Sunday, 30 January 2011

Oranges and marmalade

In some ways the use of citrus notes in perfume is so ubiquitous. We almost take it for granted that an opening in a perfume will contain a citrus accord of some sort. Yet very seldom are we able to define it, or at least I'm not. For example, I often write down, when trying to document a fragrance on my skin, "starts with a burst of citrus", or "a vague citrus note", or something equally mundane. I'm not quite sure, but I think a lot of us are lead to believe that a citrus note is merely a bridge to something more important or profound, where the star players come to the fore. Is this because we think citrus smells are simple?

Which brings me to the main topic of this post - oranges and marmalade. On paper, marmalade is quite simply an orange or other citrus jam, or to list the ingredients at their most basic, orange rind, water and sugar. And yes, that is all that there is to it! But I defy anyone who has made or eaten marmalade to claim that it smells or tastes simple. January is the month for buying Seville oranges, used to make proper, bitter marmalade. I make jars of this stuff at this time of year, snapping up any that come to our local greengrocer. As some of you may know, certainly in this part of the world at least, Seville oranges have a very short season, usually hitting the shops in early January and gone before the month is out. My recipe for marmalade is simple. I simmer the oranges whole until they are softened and have collapsed slightly, then cut open, scooping out all the fruit, seeds and pith. I then slice the rinds thinly, and bring to the boil in the cooking liquor with a muslin bag full of some of the reserved seeds (pectin for set). I then add the sugar and boil until a jammy consistency and bottle. Voila - simple! I should point out that when it comes to jams and preserves I prefer less sugar. I hate cloyingly sweet jams, and much prefer the fruit to stand out, with that delicious tang to the extent that the sugar is only just enough to counterbalance the acidity. I also dislike a very set jam. Jam aficionados seem obsessed with the set, whereas I prefer my jam to be more like a conserve, ever so slightly runny. I can't stand trying to spread a jam that is more like toffee or a fruit cheese. 

But getting back the the smell - to me there is something so satisfying about the smell of simmering Seville oranges. They fill my house with a wonderful aroma of citrus that is at once both very citrusy and yet surprisingly sweet. The smell is a little like that when making caramel, which might be the sugars in the fruit dissipating into the water. What amazes me most is that cooking Seville oranges smell so aromatically sweet, yet when you taste the water or their skins, the result is the most bitter taste you can find. No wonder then that you need to add loads of sugar to counteract that bitterness. Like a lot of things in life, everything needs a balance, a counterpoint, a yin and yang. The delight of eating marmalade is that contrast yet balance of bitter aromatic fruit and satisfying caramel sweetness. And the delight of making marmalade is taking a fruit that is inedible in its raw state and turning it into a culinary marvel, at least in my eyes.

So to my final point - the smell and taste of marmalade is very complex to me, and that proves that citrus can be a complex smell, so why not in perfumery? I'm sure there are orange perfumes out there that are complex and wonderful, and I expect you to tell me which they are!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Scentless Saturday

I hate days when I go scentless (commando is another story...). It's been a frigidly freezing day here in old Blighty, with an icy wind out of the north east, and I've pretty much sat indoors all day, thinking about Spring, which still seems so far away. Daffodil leaves are tentatively pushing out of the cold earth, but I need a lot more assurance that those warmer days are not that far away.

I didn't wear any perfume today, which kinda bugs me. It will probably do me good to have an olfactory break for a change.

Friday, 28 January 2011

DSH Vintage Patchouly

In my experience to date, the DSH perfumes I have tried have been very nice, but rather fleeting on my skin. I'm dabbing from vials, so that might be part of the reason, but I feel like I want more from them, and in order to do that, they need to hang around a bit longer.

I think I've found one that ticks the right boxes in Vintage Patchouly. The notes (from DSH website) include bergamot, rosewood, East Indian patchouli, Moroccan rose absolute, Mysore sandalwood, amber, Australian sandalwood, ambergris, benzoin, ciste absolute, Himalayan cedar, moss and tobacco absolute. Now this is quite a list of notes. To be honest, thinking about it now I can detect the sandalwood and tobacco, but to my mind the patchouli is so beautiful and distinctive that it easily overshadows everything else in the composition. When I think of some of my favourite patchoulis, I think in particular of Borneo 1834, Lui, Patchouli Noir and to a lesser extent, Coromandel. Vintage Patchouly to my mind takes the best of all of these, and then in the dry down exhibits some of the more animalic characteristics evident in Lombre Fauvre. 

Vintage Patchouly starts off as a fairly sweet, woody patchouli. This woodiness might come from the rosewood. Just underneath this, as the patchouli comes to the fore, is a wet, earthy leaves smell, ever so slightly dank and musty. The fragrance becomes very rich and almost polished in feel and I detect what smells to me like a high quality dark chocolate, lightly sweetened and even a touch nutty. The camphor-like nature of patchouli does rear its head for a short while, but ultimately this is a smooth and rich, comforting earthy scent. The rich earthiness possibly comes from the tobacco and the smooth, slightly sweet nature from the sandalwood, but as I said earlier, patchouli is the dominant note. 

In the far dry down the more animalic nature of this fragrance is revealed, no doubt partly due to the presence of the ciste. The base is dryer, and still very woody and this is the point at which Vintage Patchouly to me smells like a sexy skin scent, almost musky. The patchouli, as is often the case in my experience, toes that line between sweetly comforting and slightly disturbing, almost feral, but not quite, sexual, yet slightly old-fashioned. It's hard to explain, but what I can say is that this is a wonderful fragrance and by the far the best I have tried so far in the DSH line. It has officially joined my list of favourite patchouli fragrances. I must admit, this is full bottle worthy for me.

Friday roundup

The perfume sections of department stores in my part of the world are in a state of frenzy, trying to get rid of the old stock, a hangover from Christmas time, including many unwanted box sets. It's the usual suspects in many cases, although I did see a mini-set of Estee Lauder Men's fragrances on sale, marked down from £32 to £16. I'm curious to try Lauder Man, which is one of the four in the set, but honesty, the rest don't interest me at all, and I'm not convinced I want to pay £16 for what will essentially be 5ml of juice.

I did smell one of the Estee Lauder Private Collection fragrances, Tuberose and Gardenia, and it is a lovely, pretty thing. I might check this one out again in the spring. I also smelled Cinnabar for the first time, and I actually think it smells good. A lot of people seem to deride it, saying it is another, slightly inferior Opium and Coco clone. It may be, I don't really know, but I've certainly smelled a lot worse.

It's been a good week for me, perfume-wise. I haven't tried anything new, but like last week, I have revisited some of my older samples, including Andy Tauer's Incense Rose, Incense Extreme, Lonestar Memories and L'Air du Desert Au Marocain, Black Tourmaline by Olivier Durbano, some Middle Eastern musk oils and a newcomer to my sample collection, Vintage Patchouly by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. More to come in another review on that one.

I'm definitely ready for another sample order. I can feel that credit card calling my name and I'm hoping to try some new and exciting stuff. I've read some good reviews of Xerjoff, despite their high price tag.

I find, like Josephine over at NotesfromJosephine, that I am really drawn to incense at the moment, for some reason. I can wear incense perfumes at any time of year - it's possibly my favourite genre - but I feel the urge even more so right now.

New releases are still few and far between in my neck of the woods. I think shops are still trying to get rid of older merchandise before getting in the new stuff, although the new Jimmy Choo is sure to be here soon. Cynical me - I can't say I'm holding my breath in anticipation...

Have a good weekend all.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Abdul Samad al Qurashi - Musk a Ajeeb Oil & Musk Aoud Oil

I acquired samples of these two musk oils from The Perfumed Court in summer last year. I wrote about Musk a Ajeeb Oil in a post here. At the time I tested this I wrote that I was perplexed by this musk, as it bore no resemblance to the Western musks we are more used to. More than six months on and I don't know if my feelings have changed. I think one thing is for sure - these musk oils definitely are easier to wear in cooler weather. In summer Ajeeb was a bit of a monster on me, pungent, forceful and dark. In winter it is marginally lighter, but by no means a wilting flower.

I still feel a bit confused when comparing Western musks to Middle-Eastern musks. I think in the West we are so used to lighter and cleaner laundry musks that when we encounter something more animalic and disturbing, it's a bit of a shock. At least, it was to me. I am a fan of more animalic musks like Serge Lutens' Muscs Koublai Khan, but even that one is tame compared to these by Abdul Samad al Qurashi. I felt it last year, and I still do now, which is that these musk oils smell earthy, fungal, pungent, cola-ish, resinous, or to be more blunt, complex. They just do. It's hard to explain, but they verge on repulsive, yet are still compelling enough to keep on smelling.

Musk Aoud Oil is a thick, almost waxy oil that is an opaque white colour. It looks a bit like vaseline. It is easier to wear than the Ajeeb, as the musk smells a bit lighter and more like the laundry musks we are familiar with, without actually being that tame. The oud is not forceful or medical, but rather lends a lightly spicy, resinous and woody feel to the composition. It is almost a skin scent really, but still very long-lasting. I really like it.

Musk a Ajeeb Oil looks frightening even in a vial. The oil is dark and treacly, and looks like what you would get if you reduced Coca Cola to a thick syrup. When applied on skin it is an orange colour, like the fat you get from minced meat cooked with tomatoes. The longevity of Ajeeb is staggering. On skin it does mellow and meld to an extent, but if you get this on fabric or anything else, you are set to have it stick around for a long time. To give you an example, I kept on smelling a weird musky smell in my car for a couple of months. Perplexed, I eventually opened the glove compartment to find a pair of sunglasses that I had misplaced. The smell was emanating from these and when I smelled them, I remembered that I had kept them in a bag with the musk oil at some point previously. Some of the oil had obviously rubbed onto the glasses and two months later the smell was still tenacious enough to scent my vehicle! So a word of warning there...

Ajeeb is by far the more complex of the two oils. It starts quite sweet and cola-ish, then progresses to a deep, resinous earthy-musky-dank accord that teeters between  repulsive and compulsive. There is something in there that almost catches in the back of my throat, yet for some strange reason it still draws me in. I want to describe this in more detail, but I'm struggling. There is something about Ajeeb that smells like decay and yet sexy-erotic at the same time. 

In summary, if you are looking to explore musks in more detail and would like to find something challenging, I would strongly urge you to try these. I know there are lots of other Middle-Eastern musk oils out there and it's a complex field, so I don't even know how good the quality is, but irrespective, I am still fascinated by both Ajeeb and Musk Aoud.

I'd be interested to hear if any of you have tried these or any other musks like this, and whether they confuse and fascinate you as much as these do me.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Andy Tauer revisited

Like Gaia over at The Non-Blonde, most of Andy Tauer's fragrances feel like they could have been made for me. The incense-based ones in particular wear so well on my skin, if I may say so myself. There are a couple that just do not agree with me at all, namely Reverie au Jardin and Vetiver Dance. For some reason they make me retch, which I hate to say, but it is thus.

The others are a different ball game altogether. I wore Incense Extreme and Incense Rose the other day, one on either wrist, for comparison. They are strikingly similar - if one were to remove the rose note from Incense Rose they would be an extremely close fit indeed. I think of the two I prefer Incense Extreme. It has a gorgeously true and striking incense note, with supporting notes of iris, cedarwood and ambergris. There's a lot more in there I think, but one is never left in doubt that this is all about frankincense. In a way it is quite straightforward, but the smoky incense is sweetened slightly and has a waft-like character, like smoke drifting on a breeze. Although a strong fragrance, it is not cloying and is well-balanced.

Incense Rose is a lot sweeter than Incense Extreme, with a strong rose element to it. It is possibly the most powerful Tauer I have worn. Without wishing to exaggerate, Incense Rose has a staggering longevity on me, lasting the whole day, through a shower and to the next morning. I would strongly advise not using more than a couple of sprays in this instance, where less is definitely more, if you know what I mean! As the fragrance progresses, the incense takes more of a starring role, but the rose is never far away. However, as I said before, these two perfumes are sisters and very alike.

Although I personally prefer Incense Extreme, I would not hesitate recommending you at least sample both. I wouldn't personally see a need for a full bottle of both in my collection but you might feel differently.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Agent Provocateur - Agent Provocateur

I'm often surprised by how little I read about the original Agent Provocateur released in 2000. It is a wonderful, slightly dirty, rose fragrance, with saffron to start, and ends up smelling like a modern rose-chypre in some way.

Reading the reviews, this perfume seems to really divide opinion. Those that don't like it seem to be turned off by the perceived 'dirty' note, which some people have described as dirty sex, unwashed vagina and two-day-old knickers. Woah. In truth, unless I'm missing something obvious, Agent Provocateur does not smell anything as sexual as the above, in my opinion at least. Yes, it does have a slightly kinky, dirty element, but these descriptions verge on the ridiculous.

The notes from Basenotes include saffron, coriander, Moroccan rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, magnolia, white gardenia, amber, musk and vetiver. There are some serious florals in the heart, but on my skin I detect mainly the rose, and a wonderful, spicy rose it is too, no doubt amplified by the saffron and coriander. I don't find the florals overwhelming at all. Agent Provocateur manages to be simultaneously fresh and dark, clean and dirty, all at the same time, which is quite a feat.

Agent Provocateur made their name, if I'm not mistaken, by selling sexy women's underwear, so perhaps it is tempting to take the obvious step and assume the perfume will evoke sex. In a way it does. This is a sexy fragrance, but entirely unisex in my opinion, and while it does bring to mind the boudouir, I don't think it is as overtly smutty-sexual as some reviewers make it out to be.

If you enjoy rose fragrances, particularly slightly darker ones, for example Paestum Rose, Rose Poivre, Le Labo Rose 31, etc, I think you might like this one too, at a much lower price, I might add.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Perfume thought for the day

I was in the shower this morning, thinking about perfume for a change, when a thought crossed my mind. I've been reading a lot of books recently, ranging from Lee Child to Philip Roth. Then I thought about this range and wondered if our experience with any art form is similar. For example, if I had never heard of Philip Roth, or he hadn't been recommended to me, would I have read him, and if I had, would I have appreciated his work as much if I hadn't known that he was a Pulitzer Prize winner for example? In a similar vein, would I care about say the Mona Lisa, if I didn't know it was world famous? I mean, if I happened to wander into the Louvre and just see a tiny picture hanging in the corner of a room, depicting a rather serene woman, without the hordes of tourists, would I have said "wow!!"? Taking that analogy to perfume, if I smelled anything by say Serge Lutens, Frederic Malle, Caron or Guerlain, without having had any prior knowledge of them, would I have been wowed by them to the extent I have? 

My question is really this - to what extent are we influenced by reputation and review in any art? If I had never heard of Serge Lutens, and every review I read said that those perfumes were shit, would I have even tried them? Or looking at it another way, if a bog-standard mainstream fragrance received glowing reviews from all the perfumerati and bloggers out there, I wonder to what extent I would be duped into believing it was so good?

I suppose another question could be: to what extent do we really form our own unique opinion on any art form, including perfume?

Cartier Declaration Cologne

I think I've mentioned before that I am a big fan of the original Cartier Declaration. It is a fantastic fragrance, created by Jean Claude Elena, no less, with a hefty but judicious dose of cumin and cedar. Today I tried a flanker that came out last year, called Cartier Declaration Cologne. I was actually pleasantly surprised. Overall it is a much fresher and somewhat lighter fragrance than the original, but certainly not inferior, and in keeping with a cologne theme. The freshness comes from the sharp zing of ginger and a lot more citrus than in the original. The key for me though is this: the ginger and citrus do not smell mass market/generic masculine at all and therein lies the charm. This is a modernised Declaration for the warmer months, without compromising the original. The cumin and woods in the cologne never quite reach the pitch of the original, but this suits the cologne style, I think.

Would I buy Cartier Declaration Cologne? Well, no, not if I owned and was familiar with the original, which I am. However, it is not a poor flanker at all and as I said, great for summer.

Image credit -

Hugo Boss Orange

When I was a lot younger, I used to wear quite a few of the Hugo Boss fragrances. In fact, back in the day I thought Hugo Boss was the most hip thing in perfume, such was my lack of exposure. I still own a Hugo Boss fragrance today, in the Baldessarini line, called Del Mar. 

Boss Orange for Men is a new release, which I smelled today for the first time. However, it didn't feel as if it was the first time, because in my hackneyed view, if you've smelled one Hugo Boss, you've smelled them all. Boss Orange smells like Baldessarini Del Mar, with some added orange. At the risk of sounding disillusioned, most Hugo Boss fragrances smell watery and marine-like, with hefty doses of massively synthetic amber and ambergris. Look, I'll be honest, Boss Orange smells ok. It is inoffensive, with mass market appeal, exactly what a lot of mainstream fragrances want. I bet it will sell like hot cakes. But I need more from a perfume, and Hugo Boss doesn't do it for me anymore.

I note that Orlando Bloom is the face of the new Boss Orange, stating: "Boss Orange is a brand I immediately identified with because it has a laid back, spontaneous quality I relate to". Well, in fairness, Boss Orange is laid back, but spontaneous? I don't think so. To my mind laid back and spontaneous are slightly incongruous anyway. To my mind Boss Orange is safe, safe, safe. Or to put it another way, guaranteed to sell, sell, sell, and in the process, ensure the financial safety of Hugo Boss.

Image credit -

Sunday, 23 January 2011

A brief look at Shalimar

I'm not intending to write about Shalimar in any great detail, suffice to say that I have enjoyed it for a number of years, having bought the eau de parfum for my wife. I wear Shalimar regularly and don't find it overtly feminine. I love its combination of rich, sumptuous vanilla, smoky oppoponax and zingy citrus. Today I came across the eau de toilette at Boots and without really thinking gave myself a spritz. What struck me most was how different the opening is to the eau de parfum. It starts much lighter and with a much fresher and modern citrus. It was not until about half an hour later that I started to properly recognise it as Shalimar. Opinions differ, but many people seem to think the parfum extrait is the best concentration of Shalimar, while some mention the cologne. I haven't tried either, or any vintage versions, so can't comment. However I definitely prefer my eau de parfum concentration to the eau de toilette. 

What versions of Shalimar have you tried, and which is your favourite?

Image credit -

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Annick Goutal - Le Jasmin and Neroli

I mentioned in a post yesterday that I had tried two Solilflores by L'Occitane, Jasmine and Neroli, neither of which did much to impress me.

Today I was browsing and saw the 'equivalents' in the Annick Goutal line, so thought I would try them out. Neroli starts off with a gorgeous orange blast, slightly bitter and citrusy, then pretty much fades to nothing. I'm not complaining - these sort of fragrances are not usually long lasting affairs and I could easily picture myself wearing this with abandon in the summer. It's fresh, relatively unassuming, but very well done.  Le Jasmin, pictured top left, is more complicated to my nose, without ever smelling very jasmine-y, if you know what I mean. In other words, the indoles do not manifest here, leaving a fragrance that is breezy and fresh, without being simple. The notes listed are sparse - just Sambac jasmine, magnolia and ginger - but I swear I smell a lot more. I did a quick search for reviews on Le Jasmin and was interested to read that almost everyone finds this green, light and simple. It's true that the jasmine does not shout or become cloying, as it is wont to do, but in addition to this I get a dose of smoky incense, which is an interesting pairing with jasmine. In fact, when I first sprayed this out the bottle I thought I had put on Encens Flamboyant, so similar did it smell, initially. I even checked the bottle to make sure, but it definitely said Le Jasmin. 

I certainly preferred both Neroli and Le Jasmin to the L'Occitanes I tried. They are very well executed, although probably not totally my style. One thing I do know - Goutal has a lot of florals in their lineup, and they certainly know how to execute these very well.

Creed - Love in Black

Readers of my blog will probably have gathered by now that I am not a fully-paid-up member of the Creed fan club. Indeed, this is true, but I have to admit that there are a few I enjoy. I love Bois de Portugal for example, and for a long time now I have been trying a little of Love in Black, which, surprising for a violet-dominant scent, has won me over big time.

I should point out that I don't usually like violet as a perfume note. I can't really explain why, other than there is something slightly repulsive about the earthy, powdery, yet sweet accord I get in most cases. However, for some reason Love in Black has slowly seduced me and won me over. The notes according to Les Senteurs include violet, blackcurrant, cinnamon, clove, Florentine iris, Damask rose and ambergris, with musks. Now while iris is mentioned, I find that Love in Black is still mostly about violet, but a deliciously dark and earthy take on it, without that powderiness that I find so off putting. What I particularly like about this perfume is how perfectly unisex it is. I often find violet perfumes quite feminine, but Love in Black is a complex, sultry composition that manages to smell mysterious, but still immensely wearable. 

In a way I wish I could analyse this perfume in more detail, but I can't. Suffice to say that it has captivated me. I don't think Love in Black will be to everyone's taste, but if you are someone that usually steers clear of violet notes, I can definitely recommend this one to you, with a very different take on this note.

Mother remembered

When I started this blog in March 2010, I wanted it to be only about perfume, seen through my eyes, and in many ways I still do. However, every now and then I share something slightly more personal on here, which is very unlike me actually. I am an intensely private person, to the extent that I'm sure many of my colleagues over the years, and even friends, have probably found this reticence quite frustrating. So, surprise surprise, I reveal all on the internet instead!

But seriously, I guess there is that degree of anonymity that comes with being online that makes it easier to share certain experiences, just like it is easier to email someone about something contentious, say, rather than look them in the eye and have to deliver the same news. Perhaps that is why people dump their boyfriends, girlfriends and partners on Facebook for example...

Today is the sixth anniversary of my mother's death. She died primarily from a lung disease called COPD, which stands for Cronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder, if ever a word of warning to those of you who smoke heavily - COPD is almost certainly a result most of the time of heavy and sustained smoking. My mum used to smoke about 40-60 cigarettes a day, although to her credit she gave up in the mid-eighties and died in 2005. This still goes to show though that the damage was done much earlier, despite giving up almost twenty years before her death at 65.

Technical details aside, this is a difficult time of year for me, my dad and my two sisters. I'm not going to analyse the grief associated with the death of a close family member. Too many of you probably are already more than well aware of this, and each person experiences grief and recovers from it (as much as one can) in a very unique and personal way. I can only speak for myself, and say that six years later the pain and grief is easier to bear, but it is still difficult. I expect it will be for the rest of my life.

So I dedicate this post, trivial as it might seem, to the memory of my mother, who meant so many different things to different people, and hope that one day we shall be reunited.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Friday roundup

It's been a bit of a strange week for me, perfume-wise. I've been very busy at work, which in my world is not conducive to a lot of fragrance exploration for some reason. I've mentioned it a number of times before - when I'm stressed and busy I seldom feel in the mood to wear a lot of perfume.

Having said that, I still covered a bit of ground, wearing mostly stuff I'm already very familiar with. Seeing as so many blogs have been writing about oud again, I thought I'd dig out my samples of Pure Oud By Kilian, Black Oud by Montale and Oud Homme by Micallef. Out of those three Oud Homme is by far the easiest to wear, while I think Black Oud is the most challenging. However its Pure Oud that is the most cerebral in my opinion. It is woody, mouldy, bone dry and faintly decaying. It fascinates me.

I also wore Yatagan by Caron, Incense Pure by Sonoma Scent Studio and one new perfume, Opus IV by Amouage. The latter was a sample courtesy of a giveaway by the talented Persolaise, whom I'm sure many of you are already familiar with. I'm not going to go into much detail now, as a review is forthcoming, but it is a scent of two halves for me. I'm lukewarm about the top and early middle phases, while the rest is compelling and very good indeed. 

Today I paid a visit to my local department stores and like last week, there is nothing new out there. I'm finding it a bit frustrating because if I'm honest, I'm a little bored with what is out there in mainstream land at present. Not that I'm holding high hopes for what is to come in this respect, perfume snob that I am! I did try Mandragore Pourpre by Annick Goutal, which to me smells just like the original, which I didn't like very much to start with. I also saw yet another endless flanker by Issey Miyake. I can't remember the name, but it was another variation on the same woody-nothing theme, noir-something-or-other. I also popped into L'Occitane, which you might recall from one of my other posts, now sell single-note eau de parfums, focusing on notes like Iris, Labdanum, Neroli and Jasmine. Today I tried Neroli and Jasmine, neither of which was particularly exciting. The jasmine in particular didn't smell a lot like jasmine to me, ending up rather like a lukewarm, pissy white floral. Yikes, I'm not selling these to you, am I?

I'm in serious need of another sample spree, fickle being that I am. I realised today that I last ordered from Luckyscent at the beginning of September, and from Les Senteurs in November, so I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms. I've got my eye on the Xerjoffs, but they are crazily expensive, even the samples, at around $10 a pop. I mean, that is the sort of price you pay for the Amouage Attars for Pete's sake! I'm also keen on Midnight in Paris by VC&A, De Bachmakov by The Different Company and Full Incense and Oud Musk by Montale. I don't know, we'll see.

Have a good weekend everyone. Oh, and American Idol has started again, so I guess I will be glued to the TV again for the next few months. I know chicks dig him, but is Steve Tyler not more than a little bit freaky looking? Jeez... Still, I like him.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Caron - Yatagan

Caron's Yatagan is a strange, yet compelling fragrance. It strikes me possibly as Caron's most unique men's perfume, although thinking about it, I'd hardly call L'Anarchiste or the Third Man boring. There's something about the opening of Yatagan that reminds me strongly of an old man's cologne. That might seem like a disparaging comment to make, but I don't mean it in a bad way. It is an intensely, astringent opening, full of bracing herbs. This phase reminds me of a cologne I used to smell on a father of one of my childhood friends. I don't think that what he wore was Yatagan, but it was certainly the early eighties, which was a time when I'm sure a lot of men would have been wearing this excellent perfume.

Much is made of Yatagan's wormwood note, and I think it is this note that causes me to perceive that intense, herbal theme that pervades this fragrance from start to finish. I've used the word intense a few times already because Yatagan is quite forceful and, I'm guessing, most definitely not for everyone. The development is quite linear after the opening, with perhaps a slight smoky phase, coupled with herbs and woods. I'd also say that there is a slight conifer feel to Yatagan, which also becomes a bit leathery later on, without ever feeling to me like an out-and-out leather scent. The dry down is perhaps a bit woodier, but again, that wormwood, herbal green note never goes away, always the main player in my opinion.

I can't really think of any other perfume that smells quite like Yatagan. It is an edgy perfume to my mind, to the extent that it is almost, but not quite, disturbing. At one point I thought that Mazzolari by Mazzolari smells a bit like it, but having tried that one again not so long ago I realise I was wrong. Other perfumes with a wormwood note include Amouage Memoir and I think Serge Luten's Douce Amere, but again, neither of these capture quite that astringent, herbal tone that I find with Yatagan.

Would I recommend it? Yes, absolutely, although at the risk of gender-categorising again, I suspect that Yatagan might find favour more with men than with women. It's worth a try though, irrespective of sex. You certainly won't find it boring.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Pictures from the weekend

I mentioned in my last post that my daughter Hannah turned 4 this weekend. I thought I would add a handful of photographs of my two kids. The top photo is of Hannah and Daisy in the December snow. The second is Hannah in her Cinderella/Snow White costume which someone gave her for her birthday. The third is Daisy with a character from the Night Garden (not sure if you get this children's program in the US) called, incidentally, Upsy Daisy. The last is of Hannah grinning, wearing her four-year-old badges. As you might gather, she is rather proud of being four. I like to tell her not to rush things, but as we all know, we spend most of our childhood wishing we were grown up and then the rest of our lives wishing we were young again! 

Sunday, 16 January 2011

A birthday weekend (and Spiriteuse Double Vanille)

Some of you who read my blog from time to time may have detected a slight apathy towards Guerlain's Spiriteuse Double Vanille. The issue I have with this fragrance from a venerable perfume house is not the actual smell, idea or construction. In fact I actually do like it, while it lasts that is. I mentioned it before - I think my skin chemistry plays havoc with SDV as it barely lasts an hour, if that. However today was a little different. I splashed about half a vial of the stuff on my wrists, determined to give it a better chance. And you know what? It does last a bit longer on me, albeit still fairly subdued. 

I must say that conceptually, this is a lovely perfume. Arguably no one understands the use of vanilla in perfume more than Guerlain and this fragrance is an ode to vanilla. Lots of people mention the boozy aspects of SDV but I honestly do not detect much booziness at all. I get a lot of good quality vanilla that smells like the best cooking extract money can buy, a teeny weeny bit of booze to start, and just enough subtle smoke and incense to cut the vanilla. Ultimately SDV is a very simple perfume, understated and oozing sophistication and quality, but this simplicity is deceptive, as it is actually quite complicated to deliver this in the fashion Guerlain does.

As a side note, when I first put on SDV today, my wife mentioned that it smelled like a synthetic apple! Later, when I got back to the house, she walked up to me and said that I smelled gorgeous, like best-quality vanilla extract. Believe me, coming from her that is a major compliment indeed and probably as good an endorsement of SDV as there can be!

Oh, and the birthday weekend in the title? It was my older daughter Hannah's fourth birthday yesterday (the 15th). Happy birthday my little darling!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Yves Saint Laurent - Opium, old and new

This isn't a perfume review as such, but today I was in Boots, the Chemist chain in the UK, and noticed the new bottle of Yves Saint Laurent Opium, pictured left. It is very similar to the more recent Belle D'Opium, which is purple-coloured. The funny thing is, when I last tried Opium a few months ago, I thought what I was trying is the reformulated juice. I thought to myself that it wasn't half bad and wondered what all the fuss was. I'm sure many of you are well aware of the controversy surrounding the new Opium, which I don't have the time or inclination to go into here; there are plenty of bloggers posts on this issue. The bottle of perfume I tried is the one pictured in the second picture below left. 

It turns out that what I tried, if I am not mistaken, is an earlier incarnation of Opium. Perhaps what I tried is even the original formula. I'm not an expert on this sort of thing - possibly there has been more than one tweak of this over the years. 

To cut a long story short, I tried the new Opium today, if it can be called that, and my, what a marked difference. It goes to show just how far reaching reformulation can be, because this smells very different to the earlier version I tried. I'd go so far as to say that until well into development I wouldn't have been able to guess it was Opium, had it been a blind test. Later on several facets do emerge that nod to the original, but it is a much meeker, wrinkle-free incarnation, and worse for it, in my opinion. Of course, there is some debate over whether this is meant to be a brand new fragrance that just happens to share the same name as the original, or an ingredient-restricted attempt at reformulation. I don't care, frankly, it just isn't as good as the earlier Opium, whichever way you look at it.

Some people have commented on how garish and ugly the new bottle is, but frankly, the second bottle pictured is hardly a looker, at least in my opinion, although it is a typical YSL bottle style!

Image credit - second picture:

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

A bit of this, a bit of that (Creed Aventus and Cartier Declaration)

It's a bit of a strange time for me, perfume-wise, at the start of 2011. It's that time of year when there aren't all that many new perfume releases, and if like me, the thrill of the chase can be as satisfying as the kill, metaphorically, then January can be rather dull. Not that I'm saying that all I want in my perfume life is the instant hit and the never ending search for new releases, but that is an exciting part of being a perfume nut.

Of course I say there aren't many new releases, but there are actually, if one browses enough websites, of which Now Smell This is to my mind the best at keeping up with this sort of thing. I guess it's just a case that not many of these are heading to my shores right now.

Anyway, I've been spending a few days trying out some of my older samples, or in some cases some of my more boring samples. A case in point is Aventus, by Creed. It's not a bad perfume by any means, but it just smells to me a bit too much like "Been there, done that". At a price, I might add. If this were priced at say £50, I would probably say this is a refined, classy-smelling perfume. At double that price, I'm thinking it should be a lot better. I don't want to pay triple figure prices for perfumes that smell like everything that's come before, no matter how gentlemanly, refined and classy they might be. Aventus is inoffensive, and to my mind the most generically staid Creed to date, and perfect for the upper end of the mainstream market. I know I sound snobbish, but to reiterate, at those price points there should be more innovation in my opinion.

One of my older samples is Cartier's Declaration. Actually, I was recently given a 15ml mini of Declaration when I purchased something else, which is quite a good deal. I really like Declaration, which I know some find challenging due to its very generous cumin note. This fragrance is anything but simplistic, and a great example of Jean Claude Elena's work just before he started going wholeheartedly down the minimalist, sheer route. In fact, anyone familiar with his work for Hermes and Frederic Malle should smell Declaration because even then you can sense the direction he was heading in. I read somewhere that Declaration is Elena's ode to Eau d'Hermes (created by Edmond Roudnitska), which itself is a fairly robust fragrance, although I have not tried it. Speaking of which, I have yet to track down either Eau d'Hermes or Bel Ami in this country. If any of you know where to find these, I should be grateful for the tip off. I don't intend to write about Declaration in detail now, but it is a wonderful spicy/woody perfume, very distinctive and loaded with Cumin. I love it. At the risk of sounding a bit provocative, if I had to choose between Aventus and Declaration, both of which are aimed at men generally, I know which I would choose.

Monday, 10 January 2011

A London visit in which I discover Cologne Absolue Pour Le Soir

We visited our closest friends this weekend, who live in London. They live close to Canary Wharf, which for those of you familiar with London, will know is now one of the financial hearts of London. I say one of, because the City is still another hub, as is London Bridge, where one of London's most exciting new buildings, the Shard, is being erected. Canary Wharf, for those of you interested in a rudimentary history lesson, was not that long ago (say thirty years,) a derelict wasteland of old docks, at the northerly reach of the Isle of Dogs. Now it is a slick and buzzing hub of gleaming skyscrapers and concrete walkways set between canals, inlets and other docks. Now if this sounds like a homage, it really isn't. If it weren't for the fact that our friends live close by, we probably would never come here, unless I was a banker, accountant, investment banker or maybe one of those enforcers at the FSA, the Financial Services Authority, who regulate banks and other financial service firms in the UK. If that didn't set off the yawns across the world, then I don't know what will...

So what has any of this to do with perfume and more specifically, Francis Kurkdjian's Cologne Pour Le Soir? Well, in a roundabout sort of way there are quite a lot of shops at Canary Wharf, including Space NK Apothecary, which is a chain of stores that stock fragrances, skin care and bath products and that sort of thing. I've written about Space NK before. I must admit that until fairly recently I wasn't that excited by them, but I've discovered that they stock a fairly decent range of perfumes, including Serge Lutens, Francis Kurkdjian, Diptyque, L'Artisan, Tom Ford, Antonia's Flowers, Honore des Pres, Nasomatto, Annick Goutal and a few others. They also stock candles by Carriere Freres. 

My local Tunbridge Wells branch does not stock all of the above, and unfortunately the last time I visited, weren't getting the Kurkdjians. While I was in Canary Wharf, I walked past a Space NK store that stocked these, so I popped in quickly to try a few. I must admit that up till now I haven't been overly impressed by the Kurkdjian line, but to be fair I've only tried a couple that were so-so, but hardly earth shattering. So I tried Cologne Absolue Pour Le Soir and Pour Le Matin. Firstly, I should say that Pour Le Matin is quite good. It was surprisingly good, at least for me, which I wasn't expecting for some reason. But Pour Le Soir - damn this is stupendously good! I don't generally like to to rave about a perfume, but I can't help but do so in this case. I feel excited just typing this now...

As far as I know, the Absolue is a more concentrated version of the Cologne, like an Eau de parfum. According to Luckscent, the notes include benzoin, cumin, ylang-ylang, cedar, sandalwood, incense, honey and rose. At first application, the honeyed sweetness is most evident. It smells startlingly like actual, gloopy honey out the jar, tinged with resins and a smooth rose note. This phase is very good, but as the fragrance progresses, this honey-rose is joined by a gorgeous, smoky incense accord, supported by smoky sandalwood and cedar. There is something animalic in here, but I have to admit that for me this is secondary, although I do detect it to an extent. I'm more interested in that incense accord, because it takes me right back to my childhood, to the Easter Vigil Mass at my Catholic church in the small town where I grew up in South Africa. Easter in the Southern Hemisphere is in autumn, as the seasons are reversed, and the Vigil mass, depending on when Easter falls, can take place on some very cool autumn evenings. I don't want to make this a religious lesson, because it isn't, but for background, the Vigil Mass takes place after Good Friday, on the Saturday evening, and starts off very solemn, usually outside the church, where the Easter Candle is studded with emblems that signify the death and resurrection of Christ, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, and is then lit from the embers of a fire burning outside. The congregation stands around the fire, usually on a dark evening where the wind is sighing through the pines, the incense wafting over from where the altar boys swing censors. Now this  might not mean much to you, but the incense in Cologne Pour Le Soir smells just like this evening to me - not just incense, not just catholic incense, but the whole. The smell of pine, incense, smoke, dust, wind, cool breeze, warm woods of the polished pews once inside and also for some reason, like rosemary, although that doesn't really fit with my earlier image. In a long-winded way, this perfume smells like a part of my childhood, of the rhythms of life ancient and assured, comforting even.

Does this all seem a bit strange? Writing this now, it does, but honestly, that is what Cologne Pour Le Soir does to me, and represents for me. On paper, one could easily reduce this to a description that says this is a rose, incense and honeyed woods perfume. Simple. But it is so much more, masterfully crafted in my opinion. It has everything, and very well balanced at that. Yes it is slightly feral, but this is counterbalanced by all the other subtle facets, not competing and jostling for room, but in perfect harmony, with just enough off-kilter to keep it interesting and compelling. Lasting power is very good too - it lasted for about 10 to 12 hours on my skin and I can still smell it on a paper strip two days later. My only complaint is that Space NK in my town doesn't stock it, and Luckscent aren't selling samples. Damn, I'll have to visit Canary Wharf again!

Friday, 7 January 2011

Olfactory fatigue

Recently I've started to feel ever so slightly panicky. I've been suffering from a lot of colds and sinus infections over the last 12 months, with numerous stuffy and blocked noses. It's worse in winter, but even this summer it started affecting me. I often wake up in the night with a blocked nose, seemingly for no reason at all.

Type any of these symptoms into that wonder of the modern world, our friend and mentor Google, and you will find afflictions ranging from dust mite allergies to bent septums. I don't really know what I've got, but if this doesn't improve this summer I'm going to a proper doctor...

I'm not looking for sympathy, mind you. However, as an avid perfume nut, as you might appreciate, a sense of smell is quite essential to the whole process of appreciating perfume. Otherwise it defeats the objective, right? I've recently noticed that it seems to take a lot more effort on my part to smell perfumes. A lot of them seem quite slight to me. Now, I'm quite worried that this is more down to my olfactory ailments rather than the perfumes themselves.

I read a post earlier today, and it is really bugging me, because I can't remember whose it was, that mentioned how the writer wasn't sure if she had got to the stage where she has tried so many different perfumes that hardly any new releases excite her, because she had smelled it all, or if it was down to the possibility that so many new releases are actually unremarkable. As I wear and sample more and more styles of perfume, I wonder the same thing too. Don't get me wrong - I still love perfume and don't feel jaded, yet, but I do find that it takes a lot more to really move me. Is this like the drug addict, who needs more and more of the good stuff to get the same high? I don't know! Another thought crossed my mind - how much of this feeling could be credited to my sinus and other nasal afflictions? Could I reach the point where I can hardly smell at all, cursing the latest weak, pissy release, whereas in reality I am overwhelming all and sundry with my grotesque and choking sillage? I hope to goodness this is not the case!

Miller Harris - Terre de Bois

Miller Harris Terre de Bois is a fragrance that frankly has baffled me for quite a long time now. I can't quite pinpoint the reason. I sort of like it, yet there is something about it that I find faintly disturbing. Not that it is in-your-face, or animalic. Rather, it has to my nose a weirdly unique smell that I haven't smelled anywhere else.

Miller Harris describe Terre de Bois as a woody fragrance, with notes of vetiver, patchouli and verbena. Other notes I've gleaned elsewhere include galbanum, juniper, clary sage, indian spices and ambergris. I've also seen a note called Persian fennel resin, which is listed on the carded sample I have. 

Terre de Bois opens with a very herbal and tangy citrus blast. This phase lasts quite a long time, with a very lemony feel, that I think must come from the verbena. In fact, this verbena note lasts right through to the base, if I'm not mistaken, augmented by vetiver. Initially this is a very intense fragrance, smelling very green, almost weedy even, with a hefty dose of galbanum.  At this stage Terre de Bois reminds me of spring, even though it isn't a particularly light fragrance at all. I think it's all the herbs, lemon and galbanum, which do lend a bracing feel to the composition. As the fragrance progresses, I do detect a faint anise note, which perhaps is preempted by the fact that I know there is a resin of Persian fennel in here! Later on the vetiver starts to emerge, but this is not to my nose a vetiver-focused perfume. It gets quite masked by all the other green notes. I don't personally find a lot of patchouli in here either, although I'm sure it is the note that lends a more earthy, woody feel in the dry down. The name Terre de Bois is quite apt, because this is quite an earthy, woody fragrance, although probably not woody in the way one might expect. It smells less of actual woods than of being in a wooded, leafy area, to me anyway.

So why do I find Terre de Bois faintly disturbing? I wish I knew, because as I said, I can't pinpoint why. It just does, and thus I am fairly neutral about this perfume. Thinking about it, Terre de Bois in a strange way smells like something and yet nothing I've smelled before, which rankles somewhat. I've read some reviews which describe Terre de Bois as fading quite rapidly after the top notes, but on my skin it is robust and quite distinctive, with a definite sillage. If you haven't tried it, I would certainly say give it a go anyway. it certainly isn't a poor perfume.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Ayala Moriel - Vetiver Racinettes

I went through a phase when I was trying every vetiver fragrance under the sun. Since then I've lost a bit of interest, not because I don't like the smell, but well, there is a lot of other stuff out there to try. 

I recently sampled a perfume called Vetiver Racinettes by Ayala Moriel. It is the first perfume I've tried in her line and it is lovely. Vetiver is a very distinctive smell I find. Once you've smelled it, you are unlikely to forget it, I think. It is sometimes described as citrusy and grassy, and yes, it may conjure up these smells, but it is so much more complex than just that. My taste in vetiver tends towards the more earthy, fungal and rooty facets, rather than the sweeter and nutty facets. Vetiver Racinettes falls firmly into my favourite category and it reminds me of some of my favourite vetiver perfumes, including Route de Vetiver by Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, Turtle Vetiver by Les Nez, and even Vetiver Extraordinaire by Frederic Malle. 

Vetiver Racinettes is meant to include cardamom, coffee and even tarragon, but despite these supporting roles, the fragrance smells intensely of the vetiver root: this is vetiver straight up, intense and undiminished, so if you don't like vetiver very much, watch out! I find it to be relatively linear, like a lot of vetiver fragrances, and while there are some spices and herbs, I don't notice a particularly distinctive coffee note. As the fragrance develops, it becomes quite earthy, revealing an accord that smells dank, fungal and of mouldering leaves. If this seems unappealing, it really isn't. Think of a walk in some woods on a damp autumn day, kicking through a pile of slightly wet leaves and you get the picture.

Vetiver Racinettes lasts well on my skin, although it is by no means a forceful perfume. I found it a comforting and very appealing fragrance and would recommend it to any fan of vetiver.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

DSH Sandalo Inspiritu and Festive

I've been working my way through some recently acquired DSH samples, courtesy of kind Carol from Waft, What a Fragrancefanatic Thinks. Two that stand out for me so far are Sandalo Inspiritu and Festive.

I love the smell of sandalwood, whether it be a perfume, soap or shaving soap. My earliest memory of sandalwood was in the form of a soap by Roger et Gallet, which my mum always used to have in her linen cupboard, gently scenting our laundry. It's a very smooth, soothing, contemplative smell I find. Sandalo Inspiritu is a very apt name for this perfume, as it is very much about sandalwood, and if I have interpreted the name correctly, is quite spiritual and contemplative. The opening is quite smoky and almost incense-like, not sweet and only gently spicy. The sandalwood is evident from the start, but it is neither creamy nor sweet, as some can be. Rather, its use here reminds me quite a lot of Santal Noble by Maitre Perfumeur et Gantier. As the fragrance develops, the sandalwood does soften and become slightly sweeter and creamy, but it remains a fairly simple and linear construction on my skin. Not that this is a criticism mind you. I think it's this linearity that lends it its contemplative and calming feel, which I like.

Festive surprised me firstly by being in oil format, which I was not expecting. As a result the opening is rather subdued as it takes time to warm up on skin. I initially smell something quite smoky, mixed with clove and a hint of orange. At the time I was wearing this, our shops were full of intense orange and clove pomanders, their scent wafting along shopping corridors and out shopfronts. Festive to me smells just like this. In addition to the aforementioned notes, I also detect pine, fir and incense, which add to the Christmasy feel. I was also surprised to find Festive a bit soapy. Again, for some reason this was the last thing I was expecting, but here it works surprisingly well. It's not a distraction to me, as the soapiness is more like the astringency one associates with crushed rosemary - perhaps this soapiness actually comes from the pine/fir notes. Although miles away in smell to Sandalo Inspiritu, Festive is also quite linear and ultimately I find it equally contemplative and calming, albeit in quite a different fashion, but no less pleasing. If I have one criticism of both, its that I find them relatively short-lived on my skin, but then I do tend to sway towards stronger perfumes.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Fragrant musings, pans and bottles

I was cooking dinner on New Year's Eve. I was making a risotto, one that I've done countless times before, to the extent that it has become almost automatic to me. The process of gently sweating finely chopped garlic, onion, celery and some herbs in a little olive oil. Then adding the rice and when it is ever so slightly translucent, adding a glass of vermouth to bubble away and reduce. Then I add ladlefuls of chicken stock mixed with the water of reconstituted porcini mushrooms, bit by bit, until the rice is cooked, creamy but still al dente. Finally, I add some fried-off mushrooms and pancetta, and finish with a generous knob of butter and a large handful of grated parmesan cheese. 

What struck me most about the preparation of this relatively simple meal was not the wonderful and comforting smells emanating as I went along, but rather the colour of the bottom of my Le Creuset pot. This may seem a little strange, and in a way it felt strange, but after using this pot for about seven years now, I've never stopped to look inside it, at least not in a meaningful way. It's not beautiful by any means. In fact, the enamel has worn away to reveal a stained, brownish cast iron surface that is blemished and scratched. Someone who didn't know better might even look at it and tut tut remorsefully, saying: "Michael, such an expensive pan, and you haven't even looked after it properly." Well, on reflection, this pan bottom to me is like the lined and creased skin of a man or woman that has really lived, and has the tales to tell, full of character and feeling. And indeed, we have cooked countless wonderful meals in this very pot. I can still remember and smell some of these today. I can't forget the aromatic curry, cooked from scratch, from dry-frying the spices whole to frying onions, garlic and chili paste. Or what about the lamb shank stew, cooked with tomatoes, onions and carrots on a low heat in the oven for about four hours, until the meat falls off the chunky bones to meld with the unctuous sauce beneath, served with creamy mashed potatoes? I could go on and on.

So what has this to do with perfume? Well, if I'm being honest, very little, but I wanted to share this relatively banal story because it goes to show that fragrance is so much more than just perfume, wonderful as it is. Just looking at an ordinary and mundane cooking pot brought back a flood of memories of good food, shared with my family and other wonderful people over the years, and all the smells that go with such ordinary day-to-day events. 

After thinking about food and its associated fragrance memories, I starting thinking about perfume bottles, and whether looking at them might evoke similar memories and emotions. I have to admit that I don't own a lot of full bottles of perfume, much as I would like to, so bottles haven't featured extensively in my consciousness. I do know of course that there are some very expensive, rare and highly sought after perfume bottles, and that bottle collecting is a major hobby in its own right. I confess to loving looking at pictures of vintage or rare perfume bottles and I do enjoy many of the Guerlain bottles in particular. When I was younger I never kept any of my bottles once the juice was finished. I just used to throw them away. Now however, I am certain I will keep what bottles I have once they are used up.

I can imagine rummaging through a cupboard in a couple of decades time, only to open an old box containing some old bottles. The contents will be long gone, but in a corner of the clear glass, and around the spray nozzle will be some amber, concentrated remnants of the perfume, which when held to my nose, will hopefully whisper some of my perfume tales from yesteryear. 

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Oh dear, the holidays are almost over (and Magie Noire)

Like a few others, I'm due to start work again this week and I can't say that I am overflowing with motivation. I know that once I'm back for a couple of days it will feel like I was never away and all will be fine, but I've actually enjoyed this time off, not having had a break since September.

The shops are just crazy around Tunbridge Wells, where I live. Of course, these days the new year sales actually start on Boxing Day, and in some cases even before Christmas, but nevertheless the crowds are getting to me. I don't know where these people get the money to shop, but hey ho.

I popped into Boots today, which is a national chemist chain in the UK. They stock a surprisingly good and comprehensive variety of mainstream fragrances and I occasionally have a look at what they've got, in case I spot something out of the ordinary (which I haven't seen really, but one can hope). Interestingly, I notice Boots are carrying a larger line of Guerlain these days. About eighteen months or so ago they stocked Guerlain Homme and Insolence, no doubt a bid to attract a younger market, but today I also spotted Samsara and Mitsouko, of all things. Perhaps the larger Boots have always stocked these, I don't know, but I certainly haven't seen them before.

I tried Magie Noire by Lancome. Now I don't know much about the Lancome perfumes, but I did read a while back that Magie Noire has been reformulated and is nothing like previous incarnations. I'm 100% certain that what I tried today is the current stuff and actually I quite enjoyed it. I mean, it wasn't revelationary (is this a proper word?) but it smelled quite dark, for want of a better word, with a nice touch of light florals and even what I perceived as some incense. I certainly would wear it again. As I said, I have no idea what it smelled like previously, so would be interested in hearing from anyone who has tried the pre-reformulated juice.


Related Posts with Thumbnails