Tag Archives: Sea

Mood Scent 4: Scents of Place

 

It’s Mood Scent time again! Today, Megan, Sam and I are picking perfumes that remind or connect us with the place we live or have lived in the past. There are so many fragrances and entire brands devoted to geographical locations, but there are also perfumes that evoke a particular area for other reasons. It’s a personal resonance and I’m looking forward to reading which fragrances my blogging pals based in Wales and France have chosen to represent their home. Hopefully Esperanza will be up to joining us for our next post in August.

 

Mood scent purple

 

 

London by Gallivant Perfumes

Cucumber, Rose de Mai absolute, Leather

I’ve lived in the capital my whole life so I’ve chosen two perfumes that represent it. This city of mine is a quirky one and Gallivant have made a perfume to match. London is a light, rosy leather with a twist – an aquatic top note that you might not expect to work but somehow does. It captures the eccentric side of the city where everyone is free to express themselves in whatever way they choose. It’s one of the things I am most proud of about my hometown. This unique perfume was a finalist in the 2018 Art and Olfaction Awards for good reason.

london_bottle
Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

Ambrette Seed, Sea Salt, Sage, Red Algae and Grapefruit

While I might not be naturally drawn to Jo Malone’s clean and tasteful output, this 2014 release made an impression on me for its evocation of the British coastline. It was composed by Christina Nagel who is doing a stellar job over at Hermes after taking over from Jean-Clause Ellena. It represents in scent a windswept shore rather than the more familiar tropical beach fragrance. Wood Sage & Sea Salt starts with citrus moving through light woods with gentle greenery and ending with a salty/sweet amber in the vein of Eau de Merveilles. It’s successful in bringing to mind the flashes of sunshine and salty breeze I used to get when visiting a British seaside town out of season with my family as a child.

 

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Vaara by Penhaligon’s

Quince, Rosewater, Carrot Seed, Coriander Seed, Saffron, Moroccan Rose Absolute, Bulgarian Rose Oil, Freesia, Indian Magnolia, Peony, Iris, Honey, White Musk, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Benzoin Resin, Tonka Bean

I can’t write about London without taking into the account the multicultural mix that I am a product of. My mother came to Britian in the 1950s with the rest of her Angl0-Indian family from Bangalore. They moved into a house in Willesden and when she married my English father, they bought a house in west London. I’ve grown up in a mixed race family and still live in this terrifically diverse city. I therefore have to include a perfume that reflects this and I happen to own and love Vaara. Penhaligon’s is a quintessentially English brand that have created a Western perfume inspired by India. It’s a light, sunny Anglo-Indian rose fragrance with gorgeous splashes of quince, saffron and carrot seed.

vaara by penhaligon's bottle

 

Dryad by Papillon Perfumes

Narcissus. Oakmoss. Jonquil. Cedrat. Galbanum. Benzoin. Vetiver.

Moving out of the city into the British countryside is a joy and I love it whenever I get a chance to trample through a forest or woodland. What’s great about Dryad is that it is more than a literal interpretation of the ancient forest in Southern England that inspired it. It starts out with a galbanum note that is a photoreal expression of being immersed in the lush vegetation of this green and pleasant land.  However it is embedded in a magnificently complex chypre with a base of oakmoss and oriental leanings which give it a glorious antique feel.

dryad

 

Have a look at the Scents of Place from my partners at Megan In Sainte Maxime and I Scent You A Day.

 

london

 

Is there a perfume that you associate with your part of the world?

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Étui Noir by Miller Harris and No.02 Eau Sento by IUNX

Two unassuming beauties…

 

 

My mate Tina G from Australian Perfume Junkies  purchased a few fragrances during her recent trip to Europe (naturally). When we met up in London, she was kind enough to share decants of two of them with me. You can read all about the fragrant fun we got up to that day here. We managed to fit in a shed-load of sniffing and it was a total blast.

 

Étui Noir by Miller Harris

 Top: Bergamot Italy EO, Tangerine, Elemi Gum
Heart: Iris Butter Morocco, Incense, Cashmere Wood, Styrax EO
Base: Patchouli Indonesia EO, Vetiver Haiti EO, Leather, Amber, Birch EO, Labdanum Abs

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I know Tina is drawn to both iris and leather – as am I – so although I generally don’t gravitate towards Miller Harris, I was keen to try her decant of Étui Noir (‘Black Case’). It was released this year and is Eau de Parfum strength.

From the little I’d read, I expected Étui Noir to be a rather dry and austere leather but on spraying I find out that couldn’t be further from the truth. The crisp citrus opening is there and then it’s gone, revealing a cosmetic, powdery iris embedded in sweet suede (as opposed to tough leather).

I’d describe Etui Noir as a cosmetic fragrance crossed with a suede scent, in a similar vein to the far drydown of scents like Naomi Goodsir’s Cuir Velours, Ramon Monegal’s Cuirelle and even Chanel’s Misia.  Like Misia, it’s a bit too sweet for me but then I have an extremely low tolerance for sweetness in perfume these days.

The base is predominantly amber and patchouli and lasting power is excellent. Unlike most perfumes in the leather category, I don’t find it smoky or tarry. This along with the sweet iris powder makes it very accessible; easy to wear while still being chic. It stays close to the body, but this suits its ‘second skin’ character. Étui Noir is one of those fragrances that will quietly surround you with the aura of silky soft suede.

 

No.02 Eau Sento by IUNX

 

 Notes: Cedar leaf, cypress, driftwood and red seaweed.  

 eau sento

 

I’m a fan of perfumer Olivia Giacobetti because she has such a light touch, even with traditional heavy materials. Here she takes wood and makes it as airy as wisps of Japanese incense. Eau Sento is the kind of transcendent, contemplative, woody scent that I can enjoy wearing. Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume quite rightly likens some perfumes in this fragrance family to being “trapped in a tea chest”, but this is the exact opposite. It’s all about space and fresh air.

Don’t be unduly put off by the aquatic aspect. That ozone hit of seaweed is in the mix, but it just makes the scent more interesting – it places the wood at the water’s edge. Eau Sento has the soothing quality of incense, like staring out at the sea and finding all your problems suddenly put into perspective.  As with a lot of Giacobetti’s compositions, it’s simple yet quietly compelling: a thoughtful seashore scent.

 

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Do you like these kind of quiet yet thoughtful fragrances? 

 

 

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Gin and Tonic Cologne, Sea Foam, Sensual Oud, Excentrique Moi and Signature Wild by Art de Parfum

Art de Parfum launched this year with five fragrances which aim to be soulful, bold and luxurious. Although their style intends to reflect French sophistication, they are actually a UK based niche brand.  Here are my impressions of all five.

art de parfum

 

Gin & Tonic Cologne 

Notes: Juniper berries, grapefruit, lemon zest, cucumber, gin, ambergris, cedar, vetiver, white musk and incense.

I have noticed a certain fondness for gin among my perfume pals and whilst I don’t drink it, I do enjoy perfumes inspired by it. in short, Gin & Tonic Cologne is a very good one. It is the closest I’ve come across to a spray-able version of the real thing. In the opening the grapefruit and lemon really fizz and accentuates the fruitiness of juniper berries. It’s pretty linear after that and all the things a good G&T should be; refreshing, tart and aromatic. It makes a great alternative to the standard summer cologne, especially as – despite the name – it’s actually pure parfum strength like the rest of the collection.

 

Sea Foam 

Notes: Bergamot, sea notes, laurels, lemon, incense, eucalyptus, guaiac wood, seaweed, fig leaf, driftwood, patchouli, Haitian vetiver, sea salt and sandalwood.

I really like Art de Parfum’s take on an aquatic fragrance. It doesn’t go down the watery melon or cucumber route but goes for more of an aromatic angle. There’s the zing of citrus to represent the bright sunshine and the saltiness of seaweed to let you know you’re by the ocean. Eucalyptus would normally worry me but here it works really well with the light resinous incense to build the olfactory coastal forest. The fig adds a pleasant green-tinged creaminess and reminds me of Bois Naufrage by Parfumerie Generale.

Sea Foam is much more unusual than your average sun lotion or seaside fragrance. It’s a great combination of marine, lactonic and aromatic.

 

Sensual Oud 

Notes: Cloves, geranium, dates, saffron, rose, suede, patchouli, agarwood (oud) and cypriol oil or nagarmotha.

It’s hard not to be jaded when it comes to trying another oud but this is enjoyable if you’re a rose fan. Rose and oud are a common combination because they work so beautifully together and here the sweet, almost fruity rose is nicely accentuated by fresh geranium.  The opening is all about the rose with the oud only filtering through gradually and even then it remains gentle. It has the texture and scent of supple, rosy suede. Sensual Oud is a refined French take on agarwood.

 

Excentrique Moi 

Notes: pepper, cloves, red fruits, lemon, wormwood, guaiac wood, hibiscus, black tea, patchouli, white musk and cedar.

Excentrique Moi lives up to its name. It’s an strange mix of spice, plummy richness and the sour herbal twang of wormwood, which is used to flavour absinthe and vermouth.  All of this rests on top of a bed of black tea and patchouli, with the overall effect being quite powdery and opaque. Not for everyone but I guess that’s the idea. If you’re looking for something off-beat and enjoy the bitter scent of absinthe, Excentrique Moi could work for you. The prominent powdered clove note and sourness is too much for me unfortunately.

 

Signature Wild 

Notes: cinnamon, davana, cardamom, orange blossom, dried fruits, radiant woods, labdanum, leather, sandalwood, amber, peru balsam and Haitian vetiver.

Signature Wild will please fans of davana; that boozy, fruity note you either love or, as in my case, don’t. It lends perfumes a feeling of dark, heady opulence. The diva davana is supported by sweet gourmand spices and orange blossom with a soft suede backdrop. This works well because they are all singing form the same exotic, er, hymn sheet. The far drydown is a sweet balsamic amber and the general feel is smooth and a touch powdered. Although it may sound heavy, Signature Wild actually wears incredibly lightly for a sweet, boozy/fruity suede fragrance.

 

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Do you fancy the sound of any of the Art de Parfum fragrances?

 

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