Video: Fragrance Purchases January – February 2014

Hi guys

Thought I’d load a quick video up on here for you, just some recent purchases, no biggy… OK, seven purchases :| which is a lot for me! But anyway – enjoy!

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A Smelly Bloggers’ Day Out In London

Myself and Val the Cookie Queen, guest blogger at Australian Perfume Junkies had been chatting recently on Facebook. She told me about an upcoming “meetup” where Portia (APJ) and other guest blogger Michael Borg were traveling from Australia, through Europe, and landing in the UK. After an invite, along with many other bloggers, February the 8th came and we were all stupidly excited about the day :D

Bloom Perfume London
photo stolen from

I arrived at Bloom Perfume in Shoreditch, our meeting point, nearly an hour lot – flustered as hell having trekked my way across town at record speed after my original train was cancelled.
Everyone was in full swing already, the tiny store was crowded with the blur of people sniffing blotters and chatting with each other. I tried my best to slip in as calmly as possible but ended up looking a bit erratic and out of breath.

The group was made up of the lovely Val who has an incredible larger than life personality along with killer taste. She left Bloom with Rubj and Mito Voile D’Extrait’s by Vero Profumo (see?!) <3 The glamorous Portia of course who helped to chill me out by pretty much… well, talking. He gleams non stop positivity and is absolutely hilarious to boot. Michael was charming, has wonderful taste and was keen to sniff various things with me – we share some very similar fragrance tastes. The lovely little Vanessa (Bonkers About Perfume) who I have met up with twice before here in Birmingham, Thomas the Candy Perfume Boy who I had met once before, and his partner Nigel, the lovely Nick Gilbert, Joshua (The Smelly Vagabond) and the gorgeous Tara of Olfactoria’s Travels… were the other bloggers who had managed to show up! Quite a list!

I actually can’t remember much of my time at Bloom with everyone :’) It was a bit of a blur trying to settle in and say hi to everyone… We tried the new Isparta by Parfumerie General and all agreed it smelt a little like Portrait of a Lady, only sweeter, without the patchouli, and not as superior… easily dismissed. Dzhari by Phaedon which to me smelt like prune juice… And at that point, I was pretty much done… I was much more keen to hear everyone elses thoughts than try things myself!
I swapped some samples with a few people, and got to try a sneaky spritz of Dark Passage by Tauer for Tableau de Parfums which was a limited release… a big dark camphorous patchouli, very nice, a little straightforward… but almost “oudy” in its rawness up top… quite cool.

Bloom Perfume Bloggers
Back Row: Myself, Michael, Portia, Nick
Middle: Tara, Nigel, Val, Thomas
Front: Joshua, Vanessa

After this quick sniff around, we popped next door to Poppies – for “The best fish and chips in the UK”… or something like that, an award-winning place anyway! I unfortunately was pretty much puking up my dinner the night before (nice!) having been ill for a few days and near overdosing trying to cure it by the morning on tramadol, codeine and paracetamol ha! So I settled on a drink only… regretting it slightly seeing everyone’s delicious looking food arriving!

We had a bit of a sniff around at the table, everyone had brought bags of samples and I felt a bit stupid not bringing more with me. Still… one of the biggest hits to be handed round was Envoyage’s gorgeous Zelda which Portia hadn’t smelt. One spritz down his top and he was constantly screaming “OH MY GOD THIS IS HUGE! IT’S GORGEOUS!”. Another hit was 1996 by Byredo that Thomas brought, it was a very nice dough-y iris that I didn’t try on myself so can’t remember perfectly… but it’s something I may revisit. Other things worked their way around but I was just kind of sitting to the side having a big natter with Portia about his travels… I was riddled with envy! The amount himself and Michael had done around Europe, in Paris and Austria, blew my mind. Two very passionate bloggers with a heck of a lot more knowledge than they let on! :D

Freddie Albrighton Portia Turbo Smellythoughts
Myself and Portia in Poppies

After all this we trekked to Les Senteurs. Most of the bloggers including Val and Portia parched themselves on the sofas at the back, knackered from all the walking and talking (they had been travelling a hell of a lot over the last few days!). I had a sniff around with Michael and the others, tackling the likes of Eau D’Italie, and sharing my love for Sienne L’Hiver. I explored a little more of the Frederic Malle line again, resniffing Musc Ravageur as I have recently bought a bottle off a member of one of the Facebook fragrance groups and have been super excited for it to arrive! I had saved some money up so knew I was going to buy something, and knew pretty much 100% that it would be Mona Di Orio’s Eau Absolue. I got everyone else to sniff it, knowing full well that it is not something to make you go “WOW” on first spray… it’s a grower, with a wonderful development that captivated me totally on repeated sampling… and yes, I ended up buying a bottle!
I also tried more of Mona’s line, spraying her Ambre on one hand (which was gorgeous musky and raunchy on me to begin with) – Portia said I smelt “filthy!” in a good way I’m sure ;). It settled to something a little more tame and powdery, but still, a very nice accord.  Tubereuse went on the other, which was also a win! The drydown was a little bit too tame for me, but the opening was gorgeous… something I’ll have to revisit… in fact, I think I’ll be revisiting all of Mona’s line again, I seem to be having a lot of success with them now. Thomas ended up buying Portrait Of A Lady after being on the hunt for a good rose all day… I adore the smell of POAL, but it doesn’t work on my skin, I picked up a sample for my mum as she adored it the last time she tried it (along with lots of other samples from Malle along with my purchase).


We also sat and devoured Val’s box of peanut butter cookies she brought with her, which everyone agreed, were “AMAZING!” – the box had a remaining couple left so I stashed them in my bag to take home for the evening… no chance in hell were they going to waste <3 After further sniffings of the Parfumerie Generale line (I still need a bottle of Cuir Venenum), and smelling the fabulous Narcisse Noire parfum on Portia (hairspray and nail varnish as he describes), we said farewell to Vanessa, Thomas, Nigel and Nick… whilst myself, Portia, Michael, Val and Tara headed to Selfridges (to go and meet Val’s daughter).


Selfridges to me is full of shit I don’t really want to smell, not that everything is bad there, but there is a lot of crappy niche brands at high prices targeting the Arabian market, a lot like Roja Dove’s. Still, Portia had a good sniff around, and came back reeking of some bonfire atrocity by Union, Celtic Fire… which every agreed, smelt like barbecued sausage with tomato ketchup – a less refined, more savoury gourmand version of things like Cologne Reloaded, Lonestar Memories, and Patchouli 24… He also tried the new Hermessence Epice Marine which was a weirdly spicey marine fragrance (who’d have guessed) – that wasn’t my sort of thing, but it seemed to radiate of Portia nicely! Along with a slathering of No.22 Parfum by Chanel, which we all agreed was a little soapier and less plush in its more concentrated form… weirdly.

Tara sprayed on some Coromandel which was gorgeous on her… the only question I always find with things like Coromandel, is how much different is it really from many other patchouli soliflores? I have a difficult time, or maybe struggle to bother, differentiating between them all… still – it was very pretty! I remember trying Mitzah by Dior Privee on Michael who had bought a massive bottle in Paris I believe… it smelt nice enough to me… although a pretty generic amber accord – nice enough, with a subtle rose in the heart… I haven’t found a Dior Privee that’s truly wow-ed me yet.

Mona Di Orio Humiecki Graef

Anyway, after Selfridges, myself, Portia and Michael parted with Val and Tara to head back to Portia’s hotel. Unfortunately the finale isn’t as exciting as it sounds… Portia had simply forgot to bring with him the bottle of Blask that I had asked him to pick up in Austria! Humiecki & Graef isn’t available in the UK, so I thought I’d snatch my chance to grab a bottle of this gorgeous juice, that I first tried in Berlin. So after getting my bottle of Blask from them, and some requested samples, I gave a hug and said my farewells and headed off home. The day was a huge success and everyone was a joy to be around, Portia and Val made me feel very special, despite them being the honoured guests of the daytrip!
I’m sure everyone else had fun, having read the other folks’ write-ups of the day (which I’ll link to below). Hope to see you all again soon <3<3

The Candy Perfume Boy: Australian Invasion

Bonkers About Perfume: A Fishy Fumehead Encounter

Olfactoria’s Travels: Portia Fest 2014

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Blask – Humieck & Graef

The other day I met up with Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies, Val the Cookie Queen and numerous other bloggers including The Candy Perfume Boy, Bonkers About Perfume, The Smelly Vagabond, Tara from Olfactoria’s Travels, Michael Borg and other lovely perfume folk! As Portia was stopping by Aus Liebe Zum Duft in Austria, I asked her to pick me up Blask by Humiecki & Graef. I fell in love with Blask in Berlin, when I was torn between buying it, and Bosque (I left with Bosque but regretted not just buying both!). So although I hadn’t tried Blask for well over a year, I was very excited to finally have a bottle… this is why.

Blask Humiecki Graef

Blask is one of the most difficult fragrances I’ve ever had to describe. It starts with a slightly boozy accord, a very dry mahogany wood, a deep fruity accord that smells like prune? – and a musty wine smell (listed is a red wine accord – but it’s more a wine interpretation than something realistic). It has this subtle fungal quality to it, like mushroom – along with a greenery that is listed as bay leaf… but I don’t quite get that either.

It has a weird personality on the skin, almost vanishing up close when you try to look for it, but it’s throw and aura is huge. It is like at times you can feel it all around you, but when you try to pull it apart it totally disappears. I’m not saying it is light or “hardly there” – it’s quite the opposite. It has a similar feel overall to the weight of Iso E Super (not the smell)… as in, you can smell it, but it can disappear up close. Very very weird!

Overall, after the initial and confusing blast, it settles into something with a ridiculously smooth texture and a little fizz up top. The “fizz” smells to me like violet. A slightly powdery violet and peach – reminding me if anything, of the peachy/fizzy accord in Vraie Blonde… in fact, Vraie Blonde may be the only fragrance I find has some similarities to Blask, but they are still very different.
Underneath the violet, the subtle aromatic greenery (bay?) is paired with the mahogany wood (which I find has a pungent, almost wine-like smell anyway). The fragrance is meant to be a new interpretation of an oud… although there isn’t any oud in here. It tries to play at all it’s characteristics without actually smelling like oud wood, which it bizarrely succeeds at… although in a VERY abstract way.

All on top of this is Humieck & Graef’s signature “weirdness”… the house seems to have this way of making their compositions even more unfamiliar (as if they needed it!) – but it is in no way unappealing. It’s synthetic without smelling a chemical bomb… there’s no heavy aldehydes and zero metallic notes if that’s what you’re thinking by weirdness. The only way I can describe it, is as though they have changed the texture of everything, but you can’t tell what. It smells so unfamiliar.

The drydown is a fruity, dark wood, lightly smoked with a large dose of ever-so-slightly-raunchy suede… with apricot and dried fruits on top with a hint of violet and carnation (yes there’s a tiny bit of clove spice in here too). Listed is “walnut”, and whilst I agree it has this very savoury, slightly salty “nutty” smell, I find it to be an aspect of the wood more than anything. All this talk of wood though, I wouldn’t describe Blask as a heavily “woody” fragrance… I guess because there are so many intriguing facets of it that take it in many more directions than “woody” can simply cover, or classify. Lastly is a heavy dose of “marron glace” in the base, the classic caramelized chestnut smell that seems to run throughout (and I adore that!). At times I get strong hints of amber (and maybe even a touch of myrrh) – but there are so many subtle nuances going on in this I could be hallucinating through my nose.

The throw is gorgeous for the first couple hours of Blask and it then retreats to an equally gorgeous but restrained skin scent… smelling of sweetened, wine-y woods, chestnuts and fuzzy suede… Truly exquisite. Blask is in no way challenging though, whilst the opening may be extremely complicated, what it settles into is extremely comforting and strangely alluring. A modern masterpiece? Very close.

Blask 100ml EDP Humieck & Graef – 150 Euros

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AB – Blood Concept

As some of you might know (I may have mentioned it once or twice), since smelling Secretions Magnifiques all that time back, I have been on the hunt for a truly wearable version of it. There are aspects of SecMag that I like, and a million that I don’t. I guess what I’m drawn to is that harsh metallic accord that despite the marketing, and I guess somewhat ironically, smells totally “inhuman”. This metallic accord can for sure be found in numerous compositions, toned down to a level of wearability that it almost becomes non-existent – one example is my beloved Bas De Soie by Serge Lutens. I wanted something more upfront and obvious, a cold and aggressive fragrance, entirely synthetic and almost “heartless”, which led to me to AB.

The first time I tried AB I liked it, but it didn’t blow me away, and in all honesty, it still doesn’t. BUT, I’ve finally succumbed to it and ended up with a bottle (half price I will say – but also I recently found it for even cheaper brand new on an eBay outlet!). The reason I decide to settle on it, despite being put off by consistent bad reviews of the brand, the novelty marketing which in all honesty doesn’t faze me but the negativity of others started to rub off… and also Mercury by Nu_be. Mercury is a new release that has been getting a lot of praise from some noses I respect and having finally got the chance to test it out a couple of times on skin, I thought “This is AB with grapefruit…”. Sure there’s a little more to it, and a little less… but Mercury seems to be AB, and/or a toned down SecMag, with a subtle masculine cologne-like structure running throughout to make it more wearable. Sure it fits the bill of what I wanted, but it’s also double the price ;) I thought “fuck it” and bought what I keep getting drawn to… every time I’d pass it, I’d sniff… it’s not love, but it’s weirdly necessary.

AB Blood Concept

Well after that intro, if you haven’t run off now you probably will…
AB hits my skin with the scent of rubbing alcohol, a heavily synthetic, very cleaning-product-esque lemon, and a hectic overload of an aldehyde chain. After a matter of seconds, it begins to settle and fall into place as a relatively linear accord that will dominate half the life of it. The aldehydic structure isn’t quite the plush, cosy aldehydes of Chanel, and they are somehow even colder and more grating than Stephen Jones. It’s the scent of disinfectant soap, overload with a crystal clear water accord that together, still manages to refrain from the smell of freshly washed hands. Sure, this phase of AB is about as clean as a fragrance can get, but it can no way be placed onto a scale of “natural clealiness”… it is totally abstract.

It’s bizarre how the scent of cold water can be so pungent on the skin, and here, it’s enhanced by a hugely metallic note. The metallic note thankfully doesn’t pair with a lactonic accord – a la SecMag, but occasionally presents a subtle oily quality that does turn my stomach. This oily/greasy quality only pops up now and again, and then is dominated by the clean water and aldehydes. The fragrance is as high polished as the bottle, maybe not so much in it’s actually construction, but the image it presents. Water, hygiene soap and metal, held together by an overwhelming mineralic accord similar to the “pulverized rock” of Stephen Jones. Although I keep mentioning those two fragrances, they aren’t very similar, especially Stephen Jones (that is a true perfume, after all).

I am not deluded in thinking that AB is a perfume, it is merely a smell, more of a creation or an experiment, and it does not smell like it was designed for the skin. Still, I find that concept kind of appealing, smelling so abstract, but not offensive. I guess up close and explored in-depth, AB is pretty offensive, from afar, again, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came across as tame and non-memorable. It smells extremely “fresh”, without being a cologne – but it also doesn’t smell human, it almost blanks out the smell of your skin underneath rather than meld with it. Even in the drydown, the hyper-clean cedar wood resembling that of Artek Standard of Odeur 53 – there’s even subtle trails of cold incense… or maybe I’m just trying to create something out of nothing.

AB is no masterpiece, but it is a fine little piece of modern fragrance artwork. It can easily be dismissed as a novelty, but I’d rather just enjoy it for it’s over the top, intentional weirdness… knowing full well that the creators probably had a laugh making it, imagining the loons, like themselves, like me, who would actually appreciate and try to wear something so ridiculous.

UPDATE: I have worn this continuously for about 3 days, slowly enjoying it a little less each time :|
I like the composition – but I’m now questioning whether this is actually wearable… Unfortunately I don’t think it is. If it continues this way, I might have to say AB was a passing moment in my fragrance collection and send it on it’s way (I have no time for things I don’t wear). I haven’t edited my review because I believe it’s all true… but I can’t wear this.

AB 60ml EDP Blood Concept – £98

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Encre Noire – Lalique

I had tried Encre Noire a hell of a long time ago after briefly reading about it online and spotting it in a local little fragrance shop. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but then again, I was very new into my fragrance journey, and simply remember being overwhelmed by the dense translucent woody thing that later turned out to be Iso E Super… At the time, I was hoping for a big dark inky thing…
Still! A Facebook friend shared an online link for 100ml of Encre Noire for only £22 delivered, so I sprung for a bottle, having recently been craving vetiver and vetiver only. For this price – it was worth another shot.

Encre Noire

Encre Noire hits the skin with a pretty pure, direct vetiver note. No citrus freshening up the opening (yes!!), not over the top herbal notes taming this into a more “cologne-like” composition (yes!!), just an earthy, dry vetiver… the way I love it. It’s pretty light to begin with but has a nice density; the thick earthiness, whilst dry as a bone, has a weight to it on the skin, and Encre Noire feels like it skips any top notes and greats straight to what you want… if of course, this is what you want.

An unexpected note of mint joins the vetiver after just a minute or two… on first sniff, I was a little disappointed, hoping this wouldn’t trail off into a light minty/green scent. Thankfully, it’s rather nice. Whilst the vetiver is warm and dry, the mint adds a little more texture, it floats above the vetiver in an ever-so-slightly toothpaste-y (at least from a distance) fresh layer, not at all culinary, or too reminiscent of hygiene products! The leading note keeps it in line, and whilst it isn’t my favourite part of Encre Noire… it doesn’t hang around too long. Was it necessary? Well, they could’ve chosen something a little more interesting we’ll say…

The mint gradually fades, leaving behind the vetiver with a sideline translucent greenery that I can’t put my finger on, and the Iso E Super that begins to push heavy in the drydown. So, the Iso E Super (very quickly for those who don’t know), is an aromachemical that almost has a presence rather than a smell… it’s a slightly woody, slightly vetiver smelling, slightly greenish smell with a real weight to it. By weight, I mean whilst it smells almost clear, it’s texture is thick! It blobs on the skin, anchoring ingredients to it, whilst throwing it off your skin as well. Making sense? I guess not. The weird thing about this ingredient is it seems to disappear and reappear from time to time. Encre Noire feels like it’s vanished after a couple of hours, but then give it an hour, and I catch a quick whiff of it as I turn my head. It’s a quality that I can never decide whether I like or loathe, but here, I just go with it.

The late drydown is all vetiver, soft dry woods, a little clean musk with a smidge of liqourice? It’s dry, green, earthy, and nowhere near as “dark” as people make out. The whole fragrance is relatively translucent, but as I’ve repeated too much already, quite “thick” with a (synthetic) weight to it. I wish the mint was non existant… but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

To be honest, I have actually lived in Encre Noire for a few days now, day and night. I’m drawn to it a lot as something desperately easy to wear, and comfortable enough to want to wear it whenever and wherever. It’s drew a couple of compliments at work which is a rarity (I guess for once because I smell a little more less overpowering and “flowery” hahaha!). Still, there is something charming about Encre Noire… No, it isn’t a “masterpiece” as those guys clearly restricting themselves to the designer and masculine side of the fragrance world often claim, but it’s pretty damn good for such a small price. Recommended.

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Eau Absolue – Mona Di Orio

So here I am still desperately trying to fall in love with something in the Mona Di Orio line up. I have to admit, Vetyver has my attention again and I’ll be sampling it more soon, after sniffing it from the bottle last time I was in London recently, I almost bought it on the spot! Maybe next time. I discussed with the shop assistant at Les Senteurs my issues with her base, and he insisted that Eau Absolue is the only fragrance that worked on his skin… so I thought it was worth a shot and grabbed a sample.

Eau Absolue Mona di Orio

I LOVE the muted citrus opening of Eau Absolue. It is a big citrus mashup of bergamot, lime, bitter orange rind, undercut already with a subtle animalic presence of castoreum. The castoreum here has the nutty/smoky quality of Cuir, only greatly toned down… it smells very old school and classical, almost dusty and aged. There’s also a hint of that vetiver from Vetyver underneath, bone dry and earthy – just how I like it! This citrus/vetiver combo thankfully doesn’t go all out fresh and scrubbed up, and is the closest I can imagine to a perfect citrus/vetiver combination to be honest – a structure I have always been put off by and avoided.

There’s some subtle herbal notes going on, I get mainly bay leaf, petit grain and a cooler geranium. The contrast between warm and cool is gorgeous, resulting in a fragrance that embraces you whilst smelling relatively fresh to a more inexperienced nose. There’s a hint of pink pepper, and as I write about it, it sounds totally plain and un-interesting… heck if I’d read this notes list, I’d have thought the same. The thing is, the execution is charming and totally unique – it doesn’t smell particularly complicated, but it’s balance is harmonious. I wish at times during the heart here, it pushed the animalic and now resinous base a little more, maybe even the vetiver, but then I forget that this IS a cologne-esque creation, and what’s underneath is awesome enough as it is.

The whole thing remains close to my skin and as smooth as perfume can be. The most wonderful part of the whole thing? I get absolutely none of that sulphurous, animalic vanilla that knocks me sick in Vanille (and to a lesser extent Vetyver). That stomach churning cream is nowhere in sight and I love it. What is there instead, is that quiet smoke of castoreum, a bitter stain of labdanum (that at times sweetens to a more golden amber) and a soft, masculine, woody base with vetiver. Throughout the heart there are hints of honeyed orange blossom and a touch of rose – sitting in a very light, but dense layer above the thick base. Eau Absolue is not a show stopping fragrance that is going to get you noticed, but if by any chance someone does catch a whiff of it, it doesn’t go through a single bad spell in its development and it’s undoubtedly captivating.

I find the restrained and refined performance of Eau Absolue pretty breathtaking actually, and I surprised myself even when I decided to review this in full – after a couple of quick passing sniffs, I dismissed this also – explored, it is gorgeous. Bizarrely, one of my favourite phases of Eau Absolue is the very end – it leaves on the skin a honeyed pollen stain, and one of the most refined honey notes I’ve ever smelt.
I think this could be the Mona Di Orio fragrance I need a full bottle of in my collection, and soon! <3

Eau Absolue 100ml EDP Mona Di Orio – £135

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1697 – Frapin

frapin 1697
1697 opens dense and hugely overwhelming. A MASSIVE combination of thick, syrupy booze (rum), matured with a bucket load of fragrant, culinary spices – cinnamon, clove, pink pepper. There’s a thick vanilla underneath, a burnt tonka bean vibe – it’s like a booze drenched Arabie, or Aziyade. I first smelt this briefly in Paris, and was totally knocked sick from it, I found it hideous… as vanilla heavy (particularly boozy) fragrances often go on my skin… but revisiting it now… I’m bowled over by it.

This thick, complicated syrup is counterbalanced by some herbal notes… in honesty, I have no idea what they could be… bay leaf? Lavender even? There’s something fragrant in there that makes this not an all out boozy-gourmand-spicy-resinous thing. I’d say “thankfully”, but I’m not really, 1697 settles pretty quickly. I love that opening, and wish the huge overload of spices and rum would continue for hours and hours, similar to how to complicated opening of Eau D’Epices continues to be mindblowing-ly complex, well into the heart. However, 1697 relaxes into a much softer scent, that I guess is easier to tolerate.

What happens as it quietens down, and melts into your skin, is the tonka/vanilla pushes forward, the faintest hint of rose and maybe even almond? – give this a creamy, plush skin smell – kept interesting by that remaining (and relatively hefty dose of) spiced rum. The whole feel of it is both comforting, luxurious and extremely elegant… Cuir Ottoman springs to mind out of my collection as something that makes me feel the same. I’ve always loved this kind of spice basket and dried fruit scent (the fruit here being dates, raisins – but with a more golden feel? Papaya? Mango? – well, the thought is there). I’ve never sprung for a bottle of something like this though, I guess I’ve been exploring the ground. But THIS… this might just be the one.

The drydown actually reminds me of Ambre Narguille (which I thought was pretty shit) – but done better of course. A refined, slightly plastic-y, slightly play-doh-y vanilla scent (you all know vanilla drydowns are generally not my thing)… and also to a lesser extent the tobacco/vanilla finale of Luctor et Emergo. Whilst it’s subtlety and restraint in the late drydown as it all falls into place is a slight let down from the truly glorious opening, I can still easily see myself with a bottle of this in the veryyyyyy near future.
Another quick comparison I’d also like to make, is how the rose in here smells very similar to Mohur by Neela Vermeire, a fragrance that totally didn’t work for me at all… here however? It all slips into perfect place.

A wonderful Duchaufour creation (and just as I thought I was sick to death of him!).

Frapin 1697 – 100ml EDP £135 –

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Penhaligon’s – Peoneve & Annick Goutal – Nuit Etoilee

Well I’ve been off the scene for a while but decided to return :P
Two fragrances I picked up very cheaply over the December Sales period were these two. Both of them I bought on yellow-label clearance at TK Maxx (TJ Maxx) – for £20 each… bargain! Nuit Etoilee was a blind buy – although I had read about it before, and Peoneve I had tried just once, but my heart at that point was set on Amaranthine and nothing could top it.
I had been craving a “cologne” recently, as a citrus fragrance was something totally lacking in my collection… for a small price, I knew Nuit Etoilee would fill the spot… and as for Peoneve? Well, come on… that kind of thing is totally “me”.
Peoneve Penhaligons

Peoneve’s sharp alcoholic blast gives in to a huge rose/peony bouquet (with a touch of green violet leaf)… in honesty – without the Peony being a big give in the title, I wouldn’t have clocked. To me, they smell very similar to certain varieties of roses, maybe a combination of a few… a little cleaner, a citrus acidity, a slightly sharp greenery and the occasional bit of honey… all aspects which can come from a great rose mix. But there we go, I will continue to refer to it as rose/peony!

As I said, this huge floral up top is squeaky clean, but don’t read that as soapy! It’s pink in colour (but not cotton candy or sweet) – in fact, it’s quite bitter, smelling as natural as it can get despite the high-pitched intensity of the initial blast. It is a concentrated pink rose scent, with a subtle hint of dew, and crushed green leaves, a bit of lemon and citrus notes up top, a cool geranium – pretty glorious. This is the kind of rose I fell in love with upon trying April Aromatic’s Rosenlust – a handful of roses that don’t smell like a perfume, but instead smell like the flowers themselves. It’s a gorgeous thing to smell of! Peoneve however is a little more “perfume-y”, although I definitely wouldn’t call it dated, despite how classical, prim and proper it is. Yes it sounds cliche coming form the house of Penhaligon’s, and I admit, that is generally NOT my sort of thing. With roses however? I can make an exception. I like how old-school dainty it feels.

Peoneve is pretty loud for the first couple of hours, retreating over time into something much more restrained but long-lasting. I’ve read over and over about a “sweaty vetiver” in the base. I get the vetiver, but it’s a subtle earthy accord to continue the feel of the flower>>earth structure, I don’t consider it sweaty, or skanky, or dirty in the least. In fact, it’s very quiet on my skin, vetiver needs to be screaming in my face for me to notice or pay attention to it (which is why I haven’t yet found MY vetiver – well, I have… Turtle Vetiver Front… but it’s no longer available, ARGH!). Still, the drydown is nice, it turns just a smidge musky, a hint of smoke, but keeps the freshness throughout. I find that the rose, with the sharp whatever-chemicals up top, and the vetiver – create an almost gasoline-type note in the drydown. It’s the petrol accord that I often find in roses, sometimes amplified by rose oxide (Keiko Mecheri’s Damascena being the prime example)… and I love that of course. The whole composition however does the same thing that Un Matin D’Orage by Annick Goutal does for me – keep me feeling fresh and floral all day, which is MY preferred version of a cologne. Who needs citrus and herbs?! Recommended.

Nuit Etoilee

Nuit Etoilee opens with sweet lemon, mint and pine all at once. The lemon isn’t bitter, or even acidic… it’s fresh, with a subtle creamy quality thankfully JUST steering it away from “cleaning-product lemon”. The mint is more subtle on my skin than I hear a lot of people say… again, it feels sweetened, like a candied peppermint. Overall? It smells like a cocktail up top, like a non-alcoholic citrus heavy mojito. Bad description I know, that drink would suck – but you get the idea… brown sugar and all.

The pine? Now I love the pine in this. The reason being – it’s not paired with a bucket load of incense to portray the tired “forest at night” smell… OK, Nuit Etoilee IS trying to portray the forest at night smell, but they get it pretty wrong. So yes, no incense here… instead the pine contrasts with the mint, to create a more mentholated, jammy smell. I love that sticky pine needle smell, at times – again, I find the note overused and tiresome, or maybe it just gets boring very quickly… still, here I don’t get that, because it’s thrown into a more “cologne” setting and it works.

Underneath all this is a tonka/vanilla kinda base. A sweet, slightly toasted smell, some say marshmallow? I say great imagination… or marketing? It’s the think sweetening everything from the start, but not in a sickly candied way… just the way that a good nutty-ish tonka does, you know? It’s soft however, with little through. It stays close to the skin, totally inoffensive and easy to wear – and you’re right, it sounds like a total snoozefest. BUT, it’s totally unlike anything I have in my collection, not something I’ll reach for a ton, but when the time is right I know it’ll be there and I’ve used it a fair bit already ;) Not every day my stomach can handle a powerhouse masterpiece, simplicity is needed sometimes. Do I recommend it? Nah not really, but it’s nice enough – and whilst £20 for 100ml is a steal, I wouldn’t pay any more for it.

Peoneve 100ml EDP Penhaligons – £120
Nuit Etoilee 100ml EDT Annick Goutal – 93 Euros

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Update From Freddie :)

Hey guys

I’ve taken a bit of time off I guess just to chill in the New Year, the blog will be back up and running soon, sorry it’s been so long… but heck there’s so many blogs out there to read now I’m sure y’all didn’t miss me :’)
Anyway, still going strong with YouTube, admittedly more so than here I think! Just updated the YouTube page which was very out of date, and new reviews to come soon… You’ll also see I’ve added a new page up top for other fragrance related posts through the blog :) But for now, here’s just a quick video on some things I bought last month :)

Byeeeeee! <3

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SMELLYTHOUGHTS: Best Fragrances of 2013


2013 brought us Perfumistas some outstanding releases. I didn’t want to categorize any of these so I’m putting out this end of year post, as simply as possible: The Seven Best Releases of 2013…
A weird number, not particularly catchy, but these were the standouts. Of course, I haven’t tried everything that has been released, but I generally try what targets my taste. All these fragrances were released in 2013, and are not necessarily what I’ve worn the most for example, but if you wanted to some up the year in perfume, these would be the seven.
In no particular order… (Ok, maybe slightly in a particular order)…

Mito Extrait Vero

Mito Extrait de Parfum by Vero Profumo

So I cannot find a picture of the Extrait de Parfum bottle anywhere, so this Voile D’Extrait will have to suffice! Whilst the composition is the same in both bottles, the concentration of the parfum just wins me over with it’s dense, plush texture.
Vero Kern has created a perfume of immense beauty, and whilst it took me a while to fully “get” the Mito EDP which was released first, the Extrait simply blew me away.
It is a lush combination of bracing citrus accords and bitter greens, with a bunch of white florals laid over it. Lemongrass, cypress, galbanum all lead up top, giving in to a heart of magnolia, champaca and a bitter vegetal tuberose which ties the florals in to the bitter greenery both up top, and the mossy greenery in the base. There’s a hint of peach throughout, and a drop of civet in the base – a reinvented chypre that smells modern yet timeless, referencing great classics of the past with huge admiration. Green florals have been totally to my taste recently, and having tried so many, I can’t see anything surpassing this extraordinary fragrance.

Ingrid Tableau de Parfums

Ingrid by Tableau De Parfums

The final fragrance in the Tableau de Parfums trio was a truly gorgeous release. A frangipani oriental, using the leading floral as it’s never been smelt before… out of a tropical setting, and thrown into a spice basket of dried roses, cloves, cinnamon and woods. It’s an absolutely huge fragrance, overwhelming and extravagant… yet its final hours on the skin are languid and plush; it’s feminine without being sweet or candied. Ingrid is a bold, confident fragrance that is hugely original and truly one of a kind. A fantastic finale for the line by Tauer. His work for Tableau de Parfums has been his most mature and experimental yet.


Zelda by Envoyage Perfumes

Zelda is just an all-round beautiful fragrance. It’s a unique, complicated magnolia oriental – in a similar vein as Ingrid without the hefty dose of cloves. It’s an old-school glamorous floral oriental, concentrating on the more creamy, waxy aspects of magnolia, partnered with subtle greens, hints of booze and old wood, rich in civet soaked woods and tobacco. Zelda is an extremely modern take on a classic structure and whilst complicated, it’s executed perfectly. Shelley Waddington is an extremely talented artisinal perfumer and Zelda is proof of this… it’s truly gorgeous.

Eva Kant O'Driu

Eva Kant by O’Driu

Perfumer Angelo Pregoni has done something with Eva Kant that I just can’t work out – he’s created an extremely beautiful, slightly aquatic floral that has a texture and translucency I didn’t think possible with such a high dose of natural materials. Eva Kant is a slightly spicy floral of rose and ylang, that starts extremely bitter and herbal, with lavender, grapefruit and rosemary. It’s bold, without being overly dramatic, with a fascinating combination of textures and contrasting notes. It’s a hugely intelligent piece of work from the O’Driu brand and undoubtedly his best work to date. Whilst I struggle to wrap my head around it at times, Eva Kant is something I absolutely adore to wear and have certainly never tried anything like it.

Cuir de Gardenia

Cuir de Gardenia – Aftelier Perfumes

Cuir de Gardenia filled a space in perfume land that was desperate to be filled… there has always been a gap for a good gardenia fragrance. I’d say this space has previously been occupied by Jardenia by JAR, and nothing else. Whilst Jardenia is still an extraordinary gardenia, it always felt more a brilliant accord than a fragrance to me. Whilst Cuir de Gardenia is simplistic, it’s a complete fragrance… with an outstanding gardenia accord. In the opening there’s subtle honeyed fruits, pear, a gorgeous gardenia – however devoid of the mushroom earthiness that dominated Jardenia, and jasmine. The jasmine is equally as dominant on my skin, and it leads into a smoky castoreum base that on me, goes through stages of smelling like leather, then smoky bacon. It’s a wonderful, comforting fragrance by the mother of natural perfumery Mandy Aftel – a perfumer who knows her ingredients inside-out. A clever piece of work, executed breathtakingly.

Bogue Profumo Cologne Reloaded

Cologne Reloaded by Bogue Profumo

Excuse the terrible photo, again, I couldn’t find one of the bottle so just took a quick snap of mine :)
Cologne Reloaded was composed almost entirely of vintage materials the perfumer apparently found, or was gifted by someone. The result is exactly as expected, an ancient smelling cologne. Of course citrus oils would have long since gone bad, so there are practically no citrus notes here. Instead, it’s a lavender smoke-bomb of a fragrance. Tons of birch tar, aromatic herbs, astringent, medicinal, bracing, very smoky… It’s one hell of a creation, that dries down to a rather dandified baby powder finale. Hard to wear, but every time I do I love it so much. A brave, and a very interesting release from a very new niche house – this perfumer Antonio Gardoni is one to keep an eye out for. His fragrance Eau D’E for Bogue is also really beautiful!

Santal Exotique

Santal Exotique by The Exotic Island Perfumer

This fragrance is an absolute must try for any sandalwood lovers, any lovers of spicy, Christmas-y gourmands… cinnamon, hot milk, cocoa, sandalwood galore, wood galore in general… It’s a mature gourmand, not at all foody, even more opulent than any of Serge Lutens’ sandalwood interpretations! This puts so many poor sandalwood attempts to shame… and in fact, Juan Perez’s whole line The Exotic Island Perfumer is outstanding. Santal Exotique I didn’t expect to love as much as I did, yet I find myself wearing it most evenings… absolutely comforting, beautifully balanced, totally wearable, and very alluring. A warm, spicy comfort and a reference sandalwood fragrance.

There you go guys! Hope you enjoyed my favourites of 2013… I cannot recommend you sampling these enough!!!!

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