Hyacinth: 12 posts

Penhaligon’s Ostara : Fragrance Review

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My tastes for white florals are indiscriminate, encompassing everything from vulgar things like Guerlain Mayotte to prim school governess types like Jessica McClintock. But even I can get tired of the genre and retreat to other pastures for a change–dry woods and damp mosses, perhaps. This is what happened for most of last year, when I was so satiated with white florals that I declared a moratorium on new acquisitions. But it’s a testament to Pehnaligon’s Ostara’s loveliness that despite my best intentions, I ended up breaking my resolve.

ostara

Ostara shines brightly to me for its surprising combination of the lush, decadent heft that makes lovers of white florals swoon and the exhilarating springtime freshness. Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour built the composition around the theme of narcissus, a flower that on a stem smells honeyed and indolic, but when turned into essence becomes leathery, musky and somber. Ostara melds both facets, but it stays on the sunny side.

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Cacharel Anais Anais Premier Delice : Perfume Review

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No perfume families are as vast as the fruity-floral and gourmand families. It seems that you can get any dessert in perfume form, from crème brûlée to cupcakes. There are also many fragrances that smell like clones of each other, which is why after you smell one too many variations of Angel, you start giving up on the whole lot. On the other hand, if you want lighthearted and fun, then nothing can beat a well-crafted gourmand blend. From time to time, I canvas perfume store shelves for such contenders, and my latest search turned up Cacharel’s Anais Anais Premier Délice.

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Premier Délice is one of several variations on the classical green floral Anais Anais, but it’s the first major departure from the original. Instead of accenting the floral notes, perfumers Olivier Cresp and Dora Baghriche took a different route. They’ve laced it with chocolate! If you’re familiar with the original, you’re probably skeptical right now, but if you like gourmand and fruity notes you’ll like Premier Délice. It is moderately sweet on the contemporary gourmand spectrum, and it has some interesting elements.

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Tom Ford Private Blend Fleur de Chine : Perfume Review

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Tom Ford’s Private Blend Collection is a mixed bag. It’s too large and hard to navigate. Some fragrances are excellent enough to justify the high prices; others barely stand out. I can list further complaints, but the truth is that I keep returning to the collection and smelling all of its launches, because when Tom Ford scores, he really does offer something impressive. Such is the case with Fleur de Chine.

fleurdechine

When I first tried Fleur de Chine, it intrigued me, but I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  Shanghai Lily from the same Atelier d’Orient collection (it also includes Plum Japonais, Fleur de Chine and Rive d’Ambre) was an instant hit for its lush white flowers and generous dose of spice. Fleur de Chine wasn’t going to open up so easily, though. I loved its baroque, ornate character and its hints of retro glamour, but it took its time to grow on me.

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Estee Lauder Private Collection : Perfume Review

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Today’s guest post is brought to you by Anne-Marie. She is a museum curator and historian living in Canberra, Australia. Her mother wore Yardley’s April Violets for over fifty years, and this is what sparked Anne-Marie’s interest in perfume. You  can also find Anne-Marie’s reviews at Beauty on the Outside.

“Oh, it’s from my private collection.”

Thus would Estée Lauder reply when people asked her about the intriguing perfume was wearing. It could not be bought. At first she shared it only with Princess Grace of Monaco and the Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson). In 1973 Mrs Lauder was finally persuaded to put the fragrance on the market and she kept the name, Private Collection.

Whether or not this is true, Private Collection is a brilliant example of fragrance marketing. Its story makes me think of Givenchy’s L’Interdit, a bespoke fragrance created for Audrey Hepburn and launched commercially in 1957. We are told that Estée Lauder tried to keep Private Collection “to herself”, just like Hepburn, who upon heard the proposal to release her fragrance cried, “But that is my perfume, I forbid it! (Mais c’est mon parfum, je vous l’interdis!)”

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Ralph Lauren Lauren : Vintage Perfume Review

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Lauren was one of the greatest American perfumes that made a big splash in the 1980s, but where is it today? Ralph Lauren counters rarely feature the familiar red bottle shaped like an ink well. Moreover, like most classics, Lauren got so many face lifts that it’s barely recognizable. I’m still learning to like it in its pale green and soft version, but my memory of the juicy cantaloupe and jasmine folded around mossy cedarwood is still too poignant. My readers Michelle, MaryAnn and Renée felt the same way, and I’ve decided to review Lauren and turn to you for possible alternatives to this lovely fruity floral fragrance.

Now, ‘fruity floral’ and ‘lovely’ rarely appear in the same phrase on perfume blogs, mostly because the onslaught of identical and boring fruity florals has devalued this charming perfume family. Lauren is a great example of how appealing and delightful the marriage of flowers and fruit can be. Right from the moment you put it on your skin, it feels sparkling and refreshing, like a sip of iced cocktail. It’s green and tangy like Granny Smith apple skin, but also velvety like a ripe melon.  In today’s Lauren, the top notes are mostly green—a tangle of leaves and a squeeze of tart grape juice.

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