A Magical Greenery Tour

Hello friends!

I have had a very exciting week: after my post, in which I talked about how green and I don’t always get along in perfume, Portia sent me 11 numbered samples of some of his favourite greens. I tested two a day and journaled my immediate feelings and impressions. When I began, I had no intention of trying to guess what they were, but the allure of numbered mystery vials was too much for my brain. Often an immediate association came to mind, whether fragrance or house. Some might find this useful, and though none of my speculations were correct, I think you could take them as “in the style of” recommendations.

And now, to the perfumes!

 

Green Samples

 

Green No. 1

A lovely melon note under fresh green spiciness. Ma Griffe? Something of that era. Very gentle, reminds me of humid spring day. And I love humidity.

Peau d’Ailleurs by Starck (2016, Annick Menardo). I had never heard of this house, but I’m looking forward to wearing my sample again, as apparently it features geosmin heavily. Perhaps that was the humidity?

Green No. 2

While it begins light and crisp, the drydown is potent and long-lasting. Quite stiff and proper though sweet. Too high pitched for me, but a crowd pleaser, I suspect. O de Lancome-esque.

Sampaquita by Ormonde Jayne (2004, Geza Schoen). Oh my! I have tried to like this so many times due to its name and being on sale rather often. I’ve always found Ormonde Jayne to be too proper for me, I like them, but I feel I cannot love them. And no, I don’t just like the wild ones, but my proper quota has been fulfilled by quite a few classics. I’d recommend Ormonde Jayne as a house to others, but it seems we are not to be.

Green No. 3

Sweet like a green apple. Fruity, galbanum on a pillow of musk. It reminds me of Fidji, or rather my image of Fidji, which I haven’t smelled in 15 years. Very charming and young, the youth of another era before the invention of fruitchoulis.

A Scent by Issey Miyake (2009, Daphne Bugey). I remember trying this when it came out as the bottle was so appealingly minimalist. I liked it, but having little interest in greens or fresh at that point (I was deep into gothic orientals) a quick spray was as far as we went. Now I’m thinking this is a fun one to keep an eye out for, if it is still around.

 

Greenery

 

Green No. 4

I feel this one is thoroughly modern and playing homage to vintage. There’s a definite touch of cumin in there under the mossy forest floor. I would like very much to wear this scent, it has many secret qualities that appeal to my imagination.

Eau de Gloire by Parfum d’Empire (2003, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato). And straight to the top of the want list this goes! I would like to carry Eau de Gloire in my purse, always at the ready to secretly bolster the day. This was one of two standout favourites during my magical greenery tour. I was so enthralled with it that I emailed Portia begging to know what it was, but he held out until I had sampled everything!

Green No. 5

Chanel No. 19?

Futur by Robert Piguet (1960, presumably reformulated since then; Aurelien Guichard). It was a little sweeter than No. 19, but if you’re a No 19 fan you might like to spend some time with this one to see if you also love it.

Green No. 6

A tart fuzzy green with a touch of heliotrope to begin with. I immediately thought “Zoologist”, though not one I’ve smelled. Strong black tea. Smoke. Absolutely charming and interesting, reminds me of a great reading experience. 6 is the stand-out for me, it’s just so drinkable and fine. It made me a little emotional, the play of tea and fruit and smoke.

Eau de Givenchy, vintage (1980, Daniel Moliere and Daniel Hoffman). This was my favourite of the whole collection. I absolutely loved it. Looking up reviews, there’s a lot of talk about “a perfect spring day” and no talk of tea and tartness. Perhaps trying things without reading about them first has a lot of merit. This one I tested for two days.

 

Greenery

 

Green No. 7

A vile and antiseptic concoction infiltrated by sweaty cumin. A sweetness develops. By the drydown, it’s quite rich and acceptable. Amouage?

#2 Spiritus/Land by Miller et Bertaux (2006). I had quite a visceral dislike for this, but by the drydown it had mellowed into a well thought out fragrance, but not something I enjoyed. I see it has teak in it, which may contribute to my antiseptic response. Amouage and I have a troubled relationship, but one factor that brought Amouage to mind with Spiritus/Land was the high quality of the ingredients.

Green No. 8

Oh my! I want to say Cristalle, or rather the fantasy of Cristalle that I had when I began my perfume journey. It’s luminous! It reminds me of a beautiful yellow wine. I’m wondering why I don’t have whatever this is in my collection!

Cœur de Vétiver Sacré by L’Artisan Parfumeur (2010, Karine Vinchon-Spehn). One of the few L’Artisans I have not tried and yet another reason to adore the early L’Artisans, full of quirky masterpieces. I will be tracking down this sadly discontinued wonder to join my L’Artisan beloveds. I am quite thrilled to have tried this beauty, since it has always been on my radar as a L’Artisan I had missed out on.

Green No. 9

Guerlain Vetiver?

Tzora by Anat Fritz (2012, Geza Schoen). Well, isn’t that interesting. I was very careful during our green tour to only test two a day and not confuse my nose. I wore nothing else. Being in lockdown helped, as there are no other scents in the air, and the mood and temperature plodded on at a steady sameness. I’ve tried Tzora before, and I own Guerlain Vetiver. I ended up testing both side by side. Other than Tzora being a little richer and missing that delicate nutmeg, they were so close I thought it was my imagination that they were even different scents.

Green No. 10

Minty. Camphor. Sugar. Heeley Esprit du Tiger? It’s lovely, I could bathe in it! It is sugared in the most delicate and lovely way.

Oriental Mint by Phaedon (2011, Pierre Guillaume). This features “resins”, which, I suspect, is where the tiger balm accord comes in. I think it’s better than the Esprit du Tiger, not as simple. A very fun scent! I could see this being a bottle I wore excessively for a summer.

Green No. 11

I have spent some hours thinking on what this reminds me of. Lovely lemon, very fresh and bright to begin with. It then magically develops into a delicious sherbet! It’s as if a gelato maker sniffed the orchard air and rushed to capture the wonderful citrus and springtime scent in a gelato. I think this is a Hermetica, it feels like Hermetica DNA.

Granville by Dior (2010, Francoise Demachy). Oh my, how fantastic this is. I hope you all are able to try Granville, especially if you love lemon. Vividly natural ingredients.

And so we end our magical greenery tour. Through the testing phase and the reveal, I’ve been inspired, besotted, perplexed and gobsmacked. It has been a very enjoyable journey during this time of no travel (one of perfume’s secret powers). Thank you, Portia, for your samples and your wonderful enthusiasm to share your loves.

 

Greenery

 

Images: samples (Narth), greenery (Undina)

Saturday Question: Do You Currently Own Any Back-up Bottles?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #13:

Do You Currently Own Any Back-up Bottles?

Most of us have SABLE (Stash Above & Beyond Life Expectancy – Vanessa ©) collections of perfumes, and, as much as we complain about the state of the industry, every year one way or the other we keep adding more perfumes than are being used up. So, chances of running out of any particular perfume are low – and still from time to time I hear about back-up bottles. Now, I’m curious how many of my readers currently have at least one back-up bottle in their possession.

A back-up bottle is defined as a produced by the brand bottle (of any size) that you have in addition to another bottle of the same perfume. It doesn’t count as a back-up if tor the same perfume you have an EdT, EdP, extrait and a “Poudre” flanker and wear all of them from time to time.

My Answer

Yesterday “back-ups” were on my mind. First, I read in hajusuuri’s post on Instagram, in which she mentioned having back-up bottles for two of Chanel perfumes.

Later that day I got a scare while reading one of the Roses de Mai Marathon’s posts on Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities. Writing about one of my all-time favorites Ta’if by Ormonde Jayne (if you’re not familiar with this perfume, read her beautiful review; if you are – take a look at the wonderfully chosen illustrations), Old Herbaceous mentioned that she didn’t see it on OJ’s US website and thought that it was replaced by Ta’if Intensivo. Immediately I regretted not buying a back-up bottle of it when one of the sites recently had a sale. It was a false alarm, I confirmed since then that the original Ta’if is still available. But now I know that I’ll be on a look-out for the next sale to get that back-up bottle.

Other than that, I have multiple back-up bottles for my life-long love Lancome Climat and 4 more back-up bottles for perfumes that I really like and went 60-90% through the first bottle – Jo Malone Sweet Milk and French Lime Blossom, Yosh Ginger Ciao and Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Amour.

 

 

Do You Currently Own Any Back-up Bottles?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

“Love won’t take no reservations…”

I can still remember times when the Perfumeland would buzz with an anticipation of the next release from a handful of niche brands everybody knew and loved. First there would be an announcement. Then discussions/speculations about what it was expected or hoped to be would follow. And then – the first reviews from lucky bloggers who managed to get a sample would create hordes of lemmings for anyone reading them.

After niche field has exploded, our collections saturated, and we spent small fortune on trying the latest new brand or new perfume from a favorite brand or perfumer, we barely register some of new releases, skim through articles and wait for the trip to a store … at some point in the next 12 months to maybe sniff a nozzle of the bottle while deciding if we even want to waste a paper strip.

In the last several years the only reviews for perfumes I read were predominantly those written by bloggers whom I consider friends: not because I am looking for more perfumes to introduce into my life, but mostly because from those people I’d read anything including a holiday menu or even a shopping list. (If you think about it, something like that coming from Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) or Portia (ex APJ) would be hilarious – maybe I should invite them to my blog with a guest post on the topic? But I digress).

Last December I chanced upon Angela’s (NST) review of the new Masque Milano fragrance Love Kills. I planned to quickly go through it, read a list of notes and be done: even though at the time I liked, owned and wore two perfumes from the brand, since none of the stores here carried it, a chance of trying their new perfume any time soon was seriously underfed. And then something unexpected happened: I got enchanted with… no, not with perfume – with Angela’s review:

What I do understand is this: Love Kills is a Birgit Nilsson of a rose soliflore. It’s a rich scarlet rose — maybe an old rose that clings to stone walls and blooms only once a summer. When it flowers, it’s like a full moon. Bees become town drunks, and afternoons in the garden should carry warnings against operating heavy machinery. Girls shut themselves in their rooms and cry, and grown women eye the pool boy with startling interest. Cakes won’t rise. Sinners repair to the confessional, but the priest is unexpectedly away.

Are you familiar with that desire to capture something beautiful with a photo? You see a magnificent rose or a spectacular sunset, and you take a dozen of pictures, even though you have no idea what you’d do with those. But you want to “own” it. I felt something similar when I read that passage. I decided that I needed to buy a sample – if for nothing else, to write about it on my blog and cite Angela’s review on my blog, a sort of “taking a picture” of a beautiful thing to make it mine.

I didn’t expect to love Love Kills. It was going to be a Second Sunday Sample feature (if I ever decide to revive the series) or, maybe, a part in my Single Note Exploration for the rose note. But the first time I put on Love Kills, I knew that it was love (despite of the name that I can tolerate only by reminding myself about the theatrical theme chosen by the brand as their inspiration). Read the rest of Angela’s review if you haven’t tried this perfume yet. But be warned: it’s very convincing. As a proof of that: a beautiful bottle has just recently joined my collection, and I’m amazed how much I enjoy it, even though I already have many exquisite roses in my perfume wardrobe.

 

Masque Milano Love Kills

Image: my own (one of the dozen taken)

Saturday Question: What Chanel Perfume Would You Wear Today?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #12:

What Chanel Perfume Would You Wear Today?

You have probably seen more than once what usually happens when anybody poses a question that requires people to make a choice. Ask perfumistas to name their top N of something or choose X perfumes to take to the afterlife, and everybody gets really creative trying to sneak in a couple of extra names in a manner Oscar winners “smallprint” everybody they need to thank for their winning – as if not mentioning one of the favorites will anger the Gods of Perfumeland.

So, I decided to try to do it differently. I’m not asking you to choose your absolute favorite, name the “best of” or subscribe to wearing it till death do you part. But if you were asked to choose Chanel perfume that speaks to you the most to wear today (tomorrow it might be something else), what would it be? Just one name (and, if you wish, why you made that choice).

My Answer

Chanel No 19 EdT. It was the first Chanel perfume that I fell in love with. For years I kept trying No 5 hoping to “get” it, but it never worked (and still doesn’t). Somehow that prevented me from trying any other classic Chanel perfumes, and Chance, which I tried, was just awful. And then one day, being in a good mood after a day trip to the wine country, on the way back home we stopped by Nordstrom, and a very nice SAs made me a couple of samples of different Chanel perfumes (it was long before Nordstrom introduced the DIY sampling program).

That was a turning point for me. I loved No 19 EdT! Since then added both EdT and extrait to my collection. I tried vintage EdT (nice, but I’m fine with the one I got 9 years ago). I have a small decant of the modern EdP (hajusuuri, thank you), which I like and enjoy wearing. I even bought No 19 Poudré when it was first released. Unsniffed. But No 19 EdT is still my favorite Chanel – and I’m wearing it today.

 

Rusty and Chanel 19 EdT

 

What Chanel Perfume Would You Wear Today?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

Memo Tiger’s Nest

Even though there were at least a couple of guest writers on Undina’s Looking Glass, over the last couple of years I was a sole contributor, so for a while I will be reminding my readers to look at the By line (Undina).

* * *

“A rabbit finds the tiger scary, whether it still has the teeth or not.”
Let’s Eat 2, episode 14

My friends, do you like tigers? I am not sure if many would say, “No, I do not care for such beasts.” I very much like tigers, in the way a little child likes a particular animal. I have one tiger tattoo (and a pussy cat, who all think themselves tigers). Is having a tiger tattoo tacky? Probably, but I do not care. If something brings you joy, enjoy it! Maybe your perfume was a huge sum you wouldn’t want to admit to friends, or maybe you bought it in a drug store. If you love it, it is beautiful. The same is true of tigers. Fine art or tacky emblem, I respect the image. Even in their dotage a toothless a tiger is still a tiger.

Memo Tiger’s Nest is one of those beautiful perfume bottles where you very much want to love the perfume inside to justify buying it. Having found myself tearing up at the beauty of the one Memo I owned, Shams Oud, I was hopeful. I’d been gifted a few samples of other Memos which I enjoyed. Very soon these things added up to a “you will blind buy this and you will do it fearlessly” conviction. Opening the box and feeling the heavy, enameled bottle with its beautiful beast I felt nothing but love. I have been rewarded tenfold for my leap of faith by the juice itself.

Memo Tiger’s Nest

Oil of Absinthe, Aldehyde, Lime, Amber, Safran, Incense absolute, Osmanthus, Ylang ylang, Rose, Papyrus, Vanilla, Balsam of Tolu

I’ve never been on the incense quest that many in perfume land pursue. I have some nice frankincense choices, and some weirder BPAL’s, and I do not need much else. I’m guilty of always wanting things to be more intense, to the point of possibly smelling like someone should call the fire marshal. Tiger’s Nest offers a different interpretation to my joss stick inferno fantasies. There’s a wonderful medicinal note weaving throughout this scent. Crushed leaves, a sticky frankincense mixed with camphor. Medicinal, it’s a thrilling note for perfume! In the middle of Tiger’s Nest there’s a lovely leathery floral with a sweet, warm rose. At this stage of wearing Tiger’s Nest I am getting a strong health food store vibe. Mother was a hippy and I spent many, MANY hours standing around health food stores as a child inhaling essential oils, wheat germ, raw blocks of eye watering soap and incense. Some incense perfumes smell only of the ingredients, Tiger’s Nest smells of the burning sticks as well. Underneath it all a gentle vanilla, lasting long into the drydown. Memo Tiger’s Nest is a very interesting scent and one you may find you bring your own associations to.

So, I am quite happy. I am enjoying my beautiful tiger bottle and its contents very much!

Memo Tiger's Nest

Image: Paintings are Korean Minhwa style tigers by Polish artist Małgorzata Bonas

Saturday Question: How Do You Decide What to Wear?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #11:

How Do You Decide What to Wear?

With all the bottles, decants and samples that you have, how do you decide which perfume to wear on any given day? (The question was suggested by Hamamelis.)

My Answer

Many years ago, when I had just 5-7 bottles, every morning I’d look at all of them and decide what to wear. Since I wore them all quite frequently, even before applying perfume I knew how it would smell, so I rarely chose a wrong one.

Once I started down the rabbit hole and accumulated some samples, every night before going to sleep, in my head I would go through everything I owned and choose what to wear the next day. I enjoyed this small routine, but the results were mixed since some of the samples I wore were new to me.

These days, since going through all of my perfumes in my head would be like counting sheep (with a predictable effect), instead, if I have 5-10 minutes in the morning, I’d read through the SOTD thread of NST to see if one of the comments would give me an idea. Sometimes, though less often, I would participate in a community project there (like this week when for 5 days I wore iris perfumes – Olfactive Studio Iris Shot, Histoires de Parfums 1904 (Madame Butterfly), Xerjoff Irisss, Parfums Dusita Splenderis and 1907 Mon Ame). But on most days I would just stay in front of the shelves with perfumes trying to figure out which of the perfumes that I haven’t worn in a while would fit the weather, my mood and any other variables I care to introduce that day. Since I wear mostly perfumes that I own and know well, the method works, and I rarely make a wrong choice. But I constantly have a feeling that I neglect some of my favorites just because I don’t see them or make my choice quickly without considering all the options.

 

How Do You Decide What to Wear?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

In the Search for the Perfect Lavender, Take III

As I’ve told in one of my stories before, I had found my perfect lavender perfume – Lieber Gustav by Krigler. But my love to this plant in general and my hand-made sachet losing its scent after a while, keeps me on a lookout for more lavender-based perfumes and other products.

When I read that Jo Malone was about to release a new limited-edition collection based on lavender, I could barely hold myself till it was available in a store: I like lavender, I have a soft spot for the brand, and have you seen those purple tops for the bottles in that collection?

Had the brand released this collection as a set of three 9 ml bottles, I would have bought it. But I’m yet to see any of their limited editions done in that manner. Silver Birch & Lavender didn’t work for me (I would have still wanted it as a part of a set though). The other two smelled nice, but Wisteria & Lavender disappeared from my skin within 30 minutes, which isn’t acceptable even for Jo Malone. So, on my request, a friend bought for me Lavender & Coriander in a Duty-free in Heathrow airport, which, in combination with a nice purple cup, made that bottle even more attractive than it was four years ago when it was released first as a part of their garden herbs collection (though, the green bottle they put it in then was also quite appealing).

But the item that attracted my attention was the fourth item in the collection – Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist. I know that Jo Malone previously had linen sprays and ambiance scents, but this was something new and interesting. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so, I discovered while looking for it: not only it was gone from the Duty-free, but it was sold out in most online stores.

But I persevered, found and ordered it. And then the lock-down happened, and the package, which couldn’t be delivered to the closed office, went back to the seller (and it has never re-appeared on their site, so I couldn’t reorder it).

Since I wasn’t prepared to pay almost twice the price for it on eBay, I accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. (Who are those people who would?! It’s not a discontinued perfume that someone got to love and cannot buy any longer – so, why to pay that much for something you have no emotional attachment to?!) And then brand’s site restocked the complete collection – so, now I’m a happy owner of a bottle of Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist.

 

Rusty and Jo Malone Lavender and Musk Pillow Mist

 

It’s not an overpowering lavender (I wouldn’t mind it to be stronger). Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist is soft and warm and cuddling – just what you’d expect from a pillow spray. It is completely unnecessary – and probably it’s a part of its appeal. I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase it, even if it is re-released. But I’ll be using it while waiting for this year’s lavender season: if I manage not to miss it, maybe I’ll try to recreate that Diptyque’s magic wand.

 

Images: my own