Tag Archives: Patchouli

In Rotation – Autumn 2017

It’s autumn in the UK and I’m really enjoying wearing my two favourite releases of this year (practically non-stop). They are both by artisan perfumers whose work exhibits great depth and attention to detail. As different as they are, each fragrance feels perfect for this time of year.

I spent a few days at a forest lodge in Scotland earlier in the month and the autumnal countryside was stunning. The scents of green leaves, woodsmoke and damp earth filled the air.

 

 

Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

Narcissus, Oakmoss, Jonquil, Costus, Galbanum, Clary Sage, Deer Tongue, Cedrat, Benzoin, Lavender, Thyme and Orris

Liz Moores is very connected to nature in all its forms, so it’s no wonder she should see the soul in a tree and create a perfume in its honour: Dryad. Bitter greens are crushed underfoot as the woodland becomes denser and darker. The drydown has the glorious feel of a vintage oakmoss chypre. Green perfumes are rarely this complex or classy. Wear it while wistfully wishing you lived in the forest, or kicking up leaves walking through the park.

 

Naja by Vero Profumo

Osmanthus absolute, melon, linden blossom, tobacco

The green in Naja is a neon bright lime.  It starts out like juice, then blossom and finally powder. This provides an overlay to the palest blond tabacco which feels just right for these damp days with a hint of bonfire in the air. Naja is a perfume full of contradictions that exist side by side. It is body and spirit, dissonance and harmony, purity and poison. Wear it to weave protection spells and cast out evil. It’s the perfect perfume for the run-up to Halloween.

 

Coromandel by Chanel 

Bitter Orange, Neroli, Jasmine, Rose, Orris, Patchouli, White Chocolate, Vanilla, Woods, Incense

While I’m wearing Dryad and Naja on skin, I’m also wearing Coromandel on fabric. It’s my favourite scarf perfume. I sprayed it onto the front of my long black cotton scarf once I’d wound it round my neck.  The luxe patchouli works really well when you can catch wafts of it as you walk. I have the EdT version which has wisps of incense which show up in mild weather.  It really complements both Dryad and Naja. Wear it to amplify and complement the wonderfully musty aromas of autumn in a super chic way.

 

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What fragrances have you been turning to lately?

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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.

 

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

 

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New Year, New You! – Perfume Lovers London, 17th January 2017

I am a self-improvement junkie so the idea of exploring the various ways scents have promised to enhance our lives over the centuries was right up my street. PLL has switched nights from Thursdays to Tuesdays so I had to miss yoga which might have made it counter-productive but it was well worth it.

 

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Callum introduced the topic by saying that perfume ads have become more and more infamous with increasingly outrageous claims. Therefore he and Laurin decided to look at the aromatic ingredients which were historically supposed to provide you with certain positive results and then match those notes to modern day perfumes for us to try.

 

Relax!

As Laurin pointed out, 2016 was a difficult year for many so what we needed first of all was to relax. She had looked into how laudanum had been drunk by the Victorians. Apparently Lord Byron was a laudanum addict and because it was opium based, it was associated with opium dens. However it was taken by respected authors to help them sleep and there was even a recipe for home use in Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (1653) which went as follows:

“Take of Thebane Opium extracted in spirit of Wine, one ounce, Saffron alike extracted, a dram and an half, Castorium one dram: let them be taken in tincture of half an ounce of species Diambræ newly made in spirit of Wine, add to them Ambergris, Musk, of each six grains, oil of Nutmegs ten drops, evaporate the moisture away in a bath, and leave the mass.”

Callum picked Musc Tonkin by Parfum d’Empire to represent the relaxing properties of laudanum because of all the animal ingredients mentioned in the recipe.  It’s as close to real musk as he’s experienced in a perfume. For Laurin “It smells a bit disreputable. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but it has a slightly dirty, soiled smell.”

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The Ancient Greeks believed that illness was a result of an imbalance in The Four Humors; black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood.

An imbalance in black bile was thought to cause conditions such as melancholia and nervousness: basically anything we’d treat with antidepressants today. The element of earth was associated with black bile. Vetiver being earthy and supposedly very grounding, we tried Lune de Givre by Cloon Keen Atelier. Callum described it as “a very easy, relaxing vetiver” which it was and I’m not usually vetiver fan.

 

Thwart Your Enemies!

 

Laurin had trouble finding revenge spells on the internet because those that practice magic don’t want you harming others. Although unsurprisingly, you can pay someone to cast a revenge spell for you.  Ingredients that did come up were often woods (particularly cedar) and hemlock. Hemlock paralyses the body and leads to a very unpleasant death.

Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio features a hemlock note (though entirely safe!) and Callum called it “Weirdly witchy” with “a smoky base to represent the burning bodies of your enemies.” Unfortunately samples of this one weren’t available on the night but it’s the perfume I enjoyed the most.

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Achieve Great Wealth!

 

Laurin found that patchouli and cinnamon featured heavily in spells for attracting wealth although with patchouli you also run the risk of attracting unsavoury types.

As Callum pointed out, Behind the Rain by Paul Schutze is a cold, incensy, peppery fragrance with a very smooth patchouli note.

Laurin found a recipe for Money Oil which she made up and added a few drops to some green candles for us to take home. We’ll be millionaires!

“7 drops Patchouli oil, 5 drops Cedarwood oil, 1 drop Basil oil, 1 drop Clove oil, 10ml base oil, small piece of cinnamon stick- Blend all the oil’s together & bottle. Add the small piece of cinnamon stick to the bottle. Use to anoint candles in money / prosperity spells.”

 

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Callum had really wanted Robert Piguet’s Knightsbridge (a leather fragrance exclusive to Harrods) to represent wealth for obvious reasons.

Live Forever. Sort Of!

 

“If you can’t live forever you want to at least live forever in people’s minds.” Laurin told us that peppermint had been shown in tests to improve memory so the chosen perfume featuring this note was Memoir Man by Amouage.

Callum had a wonderfully specific picture of this scent. “I’m at a kitchen in the countryside where it’s raining outside and there are potatoes on the boil.” The spuds mirroring the earthy facet of Memoir Man.

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Laurin found there are many spells designed to keep you looking eternally youthful. They largely used rose which makes sense as it’s associated with feeling beautiful in aromatherapy. We tried Eau Rose by Diptyque which is a very nice, fresh rose with notes of bergamot and lychee.

 

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Find True Love!

 

Laurin told us that Sex Appeal by Jovan came out in 1975 and the advert featured a He-Man type. Callum read a little of the ad copy which included lines such as “Sex Appeal – Now you don’t have to be born with it” and “Attract women, at will”.

 

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It was very medicinal and I could almost taste it at the back of my throat. As Laurin confirmed, it’s very camphor-like but apparently does soften down. Marginally better was Apollo by Lynx (Axe in the States) which Callum told us was done by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. As you may know, “The Lynx Effect” is supposed to send hoards of women chasing men down the street. No one in the room found Apollo sexy but it was nostalgic for one guy.

A higher end version for women is Scent of a Dream by make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury which was released last year. Laurin was pleasantly surprised by it and Callum thought it was “a perfectly nice scent”. However, it would be quite difficult for anything to live up to the advertising copy which Laurin perfectly described as “word salad” –

“SCENT OF A DREAM is a first-of-its-kind ‘floral chypre’ perfume harmony – featuring a blend of confidence-boosting JOY top notes, intoxicating FLEUROTIC heart notes, plus ‘pheromone’ base notes… It’s mind-altering ‘fleurotic frequency’ creates an emotional pathway to the body’s ENERGY CENTRES igniting and attracting LOVE, LIGHT, POWER, POSITIVITY and SEX to the wearer. IT‘S THE KEY TO ATTRACTION”

At the bargain price of £7 a bottle you can also buy Attract Men or Attract Women by Mojo Pro. Their scents are supposed to contain pheromones and despite there being no scientific evidence for them acting on humans,  Callum’s mate told him that a friend of his swore after he started wearing it, the most attractive girl in his year at uni wouldn’t leave him alone.

Two audience members (one male and one female) had been sprayed with the perfumes and we had to try and sniff them out from a group of six. We pretty much failed so make of that what you will.

Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules  is another supposed pheromone perfume which is meant to smell different on everyone, although Laurin said she regularly recognises it on people. An audience member owns it but never had any man chase after her in the street to ask what she was wearing. Callum said pheromones are a load of nonsense and Laurin felt we were ending the evening on rather a sad note as a result, but we now had the scent solutions to relaxation, thwarting our enemies, great wealth and eternal youth. What more could you ask for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Alter, Vitrum, Bond-T and Ariel by Sammarco 

 

I’ve read some very positive reports about the fragrances from artisan perfume house Sammarco.

The Switzerland-based perfumer, Giovanni Sammarco, uses a high percentage of natural raw materials in his fragrances which are pure parfum strength. The collection currently numbers four: Alter, Vitrum and Bond-T which were launched in 2012 and Ariel which was released last year.

 

Alter

Notes: Jasmine Sambac, rose, frankincense, mimosa, animal accord, incense and opoponax.

Alter is one of those head-swimming white florals which is heavy on indolic jasmine and overlaid with a gauze of civet-like musk. It’s the kind of perfume that would make a gentlewoman come over all unnecessary with just one sniff.

I have a low tolerance for the type of musk used here but Alter is lush, billowy and seductive. If you love heady white florals with a soupçon of sex, it’s more than likely to make you swoon.

 

Vitrum

Notes: Vetiver, rose, bergamot, black pepper, incense and oakmoss.

This is a very clever composition, not least because it is a vetiver I can appreciate. To my nose, most have an odour of stagnant swamp water which turns my stomach.

Vitrum is a softly spoken vetiver, reduced down to its smoky soul. Augmenting it with rose is a lovely touch.

For once, this is a vetiver fragrance which embodies both strength and beauty. I’m not surprised when I read it was created as a bespoke fragrance for a female journalist. Vitrum is a refreshing detour from the well trodden vetiver path.

 

Bond-T

Notes: Cocoa, patchouli, osmanthus, castoreum, tonka and vanilla.

Bond-T was inspired by a visit to a chocolate factory in Pisa, it oozes thick dark chocolate with a high cocoa content; dry and slightly powdery. Patchouli’s chocolate facet makes it a natural partner for cocoa, but I’m very pleased to find the patch here doesn’t overwhelm it.

Bond-T is a chocolate perfume accentuated by patchouli, not a patchouli perfume accentuated by chocolate. The base features a sweet, honeyed amber which takes the decadence to another level.

I find something very chic about dark chocolate fragrances . To be chic, you have to have a little quirkiness thrown in with your elegance and that’s Bond-T to a, er, T.

 

Ariel

Notes: Mandarin, ginger, angelica, tuberose, jasmine, osmanthus, violet, rose, sandalwood, tobacco, davana and orris concrete.

You can tell an awful lot of time and thought went into the creation of Ariel. Going by the website, it seems to have been a labour of love for Giovanni: an homage to the flame-haired object of his affection. It’s the most complex and captivating scent in the collection.

Ariel contrasts sweet, cosmetic powdered florals against crisp, bright greens.  The overall effect is sophisticated and retro, yet metallic and musky accents in the early stages give it a contemporary twist. The drydown is nothing short of gorgeous.  

Ariel is an idealised image of female beauty and feminine attributes. A woman seen through the eyes of love.

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Do any of the four Sammarco fragrances call to you? 

 

 

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