Tag Archives: British

Miller Harris Mini Reviews

One of the stops on last month’s London perfume tour organised by Pia and Nick (of Love to Smell) was the Miller Harris store on Monmouth Street, Covent Garden.  Unfortunately I missed the talk but got a lovely bag of boxed samples. If you’d like to catch up on what went on that day, you can read all about it on Bonkers About PerfumeVolatile Fiction and I Scent You A Day. It was a great get-together of 20 or so perfume lovers/bloggers. Too bad I was feeling so poorly.

 

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Below are my mini-reviews of the five EdP samples we received –

Cassis en Feuille

Bergamot, galbanum, blackcurrant, geranium, tomato leaf, cedarwood

I always keep an eye out for perfumes showcasing blackcurrant because it’s a note I’m drawn to. However, they usually turn out to be sour and/or too green. Cassis en Feuille starts out very grassy, becoming a tangle of green stems accented with blackcurrant and then finally, a prominent blackcurrant scent with a green backdrop. Like a lot of the fragrances I’ve tried from this line, it doesn’t project very far. I still haven’t found my blackcurrant perfume.

Poirier d’un Soir

Bergamot, rum extract, rose, papyrus, birch tar oil, patchouli oil, white cedarwood

Why aren’t there more pear fragrances around, I wonder? “Pear Tree in the Evening” is a likeable honeyed pear scent. I’m not good with this level of sweetness but somehow I can deal with it better in the colder months. It manages to brighten up a dull autumnal day and fits the concept of sitting under a pear tree full of ripe fruit as the sun hangs low in the sky. It’s not a dupe by any means, but could be worth a try if you fell for the pear tart of La Belle Helene but couldn’t stomach MDCI prices.

La Pluie

Bergamot, tangerine, lavender, ylang ylang, cassis, jasmine, orange flower, vetiver , vanilla

The most surprising of  the five is La Pluie. Rather than being a straight-up aquatic, it’s a   tropical garden after a rain shower. It starts a little musty/powdery, slightly green and herbal. In the heart, it reveals a carpet of buttery ylang-ylang flowers interspersed with dewy jasmine.  The final twist is the soft ylang scented vanilla which comes through in the base. La Pluie stays subdued throughout its development and could be an easy, breezy choice for summer.

Tangerine Vert

Tangerine green, grapefruit, lemon, marjoram, geranium, orange flower, cedarwood, moss, sweet musk

No  surprises here. As advertised, we get a lovely tart, tangerine with green leaves in tact. For most of its development it’s a really great zingy citrus which isn’t too sour even though the notes include grapefruit and lemon. Tangerine Vert has the uplifting feeling of a bright spring day and tangerine/mandarin scents always seem to make me happy.  Sadly, the feel-good factor ends for me with the arrival of the base. The sweet muskiness is not to my taste however, if you like Kiehl’s Original Musk then you’ll probably be fine with it.

Fleur Oriental 

Bergamot, orange flower, spicy carnation, rose, heliotrope, vanilla bourbon, benzoin, amber, labdanum, musk

I have a soft spot for Fleur Oriental. It’s one of the first samples I got after falling down the rabbit hole. This was partly because I was interested in carnation perfumes at the time and partly because Katie Puckrik was a fan of it. Trying it again a number of years later, I still really admire it, despite the noticeable heliotrope. It has a silken powdery feel, the way an old-school carnation fragrance like Bellodgia might have had back in the day. This cloud of scented talcum powder is nicely spiked with citrus and orange flower, giving it a lift. The base even has a touch of the Shalimars about it. All in all, it makes for an easy to wear, floral oriental with somewhat of a retro feel and a pleasing mist of sillage.

 

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Do you like any of these or other fragrances by Miller Harris?

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Blasted Heath and Blasted Bloom by Penhaligon’s

There’s nothing like a returning trend which you remember vividly from the first time around to make you feel your age.  It doesn’t seem like five minutes since aquatics fragrances were at high tide before receding from the mainstream market. When they went out of vogue, many of us were relieved to see the back of them.

Really, it’s unfair to tar all watery-themed fragrances with the same brush. For me (and I suspect many others) it was more the ubiquity of the calone-fuelled 1990’s phenomenon L’Eau d’Issey that made me tire of the genre. There’s actually been a number of really great niche oceanic fragrances since then, including Heeley’s Sal Marin and Epice Marine Hermessence.

Last year aquatic fragrances staged a comeback. I was pleasantly surprised by Jo Malone’s Wood Sage and Sea Salt and in September Penhaligon’s launched a duo of scents which were also inspired by the windswept British coastline.

Blasted Heath and Blasted Bloom were both composed by perfumer Alberto Morillas who incidentally did – count them – five L’eau d’Issey flankers.

Blasted Heath

Aquatic accord, seaweed absolute, clary sage absolute, green leaves, Clearwood™, tobacco absolute, whiskey accord, patchouli essence, Alaskan cedarwood essence, gaiacwood essence, vetiver SFE and musks.

Blasted Heath embodies the scent of salty sea air and seaweed mingling with the aromatics of shrubbery and wild herbs.  There’s an aquatic accord woven through dense leaves and sage.

It has a decidedly masculine feel, with a slight metallic edge. If you can imagine such a thing as an aquatic fougere you’d be on the right track. Blasted Heath is as much about aromatic greenery as it is about seawater.

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Blasted Bloom

Notes: Wild berries, aquatic accord, green leaves, eglantine rose, pink pepper CO2, hawthorn, Alaskan cedarwood essence, Clearwood™, moss and musks.

As you may have suspected from the name, here in Blasted Bloom we have wildflowers at the shore being blown about by the bracing sea breeze. The berry note isn’t bold or syrupy sweet but actually quite tart and subdued.

The flowers are delicate and spring-like while the aquatic aspect is less evident than in Blasted Heath. This is more about cool, reviving coastal air than brine and algae. You wouldn’t need to be a fan of aquatics to enjoy this, but you would need to like super fresh florals.

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Both fragrances wear pretty light with soft sillage and moderate longevity. Neither is to my taste but Blasted Heath is novel and it successfully captures the wilderness by the cliff edge as the waves crash into the rocks below.

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How do you feel about aquatic fragrances? Are there in the genre that you admire?

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Constance, Millicent and Loretta by Deco London

 

Deco London is a British fragrance brand which launched last year and is inspired by Art Deco and the glamorous Bright Young Things of the 1920s.  Founder and Creative Director Sophia Fannon-Howell may well have drawn on her own ancestry for inspiration, being descended from a number of colourful characters, including English poet, satirist and Restoration wit John Wilmot 2nd Earl of Rochester and Grace O’Malley, the Eilzabethan Irish ‘Pirate’ Queen.

Sophia apparently has a passion for vintage perfume and set out to establish a luxury fragrance brand that reflects British elegance, history and quality. There are six fragrances in the line at present; three feminines and three masculines. They each have names that would have been popular among the upper classes at the time, with their own personality and sense of style.

Below are brief reviews of the three feminine EDPs.

 

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Constance

Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin Blossom, Mimosa, Raspberry Blossom, Rose, Pink Pepper, Jasmine, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Labdanum, Vanilla, Beeswax, Musk

Constance is demure by day, transforming into a flapper by night. Starting off fruity with a woody undercurrent, it soon becomes gently spicy while remaining lady-like.  The spices are gourmand-tinged and extremely soft. It’s as if they’ve been lightly pressed into the equally soft woods.

I get a strong sense of texture here; velvety, cushioned and warm to the touch. The whole feeling is rather languid. I see Constance lounging in an Egyptian themed nightclub, flourishing a long cigarette holder and sporting a razor-sharp bob. For Downton Abbey fans, she’s very much the Lady Mary of the bunch.

Millicent

NotesBergamot, Mandarin, Honeysuckle, Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Lily, Ylang, Patchouli, Cashmere Woods, Musk

Millicent is more conservative and subdued than Constance; she is very feminine and understated. Her dark blonde hair is perfectly waved and her clothing is always proper and appropriate to the occasion. After an orange citrus start, the scent is full of well-blended, fresh white florals on a light and clean musky/woody base. It’s uncomplicated and not my favourite type of fragrance but Millicent is wearable, smooth and nicely done.

Loretta

Notes: Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Rose, Jasmine, Patchouli, Moss, Amber, Musk, Vanilla, Vetiver

I instantly took a shine to Loretta when I read she is described as a “romantic bohemian, graceful with ethereal beauty”. The scent is an elegant yet relaxed white floral chypre and the kind that would drift along nicely on a summer’s day. It has the peachy tones of osmanthus and the cleanest of jasmines, creating a cool haze over a gently mossy base. Loretta is sophisticated and more thoughtful than her two sisters: a delicate modern chypre in the style of Perle de Mousse by Ann Gerard.

 

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All three in the collection are good quality, tasteful and accessible. With the Art Deco packaging, they’re likely to appeal to those who have a thing for London during the Roaring Twenties era as much, if not more so, than perfume lovers.

 

Are you drawn to a particular period in history? Do you have any perfumes that reflect that era?

 

 

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