New fragrance reviews: Bouchern Quatre, Elizabeth Arden Untold eau Fraiche, Kenzo Flower L’Elixir, Oscar de la Renta Oscar Flor and Bvlgari Goldea

I’d never heard of a Boucheron Quatre ring before but since seeing them online, I want, want, want.

And now you want one too, right?
And now you want one too, right?

Inspired by the architecture of Paris, the diamonds are the city lights and the while the darker stones are the cobblestones at the Place de Vendome while the ribbed bits reflect the city’s energy and spirit. As a Quatre ring starts at about R90K (yep, I looked it up) I’m probably not going to be rocking one anytime soon. Still, I can live out my dreams of Parisian splendour via Boucheron’s glorious new Quatre fragrance.

Boucheron Quatre eau de parfum, R695 for 30ml, R895 for 50ml and R1 195 for 100ml, selected Stuttafords and Dis-Chem stores.

A sheer fruity floral on a woody base that was created to attract a younger crowd to the brand, Quatre is a delicate, easy-to-wear fragrance that reminds me a lot of Eli Saab’s lighter creations, but sooo much nicer.

Officially, the notes are bitter orange, red currant, green tangerine, lemon and grapefruit up top, Sambac jasmine, rose,  wild strawberry, peach and apple in the middle and a base of  golden woods, cedar, cashmere, musk, vanilla and caramel. While it sounds complicated, to my nose, I simply get uplifting citrusy top notes followed by luminous jasmine warmed by a woody musk. No overly sweet strawberry or caramel at all. It’s the kind of scent you could spritz on generously and still smell clean and fresh. It’s almost as though all the ingredients got mixed in with a little soda water to make a fantastic spritzer version of what might’ve been too strong a drink.

Currently, my little sister is visiting (from France, coincidently) and ensuring she doesn’t make off with this fragrance in her bag is going to be an issue. A truly beautiful every day scent yet probably the one I’ll wear on my wedding day if I had to choose from the myriad of fragrances I currently own. I’m now really hoping they create a more intense version of this to wear at night.

Next up, we’ve got Elizabeth Arden Untold eau Fraiche.

Elizabeth Arden Untold eau Fraiche eau de toilette
Elizabeth Arden Untold eau Fraiche eau de toilette, R795 for 100ml.

This came as a big surprise as I’m not a fan of the original Untold as I personally find it a bit too floral with an overripe, super strong pear note that had the overall effect of creating a scent that was very ‘yellow’, if that makes sense. This new juice, however, is wonderfully ‘green’, fresh and spring-y thanks to an injection of sparkling citrus, soothing tea and cool vetiver notes.

In fact, to break it down, eau Fraiche’s top notes still contain pear, but this time it’s very subtle to the point where I don’t even notice it. All I get is a lovely mix of green tea and mandarin orange. When the heart notes appear, it’s no longer a screech of white floral, now its delicate freesia, lily and orange blossom. As for the base notes, it’s now cashmere wood, musk and vetiver – a lovely soft place to land whereas the original Untold featured patchouli and musk mingled with a warm amber note so big it kind of swamped everything else. While the original is ‘sweating in the sun’, eau Fraiche is ‘napping in the shade’. Does that make sense or have I gone to fragrance review crazy town over here?

Anyway, now eau Fraiche reminds me a bit of a more complex version of Arden’s Green Tea, my favourite of all their fragrances as well as one of my favourite scents in general. In fact, it’s so far removed from the original Untold I would never even guess that they were friends, let alone sisters. It’s now found a permanent place in my fragrance line up as it’s the ideal fragrance to wear on a hot summer’s day when you’re wanting something that’s a little more smart-casual than good ole spritz-and-go Green Tea.

Moving on, let’s chat about Kenzo Flower L’Elixer.

Kenzo Flower eau de parfum, PRICE.
Kenzo Flower L’Elixir eau de parfum, R800 for 30ml and R1 115 for 50ml.

There have been a lot of interpretations of Flower over the years that have taken the scent in various directions but most of them have remained powdery like the original and this new version is much the same but also very fruity and sweet.

A real gourmand journey, it opens with a burst of mandarin that soon becomes a powder bomb followed by sugary, red, raspberry lollipop. Soon a warm, sticky caramel (listed as praline) crops up, does a dance with the lollipop and while you think it might get a bit sickly, the powder manages to temper it somehow. I then start to smell powdery, papery rose but with a caramel whirl that prevents it from heading into old ladyville and things eventually calm down when the milkier base notes come through. You’re then kind of left with a warm, sweet, powdery scent that you’re either going to love or loath.

Currently, I know this scent isn’t for me, but there’s definitely something interesting and attractive about it. On the right person, I think it’s got the potential to be real dynamite in that it manages to be both bold yet demure… sexy yet reserved… youthful yet sophisticated. It’s the kind of scent that would well on a cold winter’s day or an evening out in any season.

Now let’s talk about Oscar de la Renta’s new fragrance, Oscar Flor.

Oscar de la Renta Oscar Flor eau de toilette, PRICE.
Oscar de la Renta Oscar Flor eau de toilette, R595 for 30ml and R995 for 100ml, selected Stuttafords and Truworths.

Much like Boucheron, this is another brand that’s reaching out to the younger set and Flor is a nice way to get talking.

I recently sniffed the original ‘Oscar’, a classic floral made up of every flower on God’s green earth, and you can tell it was dreamed up in 1977. To me, it just smelled stuffy and ‘old’. (Sorry Barbara! *ducks*) New Oscar Flor, however, is a completely different scent in that it’s young, fresh and playful. While Oscar wears a mink stole and talks about how she survived the titanic, Oscar Flor is a long-legged debutante in pink chiffon who may or may not look like Taylor Swift, one of the late designer’s younger celebrity fans.

Notes-wise, it’s pretty simple – neroli, lychee and ivy up top, a heart of jasmine, peony and mango and a base of vanilla, musk and cassis (blackcurrant). On me, however, I get sparkling lemon that lasts for ages followed by lychee and peony and then finally a soft, sheer musk that makes me think of The Body Shop’s White Musk.

In all, Oscar Flor is a very pretty, easy to wear day time scent for a younger girl who appreciates youthful florals. It makes me think of three now discontinued li’l darlings – Gucci Envy Me (remember that?!), Clarins Par Amour Tu Jours and Dior Addict 2 Summer Litchi.

Last, but not least let’s talk about new Bvlgari Goldea eau de parfum, launching later this month.

Bvlgari Goldea eau de parfum, PRICE.
Bvlgari Goldea eau de parfum, R690 for 30ml, R1 375 for 50ml and R1 890 for 100ml.

A musky floriental, Goldea is inspired by gold and light and heralds the beginning of a new pillar within Bvlgari’s enormous fragrance universe. While the luxuriously heavy bottle’s a total work of art that’ll look beautiful on any dresser, the brand considers the juice a tribute to the confident woman who’s happy to express her allure with a ‘golden symphony of musk’.

Officially, the notes are crystal musk, orange blossom, raspberry, bergamot, golden musk, ylang-ylang, jasmine, velvety musk (yep, a third musk note), amber, patchouli and Egyptian papyrus.

Having read that, you’d think this was a heavy, musky scent but it’s not. It’s actually pretty subtle thanks to the freshness of the bergamot top note that gives it a citrusy opening that’s sweetened by raspberry mixed with a very sheer musk. This delicate musk never really goes away and any other musk notes that are supposed to follow all smell the same to me.

To my nose, the evolution is kind of like ‘sweet citrus’ followed by ‘ylang-ylang and jasmine with caramel’ (even though the latter’s not officially listed) and finally ‘very warm amber and yet more phantom caramel’ with that luminous musk acting as a veil that covers each of the three phases.

If you’re looking for an understated warm, ‘yellow’-smelling fragrance and appreciate white florals, subtle, lingering musk and lots and lots of amber, Goldea is an elegant choice. I could see it being worn in the day but it would work at night too, provided you applied it with a heavy hand.

Love, love


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