Sunlit Water: Review – Dior Eau Fraiche

By Tara

From the very first moment I spray Eau Fraiche I recognise it as an Edmond Roudnitska composition.

Many cite Eau Sauvage (1967) as the forerunner to Diorella (1972), however Roudnitska stated that its antecedent was actually Eau Fraiche (1953).

Vintage bottle

Vintage bottle

This lesser known creation is more pared down and yes, fresher, than Diorella, but it is sunnier and less bone dry than the more masculine Eau Sauvage. It occupies the middle ground between the two.

Modern bottle

Modern bottle

This ongoing chypre theme found its most full-bodied interpretation in Roudnitska’s beautiful Le Parfum de Therese. He created this during the 1950s solely for his wife, but it was eventually released by Frederic Malle Editions de Parfum in 2000.

Eau Fraiche was re-released (and no doubt reformulated) in around 2010. Its notes include mandarin orange, lemon, petitgrain, rosewood, patchouli, vanilla and oakmoss.

It bursts open with lots of juicy, zesty lemon and accents of bitter orange. Get up close and you soon sense the shady base underneath. A layer of herbs, patchouli and moss give the fragrance some weight.

Over a couple of hours the citrus rolls back, increasingly exposing the chypre-lite base, similar to a retreating tide exposing the seabed.

One of the best things about Eau Fraiche is that it’s a citrus scent with a degree of sophistication and this is no doubt thanks to its basic chypre structure.

I usually have trouble with lemon-heavy fragrances but the resemblance to Diorella and that familiar Roudnitska signature, make it attractive to me. It’s not too sour and resembles the flesh of the fruit rather than the artificial lemony scent of detergent or furniture polish.

Unfortunately, over time, the variety of heady white musk I just cannot tolerate comes to the fore and this eventually becomes a deal-breaker for me. I can’t get past it; however, as is often the case with clean musks, it’s entirely possible that you may not be bothered by its presence or even register it.

Eau Fraiche is classed as a feminine but it is completely unisex and would be a great shared fragrance for the warmer months. In fact there is an advertisement from 1957 that markets it as such: CK One, eat your heart out!

I didn’t expect much in the way of lasting power and it’s certainly no sillage bomb, however I was surprised when someone (albeit in close proximity) commented on it at around 10 hours after application. They remarked on its freshness so it clearly retains this defining characteristic well into the drydown.

Eau Fraiche is refreshing and uplifting, possessing a relaxed kind of stylishness. It would be a good choice on balmy days when you want something which will help get you going in the morning but still has a bit of class.

Apply it liberally and feel instantly invigorated.

Have you tried Eau Fraiche? Do you have a favourite Roudnitska creation?

Posted in By Tara, Chypre, Citrus, Cologne, Dior, Fragrance Reviews, Frederic Malle | Tagged , , , , , , , | 30 Comments

Island Breeze: Review – Creed Virgin Island Water

By Tara

I’ve been lucky to visit some wonderful places over the years but one of my most memorable holidays was a trip with my sister to Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. This idyll in the Caribbean has stunning scenery and is a sailor’s paradise.

We spent a lot of time in the water, whether it was swimming in the secluded Smuggler’s Cove or snorkelling off Norman Island (supposedly the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island).

Up to now, I had zero interest in Creed, in the way that some brands just feel like they’re not for you. However, knowing Virgin Island Water was named after the British Virgin Islands and then reading that The Candy Perfume Boy believes it possesses one of the best lime notes in perfumery, I finally felt moved to try my first Creed.

creed viw

Released in 2007, Virgin Island Water contains essence of copra (the white part of the coconut), lime, bergamot, mandarin orange, hibiscus, ginger, ylang-ylang, jasmine, sugar cane, white rum, woods and musk.

On my very first wearing, Virgin Island Water made me think of the Trade Winds that whip along the Sir Francis Drake Channel – before I had even found out this was its inspiration. Perfumer Olivier Creed wanted to capture the sailing trip he took around the Islands with his son and hats off to him for successfully recreating the sensation he was going for.

I know how brisk those Trade Winds can be because my sister’s shorts were whisked off our catamaran in the Channel, never to be seen again (she went back to our hotel wrapped in a towel).

The lime in the opening of Virgin Island Water is indeed fantastic. Sweet fruit notes usually turn me off but tart ones can be a joy. Here the lime is cool, juicy and amazingly realistic.

The lime juice is squeezed into coconut water and it’s this tropical concoction that makes up the body of the fragrance, along with accents of airy jasmine and sugar syrup (rather than boozy rum). The overall effect remains buoyant and hydrating, if not quite drinkable. The base is inoffensively musky.

I prefer it when coconut is used as it is here, in a refreshing, non-cloying way (Heeley’s Coccobello treats it in a similar fashion). If you like your coconut thick and suntan lotion-esque, this may not be for you. But if you fancy a summer fragrance that feels like sailing into a balmy wind while sea spray cools your hot skin, then Creed could meet your need.

It may be pricey for something so simple, but when taking in Virgin Island Water, I feel my tensed-up shoulders start to relax.

lisa tortola 001

My sister Lisa on a Tortola beach

It’s good to be reminded of such a special time and place.

How do you feel about Creed?

Do you associate a fragrance with a particular holiday?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

The Incognito Cheesecake – Review: Guerlain Paris-Moscou

Hey there Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse

You know that moment? The one where you get sent a bunch of samples from a mate (Natalie from Another Perfume Blog – now defunct) and as you’re rummaging through you pull out a thing that you never tried, were never even intrigued by and had no intention ever of trying because it read like a hot mess and everyone on every blog from here to the ends of the universe called it dreck? You smile indulgently and whip the samples lid off because you’re probably having a bath in a few minutes anyway so what does it matter if you splash some boring old discontinued-because-it’s-shit-refried frag on?

01 Paris-Moscou by Guerlain: Les Voyages Olfactifs


Paris-Moscow Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Pine needle, Bergamot, Absinth, Lemon, Plum, Red currant
Heart: Jasmine
Base: White musk, Tonka bean, Sandalwood, Vanilla

GAHHHH! Those bitches were LYING!!!

Cream/citrus/fruits/vanilla/almond. Here we have an OMG yummy cheesecake, it’s made my mouth water in anticipation and smells like every dream of cheesecake a fat boy ever had. So not really a cheesecake doppelgänger but the wish of cheesecake from a starving man who is having a reminiscence of wealthy past life dinners. I have no idea what this has to do with Moscow, and yes I understand that this is not groundbreaking, but I have never smelled it done so seamlessly. A flawlessly glorious fragrance that has me smiling like an imbecile and wishing I owned one of the original 8oz bottles.

Paris-Moscow Guerlain Moscou Pavel Kazachkov FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Interestingly the tart citrus/fruit accords stay well into the heart of 01 Paris-Moscou and the jasmine plays such a background role that we basically move straight through to the chewy base, and still we have hints of citrus/fruit overlaying the vanilla/musks. I am seriously kicking myself right now and having just gone to look at the sample & decant sites to find that NONE of them have 01 Paris-Moscou has made me a bit sad.

Even the longevity is good on 01 Paris-Moscou, I can only imagine how fabulous if it was spritzed with gay abandon. Not a big perfume but it has a very nice sillage and I wish I had a bottle.

Oh well, thank goodness I have oodles of other bottles of fragrance, I’m going to go have a bath and after that I’ll spritz something I have lots of.

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and EauMG

What is your discovered-after-discontinuation story?
Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

Girly Guerlain – Review: Guerlain French Kiss and Eau de Lingerie

By Tara

I consider my style to be more feminine than girly. I enjoy collecting jewellery, wearing dresses and painting my nails, however I’m adverse to anything cutesy and the colour I’m probably least drawn to is pink.

French Kiss and Eau de Lingerie both seem to be quite far along the pink and girly end of the perfume spectrum.

They come under the auspices of Guerlain’s Les Elixirs Charnels (Carnal Elixirs), the luxury line which also contains Gourmand Coquin and Oriental Brulant.

French Kiss

French Kiss was released in 2014 and contains notes of litchi, raspberry, violet, rose, white musk, vanilla, iris and heliotrope.

french kiss

The combination of litchi and raspberry results in a cherry-like aroma that is closer to scented lip balm than lipstick. It’s sticky and syrupy but a healthy dusting of powder and its cloud-like feel manage to keep French Kiss from being suffocating. It settles into a fruity cosmetic scent with a handful of sugared almonds thrown in.

It’s an unchallenging confection with a light-headed, fluffy personality.

There’s certainly a big market for this kind of gourmand-lite, flirty fragrance but I can’t help expecting more from a fragrance that is part of an exclusive Guerlain collection.

At this price-point you could go for Misia, Chanel’s more grown-up take on a cosmetic scent or Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose which possesses both sophistication and wit. Then, for a lot less money, there’s the raspberry inflected boudoir scent of Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays.

Eau de Lingerie

Eau de Lingerie was released in 2013 and contains notes of iris, rose, vanilla, sandalwood, white musk and ambrette.

eau de lingerie

As the name suggests, Eau de Lingerie is actually a fabric spray to be misted onto your finest under-things. I can’t quite make up my mind whether this is a cunning marketing ploy or a harmless frippery.

My natural instinct was to apply it to skin but as it’s not the intended use I put some on chiffon instead. However, I struggled to pick up any nuances from the material so ended up dabbing it on my wrist anyway. After a hairspray start, it settled down to a powdery, mildly floral, innocent white musk with a smidge of vanilla.

Laundry fresh, skin soft and feather light, Eau de Lingerie is a barely there wisp of silk. I understand it’s been designed not to clash with your personal fragrance so I can see why they’ve made it so diaphanous.

It’s perfectly pretty and could be a good gift for the woman who has everything. However, it’s not alluring enough to tempt me into taking up this “new beauty step”.

Do you like any girly perfumes? What do you think about the concept of a fragrance solely for lingerie?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Guerlain | Tagged , , , , | 28 Comments

Indomitable Spirit: Review – En Voyage Perfumes Frida

By Tara

A few years ago, I went to an exhibition of paintings by iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo at Tate Modern, London. I have long admired the woman as much as her art.

Kahlo trod her own path, overcoming childhood polio and a horrific bus accident to live life in a truly uncompromising and passionate way. Her sheer determination and refusal to let potential limitations hold her back, is endlessly inspiring to me.

Even when confined to her bed, she managed to transform great suffering into great art. Kahlo is testament to the healing power of creativity; she once said “I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint.”


Artisanal perfumer Shelley Waddington seems to feel the same way about her:

“Although her body was wrecked by pain; Frida was fearless, feminine and revolutionary; cross dressed, smoked cigars and has been a part of pop culture for over 50 years. A world-travelled sophisticate who had love affairs with both men and women, Frida remained happiest at Casa Azul, her traditional family home.”

Frida Eau de Parfum has the following structure:

Top notes: Fruits, herbs and leaves of Frida’s garden. Agave, Green pepper
Heart notes: Tuberose, Hibiscus, Cactus flower
Base notes: Light woods, Sugar, Oakmoss, Aldehydes, Myrrh, Frankincense and Copal, Tobacco Accord, Sexual animalic notes, Musk, Amber

The beginning of Frida is so vivid I’m immediately reminded of one of Kahlo’s many self-portraits where she is depicted in vibrant colours with a back-drop of lush tropical plants.

We are transported to a surreal version of Frida’s garden in Mexico where we find a tangle of giant cacti and mammoth plants surrounded by dripping foliage. The scorching sun beats down so all that greenery is hot and pungent. The scent of refreshingly cool and juicy watermelon cuts through the intense humidity.

The presence of hibiscus represents the flowers in Frida’s hair, but tuberose makes up the heart of the fragrance. The natural absolute used here is very sensual; fruity, fleshy and intoxicating. Shelley uses it with great effect to pay homage to Kahlo’s ravaged body.

The base is soft woods, light resins and a faint trace of smoke from one of Frida’s cigars. There’s also a dash of sugar syrup along with the lingering warm breath of tuberose. Frida stops short of coming across as animalic.

It has a nice amount of sillage and lasts fantastically well. The high percentage of natural materials used is very evident and gives the composition a striking sense of vitality.


Frida is a celebration of the woman, the artist and her Mexican heritage as well as her incredible endurance and love of nature. It is a fitting and evocative representation of a highly courageous and unconventional woman.

Do you know any of the fragrances by En Voyage Perfumes? Do you admire Frida Kahlo?

Posted in By Tara, Floral, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 27 Comments

Gone Forever! – Review: Guerlain Lys Soleia

Hi there Olfactoria’s Travellers,

Portia in the OT house from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse

Since I heard the today’s fragrance had been discontinued it has been an oft spritz. Then on Facebook Fragrance Friends one of the girls (THANKS Kate) decided to do a Random Act Of Kindness (RAOK) and I won so I’m able to spritz to my hearts content. Obviously the sales for it have been dropping or it wouldn’t be on the chopping block but to say I am saddened is an understatement.

Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia by Thierry Wasser for Guerlain 2012

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, lemon, palm leaves
Heart: Lily, ylang-ylang, tropical fruits
Base: Tuberose, vanilla, white musk

It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere and here is a perfect tropical, beachy foil for whatever you’re doing, and wherever you chose to be doing it. This is one of Thierry Wasser’s loveliest in my eyes. So wearable, so bright and happy. One of the heftiest Aqua Allegorias, you will be delightfully fragrant and have sensational sillage for at least 3 hours before it all becomes very soft and cuddly.

Photo Stolen Flickr

Lys Soleia opens on me with a split second of citrus and then it takes a back seat to the creamy ylang and white flower bouquet that is lightly sweetened by a lightweight ripe papaya. None of that gag worthy over the top punch you in the face stench that papaya can get, in Lys Soleia we have it shorn of everything but a watercolour wash.

It’s funny that Lys Soleia is named for the lily because I get very little of what my mind associates with lily, the dewy wetness and air conditioned florist shop, doesn’t register at all for me until well into the heart and then only as a bit player. Ylang, papaya, tuberose, vanilla and a large dose of cuddly clean musks is what Lys Soleia offers up to me. I’m surprised that there is no salt or sandalwood, if you asked me I would definitely have included them in my guess-timation. After 3 hours I left with a soft glow of amorphous fragrance that smells fresh in a just out of the shower body kind of way, very nice

Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia by Guerlain HotelDelCoronado WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Warmth, passion, island nights and huge bouquets in lavish hotel foyers. Lys Soleia will scintillate and beguile your company while remaining low level enough to wear to dinner, though perhaps a little too fragrant for scent conservative workplaces.

Further reading: Smelly Thoughts and Candy Perfume Boy
Beauty Encounter currently has $42/125ml

What has been discontinued for you lately that will be hard to replace?
Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain | Tagged , , , , | 16 Comments

Have A Great Summer!

This summer so far has been a whirlwind of activity with the boys and then Tara visited Vienna for a week, we all left for London and now I am (freaking out over) packing for Tuscany. At least one thing that is completely sorted out is the perfume bag (I’m bringing Bronze Goddess, Diptyque Eau de Lavande and Hermès Paprika Brasil).

I bid you a farewell for the next two weeks, although scheduled posts will appear twice a week.


The Boys salute you!

What are you up to this August?

Have a fabulous time!

Posted in Travels | Tagged | 11 Comments

Lead Us Into Temptation: Review – Papillon Artisan Perfumes Salome

By Tara

The New Testament tells the story of Salome’s beguiling “dance of the seven veils” leading to the death of John the Baptist. As a result, she became a symbol of dangerous female seductiveness.

What a fantastic figure to inspire Papillon’s new fragrance.

Salome feels like the archetypal embodiment of all those women through the ages who didn’t shy away from their powerful sexuality, but positively reveled in it.

British perfumer Liz Moores released her first collection of fragrances last year to great acclaim. Anubis, Tobacco Rose and Angelique were all beautifully conceived and skillfully executed, so I was full of eager anticipation when this latest addition was announced.

salome bottle
But soon after, I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or apprehensive because the word I kept hearing murmured about it was “Filth”.

Salome includes notes of carnation, jasmine, Turkish rose, Africa Stone, oakmoss, patchouli, bitter orange, styrax, bergamot and orange blossom.

Now, this fragrant dominatrix doesn’t mess around. She confronts you straight away with her strident sexual advances, packing a punch direct to the nether regions. No wooing you patiently with a non-threatening beginning and then stealthily revealing a dark underbelly. Salome is all undulating curves and blatant come-hither looks, right from the start.

With foreplay forgone, we are plunged straight into the midst of the act itself. Resinous, musky and somewhat spicy, there are two or more writhing bodies radiating heat in the darkness, veiled only in a sheen of glistening sweat.

It’s reminiscent of a decadently debauched scene from Ancient Rome.

What gives Salome its potency is the presence of hyraceum, also known as Africa Stone. This is the petrified excrement of the rodent-like hyrax, which has aged and turned stone-like over hundreds of years. It’s an intoxicating, animalic aroma which is used as an ethical substitute for civet and deer musk.

It makes Salome a must-try for fans of skank everywhere as well as those looking to move over to the dark side. It’s enough to make even the most jaded perfume lover gasp.

I inhale and my heart beats a little faster.

However, her intention is not to shock and awe but to captivate and seduce. This is not a superficial filth-fest; there’s much more thought gone into the composition than that.

Salome maintains the collection’s admirably high level of refinement and craftsmanship. She stays poised within a classical chypre structure and retains her femininity through a floral touch.

With a deep need to connect, the fragrance adheres to your skin and doesn’t let go for hours on end.

roman-orgy-vasily-alexandrovich-kotarbinskyI recommend wearing Salome somewhere intimate. Keep it hidden, like a salacious secret you only share with your lover when you are as close as two people can get.

How do you get on with animalic fragrances? Do you think you could handle Salome?


Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , , | 40 Comments

Iris by Moonlight: Review – Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena

By Tara

I may have found My Iris, but I was intrigued by the iris/incense theme of Iris Nazarena. Released in 2013, it sounded unusual and mysterious –

“With its iris and incense accord, the new Eau de Parfum by AEDES DE VENUSTAS matches the world’s most precious aromatic material with the most ancient.”

Iris Nazarena was the second fragrance (there are now five) from the eclectic New York boutique, Aedes de Venustas. It features iris, ambrette, juniper berry, star anise, leather, oud, clove, rose, incense, woods, musk and vetiver.

The stylish, smoky glass bottle is a very fitting flacon for the fragrance.


The inspiration for Iris Nazarena is the rare plant species Iris Bismarckiana or “Nazareth Iris”, which is mostly found in the mountains of Israel. Its arresting cream and brown petals are so very different to the purple-ish flowers we’re used to. The fragrance is an equally vivid contrast to the more usual pale and feminine iris perfumes.


Iris Nazerena gets off to a great start with lots of cool, rooty iris. But all too soon, it’s overtaken by dry spice (star anise and clove) and thin cedar. The result is that it becomes faintly medicinal. There are also touches of oud and plasticky leather. I get the impression of incense rather than the smoky, burning resin.

Some sweetness comes through in the heart which takes me by surprise. Set against the darkness, it’s a beguiling twist and the phase I find the most enjoyable, aside from the opening. Eventually it gets swallowed up by chilly patchouli and vetiver in the base.

It may sound like a dense composition; however it’s rather ethereal and transparent. Its character is intellectual, unattainable and a touch mystical.

The texture of Iris Nazarena is almost powdered but not quite – more like brushed suede. It stays close to the body and lasts extremely well.

Its dry, spiced wood background makes it a slightly more masculine take on iris. It isn’t quite to my taste (mainly because I have difficulty with prominent star anise and clove) but I appreciate its individuality.

It’s good to come across iris in such a novel setting. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger seems to have a knack for interpreting familiar materials in an innovative way. Take for example, the witty cosmetic scent of Lipstick Rose or the aromatic yet sensual Fils de Dieu.

Schwieger said he wanted to create a modern iris fragrance that broke away from what he considers to be the reference iris, Chanel No.19. He certainly succeeded with Iris Nazarena. It’s very distinctive and different to any other iris fragrance I can think of.

Moonlight Lake by Graphitation

Moonlight Lake by Graphitation

Iris Nazarena is the hazy light of the moon shining onto a placid, silvery lake. The effect is grey yet luminous with a unique hushed and striking quality.

Have you tried any fragrances by Aedes de Venustas?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Iris | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Body Lotions – Who, What, Where, Why?

Hi there OT,

Portia, all the way from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse

Lately I have been using the Amouage Body Lotion 10oz pump packs. They are thick, rich and creamy, smell sensational and create a fabulous base for their matching Amouage scents and other fragrances. Should you wish to be scent whisper then you can wear them alone for a lovely soft focus scent experience that plays very close to the body. A wonderful work choice or sleep choice. MMMMM…

Body Lotions. Who. What. Where. Why.

Amouage Epic Woman Amouage lotion Libertine ParfumeriePhoto Stolen Libertine

At the moment I have less than a fifth of my bottle left and as it’s my third Amouage Body Lotion in a row I was thinking I might have a change of pace for my next one. Epic is really good because its a soft woody amber that fits under loads of my favourite fragrances. I also have open a Madonna Truth or Dare lotion for my white floral days. When I want something scent free I find a drop of Grape Seed Oil good.

So today I wanted your help and your opinions on the best Body Lotions in the business. What do you wear and why? It doesn’t have to be expensive or from the most lavish cream house. My MUST list reads like this:

    1. Feel lovely and creamy
    2. Smell good but not so strong that my choice of fragrance will be ruined, preferable something that is like the vanilla, woods, resin or musk dry down of most fragrances
    3. Sink in to my skin within 3 minutes of application so it doesn’t gum up my clothes
    4. Be in an easy access container. One thing I love about the Amouage is the pump pack.

No glass please, I moisturise in the bathroom barefoot.

Please leave me your favourite that fits these categories in the comments.

Portia xx

Posted in Amouage, By Portia | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments