Centenary Perfumes

Centenary Perfumes

Hi there UGL, It’s Portia and I am looking at four things released in 1921 that are still widely available. Yep, Centenary Perfumes! My search goes only as far as Fragrantica so it’s probably not a full list. I really want to hear if you know of others in the comments. Yeah, a century of continuous production. Amazing, right? Let’s look eh?

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

CHANEL No 5

Most of us are well aware of CHANEL No 5. One of the most talked about and bought fragrances in the world, still. Known in the industry as “the monster”. It’s allure seems so timeless and is an easy, sensible, luxurious gift choice for flummoxed husbands and lovers the world over. The aldehydic floral that changed the game of perfumery. That it still smells pretty much like itself 100 years later is a miracle of modern technology.

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Emeraude by Coty

I had a small bottle of vino-ish Emeraude early on in my collecting saga. My memory is that it screeched at me. Maybe it was off or fake or maybe it’s just not for me. Green is my favourite colour so you can imagine how sad I was. There are people who swear by it and that’s why it’s still in production. It’s a hard no from me.

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Habanita by Molinard

Habanita is a weird one. I had a bottle. Loved wearing it. Somewhere along the line I sold or gifted it away. Now I have a small carded sample vial the I sniff when I need a fix. Who doesn’t love a vintage style fruity floral amber with loads of oak moss in the base?

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Maja by Myrurgia

I’ve never owned a bottle of Maja perfume but to this very day I still have some soaps. My Mum always had Maja soaps in her knicker drawers. Me too. That spicy carnation, orange blossom and rose and amber+++ base is glorious in the soaps. They hold their scent to the very last sliver too when I finally use them.

So Happy 100th Birthday to these beauties.
Do you know of others?
Portia xx

Entertaining Statistics: 2020 Year Round-up

We all said probably everything that could be said about the year we just saw out of the door. So, I’ll go straight to the perfume-related numbers.

Since I haven’t done a statistics post in a long while, I’ll remind the basic terms I use.

My Definitions

I wear perfumes and test perfumes. Both refer to applying perfume to my skin and staying with the scent for a while, observing its development over hours of its life. But I realize that different people understand different things under these terms. So, I prepared a short infographic that would explain what I mean when I say “wear” or “test.”

Perfumes Wear vs. Test Infograph

One more term that requires definition is Occasion. The continuation from the time I apply perfume (including continuous re-application) until it completely disappears is counted as one occasion.

Most days I wear one perfume and test two. But, theoretically, for one day I could record two occasions of wearing perfumes or up to eight occasions of testing.

So, let’s see my 2020 in numbers (in parentheses is a comparison to 2019).

Perfumes I Wore

In 2020, I wore more different perfumes (210 vs 190) from more brands (96 vs. 91) on more occasions (367 vs 351). I still didn’t reach a 2018 level when I wore perfumes on 372 occasions, but still, on average

I wore one perfume every single day of the year!

Last year I realized that the most popular brands for each year keep repeating with minor variations of the brands’ positions on the chart and 1-2 different brands temporarily replacing one another. I’m showing my standard Top 10 Brands chart but mostly to keep the tradition. The only surprise there was Byredo: it’s the first time ever the brand made it into the Top 10. It happened because I paired Ouai Super Dry Shampoo x Byredo Mojave Ghost with the same perfume, which I wore from the sample trying to figure out if I wanted to get a bottle. I haven’t decided yet.

My Stats Year 2020: Top 10 Brands

As always, with the number of perfumes I wore, I didn’t repeat the same perfume too often (my most worn perfume was worn on 9 occasions only – less than once per month). And the trend I observed for the last several years continues: the top 2 most frequently worn perfumes were 2 of my all-time favorites, Lancôme Climat (9) and Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (8). And the third place went to the new addition to my collection – Masque Milano Love Kills (6). In two previous years that place was taken by Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royal Collection Privee (2019) and Chanel Bois des Iles (2018).

 

 

Perfumes I Tested

Staying at home, I tested more perfumes than in a year before – 327 perfumes (vs. 272 in 2019) but from slightly fewer brands – 126 brands (vs. 128). I still haven’t got to the numbers from 2018 (380 perfumes from 139 brands). Since access to new perfumes was even more limited than usual, a big chunk of my testing was done on perfumes I tested previously but decided to revisit to get one final impression before passing them on someone else, finishing them (“thunking”) or binning them. Still,

In 2020, I tested 103 perfumes new to me

Undina’s Top 10 Perfumes in 2020

In 2020 I managed to improve the number of new releases that I tested (thank you to all my friends who shared some of these): I tested 22 perfumes released in 2020 (vs. 16 in 2019). And, unlike a year ago, I even managed to count 10 that I liked, which allows me to do this “top 10” list. And what was even more surprising, I didn’t dislike a single 2020 release that I tested. So, my subjective top 10 releases of 2020 (in the order of my preferences):

Puredistance Rubikona

DSH Perfumes L’Or{ris}

Tom Ford Rose Prick

Ormonde Jayne Tanger

Jo Malone Yuja

Parfums MDCI L’Aimee

Ormonde Jayne Byzance

Hiram Green Vivacious

Jo Malone Vetiver & Golden Vanilla

Ormonde Jayne Damask

In green, are perfumes I already have in my collection; in blue, are those that I consider buying. But after more testing of the rest, I might decide to get one of Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes as well.

Pictures of Rusty

Finally, an important number – a count of pictures of Rusty that I posted in 2020: 61, the highest number for the last 3 years (and this is not counting Instagram pictures that appear on the sidebar or the bottom of the blog!).

Rusty and Yellow Submarine

How was your perfume year? Do you have any numbers to share?

 

Images: My own; infograph created using Venngage

Saturday Question: Perfume or Fragrance?

The first week back to work (even though not “back in the office”) happened to be more taxing than I expected, and because of that I haven’t finished my statistics post in time to publish it mid-week. But since I don’t want to postpone it for much longer, today’s question is a “lighter” one, and I invite you to come back tomorrow for my Year 2020 Entertaining Statistics post.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #46:

Perfume or Fragrance?

Which of the two words do you use or use more often? Is there any distinction for you when each of the two is/should be used?

My Answer

Not being a native English speaker, in many cases I follow the flow, pick up words and phrases from things I read or hear, not thinking too much on why one or the other synonym is used – I just take it as given. And then sometimes I suddenly discover that some term, phrase or idiom that I knew was more specialized than I thought or was not as widely known as I assumed. Then I start doubting myself.

Of course, I’m familiar with both words, and came across both “perfume” and “fragrance” multiple times starting from the pre-perfumista times. But both in my writing and on other blogs, forums and FB groups I see the word “perfume” used much more often than “fragrance.”

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been watching … YouTube videos. Don’t start fainting yet: I was watching make-up reviews and tutorials. Having found myself in the situation where I had to figure out without going to stores a replacement for the discontinued tinted moisturizer that I used for many years, I turned to this channel of getting some type of a guidance. While doing that, I found several “content producers” whose videos I find useful, entertaining or both. But what I noticed while watching those videos was that on those rare occasion when the product in question was mentioned (usually mainstream or luxury lines), everybody always refers to it as “fragrance.” I was surprised but didn’t pay too much attention to that (and you don’t want to know what people who are not “into perfume” are telling others while describing those “fragrances”!). But then, following a link on Instagram, I came to the YouTube channel of “one of us.” And there, again, that guy kept calling what he was reviewing “fragrances.” After that I found several random YouTube perfume reviews just to confirm that it was a common practice. It seems so.

I decided to check. Google provided me these definitions that didn’t explain my observations:

Perfume and Fragrance Definitions

Then I decided to compare numbers (you know how I like doing that; I would have done charts if it weren’t for the statistics post that I was working on). Searches that I ran in Google produced strange results. Nobody knows Google’s algorithms, so I can’t even speculate how it happens that while there are more hits for the singular form “fragrance” (593 M) vs. “perfume” (555 M), hits for the plural form “perfumes” (644 M) beats both the singular and the plural form “fragrances” (488 M).

My next experiment was with a popular hashtag generator for Instagram. Results there were much further apart, with the form that I use being much more popular: #perfume (15.14 M), #perfumes (5.13 M), #fragrance (6.36 M), #fragrances (1.4 M).

YouTube doesn’t provide count for the searches, so I can’t check it there. But all that makes me wonder: have I just managed to come across of the example of an unrepresentative sample fallacy? Or do YouTubers actually prefer “fragrance” to “perfume”? And if yes, why? What do you think?

 

Perfume or Fragrance?

Saturday Question: Do You Have Any Perfume-related New Year Resolutions?

So, it’s 2021. Hello New Year! Are you going to behave? ‘Coz we all saw your predecessor, and I gotta tell you: most of us wasn’t that enamored with it.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #45:

Do You Have Any Perfume-related New Year Resolutions?

It’s that time of the year when one time or the other we all got tempted to make some New Year resolutions aiming at changing our existing habits or targeting some desired result.

Was this New Year one of those times? Did you make any New Year Resolutions/Plans? (Yes/no would suffice but please share more details if you can/want – I’m always curious, and “saying it aloud” might help your motivation). If yes, were any of them perfume-related? What exactly do you hope to change or improve?

My Answer

I am making some resolutions this year. I’m painfully aware that, as many others, I would doubtfully stick to these, but if I do not try, I definitely won’t succeed. So, at least I can try. The one of the general resolutions that I’m willing to share is my intent to try to start reading something not work-related again. I remember loving to read for the first 20-25 years from when I learned how to read. It was such a joy! A good book could completely take my mind away from reality for hours. And I would have to force myself to put a book aside to get some sleep, otherwise I would be reading through the night. And then, gradually, it started going away… It wasn’t related to the language – I read many books in English after moving to the US. But somehow reading more serious books started burdening me, and reading something light didn’t seem all that virtuous or better than watching the same type of content but as TV shows or movies. But this year I will try again in a company with a couple of friends. I’ve never been in a book club, but the idea of a some type of virtual book club appeals to me. We’ll see how it goes.

As to perfume-related resolutions, I do not have any plans for changing my perfume habits, but I have two things I want to try.

  1. One day a week, I’ll wear perfumes hajusuuri-style – 8 sprays. For so many years I felt conscious about wearing perfumes to the office. First, I was a “big boss,” and I didn’t want to subject people who depended on me to the difficult choice of either tolerate perfume they didn’t like or to tell their manager they didn’t like it (though, I suggested to them to let me know if even my light application of some of my perfumes bothered them, and on several occasions they did, and I took those perfumes off my office rotation). Later, in my next work place, I had a manager who probably didn’t like any perfumes but was very delicate and complained just a couple of times when I was overly enthusiastic with the application. But both experiences trained me to under-apply (2, maybe 3 light sprays of my more office-friendly perfumes), and even working from home where my perfumes usually do not disturb anybody, I am still doing the same couple-of-sprays-light-hand application. So, now I’m curious to see how it feels with the “real application.” Though, I think I’ll start with Jo Malone colognes and similar.
  2. Doing my December CaTendar (the countdown to Rusty’s 12-year birthday on Christmas Eve) on Instagram was hard, even though I have hundreds of pictures of Rusty. But at the same time it was fun. Pictures of Rusty will appear with the same regularity as before December (or maybe more often, but I’m not making any resolutions about that), but I decided to try and post photos of perfumes a little more often. There is no way I could do daily SOTD posts. But at least sometimes, when I have more time to put together a shot of a bottle of  perfume I wear, I’ll do an IG post, even if I do not publish a blog story about it. Like I did on January 1, 2021, for Frederic Malle‘s Portrait of a Lady that I rocked in my flannel PJs recuperating from the late-night New Year celebration.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady perfume

How about you?

 

Do You Have Any Perfume-related New Year Resolutions?

2020: What Went Well

For the last probably 5 years, as the next new year celebration was approaching, I kept reading/hearing from people that they were glad “this year” was ending and looking with hope for the next one. And all those years I was thinking – and even using it as a celebratory toast more than once – that I hope that personally for me the next year would be at least not worse than the year we were seeing off.

Several years ago, I came across What Went Well Wednesday series on the Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities blog. As Old Herbaceous has described, it is a gratitude exercise when you’re on a regular basis list three things that went well and explain why (“Adding “why” allows one to pinpoint times when acts of one’s own or others contributed to what went well”). I mentally played that game for a while, and even contemplated “borrowing” the idea for my blog but had never implemented it.

As challenging as 2020 was for everyone, believe it or not, I still stand by my New Year mantra: I hope that for me and my loved ones the next year will be at least not worse than this awful, strange, “unprecedented” and totally unexpected 2020. And I want to share with you what went well for me this year.

Health

First, nobody from my close circle of family and friends got sick so far. Mostly, it is just luck (though we all are trying to do our part), and I realize that we’re not out of the woods yet. But I’m glad that until now we’ve been lucky.

Second, an unpleasant health issue that started for me last December has finally resolved (at least temporary) without a surgery that seemed inevitable mid-year. I’m so relieved! I did all I could, including some folk remedies and postponing the surgery until I found a surgeon I trusted (we had a hilarious conversation about those folk remedies, none of us really believing in them but not completely dismissing either) and not going with the one who suggested to go ahead with the surgery right there and then. My vSO was so helpful, supportive and patient through the whole ordeal, that whatever role the moral well-being might have played in fighting infection, he deserves all the credit.

Finally, Rusty who had some stomach issues, seems to be better now when he doesn’t shed as much. And his lab work results are all good, which was a huge load off our minds. But it reminds me that I should brush him more regularly.

Rusty on the Bed

Job

We both stayed employed, and our jobs allow us to work remotely. Moreover, though much better than it was the previous year and with a better staffed team, my work kept me so busy, that I barely noticed the “stay at home” part.

Also, this year I got a great performance review from my manager. I’m mentioning it because it was the first time ever in my life. I’m quite used to not getting any feedback or getting (and, frankly, giving) formal and meaningless reviews. The fact that somebody made an effort and expressed in written words what I know I did good was an absolutely new experience. If I ever write a performance review for anyone again, I’ll need to remember how it feels to get a deserved acknowledgement.

And the last in this section, this year we finally were able to take time off during the winter holidays and get some so needed rest.

Family

Our state was partially open just in time for the local trip that my vSO and I planned for our big anniversary this year. Originally, the plan was just for two of us to get away for several days – spas, wineries, eating out. But after four months at home and most places still take-out only or outside seating, it felt less of a getaway. And since the house we rented was big enough for more people, we invited four of our closest friends whom we knew for decades to join us – and they did. It was a very pleasant mini trip. Picture below is taken from the balcony of the rebuilt tasting room of our favorite winery – Paradise Ridge, that burned down three years ago in the first big North Cal fire. They opened earlier this year, which I also write down in the positive column.

Paradise Ridge Winery

Friends and Hobbies

I’m lucky to have friends to talk to, exchange news and share worries. These are people I’m ready to help, and who is ready to help me. I miss seeing many of them, but I hope we’ll have more time to spend together, to travel and celebrate important events next year or the year after that or…

I’m also glad I have my Perfumeland friends. Not only we share our love of perfume, which is even more important now than it ever was, but we also help each other to stay informed about what’s happening in different countries and parts of the World, which allows us to better understand the situation, compare experience and get prospective.

Thanks to Portia who passed on me the APJ’s weekly Saturday Question series, I got what I always wanted for my blog – a continuous conversation with perfumista friends and loyal readers. And thanks to, again, Portia, Narth, hajusuuri and Christine W, my wonderful guest writers, the blog got more inhabited and diverse. I’m also thankful to all who’s reading this and other posts, commenting or not (though, I would prefer to have a chance to talk to everybody, even from time to time).

Thanks to Tara’s (A Bottled Rose) Beauty Reviews, I revisited my skincare routine. I don’t know if I’m getting any results, but at least it’s something new and it’s a pastime that I enjoy. The next thing will be to follow her and Vanessa’s (Bonkers about Perfume) suit and start reading again.

I’m thankful to Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle), my scent twin (well, triplet with hajusuuri, to be precise), who keeps reviewing new perfumes, even in this environment with limited access to new releases, so that I do not have to wonder whether to get samples for any of those: our tastes do not coincide 100%, but they overlap significantly, especially on perfumes that can be qualified as “unisex.”

And I’m grateful to hajusuuri who, in addition to being an inspiration with her daring 8-spray perfume application, just single-handedly provided me with a month-worth daily testing subjects. So, not only I got a wonderful gift under my New Year tree (see the photo below), but I also have something interesting to look forward to every day in January when all the holidays that I love so much are behind us.

NY Tree and samples

Speaking of Christmas/New Year trees. This year, we managed to decorate not only our house outside (seeing decorated houses makes me happy, so I wanted to help brightening this gloomy year to others who also enjoy holiday decorations) and inside (spending that much time at home, I wanted to make it more festive), but in addition to the big tree in the living room (on the postcard below), I decorated a tiny one for the bedroom (that’s where all those samples went to be safe from Rusty). And for the latter I used ornaments that are more than 4 decades old: my grandmother bought them for my tiny plastic tree when I was a child, and I saved them and brought with me when I moved to the US. The wooden decoration with a reindeer is a gift from Lucas, and the orange cat is an ornament that I bought in Hawaii several years ago and painted to resemble Rusty.

And finally, this year allowed me to wear my favorite perfumes more freely, not worrying whether it would bother my co-workers. I re-tested many of the samples I accumulated over the years, finished some, passed on some, got new ones to test, and found new perfume loves. Same as in years before, I haven’t tested enough new releases to do my own top N releases of 2020, but I will be back early next week with my 2020 Year Round-Up Entertaining Statistics post, in which I’ll mention my favorites from this year.

Rusty and New Year Tree 2021

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers! I will take mine 2021 at least not worse than 2020, but to all of you who felt that this year was too much of a leap (pun intended), I wish 2021 to be kinder, calmer and more joyful.

Will you share at least one thing in your life that went well this year? (But you do not have to stop at one)

Saturday Question: What Perfume did You Wear on Christmas Eve?

It’s the last Saturday of 2020. Some of the winter celebrations are already behind us, but we still have some to look forward to, so let’s keep the spirit of the holidays high and talk about them a little more.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #44:

What Perfume did You Wear on Christmas Eve?

In fact, I’m curious not only what perfume you’ve chosen (for the celebration or just for that day, if it wasn’t your holiday), but I’d also want to know about the reasoning behind that choice.

Also, if you do not mind, share what you did this Christmas Eve. Did you eat anything especially great and worth mentioning? Did you get any gifts that made you happy (not necessarily perfumes, but please share if you got those as well).

My Answer

We celebrated Christmas with our “extended bubble,” even though none of us can “claim” this holiday as ours. But it’s a long-standing tradition for us, so we celebrate it every year. Since I tried my hardest to make this holidays season as great as possible despite everything that’s happening in the World, I chose to wear Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, my all-times love #2, for the holiday that I adopted after moving to the US, saving my #1, Lancome Climat, for the New Year celebration, since that perfume was with me through many new years, some of which were probably even harder for me personally than 2020 was.

When we were much younger, our traditional New Year celebration would start with a festive dinner… around 10 PM to be done by midnight, toast the New Year – and then spend the rest of the night celebrating. As we grew … up, first we stopped going through the whole night of celebration, cutting it short at 3-4 AM first and recently rarely making it to after 1:30-2 A.M. With that, our evening meals started getting lighter and lighter: the older we get, the harder it gets to eat a big dinner 3-4 hours before going to bed. At some point we figured out that Christmas Eve dinner was a much better time to eat all of our traditional New Year celebratory dishes – and that’s what we’ve been doing this year. A highlight of the dinner this year was a roasted duck that our friend cooked.

As a gift I got a funny t-short (see the picture below) that I plan to wear the next time I’m forced to participate in an early morning meeting. I bought a perfume gift for myself, but since it’s not here yet, I’ll tell you about it next year when it arrives.

Since the birthday boy refused to fully participate in my perfume photo shoot (despite my promises to reward him with treats), I made a picture of Ta’if with the Old World Christmas‘s Santa Kitty ornament, which we bought as one of the two yearly additions to our ornaments collection.

What Perfume did You Wear on Christmas Eve?

Rusty the Cat: 12 Years Young (And Merry Christmas!)

I’m positive that even smartest of our feline companions (or even canine, for that matter) do not have a notion of birthdays and celebrations. So, I realize that Rusty is blissfully unaware of his age and surely isn’t expecting anything from us on that day. I mean, not more than he usually expects, daily.

But since we, humans, anthropomorphize, of course my vSO and I feel that we need to do something special for Rusty’s birthday, so again and again we’re trying to find him gifts. How do they call doing the same thing and expecting different results? Yeah, I know.

In almost 12 years I know our cat, he exhibited almost no interest in the cat toys bought at a store. We went through soft and crunchy and bouncy and… (you got the picture) toys with the same result: at best, Rusty would sniff it and, maybe, bat it once or twice – to never touch them again. In the worst cases – like an iPad-navigated running sphere promised to amuse your cat for hours – Rusty would be scared of it and try to hide every time we attempted to play with him.

I rarely react to ads, be that TV, radio or online pop-ups. I’m even less inclined to believe any of those infomercials promising you miracle devices that help you to lose weight, while growing hair and learning a new language. But somehow, I let my guard down while playing one of the games on my phone: they showed how enthusiastically cats played with that toy… And it was just $14.95… (clip below might take some time to load)

Rusty playing with a Toy

To be fair, Rusty might have played with it for longer, had they thought through the mechanics. In a couple of minutes, he figured out that he needed to catch the wire, not the bird. Besides, even if he catches the bird, once he pulls it, the stand falls, and it stops flying. There are stickers on the bottom to stick the base to… not sure, what to, but even if I could figure it out, the issue is that both an ON/OFF switch and the opening to change batteries are there, on the base. So, Rusty played with it a couple of times with my help to reposition it every time after falling, but then both of us got tired.

So, the only store-bought cat toy that manages to hold his attention for quite a while is a simple plastic spring. He went through 20+ of those. We do not know for sure what happens to them in the end: after a day or two of playing, we never see them again. I suspect that once we replace a refrigerator or a stove, we’ll find a plastic springs cemetery. Meanwhile, for this birthday I ordered for Rusty the next set of those springs. They are supposed to be delivered before Christmas – not that Rusty would care one way or the other.

Cat Toy

Below is a collection of pictures of Rusty – one picture from every year of his life. But if you want more, just filter posts by the Category “Four legs good” to see all photos of Rusty that I used in the blog, as well as all the posts about the cat who keeps bringing endless joy to my and my vSO’s lives.

Happy Birthday to our Christmas cat and Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers who celebrate this holiday.

Rusty and Christmas 2020

Narth’s Musings: Whom do you love? And what do they smell like?

No, I am not talking about a personal lover – rather which celebrity, musician, scientist or astronaut do you admire, and what do they smell like?

My favourite musician is John Grant, an American polyglot artist and amazing lyricist living in Reyjavikk, Iceland. I’ve seen him twice in Melbourne, and the intimacy and joy of his performance has moved me to tears. When I first discovered John Grant, it was akin to the experience of being shocked that you could fall in love again. What could this fabulous, creative man wear as fragrance? I had to know! He has said his favourite scent in the world is Russian Olive trees, referencing them in his song Pale Green Ghosts. His lyrics often paint strong psychological pictures using the minutiae of everyday life. From a listener’s perspective he feels simple moments deeply and revels in overthinking for the pure pleasure of it. He must like perfume I told myself, he MUST!

John Grant

I have David Nyholm to thank (deeply) for granting my wish to know. He started a wonderful fangroup for John Grant that has been lovely to read, and he came through for me with John’s current favourite fragrances.

He “especially loves” Hermés Eau d’Orange Verte and also loves Jo Malone Lime Basil. In the 80’s, he was a Kouros man (weren’t we all?), but I’d imagine he applies it with a lighter hand these days. And, for extra excitement, the niche horse in the pack is the Icelandic house Fischer‘s fragrance No. 23. Fischer was started by the singer Jónsi of the band Sigur Ros.

Have any of you tried the perfume house Fischer? Because the descriptions are wonderful, “a beached whale about to explode”, yes please! This is the first I’ve heard of them.

I was very chuffed to learn what my favourite musician wears as scent, and I’ll be splashing on the Eau d’Orange Verte in the future when I’m having a John Grant listening session.

Interviewers often ask people their favourite music, food or place to visit, but it’s a rarity for someone to be asked about their scent. Of course, if we in perfume land were journalists that’s the question we would lead with. I imagine myself, suddenly famous, letting the Guardian know that they simply must ask me about my perfume which is at least as vital a question as what books are at my bedside. “Oh yes, it’s Penhalgion’s Sartorial, it is one of my most beloved fragrances…”

Do you have someone you admire whose scent you know? Is there someone you’ve always wondered about?

 

Image: my own

Saturday Question: Are There Mere-exposure Effect Perfumes in Your Collection?

If you are not familiar with a psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect or familiarity principle, you can read more about it in this Wikipedia article. I am using it rather jokingly, as a conversation starter for this week’s Saturday Question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #43:

Are There Mere-exposure Effect Perfumes in Your Collection?

The idea behind that phenomenon was: “After repeated exposure, the observing organism will begin to react fondly to the once novel stimulus.”

Do you have any perfumes that you like more now then you liked them when you first bought them or got them as a gift? We’re not talking about the situation when you tested a sample or a small decant, didn’t like it, then tested more, liked and bought perfume. Or didn’t like perfume initially then tested years later and fell in love.

Can you think of any perfume that you liked but didn’t love … until you got used to it?

My Answer

I knew I would buy Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee as soon as I saw an announcement about its launch: I liked the brand, I was very partial to their old-style colored bottles, and especially I liked that dark blue color. So, once I found it at a store, I bought it. It wasn’t a blind buy, I liked it, but at that time there were so many other great perfumes that Nuit Etoilee seemed somewhat simple and … not challenging (?). It wasn’t a statement perfume (I gravitate to those). And for a while I thought that it reminded me of Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. I even solicited blind testing experiment from three fellow-parfumistas (if you weren’t around then and curious or want to read objective impressions of this perfume from reviewers who didn’t know what they were testing, take a look: Déjà vu, Episode 4: des pairs, dis-pair, Despair).

Rusty and Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee

Starry Night? Where?!!

I wore Nuit Etoilee for a while, but then somehow forgot about it and didn’t wear it for at least 4 years. I didn’t change my mind about it. I didn’t dislike it. I just never chose to wear it.

A couple of months into the lockdown, I thought of wearing it – I don’t remember what prompted it. It was almost a shock: I liked it very much. It surprised me. What was that? Have my tastes changed? Does this perfume seem so much better now compared to endless modern concoctions? Or was it a true case of the mere-exposure effect?

[…] analysis found that the effect is strongest when unfamiliar stimuli are presented briefly. Mere exposure typically reaches its maximum effect within 10–20 presentations, and some studies even show that liking may decline after a longer series of exposures. For example, people generally like a song more after they have heard it a few times, but many repetitions can reduce this preference. A delay between exposure and the measurement of liking actually tends to increase the strength of the effect.

 

Are There Mere-exposure Effect Perfumes in Your Collection?

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Hey Crew, 2020 has been so unexpected. Here in Australia it started with bushfires, then we got floods. The world got C19 and we watched the USA plunge into anarchy. Brexit has been exactly the shit show that any person with an ounce of rationale could see coming. While all this was going on my business collapsed completely, leaving myself and the five drag queens who work for Turbo Trivia jobless for months. Many people whose lives were previously affluent, the world over, find themselves in dire straits and it’s terrifying to watch and live.

I’m one of the seriously lucky few. Jin continued working through the whole crisis, though only about 2/3 of his regular income. He has been incredibly generous with his money, gave me a weekly stipend and paid for all our groceries. The Australian government gave me a Job Keeper handout that kept me paying my half of the major bills. Quite a turnaround from being the major breadwinner in the house and my ego took a small battering.

For any of you doing it really hard in these times my heart goes out to you and wish you a speedy financial recovery in 2021.

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

There were the usual squizillion launches this year and I was fortunate enough to get to smell quite a few of them. Libertine Parfumerie in Sydney is Australia’s largest niche distributor and they have kept me in the loop. PHEW! Here are a few fragrant things that I really loved.

Amouage Meander comes in a celadon green bottle and had me sold before I even smelled it. Thankfully it is as beautiful as it looks. Dark, resinous iris with interesting floral highlights. I’ll grab a bottle when I’m more flush.

Amouage Interlude Black Iris is mainly powdery iris and amber with a very generous nod to the original but nowhere near as iconic, large or as resinous. I was given a Press Bottle and am loving it.

Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow is a take on the rose/oud/incense trope. HUGE! For most perfumistas it will be an unnecessary addition to their wardrobe because it’s not a very new story. I really like it though and it smells different in village than up close. Worth a sniff.

Le Lion de CHANEL was the biggest hype train here in Sydney of the year. A Shalimar style offering with extra labdanum rich amber in the whole fragrance. Many people find it leather or incense heavy too. A different ride for every wearer. To make it less of an investment I hosted a split.

Maison Crivelli Fleur Diamantine from 2018 made it’s way to my nose. WOW! One of the most beautiful fragrances I’ve ever smelled. Sparkling white floral with rich warmth and surprising minty undertones. It’s a freaking knockout and very high son my full bottle wish list.

Miller et Bertaux Pimiento is the first cut of a capsicum/bell pepper on a summer day. This oddball design duo always manages to create beautiful, weird surprises. The base is a little generic but the opening and heart are fabulous. Libertine gave me a Press Bottle of this beauty too.

Trussardi Behind The Curtain Piazza Alla Scala is a powdery leather. Beautiful but not stunningly original. The racing green bottle with the greyhound cap had me at hello. Thankfully it smells amazing and I found it on an Australian discounters for an amazing price.

So what were the things that grabbed your attention in 2020?
Portia xx