Monday 31 December 2012

Happy new year!

As I said the other day, I am not going to rehash a list of best of  worst of perfumes of 2012. Too many people are doing this already, inevitably.

I ought to just mention that this time last year I wrote a lengthy (ish) post about what I was going to do differently on my blog for 2012. It was with the best intentions, but as some of you might have noticed, very little of it materialised on the written page. So this year, I am not going to make any resolutions or set out plans for my blog. I shall let it evolve (such as it does, this little indulgence of mine) and see what 2013 holds for it and me.

All that is left to say right now is a very sincere and happy new year to all of you. I hope that 2013 will be very successful and happy for you, both personally and on the perfume front. I look forward to lots of blogging, exchange of ideas with fellow perfume lovers, and just general bonhomie and perfume chit chat.

Till 2013...

Sunday 30 December 2012

Enchanted Forest

A most curious package turned up at my door this weekend. A couple of samples of Enchanted Forest by The Vagabond Prince. I read about this perfume at Fragrantica, which was created by Bertrand Duchaufour. It focuses primarily on a number of facets of the Blackcurrant plant.

I haven't tried the perfume yet, but the thought of it is quite enticing. I love eating Blackcurrants, and anyone who has lived in England will have drunk or at least heard of the famous Blackcurrant squash, Ribena, much loved by my two young daughters. I find the smell of the blackcurrant (including leaves, etc) quite curious at times. Let's face it, the plant can smell like cat piss, and the fruit itself can smell a touch skanky.

I can't wait to try Enchanted Forest. The perfume is meant to be a spicy, woody chypre and includes notes of patchouli, moss, vetiver, castoreum, balsam fir and, I presume, various blackcurrant notes.

Saturday 29 December 2012

Shopping centre hell and Miller Harris La Fumee

I should point out firstly that shopping centre hell and Miller Harris do not automatically go hand in hand, were you unable to arrive at that conclusion yourself!

After days of rain, grey cloud and the sort of dullness that makes the day go dark at 2 in the afternoon, we had to get out of the house. Perhaps I am just unimaginative, but England seems to be one of those places where there is very little to do on a sad winter afternoon, other than visit a shopping centre. So it was that we jumped in our car and headed to Bluewater, a large shopping centre not far from the dreary drabness of Dartford, south east of London. 

I'm not sure what possessed us to do this (desperation actually) but the place was heaving with the masses, no doubt seeking the so-called post Christmas bargains. I'm not going to bore you with the details of four hours spent in suburban hell, save to say that I managed to escape for twenty minutes to John Lewis, where I saw a bottle of Miller Harris La Fumee. La Fumee is a masculine incense perfume. Now, I have to state upfront that La Fumee was underwhelming on my skin. However, it should also be said that I am still recovering from a bad cold, so my sense of smell is not what it should be. My wife said it smelt very good, so I have to take her word on this, until I manage to sniff it again. Today, it smelt like a light incense to me. Nice enough, but no wow factor for me. We shall see.

As for Bluewater, I'm in no rush to return. At least, not for another month, until the sale madness has subsided.

Friday 28 December 2012

Post-Christmas recovery

Well, I'm glad to report that I am over my Christmas cold/flu/chest infection, or whatever you want to call it. Fortunately I was over the worst by Christmas eve, which at least meant I could spend the big day with my family, participating in some sort of way.

I have to confess that I have not worn a lot of perfume over the last week (my sense of smell, like my appetite, has virtually disappeared). I wore Luten's Cedre on Christmas day, but other than that, it has been a scentless period for me.

I hope Santa brought all of you some lovely gifts. I didn't receive any perfume-related gifts this year. It was all boys toys for me - a remote controlled helicopter (dangerous - already I've come close to slicing off one of my fingers, not to mention near damage to my children) and a remote controlled Aston Martin car (a lot safer, other than bruised ankles). The helicopter is more exciting though. Pity the battery life is only 7 minutes!

I'm sure I will post again before the New Year, but already I know I will not bore you with yet another of those predictably best of 2012 lists. There are enough bloggers doing that already.

Monday 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas

I finished work on Friday and am now on holiday until the new year. Happy days, except last week I came down with a stinking cold that has turned into a lung infection. It has put a bit of a dampener on things in the lead up to Christmas, unfortunately, but I hope I am over the worst now.

I planned to blog quite a bit over the last few days, but as you can imagine, I did not feel as motivated as I might have hoped to be. Perfume has been one of the last things on my mind!

Anyway, before you start feeling sorry for me, all that remains to say is a very happy and peaceful Christmas to you all. I hope you all get to spend time with your nearest and dearest.

I'll be back soon.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

SOTD - Divine L'Homme Sage

Following on from my post last week about wearing Divine's other excellent Masculine, L'Homme de Coeur, I thought I would give L'Homme Sage a run. 

I've had samples of this one for years, and it still smells as lovely today as it did back then. L'Homme Sage is one of those perfumes that is unapologetically masculine, yet is by no means a cliched male perfume. Not remotely. It is a perfume that has a strange, yet compelling juxtaposition between almost soapy, almost herbal and almost smoky, without ever resolving any of these directions. If I were to try explain what it smells like, I would suggest you smell Andy Tauer's Lonestar Memories, as there is a note they share in common, at least to my nose, of slightly weedy brush/herbs, possibly ones that have been slightly charred by a fire. That's where the smokiness comes in, but it is a much more toned down effect than Lonestar Memories. 

As I said before, I don't know of a dud in the Divine lineup and I've long been a fan of Yann Vasnier's work. Comes highly recommended.

Tuesday 18 December 2012

Histoires de Parfums 1969 and 1740

I've had samples of the Histoires de Parfums line for years now. Since my acquisition, a number of newer perfumes have been released, but every now and then I revisit my samples and today I wore 1969 and 1740. 

The strange thing is, to my mind, the associations with these two are slightly wrong. 1969 is meant to evoke the spirit of the end of the sixties, free love, and all that. Now, clearly I wasn't there (who was?), but based purely on my own associations of what I would have thought of the summer of love (albeit that was 1967 no?), I would have thought 1969 would be laden with patchouli, sandalwood perhaps, smokiness, a bit of unwashed skank and perhaps a hint of herby ganja. In fact, 1969 smells quite spicy, but mostly of cardamom and nutmeg, a whiff of citrus and some light woods. It is totally the opposite to what I would have expected (or liked).

1740 is inspired by the Maquis de Sade, and in a sense, this perfume does indeed have elements of what one might think of when conjuring up sadism, kinky sex, bondage, etc. It is laden with patchouli, and certainly has a heavy immortelle note too, to my nose. There is a hint of leather, but again, images of whips and sex paraphernalia might have inspired more of a raunchy leather note. To be honest, if my sample of 1740 had been mis-labelled 1969, I would have immediately thought that this was inspired by the free love of the sixties.

Ultimately, both fragrances are decent, but 1740 definitely appeals to me more.

Monday 17 December 2012

Scent of the day - Serge Lutens Boxeuses

When I first tried Boxeuses about a year ago, I did not care for it at all. I found it insipid, particularly for a Lutens creation.

Perhaps that was unfair. A year on, I concede that Boxeuses is a very well made perfume. It smells a bit leathery, a bit rosy, a touch of light smoke. A bit oriental. I'd happily wear it. The thing is, I still can't shake the nagging feeling that despite its credentials, it is a bit boring. I'm used to Lutens perfumes having something 'grrr' in them, even if it can be on occasion just a bit of a top note fling. All my favourite Lutens perfumes have something a bit offbeat and odd about them. They challenge. They inspire. Boxeuses does none of this for me.

Still, perhaps it is a skin chemistry thing. I've read plenty of very positive reviews of Boxeuses and as I said at the start, it is well made.

Saturday 15 December 2012

Scent of the day - Attar Bazaar Tunisian Frankincense

I can't find any note lists for this oil from Attar Bazaar. I'm interested in finding out, because it doesn't smell like the sort of frankincense perfume I am accustomed to, and I wonder if Tunisian is a style of frankincense and if so, what other notes are in here. 

This oil takes a little time to warm up on skin and when it does, it smells quite strong to me. It is sweet, with a floral tone, and when smelt quickly from a distance, comes across as almost soapy clean. I struggle to identify the more traditional frankincense note, the one that smells smoky, yet almost lemony. 

I like Tunisian Frankincense, but find it just a little too sweet and floral for my liking. The floral note is, I think, orange blossom, and it doesn't work badly, but this is not quite my style. Having said that, wearing it now and again is an interesting experience.

Friday 14 December 2012

Numero 500

Apologies for a somewhat self-congratulatory post today, but I felt compelled to mention the highlight (to me, at least) of having reached 500 posts this week.

I know that blogging is not about quantity; it is the quality that counts. Nevertheless, I think 500 seems like quite an achievement; when I started blogging in March 2010 I never thought I'd reach 100 posts, let alone 500!

Thank you to my regular followers and readers, who provide me with a lot of motivation to continue blogging. Your comments and friendship, albeit mostly in the 'ether' are very much appreciated.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Scent of the day - Serge Lutens Five O'Clock Au Gingembre

I've read that this perfume is going to be discontinued (or is it merely going to be withdrawn back to the other side of the Channel, confined to the Good Uncle's Salon?) which if true, is a shame, because it is a lovely one. Gingembre (I can't be bothered to type it out in full again) is possibly the easiest Lutens to wear. It smells nice, fairly simple and just plain cozy. 

The notes, per Luckyscent, include bergamot, candied ginger, honey, patchouli, pepper and dark cocoa. Luckyscent describe it (presumably from Lutens ad-speak) as inspired by the afternoon tea ritual, leaving the Orient and taking us on a journey to England. I must be confused then, because to me Gingembre smells like a mild oriental take on ginger, albeit the mellow candied stem ginger, rather than the raw/tangy/spicy kick of fresh root. The patchouli and pepper add a lovely light spicy dryness to the fragrance, which goes very well with the ginger, but to me it doesn't smell like English tea. The cocoa note is not that dominant to me, but perhaps that is what also lends the dry feel to the base.

All in all, Gingembre is an easygoing, but very well done perfume and I like it a lot.

Tuesday 11 December 2012

Agent Provocateur

I do love a dirty rose fragrance, and Agent Provocateur ticks all the boxes. It has quite a floral heart, which means it does veer towards the feminine, but the rose and musk, quite spicy and animalic, manage to keep this in check, making it very wearable for men too, in my opinion.

The notes on the sample I have are listed as saffron oil, coriander, jasmine, moroccan rose, ylang-ylang, magnolia, vetiver, amber and musk. There have been a number of perfumes over the years by Agent Provocateur, and I think they are all nice, but nothing beats this 2000-released bomb of a perfume. 

I'd happily have a bottle of this in my perfume collection.

Saturday 8 December 2012

Divine L'Homme de Coeur

It may seem strange stating this, but I can honestly say that I have not yet smelt a Divine fragrance that I do not like. I think ounce for ounce, they punch above their weight and put some of the more pretentious 'niche' fragrance houses to shame. 

L'Homme de Coeur is no exception. It is very well done - an iris fragrance for men that manages to take the cool aloofness of that note and makes it surprisingly warm. From a distance. That aloofness that doesn't totally disappear. Like a man who deep down is quite reserved, yet makes an effort to be congenial. Yet anyone who knows him well realises this is not his natural character. 

Last night I had the first of my Christmas work functions. I generally dislike work functions. Call me a grump, but there is something about the mixing of colleagues after hours with a bit of alcohol added that very often leads to uncomfortable situations. For a start, the conversation inevitably leads back to work-related issues, stories and office gossip. And lets face it, at some point the boss or one's 'superiors' will be discussed, usually once they've left a bit earlier. That's the point when I usually want to leave too. Perhaps I am being a bit dramatic, but I prefer to keep my private and social life separate from my work life.

I mention this Christmas dinner because I often feel out of place at many social functions, particularly work functions. I am one of those men who is naturally reserved and socialising in larger groups is a bit of a chore for me. Like L'Homme de Coeur, I prefer to remain understated and in the background a little, but sometimes try to be congenial, even if it isn't really me. I should add that this analogy is not a criticism of the perfume, but rather praise of its classy, understated structure. It is cool, suave and very well done indeed.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Caron Nuit de Noel

Before anyone thinks I'm writing about Nuit de Noel just because we are in the run up to Christmas would be wrong. And right. To an extent. I've actually used my sample of this classic Caron perfume from 1922 quite a few times over the last few months, but only at night. 

Now, I don't know if that is strange or not, but to me, Nuit de Noel is a nighttime fragrance, and not just because of part of its name. There's something about these softer, ever so slightly oriental-feeling chypres that seem better suited to darkness. Not because Nuit de Noel is edgy, or full of deep, mysterious notes, but because it is soft, velvety, creamy and comforting. I like to wear it to bed (God forbid, yes!), where I can smell it on my wrist, like a warm caress. 

I'm not sure of the exact notes, but they definitely include rose, ylang-ylang, oak moss and musk. And plenty of aldehydes too, in the opening. Not fizzy per se, but bright. There is an oriental feel in the dry down, and I think that could be sandalwood and amber. Basenotes certainly mention those notes. In reviews I've read, reference has been made to a similarity to Chanel No 5, and I get that, definitely, without it ever smelling like No 5, if you know what I mean. I think its the rose, ylang and aldehydes. I can't find the note mentioned, but there is a hint of incense  in Nuit de Noel too. At least, my nose seems to encounter this, correctly or not.

Like a few others, I don't think that Nuit de Noel smells massively like Christmas, at least not in the conventional sense of fir trees, pine sap, spices, orange and so forth. To me it smells more like winter, in that it feels comforting, as if one is venturing outside on a cold, snowy day, but is dressed in the warmest coat imaginable. I'm not quite sure how I arrive at that analogy, but somehow that is what Nuit de Noel felt like when I wore it on Tuesday, the sort of day whose weather could have frozen the brass balls off a monkey.

Saturday 1 December 2012

The terror of tuberose

Does every workplace have one? You know, the person who bathes in perfume, usually something that is obnoxiously loud and has the longevity of nuclear-ready plutonium.

I work with a lady who, as lovely a soul as she is, wears a tuberose perfume that sears the nostrils with its pungent pong. Tuberose used in moderation can be lovely, but lets face it, it can be a vulgar and loud note and, dare I say it, can come across quite 'slutty'. No offense intended, but particularly when it takes on that jammy facet, possibly paired with rose.

I always know when my colleague is in the building, as her fragrance penetrates every nook and cranny. We had a meeting late Friday afternoon, in a fairly large room about 30 feet by 20. I was sitting in the opposite corner to her, and I could smell her perfume as if the person next to me was wearing it. One would presume that she applied the perfume first thing in the morning, unless she reapplies during the day, but in any event it smelled so strong, as if the dry down were still a millenium away.

So, what's the point of my story? Not a huge anything really, except to stand as a warning for anyone who goes trigger-heavy on their tuberose perfumes. 


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