Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The S-A-D Project

Sample-A-Day, that is! I am excited to announce a new blog project for 2013! It is basically a review of a perfume sample, ideally one per day for one year. But given all other boring real life commitments, I am going easy and will do a review as often as possible. This will be for one year, the year 2013. I don't think I have 365 different perfume samples. So, it will be a review a day for one year or till I run out of samples, whichever comes first. It is going to be a mix of mostly indie (90%), commercial, niche, whatever I have in my stash. One really good thing about the project is that I have promised myself that I will not be buying any more perfume till I review everything I have! Great motivation to cull spending and flex my nose with what I already have!
So, here is what's happening! A lot of sorting and smelling!

Many thanks to Dee for inspiring me to do this. She is the best! She is starting a whole new blog for the sample project. I for one, can't wait to read it! 

Perfume Synopsis 2012

On personal note, 2012 was a year of uncertainty, followed by hope, followed by confusion and more uncertainty. We moved, we settled and we are moving again in 2013 (just locally this time, but still). I sold most of my unloved perfumes, gave away the rest to friends and family and I was left with a manageable collection of perfumes I love and wear. I also made some big ticket purchases. In spite of having new fabulous perfumes as well as old favourites, I haven't worn a lot of perfume, variety wise. I have been sticking to a few and worn them on rotation. Yeah, it is dripping with scented irony and all.

I have kind of blacked out on what I wore for the first six months, before I moved from Australia to England. It seems so long ago because a lot has happened since then. Looking back and reading from this blog, I seem to have worn Agent Provocateur Strip, BPAL Womb Furie, Bvlgari Jasmin Noir a lot.

Then I moved and carried only two perfumes with me, Kiehl's Musk Oil and BPAL Snake Oil, packed and sent off the rest while holding my breath for their safe arrival. I wore these two continuously for 5 weeks that spent in India. Loved every minute of it, the stay and wearing the perfumes. I wore them so much that my mother complained that all the clothes in the house smelt of my scent days after I left! Some powerful stuff! Then I bought By Kilian Back To Black. Love it, wore it a lot and I am going the second refill. I'll get these refills as long as I can. Another favourite from the line is 'Love - Don't Be Shy'. It smells like upmarket orange blossom flavoured marshmallows! 'Yes, please' for refills!

Through the summer, The Body Shop Amazonian Wild Lily took care of me. It is a light, fresh, watery floral perfect to keep cool and smell feminine. I fell in love with Honey again and again, discovered many indie perfumes on the way. I bought my first Lush. Finally I got this gorgeous set to finish the year off.

I totally forgot my second blog birthday which was in July! Can't believe it has been such a long time!

Just like last year, counting the money spent on perfume..... sigh... comes to £636 + AU$277 = US$1,313. As much as last year but I also sold some of my stuff, so kind of makes me feel better. But imagine the year where I will not buy any perfume at all! That is a saving of thousand odd dollars and having the satisfaction of using up and enjoying every perfume I have! Ideal world, no?! In that attempt, I am starting a new blog series of reviewing every perfume sample I have got for one whole year. It is similar to what Dee is doing. Watch this space for details!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Most Used Makeup Of 2012

Most used = Most loved!
MAC Studio Fix Powder NW30, Guerlain Meteorites Mattifying and Illuminating powder in Beige
Dior Serum de Rouge in 650, Elizabeth Arden Desert Rose, Lakme Abolute Skin Cover, Estee Lauder Double wear in Desert Beige, i-Nuovi blush, Sleek blush in Rose Gold
Estee Lauder Double Wear is perfect for hot humid days. It stays put, gives awesome coverage and perfectly matches my skin colour. That, topped with MAC Studio Fix is unbeatable even without a primer. Lakme Absolute Skin Cover is like a BB cream, feels light great coverage plus brightens the skin. i-Nuovi is a good peachy blush for everyday and Sleek Rose Gold is for when I want a jazzed up look.
Dior Serum de Rouge is my second one, in the same colour. It feels sooo good on the lips! Elizabeth Arden Desert Rose is a safe pinky nude that I have been wearing all round the year.
Dior Grege mini palette, Lancome Marvellous Amethyst, MAC Fluidline in Macroviolet, Ben Nye Lumiere powder eyeshadow in Cosmic Violet
MAC Kohl in Smoulder, Lakme Absolute eyeliner in Electric Violet, Too Faced Lockdown primer/eyeshadow in Bedroom Eyes
DiorShow New Look mascara, Maybelline Falsies
Dior Grege mini palette and the New Look mascara was in a set. I got both for about £20. Grege palette has nude shades that I thought I would never wear but it turned out to be the most worn. Two shades in the palette hardly even show on my skin tone. Nothing exciting at all but perfect for non exciting days. The New Look mascara is good and I have been wearing it a lot but not really better than drugstore ones. Maybelline falsies is nice and I have used a lot of it in the first half of this year.

Too Faced Lockdown is a cream eyeshadow infused with Shadow Insurance. I love it on its own but topped with eyeshadow it works the best! Bedroom Eyes is a skin shade which goes perfectly under any colour of eyeshadow. Ben Nye Cosmic Violet, wow, a mindblowingly beautiful duochrome pink/violet. The best shade I own! Lancome eyeshadow and MAC Fluidline were gifts from a friend and both are matching shades. Love to wear purple/plums! MAC Kohl liner is awesome for water line. Only thing that bugs me is this should be sharpened and I much prefer twist ups. But it is so good that I can forgive and keep sharpening. Lakme eyeliner is a metallic blue that is super pigmented and stays on forever!

MAC Studio fix is the one I have used the most. Hit the pan long ago and planning to use it till its last swipe! It is such a hard working powder. It will be repurchased but till there is none left of it, I got a daintier powder, Guerlain Meteorites pressed one. It is simply beautiful! Not as hardworking as the MAC one, but still, soooo pretty!

Some eye looks that I have been wearing quite a lot: These were not intendedly photographed as EOTDs or FOTDs, just selfies taken for fun to check how looked! Yes, my narcissistic self does that a lot. All taken in different lights, no filters used.
Lakme Absolute eyeliner in Electric Violet
Lancome Marvellous Amethyst + MAC fluidline in Macroviolet
A goofy looking FOTD (complete with chipmunk cheeks as a result of smiling while avoiding to frown in direct sunlight) with all those products and Dior Grege on the eyes. My face hit by the rarest of the warm winter Sun and gently powdered with Guerlain pressed powder! Oh, the glow!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Best Buy of 2012: Frederic Malle Coffret

 When I saw this gorgeous thing at Frederic Malle counter at Liberty London, I saw my name written all over it and I bought it! Not entirely impulsively but because I knew I would love every drop of every perfume in there and I could somehow justify/afford a splurge. It cost £175, the most I have spent on perfume at once. The thought of returning it back has crossed my mind but I have convinced myself that it is the best buy ever. I am gettting 75mls (15 x 5mls) for £175 = £2.3/ml. Still a lot of money but doesn't sound so bad when broken down. It works out better than buying decants. If I had to buy a 50ml bottle of say, Carnal Flower, I would have to spend £140 and I might never see the day I'll be wearing the last drop of it. Instead for £35 more, I got a set of 15 gorgeous perfumes! Yes, that is 15 different perfumes, all great ones! According to husband, one for each month till next year. That makes a lot of sense because whenever I am tempted to buy anything else, I can think of this beautiful set (what a great mental picture!) and stop myself from further unnecessary purchases. That is saving money, right?!!

How is all that for logic? I would have added the Christmas reason but I don't really celebrate any festival other than my birthday which is half a year away! But I don't care and I have decided to love it and enjoy it as the ultimate treat. Also, we all know that the world is going to end (well, someday if not right now and life is short!).

Just can't get over how gorgeous the set looks! 
The favourites that I know and love: Musc Ravageur, Carnal Flower, Iris Poudre
The ones I can't wait to try: Noir Epices, L'Eau D'Hiver and all those Rose ones.
The ones for the husband: Cologne Bigarade, Angeliques Sous La Pluie

Comes with a set of postcards with nice artwork, one for each perfume! Nice!

I am one happy girl this holiday season and I smell of Christmas: wearing Musc Ravageur, the smell of cinnamon, vanilla, musk, so perfect!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and I hope everyone does something, little or big, that makes them happy :-) 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

L'Artisan: A Perfume And A Candle

My haul from L'Artisan! 
Thè Et Pain D'Epices Candle: (translates to Tea and Gingerbread. read here)
"Time for Tea. The scent of smoky tea, crystallized orange, spices and honey. A slice of gingerbread by a roaring fire. Cosy and warm, this is the perfect comfort candle"
Very excited about this! It is based on Lapsang Souchong Tea! It is smoky, aromatic and has the refreshing bitterness of tea. I don't really get any gingerbread or orange or sweetness. The smell of smoky tea is subtle and totally relaxing. Puts me in the best of my moods instantly. The candles burns well, after an hour or so of burning, there is just 1 centimeter of wax missing. This little treat costs ₤13, it is pricey for its tiny size (35g) but a nice indulgence. If you are looking for a similar perfume, Tea For Two is a good choice.

Mûre Et Musc EDT: I didn't expect to like this fragrance at all. Berry scents in general are not my thing. But Mure Et Musk in the strength of EDT is delightful. It has a beautiful green opening of basil with a very light lemony citrus. I am surprised that I get the smell turmeric on my skin! Not powdered turmeric, but the smell of turmeric root, raw and crisp. It adds a nice freshness to the opening. The berry part of it is really, really mild and thankfully so. I do not get any syrupy berry smell, may be because it is EDT (EDP has slightly pronounced berries). The best part of the perfume is of course the musk. It is a floral musk, very simple but very beautiful. It is not animalic or clean, but has a radiating sweet warmth. This perfume was made in 1978, the first fragrance of L'Artisan. But it does not smell like it is stuck in a decade. It is much ahead of its time. The musk does smell like a trip to 80's (think the Jovans) but the combination is modern and young. Overall, it is a nice, sweet, fresh musk. I could wear it everyday and not get bored!
I got the 15ml spray bottle as a deal with the candle purchase for ₤20 (total of ₤33 for both candle and perfume, great deal!)

I bought this at beautifully displayed L'Artisan pop-up store in Westfield, Stratford City. A shout out to Lisa, the store manager, who was very friendly and such a pleasure to talk to! She was full of information about every perfume I asked to try. We chatted about perfume in general for about half an hour and I was impressed by her passion for perfume. So impressed that I had to make a purchase. I was given 3 samples, one of which I am quite fond of, Timbuktu and other two need proper testing. I also fell in love with Poivre Piquant, a milky honeyed pepper scent, which I may soon get a bottle of when I visit the flagship shop at Covent Garden, London. Can't wait to visit that place!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Les Senteurs Gourmandes: Tendre Madeleine

Yummy stuff, guys! Very yummy stuff! In fact, entire Les Senteurs Gourmandes line of Laurence Dumont is yummy. I have sampled almost all of them through TPC decants but haven't bought a full size because I had no access to a store that sold/shipped perfumes from the brand. Marks & Spencer has been stocking these perfumes and I am happily trying each one whenever I visit. Recently I picked up a body lotion in the most amazing Madeleine scent!
Tendre Madeleine EDP is a really sweet perfume. It is a bit too sweet even for me, a well known lover of all things delicious. As it progresses, I get very hints of zesty citrus and mild almond in a sweet cinnamon/vanilla concoction. Oh, the delicious bakery smell! It is so nice that I want to eat myself up! As for the Tendre Madeleine part, I get the beautiful cinnamon-vanilla-baked smell but it is not as dainty as a madeleine would be. It is not 'light as air' because of the sweetness but delicious for sure.

The body lotion is lighter on the sugar and cinnamon, has lemon zest to balance out the sweetness, but does not compromise on the vanilla-bakery goodness. Suits me just right! It is light and nourishing. The scent lingers on all day. Great scent for winter but a bit too much for the heat. I can easily finish the bottle in the next couple of months when it is still cold. Next scent to tackle, Bourbon Vanilla!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Back To Black Vs Chergui Vs Tobacco Vanille: Comparison

The amazing tobacco note in perfumes! We are talking about fresh moist, coarsely cut, pipe tobacco here which is rich, dense, luxurious and all those gorgeous things. I have never smoked in my life and hate the smell of cigarette smoke with a passion. But I can stand and do enjoy the smell of pipe tobacco, not the smoke, but the smell of the fragrant leaves. Tobacco perfumes are usually pitched for the male perfume audience and very few tobacco perfumes are marketed as feminine (think Vivienne Westwood Boudoir). Tobacco can smell gorgeous on a women as it can on a man. It smells irresistably sexy on me, even if I do say so myself! My personal taste in tobacco fragrances leans towards sweet ones. Luckily for me, there are some great perfumes to choose from and unluckily my taste comes with a biggish price tag. Over the past few months, I have added three awesome tobacco perfumes to my collection: Tom Ford's Tobacco Vanille, By Kilian Back To Black and Serge Lutens Chergui.

These three perfumes are centred around the tobacco note and the comparison is inevitable. But each of them is unique because there are subtle (or not so subtle) undertone differences which make each perfume what it is: an icon. So, it is not really 'versus' because there is no one winner. It is an experience is to smell them, wear them and simply enjoy them. After all, that is what perfume is all about. I have received a few emails requesting for a comparison. I absolutely adore all three but will not let that bias my thoughts. I'll try to be as objective as possible, so that someone somewhere looking to get a sample or a full bottle will find this helpful. Also remember the golden rule: Sample first!

Tom Ford Private Blend Tobacco Vanille: It is all about pipe tobacco and bourbon vanilla. It is sweet but the sweetness from the vanilla is cut down by fresh cigar smell of tobacco and the mild spiciness of clove/cinnamon. The result is an out of the world fresh tobacco scent, that is sexy, delicious and so rich.
You may not like it if: the combination of sweet and spice is not your thing. There is generous amount of tobacco, moderate amount of bourbon vanilla and mild amount of cloves and cinnamon. It is loud and gets you compliments. Stays on the skin forever. The man and I share the bottle.

Serge Lutens Chergui: It is unique in so many ways. There is tobacco but it is not dominant. I get this strange but beautiful smell of sugared dry hay dipped in honey! It also somehow makes me think of bread! It also has faint hints of dry herbs, dry fruit and mild spices (yes, old and dry 'fruit bread' smell!) but doesn't smell edible at all. It is sweet, powdery (only mildly powdery compared to Back To Black) and it is really soft and sensual. While Tobacco Vanille is rich, Chergui is dense. It is not loud and it is something that blends into the skin.
You may not like it if: This is the safest blind buy in my opinion. I don't think it will offend anyone. It is soft and it doesn't scream for attention. It stays close to the skin. Although it is complex, it is easy to wear and the strangeness (sugar/honeyed hay) works in your favour . This bottle was actually bought by the man and he uses it a lot more than I do.
Fumerie Turque is also tobacco based but personally I feel it is a riskier choice than Chergui. It is more prominent on the tobacco, drier, deeper, smokier and is very leathery. I like Chergui more and actually don't think I can wear Fumerie Turque as a perfume.

By Kilian Back To Black: This is awesomeness! Yes, it is a honeyed tobacco and it is absolutely sexy. The honeyed tobacco is boozed up with smoothest of Hennessey cognac and has a soft amber undertone with a tinge of berry. The honey has a prominent but soft powderiness, not an 'old lady' powder or baby powder but a soft, sweet, sensual powder. It is sultry and sensual in the most lavish, sophisticated way. It is so gorgeous that you can knock me out with a feather when I am smelling this!
You may not like it if: Boozy/honey is not your thing or for that matter 'powdery' note is not your thing. It has good staying power but it is a bit soft projection wise. The man did not like it on him but loves it on me. I LOVE it on me!

Comparing costs: Cost for 50 mls (UK RRP):
Back To Black (refill): £65; (bottle): £145
Chergui: £69 
Tobacco Vanille: £135

Self questionnaire
If I could just get one:
Tough choice between Tobacco Vanille and Back To Black. 
I'll say Tobacco Vanille because I have wanted to get this for ages and the first of the three I got.

The one I will replace
Back To Black

The one I can wear anytime, anywhere:

I am really curious to know if you have a favourite of the three. Which one would you like to try, if you haven't tried any?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Nevermore Body Company

Another day, another Etsy store! Today, it is Nevermore Body Company. I have tried 5 samples (thanks, Michelle!) and I've been really impressed with the scents. Gathering my thoughts about the scents before I place an order!

Chapiteau: Violet, Vanilla, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Musk
Smells like violets, has a Parma Violet like vibe but not totally edible. It is a sugared violet scent on a woody/musky base. It dries down to a sweet powdery feminine floral. Nice.

Madame:  Apple and oak, with a spice mahogany bouquet, soothing hints of vanilla, cinnamon and dark wood, ripe tones of sweet figs and infused with a blend of tobacco, black tea and fruit spices
This is my favourite of the lot and probably one of the best scents I have ever smelt! The woods are feminine without being harsh. The combination of ripe figs with vanilla and very mild cinnamon smells very grown up and does not smell like anything you would want to eat. It has very faint hints of black tea and barely there tobacco making the combination gorgeous! The spices fade quickly and it dries down to this beautiful fig-wood scent. It is very pretty and easy to wear. Goes straight to full bottle list!

Vaudeville: Chocolate, Spicy Pepper, Merlot, Espresso
This is chocolate! Pure chocolate when smelt from the vial. It smells a bit sour, may be due to the merlot note and then it turns into spicy coffee. Really rich and dark coffee with bit of grape like Merlot and quite a bit of chocolate. It is really beautiful. I like the merlot in it very much. It is not very sweet nor (cough) syrupy. Nice combo of wine, chocolate, coffee with a hint of spice. I agree with Michelle, it smells like Black Forest Cake! Yummy!

Burlesque Lounge: Leather, Tobacco, Plum, Apple, Lemon, Vanilla
I smell leather. It is rather a cold leather with mild smokiness. Leather comes with fresh and juicy apple and plum. It smells like apple and leather in the dry down. Unusual but nice and refreshing.

Sherlock: Our new scent "Sherlock" is far from elementary"! With the rich floral aromas of an English garden experience the scents of damask rose, geranium, patchouli, sweet lavender all combined in a sweet blend of orange honey and smokey vanilla. 
In the vial, it smells like a sour rose, sourness coming from orange honey which becomes more prominent as a it progresses. It is a really nice perfume. It is made for the boys. If you like rose scents, you can definitely wear it whether you are a girl or a boy. If you are a boy wearing it, I would like to smell you!

The scents have a decent staying power, though some stay better than others. I feel like I should place an order very soon. There are really nice looking body butters, lotions, liquid soaps, scrubs, sprays, lip balms and a lot of stuff for boys like aftershave, shave cream etc. along with some great perfumes. 'Test Tube Of Perfumes' is a set of 3 perfume bottles which look like vials of antibiotics and come packaged in a test tube! It looks really cute and I really want the set!