Wednesday, 15 February 2012

My Funny Valentine: 10 Blessings And A Boyfriend, Plus A 300th Post And 100th Follower Giveaway!

Now I know Valentine's Day was yesterday, but Bonkers is no stranger to retrospectives, and by the same token this is my 301st post, so as well be hanged for two delays as one, I say. I couldn't feasibly combine the giveaway with my Nanoblur post because the titles of cosmetic features are always so darn long. And I hadn't planned to do a Valentine's post at all in fact, but was moved to merge the celebratory draw one with a sort of a Valentine's post, simply because of the funny and heartwarming items I received in the post on that day.

For starters there were TEN sample vials of Belinda Brown's EDP version of her bespoke perfume Blessings, which I reviewed here in one of my recent Knightsbridge sniffing posts. I had sent an email to Belinda via her website, and was surprised at the generous quantity of samples that tumbled out of the Jiffy bag. The name of this perfume will always remind me of an expression used by a Pentecostal minister who was trying to encourage one of his congregation to look on the bright side and be grateful for the good things he had:

"You are not broke. You are just in between blessings."

This quote may be a little twee for my hardboiled sensibilities, but it makes me smile all the same, so when these 10 vials landed on the doormat I couldn't help but think: "Well, if I have been in between blessings lately, I am flush with the things now, that's for sure!

Right after I acknowledged receipt of the package, I had a surprise phone call from Belinda herself, who told me a bit more about the process by which she came to have her custom scent created by Roja Dove, and how it was gradually rolled out on a wider basis. For Belinda, Blessings (in its parfum version, certainly) conjures up the image of someone lazing on a yacht, and she also likened the scent to "a good bag" - in metaphorical essence that is, rather than smell as such.

The pomade which was the original inspiration for her scent was a bit like Vaseline in its consistency, but comprised a bewitching concoction of jasmine and vanilla that apparently made every other girl within nostril shot want to be her friend! I compared the EDP launch to a high street garment whose design has trickled down from the catwalks, and Belinda agreed that her scent had followed a similar path. Tara and I definitely smelt the extrait in Harrods; the EDP does smell unequivocably like a mainstream scent, ie less lush and tropical and more delicately floral, but it is still perfectly pleasant. Quite lemony to my nose in fact.

Here are the notes again:

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin
Heart Notes: Jamine de Grasse, Rose De Mai
Base Notes: Cedar, Sandalwood, Tonka, Vanilla

In overall quality and vibe - and even juice colour! - I was reminded of CK Beauty (which I note also has jasmine and cedar), but Blessings is more citrusy. I suppose I have only ever associated Roja Dove with niche/luxe releases up to now, but many other perfumers are known for a mix of niche and mainstream creations. So it is feminine and pretty, but not remotely luxurious in feel - which at a tenth of the price of the extrait you can hardly expect.

So that was a happy turn of events, and then my package from Ari of Scents of Self arrived, containing a purse spray of Kate Walsh Boyfriend which she had kindly custom purchased for me. How apt is that on such a day? There was also a decant of Un Bois Vanille I had bought to help swell her Valentine's fund - check out that funky insulation tape - the devil (or a sprinkling of scary skulls at any rate) really is in the detail!

Boyfriend is a unisex scent I have not yet seen in the shops in Europe, and that I have been wanting to try for ages. Some time ago now I remembered hearing positive reports about this scent, which is supposed to combine aspects of Kate Walsh's ex-boyfriend's cologne (they had split up, and she missed it) with floral notes more squarely aimed at a female wearer. I had a hunch that this was one of those quiet scents that are very "me", and that I wouldn't regret a blind buy, and so it has proved.

Notes via EauMg's review: dark plum, myrrh, night blooming jasmine, benzoin tears, skin musk, golden amber, vanilla woods

So I immediately applied it on both wrists and my first thought was: "Oooh, an oily Eau Duelle!" Yes, the rather sweet, oily, anisic, borderline boozy top note took me back a bit initially. My recent wrestling with Myrrhiad sprang to mind, for example, along with a jumble of unhappy memories of Lolita Lempicka and Kenzo Jungle L'Eléphant. This note faded somewhat after a bit and didn't even trouble me unduly at the outset. Maybe I am on the cusp of becoming a born again liquor and licorice fan.

My overall impression of Boyfriend is of a sheer "woody amber vanilla" skin scent, quite heavy on the vanilla, which is rarely a bad thing in my book, and with this background note of licorice or something of that aniseedy ilk. The amber emits a warm radiant hum or glow, like a one bar heater in a big room, and the texture is not at all powdery or fuzzy like L'Eau Ambrée, for example, another office-appropriate scent. Texturally it is more like regular Prada, indeed notewise I can see similarities in the anisic woodiness. As the vanilla asserted itself more and more, I was also reminded of Lacoste pour Femme, though the Lacoste is sweeter and more feminine:

Notes: Jamaican pepper and purple freesia; middle notes of white heliotrope, Iranian jasmine, hibiscus, Bulgarian rose absolute and ambrette seed absolute Himalayan cedarwood, sandalwood and incense

And finally, the plum note dimly recalled D & G L'Eau The One, though L'Eau The One had a darker fruitiness to it I think, and I gave my sample away in the end, so I don't want to overplay that particular comparison.

Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Lychee, Peach, Plum, Floral Muguet, Jasmine, Madonna Lily, Amber, Musk, Moss, Vanilla, Vetyver

Ah, but hold on a moment: "Floral Muguet", eh? Well, oddly enough, in the marketing blurb about Boyfriend reproduced on Now Smell This, there is a reference to "muguet floralcy". That involves both a bizarre word and a bizarre concept. What other kind of muguet might there be than a floral one, I wonder?

"In the fragrance creation process, Kate was inspired by the scent of a 'guy on a girl', and combined notes of amber and woods, with a bright floral scent that women love. The fragrance has a bright muguet floralcy with dark plum and myrrh on top, with night blooming jasmine."

So in summary, Kate Walsh Boyfriend is a radiant ambery, woody, incensey vanilla, warm, comforting, glowing thing. If you fell hard recently for Myrrhiad and it is out of your league pricewise, this might be worth checking out, strange as that may sound. And I don't know who Kate was dating before, but am confident this scent will make a decent substitute.

And now to the draw! To mark my 300th post and 100 followers milestone (hello 105-107!), I am giving away three prizes: two to anyone who leaves a comment. Then I plan to award the third prize to a follower picked at random, who may or may not still be reading Bonkers, if indeed they ever did - and they might not even be contactable, for that matter! But I'll see how it goes.

The prizes are:

A "secret agent" atomiser pen from The Perfume Studio - combines a fully functioning biro with a concealed spray atomiser.


A 50ml bottle of Lidl Suddenly Madame Glamour - or LESS, if you would prefer : - ) - may appeal to Coco Mademoiselle fans not within easy striking distance of a Lidl store.


3ml samples from any 3 of the following "winter-appropriate scents" from my collection:

Tom Ford White Suede
Armani White For Her
Les Parfums de Rosine Rose Kashmirie
Floris Snow Rose
Creed Love In Black
Sonia Rykiel For Women Not For Men!
Diptyque Eau Duelle
DKNY Black Cashmere
DKNY Cashmere Mist
Kenzo Flower Oriental
Guerlain Habit Rouge EDT
Agent Provocateur L'Agent
Estee Lauder Sensuous
Tom Ford Violet Blonde

Well, the winter appropriateness may be a matter of debate, but at least one of those scents has "snow" in the title, and two have "white"!

And each winner will also receive a sample of Blessings, if they would like one. I can't share my Boyfriend spray because of the roller ball aspect, and no, that isn't meant to be rude.

Anyway, the draw is open till Sunday whenever I go to bed, and you can say anything you like in the comment unless it involves a hyperlink with the phrase "human pheromones". If anyone can help on different types of muguet beyond the floral variety, for example, that would be of particular interest. : - ) Oh, and if the person who was reading Bonkers from a hospital in The Maldives would like to let me know if they are all right now, I'd love to hear from you.

And meanwhile, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers of Bonkers about Perfume: regular, occasional, brand new and lapsed(!), for having read my blog in the past two and a bit years. I know a lot of people lurk here - though a few have de-lurked lately, also back channel, which was lovely - but anyone reading is welcome, including the vast majority who land here by mistake while looking for guacamole recipes or swingers' clubs in Cleveland.

Photo of white ghost and heart box from annethelibrarian via Flickr CC, photo of Boyfriend T-shirt from blogefl via Flickr CC, photo of mask from MadEmoiselle Sugar via Flickr CC, photo of pen from, photo of metal receptacle for prize draw from poppy13 via Flickr CC, other photos my own


Anonymous said...

Aha, I knew that there would be a benefit to my computer going Kaput! and OH giving me his Spare to play on. I can comment without faffing around:-) [This may not be a Blessing from anyone else's perspective but I'm happy enough for us all!]

Congratulations on the Post milestone and the Followers (Life of Brian ringing a bell that I'm ignoring), and the goodies too.

cheerio, Anna in Edinburgh

Vanessa said...

Hi Anna,

Glad you can comment without any technical hitches!  I do get those from time to time.

Oh dear, I hadn't thought of the Life of Brian parallel - it does sound rather Biblical now you mention it.  I am going to think of another suitable phrase - "Google-connectors"?  "Avatar-enabled readers"?  Suggestions of less acolytical (is that a word?) expressions gratefully received!

odonata9 said...

Hello! I don't think I've commented here before, but did on your post on NST. Just saying hello - no need to enter me in the draw as I have way too many samples and decants to try at the moment.

And perhaps the muguet was just identifying the type of floralcy? Like it could have been a jasmine floralcy or lilac floralcy? That is, of course, if floralcy was actually a word! Oh, the PR copy is silly. Congrats on your 301st post!

Vanessa said...

Hi odonata9,

Thanks for dropping by! I recognise you from NST and other blogs too - I just seconded your Angel chocolate rec over on Scents of Self. : - )

It is funny that you mention having too much to sniff - I was just going to add a third prize option that might fit the bill, which was in fact the original prize idea I had, but it got lost in a senior moment...!

Nancy H. said...

I never miss your blog--you have a great sense of humor. You also have such an upbeat attitude which is rare in this world. Thank you very much for your work.

My two Siamese cats, Willie and Squeak, send their regards to Charlie.

Vanessa said...

Hi Nancy H,

I hope you had fun in Paris - I think you were there fairly recently?

Charlie says hello to Willie and Squeak. : - ) I wish she only squeaked, but she caterwauls in a most baleful and relentless way on account of being deaf.

Thanks for your kind comment on my SOH. To be truthful I don't feel upbeat every day, but then I don't blog every day, so with any luck no one may notice!

Vanessa said...

PS I just checked and have learnt that "floralcy" is indeed the word for the floral character of something. I can see how "muguet floralcy" might mean a floral quality leaning in a muguet-ly direction, but the floral in "floral muguet" seems oddly redundant as a qualifier for what is already the name of a flower, unless I am missing something!

Maybe it is a hangover from the translation from French, where the noun comes first...very possibly in fact.

Yes, I just found a French review of Anais-Anais, describing it as a "parfum floral-muguet".

Elisa said...

Congrats on your milestones! Your pheromones comment cracked me up.

Vanessa said...

Hi Elisa,

Thanks! Everyone is in the draw unless it turns out they have enough perfume, pens, and pen-shaped covert perfume receptacles.

Ah yes, the human pheromone hyperlinker. It is like swatting a fly on a near daily basis. Maybe my blog gives out irresistible pheromones itself, though based on my own track record that would surprise me.

mous said...

Congratulations on the success of your blog and thanks fo rthe give-a-way.

Taffy said...

There is something totally delightful about receiving Blessings in the mail. So much better than bills.

Congratulations on doing so well with your blog! The name of your blog is one of my favorites. :) Thanks for the give-away and "floralcy"!

Olfactoria's Travels said...

Bonkers is a great blog, and I feel giddy with anticipation before reading each new post, because I know I am in for a good laugh, and what could make a day instantly better than that.
And as you know, yours is the only blog my husband reads as well. :)

No need to enter me, I am already a proud owner of that ingenious biro thanks to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi V!

Greetings from Sicily :)

Every time I go into a Lidl when I'm back in London, they are always out of Suddenly Madame Glamour and I still haven't tried it! Obviously us Londoners can't get enough of the stuff. (I think I'd still plump for the samples though.)

Congratulations on reaching your 300th post!


Ines said...

Congrats on the followers (and the number of posts)! :)
If I'm lucky, I'd be very happy to try both Blessings and Tom Ford Violet Blonde.

Vanessa said...

Hi II Graham,

Thanks for visiting and you are in the draw!

Vanessa said...

Hi Taffy,

Nice to see you and am glad you like the Bonkers name. : - )

So much better than bills, as you say. Or insurance renewal quotes which seem to be flavour of the year end here at the moment!

"Floralcy" is growing on me - I may tentatively try to use it some time. Maybe start small, by describing a patterned duvet cover or something.

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfactoria,

I am pleased that Bonkers brightens up your day and feel an appropriate weight of responsibility knowing that Mr Olfactoria dips into it too...

: - )

And just as I was adding it to the list, I realised that there are at least two people I know already in possession of these hybrid pens, so have cunningly come up with a back up prize of Jasper Conran Woman citrus shower gel should you win. Should the other pen owner come forward and also be successful in the draw, it may still be possible to obtain back up back up prizes of the Jasper Conran shower gel locally. And if not, the back up back up prize could be a reporter's notebook for documenting sniffing trips. See - nothing is left to chance!

Vanessa said...

Hi Farah,

Hope your winter is warmer than here...

If you win, I could always effect a nifty substitution of one of the niche samples for a sample of the Lidl from my own bottle - that might be the best solution in your case! There is a bit of flexibility in the grand plan, you see, though if someone fancied all 3 samples of *the same* perfume, for argument's sake, that might be tricky, depending on which bottle it was!

Vanessa said...

Hi Ines,

Thanks! Yours was one of the earliest blogs I discovered.

Your perfume preferences are noted...I have just remembered Creed Love in Black so will put that on as well. And maybe something else before the draw closes!

Tara said...

That's interesting there's an EDP of Blessings now. I guess that's the way to go if you want to make a business out of it. Nice you got to chat with Belinda herself.

Hurrah for Bonkers! What a great draw. I am very curious about DKNY Gold - could this be the lily for me? I don't blame you for not sharing your Boyfriend, whatever the reason :)

Olfacta said...

Oh, you get the pheromone guy too!

No need to enter me in the draw btw. I just thought it was funny, that he seems to have all our numbers.

Vanessa said...

Hi tara,

It is an interesting way for a custom scent to develop, and Belinda is working on a follow up scent with Roja Dove - initially as an extrait again, and then she said she might take a view about that one too! The new one is inspired by some scents she came across in the Middle East.

LOL about not sharing this Boyfriend! : - )

To me, DKNY Gold is a cold, elegant lily and amber scent with quite big sillage. Nothing like it, and well worth a spin - you are in the draw!

Vanessa said...

Hi Olfacta,

My pheromone guy is a gal! There must be a team of them working us - or maybe they are breeding, which if these pheromones are anything like what they are cracked up to be, you would expect really...

: - )

beano54 said...

Congratulations on Achieving this milestone, am sure you will receive many more members as it is great
I would love to enter the fragrance competiiton as i love fragrances
my email is
thank you

Vanessa said...

Hi beano54,

Love your name - I know a very sweet Corgi puppy called Beano.

You are in the draw and thanks for letting me know how to contact you!

Marie (in DK) said...

Can I merely say that I consider Bonkers about Perfume to be absolutely indispensable and always utterly enjoyable, entertaining and/or touching [holding up an imaginary glass of sherry and nodding in your direction].

Irina said...

congratulations and many, many more posts and followers
I enjoy very much reading your posts and your interactions with other bloggers
thank you all for writting and making my days brighter
and thanks for the draw- such a fun way to celebrate...

rosiegreen said...

Good Morning and congratulations on your 300th post. I look forward every day to your blog. I think that a "secret agent perfume pen" is a very cool idea. I also need to try Boyfriend on your recommendation. I would also be interested in the Blessings as we all need more of them. Thanks for all the enjoyment.

Vanessa said...

Hi Marie (in DK),

Aha - I see that you have added your location to your name - I like it! My iPhone and Facebook keep asking me to do something similar. : - )

Thanks for your lovely comment and in a short while I will raise an actual glass of sherry (very small, mind) back at you!

Good luck in the draw.

Vanessa said...

Hi irina,

I am glad you enjoy Bonkers and thanks very much for reading!

I hope the prizes - now including the shower gel and notebook back up ideas! - will be broad enough to suit anyone who wins.

It is nice to hear from you and you are in the draw. : - )

Vanessa said...

Hi rosiegreen,

Thanks for dropping by - from some distance I sense, if it is your morning still. : - ) It is very nearly sherry o'clock here as you may have gathered from my earlier comment.

The pens are a fun idea and a bit of a talking point. When I was little I had a Corgi replica of James Bond's Aston Martin, with a slidey roof and an ejector seat that propelled the little plastic Bond figurine out the top. It gave me endless hours of amusement, and though I am supposedly grown-up now, this pen still appeals to that kid in me...

And as luck would have it, I have enough of the pens in reserve should all three winners choose to have one!

samberg said...

Congrats on your success, and thanks for the generous giveaway. Go go gadget perfume pen!

Vanessa said...

Hi samberg,

Thanks for dropping in and for coining the term "gadget perfume pen" - I like it and hope you win one if that would be your favourite prize!

Unknown said...

Hi Vanessa,

I recently discovered your blog after you were featured writing for Now Smell This, and I must say that I'm very blown away by your candid and easy-going style of writing! I especially love how you don't just talk about fragrance but rather cover everything under the sun, which frankly speaking makes for very interesting reads. Congratulations on your 300th post! That means I have a back-log of posts to read starting from the beginning :)

I especially liked your coverage of the Perfume Lovers London Meet-up, which I was rather sad to have missed given that I live just 10min away from the venue! But my friends had thrown me a birthday party, so I could not attend.

Oh and thanks for the perfume draw, the items look awesome! :)

Vanessa said...

Hi joshuaang,

Thanks for taking the time to comment and for your kind feedback. How lucky you are to live in the heart of London, and what a temptation that must be on the perfume front... : -)

I am attending the next Perfume Lovers meet-up next week, and hope to catch a few of them in fact, so do say hello if you spot me at one in future. The glasses are a distinguishing feature, whatever the state of my hair at any given time! The atmosphere there was really friendly and relaxed, and a top night had by all (setting aside my bony chicken moment at the KFC afterwards).

And it is true that I take all manner of oddball things as my subject matter, from insulation tape on decants to the deployment of geodes to help coax wayward atomisers into behaving, plus - as you will notice if you glance even briefly into the archives - some travel posts featuring the strange mishaps that befall me on my business trips.

Please don't feel under any obligation to catch up on all those back posts. I sense that would be a gruelling undertaking by any standards! : - ) However, a bit of cursory dipping may uncover the odd piece of interest - there should be quite a few reports on London sniffing expeditions, for example.

Good luck in the draw and hope to meet you at one of the Perfume Lovers events!

Wordbird said...

Heh heh heh, swingers in Cleveland. :)

Congratulations on the memorable figures. Obviously I read you religiously, but it's nice to know lots of other people get to enjoy you too.

That scent pen looks very much like it's been devised specially for a 'fume blogger. Writing and smelling at the same time. Genius!

Vanessa said...

Hey up Wordbird!

There's me trying to lose the Biblical overtones of "Follower", when along comes someone who reads me "religiously"! : - ) : - )

That scent pen is a master stroke of design, isn't it? I am told the next generation will have a concealed coffee bean compartment and integral pipette (it is loose in the box at the moment, hehe...!)

Hope the plans for the move are all on track!

Alnysie said...

Congrats for this milestone! I'm usually a lurker (and a draw is always such a good occasion to delurk!), but I must say that I always enjoy reading your posts!

Vanessa said...

Hi Alynsie,

I am happy that you delurked, and spookily, I have just left a comment on anotherperfumeblog's "Monster sillage" post, saying that you and Bloody Frida had taken the words out of my mouth - ie we are all glad Natalie is conducting the experiment so we don't have to. : - )

You are in the draw, and best of luck!

Undina said...


Congratulations on all your achievements! (where are those followers? Twitter?)

Loved your pheromones comment (and I know what you're referring to :) ).

Is it OK if I do not want to participate in the drawing? I just wanted to pop-in to say Hi.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Thanks for popping in!

The followers / members are in an avatar mosaic in the sidebar on the right of the screen.

Hehe, yes I think we have all been blitzed by the pheromone guy/gal!

The Candy Perfume Boy said...

Yay for 301 Bonkerses!

I look forward to many more exciting and hilarious posts!

No need to enter me into the draw as I am drowning in samples. I'm not kidding, somebody save me please...

Sujaan said...

Don't you just love Ari's tenderly wrapped packages?! They always come with a precious handwritten card. I recently got mine too, full of goodies. So fun!
I'm still trying to decide about the Nanblur. Lol I'm approaching 50 at an alarming speed and always on the look out for anything to how the effects.
Thank you for the draw.

Vanessa said...

Hi Candy Perfume Boy,

I like "bonkerses" as a term for my posts. Even if I don't come up with a satisfactory substitute for "followers", I can see that sticking... : - )

And I know what you mean about drowning in samples...and I do have at least one more for you, like it or not, hehe!

Vanessa said...

Hi Sujaan,

Thanks for commenting and I am pleased to meet another Ari package recipient. : - ) The card - handwritten, and if we are lucky previously pawed by Zelda! - is precious indeed, but it was the insulation tape that made it for me.

I would guardedly recommend Nanoblur because it does seem to have some effect on some people, myself included. And as you say, at our time of life, we can do with all the help we can get!

Natalie said...

I am also just popping in to say Congratulations! and Hello! :)

Eva S said...

Congratulations and I hope there will be many more posts to follow the first 300!

Vanessa said...

Hi Natalie,

Thanks for popping in with your good wishes, and hello to you too!

: - )

Vanessa said...

Hi Eva S,

Thanks for your support of Bonkers! I have got quite a few more ideas for posts up my sleeve, and with any luck some more will come along between now and the next milestone. : - )

teecake said...

Hi, I came across this blog and i cant believe I havent seen it before! I love it and am bonkers about perfume! congratulations!

Vanessa said...

Hi teecake,

May I firstly pay tribute to your super cute name, like the earlier commenter, Beano54. : - )

I am happy that you too are bonkers about perfume and thanks very much for dropping by! I hope you will enjoy the ongoing (vaguely perfume-themed) silliness that is the normal Bonkers fare...

Meanwhile, best of luck in the draw!

Anonymous said...

Belated best wishes on your belated 300th post. I'm looking forward to reading another 300 at least - no pressure though. :-)

Catching up on your posts - I can say the Nanoblur is great at filling in/blurring my large pores and toning down the rosacea redness, but does leave an extremely matte finish which many would find an "aging" or maybe "old lady" look in itself.

And reading ahead, I'm sad to see your relationship with your new Boyfriend was so tragically short-lived. I sampled Boyfriend and Candy on the same day and preferred Kate's guy over Prada's pudding.

Looks like Ari may have set a new standard in electrical tape for sample mailing, but then she was shipping to a blogger who has posted on this very topic and included pictures. I seem to recall yellow. Maybe if I'm a lucky sample winner I'll see how the challenge is now met. :-)

Keep up the great blogging.

-- Lindaloo

Vanessa said...

Hi Lindaloo,

Belated best wishes are entirely appropriate, and thanks very much! I will try to keep the "bonkerses" (Candy Perfume Boy's new name for my posts) coming in the months to come...

Was amused to get your take on Nanoblur - maybe there is a clue in the name ("Nana" being a synonym for Grandma in some circles).

From everything I have read - plus the comments of readers and my own experience - I reckon this product really has to be tried, as it will have different effects on different people.

You are absolutely right that Ari has set the bar very high with her whimsical skull and crossbones insulation tape, and your recall of my earlier post on this subject is spot on - I did indeed feature a cheery yellow colour from a swapper acros the pond.

Spookily, my very next post is going to be on a related topic, where there may be lesser scope for making a design statement than with tape, but which on closer examination turned out to be a less homogeneous subject matter than I had at first thought.