Men of the World. Y U No Smell This Good?

Posted by Lipglossiping On February - 14 - 2012

We all have definite ideas about the scents we like to surround ourselves with — be it the washing powder we use to clean our undies; the candles we light when we step through the door after work; or the bath oils we pour under a hot running tap at the end of the night.  When was the last time you chose a new shampoo in the supermarket before flipping up the lid and inhaling a quick whiff to make sure you shared the product’s olfactory persuasions?

But what about the people we share our lives with?  What control do we have over how they smell?!

It’s taken a long time to gently steer my husband away from the Umbro Aftershave of his early twenties and onto scents which don’t make me want to check behind his ears for dirt.  I sound like a fragrance nazi right?  I’m not… it’s not that he resisted either, he just didn’t have an opinion either way.  Over the past couple of years, he’s developed a greater understanding and passion for fragrance — and thankfully, we do share quite similar tastes — something which comes in very handy for sharing the cost of those more extravagant fragrance purchases.

On this day, St. Valentine’s Day — I thought I’d hand the reins over to my brilliant husband, who has picked out the fragrances from his collection that make us both swoon when he wears them.

YSL – M7 Oud Absolu | Molton Brown NTS – Rogart | Parfum d’Empire – Ambre Russe | Oscar de la Renta – Oscar for Men | Floris – Santal

I’m still an awful fragrance reviewer, I just don’t have enough words swirling around in my puny brain to conjure up enough ways to say “if this fragrance were a doughnut, you’d consume four of them in one sitting”.  Although, I’ll never get better if I don’t try, so – in our own bumbled together manner… (at least I’ve got someone else to blame)

Yves Saint Laurent: M7 Oud Absolu (£58.00) *

As part of the reworked YSL Heritage Collection which celebrates half a century of expert perfume creation, the brand have released a reworked version of M7 which first came to the public nose in 2002 under the direction of one Mr. Tom Ford.  From such an agent provocateur, you’d expect to experience something special and you won’t be disappointed with this fragrance, which despite the reformulation is described as the climax of male sexuality1.  M7 is a deeply smoky scent with notes of myrrh, french labdanum, patchouli and a resonating woody, almost leathery oud accord.  There’s a medicinal hint that lingers through the dry-down which we both find comforting.  It’s not sharp but resinous and syrupy, like a cough drop.  M7 is a fragrance for the night, of the night.  If Serge Gainsbourg were to walk in behind me right now, this is the smell I’d catch (and hold onto) as he passed.  An intensely sexy, dark scent.

1 yslbeauty.co.uk

 Molton Brown Navigations Through Scent: Rogart (£60.00)

If you prefer to scent your senses with a touch of the gourmand, you may be interested in Rogart’s unusual but profoundly delicious note more usually found on your pancakes than in your perfume: maple syrup.  The tasty fragrance from Jennifer Jambon opens with a bracing blend of juniper berries and fir balsam which gives it that ‘great outdoors’ feel and indeed it should, as it draws its inspiration from the Cobequid Mountains of Canada.  All this freshness contrasts wonderfully as it warms on the skin and develops a hint of campfire, resinous wood and that sweet, mouthwatering maple.  Jointly, we’ve purchased nearly all of the releases in the Navigations Through Scent collection but Rogart firmly remains my husband’s favourite.

Parfum d’Empire: Ambre Russe (£84.50)

Not sure we’ll ever fall out of love with the majestic, imperial notes contained within Parfum d’Empire’s exquisite nod to Tsarist Russia.  It’s all here: vodka, champagne, tea, leather, amber and incense.  It’s like the party you know will conclude with most of its guests going home in a meat wagon before sunrise.  It’s raucously obnoxious and it knows it.  It wants you to know it too and you can’t help but admire Ambre Russe for it’s audacity to even exist.  It manages to be simultaneously effervescent (that’ll be the champagne hic!) and creamy, with the boozy amber trumping all else.  If you like dark, oriental fragrances, consider this a contender for the big daddy – shy, delicate noses need not apply.

Oscar de la Renta: Oscar for Men (£45.00)

We fought a little over the inclusion of this… I wanted to place Bvlgari Black above this one but Mr. L triumphed by making me a cup of tea and pointing out that, for once, he was entitled to call first dibs.  Oscar de la Renta’s Oscar for Men can be picked up online for as little as £17.00, which admittedly, ups the desirability stakes.  It’s a far sharper, more summery scent than the ones we’ve so far included – the top notes of bergamot, mandarin, and black pepper ensure that it prickles a little with a zestiness that makes you stand up and pay attention.  It has a floral heart that tempers the spiciness a little but if you’re a fan of the peppery notes of something like Marc Jacob’s Bang, you should enjoy this equally.  Oscar for Men trails with a suggestion of leather and vanilla which further smoothes the pepper without ever fully quietening it.  A spicy serenade that wears well in warmer months thanks to it’s sparkling opening.

Floris London: Santal (£69.00) *

As is my prerogative, I’m a woman of many contradictions.  Sometimes, I will eschew the feral, growling sensibilities of something like M7 (though never Serge) and want the man in my life to appeal as much to others as he does to me.  Floris Santal is the perfect scent to meet that need with its clean but never soapy existence.  Creamy sandalwood (and good sandalwood at that) gives Santal the most distinguished of edges in the overpopulated woody oriental category.  A hint of spiciness and musk keeps things warm and sensual whilst the crisp bergamot and trickles of lavender promote the balance beautifully and prevent this classic scent from ever feeling generic or old-fashioned.  Longevity is unparalled, displaying the kind of quality one would expect from a traditional British fragrance house like Floris.  I may have started with Serge Gainsbourg, but please… let me end with a young, freshly-shaven Paul Newman.  Rawr.

I’m feeling a tad hot under the collar now!  Happy Valentine’s Day you lovely lot.

Do you lust over leather or go crazy for classic cleanliness?  Do those animalic undertones bring out your wild side or perhaps you simply prefer a good old splash of Brut! 

Tell me, how do you like the men in your life to smell? (note: “of money” isn’t a valid answer!)

* press sample


Winter Warmers: The ultimate Cold Weather Fragrances!

Posted by Lipglossiping On November - 23 - 2011

If the Met Office is to be believed, we’re ‘in for it’ (technical description) this Winter, I hope so anyway… I’ve just bought some bargain sledges in anticipation of blizzard-y snow and icicle snots.

There are thankfully a billion things to make up for the fact that we’ll only achieve around 6 hours of sunshine from now until February — Pringles, Quality Streets, and Christmas episodes of Eastenders would feature heavily on my list, but another thing that melts my frozen heart are the Winter fragrances that I can splash on with abandon.

Here are my TOP FIVE Winter Perfumes to ward off the big chill…

1. L’Artisan Parfumeur: Tea for Two EdT (£78.00)

Black tea, honey and an aromatic smokiness that encourages deep, long sniffs with your nose buried in your sleeve.  Most of my perfumes are unisex because I’m developing expensive tastes and I find it much easier to justify my purchases when I remind Mr. L that we can *both* use them.  It’s not true of course, as I hide them behind my scarves in my wardrobe.

Tea for Two also contains a ginger note which doesn’t present itself very well on my skin.  I consider Tea for Two to be a less-sweet, slightly less boozy version of Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille.  Longevity is grand on this one but it wears close to my skin – all the better for sniffing yourself with.

2. La Prairie: Life Threads Gold EdP (£74.00 – currently £59.95 at Cheap Smells) *

La Prairie’s Life Threads Gold is a force to be reckoned with thanks to its retro leanings and powerful floriental heart.  If you like people to smell you before they see you, this one could have your name written all over it.  Notes include (are you ready?): Plum, clove, tangerine, pepper, cinnamon, corriander, rose, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, vanilla, musk, golden myrrh and precious woods.

It’s as unapologetic as it is striking – go big or go home.  Perfect for the cold weather.

I implore you to go sniff this one out – as a girly/womanly type fragrance, it’s hard to beat.  I cut my teeth on Hypnotic Poison and it harks back to all I loved about that fragrance, but this one feels like it’s for grown ups.

3. Fendi: Fan di Fendi EdP (£39.50) *

The majority of my Winter fragrant love affairs evoke a smoke, leather and amber accord that carries me away to warmer, more exotic climes.  Fan di Fendi is a kitten by comparison, rendering it very work-appropriate whilst still containing a hint to my usual leanings.

The leather base is apparent though not rough-and-ready, as if struggling to make up its mind between dominatrix and classy handbag lady.  I detect a twist of the Mediterannean thanks to a freshness from some fruity notes which include tangerine.  Silage is decent, particularly when those initial top fruity/floral notes present but it quickly calms down into a calmer experience.

4. Bottega Veneta: Bottega Veneta EdP (£42.00) *

Elegance and sophistication with a clean, smooth leather that evokes the joy of sniffing luxury leather accessories.  And so it should, coming from Bottega Veneta — purveyors of luxury handbags.  A quiet soul of a scent, work appropriate without losing the edge that sets it apart from the competition.

The leather is gentle, almost suede-like with an initial hit of citrus to remind you of its Italian heart.  It’s most similar to the Fendi but with an altogether more sophisticated personality.  It doesn’t try hard, it doesn’t have to — it’s like that girl you know who manages to ooze grace without even knowing it.

5. Parfums d’Empire: Ambre Russe (£84.50)

Perhaps the ultimate in decadence, a king of a fragrance with a boozy, amber accord that transcends all earthly dimensions.  A little goes a long way and will leave those in your company searching the room for the source of this scent that offers up a kindly lesson in “how the hell to smell amazing”.

You can’t read anything about this scent without the mentions of Tsarist Russia and that’s because you can’t wear this scent without being transported to one of those onion-domed churches, incense burning while the blizzard roars outside.  Throw in a booziness that would make vodka-loving Russians (stereotype much?) blush and you’re getting close to the experience that wearing this powerhouse offers.

.

What are your favourite scents to get you through the cold Winter ahead?

* press samples

 

Allons enfants de la Patrie…

Posted by Lipglossiping On July - 14 - 2011

…Le jour de gloire est arrivé!

I have strong connections to our neighbours over the other side of the English Channel and I’m not just talking about my love for Steak Frites!  I spent every Summer, the entire 6 week school holidays practicing my rubbish French and playing with the local kids not too far from La Rochelle.  My parents still visit for a few months every Summer and still try to drag me over there for family holidays fifteen years later!

It’s been a good few years since I visited for longer than a day trip, I think the overkill when I was a child/teenager may have put me off a little but the country will always hold a special place in my heart.

So, in honour of Bastille day and the fact that ordinarily (were it not ‘weigh in day’) I would be stuffing my face with Brioche and Pain au Raisin to mark the occasion, I’m gonna pay tribute to some awesome and lesser-known French brands that you ought to know more about!

1.  Darphin – Hailing from Paris, Darphin is a professional, botanical skincare line that takes a more holistic approach.  Priding itself on its aromatic, plant-based formulas, the latest addition to the line: Melaperfect* is an Anti-Dark Spot Perfecting Treatment designed for skin with hyper pigmentation.

2.  Rouge Baiser – This French drugstore brand is best known for creating the first ‘kiss-proof’ lipstick in 1927.  I own #405 L’Authentique… isn’t the packaging to die for?

3.  Nuxe – Born out of a small laboratory in Paris, Nuxe is now one of the best-selling brands in pharmacies today.  Another brand firmly based in natural origins, their dry oils have a global fan-base.  Apply a few spritzes to your skin, face, hair… anything that could do with a gentle golden shimmer!  The Huile Prodigieuse Or* is an iconic holiday essential.

4.  Payot – Created in 1927, this Parisian (I’m sensing a theme) Spa brand offers a huge range of products and spa treatments.  The philosophy of the brand is also heavily invested in massage techniques and facial exercises, practically pioneering beauty rituals that are still used in spas today.  The Payot Lift-Performance Firming Remodelling Care has been put to work on my (many) wobbly bits in the hope of some remodelling of my own!

5.  Caudalie – Born from French vineyards, the philosophy behind the brand is based in the anti-oxidant properties of the grape and the grapevine polyphenols.  The Caudalie Beauty Elixir promises to tighten pores and provides an instant burst of radiance to the skin.  I’m a long-term fan of the Grape Water spritz as an alternative to my Avene in hot weather so I’m looking forward to seeing if I can achieve any ooh la la miracles with the power of wine grape.

6.  T. LeClerc – The T. LeClerc line is steeped in heritage and prestige, best known for the iconic T. LeClerc powders in various correcting shades.  One day, I will get my hands on Banane but as things stand, I will make do with my blush and lipstick in all their beautifully packaged glory!

7.  Bioderma – You can’t enter a French pharmacie without being greeted by the same staple lines: Avene, Vichy, Bioderma, La Roche Posay and Biotherm to name just a few.  Of course most people know about the Bioderma Crealine H2O by now but the brand make some other lovely products too!  Bioderma Sebium Foaming Gel is a gently foaming wash for combination skin that doesn’t strip my face of moisture.  I’m getting my Pharmacie dealer (a.k.a Mum) to bring me back some more Pharmacie goodies this Autumn!

8.  Parfums D’Empire – My most expensive perfume purchase to date is Ambre Russe from Parisian fragrance house, Parfums D’Empire.  The most decadent combination of rum (though I think I’m supposed to smell vodka), amber, leather, tobacco and tea that catapults you straight into the grand corridors of an imperial Russian palace of yesteryear.  It’s completely over the top and a love it or hate it scent.  Can you tell I love it?  Love.  It.  Next on my list is Cuir Ottoman… just as delightful.

.

What are your favourite French brands in honour of Bastille Day?

* press samples

RANDOM

Berry Lips with Aveda Winterberry

They say that old age doesn’t come on its own but I’d like to add pregnancy to that adage.  I mean, apart from stating the …

Eyeko - Lilac Nail Polish NOTD

I love this shade, it’s sweet without being overly sickly.  It’s pastel without being pappy. 3 coats.  The formula is a little uneven and prone …

We have a winner: Wet N Wild Color Icon Trio Giveaway....

…and the winner of the FIVE lovely Wet n’ Wild palettes is…. Nargis! Congratulations!  Please get in touch with your postal details and I’ll get …

The bareMinerals Skincare Tour

bareMinerals will be touring the country this September in their rather cute skincare van! Celebrating the nationwide launch of bareMinerals skincare, the brand are inviting …

Barielle – Cowl of the Wild

It’s the last one!  That’s it!  You’ve seen all 6 of the new Barielle Style in Argyle polishes from the Autumn/Winter collection that I was …

Coral for Autumn? New CID encourages summer to linger!

If matte orange lips for Spring isn’t your kinda thing… how about some coral for Autumn? These new inclusions from New CID Cosmetics… I could …

Pick your own!

I haven’t been strawberry picking since I was a small child, no doubt eating far more as I went along than ever made it into …

Quick MUA at Superdrug Update...

I hear that the new Superdrug MUA £1 range *should* be landing in around 80 of Superdrug’s brick and mortar stores on Thursday, I’m not …

Advent Giveaway Update

If your name is listed below, please get in touch with your postal details so that I can get your prize sent to you! 17th: …

Butter London Spring/Summer 2011 Collection

Butter London say: Straight from the Fashion Week runways, the butter LONDON Spring/Summer 2011 Collection was inspired by the many colourful “impressionist” style prints that …

POPULAR

CLOSED: Competition Time: Givenchy Very Irresistible L'eau en Rose Perfume!

Want to really spoil Mum this Mother’s Day?  Or perhaps you just want to spoil yourself?  It’s ok… I won’t judge… there are plenty of …

CLOSED - Win it! The Body Shop Expert Brush Collection

I don’t know about you, but I woke up this morning with a distinct “Hello Monday morning, I’ve been expecting you…” kinda feeling.  Maybe it’s …

Win a gorgeous "glow" trio with prizes from Urban Decay, New CID, & Arbonne!

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED! WINNER IS: “IZABELLA” (COMMENT #96045) – WINNER HAS BEEN EMAILED!   It’s still January, the MET office have just issued yet another …

Hello? Is this thing on?

Phew, that was a little unexpected. For those of you who haven’t had the misfortune of reading my hand-wringing tweets and woe-ridden facebook updates, let …

Big savings on French Pharmacy brands, win my Escentual.com top picks!

I’m of the firm opinion that for the money, French pharmacy brands offer some of the best solutions for diffcult skin-types. Escentual.com have long been …

Win it! 3 EcoTools Bamboo Bronzer Brushes to win!

I’ve written about these before, you know I love them, I want you to love them too! So why not have a go at winning …

FOTD Busting out of the comfort zone!

You may recall my bitter moans last week about how when presented with a rare opportunity to spend an indecent amount of time playing with …

Dear Obesity...

We have been together for over 20 years, our lives so entwined that I’ve never been sure how to live without you.  I would like …

Urban Decay The Black Palette - Photos & Swatches

The soon-to-be-released Black Palette from US eyeshadow maestro’s Urban Decay is an altogether darker affair than the recent Naked set… The Black Palette includes 6, …

Avoid the brush off with Oral-B Pro-Expert

There’s a new toothpaste in town. It’s lean, mean and err not very minty as it happens.  Featuring the revolutionary bacteria-busting ingredient Stabilised Stannous Flouride, …

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Admin

  • Ads