Tag Archives: FRAGRANCE

Right, FR.ed: Let’s See What You Said

24 Nov

Hey, this is fun! Thanks to The Perfume Society {www.perfumesociety.org}, you can use their clever fragrance editor, or FR.ed, for short, to figure out how to expand your vocabulary or scent — or possibly replace something long and lamentably gone.

It’s easy: Just type in your responses to the internet’s easiest form. I had a blast from the past and remembered how much I had loved Jil Sander from the 90s. It was, I thought, the only Jil Sander fragrance in the world, but no: there was a much longer list than I suspected possible. A quick Google, and I found that the EDP that I’m thinking of is No. 4. This perhaps points up the limitations in scent in duty free more than anything else, and also what’s available in Ireland.

FR.ed simple quiz

And I’m also presuming that anyone anywhere in the world still carries this particular perfume. Anyway! Let’s go.

FR.ed Jil results

Hmmm. I actually had some Boucheron and remember it to be much sweeter than I remember the Sander to be. Also, Lancôme’s La Vie Est Belle seems a sweeter match than I would have thought… it doesn’t help, I suppose that I haven’t smelled the Sander in donkey’s.

I’m almost out of Coco by Chanel, which I haven’t worn in years. I noticed that it was almost gone and reckoned I may as well Use It All Up, and fell in love with it all over again. Here’s the results from this edit:
FR.ed Coco results

Cinnabar? Helllllloooo 1970s, hang on a sec, I’ve got some perfume that wants to talk to you. I’m interested in the Penhaligons simply because I haven’t ever tried anything from them — are they pricey? {Uh, whoops!} Eh. I can still buy the Coco, so no big deal.

Well, that was fun. I may try to see if I can actually get the original somewhere*, but if not, I think a visit to Macy’s ground floor goes on the holiday to-do list…


Play with FR.ed here.


* Hey hey! Sold! Heart you/hate you, internet!


B&B! Q&A: Debbie Wild, Jo Malone London

6 Aug

Debbie Wild is Lifestyle Director 957 JMV 04G DV Jo_Malone_Debbie_Wild_284 RGB_1MB for Jo Malone London. Now, if I had to choose any lifestyle that I would like to fully embrace, it would be that of the Jo Malone brand. The range of scents have grown over the years, and with the addition of scented sachets and clothes hangers, as well as an expansion of the range of candles, it is a distinct, if spendy, possibility.

Me, I find it money well spent, as fragrance in general, and perfume in particular, is a big part of my lifestyle already. I asked Debbie to talk about the brand’s trademark Fragrance Combining ethos, some hints about how to set the perfect Jo Malone stage in your home, and the new ‘flavour’ that’s launching this year.

What’s your own personal fragrance preference, Debbie?
As far back as I can remember, I have always preferred more masculine and spicy scents.  For me, the most special scent from Jo Malone London is the clean freshness of Amber & Lavender as it reminds me of home. Topped with the warm notes of Nutmeg & Ginger, it is the perfect combination to wear every day.

Can you tell us a bit about Fragrance Combining™?
The idea of Fragrance Combining™ was introduced by Jo Malone London and has become renowned within the world of modern fragrance. It was originally born from the idea that your favourite fragrance can be tailored to embrace a mood or occasion, or as a simple expression of your individuality, by layering with another scent.

Can you give us an example of how Fragrance Combining™ might work?
We find interesting ways to layer scents playing with textures and ingredients, across our cologne, body and bath ranges. First, you could shower with a Body & Hand Wash from our fruity family, followed by lathering on a warm and spicy Body Crème. The moisturizing combination of products and scents layered on your skin creates a scented base for your favourite fragrance.

Each fragrance has been designed to be worn alone or combined with other fragrances and we use only the finest and purist ingredients to ensure that any two fragrances can be combined to dependent on your own individual preference. The choice is completely yours.

Peony & Blush Suede100mlWhat is an example of the unexpected ways in which one can layer — as in, what two fragrances might seem to the customer to be an odd couple, but once you put them together, it’s total Wow?
My latest discovery is Peony & Blush Suede topped with hints of Saffron from the Cologne Intense collection. It may seem an unlikely pairing but the result is superb: deep and voluptuous, a mingling of an opulent floral with a vivid spice. The more unusual the better!

As ever, when I get the chance to talk to fragrance experts, I mention my interest in the psychology of scent, and in its potentially emotional impact. How do perfumers take this into consideration?
You will find some scents are personal to you, that they will evoke memories and trigger emotional responses. The way you choose to wear your fragrance contributes to any first lasting memory and impression any you wish to create.

Christine Nagel, Master Perfumer for Jo Malone, remembers growing up in a house where her mother used an Italian powder called Borotalco on herself and her brother, creating a childhood memory with a lasting olfactive impression.

Amongst Christine’s creations for the brand is the new Peony & Blush Suede, which she believes captures the connection between the craft of fragrance and couture fashion. The scent evokes charm of the English ballroom in the mid-20th century. The heady glamour of the Cecil Beaton era. Women elegant in couture, with peonies brought in from the great country estates. It is a fragrance that embraces both the floral notes and atmospheric texture of this time in history.

As someone who loves Lime Basil & Mandarin and Pomegranate Noir, what would you recommend as complementary scents to bring throughout my environment?
Fragrance translates into our lifestyle in every way. A beautifully scented home not only makes you feel good, but will also influence how your guests feel when they enter your home. A Pomegranate Noir Scent Surround™ Diffuser will perk-up your entertaining spaces. By lighting a Peony & Blush Suede Home Candle in your entrance hall, the two fragrances — one peppery, the other floral with the contrast of suede — will heighten the mood and play on the senses. Through Scent Surround™ the ambience of your home can be as inviting as the fragrance on your skin.


My new lifestyle: bedecked and lounging round the mantlepiece.


The full Peony & Blush Suede collection will be launching Monday 2nd September 2013 and will include:

>Cologne 30ml: €48/£39
>Cologne 100ml: €96/£78
>Body & Hand Wash 250ml: €42/£32
>Body Crème 175ml: €62/£50
>Home Candle: €50/£39


Always worth a linkback: my paean to the body crème.


B&B! Q&A: Karine Dubreuil, Perfumer for L’Occitane

13 May

‘Emotions very often play an important part in my creative process,’ says Karine Dubreuil. ‘It is the biggest accomplishment to create something that triggers a real reaction.’ Born and raised in Grasse, in Provence, Karine studied at the Roure Bertrand Dupont Perfumery School, Grasse, which was founded by Jean Carles, the creator of the legendary Miss Dior.

She has developed a tribute to her homeplace with La Collection de Grasse, four unique combinations of scents from the region, wedded with exotic ingredients from afar. Each fragrance tells a story: Jasmine & Bergamote, Magnolia & Mûre, Vanille & Narcisse {my personal fave} and Thé Vert & Bigarade < which is a nice one for the fellas. Each one of them is a refreshing new addition to the line that has come to epitomise the South of France, and Karine took some time to answer a few questions.

When did you realise you had a nose? Do you come from a family of noses — has this gift been passed down through the generations?
A close family friend of ours was a perfumer working in Grasse and I often visited her in the labs and got to smell the creations she was working on, so was aware of this skilful profession from a very young age. Growing up in Grasse, you are surrounded by perfumery and scents so I think I always knew this was what I wanted to do.


What’s the first thing you remember smelling, that made you wonder about scent and fragrance, that teased your imagination?
I remember the Eau de Cologne that my mother used to splash onto my hair after my bath when I was a very little girl. I love the smell of the flowers that I grew up with in our garden – mimosa, orange blossom, jasmine and spices my mother always cooked with like star anise, cinnamon and pink pepper.

I find that certain scents are incredibly robust, on an emotional level. How does that work in the brain?
Unlike our other senses, smelling is directly linked to our limbic system, which is an important memory centre in the brain that triggers instincts and emotions. It is a very primal sense that we possess – animals use it to guide most of their movements and decisions, and although we humans have evolved to rely on it less often it still has the power to trigger those powerful emotional reactions in us.

When you were creating the stories of the Grasse scents, how big a part did emotion play?
For this collection especially, I really had to rely on my childhood memories of Grasse, which are so happy and idyllic. Rather than simply trying to replicate what certain flowers or trees smell like, I wanted to capture the way they make you feel on a typical sunny Provencal day.

I find these fragrances to be very creative, marrying two primary notes that seem unexpected. Was this a big risk?
It wasn’t so much a risk but a challenge that I really enjoyed – the first part of the challenge was to find the right quality ingredients, as for L’Occitane only the finest natural ingredients will do. So finding a supplier to create a natural blackberry infusion that would work in perfumery or working with a farmer to plant a field of narcissus flowers felt like huge achievements.

Four EDTs on watercolour

I love layering, and am delighted that there are body lotions that go with these — I wonder if one could wear a different body lotion with a different scent? Or is that a terrible idea?
No, I think it’s a great idea to experiment with fragrance! Mixing and matching different scents can be a nice way to create your own ideal fragrance and give you a sense of creativity and individuality. You can use this method to transition from day to evening – for instance, wear the body lotion of The Jasmin & Bergamot during the day, then spray on some of the Vanille & Narcisse to warm it up for the evening. Or the opposite — spray on Thé Vert & Bigarade to “freshen things up” a bit and give you a boost of energy.


Each line includes the following: Eau de Toilette 75ml/€55; Body Milk 175ml/€18; Shower Gel 175ml/€13; Perfumed Soap 125g/€8.50


DID YOU KNOW? That the ampersand, which figures largely in the branding of this line, was considered the 27th character in the Occitan alphabet? It is a ligature of of the letters in ‘et’ — the word for ‘and’!


Sweet Sixteen Minus Six: Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse

27 Mar

I keep losing track of — hang on — right, okay, this is number 3 of 10, and it is all I can do, on a daily basis, to not lash a bottle of this in my handbag so that I can re-apply it with the same regularity as I do with lip balm. This is delicious, and also so great for me pelt. And I absolutely can spell prodigieuse without looking.


I am sensing a trend.

I really like things that smell nice.

Here’s another extraordinarily lovely-smelling thing, and it is also a thing that comes in another version with sparkle in it. Can it be more perfect?

I love it so much, I can actually spell Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse without looking it up.

NUXE-06This is a multi-use dry oil, which means it is not greasy, which means you can use it all over your entire self without worry> Hmm, yes, well. I used it once in my hair because there was a Nuxe shampoo that didn’t have an accompanying conditioner; it was recommended that I use this, and the result was not happy. I may try it again as an intensive scalp treatment yokie bob, because what else do I have to do with my time — but I also like to give things their fair dues.

Otherwise, using this everywhere else is highly recommended. The scent is delicious, and I suppose it is the result of the perfect alchemy of its ingredients: Borage, St Johnswort, Sweet Almond, Camellia, Hazelnut, Macadamia Plant Oils. Now, I wouldn’t know what borage smelled like if it crawled up my nose, but I do know the smell of almond as used in product, and suspect that the Huile errs on the side of this natural element.

Does it? I don’t know. It doesn’t matter. This stuff is great first thing in the morning, as applied on damp, shower-fresh skin and massaged in deeply; all the way to last thing at night after you’ve cleansed and toned.

As if that’s not enough, there’s a Huile Prodigieuse Or that is a summertime essential. This is the one that brings the golden sparkle; I’ve decided not to wait for June, and will be dousing myself in this, liberally, to beat the January* blues.


For 100mls: €30/£33/$45


*Or the March blues, as apparently yees are up to your oxters in the horrible, cold white stuff.


Sweet Sixteen Minus Six: Jo Malone Body Crème

26 Mar

Into the final four! I had a hard time picking the top top of my Top All-Time Faves For Now, so, I don’t know, I think from here on in, they are all number one. I adore number 4 the way I adore my loved ones, no lie. May I acquaint you with a beloved member of the Conley family?


Everything about Jo Malone feels rich: the beautiful cream-and-black branding, the boxes, the ribbons, and most particularly, the heavy glass tub that contains the luxurious body créme.

There is absolutely nothing like the Jo Malone Body Créme. I don’t like all the scents — and frankly, I wouldn’t blame you feeling completely suspicious of me if I did — but the ones that I do, I adore. Unconditionally. Without reservation.

Lime Basil & Mandarin. Pomegranate Noir. Amber & Lavender! Oh, I forgot about that last one. I went to swap the places of LM&B and PN, but I can’t. I don’t think I can. Can I? No, not possible. Even though I layer PN with pleasure, and everyone knows what it is, and I don’t mind everyone recognizing it, because it is so delightfully sensuous, and something of a signature scent for me … I still can’t put it first, because it wasn’t my first.

JO MALONE LBMLime Basil & Mandarin. I had no idea that this Sweet Sixteen was going to be so nostalgic, but I have just gone off into a mental video memory of the first time I got a whiff of the stuff. I had been hanging with some pals, enjoying the bubbling hot tub at the SPORTSCO Leisure Centre in Ringsend {why do I remember it as the ESB gym?} and then after repairing to the changing room, one of the women passed around the body crème. Its heavy glass jar immediately communicated its splendour, and an obsession was born.

I had to have it. I had to have it for myself. I didn’t care that I was suddenly smelling that scent everywhere I turned; rather, it became the clarion call of a little club of ladies who knew what was what when it came to self care, and about splurging a mad amount of money of a thing that didn’t last for an appreciable amount of time.

Ah, now! That last bit is not so true. Because it so well-crafted, you need less than you think to enfold yourself in the fragrant goodness that is a Jo Malone body crème. So all of us who were amongst the vanguard were less annoyed at smelling ourselves coming and going {oh, dear, that sounds nasty} and more keen to appreciate the savvy of our fellow Malonistas.

It’s like being a member of a club whose only agenda is to smell gorgeous. I consider myself to be a lifetime member, with honours.




Sweet Sixteen Minus Six: Lush’s Karma Line

21 Mar

Number 7! Still love this, and people always, always comment when I wear this. The good class of comments, of course!


When I first received Lush’s Karma perfume, several years ago, it came in a kind of… well there’s no way to say it nicely. The bottle was ugly. It was squat, the label was unappealing, and its presentation was very, very ‘meh’. I gave it a cursory spritz, somewhere around my breastbone, and promptly fell in love.

I don’t know that much about perfume, except that I love it, and that it has always figured largely in my life. I love smelling good, and I love good smells; in an effort to KARMA FAMmaybe learn something, I went over to the Lush website, purveyors of Karma, and took a look at the ingredients.

I don’t feel much the wiser. I don’t know why six of the elements have asterisks, although I suppose I could make an educated guess or two {discretionary as regards the maker, perhaps? Because all their stuff is made by hand?} Eh, what do I care really, if it is fragrant?

And it is fragrant. Fresh, long-lasting, sweet without being cloying, Karma is great when you’re in the mood to really wear a scent. Meaning, you have so many elements to the line, you can layer and know that you are going to be exuding sweetness and freshness all day long.

I totally went to town on this one: I washed my hair with the solid shampoo bar, I moisturised with the… moisturiser, and then I doused myself in the scent, which is in a redesigned package. Still not sure they’ve got it right, as the opaque, black, squat bottle looks like something you might find in a goth apothecary rather than on the vanity table of a sweet and fresh-smelling lovely being.

There’s a bath melt, which is nice to use in an end-of-the-day soak. There’s soap, which I didn’t try, a more practical application of the fragrance at the beginning of the day, for me anyway; I can’t imagine trying to start the day with a bath…

There is not a conditioner*, which I lament.

There is also a solid version of the perfume, which for me is a fail: the product is red, and it stains my skin, and my clothes.

Clearly, this last is easily avoided if red wrists are not your thing, and the perfume will do the trick more comprehensively, anyway. Must get my hands on the soap, though, to truly experience the layering of Karma. The good kind, that is.


Karma Komba Shampoo €7.90/£5.00/$10.95
Karma Kream Body Cream €16.15/£12.45/$27.95
Karma Bath Melt €5.90/£3.20/$6.95
Karma Perfume €24/£20/$42.95


*As far as I know, from a quick google.


I am in Love with G. Bellini, Which is Tragic

16 Nov

Because he — ‘he’ — is not a real person. Continue reading

This Just In: Womanity Eau Pour Elles by Theirry Mugler

14 May

Feelings: mixed.

This is where I out myself as a ho for packaging. Oh, holy night, I love a good package. In every way, yes, but when it comes to beauty products or those tin boxes that they make so attractive in the South of France, or an infused olive oil in a gorgeous bottle… you got me. Here’s my hard-earned cash.

I received Womanity Eau Pour Elles by Theirry Mugler today, and it was a feast of packaging, a delirium of unwrapping:

Since I am an rabid recycler, I did feel a bit of a twinge — did there really have to be so many layers? Especially the outside sleeve, which seems to have been devised merely to carry the QR code.

I scanned it, which isn’t something I do as a rule, and entered a competition to win a dream day with friends. I like this idea! You know, hanging out and being all in your womanity with your pals? The day I entered for is all about spa treatments — quelle surprise — and a nice meal.

Hey! I got distracted from the excess cardboard! Very clever, designer and marketing people!

So, okay, too much branding, clearly: they are trying to get the imagery with the funky gals and a more discreet, elegant vibe going on at the same time.

And then you see the inside, and the designer in me goes squeeeeeee because someone figured that out, and I am impressed. All those folds! The type everywhere! Love.

And then a teensy bit of an 80s bondage-y vibe with that cap, uh, whatever that means. LOL.

After all of that, I am not sure that the scent is my gig. After all of that! It describes itself as a ‘fruity, savoury, sweet Eau de Toilette’, but all my nose is picking up is the fruit, and … oh, I don’t know. I don’t think it suits me.

You also receive a ‘unique code’ with which to register on the Mugler site, but I find that I am not as excited by an excess of Flash as I am by an embarrassment of cardboard. The registering, it takes forever, and what am I really going to get out of it besides more rando emails? Yeah, I bailed after I selected where I lived and typed in my code. But: the Holy See is listed as a place to live. Can you imaaaaagine, like, the college of cardinals all signing up for their Theirry Mugler updates???

So: a bit heavy on the branding and the fruit. You can make up your own mind as of June 1, when this goes on counter.

Womanity Eau Pour Elles by Thierry Mugler is €50/50mls.

Snap! Judgement: Roger & Gallet Huile Embellissante in Fleur d’Osmanthus

4 May

This is a new launch from the fragrant French firm, who are celebrating 150 years in the smelling-good biz.

Snap! The colour of the bottle is a dead giveaway. This is gonna smell orange-y.

Snap! The bottle gives good squirt, which can be an issue. It doesn’t spray all over the place {sorry, my mind just wandered there for a sec…} but you do need to cup the palm or else you won’t get the full benefit of the pump. Insert filthy giggle here.

Snap! Yup, orange-y, and kind of light-yet-smokey? Your nose may tell you something different. Let’s just say floral, which again, no surprise, it says fleur right there in the title!

Snap! It applies beautifully. I do love a dry body oil, they feel so luxurious and sexy. The skin on my right forearm felt very soft for quite a long time.

Snap! Then, I cheated and used it after my shower, and this mitigates the snappiness of the judgement, but the oil applies really well to the dry bod, and I’m going to use it on the damp bod next time. The scent is not my style, so it’s gives my a bit of a headache — I prefer darker, woodsier fragrance — but the resulting soft skin is worth it.

It also says you can use it on your hair. Hmmm…

Roger & Gallet Huile Embellissante in Fleur d’Osmanthus, 100mls €26.50

Snap Judgements*: Springing into Summer

19 Apr

Or ‘summer’ as we generally call it in these parts. No! Let’s be more positive than that! We are springing into SUMMER here in Ireland, yeah!!! Let’s fake it ’til we make it!

Ahem. Snap Judgements is the way that you, the reader, can experience what it’s like to be a beauty journo when the stuff starts piling up on the desk. I’m going to give my instantaneous responses to a variety of products, and over time we’ll see if I was too hasty or dead on target.

Let’s begin… Continue reading


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