Wednesday, March 27, 2013

S-A-D #19 : Sweet Anthem 'Miranda'

Sample-A-Day Review: Day 19
Miranda
From the vault (past LE)
"We fall, but our souls are flying. A baleful blend of banded peppers and woods, tragically impaled with bloodshot immortelle blossoms.
Notes: Black Agar, Cocoa Absolute, Immortelle, Pink Pepper, White Agar, White Pepper"

Smelling directly from the sample, I get pepper. It is very fresh but a bit sharp. Dabbed in the back of my hand, pepper is more noticeable and there is undeniable presence of agar wood. The oud smells rich and kind of comforting actually. Oud and pepper, once they settle, become milder and gentler leaving behind a fragrant woody aroma. There is only a little chocolate, which smells more like white chocolate rather than dark or sweet chocolate. The hay-like immortelle adds a soft base. Chocolate and Immortelle don't add any sweetness per se but diffuse the harshness of peppery oud. I like this contrast very much. Everything comes together in the dry down which is a spiced soft aromatic oud.

Miranda is leans more towards a masculine fragrance. I can see myself wearing it but it would suit a man better. It must be the pepper and oud giving that vibe. Oud in this, like in many other Sweet Anthem perfumes, is light and gentle (plus doesn't give me a headache). It is a limited edition and no longer available for purchase.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Alchemical Phoenixes

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab comes up with limited blends of perfume oils every year to commemorate the Lab's anniversary. There are so many 'Phoenixes' which is a reminder of how long BPAL has been around. These are hard to find and quite a hit with collectors. I could get my hands on some decants and sniffies, thanks to lovely Dee. It is really nice to know and experience what they smell like though I wouldn't be hunting these down to get full bottles. Here are my brief thoughts on the Phoenixes.

Copper Phoenix
BPAL Anniversary 2009/2010
Limited Edition
Rose-infused dark amber, with sweet orange, honey, cardamom, patchouli, apricot, pink pepper, and red sandalwood
in the imp, it is fresh and sweet, not sugary-sweet but a freshly-squeezed-orange sweet. Orange is refreshing with a dash of honey and hint of fresh pink pepper. It dries down to a combination of powdery amber and sandalwood while still retaining the freshness of sweet orange. A lovely combination.

Red Phoenix
BPAL anniversary 2005
Limited Edition
A celebration of three years of decadence, determination, death and rebirth. Red musk, tonka, Chinese cassia, mandarin, patchouli, benzoin, wild plum and tobacco
A very prominent musk to begin with, the Lab's famous Red Musk note. Rich deep and very sensual. On the skin a smoky tobacco note emerges followed by a flash of something a light spicy note which could be the cinnamon-y cassia bark. The cinnamon becomes very smooth and blends well into the mildly boozed benzoin. The dry down is a cinammony musk, very warm, kind of delicious!

Wood Phoenix
BPAL Anniversary 2008
Limited Edition
Flexibility, cooperation, expansiveness, and altruism: Chinese musk and five woods with newly budding bamboo shoots, hyssop, chamomile, pink clove, magnolia, walnut, and fig.
A sweet and fresh musk in the imp. On the skin it becomes very green. I get bamboo shoots and green fig with a blast of magnolia. It is a fresh green clean floral and the musk element adds a perfume-y dimension to it. It is very nice and reminds me of Sweet Anthem's Anastasia.

Water Phoenix
BPAL Anniversary 2008
Limited Edition
Compassion, eloquence, introspection: Chinese musk and rain, with salty oceanic notes, frankincense, juniper berry, lily of the valley, lavender, cinquefoil, and sweet pea.
Smells very fresh in the vial. It does smell like rain and salt water. Incense adds a cool touch. The floral element is nice though I can't pick out any flower in particular. The juniper berry is a bit much for my taste and same with lavender but I understand why they are here and they do blend well with rest of the fresh concoction. It is a fresh skin scent and a delightful one. It is like the upscale and well made version of generic 'China Rain' like perfumes. Perfect for summer.

Phoenix In Summer
Seasonal Phoenix 2010/11
Limited Edition
The Phoenix soars through a summer thunderstorm: Nepalese amber, galangal, red musk, saffron, ozone, and the scent of hot rain striking pavement
I only have a sniffie of this, which means it is an empty vial just enough to get the feel of the scent. It smells powdery in the vial, that must be the amber.  It does smell somewhat like cement/footpath but it is too little smelling experience to put a finger on it. There must have been an interesting scent in this vial.

Pink Phoenix
BPAL Anniversary 2005
Limited Edition
Silliness in the extreme. Vanilla bean, honeycomb, sugared pear, sweet pea and a dribble of strawberry
Another sniffie thingie. This is very sweet in the vial. Powdery honey, very juicy strawberries. It smells somewhat like strawberry coulis syruped in honey instead of sugar. It is not repulsively sweet though. If I had a bottle, I would go with an occasional dab or two.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Makeup Collection: Blushes

Makeup and perfume are my two obsessions. I talk almost exclusively about perfumes in this blog but there is less of makeup talk. Perhaps, I should talk more about makeup. Last year when I moved continents, I gave away/sold almost 1/3rd of my makeup. Now I am left with a manageable stash. My makeup buying has reduced a lot. In the past 6 months, I have only bought about £50 worth makeup, mostly essentials. It makes me want to use the stuff I already have and love.

I've been meaning to do makeup inventory posts (inspired by Liz). Look forward to some photo heavy posts in future. 

Here goes my blush collection. Be warned, you may see a lot of peachy shades!
Ben Nye Cream Blush in Dusty Pink
Becca Beach Tint in Grapefruit
Ben Nye Cream Blush is super pigmented like all other Ben Nye things. Just a dab on each cheek will do and being creamy it spreads well to give a powdery finish. 
Becca Beach Tint is sheerer and ideal for a subtle, barely there flushed look.

NARS Multiple in Angelika 
Angelika is a bright pink with gold bits in it. It is a great shade when used light handedly. I don't quite like the texture of this. It feels a bit waxy and I prefer creamy. 

Napoleon Perdis Blush Patrol
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks in Nectar and Pink
Napoleon Perdis Blush Patrol is luminous and gives a great colour. It borders a bronzish red which may look ruddy if not blended well.
Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks are my favourite cheek products ever! Nectar is a great peachy/coral shade and love it. Pink is more of a highlight shade for my skin tone.

iNuovi Thumbelina (yay, hit the pan!)
Natio in Peach Glow
L'Oreal True Match Blush in Rosewood

iNuovi and Natio are both almost the same shade of peach but iNuovi has more shimmer and Natio is more of a sheen. L'Oreal Rosewood shows up on my skintone and makes me look like I am wearing blush but in a good way.

MAC Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Springsheen
Sleek blush in Rose Gold
I love this MAC blush, very natural looking on me and quite glowy. Sleek Rose Gold is my poor girl's substitute for NARS Orgasm. I like this and have no plans of buying Orgasm anytime soon.

Clinique Quick Blush In-A-Rush-Blush
L'Oreal Blush Minerals Soft Peach
Clinique Quick blush is actually great for handbag and it doesn't spill. The colour is again a peachy shade. I am not too fond of the L'Oreal one but I do use it because it is a safe shade.
Sassy Mineral Blushes 
Love these blushes. They are have really fine shimmer and nicely pigmented. Celebrity is my most worn one. 

Benefit Thrrrob and Coralista
Thrrrob is more of a highlighter for my colouring. It has a lavender/pinkish hue which actually brightens my skin. Coralista is beautiful peachy gold and smells like passion fruit! It is the best complement blush with any bronzer.

L.A. Minerals Flushed and Pink Du Jour
These are my newest addition. I think they are okay. Flushed is a bit chalky but Pink Du Jour is soft and powdery. Both have nice pigment.

And that's it! I know the photos are not the best but it is the best I can get in the dim, glum weather. Next up: Bronzers!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Zara Chypre Floral


I have recently learnt that saving money is for contingencies and not future splurges on luxuries. When the proverbial rainy day comes, it pours! My plan of getting myself a bottle of Narciso Rodriguez For Her has been replaced by this humble looking 5 quid bottle of Zara Chypre Floral.

Zara perfumes have always fascinated me. I absolutely loved Guiac Wood and Ambar which were a steal for the money. Some perfumes targeted for women seem to have a sugary base underneath the synthetic florals. Some exceptions of course, like Zara White, Jasmine Musc are very pretty perfumes. The trouble though is that the perfumes keep coming and going and it is hard to track them down. Last week, I found myself at Zara trying some perfumes (without even looking at clothes) and spotted a gem. As soon as I tried Chypre Floral I was reminded of Narciso Rodriguez For Her.

The two Chypres in my collection that I love and adore are the fruity Badgley Mischka and the stunning Veneta Bottega. I feel all fancy that I know what a Chypre is but just because I know what it means doesn't imply I like it. The traditional Chypres don't really move me. They somehow seem cold, which may very well be the reason why they are well liked. My Chypre preference lies with the genre of newer ones than the traditional ones. The jury might still be out on whether modern perfumes like NR For Her should be called a Chypre without having anything to do with structure involving Oakmoss and stuff but terminologies apart, I do love the floral musk part of it. 

Just like NR For Her, Zara's Chypre Floral has nothing to do with traditional Chypres or even traditional Chypre Florals. It resembles NR For Her very much and the common factor is the incandescent floral musk. It is more in the vein of the EDP. There is a prominent but very elegant rose (similar rose to MFK Lumiere Noir for men, same perfumer), soft white florals and abundance of musk with hints of patchouli. The musk is slightly animalic, but warm and pretty. It is a very sophisticated feeling wearing this fragrance, elegant and feminine. 

While Zara's Chypre Floral is similar to NR For Her, the quality for the price is reflected in the longevity. It stays for a few hours but somehow seems watered down in the wrist to wrist comparison with the NR. I am wearing this a lot since I bought it and drained about half the bottle on myself already. It is a great substitute without feeling the pinch of spending more than ₤50 on a bottle of perfume. I may soon have had enough of this and may cross NR off my wish list altogether. That is a saving of ₤50 there.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Body Shop: Shea EDT

If you are wondering where I've been, well, I moved house and I am trying to survive settling in a tiny village on the edge of English Countryside. I am tweeting again (as Kettle Logic, something Freud said). I am slowly back to blogging and I do have a lot of blog reading to catch up on. I am also watching my spending because our unorganised move really took it out of us this time. As a little indulgence to preserve my sanity, I bought this perfume yesterday at The Body Shop outlet store for less than a fiver.

I love the smell of shea butter and TBS captures the smell so well in the products. Shea range of products is my favourite from TBS. Not even TBS's cult Vanilla compares to the beauty of Shea, which may I add, is a bold statement as Vanilla used to be my go to perfume for comfort but is getting a tad too sweet for my taste these days.

Shea EDT is a delight, comfort in a bottle. It is delicate and refreshing but also luxurious and soothing. It is a simple, soft fragrance of pure shea butter itself. It is very light, not too creamy or sweet and borders a subtle nutty smell. This lies on a bed of soft woods which 'ups' the utter gorgeousness that the smell of shea is. It is so gentle and understated that it can never be overindulged in.

The EDT is better than the body mist in terms of staying power. A few generous spritzes of EDT last me a couple of hours. But I can see myself layering this perfume with Shea body butter or whipped lotion. If TBS ever brings out a concentrated perfume oil in the smell of Shea, I'll be drowning it!