Friday, 3 June 2011

Review: Blessings eau de parfum from Belinda Brown (2011)

I think my brain’s vocab centre has had a slight melt-down. I need a synonym for ‘fuzzy’, but none of the ones I’ve come up with so far capture the exact type of ‘fuzziness’ I’d like to convey. ‘Fluffy’, ‘velvety’ and ‘fleecy’ come close, but the first one’s too silly, the second one’s too soft and the third one’s too ovine. The combined talents of Roget and haven’t been a great help either. ‘Plumose’ is linked with feathers, which isn’t what I’m after. ‘Velutinous’ relates to soft, fine hairs, which also isn’t right. ‘Tomentous’ (superb word!) refers to the matted, woolly down on stems and leaves, which raises unwanted botanical connotations. And ‘pubescent’ is, on this occasion, just plain wrong.

The driving force behind this word search is an attempt to articulate the overriding smell of Blessings. Recently issued in eau de parfum strength, the scent started life as a bespoke Roja Dove creation commissioned by ebullient, Nigerian-born businesswoman Belinda Brown. At the edp’s London launch, Mrs Brown explained that she wanted a perfume which would capture the essence of Stella Pomade, a thick, floral skin cream she used as a child, partly as protection against the ravages of the sandblasting, desert winds. She stated she was so pleased with Dove’s work – and she enjoyed so many compliments whenever she wore it – that she decided it would be worth her while to make it publicly available.

One of the fragrance’s main ingredients is tonka bean absolute… which is where the fuzziness comes in. A distinctive, complex natural material, it simultaneously smells of hay, sunshine, warm tobacco, dew-covered meadows and rich desserts. It possesses a fur-like, tactile quality, but it also floats with nimble, cloud-like weightlessness. So yes, in one sense, it is cosy, cuddly, comforting and, well… fuzzy, but it also deserves a much more opulent-sounding descriptor.

Blessings opens with a smooth, welcoming citrus blend (for once, the bergamot actually smells like bergamot), proceeds to an almost-too-intoxicating jasmine/rose accord and ends on a creamy, radiant sandalwood note. But beneath all three parts is a liberal dose of the tonka, imbuing the other components with its tenacity whilst highlighting their most feminine, most luminous assets. Bergamot/jasmine/sandalwood may not be the most original combo currently on the market, but in this instance, it works. With its phenomenal sillage, glowing warmth and infectious joie de vivre, Blessings proves that sometimes revisiting the past yields commendable results. And as for the synonyms… I think I’d be better off combining a few of them and coining my own word. Any takers for ‘pluffinous’?

[Review based on a sample of eau de parfum provided by Belinda Brown in 2011; fragrance tested on skin.]

And now here’s a question for you: if you could turn a long lost childhood smell into a perfume, what would you choose?



  1. Lovely review of something that sounds very good to me. I had never heard of this perfume before, since tonka is such a cozy note, I am keen to try this. Fluffinous sounds about right. ;)

  2. The smell of my childhood? Probably already achieved in Bobbi Brown's Beach. But forget about all of that right now. I'm obsessed with the word "pluffinous" and plan on using it constantpeatedly.

  3. The smell of my teenage years spent hiking and camping in the US state of Maine was absolutely captured in Andy Tauer's limited edition fragrance, Orris. I have about a 1/4 inch left in my bottle...

  4. I would love to get Climat by Lancome and Diorella by Dior exactly the way they smelled in my childhood.
    As to the real scents... I want a perfume that smells like linden. Whatever I tried so far didn't come close to the real scent (I haven't tried Zetta yet though).

  5. Olfactoria, it won't change perfumery as we know it, but it's certainly worth trying.

  6. *jen, did I mention that I own the copyright on pluffinous?

  7. Ronny, so THAT'S why you like Orris so much. Anyone I know who's been to Maine says it's magical.

  8. Undina, please try Zeta soon so you can tell me if it pushes your linden button.

  9. Hello Persolaise,

    Can I ask if you know if Mandy Aftels talk will be cancelled next Monday and if she is going to make an alternate public appearance?

    many thanks,

  10. The smell of peat smoke fires heralding the approach of the Galway border when visiting the family for holidays as a child would be mine. Only trouble is it could promote evil fragrance titles such as Eau de Bog!!

  11. Anonymous, I'm really sorry, I've only just seen your comment. Yes, Mandy's London talk has been cancelled. I'm afraid I don't know if she has any plans to come to the UK in the near future.

  12. Maureen, I'd buy Eau De Bog... or maybe we should just call it Lonestar Memories...?

  13. hotlanta linda10 June 2011 at 00:27

    Lilacs and honeysuckle!!! Walking by these bushes that were close together was heaven!! :-)

  14. Linda, thanks for that. Isn't there a good lilac & honeysuckle perfume already out there?


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