So, as I said, off to Ormonde Jayne. I have been reading into this brand quite a lot recently – I’ve heard wonderful things and some of the fragrances sound wonderful. My recent cravings have been tropical florals – so on walking into the absolutely beautiful boutique, I asked the lady for:
Frangipani. It opens with a strong lime on paper (I didn’t try this one on skin), and it took the length of my stay before I managed to detect the sweet, almost peachy floral, delicately plush – very pretty, but much more lime than I expected. I still haven’t lost hope, I think this would be wonderful in the summer and I’ll be sure to try it again properly.
Having recently fallen head of heels for gardenia notes, I eagerly tried Tiare which opened with a similar, sweet and tart lime note. Unfortunately, the tiare gardenia in the heart was very unrecognizable to me, it didn’t have that dense creamy, slightly soiled scent of a beautiful gardenia. Instead the flower was almost translucent, and almost powdered. I liked the scent, but it wasn’t what I wanted – and I tried this fragrance twice on skin in the one day because I SO wanted to love it.
The biggest suprise came from a rose which I didn’t initially plan on trying:
Ta’if has the most exquisite opening. The best rose note I have ever smelt is paired with a kick of pepper, spicy almost like frankincense. Whilst it sounds unoriginal, there is something utterly divine about it. However, on skin, within half an hour, a strange bitter tea leaf note with a papery texture became uncomfortable, and took away the richness of the opening for me. I will try it again though – as on initial sniff I instantly thought it was something very special. One of the best things I had sniffed so far…
I left Ormonde Jayne as having tried the 3 I came to try (along with a very brief sniff of some others in the line), my nose was getting a little tired so I needed some fresh air and a beer!
So after all that, I made my way to Selfridges (I figured I’d save Harrods until last as there was bound to be something I would buy there if I hadn’t found anything anywhere else!). You’re probably not but I’ll say it anyway: You may be wondering where the usual must-stop trip to Les Senteurs is? Well, I decided to be a little adventurous and not visit this time as I really wanted to discover something new for myself.
At Selfridges the first stop was the Dior counter again. I asked the dolled up sales assistant:
“Which is the fragrance that is strong with immortelle?”
“Yes it’s like, a flower that smells like maple syrup and curry. Someone told me there’s a great immortelle in the Prive line but I can’t remember what it’s called”
“Well… We have Ambre Nuit, which is a spicy fragrance”
“Yeh, no that’s not it. It smells like curry-ish”
“Erm, well Mitzvah is our other spicy scent… and there’s of course Leather Oud”
“Yeh no it’s none of them… Don’t worry I’ll try them”
Three scents later and I of course land on Eau Noire.
“Mmmmm this is it!” I said. She sniffed the strip.
“Oh yeh maple syrup” She gave the strip to the other sales assistant “Yes everyone says this smells like curry” Said the other sales lady…
“Holy shit” I thought.
“Yes, this is a lavender and liqourice” She said.
“………………… and immortelle”. She checked her little book.
“No it says here, just lavender, and maybe it’s the liqourice your smelling”
“Well… its immortelle, trust me ” I said. She nodded and smiled almost sympathetically as if I was babbling absolute nonsense.
“Well, whatever it is, it is beautiful” She replied. URGH! I left quickly hahaha. This was 1 out of 2 stupid moments I was to encounter.
So anyway, Eau Noire was a lovely immortelle, and more wearable than Sables, I will have to give it a proper wearing some time.
I made my way to Jo Malone as I have always said I wanted to try a couple fragrances from the line.
I gave a quick sniff to Black Vetyver Cafe which was not at all what I expected – a bitter, but subtle coffee over spicy masculine notes with subtle earthy vetiver. I didn’t like it at all. I also tried Pomegranate Noir expecting something really wonderful, yet again, I didn’t enjoy it. Bright and juicy up top, but not with the richness of the pomegranate in Aziyade for example. The top notes didn’t catch me enough to give the heart any time to shine – maybe another time.
From here I headed over to Guerlain, just because here in Selfridges it is a much more relaxed environment to try out the exclusive Guerlain’s (as opposed to Harrods which I will mention later).
I saw the stunning bottles and scanned the titles, instantly picking up the mouth-wateringly named Iris Ganache.
I really enjoyed this iris. It’s powdery and floral, but with a woody, rooty orris aroma, paired with the sweetness of milky, white cocoa. Delicate, very sweet but not cloying, and such an unusual but delicious pairing, with the carroty iris created a savoury contrast with the gourmand notes. The price scared me a bit, but considering the divine bottle and the large volume of fragrance, I think this will be a future buy.
I tried a couple of others, but nothing which caught my attention. The sales assistant came over to hound me a bit so I scurried along (as my day was coming to an end).
Off to the glorious snobbery of Harrods where sales assistants’ nostrils flare at the sight of me, armed with my notebook, a laid back attitude and a bucket load of knowledge to which I will pound them to the ground with :’)
First stop was (weirdly) the Guerlain counter again. I don’t know why I kept ending up here – I’m not even a Guerlain fan. But anyway, those bottles caught my eye again. I noticed they had the iris (which I was again tempted to buy) and then remembered that the bullshit talking sales assistant at Selfridges told me they were the only stockists of that particular scent in London… Deary me…
The over-enthusiastic lady made up like a hag approached me with a huge grin – which I thought was lovely – and instantly threw Une Petit Robe Noire under my nose saying
“I use’ to always wear Dee-yoor before I smell dis, it is bee-yowtiful smell, I just splash myself wit it”
“Ok”….”Yeh, red fruit, anis, it’s alright”
“Yes we have it in 50ml - it very popular scent, the price is…”
“No I don’t want that thank you “
Running to the other side of the hall, I managed to stumble upon Dior again. This is repetitive I know… I’ll go on to something new soon.
Anyway, I saw New Look 1947. The sales lady told me it was her favourite of the line so I gave it a quick sniff.
“Mmmm, tuberose, and is it gardenia? I think? I’m not sure” She got out her trusty little book.
“It’s ermmm…. Rose, and vanilla” She says.
“…..Annnddddddd tuberose? Surely? It’s a white floral whatever it is?”
“No maybe it’s the vanilla you’re smelling” I wasn’t getting into that again!
Over to Lutens’! – and the super good looking sales guy that served me last time.
There’s the new one gleaming at me from afar… whispering “buyyyyyy meeeeee”
Santal Majascule opens with an almost identical sandalwood opening to Jeux De Peau. But where Jeux De Peau turns into a liquorice/apricot sandalwood, Santal Majascule allows a faint rose to provide some floral fragrance and support, and the cocoa is a mere dusting. It is absolutely nothing original in the Serge Lutens’ line up and I was really disappointed I hoped I would love this.
I also gave brief sniffs to Lutens’ that I haven’t paid that much attention to:
Fleurs D’Oranger which I really enjoy, the best orange blossom I had smelt all day – full, rich and indolic, heady and almost tropical – it’s a perfect summer scent.
A La Nuit is a great jasmine, but I struggle with jasmine. I never used to – happily drenching myself in Lust by Lush, an almost rancid jasmine. I wouldn’t want to wear this though.
Bas De Soie I have tried before and enjoyed, but I sprayed a little on my arm, and found it a little more “perfumey” than last time. I remember the last time I tried it I loved the cold, sharp iris with a heavy metallic note cutting through the core. It was cold and calculating and I hoped it would capture me again, but on this hot day, it didn’t quite have the same effect. I’ll have to try it another time – I neeeeeed an iris in my collection.
I also gave a quick sniff to some Annick Goutal’s. I am awaiting Songes in the mail, so I gave that a quick sniff again. Along with Gardenia Passion which although I found it to be mainly tuberose, I thoroughly enjoyed it and will have to explore this further. I would have bought it, but I found it in the same vein as Songes, and as I haven’t worn Songes thoroughly yet, I’m not sure whether I need both.
I also tried Vanille Exquise which added on to my vanilla failings of the day. It turned to its usual rancid self on my skin – not “equise”
Oh mannn… so what now?!?! I blushed my way into a goodbye with the sales guy and in desperation I carefully approached the Penhaligons stall… I looked at the nasty bottles and the dated lables with sorrow, but my pocket was burning!
I picked up Sartorial again – yes, I like the opening. Yes, I like the fact it’s masculine and I need something like a fougere in my collection. Yes, I love the modern almost Comme Des Garcons style opening with the aldehydes, metallic violet and lavender and ozonic notes. The drydown just turns generic on me though, but I do find the beeswax interesting. I have to get a good sample of this and wear it for a few days – if I get on with it, it’ll be a perfect addition to my collection.
I actually had read a bit about this fragrance a few months ago and spotting it, I remembered it was apparently an almost damp, green jungle like scent. So I picked up the bottle and gave a big sniff on paper to Amaranthine. The banana skin flew out straight away for me, along with the tropical ylang ylang, and a jasmine I think, along with some other green leafy notes and a kick of spice. I really enjoyed the opening, and it put a much-needed smile on my face. Unfortunately, it’s not something I’d want to wear – my grubby greenery comes from the divine Totem Eclipse by Smell Bent.
A last quick sniff before I had to literally run for my train:
Peoneve – the new fragrance. Spicy rose, green notes – relatively clean, with a peppery carnation accord. It was pleasant, natural smelling, but far too tame for me.
Gardenia - a nice enough fragrance, bright, floral, a recognizable creamy and thick gardenia which had a fresh green edge to it. I’d quite happily wear this – but I looked at the label *shuudddderrrrr*. I put it back down and quickly ran off. Penhaligon’s is not for me.
So there you have it. A ridiculously unsuccessful shopping trip to London – I left COMPLETELY empty-handed – how crap is that?!
Lesson of the day: Go to Les Senteurs.