Tom Ford – Sahara Noir

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Price: £100 for 50 ml
Availability: Wherever you can buy Tom Ford, I tried this at a Duty Free. BA are currently selling it as part of the on-board duty free service.

I’ve got to admit it, I feel a bit like the child in the Emperor’s New Clothes fairytale about Tom Ford. Not that some of his products aren’t wonderful (Get Lippie has managed to convince me that the cosmetics are a thing of joy), but sometimes his products misfire, and I feel that not enough people actually say it. Some of his perfumes are a thing of joy, I love Oud Wood, Neroli Portofino would be a great fragrance if it actually lasted longer than 10 minutes on my skin making it terrible value.
Sahara Noir is a strange perfume. When you apply it you get a strong medicinal clove smell, which is shortly joined by a church incense smell (probably frankincense). At this point I was less than enamoured, as who wants to smell like a granny wearing tiger balm to Catholic Mass? However as it settles the notes swap – the incense comes into the foreground and the medicinal smell becomes a much fainter undercurrent.  I’m not sure however whether these notes actually say ‘Sahara’ to me? I’ve never been to the Sahara, but for me it would be the smell of hot sand, herbal scrub bushes and maybe tea served in the tents of the nomads (this is based on a trip to Jordan, I admit it’s a different region).  I sprayed this in Manchester Airport, at the start of a long day travelling. By the time I got to Heathrow this was all I could smell, to the point where I was starting to get a headache. By the time I’d boarded my next plane onwards and been stuck on the tarmac for an hour, the scent was still strong, and I could smell it even without moving my arm close to my face. I had to scrub it off in the end, to try and stop the headache and also because I was really feeling sorry for the Italian bloke sat next to me.
The packaging is very good, it is a gold coloured bottle the same shape as the one for Jasmine Noir.  The lid of the bottle has a wonderful firm snap into place that reminds me of a lipstick. Would I  buy this? Probably not – there are a lot incense based scents out there, and hopefully they won’t have the medicinal undercurrent.

Yardley – Royal English Daisy

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Price: RRP £9.99 but there are regular offers on this fragrance and others on Yardley’s website.
Complimentary products such as body spray, body lotion and shower gel available.

Yardley were formed in 1770 and have quite an old fashioned reputation in the UK, and I hate to say this, the ‘wrong’ sort of old fashioned brand (compare and contrast to Penhaligons for example) probably because of their mass market appeal and easy availability. They are best known for their single note fragrances such as Lavender, Rose, the old style packaging and the fact that you can just picture the bars of soap in your Gran’s bathroom. I was introduced to the ‘new’ Yardley by the inclusion of the shower gel for this fragrance in my Birchbox. The fragrance was launched in 2011, as part of their changes to bring Yardley to a younger market.

Now, based on a little bit of research – the daisies in my garden don’t actually smell of anything. So what does Yardley’s interpretation of daisy smell like? The fragrance opens with the fresh green crunch of a just bitten granny smith apple, and turns into a meadow floral (they claim hyacinth and white rose). The end of the fragrance is a light floral musk on me. It wears pretty close to the body, and lasts for up to 4 hours. However, at the bargain price you can afford to apply it again at lunchtime.

I bought my bottle via the Yardley website, which will ship to the UK. The product is also available on the high street at branches of Boots and other pharmacies.