The Black Narcissus










Like any other perfume lover, the receiving of bottles of scent for Christmas, or a birthday, or any other special occasion, is reason for excitement. My in-laws are from Norfolk, home of the world’s finest lavender (I prefer it to the French or the Bulgarian, this very English, camphoraceous lavender with just the right balance of purpleness, herbs and fruit) and they generously brought over a bottle of Yardley English Lavender in my Christmas package when they came over in December. I was of course delighted to receive it, particularly as I totally associate where Duncan is from with the scent of this hallowed, ancient plant.  Daphne will always send me sachets of dried lavender flowers from her garden, which I love to put under my pillow, and we even once went on an fascinating lavender tour all together somewhere out in…

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  1. Have you discovered another lavender to love since this post? I don’t recall — have you tried or written about Caldey Island Lavender?

    • I didn’t like the laundry musk finish with that one, much as I liked the opening to a certain extent.

      The only lavender I like is one I made myself, or remixed myself rather – I found an old apres rasage of Ungaro II, which is a lavender based vanilla/musk fougere, and added several different essential oils of high quality lavenders. It doesn’t quite hold up all the way to the base, but it works divinely at night as a calming scent.

      There is a ferocity to this review that goes perhaps over the edge, but I do feel that it was justified here as the carnage wreaked on the tranquil original beauty was too awful to be ignored. I think I have read somewhere though that the original is still available, perhaps just under a different name.

      • Your mix sounds great! And ferocity is understandable when a beloved original gets trashed. I mean, how hard could it have been to keep it the same? Caldey Island is still very reasonably priced, and it uses real lavender.

  2. Tara C

    Luca Turin says the same fate has befallen his Caldey Island Lavender. Reformulations are the scourge of modern perfumery.

  3. Neil! Just saw your book in one of the Chron. subsidiaries and ordered it for our store. We’ll get to see the physical book at the LV Gift Show in 2 weeks. VERY exciting!

  4. Email me at fragrantwanderer@gmail and I’ll send you a shot of the catalogue page.

  5. MrsDalloway

    I was just coming here to say it’s available for pre order on Amazon UK too! They say released 21 March. Exciting – I have my order in!

  6. MrsDalloway

    I am giggling at what Amazon considers ‘products related to this item’. First five titles are

    Hygge: Cozy Living The Danish Way
    Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
    The Art of Manipulation
    The Science of Mental Toughness
    The Science of Getting Ripped

  7. Tara C

    Just placed my order as well – Amazon suggested a bunch of plant-based cookbooks. Whatever!

  8. MrsDalloway

    It’s now suggesting Practical Stoicism and The Marriage Mantra: 10 Guiding Principles To Build A Beautiful Marriage. Must be quite a book!

  9. Ok, so I just came back from our local “departmental” store here in the boonies west of Kathmandu with a new bottle of Yardley’s English Lavender. I bought it because the shop girl was opening a new case and put out a new tester. The tester smelled like the original English lavender prior to the recent sickly sweet fougere-ish abomination!!!!
    The new bottle doe indeed smell like the original and my vial of brilliantine from Yardleys! But…I sprayed my linens with it & and it seems quite a bit weaker. The faux tonka bean overload is gone though and the lavandin and clary sage are baaackkkk!

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