Tag Archives: review

SMELLYTHOUGHTS Presents… Rozy Artwork!!

So excited to announce this… Vero Profumo made public the final promotional images for Rozy this evening on Facebook.
Remember my little secret project I went on about in my last post? Well here it is :P
Tattoo inspired artwork by yours truly  ;) WOOOO
Oh and here’s the little bio I wrote for Vero Profumo explaining the designs a little more…

“I have been a tattoo artist working in Birmingham, UK, for only 2 years now, so I still feel that I am very early on in my career. Aside from my work, fragrance is my passion, and the opportunity to create these pieces for Vero Profumo’s amazing Rozy was the perfect opportunity to combine everything I love into one project. I settled on a style that is true to my own, but keeping true to traditional tattoo artwork, using lady faces (here, similarly inspired, structurally, by Anna Magnani), hands, and of course roses so that the artwork is immediately recognizable as tattoo related. The modern meets traditional twist on the art works, reference that of Vero’s work also – a mix of modern and highly unique concepts and nuances, on top of traditional, almost vintage structures… one of the reasons Vero’s work is so brilliant. I made the references to Rozy literal, combining ingredients, colours and textures to represent both the Voile d’Extrait and Eau de Parfum concentrations – yet they all tie together as a collection.
Freddie Albrighton
Facebook: /freddiealbrightontattoo
Instagram: @freddiealbrighton”

Hope you like them guys <3

Rozy Vero Profumo Freddie Albrighton Tattoo Rozy Vero Profumo Freddie Albrighton Tattoo Rozy Vero Profumo Freddie Albrighton Tattoo Rozy Vero Profumo Freddie Albrighton Tattoo Rozy Vero Profumo Freddie Albrighton Tattoo Rozy Vero Profumo Freddie Albrighton Tattoo

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EnVoyage Perfumes – Souvenir De Chocolat – Cafe Cacoa, Indigo Vanilla, Captured in Amber

One of my favourite perfumers Shelley Waddington of Envoyage Perfumes has created a new, unexpected and somewhat unconventional trio of chocolate-based fragrances. Of course I was totally excited to try these, and have been living with my miniatures for a good few weeks now. I really hoped there was at least one I could say I didn’t like just so my post didn’t make me come across as such a suck up! HA! But honestly, I’ve raved about the Envoyage line before and I’m doing it again…
So here you go…

Envoyage Perfumes Souvenir Chocolat

Indigo Vanilla surprised me to begin with – a spicy, almost Christmas-y opening of cinnamon, nutmeg, just a pinch of clove and frothy milk – brought to mind fragrances such as Untitled #2 by Magnetic Scent, Un Crime Exotique by Parfumerie Generale… it’s not my favourite accord – but what begins to develop almost immediately is quite breathtaking.

A candied violet comes to the front, a little powdery, but more crystalized – like the decorative petals on top of a cake. There’s the sweet, waxy smell of icing sugar, and thick condensed milk. There’s a vanilla overload underneath that actually works to de-sweeten the other dressed up and sugared notes – a dense, very natural smelling thing that, if you’ve smelt Envoyage’s Zelda, will smell somewhat familiar. It’s that thick, sweet, slightly balsamic vanilla – tainted with a hint of animalics (civet and white musk), that saves Indigo Vanilla from turning into anything too foody.

The violet is absolutely fantastic – a violet I’ve been hunting for. It’s rare that a violet fragrance comes along these days, and when it does it tends to be nothing “new”… Well Indigo Vanilla is new, a sweetened almost lactonic violet thrown into a gourmand… but not quite candy-sweet setting. The spice does trail throughout, but with much more subtlety – and nothing that would scare off anyone afraid of smelling like a festive candle (which was where I was scared Indigo Vanilla would end up on first sniff). No, the violet dominates, along with a basket full of cake-mix ingredients (including a few rough-cut chunks of white chocolate), but composed in a classical perfumery style (with a sandalwood/resinous base) that avoids being anything childish or edible. This isn’t a mass-market “sweet/teen” fragrance – it’s an exceptional, unconventional gourmand that is made with such intelligence that is a joy to wear (that on paper I’m sure reads as a calorie ridden nightmare to some)… for me? It’s a dream come true and a beautiful piece of work.

Envoyage perfumes chocolat

Captured in Amber opens with a rich, thick, Arabian-inspired amber. It’s a no-holds-barred accord featuring a heavy dose of animalics up top, not quite fecal, but a labdanum and ambergris overload, lacking the sweetness and powder of a more mainstream amber. I admit, almost immediately Captured In Amber was my least favourite of the group, as this dense, thick, resinous-style of fragrance is not generally to my taste (I guess I worn it all out when I first discovered these notes and went overboard!)… but on repeated wearings, the fragrance becomes softer, and much more comfortable.

I suppose initially I mistook it for a big straight up amber – but what keeps me glued to my hand are the subtle nuances underneath… a familiar, dank, stuffy patchouli and a subtle dark chocolate that weaves in and out. Underneath the thick amber accord is what smells like a smidge of Serge Lutens’ Borneo 1834 (my favourite patchouli soliflore), and I guess that is what I love about Captured in Amber. Ok so I’m not saying literally of course, but the glorious chocolate/patchouli combination is what makes CIA much more accessible. There’s a hint of vanilla again, a smidge of butter-y myrrhe (with a very subtle aniseed/rootbeer vibe), and after half an hour on the skin every piece of the puzzle merges into one perfectly unified accord. It’s earthy, furry, the perfect balance of sweet and bitter with subtle hints of spice and salt.
On paper, Captured in Amber reads as a list of base notes that I personally wouldn’t take a second look at – the outcome however is an entire fragrance that flips expectations of these notes with subtlty and beauty. I admit, it’s still not the style of perfumery I am often drawn to, and the least likely I’d choose to wear out of the trio, but it’s a deliciously comfortable fragrance and possibly the best amber soliflore (we’ll call it to be brief) I’ve ever come across.

Cafe Cacoa was the one I was unsure about before I sniffed it. I’ve never liked the thought of coffee dominating in fragrances… sure, it’s a gorgeous smell in the kitchen or in the cafe, but on a person? – I tend to think it smells unclean. Cafe Cacoa changed this –
It opens with milk chocolate and sweet coffee, it smells scattered with white sugar and whipped cream – with a light, airy consistency – whilst still being extremely potent! The perfumer has this way of making a fragrance both light – and extremely powerful (A Study in Water? – genius).

Cafe Cacoa has the texture of whipped cream, triple infused with chocolate, coffee, sugar, a little vanilla, a hint of cardamom – and yet again, a rich base of salty musks, a sweeter, more powdery amber (than CIA) – makes this fragrance, well, a fragrance – and not the smell of food. It is however the most edible of the three – and it is hella delicious. One of my favourite chocolate fragrances is Musc Maori by Parfumerie Generale… Cafe Cacoa takes this idea of frothy milk and chocolate and adds a whole bunch of other stuff to it whilst still respecting the texture, weight and subtlety…. did that make sense? I hope so. I’m trying to say that Cafe Cacoa kind of smashes Musc Maori, and has made it a whole lot more interesting – whilst not over-doing it. That’s better.

The coffee (which I guess is the point of this fragrance), never gets bitter, or dry, or “burnt”, or “coffee breath”… it’s a light, milky thing, smelling more like a mocha mousse if there is such a thing. It’s the scattering of sugar that just makes me want to chomp my arm off… this thing is absolutely delicious! Fantastic work <3


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Vero Profumo – Rozy EDP & Rozy Voile d’Extrait

Rozy Vero Profumo

Rozy Eau de Parfum opens with Vero’s signature passionfruit, honey and a cool (and at first almost medicinal) geranium. It brings to mind a less abrasive, less citrus-heavy version of Onda EDP (which of course I adore). It’s hyper fresh, golden in colour, with a clean, green, Bulgarian rose heart.

There are hints of fruit, just a touch of red berries and a soft peach (which billowed on paper, yet is more much refined and suede-like on skin). It comes across up close as translucent, but has an enormous throw. I love how just like Onda EDP, Vero manages to create something almost excessively clean at times, yet not at all sterile or unhuman… there’s something extremely sexy about the fresh take on these ingredients – it’s like she’s thought of the term “fresh out of the shower” to include the naked body as well. Not that this is a fresh out the shower smell at all!! – don’t get me wrong… but the passionfruit up top that dominates with the flourescent layer of honey and rose is scrubbed up to the max – not predictable dank earth or pepper overload here, but then neither is it soapy or old-fashioned.

Rozy EDP is a clean take on a rose whilst avoiding all the imaginable cliches – and yet I’d say it is immediately the most accessible in the line. What Vero has done is create something that I’d almost consider her signature, as a fragrance… just like L’Air du Desert Marocain is to Tauer. It’s an introduction, and an immediate way to understand her work. It ticks all the “Vero” boxes, yet it’s not as challenging and as puzzling as some of her first creations. It’s surprising that Rozy didn’t come first… I could imagine Rozy being “the start”, and then Onda introduced a honey/vetiver overload, Rubj introduced white florals and spice, and Kiki introduced lavender and caramel (and let’s just say for now Mito is the beautiful odd ball)… the fact the rose is not a dominating note and more a “part” of Rozy, it seems to be a unifying fragrance in the collection…. for that reason alone, I think Rozy EDP is an extremely clever and well thought out release for the line… the fact it is a hugely joyful piece to wear is just a bonus!

And for a little more of the “technical/how does it smell bit”, Rozy EDP remains relatively linear, gaining a little powder atop a dry, woody structure of cedar and sandalwood. Elegant, yet youthful – the correct way to do a modern rose fragrance – lovely!

Freddie Albrighton Vero Kern

Rozy Voile d’Extrait has a breathtaking opening – a pinch of bay leaf?, nutmeg (which at times gives off a clove-y, carnation warmth), what to me smells like cardamom, and a tart blackcurrant. It’s a slightly sour, slightly sweet spice basket of a fragrance… the peach still seems to be there, only more leathery… the fruit and spice accord smells slightly “turned”, a little rotten and damp, but lacking the indole to push it into an uncomfortable territory – Rozy Voile is definitely not challenging or difficult, but it is complicated and multi-faceted…

I admit only one fragrance is brought to mind when wearing Rozy Voile… Blask by Humiecki & Graef – a favourite of mine… it combines dark, smoky woods with red fruits, spice and florals (oh and mushrooms, chestnuts and buckets of other stuff)… but the association can only be found in the first few seconds – both are complicated and have a similar olfactory colour and texture (a dark burgundy/purple). The rose (and at times what smells like a pinch of saffron) is what spins Rozy in an alternative direction, lacking the sweetness (and hyper synthetic nature) of Blask due to the almost bitter blackcurrant and a balsamic base. The rose is a little darker here  in the Voile d’Extrait (but still not dominating), partnered with a listed tuberose, which to my nose adds a density and a softer texture rather than anything traditionally “white floral”.

The spices settle quickly on the skin, but remain “humid”, and for that reason Rozy Voile comes across to me as a “jungle rose” – despite a lack of greenery… I suppose it’s hard to describe without smelling it… But the cleverly chosen ingredients in the “spice basket” opening take Rozy Voile away from being anything remotely “middle eastern”… or let’s just say “over done”. The blackcurrant/rose combination smells nothing like Keiko Mecheri’s Damascena, or Diptyque’s L’Ombre dans L’Eau… no, Rozy’s complicated little structure is a modern oriental that doesn’t fit into any other boxes, and all the better for it.
The base is soft, vanillic and resinous… labdanum, sandalwood, vanilla, just a smidge of powder, a touch of smoke… it’s a big ole’ oriental thing that at the very end, references the classic vanilla base of Shalimar and the like. I also find an animalic warmth to it and a little dry earth (castoreum?), and there’s a strong impression on vetiver thrown off my skin. The base is as full of life as the opening. Again, Rozy Voile is accessible, and yet totally unique – these two releases are clever, well thought out, and gorgeous additions to the Vero Profumo line, and perfumery in general.

Rozy 50ml Voile d’Extrait Vero Profumo – £156 http://www.bloomperfume.co.uk
Rozy 50ml Eau de Parfum Vero Profumo – £138 http://www.bloomperfume.co.uk

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3 Great Vintage Gardenias: Estee Lauder Private Collection, Houbigant Gardenia, Anne Klein

Hey guys, sorry for not keeping Smellythoughts updated as regularly as it should be – I admit I have concentrated on YouTube a little more. I’m not sure why, I guess I find it more of a fun way to get my personality across and just chat shit about the things I love, I feel as though this blog is almost more… formal? Maybe not formal, it’s never been that… but I dunno…
Let me carry on.

As some of you may know, I’ve fallen down the vintage hole, hunting out bargains and difficult-to-find gems on eBay and the like, and have stumbled upon some great things.
Three of these recent purchases have all turned out to be wonderful gardenia fragrances, something I’m always on a hunt for… so let’s start…

Anne Klein Parfum

Anne Klein Pure Parfum goes on the skin as a strong, thick gardenia soaked in galbanum. It’s a pungent, green thing, not mushroom-y or particularly earthy… more reminiscent of the green gardenia of Gardenia Exuberante by The Exotic Island Perfumer (minus all that fig!). There are hints of hyacinth, and a little bergamot up top, just a touch of berries – but as a whole, a very nice gardenia portrait. It has a slightly Poison-esque syrupy quality to it, but the heavy-handed greenery keeps it from having much of a similarity. There’s a hint of buttery tuberose, and a slightly spiced floral accord, that could just stem from the greens.

As Anne Klein begins to settle down, which is quite quickly in the parfum, it gets a little dense – a thick, dry (but muted) fruit smell, along with a de-sweetened amber and white musk. The greenery looses it’s punch pretty quick, and the whole fragrance reduces in minutes into something much more conventional, but still quite classical (and 80’s)… It has this papery texture to it, dominated by a half decent sandalwood. I much prefer the opening to the drydown (and tend to wear this to bed more than anything), but I still think the opening is awesome enough to list it as a hidden gem of a vintage gardenia.

Houbigant Gardenia

Houbigant Gardenia (not to be confused with Gardenia Concentree), goes on with a harsh, ugly overload of swampy green nail varnish, banana skin, and narcotics galore. There’s a hint of tuberose-y mouthwash, a rotten vegetal note of green peppers… and unlike more modern representations of this ugly side to white florals, this thing, is just ugly… not sexy. It is however, ridiculously interested, and doesn’t hang around in this phase for too long.

Now I can’t find a notes pyramid or anything about this online which is frustrating, it’s almost like it never existed. So trying to pull it apart is a little complicated… the overall impression is that of a gardenia, it develops a strong, sweeter lactonic quality reminiscent of Fracas by Piguet… but only from a distance. Up close, the fetid green quality seems to be a mush of gardenia, carnation, peony, lily of the valley, and hints of grass and wet leaves. It’s definitely perfume-y, not a “fresh” scent… but again, missing is the earthy, fungal quality reminiscent of mushrooms that alot of us gardenia lovers crave.

Still, it’s a hugely interesting fragrance, and one of the few vegetal takes on a gardenia I’ve smelt (also whiffs of raw carrots in the heart). A little hideous treasure that will probably get a lot more skin time in the summer <3

Estee Lauder Private Collection Parfum

Estee Lauder Private Collection Pure Parfum (not to be confused with Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia), opens with extremely bitter and loud greens, again, almost vegetal, as if pulled from the earth – dominated by a powerful and realistic hyacinth. Hyacinth tends to have a “swampy” smell to it, only here it is JUST freshened with hints of bergamot and lemon, it almost has a pinch of Shalimar’s opening in the top (when applied generously).

The hyacinth dominates most of the composition, but just how Bas de Soie is a hyacinth/iris duo that go hand in hand, Private Collection goes hand in hand with a decent gardenia accord. Sure it’s not the lead player… but it’s there. Maybe it’s a mirage? There is also some crisp green chrysanthemums, just a hint of jasmine – the whole green bouquet smells like a florists… the old, murky vase water and all. The huge bouquet is weighed down underneath by hints of powdery vanilla, a potent musk, a huge handful of oakmoss and other bits and bobs (patchouli, dry woods)…

Private Collection, is a massive green floral, encompassing the earth and soil, every flower you can imagine and the slight rot of them all too – all wrapped up in a big vintage smelling chypre. So I guess the gardenia isn’t really a big piece of the perfume when you really break it down, but it encompasses a lot of the aspects I love about gardenia notes, although very distorted and amplified… lactonics, green, white florals, earthy notes. I guess it’s just an all-round fantastic perfume and I wanted to include it in something :P But still, I cannot recommend this one enough.

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Envoyage Perfumes – Debut de Carmel, Carmel de Ville

These two fragrances were blind buys in the Envoyage sale. I trust Shelley’s work enough to know that even if it’s not to my taste, it will at least be interesting. Thankfully, I fell for both of these on first sniff! Here’s why…

Debut de Carmel

Debut de Carmel opens with an almost lychee note… a watery, slightly green fruit that gains a little floral spice. It’s a near-mouthwatering, but more “refreshing” aquatic, tropical juice, that within minutes, transitions into a very clean, ivory soap with just a small touch of clove. Yep, the dominant soap accord was unexpected, and the transition is so rapid, and so literal, it was baffling the first time I tried this. I like soapy accords, but not when they’re bashed next to bitter floral greens (Antonia by Puredistance for example)… here, I could tolerate it… infact, I liked it, but hoped it wouldn’t stay this way until it end… thankfully it doesn’t :) instead, I find it quite a charming little phase of Debut.

Debut’s soap begins to turn creamy and a little sweeter as a vanilla, white musk, and a hyper-clean, subtle wash of apricot comes in. There’s a crisp lily of the valley and an abstract interpretation of white florals (gardenia) in here, with hints of soapy violet that reminds me of a non-aldehydic Stephen Jones by Comme Des Garcons, a love of mine. There is evening a fleeting smell of mineralic stone like in Stephen Jones. The dominating floral “feel” overall is Wisteria, another note I love. A slightly honeyed, powdery, purple floral that reminds me a little of lilac and heliotrope, but with a linden blossom feel… it’s like a combination of them all. A charming, very quaint, English smelling floral. Debut remains a squeaky clean, shiny, soapy floral with hints of soft fruits and musk – all atop an almost aquatic vanilla base. I can totally imagine that this doesn’t sound appealing, but I’m constantly drawn to it as something desperately easy to wear, and really comforting.

I love how Lucy over at IndiePerfumes said in her review: “how is it possible that the precise feeling of beginnings was captured in the form of a scent?  There is something anticipatory and active in how the notes hold together, a sense of curiosity and innocence.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Really lovely work.

Carmel De Ville

Carmel de Ville is a whole other story. It starts with tart, syrupy fruits, like a liqour. It’s spiked with sour edges of rhubarb, and yet sweetened with hints of brown sugar, fresh plums and peach/apricot. There are hints of powdery, honeyed florals (indolic jasmine?) – and the whole thing reminds me of an easier to wear… “prelude” to Chang Chang by Envoyage Perfumes… one of my favourites of her line. There is the same huge contrast of florals, tart fruit acetates that becomes totally holographic and impossible to pull apart, with an even greater dose of honey here. Where Chang Chang gets even more powerful with honey and cocoa, Carmel de Ville gets a little sweeter with a thin laquer of caramel, and a very urinous honey.

Now, the honey is what could be the thing that will make or break the fragrance for you. For me? It’s an absolute love. I adore things like Miel de Bois, Onda, (to a lesser extent) Absolue Pour Le Soir etc… Here though, that dry, slightly sour, animalic honey is enriched with all the jammy fruits and caramel that it becomes an abstract gourmand with an animalic edge. It’s fascinating to me, and something I feel hugely comforted in. It’s warm, human, filthy, but sweet and delicious at the same time. It’s become a bedtime staple for me :’) Much to my partner’s dismay… but there we go!

The honey is the dominant note in Carmel de Ville for me, along with the caramel, yet it remains holographic and multicoloured, never one-dimensional or predictable – a thing I adore about Shelley’s work. It settles into a sweetened patchouli/sandalwood much later on. If it sounds like your cup of tea, you’ll love it!
And as always I’m blown away by the gems in this line. Thrilled to have these :)

EnVoyage Perfumes – Carmel de Ville & Debut de Carmel – 15ml EDP – $40 http://www.envoyageperfumes.com

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Video: Unboxing and First Impressions of Vintage JMFarina Eau de Cologne

SORRY GUYS! I know I know, two videos in a row to bulk up my blog – SO lazy…
But no worries if you choose not to watch :) The reviews will be back soon… managing two blogs is hard work :|
And my work life at the minute is hugely stressful! Great, but stressful.
Recording videos is like a little “getaway” for me just to natter after work about random shit without the greater, I guess, formality, of a written review.
So here’s another one for you :) Enjoy xxx

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Vintage: Balenciaga – Prelude & Quadrille

Ok I’ve finally succumbed to vintage… it’s happened. I’m snagging up bargains left right and center buying, with a bit of research, buying things that sounds interesting… finding my tastes change slightly or at least my cravings.
These are two that I have picked up in the last week (I figured going by house would be a good place to start…)
Here’s some quick thoughts :)


Prelude opens with a sparkly of very alcoholic aldehydes, extremely astringent with a nail-varnish like pitch, and an equally jarring scent. It takes just a short while for everything underneath to fall into place… as it slowly gives in to a slightly abstract, but light handed, spicy/oriental thing.

There’s a carnation/clove spice with just a hint of dry cinnamon – the solvent-notes still pushing hard. There’s a hint of sharp ylang ylang – and the whole thing smells like a higher pitch, more dated (despite it being more recent) Opium-hybrid. There’s a hint of clean rose underneath, and a bracing green accord – yet the whole thing has a slightly “soap-ish” edge initially – with a “musky” through, predictable almost of these kind of old-time, almost cheap-y fragrances.

The rose/ylang dominate with a jasmine note getting louder throughout, paired with the light but bracing spices, with a soft amber/resinous accord underneath. There’s a dose of civet and musk – it has a very old school feel even in the finale… but with a texture almost ozonic. Once the aldehydic accord burns off, it becomes much more enjoyable, getting smoother and more vanillic with a heavy tolu and benzoin base. A smooth, restrained spicy floral that’s very nostalgic, and familiar – I’m sure I look totally out-of-place wearing this, but I surprisingly really enjoy it! It’s extremely refined, very classic whilst being a little too “pristine”… but interesting and easy enough to wear to make this one a keeper <3


Now Quadrille I absolutely love! It opens with again, just a tiny smidge of aldehydes… but develops much quicker, and deeper – into a thick fruit of plum and peach, so dense it’s almost “boozy” whilst still being relatively light. The fruits are gently spiced with cloves and cardamom, all piled on top a thick mossy base.

Quadrille has a very restrained but elegant quality on the skin, a more muted, yet slightly more complex Mitsouko. It is a peach chypre, very delicately spiced with an even deeper colour (the plum). There’s hints of jasmine, just a touch of rose, and a subtle liquorice note that runs throughout. The liquorice jasmine and plum is piled on top of an immediately recognizable and old-school chypre base… a little white musk, and a hint of civet and lots of thick moss.

I find Quadrille to be an exceptionally easy wear, and unlike Prelude, it’s immediately appealing, familiar, with enough of a personality of its own to make it hugely unique. From a distance, it has a relatively subdued but rich mossy throw; with a little heat on the skin, up pops the spicy florals and wafts of liqourice. Gorgeous!

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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 about.com

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 http://www.ausliebezumduft.de

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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 http://www.bloomperfume.co.uk

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