Category Archives: Perfume Reviews

Parfum de Maroc & Velvet Tuberose by Aftelier Perfumes

This is a busy but special time at Aftelier Perfumes HQ in Berkley, California. A lot of work is put into their annual Christmas store/party and there are special fragrant creations for the holidays.

Artisan, natural perfumer Mandy Aftel has released two 9ml EdP pocket sprays for Christmas, namely Bergamoss and Parfum de Maroc  (both $60).  Mandy was inspired to re-issue Parfum de Maroc by our Portia. How cool is that?

 

Parfum de Maroc

Notes: Saffron, Galangal, Turkish Rose, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Myrrh

Although it wasn’t originally created for the festive season, Parfum de Maroc is a great fit for this time of year. It was actually inspired by an ancient Moroccan spice recipe ‘Ras el Hanout’ but its combination of rose, orange and spices really enhances the Christmas spirit.

The pretty rose at its heart is made fruity by bitter orange, which in turn is studded with pomander spices of nutmeg and cardamom. There is a lightness to the composition that makes it full of joyful anticipation. The spices are softened beautifully by the rose, making for a gently spicy, gourmand floral.

 

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Velvet Tuberose

Notes : Pink Grapefruit, Grand Fir, Transparent Florals, Tuberose Absolute, Heady White Flowers, Creamy Sandalwood, Damp Earth, Spun Sugar

For tuberose lovers who really want to spoil themselves with something truly special this Christmas, there’s Velvet Tuberose solid perfume ($240).  For some time, Mandy has wanted to create a solid tuberose perfume which highlights its luscious, sumptuous feel and stays close to the body. If you’ve only ever tried synthetic tuberose fragrances, the scent of the natural absolute used here is very different.

Velvet Tuberose emphasises the creamy, luxurious feel of tuberose as well as its more familiar narcotic and sensuous facets. It is supported by forest notes and rare mitti attar: a traditional aromatic essence of baked earth distilled into sandalwood.  I’ve rarely experienced such a gorgeous tuberose fragrance; it’s floral, sweetened and rather romantic.

The carrier for the scent is organic coconut oil and it is presented in a handmade sterling silver compact.

 

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I also have to mention that Mandy has created two new Face & Body Balms in 15ml tins for the holidays because they both sound lovely.

 

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Frankincense Face & Body Balm contains two types of the resin which is known for its healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Rose Face & Body Balm contains Turkish rose absolute and Bulgarian rose wax which are combined with moisturising squalene and nourishing sea buckthorn berry oil ($35 each).

 

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Are you treating yourself to anything fragrant this festive season?

 

 

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Night Out Perfumes – Mood Scent 4

We are four perfume bloggers from France, Holland, England and Wales posting on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we pick a selection of  fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other participating blogs at the end of the post. Our previous subjects have been Rainy Day Perfumes, Wedding Guest Perfumes and Mainstream Perfumes.

December marks the start of the party season, which for many will include various get-togethers with friends, family and work colleagues. It therefore seems a good time to discuss today’s topic of Night Out Perfumes.

I’ve chosen five different evening activities and matched them with five appropriate perfumes.

 

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Dining at a Restaurant – Anima Dulcis, Arquiste

A perfume to match a meal has to be gourmand, but I have a hard time with much of this genre of fragrances because I’m not good with high levels of sweetness in my perfume (though I love it a little too much in food). Most gourmands take the sugary route with lots of vanilla, syrup and/or caramel, but that’s not the only option.

Anima Dulcis by Arquiste is a sophisticated chocolate scent inspired by a recipe for spiced cocoa kept by nuns for centuries. The chocolate accord is dark and spiked with spices and chilli. I should mention that I don’t pick up on any cumin if you’re super sensitive to it as I am.

Notes: Sesame Seed, Cinnamon, Oregano, Clove Buds, Cumin, Jasmine, Smoked Chili Infusion, Vanilla, Cocoa and Oriental-Chypre Accord.

 

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A Show at the Theatre – Bois des Iles Parfum, Chanel

If you’re going to be sitting in close quarters with people you don’t know for any length of time, it’s best to choose a perfume that is on the quiet side. This doesn’t mean it has to be dull however. Somewhat sadly, people don’t dress up for the theatre any more but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a classy perfume.

Choose a fragrance that feels decadent but make it the Parfum concentration so it doesn’t draw more attention to you than what’s happening on the stage. Perfumer Ernest Beaux was inspired to create Bois des Iles for Chanel while at the opera. The sumptuousness of the theatre is reflected in this golden, sandalwood masterpiece.

Notes: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Neroli, Peach, Jasmine, Rose, Lily of the Valley, Iris, Ylang-Ylang, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Benzoin and Musk.

 

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Dancing at a Club – Superstitious, Editions des Parfums Frederic Malle

Conversely to the situation above, at a club anything goes. In fact you need a perfume that is able to compete for attention.  Superstitious is a rarity for me: a loud perfume that I love. Frothy aldehydes laced lavishly with jasmine float on top of a dusty and earthy vetiver.

It’s a lot of fun and I enjoy how the surface layer of peaches and cream contrasts with the dark and dirty base underneath. It starts off elegant but doesn’t take itself too seriously. Superstitious gets increasingly dishevelled as the night wears on.

Notes: Jasmine, Rose, Peach, Amber, Incense, Vetiver, Patchouli and Aldehydes.

 

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A Walk in the City – Rose de Nuit, Serge Lutens

Strolling along London’s Southbank is one of my favourite things to do. During December it’s particularly enjoyable because in the evenings the trees are festooned with twinkling lights and there’s always something festive going on. It’s a great option for a date because you can walk and talk, see what attractions are on offer and take in the views across the River Thames.

For a night like this, a nocturnal, leather-tinged rose seems to fit the bill. The Paris exclusive Rose de Nuit contains red roses and yellow jasmine petals smeared with beeswax and emitting a wanton undercurrent of animalic musk. There’s something raspy about it that creates a bit of a frisson.

Notes: Turkish rose, jasmine, apricot, amber, musk, sandalwood and beeswax

 

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Drinks at a Bar – Liqueur Charnelle, Parfumerie Generale

If you’re going to be imbibing alcohol then a boozy perfume seems the obvious choice. Like gourmands, I rarely come across fragrances with prominent alcoholic notes that I like. I’m drawn to the idea of them but when I put them on my skin they are often too strident.

Liqueur Charnelle by Parfumerie Generale is one of the few boozy perfumes that I really enjoy. The burn of cognac is mellowed by frozen raspberries sprinkled with pepper. It feels hedonistic in a very seductive way and it’s perfect for after-hours, grown-up fun.

Notes: Cognac, Dried Fruits, Lime (linden blossom), Grapes, Caramel, Vanilla, Black Pepper, Pink Pepper, Elemi, Amber, Raspberry, Coumarin and Tobacco. 

 

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Check out the Night Out Perfumes chosen by my fellow fragrance bloggers Megan in Sainte Maxime, I Scent You A Day and L’Esperessence.

 

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Which perfume do you usually turn to for a big night out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Une Robe de Zibeline by DSH Perfumes

Notes: aldehydes, bergamot, black pepper, lemon, spice notes; ylang ylang, Bulgarian rose absolute, carnation,  jasmine, orris, rosewood, tobacco absolute, coumarin, sable fur accord; ambergris, beeswax, brown oakmoss, castoreum, civet, patchouli, benzoin, labdanum, tolu balsam, leather

 

There are a number of fabulous American indie perfumes but thanks to the vagaries of the postal system, it’s usually not easy to get your hands on their fragrances outside the States. Dawn Spencer Hurwitz is one such perfumer based in Boulder, Colorado. The good news is that her perfumes can now be shipped internationally via the website.

I was fortunate enough to receive a package of samples showcasing the 2017 releases from DSH Perfumes. I will do a post with mini reviews of some of the highlights but I did want to single one out for special mention.

Une Robe de Zibeline was released in September as another instalment of the ‘Retrograde Files’ series.  These perfumes were discontinued because of the limited availability of ingredients. However, thanks to renewed interest in Retro-Nouveau/Animalic perfumes, Une Robe de Zibeline has been re-worked as a grand, vintage-style scent.

Dawn describes it as a smouldering fragrance and it is exactly that. The sensuality is on a low burn rather than full blast. It’s relatively quiet on me and lasts about half a day but results from spraying are likely to vary from applying using the roller-ball sample.

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Une Robe de Zibeline is French for sable coat and the fur subgenre of fragrances is quickly becoming a favourite of mine. This vintage sable scent satisfies my love of subtle, old-school animalic style fragrances where the musk is close to the skin and under the radar.

The opening is full of aldehydes which are silky soft and give the perfume a milky glow.  They immediately put it in the vintage inspired category but also give it some lift. They feel like gossamer and momentarily conceal what is to come with their silvery, glistening web.

For some reason you don’t get a lot of ylang-ylang dominant perfumes which aren’t tropical and indeed Une Robe de Zieline is actually Dawn’s only perfume with this flower at its heart. The ylang-ylang may be prominent but it doesn’t dominate the other accords  but gives them a focal point and creates a beautiful contrast with the dry musk base. When the aldehydes melt away you can breathe in these gorgeously soft, creamy yellow blooms

The ylang-ylang flowers are of course, pinned to an antique fur, making this oriental fragrance more multi-faceted and floral than most in this genre. Some fur coat perfumes are all about the musk, which is fine but what I like about Une Robe de Zibeline, is that is so nicely balanced. The beauty of the flowers tames the beast just enough so it’s soft and pretty as well sophisticated and seductive. Here we have a floral animalic perfume with complexity and that’s what clinches it for me.

 

 

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Do you like retro-inspired fragrances?

 

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Miss Dior Vintage Parfum by Dior

Top: Aldehydes, Gardenia, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot
Heart: Carnation, Iris, Jasmine, Neroli, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose, Narcissus
Base: Labdanum, Leather, Sandalwood, Amber, Patchouli, Oakmoss, Vetiver

 

I feel foolish because for years old-school Miss Dior never appealed to me enough to try it. It wasn’t just that there have been countless reformulations over the years or the risk of falling for a vintage gem. To be honest, I think it was the word ‘Miss’ in its name and the association with the ultra-feminine full skirts of Christian Dior’s ‘New Look’ of 1947 – the year of its release.  I assumed Miss Dior wasn’t for me, that it would be too prim and proper.

Now I’ve experienced the wonder that is vintage Miss Dior Parfum (thanks to Miss Portia) I couldn’t have been more wrong. I can see there is a kind of houndstooth smartness to classic Miss Dior but oh, there is so much more to this iconic chypre under its pristine surface.

It’s one of those perfumes that is incredibly cohesive, so tightly woven, that it has a distinct character and persona all its own. This makes it rather tricky to unpick and separate into its constituent parts, but we shall see…

 

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Vintage Miss Dior is glorious from the start. It’s all there; the green-veiled florals with that unmistakable backing of real-deal oakmoss which, along with labdanum and patchouli, give it that addictive chypre tang.

The aldehydes are whisper soft, no doubt because the juice is several decades old. Copious galbanum can make a fragrance come across as steely, but here the austere queen of green is softened by waxy garlands of gardenia flowers.

Perhaps what strikes me most is the fragrance’s texture.  The floral heart is set against a backdrop which Neil of The Black Narcissus described perfectly as “tweedy”. The weave and waft of the original Miss Dior has a cross-hatched grain that I see in shades of dark brown, slate grey and forest green, relieved by flecks of white.

It doesn’t take long – about an hour – for a thread of castoreum-style musk to unravel from the whole and make its presence known. There is a hidden filth scene behind the façade of respectability.  I covet this kind of contrast because it creates intrigue and true allure. This only deepens through its development.

Down in the base, a leather of the super strict variety is revealed. The provocative mixture of cool oakmoss, animalic musk and hard leather is the last thing you’d expect under that crisp, buttoned-up exterior.

Miss Dior never has to take her gloves off in order to put others in their place: just being around her makes everyone mind their manners and sit up a little straighter. It’s an irresistible combination of seductiveness and no-nonsense.

What may at first look appear to be schoolmarmish frigidity is actually leather-bound suggestiveness masked by a show of propriety.

Miss Dior is fragrant subversion of the most elegant kind.

 

 

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Do you adore vintage Miss Dior? How does the current Miss Dior Originale compare?

 

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WARSZAWA by Puredistance

 

Notes: Galbanum, Grapefruit, Violet Leaf, Jasmine Absolute, Broom Absolute, Orris Butter, Patchouli, Vetiver and Styrax

 

Puredistance put the class back into luxury perfumery. It seems these days that a number of brands in this exclusive niche are focusing on the blinged-out packaging, with the fragrant contents coming as something of an afterthought. Puredistance have elegant, covetable packaging but more importantly, meticulously composed, high quality scents.

Warszawa is their eighth release and the third authored by perfumer Antoine Lie. It promises to transport the wearer to “a dreamy world of old-time chic” and seeing as this is one of my favourite types of fragrance, I’m feeling hopeful…

 

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Warszawa is an uncommon boudoir scent. It’s a powder puff of creamy florals with a glints of galbanum and citrus to start. This allows it to take off without the powder dragging it down. Through its development, it moves from bright green to deepest velvety emerald.

It’s a modern interpretation of the Roaring Twenties with all the glamour and dizzyingly good times that encompasses.  Sometimes powdery perfumes can feel dated but Warszawa feels beautifully retro.

Boudoir perfumes are often reminiscent of vintage cosmetics and Warszawa also mines that seam. Picture a woman with Marcel Waves in her lingerie and stockings, who is attending to her toilette before an evening of decadence. From her vanity, she applies rose-scented blush, waxy lipstick and an iris face powder. As a finishing touch, she dabs on a rich jasmine perfume, creating a cloud of lusciousness.

What sets Warszawa apart from most other boudoir/cosmetic fragrances however, is that it has a smooth green overlay. I’ve come across broom absolute in perfumes like Amouage’s Opus III. It’s redolent of overgrown meadows of wildflowers and heaps of honeyed hay.  Antoine Lie takes these untamed aromas of nature and moulds them into something incredibly warm, intimate and refined. Vanessa summed up Warszawa perfectly in her Bonkers post as a “forest green corset”.

It’s a full-bodied, kaleidoscopic fragrance that doesn’t have clear demarcations of individual accords or a top/heart/base. Puredistance fragrances tend to be supremely well blended and this is no exception.

Warszawa feels feminine in an entirely grown-up way; it doesn’t equate femininity with syrupy sweetness. This is a ‘heels and winged eyeliner perfume’ and veers nowhere near the nebulous pink fluffiness aimed at the youth market.

Of course a guy can rock anything he chooses but I love it when a truly womanly fragrance is released. Even long-established perfume houses like Guerlain and Chanel are clamouring to woo Millennials, thereby making women over forty feel invisible. Therefore, it’s good to find that Puredistance isn’t chasing the latest trends and has made a perfume that feels like me.

Warszawa is now my favourite fragrance from the collection and with 25% parfum oil, you only need a single spray for knock ’em dead sillage and all day longevity.

 

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Do you long for more fragrance releases that feel like they are aimed at you?

 

 

 

 

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Bat by Zoologist Perfumes

Top Notes: Banana, Soft Fruits, Damp Earth
Heart Notes: Fig, Tropical Fruits, Mineral Notes, Myrrh, Resins, Vegetal Roots
Base Notes: Furry Musks*, Leather*, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Tonka

                                         *No animal products are used in Zoologist fragrances.

 

I’ve said previously how I love the concept behind Zoologist Perfumes. The ‘animal inspos’ are quirky and using the talents of artisan perfumers to compose them is a master stroke. I’ve written mini reviews  of Rhinoceros, Beaver and Panda and Civet, Nightingale and Macaque.

I have owned a sample of 2016 release, Bat, for a while but thought it would be fun to delve into it for Halloween.

 

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Dr. Ellen Covey is the indie perfumer behind Olympic Orchids but she is also a university professor who has conducted research into bats. Therefore, it’s no wonder she captured this creature, its diet and habitat so perfectly in scent for Zoologist. Last year Bat won an Art and Olfaction Award in the Independent category.

The bat in question is specifically a fruit bat, so we begin with a mixture of fruity notes    coated in mustiness very similar to petrichor, that fantastic aroma created when rain hits dry soil. This prevents the fruitiness from veering anywhere close to syrupy cocktail territory. I can’t bear the smell of bananas but here it’s the faint odour of dried banana skin. The damp earth accord coupled with the tropical fruit is completely unique.

Consider me hooked.

As the musty fruit opening fades, I notice a chill coming off my skin along with the earthiness, as if the bat is swooping through the cool night air.

In the heart of the fragrance, Bat returns to its cave with its scent of stone walls along with vegetal roots and humus rising up from the damp dirt floor.  It’s hugely atmospheric, recreating the dark, dank environment the bat haunts during daylight hours.

The base brings us up close and personal to the mammal’s black wings and grey fur. This is achieved through a phenol, fume-y leather dusted with vetiver and set against a fuzzy musky background. Now we get a real taste of the gothic. It’s a potent brew and not for the lily-livered.

What has surprised me the most about Bat is that it’s not the wholly unapproachable art piece I expected it to be. This may be in part because it stays relatively soft on my skin (until the base) though longevity is excellent. I was prepared to be impressed by its originality but it is also clever, witty and well structured.

Bat is not a conventional, easy wear by any means, but under the cloak of a damp and overcast autumn day when the veil between worlds is at its thinnest, it fits right in.

 

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Do you pick an appropriate perfume for Halloween? Have you tried Bat?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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In Rotation – Autumn 2017

It’s autumn in the UK and I’m really enjoying wearing my two favourite releases of this year (practically non-stop). They are both by artisan perfumers whose work exhibits great depth and attention to detail. As different as they are, each fragrance feels perfect for this time of year.

I spent a few days at a forest lodge in Scotland earlier in the month and the autumnal countryside was stunning. The scents of green leaves, woodsmoke and damp earth filled the air.

 

 

Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Costus, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Deer Tongue, Cedrat, Benzoin, Lavender, Thyme and Orris

Liz Moores is very connected to nature in all its forms, so it’s no wonder she should see the soul in a tree and create a perfume in its honour: Dryad. Bitter greens are crushed underfoot as the woodland becomes denser and darker. The drydown has the glorious feel of a vintage oakmoss chypre. Green perfumes are rarely this complex or classy. Wear it while wistfully wishing you lived in the forest, or kicking up leaves walking through the park.

 

Naja by Vero Profumo

Osmanthus absolute, melon, linden blossom, tobacco

The green in Naja is a neon bright lime.  It starts out like juice, then blossom and finally powder. This provides an overlay to the palest blond tabacco which feels just right for these damp days with a hint of bonfire in the air. Naja is a perfume full of contradictions that exist side by side. It is body and spirit, dissonance and harmony, purity and poison. Wear it to weave protection spells and cast out evil. It’s the perfect perfume for the run-up to Halloween.

 

Coromandel by Chanel 

Bitter Orange, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Patchouli, White Chocolate, Vanilla, Woods, Incense

While I’m wearing Dryad and Naja on skin, I’m also wearing Coromandel on fabric. It’s my favourite scarf perfume. I sprayed it onto the front of my long black cotton scarf once I’d wound it round my neck.  The luxe patchouli works really well when you can catch wafts of it as you walk. I have the EdT version which has wisps of incense which show up in mild weather.  It really complements both Dryad and Naja. Wear it to amplify and complement the wonderfully musty aromas of autumn in a super chic way.

 

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What fragrances have you been turning to lately?

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Mx. by Eris Parfums

 

Top Notes: Ginger, Black Pepper, Saffron, Olibanum
Heart Notes: Sandalwood, Cedarwood
Base Notes: Vetiver, Patchouli, Benzoin, Birch Tar, Cacao, Castoreum

 

I was impressed with the initial collection of three fragrances launched by Eris Parfums last year. Creative Director, Barbara Herman, is a vintage perfume expert and author of Scent and Subversion. You can read my mini reviews of Ma Bête, Belle de Jour and Night Flower here.

The latest fragrance by Eris Parfums, Mx. (pronounced “Mix”) was launched this year and once again, was created with perfumer Antoine Lie.

I recently discovered the meaning of the word Mx. in the most prosaic way imaginable. I was placing an online order with a supermarket when I noticed one of the options in the contact details section was ‘Mx’. I correctly deduced that this is a new gender-neutral title, with the ultimate aim of replacing Mr, Mrs, Miss etc.

You may be thinking “Okay, but we’ve had unisex fragrances for a long time now”. However, Mx. rebels against the idea – prevalent in the mainstream at least – that gender-neutral perfumes have to be clean (read asexual) or lean masculine in style (presumably so as not to scare off the fellas).

 

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In sharp contrast to the cool and fresh unisex style that dates back to CK One, Mx. is warm and inviting.

I often find ginger notes tricky but the accord that forms the opening of Mx. is like gingerbread baked with a good deal of saffron and a sprinkling of pepper. Come in close and you may even be treated to a spike of incense.

This combination of gourmand spices over light, pliable woods brings to mind the excellent Dries Van Noten par Frédéric Malle. Both are comforting yet stylish, but unlike the Malle, Mx. completely bypasses florals. It also has an enticing dark twist in the base with vetiver, patchouli, a dusting of cacao powder and a shadow of smoky leather.

The animalic aspect here is very much of the soft and purring kind. The musk is at the furry end of the spectrum and adds to the luxurious feel. Mx. seeks to blur the gender boundaries and the whole feel of the fragrance is soft focus. It’s someone coming home late at night, lighting a fire and wrapping themselves in a faux fur blanket after an indulgent evening of excess.

It doesn’t have the retro stamp of the first three Eris perfumes, but it shares the same sophisticated, sensual character and may be more approachable for some. While Mx. seeks to challenge the binary nature of gender, the fragrance is easy to wear and fits like a second skin. It possesses intimate sillage and lasts incredibly well.

Gender politics aside, Mx. is cosy, comforting, chic and more than a little romantic. It works beautifully at this time of year as the temperature starts to dip and the nights are about to draw-in.

 

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Do you find gender distinctions in fragrance helpful or would you rather that we did away with them completely?

 

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Mood Scent 4 – Uplifting Perfumes

Welcome to the latest instalment in the Mood Scent 4. joint blogging project,

We are four perfume bloggers from France, Holland, England and Wales who post on a different joint subject every couple of months.  Each time we pick a selection of fragrances to fit a particular mood or occasion. You’ll find links to the other blogs at the end of the post.

Previous posts have been on the topics of Rainy Day Perfumes, Wedding Guest Perfumes and Mainstream Perfumes. Today the topic is Uplifting Perfumes.

 

 

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Really, any perfume you love can be uplifting but some types of fragrances can be  depended upon to raise most people’s spirits. Aromatherapy will tell you orange is the most mood-boosting aroma and I agree many perfumes in this citrus category can do the trick.

My personal favourite for an instant up-tick in outlook is Eau de Mandarine Ambrée by Hermès. The scent of mandarins is pure happiness to me, perhaps because I was given tinned mandarins segments in syrup as a dessert when a child.

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Eau de Mandarin Ambrée is from Les Cologne Collection but the citrus is supported by amber which prolongs its life significantly. Hermès are generally a good bet for classy orange scents with the classic Eau D’Orange Verte, the orange-tinted beach scent Eau des Merveilles and last year’s Eau de Néroli Doré.

Orange Sanguine by Atelier Cologne is like a morning class of fresh orange juice, while the mainstream have Clinique Happy and Boss Orange.

Related to citrus scents but fuller and obviously more floral, are the orange blossom perfumes. They feel like inhaling the scent of blossom on the breeze in early summer. It’s uplifting but in a more languid, sensual way.  For an added burst of zingy lemon in the opening and extra longevity, there’s the golden orange blossom of Cologne Indélébile by Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle

The two I own though, are the limited edition Fleur d’Oranger and Seville a L’Aube, both by L’Artisan Perfumeur. The latter is a combination of honeyed orange blossom, caramelised lavender and a wisp of incense. If you fall for it you can read all about its development in The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu.

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Sometimes just the name of a perfume is enough to make you smile. Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays is just as playful as its name. This is a vintage-style boudoir scent topped with raspberry. Put it on and enjoy that fun, flirty feeling. If someone asks you what you’re wearing, that’s an added bonus.

How about a perfume inspired by the glittering world of Bollywood that also has an exclamation mark at the end? Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire Creations is characterised by a fabulously joyous and super juicy mango note. Spray it and just see if you can resist the urge to smile

 

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Aldehydes are the party perfume ingredient with their bubbly spray of champagne foam. My favourite Vega is no longer available but there are some others out there including of course, the most recent youthful incarnation of the Chanel classic, No. 5 L’Eau.

Other easily obtainable old school aldehydic perfumes are Lanvin Arpege, Ivoire de Balmain and YSL’s Rive Gauche.

 

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Be sure to check out my fellow bloggers’ choices of Uplifting Perfumes at Megan In Sainte Maxine, L’Esperessence and I Scent You A Day.

 

What perfumes to you turn to when you need a bit of cheering up?

 

 

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Rose Omeyyade, Iris Fauve and Cuir Sacré by Atelier des Ors

My mate Megan of the excellent blog Megan in Sainte Maxime was kind enough to send me some samples from French niche brand, Atelier des Ors, which launched in 2015. As pleased as I was to receive them, for some reason I didn’t rush to spray.

The bottles are beautifully faceted and contain juice with floating flecks of gold leaf, but I leans more towards an artisan aesthetic. I also had the impression that the compositions were skewed towards the oriental, which I have a poor track record with. I finally got over myself and tried the three which focus on notes I gravitate towards: rose, iris and leather.

 

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Rose Omeyyade

Top notes: Raspberry, Rose, Pink Pepper
Middle notes: Patchouli, Brown Sugar, Guaiac Wood
Base notes: Amber, Sandalwood, Oud

I’d describe Rose Omeyyade is a slightly jammy, almost boozy, softly spiced, rose-centred fragrance.  Sweet but not sickeningly so, the raspberry brings out the fruity facet of the rose, placing it on the verge of gourmand. I keep noticing something like spicy incense, which I’m putting down to the pink pepper combined with guaiac wood.  This is very much a composition based around a prominent rose note, rather than a rose soliflore.

The oud is mildly skanky which makes a nice change from the plethora of sanitised versions out there. It also gives the fragrance a bit of edge. In the drydown the woods become a little too persistent for me, however if you are fond of ‘east meets west’ rosy perfumes, you should give Rose Omeyyade a spin.

 

Iris Fauve

Top notes: Bergamot, Cinnamon, Iris
Middle notes: Patchouli, Haitian Vetiver, Cypriol oil.
Base notes: Myrrh, Musk, Labdanum, Liatris (Deerstongue/Wild Vanilla)

Iris Fauve was released this year and turns out to be a pussy cat rather than the beast its name suggests. After a bright bergamot opening, it becomes smooth and fuzzy with pillowy iris atop a bed of ambrette-style musk.  Usually irises are cool and metallic, rooty or cosmetic but here it’s in my favourite mode; warm, sensual and somewhat doughy. The overall texture is suede-like but without any hint of leather present.

Cinnamon can be harsh and anti-social but here it plays nice and mixes well. There’s a lick of liquorice in the drydown from the myrrh but nothing forceful. It’s said to “drape the skin like a soft and reassuring caress” and it does indeed stay close to the body.  In short, Iris Fauve is a welcome addition to that small subset of warm iris fragrances.

 

Cuir Sacré

Top notes: Juniper Berries, Cypress, Cardamom
Middle notes: Incense, Saffron, Cedar Needles
Base notes: Leather, Vetiver

Not only do I generally love saffron notes in perfume but my favourite discontinued leather fragrance Cuir de Lancôme contains creamy saffron wrapped-up in buttery suede. Therefore it’s unsurprising that I really enjoy the strong saffron opening of Cuir Sacré. Most spices are not my friend but the orange-gold of saffron with its floralacy is something else entirely. It speaks of luxury and seems to pair brilliantly with more austere accords.

The leather is super smooth and refined rather than rough and tarry. It’s not all about sleek upholstered interiors though. There is a distinct aromatic accord unwinding throughout that is evocative of dark green pine forests which, along with the saffron, lifts it above most of the niche leathers currently available. If I wasn’t in the mood for my usual birch tar, smoky leather I’d certainly go for Cuir Sacré.

 

atelier des ors woman

 

Have you tried any of the fragrances from Atelier des Ors? What are your thoughts and favourites?

 

Photo credit: zastavki.com

 

 

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