Once Upon A Time, MiN New York Created Scent Stories Perfumes….

Once Upon A Time, MiN New York Created Scent Stories Perfumes….

If you are what we like to call a “perfumista”, and/or live in New York you have likely heard of MiN New York. Known for it’s incredible curated selection of fragrances, apothecary, a “men’s den“, etc, MiN New York is one of the several centres in the perfume universe. They celebrate beautiful things, and share their finds with their clients, often hosting exclusive parties for creators and “noses” and serving cocktails, with live music and magic. What else would you expect from a business that has an “Art of Living” tab on their website? With everything from the classical eau de toilettes used for decades in European barber shops, to the most exclusive modern perfumes, MiN has it all.

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So it was no surprise and happy news to all when they announced the launch of their perfume project, MiN New York Scent Stories. I say project as this so much more than just smelly liquid in bottles.

MiN NEW YORK SCENT STORIES, VOLUME ONE:

An exclusive olfactory art project by Chad Murawczyk and Mindy Yang featuring eleven fragrant chapters, this collection aims to transcend space and time. Each potion is designed to create emotions, bring back memories, and inspire people to think differently about perfumes. As luxury collectibles that celebrate the Art of Living, they are limited editions with only 1,000 bottles coming from a single batch each year. Each edition is hand signed and numbered.

I don’t know about you, but the idea of wearing a perfume that is rare speaks to me. I’m so tired of common and boring – the same old perfume, rebottled and renamed. I love a perfume that has beauty and has heart. My first impression upon diving into MiN New York Scent Stories was that someone put their heart into these creations, that someone sat down and looked deep within themselves and put poetry in bottles. Scent Stories manage to feel like a throwback to the perfumes of the fifties, sixties and seventies, when so many of my favourite perfumes were created, not copied. Chad and Mindy have somehow managed to do this, while keeping these perfumes modern and fresh.

The perfumes evolve on the skin like living things. I made the “mistake” of trying several of the Scent Stories on different parts of my arm at once, and was haunted for hours, trying to figure out which beautiful note I was experiencing at any given time. Each perfume so clearly morphs from top, to heart to it’s base that in the end, you’d swear you are wearing a different perfume from the one you think you spritzed on. I can honestly say I have never smelled anything like any of the Scent Stories I’ve worn. With names like Moon Dust (smells like space – really), Long Board (best sexy surf fragrance ever), Barrel (dark spirits and wine), Dune Road (woodsy, grassy, sandy and breezy) these are not your run of the mill department store, or even high end luxury boutique, perfumes. These are something different….

There are so many different types of scents in Scent Stories that there is something for everyone. I have my favourites:

MIN New York Scent Stories Shaman

Scent Stories Chapter Four, Shaman is indeed, otherworldly. It does smell like it’s description, but you really need to experience it on your skin to understand how every descriptor that MiN New York uses is true. The first smoky notes threw me, as smoke is not my favourite note at all. But they pass and turn into the warm, sweet smoke of tranquil incense with the cool magical forest fragrance of violet leaves. The patchouli is sophisticated and warm, and all of the notes just circle around each other like tendrils of incense smoke. Soft, gentle and calming, Shaman is a perfume that must be worn to be believed. If you are seeking a calming meditative scent, you must try this. On first sniff I’d call this a masculine, but that’s just because I favour sweet girly florals. Shaman is for everyone.

MIN New York Scent Stories Magic Circus

Scent Stories Chapter Seven, Magic Circus smells even better than the description. Don’t be fooled by the candied notes – this is no Pink Sugar (not that there is anything wrong with Pink Sugar….) or some Victoria’s Secret confection (again, if that’s your thang….). This is an enchanted circus, the kind that travels at dusk, the blue hour, and it smells as magical as it sounds. All those warm and woodsy resinous notes ground the sweetness. Don’t get me wrong, there is a yummy aspect to this one, and I did get an urge to lick my wrist. But it never overpowers, and just feels like a velvet cape of warm sweetness.

MIN New York Scent Stories The Botanist

Scent Stories Chapter Three, The Botanist will change everything you have come to believe about fruity perfumes. An apple perfume that doesn’t smell like Jolly Ranchers (if you like that kind of thing, that’s ok….).  It smells like a warm day in an orchard – close your eyes and smell apple blossoms, green leaves and soft grasses and woods warmed by the sun. The breezes are picking up the scents of the wild roses, peonies and earthy scents from the forest floor and they mingle with the sweet fruits and magic happens.

MIN New York Scent Stories Momento

Scent Stories Chapter Five, Momento is my absolute favourite of all the Scent Stories. It took me several times to figure this out because I kept wearing more than one to figure out which one was making me drool. “This is the scent of love and happiness” – that is true. It must be the aldehydes that add the sparkling and slightly powdery aspect to Momento. Absinth and lavender in perfume are a magical combination, simultaneously intoxicating and comforting. The floral, woodsy and resinous notes are beautifully blended to take you on a “scentimental” journey from first spritz until the deep drydown. Momento is addictive and beautiful.

MIN New York Scent Stories

MiN New York Scent Stories are available in limited quantities on their website. A 75ml bottle costs $240 USD, with free shipping in the USA.

Estee Lauder Private Collection, Perfume For The Bohemian Bourgeoisie

Estee Lauder Private Collection, Perfume For The Bohemian Bourgeoisie

Ahhh, oh how I love a gorgeous green perfume. Not the traditionally “pretty” perfumes of today that might have a touch of leaves or grassy greenery. Not a gentle herbal cologne, either. I mean a mossy, rich Green Chypre. The kind of green that mixes the gorgeous elegant grown up lady perfumes of the late sixties and early seventies, and then tosses in something naughty, something that smells almost dirty. It’s funny – a couple weeks ago I was chatting with my daughter about my parents, and their awesome generation, and how they belonged to a social group that has been called the Bohemian Bourgeois. The caftans, the parties, the European cars, the holidays, and the luxury, but still somehow anti-establishment. I love it.

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Talitha Getty – the ultimate Bohemian Bourgeoisie

Right now, I’m getting my fix from Estée Lauder Private Collection – the original one released in 1973. I decided I had to have it after reading this awesome post on XOVAIN (did you know Private Collection was Tammy Wynette’s signature scent?). The best part of that post? Showing it to shocked sales associates at the Estée Lauder counter who were clearly surprised to see anyone under sixty five asking for Private Collection. No really, I said. It’s written up on a cool beauty blog – by a YOUNG PERSON. Some of them didn’t believe me until I pulled up the review on my phone. Their reactions were beautiful.

Estee Lauder Private Collection perfume dalybeauty

I get a similar vibe from my beloved Ivoire de Balmain (vintage), that sexy skin vibe that the perfumes of the seventies do so well. Maybe Estée Lauder Private Collection is closer to the original Vent Vert, but it is warmer and more casual than sharp edged VV. There is an effortless elegance to this kind of perfume. It’s the kind of perfume that takes you from dressed to dressed up without changing your clothes. Actually I’d say casually dressed is the best way to wear Private Collection, otherwise it might be a bit overdone. And overdone is not cool.

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Veruschka – who else?

Despite the WASPy leanings of the Estée Lauder line, and perhaps even Mme Lauder herself, this perfume is part of era that had the vibe of revolution. Women wearing men’s suits, modern design in fashion, homes and furniture, menthol cigarettes, European cars and Studio 54. I feel strong, feminine and sexy in this scent.

The origins of the perfume are kind of cool:

“Private Collection belongs in the private collection of every woman who believes she deserves the very best life has to offer.”—Estée Lauder, Founder

In her private office, Mrs. Lauder kept a collection of rare fragrance essences. She created a perfume from these precious ingredients that was deeply personal and for herself alone.

Women who admired this mysterious scent were told it was from her “private collection.” Not to be denied, they began calling department stores to request Estée Lauder’s “Private Collection.” In 1973, Mrs. Lauder bowed to popular demand and introduced her signature perfume to the world.

The notes in Private Collection, from the Estée Lauder website:

Top Notes:
Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Citrus

Middle Notes:
Orange Flower, Ylang-Ylang, Coriander

Base Notes:
Sandalwood, Patchouli

What a lovely floral mix – soapy for sure, and elegant, elegant, elegant. But, what is that I see lurking in the base notes – patchouli! It’s subtle, don’t get me wrong. This is no hippy head shop patchouli. But, it adds an unexpected bit of modernity, and even a slightly masculine note.

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It reminds me of Bianca Jagger in her white suit – gorgeous, sexy and feminine and wearing what she wants because she can. And Rihanna in that amazing suit at the Grammys. Gorgeous, sexy and feminine – and strong. Notwithstanding Rihanna’s drugstore sugar drenched perfume offerings, I like to think she actually wears something as womanly as Estée Lauder Private Collection. Because she would rock it.

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Estee Lauder Private Collection is available online and at most Estée Lauder counters for $64 USD for a 50ml bottle. Smart money goes to Canada where, with today’s exchange, it costs the equivalent of around $52 USD. I have tried the vintage and the current, and I frankly love the current version just as much, if not more. I try to make it a point to not fall in love with impossible to find perfumes….I try….

How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

How Perfume Boredom Led To i smell great™

Regular readers of my blog know that I can count the number of times I’ve written a rave review about a newly released perfume on one hand. I love perfume, and I love writing about perfume, but the only perfumes that have interested me enough to write about have either been niche, which often means expensive and/or hard to find, or vintage and vanished from the market. I hoard my vintage perfumes that will never be made again, and I resent having to pay a fortune for some niche brand that uses the same ingredients as everyone else.

By now everyone knows about i smell great™, the perfume brand created by Randi Shinder and myself. Randi created and launched three beauty brands that were so groundbreaking they formed new categories in fragrance and skin care. And, we are both perfume junkies, in the truest sense of the word. We eat, sleep and breathe perfume. We obsess about scents and flavours all. The. Time. Stimulate our sense of smell or taste, and we are already dreaming about how this or that would work in perfume. Both of us have been obsessive “noses” since we can remember. Scents haunt us, and they haunted us until we captured them and bottled them, like perfume ghosts.

Randi and I would often get so excited about a scent we would hear about. Then, we’d try it and find it was pretty much exactly the same as many many perfumes before it. Cue the sad trombones. Newsflash: the industry is full of imitation. If one perfume has commercial success, wait for every other designer to release a perfume that smells “similar”. They copy the successful one, maybe tweak it a tiny bit (and maybe not) and then call it something else. Just wander around any perfume department and smell all the top sellers. A well developed nose will be able to find the sameness in everything.

The names are often ridiculous and have nothing to do with what the perfume smells like. Reveal, Downtown, Encounter and how about 18 different editions of Eternity for women and another 14 Eternity versions for men? Oy. Sorry, Calvin, but you aren’t even trying anymore. Talk about phoning it in.

Then there is this business of “notes” in perfume. It used to mean a lot more, and still does with some niche and artisanal perfumers. But for most mainstream perfumes, that cacophony of  top, middle and base notes aren’t really telling us what the perfume smells like. It’s ad copy. It’s a romantic idea of the scent. Yes, yes, some of those synthetic molecules are meant to smell like certain things, but that doesn’t mean assembling them together as if you are Jacques Guerlain (SPOILER ALERT: YOU ARE NOT) is going to create another Shalimar. It’s like a habit that the consumer thinks they need to know. Do you? I know I don’t care. I want to know if it smells good, and those vague and random recipes and notes rarely tell me anything about the scent.

So. Why not make perfumes for the masses, why not make perfumes for those who really just want to wear an uncomplicated scent that just smells great? Why not make perfumes that don’t cause headaches, perfumes that don’t choke everyone around you with chemical scent enhancers that elevate perfume projection to nuclear levels? Yes, lady who bathes in Angel before getting on that elevator, I’m looking at YOU. Stop. Now.

I can’t wait to share how Randi and I came to create our perfumes. How the things we loved became perfumes. How the scented products that accompany the perfumes have bases that were just as important as the perfumes. I challenge you to spray your hands with i smell great™ Wellness Water Fragrance Mist. The luxurious base of purified water and skin-healthy ingredients means you can rub it in and it will feel great as well as smell great. Go ahead and try that with a mainstream body mist. Be careful though, it will probably dissolve your nail polish.

Stay tuned for more of our story!

i smell great™ Perfume By Jane Daly & CLEAN Perfume Founder

i smell great™ Perfume By Jane Daly & CLEAN Perfume Founder

our story

i smell great™ was born from the desire for a perfume line that did something different, radical, honest and simple. The hundreds of perfumes released every year offer the same thing, over and over. Trying to find a simple and pretty perfume has become almost impossible. Perfume departments have become daunting and overwhelming, turning perfume shopping into a shell game of sameness.

Randi Shinder changed the perfume landscape with her line of simple, clean and fresh perfumes, CLEAN™, out of her desire to simply smell good and to smell clean. CLEAN™ was a unique, first-of-its kind fragrance meant to mimic the universal freshly showered feeling that we all love. As it became a top selling scent, Randi knew that the consumer felt as she did, and just wanted an honest product that did what it promised.

I worked in the perfume industry and have been writing about perfume for years. As a blogger, I regularly received newly released perfumes to review, and the one thing I was noticing was….that there is nothing new or interesting, yet simple and honest, in perfume today. This led me to create my own bespoke perfume – one of the only modern scents I would wear. It’s “in the vault”….for now.

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We decided smelling good was, well, not good enough. Our combined passion for smelling good turned into something different… something “great”. Our love of perfumes led us to take the great scents of our lives, and the scents of our memories, and to bottle them. Almost three years and many scents later, Randi and I knew we were on to something. Everyone who tried our perfumes loved them and found the scents “addictive!” We loved that we could play with these perfumes and that everyone could create their own versions of Greatness.

Adding to Randi and my passion for this greatness is the skill and exuberance of Michael Nyman in Los Angeles. As Chairman and CEO of PMK*BNC™, one of the largest and most influential communications, marketing and consultancy firms in the world of popular culture and entertainment, Michael Nyman has established himself as a leading authority with keen cultural insights in bridging the worlds of entertainment and brands. He knew that i smell great™ was something the beauty and perfume world was ready for, and that consumers were waiting for the chance to smell great.

i smell great™ was born, because shouldn’t we all smell great?

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What I’m Loving Right Now

What I’m Loving Right Now

Music: I’m still loving Lana Del Rey – her latest album, Ultraviolence, has been on heavy repeat. But my summer love this year has got to be Bebel Gilberto, and her album Tanto Tempo has been my “weekend spent lying in the sun on the dock reading” soundtrack. I’m all about the Bossa Nova sound these days.

TV marathon: Well, Netflix has been a game changer, and allows me to watch a series in the best way – marathon! I still love HBO (riveted to Masters of Sex, disappointed by True Blood series finale) but Mr. Selfridge was so wonderful, I just adored it! I think it has something to do with the creation of my favourite floor of the department store – the ground floor! How the selling of beauty and perfume products in public, in sight of everyone, was a radical thing to those Edwardians. The set of the show was sumptuous, with Selfridge’s perfume department stocking the perfumes our mothers and grandmothers wore: Yardley, Guerlain, Floris, Caron, Penhaligon’s and more. After researching which ones were right for 1914, they approached the companies and were surprised to receive many valuable bottles from the perfume houses’ archives. The French house, Caron, lent large crystal and 24-karat gold urns. Customers used to bring their own perfume bottles and the undiluted perfume was decanted into them at the counter. Drool-worthy stuff for the perfume nerds of the world!

Can you even!

Can you even!

Food: Ah, the simple and delicious beauty of the chopped salad! If there is one thing I ate TONS of this summer, it was the chopped salad. Believe or not, Dole makes an amazing one and it is so easy to customize with more yummy stuff. Cheese, grilled meats, cold cuts, antipasto stuffs….the possibilities are endless. I was discussing the beauty of the chopped salad with friends last night (as they were raving over Dole’s Italian Chop) and we all agree- the finely chopped ingredients mean you get a perfect mouthful every time!

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Fashion: The summer of the kimono! I just love them, and the boho touch they add to any outfit. A flowy chiffon kimono makes channeling your inner Stevie Nicks easy!

Distressed "boyfriend" jean shorts, silk cami top, & silky flowing kimono

Distressed “boyfriend” jean shorts, silk cami top, & silky flowing kimono

Skincare: I am a hand lotion junkie, and am NEVER without a tube of something lovely in my purse. I saw Hand Chemistry at the drugstore. A quick Google told me Hand Chemistry sold out when it was launched in the UK, and that women loved it so much they were using it on their faces. WHAT. For around $20, I was in. Hand Chemistry doesn’t advise using it on your face, it does admit its lotion was inspired by face creams. ‘As hands can age more dramatically than the face, we had to include higher concentrations of a selection of the most effective anti-ageing technologies to be able to produce a very visible difference within just a few days”. I love it! It smells soft and fresh, makes my hands feel beautiful, has no greasy residue, and I use it around my eyes if my skin feels dry when I’m out and about. They have a body product, too, but I haven’t seen it yet. As soon as I do, it’s mine!

hand chemistry intense-youth-complex

 

Makeup: I have two favourites in heavy rotation this summer! First, the silky soft and super pretty DDM Lip Gloss in St Tropez ($12.99). Feels great I love the soft natural look it gives my lips. Second, it’s Hourglass Gel Liner ($45 for a 3 pack) – this is serious HG material! I use it to tight-line my upper lashes and I swear this stuff does not budge until I remove it.

DDM Lip Gloss St Tropez Hourglass Gel Liner

DDM Lip Gloss – the wand lights up! So pretty.

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Longest day ever & Hourglass Gel Liner has not budged. Crazy!

Perfume:  This summer I’ve been feeling the florals. I have a bottle of vintage Jean Patou Joy eau de parfum (my favourite concentration of this scent…) and just a little spritz of this gorgeous classic makes me feel dressed up, soapy clean and beautiful.

Vintage Joy ad - Eau de Joy became Joy Eau de Parfum

Dove Soap For Hands And Body

Dove Soap For Hands And Body

If you read DalyBeauty regularly you know I am huge fan of Dove soap. I love the feel, the smell and how it makes my skin feel after using it. I use it on my face, it removes make up perfectly and doesn’t irritate my sensitive acne-prone skin. But I basically use it for my entire self as well.

Dove Soap lather

Dove as hand soap is perfect, as it is a thorough yet gentle cleanser that removes all the yuck from your hands, while leaving your skin soft. It removes the dirt of the day, as well as any food odours. My sensitive nose cannot deal with food odours on my hands. Even if I love the food, I don’t want to smell onions/garlic/cumin etc on my hands. Dove soap with a soft nail brush and ta-da! my hands are perfectly clean. One can use Dove beauty bar multiple times a day as well without drying out the skin. I loathe hand sanitizers and don’t believe that germ-killing is the way to nirvana. I just want to have clean hands. Dove is perfect for it. It’s a super creamy and emollient soap, so a soap dish is a MUST, or it will make a mess of your sink. I like finding cool and pretty small bowls or saucers to put next to my sink to hold my Dove Beauty Bar. The kind of bowls/saucers that I buy ,then toss in a cupboard, never to be seen or used again. Unless of course, the Queen comes for tea and I need a tiny plate for biscuits. Until then, they hold my Dove Beauty Bar.

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Who needs body/shower gel? Ok, just kidding, as I have hundreds of them, but one of my favourite shower cleansers is good old Dove soap. Add a shower puff, some warm water, and you have hands full of soft, white yummy and clean smelling lather. I use to shave my legs and underarms as well, as it is always soft and never drying. I notice my skin is softer and smells wonderful after a head to toe lather with Dove soap, and it is one of the only scented products I do not tire of. Perhaps because it is so gentle and fleeting on the skin. I even use Dove Beauty Bar to clean my make up brushes. It leaves them soft, clean and with a gentle fresh scent.

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My girlfriend takes her Dove Beauty Bar with her when she travels. It’s amazing, because it instantly makes your hotel shower smell like home. I’ve started doing the same! I wish there was a body lotion/hand cream/perfume that had the exact scent of Dove – do you know of any, dear reader? It’s such a clean comforting scent.

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara, Heaven In A Bottle (Vintage)

Guerlain Samsara is definitely a bombastic perfume. There are two stories about the origin of this perfume which was released in 1989. The romantic story of the scent itself tells us that Jean-Paul Guerlain sought inspiration in China and Tibet to create Samsara,  The Sanskrit word, translated, means “continuous flow”.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

Dhyana Mudra, the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.

“Samsara is a Sanskrit word that has its roots in Hinduism. It signifies the cycle of birth and rebirth, the perpetual voyage from one existence to the next, the wheel of life that keeps on turning. Samsara is an invitation to serenity and harmony, with oneself and with the world. It is an homage to the woman who is ever in search of serenity.”

samsara parfum

Guerlain Samsara vintage parfum/extrait

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How fitting that sandalwood would figure in this scent- again images of temples, incense, prayer and meditation come to mind when one gets a whiff of sandalwood. The marketing story reminds us that it was 1985, an era of power scents and Samsara was created to get in on this action. Opium, Obsession and Chanel Coco were hot selling heavy orientals in a big 80s way, and Guerlain did a perfect job creating a contender with Samsara.

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Back to bombastic. The notes from Guerlain speak of “a spellbinding predominance of jasmine. Rose, narcissus and ylang-ylang embellish the fragrance, the better to unite it with the radiant and generous warmth of sandalwood. Lastly, iris, Tonka bean and vanilla render this remarkable fragrance sublime”. I totally agree. There is the classic Guerlain base, commonly known as “Guerlinade” that most (not all) of the classic Guerlains have in common. This is a composition of several perfume notes but notably jasmine, iris, tonka and vanilla. I could drink this it is so divine- it makes you want to lean in and devour the wearer. So, take the Guerlinade, amp up the jasmine to almost obscene levels (in the best way!), then add a combination of pure and synthetic sandalwood at top volume and somehow the sandalwood grounds the jasmine and the jasmine lightens the sandalwood. A perfect and magical combination.

As with many perfumes today, there are different vintages of Samsara, the earlier ones containing more pure sandalwood. There is parfum (purest concentration of perfume), eau de parfum (more alchohol and not as concentrated than parfum) and eau de toilette (most common and less concentrated than eau de parfum and parfum) available in the Samsara line. I have the “vintage” (pre 1990) parfum and eau de toilette as I find the eau de parfum to be the 80s killer BIG PERFUME, but your mileage may vary. They are all powerful in that 80s sense but it’s all in the application. I lightly mist the eau de toilette with divine results. A few dabs of the parfum are intoxicating, the jasmine mingling with the sandalwood in a magical dance that teases forth from the skin. I often dab some on at bedtime (I never get into bed without perfume) and in the morning I can still smell it on my wrists. Samsara’s density makes it wear beautifully in cooler temperatures.

Samsara is one of those perfumes that smell wonderful wafting up from a pashmina or sweater. What are your favourite cozy scarf and sweater perfumes?

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie – A Powdery Rose Perfume

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie – A Powdery Rose Perfume

Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie is not just another floral or rose scent. The list of notes is incredibly simple – bergamot, Bulgarian rose (known for their luscious scent), ambergris infusion and musk. Yet Fleurs de Bulgarie is so rich and beautiful, it’s hard to believe it is something so simple. It is an historical scent for Creed, as it is the perfume that made them the official supplier of perfume to the Royal Court of England. From their site:

Made for a queen who ascended the throne of England as a teen and then ruled for decades. She wore her commissioned fragrance from the House of Creed throughout her illustrious reign — and named Creed an official supplier to the royal court. At once youthful and classically timeless, Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie is made with the essence of pure Bulgarian roses – the finest in the world – over a classic musk base.

Young Queen Victoria

Young Queen Victoria

And there is something regal about a rose perfume, especially one like this. It is really all about rose, but not a powdery simple rose. Nor is it the dark rose scent that is ubiquitous these days, with the Stella McCartney’s & Juliette Has A Gun types. Nor is it a sexy eighties rose chypre like Diva or L’Arte di Gucci.  It is chock full of one of Creed’s beloved ambergris, which they do so well. It is an odd one, and perhaps it’s even a love it or hate it perfume. It’s funny -I actually hated Fleurs de Bulgarie on first sniff and couldn’t stash my sample fast enough. But the ambergris stayed with me, and when I finally tried it again, I loved it, and had to own it. The ambergris is almost mouth watering. Soapy, yet not clean, and quite sexy, in my opinion. Like the finest most expensive rose soap perhaps. It’s a highly concentrated scent, so a little goes a long way, almost like a parfum.

red roses

Creed Perfumes are available at Creed perfume counters, boutiques and on their website. Beware: Creed perfumes are often counterfeited on the black market – be sure to buy from authorized retailers.