Archive for January 2016

30 Days of Scent – Day Twenty-Five – 34 boulevard Saint Germain by Diptyque   Leave a comment

Last Tuesday (12 Jan 2016), I wore 34 boulevard Saint Germain eau de toilette by Diptyque.  It is a decant I bought from The Perfumed Court. lists the main accords of 34 boulevard Saint Germain as woody, warm spicy, aromatic, green, floral, and balsamic.  Their description of this scent states that it was “…launched 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the house, named after the street of the first Diptyque boutique. Innovative and complex, this fragrance features a chypre “backbone” and the base of woods and balms.

Top notes: blackcurrant, green leaves, fir leaf, citruses, pink pepper, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Heart: rose, geranium, tuberose, iris and violet. Base: woods, resins, balsams and eucalyptus.

34 boulevard Saint Germain is part of the “34 Collection” at Diptyque, along with l’Eau du Trente-Quatre, and Olivier Pescheux created both of them.  He’s also done a number of other fragrances for Diptyque and other houses, none of which I’ve worn…and my reaction to 34 boulevard Saint Germain is not likely to push me in the direction of seeking out his other scents even though I know two scents are not a majority.

I guess I could try Eau Mage…although it’s likely I’ll be eaten by the patchouli.  Okay, maybe Opôné with its tobacco and leather with rose…

I might need to stick to simpler Diptyque scents than these, because I get the same discomfort with 34 boulevard Saint Germain that I get with l’Eau du Trente-Quatre, and I so wanted both scents to work because the descriptions feel right.  If anything, the chypre “backbone” in 34 boulevard Saint Germain should make it more interesting and complicated, but all I get is a sharpness that overcomes any of the nuances meant to exist through such a combination of notes.  I suspect that this is another scent that will be genius on the right person, and I am not that person.

Thank goodness for decants, eh?

30 Days of Scent – Day Twenty-Four – Haiku by Avon   Leave a comment

Yesterday, I wore Haiku eau de parfum spray by Avon.  It’s a full-sized bottle that I purchased three years ago when a friend of mine was working as an Avon representative. lists the main accords of Haiku as white floral, floral, citrus, woody, and fresh.  Their description of this scent says, “Haiku will revive all your senses, with its sparkling notes of Japanese citruses, pomegranate, lily, lily of the valley, sweet and pure jasmine, warm, milky sandalwood, musk and vanilla. It was presented in 2000 and belongs to floral-green compositions.”  Avon’s website lists the notes as follows:  “TOP NOTES: yuzu, pomegranate; MID NOTES: fig, lily, muguet, jasmine; BASE NOTES: tonka bean, sandalwood, musk.”

I bought Haiku before I started writing fragrance reviews on this blog, so I relied on what I knew I liked in a scent (white floral, typically with some greenness or aldehydes in the mix) and Haiku did not disappoint.  It felt fresh and light in a way that some of my other scents didn’t and the price point was perfect for me (Avon’s fragrances tend to be on the super-affordable side).  I wore it when I wanted a break from my typical fragrances but still wanted to stay “close-to-home” scent-wise.  And then, I started branching out and trying new scents that weren’t even close to what I was used to wearing and Haiku drifted off my radar.  In fact, when I picked it up Monday morning I realized that it’s been two full years since I’ve worn it at all.

Haiku is not what I remembered it to be, but it was still enjoyable: I got lilies and yuzu with enough jasmine to mellow things out, and as the day went on the sandalwood made a faint appearance.  It didn’t last as long as I’d expected, and I picked up a chemical note initially that I’d not noticed the last time I wore it (or didn’t remember from the last time I wore it).  All in all, though, I still think Haiku is lovely, and the price point makes it worth trying, especially for those who are just getting into fragrance that is a step up from body mist.

30 Days of Scent – Day Twenty-Three – Wild Madagascar Vanilla by Bath & Body Works   Leave a comment

Today, I am wearing Wild Madagascar Vanilla “fine fragrance mist” by Bath & Body Works.  It, along with a matching sugar scrub (which doesn’t seem to exist anymore?), and a semi-matching bubble bath (Warm Vanilla Sugar), was a Christmas gift from my son. lists the main accords of Wild Madagascar Vanilla as vanilla, fruity, white floral, sweet, and powdery.  Their description notes “…Top notes of Wild Madagascar Vanilla blend with zests of African pear, sparkling fruit zest of clementine and juicy ruby red apple. The heart introduces a blend of wild jasmine, wild gardenia, heliotrope petals and golden plumeria (frangipani), while the base is composed of Madagascar vanilla, white sandalwood and creamy musk. Wild Madagascar Vanilla was launched in 2014.

I’m leery of vanilla scents because they tend to take a turn for the weird on me, so I was worried that I’d end up not wearing Wild Madagascar Vanilla more than once.  Since I was a gift, I dutifully went upstairs on Christmas Day and used the scrub in the shower, and then sprayed myself down with the fragrance mist, figuring that if I only wore it once, I would wear it when my son was home to notice.  I was prepared to blow out my sinuses, and I was prepared to smell like an overdose of sugar-free vanilla syrup…and neither of these things happened.  What happened was something I couldn’t have foreseen: I enjoyed it.

That’s right, world: I wore a vanilla fragrance and it worked for me.  I couldn’t have been more surprised if swine everywhere had taken to the air and started buzzing my house.

There is, unsurprisingly, a lot of vanilla in Wild Madagascar Vanilla, but there’s something about how it was blended with other elements that keeps it from going badly on my skin.  The vanilla in the top notes is noticeable at first spray, but then turns into fresh apple, and after about an hour the heart comes out – plumeria and heliotrope on me (I don’t get any jasmine or gardenia).  The base notes, white sandalwood, musk, and more vanilla, don’t show up until a good six hours have gone by, and by then Wild Madagascar Vanilla is a skin-scent only and still gorgeous.  In fact, most of the compliments I’ve gotten about this scent have been toward the end of the day when I’ve been in (very) close proximity to another human being.

Then again, the people in my life seem to really enjoy vanilla and me, so I have no idea if there’s anything there or not. *wink*

I typically don’t recommend vanilla-based scents to others because I typically find them to be awful…but Wild Madagascar Vanilla isn’t awful.  So, you can find it at Bath & Body Works (either online or in one of their stores) in an 8oz spray for around $14…unless it is during one of their many many sales.  As always, though, I’d recommend trying before buying.

30 Days of Scent – Day Twenty-Two – Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder   Leave a comment

Yesterday, I wore Beyond Paradise by Estée Lauder.  It’s a full bottle I was given for Christmas a few years back – in fact, for a year or two I considered it to be one of my signature scents.  The person who gave it to me got it from a department store, most likely at the Estée Lauder counter. lists the main accords of Beyond Paradise as white floral, floral, citrus, fresh spicy, and green.  Their description of this scent says that it “…opens with Eden mist which gives a long lasting tropical wet effect, rare flowers (orange blossom and blue hyacinth) and fruits (Jaboticaba berry). The floral heart is a burst of exotic flowers: laelia orchid, pink honeysuckle, Japanese mahonia. The base is no less exotic, consists of Natal plum blossom, golden melaleuca, zebrano wood, ambrette seed…

The scent was created by Calice Becker in 2003, and followed up in 2004 with Beyond Paradise for Men (which I’ve not tried).  There are a few other scents in the Beyond Paradise series, none of which I’ve worn: Beyond Paradise Summer Waters for Her (2005), Beyond Paradise Blue (2006), and Beyond Paradise Summer Fun (2007).  “Summer Fun” was a limited edition, and meant to be a lighter version of the original; Estée Lauder issued lighter versions of Beautiful and Pleasures along with it.

I was actually surprised that I hadn’t reviewed Beyond Paradise before, given that I wear it quite often and I have a serious thing for Estée Lauder fragrances.  And, even given my unholy obsession with Dazzling Silver and my proclamations that it is my all-time favorite, Beyond Paradise has managed to seduce me into giving it equal wear time…and the two couldn’t be more different, in my opinion.

On me, Beyond Paradise is honeysuckle, hyacinth, and orchid, with a hint of something plum-like.  When I wear it, I’m careful to use only one spray on the back of my neck; this is a HUGE floral scent that isn’t cut with any fresh elements, or greenery (despite Fragrantica’s profile on it) and it can easily overwhelm the wearer.  In fact, I can’t imagine trying to layer it with scented lotion or any of the other “kit items” that fragrance manufacturer’s try so often to market with a perfume – that one spray on my neck that I mentioned?  It’s enough scent to linger on my clothing until laundry day.  Seriously: if you try this scent, and I think you should, use it sparingly or you’ll likely end up hating it – too much Beyond Paradise is not a good thing, in my opinion.

Estée Lauder continues to make Beyond Paradise, and in its original formulation, although the bottle shape has changed.  The new bottle is a little more ordinary than I think a scent like this deserves, and I prefer the classic bottle that I own.  A 1.7 oz eau de parfum spray can be found in the “The House of Estée Lauder” section at Estée, and will run you $65.

30 Days of Scent – Day Twenty-One – Ode à L’Amour by Yves Rocher   Leave a comment

Today, I am wearing Ode à L’Amour by Yves Rocher.  I’m…not sure how I got this scent, actually, as it has been discontinued, and I don’t remember picking up the adorable tiny glass bottle.  I actually don’t even remember wearing it during my “all Yves Rocher all the time” phase in the 1990s, but somehow it appeared in my perfume cabinet.

(Yes, I have a perfume cabinet.  It is dark inside, meaning no light exposure, and also in one of the rooms of my house that has a relatively constant temperature all year round.  Needless to say, the room is not my bathroom.) lists the main accords of Ode à L’Amour as fruity, woody, sweet, powdery, rose, and balsamic.  They identify this scent as an “…oriental-vanilla fragrance for women. The top notes are plum and black currant; the heart notes are plum, rock rose and ylang-ylang; the base notes are amber and sandalwood.”  There’s a better description, in my opinion, over at Ca Fleur Bon; the essay contains notes on of all of Yves Rocher’s “Odes”, and I especially like the one for Ode à L’Amour.  I also suspect that the tiny bottle I have is the EDT splash, judging by the description of the flaçon: “…The splashes are clear glass with tight fitting plastic lined glass stoppers…

It’s worth noting that I wouldn’t have chosen Ode à L’Amour for myself based on what others have written – the combination of accords doesn’t sound appealing, and calling it oriental-vanilla really puts me off since vanilla can go so horribly wrong on me.  Funnily enough, though, the items that would normally repel me aren’t present at all when I dab this scent on my skin – I get plum, and ylang-ylang, and something floral that isn’t immediately identifiable.  This might be the rock rose, but as I can’t recall ever smelling one “in the wild”, I’m not sure.  It’s a nice combination of fruit and floral, and the pepper, amber, and sandalwood that other people seem to experience just aren’t present for me.

I’m enjoying my first “taste” of Ode à L’Amour, although it’s likely that I won’t replace it once the bottle is empty.  For starters, it is discontinued, and that means hunting through auction sites and/or flea markets until I find it…and I can think of other, more classic, scents I’d rather put my energies into finding.  And, truthfully, even if it were more widely available, I can’t see Ode à L’Amour becoming one of my go-to fragrances – it’s pretty, and I like it, but it doesn’t move me like so many of my other scents do.  Then again, most of what scent is is subjective – even though  I wouldn’t don black crêpe for it, I understand why others do.

30 Days of Scent – Day Twenty – Waterlily Sun by Aerin Lauder   Leave a comment

Today, I am wearing Waterlily Sun by Aerin Lauder.  It’s a rollerball that my mother gave me for Christmas, and it came from Estée lists the main accords of Waterlily Sun as musky, aquatic, citrus, green, and white floral.  Their description of this scent says that the “…Top notes are bergamot and green notes; middle notes are water lily and jasmine; base note is musk.”  The description from the manufacturer says basically the same thing in language that better aligns with the idea of the “Aerin lifestyle brand”.  And, honestly, the descriptions put me right off buying Waterlily Sun for myself despite wanting to try it out – anything that prominently features musk, or mentions being “musky” puts me on edge and readies me for disappointment.

Except…I’m not disappointed with Waterlily Sun.  A roll over each wrist and one across the nape of my neck this morning led to my being enveloped me in greenery, citrus, and white florals.  I know that there is musk in this scent, and I can feel it thee, but as a bolster rather than an identifiable element; six-and-a-half hours after I put it on, it is still as lovely as it was in the first few minutes, and it hasn’t lightened up at all.  In fact, I think that this may be a “neck-wear only” scent if I don’t want to overpower my own olfactory system; it’s not quite there now, but I’ve got that tickle in my nostrils that says it could go overboard if I’m not careful.

Aside from my traditional “try before you buy”, there’s one recommendation I’d make to anyone wanting to try Waterlily Sun: don’t go in thinking of it as an Estée Lauder fragrance.  I’ve seen multiple reviews online that complain about it not fitting into the range of fragrances people are used to, and that it isn’t “Estée Lauder” enough.  Well, the truth is that, despite where it is sold, Waterlily Sun is not an Estée Lauder fragrance.  There’s a reason the classic logo isn’t on the bottle, or in the name – this scent is an Aerin Lauder scent, and while comparisons to her grandmother are inevitable, we might do better to assess her fragrance collection on its own merits.