Tag Archives: Mainstream

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…

 

Mood scent purple

 

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.

 

obsession

 

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.

parfum d ete

 

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.

 

 

aromatics elixir

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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Eau de Rochas by Rochas

 

Notes: Lime, Mandarin, Bergamot, Orange, Grapefruit, Verbena, Coriander, Carnation, Jasmine, Narcissus, Patchouli, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Amber and Musk

 

I picked up Eau de Rochas in the Perfume Lovers London annual swap event last December. The bottle was full and although I had never tried it before, I vaguely remembered reading good things about it.

I first wore it when summer finally rolled around and I’ve hardly wanted to wear anything else since.

 

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I favour citrus fragrances with an aromatic facet because they have that bit of extra omph and complexity. When I began wearing Eau de Rochas my thoughts kept coming back to Diorella – released 2 years later. It’s similar in structure with citrus, herbs, flowers and a resinous base. Eau de Rochas may be in the cologne category but it reads more like an effervescent fruity chypre.

Most of the citrus burns off over time leaving a musty, mineral underlay. It’s that patchouli/vetiver backdrop which gives this summer Eau some weight and sex appeal. It may be buried in the midst of the notes list but the patch is the first thing I notice on spraying, just underneath the sparkling citrus tonic. It gives Eau de Rochas the slinky, lived-in feel that Diorella lacks.

The contrast between the prominent bright lime and subdued dry patchouli is enticing. I’m always looking out for summer fragrances with some sensuality and this has just the right amount of dirt under its polished fingernails. I’m drawn to fragrances which walk the line between clean and earthy (most recently exemplified by Superstitious). This combination gives a hint of something unwholesome and intriguing under a shiny surface.

Don’t be put off if you prefer coriander and basil in food to perfume. I’m not fond of those notes but I can’t pick them out here. The aromatic effect is that of a bouquet garni adding the background flavour of leafy herbs.

Eau de Rochas is not a vapid cologne but a fragrance with a languorous, old school feel that matches its pretty bottle perfectly. It’s well worth a try if you’re a fan of patchouli, retro perfumery and/or light fragrances with hidden depth. I don’t like paying a lot for summer spritzes and you can grab this online for a great price.

I find it lasts well for an EdT and can still notice it on my skin in the late afternoon, although it’s doubtful anyone else can. It’s completely gender neutral.

Eau de Rochas has the relaxed yet sexy vibe you’d expect from a French cologne-style fragrance released in 1970. It doesn’t have to try too hard.

 

eau de rochas

 

Was there a perfume you couldn’t get enough of over the summer?

 

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Mainstream Perfumes – Mood Scent 4

Welcome to the latest instalment in the Mood Scent 4 blogging project. (If you missed the previous posts they were about Rainy Day Perfumes and Wedding Guest Perfumes). Today, my fellow bloggers and I are sharing our mainstream perfume picks.

Ninety-nine percent of the time I write about – and wear – fragrances other than those from the mainstream. When I fell down the rabbit-hole I snubbed my previous ‘duty free’ choices in favour of niche and high-end boutique fragrances such as Les Exclusifs de Chanel.

Now I’m coming full circle. The niche perfumes – generally starting at £150 for 50ml – are becoming more and more unremarkable. I’m starting to re-assess and re-appreciate what is available on the high street.

I’ve limited my choices below to the fragrances available at my local Beauty Base.

 

Mood scent purple

 

Infusion d’Iris L’Absolue EDP by Prada

Notes: Neroli, orange blossom, iris, mastic, benzoin, tonka bean, vanilla and white musk.

The original Infustion d’Iris is great; a wash of light blue with a flash of orange and tints of green. However my preferred version is L’Absolue which takes it to whole other level. As the name suggests, the iris is beefed-up with a nice dose of rootiness and an improved amount of throw. I love iris but it’s hard to find high quality, straight-up versions at your local perfume emporium. This is a total winner.

 

iris prada

 

Agent Provocateur (AP Signature) by Agent Provocateur 

Notes: Saffron, rose, jasmine, magnolia, coriander, vetiver, amber and musk.

My sister used to wear this and it was fantastic on her. Agent Provocateur is a fresh, blush rose wrapped in a big, fluffy cloud. It’s pleasing when a perfume fits the brand perfectly, the way it does here. The scent is a boudoir mist of rosy powder and femininity. I don’t get anything animalistic from it. To me it’s a coquettish, girlie perfume, in the best way. If you search online, you can get it for a song.

agent

 

No.19 EdP by Chanel

Notes: Green notes, bergamot, rose, iris, vetiver, oakmoss and leather.

No.19 is old-school chic at its finest. Can you think of two more rarefied materials than iris and galbanum? The soft aldehydes at early doors settle down to a gently powdery finish. When you put this on, don’t be surprised to find yourself standing a little taller. I liked the Poudré version but it lasted all of 30 minutes on me. Apparently the EdP is not merely a different concentration but a reinterpretation. The high street doesn’t get much classier.

no 19

Eau des Merveilles by Hermes

During summer, it’s tempting to reach for a fragrance which makes you feel like you’ve spent the day on the beach. Eau des Merveilles combines salty skin with joy inducing orange. The scent dries down to a hollowed-out woody amber which takes its lead from ambergris rather than oriental amber. I find its tenacity a little wearing after a while but it’s a good alternative to the usual coconut-heavy, ‘resort perfumes’.

eau des merveilles

Encre Noire by Lalique

There are quite a few great mainstream fragrances aimed at men, such as Terre de Hermes and Dior’s Eau SauvageEncre Noire is a forest vetiver loved by women as well as men. It’s wonderfully aromatic, opening up in a glade of pine trees before letting the smoky vetiver take centre-stage. You can read my full review of this and the flanker Encre Noire A L’Extreme here.

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Don’t miss the mainstream scents chosen by my pals at L’Esperessence, Megan In Sainte Maxime and I Scent You A Day.

 

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Which mainstream perfumes do you think are of note?

 

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Encre Noire and Encre Noire A L’Extreme by Lalique

Notes: Cypress, Vetiver Bourbon, Vetiver Haiti, Woods and Musk.

I’ve never been one to wear ‘masculine fragrances’ or perfumes centred around veitver. However Encre Noire – black ink – has always held a certain fascination for me. I know  a lot of women love it and I like the way the bottle resembles a bottle of ink.

 

encre bottle

 

A little while ago I got samples of the original EdT (released in 2006) and one of the flankers, Encre Noire à l‘Extrême EdP (released last year).

 

Encre Noire EdT

 

The first half of Encre Noire is focused on cypress which is like being dropped into the midst of a dense, dark green grove. It has the feel of an aromatic incense perfume, like Armani’s Bois d’ Encens.  The veitver gently wafts up from underneath, like earth permeating a layer of pine needles lying on the forest floor. What’s great is that the cypress lasts right through to the base.

Swampy vetiver accords turn my stomach; a kind of grassy ditch water aroma that I can’t abide. Encre Noire thankfully doesn’t have that, even when the cypress eventually fades and the vetiver comes into full effect. It has more of the smoky kind of veitver, which is probably down to the inclusion of vetiver bourbon.

What I do like about vetiver is its strength.  Wearing Encre Noire, you can feel that characteristic certainty – an unshakeable self belief that will get you where you want to go. At the same time, it has a head-clearing quality which would indeed make it ideal to wear while writing or whenever you need to focus.

 

encre charcaol

 

Encre Noire à l’Extrême EdP

 

Encre Noire à l‘Extrême opens up at a much lower pitch without the deep green waft of cypress. It’s dark and dusty from the start, like an unexplored attic in a crumbling mansion.

While the original Encre Noire is centring yet expansive, Encre Noire à l‘Extrême is more intense. It’s also more intimate and rather seductive with its light veil of powdered musk. The hazy, dry woods present are just as soft and malleable.

The two iterations converge in the base where they are reduced to tones of grey, like a charcoal drawing.

Encre Noire à l’Extrême conjures up darkness in a way that is soothing and mysterious rather than alienating. Imagine being relieved when night falls because you can take off your mask and finally be your true self.  It’s a sophisticated vetiver which has been polished and stripped of its vegetal harshness. More than ink, it makes me think of grey mist; the outline of a stranger in the gloom.

 

encre image

 

Both incarnations of the fragrance have bucketfuls of atmosphere, especially for mainstream offerings. I’d recommend giving it a try if you like intriguing, dry scents which feel grounding. It’d make a good choice for those who want an alternative to the sugary confections filling up the shelves in the high street.

 

How you get along with vetiver? Have you tried any version of Encre Noire?

 

 

 

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