Tag Archives: Gourmand

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.




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.





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.




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).




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.


Mood scent purple


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.





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.


bois des iles


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.




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


rose de nuit


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. 




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




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








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Mon Guerlain by Guerlain


“My invisible tattoo, my fragrance, Mon Guerlain.”

Notes:  Bergamot, Carla Lavender, Paradisone (radiant floral), Coumarin, Iris, Vanilla Tahitensis, Sambac Jasmine and Album Sandalwood.


Guerlain has long been the perfume house I’ve most admired. They are not a designer brand that does fragrance on the side to bring in the big bucks – they have only ever been about the scent.

However, a while ago I gave up on their new releases because for me, they never lived up to the promise of the past. I tried to switch-off and content myself with the classics, such as my holy grail, Vol de Nuit. However, it’s hard to ignore this recent big launch, especially as they have Angelina Jolie fronting the ad campaign.




Mon Guerlain may have some nicely musty lavender in its top notes along with some citrus sparkle but this is no 21st century Jicky.  Guerlain categorise it as a “fresh oriental” although I’d describe it as a gourmand with a feather-light fougère accord (which comes from the combination of lavender and hay-like coumarin).

I wasn’t surprised that Mon Guerlain is another sugary confection, especially given the pink juice, but you might have expected otherwise if you knew the inspiration was Angelina’s “strong, free and sensual femininity”.

Perhaps it’s naive to think it would – or should – reflect anything other that what is popular right now. The last time I looked, the number one selling perfume in France was still the iris-drowning-in-caramel that is La Vie Est Belle.

Mon Guerlain is nowhere near as invasive as the Lancome, or even Chanel’s Allure which features a similarly frothy cloud of candy floss, albeit it at fifty times the volume. Unlike most other modern gourmands, Mon Guerlain is surprisingly soft spoken. There’s not much throw, which is an asset in my view. At least that closeness to the skin echoes a kind of tattoo-like intimacy.

Admittedly, I have a low tolerance for sweetness in perfume and am not generally a fan of this style but I still think it’s a shame that we no longer have to wait for the trademark Guerlain vanilla base. It used to be that you had time to anticipate your dessert – now it arrives with the starter. It also makes the fragrance less sophisticated because it’s missing that air of mystique. Mon Guerlain isn’t bad, it’s just not very compelling.

Without contrast there is no tension and without tension there is no excitement, no drama, no addiction. For that, see the coquettish caramelised lavender of Kiki by Vero Profumo who incidentally, had the fragrance as tattoo concept with Rozy back in 2014.

It’s funny, I commented on Bonkers About Perfume the other week about how I wasn’t pro negative reviews, but hopefully it’s clear I’m coming from the perspective of a long-time Guerlain fan and heavens knows they won’t be affected by what I write.




It’s not my Guerlain but it may still be yours.


How have you fared with Guerlain’s releases of the last decade or so?





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Dirty Rose and Violet Chocolatier by PK Perfumes

The PK in PK Perfumes is Paul Kiler, an artisanal perfumer based in California. He places himself at the forefront of a new movement called Real Perfumery which purports to use the best materials available to create fragrances which comply to a “Standard of Excellence”.

Although Kiler uses both naturals and synthetics, his fragrance contain 20 to 50% essential oils, absolutes and resins.  The line currently contains 14 scents, the earliest of which were launched in 2012.

The first works I tried by Paul Kiler were the two perfumes he composed for Zoologist. It was fortuitous therefore that shortly afterwards, my pal Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies, kindly put the following two samples in her last package.


Dirty Rose

Notes: Bergamot, black spruce, laurel, cherrywood smoke, rose, nagarmotha, teak wood, tobacco, cedar, mahogany, earth, amber, costus, leather, vetiver bourbon,  Labdanum

dirty rose

I love a messed-up, dark rose and Dirty Rose is firmly in that stable. It’s rooted in dark, moist earth and musky in the best way. It’s not the high-pitched musk that stabs you in the head but that deep throated unguent which intoxicates. The rose also smells like it was briefly set on fire; the flames having been beaten out but leaving a lingering charred scent.

The deep red flower that is at the heart of all this darkness is mostly hidden in the shadows. It has a definite kinship with my much-loved Rose de Nuit but the rose is much less prominent in Dirty Rose.  Here, the rose is coated in leather and musk and battened down by earthy patchouli and a canopy of spice. It has the feel of an oud fragrance without containing any agarwood.

I like my roses to be more rosy, but Dirty Rose may suit those fans of arid orientals who don’t like their rose front and centre. It is as far from the prim, feminine tea roses of yesteryear as you can get.



Violet Chocolatier

Notes: Violets, apricots, cocoa, nutmeg, hazelnut, magnolia, jasmine, rose, honey, gardenia, amber and benzoin.


Ha! Violet Chocolatier – perhaps unsurprisingly – smells just like a violet cream; those chocolates with a violet fondant centre. It’s fun to experience and the chocolate is bittersweet so I don’t find it saccharine. As much as I have an aversion to sugary perfumes, I actually prefer these powdery, gourmand violets to those that highlight the flower’s green, metallic facets.

Somehow Violet Chocolatier segues effortlessly into a floral heart – most notably creamy white flowers – proving it’s not just a one-trick pony. This seamless transition exhibits Paul’s Kiler’s considerable perfumery skills.  The pale petals have a honeyed coating which feels dreamy and fits the decadent mood of the fragrance.  In the base it takes a final turn into cosy amber territory.

Violet Chocolatier is a clever composition and not you usual gourmand.



The painting by Daria Jabenko which inspired Violet Chocolatier


Can you recommend any more fragrances from PK Perfumes?  I’d be particularly intrigued to hear from you if you’ve tried Zafran, Ere or Starry Starry Night. 



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Amouroud Mini Reviews

Perhaps now is the time to accept that oud isn’t just a passing trend in western perfumery but here to stay. New brand Amouroud has recently launched at Harrods with an initial collection of 6 fragrances. The people behind it are Perfumer’s Workshop, whose most well known scent is the 70s classic, Tea Rose.

Oud features in the note lists for all of the fragrances but only Oud du Jour is overtly oud-y . Agarwood seems to add a degree of oriental smoothness to the other five. At £145 for 100ml of Eau de Parfum they’re pretty fairly priced for luxury niche fragrances containing oud, whether natural or synthetic.




Midnight Rose

Top notes are litchi, pomelo and mate; middle notes are lily, red rose and iris; base notes are amber, labdanum and agarwood (oud).

Midnight Rose isn’t anywhere near as dark as the name suggests. It’s actually a sweet and bright fruity rose with a lot of depth. The effervescent lychee opening passes but the fruitiness lingers through the lavish amber drydown. I prefer rose perfumes that have gone over to the dark side like Rose de Nuit or that are retro like Fille de Berlin, but Midnight Rose is very full-bodied which makes it a satisfying wear.


Safran Rare

Top notes are freesia, bergamot, incense and geranium; middle notes are cedar, saffron, rose de mai and jasmine; base notes are benzoin, agarwood (oud), vetiver, sandalwood and vanilla.

Safran Rare folds saffron up in almost plasticky leather and it’s an arresting combination. It smells wonderfully sleek and expensive; the height of modern luxury. I appreciate the fact that it’s savoury rather than sweet, although the saffron goes a little sour on me after a while. I find it sexy in a rather strict, leather-clad kind of way.  It’s quite compelling and the one I’ve enjoyed wearing the most.


Santal des Indes

Top notes are absinthe and incense; middle notes are curry tree, narcissus, Turkish rose and Chinese cedar; base notes are sandalwood, leather, musk and vetiver.

Aaah, this smells like sandalwood perfumes should smell; creamy to an almost coconutty extent.   The pale, lactonic sandalwood effect lasts for hours and it has great projection without feeling overwhelming. I’m not generally a fan of orientals but I think Santal des Indes will be the stand-out from the collection for many.


Dark Orchid

Top notes are mandarin orange, citruses, black gardenia and Sicilian bergamot; middle notes are jasmine, ylang-ylang, lotus and black orchid; base notes are sandalwood, Indonesian patchouli leaf, incense and vanilla.

Dark Orchid has a super strange opening which smells to me like a mixture of caramel and cough drops, undercut by citrus.  It mellows out somewhat as the gardenia  comes through and starts to remind me more of Black Orchid Voile de Fleur than the Tom Ford original. It’s a very distinctive, syrupy gourmand floral so a little goes a long way. Dark Orchid is quite the dramatic attention-seeker. A fragrance for nights out when you want to leave a lasting impression.


Oud du Jour

Top notes are pink pepper, raspberry and saffron; middle notes are incense, rose, lily-of-the-valley and dried plum; base notes are agarwood (oud), black amber, patchouli and guaiac wood.

The amusingly titled Oud du Jour showcases oud front and centre, although it’s liberally accented with berry fruitiness. This surprising combination of playful fruit with deeply resinous oud actually works. It is very plush and has that “One Thousand And One Nights” vibe, as ouds tend to, but it’s not overly-spiced. The addition of sweet red fruit means Oud du Jour melds Middle East with West and for this reason it would make a good beginner’s oud. It has amazing longevity and sillage.


Miel Sauvage

Top notes are bergamot, honey and red pepper; middle notes are agarwood (oud), jasmine and sandalwood; base notes are patchouli, tonka bean and incense.

The name “Wild Honey” made me rather nervous, but I needn’t have been worried. This doesn’t have the urinous skank of some honey perfumes. To start with, we get a floral honey scent made up of a slightly soapy jasmine paired with clean honey.  It’s rather on the sweet side for my tastes but completely wearable. The jasmine recedes as Miel Sauvage develops, leaving a  base of very gentle honey on a velvety oriental base.



max ernst.jpg


Do you think oud is now a fragrance category in its own right?


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