The Mainstream Monday: Sniffing A Popular Fragrance

I like the freshness of Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea EDT/cologne. It is fresh and zesty. It is a “pretty” fragrance since it does smell feminine. Many green tea scents could be unisex but not this one by Elizabeth Arden. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is a light wearing fragrance, comparable to a body spray. Elizabeth Arden as a woman and a company has always been very competitive. This fragrance was launched in 1999 to compete with such popular mall fragrance/body product shops as Bath and Body Works and The Body Shop. Hence, the light wearing fragrance to be worn all over the body with a lower price point than other department store fragrances.

Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is not as “green tea” as other green tea fragrances on the market. This means it is less “dirty”, “earthy”, or “pondy” than actual green tea. This fragrance is a play on aromatherapy (just read the adjectives associated with the fragrance notes), but it is much more “commercial” than the aromatherapy I think of. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea is not a per se green tea fragrance but an interpretation of a spa-like experience. It embodies the healthiness of sipping on green tea and pampering oneself. So, if you are looking for a “real” green tea fragrance, this is not it. If you are looking for a refreshing, light fragrance than this will do. I mainly get beautiful, feminine citrus from this fragrance. I get a heavy dose of bergamot. This is good for me since I love bergamot. The bergamot is complemented by other generic citrus accords with a wee bit of fruity rhubarb.It reminds me of a delicious summer sorbet. It has floral bergamot, jammy rhubarb, and orange zest. This is very refreshing. The fragrance has a certain coolness. It is ever so slightly minty. I really do think of it as a rhubarb and citrus sorbet with a garnish of mint. The zesty notes fade but you still are left with citrusy bergamot and tart rhubarb. That mainstream green tea is faintly there as well, just like that garnish of mint. The green tea adds a green sweetness to the heart. The dry-down is a bit softer than the heart. It smells muskier but in a clean musky, citrus way. The dry-down manages to be musky, green, and fresh.

The bottle isn’t exciting. It is very, very plain and it does remind me more of a drugstore fragrance bottle. At least it is glass and not in a plastic spray bottle making it more desirable than a B&BW spray.

It is not a long-lasting fragrance and it doesn’t claim to be. It wears slightly longer than a body spray. I guess it is meant to be “sipped” throughout the day just like a few cups of green tea. I do find it very refreshing. I like it for spring and summer.

Give this a try if you like pretty bergamot fragrances, Mélange Green Tea Solid Perfume, L’Occitane Thé Vert EDT or ThéBergamote EDT, Tocca Bianca EDP, Heeley Menthe Fraîche EDP, CK One EDT, Fresh Hesperides EDP, Creative Universe Te Cologne, and/or Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Mandarine-Basilic EDT.

Notes listed include: caraway, fruity rhubarb, lemon, orange zest, bergamot, cool minty peppermint, green tea, sweet jasmine, spicy carnation, fresh fennel, crisp celery spice, oakmoss, musk, and amber.

The 1.7 oz cologne spray retails for $27 and the larger 3.3 oz. for $37. It is available at all Elizabeth Arden counters and Elizabeth Arden’s website. * Currently it is available at fragrancenet.com.

Experience the fragrance in one more. Make a rhubarb sorbet (recipe here). Don’t forget the mint garnish! Perhaps you could put a scoop in a small cup of cool green tea…

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Yves Rocher Yria is a floral oriental blend. It isn’t the most exciting that I have ever sniffed in this genre but it isn’t the worst either. It’s a very basic oriental floral, pretty true to the genre. It’s resiny with lush petals and a base of sandalwood. It’s a pretty scent and the price is right. Most oriental blends may be too overwhelming and overpowering for “day” wear. I think of Yria as a lighter oriental that could work at anytime. You can’t say that for most of the blends in this family and that is coming from me and I love strong fragrances. And this is coming from me, so maybe it is too heavy for the average person… hmm…Yria hits me as a pretty floral blend at first. For a very short moment, you get bergamot/orange blossom like citrus. These then melts into a rose and jasmine fragrance. I pick up  much more of the rose than I do the jasmine. In fact, I like to apply a jasmine solid perfume under this to really emphasize the jasmine. It’s floral but in a classic floriental way. It has lots of “warmth” grounding it. For a long time it wears on me as a rose/amber blend with the slightest warmth of amber. After some time, the sandalwood shows up and keeps the blend grounded. It’s a warm floral fragrance with classic powdery softness. The dry-down is a rich, warm, close wearing sandalwood. It does wear nicely on me and the lasting power is about 4+ hours. Because of the rich oriental notes, I do think of this EDP as being more appropriate for fall and winter wear. Worn during these times, it doesn’t appear to be so “heavy”. I could see this one as really “heavy” if worn in the middle of summer, like most floral oriental blends.

The company lists the following notes: bergamot, coriander, jasmine, sambac, rose, amber, tonka bean, and sandalwood. The 1.7 oz. spray goes for about $39. This is a fair price for this fragrance and Yves Rocher often runs amazing sales. I would say to give this one a try if you like Halston Women, Borghese Il Bacio, Guerlain Samsara EDT, Estee Lauder Tuscany Per Donna, Avon Candid, Lancome Attraction, Prada L’Eau Ambrée, and/or Must de Cartier.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Cafe Noir is a moody, rich fragrance. I love it. I call it “beatnik in a bottle”. It’s smart and sophisticated and a bit counter-culture (if a perfume can be described as such). It reminds me of a classic French perfume created for the kind of gal that spends late nights/early mornings reading Lawrence Ferlinghetti by the fireplace, sipping on midnight black coffee.

DSH describes this spicy oriental luxury perfume as “a Paris night…Dark and sophisticated, it evokes late concerts in smoke filled rooms…sipping coffee and listening to jazz.” I love when I create an “impression” in my head when I wear a fragrance before I read about it and it actually “fits” what the creator was going for. I haven’t spent late nights in Josephine Baker-ish Parisian jazz clubs, but I have spent many insomniac moments at 4 o’clock in the morning reading “A Coney Island of the Mind” turning each page with fingers decorated with deep merlot nails. This scent reminds me of “beat” poetry.

My first impression of this fragrance creates a bit of confusion in my mind. I know that I like it but I find it very odd. It hits as if it is a spicy, mossy, dirty, chypre. It smells a bit wild and untamed and actually hot. It reminds me of all of those classic Guerlains like Mitsouko but Cafe Noir is much dirtier and grittier and with a kick of spice. It reminds me of moss and Atomic Fire Balls. You just know like beat poetry, that this is a fragrance with so much to say. Once my mind finally gets that this is a dirty, spicy chypre, I get an unexpected “shot” of bitter coffee beans. To add to even more complexity, I get lovely “classic” perfumey. I get rich, thick Parisian florals of rose and jasmine. But, it isn’t classic because of the bitter coffee. The dry down is moody and fairly simple. It has smoky incense like copal rich sweetness with grounding notes of vanilla, labdanum, and balsam. It is like being in a room where incense was once burning. It is slightly smoky but mostly you get the sweetness of the smoke floating through the air. I can not imagine my perfume collection without Cafe Noir in it. This one is very special.

This blend contains 99% botanical ingredients. Notes listed include: bergamot, black pepper, cinnamon bark, pimento berry, benzoin, Bulgarian rose, jasmine, labdanum, coffee absolute, tolu balsam, and vanilla. I would say to give this fragrance a try if you are looking for an interesting and moody fragrance or if you like Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe Cologne, Penhaligon’s Endymion Cologne, Mark Buxton Nameless EDP, Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Eau de Iles, L’Artisan Parfumeur Eau du Navigateur EDT, and/or Hilde Soliani Bell’Antonio EDP. I must say that the biggest difference between those listed and Parfums des Beaux Arts Cafe Noir is that Cafe Noir is rich and long-lasting and natural. This is no cologne. An 1 ounce parfum spray goes for $135. It is available on the fragrance house’s website. More sizes are available.

La Maison de la Vanille is a French “vanilla” perfume house that really channels French colonialism, trying to make that aspect of history glamorous. They have a few different blends of vanilla. And with a name like “La Maison de la Vanille”, it’s pretty obvious that they are members of the cult of vanilla.  I’m not a vanilla fan but I am not a vanilla hater. I think vanilla has a time and a place and sometimes I really crave it during cool, wet, gloomy weather. I live in the PNW, so there are 9 months out of the year that I can potentially crave vanilla based scents.

Vanille Noir de Mexique is described as a “mysterious, dark, and seductive” vanilla fragrance. I don’t know if it is all of these things but it is a nice vanilla scent. This fragrance knows how to do vanilla without doing “cupcake” or cheap. Vanilla is sniffed throughout the entire wear of this EDT. Vanilla is always present. I love the top note and first 15-20 minutes wear of this scent. It is a rich and raw vanilla with a heavy dose of bergamot. This makes for an interesting vanilla fragrance. I imagine vanilla as round and smooth and bergamot as a bit rough. These two notes together compliment each other without being too complicated. And it isn’t “orange cream”. It’s bitter and sweet, not desserty. The mid notes are a bit “powdery” vanilla, like an updated and less complicated and “modern” Guerlain Shalimar EDP. It is powdery in an old-fashioned rose and iris way with lots and lots of vanilla making it “new”. The dry-down is “sexy”. It is pretty much just a generic tonka bean, patchouli, woods that is heavy on vanilla. It reminds me of many dry-downs of many mainstream fragrance. From start to finish, this is a vanilla heavy scent. I love to picture myself wearing this and wearing a cashmere sweater dress, sipping rich, dark Mexican hot cocoa in front of our fireplace in the dead of a snowy winter. It’s a comforting vanilla that is interesting enough to purchase.

The company and the packaging remind me so much of Comptoir Sud Pacifique but I like La Maison de la Vanille much better. Their blends smell more expensive and less foody. Many people complain that this scent isn’t long-lasting. It is an EDT, duh. But, I find that it wears on me all day, at least 12 hours. I think vanilla based scents have a tendency to “stick” on me. Perhaps I am freak, don’t comment. Notes listed include: vanilla, rose, jasmine, iris, tonka bean, and bergamot. I would say that you would like this if you love rich vanilla scents, Guerlain Shalimar EDP, Solange Stoned,  Montale Chypre Vanille, Parfums de Nicolai Vanille Tonka, Profumum Dulcis in Fundo, Creative Scentualizations Perfect Vanilla, and fragrance by Comptoir Sud Pacifique  and LaVanila.  It retails for $60 for 1.7 oz and is available on luckyscent.com.

L’Artisan Parfumeur describes Thé Pour Un Été or Summer Tea as  “An invitation to a far-away land, a moment of tranquility in an exotic oasis, the fragrance is as refreshing as a glass of iced green tea infused with jasmine and mint. Delicate and versatile, this is a scent for all seasons, a tender reminder of the happy days of summer.” It is an Olivia Giacobetti creation. Thé Pour Un Été isn’t what I expect for it to be. I don’t think the description is very fitting or even the name, for the most part. It is a pretty scent that wears very sweet and almost powdery on me. It wears very closely and intimately. It’s soft and romantic. I do not dislike the scent, I just find it not what I expected. In fact, I thought my sample was mislabeled!

At first it smells very creamy with a hint of jasmine tea. It’s floral but rich. It seriously hits me as a jasmine green tea latte hot, not served chilled, with a slight dash of lemon. My nose does not pick up the crisp or coolness of bergamot or the crispness of mint. I get a creamy blend of dried jasmine petals, freshly brewed green tea, steamed milk, and the faintest suggestion of lemon. When I wear this fragrance I don’t fell it screams “summer”, when I wear it in the dead of summer on those 90+ days, it doesn’t feel refreshing. (But, what does when it gets that unbearable). It just hits me as sweet. This scent hits me more as comforting, romantic, cuddly. This is something that I would rather wear in early spring. I drink lots of iced teas in summer from Persian mint to black tea with rose. This fragrance doesn’t remind me of those elixirs that I make for myself to beat the humid heat. This scent is more like the tea lattes that I get at my favorite tea bars, when it isn’t cool enough for coffee but not warm enough for an iced beverage. So, I guess it is accurate to say that it is a “reminder of the happy days of summer”. It’s how you may remember summer, it’s comforting like those first few warm days of late spring and thaws your cool body out from the wet, brisk days of the cooler seasons. We call this “sun breaks” in Washington. It feels so good to feel the sun again after months of the same old weather. It’s like this fragrance, it isn’t “summer” it won’t refresh you, it just comforts you and it is like you feel the warmth of those rays on your skin. It’s a fragrance that warms and doesn’t cool (like a mint, rosemary, or citrus scent). The dry down is about the same, with a bit more of the green tea and less of the jasmine, still sweet and almost like it has a hint of white chocolate.

Like I said, the fragrance wears very closely and is light. It wears for about 2 hours tops on my pulse points. Notes listed by the perfume house include: lemon, bergamot, mint, jasmine, and green tea. The 3.4 oz spray goes for $135 and the 1.7 oz for $95. It is available at beautyhabit.com and L’Artisan website.

Green tea latte

Green tea latte

I didn’t know that I loved the scent of grapefruit so much until I bought this product. I used to shy away from grapefruit in scents because it was A. too sweet and sugary or B. cat piss. I didn’t hate grapefruit, I just stayed away from it because cat piss is hard to pull off. L’Aromarine Pamplemousse is a “rugged” citrus blend. It is bitter, fresh, but is still sweet like a grapefruit. This oil is just enough of the peel and the fruit. It is a tad kitty pee-pee-ish but enough to make it interesting and not fake. Grapefruit kind of smells like that in “real” life. It doesn’t smell sugary unless you add the sugar. I would also say that this is a grapefruit, not a pink grapefruit or any of those other sweeter varieties. This is “rugged” citrus.

Since this is a fragrance oil, it is very long-wearing. This is a scent that I see myself wearing year round. It is crisp and tart for summer, clean and natural for fall, etc. I also would imagine that it would mix very well with bergamot oils, oakmoss oils, lemon oils, floral oils like honeysuckle or jasmine. This is a very versatile fragrance and by adding any of these, you’ve created something “new”. The scent is unisex; however, my husband finds it too “girly” for his taste. He doesn’t do citrus at all. I really like it and cant wait to play with it by mixing up something of my own in a vodka base. It retails for $9.50 and is available on beautyhabit.com.

jeannatecollection

One of my favorite things about summer (other than lots of time off and the mild climate of the Pacific Northwest) is that I get to use my entire bath line of Jean Naté. Busting out the Jean Naté means that summer is here. It’s fresh, clean, citrusy and not fussy, making it a perfect summer must have.

Jean Naté or Jean Nate as my grandmother would say (like blue “jeans” and “nate” rhymes with “late”) was launched in 1935 under Charles of the Ritz, now Revlon. This is a best selling bath line. It was a hit then and continues to be so. Every generation of women in my family has used this stuff. It’s timeless despite the lame 70’s ad campaigns that my mother was exposed to. The scent is one of my favorite scents ever. And to my benefit this product is inexpensive, available at drugstores all over the country, and has the cutest vintage packaging (got to love that font).

The trademark is “clean never felt so fresh”, OK, not very brilliant but I promise that the products are. Overall the fragrance is a super fresh blend of citrus, bergamot, and lavender. But, each item has its own “special” quality and scent that it plays up. It’s like if you use the body wash you have the top note, the lotion you have the middle note, and with the splash you have the base. They all work together wonderfully.The scent is light and refreshing and really reminds me of very, very expensive European EDT/colognes.

Moisturizing Body Wash: This is my favorite body wash of all time. It is so fresh. It leaves my body clean all day. It’s my girl version of Irish Spring, making it a summer must have, especially here in Washington with no a/c. This body wash is “sparkling” and almost effervescent and bubbly in fragrance. This reminds me of a “top” note used in fragrance. It is heavy on the lemon and bergamot. I love it. It seriously leaves a faint scent on my skin all day. It lathers nicely and is everything I want in a shower gel.Unfortunately this is a very hard product to find. When I find it I pick up a few bottles because it is my favorite shower gel of all time. It goes for $6-$10.

Hydrating Body Lotion: The texture of this lotion is lightweight and perfect for summer. It isn’t greasy or sticky. It is very fragrant but less effervescent than the shower gel. This has the lemon and bergamot but with more lavender making this is a very refreshing and soothing product at the same time. Plus, you can pick up a fresh, dewy floral such a geranium. It is lovely.This goes for about $6 and you can sometimes find a very large bottle for $10.

After Bath Splash: I would say this is the most popular product in the line. This hit it big in the 70’s and 80’s when “light” fragrances were all the rage. People were simplifying their routines. The After Bath Splash is now available in 3 sizes in a convenient spray bottle. I love the old school splash with the big black spherical top, but since I pretty much bathe myself in this stuff the spray bottle is much more functional. The scent is so refreshing and much more herbaceous than the other products. It is lemon rind, bergamot, and English lavender. It is simple and refreshing and has a slight almost patchouli dry down. This reminds me of a classic Guerlain EDT such as Mitsouko, refreshing herbaceous Provincial inspired colognes like Potter & Moore Lavender & Italian Lemon, Hierbas de Ibiza Agua de Colonia Fresca, Satellite Paris L’Ombre, and even Lubin L’Eau Neuve. I love this stuff. It’s what I want in the summer. It is light wearing, I mean it is a body splash with a high alcohol content. Sometimes in the summer this is all I want. But, if I want more I will layer it under the fragrances that I have mentioned above. Hint-Put it in the fridge for an extra refreshing, cooling spritz. The prices for this range from $6 to $10 depending on size.

Silkening Body Powder: I love a dusting powder because I am an old-fashioned kind of gal. The powder comes in a cute yellow container with a nice puff. I only wear body powder in the summer so I happy it is available in this scent. This is a floral herbaceous blend that smells like the after bath splash in powder form.It’s soft and easily mixes with other fragrances you may layer over it. It retails for $10. I love to use this after one of my very late evening summer strolls. Or to freshen up in the summer midday if I don’t have time to shower before going back out.

A cologne spray is available but I have not tried it but I hope to soon. Since this product is a classic you can find good deals on it. For example, limited edition jumbo sizes for summer where you get 30 fl. oz. of bath splash for $10. Many say that the formula has been tampered with in 2007 and that it isn’t close to the original. I’m sure the formula has been changed but I think it is all a matter of opinion. My family members declare that what they buy today is what they remember it being like. I’ve been using it pre-2007 and post-2007 and find it the same. But, with classic products it is a touchy game. Old customers tastes could of changed but they would never admit it. But, I’m not going there. I just bought a new batch of every item I mentioned for this summer and love them all. There is an old commercial on youtube here that further emphasizes the “exhilarating” aspect of the product. It’s funny but warning, video quality isn’t so hot.