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July 2019

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There are perfumes that make me smile immediately. Just like that, one spray, and that inner feel-good spark brightens up my day.

I feel then like hugging that perfume, hugging myself and the whole World – to share that feeling, and make you feel the same.

This happened while I was running like crazy around Esxence Milan on its final day (check out my overview: “Ave Perfumes” here).

I guess that the fear of missing out hit me like a truck: will I miss something important? Where should I go first? I asked couple of friends if they have any recommendations for me. Strangely enough, a few of them told me the same thing: “Go and try Menta y Menta by Miller et Berteaux if you haven’t yet!”

Some more rushing around, and there I was: what I first noticed were mint plants placed on the center stage of their stand. I was greeted with a kind smile: “Would you like to smell a perfume that features mint, but doesn’t smell like toothpaste or breath freshener?”

Yes! (Please, let it be good…)

It was good: it put that “Mona Lisa smile” on my face. Not that I associate mint with toothpaste: my childhood memories spin around most horrid strawberry-flavored, sickeningly sweet pink mess squeezed on my toothbrush, the one for which I always thought it made more damage than good for my teeth.

Mint or Mentha for me means pitchers of cold lemon water with mint leaves on a hot Summer day after wandering around the island in the Adriatic Sea early in the morning, before sunrise, looking for herbs and picking small leaves of dark green wild mint, to be used later in salads, cold drinks, and cocktails, or dried to take home and brew some strong mint tea. Another thing my grandma taught me: always keep a mint plant on your dining table if you are eating outside in the evening, rub its leaves every now and then: mint keeps mosquitos and ants away!

There have been quite a few mint-themed perfumes around lately, it’s refreshing and cool notes flirting with Mojito associations, paired with chocolate, citruses, or just spearmint-peppery sharp fresh not-so-demanding compositions. Menta y Menta is different.

It smells…so sophisticated in an unobtrusive way! Its style is minimalistic, both in perfume construction, in presentation and packaging – yet there is something compelling about it.

Menta y Menta greets you with a cup of freshly brewed mint tea in a simple, delicate porcelain white cup.

As you squeeze just a couple of drops of lemon into it, soon after taking the first sip you forget about the tea itself: the bright greenery made of small mint leaves forms a comfortable shade all around you, feeling just slightly refreshing-peppery.

A single jasmine flower drops in your teacup and swirls around it, white, dainty, and fragile, adding a slight touch of smoothness and delicate warmth, weaving its whiteness through all this greenery in a relaxed rhythm.

It’s a perfect day, and all is well. Simple as that, so I won’t attempt to write an extensively complicated review.

The perfume remains very skin close and airy on my skin, moving with me as I move around, quietly present and unobtrusive.

Contemplative, contemporary, refined minimalistic. Lovely in its seemingly uncomplicated appearance. Classy, with moderate longevity and sillage: nothing ravishing, just joyful!

This line of perfumes carries names of Parisian designers Francis Miller et Patrick Bertaux: partners, fashionistas, travelers, and promoters of wellbeing.

“Fragrances for the body and the soul, dedicated to those who choose the balance of being and appearance.”

Notes: mint, tea leaf, citruses, roasted coffee beans and jasmine.
(mentha spicata / menthe marocaine feuilles de thé, zests d’agrumes, café torréfié, jasmin évoqué)

Menta y Menta (released in 2019) is available online here, Eau de Parfum 100 ml/99 EUR.

Keep reading The Plum Girl blog for more reviews to come! If you like what I do please share with your friends, and make sure to subscribe!

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Miller et Bertaux

The sample was graciously given to me by Miller et Bertaux at Esxence Milan, opinions of my own.

Disclaimer

You are surely familiar with that feeling when somebody just mentions a song (or says just one word), and you instantly hear this song in your head, playing on repeat, sticking around for hours, if not days while you catch yourself humming it?

This happened to me while I was talking with Olentia Nasus…That old Synth-Pop song Voyage Voyage (Desireless) just kept echoing in my thoughts, left me singing every now and then: „Voyage, voyage, vole dans les hauteurs…voyage, voyage, et jamais ne revient.“ Later on, I thought: how appropriate – Olentia Nasus is, in a way, all about – a voyage.

This is a new artisan brand in making, coming from Sweden where Carlos-Ivan – owner and self-taught perfumer (born in Mexico City) lives since 2003. He came to Sweden working as an actor and performing with his own pantomime show, playing some music and juggling – this was just an introduction to his fragrant voyage, brewing inside of him.

In 2013 he was watching Alessandro Gualteri’s documentary – “The NoseSearching for Blamage“, and somewhere in the middle of the movie something just clicked: he realized that he all he wanted is to become an artisan perfumer, making perfumes his way – natural, gender-free, vegan, translating his thoughts, fantasies, dreams, and giving them an olfactory shape. Abandoning all the rules and designing perfume as an art, however disruptive the process might be, was something that inspired him.

Olentia Nasus was born, meaning „fragrant nose“ in Latin, and his fragrant voyage started…

The next part of this voyage is yet to begin, after many trials and errors, learning and failing, starting all over again, mixing, filtering and macerating: Olentia Nasus is planning to launch the first fragrance next Spring, named Royal Blue.

There’s a lot to be done yet: sourcing bottles, paperwork, applying to databases, complying with Swedish regulations…but hey! I received a small sample of pre-production Royal Blue made just for me, and I’m more than happy to give you a sneak-peek preview!

Royal Blue (what does this color smell like to you?) is about – a voyage. Open space. Far away places. A call to travel. Which came to me just at the right moment, as I am about to leave for my vacation road trip… Voyage, voyage. Reminding me of how much I love to travel!

Upon spraying it on my skin, a burst of invigorating freshness, very brief (oh I wish this could last longer!) and mouthwatering. A fully ripe watermelon – so ripe that it smells spicy -burst open, juices trickling!

This reminded me of my summer holidays spent in my grandmother’s lush, opulent garden: she would get up early in the morning on Saturdays to go to the open market, bringing home a big watermelon for me – all by herself. She would then cut it open, remove the pits, cut it into cubes, and keep it cold in a big white, heavy ceramic bowl. I loved to sit in the garden on a picnic blanket under a plum tree, and she would bring me this afternoon snack, serving it together with a small fork wrapped into a white linen napkin. I ate cold melon cubes with my hands, wiping them on my dress. I smelled of watermelon, so what! Wasps and ants liked that, I remember chasing them away.

I also feel the smell of fresh hay coming from the fields at the far end of this garden, with green leaves of anise and a couple of lilac lavender blossoms swaying in the wind, feeling like bitter-sweet homemade honey with pieces of honeycomb still in it.

The fragrance shifts, turning golden brown: like ripe tobacco leaves in sunshine, smelling crispy dry like white wood with patchouli undertones.

It later becomes thick, creamy and resinous: I like its drydown, lingering on my skin for hours. It’s woody-musty-dry and even a bit leathery-smoky, with a touch of most gentle, bright vanilla – just ambery warm, soft and cuddly, like my old picnic blanket.

Royal Blue is a nicely blended fragrance with an interesting composition, contrasts, and structure. Natural. Soft Oriental. Eau du Parfum. Gender-neutral.

Notes: Watermelon, Pink Pepper, Orange flower, Hay, Anise, Vetiver, Tonka, Tobacco Virginia, Patchouli, Labdanum, Vanilla, Cocoa. (my interpretation, not the complete or official list of notes). Longevity and projection moderate: note that I used 1ml of a sample very sparingly on my skin. It’s a natural, let it breathe, test before you buy. Expected launch time: Spring 2020.

Keep an eye on Olentia Nasus. His web site isn’t functional yet, you can look him up on Instagram: olentianasus. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him, hoping his dream comes true!

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic
Photos: The Plum Girl, Olentia Nasus
The sample was graciously provided by Olentia Nasus, opinions of my own.
Disclaimer

Atlante.
I remember it struck me as „interesting“ while I was sniffing and testing literally hundreds of perfumes at Esxence Milano earlier this year. I noticed then and there that quite a few „aquatic“ fragrances were released!

What was it that caught my attention then? On the first sniff – a refined mineral lightness, adding a strangely fresh silvery-pearly-gray feeling to the fragrance, resembling the scent of crushed, dry and empty seashells found somewhere on a shore of Atlantic ocean.

It felt pure and bright at first, but it also had a „darker“ side, like waves rolling deep below the surface, hiding something powerful, lurking in unpredictable depths of an ocean.

What happened here? Sarah&Sarah happened. Sarah Baker (the visual artist, owner of Sarah Baker Perfumes), and Sarah Mc Cartney (perfumer, owner of 4160 Tuesday Perfumes).

I see/feel Sarah Mc Cartney as a person who uses fragrances to communicate, scents and fragrant structures to express herself. I told her that, and she said, I quote: „I do magic. I lack the rigorous training to make things cheaply, but I don’t really mind.“ I’ll attribute this to her British sense of humor…

I talked to both, trying to learn more about the concept behind this perfume, ideas, and inspiration. If you don’t care about this and only need to know how it smells, feel free to scroll down to the part: „Atlante opens with…“ I won’t mind.

It all started in 2017, the code name for this fragrance-in-making was „Seashells“ at first. Baker sent to McCartney about 100 photos for inspiration, from Boticelli‘s „The Birth of Venus

…to various Versace fabrics with shell prints – this perfume was intended to be an addition to the Motif Collectionfeaturing the first four Sarah Baker fragrances: Lace, Tartan, Greek Keys, and Leopard).

Photos of Hollywood “mermaids” from the 1950s followed.
Imagine Lana Turner coming from the seashell or Daryll Hannah in Splash:

Or curvy feminine, pin-up beauties in bathing suits like Esther Williams:

As they both continued to work on it, the fragrance swayed in another direction, drifting away from fabric prints, growing its own big, shiny scales-covered mermaid tail. It took them one year to call it finished.

It seems that while the fragrance was macerating in McCartney‘s studio, the ideas were macerating in Baker‘s artistic mind:

„I was thinking of tales such as The Little Mermaid (not the Disney version, but the original, Hans Christian Anderson one – speaking about desire…and the perils of following a man blindly!) and her desire to escape the sea and go to the land. It was important to me to include ingredients such as ambergris and seaweed to add the saltiness. I love salty perfumes though they are challenging – I’m thinking about the saltiest perfume I know: Secretions Magnifique…This perfume (Atlante) feels to me like a mythical beach.“

Now, this is where I think something clicked: suddenly there were no pretty-looking bling-bling Hollywood style, softly-erotic pin-up mermaids anymore. The ocean current picked up and took Baker and Mc Cartney deeper, much deeper: to the other side of Big Blue, its vast depths and unsolved mysteries.

For Baker, the fragrance finally revealed it’s true colors: she associated it with the work of French surrealist filmmaker Germaine Dulac. To be specific, with her movie dating from 1928, „La Coquille et le Clergyman“ – being credited as a first Surrealist movie, later considered as a major Impressionist contribution.

Whatever it may be, the fact is that Dulac was one of the leading radical feminists of her day, a suffragette, too. I found this movie, watched it a couple of times, and I see „The Seashell and the Clergyman“ as a movie composed of rhythmic visual associations, very abstract and provoking, even disturbing. I got confused and asked Sarah Baker to connect the dots for me, she studied art – I’m really not so comfortable around Impressionism, or Surrealism for that matter.

She told me:

„This is why I like the „Seashell and the Clergyman“: not only the scene where he pulls off her shirt to reveal the bra made of seashells, but there’s a connection with the water, with the ships, as if she has the power of the sea behind her, the power which is preventing her from being captured/encapsulated.“

Deeper connection, one beneath the surface…

Reclaiming the power of Oceans, the Ur-Power of the Ur-Female, Mother Nature, the source of all life as we know it, the metaphor of freedom? Because gods or rulers of oceans and seas were always presented as – men.

Even the first-ever aquatic perfumes were classified as – “for men”. If you look back, for example, Kenzo Pour Homme in 1991 – using Calone for the first time – made that salty-woody feeling and immediate freshness radiating from it associated with sports and freshness, defining from then on aquatics as masculine perfumes with a carefree, relaxed attitude. Ha. Just thinking about this makes me laugh: isn’t it fascinating how marketing attempts of pushing sales of fragrances by stacking them in gender-dividing drawers seem…well – if nothing – so illogical.

Atlante, the Art&Olfaction Awards 2019 finalist, opens with a sparkling foam of breeze-light freshness brought to you by a brief and sharp rush of a very seaweed-salty tainted Yuzu, bright and optimistic (I always wish it could last longer). It felt like the breath of a seashell when you brake it open: salty fresh notes mixed with traces of algae covering the shell, which itself is smelling mineral, like particles of sand it once nestled in.

Not that you can draw the line where the fragrance shifts like a huge wave breaking up slowly on an ocean shore: this transition is leading to a totally different direction, yet it is smooth and comforting. Have you ever watched the waves while sailing high above them? They are mesmerizing, the more I watch them, the more I want to simply jump in and dive, dive away, deep down in depths of blue…

This wave you were diving in washes you gently ashore as the fragrance develops. It felt like being by the ocean on a cloudy day early in the morning. The air is salty, sand you are walking upon feels damp and grayish. You can feel the scent of lumps of seaweed scattered along the beach, some still swaying on the surrounding rocks. This is when I started to feel a transition: the saltiness of Atlante seemed touched by something mildly pink-sweet- berry-like? What a surprise, I asked and Sarah McCartney confirmed: strawberries! Totally unexpected and yet so perfectly meaningful! Mineral undertones are felt at all times, rising and fading away, like tidal waves.

As I told Baker, Atlante in this part of its development reminds me of the scent of a large seashell. Do you know the ones that you put to your ear and hear the sounds of the ocean? You are aware that it’s an illusion, yet if you close your eyes it feels exactly like being at the seaside…I can even smell the sea…

Later on, Atlante feels closer to earth, not drifting ephemerally anymore: the ocean is behind your back and now you are walking along the beach. Saltiness remains but it settles softly on big wood branches half-buried in sand, and the whole bold and optimistic atmosphere becomes more serene.

Like when you lay down on the empty beach, silently and quietly, listening to the sound of waves, feeling all those scents touching your skin as the wind brings them sporadically. rolls them all over you, until your clothes and skin are drenched with that atmosphere, and you feel deeply and completely connected to Nature. Not wishing to move or to go away…

Atlante at its drydown felt comforting, more intimate, slightly powdery salty, and tainted with austerity I tend to associate with Cedar pencil-shavings – a nice, even creamy counterpoint to overall mineral-fresh feeling.

Since I’ve used up the whole sample while writing this review, I sprayed sparingly (2 small spritzes at a time): on my skin its longevity is long-lasting and projection moderate, skin-close.

Notes: Yuzu, Seaweed, Orris, Lilly-of-the-valley, Mineral notes, Cedar, Ambergris, Seashells, and Driftwood.
(Regarding the notes, Baker told me they wanted to use „things found on the coast“, adding: „At the end, when the perfume was almost finished, we added some strawberry, which added luminescence…).

Atlante is available at Sarah Baker Perfumes website, 120GBP/50ml. Test before you buy a full bottle!

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Sarah Baker Perfumes, Wikipedia
The sample was provided by Sarah Baker at Esxence Milan 2019, opinions of my own.
Disclaimer

I made a mistake. I read reviews, discussions, pros and cons, meaningless video acclamations or words of disagreement, so that’s why I avoided sampling it until now: Jungle Jezebel from Artist Edition Collection, by Sarah Baker Perfumes, created by Miguel Matos, renown writer for Fragrantica, and a perfumer. When a visual artist teams up with the “bad boy” of perfumery, there are some boundaries to be pushed!

If you don’t like your perfumes to provoke – don’t.

If you don’t like the bottle with a blond wig and false eyelashes – don’t buy it, there’s a “regular” bottle. Just keep in mind that the other one fits the concept of Divine perfectly.

Jungle Jezebel will do everything but leave you indifferent. It starts off with a punch of pink bubble gum chewed and rolled around big, meaty lips. Shocking? Maybe, but you can’t stop sniffing it, just to see what happens next.

This wham-bam-in-your-face “cheap thrill” doesn’t last long, and just about when you think it’s going to turn into sweet mashed bananas and almost plastic fruits, the fragrance shows its vulnerable floral side, even a little powdery ylang-ylang twist.

Nothing is as it seems at first sniff: civet rises, deep, creamy, sultry flow begins, flirting with tuberose in a loud animalistic trance, big bubble gum balloons appearing every now and then, popping loud, and amongst all that crazy rhythm pearly drops of ylang-ylang begin to glide down the sweaty, shiny skin.

It’s strange, it’s weird, it’s different, but you still can’t stop thinking about it!

This whole wild, under-the-spotlight, percussion colored ride settles down with quite retro-elegant sandalwood-tonka-bean tones, turning later on woody and moist dripping vanilla sweet, making you wonder how in the world did “that” become “this”?

Does it have character? Tons of it. Is it pleasing all the time? It depends on what you find pleasing because what it definitely isn’t is – a mass pleaser.

Will you like it? I can’t tell, just make sure to sample before you buy. Will you forget it? No, never.

Just like Divine. Now go and take a look at a Jungle Jezebel song video, and you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Nothing is as it seems to be…or maybe it is: Jun-gle Jezebel, Jungle Jezebel: now who are you calling Jezebel???

Notes: Orange, banana, grapes, peach, bubble gum, rose, tuberose, ylang-ylang, amber, sandalwood, civet, vetyver, vanilla, tonka bean.

Jungle Jezebel is Extrait du Parfum, released in 2018. Divine bottles are limited edition – 250 with signed and numbered authenticity card. Available at Sarah Baker Perfumes.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Sarah Baker Perfumes

Samples were provided by Sarah Baker at Esxence 2019, opinions of my own.
Disclaimer

Ah…Summer! No, you won’t be seeing any „SummerTop 10“ or whatever lists here, simply because I believe that you can wear any fragrance you please – anytime you want to – if it feels good and makes you happy!

Isn’t it fun to sometimes step out of your comfort zone, change your daily routine and fragrances in rotation, relax and enjoy being comfortable in your skin (yes, your skin – the largest human organ!), to enjoy Summer, because:

„Hair gets lighter, skin gets darker, water gets warmer, drinks get colder, music gets louder, nights get longer…sex gets better!“

Sex and the Sea.
I’m talking about perfume, what did you think? Did it get better with Neroli? Or…just different?

What is it about suntanned, sun-kissed skin and sensuality that comes with it?

Summer (for me) means stripping off your clothes, lazing on a beach, relaxing, unbuttoning your life a bit.

It’s not at all just pure imagination, biochemists did thoroughly research the effect of sunlight on the human body, Vitamin D, sex drive, hormones and everything in between.

Do you think that the ancient Summer Solstice celebrations in any culture had nothing to do with it? Oh, they did: these were always linked with sexuality…

While we are nowadays getting our ample dosage of Vitamin D, let’s take a closer look at two perfumes from Francesca Bianchi Perfumes: Sex and the Sea and Sex and the Sea Neroli.

You might also want to read more about Francesca in my previously published reviews of The Lover’s Tale and Under My Skin.

All Bianchi perfumes are…intimate. Sometimes so intimate that I’ve heard people saying (blushing) that they even won’t wear the fragrances they own in public, reserving their fragrant experience for themselves.

These perfumes come as 30 ml extraits with great longevity, noticeable sillage, and obvious quality – always with character and that typical „Bianchi base signature“ – featuring a rooty Iris and amber&resins accords, smoothly blended, more or less animalic, depending on the overall idea, concept, and composition. Skin-caressing, intimate, radiating from inside…

Francesca, in her own words, about her use of naturals:

„On a very general basis (use of naturals) can vary from 55%-70%. I tend to use lots of naturals. Simply because they are usually richer than synthetics, but there are synthetics that can impart complexity and intensity as much as many naturals.“

It’s all about proportions…

Let’s take a closer sniff at these two fragrances. You’ll probably recall quite a few popular or famous perfumes along this line – featuring pineapple, coconut, and ambergris – but: there are no watery notes here, no aquatic accords…Just feel what she did with those notes we’ve all seen used before: there’s no tutti-frutti-Tropicana-on-the-synthetic-aquatic-Ambergris-marine-beach kitsch. I’d say there’s even no sea in sight! It’s all about the mood, feelings, and your own– beautiful skin…


Sex and the Sea, 2016
It’s now back in stock again, available from the end of this June, so this is actually why I came back to it. I dug it from my samples storage box and prepared to face it (again).

This is how Francesca describes it in just a couple of words:
„The SS – classic version – is basically generated by my research to reproduce the smell of my skin at the seaside. To this experiment I added the „naughty-sexy part“…and that was that.“

Hm. Aha. Don’t fall for “just like that”, it seems so simple, so familiar, so…well known, but…It’s not that simple at all. „The smell of my skin at the seaside.“ Now, I know that feeling, or better said, the diversity of that feeling, coming from a country with 1001 islands just near the beautiful coast of the Adriatic Sea.

There’s that morning freshness scent, when I take a swim early in the morning, before 9 AM: my skin smells fresh, like a just emptied glass of cold lemonade with a few Basil leaves thrown in, fig leaves breathing as the first sunshine rays touch them, red earth and brownish pine needles crushing softly as I walk upon them, green algae on grayish rocks and wet salty white pebbles on the beach.


In the afternoon, after 5 PM, this scent is more immortelle colored, with deeper hues of aquatic blue, cicadas-singing-loud toned, saltier, warmer, Sandalwood-like smoother.

As the Sun sets, the whole sensation is warmer, muskier, leathery-earthy, saturated and…well, plain carnal-sexy. This is when you feel the scent of your skin more intensely, as it cools off, as it starts radiating accumulated sunshine just as night closes in.

Sex and the Sea fits into this „as the Sunsets“ description: yes, it opens with a mimosa-sour hint of pineapple and milky coconut, so thick and creamy. I feel a touch of very subtle vanilla too, adding some dryish sweetness. I’m not a fan of either (pineapple of coconut), and I didn’t mind them here because they do not dominate and this phase is soon over with. This opening felt just like a swift blast, soon settling into a dusty floral with ancient roses – not a light, transparent, „morning freshness, sweet and innocent“ floral, oh no.

It became almost apothecary bitter, now definitely salty, never aquatic. Warmer notes breakthrough, dustier, Iris-powdery and displaying occasional sparks of resins in the background. The base is rather contrasting to the opening: soft animalic, even a bit smoky, slightly woody and on my skin Civet is present, although restrained.

Sex and the Sea is not about rolling around on a sandy beach in the middle of the day: it feels sensual like skin touching skin later at night after a day spent by the sea, after an Apres-Beach party with laughter and cocktails, after the lights and sounds surrounding you diminish, when cicadas sound almost tired and their rhythm slows down when you and your lover stop talking and just start feeling each other.

Notes: Mimosa, Pineapple, Coconut, Immortelle, Rose, Iris, Sandalwood, Myrrh, Labdanum, Benzoin, Ambergris, Civet, Vanilla. Longevity is excellent, projection with moderate application noticeable, never too loud.

If Sex and the Sea Neroli is a fresh, sparkling, joyful „introvert“, then Sex and the Sea is a sensual and seductive, deliberate, slow-moving „extrovert”!


Sex and the Sea Neroli, 2019

Why did Francesca make a flanker? Because she could.

Recently she was a guest perfumer in the FB group Eau My Soul, answering all kinds of questions. I asked „Why did you „flanker“ Sex and the Sea“, and she answered:

„ Why? Mostly for fun and anti-snobbish attitude! I had an idea of adding something to SS, something that would be its opposite, something innocent and introvert – as Neroli.“

Please don’t think that all it took was to add some Neroli to the prior version: the whole composition is now changed, different in more than one-added-note way. It feels like a completely different creation!

If I try to think about these fragrances in terms of colors, I think about SS as being dark brownish-orange and SSN as orange with yellow streaks, more transparent, yet not losing its inner strength in the drydown phase.

Now, this fragrance fits more into that „early in the morning“ description above: there’s a definite rush of freshness in the opening, the whole composition is brighter, with an absolutely lovely and sharp Neroli. Without pineapple (!), keeping that milky-smooth-creamy-coconut somewhere in the shades behind. The feeling of Immortelle is here more prominent, adding a yellowish-dry-bitter-almost honeylike-mimosa touch, underlining that skin-salty feeling. The whole composition, despite powdery and distinctive leathery feeling, seems uplifting, optimistic and more…fun. Introvert? Aha, with a devilish little smile, and a sparkle in the eyes, changing all the time…that is what I love about it.

The drydown does bear similarities to Sex and the Sea, yet it is very different -leaving an overall much „greener“ impression, even though it does settle in so-Francesca-like animalic, even a bit smoky accords, with whiffs of coconut, still protruding every now and then.

The fragrance is intense and very long-lasting, so be careful not to overspray (extrait!). Once again, it flows smoothly, exhibiting careful blending. What I liked about it is that it feels more complex, more changeable, showing it’s different facets every time I wear it, flirting shamelessly with my skin.

Notes: Bergamot, Petit-Grain, Honey, Neroli, Mimosa, Coconut, Immortelle, Rose, Iris, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Labdanum, Benzoin, Ambergris, Civet, Vanilla.

Which one would I suggest? Sample before you buy. If you are new to Francesca Bianchi Perfumes and like your fragrances Neroli-green-slightly animalic – I’d say start with Sex and the Sea Neroli. If you are already familiar with the Dark Side or Angel’s Dust, things get more complicated: Sex and the Sea gives that sexy post-beach vibe, yet Sex and the Sea Neroli takes it to yet another level, adding a healthy dose of youthful freshness to it….choices…choices!

If I had to choose just one, considering that I own Under My Skin, The Lover’s Tale and Angel’s Dust…I would opt for Sex and the Sea Neroli. First. Both. I swear, I’m collecting them like Pokémon…

These fine fragrances are available online, at Francesca Bianchi Perfumes – 30 ml Extrait/ 98EUR, Discovery Set (1,5 ml of all 7 fragrances)/48 EUR, or 1,5 ml samples/8EUR.

Whatever you decide I hope you enjoy these fine fragrances – do let me know which one is your first choice!

While I’m finishing up this review I’m expecting my Etruscan Water to arrive (yay!).

When it does, and when I take it „home-where-it-belongs“, I’ll let you know all about it. In the meantime, you can always find some other posts, thoughts, and musings on my Instagram account: the_plum_girl!

The Plum Girl
Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl, Francesca Bianchi Official
Samples were provided by Francesca Bianchi Perfumes, opinions of my own.
Disclaimer

Michelyn Camen, Editor in Chief of ÇaFleureBon asked me to write about my fragrant awakening, and I accepted the challenge.

I am grateful to her for pushing&enabling me to write my story down in 800 words, and spill my heart out.

It was painful and liberating at the same time to write about this, let alone see it published: this was my “down-the niche perfumes-rabbit hole-moment”! It all started with Comme des Garçons, EdP 1995 in London

You can find the complete text on Çafleurebon website here !

Thank you for all your comments, you made me cry. I keep thinking how perfumes connect us! I’m looking forward to reading YOUR fragrant awakenings!

Follow us on Instagram @cafleurebon and @the_plum_girl and like ÇaFleureBon Fragrant Awakenings on Facebook here

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic