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Penhaligon’s

2017 Summer Favorites

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When it comes to wearing fragrance, summer is my favorite season. Maybe it is my taste, or the fact that I live in a hot, dry climate, but when I am out in public under the blazing sun, I’d much, MUCH rather smell summer fragrances. On those days, sweet scents can smell too sticky and gross, and spicy scents can smell like cumin-tinged sweat in the heat. But those summery citruses and florals, oh my… THOSE can be beautiful. Here are some favorites that I’ve been enjoying in Summer 2017: KEEP ON READING

Sample Impressions: Floris 1962

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A sucker. Yep. That’s me. A sucker for the hype train… One way ticket on the Hype Train Express. Hype central.

When folks on a certain fragrance forum began discussing Floris 1962, praising it as the second coming of vintage greats, I had to get myself a sample. And upon obtaining one—luckily for me (and perhaps for you, dear reader)—I found that (for once) the hype was indeed justified.

Floris is a house that can be hit and miss for many people. Classic in style but true to their roots, many of their fragrances have a distinctly British and conspicuously patrician soapiness to them. Despite exploring many of their offerings for a number of months, I found only one Floris fragrance—the limited edition Victorious—that I simply had to add to my collection. Well… That number will very likely become two. KEEP ON READING

Shaving Cream in a Barbershop: MDCI’s Le Barbier de Tanger

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From the respected brand MDCI comes the magnificent Le Barbier de Tanger, a scent that promises a relaxing journey into the barbershops of Morocco. MDCI is known for artful blends done with high quality ingredients. Le Barbier de Tanger fits the bill and earns a thumbs up from this reviewer.

To even begin to describe this fragrance, I have to mention a few others: Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste, MDCI’s Invasion Barbare, Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Masculin Pluriel, Creed’s Green Irish Tweed, and Penhaligon’s Sartorial. Le Barbier de Tanger channels all of these fragrances to some extent, but only smells a bit like one of them. Perhaps the closest comparison is Chanel’s Platinum Egoiste, which has the same powdery-barbershop texture and overall vibe of this fragrance, but Le Barbier de Tanger is higher quality and more natural-smelling. KEEP ON READING

The problem of mugginess

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As the weather turns from the beautiful warm summer we’ve enjoyed in Wales this year, and we move towards what I hope will be a gloriously colourful autumn, this week I felt a bit stuck. Mugginess had me stymied.

You may have noticed that my fragrance choices are very much dictated by the weather. I’m lucky not to work in an office, so I don’t have to worry about wearing perfumes that are ‘office appropriate’ and when I do have to go to a meeting, there is Chanel No. 19. (Meetings were what No 19 was created for, surely?) So I can pretty much follow my instincts with what I choose to wear each day. I’m a massive fan of greens and citruses in the summer, but in autumn I tend to turn – like the leaves – to ambers. These are the scent equivalent of cosy fuzzy jumpers – not the full-blown winter warmers that you need to keep the frost at bay, but soothing, enveloping comfort scents that are as obvious and easy to wear at this time of year as a cashmere hoody. KEEP ON READING

Scented souvenirs

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I keep a bottle of supermarket Eau de Cologne in my fridge and just soused myself in it after hanging the washing out in the hot sun. It was gratifyingly cooling and refreshing, and its scent flashed me back to summers spent in France and Switzerland, where it was often this hot, and I learned this cooling trick.

Because I’m writing a review rather than simply enjoying my favourite eau, which by the way is Mont St Michel Eau de Cologne Ambrée, I took notice of the barbershop-ish initial impression it gives me. As a confirmed anti-frou-frou woman who loathes ruffles, pink and florals, I spent years trying to find fragrances that worked for me. (Thank goodness for Yves Saint Laurent, is all I can say.) Anyway, I came across this particular favourite of mine via soap (another weakness). I was in France and needed to buy a bar to use while I was away. After sniffing several packages, I found the soap version of this eau de Cologne and was pleased by its non-floral spicy and ambery notes. I used it the whole time I was away, and now it is one of my favourite ‘flashback’ scents. KEEP ON READING

Masque Fragranze Romanza: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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The latest fragrance from Masque Fragranze, Romanza, is neither easy to describe nor to wear. That doesn’t mean it’s not utterly brilliant, because it is. It features narcissus, but instead of wrapping it in sunshiney beeswax (Ostara) or sweetening it with rose (Lumiere Noire Pour Femme), Romanza plays up all its ugly, bitter facets, resulting in a fragrance that is a real punch in the gut. Do you want to be challenged, confronted, and swept off your feet? Well, Romanza may be just the ticket. KEEP ON READING

Men’s Grooming Part 2: Aftershaves!

in Thoughts by

So you just completed a perfect shave and your skin is as smooth as your mind is clear. What is a fragrance lover to do? As Aziz Ansari is fond of saying on the television show Parks and Recreation,  “Treat yo self!” Do your skin (and nose) a favor: skip the cheap drugstore aftershaves that have shady-sounding chemicals on the label and instead go for one of the many top-quality alternatives that are available to the modern gentleman. In today’s post I bring you a selection of six of the finest aftershaves currently available: KEEP ON READING

Roses Volume II

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Today, we’re looking at a few of the fresher, lighter rose scents out there – L’Ombre Dans L’Eau and Eau Rose by Diptyque, Rose en Noir by Miller Harris, and Elisabethan Rose by Penhaligon’s.

L’Ombre Dans L’Eau by Diptyque

In January, 2013, alone in a small niche perfumery in Rome and armed with birthday money, which is free money, I made my first niche perfume purchases, among them Diptyque’s L’Ombre Dans L’Eau. I ended up selling all but one of those bottles (I kept Borneo 1834), and the first on the chopping block was L’Ombre Dans L’Eau. I always have a moment of hesitation before selling on a perfume, but not this time. KEEP ON READING

Men’s Grooming Part 1: Fragrances for Traditional Wet Shavers

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Why should there be a special post on fragrances for traditional wet shavers? Well, as those who embrace this traditional practice have learned, the process of wet shaving is not merely a daily task, but rather is a meditative ritual that can provide delight and even intellectual stimulation. Everything from scent to sound becomes more acute as the razor is brought to the face, perhaps because the brain instinctively understands that this a practice that requires special attention and care. In my own experience, shaving in the early morning will awaken the mind and revitalize the senses far more effectively than an espresso. Because of the alertness and sense of accomplishment that comes from achieving a flawless shave, certain fragrances will provide a particularly enjoyable conclusion to the shaving ritual. I shave in the morning and I am a traditionalist when it comes to pairing my fragrances with wet shaving, so I prefer fresh, barbershop, and conservative scents that are able to extend this sense of alertness and accomplishment well into the afternoon. KEEP ON READING

De Profundis by Serge Lutens

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From the depths, I have cried out to you, O Lord!

Despite the chilling despair of Psalm 130 from which the title De Profundis (“From the Depths”) was taken, and the gloomy death poem that Oncle Serge sent out with it, there is nothing melancholic or funereal about De Profundis the perfume. That’s the problem with back-story in perfume – one association from the perfumer and our mind rushes to meet it, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If Oncle Serge hadn’t mentioned death, nobody would be talking about this perfume using words such as death, sadness, melancholy, or funerals. But he did, and they do… KEEP ON READING

How does the Fragrance Daily team smell at Christmas Eve?

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Fragrance Daily CHRISTMAS SpecialOh Christmas, oh Christmas – it truly is a very special time of the year. Despite all the commercialism, there is still this magic floating in the air, a relic from your very personal childhood. The silence that covers the snow on a Sunday morning walk, the December-long frenzy of activity that culminates in legendary and often disastrous family events and the breathtaking peace of the morning after – all wonderful. The feeling of seeing one’s beloved or estranged family members once a year, the joy of symbolically putting the whole “old” year behind us, and the act of preparing for the new one. And on top of that all: the fragrances that encapsulate this special time for us, that pervade our senses, and make Christmas time so remarkable and unique. KEEP ON READING

Creed’s Royal Mayfair: Nobility, Bottled

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Finally, due to popular demand, Creed has released a new version of Windsor that will be included in their permanent collection. Unfortunately for many, distribution is extremely limited at the moment due to exclusivity arrangements. It’s still difficult to obtain samples, but yours truly has managed to obtain a few samples in order to offer impressions for FragranceDaily. I have now thoroughly tested the fragrance and bring this review to you, dear readers. Enjoy!

“Top note: British Gin, Jamaican Lime and a touch of Scottish Highland Pine
Middle note: Fragrant Duke of Windsor Roses
Base note: Bahamian Orange, Canadian Cedar and Australian Eucalyptus” KEEP ON READING

Immortelle Beloved: My Top Four Immortelle Fragrances

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Immortelle Tree Quinten Questel / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Etat Libre d’Orange Afternoon of a Faun: Afternoon of a Faun muscles its way into the green chypre category with an overall vibe halfway between a drenched forest and a bowl full of crushed iris roots. It’s described as an aromatic, spicy scent on Fragrantica, but actually, it comes off as a scorched-earth chypre. It shouldn’t work. But the contrast of wet, bitter green iris and the dry woods is all kinds of addictive.

I love the way it takes me on a ride every time I put it on. It reminds me somewhat of a vintage No. 19 pure parfum I had from the 1950’s which had turned badly – it shares something of that singed woods and burned coffee smell the parfum had. But in contrast, Afternoon of a Faun smells really good to me. KEEP ON READING

Penhaligon’s Endymion: Sweet Dreams and Quiet Breathing

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A thing of beauty is a joy for ever”.

So opens “Endymion” by the master John Keats, a poem that feels a bit clichéd at times, but remains relevant. 

A few months ago Serguey Borisov over at Fragrantica did a wonderful review of Endymion, painting a vivid picture of nocturnal conquest and seduction. For him, the fragrance brings to mind a “bastion of decadence” chalk full of debauchery. Women, Serguey advises, should “get acquainted with Endymion to know the enemy’s probable weapons and be ready to face them.” In short, for Mr. Borisov, Endymion is a fitting tool of the most opulent variety of seduction. KEEP ON READING

Korrigan by Lubin: Restrained Drunkeness

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When I was nineteen, I used to work in a nightclub in Dublin called Copper Face Jacks. It was – and maybe still is – somewhat notorious in Ireland as a meat market, in other words, a place where young people would come to get drunk and make some very bad sexual decisions (sometimes without even leaving the confines of the club). Coppers, as we staff would grimly call it, was owned by a former policeman, or a guard, as we call them in Ireland. We would routinely get ‘raided’ by the gardai, who would shut us down for the night, throw the punters out with a stiff warning ringing in their ears, and then proceed to drink us dry until the wee hours of the morning. The only consolation was being allowed by the owner the rare treat of being allowed to have one drink free. KEEP ON READING

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