Mood Scent 4: Zesty Citrus!

(OK Everyone. This is my first time using the new WordPress block editor. ASSHOLES! Why did they have to screw with the way this works. SO annoying. Whoever made these changes deserves a measly, unhappy life. )

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Zesty Citrus. The Northern Hemisphere moving towards warmer weather you’ll be grabbing out your Zesty Citrus frags any moment now! How exciting. As we’ve just come through the hot I have a list of some of the things I wore throughout. Of course it doesn’t have to be warm to wear them, some are perfect win her warmers or brighteners.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Zesty Citrus fragrances in the comments too.

So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again: Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.

Mood Scent 4: Zesty Citrus!

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Vintage Magie Noire by Lancome

Top notes: Galbanum, Cassis, Cassia, Hiacynth, Bulgarian Rose, Raspberry and Bergamot.

Middle notes: Honey, Narcissus, Cedar, Orris Root, Ylang-Ylang, Tuberose, Jasmine and Lily-of-the-Valley.

Base notes: Oakmoss, Spices, Civet, Incense, Patchouli, Amber, Sandalwood, Myrrh, Vetiver and Musk

I’ve long lusted after vintage Magie Noire and been filled with regret that I didn’t buy a bottle when I first encountered it over ten years ago. Therefore, last year when Vanessa mentioned in Part 1 of her perfume collection reorg that she no longer felt any attachment to her vintage bottle, I asked if I could buy it from her. After sending me a sample, she generously gifted me the remains of her bottle. When it arrived I was thrilled to find that it was the Darth Vadar version.

I’ve found myself increasingly drawn to green chypres in recent times. There’s something about their mix of forest wildness and stern self-possession that seems to cut through any anxiety.

Magie Noire was launched in 1978 and I can’t help but wonder if a brand released a fragrance today with the name ‘Black Magic’ whether it would be in the same genre. I think it would more likely be some kind of amber oriental. It is the antithesis of Lancome’s current smash hit La Vie Est Belle with its overwhelming iris-drowning-in-caramel accord.

Magie Noire is magnificently eerie. It opens with tart, lip-staining, blackcurrants and bitter stems with a scattering of white flowers. But what gets me is the depth. I’ve read that it starts off with the base notes first and I can see where that comes from. You can pick up on the deeper, darker notes straight away. There is also just a tinge of honied, fruity sweetness but it doesn’t quite manage to blunt its thorns.

I sense I’m experiencing something greater than the sum of its parts. Its fully formed personality materialises before me. It’s every dream of a beguiling witchy scent I’ve ever had.

Vol de Nuit captured my attention because of the way it sits at the intersection of chypre and oriental. Magie Noire does something similar being half green chypre and half sultry oriental. I find the complexity and contrast between the two utterly enthralling.

Unlike most green chypres, it has the slinky texture of fur. The throw is moderate and I find its longevity to be excellent.

It possesses a maturity that is perfectly in keeping with the fragrances of its era. Magie Noire does not pander. On the face of it, it’s all wildflowers, fresh shoots and berries but they lie in the shadow of intoxicating leather, civet and musk.

I see Magie Noire as the mythological crone; a mature woman at the height of her powers. Before the patriarchy took over, discrediting and burning these astute women as witches, the ancient crone was associated with attributes of ‘wisdom, compassion, transformation, healing laughter, and bawdiness’*. This is a woman who has grown comfortable in her own skin and feels able to speak her mind because she could care less what others think of her. She rejoices in her esoteric interests and values her coven. If you look closely, you can see a wry sparkle in her eye.

Is Magie Noire a favourite of yours? Do you love the vintage version? I understand old bottles are prone to turning.

*from http://www.cronecounsel.org

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Freddie Albrighton Perfumes

DREAMY. LIGHT. COMFORTING. WEARABLE. AFFORDABLE. ACCESSIBLE.

“I went out on the balcony to clear my head, I was burning up in my queen-sized bed, down on the strip beneath the billboard moon, teenaged kids look for love in the neon sex and doom, of your Hollywood perfume.” Hollywood Perfume. The Pretenders.

I first met Freddie in 2014 and we have remained friends ever since. We share a deep love of Vero Profumo, and of the Hermessence collection, and of Malle’s Le Parfum de Therese. Style matters.

Although on the surface it may look as though Freddie Albrighton leans more towards the weird and unwearable (indeed I do believe he had a phase of this) he actually has a deep love for fragrances that are quite classical in their construction and beauty.

That is not to say that I wasn’t apprehensive when he told me he was going to create his own perfume line. After all we have all had more than enough of the complete and utter crap put together by people in their broom cupboards and sold at extortionate rates to those who were not brought up on the literary folklore tale of The Emperor`s New Clothes penned by Hans Christian Anderson.

I need not have been. Freddie Is an artist, clear to see in his tattoo work. This translated well in the cross-over to perfume, proving he would not be satisfied with anything less than performing to the best of his ability. You are either a perfectionist or you are not – this being a person who refuses to accept any standard short of perfection, and only offers up what to them, at the time is the best that they can do.

MABEL´S TOOTH. A dark fragrance, but Mabel has a diamond on her tooth, allowing it to glint and glisten. Ristretto with a splinter of caramel. Earthy and nutty. Not for those who take marshmallows in their chocolate.

BERNADETTE MARGARET EVELYN THERESA. Vintage without the vinegar. Full of joy and flowers. Apricot schnapps and quantum droplets of patchouli. The beauty of this is quite astonishing and there is actual love in the formula. You can feel it. I want to drown in it.

BOYS. Walking into Top Shop on Oxford Circus. Straight onto the first level, full of plastic earrings, leather bags, fake leather bags, pink fluffy slippers, purple fluffy slippers, cupcakes, candy canes, lollipops, key rings, a photo booth or two. Add a hefty dose of shattered violets and a hit of musk.

This collection is exactly what we need after a year of lockdown, and as we manoeuvre our way through the months to come. Perfumes that are bright and cheerful, and a delight to have on the skin. These have no nuclear bases that cling ’til you’re in a coma. They slowly vanish, leaving a whisper of what was. And then you spray more. At 89 pounds for 50ml, what are we waiting for?

http://www.freddiealbrighton.com

Stay tuned for an Instagram live interview with @freddiealbrightonperfume and me @armadilloscookiequeen. Imminent.

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February Reading Diary

I am a big proponent of qutting books you’re not enjoying because I think it’s an important factor in having a good reading life. However I know people find this hard (hey Portia). Maybe it’s a throwback from school or the way books are intellectualised that makes it feel like a failure if you ‘give up’ on a book. We don’t feel this way about turning off a TV show though and you wouldn’t force yourself to finish a film you were finding a chore so why do it with a book? Nothing kills the joy of reading faster. I DNF (Did Not Finish) quickly and often and I encourage you to do the same.

Obviously it helps that many of my ebooks are bought for 99p (as were 3 of the 5 below). Buying Kindle offers, secondhand paperbacks or borrowing via the Libby app is a good idea.

The only exception is ‘hate reading’. I hate read The Starless Star and that brought its own perverse pleasure.

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

“Here she is a puppet, a vessel for others to pour their speech. And it is not a man she has married, but a world.”

I read this book at the same time as Vanessa and Undina. I read the ebook, Vanesssa the paperback and Undina the audibook.

It was very much my style being an atmospheric, slightly eerie, historical fiction set in Amsterdam in the 1600s. Eighteen year-old Nella marries the nearly forty year-old merchant, Johannes Brandt, and moves to the city. Marriage is far from what she expected as she rarely sees Joanne’s, while his haughty sister, Marin, runs the house as if Nella doesn’t exist. Her only solace is the replica house Johannes buys her as a wedding present. She contacts a mysterious miniaturist to make items for the house but soon finds the striking little models of items and people turn out to be prophetic.

I read the first half at a leisurely pace but raced through the second half as we are hit with one revelation after another. It was nearly a five star book except that the mystery of the fortune-telling miniatures is never resolved plus it made no sense to me to have the epilogue at the start of the book instead of the end. Still a very good read. 4/5

The Four Agreements by MIguel Ruis

“Whatever happens around you, don’t take it personally… Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”

This is a modern self-help classic based on ancient Mexican Toltec wisdom. It’s a quick read and pretty simple in concept. The Four Agreements we are encouraged to make with ourselves are: Be Impeccable with your Word, Don’t Take Anything Personally, Don’t Make Assumptions and Do Your Best. All admirable and will make a real difference if you can implement them but you need to challenge your existing limiting beliefs first and that’s not so easy (probably more achievable with CBT). It did remind me of the Carlos Castenda books I read in my youth about the Toltec shaman Don Juan which was nice and I hope to remember not to take things personally more. 3.75/5

The Ten Thousands Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

“How fitting, that the most terrifying time in my life should require me to do what I do best: escape into a book.”

This book ticked so many of my boxes. It’s a portal fantasy with a historical setting and the most gorgeous writing. January, a girl with copper coloured skin, lives with her benefactor, Mr Locke, in Vermont during the early 1900s. Her father travels the world sending back rare artefacts for Mr Locke’s collection. At age 7, January writes in her notebook and a door opens up to another world that smells of salt and cedar. At the age of 17 she finds a book called The Ten Thousand Doors and her story is then interwoven with that of Adelaide Larson who sees a door open in a field and a strange boy walk through it. The two of them spend the following decade looking for one another again. Meanwhile, January learns that Mr Locke’s archaeological society is not as harmless as it seems and she is in fact, in grave danger.

The story is beautifully told and it was great to have a mixed race heroine in a fantasy book for once. There was also a strong olfactory element which I always enjoy. Just my thing. 5/5

A Cry in the Dark (Carly Moore #1) by Denise Grover Swank

Towards the end of February I found out shielding was extended to 31st March, so I only felt like reading something pulpy and undemanding. Years ago, I read the Rose Gardner Mysteries by this author and they were humorous with a good slug of romance, all set in the Deep South (which I love). Cry in the Dark is similar being a spin-off featuring a side character from the original series. By this point, I had zero recollection of her or her storyline but it didn’t matter. Carly is escaping a dangerous and powerful ex, with a new identity, when her car breaks down and she has to make a stop in a backwoods Smoky Mountain town. She gets a temporary job at Max Drummond’s tavern but is attracted to his seemingly hostile brother, Wyatt. On her first night in the town she witnesses the murder of a teenage boy by a drugs gang and the police are out to nail it on her.

It was not in the least bit scary/stressful because the baddies are more like comic book characters. Truth be told, the plot was a load of twaddle and the writing is sub par. I did consider DNFing it, but sometimes it’s good to read something daft if you’re feeling fragile. 2.75/5

Eat, Drink, Run by Bryony Gordon

“I learn how to do something called a burpee, which seems to involve squatting down, throwing your legs back, and then jumping back up again. Burpees look simple, fun even, but do not be fooled. They have actually been sent from the third circle of hell to punish those of us who have committed the cardinal sin of gluttony.”

I’d previously read journalist Bryony Gordon’s mental health memoir, Mad Girl. I bought the audio book about running to listen to on my 30 minute trots around the local streets because I thought it might be motivating. Actually it’s less a book about how to run and more about how exercise can help your mental health. At age 36, 16 stone, a smoker and binge drinker, Bryony agrees to run the London Marathon for the Royals’ Heads Together charity. She goes to one of those ‘body camps’ in Ibiza that rich people go to train for the marathon and is told she has a biological age of 51. However, during one of my 30 minute stints, with some ups and downs, she goes from jogging to running 10km. Sadly I found this rather demotivating as after 2 months, I still feel like I’m about to collapse running 3.7km. Why can’t I improve?!

This is a very short, humorous book though and not intended as a guide for runners. The inclusion of the podcast she did with Prince Harry in which he opened up about his own struggles for the first time was a nice bonus. 3/5

How do you feel about giving up on books you’re not getting on with?

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Vero Profumo Eau de Parfums – The Return

And what costume shall a poor girl wear, to all tomorrow’s parties?” Lou Reed.

The Vero Profumo Eau de Parfums, although related to both the Voiles and the Extraits, are quite different. The EdPs are available again as limited editions in the black VP bottles. Online only, from Campomarzio. The Voiles are no longer available, and apart from a couple, neither are the extraits. You missed out? Tough.

Vero Kern once said that she likes to put “something a little bit disturbing” into her fragrances. Perhaps a note that people cannot identify. Sometimes it may disturb in a positive way and sometimes in a negative. “A characterful perfume has to have this disturbance, otherwise it is flat.” The Eau de Parfums are anything but flat.

The EdPs are sensual. Carnal, fleshly, unchaste. Voluptuous and beautiful. Lustful, earthy, and warm.

Vero commented at the launch of the original three edps, Rubj, Kiki, and Onda, that the new perfumes were not diluted versions of the extraits. An EdP needs a structure highlighting more the top notes as opposed to the base notes; but the aim still being to keep the original style of the extrait intact.

Vero in her Atelier.

The EdPs are delightfully lascivious. “I replaced the animalic notes with the unique scent of the passion fruit …. it lends a sensual and erotic lightness to the composition.” The luscious passion fruit links the four perfumes, Rubj, Kiki, Onda, and Rozy, adding to their communal seductiveness. (There is no passion fruit or cumin in any of the Voiles or the extraits, regardless of what you read – discontinued anyway. The number of comments and posts from people in the past writing about the cumin in Rubj Voile or extrait, used to make Vero crazy. Me too. I mean really? )

The above does not apply to the Mito EdP. That is a completely different kettle of fish. It is rich and green, sparkly and mossy, uplifting and elegant. Oh and the Mito Extrait is divine, but suck it up, it’s discontinued. NAJA stands alone from them all. And at the moment of writing this is still available.

I have the Rubj and Kiki EdPs in the black bottles, and the fragrances are exactly the same as in the original bottles. No changes at all. So chill.

Vero and Val

All of the perfumes Vero created are exquisite, but it is so much more than that. They have the same effect on me as The Velvet Underground did when I first heard them. Both added to my soul. Both Vero and the Velvet Underground have an erotic, revolutionary, pioneering, and subversive character. A most powerful perfume synesthesia. Vero and the Velvets stand at opposite ends of the bridge that connects me to the young woman I was, and to who I am now.

CQ.

Some of the above thoughts have appeared in previous pieces I have written.

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Mood Scent 4: Fabulously Fruity

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at Fabulously Fruity! Woo Hoo! I’ll admit that this months theme was my idea. Little did I know how freaking hard it was going to be to whittle my selection to six. I can’t remember ever having such a hard time. The genre is so vast and covers the widest range from full on fruit bombs to subtle weavings within other stories. What I have tried to do is cover six entirely different experiences of fruit, Seriously, I could easily have had 50 perfumes listed here today, and that’s just the ones I wear regularly. There was much humming and haaing.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite Fabulously Fruity fragrances in the comments too. Please let me know the ones you thought I’d put in that didn’t make the list too.

 

So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again: Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.

Mood Scent 4: Fabulously Fruity

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REPLICA by Maison Margiela – Mini Reviews

I’ve noticed a couple of perfume brands seem to be particularly popular with UK social media influencers. One is Atelier Cologne and the other is Maison Margiela. So much so that my sister bought the Maison Margiela REPLICA Memory Box on the back of one of them raving about it.

She was enamored by the REPLICA concept of the ‘reproduction of familiar scents and moments from varying locations and periods’ like Coffee Break, Bubble Bath and At The Barber’s. Yes, it’s a cross between Demeter and CB I Hate Perfumes who pioneered this concept many years ago now.

The REPLICA Memory Box is a sample set with 10 x 2ml EdT spray vials. After testing, my sister gave two of the more masculine fragrances to her husband and the rest to me.

Under the Lemon Trees

This is a simple, bright, citrus fragrance. More like zesting a lemon than walking under lemon trees. It was fine until it all but disappeared after an hour. I suspect this is because after the citrus burst, it reverted to a white musk that I can’t smell.

Springtime in a Park

I thought this was going to be super dull but it’s actually a wistful, romantic lily of the valley with a fantastic pear note. It has a lovely, soft, hazy quality. Not my usual style but I enjoyed wearing it. Really pretty and mood-lifting and gives me a hit of the much needed hopefulness that Spring brings.

Lazy Sunday Morning

This is like a sweeter version of Springtime in a Park: mainly lily of the valley but this time paired with a syrupy orange blossom. There are musks to evoke clean bedding but they are subsumed by the flowers. It’s a pleasant floral but I liked Springtime’s airiness and originality more.

Beach Walk

I thought this would be a rugged coastal fragrance but it’s actually your classic tropical beachy scent. Beach Walk leaves you smelling like warm skin and coconut sun lotion with some glorious ylang-ylang thrown in. It’s not new but this style of perfume is hard not to like.

By The Fireplace

Ooh this is more like it. I’m trash for a smoky scent and this one has a great roasted nut accord over a smoky vanilla base. It reminds me of the caramelised nutty smokiness of Aomassai by Parfumerie Generale which I always had a soft spot for.

Flower Market

A fresh floral in that straight-from-the-florist’s-fridge kind of way. It’s freesia-forward with clean jasmine rounding it out. Nothing special but it’s perfectly pretty and the kind of fragrance a lot of civilians (including a friend of mind) love.

Sailing Day

This opens like a traditional masculine but settles into something far more interesting. It’s a refreshing sea breeze over leafy aromatics lining the sand dunes. The combination of salt and herbs works well and makes it more striking than most others in the line.

Whispers in the Library

I saved this one for last as I love the name and idea of it. Sadly, it was just too sweet. Old books have a vanillic quality but this is overly sugary and smells more like a bakery. A vanilla perfume sprinkled lightly with black pepper and cedar shavings. Shame.

What’s good about these perfumes is that they are available as 10ml travel sprays which is probably ideal for these kind of ‘novelty’ fragrances. I guess my main criticism would be that the ones I tried are generally not quite novel enough.

Do you like the sound of any of these? Did you like the Demeter or CB I Hate Perfumes back in the day?

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January Reading Diary

I eased myself into January with several short books, most of which had a self-help slant and gave me a lot of comfort in a tough month.

The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy

 

“What is the bravest thing you’ve ever said? asked the boy.
‘Help,’ said the horse.
‘Asking for help isn’t giving up,’ said the horse. ‘It’s refusing to give up.”

I’ve been waiting for this picture book to be released as an audiobook and it finally was at the end of last year. I decided to wait to listen to it on New Year’s Day and it was just perfect. It has been called ‘A book of hope for uncertain times.’ It’s hard to think of more uncertain times than now.  Last year I bought copies for my niece and a friend.

Charlie Mackesy has a lovely warm voice tinged with humour and fragility and the subtle musical touches are gorgeous. We follow the characters as they spend time wandering the countryside, playing, talking and saving each other literally and metaphorically.

This is a beautiful, comforting and touching tale about acceptance, kindness and hope. It’s full of gentle lessons for life. I’m happy I have it on hand to listen to whenever I need it.  5/5

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

“Suddenly I saw in front of me the Statue of the Faun, the Statue that I love above all others. There was his calm, faintly smiling face; there was his forefinger gently pressed to his lips. […] Hush! he told me. Be comforted!”

Unlike the rest of the world, I was underwhelmed by Clarke’s 2004 debut novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I found it chronically over-long and dry. I picked up her latest novel, Piranesi because of the effusive praise – The Times called it ‘Spectacular’ – and the fact that is less than 300 pages.

At first I wasn’t sure I’d be able to continue it considering I was shielding and the main character, Piranesi, is alone in an endless labyrinthine building consisting of massive halls lined by classical marble statues. Seas wash across the lower halls and the upper halls are draped in clouds. Piranesi spends his days appreciating the statues, leaving offerings for the 13 skeletons and collecting fresh water and seaweed for broth. He records everything in his journals which form the structure of the book. Apart from birds, the only other life Piranesi sees is a person he calls ‘The Other’ who he meets twice a week to discuss his research. The Other is determined to uncover the Great and Secret Knowledge he believes ‘the House’ possesses.

Unlike The Other, Piranesi is an endearing character, being guileless, trusting and grateful for everything within his world. The writing is atmospheric and the descriptions of the House are extraordinarily vivid. It’s one of those singular books that once read, you will never forget. The House will stay with you long after the plot has faded.

Piranesi’s isolation and the way The Other is so uncharitable towards him is unsettling. If I couldn’t have finished it in two sittings I might have put it aside. At around the halfway point, what is happening – and why -gradually starts to be revealed.

This is a multi-layered book with a myriad of grand themes including the solace found in religion and art and the corrupting nature of the pursuit of power. I imagine different people will see different things in it and no doubt some of the allegory went over my head.

For me, it was about trauma and the benefits and risks of finding ways to cope and escape from it. Sometimes you need to escape to survive but ultimately you risk living a life in unreality. No matter how scary the world is, it is at least real and there is beauty there if we can tune ourselves into it. It’s all about balance.

Objectively I can see why most people rate this is a 5 stars. It’s mysterious, gripping and evocative but I rate based on my enjoyment and because of it’s disquieting effect on me it’s 4.25/5

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey

“Whether you flounder or flourish is always in your hands—you are the single biggest influence in your life. Your journey begins with a choice to get up, step out, and live fully.”

I loved watching The Oprah Winfrey Show during my teens. As it evolved it fueled my interest in personal development and I read many books featured on the show.

What I Know For Sure is a collection of the short monthly articles Oprah wrote for her O Magazine. They are divided into several topics: Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude etc. 

It’s a speedy, inspiring and comforting read. 4/5

Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Tines by Katherine May

“We have seasons when we flourish and seasons when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.”

 

I came to this little non-fiction book via Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s about wintering both literally and metaphorically.  Katherine is a British writer who lives down on the Kent coast. A few years ago she went through her own personal winter and talks about how she got through it. We hear from various people about their own experiences and how they survived their tough times. These are interspersed with interviews with people in cold climates to learn how they cope with extreme winters. She covers her own trips to Iceland and Finland and cold water swimming. It’s an easy, personal read that focuses on how you may not be the same after your own winter but you can benefit from it and come out renewed. I also liked it’s focus on rest and retreat as I have a tendency to feel I need to be moving forward all the time. 4/5

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”

 

Apparently this 1922 novel was popular in the late 1960s with the Flower Power generation. It’s a short tale about the spiritual journey of a young man in India – named Siddhartha – at the time of the Buddha. He goes against his father to become samana (an ascetic seeker) living in the forest. He then meets a courtesan named Kamala (apparently a common name in India meaning ‘lotus’) and falls into a life of lust, business and gambling for many years before finally coming to a point of despair. This drives him back to a simple life working as a ferryman and returning to the spiritual path.  It’s an uncomplicated story with beautiful writing and a gorgeous sense of place but that was about it. 3/5

 

What kind of start did your new reading year get off to?

 

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Mood Scent 4: Frankincense and Myrrh

Hey there A Bottled Rose, It’s a Mood Scent 4 week. WOO HOO! This month the crew are looking at  Frankincense and Myrrh. It was Esperanza’s idea and I think she may have been spurred on by fabulous Christmas scents. So many have one of the other note mixed with a seasonal hit of spices and vanilla. These are not a duo I’d spent much time thinking about as a team, except in reference to the Jesus story. It was really interesting to note how much I like the combinations, whether as main roles or bit parts.

Can’t wait to read about your favourite  Frankincense and Myrrh fragrances in the comments too. You needn’t have both in each scent, that’s just a way for me to narrow the playing field.

 

So excited to be blogging with these three superstars again: Esperanza L’Esperessence, Megan Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha I Scent You A Day. Check theirs out too.

Mood Scent 4:  Frankincense and Myrrh

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Fleur de Peau by Diptyque

Top notes Aldehydes, Pink Pepper, Angelica and Bergamot; middle notes: Iris and Turkish Rose; base notes Musk, Ambrette, Carrot, Ambergris, Leather, Sandalwood and Amberwood

This perfume came up on my radar when beauty journalist Sali Hughes said it was the fragrance she has worn the most during lockdown. She described it as a musky, iris skin scent which really piqued my interest. I have a gaping hole in my collection where a skin scent should be and one based around iris sounded enticing.

As you may have heard, sales of scented candles have rocketed over the last year and I made my first Diptyque purchase before Christmas, which happily came with a sample of Fleur de Peau.

Released in 2018, it won in the categories Perfume Extraordinaire and Best New Women’s Fragrance at The Fragrance Foundation Awards London.

Rather than a blast of aldehydes as I had prepared – braced – myself for, Fleur de Peau opens with a very lovely iris; the kind that smells like a fresh ream of white paper. It’s crisp and airy, borne on a cloud of clean musks and silky aldehydes which manifest as a soft wash of glistening soap bubbles.

As it settles, powder puffs up and gently covers the perfume in a light dusting accompanied by just the softest blush of rose. The whole effect is romantic, low-key elegant and soothing. It doeesn’t quite stray into boudoir perfume territory, perhaps because it’s just a tad too minimal and subdued for that association.

Iris and ambrette are often paired and this union works once again. I think ambrette is best described as a vegetal, slighty fruity musk – not animalic and not dryer fresh. It adds another nuance to the composition and prevents the white musk from dominating.

The base is when it smells most like skin, in the purest way.

I can certainly see why Sali turned to this fragrance during lockdown. It is a subtle pastel perfume that doesn’t feel out of place worn around the home. I’ve really struggled to spray anything while staying in but this has been effortless to wear. It’s a perfume to relax with: undemanding yet elevated thanks to the iris.

While it is lovely in all its parts, on reflection I think I’m looking for more of a furry musk.

As you would expect, it stays close to the body but longevity is true to its EdP strength.

If you’re not a fan of wispy scents then this won’t be for you. It is not a perfume to set the world alight. On the other hand, if you are in search of a skin scent with an iris twist, it’s a good bet. Just be sure not to try it on paper if you want it to bloom.

Have you been able to wear perfume in lockdown? What have been your go-tos?

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