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.

Gabriella’s Top-Five Rose Scents 2015


Post by Gabriella


Hello fragrance friends! While I’m a huge floral lover, I’ve got to say that when it comes to rose, I’m pretty finicky. I tend to love darker, spicier roses or those with a chypre edge rather than the perfumes that make you feel like you’ve stuck your nose into a big bouquet full of blooms. It’s ironic really as the rose is where perfume all started for me. As a young girl (I’m quite sure many of you did this too) I decided to create my own perfume by plucking the petals off Mum and Dad’s rose bushes and soaking them in water, desperately hoping I’d get some glorious ladylike scent in the process. What resulted was a rank and fetid smelling water, but thank god, this did not put me off perfume or roses forever.
My favourite rose perfumes smell much more glorious than those failed experiments, so without further ado, I present to you:

Gabriella’s Top-Five Rose Scents 2015

Paris Yves Saint Laurent FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

1. Paris by Sophia Grojsman for Yves Saint Laurent 1983

Fragrantica  gives these accords:
Top: Bergamot and violet
Heart: May rose and iris
Base: Sandalwood

The formative rose. I was 14, I wanted to be all woman and this bold, shapeshifting scent in its iconic pink and black topped bottle was it. Paris, now vastly reformulated and lost in a mass of flankers, was a mesmerising concoction of violet, rose and iris, that managed to be bold and confident but demure and sweet all at the same time. I wore copious amounts underneath my school uniform and how I didn’t get expelled for overpowering the whole school with my sillage, I’ll never know.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This
Fragrancenet starts at $43.99/30ml before coupon
Surrender to Chance starts at $3.00/ml

Stella Stella McCartney FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

2. Stella by Jacques Cavallier for Stella McCartney 2003

Fragrantica gives these accords:
Top: Rose oil, peony and a gentle touch of fresh tangerine
Heart: Rose
Base: Amber

The funny-story rose. I started to wear Stella around the time I was dating Mr M the first time around many years ago. I asked him what he thought of the green-tinged, but voluptuously warm amber rose creation. He said: “Smells like Grandma.” So, I stopped wearing it and it became my very expensive room spray. But then, every time Mr M came round, this is what my place and I smelt of. So, it was to my amusement a month or two later that he presented me with a bottle, completely forgetting the backstory and thinking that he done something wonderfully romantic because it “reminded him of me.”

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This
Escentual starts at GBP35.70/30ml
Surrender to Chance starts at $3/ml

Agent Provocateur Agent Provocateur FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

3. Agent Provocateur by Christian Provenzano for Agent Provocateur 2000

Fragrantica gives these accords:
Top: saffron
Heart: Magnolia, Indian jasmine and gardenia blend together with strong woodsy-chypre scent
Base: Amber and musk notes

The va-va-voom rose. I tried Agent Provocateur firstly because the whole ethos of the scent was something I had to have. I was called “cute” even at age 30 and I all I wanted to be was a sexy and sultry goddess. The first whiff of Agent Provocateur had me in a spin because I had smelt nothing quite like it. A dark woody and utterly captivating chypre rose that says strength and sex all at the same time.

Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Dear Scent Diary
Fragrancenet starts at $33.99/50ml before coupon.
Surrender to Chance starts at $3/ml

Lady Vengeance Juliette Has A Gun FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

4. Lady Vengeance by Francis Kurkdjian for Juliette Has A Gun 2006

Fragrantica gives these accords in one line:
Italian rose, vanilla and patchouli.  

The surprising rose. As I said, I’m finicky about rose. I’m also especially finicky when it comes to patchouli and as for vanilla and gourmands, they are usually no-go zones, but Francis Kurdjian has managed to create something with all four that I adore. It’s a sweet but dark rose that manages to be both pretty but voluptuous and vivacious at the same time with glorious sillage and lasting power.

Libertine Parfumerie has $186/100ml
Surrender to Chance starts at $3/ml

Gris Montaigne Christian Dior FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

5. Gris Montaigne by Francois Demarchy for Christian Dior La Collection Privee 2013

Fragrantica gives these accords in one line:
Bergamot, rose, patchouli, amber, cedar, sandalwood and oakmoss.

The new rose. I enter the Christian Dior boutique expecting it would be New Look 1947 or Grand Bal I would buy as my upcoming birthday present. And although I’d smelt them before, I was underwhelmed as I stood there, nose to wrist. The SA kept pushing me towards Gris Montaigne with the assurance that “This is the one for you.” One sniff and my eyes rolled back in pleasure as I softly cooed. Gris Montaigne is surprising, because, if you read the notes, one would expect a spicy chypre rose a la Agent. What it actually is a very pretty, sparkling and sophisticated rose bouquet that is imminently wearable and utterly special.

Further reading: Kafkaesque and Cafleurebon
Christian Dior Boutiques have $335/125ml
Surrender to Chance starts at $3/ml

So, do you like any of my choices? Is rose love it or leave it for you? If you like rose, what are your faves?

With much love till next time!
M x

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