Christine Nagel: 20 posts

Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt : Fragrance Review

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Patricia on the Boston Harborwalk, Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt and tide.

The Boston Harborwalk is a 47-mile continuous public walkway from Chelsea to the Neponset River along the Boston waterfront. Currently 80% completed, it is a treasure for locals and visitors alike, and I never tire of strolling along a small portion of it, watching the boat traffic and inhaling the briny, mineral scents that are part of a busy working harbor. The tides, too, influence the degree of intensity of salt and vegetation in the air. During high tide, saltiness predominates, and the breeze is fresher and cleaner smelling. Low tide, however, uncovers the rocky bottom, exposes wood pilings and seaweed, and adds an interesting vegetal and animalic muskiness to the air.

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Wood Sage & Sea Salt, a cologne created by Christine Nagel for Jo Malone, falls within the cleaner range and is what I would call a high-tide fragrance. It opens with a refreshing blast of grapefruit and ambrette, which as it is an unusual combination of top notes, sadly doesn’t last long enough to suit me. The overall effect is one of freshness from the citrus and depth from the plant-based musk tones in the ambrette seed. Soon, the sea salt and sage come into play, and they, too, are clean and polished and not likely to offend. This stage lasts for a few hours, not changing in essential character but gradually fading to a pleasant skin scent.

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Jo Malone Rain and Angelica : Perfume Review

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The smell of sun-dried linens is one of those scents that invariably make me feel like all is well in the world. At the root of it is a childhood recollection of my grandmother’s linens (the memory conveniently blots out the less romantic realities of doing laundry by hand in a house with no running water). The aroma of starched fabric heated in the sun is so comforting that I look to the perfume bottle to satisfy this craving. An unexpected addition to my “sun and summer” fragrances has become Jo Malone Rain and Angelica, a recent debut from the brand specializing in simple, easy-to-wear scents.

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There is no reason to expect that something called Rain and Angelica (an unsubtle nod to Frédéric Malle ‘s rain drenched angelicas, Angéliques Sous la Pluie) would smell of sun warmed sheets or even anything summery. When I checked the list of notes well after trying and wearing the perfume for several days, I was surprised to find little resemblance between the cold, aquatic elements on paper and the warm, soft perfume on my skin.

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Lalique Encre Noire : Perfume Review

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That I’m obsessed with vetiver is obvious. If you select the note ‘vetiver‘ in Bois de Jasmin’s Find a Perfume feature, you’ll find around 20 reviews of perfumes sharing this earthy, woody leitmotif. Vetiver essence is distilled from the roots of a nondescript looking grass, but its scent is spectacular. It smells of milky hazelnuts, bitter grapefruit, licorice and driftwood. Every time I think that I have tried enough vetivers, something else comes along to tempt me. If I want dark and salty, I go for Annick Goutal’s Vétiver. If I’m in the mood for fresh and sparkling, Prada’s Infusion de Vétiver never fails to hit the spot. But if I had to wear a single vetiver perfume for the rest of my life, I would pick Lalique Encre Noire Pour Homme.

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Encre Noire may not seem like an obvious choice, especially when we have vetiver gold standards like Guerlain Vétiver and Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinaire. Without a doubt, those are perfumes that must be sampled at least once, but what makes Encre Noire so compelling is its elegance and versatility. It’s also impeccably crafted and memorable.

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Jimmy Choo Flash : Perfume Review

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There is a disconnect between the packaging, the concept and the scent of Jimmy Choo Flash, the second fragrance from the trendy footwear brand. I should add, thankfully so. The concept inspired by the stylish women of New York and Paris sounds bland. The bottle is tacky in the photos and even more so in real life. What do you expect the perfume to smell like? I anticipated something likewise predictable–a sugary floral or a fruity patchouli. The perfume, on the other hand, is a surprisingly wearable tuberose.

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If your white floral reference is Frédéric Malle Carnal Flower and Robert Piguet Fracas, you will find Flash to be wan. Lovers of heady natural tuberose, complete with coconut cream and rubbery nuances, will also need to suspend their belief that this is indeed a tuberose. But when so many new launches smell simply vulgar–Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme is my benchmark, it’s refreshing to discover a mainstream fragrance that bucks the trend.

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Christian Dior Miss Dior (Cherie) : Perfume Review

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I was a late convert to Miss Dior Chérie (2005), the Coco Mademoiselle sibling-scent that expanded a green patchouli note with sticky carnival accords like strawberries and caramel popcorn.  Miss Dior Chérie is aimed at the young; I was converted to it by a nineteen-year-old girl who owned her own makeup store.  She considered it the height of elegance and at first I scoffed, and then I tried.  It was too much fun to pass up, with its neon fun-fair atmosphere bopping around underneath the nose in a major chord of teenage pleasure.  Why didn’t they have stuff like this around when I was fourteen?

With the mechanisms of the perfume industry being what they are, Miss Dior Chérie was recently reformulated and renamed  Miss Dior (the “real” Miss Dior is now called Miss Dior Originale).  Sometimes the reformulations means that a “bad” ingredient was removed and replaced by a “good” (and often inferior) one, and other times it means that something that is no longer available is replaced with something that is.  The truth is, perfumes are reformulated all the time for a variety of reasons, and the differences can be subtle or striking.

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Alison in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Amber and resin perfumes are the best on me , the dry down of such perfumes especially powdery Amber’s are the best on me, gourmands and sweet perfumes just font… August 14, 2020 at 11:56am

  • irem in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Hi Tourmaline, I have done that experiment inadvertently when I ate a spread containing a copious amount of fenugreek seeds and other spices including garlic. My sweat and urine smelled… August 14, 2020 at 11:51am

  • Joyce in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Oh dear, I hope my earlier comment wasn’t the inspiration for this post. Quite embarrassed now. Will keep quiet from this forum from now on…. August 14, 2020 at 9:55am

  • Tourmaline in Scent 101 : Skin Chemistry (New Video): Dear Victoria, Thank you for this interesting post and video. I am looking forward to trying your suggestion of eating a teaspoonful of fenugreek seeds and then seeing how my… August 14, 2020 at 9:40am

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