Tag Archives: shopping

SMELLYTHOUGHTS’ In Rome… Day 14

Hello :)

Ok so I had a really short stay in Rome and it’s almost over now (I leave early tomorrow morning). Perfume wise, there’s only one place I’m gonna be talking about really and that’s CampoMarzio70.
CampoMarzio70 helped me out a lot on my blog I think, sending samples of the O’Driu line and the Vero Profumo line to me when I was just a few months into my blog – it introduced me to a whole new world of perfumery and their help, support, and friendly contact was hugely appreciated.
Vero gave me some names to get in touch with when I got to Rome so my experience at CampoMarzio70 on Via Vittoria was awesome :D
(P.s I don’t know why there’s a black blob on all my photos, something on my lens :( Ow)

CampoMarzio70

So the Via Vittoria store is spacious, every brand has its own column and you can work around and try everything you want without an ounce of pressure for a sale. It’s a perfect environment to sniff – with brands such as Mona Di Orio, April Aromatics, O’Driu, Kilian, Grossmith, Caron, Agonist, YOSH, Vero Profumo, Xerjoff… the list is endless. They have 3 stores (the Via Vittoria was my favourite). The Via Vittoria store specialises in more obscure, higher end niche and hard to find fragrances (or shall we say most expensive!), the other two stores Campo Marzio and the Pantheon store are a little smaller and more traditional with many more brands encompassing Byredo, L’Artisan etc. etc. Tons too many to mention.

The staff at Via Vittoria where I spent most of my time were extremely helpful (unfortunately I can’t remember everyone’s names but they all had their knowledge to impart!) but Serena Bonfatti showed me around the shop, introduced me to all the lines and arranged that the owner’s son Valentino Di Liello and us all had a little chat about the store and the concept etc. There doesn’t seem to be any other stores in Italy specialising in such a display and collection of such outstanding fragrances – the concept of course being a collection of artworks that are there to be sniffed and experienced, and not for quick sale (there are tons of perfumeries in Italy – being like the general pharmacy stores in Britain).

Pantheon

Upstairs is some more exclusive fragrances that I got to go and have a look at, a selection of O’Driu’s, numerous classical extraits I hadn’t really heard of, the Grossmith and Xerjoff collections… it was beautiful. The shop is similar to Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie in Harrods, only a little less clostraphobic and just as interested in modern, avant-garde perfumery as it is classic.

The staff are highly knowledgeable about each line and I learnt the concepts behind YOSH (I quite liked the heavy geranium/white floral combo of Omniscient), the back story of individual brands I knew nothing about, the April Aromatics line was also interesting (you know I love a bit of natural perfumery here and there). So it was awesome to be able to walk around and discover some new things – and of course make a little purchase at the end of it all :P

I didn’t really introduce myself at the other two Campomarzio70 stores so I just kind of had a little stroll around and a quick sniff here and there but kept getting drawn back to the lavish escape of Via Vittoria. In the other stores, whilst the stock is hugely impressive, of course the brands are widely available over Europe (some of them anyway… L’Artisan, Byredo, Penhaligons, MFK) but in Italy, these stores are some of the only ones stocking them so each one is a big deal if Rome is your fragrance shopping destination.

So yep – I know there’s not that much for me to talk about in Rome other than the one shop, but it encompasses pretty much everything that a perfume lover needs in one place so – hugely recommended, and a big thank you to them for being so welcoming and generous :)

Colosseum

One other shop I passed on the way back to my hotel one night (and for the life of me I don’t remember the name of it) had a big selection of ladies clothes, and randomly, a little perfume counter. They had all the Histoires De Parfums line along with their two other lines The Scent of Departure and Alice & Peter. They also had some Ineke’s and other random bits. I got to give quick sniffs to the three new HdP fragrances from their new Edition Rare trio: Veni, Vidi and Vici – but unfortunately none of them were to my taste! :( Also I loved the cute cupcake bottles of Alice & Peter but the scents (I only tried the two I was interested in) were much lighter, more translucent, and much more simplistic than I thought they would be – another disappointment. Ah well! I got some lovely goodies in Italy so, stick to the good stuff ;)

So tomorrow I leave, and my holiday is all over :( Owwww. Quite looking forward to getting back home though – regular company, good food, and conversations!! It’s been extremely overwhelming all this travelling and I’m exhausted – but a crazy experience! :D Thanks to all you readers for your support it’s been fun :)

Oh and this is Post No.200!!! YAY :D I’ll do a lovely little giveaway when I get back so keep your eyes peeled!

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SMELLYTHOUGHTS In Paris… Day 11

Hello everyone!
Thanks for all the support so far and the nice words about my vacation and the happy birthdays and all that, it’s been much appreciated :D

So, It’s my last day in Paris today, and it’s more of a “perfume shop visiting” diary than anything as exciting as what went down in Zurich :P But there we go.

The first stop when I got to Paris was Galeries Lafayette, it was hideously overcrowded with a stock I’d seen everywhere and I think I stayed about ten minutes…

Onto something more interesting :D The Serge Lutens Palais Royal!
Ok so the shop is gorgeous, the bell jars all laid out exquisitely with tester strips below them so you can smell the drydown and then fresh ones to smell the top notes. The sales assistants were surprisingly helpful, not the most welcoming in the world but as soon as they saw I actually had an interest they warmed up a bit (expectedly!).

Serge Lutens Palais Royale

There were a few things I’ve been really meaning to try properly. Sarrasins was one (and a lovely BN’er is sending me a sample to live with for a while of this one so I didn’t explore it too much) – but it’s a gorgeous, over-the-top indole heavy jasmine, I didn’t try it on skin, but I know I’ll like it :D
Mandarine-Mandarin is one that I keep getting drawn too although I had never smelt it before, and when I put it on my skin I thought it was love at first sniff. It’s a beautiful, dense, jammy orange – laden with spices and a rich, warm base – it’s loud, lasts forever, and I instantly considered it an ultimate comfort scent – unfortunately it got pretty tiring on my skin after a couple of hours of walking around and I managed to put myself off it :( Still, it’s a beautiful scent and one that seems to get overlooked a lot in the Lutens’ line up of exclusives.
I gave quick sniffs to tons of stuff: Rose De Nuit, Encens et Lavande, Fourreau Noir…
One worth talking about is the new release, Une Voix Noire (which I’ll have to find a sample of and write about soon). It really really impressed me, although it completely turned my stomach! The gardenia in it, isn’t really a gardenia, it’s not particularly accurate but it’s interesting. There isn’t a mushroom in sight, but it is without a doubt the cheesiest gardenia I’ve smelt. It’s not rich and pungent, but it reminded me a soft cream cheese like Philadelphia – that underneath all the sweetness and boozy notes was fascinating, and absolutely sicknening! I almost wanted to buy it, but with it sitting on my skin for a few hours, the drydown just smelt filthy to me! – and in a way I’d never experienced before. I would love to explore this one more as it was so unexpected. It’s a great release, a brilliant perfume, but totally unwearable for me.
Anyway, I won’t tell you what I bought just yet… I’ll leave that for my last post on my holiday!

Next I went to Jovoy which I visited today as well (this post isn’t all about one day!) – Jovoy has a beautiful collection, all the Tauer’s, Vero Profumo, Puredistance, Xerjoff, Parfum D’Empire – it’s huge, beautifully presented and the manager? I think he was anyway – was extremely helpful and took me around the whole shop explaining everything. I highly recommend this place to visit!
I tried a few things that I had wanted too, like Cuir de Nacre (very iris heavy but nice enough), Chypre Palatin (which I was really impressed by on first sniff but found the drydown a little boring for me – it reminded me of a modern Bandit meets Mitsouko? Although they’re very different).
I tried Mona’s Cuir again as I’m always fascinated by it (and have a sample now) – I love that cigarette smoke leather that on my skin turns almost peanut-y, but I don’t think I need another heavy leather. I tried the new Musc Tonkin by Parfum D’Empire which was much more potent and “extreme” than I imagined it would be – a heavy heavy goat leather with a lot of other crazy stuff going on in there, I didn’t give it much time because yet again – I don’t need a leather, and it was a little bit unsettling for me :(
So yes, I could go on and on but this post is long enough already and I have lots more to write about!

Eiffel Tower

Nose is the new concept fragrance store whose idea is that you have an “assessment” where you try lots of ingredients and blah blah, then they recommend you 5 perfumes to try based on your tastes. It’s a great idea, but I walked around the shop and the brands I’d either tried or wasn’t particularly interested in at the time, so I thought I shalln’t waste my time on an assessment becuase I’m not buying anything :)

Sens Unique had a great little range including all the Parfumerie Generale’s, Nasomatto… the usual, on top of Technique Indiscrete which I’d wanted to try for ages! Their Delivre Moi which I assumed I would love (and did!) was a gorgeously rich, piss-y honey scent that was a little too similar to my bottle of Miel De Bois for me to purchase. But I would highly recommend it as a more affordable alternative! A lovely little shop and the sales girl was hugely knowledgeable, telling me the stories behind a lot of the fragrances I randomly picked out.

Marie Antoinette is a tiny boutique perfumery that Andy Tauer had told me I must visit. It was gorgeous, like a little crooked wooden house stocked with a carefully chosen, refined selection. The lovely gent who runs the place was extremely helpful and passionate, and Marie Antoinette is also the only shop in Paris to stock the Tableau De Parfums line. He sprayed me with something amazing but I can’t remember its name :( the language barrier was a little tricky and I’m sure we both nodded along to things when not knowing what to say or not understanding each other. Still – he had some highly unusual things I’d never heard of and it is a real little gem of a perfume shop.

Guerlain Champs Elysees

The Guerlain boutique on the Champs Elysees was stunning. I was a bit apprehensive about going in – and to be honest, Guerlain really isn’t my scene. But still, it was lovely to see all the bee bottles and the wonderful displays throughout the shop and try all the pure parfum’s, some exclusives etc. etc.

I also visited a Frederic Malle store (to buy my Mum’s xmas prezzie), and yet again, the sales man was fascinating to talk to. He told me I must visit Printemps department store which had a much better selection of fragrances than Galeries Lafayette and he was right – although it was yet again, a little overcrowded – it had a very nice selection. But, yet again, nothing I hadn’t seen all over Paris. But the manager of the Frederic Malle store in Printemps got in touch with me having discovered my blog just a day ago, so I’m going back there tonight to have a little chat :)

Printemps

Ermmmmmm, so yeh! Perfume wise, I think that’s pretty much it. I passed Parfums de Nicolai, Etat Libre D’Orange, Annick Goutal, L’Artisan Parfumeur etc. but, aside from PdN, I know these lines so well I didn’t feel the need to pop into the stores.
So on top of a ton of typically tourist-y sightseeing, that’s what I’ve been up to here :) All lovely stuff!
And tomorrow? Off to Rome! :D

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SMELLYTHOUGHTS in Berlin… Day 2

Hi guys – reporting back already!

I’ve pretty much spent the entire day trekking around Berlin hunting for the numerous shops I was recommended to visit – a few were a complete waste of time but there we go :)

There are two shops right by my hotel… Delfi Parfums which stock a great range including the entire M.Micallef line including some I thought were discontinued, still – the bottles are b-e-y-o-n-d hideous, and I couldn’t bring myself to take them seriously :( It was also nice to see all the Montale bottles lined up, a great selection there and a few I wanted to try (Sandflowers, Sweet Oriental Dream) as there are no shops in the UK you can find these. Still, the line never really takes my fancy, even if I think I’d wear Aoud Lime a ton just because it is so straightforward and easy to wear.

Just around the corner is Belle Rebelle which is a lovely little shop that stocks Mona Di Orio, Profumum and Humiecki & Graef amongst many others. The H&G line has always fascinated me and the bottles are just as lovely in person as I’d hoped. I tried the new Candour which was a lovely, spicy powder… it’s starts a bit herbal, lavender? but dries down to this milky (vanillic), slightly powdery violet/iris combo with some spices and greenery… it smells a bit laundry-ish, but still, yet another nice addition to a lineup I really admire. I also sprayed Blask on my hand which I have wanted to try for ages and that was just as I hoped, I don’t really get the whole walnut and red wine thing, but it’s almost impossible for me to describe after just one sniff. All I can say is it is warm, with red fruits, some slight sour/acrid notes – grapefruit?, the only reference I got to red wine was that “tannin” smell? There’s a rich, obscure woodiness underneath and it is definitely something I will try again – was very impressed with this (and not so much Eau Radieuse which I also tried). I really want something from this line, and still love Bosque, although Blask comes a close second. But 150 euros? Eek D: Not sure what country this brand is going to be cheapest in.

Ka De We is a gigantic department store and it’s absolutely beautiful inside. They had a few of the Ineke fragrances for only 47 Euros on sale (Evening Edged In Gold, Gilded Lily) and whilst it’s a masssssiiiivvveeee bargain, I still don’t like them enough to buy :( They also had Muscs Koublai Khan in a spray bottle which I was quite impressed with! Didn’t know it’s still stocked in stores other than the Palais Royal. The thing is, I got the urge to buy it there and then but resisted, I’m off to Serge Lutens in Paris so why buy it now when there is so much in the line I prefer? So I was good :) They also had the new Blood Concept fragrance +MA… which I liked!! I can hardly remember the opening other than “It’s a bit stomach churning” and then it settles into a similarly stomach churning, super sweet milk – literally. On my skin now (about 4 hours later) it’s a sweet, clean, heavily lactonic, milk fragrance. Blood Concept say they ditched the metallic notes in this one, I can still pick something metallic up, but nothing as heavy as the other four fragrances. I’m gonna see if they have a 30ml bottle like was originally advertised when this was released, because I may just have to pick it up! Wished they had the RED+MA (the blood and milk), might go back and see if they do :)

Quartier 206 is another super super posh department store which had a nice fragrance lineup, and apparently is the only place you can buy Lisa Kirk’s Revolution (the fragrance said to smell like tear gas and mace etc.) – I found it a very tame civet-leather with a hit of harsh spice… a little less potent than expected. Will retest it some day though :) The testing display was crowded and I couldn’t be bothered to work my way through everything else they had… it was just tons and tons of niche, that I could find much easier at Ka De We :)

The Different Scent was a niche fragrance store I pretty much walked in and then straight out of, it was ok… but it was nice to see the Magnetic Scent lineup there :D One thing that surprised me was the packaging for this brand (which I’ve been writing about recently) – I thought the boxes were made of like… coconut wood or something. Instead, it’s cardboard, not quite what I imagined but there we go :)

Breathe Cosmetics seems to specialise in avant-garde perfumery and there were a couple fragrances I had never heard of (and didn’t like!) – the shop was much much smaller than I expected with literally a handful of fragrances on offer. Yet again, they seemed to specialise in the Humiecki & Graef line, same price – gutted! But the main reason I visited was to sniff the Sissel Tolaas’ fragrances Made In Norway and HSIDEWS… both hugely disappointing.

So yes – Berlin is overloaded with niche fragrances, most of which I haven’t even mentioned (but Ka De We in particular has almost every brand you can think of). So unless I grab myself a bottle from Blood Concept (which I hate to admit because it’s so typical to be drawn to something so cheaply avant-garde, but hey! :P I don’t care!), I think I’ll go on to Zurich without a German purchase. But that’s cool – I have my eye and nose on so many things in Rome and Paris, my wallet could probably do with be handled carefully here. Time for some actual sightseeing now – the touristy stuff :)

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More (Unsuccessful) London Shopping… Part 2

Part 1…

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.
So anyway…

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?”
“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”
“Im…mortelle?”
“Yes”
“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”

*sniff* “Oh…”
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.

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More (Unsuccessful) London Shopping… Part 1

This post is going to be longgggggggggggggggggggggggg…….

Ok so back to London (to attend the L’Artisan launch for Seville A L’Aube with Bertrand Duchaufour and Denyse Beaulieu – but there’s enough posts about that), and to have a shop! So here I am, armed with my lame-ass note book, my nose, and a wad of cash!! After my great success’ last time – leaving with the gorgeous Lonestar Memories and the repulsively addictive Musc Maori, I had high hopes!

So on arrival, I had about an hour to kill before it was off to L’Artisan in Covent Garden, so I made my way to Oxford Street and figured I’d hit Liberty’s – there were a few things I wanted to try (and were on my “I know I want this but I haven’t tried it yet” list).

Passing Byredo, I couldn’t help but have another quick sniff of Pulp. I put a bit on my hand this time, and didn’t realise that it was actually a fig fragrance – I hadn’t got that at all the last time I tried it on paper. But still, there it was, paired with the plump fig the hideously synthetic scent of berries and shower gel. Not the summer fruity fragrance I would like :(

Seven Veils smelt very interesting out of the lid… on my hand, oh my god the horror – words cannot describe. Haha, ok so it wounds overdramatic, but Seven Veils is without a doubt the worse fragrance I have ever had on my skin (don’t take it personally, this is only my opinion). A floral, clove spiced vanilla (in the same sort of veil as Musc Ravageur only far more intense), but the vanilla just turned absolutely rancid on me – in the same way that Mona Di Orio’s Vanille turns to egg on me, it was a very similar but worse reaction. I mistook the vanilla for myrrh initially – that rancid breath quality that it so oftens morphs into. After I smelt this, I had very bad experiences with vanilla for the rest of the day. I worked my way through a pack of wet wipes getting this hell beast off my skin before it burnt through to the bone! Hahaha.

Over to Parfum D’Empire (just becuase they’re such good value and such great fragrances), I sniffed Azemour Les Oranges again, I do love the bitter green but mouthwateringly juicy opening – but I had tried it before, and the thought of purchasing it there and then just wasn’t exciting enough for me!

Iskander had a great sour start, but the dirtiness of the grapefruit paired with the pungent oakmoss, turned it into a sweaty-cologne scent that I really didn’t enjoy. I really need to fall in love with a masculine citrus – but it’s hard work!

Heading back to more my sort of thing, I picked up 3 Fleurs which I hadn’t sniffed but read mixed reviews about. It sounds right up my alley on paper as a classical floral, but unfortunately, the beautifully indolic jasmine and sweet creamy tuberose, just didn’t work with the classical rose that wedged awkwardly in between them. The fragrance felt completely unbalanced (and overhwelming) for me, with a dated style that wasn’t the powerhouse of a floral bouquet that I had hoped for! :(

I made my way over to the fragrances I really wanted to try: Ineke.

The idea of a lilac soliflore really appealed to me (for some reason) – I think it was after sniffing En Passant and really enjoying it’s delicate shade. Unfortunately, the beautifully named After My Own Heart was a very faint, very soapy lilac that had little personality unlike the dewy freshness and slight melancholy of En Passant. I felt extremely uncomfortable in it for the few moments that it lasted.

Insistant on owning one of the absolutely beautiful bottles, I picked up the gorgeous looking Field Notes From Paris.

An unusual take on an orange blossom – but an unpleasant one for me. The narcotics were turned down, and instead the bitter medicinal aspects of orange blossom were enhanced by deep (but somehow flat) notes of tobacco and patchouli, all sitting underneath a bright citrus and cologne like opening. For some reason, I really disliked it – it seemed to amplify the ugly aspects of all the notes I normally enjoy, it didn’t work in harmony for me :( I will give it another shot some time though… dear god I need that bottle! :|

Evening Edged In Gold is another fragrance I tried by Ineke, it was actually the one I enjoyed the most, but not memorable enough for me to even remember what it smelt like (I didn’t take notes of it). I was really disappointed as I was certain I was walking out with an Ineke for my collection!

Anyway – off to the L’Artisan launch to come back to Liberty’s later – I hadn’t finished here just yet!

I purposely didn’t try Seville A L’Aube after reading the book until the launch as I wanted to sniff it for the first time when I was there – just to spice things up a little for myself :’)

Seville A L’Aube opens with a wonderful, sharp resinous lavender and the rich orange blossom, threaded through the top with a lighter touch than I expected. I enjoyed this part, it’s bright, sunshine filled with the tang of lavender adding an unexpected, very slightly masculine edge. I was sure there was a touch of rose in there too, the tiniest soapy edge (but from another floral other than the orange blossom) seemed to peep up.
Unfortunately (unliked other attendees who tried the fragrance on skin), the beeswax/incense combination came out on my skin too quickly, pushing aside the lovely orange blossom all to quick to reveal a quiet, waxy almost myrrh like scent on my skin. Unusual, enjoyable, but not for me :)

So, after a mingle and a chat with the lovely Denyse and brief, awkward, star-struck talk with Bertrand (oh and I introduced myself to the smiley Katie Puckrik – which whether she was freaked out by my big stretched ears or not, turned out to be even more short awkward than the chat with Bertrand… but there we go)…

Back to the sanity of Liberty’s where the sales staff always assist other customers assuming I won’t spend a penny -

I walk past the Frederic Malle stand – where the handsome French sales assistant greeted me wearily at first – I do look clueless – until I said “Mmmmm heliotrope” when he handed me a card with L’eau d’Hiver on it. It was the first time I’d tried, or even heard about this fragrance (I’m new to the full Malle line up). Although it was a lovely heliotrope with a powdery almond and slight anis spice – definitely my sort of thing – it was farrrr to delicate for me.

I told him what I had tried, and he started throwing more cards under my nose:

Geranium Pour Monsieur had a surprisingly good peppermint note and the geranium was unlike the watery green rose note that I am familiar with, instead it was green, slightly citric and peppery – really good, but not my sort of fragrance. I’ll be sure to revisit it though.

Angeliques Sous La Pluie was a peppery watery thing that was completely forgettable.

I also sniffed some things that I am already familiar with (yet again) Portrait Of A Lady, Bigarade Concentree, Une Fleur De Cassie etc etc. All lovely (and unaffordable at this moment in time) :’) None out do my love of Dans Tes Bras however.

I had another little wander round, sniffing Odeur 71 again amongst other Comme Des Garcons’. I decided that there was nothing else I really wanted to sniff here, and after my disappointment with the fragrances I hoped to love, I was sick of Liberty!

On to Ormonde Jayne…

Part 2…

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A Wednesday In London

So, on Wednesday I decided to make my way to London and have a sniffathon – and a little shop at the end of it.
I had a few things in mind I originally wanted to buy – and was completely open-minded as to what I wanted to sniff.

My shopping goals for fragrance were something smoky (I was thinking Lonestar Memories/Vierges et Toreros/ the-then-untested Les Nombres D’Or Cuir/ anything else that some sales staff want to throw under my nose), and something for summer.

After arriving in London – the first point of call was Selfridges.

There’s the main beauty department bang in the middle of the bottom floor – filled with all the designer brands, a little to the side in a small room (or two) are a few niche fragrances and generally, the more interesting bits.

Walking past Dior firstly, I was thrown a piece of paper with Oud Ispahan written on it – and this is one of the things I actually came in to try.

Oud Ispahan is the new release in the Dior Prive line, I haven’t got much experience with the line as although I love the bottles, they don’t really appeal to me :( However, I figured if I liked it enough it may be a buy, but it didn’t quite hit the spot.

That’s not to say Oud Ispahan is not nice – it is a really nice, safe rose/oud combination. It is rich, with a slightly soapy edge. The rose is crisp and clear as is the oud, they are both perfectly balanced and the fragrance was MUCH cleaner than I expected. A really good beginner oud scent, long-lasting, but delicate and refined enough to wear regularly (unlike most rose/oud combinations).

I also gave Leather Oud a quick sniff, but yet again, I just find it too perfectly balanced and not quite scary enough for me to really get attracted to it (I considered this in my smoky fragrance list also); it may be a daring composition for them, but it still feels like a Dior fragrance (if that makes sense).

The only other fragrances I gave a quick sniff too were a couple Lutens’ I have already tried, and two of the new Robert Piguet fragrances – Notes and Casbah.

Notes was unlike anything I normally try, very masculine in a “cologne” type of way, I really liked the strange opening clary sage and geranium, but it got very uncomfortable on me very quickly. It is very loud and powerful (a little nauseating) with such a strange combination of notes, I had to ditch my paper blotter pretty quickly.

Casbah I can’t even remember what this smelt like, I hated it straight away. It definitely had the Piguet signature in pretty strong (I don’t know much about the signature but so far I have not got on with his fragrances at all as they all have this weird component tying them together). All I remember was that it was spicy, but cool, and really musty and dated. Horrible.

That was me in done after that – scared away by the Piguets and remembering that Selfridges is actually not a very good fragrance shopping destination…

Next, around the corner to Marble Arch and a much-needed visit to Les Senteurs.

Welcomed as always by the lovely staff, my first sniff was at the central table where they were promoting the new Ruth Mastenbroek fragrance – Amorosa.

I wanted to try Amorosa after reading The Candy Perfume Boy’s write-up of it and hearing about the wonderfully unusual watermelon opening!

Yes the opening was quite unusual, a lovely juicy watermelon – non aquatic and instead sweet and almost fizzy. The white florals underneath were good also – that was pretty much all. A nice, safe summer fragrance with no “umph” to make it unique enough for me, but I like my weird shit :P  It was also one of the very few occasions where I sniffed something feminine and thought “Nah I couldn’t get away with that” which was a shame.

After much snooping round in awkward silence, I made my way over the Frederic Malle counter, and asked for some advice. I have tried a couple of Malle’s – the gorgeous Dans Tes Bras, Musc Ravageur, Carnal Flower, Vetiver Extraordinaire, Bigarade Concentree.

I firstly had another quick sniff of Dans Tes Bras - a beautiful extremely salty combination of clean sweaty skin, seaweed-like salt, and the most unusual violets. I just adore it and was tempted by a bottle – but it wasn’t what I came for!


After asking what I had tried and liked from the line, I was directed to Une Rose. One sniff and I was overcome with “mmmm”‘s and “ahhhhh”‘s. I said “This is one of the best things I’ve tried in ages”.

It is a clean, almost soapy rose, but undercut with earthy mushroom type notes. It has that dirty/clean vibe that balances in perfect harmony, with delicate presence on the skin, but great surrounding throw. Whilst it sounds silly to say I enjoy the “refined” quality of this, and not the Dior’s, the complexity of the rose here is presented in all it’s glory and it’s far more fascinating than the more simple compositions of the Prive line I sampled. Whilst I do think that this is currently too mature for me (another thing I never say), I will own a bottle in time. I was going to add it to my basket in Les Senteurs but when I was told the price, I moved on!!

Sticking with the Malle’s for a minute, I also gave brief sniffs to -

French Lover – bitter greenery, galbanum, green pepper, raw cedar – all that jazz, I felt like I had smelt it before, not for me…

Noir Epices - surprised me and is something I will sample properly in time. I imagined something close to Tauer’s Eau D’Epices but it turned out to be far cleaner with a crisp clear display of spices, an aldehydic orange and floral accord up top brightens the opening and makes Noir Epices feel more classical than other spice-basket fragrances. Maybe not something I would wear, but very nice.

Une Fleur De Cassie - Reminded me instantly of Carillon Pour Une Ange, not sure why as lily of the valley isn’t listed but it’s what I got strongest. It was a pollen rich floral bouquet with a carnation spiciness. I didn’t like it.

Lys Mediteranee - I really like – an aquatic note of salty ocean, warm and beachy, with a gorgeous spicy lily (which I adore) floating throughout. It’s light and lovely – nearly bought this.

En Passant - I also thoroughly loved and didn’t expect to – water and lilacs, so unbelievably delicate with abysmal, poor longevity, but heavenly whilst it lasts.

So is that all I sniffed? Hellllll no, my nose was practically burning but I continue…

I went onto my smoky cravings, where I smelt a lot of stuff not worth writing about. A few caught my eye including Mona Di Orio’s Cuir which I hadn’t tried before. I do not like Mona’s creations as narrow-minded as that sounds, but I just can’t stand her base. However, Cuir was a lovely smoky leather, the kind of smoke that is delicate in its volume, but piercingly uncomfortable in its texture – it had the feel of stale cigarette smoke and it had this rich/trashy clash going on and it was a very near buy!

I went on to sample Lonestar Memories again for the millionth time which constantly makes me collapse in delight. I pretty much knew this is what I wanted to buy, but I had more smokiness to try later in the day in other shops…

At this point, my nose was knackered, so I needed a coffee and a change of scenery, and I promised I’d be back later!!

So after a an hour of chilling, I headed over to Liberty.

I mainly came to Liberty to sniff two fragrances. One was the intensely smoky Patchouli 24.

I hated this when I first tried it, and I didn’t have much luck again. Patchouli 24‘s smoke is extremely dense, loud and uncomfortable. It is literally bonfire smoke, with that hit-the-back-of-your-throat pitch. Underneath is a sickly sweet vanilla, and the whole composition is completely unbalanced and immature, I hate it (but wanted to love it)

I also came to try Pulp by Byredo as I heard of its rotten fruit accords which I was craving for summer. Unfortunately it reminded me a lot of Multiple Rouge by Humiecki and Graef – more the combination of every cheap shower gel scent exploded into one opening. It wasn’t richly fruity and natural smelling as I hoped, and instead was an extremely synthetic combination of overpowering, unappetizing fruit notes. Not at all what I was after.

I was hoping the Blood Concept line was still on sale but they were no where in site (I had my eyes on AB!).

I was in and out of Liberty very quickly, taking a quick sniff of Goutal’s Mon Parfum Cheri Par Camille, which was a huge, stuffy dated patchouli with some high-pitched metallic notes scattered throughout – I liked it! But I don’t need another patchouli.

I quickly stopped by L’Artisan Parfumeur in Covent Garden to pick up a bottle of Dzongkha on sale for my mum (who loves it) – so that was my first purchase of the day, but not for myself!

So, from here it was off to Harrods.

In Harrods I instantly walked to the Perfume Hall, which was buzzing with people and sale signs. I entered the room by Boadicea The Victorious I noticed a sale on – I hoped Complex was on sale but, it wasn’t…

Instead a little bottle of Reviving was on sale for £35 – bargain considering RRP is £90. I sprayed it on my hand (the first skin test of the day), and it was a nice enough masculine composition of vetiver, oakmoss, a light floral opening and a saltiness throughout, I enjoyed it and was going to buy a bottle but, it was only because it was on sale, that £35 could be put to much better use…

I continued around the hall, nothing taking my fancy, so up I went to Roja Dove’s Haute Parfumerie.

Greeted initially by a hugely enthusiastic lady with the most forcefully upper class accent I have ever encountered, I quickly shunned her off and headed over to the Vero Profumo just to glare at the bottles with serious wanting.
I sniffed the glorious Onda and Rubj EDP once more when another sales assistant came over.
He began talking to me about how the Onda EDP is “a wonderful lavender and leather”, I held back my chuckle through watery eyes and just smiled and nodded… I said, “Yeh… and of course the vetiver, ginger, citrus and honey – I mean, they make up the most of it” :’) He smiled, nodded, and then proceeded to say “The perfumer was inspired by Tabac Blond… would you like to smell it?”
So why not. He brought of a paper blotter with Caron’s Tabac Blond extrait on it – it was undoubtably beautiful and I said so.

I heard the posh lady in the background “sharing a larrrff” with some ladies out back and I heard both the words “fabulous darling” and “so drôle!” before I had to make my way out this hell hole! Not my scene!

Back to the sanity of Les Senteurs

I’m back at Marble Arch now after a beer in Knightsbridge, and I’m ready for my spending :)

Greeted again, I say I want to find something for summer – no citrus (I was considering Azemour Les Oranges by Parfum D’Empire but they didn’t have it in stock), no vetiver soliflores and no white florals (although I do love them). So, I asked to try some iris fragrances
(randomly).

I was shown me the new W1X (iris, violet, rose…) by new London based niche line BEX. Infact, I gave a brief sniff to the whole line (4 fragrances) – which I will go into detail about in later.

I also tried Naiviris by Huitieme Art (I really want one of these fragrances – I love the bottles!), which I actually really liked. It is a relatively straightforward iris with a lovely warmth and spice to it. Nothing complicated, but delicate and easy to wear with a nice doughy texture to it. However, after trying these two I figured iris wasn’t my summer craving.

I went to the Parfumerie Generale display – convinced this was my last resort (and I LOVE the line). I sniffed almost everything:

Cedre Sandaraque - is a very unusual resinous, woodsy fragrance, with a warmth and spice to it that reminded me in the heart of Dior’s Fahrenheit, with it’s slightly petrol undertone. I loved the almost cotton candy sweetness up top. It’s nice – but not quite my thing.

Felanilla - another iris that is very very similar to Dior Homme, only warmer, spicier and a little richer, this would be my choice over and above Homme, although I wouldn’t want to wear either.

Psychotrope – was a very unusual dense watery, floral fragrance that Nick described as “the smell of drowning!” which is very true, it reminds me of Skarb, with its watery/chlorine type scent and a Calone/melon thickness. Uncomfortable to wear, but bizarrely intriguing.

Iilang Ivohibe - was a divine ylang ylang, narcotic floral, that somehow came across as the scent of men’s calogne/shaving cream. I loved it, but it wasn’t what I wanted – I’ll probably end up with a bottle in the near future, it’s very unusual.

Louanges Profanes - also really really good – a lily/soapy orange blossom opening becomes a rich, narcotic floral bouquet and rich vanillic benzoin drydown. I haven’t got anything like it and it was a contender for a full bottle as well. Damn I love this line so much!!

L’Oiseau De Nuit - I loved the opening of this, boozy rum and cake! I was instantly craving some more yummy goods after smelling this – and the only thing that put me off was the warm spicy amber dry-down which reminded me of my L’Artisan, I don’t need another amber soliflore…

“More yummy things!” I said…

Musc Maori - MMMMMMMM! YUM! Musc Maori is a chocolate milkshake. Slightly warmed frothy milk, and the scent of creamy milk chocolate. There’s this slightly animalic musk underneath which just turns the fragrance from being too edible into something that almost smells ever-so-slightly off. I loved it. It’s gourmand (I don’t own a gourmand), and is light enough for summer.
“Does it last like this though or is the drydown boring… HONESTLY?”
The gourmand factor of Musc Maori is so strange it had me going from “Mmmmm” to “Ewww :’)” in seconds. It’s almost grossly gourmand, in the same sense as the unedible 100% Love by S-Perfume with its “sweaty foot” note.
I was pretty much sold. But asked for more anyway :)

Une Crime Exotique – holy moly lovely opening! Gingerbread with extra spice. Gorgeously gourmand, I wouldn’t wear it myself but asked for a sample for my mum (who loved the ginger notes in Etat Libre D’Oranges’ Like This). It goes through a lot of stages in its development but somehow gets more and more lovely – but diverting slightly from the spicy, super-gourmand opening into more “perfumey” territory.

I have already tried other wonderful gourmands in the line – Aomassai, Tonkamande, Cadjmere, Praline De Santal, Indochine…
I pondered around the shop for a while, staring at everything I had sniffed that day…
What “smoky” do I want…

“You know what” I said “I’ll get Lonestar Memories. I just love it so much, nothing will beat it I don’t think :)”

And for the summer scent?

“And it’s going to have to be Musc Maori, I think I’ll be able to pull it off in the summer!” I kept sniffing the Musc Maori which I put on my skin straight after trying the carded sample – it was just so so so good. At times it is gorgeously edible, at other’s – sickeningly grotesque, so much so it makes me laugh :’)

So that’s what I walked out with, and a huge bag of samples :) A successful day! (And more thorough reviews of some of these scents to come).

What was your most recent purchase? and because I’m rubbish with summer scents – What will you be wearing regularly this summer?

I do not own the pictures of the shop exteriors :)

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