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Cartier Eau De Cartier Essence D’Orange by Cartier

April 7, 2010

Dear Monsieur Cartier

I am writing to you from the popular fragrance blog to thank you for the latest addition to your fragrance collection – Cartier Eau De Cartier Essence D’Orange by Cartier.

I fully realise that you sir no longer head up the Cartier brand, since selling it to that wily Swiss corporation.  However given that the fragrance features your  family name (in fact, features it more than once, and on some bottles more than twice) I felt it only fitting that any criticism, positive or otherwise be addressed directly to you.

Monsieur Cartier. Your website assures me that Cartier Eau De Cartier Essence D’Orange by Cartier “…draws its brightness from a vibrant and luminous citrus cocktail (orange, bergamot), a delicate floral heart (violet flowers, acacia) and trails with sensual woody amber notes (cedarwood, patchouli)”

Monsieur Cartier, one can only be grateful for the descriptive power of the written word since I can happily assure you that Eau De Cartier Essence D’Orange by Cartier smells of absolutely nothing. Monsieur Cartier I am nothing if not a liberal user of perfume. I spray generously. In many circles I am considered a bio-hazard. Eyes have been known to water in my presence, allergies are wont to present themselves as I enter a room, a building, and once even a city. Monsieur Cartier, I am convinced that if there were a fragrance to be found somewhere within Cartier Eau De Cartier Essence D’Orange by Cartier, I would have found it. Alas no.

My office contemporaries stopped dead in their tracks today, day no. 16 of the Heapnose perfume diary.

What? No perfume today Heapnose?” enquired my executive producer as he braved the office atmosphere, asthma pump at the ready.

For the first time in over a month, my nearest neighbour was actually able to taste his lunch. The room was teeming with visitors, buzzing with the news that the smog over the second floor had finally cleared. Office doors were opened, industrial fans were turned off. Somebody even baked a cake. Jonesy penned a brief but moving poem; “A Holiday for the Senses: The Day the Mushroom Cloud Left” by HC Jones.

Monsieur Cartier, I can but thank you. Thank you for giving Iestyn his taste buds back. Thank your for bringing friends, old and new to the second floor office. Thank you for inspiring Jonesy to verse. Thank you for freeing us all from the captivity of our asthma inhalers – Thank you Monsieur Cartier for one glorious perfume-free day. It was, quite simply, the best 35 pounds I have ever spent.

With all good wishes from myself and everyone here with me today.

Your Friend

Heapnose xxxx

Beautiful by Estee Lauder

March 30, 2010

Day 15 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing “Beautiful” by Estee Lauder.

I am not Beautiful. I’m not even Beautiful inside which is a bit gutting. Though less important. But it’s ok, because Estee Lauder tells me that there are no ugly women. Estee Lauder of course lucked out and died before reality tv caught on. Which probable explains why her quintessential fragrance is not entitled “Shades of Mediocrity”   “Morally Bankrupt” or “Virtually Orange”

Anyway since the name “Beautiful” no longer works as a statement, I’ve opted instead to see it as a promise. Where previously it was I am, now read If I wear this perfume I will be… BEAUTIFUL

So here’s the challenge Estee. I don’t mind telling you that I’ve put on 9 pounds in the past few weeks. Which, allowing for my three flexi-pounds, and two absent boyfriend pounds means I am still a full four pounds overweight. And in fact, given that my flexi-pounds aren’t even working at full capacity right now, since I’ve not yet hit the red wine this week, I could be as much as eight or nine pounds overweight. So until I get my excess, my flexi and my additional absent boyfriend pounds down to a reasonable level, Estee, I need you to make me Beautiful. Hells yes.

This is a very floral fragrance. Fans of the tonka bean (Guerlain Lady) will not be disappointed, but there’s also a bouquet of other notes including  lily, marigold, rose, tuberose, carnation, jasmine, lily of the valley, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, sage and thyme, all warmed by some rich woody base notes. She calls it the fragrance of a thousand flowers, others call it the fragrance of a thousand sneezes. I don’t care either way, I just want to feel Beautiful.

And do I? Well, no not immediately but I do feel very very feminine. It’s nice to wear a floral fragrance that isn’t at all Spring-like – it’s rich, romantic and luxurious. I tried to get some ego-boosts from co-workers this morning by asking them to choose an adjective to describe me in a fragrant context. I was hoping for Beautiful. I was disappointed. In fact “definitely not pleasant”, “mental” and “like my mum” were the best the office had to offer. Gutted.

I may not be Beautiful, but I’m surprised to say that i like this perfume. Or perhaps I just like Estee. She’s iconic in a Coco Chanel way without all the guff.  (I should probably, at this point note that although the Estee Lauder brand name is not as relevant today as she once was, her sphere of influence is HUGE. Estee Lauder owns, amongst others Jo Malone, Creme De La Mer, Bobbi Brown, Aveda, Clinique, Bumble&Bumble, Prescriptives, MAC, Origins and Michael Kors.) Yep, just because their spokesmodels are a bit nineties (Paltrow, Hurley I’m looking at you) Estee Lauder’s Empire still reigns supreme in the Cosmetics Halls. Even when you’re not wearing her, chances are, you’re wearing her. Plus she was the lady who first started distributing free samples of cosmetics. And for that, I salute her.

If I were the sort to adopt a signature fragrance, Beautiful would certainly be in the offing. It goes with anything, can be worn in all seasons, and will also always be available but will never become the populist choice. I bet there’s always a good deal on gift sets at airports too, since it will never be super trendy, and hasn’t quite reached the “never on sale” states of Chanel. It lasts for ages, I don’t sound like a knobhead when I say its name, and although I may not feel Beautiful, I feel pretty damn good. Good size sample too. Nice one Estee.

Love x Heapnose x

Untitled by Maison Martin Margiela

March 28, 2010

Day 14 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today i’m wearing “Untitled” by Maison Martin Margiela.

But before I get into the review – I’d like to apologise for the recent Heapnose hiatus. After a particularly fragrant few months this nose felt that some time away from the old grindstone was much needed, to charge the old batteries, gather up some new fragrances and re-discover the simple joys of perfume. I went on holiday.

Happily, in my absence Belgian fashion house Maison Martin Margiela, paired up with cosmetics giant L’Oreal to create his first fragrance imaginatively entitled “Untitled”. (I’ll come back to that.) Even more happily, cosmetics giant L’Oreal sent their PR person sniffing round the blog world, where lo and behold she encountered Heapnose. And got in touch. And sent me a bottle. For nothing. Before its official UK release date. So far so good, Maison Martin Margiela.

Background research revealed that Martin Margiela has in fact now separated himself from his Maison, but not having heard of Martin, much less his Maison, I don’t really care whether or not the perfume reflects Mnsr Margiela’s anti-fame, recycling, simple living ethos – but his “no label” policy does explain why the perfume doesn’t have a name. Or, as another, less good perfume reviewer notes  ” [Martin Margiela] prefers to self efface behind his house.” Blimey. One can only hope the neighbours aren’t watching.

I’m not really into reading about the philosophy of the perfume – and in fact, having been the lucky recipient of the press pack which accompanied this fragrance, I’ve come to see that there’s a hell of a lot of philosophy it, including an interview with the person who designed the bottle

Q: Why have you left a trace of paint (on the bottle)? Was this an accident?

A: No

…and a whole load of guff about the plants that were used in the composition. In six languages.

However, I do see where MMM is coming from – this perfume is a reaction to the current climate of celebrity fragrance. In a world where “Brand Beckham” counts for more than the actual scent, I can certainly see the value in selling a fragrance which is an absolute blank canvas – it can be worn by anyone, anywhere and purports neither to sell a fantasy nor a lifestyle choice. Donna Karan take note – Martin Margiela isn’t trying to tell me that my life will be better if I buy his perfume. And I like that.

I also like the fragrance. It’s very green, perfect for spring but with some amber and oriental base notes, and its longevity is quite simply superb. Pat Heap and I both put it on after the gym last night, and it stayed put throughout the evening and well into the following day. Another (unnamed) critic in my acquaintance surprised me with the suggestion that there was “a hint of an arse smell in the lower notes” although I must confess, this did not occur to me. I picture myself wearing this fragrance whilst blackberrying, picnicking or riding a bike with a basket. None of which I can recall doing in the last ten years, but all of which I see myself doing in the next ten days thanks to my new friend Mr Margiela. It’s hardly a power dressing fragrance, but perfect for a mild Spring day.

Given that the literature accompanying the fragrance notes that “Untitled” …”subtly awakens a hidden feminity in our memories” I was surprised to learn that it is in fact a unisex fragrance. So this afternoon I duly took it, and some of the press pack literature round to my mate Owen’s house to see how the other half felt about it.

Owen seemed quite pleased with the scent (on me), less pleased with the scent (on him) and entirely displeased with the scent (on the dog). When queried as to whether or not the perfume awakened a hidden femininity in his memories, he looked confused, then frightened. Ditto the dog. I left shortly thereafter. But I was really quite impressed with the fragrance results on Owen. There’s a new wave of traditionally female scents smelling great on guys – (Beardy’s been rocking Jo Malone’s latest Vanilla and Anise to rave reviews ) and this is no exception. It smells good, clean, and unfussy. Which, from what I understand of Maison Martin Margiela, is exactly what he was going for.

Until next time Noses – oh and if any of you gentlemen want to borrow this perfume, please let me know – I’m intrigued to see what you think.


x Heapnose x


March 2, 2010

Day 13 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing Pure DKNY.

Donna Karan is New York. In the same way that Chanel is Paris, Ralph Lauren is the Hamptons and Katie Price is Essex. Her fragrances have always had a very strong NYC identity. The first DKNY was shaped like a Skyscraper, the second Be Delicious was shaped like a big Apple, and then there was a bunch of pointless variations on the Apple one – but all still with a strong New York vibe.

Pure sees the designer make a return to simplicity. “A drop of vanilla in a world that moves faster everyday. To find beauty in living simply, taking time out for the things which are closest to your heart, love, joy, embracing relationships, creating community.”

Hmm. It all sounds a bit nineties to me. I wonder how Beardy would feel if I started taking time out to embrace our relationship? I think he’d prefer it if I took time out to make him a tasty sandwich. I fear if I started Creating Community he’d probably leave.

Pretentious taglines aside, however, the fragrance itself is really really nice and very feminine. It makes me want to wear white and lark about in a New York loft with an albino child – not unlike the happy lady in the commercial. Unfortunately it fits less successfully with my NewLook fur coat and Primark accessories: Though in the coming months I can absolutely see myself wearing this with a neutral Spring wardrobe (Primark permitting).

It comes with a free plant-in-a-can.

I know a couple of vegetarians who’d be all over that shit. My boyfriend for one. There are other things which I would have preferred (in a can). Snow. Soup. A dancing squirrel. I realise Donna is making a point about simple living and all that but I do feel inclined to mistrust someone who has such a flimsy grasp on reality. Yeah yeah she’s selling a dream  – but she doesn’t have to flog a lifestyle choice. Say what you will of Heapnose, (and plenty have) but at least it has a sense of its own absurdity. Something which is noticeably absent from the perfume industry at large.

It isn’t fair to pin all this on Donna. If she hadn’t given me a plant-in-a-can I would have ended this review with some glowing remarks about the fragrance composition (vanilla, dew drop, lotus, white amber – all lovely); its longevity (not bad, not great) and a plum quote from Sion the Amiable Translator

“It smells like that bit of road between Barry town and Cardiff Wales Airport”

Instead, I’ll end it with…Great fragrance Donna. But would you please just bugger off.


March 2, 2010

Day 12 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing Prada.

Effortless Elegance? AMAZING. Longevity? AMAZING. Can I say its name without sounding like a Nob-Head? AMAZINGLY YES. Did I get this perfume for the bargain price of $40 because someone had accidentally priced it incorrectly in Sephora Toronto? AMAZINGLY YES. Did I then tell them it was my birthday and get a free lipgloss? AMAZINGLY YES. And a $5 “birthday” voucher? YES. And cheesecake? NO. Does Pat Heap like it? YES. Does Beardy like it? YES. Does it come with a beautiful atomiser that makes even my IKEA dressing table look like a set piece from a classic 1940s movie? YES. Does the atomiser leak when you take little Prada for a day out in your handbag so that when you come back from a trip to see the in-laws, you have NO perfume left but some really fragrant credit cards?


Design faults notwithstanding, this is a lovely perfume. And it lasts for bloody ages. And it’s a cracking mosquito repellant. If I had any left I’d still be happily spritzing away with my trusty atomiser…instead of desperately rubbing my collarbone with my Boots Advantage Card, trying to save the last vestiges of the scent. Oh, the indignity.

Usually I would try and include a few quotes from other (less good) fragrance reviewers, but as regular Heapnose readers will know, most other (less good) fragrance reviewers are bat shit crazy and this is never more obvious than in the bonkers reviews which the Prada perfumes have inspired: From

” …Quite strong. Like the hand that rocks the cradle”


“..Makes you think of an ideal, measured and ethereal garden inhabited by rarefied other-wordly creatures”

Blimey. So I’ll move on.

The thing about the Prada family of fragrances is that they really are a family. Each fragrance in the collection, including the men’s, shares the same base notes, but each has a discernibly different character. Like Girls Aloud, minus the rogue ginger. Or the Blackadder series. I like the signature Prada theme…it’s refined, elegant, classic, and above all, it lasts.

So even though this fragrance is a good five to ten pounds more expensive than your standard D&G – you’re going to get more for your money. Though, I should say, this isn’t true of all the Pradas. Original; Yes Definitely, Infusion D’Iris; Yes Probably and L’Eau Ambree; Not really. This latest release is actually the nicest, but is also the most discreet. If you want to knock ’em out at ten paces – go with the original.

So what does it smell of? Well I’ll begin by telling you that it’s got Tonka Bean in it. That’s right, breathe easy Heapnoses. The Tonka Bean is back. I must tell the the nice lady on Guerlain that she can now cast her fragrance net further afield than…well, Guerlain. Other notes (as if they mattered) are bergamot oil, orange oil, mimosa, Indonesian patchouli oil and vanilla absolute. There are other numerous other notes to the composition, but in truth, the ingredient lists, and ensuing descriptions were heading into frighteningly pretentious territory…“This fragrance was composed by an army of 12 Swiss Dwarves, housed beneath a purpose built Alp, under which they toiled for nigh on 35o years before emerging with the definitive Prada scent…” etc etc

So I’ll quit while I’m ahead and simply say that it smells feminine but not at all girly. There’s a good bit of depth, it’s strong and it’s achingly classy. If (UK readers) are looking for a Mother’s Day Gift then I’d say any one of the Prada fragrances is worth a punt…for the class without the punch, and some Spring-friendly lighter notes, you could try the L’Eau Ambree gift set in House of Fraser (Cardiff). Decent size perfume, a free body butter and a counter lady who isn’t stingy with the samples. Sold. Just beware of that bloody atomiser.

Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme

February 25, 2010

Day 11 of the Heapnose perfume diary. Today I’m wearing Bvlgari Aqva Pour Homme.

In response to the sharp increase in male Heapnose readers (Huw, Clack, Neil) and a recent criticism of Heapnose in a national publication*

“…We give you women the right to vote, more pay, bigger ovens and you reward us by reviewing your own toilet water. Its a disgrace!”

(*In a private email)

your intrepid blogger has taken it upon herself to subject a male scent to the stringent Heapnose perfume test. The traditional Heapnose 3 stage test (patented) was replaced with one all-purpose criterion. Can I get Jonesy to fancy me? Well allright, Jonesy or any other women who happen to be around that day.

I doused myself liberally in aftershave, but, having been warned on more than one occasion by more than one employer that the office “isn’t really the place for comedy lesbianism” I set off instead to the studio rehearsals with the specific intention of identifying what women find hot.

“Do you want my sex?” was my opening gambit to Jonesy as I wafted around her in a vaguely masculine way.

“No. Piss off.”

Later qualified with

“You smell like satsumas”

In fact a number of people identified citrus fruits in the top notes, citing everything from the humble tangerine to the fairly exotic papya. Truth be told however, I wasn’t exactly fending women off with a stick. The overwhelming responses were bewilderment (makeup), disinterest (hair) and fear (Jonesy).

Surprisingly the male crew members were a lot more effusive in their critique – and had some solid suggestions for potential blog improvements.

“Naked women” ventured crew member 1

It’s a perfume blog”

“Naked women holding perfume bottles” supplied crew member 2. “With beer.”

A quick tally  revealed Davidoff Cool Water  to be the preferred fragrance, but only because of habit, apathy and “cos [my] sister fancies that fella off Lost”. A salient point – how is  the discerning gent expected to make an informed fragrance selection when the advertising is so shamelessly directed at women? Seemingly open to new suggestions however, the sound department was duly doused in Bvlgari and sent off into Cardiff City Centre with strict instructions to “Text if you pull” .

At time of going to press, no texts had been received.

At time of going to press, I remembered that the sound department didn’t have my number.

It was an interesting test…though one which is yet to yield any tangible results. At this stage I’d go so far as to say, gentlemen that I don’t think Bvlgari is the one for you. It’s appreciably less well known than a lot of other guy scents – but there’s a reason a for that. Stick with me. I’ll find you something better. I’ve got some Aqua di Parma to try next week. And a smattering of others thanks to the helpful (but puzzled) lady at House of Fraser. Until then – stick with Marc Jacobs. He’ll see you through the last days of winter.

x Heapnose x

L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake

February 16, 2010

Day 8 of the Heapnose Perfume Diary. Today I’m wearing L’Eau D’Issey by Issey Miyake.

I’ll begin this diary entry by explaining that Issey Miyake’s signature fragrance has spawned a wealth of (badly written) reviews, ranging from the vaguely nob-like

” I love to wear [L’Eau D’Issey] in order to achieve a detached peace of mind, or as a releaf for mental thirst for water-derived tranquility”

to the completely bizarre

“If l’Eau d’Issey could have a sound, it will definitely have the sparkling, chilly & magnetizing synthesized studio sound of Donald Fagen and Steely Dan.”

Issey’s aim in creating this fragrance was (reportedly) to capture the smell of water. Or as one inspired blogger writes

“…most importantly, it is the only water that can be enjoyed when drunk through the nostrils.”

Whether you choose to read this comment as profound (as if) or bat-shit crazy (more likely) there is a hint of the aquatic about L’Eau D’Issey. Perhaps it’s the notes of Water-Lily, the rain-drop bottle or even the completely transparent colour; but there is a certain freshness to the scent, supported by a terrific sweet honey fragrance. This combination makes it a good-for-all seasons perfume and explains its continuing popularity, 18 years after its first release. Or perhaps the ever-resourceful British public has been using it as a “releaf for mental thirst for water-derived tranquility.” Yes, actually, that must be it.

Earlier, as I was drinking it through my nostrils I asked myself why I’ve never bought this perfume. I’ve always really liked it, it’s reasonably priced, and, on the whole I have nothing against the Japanese. Plus, it easily passes all three stages of the Heapnose perfume test – I can even pronounce its name without sounding like a knob-head. For a fragrance which has been around for nigh on 20 years it’s remained refreshingly contemporary without ever becoming a classic. It can be dressed up or down, and, you know, most importantly it might releaf my mental thirst for water derived tranquility.

Plus, according to my new favourite perfume blogger

“It can even be used as a substitute for a shower if necessary…”

Sold. I might nip into town and see if they’ve got any post-Christmas gift sets on sale.