Category Archives: Perfume Reviews

A Month of Irises

Who needs roses on Valentine’s Day when you can have irises?

You may already be a reader of Undina’s excellent blog, but she came up with the idea of making February ‘A Month of Irises’.  There is a new post each week on Undina’s Looking Glass which she is adding to each day with a little iris-related review or fact, so do check in there for the rest of the month and share your SotD. Other bloggers are getting involved in the fun too and I’m hosting here on A Bottled Rose today.

I’ll be posting a full review of my current No.1 iris, Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums at the end of the month, but today I wanted to talk about another iris in my collection: 28 La Pausa by Les Exclusifs de Chanel.

 

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I own a 200ml vat of the original EdT and while it is notorious for poor longevity, strangely I don’t have any problems on that score. It would be tough to produce an iris-centric perfume that wasn’t elegant but I think you’d be hard pressed to find one more refined and coolly charming than this Chanel.

28 La Pausa is a silken iris, being low on rootiness and much more floral in character. I find it soothing and minimalist yet radiant. It stops short of aloof and floats pleasantly around me in the palest blue aura.

When I tried the new EdP version I found that it progressed rather too quickly to its vetiver base on my skin. However Victoria of Bois de Jasmin recently wrote that she prefers it, in her brilliant Top Ten of Winter Iris Perfumes so do see how you find it. That post also spawned galloping lemmings of On Lipstick from Maison Martin Margiela Replica and Mythique by Parfums DelRae.

Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens is surely the ne plus ultra of iris perfumes but it has too much of a cold knife edge for me to wear it comfortably. My “lottery win” iris would be Irisss by Xerjoff at £560 for 100ml.

Chanel No.19 EdT is the iris-forward perfume that is currently on my To Buy list. Another fantastic iris that I’m sure I’ll own one day is Prada’s Infusion d’Iris Absolu.

Some others that I admire and have reviewed in the past are Hermes Hiris, the white iris of Nirmal by Laboratorio Olfattivo, the moonlit Iris Nazarena from Aedes de Venustas and the fabulously smoky Iris Cendre by Naomi Goodsir.

If you missed it on Olfactoria’s Travels back in the day, you might be interested to read my write-up of Incredible Irises, an evening of iris at Perfume Lovers London. It features some background information about this luxurious ingredient as well as a good selection of scents.

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Please let us know in the comments which iris perfume you are wearing today or which one/s you love!

 

 

 

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Mood Scent 4: First Love Perfumes

Today, we as the joint blogging project Mood Scent, 4 are sharing the first perfumes we fell in love with. What memories do they recall? How do we feel about them now?

Unlike many British teenage girls in the 1980s, I didn’t go through a phase of wearing soft, feminine fragrances like Anais Anais or Lou Lou. No, I went straight for the hard stuff…

 

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Obsession by Calvin Klein

Mandarin, orange blossom, bergamot, jasmine, rose, coriander, tagete, armoise, oakmoss and amber

I bought a small bottle of Obsession on a school trip to France and vividly remember a friend asking to try some on the ferry home. I couldn’t believe she was expecting me to open the brand new bottle and let her be the first one to use it. Me being me, I complied without a word. That tells you how much I coveted that bottle and the scent within. Looking back now, this classic 1980s power perfume seems way too strong for a teenager but I loved it. A heavy, musky amber is just about the opposite of anything I’d wear today.

 

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Parfum d’Ete by Kenzo

Mahogany, green leaves, lily-of-the-valley, freesia, peach, hyacinth, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, cycalmen, peony, narcissus, iris, sandalwood, oakmoss, cedar, musk and amber 

I went through quite a love affair with Kenzo perfumes at one point. I bought and thoroughly enjoyed their excellent fruity florals Le Monde Est Beau and Ca Sent Beau.  I remember trying the now discontinued version of Parfum d’Ete on skin for the first time at a department store. By the time I reached the exit I was so smitten I turned around, went straight back to the counter and bought a bottle.  It’s a pleasant, breezy scent with plenty of heft despite its lightweight feel.  Although the name meaning “summer fragrance”, it actually comes across as rather spring-like with its tender florals and green shoots full of water.

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Aromatics Elixir by Clinique

Sage, chamomile, verbena, geranium, jasmine, ylang-ylang, tuberose, rose, patchouli and oakmoss

I bought the 70s classic Aromatics Elixir when I started my first permanent office job and received lots of compliments on it. So much so that my mother, sister and boss all started wearing it too. It was unlike anything I’d come across before and I guess it was my first experience of a chypre. While I’d find it a bit too intense now, I still admire it. It’s such a distinctive, cohesive composition that is more than the sum of its parts, which are herbal, floral, woody and mossy.  My mum still wears it, 20 years later.

 

 

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Envy by Gucci

Hyacinth, magnolia, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, iris, musk and woods

Owing to the popularity of Aromatics Elixir among those close to me, I had to find a new signature scent. I turned to Envy which had just been released in 1997 It was created by perfumer Maurice Roucel who composed the iconic Iris Silver Mist for Serge Lutens three years earlier and Musc Ravageur for Frederic Malle three years later. It’s such a clever perfume in my book because it takes the green floral as a theme and turns it into something sleek, chic and subtly sexy.

 

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Unfortunately Esperanza isn’t up to joining us today but don’t miss the First Love Perfumes of Megan In Sainte Maxime  and I Scent You A Day.

 

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Please share your own fragrant first loves in the comments below!

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Three Neroli Fragrances To Brighten Winter

I’ve been looking for a nice neroli perfume for ages. Both orange blossom and neroli are derived from orange blossom flowers but the methods of extraction differ and this results in markedly different scents. Orange blossom absolute is thicker, sweeter and more floral while neroli essential oil is tarter, greener and brighter.

After sharing my wish to find a good neroli fragrance, my mate Esperanza of L’Esperessence very kindly sent me a selection of samples from her home in Holland. They were the perfect antidote to the grey skies and mood that accompanies January in London.

 

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Grand Neroli, Atelier Cologne

Notes: Neroli, Lemon, Sicilian Bergamot, Petitgrain, Galbanum, Moss, Birch Leaf, Musk, White Amber and Vanilla.

Neroli lends itself to the cologne style so you’d expect Atelier Cologne to do a good job with it. Grand Neroli is not quite as zesty as the Heeley but still starts with that lemony tang. It moves from tart, through floral, to green. It’s the most nuanced of the three and I like the way it changes and develops over time. True to the brand’s remit, this is a full- bodied take on a cologne with good lasting power. However I find the musk quite prominent and that’s a deal-breaker for me. It’s a white musk which fades through the day and isn’t headache inducing like some.

 

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Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St Clement’s, Heeley

Notes: Orange. Lemon. Bergamot,  Mandarine, Neroli, Petitgrain, Earl Grey Tea, Ylang Ylang and Vetiver

We used to play a singing game to “Orange and Lemons” at children’s birthday parties when I was little which means this perfume has a very happy association for me.  As is often the case with old English nursery rhymes, the lyrics dating from circa 1740 are pretty grim when you look at them:

Oranges and lemons,
Say the bells of St. Clement’s.

You owe me five farthings,
Say the bells of St. Martin’s.

When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey.

When I grow rich,
Say the bells of Shoreditch.

When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney.

I do not know,
Says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
And here comes a chopper to chop off your head!
Chip chop chip chop the last man is dead

The fragrance goes on zingy as you’d expect with the presence of lemon but it’s not so bitter as to make me wince. The projection lessens considerably after about 2-3 hours but this is citrus-heavy and citrus accords have limited longevity. However, the lasting power was very good despite the closeness to the skin. The Earl Grey tea accord is a nice idea but wasn’t noticeable to me. St. Clement’s is simple but very cheering and easy to wear. It’s my favourite of the three.

 

 

 

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Neroli, Yves Rocher

Notes: Bigarade (bitter orange), Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Neroli and Musks.

Neroli is part of the Secret d’Essences collection of signature fragrances using quality raw materials. This is really pretty. It has none of the tart lemon of the two previous iterations. This feels more like a perfume than a cologne and you could say it leans more traditionally feminine in style. Neroli has a lovely golden hue with no interruptions. It has just the right balance between sweet and sour.  This is probably because unlike the other two, it contains orange blossom which adds that floral syrupy-ness but also means it’s not a straight-up neroli fragrance. Sadly, its longevity wasn’t great on me but at around £30 for 50ml, you can afford to re-apply during the day.

 

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Have you tried any of these? Do you have any more neroli fragrances to recommend me in the comments?

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DSH Perfumes: Mini Reviews – Poppy, French Lily, Foxy and Habibi

I was fortunate to receive a package from American artisan perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, containing a fabulous selection of her latest fragrances for me to try. All were released during 2017 and the samples come in the form of little glass roll-ons which work much better than dab vials.

I’ve recently wrote about the one that was my personal highlight, the vintage fur Une Robe de Zibeline.  Today, I’m posting mini reviews of four others that stood out to me.

 

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Poppy

Poppy is a nice surprise because from the name, I was expecting something cheery and lightweight. It’s actually a sophisticated floral oriental with a central carnation accord that isn’t too clove-heavy. Poppy is backed by the seductive kind of musk which I wish perfumers used more often. It’s that kind of muskiness which is reminiscent of the nape of the neck, drawing you closer. It feels sensuous rather than skanky.
French Lily

Now this is a lily to have a spring love affair with. I’ve never clicked with a lily perfume before this one. I can’t bear the scent of stargazer lilies and lily of the valley is usually pretty but a bit too innocent and simplistic for my tastes. French Lily has all the fresh green beauty of muguet but with a sexy Parisian twist.  The balance between purity and carnality is just right, with the lily accented rather than overwhelmed by the musk. Megan in Sainte Maxime felt the same and you can read her full review here.

 

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FOXY

Who doesn’t want to try a perfume called Foxy?! Amber fans may well swoon at this one. It’s a gently spiced amber with an apple whiskey accord and a furry feel. It’s in the same luxurious, gourmand amber category as Ambre Narguile by Hermes. I may not be an amber person but at this time of year I can really appreciate the warming, edible goodness of a well done amber fragrance such as this.

 

Habibi

Habibi is an Arabian term of endearment (‘my beloved’) while the fragrance is an uncommon orange blossom.  Where most perfumes in this category are joyful and sunlit, Habibi is candlelit and sets an exotic, even erotic, mood. Oud and saffron combine to create a leathery orange blossom scent with honeyed facets. Jasmine adds to the seductive, verging on narcotic, feel. The oud is smoothly animalic and it’s good to see it used in a composition where – for once – rose isn’t its counterpart.

 

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Have you tried any of DSH Perfume’s 2017 launches? Are there any past releases I should investigate?

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Filed under Perfume Reviews