Tuesday, May 28, 2013

{{Fragrance Review}}: Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Neroli Bianca

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Neroli Bianca - S$79/75ml
from DFS Galleria, Singapore and Guerlain counters, Singapore

Hey people! How's it going? I have been rather inactive on my blog these few weeks because I was busy with so many things! 

Well, I'm back with a review of Guerlain's Neroli Bianca from its Aqua Allegoria range. This is Guerlain's 2013 offering that's not "travel exclusive". I love the beautiful design of the Aqua Allegoria...so...luxurious.

Basically Neroli Bianca is inspired by the bitter orange tree. I've come into contact with bitter orange in L'Occitane's The Vert. It is basically a note that is less bright than an average orange note and even lightly bitter (hence the name).

Neroli Bianca itself is a pretty interesting fragrance. It opens up tart, citrusy and bitter. For some reason when you first whiff it, it feels like you're smelling layers of it. I can almost see the flesh of the bitter orange in front of me, with its citrus juiciness. It is zesty, bringing a sort of effervescent effect to this fragrance. I also detect what seemed like a faint honey note, bringing a roundness to this scent. But the honey isn't the ordinary honey you get in jars; it actually smells a bit smoky or burnt, as though the honey has been roasted. Picture a bitter orange, sliced open and doused with a thin layer of mildly burnt honey. Sprinkle on a bit of those "popping candy" that kids usually eat and that's the effect created by Neroli Bianca.

As the fragrance develops, you can feel undertones of woody and green notes emerging. I guess we're climbing down from the tree, away from the bountiful bitter oranges and straight into its leaves and branches. The magical zest is waning and this is the part of the fragrance where the citrus is rather subdued.

Then, as you reach the bottom of the tree, you can see that just nearby, another bitter orange tree has yet to bear fruits. Its orange blossoms sway in the wind, bringing their light floral scent to your face. If you had smelt harder while up the tree, you'd have noticed the faint scent of these blossoms. The dry down is a bouquet of orange blossoms and their pollens - powdery, mildly citrusy and woody.

Sillage wise this is a pretty strong scent and longevity was a good 8 hours on my wrists.

This is an interesting scent but it was not my cup of tea. It is worth a whiff if you can get your hands on a tester at the store. Who knows, it might just be what you'll fall in love with.

I hope this review was useful :D
That Whimsical Blogger!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

{{Review}}: Sg Best Buy World

Heya people~

As requested, today's gonna be a review on Sg Best Buy World.

This is basically a site catered to residents of Singapore. It offers skincare, cosmetics, fragrances and other products at a discounted rate from regular retail pricing.  It also sells products that are "gift-with-purchase" you normally get for free from departmental stores when your purchases are of a certain amount.

I have bought from Sg BBW 4 times, surfed around the site for awhile and I find it's about time to review about them. I mainly bought perfumes from them.

As usual, this will be done in a "point form" manner to make my review as objective as possible.

The good:
1. Excellent delivery service
Yes, Sg BBW's delivery service is great! I must admit, I've only purchased online from 3 online stores (Zalora, Naruko and this) and Sg BBW's delivery beats Zalora hands down! From their site, you can see how their delivery schedule works, but typically you will get it 1-2 days after ordering. This applies for BOTH cash-on-delivery and online payment. Remember my long waiting time for Zalora orders? This doesn't happen with Sg BBW.

Plus, I find my encounters with their delivery men to be very pleasant. They're (pretty) friendly people who'd wait for me to inspect my items before payment (I only trust cash-on-delivery option). I think I had the same delivery man for 2-3 orders and he's amused by the things I ordered - perfumes (one bottle would have exceeded the minimum spending amount for free delivery).

2. Products are relatively new
Before purchasing anything on the site, you can email them to check out the date of manufacture. Typically I think their makeup/skincare will be sold as long as it is within 2-3 years of their D.O.M whereas for fragrances I've been told by them it's 5 years.

3. Offers are attractive
Yeap, sometimes BBW has offers that are unbeatable elsewhere. I've noticed this applies especially for high end mass-market perfumes. I bought my Acqua di Gioia from them at $69.50 while at shoplets the cheapest I've seen is $85. Yay savings!
Plus, they tend to have seasonal offers that lower prices of their goods further! If you have the patience and the time, it'd be good to hang around on the site for awhile and see if your favourite item will be priced even lower for a limited time! Alternatively, sign up for their newsletter.

4. Prompt answers to inquiries
Frustrated when businesses take forever to reply to you ? BBW's staff usually respond within 24 hours, which is great!

5. Testers for sale
Like many non-authorised retail stores, BBW offers the sale of "tester" merchandise. This is great for perfumes if you're the kind to use and toss a perfume bottle.

The not so good:
1. Lacking in good English command
Okay, this is definitely not atrocious English we're talking about here. But, it may cause discomfort to those who are extremely particular about good grammar.

2. Prices are cheap, compared to online stores
Surf around the net for fairly established online stores in Singapore and I think BBW's products are competitively priced.
However, it is honestly not difficult to get cheaper products offline in stores. For example, BBW has the habit of selling the gift-with-purchase deals. I have seen a bag selling at $36 on BBW and the same bag selling at Bonjour Cosmetics for $16. Also, I've bought L'eau Par Kenzo offline at $36.90 from Beauty Language and $26 from Venus Beauty (30ml) which BBW sells for $39. I think this is to compensate for its delivery service. You honestly have to shop around to get the best deals.

3. Method for storage of products is unknown
I've honestly no idea how BBW stores their product. If stored in a hot room and exposed to sunlight, this may cause cosmetics and perfumes to spoil quickly. So far, though, I've had no issues.

4. "No return" policy
I'm upset with BBW's no return, no refund policy unless the product is spoilt/damaged upon delivery. This means if you purchased something wrongly you cannot change it, EVEN if it's brand new. So, you'd have to make sure what you buy is really what you want.

5. Limited stocks
If you like something, you better buy it fast because many items go out of stock quickly and they don't know when the new stocks would (if ever) arrive.
In conclusion, I think Sg Best Buy World is a convenient site to grab items that are priced cheaper than actual retail stores. So far I have a positive opinion of this site, especially with their lovely delivery service.

Have you bought stuff from Sg Best Buy World? What's your experience? I'd love to know!

-That Whimsical Blogger~

Thursday, May 2, 2013

{{In-Depth Fragrance Review}}: L'Occitane Rose Aurore eau Fraiche

L'Occitane Rose Aurore Eau Fraiche, $78/75ml

I have been craving rose fragrances lately.
Besides going back to my absolute favourite Evelyn Rose EDT (which has since been reformulated), I also sought solace in my little 30ml bottle of Crabtree&Evelyn's Rosewater. 
The former is far too precious for me to use liberally while the latter's low lasting power leaves me with a sense of disappointment.

Then, came L'Occitane's Rose Aurore.

Pretty, pretty packaging.

What caught my eye was the lovely, old Western styled motif of Rose Aurore. The beautiful royal red colour and its fairly complex design piqued my interest. Then, there's the gorgeous GWP and Mothers' Day gift packs available this month at L'Occitane outlets, Singapore. 

Nonetheless, I was hesitant to try this at first, for I'm a picky rose lover. The idea of "white roses" didn't really make me excited since I adored pink/red rose scents and I dislike cutesy and/or faint scents that L'Occitane tends to have in their floral fragrances. Also, I had the idea that eau fraiche were very light fragrances that would not last long.

But, I was in love on first whiff! What a delightful fragrance! I bought it the day I smelt it!

According to L'Occitane, 

Top Notes: Lemon, Orange, Bergamot
Heart Notes: Rose, Lotus Flower
Base Notes: Musk, Amber

Rose Aurore opens with a fresh burst of white roses, as the citrus notes gives it a revitalising edge to the feminine florals. There is also a hint of soapiness, which I absolutely looooove in rose fragrances. It makes me feel like an ol' girly romantic at heart who's just taken a bath in rose petals. 

Then, as the fragrance mellows a little, I could smell how green and translucent it is. This is a sweet, delicate rose at its first bloom and the lotus note only serves to strengthen its delicateness.  Lotus, is a note I've come to admire for it is- to me- a floral that is both feminine and zen-like, unlike other loud obnoxious floral notes. I could see bountiful floating rose petals surrounding me in this scent and I envision it fit for a wedding. Or, like my friend says, "good for formal events" because there is just that beautiful rose classiness to it.

Personally, as this is is tested on skin, I cannot detect the musk note. The amber note itself isn't particularly noticeable either, but there is a slight warmth(not as warm as Evelyn Rose) to this fragrance that may be the cause of the amber note.

This, my friends, is a sillage monster. Just one spray at the store and I could smell it for a good 3 hours at moderate sillage. Please do not ever overspray this little beauty because it would positively make people gag.  The longevity on my skin is an impressive 4-5 hours, just like L'Occitane's The Vert.

A definite thumbs up from me. I'd be eyeing a second bottle if my love for it continues. I don't wanna regret it the way I did with my Evelyn Rose (darn it C&E, bring it back!)
*EDIT*: I'll be getting new bottles of the ol' Evelyn Rose! My relative managed to find some old stock abroad! Yaaaay.

Have you tried Rose Aurore? Let me know!
That Whimsical Blogger!

The other complementary body products from the range:
R.A Radiant Body Milk-S$48/250ml
R.A Shower Jelly - S$33/250ml

P.S: At my trip to L'Occitane boutique in Takashimaya, I sprayed Rose4Reines on my left wrist and Rose Aurore on my right wrist to see which I liked better. R4R had great longevity according to Fragrantica.com but it just died down on my skin into a soft skin scent in a matter of one hour! RA continued pampering my skin with its lovely smell. I think this is a matter of skin chemistry so your results may differ. 
I also tried out Rose des Champs later on in the day and here's a quick way to distinguish their scents.

Rose 4 Reines: Classic, deep red rose scent. A bit dark and reminds me of potpourri roses. It's like you being given a bouquet of rich, red roses.
Rose des Champs (2012 limited edition - yes, I still see it in stores): Very green rose scent with a hint of citrus and fruits. You'll be smelling more green notes than roses. Great for people who like just a mild touch of rose to their fragrances. It's like you running through a garden of roses. EDIT: this actually smells fantastic in hot weather! Bring it out into the sun and a light rose blooms and blooms and blooms!
Rose Aurore (2013 limited edition): white roses that are delicate and fresh with subtle hints of green notes. Great for people who like roses but not the dark-red-rose type. It's like white roses steeped in water.

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