Scent Sample Sunday: Zara Emotions by Jo Malone

Scent Sample Sunday: Zara Emotions by Jo Malone

I have been eagerly awaiting the US launch of Zara’s collection of fragrances, Emotions, in collaboration with perfumer Jo Malone. I love some of her fragrances under her own brand, Jo Loves, so I was curious to see what she came up with for Zara, well-known as a destination for budget-conscious shoppers. Zara has released many, many fragrances under its own name, some created by famous perfumers, such as Vibrant Leather, created by Jerome Epinette. The Emotions collection launched in Europe in late 2019, but it took another year to become available in the USA. Luckily, it arrived in time for the holidays, and I treated myself and one of my daughters each to the sample/discovery set. It costs $25.90.

The discovery set is a nice size: eight long, narrow vials of eau de parfum, each holding 4 ml of a different fragrance. The collection consists of: Amalfi Sunray, Bohemian Bluebells, Ebony Wood, Fleur de Patchouli, Fleur d’Oranger, Tubereuse Noir, Vetiver Pamplemousse, Waterlily Tea Dress. The vials are “dabbers”, not sprays. Each fragrance lists only three notes, and I think they would be ideal for layering, with each other or with other fragrances. In fact, the Zara website sells “layering sets” with various combinations of the collection’s fragrances, with one scent in a 15 ml “paintbrush” format and two more in 10 ml sprays. The sets offer some ideas for layering which I plan to try with my discovery set.

I would call these fragrances eminently likable. None are groundbreaking, but all are very pleasant. Predictably, given my affection for green fragrances, I like Waterlily Tea Dress a lot, with its notes of mint, bergamot, and musk. It is a soft green, softer than the galbanum-based heavy hitters I love. Less predictably, I also like Ebony Wood very much. It is a warm, woody/spicy unisex fragrance, very appealing in the current cool weather where I live. Fleur de Patchouli is fine, but it smells more generic to my nose; it might come alive more when layered with something else. In fact, I’ve read elsewhere that it layers very nicely with the Ebony Wood I like, and that is one of the combinations sold on the Zara website, so I’ll have to try them together.

I’m not a big fan of tuberose — I don’t hate it, but I have to be in the mood for it, and it can feel cloying to me after a while. So Tubereuse Noir won’t be at the top of my personal list, but if you do like tuberose, it’s a respectable one. Its other notes are listed as ylang-ylang and sandalwood, but I don’t pick up either of those. At the start, the tuberose smells quite synthetic to me and even a bit “chemical”, but that dies down pretty quickly. If you’re really searching for “noir”, this isn’t it. Similarly, Fleur d’Oranger is another white floral, and it starts out smelling a bit “chemical”, but that goes away quickly.

I quite like Bohemian Bluebells, but the name is misleading. This isn’t a bluebell fragrance or a spring floral at all; it is a lavender fragrance, its other notes listed as sandalwood and musk. The lavender is a bright, sprightly lavender, nothing musty or dry. It actually reminds me a bit of the very opening of Jicky eau de toilette, which I love. I could see spritzing Bohemian Bluebells at bedtime, which I sometimes do with my Jicky EDT because I find the lavender very peaceful. The lavender in Bohemian Bluebells warms up over time, which I think is the effect of some sandalwood and musk peeking through, though the lavender is still dominant.

Another surprise to me was how much I like Vetiver Pamplemousse, but then I remembered that I unexpectedly liked Jo Loves’ Pink Vetiver more than anticipated. The two are not similar other than the vetiver note both contain, but it’s a very pleasant vetiver and I like the combination with grapefruit. Amalfi Sunray is a fresh burst of citrus with a bit of orange flower; I prefer it to its sibling Fleur d’Oranger.

The Emotions collection of fragrances is well worth trying, at $25.90 for the discovery set. All the fragrances are available in other product formats, such as candles, lotion, shampoo, etc., and the EDP comes in various sizes, with separate sizes starting at 10 ml for $9.90. It would be interesting to try using some of the different products together, perhaps one of the lotions with one of the EDPs, especially given the reasonable price of the lotions ($12.90 for 200 ml). These certainly qualify as “bargain beauties”! I’m happy to see that the collaboration continues with the addition of new scents.

Have you tried any of the Emotions collection? What do you think?

Featured image from www.allure.com.

Gifts of the Three Magi: Frankly Frankincense — takeonethingoff.com

Each of the gifts of the three Magi carried a special symbolic meaning – gold representing kingship, myrrh foreshadowing the death of Jesus (myrrh being commonly used as an embalming and purifying ointment in the final sendoff of a soul), and finally, frankincense for divinity. 171 more words

Gifts of the Three Magi: Frankly Frankincense — takeonethingoff.com

Reposting this from a blog I like very much: Take One Thing Off. So many incense-based fragrances! I’ve tried some but not all — which ones have you tried? Any favorites?

Perfume Chat Room, December 11

Perfume Chat Room, December 11

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 11, and I am loving a fragrance I got earlier this year from House of Matriarch. It’s called Violet Flame and I pulled it out because of NST’s Community Project today, which is to wear a violet-forward scent. House of Matriarch is an independent, artisan perfumery with a focus on natural materials. Its fragrances have won awards, including a 2020 Art & Olfaction Award for Bonsai, and the ones I’ve tried quite special. I haven’t bought any full bottles because I have so many of their sample and travel sized sprays.

Have you tried any from this house? Or do you have a favorite violet-based fragrance? Are you ready for the holidays? And finally, Happy Hanukkah to all who celebrate it! (Yes, I know the featured image shows all the candles lit and that doesn’t happen yet, I just love the photo and the text).

Scent Sample Sunday: Clinique Wrappings

Scent Sample Sunday: Clinique Wrappings

Since we truly enter the holiday season this week, with Thanksgiving to be followed swiftly by Advent, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, today seems like as good a time as any to comment on Clinique’s Wrappings, which for many years was available only during the winter holidays at certain high-end stores. Nowadays you can buy it directly from the Clinique website (maybe they hide it after January?), although the copy describes it as “our once-a-year fragrance, here just for the holidays.” Regardless, Wrappings seems to have developed something of a cult status, although it is very reasonably priced, $47.00 for the gift set of a parfum spray and body lotion, and often marked down after Christmas (so don’t pay inflated prices on eBay).

Launched in 1990, Wrappings fits in well with a house whose most famous fragrance for many years was Aromatics Elixir. It is a gentler sibling, described on Fragrantica as a “floral aldehydic” fragrance. (I disagree with that characterization). Top notes are Green Notes, Aldehydes, Artemisia, Nutmeg Flower and Lavender; middle notes are Hyacinth, Orris Root, Cyclamen, Carnation, Rose and Jasmine; base notes are Oakmoss, Cedar, Sea Notes, Patchouli, Musk and Leather. Wrappings has a clean vibe to it that is well-suited to the decade of the 1990s, which embraced clean and aquatic fragrances. It is sold in parfum format, in a 25 ml bottle, often in a gift set with body lotion.

When I first spray it on my wrists, I smell a note that isn’t on the list above, something citrusy. It might be bergamot, because it isn’t sweet or fruity, and it blends in well with the green and herbal notes that also open this fragrance. I was relieved to read earlier reviews by Persolaise and MimiFrouFrou/The Scented Salamander, in which both commented on the citrusy note, confirming what my own nose was telling me! The reason I don’t agree with Fragrantica’s category is that when I read “floral aldehydic”, I think of scents like White Linen, or Chanel No. 22. And Wrappings is nothing like those. I can sense the aldehydes boosting the opening, giving it lift and sparkle, and a certain brisk chill, but they’re not as dominant as they are in, say, No. 22. The herbal notes are what linger throughout the opening stage, to my nose, especially the artemisia and lavender. Another commenter has called Wrappings a “feminine fougere”, and that sounds exactly right to me.

I barely smell any of the listed floral notes. If the flowers are there, they are not greenhouse-grown, luxuriously tended until they are gathered into bouquets for indoors. No, these are flowers of the Mediterranean growing wild in their natural habitats, wafting over grasses and herbs. And given how faint they are, and how well Wrappings suits late autumn, I would say that they are the last, brave blooms that show up sporadically throughout a sunny fall season, thriving in those cool nights and warm days until the first frost stops them in their tracks and sends them into dormancy.

Many commenters smell pine in Wrappings, but I don’t. I do smell a green woodiness in the middle stage; I don’t think it is the cedar, listed as a base note, it is probably the oakmoss, which continues through the drydown stage. There is an alluring mineral note in the drydown that I think comes from the “sea notes”. The musk that lingers longest at the end, with a hint of the oakmoss, is quite soft, and I don’t smell any patchouli or leather.

Wrappings lasts several hours on my skin, but it is quite faint after 7 hours or so. This seems to be a parfum concentration, per the label on the bottom of the bottle, so I don’t think it carries very far. The Scented Salamander’s review mentions that early advertising for Wrappings compared it to a chemise, slipped on over clean, bare skin, and I think that’s right. The current website says it “hugs skin in layers of warmth and brightness.”

Although I think “feminine fougere” is apt, this could certainly be worn by men. Have you tried Wrappings?

Easy spring outfit. Sarah Butler of @sarahchristine wearing Paige Sela Silk Slip Dress in Dream Blue in Seattle, Washington.

Featured images from SarahStylesSeattle.

Perfume Chat Room, October 2

Perfume Chat Room, October 2

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, October 2, and I am so late posting this! My apologies. As you may know, it has been a very weird day today in the United States. And I’ll just leave it at that. I didn’t wear a single scent today — I was swamped by work duties, and just forgot, if you can believe that. How about you? What did you wear today as we begin the month of October?

Perfume Chat Room, July 10

Perfume Chat Room, July 10

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 10, and we are going to the beach! Continue reading

Perfume Chat Room, July 3

Perfume Chat Room, July 3

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, July 3. Happy Fourth of July! Continue reading

Scent Sample Sunday: Shalimar Hair Perfume

Scent Sample Sunday: Shalimar Hair Perfume

I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled a bit with Shalimar when I ramped up my interest in fragrance and perfumes. It hadn’t previously been part of my repertoire or my late mother’s — her perfume classic of choice was Chanel No. 5But as I read more and more about perfume, so many writers and commenters waxed eloquent about Shalimar that I kept trying it when I was at any department store fragrance counter, where it was readily available in either eau de toilette or eau de parfum. Nope. It just didn’t click with me. I recognized its quality and its legendary status but it was too heavy, too sweet, too strong, too old-fashioned. Every single time.

Then I found Shalimar Eau de Cologne on sale for $24.99 at CVS, read the Fragrantica reviews of the eau de cologne on my smartphone and thought, what the hell — let’s do this. So I did. I loved it! The eau de cologne of Shalimar is just yummy without being sweet. I get the vanilla, I get the smoke, I get the cedar, I get the leather. Shalimar EDC is luscious but light. Classic but not stuffy. I know, I know, it’s like Shalimar with training wheels, but nevertheless, I rejoiced at finally getting a glimpse of what all the fuss was about.

In 2016, Guerlain launched a “brume cheveux”, or hair mist, version of Shalimar, created by Thierry Wasser. You can still find it online (I got mine at Beauty Encounter) for very reasonable prices. Since our weather has suddenly turned very hot and muggy this week, I thought I would take it out and try it, as hair perfume seems like an excellent solution if one wants to wear a richer fragrance but not feel overwhelmed (or overwhelm others) in the heat. It is like a light Shalimar flanker, with notes that include citrus opening top notes such as bergamot, grapefruit and lemon; freesia, jasmine and rose among the heart notes; and base notes of musk, iris and vanilla. These are the same notes as Wasser’s 2015 Shalimar Cologne, not to be confused with the eau de cologne; and the liquid in the bottle is the same pale pink as Shalimar Cologne.

Shalimar Hair Mist

I’m very pleased with this pretty hair perfume! It goes on lightly but I keep getting nice wafts of fragrance whenever I turn my head. I would say that, after the initial bright citrusy opening, mostly what I smell are the vanilla, iris, and freesia, a very lovely combination. No wood, no leather, no resin or incense, no animalic notes, but still very recognizable as “Shalimar”. The hair mist softens into a powdery floral, and it lasts well.

I’m happy to see the success in recent years of various “hair mists” and that one can now find classics like Chanel No. 5 and Shalimar in this format. They wear very easily and make it possible for more people to enjoy and get acquainted with these classics. I think this hair mist would combine beautifully with whichever version of Shalimar the wearer prefers, whether the heavier, richer formulations or the lighter ones.

Do you have a favorite Shalimar? Which one(s) and why?

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rose d’Amour

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rose d’Amour

There is only one perfume house totally dedicated to the Rose, and it is Les Parfums de Rosine. I previously reviewed its beautiful Clair Matin. One of the house’s classic fragrances is Rose d’Amour, which Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez gave four stars in their book Perfumes: The A-Z Guide (referring to the 2006 version, the one I have). Continue reading

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rose 31

Roses de Mai Marathon: Rose 31

Sometimes I read reviews or comments about fragrance that I just don’t understand. Take, for instance, cumin. Many commenters smell cumin as “sweaty” or dirty. I never understood that, because I like to cook, and sometimes I cook with cumin, and it never smelled sweaty to me. Until I tried Le Labo’s Rose 31. Continue reading