Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 27 March 2013

Shay & Blue: Atropa Belladonna Review

I do get a bit excited when I hear about a new perfume brand, and I get super-excited when I realise that it's an affordable brand, albeit one with aspirations.  Niche perfumes are (in the main) lovely and amazing and wonderful, but I am aware that if I wasn't a beauty blogger, very many of them would be beyond  my reach from a financial point of view.  

Describing themselves as a "boutique perfumery", the creators of Shay & Blue; Dom De Vetta and Julie Masse, boast a wealth of perfume experience between them. Indeed, Dom has worked for Chanel and Jo Malone, and Julie has trained as a perfumer with (amongst others) Christine Nagel.  Shay & Blue are trying to handcraft fragrances, and bring a new experience to perfume-buying that can't be replicated by the mass-marketers of fragrances.

With a new collection of six fragrances, (Atropa Belladonna, Blood Oranges, Amber Rose, Sicilian Limes, Suffolk Lavender, plus Almond Cucumber) I had a hard time selecting what I wanted to try, my heart was torn between Almond Cucumber, Blood Oranges and Atropa Belladonna, but I eventually settled on Atropa Belladonna, as I was drawn in by the description of:

"... Atropa Belladonna, inspired by deadly nightshade, with the richly decadent scent of dark cassis berries blended with the heady white flower blooms of narcissus and jasmine, on a base of rich bourbon vanilla. Daringly different, chic, mesmerising ... "

Further reading about the notes yields:

Top: Mesmerizing berries and cassis liqueur.

Heart: Blooms of white narcissus and Grasse jasmine.

Base:  Patchouli, sandalwood, rich bourbon vanilla.

The top notes are a very intriguing flash of blackberries and blackcurrants, with an oddly savoury undertone.  Whilst fruity, the fragrance isn't sweet at all, which is something I very much appreciate.  In fact, the opening reminds me, very much, of the recent Jo Malone release of Blackberry and Bay, which has a similar blast of non-sweet fruit, and both of these openings are very much to my taste.

On further wearing, I don't really get much in the way of jasmine, but there is a lingering hint of soapiness, which I attribute to the fact that very many berry leaves do smell a little soapy, it's a bit waxy, and feels fat with the promise of sandalwood to come. Sandalwood always smells a little "fatty" to me, for some reason, I don't really understand why. The dry down is a little sweeter once the vanilla shows up, but it's not a custard-y kind of vanilla, it's a bit dark and rather creamy, with hints of wood.  It's a very nice scent!

I think for the price-point (£30 for 30mls, £55 for 100mls, and £35 for candles), Shay & Blue offer an intriguing collection of fragrances - I've heard great things about their Almond & Cucumber, which I'm dying to try - and I think this is great, tightly edited collection of items, there are no body products, no makeup, no home furnishings etc to dilute the ranges with. They offer beautiful packaging - reminscent of Jo Malone, but in a rather fetching blue, and as such Shay & Blue is definitely a brand to keep an eye on.

Available at Harvey Nichols; and Shay & Blue on 0845 548 0113.
The Fine Print: PR Sample.

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