About Me

I’m Claire – just your average, run-of-the-mill Irish lass looking for a way to pare everything back so that I can get to the best things in life. Coco Chanel said that before leaving the house in the morning you should look in the mirror and take one thing off. Less is more. So this blog is an exploration of the quiet luxury of that one perfect thing – a fragrance, a pencil skirt, a book, a meal – the thing you absolutely can’t do without. But to get to that, we have to pare back the ephemera. Join me for a while. I’m here rummaging through the rubbish pile of my life to see what stays and what goes. Taking one thing off at a time until I get to the essential.

42 Comments

  • Reply Pat Pollard March 12, 2016 at 4:20 am

    Very enjoyable.

    • Reply Claire March 25, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Thank you, Pat!

  • Reply Steven March 12, 2016 at 11:52 pm

    Thank you Claire. Until I came across this page, I didn’t realize that my entire life has been about paring everything back to get to the essential. Coco Chanel sure seems like someone with many useful insights. As you requested I’ll be joining you for a while as you share your experiences during this journey. And while I’m quite certain I’ll never have a favorite pencil skirt, I’m sure there’s much else I can benefit from. Indeed, I’m already planning to sample Jicky EDP based on your review. And, who knows, perhaps I can even broaden your horizons by sharing my love for whiskey and java infused cigars 😉

    Steven

    • Reply Claire March 25, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      Hi Steven! Thank you so much for joining me on this (seemingly never-ending) quest to pare things down! I am failing miserably on all fronts, both the paring down of perfumes and on the pencil skirt issue 🙂 I hope you’ll come back and tell me how you got on with Jicky EDP. And yes! Educate me about whiskey and cigars – I reference them so often in reviews that I think it’s high time I learned a little about both 🙂

  • Reply Mohammad March 24, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Hi Claire ,

    I love your blog and I’m so happy to follow you , thank you so much for the nice reviews.

    Mohammad

    • Reply Claire March 25, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Thank you, Mohammad, you are too kind! I am glad to see you here.

  • Reply Anna August 13, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    Hello Claire, glad to have found your blog. You are a wonderful writer with very insightful descriptions and just the right amount of irreverence. My kind of person.

    I am going to seek out the Hermes Eau de Merveilles based on your recommendation. I love salt fragrances and one of my favourites is L’Artisan Navigateur which takes me back to sea growing up in Vancouver.

    • Reply Claire August 31, 2016 at 7:53 pm

      Thanks so much, Anna! I love the salty feel of EdM,and hear that the pure parfum is even saltier (although I don’t have the means to pursue that, unfortunately). Is the Navigatuer the coffee one? I think I tested that briefly but found it too sweaty or metallic on my skin. I will try it again, though, on your recommendation. Vancouver is one of those places I have always dreamed of visiting! I used to follow a food blog of someone based between Seattle and Vancouver, and she did these marvelous photo essays of her trips out to one of the small islands out there

    • Reply Jeff June 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      Ah, you'll love Silence The Sea by Strangelove NYC. Claire has an excellent review about that fragrance as well.
      You can surely smell the salt.

  • Reply Cath October 12, 2016 at 3:38 am

    I’ve been wanting to smell this perfume for a while, even thought about buying a (pricey) sample, but your description just saved me some money. Thank you Claire.

  • Reply Holly November 22, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Claire! I just discovered your lovely blog, and am looking forward to rummaging through the archives and all posts to come.

  • Reply susan December 24, 2016 at 4:26 am

    thanks

  • Reply Katherine December 30, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    Hi Claire, I’m delighted to have found your blog through an article on Basenotes. You have long been my absolute favourite reviewer there both because I love your writing and your taste in perfumes. Looking forward to many hours of perusing this! Thank you and wishing you a beautiful 2017 from NZ. X

    • Reply Claire December 31, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Hi Katherine – thank you so much! You are so kind. I hope you have a great year in 2017 too 🙂 Cheers from cold and grey Ireland (send some of your weather please!) Claire

  • Reply MrsDalloway January 8, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Great blog – looking forward to reading more.

  • Reply Mark Vaughn July 22, 2017 at 1:56 am

    Claire, keep up the brilliant writing! You have a wonderful gift.

    • Reply Claire September 27, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Thank you so much, Mark – I've been taking a long break from writing, must get back to it!

  • Reply Kate September 20, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    I was just reading about Ancient Resins Body Oil & Hair Elixir and thought I'd write in to see if you have a sample you'd sell or swap : ) Love your blog!

    • Reply Claire September 27, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Hi Kate – thank you! Unfortunately, I gifted my sample to my Dad, but you can buy it at a reasonable price ($40-ish) from Mandy herself if you are in the States.

  • Reply Summer October 31, 2017 at 2:07 pm

    Your writing style is delicious. So refreshing. I followed your Basenotes Gourmand Coquin review to this blog. Thank you for sharing the morsels of your opinions. I look forward to vicariously discovering new fragrances in the same way one would follow a delightful path through the unexplored wood.

    • Reply Claire November 12, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Dear Summer, thank you very much! "A delightful path through the unexplored wood"- that is so beautifully put. Every new review I read is like that for me too, whether it's on Fragrantica, Basenotes, Parfumo, etc. and no matter how short or long, or prosaic or poetic 🙂

  • Reply Joeri November 12, 2017 at 2:08 am

    Dear Claire, I adore your reviews, here and elsewhere. You have helped me to discover many great gems. Thanks for making us part of your passions!

    • Reply Claire November 12, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      Dear Joeri, thank you so much! Good to know that someone's getting something out of my ramblings! What a lovely compliment, thank you.

  • Reply purecaramel November 12, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Dear Claire,
    Your reviews seem to wack me across the noggin, like a snort of Jasmine Absolute, lifting my spirit, on these gray, rainy, November days.

    • Reply Claire November 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      As long as it's only jasmine absolute you're snorting, Steve! Although jasmine absolute probably hurts the wallet more than the illegal stuff…Thank you my dear

  • Reply Clarissochka November 30, 2017 at 5:25 am

    Claire I just discovered your blog and love your reviews. I have read a couple of your articles on basenotes. It is great to get more of your reviews and perspective.

    • Reply Claire November 30, 2017 at 2:08 pm

      Clarissochka, welcome! I've seen you around on basenotes and know that we have VERY similar tastes and proclivities. Delighted to see you here!

      • Reply Clarissochka January 13, 2018 at 5:51 pm

        Thank you for the nice note Claire. I loved your review of Under My Skin – this is the house I have heard of and am looking forward to trying it once I clear my sample backlog. You are right – we have very similar tastes, but your nose is way way more nuanced then my would ever be.

        • Reply Claire January 16, 2018 at 1:52 pm

          I know what you mean about the sample backlog! (So why am I constantly buying more? It's not rational behavior, really). But I disagree about my nose being more nuanced than yours…all I have is a platform 🙂

  • Reply purecaramel January 27, 2018 at 9:53 pm

    Thank-you for this "Piece" (JSP) annnnnd ,all the Acknowledgement Editorial Notes.
    Your "Piece" carries all the ClaireV, haunting brushstrokes, that provide a "real"ly superior impression of these scents.
    This site, continues to be, a "Quiet Library" for Reference.

  • Reply purecaramel February 4, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I love that you qualify,

    "I can’t adequately describe just how smoothly and quietly all this is brought about"

    Then, offer in "Belle Rives" a startlingly brilliant and definitive sketch of what you see and feel.

    • Reply Claire February 5, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Hello lovely Purecaramel! Thanks so much for your comment. I feel discouraged every single time I put on a perfume because I'm never sure I can find the right words to convey how good it is (or otherwise), so thanks for the reassurance that I managed it this time. xxx

      • Reply MrsDalloway February 5, 2018 at 8:06 pm

        It is a terrific review and I'm glad you liked this one. I think it's beautiful too but it's not attracted much attention to date.

        • Reply Claire February 7, 2018 at 2:44 pm

          Thanks MrsD! I really, really loved this one. It's a great example of how to do iris without too many bells and whistles and still pull it off. I far prefer it to many other niche irises that came out in the last few years, including Iris Nazarena, for example. But perhaps it's getting ignored for exactly that reason, that it's not showy or glitzy. I hope that more people discover it, especially for the brand's sake, because people buying it would show that there are still people who prefer the beauty of something well made over the shiny new gold of the latest in thing.

  • Reply Diane St. Clair February 7, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Claire–
    Wondering if you would be willing to try my new perfume brand, St Clair Scents and if I could send you samples?
    Thanks,
    Diane

  • Reply Louise February 23, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Hello Clare

    I'm writing here as I can work out how to leave a comment on the individual articles 🙂
    I just wanted to let you know how relieved I was to read your responses to the January Scent Project perfumes. They are the most brilliant and honest reviews I have come across.
    I wanted to love these perfumes and although it's not the strangeness that I struggle with ( I love the smells themselves actually, and appreciate them very much as works of art), I do find the presence of these perfume right in my face and headache inducing, and there is a massive chemical effervescence and sweetness in them that makes them unwearable for me. I've been discombobulated by the contrast between the other reviews I've been reading and what I've actually been experiencing when smelling them. Perhaps I'm kind of allergic to something in them and just have not come across that particular component before ( although I did have a similar experience with Frederic Malle Carnal Flower).
    I'm enjoying your article very much and appreciate your take on life and perfume.
    Is there a way to subscribe by email (can't work that out either 😉
    Thanks again

    Louise.

    • Reply Claire March 6, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Louise, I have to thank you because sometimes I write a review and I think that my take on a perfume is so off that it probably makes no sense to put it out there. But every now and then, it reaches the right person, and even if it's one person, he or she feels like the review was written for them alone, and that is what makes it worthwhile for me. Your comment makes me feel so much less like a weirdo, I can't even begin to tell you! I loved the January Scent Project perfumes, but boy, they didn't smell at all like what I'd read in other reviews. I put it down partly to the fact that they are so unique, as perfumes, but partly down to me not being able to pick up on all the nuances / notes others were getting. But if my review struck a chord with you, then perhaps there is hope for me after all. There should be a Subscribe button on each page at the end, by the way – but let me know if you can't find it and I will tinker with the dashboard on WP! Thanks again for your lovely comment, and hope to see you again here soon! Best, Claire

  • Reply Hélène April 22, 2018 at 7:46 am

    Hello,
    I landed on some of your reviews while looking for information about leather scents and have become absorbed in your prose. You are such a talented and evocative writer. Like with complex fragrance, the reader is transported to different capsules of life, past and present, here and there. Une invitation au voyage as Baudelaire would say.
    I have been wondering if there are any perfumes that you could think of that conjure the rich smell of peat.
    Thanks again for your delightful words and richness of thought.
    Hélène

    • Reply Claire May 15, 2018 at 6:25 pm

      Belle Hélène, thank you so much for your comment. I love the Baudelairean "invitation au voyage" reference because I remember studying Les Fleurs du Mal in my first year at university (and being somewhat tortured by it, I have to admit!). For the smell of peat – Fumidus by Profumum is great, as is Le Labo Patchouli 24. But I also get a strong, West of Ireland peat bog smell from that hairiest and saltiest of vetivers, Annick Goutal Vetiver. It's very dry, though. Other good ones (but now sadly discontinued and hard to find) are Cumming (Alan Cumming for CB I Hate Perfume), Eau de Fier (Annick Goutal again), and Jeke (Slumberhouse). Materials that I associate with the smell of peat are: whiskey, vetiver, birch tar, lapsang souchong tea, and some treatments of tobacco.

  • Reply epapsiou June 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    I loved the article on demographics and I think I am a part of the dying old-guard. I came to fragrance world in 2015 but gravitated towards old guard instantly. Have seen it shrinking. Oh well.
    Just don't stop writing. This is among your best. Right up there with musk one and ambergris one and .. .. well they are all great

  • Reply Heather D'Angelo October 2, 2018 at 12:05 am

    I just saw your dazzling review of my fragrance, Moena 12|69. Thank you for lending your poetry to describing it; it made me so happy to read it. I think you're a wonderful writer about perfume and I would love to work with you in the future if you're available! I wish I had been able to describe my perfume as beautifully as you did in my marketing materials. 🙂

    • Reply Claire October 26, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      Hi Heather, I'm delighted that you like the review that much – thank you! I have still have the sample in a little bowl on my desk, and I open it every now and then to smell it. I find it transportative. My congratulations to you for creating such an unusual and emotive scent.

    Leave a Reply to Claire Cancel Reply

    css.php