear it.
8. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea
Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, and its many good flankers, are often available for under a tenner, the combination of Green Tea and Bergamot cuts through the heat. Longevity isn’t brilliant, but the price permits frequent resprays without breaking the bank.
I recently bought a bottle of Yria from Yves Rocher, at the same time as I bought a bottle of Yves Rocher Clea. Both were a blind buy and the special offer that week was buy one get one free- hence I bagged both scents for a total of £15.
You may recall my earlier review of Clea, elsewhere in this blog, which I liked very much. (It smells a bit like Dove!) I was immediately taken with Yria. Thoughts of long lost gem Avon Foxfire came to mind as I smelled it. It is feminine and classically “perfumey” i.e it smells how I imagined perfume ought to smell when I was growing up. It’s a broad combination, and I suppose, if forced into a corner, I would describe it as an Oriental. However it’s a light floral Oriental that retains it prettiness throughout.
The notes, according to my beloved Fragrantica, are as follows: Top notes: coriander, mandarin and Bergamot. Middle notes: Gardenia, Lily of the Valley, Rose, Jasmine, Magnolia. Base notes: Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Patchouli, Amber, Vanilla.
It opens with fresh citrus florals and has a certain zing when it goes on. However, that zing is no hesperide: right from the start the floral notes (all the big hitters are present and correct) warm up the citruses, so this doesn’t smell too eau de cologne.
Once the flowers move in, and you can particularly notice the Gardenia and Rose, the scent starts to warm up with a little Amber and Patchouli. With the juxtaposition of Magnolia over Patchouli, there are hints of Narciso Rodriguez For Her and Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely. However, Yria has the Amber and the Sandalwood to make the base warmer and more of an evening scent. I have to say, I adore this, and its lovely bottle. It’s very versatile.
You could wear it to work (but go easy first thing in the morning) and wear it in the evening too. It’s a warm Oriental lite with enough flowers to stop things getting to heavy. Longevity is great at around six or seven hours, and quality is superb. I can’t believe it was the price it was. It knocks the socks off most of the modern High Street scents I have smelled in the last year.
I often cringe when a perfume is regarded as “Old Lady”. For one thing, the old ladies round my way smell better than the young ladies. It’s the older crowd that wear Estee Lauder Cinnabar and Aromatics Elixir, and the younger crowd that smell of Sweet Shops. Secondly, Old Lady is often used as a term for any perfume with powdery notes or a powdery drydown. My ears prick up when I hear someone describe a perfume as “Old Lady”. To my mind, it usually means a decent Chypre is up for grabs. It does amuse me however, when I hear my mother describe a perfume as “too Old Lady”. She is 67 this year, and very far from Old Lady herself.
However, “Old Lady” interpretations can vary wildly from nation to nation. I hear from a French friend of a friend that Cacharel LouLou is regarded as Old Lady over in France. Over here in the UK, Yves Rocher Clea would be regarded as Old Lady, with its powdery soapiness, but such is the demand for it in France, that Yves Rocher has kept it going since 1980. That’s no mean feat from Yves Rocher, who decimate ruthlessly.
Clea is an Oriental scent with powdery notes and a soapy drydown. It is spicy in a muted way, i.e Vetiver and Sandalwood, and has excellent longevity. The bottle is vintage in style, not quite out of fashion, but definitely early 80s: the version I have is clear glass with a gold lid. The strongest notes are Amber, Roses, Patchouli and Lily of The Valley. Clea smells of clean lotion and clean talc and has just enough of a Patchouli hit to be alluring. If it was a colour it would be a translucent Ambery glow.
This reminds me very much of the much mourned Avon Timeless, and would also go down well with fans of Lanvin Arpege. In fact, I prefer this to Arpege as it has all the oriental, powdery glory with none of the peaches.
Considering the timeless quality of Clea, going strong for 34 years now, the price is a steal. Yves Rocher prices vary a lot from week to week, but I bought this alongside a £15 bottle of Yves Rocher Yria and got it for free: otherwise it’s only around £15 for a 75ml bottle.
I recently ordered a set of minis from Yves Rocher and included in that set was a cute little 5ml bottle of Yves Rocher Secrets D’Essences Neroli. The Secrets D’Essences is a superb range and frankly, you can’t go wrong with any of them. The standard is higher than the low price would lead you to expect.
Sadly, I didn’t get on with Secrets D’Essences Neroli as I simply don’t like Neroli on its own. I’m not saying this is a bad perfume, but it’s not for me. I prefer my Neroli in a choir, rather than doing a solo. If you are a Neroli fan, you have found a real treasure here and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
So why am I not taken with it? Well, there is the faintest hint of orange jelly in the background, then some white petals desperately trying to get in the door ( and I really want to let them in, but they are too weak to barge in). Then there is the honey, which I always, without exception, find too sickly in perfume.
So if oranges, honey and a flutter of white petals is your thing, then this is a safe bet. If you like your Neroli next to sturdier ingredients, then this is probably not for you. Don’t forget about layering though- this would be good with musk or a green scent over the top. If you’re on the fence, you can buy a purse sprayon the Yves Rocher website for just 7GBP.
I love Yves Rocher. They may feel a little less accessible due to their absence on the British High Street, but their generosity keeps customers like me coming back for more.
This week, I ordered a little post Christmas Cheer-Me-Up consisting of four mini perfumes from Yves Rocher in a little decorative drum. As well as that I was allowed to choose one of three free gifts up to the value of 45GBP. Naturally I chose the perfume. As well as that, I was allowed to choose up to three free samples of selected products. Again, unsurprisingly, I chose the perfume. When my parcel arrived, I was thrilled. I received four 5ml bottles, three samples, a 30ml bottle of So Elixir EDP and a matching 200ml of body lotion, all for 14GBP plus P&P which I think was £3.95.
I immediately got stuck in, finding it achingly hard to stick to my rule of one scent:one wrist. However, I tried So Elixir and decided to write about that one first.
If you like Chanel Coco Mademoiselle but wish it had more guts and glory, then you are in for a treat. So Elixir is very much in the same vein as Coco Mademoiselle, but I find it far more agreeable, due to the lack of Vanilla. In many ways, the Rose and Patchouli in So Elixir make it similar to Narciso Rodriguez For Her or SJP Lovely, whilst still maintaining the Coco Floral/Oriental genre.
On me it opens smelling of Roses, Musk and Tonka Bean. Then the Patchouli marches in and maintains a masterly presence by the fireplace. Rounded off with rich incense, and keeping the Roses all the way through, So Elixir is a damn good buy at only 23.10GBP.
Oh and did I mention it won the Grand Prix du Parfum in 2010? It deserved to. If splashing out over 64 quid on Coco Mademoiselle gives you a January headache, Yves Rocher may be able to help you out for a third of the price.
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 raising 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.