Sneak peek – quick review – Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut

Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut review

I LOVE HAZELNUT. I drink coffee pretty much every morning and it’s usually a hazelnut latte. I also love hazelnut cake. I was super excited to see this not-yet launched Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut in my Holt Renfrew Beauty Hall media preview gift bag because Jo Malone everything is really fabulous. My favourite Jo Malone fragrances are Red Roses, Lime Basil and Mandarin, and Lily of the Valley.

This fragrance comprises of the following notes:

  • Top note – Green Hazelnut
  • Heart note – Cedarwood
  • Base note – Roasted Oak Absolute

Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut review

I find this fragrance to be very warm, warmer than what I am used to wearing. To me, it smells like a lighter, less sweet version of Lime Basil and Mandarin. It feels definitely very unisex, and would also be fantastic for layering under lighter scents. I can see this being beautiful underneath Jo Malone White Jasmine and Mint, which has a very light, airy scent that works well when grounded with a heavier scent. For a Jo Malone fragrance, which I tend to find not super long-wearing, this one wore very well over several hours with just one spritz.

I’m not super in love, just because it’s different from what I normally wear (light florals), but I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this. I think you’ll want to smell it on you, even though it does sound quite heavy, it’s a lovely warm scent that will transition fantastically from summer into fall.

One thing that confused me though was that I didn’t feel like it smelled very much like oak or hazelnut at all… but just try it on yourself to see if you like it.

Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut launches September at Holt Renfrew, and it will be available in both the 30mL travel size, and the 100mL vanity size.

Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut review
Jo Malone English Oak and Hazelnut review

Product received as part of a gift bag from a media event; all opinions are my own.

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Affordable luxury – Clean Reserve Warm Cotton, Velvet Flora, and Smoked Vetiver

Clean Reserve Warm Cotton, Velvet Flora, and Smoked Vetiver review

Clean fragrances introduced a set of Clean Reserve fragrances earlier this year. They are the luxurious cousins of the original Clean Perfume. I’ve been trying these out for the last few weeks, and my conclusion is that they are for the most sophisticated fragrance lover. The background of these fragrances is that they were inspired by reserve wines, where the best ingredients go into the formulation of these scents to create truly luxurious experiences. Clean Reserve also has a deep focus on sustainability, with each scent containing at least one sustainable ingredient, as well as sustainable packaging on all of the perfumes.

Let’s start with the packaging – the Clean Reserve fragrances are housed in beautiful, heavy glass bottles with wood caps. The label at the front of the bottle is inspired by labels used on reserve wines – simple, clean, and to-the-point.

The three scents I received were Warm Cotton [Reserve Blend], Velvet Flora, and Smoked Vetiver. They retail exclusively Sephora and are priced at $125 for 100mL – you get a lot of product, hence the price. For a luxury product, it’s not expensive at all, and I definitely recommend you try these out in stores first before buying. I smelled a few of these and thought I’d like them based on the description, but when I actually smelled them it wasn’t all what I was expecting. Fragrance is also a highly personal thing, so please do take the time to smell them in store first, if you can.

If you’re like me and can’t commit to a single scent, Sephora also sells travel kits and layering kits for those who also like to blend their scents together. I would personally buy these over the full size bottles, as the full sizes are quite large and I don’t see myself finishing any of them.

Clean Reserve Warm Cotton, Velvet Flora, and Smoked Vetiver review

Warm Cotton [Reserve Blend] contains top notes of Aldehydic, Ginger, Watery, Ozonic; middle notes of Mint, Green, Pepper, Floral Cotton Accord; and base notes of Musk, Incense, and Vetiver.  The sustainable ingredient is Benzoin, “The unique harvesting method of Benzoin necessitates partnerships with Southeast Asian farmers to ensure only eco-conscious extraction methods are used. We rely on their knowledge and skill in obtaining the sweet, vanilla-tinged resin without harming the tree as part of our ongoing commitment to protecting the crop through education and wide-reaching environmental conservation efforts.” – Steven Claisse, Perfumer, Takasago.

Warm Cotton [Reserve Blend] is the freshest scent out of the three. Sadly, it is also my least favourite. On me, it smells like laundry detergent and soap, which is truly clean smelling, but it almost smells too synthetic and too overpowering.

Velvet Flora contains top notes of Green Bergamot; middle notes of Jasmine, Lily, Saffron Flower; and base notes of Cedarwood Moss, Musk, and Ambery Patchouli. The sustainable ingredient is Bergamot Oil – “We are honored to support the farmers of southern Italy and their commitment to the natural extraction of Bergamot Oil. We will continue to advocate the ongoing development and production of this exquisite quality of Bergamot through eco-conscious education, and the continuous purchase of their elegantly light, romantic floral oils.” – Steven Claisse

I was expecting to love Velvet Flora because of the bergamot, jasmine and lily (loooove jasmine and lily), however I found this oriental woody fragrance a bit too synthetically floral. I also couldn’t really pinpoint the different notes in this fragrance, which I was a bit disappointed about.

Clean Reserve Warm Cotton, Velvet Flora, and Smoked Vetiver review

Smoked Vetiver contains top notes of Verbena, Bamboo Leaf, Bergamot Oil, Quince Pear; middle notes of Blonde Cedarwood, Cotton Peony, Wild Moss; and base notes of Gold Amber, Soft Musks, Vetiver, Clean Woods, and Myrrh. The sustainable ingredients are Vetiver and Myrrh – “Myrrh and Vetiver have been harvested for centuries, and combining both allowed us to develop a provocative fragrance rooted in sustainability. Himbas women carefully extract the natural resin produced by Myrrh trees in Namibia, while Haitian farmers consider Vetiver an agricultural treasure, and harvest the plant with a focus on reducing soil erosion and increasing yield. Working with both countries cements our dedication to fair trade practices.” – Steven Claisse

Smoked Vetiver is my favourite of the three. I smell a lot of the verbena and bergamot, which are some of my favourite scents in fragrance. Despite it being described as a woody aromatic, I get a bit of freshness out of this scent. The base notes of musk and vetiver also bring out some complexity to the scent, which I absolutely love.

I also smelled Sueded Oud in store at Sephora, and really like the scent. Like I mentioned before, fragrance is a very personal thing as the scents react differently to everyone’s body chemistry. I highly recommend checking these out in store if you can.

Clean Reserve Warm Cotton, Velvet Flora, and Smoked Vetiver review

Playing the love game with KENZO Jeu d’Amour l’Elixir

KENZO Jeu d'Amour l'Elixir review

I normally prefer bright florals, but once in a while I surprise myself by falling in love with something darker. Kenzo Jeu d’Amour l’Elixir is an oriental floral with fruity notes. It smells absolutely amazing, and reminds me of a darker, sexier version of my favourite “adult” (in a non-racy way) scent – Armani Si.

Kenzo Jeu d’Amour l’Elixir (C$131 for 50mL) contains fruity top notes of blackberry and mandarin, a floral heart of tuberose and jasmine, as well as a base of vanilla, patchouli, and rum. The blackberry and mandarin top notes are what I smell the most, which is perfect for me because I love berry-scented things. I haven’t been wearing this too often, because it is more of a special occasion scent to me, for example for a special date night or an intimate dinner. The scent is very intense, and not something I could see myself wearing during the day. The eau de parfum is very long lasting, so one spritz is enough for those around me to lightly smell this (and not overwhelm).

Because there are notes of vanilla and rum in the Kenzo Jeu d’Amour l’Elixir, it actually smells a bit gourmand to me as well. Overall I’m a fan of this, despite it being not my usual cup of tea.

KENZO Jeu d'Amour l'Elixir review

You can purchase Kenzo Jeu d’Amour l’Elixir eau de parfum at the Bay for $131 for 50mL. It’s more expensive than what I’m used to for a perfume (even compared to other eau de parfums), but a little goes a long way!

KENZO Jeu d'Amour l'Elixir review

Thierry Mugler fragrance features – Angel and Alien Eau Extraordinaire

Thierry Mugler Angel review

Thierry Mugler Angel eau de parfum (C$138 for 50mL) s one of the most iconic fragrances. First launched in 1992, it has won awards and the bottle design is also one of the most well-known fragrance bottles. Angel is a oriental vanilla gourmand fragrance, and it has top notes of melon, coconut, mandarin orange, cassia, jasmine, bergamot and cotton candy; middle notes of honey, apricot, blackberry, plum, orchid, peach, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, red berries and rose; and base notes of tonka bean, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, dark chocolate and caramel. The entire thing basically sounds and smells like a dessert – very sweet and girly.

I’m not a huge fan of Angel because I don’t generally like vanilla-gourmand scents. They are too sweet and overpowering for me, preferring light fruity or white floral scents instead. It is a good date-night fragrance, especially since a lot of men I know prefer sweet, dessert-like perfumes on women. Lasting power is very good due to the heavy base notes, and it dries out to be a drier, muskier scent on me, with a bit of the sweet notes lingering.

Thierry Mugler Angel review
Thierry Mugler Angel Eau Extraordinaire review

Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire eau de toilette (C$70 for 60mL), on the other hand, is a new favourite discovery. I’ve been wearing this nonstop since I first received it, and I am just absolutely in love. Launched in 2014, it has top notes of bergamot, tea, and Tunisian neroli; middle notes of Tiare flower and heliotrope; and base notes of white amber and cashmeran. I love bergamot and neroli, and the middle notes of white flowers are also up my alley.

Thierry Mugler Angel Eau Extraordinaire review

This is a light, summery fragrance that’s perfect for every day, daytime wear. I’ve also been wearing it out on date nights because it’s a pleasant scent, especially if you’re doing something more lighthearted like a dinner and movie. Lasting power isn’t the greatest due to the scent being made up of mostly white flowers, but I don’t mind reapplying due to how pleasant the scent is. It’s also a big contrast to the original Angel that’s a much stronger, sweeter scent, but that just means consumers get more choice in terms of the type of fragrance (yay for choice!).

Thierry Mugler Angel Eau Extraordinaire review

It’s no contest that Alien Eau Extraordinare is my favourite of the two. Both fragrances have their pros and cons, but Alien Eau Extraordinaire captured my heart from the first whiff.

Thierry Mugler Angel and Alien Eau Extraordinaire are available now at the Bay, Sephora, and other places that sell high end fragrances.

Azzaro fragrance features – Azzaro Chrome United (for men) and Azzaro Pour Elle

Azzaro Chrome United review

Azzaro Chrome United eau de toilette (C$60 for 50mL) is a fragrance for men that is formulated with top notes of bergamot, coriander and Szechuan pepper; middle notes of black tea and violet leaf; and base notes of cedar and white musk. I LOOOOVE this perfume on men. It is so fresh, masculine, and just smells incredibly good.

Azzaro Chrome United review

Even though it is described as a spicy-wood perfume (due to the Szechuan pepper and cedar notes), I smell a lot of the green notes, such as bergamot and violet leaf. To me, this is what the perfect boyfriend would smell like naturally (which is unnatural) so I’ll just settle for him spraying this on himself on a constant basis. Lasting power is moderate to good. It dries down to a semi musky, yet still fresh scent. I like the dried down version of this as well because it is less “in your face” compared to when its freshly sprayed. Overall, much love.

Azzaro Chrome United review

Azzaro Pour Elle review

Azzaro Pour Elle eau de parfum (C$70 for 50mL) is a new release for 2015. It contains top notes of cardamon and citrus; middle notes of rose and lily; and base notes of olibanum and cashmere wood. Azzaro Pour Elle is the epitome of sexy fragrance; the spicy notes create a sexy backdrop for the rose and lily floral note.

Azzaro Pour Elle review

While this isn’t a fragrance I’d choose for myself, I’ve slowly started to fall in love with it due to how different this is from my usual perfume selections. I wear this at night only, just because I find it a bit too strong and too spicy for the daytime (personal preference). At night this works beautifully with a little black dress and some stilettos, either on date night or a night out with the girl friends. Wear time is relatively good due to the spicy and woody base notes. If you’re a fan of feminine, spicy scents, or if you’re interested in a floral fragrance with a twist, this is the one for you.

Azzaro Pour Elle review

I leave you with the official film of Azzaro Pour Elle, featuring Brazilian model Ana Beatriz Barros, and the incredibly sexy Ian Somerhalder who is the face of the male version of this fragrance, Azzaro Pour Homme.

Beautiful bottles & beautiful scents – My Burberry EDP, Giorgio Armani Si EDP, and L’Occitane en Provence Arlesienne EDT

I love collecting beautiful perfume bottles. I rarely wear perfume, just because I work in an office so I like to respect the people using the space around me, but I enjoy spritzing various scents on weekends, or just looking at the perfume bottles sitting nicely on my vanity. Today I’m sharing with you some of the recent fragrance discoveries that have the most beautiful bottles.

My Burberry

My Burberry review

My Burberry (C$98 for 50mL) was inspired by the classic Burberry trench coat and its British heritage. With notes of Sweat Pea, Bergamot, Gernium, Golden Quince, Freesia, Patchouli, Rain-Tipped Damas,, and Centifolia Roses, the scent is elegant and classy. Of the three presented here, this is my least favourite because I have a hard time putting a finger on exactly what I’m smelling. The notes all kind of meddle together, which is confusing and something I’m not a huge fan of in fragrances.

My Burberry review

The packaging itself is gorgeous – housed in a rectangular glass bottle with topper that’s inspired by the buttons on a trench coat. The fabric ribbon that’s used to tie around the neck of the bottle is the same ribbon used in stores to accent customer purchases, so the experience is very authentic. If you can’t justify the high price tag of the Burberry trench coat, this is a great alternative to get that Burberry experience.

My favourite Burberry fragrance is Burberry Body, so I recommend you check that one out as well!

My Burberry review

Giorgio Armani Si

Armani Si review

Armani Si ($95 for 50mL) is my favourite of the three perfumes. It has top notes of blackcurrant nectar (cassis), with middle notes of freesia and may rose, and base notes of vanilla, patchouli, and musky wood. It is what I call an adult fruity scent – the blackcurrant nectar delivers the fruity but the rest of the notes compliment and darken the blackcurrant nectar. The result is a warm, happy scent that is ultra long lasting and sophisticated. Cate Blanchett is the spokesmodel for Si, and I cannot think of a person who better represents the spirit of Si as well as she does.

The bottle design is simplicity as its best. The tall, rectangular glass bottle with the black stone topper, simply engraved with the words Si and Giorgio Armani, looks modern and refined on the vanity-top. If you love fruity fragrances but don’t like the sweetness that usually comes with a fruity scent, this one is worth a look.

L’Occitane en Provence Arlesienne

L'Occitane Arlesienne review

Arlesienne (C$48 for 75mL) by L’Occitane en Provence was introduced for the holiday season last year. It is named after and inspired by Arlesienne, women from the Arles region of Provence in France. With top notes of saffron and mandarin orange, middle notes of rose and lily of the valley, and base notes of violet, sandalwood, and tonka beans, this scent is a bright floral. On first sniff, it is very obviously rosy, but then I get more of the mandarin orange in there to become a citrus-floral. While this scent is beautiful, it doesn’t last very long (as with most other L’Occitane fragrances I’ve tried), dissipating completely on me after 3-4 hours of wear. The good thing is a large bottle of this is relatively inexpensive, so you can keep on spritzing this throughout the day.

I love the glass bottle of this; it is extremely feminine-looking and is just beautiful. It is a tall glass bottle with a rose gold topper, and at the back, there are flowers etched into the glass itself.

L'Occitane Arlesienne review

Feature: L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier eau de toilette for Valentine’s Day

L’Occitane Fleur de Cerisier

Fleurs de Cerisier (Cherry Blossoms) eau de toilette from L’Occitane de Provence was one of the first products I’ve ever purchased from the brand way back in 2010. For Valentine’s Day 2015, L’Occitane is bringing a new and limited edition version of this classic scent.

Fleur de Cerisier invokes the feeling of spring in my brain. With top notes of blackcurrant and watermelon, it smells so fresh and fruity. I keep thinking I smell lychees upon the first spritz, because the scent is so fresh and crisp. Middle notes include cherry blossoms, violets and rose, and the base note is musky wood.

Sadly, like all L’Occitane scents, this one doesn’t last very long. It starts off strong for the first hour or so, making me afraid to apply too much. Then after the first hour it just dissipates, leaving just the memory of the base notes on my skin. I feel like after using so many L’Occitane scents, I start to wonder if it’s just designed this way to give the wearer and the people around it just subtle whiffs of the scent, but then after 3-4 hours, the scent has basically all but disappeared.

If you like fresh and fruity scents that are spring-like and crisp, this scent is for you. I can see myself wearing this endlessly during cherry blossom season in March and April in Vancouver. I can also seeing myself spritzing this all over my room before bed in order to take me to a happy place in my dreams. Lastly, this fragrance is boyfriend approved as it smells fresh and young (sadly, unlike those rose fragrances I love so dearly).

L’Occitane Fleurs de Cerisier eau de toilette is priced at C$45 for 50mL and is available now for a limited time at L’Occitane de Provence boutiques and online.

L’Occitane Fleur de Cerisier
L’Occitane Fleur de Cerisier
L’Occitane Fleur de Cerisier

Treat your nose: L’Occitane en Provence Mer & Mistral EDT from La Collection de Grasse

L'Occitane Mer and Mistral perfume review

L’Occitane en Provence has done it again with another beautiful fragrance, this time for Father’s Day; Mer & Mistral EDT for summer 2014 is a super summery scent. With top notes of lemon and mandarin, middle notes of pine, cypress and rosemary, and base notes of cedar, white amber and musk, Mer & Mistral brings up feelings of oceanside vacations and little wooden huts.

When sprayed on me, you can catch more of the lemon and mandarin top notes, with a hint of pine. On my boyfriend, it smells more like pine and nature. A truly unisex fragrance, it smells great on both of us, and its something we can share together. Also due to the deeper notes in Mer & Mistral, I find it lasts longer than other La Collection de Grasse scents.

The bottle is an absolute beauty – housed in a blue tinted clear glass bottle in the same shape and size as all of the other La Collection de Grasse fragrances, it has a black spray topper and lid that contrasts the feminine gold spray topper and lid on Neroli & Orchidee.

In addition to the 75mL eau de toilette ($75), Mer & Mistral is available in a shower gel ($20), body gel (moisturizer – $24) and after-shave fluid ($36). A perfect father’s day gift or as a surprise for that special man in your life, Mer & Mistral is available both online and in store.

L'Occitane Mer and Mistral perfume review
L'Occitane Mer and Mistral perfume review

Treat your nose: L’Occitane en Provence Néroli & Orchidée EDT from La Collection de Grasse

L'Occitane en Provence Neroli and Orchidee EDT from La Collection de Grasse review

For Spring/Summer 2014, L’Occitane en Provence introduced a new scent in its La Collection de Grasse family. Néroli & Orchidée is a fruity-floral fragrance that embodies sweet and innocence, combined with the soft spring air. With top notes of orange and mandarin, middle notes of neroli, peach and fig milk, and base notes of orchid, musk and iris, Néroli & Orchidée is truly a feminine scent.

The thing I love most about L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse fragrances is that you can combine them with other fragrances from the same collection, or with other more simple perfumes. I’ve been wearing mine in combination with Jo Malone Vanilla and Anise Cologne and it has quickly become one of my favourite scents to wear. With fruity floral of the Néroli & Orchidée fragrance coupled with the warmth and depth of Vanilla and Anise creates a beautiful spring scent with a different kind of complexity. Other fragrances I can see working well with Néroli & Orchidée include L’Occitane en Provence Ambre & Santal, Vanille & Narcisse, and Cedre & Oranger.

L'Occitane en Provence Neroli and Orchidee EDT from La Collection de Grasse review

The bottle design of Néroli & Orchidée is the same simple yet classic design as rest of the La Collection de Grasse family, with a single difference – the gold string tied around the neck of the bottle.

The only downside to the Néroli & Orchidée fragrance is that the staying time is quite short compared to other perfumes in my collection. The full scent lasted approximately 2-3 hours, and while layered, it stayed for a good 3 hours before fading. The good thing about the short wear time is that it is more subtle, and probably a lot more office appropriate compared to other fragrances.

As with other La Collection de Grasse fragrances, the Néroli & Orchidée scent is also available in a shower gel ($20), a body milk ($24), a solid soap ($10), and a scented candle ($34). The 75mL eau de toilette is priced at $75. You can purchase the entire Néroli & Orchidée collection now in store or online at L’Occitane.

Lastly, check out this gorgeous marketing photo of the Néroli & Orchidée perfume bottle!

L'occitane neroli

Oooh la Love: Chanel Chance Eau Tendre EDT

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre

I recently purchased a bottle of Chanel Chance Eau Tendre EDT in Vienna after just one quick sniff of this while out shopping with Jess (pics to be posted later!). I have been lemming over the original Chance EDP (Jess’s HG!) since it first came out many years ago and I’ve never had an opportunity to purchase. And then the Eau Fraiche came out a few summers ago and even though I loved that one too, I wanted to wait. And then… Eau Tendre comes out early this year.

(image from Chanel)

When I first saw the ad in a magazine, boy, it was complete love at first sight. Consistent to the other Chance ads, the model is so gracious and the crystal bottle is very pretty.

Eau Tendre is much lighter than the original Chance (both EDT and EDP), but muskier and darker than Eau Fraiche. It is still fruity and floral with grapefruit and jasmine, but the White Musk really stands out.

I love this perfume, its similar to other ones I have but still stands out on its own. I really have no idea why I buy like 5 bottles of perfume that have very similar scents, but I do because I love them all. Plus the fact that its Chanel and always a classic will help too. Not to mention I also got a bunch of my friends addicted to the scent too.

Chanel Chance Eau Tendre is available in 50mL and 100mL sizes. The 50mL is $65 USD and the 100mL is $90USD. I purchased mine for around that price in Austria.

P.S. Can you imagine that this is only my first bottle of Chanel perfume? I have 3 bottles of Dior, 2 bottles of Gucci and 2 bottles of Anna Sui, but this is my first Chanel. I guess Chanel for me was always a status thing. My mom owned a lot of Dior stuff so that seemed natural, but for Chanel I had to make sure that I was able to uphold that Chanel spirit before I bought it. I don’t know if I can uphold that spirit now… but I still love wearing the perfume!

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