Thursday, May 30, 2013

In Praise Of Bois Farine

Peanut butter, flour, bread dough or is it exquisite woody iris?! Why, oh why did I not fall head over heels in love with Bois Farine when I first tested it? It was a long time ago and at that time Bois Farine struck me as unique but I couldn't appreciate its true beauty. Maybe 1 ml sample is too little to form a real opinion of it? Recently I was casually testing perfumes at L'Artisan shop and carried a tester strip of Bois Farine with me. I came home to find that my handbag was smelling of sandalwood, a really stunning, lovely, soft sandalwood. Next time I had the chance to go to the shop (I'm lying, I made a special trip of 100 odd Ks to get there), I bought a bottle of this beautiful perfume.
I get the renowned peanut butter note from it, yes. But the more I wear the perfume, the less I feel the peanut butter's presence. Now that I have worn it many times, my nose entirely skips the peanut butter note. I love peanut butter (so much so that I've stopped buying it because I finish a jar in 2 days), a comforting smell but I am iffy about smelling of it. The fact that I don't get that note after a few wearings has worked in my favour. The flour note that follows, actually smells like bread dough on me is very lovely and comforting. It is like that well kneaded soft, fluffy dough that is ready to go into the oven. The dough note has hints of the nutty peanuts, with a barely there almond/anisic facet but it all just passes to transform into this lovely powdery iris with accentuated sandalwood. The wonderful dry down: so woody, like dry cedar-y sandalwood, laced with a powdery iris.

Bois Farine has turned out to be my ideal sandalwood perfume, it is dry but warm, woody like real sandalwood with a feminine iris heart. Bois Farine, in spite of the initial nutty beginning, is not a gourmand at all. It is just this beautiful woody-powdery-floral stuff that is so comforting and a real pleasure wear. Thinking of a backup bottle already.

"There is pleasure in recognising old things from a new viewpoint" 
-Richard Feynman

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alkemia: Naiad Ambre III

Alkemia Perfumes
Perfume Oil
"An exquisitely alluring blend of dew soaked orris roots and pale irises bathed in cool rivulets of aquatic amber with a whisper of Japanese incense."

Okay so, there is much more than a whisper of incense. I smell a lot of incense, a holy and head shop-like incense followed by amber. I have never smelt an 'aquatic amber' before and from what I smell in this, it is really lovely. Amber is a bit balmy but unlike the regular vanillaic/cistus based/powdery/perfume-y amber, it is light. The combination of incense and amber smells unusually fresh and crisp. This phase of strong incense seems endless, but it is kind of addictive and I can't stop smelling it. Underneath this glaring but beautiful incense, emerges the orris root. It is somewhat cold, rooty and metallic, only slightly powdery. As I have mentioned a few times in this blog, pure orris root smells more like paper to me than the famed 'makeup smell'. In Naiad, the orris has that same dry quality of paper but it is faint, like a whisper. I wish it had less of all the ambery incense and more of the orris root smell. In the dry down it smells like soft incense-y orris root.

Naiad, the third perfume in the amber series (I have not smelt others), is based on water fairy/spirits and it is supposed to smell 'watery'. Well, to me, Naiad doesn't really feel aquatic, but it does give a cool sensation. It is fresh, clean, cold and dry. It is an airy and light but a strong perfume nonetheless. I like the headshop nature of incense/amber here. It is a calming/meditative perfume.

Naiad is nothing like I expected. I bought a full size bottle without even sampling it first because Iris/orris based perfumes are hard to come by in the world of indie perfume oils. I expected an Iris perfume, something like my beloved Infusion d'Iris. Naiad turned out to be a totally different perfume but a lovely one albeit. I think my lust for an incense perfume is satisfied with Naiad. 
Did I mention the wonderful lasting power? Yeah, Naiad is a beauty! 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Few Kilians

I may sound like I am a shill for Kilian perfumes but believe me, I am not. I like the brand, enjoy the perfumes, the counter at Harvey Nichols has very friendly SAs who know their stuff and I like being sent samples of new releases directly to my home. But I don't think the price of £150 for 50 mls is justifiable at all. Fortunately for my wallet, I am not compelled to buy all the perfumes. There are perfumes that leave me unthrilled but those which do thrill me, I am compelled to buy. I am living through refills, decants and samples which doesn't sound too luxe but it is a great way to experience these perfumes and the fact that the brand actually offers to buy these at a lesser price is plus. 

My Kilian wish list: refills of Love, Straight To Heaven, Good Girl Gone Bad and a big bottle of Back to Black (running out of my refills). I have been holding out on reviewing Straight to Heaven and Love for a long time in the hope that I may end up buying a refill set but it doesn't look like it is going to happen in near future considering my finances. Some concise reviews, just to whet my appetite for these!
By Kilian: Flower Of Immortality
This newest of the Kilian perfumes is very young and fresh. It begins with an effervescent peach note, very crisp and very succulent. I get some sweetness from black currant along with peach making it fruitier and juicier. There is some powderyness from iris giving it a cold, clean vibe. It is clean, peachy and powdery. Somewhere down the line, it turns into a shampoo smell (fresh-out-of-the-salon hair smell). The dry down is all shampoo and it lasts for a long time (10+ hours). If you like fruity perfumes, you'll love it. If you like peachy perfumes, you'll adore it. It is so not for me. I am underwhelmed that it turned out to smell like shampoo.

Love 
Don't Be Shy
"A Marshmallow inspiration, sweetened with orange blossom from Morocco. At first soft and tender, it unfolds into the intensity that graces truly great seductresses. Top notes of glorious Neroli from Tunisia are like a shy, tentative kiss given by fresh lips. At the heart of the fragrance, Sambac Jasmine caresses skin warm with Turkish Rose and Iris of Florence, reaching ecstasy in the embrace of vanilla and musk."

This is Kilian's take on the good old marshmallow. I can say that this isn't a regular marshmallow. It is probably the most upscale and exquisite marshmallow that I wish I could put in my hot chocolate. Love is actually a love affair of big white florals with a generous sweet side, sweet in a luscious, creamy way.  The flowers are pretty, velvety jasmine, powdery iris and a prominent orange blossom that shines through the whole concoction. But the heart of this fragrance is its sweetness. The burnt sugar, the candy floss, the bubble gum. Oh yes, there is all that. But well tamed and well rounded by the florals. The musky vanilla also makes me think of turkish delight/musk lollies. It dries down into a pleasantly sweet floral, more floral than sweet which I love. When I first wore it, I could have sworn it had incense because of a kind of intensity I got from it, reminiscent of Montale's Mukhallat (but much more likeable and wearable). May be the incense feel I get is from musk or it may be the civet. 

Overall, Love is an upscale sweet perfume that is ultra feminine and very sophisticated. It is very long lasting and has a huge projection. It is well worth the refill price.

Straight To Heaven
White Cristal
"The alliance with the Patchouli of Indonesia, warm and deep, hides a mystery deepened by Nutmeg from Java, Cedar from Atlas and Brazilian Rosewood. This sensual scent leads us into an artificial paradise of pleasure."

While Love is an upscale marshmallow, StH is an upscale bay rum scent, just so delightful and refreshing. Bay rum perfumes usually make me think of grogg swilling, unclean sea men smelling of fish. But StH makes me think of a wet, hot guy, just off his yacht, with his white shirt unbuttoned to show off his muscles, walking barefooted on the white Caribbean sands! Sexy! StH opens with the bay rum accord, dry and aromatic, slightly smoky also. The nutmeg is prominent and perks up the rum to make it lighter, fresher. The woodiness, mostly from cedar, anchors the scent down while keeping with its refreshing side. On my skin, patchouli is barely there, if present at all. The dry down is really swoon worthy, a nutmeg spiced bay rum and smells very sexy on my skin. This is one masculine fragrance I would love to wear, which is such a rarity for me. Perfect for sultry beach days!

Conjure Oils 'El Sol'

Sample A Day Review: Day#21
El Sol (The Sun)  
Collection: Loteria
General Catalogue
Samples (pips) available
"bright citrus notes and hot clove melt together with a iridescent splash of golden amber. Surround yourself with an irresistible glow" 

El Sol smells like lemon when wet. Then it turns creamy and becomes a sweet lemon candy. It is still a nice lemon at this point but that changes when amber emerges. Amber is too perfume-y for my liking and makes the lemon a bit bitter. Dry down is a lemony amber, nice-ish but I am not feeling the love. 
If you like lemony perfumes with depth you may like El Sol. Conjure Oils has some other awesome perfumes. 'Mara' is up there in top 5 of honey scents for me.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Poison Apple Apothecary 'White Queen's Bouquet'

Sample A Day Review: Day #20
White Queen's Bouquet
Alice In Wonderland Collection
Limited Edition
This vial is from 2010
"A gentle facade of good. What lies under the perfect veneer of the White Queen? Is it too good to be true? Her blend is a lush powdery floral, feminine in every way with notes of Jasmine, Rosehips, Vanilla, and whispery white powder"

This is a lush floral bouquet, very creamy and very soft. Smelt wet, it is a sweet floral. On my skin, it is still sweet but the pretty flowers start to emerge. I pick up some jasmine, but it is mostly a combination of indistinct but nicely blended white florals to my nose. It is not one of those in-your-face, screechy florals. I am amazed by how smooth and velvety it is. I don't get any powder, even if there is any, it is gently mingled with the sweet florals. Vanilla is the reason for how soft the perfume smells. The dry down is of beautiful creamy flowers, very soothing and very feminine. It wears beautifully on me but stays close to the skin. Lasts a few hours too. This one needs watching out for in case it is re-released. If so, grabbing a full bottle for sure.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Birthday!

Yesterday was my birthday, May The Fourth and all. Not too thrilled about it and not too thrilled about life in general. I am going through an uncomfortable phase where there is neither money nor career and lack of stability (constant moving from one place to another) is making me tired and anxious. That is why I haven't been blogging much lately. Instead of focusing on all the things that is making me go nuts, I'll just focus on things that's making me happy.

We went to Scotland for a week, an early birthday present from my husband. It was a wonderful.
I got a few thrifty birthday gifts for myself, some Chanel makeup and Penhaligon's perfume.

I redeemed my Boots points for Chanel makeup, which means I got the foundation for free! I think Vitalumiere Aqua is worth every rave review on the internet. It is light but gives an ideal coverage and a lovely natural finish. I was matched with B50 (I am NW30 in MAC) and it looks like second skin.
Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in B50
Chanel Les Beiges powder in 40
I also got the limited edition Chanel Les Beiges powder in the shade 40. I think it is something about the undertone that makes it a tad more golden for my skin. I can use it as a very subtle bronzer or for contouring. But it has a nice matte finish, no shimmer, just a glow. It feels so luxurious on my skin. It smells like the perfume Les Beige from Chanel's Exclusif range. It is a lovely honeyed floral, a very soft and gentle smell. I love the packaging too. It is something of a keepsake thing. Perfect gift really.

Chanel Les Beiges Powder
Continuing my thrift journey, I got a 100ml splash bottle of Penhaligon's Ellenisia at the outlet in Bicester Village for a meagre ₤15! Ellenisia is so gorgeous. It is a lush white floral with a prominent and natural tuberose presence. It is so feminine and elegant.

The gift that made me feel the most special was this lovely Dragonfly broach sent to my Nadja (La Domna) and it is handmade by her. I love the delicate gold and black wiring on it. It looks good worn with any outfit. You can buy it from her Etsy store here. Thank you Nadja!
On my last birthday, I wished to go back in time to relive my childhood. That wish really did come true when I visited my parents last year (and I didn't have to travel at the speed of light to the edge of the solar sysytem and back again!). It really felt like my childhood with so much love and care. I wish that this kind of happiness repeats again and again.