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; www.harveynichols.com and Shay & Blue on 0845 548 0113.
The Fine Print: PR Sample.
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