Saturday Question: What 5 Perfumes Do You Look Forward To Wearing This Autumn?

Last several SQ topics were … not exactly negative but… So, I decided that we need a dose of positivity. In perfume form.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #133:

What 5 Perfumes Do You Look Forward To Wearing This Autumn?

It doesn’t have to be your Top 5, most favorite or any other such ranking. But if there are perfumes you plan to wear now, until it’s officially (or sensory) Winter, name five that first come to mind (or are carefully selected since, you know, whatever your choice would be, you’ll be held to it – just kidding).

My Answer

From my database, I got a list of perfumes that I wear more often. Then I went through it an marked those that I considered contenders – I got 20. Then I combed through the list once again. And here’s the results:

  1. Amouage Memoir Woman
  2. Chanel Le Lion
  3. Masque Milano Madeline
  4. Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee
  5. Tauer Perfumes PHI

I’ll probably use the remaining list to choose what to wear this month.

 

How about you?

What 5 Perfumes Do You Look Forward To Wearing This Autumn?

Had a BIRTHDAY!

Had a BIRTHDAY!

OMG! So sorry Looking Glassers. I’m late. All my fault, take full responsibility. OOOPSIE! TBH I really thought I’d finished the half finished post that you’ll now get in a fortnight. Last week was Festivus de Portia, organised by my beautiful husband Jin. Every year he puts on quite a show for the week of my birthday (refuses to let us do it for him though).

Had a BIRTHDAY!

The event of my turning 54 started on the Monday with home Korean BarBQ. Just us. Delicious.

Wednesday evening Jin and his BFF Matt came and played Trivia at the pub I host in. It’s always nice having the home crowd in.

THEN Jin took Thursday & Friday off work. We were supposed to go to Melbourne for the day. 6am flight to and 8.30pm flight from. Then Australia got a Public Holiday on the Thursday and we knew it was going to be bedlam at the airport, in the galleries and restaurants etc. So we cancelled our flight, got a Voucher Refund and decided to keep it low key. Hung around the house together, I think we had pizza.

Friday was Jin’s big adventure birthday day for us. We were up at sparrows fart and on a bus, train and ferry to Taronga Zoo. He bought us annual passes, we saw the Giraffe feeding and keeper talk, the Seal show and the Bird show. The reptiles were surprisingly active and we got to watch the Red Pandas, Elephants, monkeys and big apes and a slew of other wonderful things. Lunch was meat pies and peppermint tea. We flew in the cable cars and then caught public transport home.
That evening my BFF Kath and Jin had organised a party at our favourite Nepalese restaurant. Nearly 30 people took over more than half the place and it was wonderful, overwhelming to see so many people we love in one room. Gosh, our friends are so gorgeous, very handsome crew.
The brief for gifts (Yes, I’d like it if no one bought me anything but it’s better to give them a focus and then they get to be givers and I get what I really want, mercenary I know) was “Please write me a card and put $10 in it.” The thing I really needed and wanted was a new toothbrush. Yeah, it’s a whiz bang one. Oral B, rose gold, five speed/functions, notifies me every 30 seconds. It comes with a travel case, that holds it and two heads, with a USB plug as well as the regular ones. Perfect for travelling. I’ll use that toothbrush twice a day for the next few years and every time I will think of all the friends who contributed, and the couple who didn’t. HA!

Saturday Jin and I hung together eating junk and watching TV and Sunday (the day of my birthday) BFF Kath, Jin and I went and had Peking Duck at my favourite Chinese. HEAVEN! Then I went off to work.

 

What a week! I’m pooped.

 

Perfumes? Bought myself the new DIOR 40ml Captain Kurk reprises. WOW! He doesn’t disappoint.

 

Back to regular scheduled stuff next time.

Stay well crew,
Portia xx

Saturday Question: Have You Ever Broken a Perfume Bottle?

First of all, I’m sorry for the missed Saturday: I know that you all perfectly survived without it, but I’m trying not to miss at least these posts without a good reason. This time I just ran out of time before I had to leave for a business trip to Chicago.

The trip went well (if not count that because of the time difference I had to get up every morning at 5 AM my time). For the first time in my life, I spend a couple of work days on the 44th floor (below, I posted a picture I took from the window of the conference room). And once we had lunch on the 70th floor of that building. You can see a photo I took from there in my Instagram feed (or in this blog on the side for web visitors or down the screen for mobile ones). It was impressive! I regretted not having any perfume in a bottle with me: I could have taken a picture of the perfume I wore on the highest floor I’ve ever visited. But since I brought with me just decants, I missed that opportunity.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #132:

Have You Ever Broken a Perfume Bottle?

If yes, what was that? Have you replaced it since then?

And a bonus question, since we skipped it last week: What was the highest floor you’ve ever been to? Do you remember what perfume you wore?

My Answer

I do not remember ever breaking a perfume bottle, and even the idea of it makes me shudder. So, the topic of this post came not from any bottle (or even a decant) suffering during this trip. But while I was trying to fall asleep earlier than my usual time, I was going through my Instagram and saw a posting with a shattered perfume bottle on the new account that Richard Goller (the author of the fragroom.com blog) posted on his new Instagram account and couldn’t stop thinking about it. (Speaking of IG, if you used to follow Richard on the previous account, richgoller, you’ll need to follow his new account, ficklefragrancelover because the first one was blocked by IG for the reason I don’t know and can’t even imagine).

And to answer the bonus question: on the day I visited the 70th floor, I wore Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal.

View from the 44th Floor

How about you?

Have You Ever Broken a Perfume Bottle?

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Hi there Crew, CHANEL Cuir de Russie EdP was released in 2016. It’s a modern riff on Ernest Beaux’s 1924 leather & smoke bomb. A soapy reinterpretation of even the 2007 EdT. It’s still better than most things produced today, in my completely subjective opinion but a far cry from the original. What was a lion is now a perfectly trained, gorgeous house cat. My bottle was bought on a FaceBook Sale Doc from a person who was devastated at the change from EdT to EdP and couldn’t get rid of this bottle fast enough.

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom Mandarin Orange Bergamot
Heart: Ylang-Ylang Jasmine Tobacco Rose
Base: Leather Birch Resins

You’ll notice how little has been used from the bottle. It’s strange because I love this soft focus soapy leather. TBH every time I think leather it’s 1980s Trussardi, Cuir d’Ange or Gentry Jockey Club. So strange also because I have to go find them and Cuir de Russie is on my grab tray, right next to the desk.

Today I was thinking to wear leather. With it being shoulder season I knew it had to do warm and cold time. The sunshine is absolutely gorgeous right now in Sydney but once you’re in shade it feels bitterly cold. Yes, I know. Sydneysiders are wimps because we have the mildest weather. Still, we also try and wear Polo shirts year round, on their own. So you see the conundrum. I did have my ever present Gap hoodie with me though just in case there was also breeze.

How does CHANEL Cuir de Russie EdP smell? It opens with aldehydes and an orange blossom so reminiscent of fatty soap I smile. There are flowers but it’s a bouquet, nothing rises above to make itself know. There is no star turn. Even the leather is not a huge stand out. There but part of what is a reserved, elegant wash of fragrance. I don’t understand why iris isn’t noted, it sure does smell like there is some here puffing up the rest. It’s like all the sharp corners and interesting combative parts of the original Cuir de Russie have been shorn away. Beautiful, low key, lightly sparkling fragrance with a hint of well loved leather goods and some smooth resins. I can’t even tell you what the resins are, amber and maybe some elemi?

Totally unisex and utterly inoffensive. The lasting power is very good though. I keep smelling this gorgeous wash for hours, there will probably still be a whisper when I wake. I’m going to respritz for bed and sail away on a cloud of Cuir de Russie.

Are you a fan?
Portia xx

 

Saturday Question: Do You Know Any Successful Perfume Reformulation?

In the comments to the recent Scent Semantics post, hajusuuri mentioned that she didn’t think that a vintage formula was always better. This brings us to today’s question.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #131:

Do You Know Any Successful Perfume Reformulation?

Let’s not consider those perfumes that you’ve never tried in their original or earlier version. But can you think of any perfumes where you tried an old(er) and a new version and thought that the new one wasn’t that bad?

My Answer

Since in times when most perfumes that these days are considered vintage classics were modern I was a signature perfume gal, I don’t know any of those perfumes enough to miss them (well, I do keep the grudge because of Miss Dior‘s being stripped of its name, but other than that, I thought that even Miss Dior Originale version wasn’t totally bad when I had a chance to try it last time).

Last year Puredistance had to reformulate their Opardu because of IFRA (I strongly dislike this organization and think that they are doing something they shouldn’t). I had a chance to compare both versions, and I think that they did a good job preserving the scent character.

More recently, at a Duty Free in Dusseldorf, I tried the latest version of Guerlain‘s Encens Mythique and was surprised at how well they’ve recreated the original one that I like very much. Yes, together with the unpopular “d’Orient” part, this perfume lost some oomph and became lighter, but it is still quite recognizable, and I wouldn’t mind wearing it.

Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient

Do You Know Any Successful Perfume Reformulation?

Scent Semantics #11: MISANTHROPE

I am so behind with this collaboration: I started and have not finished at least a couple of previous topics. I still might publish some of those, but I decided to try to do it this month. I think it was my turn to come up with a word for this month’s joint project with six five bloggers: Portia (A Bottled Rose), Elena (The Plum Girl), Daisy (eau là là !), Old Herbaceous (Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities) and Undina (Undina’s Looking Glass). Unfortunately, Sheila (Alembicated Genie), our sixth member, decided to call it a day (or rather a decade). I was late even with that, so Portia came up with the word. Scent Semantics Project Banner

* * *

This month’s word is: MISANTHROPE

Misanthropy is a general hatred, dislike, distrust or contempt of the human species, human behavior or human nature. A misanthrope or misanthropist is someone who holds such views or feelings.

I’m curious how this word was chosen for the project. I thought about it for a while, and it just didn’t connect to perfumes in my head. In general, for me, perfumes have mostly positive associations. So, I was almost ready to give up and skip this month as well, and then it just happened.

I felt an acute pang of misanthropy towards large companies that buy niche brands. I’m rather sad that in the modern world selling your brand/business is the most common way of achieving success instead of growing it organically. But I understand niche brands owners who choose this route. What I do not understand is when big companies buy those tiny but great brands only to make them almost as miserable as the rest of their offerings. Why? It can’t be that much money in those niche brands (otherwise those niche brands would have grown organically and wouldn’t have sold their IPs, right?).

These thoughts were triggered by my testing of the modern version of Le Labo‘s Rose 31.

I’ve always liked Rose 31. But I figured out that 10 ml of it would be more than enough for me, so about 10 years ago I bought a relatively inexpensive decant from one of the FB groups (if you weren’t here 8 years ago, see my Know-how [not to]: Freshen up a linen closet post about the story of that decant). But now when my decant is coming to an end, I started thinking about replenishing it. So, with a purchase from one of the sites I got an official Rose 31 sample.

First, when I applied perfume from that sample I thought that I was experiencing a loss of smell due to Covid-19 that I’m getting over now: I could barely smell anything, and I didn’t recognize what I smelled. I hurried to the cabinet where I store my old decant and applied a little to the second wrist – and two thoughts hit me immediately: first, there was nothing wrong with my sense of smell, and second, Estee Lauder has completely butchered my favorite perfume. Rose 31 was one of those perfumes with a very original and distinct scent profile that, in my opinion, was very unique and recognizable. Not anymore. Instead of a crisp and well pronounced though perfectly blended rose-cumin-spices accord of the original Rose 31, I smell some muted and muddled concoction that bears a vague resemblance to perfume that I liked and valued for years.

And it makes me angry: why buy rights to produce perfumes that were good and change them beyond recognition?! They’ve “milked” already everything they could from the purchase of Le Labo. Why not discontinue older scents that they are too cheap to produce (or do a good reformulation in case it’s IFRA to blame for the change) and just keep churning out new perfumes that have nothing to be compared to? Rose 31, as much as I liked it, isn’t Chanel No 5 in popularity. And it’s not like people who used to like it will not notice the difference and keep using a new version just because they liked the old one. And new consumers will not read old raving reviews (nobody reads old reviews!) and be fooled into buying a new cheaper version. So why?!!

“Hatred” is probably too strong of an emotion for such an occasion, but I do feel strong dislike, distrust and contempt for these behemoths’ behavior. Today I feel a little bit like a misanthrope.

 

Image: my own

Saturday Question: Are You Happy With Your Perfume Collection?

The change of season means mental reshuffling my collection to prepare to the cold(er) season. This exercise allows me to take a look at my collection and evaluate its content.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #130:

Are You Happy With Your Perfume Collection?

It’s an open question, without specific boundaries. Are you satisfied with the number of bottles you have? Do you have “what to wear”? Do you want more? Do you plan to downsize? Are you still buying new perfumes?

My Answer

I like or even love many perfumes in my collection. But I think I’m overwhelmed by the number of perfumes I have – not as much by full bottles but mostly by decants. I like those perfumes! But I have a hard time deciding what to wear. Probably I need to create a schedule not to think about what to wear every day but just go through the list.

While I’m still interested in trying new perfumes, I don’t think I want to add any to my collection. Of course, if I come across anything I suddenly fall in love with I’ll buy it. But for a long time I haven’t tried anything I would like to get.

 

How about you?

 

Are You Happy With Your Perfume Collection?

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Hi Looking Glassers, Flesh by Pekji is newly arrived at Chez Portia. My buddy Scotty bought the set as soon as they came out and brought them over for sniffing. It’s taken me a while but now I too have a set of the 2021 releases. They came all the way from Fragrances and Art because Australia has no stockist of these tempestuous beauties anymore (yes, I paid retail, they’re worth it). Omer is such a perfumista himself, and so stringently interrogative of fragrances in general, that the weird, wonderful, confronting messes he makes are also a story running along the knife edge of gorgeous and disgusting. I don’t know how he manages to do this with every single release and still make wearable perfumes that smell excellent. It’s a gift that few share. Yeah, I’m a fan, also he’s a buddy of mine.

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Apricot, Spray paint, Vanilla, Iris, Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Musk, Civet, Osmanthus

Before we start on the scent I’d like to take a moment to talk about the packaging. Sensible, very heavy card, lovely print on sleeve and the holographic paper behind the perfume bottle is so beautiful on opening. Like looking at a mermaid. It’s sturdy but not an enormous wank of a box. The bottle is a simple heavy rectangle and the sprayer nozzle is so thoughtfully white against the black of the rest. Making it very easy for super blind me to see where I am spritzing. Bravo!

Flesh by Pekji 2021

How does Flesh smell? Iris, but not cardboard or dough or carrot. I probably wouldn’t have smelt the spray paint but now I know it’s in the notes I keep laughing about it. It’s there alright but I probably would have called it a hair lacquer note. Powder, make up, humanity. Like a drag queen dressing room, NO like the women at the end of Death Becomes Her. THIS is what the over made up, powdered, glued together, spray painted, broken pieces of undead would smell like.

Sounds terrible? Nope, gorgeous. Fluffy and feral, but low key. Iris, leather, osmanthus and tonnes of well powdered but slightly sweaty human.

Have you tried any of the Peckji oeuvre? Favourite?
Portia x

Saturday Question: Have You Had Your COVID-19 Yet?

I know that it’s Sunday already. But I didn’t want to miss the week completely, and I had absolutely no energy to do any posts yesterday, and today my creativity is still somewhere AWOL. Hence, I’m here as that songwriter who sings everything he sees.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #129:

Have You Had Your COVID-19 Yet?

If yes, how bad was it? How long did it take to get back to normal? Did you lose your sense of smell or taste? Did you wear or test perfumes while sick?

My Answer

My vSO and I came back from our trip to Germany with my vSO’s mother and COVID-19. Luckily, she seems not to be affected, and we’re trying our best to keep it this way, though it’s extremely hard to do while trying to “onboard” someone who knows nothing about how most things work in the US house, isn’t familiar with our food and doesn’t know where is what. But we manage somehow.

The first 2-3 days were the hardest, and now it’s just flu. Kind of. I can master some energy to crawl from the bedroom to the office (I just can’t stay in bed the whole day) or to the kitchen, but not for much more. I haven’t lost the sense of smell or taste, but I noticed that it is skewed somewhat. I’m not wearing anything, mostly because I’m constantly getting either hot or cold sweat, so I don’t want to introduce any irritants. But in the last couple of days, I’ve been testing new perfumes I got in the mail. I’ll have to re-test them once I get better. And Rusty has been a great moral support for both of us (though, we’re being very careful around him since we know that pets might also get infected.

Rusty

How about you?

Have You Had Your COVID-19 Yet?

Saturday Question: Do You Own Any German Perfumes?

Usually, when I travel abroad, I either bring with me perfumes from that country’s brands or buy them while being there. Or both. This time, while traveling to Germany to bring my vSO’s mom to the US, I didn’t bring any German perfumes with me (I was too busy before the trip to think about it). And when I started thinking about it, I realized that I couldn’t easily think of any such perfumes.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #128:

Do You Own Any German Perfumes?

If yes, which ones? Would you recommend them?

My Answer

After consulting Fragrantica, I realized that I own, like and wear at least 2 German perfumes: April Aromatics Unter den Linden and Escentric Molecules Molecule 01.

Rusty and April Aromatics Unter den Linden

How about you?

Do You Own Any German Perfumes?