Union Gothic Bluebell ~ fragrance review


Spring is literally “in the air” where I live. Being outdoors is like walking in a fairy tale perfume land — I breathe in the scents of viburnum, hyacinth, scented tulips, clematis, magnolia (several species are in bloom), narcissus, lilac, English laurel (hey, perfumers, do make a perfume smelling of this beautiful floral note…I’m begging!) Frankly, I’d rather be outside than writing a perfume review!

Since Robin is living it up in Barcelona this week, I’ll take a mini-vacation myself by writing a short review of a perfume that’s perfect for this moment: Union Gothic Bluebell.

Union describes Gothic Bluebell in romantic fashion…

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Parfums Raffy

Top 10 Winter Fragrances 2014

Hill and Ploughed Field near Dresden

There are almost 200 perfumes on my “want-to-sniff” list. The majority of them were released in the last four years and a large percentage of them never were sold in the U.S. (Ever seen Trussardi My Land, Mäurer & Wirtz Pink Pepper & Grapefruit, Molinard Habanita L’Esprit or Charriol Royal White at your favorite American fragrance counter?) There’s just too much ‘product’ out there!

So, how can I write about the “top 10 winter fragrances” with any authority? I can’t. My “top 10” is comprised of perfumes I’ve recently encountered, worn, enjoyed, and that fit my mood of the moment. I’m not including fragrances I’ve reviewed in the past. I’m not including lots of classic/rich “winter” fragrances because, frankly, by mid-January in Seattle, I’m sick of cold, wet weather and dark heavy perfumes. I need some sparkle in my life…some light, citrus and flowers. And let’s not forget it is SUMMER in the southern hemisphere — this post is dedicated to readers in that part of the world; I wish I could visit you all, from Argentina and Brazil on over to South Africa and Australia and the balmy lands of Asia and the South Pacific.

Ava Lux Honey presents the warm scents of hot summertime, with its floral, nutty (almond) aromas…

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Best Men’s Fragrances of 2011-2012-2013 (Better Late Than Never)

Self Portrait, Dick Ket

Did I really skip 2011 and 2012 when it came to writing my annual best-of-men’s-perfumes post? (Wow…and the world kept turning — imagine that!) I’m two years behind so today I’ll catch up by picking my favorite men’s fragrances from 2011, 2012 and 2013 (you can see my picks for 2009 and 2010 here). Some of these perfumes are unisex, but with a masculine edge (to my nose anyway). Though I missed my fair share of fragrance releases, I’ve still smelled tons of perfume product in the last three years. I don’t feel that a masterpiece escaped my attention.

Every year, I tend to write about men’s fragrances that I either “love” or “hate” (using those verbs with feather-weight intent since I don’t cry over favorite perfumes gone missing or reformulated, and I don’t gnaw on my fingers when I encounter awful perfumes). I’m still, I believe, a Perfumista, but I’ve put perfume in its proper place…

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Union Celtic Fire ~ fragrance review

Union Celtic Fire fragrance bottle

Union perfumes are supposedly composed of ingredients sourced from one end of England to the other; the fragrances do, for the most part, have a “natural” vibe, but Union perfumer Anastasia Brozler must have re-created some of the British plant scents (and “scene scents” — the ocean, wetlands, tea-time) using aroma chemicals or ingenious combinations of perfume notes — natural and “artificial” (among the stranger ingredients mentioned: mountain ash, bracken and Marmite).

Until recently, Union’s five perfume offerings were only on sale at Selfridges in the UK. When the perfumes were released in the summer of 2012, I was expecting a LONG wait to try them…and it was. But I must give shout-outs to two people for helping me sample the entire line this fall (including the newest offering: Gunpowder Rose): Kamini at Selfridges in London and my friend Rekha who brought the perfumes back to Seattle with her after vacationing in England.

Though I like almost all of the Union fragrances, and will review a few more come January or February, Celtic Fire stood out as ballsy, interesting and unusual…

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