Stella by Jacques Cavallier for Stella McCartney 2003


Post by Willa Zheng


There is something about Stella that makes grown men swoon and hearts aflutter. If I have a fragrance that elicits compliments from the opposite-sex more than any other, this is it. Interestingly, when I studied in Glasgow during the winter of 07, there was barely a day when I wouldn’t catch a whiff of Stella in the streets. For Stella is nostalgic, welcoming and yet modern.

Stella by Stella McCartney 2003

Stella by Jacques Cavallier

Released in 2003, at first exclusively amongst Stella McCartney’s fashion friends, it was a tribute to her recently-deceased mother, Linda McCartney. Stella McCartney’s inspiration was the big, fragrant, olde-worlde roses that her mother used to buy and fill the rooms with their scent. At the time, big bold rose fragrances had fallen out of fashion so Stella McCartney’s Stella was a standout in department stores and became an instant top-seller for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, which owns Stella McCartney brand fragrances.

Stella Stella McCartney FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Rose oil, peony, tangerine
Heart: Rose
Base: Amber

To the casual nose, Stella is dripping in rose oils and velvety rose petals. Stella is a big, heavy, wet rose. Rose fragrances can sometimes smell sharp and old fashioned. However, Jacques Cavallier (L’eau d’Issey, JPG Classique) circumvented that by softening it, making it more romantic and modern by adding notes of peony (which smells rosey but not really), galaxolide (an airy, clean, soapy kind of musk. Think shampoo and laundry powder. We are in the age of Sophia Grojsman and the monolithic fragrances she popularised, afterall), mandarin (so the fragrance opens citrusy and it adds a dash of the sweetness you’d find in real roses) and amber (to lock it all in).
Given that simple structure, Stella is a fairly linear fragrance. There is more zest and sweetness at the start, moving to a sheer, rosey, amber-musk drydown. At its core, Stella creates the olfactory effect of a plush, musky, live rose viewed through misty amber glass. You smell clean, classy, romantic and all woman.

Stella Stella McCartney Audrey Rose With Dew Drops FlickrFlickr

Given the romantic soft impressions left by Stella, you wouldn’t think it would have massive silage. But its scent molecules are heavy and are robust enough to be picked up and carried by wind to enthral your amore. Stella can be detected for 8-10 hours on my skin, but a re-spray is recommended after 4 hours to keep those compliments coming.

Of course, to trip people up, a man could totally wear Stella by Stella McCartney. A man who wears Stella knows how romance is done. He is sensual and frankly, irresistible. Just saying.

Unfortunately, like most great perfumes of the past, this fragrance has been reformulated. This review is based on the original version from my own personal collection.

Stella Maegan Tintari Stella McCartney spring 2010 FlickrFlickr

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Katie Puckrik
FragranceNet has $69/50ml before Coupon
My Perfume Samples have $3/ml

What do you think about Stella? Do you have another favourite amber-rose fragrance?

NB: If you shop at My Perfume Samples from an APJ link I get a kickback.

Parfum Divin by Jacques Cavallier for Caudalie 2014


Post by Willa Zheng


Hello APJ,

Often mentioned in the same breath as Nuxe’s Prodigieux Le Parfum, Parfum Divin is Caudalie’s capture, in spray perfume form, the scent of the brand’s cult dry oil. If Nuxe Prodigieux is a tropical beach vacation in a bottle, Caudalie Divin is a late-summer picnic in verdant wine country.

Whilst I am very ambivalent about the bottle packaging of Nuxe Prodigieux, I want to squee to the world that this bottle is très divine. It’s an understated, elegant, high-quality ombre-gold bottle topped with a wooden (non-cheap!) lid. The robust cylindrical shape makes this perfume perfectly portable to throw in your everyday handbag.

Caudalie’s website describes this as a ‘delicate, sensual’ fragrance. I think the good folks that write copy at Caudalie HQ do not know the difference between spicy and delicate. For Parfum Divin is a spicy scent; delicate it is not.

Parfum Divin by Caudalie 2014

Parfum Divin by Jacques Cavallier

Parfum Divin Caudalieb FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Grapefruit, rose, pink pepper, vanilla, musk, cedar

Parfum Divin opens as a blast of fruity, floral musk. It’s a dry, clean-skin kind of musk as opposed to a dirty, animalistic one. The fruity-floral notes are green, rosey and sweet, with an artificial-grape note floating at the top. About an hour in, the ethereal floral-top notes have faded, revealing a dry layer of vanilla pods. At the same time, the rubbery artificial grapes start to be pushed out by punchy, pink peppercorns At the two hour mark, this fragrance is in full flight – it is indubitably about spicy peppercorns and vanilla pods. The peppercorns are just enough to stop you from wanting to lick your yummy sweet self.

Parfum Divin Caudalie The Narratographer Freckles the Rotherham Cow Whisperer... FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Bath and Unwind say: The scent evolves into a sophisticated and sensuous blend with an exotic allure. Combining the essence of Moroccan and Bulgarian rose absolutes, its heady floral bouquet is tempered with sharp grapefruit and spicy pink peppercorn, warm sweetness from Uganda planifolia vanilla beans, deep Virginia cedar and a blend of musks. 

The overall experience of Parfum Divin is fresh, elevating but also comforting, like being nuzzled in your favourite clean, fluffy, bath robe. Accordingly, Parfum Divin wafts close to the wearer, for your own personal pleasure. Longevity is 8hrs+, however a mid-day top-up is strongly recommended.

Parfum Divin Caudali romantic Pexels

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Geek Wearing Make-Up
Sephora has the line but I can’t find it online
Bath and Unwind has AUD$76/50ml (Sadly NOT to Aus & NZ)

Nuxe or Caudalie? Which do you prefer?

Kingdom by Jacques Cavallier for Alexander McQueen 2003


Post by Joseph Sagona



Let’s talk about a very strong, dirty, sexy, peppery, unusual, raw, sweaty, skanky, mysterious, carnal, bold, unisex, subtle sweetness, with soft herbal and citric undertones. You know you want to….

Kingdom by Alexander McQueen 2003

Kingdom by Jacques Cavallier

Kingdom Alexander McQueen FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange, mandarin orange, mint, neroli, bergamot, lemon
Heart: Carnation, ginger, rhubarb, jasmine, celery seeds, rose
Base: Amber, musk, oakmoss

I get the Ginger, Cumin, Musk, Rhubarb, Rose and Incense, it opens up with a warm animalic musk and an spicy, earthy cumin, the musk and cumin are strong, the musk remains throughout the duration of the fragrance.

After fifteen minutes the musk and cumin soften and remain, in comes a fresh, tart rhubarb and a sharp, soapy ginger, the ginger has slight astringent smell, it quickly dissipates within ten minutes and becomes smooth, the rhubarb is strong, the ginger is mild. Then after three hours the cumin dissipates along with the ginger, the rhubarb softens and remains, in comes an aromatic, smoky incense, and a dusty with a touch of green rose, the incense and rose are mild.

Kingdom reminds me of Penhaligon’s No.9, and Christian Dior’s Dune for Women, No.9 is softer, stronger floral notes and spicier, Dune is sweeter, with aldehydes and comes off powdery, they all have similar, musky, floral and citric notes.

Alexander_McQueen_last_show_dress_V&A_museum WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Alexander McQueen, your Kingdom has spoken to me, and taken my very last breath from me,
it’s a love affair that will never break, my soul will always be yours to take.
Enrapture me in your sultry cocoon, I never want to bid you sweet adieu.
Shackle my bones in your tender embrace, and transport me to that euphoric place.
Make love to me as you only could, and bring me to tears with your scent that makes me swoon
I want to feel you crawl deep inside my skin, and make me bellow in your eternal grace.
Like two souls enraptured and intertwined, slide your warm tongue up and down my spine,
don’t stop until you bring me to everlasting bliss, and I give you my soul with one gentle kiss,
here is Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom.

Kingdom would be gorgeous in the Fall and Winter, I get good projection and good longevity, this is a beautiful fragrance that you should sample. Kingdom is an Oriental Spicy fragrance


Further reading: Candy Perfume Boy and I Smell Therefore I Am
Long discontinued, bottles still pop up on

Did you ever get to smell this wonder?
Joseph Sagona

(Ed: Joseph writes for The Scented Apprentice, go check him out there too.)

Stella by Jacques Cavallier for Stella McCartney 2003


Post by Maya


Hello APJ,

I have very little interest in most celebrity scents. I know it’s not fair and I am probably missing some very good fragrances, but there are too many out there and others interest me a lot more. Perfume is a thing of emotions and sometimes visual images for me. It appeals to senses other than smell, which is part of it’s beauty. It can evoke memories. It can awaken feelings. It can create new or revive old visual images. It can create or change a mood. Each scent does something different. Once in a while, I perceive a fragrance as color/s.

Stella by Jacques Cavallier for Stella McCartney 2003

Stella Stella McCartney FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Tangerine, rose, peony, amber

I tried Stella by Stella McCartney out of simple curiosity and I’m glad I did. It is a scent that I see as shades of pink with a bit of bright yellow in it. It’s uncomplicated and demands nothing. There are times when that is exactly what I want. I also like that the rose smells natural, not artificial. On my skin, Stella opens as a bright rose with wisps of amber floating up. There are some subtle hints of barely-there mandarin. The amber warms up slightly as the scent progresses but the rose stays strong.

Stella McCartney 2010 UK in France  FlickrPhoto Stolen UK in France Flickr

This is a spring and summer perfume for me. It’s bright sunshine and light. Stella is uplifting and cheerful and yes, pretty. I like to wear it when I’m out and about – shopping, doing errands, meeting a friend for lunch. I would actually wear it just about anywhere and I do. It’s one of my go-to perfumes.

After about 5 hours, it fades somewhat. It’s still there, but much closer to the skin and lingers for about another 3 hours. I can spritz and forget about it, knowing I will be surrounded by a lovely scent that is unlikely to offend anyone. I should add an interesting aside: to my nose, this is a true ROSE perfume, but several friends say that to them it’s a light floral and they can’t pick out any individual flowers including roses. They all like it though.

Stella McCartney larosaperlata DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

Further reading: Now Smell This
Beauty Encounter has $82/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Do you have any fun, easy to wear, go-to perfumes?

Maya x