Sunday, 29 June 2014

'Perfumista protégé' progress reports: No 2 - my best friend Clare, and giving a perfume about fig

Clare in pensive mood on The Ridgeway last year
Regular readers of Bonkers will have come across my best friend Clare in a number of past posts, notably on the topics of spaniels, cakes and cycling.  Facebook friends may also be familiar with her pithy and amusing comments on my wall. A marketing executive by profession, Clare is a committed cyclist and dog lover in her spare time, and also raises chickens, defends badgers and communes with owls.

Here are her answers to my questions about her perfume j******. (I've got a grip again, Tara!)

My perfume collection before

"Clinique Aromatics Elixir - gosh, how many bottles of this must I have finished over the years...still a shock of pleasure when I spray.

Chanel No 5

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle

Clarins Eau Dynamisante - originally sent to me as a freebie when I edited a woman's page in 1989 and bought subsequently whenever I could justify the cost.

Acqua di Gio - can't find this bottle at the moment. It was bought in 1998 and doesn't look like any of the bottles that came up on a Google search to check the spelling. Have they had a redesign?

Howzat! Clare's beloved spaniel Meg

Kenzo Flower by Kenzo

Jo Malone Lime Basil and Mandarin - discovered in my early thirties, after reading one of those celebrity beauty profiles in the Observer Magazine, I think. I can't remember the celebrity and certainly wasn't interested in her favourite lipstick, but was intrigued by her description of her signature perfume and bought a bottle. I've had lots of bottles since and have also spent far too much money on the body lotion and even candles.

La Perla Creation - unearthed among the bottles provided in the loo at Chantilly after a leg wax, my wedding perfume, and I think the unwitting cause of your perfume obsession. When I wanted another bottle and Chantilly stopped selling it, you undertook to track one down online for my birthday. That night, in Pizza Express, you excitedly told Nicola and me that you had discovered that perfumes came in different groups (woody, floral etc) and attempted to categorize us. A slippery slope. So in a way, perhaps you are my protégé? In a 'What-have-I-done?!' kind of way."

Editor's note: My recall of this early phase of perfume mania is a bit fuzzy (mental fog again), but I believe the original trigger to have been a couple of (to my nose) rather sweet perfumes worn by another friend, which I googled to see if they contained similar notes (they did!). That said, the La Perla mission would have been entrusted to me very much around this time - for Clare's birthday would have been just three weeks from the exact date when perfume mania struck in early 2008.

Where it nearly all began ~ source:

What do I own now?

"All the above plus:

Guerlain Mitsouko, bought after Tony (husband) and I watched an amazing documentary about Guerlain.

Guerlain Acqua Allegoria La Collection (set of miniatures comprising Flora Nymphea, Bouquet No 1, Pamplelune and Herba Fresca).

Creed - still in search of the elusive one sampled in Selfridges in Manchester, I have had Spring Flower, Himalaya, Love in White and Fleurissimo.

L'Artisan Parfumeur- the wonderful, wonderful, Premier Figuier as first (and successively) given by you. Fleur d'Oranger, Dzongkha (a mistake).

Pecksniff's Iced Tea and Fig

Which brings me on to...anything figgy, thank you xxx!"

Editor's note - I have since given Clare small bottles / purse sprays of Sonoma Scent Studio Fig Tree and Ava Luxe Fig Wood, while Sarah McCartney kindly donated a decant of 4160 Tuesdays Time to Draw the Raffle Numbers to spur Clare on on her long distance cycle races.  NB I can only take credit for introducing Clare to the various fig-themed perfumes - all the others mentioned she winkled out herself.

The figgy trigger ~ source:

How have my feelings about fragrance changed?

"I think that as a result of owning more bottles and trying more 'stuff' I have understood more about what I really like. I describe this as a perfume that smells of a thing. Something organic, not something perfumey. This has probably always been the case - when I was at university I used to wear the overpoweringly strong rose perfumes that Boots (Number 7?) used to produce at the time. I just hadn't thought about it enough to appreciate what it was that drew me towards particular fragrances. I would definitely not have tried anything figgy, had you not steered me towards those and what visceral pleasure I would have missed!

For the record, I have never, ever, ever worn Anais Anais. It is, nonetheless, the perfume most gifted to me. I received another bottle at Christmas, which was presented to the 'Unwanted Gifts raffle' at work. An unfaithful boyfriend once picked up a bottle for me in a Duty Free. I don't know whether I was angrier that he turned out to have several other girlfriends at the same time, or that he had bought me Anais Anais. My dad and I disposed of it ceremonially, with my dad holding the dustbin while I attempted to get the bottle into the bin from ever further away.


 Editor's note: The notorious Anais Anais shot putting incident is also recounted in a Cake Club post here."

Figgy quiddity ~ source:

Then on the occasion of my birthday last month, there was an interesting twist to this story, when Clare gave me a surprise gift of perfume as one of my presents - from a British independent perfumer of whom I had not even heard, never mind tried his wares! A case of protégé turned mentor, you could say - the full account is coming up in the next post!

Dogs and cycling captured in one shot!


Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Penhaligon's Tralala review - the dressing up box, bottled

Source: fragrantica
This isn't going to be another medical post (promise!), but it is relevant to mention that the health issues I have at the moment - with their common theme of 'lowness' (low iron, low blood sugar, low thyroid function) - are also associated with symptoms variously described as fuzzy thinking, poor concentration, confusion and my personal favourite, 'mental fog'. And based on a set of blood results from a few years back, which have only just caught the doctor's eye, I can in fact legitimately claim to have been suffering from mental fog for some considerable time now. A retrospective excuse might come in handy too, I sense.

In parallel, I am starting to wonder if I may also be afflicted with nasal fog, for my nose is not as sensitive as it used to be, and goodness knows it has never been great.  I struggle to pick out more than one or two notes in perfumes these days, or completely misinterpret the basic composition of a scent. Case in point - I just bagged a bargain part bottle of Aftelier Perfumes Haute Claire from Freddie of Smellythoughts, who is selling off a fair chunk of his collection.  That's a perfume I thought was based around the scent of narcissus, Le Temps d'une Fete-style, but its main notes turn out to be galbanum, ylang-ylang and orange. At least galbanum conveys greenness of some kind! Interestingly, another scent of which Haute Claire reminds me is DelRae Debut, which also smells of narcissus to me, and which contains lime, linden blossom, green leaves and ylang-ylang - so maybe I register ylang-ylang + miscellaneous greenness as narcissus.


But what of Tralala, I hear you say?  This quirky new release is a collaborative venture between fashion label Meadham Kirchhoff and Penhaligon's.  Meadham Kirchhoff was founded by Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchoff in 2006, and the relationship between the two brands goes back some time. Meadham Kirchhoff have been using Penhaligon's perfumes to scent their fashion shows, notably with Hammam Bouquet, which both designers cite as their all-time favourite scent. And now they have their own edp, created by Bertrand Duchaufour.

Well, obviously I had to google this pair,to get a feel for their aesthetic, and very flamboyant and outlandish it is too.  And colourful and a lot of fun: its latest collection features tweedy boxy suits accessorised with glittery and feathery bits, and clumpy platforms reminiscent of geisha shoes or something Dave Hill might have sported in the heyday of glam rock. In past catwalk shows, the models' pallid complexions were daubed with bright splashes of lipstick - not always on the mouth, I might add - evoking a geisha vibe. There are echoes of that - and also of marionettes and circus side shows - in the clownish doll's head on the bottle, which to me looks like a slightly creepier version of a Harajuku Lover doll, though The Black Narcissus finds it cute enough.  He references Punch & Judy in his review, and the grotesque element in carnival entertainment. There is also a teasing tension between the extrovert outfits and make up and the inscrutable expressions on the models' faces.   I had a look at a video of the Tralala launch and thought: 'Golly, those girls all look very young', only to realise it was a collection for Top Shop.


Watching that video, the overriding impression of the clothes being modelled was that it looked as though the young teens had raided their mum's - or grandmother's - dressing up box and make up stash. I had a real throwback to my own childhood, when I would top off some oversized, overly grown up outfit featuring tulle and fur and kitten heeled slingbacks with the ludicrous application of emerald green eye shadow - in matt pressed powder form - along with powdered rouge in a little round cardboard pot, powder being a significant theme here to which I will return.

And while researching the Meadham Kirchhoff label, I chanced upon this piece in Vogue, whose author had had the exact same take on this Autumn/Winter 2014 collection:

"Shapes were exaggerated, and things took on a dressing up box feel. It looked like they had each been sourced after a raid from a wealthy great aunt's wardrobe or a vintage shop in Knightsbridge or some other nice neighbourhood..."


And so to the scent itself, which has proved a particularly keen challenge to my blunted schnozz.  The first time I tried Tralala all I got was a whoosh of aldehydes and an ambience of FM Lipstick Rose - something powdery and retro - quite literally the smell and texture of the vintage make up I was using in my dressing up games. At the same time, it was what I can best describe as self-consciously artificial rather than synthetic in a cheap drugstore perfume sense. The next couple of times I tried Tralala I didn't really get much more, which was the catalyst for this whole notion of my 'nasal fog'.  Then at the weekend I detected a third accord, hot on the clumpy enormous heels of the Lipstick Rose impression - a sort of darker, liqueur-y whiff, mixed into the cosmetics scent.  And as the scent wore on, it dried down to a powdery, faintly boozy and softly suede-y whisper.  And finally comes what Tara so aptly described as the 'comfy jogging bottoms' phase, with a sweetish vanilla and incense accord uppermost to my nose, and not a lot else.  Slight shades of Eau Duelle at this point, which is probably why I like it a lot. If Tralala was a woman, she would be a heavily made up blonde swathed in a cloud of Chanel No 5 propping up the bar in a speakeasy, knocking back shots. Someone looking like Marilyn Monroe springs to mind - because of the No 5 connection, I mean - though I gather her preferred tipple was champagne, if she even frequented bars that is.

Source: Wikiipedia

And that is all I have to say on the matter of the scent's development, but I do think it is a great fit with the fashion aesthetic of Meadham Kirchhoff which, on the face of it, is fairground fantasy meets geisha house meets granny's wardrobe and Slade stage wear c1971.

Here are the notes, which are impressively odd.  I salute Penhaligon's for having come up with a surprisingly wearable fragrance, notwithstanding its eclectic kitchen sink note list and retro vibe.  But 'vintage' is having more than a moment at the moment, and old may be the new new...

Notes: aldehydes, saffron, whisky, ambrette seed butter, galbanum, violet leaf absolute, carnation, leather, tuberose, ylang ylang, orris, incense, myrrh, resinoid, opoponax absolute, patchouli, vetiver, cedarwood, heliotrope, musk, vanilla

Dave Hill of Slade ~ Source:

And no assessment of this perfume would be complete without some discussion of the name. 'Tralala' is first and foremost a happy-go-lucky refrain denoting general merriment, yet the name caused a bit of a PR incident earlier this year, because of reported darker associations in the minds of Meadham Kirchhoff with the prostitute called Tralala in the book/film Last Exit to Brooklyn. Suffice to say the Tralala in question met an extremely nasty end.  The relevant quote was in a now excised article in Cosmopolitan, and the controversy is explored in Robin's post on Tralala (and the ensuing comments) on Now Smell This. Matthew Huband of Penhaligon's also chimed in to nudge the brand back towards its official - and entirely wholesome - positioning:

"We'd just like to clarify that the name Tralala is simply an innocent and musical expression which reflects the fragrance. The perfume is rich, whimsical and nostalgic in Penhaligon's best tradition, as you'd expect."

And here is a video of Bertrand Duchaufour talking about the development of Tralala, in which he homes in on the myrrh and leather in the base of the composition, harnessed to conjure up old photos, artefacts and textiles from the early 20th century.

Hmm, I feel uncomfortable now about my image of the trolleyed blonde at the bar, though that is what popped into my head when I was contemplating the aldehydes-make up-whisky axis. I was even starting to wonder whether the lopsided bow was not merely a kooky touch, but suggestive of clothing in a state of disarray? Even the expression on the doll's face looks almost supplicatory - or not particularly happy at least. Though hold on, my mind may be running away with me....

Plus I have not finished with the meanings of Tralala yet, not at all.

In French, 'en grand tralala' means 'dress up' (we are back to my charades image), while 'tralala' on its own in French can mean pomp and ceremony, a lot of extravagance and publicity designed to impress - or it may mean complexity, fuss and general hoohah, every nuance of which sounds to me like an excellent description of the Meadham Kirchhoff brand.  So those connotations would have resonated with Bertrand Duchaufour once the name had been chosen, which was admittedly some time into the development process.  Though it doesn't quite explain the whisky note.

And then there is this excerpt from an interview with Duchaufour on Fragrantica in January, which sheds more light on the perfumer's interpretation of the Tralala brief - I could imagine that there might well be a decanter of whisky on the grandparents' sideboard, for every other facet in the composition now falls into place:

"And I came to work on purpose on an old-fashioned accord reminding of L'Heure Bleue de Guerlain, L'Aimant de Coty, things like that. They wanted something powdery, deep, even dark, leathery, with animalic connotations, evoking nostalgia of childhood (linked with the grandparents' moods), old stuff, old lace and lacework, old images, icons under broken glass, as sepia-toned pictures and relics under glass bells."


Meanwhile, over on Colognoisseur, Mark Behnke remains conflicted by the composition:

"Except I've smelled the fragrance and 'rich, whimsical, and nostalgic' doesn't accurately describe it. The adjectives I would use are 'dangerous, edgy and retro'. Which is where the disconnect happens: this fragrance clearly is going for danger as whisky, leather and patchouli are not the ingredients of nostalgic whimsy. They are exactly as was stated the milieu of Tralala, the fictional character."

I have since found an interview Penhaligon's conducted with Meadham Kirchhoff in April, several months after the pre-launch kerfuffle.  In it the duo explain that the name is just a bit of lighthearted tomfoolery.

Edward: "I woke up the morning after our show and I just knew that we should call it 'Tralala' and could envisage exactly how it should look. I loved Tralala because it had no pretensions, no specific connotations, it just sounds sort of humorous and nonchalant but looks really good written. It has a nice rhythm to it."

Source: Wikimedia Commons via Wilhelm Joys Andersen

Oh, and who knew that 'tralala' is also a euphemism for a male body part?, as featured in the 'Ding Dong Song', a chart hit for Swedish pop singer Guenther.  It was originally released as 'Tralala' by the Dutch band Phil & Company in 1984, so whether such musical precedents will kibosh sales in those countries, I couldn't begin to speculate.

Then of course 'tralala' is also what you say when you have your fingers in your ears - metaphorically or otherwise - and are tuning out to someone who is saying things that you don't wish to hear.

As for me, I shall tune out to any controversy surrounding Tralala's backstory and enjoy the perfume on its own merits.  I think Tralala is a very original and striking scent - sinister head, wonky bow and all.  I do really like the box, mind, which was modelled on an old-fashioned musical jewellery box.

Oh, and I have just received a sample of a perfume called 'Junky', which takes its inspiration from the novel of that name by William Burroughs.  Now Burroughs wasn't the most savoury individual to put it mildly, but a spliff-themed whiff is surely worth a sniff.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

'Not a perfume': duping the doctor with suggestive spray vials

An actual perfume sample for illustrative purposes! 
Topic advisory: readers of a squeamish disposition may wish to skip this post!

This is not the first time that I have written about medical matters on Bonkers.  The other post concerned my chat with a surgeon while on the operating table having a mole removed, entitled: 'Grosjman on the gurney: perfume conversations you never thought you'd have'.  Fast forward four years and I am in the throes of some other medical investigations - to date mostly in the form of blood tests and the odd scan, though the deployment of probes, cameras and an assortment of other pointy implements cannot be excluded down the line.

Last Monday I had a review of my latest blood results with the doctor, and this time I also had to bring in an...ahem...'specimen'.  The request had been made over the phone a few days previously, so I was not in possession of an official receptacle, and looked around the house to see what I could improvise. It didn't take many minutes to conclude that a 5ml perfume atomiser might be the vessel of choice.

After the customary forty minute wait to see the doctor, I handed the vial over to her with a flourish. She held it aloft and examined it closely, before remarking: 'Well, in all my career that is the most unorthodox container I have ever seen someone use for the purpose!' Then she clocked the atomiser mechanism and exclaimed: 'Ooh, how handy - I can just spray straight onto the card'. Before I knew it - in this parallel universe of the consulting room - the doctor was spritzing a strip of litmus paper to perform a pH test on my specimen, for all the world like a cheery sales assistant prepping a fragrance blotter. It may have been accidental, but one end of the test strip was even bent at an angle, just like the blotters used by pro noses.

'That seems all right', she announced. 'I say, the colour reminds me of...oh, you know...'

'Chanel No 5?' I proffered helpfully.

'Yes, exactly!  Or something like that. Hmm...I could play a fun trick on my colleagues with this, but I will resist the urge.'

There was a moment's pause, while she made some notes, before looking up and inquiring: 'Oh, you don't want it back, do you?' 


Saturday, 7 June 2014

The 'Careful Whispers' series: No 3 - Tauer Perfumes Cologne du Maghreb review

Before anyone mentions it, I am as surprised as the next person to be featuring a Tauer perfume in my 'Careful Whispers' series. As with 'first generation' Mona di Orios, I didn't really get on with the early releases from the line - or maybe, at that neophyte stage of my perfume j*****y, my nose was too easily overwhelmed by the robust style of scent Andy Tauer tended to favour then.  The stellar exception to that being L'Air du Désert Marocain, a haunting dusty-spicy-woody rose number I love so much I am prepared to go through the faff of giving it its proper accent.  And though LADDM is also potent, it is utterly mesmeric once it has worn on the skin for a while. But otherwise, back in those early days I continued to have issues with the bristly 'Tauerade' base, metallic notes generally (Zeta and the galvanised lily that is Carillon pour un Ange, which I do still like), and latterly also soap (Orange Star).

The release of Tableau de Parfums Miriam and Noontide Petals marked a definite turning point in my appreciation of Andy Tauer's work, most probably because these scents are in a quieter register.  The aldehydic notes in both were playful and ticklish, while the soapy aspect of Noontide Petals was eclipsed ultimately by the tang of ylang-ylang and the radiant glow of other white florals.  Now I know I haven't mentioned PHI Une Rose de Kandahar on Bonkers yet, but I made its acquaintance earlier this year thanks to a sample from Val the Cookie Queen, and was instantly smitten.  In PHI Une Rose de Kandahar the nuzzling fizz of the aldehydes is accompanied by a photorealistic rose note of such rarity that fans of the scent will have to wait till the autumn for production to be resumed when that particular material is available again. PHI might well be my first full bottle purchase of a Tauer Perfume, which is testament to how far my taste has come - or to how far Andy Tauer's work happens to have veered up my congenially wispy alley!

PHI Une Rose de Kandahar ~ Source:

And so to Cologne du Maghreb.  An email from Jeffrey Dame, CEO of Hypoluxe, who distributes Tauer Perfumes in the USA, landed in my inbox the other day.  He inquired whether I wished to sample Cologne du Maghreb, which - as I have just learnt - is a relaunch of a limited edition scent from 2011.  If so, he would arrange for Andy to mail it out directly.  Well, given the intensity of my attachment to PHI, I was indeed curious to try this unisex summer scent, and within what felt like a blink of an eye the package was here, accompanied by a handwritten card - thanks, both!

Well, off the bat I would like to say is how impressed I was with the thin flat box the sample came in - a perfect example of 'packaging commensurate to the size of its contents', which is what I like to see.  A complete absence of ostentatious boxes, plinths, huge slabs of foam or extravagantly padded envelopes.

Next up, I thought to google Maghreb, as I felt I should clarify the geographical frame of reference for this latest addition to the Tauer stable.  Well, it appears to be a region of North West Africa comprising Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania.  Mauritania?  Why, I thought that was a ship!  

So the first thing I should say about Cologne du Maghreb - or rather, I will let Andy Tauer say it - is that it is an 'all-natural, all-botanical fragrance, a traditional cologne, light and not made to last'.

A fulfilment operative at Tauer Towers

I completely concur with that - and it is such a startling aspect of a Tauer scent - yet it is a fact that Cologne du Maghreb is noticeably fleeting on me.  Or to be exact, after the stunningly bright, herbaceous opening - which reminds me very much of Guerlain Sous le Vent and also a little bit of the top notes of Mito EDP - Cologne du Maghreb quickly subsides into a very soft, ambery-vetivery hum covered in a light dusting of sherbet. There is rose in there I see, but I can't say I can pick it out, not that that means anything, for my nose is a blunt instrument at the best of times. Texturally, I'd describe the opening as granular - not in the bullshit bingo sense of 'granular', meaning 'detailed' or 'drilled down' (eep!) - but  in the sense of actual granules pinging off your nasal receptors, like finely crushed ice.

I tested Cologne du Maghreb before learning about its all-botanical composition, but I can well believe that now.   It was hyper-zesty, pleasantly tart without being acerbic.  The herbal facet was nicely under control, and didn't tip the composition into more fougere-y or other astringent male territory.  The citrus bouquet was sooo realistic that it was like sniffing a brace of neat aromatherapy oils simultaneously from the bottle. Or crushing the rinds of oranges and lemons in a pestle and releasing the sticky oil from the peel. (I used to work in the juice industry, would you believe, though even in 1985 we were a mite more automated in our juice extraction processes - on the one product not wholly made from concentrate, that is. ; -) ) Then conversely to the rose, I thought I picked up on petitgrain, but I see none listed.  No matter - it was a bracing, refreshing hit like nothing else I have tried in the cologne genre, quite possibly because of its all-natural provenance.


In terms of the rationale / inspiration for Cologne du Maghreb - I refuse to say backstory, not even as two words - Andy Tauer wished to combine traditional cologne-making techniques with an oriental twist. Though, as he is careful to point out on his blog, not the sort of twist that involves 'synthetic oudh and cheap metallic damascenone'.  No, we are talking lemon groves in Marrakech, cedar trees in Algeria's Atlas mountains, and rock roses in scrubby terrain pretty much anywhere in the region.

Notes: citrus accord, cistus, ambreine, cedarwood, Java vetiver oil, bergamot, lemon, neroli, orange blossom, lavender, rosemary, rose absolute, rose essential oil, clary sage

I really like Cologne due Maghreb, and the fact that you would have to reapply it quite often - not least to enjoy the revivifying rush of the opening again and again - would not bother me.  Hey, I am always looking for ways to use up more perfume, and extreme tenacity is not necessarily a virtue in my book.  Given how I struggled with the likes of Lonestar Memories, I feared it might be too butch, notwithstanding the unisex billing, but it really does sit smack in the middle of the gender divide (for anyone who believes there is such a thing, as I guess I still do).  And readers mourning the recently discontinued Sous le Vent might be reassured to know that there is a worthy - if whisper quiet - substitute on offer.

And and in case you are curious, and not already familiar with its topography, here is a photo of Mauritania!


And here is the ship in question, which has a slightly different spelling after all, as Wikipedia put me straight: 'The ship's name was taken from Mauretania, an ancient Roman province on the northwest African coast, not the Modern Mauritania which is now to the south.'

But best of all, this very ship was renamed HMS Tuberose for a year...  I don't make this stuff up, you know...!

RMS Mauretania ~ Source:

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Nipper nose Noura and her perfume recipe...!

'G' ~ Source:
Anyone who read my review of Puredistance BLACK last year may remember a reference to my friend Ruth, who featured in my 'visualisation' of the fragrance, as the PR blurb urged us to do.  I imagined her wearing either Bvlgari Mon Jasmin Noir or Ralph Lauren Notorious, which are both scents that smell terrific on her. She actually turned up that night rocking Carnal Flower(!), from another sample I had given her. Ruth's recent scent discoveries are not the subject of this post as it happens, but rather the remarkable interest in fragrance which her seven year old niece Noura is currently developing...

Noura lives in the Shetlands, where Ruth is also from, and where her elderly mother and a couple of her siblings still live.  Nothwithstanding the challenging logistics of getting to this most northerly part of The British Isles, Ruth goes over there quite often to keep an eye on her mother and generally catch up with family.  Following a recent visit, she reported that her niece Noura had 'made' a perfume and ceremoniously presented it to her grandmother, Ruth's mother, as a gift.

My ears immediately pricked up when I heard this tantalising titbit of news. 'How do you mean..."made"?' was my opening question.  Ruth conducted further inquiries and reported back that Noura had spritzed a carefully chosen selection of readymade perfumes into a receptacle of some kind - presumably a spray bottle - given it a good shake, and pronounced her creation good to go.  So obviously I wanted to know which perfumes had made the cut and been included in Noura's proprietary blend, and to my delight, Ruth came back with a scanned copy of Noura's actual 'perfume recipe'!

So, for ease of reference, these perfumes are set out below - not necessarily in order of magnitude in the overall formulation, to which I am not privy.  I have also added a bit of information on each 'ingredient' where known (and not likely to be familiar to readers already, as in the note list to L'Eau d'Issey, say):

Jennifer Lopez Live (2005)

'About living in the moment, feeling truly free...A truly floral oriental fragrance.'  And fruity, it looks like!

Top notes: pineapple, lemon, bergamot
Heart notes; peony, redcurrant, violet
Base notes: vanilla, sandalwood, tonka

Spongebob Squarepants special eau de toilette (girls)

Well, who knew that the Nickelodeon cartoon character Spongebob had a perfume range? No note information was available, but I found this description: 'A flowery refreshing and lovely floral with sweet and citrusy fruits'.

And better still, a video clip featuring a perfume store(!), albeit not in a good way...;-)

Gwen Stefani Harajuku Lovers (thought to be 'G')

Top notes: mandarin, fresh coconut, apple peel
Heart notes: jasmine sambac, freesia, magnolia
Base notes: coconut cream, white sandalwood, cottonwoods

Golly, Noura is not shy of coconut! ;)

Shetland Isles ~ Source:

Marks & Spencer Florentyna (discontinued)

Notes: gardenia, jasmine, lily of the valley, orange, musk

Hmm, Noura appears to be a bit of a big white floral- as well as a fruit and nut-loving girl?

True to Yourself (haven't managed to find anything out about this one - can anyone help?)

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey (but Noura's spelling is better!) (1992)

'A floral woody marine scent.' Hmm, do I detect an aquatic sub-theme?  And a bit of a penchant for peony, which features in both L'Eau d'Issey and Live.


Calvin Klein Escape (1991 - reprising the 'feeling free' theme of J-Lo Live!)

Notes: camomile, lychee, apple, mandarin, rose, plum, peach, coriander, sandalwood

Wow, Noura's recipe is shaping up to be the full fruit salad, what with the fruitfest of Escape, the pineapple and redcurrant in Live, plus a fair few apples and mandarins along the way!  And I see that Fragrantica describes Escape as having a hint of a marine scent about it, echoing the general vibe of L'Eau d'Issey, which is of course as fruity as it is aquatic.  Yes, I get a huge melon note from it along with an abience of freshly exited shower cubicle.

Another thing that strikes me about Noura's selection of perfumes to go in her creation is the fact that several of them are quite 'old' - well, if you are only seven, I mean.  Two of them date from twenty odd years ago, which is three times Noura's age.  So in terms of her generation, you might well say she has 'classic' taste.

I have not met Noura, or smelt her perfume - I haven't even ascertained if it has a name or not, though 'Noura' strikes me as as pretty a name as any.  It is Arabic in origin apparently, and means 'inner light'. Apparently Noura likes to wear perfume whenever her aunts are around - and generally, I shouldn't wonder. I plan to send her a package of samples when I get a minute, for I believe Noura the nipper sniffer should be encouraged as much as possible!

After all, we could be looking at the next Christine Nagel or Calice Becker...