Friday, 22 August 2014

Scent Shopping In Knutsford At Pulse Of Perfumery & The Discovery Of Lubin

This week I had the joy of spending some time with fume retailer Peter Murray at Pulse Of Perfumery, an independent scent shop in Knutsford. For my International readers I must explain that Britain is sadly lacking in independent scent shops, having just a small handful outside of London and (I think) only three very much spread out over the North of England.
Knutsford is a great example of ‘ye olde England’, a teeny historic town in the heart of Cheshire, dripping with wealth, yummie mummies and day trippers. An ideal spot to launch a shop that sells luxury items. This seams to be a commonality as the other two are in Lytham St Annes and York, both towns of a similar nature.

Pulse Of Perfumery has been a great success, launched during Britain’s financial recession, it could have easily been boarded up six months into it’s life. A quirky shop in a small town is a dangerous investment these days. There are several reasons why I think it thrived.

Firstly, range. The lines are a mix of the classic (such as Chanel, Acqua di Parma, Hermes), the contemporary designers (Tom Ford, Jimmy Choo, Narciso Rodrigues and the like) and Niche (Bois 1920, Serge Lutens, Lubin, Grossmith and Atkinsons). Breadth has allowed for a wide spectrum of tastes and aspirations to be catered for.

I arrived purposefully early to get some time with Peter before the lunchtime rush. With just a few early morning customers, I had the opportunity to eavesdrop on some sales. The first was what could only be described as a ‘hit and run’. As we were chatting over some smelling strips, a lady hurried in, muttering the words Chanel No. 5. Nothing else, no hello and certainly no stolen glances at the marvellous wares on display. Peter wrapped, bagged and swiped at record speed and the woman was gone. The entire purchase took about 60 seconds. I’ve never seen a bigger contrast in shopping style to my own, I can only imagine she was parked on double yellow lines.

It’s a shame she hurried because she missed out on reason number two that the shop thrives – Peter. The man is a true scent lover who believes in the value of lingering with testers and handing out samples. Shopper number two had called in previously to buy a fragrance (I think it was for her daughter or niece). Instead of hammering a sale, he’d sent her away with samples to be tested, allowing the purchase to be of choice rather than a quick buck for his till. This lady returned to buy the chosen one, a contemporary designer brand, and then came to join me in my ‘Lubin swoon area’ where the three of us had a thoroughly lovely time sniffing from the decadently opulent bottles. I could tell in that instance that she’d be back to buy something spectacular for herself.

Personality and passion is crucial in scent retail, I’m sure we’ve all endured the bored type Sales Assistant bereft of any real passion.  Peter reminded me of the wonderful ladies at Manchester’s House of Fraser, who instead of employing teenagers, chose to staff their perfumery with Assistants old enough to have experienced a few decades of great perfumery. My favourite Assistant is an uber glamourous blonde with scarlet lips who personally wears Estee Lauder’s classic leather chypre – Azuree. I can tell her in a meagre few words what atmosphere or concept I’m hoping to write about and she’ll find exactly the right scent for me to sample. She knows and she cares.

Peter also ‘knows’. Whilst playing with the bottles he gave me a whiff of a very popular niche perfume that I won’t name, then followed it with a vastly superior scent that shared some similarities allowing me to compare. I was wowed at the complexity of the second, the recent release by Van Cleef and Arpels – Collection Extraordinaire Precious Oud. Now you know I don’t really ‘do’ oud but this one used it’s precious wood with subtlety, allowing it to dress a composition of incense and white floral notes. Somehow I was smelling an olfactory utopia that was rich with oud and tuberose that didn’t made me gag, in fact it made me sigh wistfully.

Double swoon..

The grandest discovery of my morning lay in the introduction to the scents of the historic French brand, Lubin. I’m going to cover a couple of these in a future article so I won’t babble on about them here, but with limited shelf space in the tiny shop, I can see exactly why he selected this brand for his niche chosen few.

Peter's prized vintage possession, brought down from the mysterious 'upstairs'.

Amongst the online community, we tend to be bargain hunters who rarely pay ‘shop price’ for our scents. Rather cheekily, we tend to browse the shops to gain our sniff and then wait for a discount online or a slightly used Ebay bargain. We are different from the average shopper in that our collections are often incongruent to our personal wealth. Average folk with millionaire scent cupboards. However, I think there is still worth in spending some time (and moolah) in an independent real world shop. If only for the fact that the small stock selection has been ‘curated’ by somebody who actually cares about what he’s selling. And if it costs you full price at least you’ll walk away with a pretty bag stuffed full of samples!

Readers, where in the world are your favourite scent shops? Do you have a fabulous dusty rummager full of discontinued gems, or a palace of contemporary creation? Do share your stories in the comments section or over at:

You can also ‘subscribe by email’ using the link on the left hand side, ensuring that you never miss a post of fragrant waffle. 

Contact details for POP: 25 Princess Street • Knutsford • Cheshire • WA16 6BW • 01565 755650

Friday, 15 August 2014

Review: Guerlain - Idylle, And Why We Should Stop Wasser-Bashing

Consider Idylle, presuming that numerous Odiferess readers are Guerlain devotees, how many of you actually know what it smells like or own a bottle?

Some time ago I chatted to a Sales Assistant in Selfridges who used to work for Guerlain. We were occupied sniffing niche roses together when she announced that she thought there were none comparable to the beauty of Idylle. Somehow I’d never smelt it despite about 20% of my wardrobe being composed of Guerlain scents.

Why do we ignore this scent?

It could be due to the phenomenon of Wasser-bashing. When Thiery Wasser succeeded Jean Paul Guerlain as In-House Perfumer at Guerlain, he embraced on the terrifying prospect of directing the output of the world’s most revered historic fragrance house. How do you possibly create the next Shalimar, Jicky, Mitsouko or L’Heure Bleue, the fragrances that signify the archetype in a market of stereotypical genre replications and adaptations? Add to this the 1990s acquisition of the brand by LMVH (Luis Vuitton Moet Hennessy) that I suspect necessitated a whopping great output of scents, and we have a very pressurised career. I can’t imagine that LMVH would relish a potentially uncommercial quirky scent that might be a flop, potentially meaning that the innovation of the avante-guarde in line with scents such as Vol De Nuit or Apres L’ Ondee would be undesirable unless marketed as an ‘exclusif’ and priced up accordingly.

Wasser perfects the sniff and pout technique

And then tells someone to do something expressively..

That said, Wasser created a superbly quirky scent in his Acqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea. The name possesses connotations of fairies, watercolour washes and girly stuff, not very appealing to me, the owner of a pair of Doc Martens and a tool box. But the scent! Oh my.. this is a gargantuan wodge of hardcore feral floral sex, perhaps as stonkingly indolic as Fracas (Robert Piguet) or Tuberuese Criminelle (Serge Lutens). I did not expect to be challenged to my floral limit by a scent containing the word Nymph. Wearing it requires one of those ‘safe’ words used by people who practice S&M. I’ve reached my boundary, I need out!

He’s clearly not sitting on the ‘safe’ bench, despite the restrictions of the parent company.
I admit to having developed a whopping great crush on Monsieur Wasser. It’s partly because of his voice, Swiss born, his accented French has a peculiar sweetness a little like when Bjork speaks English with a haywire intonation. Add to this that he looks damn fine in a well cut suit and we have an enigmatic handsome man.

I’m waffling.

Back to my point. Idylle is an exercise in elegance and simplicity. Released at a time when the perfume world was churning out increasingly lurid exercises in fruity patchoulis, and amber orientals were rising to niche domination, Idylle quietly arrived shouting not very much at all.

For his first large mainstream release within Guerlain, Wasser chose to encompass the history of French perfumery in a bottle. There was however no nod to the Guerlain house style, no powdery iris, no tonka bean and vanilla sweetness, simply the great ‘trilogy’ of Frenchness – rose, jasmine and lily of the valley. With just a little patchouli and musk to earth the composition, Idylle is a thoroughly minimalist chypre.

Of course, in the employ of Guerlain, Wasser could draw on the finest ingredients. Heady Bulgarian roses hand picked at dawn and (in a later ‘Duet’ Flanker) an unusually fruity jasmine sourced from a resurrected plantation in Calabria, meant that simple could be exquisite.
Wasser checks out the rose crop (during my fantasy holiday)

The first appearance of Idylle took the form of an EDP which was followed a year later by an EDT, my favourite of the two formulations. Whilst the EDP possesses the greatest depth of grand patchouli rose, the EDT’s top notes radiate an almighty great whoosh of lilac and lily of the valley. It does not last very long, but that gives me an excuse to spray repeatedly, relishing my hit of intense green florality. Both share a similar heart with the Bulgarian rose sitting majestically dominant. And that’s all it is. Essentially a very good floral chypre with no ringing bells or dancing bears.

As perfume lovers we often yearn to smell the unique, that which smells unlike any other fragrance we’ve encountered before. Idylle doesn’t offer this experience, perhaps that’s why it lacks a vocal following amongst the online perfume community? What it does do however, is present a recognisably ‘French’ composition, an exercise in how to convert classical ingredients into an elegantly understated wonder. As the perfume industry churns out increasingly high numbers of new scents, with superstar perfumers ‘creating’ at record speed, there feels like nowhere else to go in terms of innovation. I am thankful that Monsieur Wasser rejected the notion of a ‘concept’ scent and pared his perfume back to a sumptuous simplicity.

If you would to know more about Wasser’s rise to Guerlain head-honcho (or just want to feast your eyes on him whilst glugging gin and crisps on the sofa), the BBC’s marvelous 3 part documentary on the perfume industry is still available on Youtube. If you input Guerlain + BBC + perfume you should find it.

Rose lovers might also find the following posts interesting:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Mitsouk-alikes: Grossmith - Golden Chypre, Acqua Di Parma - Profumo & Carven - Ma Griffe

I’m a devoted Mitsouko lover. I’m working my happy way through bottle number three following my first encounter with this rather snooty beauty about six years ago. I know Mitsouko will always reside in my perfume cupboard on the ‘often picked’ shelf, perhaps turning her nose up at the lesser loved bottles.

This is one lady's collection of Mitsouko bottles that she alone used up - I salute her

However, it’s possible to get bored smelling the same scent year after year, especially if you’re a promiscuous perfume lover. One way to shake up your Mitsouko addiction is simply to change formulation. I’m currently wearing the EDP which seems to have an increased florality in comparison to the EDT (the incitement of my adoration). Although all three formulations are awash with moss and cinnamon, the lilac and jasmine notes are more prominent in the EDP.

You could consider adopting an entirely new perfume that echoes the spirit of Mitsouko. My favourite Mitsoukalikes are Grossmith’s - Golden Chypre and Acqua Di Parma’s Profumo.
Acqua Di Parma’s Profumo is very similar to Mitsouko indeed. I’ve just reached for my sample to perform my comparison and to my terror, found it completely empty. So empty that in a thorough dismantle of forlorn plastic there is not even a ghost whiff remaining. However, from memory, a powdery iris/orris note was distinct, as was a milky ‘sucking a brazil nut’ sensation. I remember thinking that, although a beautiful composition, this was a very expensive alternative and probably a bit too close to Mitsouko to warrant the £100 difference in price.

Regular readers will know that I’m a champion of the cheapie. The prices of Creed, Tom Ford, Clive Christian and their fellow moollah shelf mates appall me when I consider how much their ingredients actually cost. A high-end perfume is highly unlikely to contain ingredients worth more than about £10. Occasionally, I’ll encounter brands that really are worth the investment. For me, that means that the perfume itself is exquisite and the bottle is an object of great desire that I’ll keep forever. One of these rare brands is Grossmith who I previously featured in this article. There is no bombastic marketing team behind Grossmith, just a small family firm who resurrected their historic brand to bring it back to lovers of bloomin great perfume.

One day I shall own this grand glass monolith

Grossmith’s Golden Chypre is a contemporary interpretation of the chypre. Alike Mitsouko, it shares an earthy, spicy and arid quality that typifies what we would expect within the genre.  Golden Chypre has done the impossible act of IFRA imposed modernity– replaced oakmoss with patchouli and created a perfume that does not smell of patchouli! It’s essentially an orange juice chypre, which sounds vile, but is extraordinarily lovely. The opening is ripe with orange zest, not at all sugary sweet, but distinctively perky. This awards it an optimistic quality, unusual for the earthy chypres that tend to feel somewhat Greta Garbo in their understated moodiness. 

Greta, chypre personified

It takes about an hour for the orange vibe to diminish, at which stage it develops the complex composition of a Mitsoukalike. A faint powdery floral, a whisper of sun baked hay, a deep forest floor soiliness and hint of nutmeg spice. As I sniff at my competing arms, Golden Chypre reeks of subtlety and (dare I say it?) smells more intellectual than Mitsouko. Less dense, less obvious and intensely shape-shifting. There is a marked difference between beginning and end. It’s only drawback is that it doesn’t provide the enormous trail of Mitsouko, it sits much closer to the skin doing it’s own complicated thing in quiet motion. Although very similar at the drydown stage, Golden Chypre retains a clear personality of it’s own. For that reason, I’d definitely consider this an admirable alternative to Mitsouko, even with the significant leap in price.

My final contender is Carven’s classic chypre - Ma Griffe. This one smells the least like Mitsouko but ‘feels like’ her. I’d wear Ma Griffe in a similar mood to that which finds me reaching for Mitsy. Carven re-bottled and upped the price significantly, what was once a reasonably low priced drugstore perfume has been poshed up with no major difference other than a pretty bottle. I’d go and test it in Debenhams then buy the cheaper old bottle whilst there are still plenty available online.

Ma Griffe is a ‘feral yet soapy’ chypre. Oddly it carries a slightly urine whiff, not the almighty outright wee smell of MFK’s Absolu Pour Le Soir, more a kind of ‘freshly cleaned loo’ with a bit of wee - wee plus a pleasingly scented disinfectant. I’m not trying to put you off here, it really is a very good scent indeed. On top of Ma Griffe’s abundant earthy moss, there is a bright green astringency and a soapy aldehydic vibrancy. It is famous for it’s gardenia note, a recently revived floral trend. Despite it’s 1940s heritage, it feels surprisingly modern. Don’t buy this thinking it will smell like Mitsouko. It’s only very vaguely similar. But do hunt it down if, alike myself, you enjoy some quirk and sparkling greenery with your moss.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the Mitsoukalikes. Do you agree or disagree with my comparisons or have you discovered one of your own?

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Regine Chassagne - Kaleidoscopic Woman, What Should She Smell Like?

 Regine Chassagne

Whilst watching the Glastonbury Festival on TV the other week, I was overwhelmed by just how much I adore Arcade Fire’s wobbly voiced soprano songstrel – Regine Chassagne. I’ve enthusiastically followed Arcade Fire’s art school indie style output for many years, but with the launch of the ‘Reflektor’ album they seemed to have morphed into a kind of ‘cyber rave orchestral noise spectacular’ of the kind that excites me the point of thinking “They are better than the Pixies”. Which is my measuring stick for how good a band is.

Watching the extraordinary Regine’s performance this year was an utter delight. She is simultaneously; charming, coquettish, exuberant, luminous and technicolour. Her voice possesses a beautiful flaw where amongst the high soprano peaks, cracks and creaks occur, perfection is boring. She isn’t.

I’ve always been inspired by these type of ‘women of colour’. Those who character (both in personality and visual appearance) radiates an uncontrollably vivid exuberance. As Regine whirls around the stage twirling coloured ribbons in the manner of an Olympic gymnast on amphetamines, I see a history of equally technicolour women of pop. There is no doubt that Regine must cherish Cyndi Lauper who shares a similarly squeaky voice and love of ‘dressing-up box’ clothes. 

The eighties also produced some fine ‘men of colour’. Remember the video for pointy faced love god – Paul King’s ‘Love and Pride’? It had all the elements of essential 80s pop played out in a sun parched quarry where Paul danced like Elvis wearing an amazingly green suit. To amplify the colour, many leather jacketed children ran amok spray painting each others Doc Marten boots whilst graphic splatters of animated paint popped across the screen in time to the drum beat. Ahhhh.. the eighties.

Gorgeous and brilliant - King

I wonder what perfume might Regine wear? Arcade Fire present a psychedelic super charged extravaganza of light on their stage. Neon paint daubed onto their costumes and much (terrible fire hazard) metallic, fringed and futuristic lycra abounds. Lead singer, and Regine’s husband – Win Butler rejects the archetypal pair of shades for a ‘pair of shades theatrical make-up’ rendering him somewhat sinister and beautiful in equal measures. There is nothing natural about Arcade Fire. They exist in a futuristic and synthetic world where electric chaos reigns. With this in mind, I can only imagine any of them wearing a symbol of the future, an aromachemical, a very artificial one. The obvious choices where I to present Regine with a perfume would be:

Lalique - Perles De Lalique.  Whilst patchouli usually contributes a warm, earthy and damply sweet quality to a perfume, in Perles De Lalique it’s rocketed skywards by shockingly huge dose of space-age wood replicant – ISO E Super. Add to this a rather piecing rose and you have something that is (on the negative side) migraine inducing and (more positively) a uniquely bright and fizzy experiment in NASA-esque perfumery. I own a bottle. I wear it now and again. I love it but it makes me feel shouty.


Tauer Perfumes – Noontide Petals. A rather ‘un-Tauery’ Tauer, Noontide Petals was inspired by the modernity of the 1920s and 30s, a time of air travel, fast cars and girls embracing the art of acting like boys. In perfume terms, this means aldehydes, those sparkling chemicals brimming with vivacity that brought an oddly chilly, metallic and genderless edge to the blousy compositions of an earlier era. If you haven’t smelt Chanel No 5 or Baghari for a while, sniff them out and ponder how strangely contemporary they feel. Noontide petals mixes Aldehydes with a whole caboodle of woody and floral notes but it still feels primarily aldehydic and as such makes me think of Clara Bow smoking a fag in manly pants whilst winking through a bit of untamed frizzy red fringe. In her time, as visually Bonkers as Regine or Cyndi. 

As for Cyndi, a fruit bowl would match her kaleidoscopic style. Byredo's vegetal overdose 'Pulp' is a possible choice. It polarises opinion, a love or hate scent where fans cite it as the greatest indie adventure in fruit of all time and others state that it recalls 'bin juice', a literal pulping of rotting vegetation leaking from the bin bag. Whichever side you take, it's certainly vivid, shocking and eccentric - perfect for Cyndi.  

 Tropical fruit warrior 

And lastly, little know Malcolm McLaren punk-pop invention - Bow Wow Wow. If you haven't heard it PLEASE watch 'Go Wild In The Country' on Youtube. Singer Anabella Lwin was just 14 when McLaren discovered her. She was immediately famous, if only for a brief time, shouting her angry lyrics over the tribal drum beats of the band in a combustive and rather glamourous wallop of noise. Fond of block coloured batwing jumpers, flappy bits of fabric worn in tribal headband style (another influence on Regine?) and bejeweled animal prints, Anabella is the ideal wearer of Kenzo's 'Jungle L' Elephant'. A curiously (or furiously) cumin fueled riot of mango rich spiced oriental decadence.

Anabella Lwin

If you've enjoyed this post, you may wish to read some other music related perfume waffle by clicking here:

On Olfactive Studio - Chambre Noire and Adam and The Ants

On Jovoy -  Psychedelique and Nico and The Velvet Undergound

On Byredo - Flowerhead and The Gossip's Beth Ditto

And for those of you who didn't see it. Here is the beautiful Regine singing Sprawl II (squeakily) live at glastonbury. Enjoy.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Review: Nobile 1942 - Infinito, Sun Warmed Wood For Late Night Dancing

In recent months I’ve been drenching myself in citrus scents, revelling in the joy that is a great big spritz over lethargic hot skin. In fact, the delight of the citrus cologne is one of my favourite aspects of summer, so much so that I will heave my enormous bottle of Guerlain’s Eau Imperiale around in my work bag all day, just for the simple pleasure of admiring the bee festooned vessel as I reach for my next immersion.

By evening however, I’m hankering after a richer scent, seeking out a heady and stinking white floral or a syrupy oriental to add a sense of occasion to the decadent atmosphere of summer in the city. You cannot retire drunkenly late to your bed on a Tuesday night wearing lemons, it’s just not rock n roll.

Nobile 1942’s smoky spiced wood – Infinito, is most definitely rock n roll. It’s the elder, sexier (and much more dangerous) brother of Acqua di Parma’s Cipresso di Toscana. Whilst AdP’s Cypress refreshes and revives with notes of aromatic woods and herbs so clean that the scent feels like a vitamin shot, Infinito presents a night time cypress, dancing in the woods with boozed up blood and a sense of hedonism.

My first thought upon discovering Infinito was that it smelt similar to a fine single malt whisky, perhaps an ‘eau de Jura’, so steeped in dense peat and smoke that it could be sold as the official scent of the Scottish tourism board. It contains vetiver, a lot of it, which often reads as smoky grass. Nobile 1942 are known for their use of predominantly natural materials, which is clearly evident in their offerings.  Lovers of Chanel’s Sycomore would be mightily excited by the authentically intense vetiver in Infinito.

It is also cloaked in a great swathe of greenery. With oakmoss, cypress and cedar, there is a distinct forest vibe to be imagined. Whereas this can be a (beautifully) chilly combination, in Infinito there is a great warmth alike a forest being warmed under the sun. Ginger provides this heat, with an almost sweet quality, most unusual in a vanilla free whiff. In the many paintings of Van Gogh that feature the cypress tree, we see this coniferous icon baking under a harsh Provence sun. It’s a wonderful visual representation of the smell of Infinito, especially due to the burnt ochre and deep emerald green palette that seams so harmonious to scent that surrounds me as I write.

Van Gogh - landscape with Cypress trees

In the heart of the hills of North Yorkshire, a brilliantly debauched summer music festival takes place called Beatherder. Some years ago I danced here all night, weaving in and out of the trees in a haze of deep dark waves of bass heavy beats. Across the fields rode wisps of campfire carried on the breeze. Infinito reminds me of that forest, not just in the associated scent memory but also in it’s spirit. It’s grandly natural smell would merge beautifully with the genuine whiff of humans, never smelt more clearly than at a festival where showers and cleanliness are replaced by dancing, hedonism and a sense of tribal unity. Humans are no longer the sanitised polite folk of daily life here, we regress into beasts enthused by the emotion of a truly euphoric sound. I’m not suggesting that I’d like us to return to the stinking bodies of long ago, but if Infinito were layered over the natural secretions of the camping and dancing body, it would smell damn fine.

Dancing in the forest at Beatherder

If you enjoyed this article you might like to read about Nobile 1942’s citrus themed Vespri series by clicking here.
Forest lovers can take a peak at related posts about Serge Lutens - Fille En Aiguilles and The Vagabond Prince – Enchanted Forest by clicking here. Those who like their forests filled with witches can get spooked out with Ormonde Jayne – Ormonde Woman, here.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Yves Rocher Sample Giveaway Winner

Apologies for the slightly tardy announcement of the winner of the Yves Rocher Yria and Voile D' Ambre samples.

Congratulations to Margaret Anderson!

Thank you to those who joined in the killer cheapy discussion by commenting here or over at There were a couple of good tips that I shall hunt down.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Yves Rocher - Yria, Another Killer Cheapy & A Reader's Giveaway

Once again I’m writing about an Yves Rocher scent in the context of ‘killer cheapy’. I really don’t know how this company continue to make a profit as they sell superb quality fragrances, full of natural botanical ingredients, all ethically sourced and produced without skanking anyone in a far off land.

And they smell great.

One of the 55 hectares of fields farmed by Yves Rocher in France

The curious thing is that when you sign up to their website and start ordering, you receive increasingly tempting emails with offers that you cannot ignore. The more you order, the better the offers become. A few days ago, I received an email telling me that I could have ANYTHING free if I spent £15 on other products. Predictably, I went straight on to the website and put one of my favourite Yves Rocher scents (the dry incense and resinous oriental - Voile D’ Ambre) into the web-basket (value £49) and then added £15 worth of toiletries to make up the order. I’m going to buy shower gel and body lotions anyway so this basically means I have a free bottle of very pleasing perfume. I already have a nearly full bottle so this one can live under the bed in the fume crèche until the inevitable discontinuation occurs as seems to happen frequently.

My mum has a kitchen cupboard that I call her ‘nuclear winter’ cupboard. This is stocked with an endless supply of cans of Ambrosia Devon Custard. The excessive amount of custard is due to the fact she bulk buys it when it’s on offer at Morrison’s. She consumes it with wild abandon. She is a custard tart.

Should a nuclear crisis occur in Manchester, I shall be perfuming the contaminated shower water supply with my abundant collection of Yves Rocher’s almond and lily of the valley scented delights until my limbs begin to drop off or I mutate into a zombie.

I’m waffling. It’s because I’m always a bit overwhelmed in the face of a massive scrimping bargain.

Yria is sumptuous oriental/chypre hybrid. Not, as Fragrantica have labeled it, a fruity floral. It has an eighties shoulder pad feeling in similarity to classics such as Dior’s Dune or Guerlain’s Samsara. 
Yria would suit Joan Collins, vamp queen of the shoulder pad

Most importantly for me, it has a defined structure that begins and ends with entirely different notes. As you will know by now, I’m a pyramid lover who grows terrifically bored of fragrances that smell the same all the way through their wear. This is how it journeys on my skin:

It opens with an opulent combination of coriander and bergamot. These notes usually read as sparkling, fresh and vibrant but in Yria they have an unusually ‘oozy’ quality with a surprising depth. Don’t expect to be enlivened by the first spray, this is the heady whiff of drowsily sensual perfumery. They sit upon a cushion of creamy white floral notes (particularly noticeable as a gardenia/jasmine duet). The rose and lily of the valley notes are however not really discernable. This white florality is balanced with yet more ooziness from a base of sandalwood, tonka bean, labdanum, patchouli and vanilla, which deliver a traditional heady oriental sensation. Towards the end of it’s (lengthy) wear it reduces to an authentic vanilla that thankfully doesn’t make your teeth ache with cloying sugar.

Grown up glamour

It’s a rather unique fragrance but it does share a slight similarity to both the original Dior Addict and to the much-missed Midnight Poison (minus the rosy aspect). Most certainly a ‘grown-up’ scent that is distinctly more adult vamp than flirtatious teenager.
I paid £15 for my 50 ml bottle, a reduction from the rrp of £30.

Yves Rocher shops abound in mainland Europe. Here in the UK, you’ll have to risk a blind buy to join in the perfume fun. Fortunately, if you take advantage of the offers, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t like it. And of course, there is always Ebay for the mistakes. Here are my recommendations:

I love:
  • Secret D’ Essences Voile D’Ambre - dry, powdery, incense and resins, marketed as feminine but easily unisex.
  • Cedre Bleu - now discontinued, fabulous fresh cedar cologne if you can find it online, vile plastic blue bottle.
  • Secret D’ Essences Neroli – bargainous - read my review by clicking here
  • Muguet En Fleurs (Lily of The Valley on the UK website) – more of an eau fraiche than a perfume, a striking resemblance to Diorissimo but with a much lighter touch. Short lived but very pretty and natural.

I’m less impressed by:
  • Comme Une Evidence – a sharp chypre that sells in enormous quantities in France, I find it rather sour.

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I am giving away samples from my bottles of Yria and Voile D’ Ambre for a lucky reader to try. Sadly, only in the UK due to our daft postal laws. To enter, please leave a comment below or at the facebook page with your thoughts on ‘killer cheapies’. Closing date 30th June 2014.