Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Gifts from Carol

I received a number of very interesting samples from Carol, over on Waft what a fragrance fanatic thinks. Pictured above, I was very excited to see a carded sample of Xerjoff Mefisto, Vintage Aramis Porto, A-Men Pure Malt, Roja Dove Diaghalev, Bond No 9 Signature and Madison Square Park, Vintage Hermes Equipage, Vintage Jicky parfum, Faberge Woodhue, Liz Zorn Harbinger and Six Scents Series One 1 and 5.

I can't wait to try these and Carol, thank you once again for thinking of me and providing an interesting range of perfumes!

Monday, 25 April 2011

I couldn't resist - Tufton Silver Thread aka Sadie

I know this is a perfume blog, but while I was taking photos of some samples I recently received, our cat, Tufton Silver Thread, otherwise known as Sadie, or simply Cat!, was lounging around, looking very  relaxed, so I snapped a few of her too, as shown below. She has a very pretentious name, courtesy of the fact that she is a pure bred British Shorthair Silver Tabby. Despite this, we never call her by this name, for obvious reasons, but she is a sweetie and very loyal!

Happy Easter and an update

Firstly, to those of you who celebrate it, a slightly belated happy Easter! We are 'egged' out in our household today, as you might gather from the photos below...

Hannah & Daisy with the spoils of the Easter Egg hunt
Daisy drooling chocolate

 I have been really struggling to find the time to blog this April. The last ten days have been manic at work as we've been putting together a proposal to win an important new client and I've been part of the team that put it together and presented it to the board. It might seem strange, but a team of three has spent a collective two weeks working on a proposal that took thirty to forty five minutes to present! A lot of hard work behind the scenes. As my workload increases, as the next three to four months tend to be my busiest, I feel I will struggle to find enough spare time to blog like I have so far this year. I know it isn't the quantity, but I am amazed how some people are able to put together a daily or even thrice daily post, religiously. The mind boggles!

So, spring has been amazing so far this April, as I may have mentioned before and below are some photos of what we have been up to when the sun has been shining, which is daily. Very unusual for the usually damp and grey UK!

Daisy with her new scooter she got for her birthday on the 8th

Our cherry tree in full bloom

Beautiful English bluebell wood near Oxford, where friends of ours live

So, I hope all of you have been enjoying the Easter break, and also perfumes. I have, funnily enough, been wearing a lot of perfume, following receipt of my large number of samples from Luckyscent. Perhaps fitting for Easter, I have tried quite a few incenses, mainly from Comme Des Garcons. Some have been good, some so-so and a couple extremely good. I am hoping to put together some thoughts on these over the next couple of weeks, time permitting. 

Until then, spring sunshine - keep it coming!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

The first of my new samples

April continues to surprise me this year. I don't know what has happened to the concept of April showers but so far my part of the UK continues in an unseasonably warm and sunny fashion. I'm already turning brown, such is the extent to which I have spent time outside with my daughters, playing down in the park and just generally being out and about. Bliss! Long may it last.

My sample order from Luckyscent arrived this week, much to my joy! I don't intend this to be an extensive write-up but today I sampled Comme des Garcons Original and Keiko Mecheri's Les Zazous. 

It may surprise you, or not, but I have never tried the original Comme des Garcons. If I'm correct, this was released as far back as 1994, which lets face it, is quite a long time ago now. What does surprise me is that I have never smelled another perfume quite like it, which is saying quite a lot in such a saturated fragrance market. The opening is quite heavy on the cloves, then the fragrances morphs into a woody and smoky heart, drying down to a slightly greener, but dry finish. I know that these words in themselves do not make it sound original, but believe me, the combination is very original. I wouldn't call it a friendly fragrance. There is something slightly offbeat and a bit odd about it. If I were to put it in musical terms, it would be like taking a standard major or minor chord and flattening or blurring it so it becomes a blues or jazz note. I really like it, and as I said, I am very impressed that I have never smelled anything else quite like it. I'd prefer to pay kudos to Comme des Garcons and say that this must be down to their innovativeness rather then the inability of others to ape what's come before.

Les Zazous impressed me rather less I am afraid. Not that it is a poor perfume, but to me it smells very similar to Bulgari Black, with a vanilla and smoke combination. It also feels a little like Shalimar in places and even a nod to Caron Pour Un Homme, at least in my opinion. I didn't mind it, but I was rather hoping for something a little more original, if possible. Don't let that put you off trying it. It might wear rather differently on your skin.

Have a good weekend everyone.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Roses and to spray or not to spray?

Sometimes the world of perfume baffles me. Or more specifically, MY perfume world baffles me. All of a sudden I have developed a pressing urge to wear rose perfumes again. It's not as if I was avoiding them previously, but as spring starts to reach its fecund and lush zenith, roses just seem to smell appropriate to me. I know a lot of people when thinking of spring think of galbanum, lily of the valley and so on, but roses, particularly when combining green sappiness and more complex sweeter notes, smell just right.

Today I wore Malle's Portrait of a Lady and Amouage's Lyric Man. As I wear the Malle more often, I am learning to appreciate it a bit more, although it is by no means my favourite rose perfume and indeed, Malle's Une Rose is in my opinion the better one in the line. Still, as the weather warms up it is smelling more complex and lush on my skin, as opposed to the more shrill feel that I got in mid-Winter.

Lyric Man is a perfume I have been wearing for a long time now, but always from a vial. Today I sprayed it for the first time and I was flabbergasted how different it smells and develops applied this way. It is still recognisably the Lyric Man I know, but somehow spraying brings out subtleties  that dabbing hasn't, at least for me. Whichever method is used, one thing is for sure - Lyric packs a floral punch that is seldom found in men's perfumery, but Amouage is not shy of incorporating florals into its men's perfumes. Mind you, it still doesn't smell feminine. There is a lot of incense and musk in Lyric Man too and it is a very good perfume.

I've realised that a lot of my perfume experience comes by way of sampling and in turn by way of sample vial. I wonder how much I am missing out on the perfumes I try in this way? Having said that, it's still better than trying nothing at all, or spending my life savings on bigger decants or full bottles.

What is your take on spraying versus dabbing? Do you think there is a significant difference between the two?

Scent associations

This is not the first time I've written about scent associations and how powerful (and surprising) they can be. I mentioned quite a long time ago about how certain perfumes have become almost unwearable for me due to having being ill while wearing them (not because of them) or having gone through a very stressful experience while wearing them.

The other day I had worn Profumum Roma's Olibanum, which is a very well executed incense and sandalwood perfume. I like it a lot and if you enjoy fragrances like 10 Corso Como, I think you might like Olibanum too. Anyway, the day after I had worn this my family and a couple of our friends had brunch at a local hotel which does brilliant eggs benedict. When we arrived the dining area smelled very strongly of what to me smelled exactly like Olibanum. My initial thought was that someone else who was there was wearing the perfume. What a coincidence. A little while later I had to go to the bathroom and upon entering I was met with a massive whiff of Olibanum again. Gosh, she/he had been here too! However, once I had been in there for a couple of minutes I realised that the smell was way too strong to be left from someone's sillage. It struck me then that the lovely smell was actually some sort of toilet cleaner or bathroom product.

The weird thing is that in this case I don't feel repulsed or inclined not to wear Olibanum again. Even if I have a mild association with toilet cleaner now, it doesn't bother me. Isn't that strange? One would have thought this might have turned me right off the perfume.

Has this ever happened to you? If you have a positive story to tell, please do comment, or if only negative, I'd still be interested in reading what experiences you have had. 

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Jane Packer perfumes

I was at Hoopers, one of my local department stores the other day, when I noticed they were carrying a new line of perfumes by Jane Packer, who is a well known florist in the UK. If I understand correctly she undertook the flower arrangements for the weddings of Prince Charles and Diana and Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson. Whether the line is actually new or not, I am not sure, but it is new to me at any rate.

I was initially struck by the bottles, with their caps shaped more or less like tulips, fitting I suppose, for a florist. The bottles themselves remind me for some reason of the Parfum D'Empire bottles, being quite slimline, but well proportioned.

I didn't try any of these on skin, but did smell them on scent strips. Pictured from left to right are Gardenia Cedarwood Patchouli, Green Orchid Vetiver Lemongrass, Red Rose Black Violets Cyclamen, Iris Jasmine Sandalwood and finally Fig Sandalwood Amere. I initially thought that they would be too floral and feminine for me, and perhaps on skin they might be, but on paper I really enjoyed the rose/violet/cyclamen and the iris/jasmine/sandalwood in particular. The gardenia one smelled quite a bit of tuberose actually while the green orchid was very slight and sheer.

Although not completely sold yet, I think the next time I am at Hoopers I shall try these on skin.

I'd be interested in finding out if any of you have tried these yet and if so, what you thought of them.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Spring and sample time again

I've been a bit quiet on the blogging front this last week. This is probably partly due to the fact that I am on holiday this week and that the weather has been so glorious that I have felt the urge to spend more time outdoors than sat in front of a computer.

It's amazing how quickly one can get out of touch. Only several days absence and already I don't know what everyone has been writing about and what is going on. In the blogosphere one can fade into obscurity in a flash!

After much deliberation and procrastination I have finally ordered some more samples, after abstaining since as far back as September. I think that's rather impressive myself, although I would prefer to practice rather less restraint!

This is the list of what I have ordered:

Delrae Panache
Xerjoff Madoc
Comme de Garcon Original, Palisander, Kyoto, Quarzazate
Farmacia SS Annunziata Patchouly Indonesiano
Il Profumo Patchouli Noir
Keiko Mecheri Les Zazous
L'Artisan Dzongkha
Le Labo Labdanum 18
Montale Oud Musk, Full Incense
Profumi di Pantelleria Maestrale
Sinfonia di Note Fleur de Santal
Different Company De Bachmakov
Van Cleef & Arpels Midnight in Paris

So, as you might gather, lots of incense and patchouli and not much in the way of greener, spring-like fragrances. These are the styles I generally prefer however, so I am really looking forward to trying them, whatever the weather.

Today is my wife Wendy's birthday. Wed are celebrating by going out for lunch with the children and a friend of ours. It should be good. Oh, and now that the weather is changing for the better, I'm cracking open the gin bottle again and it's G&Ts all round. Cheers! 


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