Bringing Grandma Up To Date At Christmas: A Gift Guide


Guest Post by Tim


With the Christmas gift shopping window of opportunity slowly getting smaller in the lead up to Christmas do you get stuck on what to buy? Perhaps you do a Chris Cringle like my family. Sometimes I am wandering aimlessly around under pressure, amongst holiday crowds scratching my head thinking of what they would like.Out of all the people in my family I buy for it’s my Grandma that I find I am at my most inspired when things need to be wrapped and under the tree by the 25th. Bless her heart, she excitedly accepted my presents given over the years. Sometimes fragrant, sometimes not. This year I’m

Bringing Grandma Up To Date

Photo Stolen TheBookwood

I’ve been referencing the past to find new interpretations and variations on the popular and classic fragrances that were trending at a time when our grandmas were becoming women. I have included some new flankers of vintage classics from iconic houses and beautiful compositions she will relate to and make a new connection with. These are a festive selection of fragrances suitable for a woman.

EauPremier stylefrizzPhoto Stolen Stylefrizz

Chanel,  No 5 Eau Premiere 2008 by Jaques Polge. An inspired choice for a Classic Alderhydeic floral. Fresher and lighter on the  Alderhydes,  it strips away time and date,  softening the edges and modernising the famous formulation. Eau premier presents a little rosier than iconic No 5. Grasse grown jasmine,  neroli and ylang ylang from the Comoro Islands keep it luxe. Generous in 125 ml bottle .

Photo Stolen dezire

Chanel, Crystal eau Vert 2009 by Jaques Polge. Introducing an ozonic citrus white floral. Retaining the original ‘honeysuckle’ accord and adding magnolia with abstract white flowers, 1974 classic Crystal has been given a breath of fresh air, greener and cleaner. Sicilian lemon noticeably flaring on opening, quickly settling into a powdery green heart that wears fresh and cool, this to me feels perfect for summer.

Photo Stolen ThePerfumeShop

Christian Dior, Les Creations de Monsieur Dior, Dioressence 2009 original by Guy Robeert. Everything old is new again  is the theme song of this classic chypre. Representing a review on a vintage edition, Dioressence presents a timeless opus of Dior which resists time and trends. An olde worlde opening of alderhydes under tart citrus which fades to a bouquet of violet, tuberose, jasmine, carnation, Lily of the valley , ylang and iris root. I’m hoping for a bottle too. Hint hint.

Photo Stolen TheMakeUpDivas

Estée Lauder Private Collection, Jasmine White Moss  2009 by Aerin Lauder , nose Jean Mark Chaillan. Hardly stock standard or obvious, this release is packing earth moss and wet woods. Rumour has it this is an unfinished fragrance from 1980, there are subtle hints of jasmine floating through this superb mossy green floral. New notes added by Aerin are mandarin and black current absolute, this is a fragrance created to honour heritage and family tradition.

Photo Stolen CHANEL

Chanel, No 19 Poudre 2011 by Jaques Polge. A new directions for this classic green alderhydeic floral. Sheer powder, more balmy and musky. Iris  is the angle on the tree in this rendition of my personal favorite No 19. Poudre is adorned with jasmine, galbanum, vetiver and hyacinth which subtly floats into a soft focus musk with sweet tonka bean. My favourite Chanel flacon.

Photo Stolen Escentual

Guerlian,  Shalimar  Parfum Initial 2011 by Thierry Wasser.  Entirely representing the outer trappings of the original and giving it rose coloured glasses. It’s vaguely related to the famous Shalimar, but think of it as the basics rethought,  while still being able to tie it back to the original. No dirty bits to be found anywhere with white musk , Wasser uses  popular iris paired with nutty almond nuances, over time drying down to  woods and amber; less smokey and vanillic than the original.

Photo Stolen Clemence-cahu

Yves Saint Laurent, Opium Vapeurs de Parfum 2012. The tender salmon pink bottle that was once home to super elixir Opium. Pink pepper in the opening gives it initial sparkle, orange blossom and mandarin take it up a notch as the oriental citrus incense becomes gentle and caressing. The Vapeurs edition has  less spice than the original and is thankfully low on the sugary calories.

Lancôme,  La Vie est Belle 2012 by Oliver Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Phillip. The latest mainstream release representing the gourmand sweet fruitchouli  category. With three noted noses behind its release, 5000 claimed variations  and given a three year probation you would hope ‘life is beautiful’ with this latest from Lancôme.  Well I can say it is,  grown up and  elegant. Feeling over all polished in it’s composition, reflected through the pretty glass bottle design. Heart notes praline and patchouli mix festively with vanilla and the almond-like accords in the base pushing it well into a gourmand territory.

See you in a fortnight,

Tim XX

Magie Noir by Gerard Goupie for Lancome 1978

Hello everyone Fume obsessed or otherwise,

I am a frag whore, slag, slut, it’s true. If you could see the crazy collection of bottles, decants, samples and paraphernalia that i have collected you would be aghast at my disgustingly hoarderish, greedy, spoiled brat ways. Even I suffer the odd pang of WTF sometimes when faced with the ridiculous enormity of my obsession and then something comes along that reminds me why I go to all this trouble and expense.

Magie Noir by Lancome

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bulgarian rose, galbanum (bitter, green, musky), hyacinth, cassia/cassis (blackcurrant buds and leaves), raspberry, bergamot
Heart: Ylang yland, orris, cedar, jasmine, narcissus, lily of the valley, tuberose, honey
Base: Patchouli, incense, musk, myrrh, vetiver, amber, sandalwood, oakmoss, civet, spices

Magie Noir (Mah-Zhee Nou-Ah) means Black Magic which frankly scares me to widdling my pants. I am reviewing the current formulation that I bought as a decant. The opening on my skin and to my nose is all old school perfume with a bitter, sexy, animal rush that is like a prelude, as if Magie noir wants to show you everything it’s capable of in a moment that lasts almost a minute before the leaves, stems and unripe fruit take their places at the head of the parade. I think it is the galbanum that already seems to have its base notes of wood, musk and civet on the sustaining chorus parts.

Photo Stolen lovespells-magicspells

Not too far further in and the flowers, spicy, honeyed rose and sensual white flowers with the siren call of narcissus all combine to explode upon your person and drift into the ether like the cartoon snakes of fragrance that reach out and capture peoples minds and hearts, all the while leading the inexorably to their doom. It’s hard to feel any less that a saucy seductress with a Salome like power when wearing this lovely and alluring wildcat of a fragrance. Magie Noir is only a loud, strong and pervasive scent for about an hour. After that it quiets down to some seriously sexy and lavishly luxurious accords that put me in mind of the way my imagination tells me that Scheherazade’s skin must have smelled, spicy, sensual, cool but inviting and slowly ripening as the night wore on. I can only imagine how outrageously naughty Magie Noir must have smelled originally and in extrait form. The mind sincerely boggles.

Unfortunately at around the 4 hour mark I become anosmic to Magie Noir but I still get compliments on it long after I have lost any sense of being perfumed. Maybe i am a little bit spicier that normal but really it’s the way I would expect me to smell always if I thought about it.
Definitely NSFW, no matter how scent OK your workplace is this will fuddle everyones brain’s, you could wear it to dinner if there was at least an hours window between spritz and sitting down, same with cinema but most other activities you would be good. Especially good for sexy rendevous, if this doesn’t work on them nothing will because Magie Noir could wake the dead and bring them back.

Dali-LaFemmeVisible Photo Stolen centaurgalleries

PerfumeSmellin’Things and PerfumeShrine for further, deeper reading
TradeServices are still offering what looks like an old 50ml EdT $54 (pictured at top)
FragranceX has the current 75ml EdT $63
MyPerfumeSamples start at $2/ml but I bought 5ml for $7 (CRAZY good value)

Hopefully your world’s magic will stay white but if it has to be black make it Lancome or Sarah Vaughan (below).

Have you tried Magie Noir? Do you remember the old formulations and what is different to you?
Till tomorrow, take care of yourselves,
Portia xx

Annick Goutal Story

Annick Goutal Parfums was created in 1981 by a young lady, brought up in a chocolatier’s household, rebelling against a career as a pianist. After fleeing the rigour of piano for modeling she met a man and soon found herself alone with a baby (her daughter Camille). Next she was diagnosed with breast cancer and married her childhood sweetheart.
Photo Stolen from multi-brand
Her first venture into beauty was a skin cream business with a friend and Goutal  felt they were missing two things, fragrance and packaging. “My fingers remembered”, she says, reflecting on her father’s confectionery. “I had acquired a great manual facility thanks to all the chocolate arranging. I had the idea of presenting the pots of cream like dainty packets of sweets. In beautiful handwriting we inscribed hundreds of tags to go with the bags”. After an encounter in 1977 with perfumer Henri Sorsana while talking of perfuming some creams, Goutal spent the next seven years memorising ingredients, discovering a talent and honing her skills, culminating in the creation of brand “Annick Goutal Parfums”.
Photo Stolen from ParisPerfect
Her boutique opened in 1980 on Rue de Bellechasse, presenting her first fragrances Folavril, Passion and Eau d’Hadrien which has become the most successful perfume in the Annick Goutal range. In time, as her talent, client list and reputation grew, customers and journalist friends spread the word of something wonderful happening in Paris. “It is very rare that a perfume creator can be free, because they are always linked to a big perfume company”, said Goutal. In the age of the corporate perfumer she provided a truly bespoke service. “I have always had complete freedom… It is like making music by myself”.
Photo Stolen from Escentual
“When my daughter Camille was seven, she was up on the terrace feeling the ivy and saying: “Maman, I want a fragrance like this.” So she was the inspiration for Eau de Camille-honeysuckle and privet tree mingle with freshly cut grass”. Her stepdaughter Charlotte wanted something less naive, more sophisticated, so Goutal used mimosa and cocoa. “This makes Eau de Charlotte a bit more gourmand…And for my husband (cellist Alain Meunier), I created Sables…”
Camille Goutal Photo Stolen from Vanity Fair

By 1985, the Taittinger group merged with and invested heavily in exposing Annick Goutal Parfums, both in France and abroad. The brand is extremely successful in the USA and was ranked number one in Saks and Neiman Marcus, they also began to export to Asia and European markets.

Annick Goutal added new fragrances with less citrus directions in 1996 such as Grand Amour, Eau du Sud, Petite Chérie, and Ce Soir ou Jamais and a range of candles and home sprays.

Photo Stolen from sassisamblog

In 1999 at the age of 53 Annick Goutal passed away. After, Brigitte Taittinger entrusted Camille Goutal (Annick Goutal’s Daughter) and Isabelle Doyen (a longtime perfumer in the Annick Goutal company) with the company’s development and they are responsible for bringing forth Mandragore, Songes, Un Matin d’Orage, Ninfeo mio and many more, following the brands history of creativity, authenticity and excellence.

In September 2005, Starwood Capital Group acquired Taittinger Group and Annick Goutal Parfums.

By August 2011 Korean group AMORE PACIFIC had purchased Annick Goutal Parfums, they are also licensees for Lolita Lempicka and French fashion house JC de Castelbajac’s perfumes.

Photo Stolen from CafeFleurBon

Thanks for coming on an Annick Goutal journey. tomorrow we’ll meet some of the perfumes,

Portia xx

These words are barely re arranged from their original forms on Annick Goutal’s site, FragranceX, Squidoo and Fragrantica.

Don’t you love Emma Watson? Great choice for Lancome’s Midnight Rose.

Poeme by Lancome Review

Hey all,

I hope you’ve all left messages in the comment box for yesterday’s GIVEAWAY, there’s a gorgeous range of lovelies for you to try. It’s easy and should be fun.

As promised I thought I’d chat about a perfume that I didn’t know I should be ashamed of till I started reading about it.


This time to start with I’m giving you extra reading, Brian at I Smell Therefore I Am did such a wonderful job on Poeme back in 2009 that I would like you to read it. It is the only review I found on the first 3 pages of Google that didn’t just dish the Lancome spiel back at me. He has thought about the perfume and worn it. Kudos!

Here is a late entrant into the reviews BoisDeJasmine has done a less enamored review with some better quality, same accord, substitutes. Thanks Undina for bringing it to my attention.

Photo Stolen from

Fortunately, there were no preconceived ideas of Poeme as the Lancome loser here, because it’s still on the shelves when fragrances like Cuir de Lancome, Climat, and Sagamore, among many others, are gone. That people like Luca Turin despise Poeme had completely passed me by. What a shame for everyone. Poeme is lovely, a perfume for a woman, a lady. Someone not afraid to smell lovely, to be fruity, floral and very slightly spicy. to me this is a no brainer, how can anyone not like Poeme. It is fragrant, yes. Intrusive? Really? It does have awesome staying power but why is that seen as a negative? Surely, spritz in the morning and respritz at night should be the way perfumes are made. You want to smell lovely and not have to worry about making sure you have your scent in your purse. No?

I love the warmth in Poeme as the citrus top notes melt into a vanilla floral bouquet. I can’t pick the notes but I’m sure I can smell some jasmine and tuberose, and they say mimosa is the strongest but I wouldn’t know mimosa in a fragrance if you slapped me with it, sorry. The notes in Fragrantica mention leather too, but I need leather to be a bit more in your face before I can parse it. It is warm and green simultaneously, the spice is quiet but when you warm up so does it. I know many of you are unimpressed by perfumey smelling fragrances, as if they are too easy to enjoy, like fragrance should be an endurance sport, extreme scents etc, and I do think there is a big fat wondferful place for such things, but that does not preclude the lovely, does it?

Poeme by Lancome is a well put together Floriental and if perfume should first and foremost smell good, then to me Poeme is on the money. Maybe it suffers from its availability, price point and old fashioned image but if one of the niche perfumers, that was hard to find and wildly expensive, brought this out now, I think the scentbloggosphere would be gushing and squawking with praise at their absolute refusal to follow the pack and at their dedication to the art of smelling beautiful. HAH! I am part of the scentbloggosphere and I just did. Please go and try Poeme at a Lancome fragrance counter near you. It costs nothing to have a go and you may like it.

As a Thank You for making it to the bottom of my thoughts here is one of the Poeme ads,
Much love,
Portia xx