Tocca Crema de Mano hand cream is a nice hand cream. I have to admit that I only really like it because of the fragrance. The formula is nice but it isn’t heavy-duty or exceptional. The formula is pretty basic. It is moisturizing without being greasy. I do like that. I really dislike using a heavy-duty hand cream during the day. It can be so gross. You can have slippery computer keys, steering wheel, door knobs, smudging an iPhone, and you can find yourself unable to open anything. I like Tocca’s light weight hand cream. It’s practical for every day, day time use. It absorbs so quickly. But, what I really like is the Stella fragrance.

This hand cream is packed with fragrance. The Stella fragrance is an elegant interpretation of blood oranges. It’s a flirty citrus floral scent. It is loaded with cool, feminine lilies on top of a juicy blood oranges. I notice the feminine lilies over the juicy blood oranges. Together they work together wonderfully creating a beautiful dainty citrus-floral.

This cream is a bit expensive at $8 for 2 oz. but it is such a luxurious pick-me-up to use throughout the day. My job lacks glamor and using this product makes me feel a bit more glamorous. It is available at beautyhabit.com.

(Sorry about being behind on posts. My life has been very crazy lately. I promise I’ll get better about posting. I’ve been trying so many great new products and I can’t wait to share.)

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Fragrance & Food:

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange wasn’t what I expected it to be at all. I wanted rugged citrus rind/zest mixed with the sweet juices of a blood orange. I wanted something to pick me up in the dead of winter and to be refreshing in the middle of summer. Nope. Instead with this one, I got too much of  juicy berries. It isn’t a bad fragrance, it just wasn’t what I expected.

First things first, I’m not a huge fan of strawberry scents. I find them too synthetic and too young. I don’t mind sniffing strawberry scents on others but I can’t stand to smell it on myself. Tuscan Blood Orange is all about strawberries at the initial spritz, the name should not of been Tuscan Blood Orange. It should be something about strawberries. Strawberry fragrance lovers should know about this fragrance. It should be in the title. Instead Pacifica is giving berry lovers and detour and attracting citrus lovers whom most likely will be disappointed with this fragrance. At first spritz it is very strawberry-ish. Think of a limited edition Escada scent. It is that berry. In a short time, you get the zest of tangerines and oranges. This drowns the strawberry; however, since my sniffer is sensitive to strawberry, I still pick it up. The zesty orange peel hangs around. It starts to mellow out with another berry, raspberry. This takes a bit of the “edge” off of the citrus while keeping it bitter. Eventually the fuse together and create something that would make a delicious tropical cocktail. The berry begins to fade and you get a juicy citrus. This is beautiful, fruity, and refreshing. At this stage, I get blood orange juice and pineapple juice, making this one tropical frou-frou fragrance. Oh, but then there is the strawberry zombie! After I start enjoying the fragrance it then morphs back into the strawberry citrus blend that was the top. But, this time the citrus is less apparent.

The fragrance isn’t bad. It just isn’t me and it isn’t something that I see myself wearing frequently. I can name 10 other citrus scents on the market that I love more. This is a very fruity fragrance. I would of really liked this one if it had a floral to balance the berry or if the berries were left out altogether. I really love the heart of the fragrance but I can’t forgive the berries. It doesn’t help that they keep coming back from the dead. This is a “young” fragrance to me. That being said, it is a fun fragrance. I don’t hate it. Sometimes I do want a tropical cocktail-ish fragrance. The price is right with this one and it does wear longer than a Demeter PMU Cologne spray. I do think of it as more of a summer fragrance but I do fear that the berries will make it to icky and sticky for hot summer days.

The fragrance isn’t very long wearing. But, I think wears nicely for the price. It wears much longer than a body spray and cologne. I smell traces of it about 3 hours after spraying. It wears about the same as more expensive EDTs at department stores. The bottle is small and you could “refresh” throughout the day. Plus, it has natural ingredients.

Notes listed include: strawberry, raspberry, mandarin, and Italian sweet orange.

Give this a try if you like very fruity fragrances, tropical drink like fragrances, LE Escada fragrances, Urban Rituelle Sweet Treats Pomegranete EDP, Comptoir Sud Pacifique Mora Bella EDP, Fresh Strawberry Flowers EDP, Marc Jacobs Daisy In The Air EDT, Ralph Lauren Ralph Wild EDT, and/or Demeter PMU Cologne Sex on the Beach.

The 1.2 oz spray retails for $22. It is available at Sephora and Pacifica’s website.

Also, since this is a delicious fragrance and it makes me think of food, here is a Strawberry Compote with Blood Orange Juice. I would add raspberries to give it the full Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange touch.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Quinacridone Violet is in the Chroma Series, a collection inspired by artists and paint pigments. Quinacridone Violet is described as “Neon. Shocking. Fantastic”. It is a tart and energetic fragrance; hence, it isn’t very “me”, haha. Neither is the color quinacridone violet, a man-made fuchsia. Not very appropriate for a gloomy, closet goth. It’s a nice fragrance, just not a “me” fragrance. I think of it like a bold Pucci print. I find it pleasing but I am too self-conscious of bold prints and color that I can’t pull it off unless in very small doses such as a scarf.  Quinacridone Violet is a fruity-floral. The top-notes are extremely fruity and alcoholic. It kind of reminds me of a children’s cough syrup a.k.a Triamenic. It’s a citrusy-plum-apple combo. It does smell very “purple”. It is difficult to tear the top notes a part but you just get this juicy, fruity “purple” liquid from it all. It is very “young” to me. This top note mixture has a lot of energy and it reminds me of pulsating fluorescent lights (more raver than closet goth? haha). The fruitiness starts to mingle with florals. You get bitter, exotic florals and a bit of green/fresh violets mixed with an alcoholic fruit juice mixture. It is a very bitter floral mix. Not a flirty, feminine floral mix. It’s tart and fresh. I do like this part of the fragrance. It’s a bitter violet with flirty fresh sweet pea. After about 2.5 hours of wear you are introduced to the dry-down. The dry-down is gorgeous and very “me”. It’s a musky floral with soft florals and skin-like musks. Sometimes when I wear it, it reminds me of delicate flowers in a haze of resinous smoke. It’s a very long-wearing fragrance, like most of DSH’s.

Even though the fragrance is a bit too “outgoing” for myself, I can see how it can work for others. I do appreciate that this fragrance really fits its inspirational color. It’s intense, juicy, and bold. I say to give it a try if you want “plum”. I want a plum fragrance, but I want it to be more of a plum fuikake fragrance, plum with dried seaweed. I still haven’t found one of those. Ohhh, or a delicate plum blossom like those in our back yard.

Notes listed include: cherry blossom, lime peel, plum, quince, aglaia flower, Italian neroli, osmanthus, sweet pea, violet, violet leaf, atlas cedarwood, cassis bud, incense notes, and musk.

I say to give this one a try if you like fruity fragrances, Escada limited edition fragrances, Juicy Couture Couture EDP, Sarah Jessica Parker Covet Pure Bloom EDP, Bath and Body Works Sweet Pea or Cherry Blossom EDT, Lacoste Love of Pink EDT, Victoria’s Secret Sexy Little Things EDP, and/or Ralph Lauren Ralph EDT. I seriously think this would make a great replacement (a much more posh replacement) for Sarah Jessica Parker Covet Pure Bloom which is getting harder and harder to find. An 1 ounce EDP spray retails for $65. This size and other sizes are available on DSH’s website.

This is an all natural fragrance that is in Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH “Gaia Perfume Collection”. This is as the name applies, a spicy fragrance. I really do like spicy fragrances but I think I have “low-brow” spicy fragrance tastes. I seem to always use Old Spice as my spice fragrance point of reference. Well, Epices d’Hiver is spicy and citrusy like Old Spice but much more high-brow. At first it is a wonderful winter citrus explosion. You can smell bitter oranges, blood oranges, perfumey bergamot, and grapefruit. It is citrusy but nothing like the “citrus” you would grab in the middle of summer. This is definitely a “cold” citrus blend. I mean that it doesn’t smell like fresh citrus juices but more like citrus essential oils. I then smell lots and lots of star anise. This is a good thing because I love the smell of star anise. I know other spices are present but I pick up on the star anise the most. I get a hint of cloves and nutmeg. The spiciness of this fragrance reminds me a lot of Pae-lo or Chinese Five Spice. Or Sambuca mixed with a bay rum aftershave blend or Old Spice. The dry down is  soft, warm, and resiny. It reminds me of non-burning incense. It is “round”, mellow, and wears closely to the skin.

This is a nice scent for cooler weather. It is spicy without smelling “Christmasy”. It has been a great fragrance to wear during this past week when the temps have been about 19° F. It reminds me of a beautiful bay rum (I guess because of the davana mixed with citrus and spices) with a dash of Pae-lo. This is a spice fragrance that both sexes can wear. It is a great “classic” scent for the kind of male that spends his winter holiday eating clam chowder by a fire in a wool sweater that he got in Novia Scotia last year before he goes out yachting. I also see it for the kind of confident female that wears Old Spice, Hepburn-ish pant suits, and red lipstick. I see both wearers as an “adventurous” type.

This is a long-wearing scent because that wears closely to the skin most of the time because of the expensive essential oils used in the blend. I really do like this scent and I don’t mean it any harm by comparing it to Old Spice. That is just my low-brow reference for spicy blends. For a “spice” blend this one is beautiful and complex. It reminds me of anything from warming Sambuca cocktails to “faraway”, “exotic” spice blends. I really do like this fragrance and I find it very easy to wear for a spicy fragrance. I wear it and it doesn’t wear me. My husband also likes this one. He says it smells of Compari and Sambuca. He says that this is the most sophisticated bay rum in the world. I would say that this means a lot coming from a guy that wears bay rum in the winter and has a very limited scent vocabulary. Notes include: bergamot, bitter orange, citrus oils, coriander seeds, davana, pink peppercorn, star anise, cinnamon bark, clove bud, jasmine, Moroccan rose, nutmeg, spice notes, ambrette seeds, labdanum, Siam benzoin, tolu balsam, tonka bean, Arabian myrhh, and vanilla absolute. A few sizes are available. The 5 ml bottle in an antique inspired bottle goes for $90. I recommend this fragrance for the person that loves spice fragrances, The Different Company Un Parfum d’Ailleurs & Fleurs, Annick Goutal Madragore EDT, L’Artisan Parfumeur Fou d’Absinthe EDP, L’Artisan Parfumeur Navegar EDT, Byredo Parfums Fantastic Man, Etro Anice, Parfumerie Generale Un Crime Exotique EDP, and/or Old Spice 🙂  It is available on DSH’s website.

Parfums des Beaux Arts by DSH Mahjoun is a decadent gourmand that is a must have for the honey lover. I love the scent of honey. It’s sweet but raw. This makes it difficult to wear. If you are one of the lucky and confident few out there that could wear a heavy honey based scent then this is a must for you. The fragrance’s website describes Mahjoun as “exotic, sensuous, and delicious“. Oh, it is. And it is based on the Moroccan delicacy (an ancient cannabis confection). I have never traveled to Morocco. Mainly because I love the “exotic” vision that I have of it in my mind and I don’t want to be let down. I want it to always be that “faraway” place. I love to picture the textures and smells of Morocco. I imagine bold spices, dried fruits and flowers, and precious resins. This is what I imagine and this is what Mahjoun delivers. It makes my mouth water. It is much sweeter than what I would imagine the streets of Morocco being like. This is much more dessert and gourmand and intoxicating, as the name implies. I usually can’t (or won’t) wear “sweet” fragrance but I see myself wearing this one frequently. It is sweet but it has so many other things keeping it interesting and “raw” while remaining beautiful. It is so sweet like honey as soon as you put it on. It’s sweet but very musky and sexual. At first spritz, it is a all about the sweetness of raw honey with a heavy dose of bitter almonds and zesty citrus juices. You can pick up a bit of lavender. This makes this is a crisp but sweet scent. Lavender honey is one of my favorite treats, especially in a black tea with a squeeze of lemon. The crispness fades fairly quickly and you are left with the “heart” of this fragrance. The heart is much like a sweet, sweet confection. It is heavy on the honey. It’s rich and golden, syrupy. It is mixed with dried fruits. I pick up on the dried dates and the dried pipe tobacco like aroma of dried figs. It is far from smoky, it just smells like a mix of honey and dried fruit flavored pipe tobacco. It has a dusting of sweet spices like nutmeg. It isn’t really “spicy”. The spices just add to the richness of the honey and sticky dried fruits. They are very understated. The “heart” has a bit of toasty nuttiness. Hazelnut in fact. My favorite. This makes this scent almost masculine/unisex and a must have for the lover of L’Artisan Parfumeur Mechant Loup EDT (my review here). I imagine it as a very intoxicating scent on both males and females. It’s really for anyone who has dreamed of being swept away by Rudolph Valentino as The Sheik. (This fragrance really does embody that Silent Film obsession with “exotic” and “sensual” and “forbidden” Bedouin culture).

The dry-down is less smoky and resiny than I would of imagined/predicted but it is there. It is an oriental blend of “exotic” resins and precious woods. It remains honey-ish but more in a beeswax with honey way with lots of amber, myrhh, sandalwood, frankinsence. It smells of exotic incense. I have to say that this is my all time favorite honey based scent that I have tried throughout my many years of sniffing. It is less “pissy” than L’Occitane Honey & Lemon EDT. It is sweet without sweetness being its soul purpose of existence like Lush Honey I Washed The Kids Solid Perfume.

Notes include the following: bitter almond, cardamom seed, cherry blossom, lavender, lemon, sweet orange, Bulgarian rose, fig, hazelnut, honey, nutmeg, orange blossom, sugar date, amber, atlas cedarwood, cinnamon, clove, frankincense, sandalwood, and Arabian myrrh. Many sizes are available. It’s a rich fragrance that wears for many hours closely to the skin. An 1 ounce EDP spray goes for $65. It is available at the Parfums des Beaux Arts website. I would say to give this one a try if you are a fan of complex honey scents or L’Artisan Mechant Loup, L’Artisan Havana Vanille, Tokyomilk Honey & The Moon EDP, Serge Lutens Chene, Arabie, or Fumerie Turque, Napa Valley Cielo EDP (my review here), just to name a few in the honey oriental genre.

It’s that time of year again. Mandarins, satsumas, whatever you like to call them, are at market to be purchased by the boxful. Citrus is a nice treat during these cool winter months. I’ve compiled a “collage” of zesty mandarin fragrances with a variety of price points and formulas.

Budget Mandarin Scents (Under $50): Trish McVoy Mandarin & Ginger Lily EDT is a citrus floral blend that is light-wearing. It retails for $48 for .5 oz (not alot of product for the dough). Crazylibellule & The Poppies Les Garçonnes Tamara Charleston is a very interesting humid, green, mandarin blend. This solid Crazystick retails for $18 and is well worth it. My review of it is here. Lush Olive Branch Solid Perfume is a simple and refreshing unisex blend of olive oil and mandarins. I love the solid formula. tIt retails for about $8. Lancome Ô de Lancome EDT is a classic, cool feeling mandarin, floral, and rosemary scent. The 1.7 oz. bottle goes for $38.50.  Voluspa Victoria Collection Pink Fatale is an incredible flirty fruity-floral with citrus and lilies. The .5 oz. roll-on goes for $24. Oh, and I almost forgot the mandarin classic: The Body Shop Satsuma Perfume Oil. It’s all about mandarin and the .5 oil goes for $16. (not pictured)

More Expensive Mandarin Scents: Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne is a zesty, herbaceous citrus blend that is unisex. It’s a great summer scent. The 3.4 oz bottle goes for $100. It’s a limited edition fragrance but it is still available: L’Artisan Parfumeur Mandarine Tout Simplement. It is what the name implies. It is a sparkling mandarin citrus blend. It is light wearing and the 8.4 oz. spray goes for $135. If you are looking for a creamier mandarin fragrance, the kind that can transition into cooler weather even though it is refreshing, try Antica Farmacista Vanilla Bourbon and Mandarin Perfume. The 1.6 oz. bottle goes for $58. Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Madarine Basilic EDT is a naturally sweet citrus blend with clementine, mandarin, and blood orange. The 1.7 oz bottle goes for $57. Here’s my review. Manuel Canovas Route Mandarine EDP is a mandarin and orange blossom mix, a citrus floral. It retails for $79 for 3.4 oz. Fresh Bergamot Citrus is a light blend of bergamot, citrus, and foresty base notes. The 3.4 oz. retails for $75. Creed Millesime Imperial is a unisex blend of crisp citrus, salt, musk, and woods. It is truly lovely and goes for $250 for 4 oz. (I just ordered one and I’m waiting anxiously for its arrival). Molinard 1849 Vervaine de Molinard is a green, crisp, fresh mandarin. Plus, the bottle is a must have. The 3.3 oz goes for $185.

5 Other Great Mandarin Products: Mistral Black Tea Mandarin Soap is a great scent for cooler weather. A bar goes for under $8. Ahava Body Sorbet in Madarin & Cedarwood is a refreshing and very moisturizing blend. The cedarwood really adds a special something. I love it for cooler weather. It is very foresty. A tub goes for $26. Lush The Big Tease Styling Gel is a hair gel with an orange blossom, mandarin, and lemon scent. It smells heavenly. It goes for under $17. Diptyque Oyedo Candle is a refreshing blend of grapefruit and mandarin. The candle retails for $60. A rich and lush mandarin fragrance for the home is Alora Ambiance Tre Reed Diffuser which goes for $58.

So far I have not met a Diptyque fragrance that I dislike. They are one of my favorite fragrance houses. The fragrances are simple and beautiful and so easy to wear. L’Eau de Tarocco is a beautiful fruity/citrusy but spicy fragrance. It can be worn all year round but I find it to be the perfect winter/cool weather citrus scent.

L’Eau de Tarocco is spicy but nothing like a pomander. It doesn’t smell like Christmas. It’s spicy but not heavy on cloves, nutmeg, etc. It is mainly lush citrus and a hint of spice such as ginger and cinnamon. Citrus scents are perfect for summer because they are light and refreshing but I do think of them for winter since this when they are in season. Having citrus in the dead of winter is such a treat. It opens up as a citrus juice explosion. It has all of the juiciness of sweet tarocco orange (sweeter than a regular ole blood orange), oranges, and a drop of tangy grapefruit. It’s the actual juice of an orange, not sweetened like orange juice.. This is an EDT so this explosion is just an explosion. It fades fairly quickly. I am then left with a bit of “tang” from the memory of citrus juices, a tad bit of spice like ginger and cinnamon. The spice isn’t overwhelming or Noel-ish. It adds some warmth and highlights the certain something of the florals present. This cinnamon/ginger plays so nicely against the orange blossom and softness of other dewy petals. The dry down is light and warm. You can smell the amazing cedar that is used in Diptyque fragrances. The white musk grounds the woods, keeping it “skin like” in quality. It is pretty, clean, and fresh at the dry down. This is a light wearing fragrance, refreshing and energizing. L’Eau de Tarocco contains notes of sweet Italian tarocco orange (yum), Florida orange, grapefruit, saffron, ginger extract, cinnamon, curcuma extract, Bulgarian rose, orange blossom, cedar wood, Somali frankincense, and white musk.

I would say that you would like this or if you like this you should try Parfums des Beaux Arts The Color Orange, Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange, Jo Malone Blue Agava & Cocoa, Fresh Bergamot Citrus, and/or Guerlian Exclusive Cologne de 68. I would also say that you would like this if  you like light, citrus scents or want something that is “friendly”, not heavy or over the top.  The cologne retails for $98 for the 100ml or $135 for the 200 ml and it is available at beautyhabit.com or barneys.com.