Thursday, 28 February 2013

Adventures in Department Store Land Part 2 (Fenwicks)

Lest I leave out my town's other department store, Fenwicks, I was excited today to discover that they are now stocking additional Hermes classics, including the hard-to-find Bel Ami, as well as Hiris and Amazone.

I am fairly certain that all of these have been reformulated a few times, but I haven't tried any of them before, so can only comment on how they smell now. Hiris took me by surprise. It is a lovely, elegant iris perfume, but more surprising to me is how musky the dry down is. It isn't a skanky musk, but smells lovely and sensual nevertheless. I kept on catching wafts of this musky-iris accord all afternoon, which was extremely pleasing.

Bel Ami reminded me a bit of Equipage, as it is also quite dry and spicy, yet at the same time it seems in a slightly different class with more leather and a smokiness that is very pleasing. It feels like an eighties perfume to be sure, but is classy and very rich and satisfying. 

Again, I am so glad that Fenwicks is also stocking different perfumes. It certainly makes me very happy!

Adventures in Department Store Land Part 1 (Hoopers)

Hoopers, one of our local department stores, carries an interesting and varied range of perfumes. In recent months, they have stocked the entire Ineka line, which to me is remarkable, as I haven't seen Ineka sold anywhere else, although I am sure there are some London stores that likely carry the line.

I was in Hoopers this week and the new Hermes was in store. I only smelled it on paper, so can't really comment at this stage. I let my wife smell it, who remarked how floral it smells, but she did like it. Hoopers also stock a few of the Commes des Garcons line, such as Man, 2 Man, Wonderwood and Amazing Green. I love Commes des Garcons, so am very happy to see them make an appearance in Tunbridge Wells. I can't say that I liked Amazing Green very much (I did wear it on skin) - it smells strangely aquatic and not very green at all to my nose. Wonderwood was a much more enjoyable experience.

I hope all these perfumes sell very well - that's one way of almost guaranteeing they'll continue to be stocked.

Monday, 25 February 2013

A sniff of Liberty

I was in London today 'on business' (i.e I spent more time traveling to and from London and getting stuck on the Underground rather than doing actual work) and as usual, no trip is complete without a quick stop at Liberty, one of my favourite London department stores.

I noticed Liberty is carrying two new lines (or new to me anyway, as they weren't stocked the last time I was there in January, as far as I can recall), Arquiste and Agonist. I have read so much about Anima Dulcis, one of the bloggers' favourites from 2012. I wore it today and I must say, my initial impression is less enthusiastic than the reviews I've read. For a start, the so-called animalic undertones are missing on my skin, save perhaps for a brief puff right at the start. On my skin this perfume is fairly sweet, with lots of milky cocoa. Look, it isn't bad, and I can't (or shouldn't rather) judge a perfume based only on one try, but to me Anima Dulcis is not totally my cup of tea.

I didn't wear an Agonist, but I did spray Black Amber on a scent strip. It smells more of incense than amber on paper, and in the dry down it reminds me of a tamer Messe de Minuit.

I did wear Commes des Garcons Luxe Patchouli. Mmm, mmm, mmm - now we're talking. Its a gorgeous take on patchouli in my opinion. It smells rich, deep and almost liqueur-like. Pity about the price though. Far too steep for my measly wallet unfortunately. Sob.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

What I am....

Keith Richard's autobiography, Life. An excellent read and while no doubt it has been edited,  equally no doubt this is Keith's own view on life and his words. I especially like the first half of the book, which deals, more or less chronologically, with his youth, the formation of the Rolling Stones and most interesting for me, the period during which they made some of their greatest albums, that great period from 1968 to 1972, starting with Beggars Banquet and ending with Exile on Main Street. The most interesting tidbits include musical influences, mostly blues artists, but also a lot of 1950s rock 'n roll stars, ranging from Elvis to Chuck Berry. In my opinion the final 50 pages are a bit weak, as the whole story just peters out with a series of random anecdotes and musings, including a safari trip to southern Africa, his recipe for bangers and mash and so forth. Slightly frustratingly, he doesn't ever remark on what made the Rolling Stones have such longevity and why they are still playing together almost fifty years later. Nevertheless, a very good book indeed.

Listening to:
Unsurprisingly, I'm revisiting a lot of the Stones' catalogue, especially that 68-72 period. 

Lots of kids' films - unsurprising considering I have two children aged 6 and almost 4. I also watched Sideways again last night. I've seen it a number of times, but hadn't watched it for about five years. I still think it is a great movie.

Well, you can gauge most of that from this very blog, but I have particularly enjoyed wearing Amouage's Opus VI a few times this week. A lovely perfume and in my opinion the best of Amouage's releases from the last two to three years.

I went to my town's top-rated restaurant this week, for a business lunch. The food was decent, but sometimes I am skeptical of the myriad smears, trails and patterns of gravies, sauces and coulies that accompany a lot of these dishes. Sometimes I think they detract from, rather than add to the quality of the dish.

Lots of cold snow flurries. It is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey here!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Micallef Royal Vintage

Micallef Royal Vintage is the latest masculine release from M. Micallef. I received a promo sample from the house a few weeks ago and have been testing it on and off since then.

The first thing I should say is that this fragrance wears very differently  sprayed and dabbed. My sample actually came as a spray vial and a little bottle, the latter without a spray. 

The reason I mention this is that sprayed on, the leather note in Royal Vintage is very subdued and in the background. Dabbed was another story - it came to the fore almost immediately and was the most prominent note. Having said that, Royal Vintage is not a whip-snap of a leather fragrance. The leather is fairly soft and relaxed, smelling worn and slightly aged. Another note that is also very prominent is pink pepper. Over the last few years pink pepper has appeared in many men's releases, to the point of ubiquity. It lends many masculine fragrances a spiciness in the top notes and I actually enjoy the smell a lot, but because of its overuse, it has become a bit cliched. Having said that, the use of the pink pepper is very well done, mixed with bergamot. The third masculine ingredient is cypress, which adds a slightly herbal, pine note, which later on blends well with the leather, musk and patchouli. The use of patchouli is quite light and well blended, lending the composition an air of slightly retro sophistication, which I think is what Micallef were aiming for with this perfume.

While Royal Vintage is masculine, it is a fairly soft and relaxed perfume, and I don't see why it shouldn't be worn by a woman. It is a laid back perfume and I am looking forward to wearing it in warmer weather, when I think it would be just perfect.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to those of you who celebrate it. 

I suppose more importantly, let us all celebrate the loved ones in our lives. Life is too short, and who knows when these precious times may pass? Make the most of the now, and live life to the full, and let the people you truly love know how you feel, now!

So, is it roses all round today? What perfume do you think is truly romantic? Does it have to be floral?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Perfume house of the day - Ormonde Jayne

I say perfume house of the day, because I wore two from Ormonde Jayne, Tolu and Ta'if. The Ormonde Jayne line has a very definite house smell. I'm not even sure what ingredient/s create this house accord. Perhaps I should do the analysis one day. 

What I do know is that Tolu and Ta'if are two of my favourites from the line. Ta'if is a rose perfume of course, while Tolu is about balsams and is a darker oriental, without ever feeling heavy.

Have you tried any perfumes from Ormonde Jayne and if so, which are your favourites? I think my overall favourite is still their signature scent, Ormonde Woman. 

Friday, 8 February 2013

Guerlain Derby

My scent of the day was Guerlain's elusive and renowned Derby. My sample is vintage and I really cannot compare it to later versions, simply because I have never come across a more modern version of the fragrance.

Of course, I use the term vintage somewhat loosely, considering Derby was only released in the mid-Eighties, but I suppose in this age of reformulation and tinkering, any perfume more than a decade old could be considered vintage.

Derby is one of those mens' fragrances I wanted to try for ages. I liken it to Dior's Jules, in terms of how much I wanted it. In a way, Jules and Derby are not a million miles apart in smell and 'feel'. Both are Eighties era leather-chypres, but the Guerlain feels richer, more suave and just a touch classier, at least to my nose. 

It is very difficult for me to explain how Derby smells. It is not an extreme scent, or particularly challenging. It just smells good, classy and very masculine. By masculine, I am not referring to the chest-beating monsters of the era, but rather, just understated, confident class. The word class or classy comes to mind a lot, as you can see, but I can't help it; that is just how Derby is, for me. 

Sunday, 3 February 2013

The state of play

A strange weekend, this one was. 

We woke up on Saturday intending to take the kids out for the morning, to the park and later for a milkshake. We got them loaded up and strapped into the car and I was about to jump in myself when I noticed one of the tyres was flat as a pancake. Oh. Drat. So the kids were bundled back out and inside (not such a bad thing in hindsight, as it was a freezing cold morning with a frigid wind) and Dad started reading the car manual to find out how to change the flat (a man of many skills am I). 

I looked in the boot and to my surprise, there was no spare tyre. Shit. So I phoned the garage and asked if they could help. As it was Saturday and busy, someone promised to phone me back. Half an hour later my phone still hadn't rung so I read through the manual again. This time I saw that my car actually doesn't have a spare tyre. Instead it comes equipped with a bottle of foamy stuff that apparently you spray with a nozzle into the tyre valve, which magically seals any punctures, as long as they are not large. Oh, and joys, there is also a pump concealed in a little compartment in the side of the boot, that I didn't have a clue about. This plugs into the car charger. 

Still, the thought of pumping my tyre full of foam made me feel nervous, particularly if the tyre is subsequently ruined. So, sleuth that I am, I decided to have a quick look at the valve cap. Lo and behold, it was loose and only just connected. Strange. I took it off and to my surprise, found a small stone lodged inside. To cut a long story short, some arsehole had let our tyre down. Quite clever really. I wouldn't have thought of it myself, but then again, I don't make a habit of skulking around in the middle of the night, causing trouble. Still, a slight hint of admiration for the method of allowing the tyre to deflate slowly overnight, without being caught in the act.

The interesting thing is, one of our neighbours told me that the bloke who lives across the road from us hates people parking outside his house. Now, for those of you who don't live in the UK, street parking is the norm; most houses, particularly older Victorian ones, don't have the luxury of driveways and garages. In this country, unless the parking is permit, zoned or you block a driveway, you are generally allowed to park wherever you like. We parked outside this cretin's house and only blocked his driveway by about 2 inches. The irony is, he never parks in the drive anyway - it is too narrow for his own van. He sometimes parks a trailer there, but perhaps only a handful of times a year. For those of you thinking that I am jumping to false conclusions, you may be right. It is very hard to prove (and I won't even try) but my neighbour told me that it has happened before over the years).

The thing that pisses me off the most is that if the bloke had an issue, he could have simply been civil and taken five minutes to come over to us, knock on the door and ask us not to block 2 inches of his driveway. After all, we have lived across the road from him for over five years and I imagine he would know what our car looks like by now! Deep down, I would have still probably thought him a prick, but I would have moved the damn car. 

I don't want to drag this on much longer, but I would like to end by wondering, why do people have to behave like this? What sort of switch goes on inside people's brains that makes them resort to underhand, childish, and frankly, cowardly and bullying behaviour?

Friday, 1 February 2013

Michael Kors for Men - Michael for Men

I had been aware of Michael for Men, but never paid it any attention, for whatever reason. However, today I tried it and I must say, it took me a little by surprise. I was expecting it to be a fairly generic, modern men's perfume, but actually, it smells damn good. 

Fragrantica lists Michael as an aromatic fougere, but to me it smells like a very smooth, slightly spicy, woody tobacco and leather fragrance. The notes include coriander, fir, tarragon, star anise, caraway, bergamot, cardamon, cinnamon, tobacco, incense, suede, sandalwood, plum, patchouli and dried fruits. 

To be honest, this sort of perfume is right up my alley anyway, with many of my favourite perfume notes. I wouldn't say that Michael is massively groundbreaking, but it smells well-constructed, with good ingredients, and most importantly, stays clear of fresh, clean and sporty. To my mind, this perfume is perfect for day wear; you wouldn't offend anyone in the workplace, yet you will smell original enough to not smell like the rest of the crowd. I could see myself buying a bottle of Michael to use as an everyday, versatile staple, suitable for almost any occasion. I hope this isn't perceived as damning with faint praise. Actually, versatile, good-quality men's fragrances like Michael are rarer that one might think and I am so glad that I have finally discovered it.


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