Tom Ford Vert de Fleur

I really dislike the man. Well, at least his public persona, though I would be extremely surprised if he happened to be in RL a nice guy and the last boy scout. Nevertheless, I like perfumes that this brand creates.

I drew the line and refused to condone two most recent juvenile naming games, though I wasn’t offended enough to completely boycott the brand. But other than these two cases, I tend to like Tom Ford’s creations and still get excited with each new release.

Whenever I see a release of series of perfumes, from any brand, my first thought is that while working on the next perfume, the stakeholders couldn’t agree on which mod to choose and decided to go with several to ensure they didn’t make a mistake and covered all the bases. Of course, I’m not being completely serious, but I’m protesting against the avalanche of new releases.

All that didn’t prevent me from trying four perfumes in Les Extraits Vert series soon after it was released in 2016. Vert Boheme, Vert d’Encense, Vert de Fleur and Vert des Bois were all not bad at first sniff, so I got samples (tricking a couple of SAs in different stores), planned to test them properly and completely forgot about them for a while.

Recently it felt like green perfume days, so I went through the samples and found my favorite.

 

Tom Ford Vert de Fleur

 

Vert de Fleur starts with the most beautiful green accord – crisp, slightly bitter, slightly floral. Had it stayed in that phase for at least 20-30 minutes, I would have been telling you about a new bottle in my collection. But it doesn’t last settling into sweeter floral with undetectable to my nose individual notes – still very pleasant and refined but not as spectacular as I find it in the opening.

For a while I kept thinking of what other perfume I was reminded while wearing it, until suddenly I realized that it was very similar to my favorite Chanel No 19 but less austere than the EdT version… Think of No 19 EdP on a summer vacation on the Amalfi Coast.

Vert de Fleur is one of those perfumes that I like while I’m testing it but every time I ask myself whether I think I’d wear it often should I get it, my answer doesn’t sound convincing to me. So, for now I plan to see if I can finish the sample.

The other three perfumes in the line will probably get one more skin appearance and then will be passed on (if I can persuade myself to part with them: for some reason Tom Ford’s samples appeal to me even when perfume itself doesn’t). But if you were to try only one perfume from the series, try … all of them: unless you dislike the man even stronger than I do or avoid green perfumes altogether, most likely, one of the four will work for you.

Have you tried any of the perfumes in this series? Did you like any?

 

Image: my own

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… and I’ll be there…

A month ago Twitter’s meme “What 5 items would someone put in a salt circle to summon you?” got viral when J.K. Rowling answered it.

 Summonning JK Rowling

 

In other answers there were perfumes (that’s how I learned about it – from somebody’s mentioning it on the NST’s daily threads), books, snacks and a LOT of cats.

So of course I started playing this game in my head. My first thought was: “Rusty!” But then I realized that, first, Rusty wouldn’t sit still in any circle with or without other objects, and second, Rusty alone would be enough to summon me.

 

Rusty in a Circle

 

But since I still wanted to play this game, I decided to count Rusty out and go with inanimate objects. So, what would be a set of five things to summon me? I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog that Climat by Lancôme would be the first thing to go on the list. The next one would be probably that quirky blue Hello Sailor lipstick by Lipstick Queen and The Fifth Element – one of my all-time favorite movies. Now, when we took care of my mind and my look, let’s attend to my body: dark chocolate lava cake and a cup of cappuccino. Yeah, looks about right: put these five together, and I’ll be there.

 

 Summonning Undina

 

What should I put in a circle to summon you?

 

Images: the salt circle from here; DVD cover – don’t remember; the rest – my own.

Rusty Helps with Ex Nihilo Draw

Looking at the general count of comments on the post about Ex Nihilo, one would think that it would be a tough draw. But it seems that hajusuuri and I did a pretty good job scaring people away from the brand. And since there were just three contenders, I decided it was a good task for Rusty.

 

 

The winner of the draw is #2 – Jessica.

But wait! There is more.

As we were working on the post, hajusuuri and decided that, in addition to the official draw, we’ll have the second, secret one, for those who would try to guess which of mini-reviews belongs to which perfume. And since out of the two remaining commenters only one played the guessing game, Rusty didn’t have to even move a paw: the second winner is Brigitte.

Both winners: please contact me or hajusuuri with your shipping addresses.

 

Rusty Choosing Ex Nihilo Draw Winner

 

Images: my own

Orange Cats in My Life – Part VI: Where Do Treats Come From?

In replies to comments on my previous post I promised to tell this story. Disclaimer: it’s a cat story, and no perfumes were harmed involved.

* * *

Last year we found ourselves in between couches: the old couch was re-homed while the new one was delayed. Even before that you couldn’t say we had an abundance of furniture or places to hide, especially in areas to which Rusty has access. So with the approaching 4th of July’s fireworks, which always terrify our cat, I felt a little guilty for disrupting Rusty’s environment. And to compensate that, I came up with the idea to make an artificial hiding spot for him.

I put a decorative pillow, on which Rusty used to sleep on the old couch, under one of the dining chairs and covered the chair with his blanket. I don’t remember if Rusty used it to hide from fireworks but surprisingly he took to periodically spending time inside that contrivance, so we decided to keep it even after the new couch had arrived. My vSO said that it was a “Pet Cave.”

 

Rusty and Pet Cave

 

Being extremely food-motivated, Rusty loves treats and would do a lot to get them. A cruel owner I am, I taught him to do tricks: “Sit,” “Paw. Another one,” “Down,” “Up” and sometimes even “Jump.” Also we have some variation on the “Fetch” – I call it “Catch.”

It goes like this: I would take a treat in my hand, say “Catch!”, and Rusty would start moving away while still looking at me (he reminds me a player in American football who “goes long” keeping an eye on a quarterback), then I would throw a treat, and Rusty, after “spinning” in place for a couple of milliseconds while his paws get traction with wooden floor, would sprint after the treat. It would be naïve to expect a cat to bring it back – hence “Catch.” Once he’s done eating, I call him back: “Come-come-come!” (in an unusual for me high-pitched tone) and when he comes, I give him the second treat. Unlike other tricks that I make him do for my or our guests’ amusement, this one is done to make him exercise a little for the first treat and to teach him to auto-respond to that unusual call – for those unpredictable cases when I might need to find him quickly or make him come to me.

While Rusty is busy catching and eating the first treat, from time to time I would put the third one into his pet cave. The first couple of times I did it, he found them quickly. My vSO suggested that he either saw or heard me doing it. So the next time I made sure that I stood close to the pet cave – so that I could put a treat in without moving while being sure that Rusty wasn’t looking. As you can imagine, the result was the same.

Since then every time when we give him a treat, Rusty goes and checks his pet cave, sometimes more than once (he would walk around and look in again regardless of whether he got the third treat that time or not). And since he does it even when clearly nobody was anywhere close to it, I’m positive that he doesn’t understand the physics of the process and in all likelihood does not discount the possibility of autogenesis – even though my vSO tried explaining to Rusty once (on his third attempt within a minute): “Rusty, treats are not mushrooms: they do not grow on their own!”

 

Rusty and Pet Cave

 

Images: my own

Second Sunday Samples: Out of nothing…

hajusuuri

I first encountered Ex Nihilo at Sniffapalooza in 2015. The company provided a travel spray of Fleur Narcotique in a dark blue satin bag. I was intrigued by the perfume name and decided to explore the brand’s offering at Bergdorf Goodman (BG). The one that got me hooked was Sweet Morphine, no pun intended. At over $300 for a 100mL bottle of a perfume with poor longevity, I demurred from forking over the Benjamins; however, a kind and generous perfumista who used to comment on NST saw my perfume wish list comment and gave me a travel spray of Sweet Morphine!

Three years later, at the April 2018 Sniffapalooza event, I once again checked out the nicely appointed Ex Nihilo alcove at BG. The SA was very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and generous. Having received duplicates of a number of atomizer perfume samples, I asked Undina if she wanted to do another joint post, and so here we are!

Undina

With the number of new brands and new releases that appear every year, it is surprising when you do know about some niche company. If it weren’t for hajusuuri who offered me samples from Ex Nihilo to test and compare notes, I could have easily missed this brand.

I think for any brand it would be hard to leave up to the claims Ex Nihilo makes on their website: ”An alternative to stereotyped luxury products, an alternative to the mass personalisation.” And, in my opinion, they don’t. But, boy, aren’t they milking it while they can: in four years from the inception they’ve created more than 20 perfumes. And if the official composition is not to your liking, and you think that you can do it better than those more or less famous noses they’ve employed to create their luxury perfumes collection, in their Paris boutique you can “personalize” any of the perfumes by requesting to add some of the notes to it (using some super-complex equipment). And on top of that you can customize the bottle: for modest EUR 50 you can choose one of the three standard caps options, or, if money is no object, you can get jeweled models embellished with diamonds and sapphires or 24 carat gold.

But enough snarks, should we talk about perfumes? As I mentioned, there were four samples (in the alphabetical order): Amber Sky, Citizen X, Rose Hubris and Viper Green. Hajusuuri and I decided to do a double-blind test reporting: each one of us chose the order in which we’d present our impressions. Neither of us knows which impression from another reviewer goes with which perfume. We invite you to try to guess… anything. You can try to identify perfume(s) we described. Or match any two of the description to each other, even if you don’t know for which perfume we wrote those descriptions.

 

Ex Nihilo Perfumes

 

hajusuuri

I tested these on my forearms and the first wearing was at least 3 hours long. I did not look at the notes during testing so my impressions were based on what I smelled.

Sample H1 – minty bug spray

Two Sea Stars

The top notes reminded me of bug spray but it evolved to soft greenish vetiver. In hindsight, the name of this perfume fits it rather well.

Sample H2 – fruity lipstick

Two Sea Stars

With its name, I was expecting rose to stand out. Instead, it was propped up by what smelled like violets and a sweet fruit.

Sample H3 – spicy amber

Two Sea Stars

Even if I didn’t know the name of this perfume, I immediately recognized amber with a big dose of incense. It was spicy and I detected a hint of cumin when I smelled my arm up close. The dry-down was a soft blur of vanilla and tonka. I would have rated this higher were it not for a persistent bitterness lurking in the background.

Sample H4 – bitter cleanser

One Sea Star

This one offended me. Not only did it start out smelling like some kind of cleaning fluid (like Lemon Pledge without the lemon), it was nearly impossible to scrub off. I gave it its 3-hour life on my skin but when I tried to wash it off with TechNu, a cleanser used to remove poison ivy oil, it stuck despite multiple washing.

Overall, while I would not spring for a full bottle of any of these, I wouldn’t say no to a travel spray of 2 out of 4 of these perfumes. Wouldn’t it be nice if the company gave consumers the option of choosing which perfumes to include in the travel spray set?

Undina

Sample U1

Two Sea Stars

This perfume doesn’t smell for me as its name sounds. There is some disturbing note in the opening, but a couple of hours into the development it gets better. It contains both a flower and a fruit that smells like that flower (at least some of its cultivars) – and still for my nose it doesn’t smell much of that flower; maybe if I imagine it as candied petals. On the positive side, it’s a warm scent. And I think it becomes very beautiful in its last phase on skin.

Sample U2

Two and Half Sea Stars

This perfume is true to one of the two words of its name. I like the opening: it reminds me of Tom Ford’s Vert Boheme. But it develops differently – more floral less woody, which I like less. Several hours into drydown I like it again: if I bring my wrist very close to nose, it reminds me a smell in a florist’s fridge: a lot of greenery and some mixed flowers. I wish I would like it more: the color of the juice is beautiful.

Sample U3

One Sea Star

This is the most masculine perfume out of the four I’ve tested. It starts harsh with something that brings to mind citrus – even though there’s nothing to that effect in notes. My vSO who rarely volunteers opinion on any of my perfumes – positive or negative – commented on actively disliking it in the opening the first time I tested it (I didn’t even ask!).

Sample U4

Two Sea Stars

Opens slightly sweet and overall traditional for perfume of this type but then develops dry and woody. It’s not masculine but definitely unisex. Pleasant enough but not spectacular if you already have 10 other perfumes in this genre. As with all samples from this brand that I’ve tried, drydown is probably the best phase for this perfume. Interestingly, it’s marked as Sold Out on the brand’s site.

Overall, none of these four rose even to strong “like” for me. Ex nihilo … nihil fit.

 

Rusty Sitting

Rusty believes that treats could come from nothing

 

Would you like to try these to see if your impressions would be different? Leave a comment to be entered into the giveaway for the set of my samples (they are more than half full; and I’ll add a couple more samples of something that I’ve recently tried and liked). The giveaway is open until 23:59 PDT on September 15th to anyone but you know risks with the overseas perfume packages. Random.org will be used to determine a winner.

 

Images: perfumes – from the brand’s site; Rusty – my own

Everything Has Its Time (and Place)

Soon after I’ve started this blog, I told a story of a newly found perfume friend – Tiare by Ormonde Jayne (A Friend in Need). At that point I had almost no followers, so not too many people read that post back then. In short: the traces of Tiare on my bath robe had supported me through hard time of being sick, and feeling grateful for that, I decided that I would bring that perfume with me when I go to a tropical vacation.

Later that year I fulfilled my promise and brought Tiare with me to Hawaii. As I wrote in the Scents of My Hawaii Vacation post:

In the evenings when an ocean breeze would put out a day heat, all dressed-up for dinner I would adorn myself with Tiare. I truly enjoyed her company. I think it is a perfect perfume for a tropical night out. It feels so right in place on the open terrace under the moonless starry sky, surrounded by palm trees and the sound of the invisible ocean just a hundred steps in front of you. And a slick travel spray will fit even into the smallest purse.

Since then Tiare had traveled with me to three different Hawaii islands – Maui, Kauai and Big Island. And every time it felt just right even though this tropical flower perfume doesn’t smell like a tropical-style perfume.

 

Maui 2014 Parfums

 

Last year instead of Hawaiian we went to Europe in summer and to Utah in winter, so Tiare stayed hidden away in my drawer. And since I wasn’t sure if we would go to Hawaii this year, I recently decided to wear it to the office. And it was a mistake.

My perfume wasn’t off or unpleasant. It wasn’t even NSFW. But in the office cubicle with blasting A/C and the fluorescent lights Tiare felt completely out of place. I was amazed by the dichotomy of the stern office environment and carefree perfume. We were in such different places that it was hard to stay friends…

That’s when I knew that I had to book the next trip to Hawaii – to restore our friendship, if nothing else.

 

Kawaii Perfumes 2013

 

Have you ever had that feeling that your favorite perfume wasn’t right for the place you wore it to?

 

Images: my own

Do You Thunk?

For those who do not follow NST’s daily SOTD threads, some time ago chocolatemarzipan8 announced she would not be pursuing new perfumes and would enjoy what she had in her collection already. Every time having finished something she would officially announce “Thunked it!” Over time many other participants joined her, and now almost every day somebody announces “THUNK.” Of course, most people do it with samples but sometimes they report decants or even bottles. It prompted me to look into my usage pattern.

Bottles are the hardest for me: once I decide that I want to have perfume in my collection, I never want to not have it. As a result, those perfumes that I like less stay in my collection because I do not use them often but do not want to part with; and with those that I do like I’m content… while I have more than one-fourth of a bottle. And as I approach that imaginary demarcation, I start feeling anxious and tend to use those perfumes less often or in an even more than usual office-friendly manner (1-2 tiny spritzes). But, in general, I’m fine with my attitude towards bottles: I keep using perfumes that I love on daily basis, even if I do not finish bottles. Alternatively, I end up buying a back-up bottle – and then feel better about finishing the previous one.

 

Les Perfumes De Rosine Roseberry

 

With decants I have a mixed case: I do finish some of them, though usually only those that graduate to a full bottle (at least in my plans). But decants that I plan to use and be done with rarely move below one-fourth volume left in a vial, whatever the size is. The reason, I think, is that I like having an option of wearing those perfumes more than actually wearing them. So I’m reluctant to finish those decants for the fear of losing that comfort of knowing that I have them. Used up 5-7 ml decant usually means I want a bottle. So, again, it looks like I wear perfumes that I like the most while “hoarding” those that I shouldn’t wear anyway since I don’t like them that much.

Samples. Since I do not usually wear perfumes from samples, I rarely finish them even if I liked them. Small vials might naturally get used up during a couple of testing sessions; or I would give perfume several wears before committing to a full bottle. But otherwise samples just stay in my “perfume library” for years – until they either evaporate or turn. It wasn’t an issue for me until recently when I decided that, going forward, those perfumes that I didn’t like I should pass on to others for testing, and those that I liked, I should try again to see if my opinion about them has changed…

 

Empty Samples

 

I’ve just emptied two samples I had forever: L’Artisan Parfumeur Mimosa pour moi and Arabian Oud Kalemat. Guess what. I’m upset that those are gone and already started questioning that “don’t need them” decision. So it seems safer not to “thunk” those perfumes that I liked but didn’t love enough to put on the mental “to buy” list.

 

Do you finish any of your perfumes?

 

Images: my own