Amanda’s pre-Christmas perfume round up

While we are talking about Christmas adverts, am I the only one completely baffled by the current crop of TV perfume adverts? It’s like the perfume houses are stuck somewhere in the mid 90s, imagining we all want to slink into a party stuffed with dodgy looking blokes and dangerous animals….They are basically all a poshed-up version of the Milk Tray advert from the 70s; slightly cross-looking bloke in suit , sulky girl in slinky evening dress, Russian Oligarch apartment and a story line likely to make you snort out your Christmas mince pie in derision. Or is that just me? And as for (admittedly gorgeous) Brad, does anyone actually watch the Chanel ad with a straight face?

Anyway, rant over. Can you tell Christmas is getting to me?

It’s THE time of the year for perfume purchasing, so I thought it might be useful to do a round up. It includes some of the new perfumes we’ve reviewed here on the blog and my all-time favourites. New isn’t always best in terms of perfume. Most of the below are sold on brand websites, big department stores or (our favourite way to buy) independent perfume stores. They are also not bargain-basement as (like shoes) I reckon it’s best to invest in quality with perfume.

New-ish releases….

Not a comprehensive list and not technically speaking all this year either, just new-to-me  this year.

Jo Malone London Blackberry & Bay and Velvet Rose & Oud. Both Jane and I love the fruity aromatic Blackberry & Bay and almost everyone who we know who’s tried it loves it too. A good all round perfume. The more intense, sexier Velvet Rose & Oud is richly fabulous but a heavy hitter, only for those who like a smell with character.

Miller Harris L’air de Rien. The one Jane Birkin invented, it’s supposed to smell of the inside of her dad’s old jacket pocket and Serge’s hair. Or something. It is my favourite perfume buy of the year, it smells tobacco-y, smokey, herby and absolutely non floral. I bought it from HeathrowTerminal Five (surely the best beauty store in the world?) on the way to New York, so now it reminds me of New York.

Pure Distance Antonia. Grown up, sexy, vaguely rose-y and classily seductive. Quality.

Houbigant Orangers en Fleurs. Orange blossom has been appearing in abundance in perfume this year, (L’Artisan Parfumeur does a nice one too) and this is my favourite, by the perfume house that brought you the classic and still charming Quelques Fleurs. A crowd pleaser.

Nasamatto Nuda. Not pictured as I’m expecting it in my Christmas stocking. Addictive jasmine. Sumptuous and boldly floral. Heavenly.

Perfumes I actually buy myself

These are the not-new perfumes that I buy myself and love like crazy.

Chanel Jersey and 31 Rue Cambon. Jersey is actually a newish release and sounds old-fashioned on paper (lavender, a nan-scent if ever there was one), but because it’s Chanel it’s sweetly heady rather than floral and it’s hard to get, so extra points, obvs. Same goes for the 31 Rue Cambon, it’s part of the Les Exclusifs range only available from the Chanel clothes boutiques and a few big department stores (and online too). You can tell it’s Chanel the moment you sniff it, but it’s more mysterious and very ‘not what everyone else wears’. Again, very grown up and it only comes in  a big, spray-it-all-the-time signature bottle that encourages a constant perfume fug around you.

Annick Goutal Eau de Camille and Ninfeo Mio. I’ve been wearing Eau de Camille since I was 30, it is the best floral (summer-y honeysuckle) from possibly the best floral perfume house. There are many lovely Annick Goutal florals, they rarely disappoint and are easy for anyone to wear. A recent new love is Ninfeo Mio, much greener, it smells like the inside of my greenhouse (tomato leaves and fig leaves) and is a fab summer smell. Personally, I’m fonder of the older rather than the newer AG perfumes.

Ormande Jayne Tolu. This smells like me. This would be in my top three best-ever perfumes list.

Lanvin Arpège. The sexiest violet perfume ever. More night than day. Use carefully.

Le Labo Rose 31. Not pictured as I’ve run out, but it’s a non-girly, contemporary rose smell, warm and oddly comforting.

Santa Maria Novella Garofarno (carnation)I learnt about this ancient Italian perfume house when I first went to Florence back in the late 80s, when my friend Angela Quaintrell took me to the shop-cum-museum. I was instantly hooked and loved the fact that you couldn’t buy it anywhere but Florence. Now it’s available everywhere some of the magic has gone, but I still adore Garofano, which smells of cloves and roses.

Middleagadad perfumes

Here’s what both MAD and my sons like.

L’Artisan Parfumuer Timbuktu and Dzongkha Timbuktu is a classic and suits most people. Dzongkha is more unusual and truly gorgeous.

CB I Hate Perfume Mr Hulot’s Holiday. Named after the Jacque Tati film (which is MAD’s fav film ever) this smells like a day at the beach, sunny, sandy and with a slight salty breeze. The men in my life love this.

Acqua Alba Angela Flanders. A new and limited edition smell, quite trad, smells like a well kept Scottish pub in a very GOOD way.

Miller Harris La Fumée  Spicy, smokey, would be good looking if it was a real bloke.

Le Labo Poirvre 23 Really does smell peppery, and warm.

Diptyque Philosykos You probably all know this one already, but just in case, a beautiful wearable classic. I gave my sons this as a ‘starter smell’ when they reached 16.

Perfumes that don’t cost the earth

This year M&S opened a beauty hall online and in some bigger stores and very good it is too. I was really impressed with some of the better priced perfume brands.

Lyn Harris for M&S incredible quality smells for good prices. The mens ones are brilliant presents.

Acca Kappa Calycanthus Named after a flower I’ve never heard of but is well known in southern France and Italy, this is a heady floral and really fab. The White Moss is nice too.

Roger&Gallet Bois d’Orange, eau fraiche or eau sublime, both are really pretty, summery orange blossom florals.

What’s your favourite perfume? Are you being bold and buying new or sticking to your old and trusted smells?



  • kate says:

    garofino! I fell in love with this in Lucca some years ago and have never met anyone else who loved it as much as I do. No idea it was available over here now though. Thankyou for this post. I now want to smell like the inside of someone’s pocket…

  • amanda says:

    Oh glad you are a Garofano fan Kate, it’s gorgeous isn’t it? And easily available from the Santa Maria Website, which does mail order. I also love the pot pourri…..Ax

  • sarah says:

    Too right about the ads. Do you have to look bad tempered to be sexy?
    Mitsouko for me and my dog’s paws (really!)

  • Cornflower says:

    Wonderful perfume ad parody here:

  • mary says:

    Haha – I caught myself ranting over the Brad Pitt Chanel ad too. His credibility has plummeted (IMO).I absolutely love L’air de Rien but cant get it in Western Australia. Had no luck tracking it down online either.

  • mary says:

    I love Garofano too, but it’s sooo strong – I’m always worried that I’m knocking out other people who might not be so fond of it!

  • Sue says:

    Love the Santa Maria Farmaceutica shop in Florence.I had no idea they did online now…Hmm, I loathe most perfume ads.Completely cringe-inducing, which I’m guessing isn’t the effect they are hoping for.The apothecary feel of smaller independent makes is far more appealing.And I still think Miller Harris Fleur de Sel can’t be beaten.Sue

  • shin ae says:

    My favorite is Jicky for every day. I also love L’Heure Bleue. I’ve worn Chanel 19 on and off forever, so I always have to include that in the short list.

    Of your choices, I enjoy Le Labo Rose and Arpege the most, I think. Mmmm…

  • Lovely choices, I too wear Chanel Jersey, reminds me of the old Helmut Lang scent a bit. Also hooked on Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay. And I really want some Santa Maria Novella as much for the packaging as the fragrance. Mr DRG swears by Aqua di Parma and smells delicious all the time!

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