Celebrating Missed Opportunities

As I’ve mentioned more than once, I live in the area where we have two seasons: summer and the rest of the year. I do not complain: I love our weather (even when I wish we’d have more rain) and think that our climate is one of the best possible. But from time to time, especially around winter holidays, I get a pang of nostalgia for real winter with snow, icicles and colder weather. Then we go to nearby mountains – and it cures those feelings for the next couple of years.

Since neither my vSO no I are into the downhill skiing, on our winter trips we usually enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Because of the drought we had in 2012-16, for several years we didn’t go “into winter”: while skiing resorts were making artificial snow for quite expensive downhill rides, our preferred winter activities were out of question. And without snow there wasn’t much sense in going there.

So when after five years of snowless New Year celebrations I wanted my snow fix, we decided not to rely on unpredictable California weather and planned a trip to Utah. Nobody in our “party of six” had ever been to there, and it was promising to be a perfect New Year getaway.


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Panoramic views from the dining room of the cabin where we stayed were spectacular, including what felt like a private viewing of the supermoon… And that was almost the full extent of my winter experience this time since, following my vSO’s steps (which almost never happens in these matters), I got extremely sick soon after the arrival.


Utah 2018 Supermoon


It was perfect winter outside: not too cold, fresh snow, sun during the day and full moon at night. And all I could manage was to crawl downstairs to the living room to spend time with our friends (when they weren’t outside), watch TV (re-watching Monk TV show was surprisingly comforting), work on a mystery puzzle (2 x 1000 pieces without a hint – and we solved the murder!) and eat great meals that our friends cooked. And these simple things would take up all of my strength and resolve.



Not long before the trip I bought two travel sprays from Sonoma Scent StudioWinter Woods and Fireside Intense. I had an idea that where we were going would be just the right setting for wearing both of those perfumes. I planned to take some appropriate pictures and make a post out of it once I got back.

Despite being sick, I wore some perfumes during this trip but none of the two SSS’s perfumes felt right to wear while being stuck in the cabin: both seemed too strong and intense. But what was even worse, I felt too weak to even try to put on warm clothes and try to go for a photo shoot outside. So my friend agreed to help and in between producing all that food pictured above spent 15 minutes outside taking pictures according to the general directions I gave her from my sick sofa.


Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods and Fireside Intense


I was barely out of the woods (both literary and figuratively speaking), when I got the news that Laurie Erickson was retiring from the business. Combined with my failed vacation, it seemed strange to write about perfumes that nobody could either try or buy any longer. Then my blog’s anniversary, a Month of Irises and my birthday came, and I put all that out of my mind.

March is being great this year: we got a lot of rain that we needed. And with it cold weather came, which allowed me to wear many of my winter favorites that I didn’t get a chance to wear earlier in the year. Including Winter Woods and Fireside intense. And I enjoyed them both very much.

Many years ago I wrote about Winter Woods. It took me 6 years to go through my 2.5 ml sample. So, I think I’ll be fine for a while with these 5 ml travel sprays. So, as much as it makes me sad to see this brand go (or changing hands, which, in general, is the same thing), I’m glad that I got to know it, and there will be many more chances for me to wear these perfumes – with or without snow around me. It’s a pity that those of you who haven’t tried them (or my most recent favorite Bee’s Bliss), won’t get to. But there will be other winters, other perfumes and other opportunities. And I hope that Laurie Erickson who created perfumes that touched so many people will be successful in pursuing her new opportunities.


Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods and Fireside Intense


Are there any perfumes that you wish you had bought before they disappeared?


Images: my own


Second Sunday Samples: Blocki

I’m not a big fan of resurrected perfume brands: in many cases there is nothing to really connect the reincarnated entity and the brand, from which the history was taken, other than a desire of new owners to have some history to show for the brand hoping that it’ll sell perfumes better.

I make some exception to brands reinvented by descendants of the original owners: my feeling is that there is something noble and romantic in bringing back to life parts of the family history, sharing with the world proud moments and achievements of one’s ancestors.

Blocki Perfumes is this kind of brand. You can look up this brand’s history milestones on the website (it’s quite interesting but I don not want to just regurgitate it here). What captured my imagination was their patent in 1907 for “novel method of placing a preserved natural flower within the perfume bottle.” They do not do it now – pity. I wouldn’t mind having a bottle of perfume with a real flower inside, though I completely understand why they cannot do it these days with perfumes being transported thousands of miles.

Previously I came across some reviews for this brand’s perfumes but it took me a while to get to testing some of them. I can’t remember what the turning point was, but I recently gave in and ordered a couple of samples.

This brand’s approach to naming their compositions is the opposite to the slightly annoying ALL CAPS take by my another favorite brand: Blocki does not use capital letters at all, which also annoys me. But since those names are supposed to be short passages, a couple of words from a sentence that landed on the bottle – without the beginning or the ending – I try to look at them as at something open to interpretation and leaving some space to our imagination rather than a nod to the modern World’s hasty messaging habits that I do not condone. And that thought reconciles me with them.

Both perfumes that I’m sampling today were created in 2015 by Kevin Verpsoor; and though they were inspired by the house’s history, they are not recreations of the previously existed perfumes.


for walks

Three and Half Sea Stars

for walks is a perfume for people who do not want to smell like they are wearing perfume. With the notes of violet leaf, mint, fir needle, violet, boronia flower, orris, vetiver, sandalwood and cedar, it presents like a completely unisex composition. I like fir in perfumes but in for walks I do not smell it at all. Neither can I smell iris or vetiver. Mint and violet are there, as well as some kind of wood (I’d say it is sandalwood sharpened by cedar wood). It is not linear, and develops over time, so you’ll have something to do if you decide to take it on a couple of hours’ walk.

While for walks is absolutely “not my” perfume (I take my unisex perfumes either citrus-y or dry amber-y), it is not boring or banal. It is not a perfume to gather compliments, but if you’re looking for a soft but present perfume that is not cologne or a quiet white musk number, give for walks a try.


Forest park


this grand affair

Four and Half Sea Stars

this grand affair fits its name very well: nobody would mistakenly assume that they smell your shampoo or a dryer sheet. It is unapologetically PERFUME, in the classic sense. Initially I thought of it as leaning feminine but since I think that Jicky Extract, about which I’m somehow reminded by this grand affair (not in the way it smells but in feeling it evokes), is also feminine, my perception might be off compared to conventional.

Official notes: grapefruit, neroli, davana, lavender, rose, petitgrain, lemon, mandarin, vanilla, musk, tonka bean and patchouli.

this grand affair smells like the most beloved today vintage perfumes must have smelled before they became vintage. One wouldn’t have to wear a gown to match this perfume but it would be a very appropriate combination.

I tend to like and buy this type of perfumes even though I do not have enough occasions to wear them (I’m working on that), so this grand affair has won me over from the first time I tried it. And since the brand smartly produces their perfumes in very reasonable 10 ml travel bottles, I could not think of a reason not to add it to my collection (but since it’s still in transit, I cannot bribe Rusty to pose with it for this post, so I’ll go with the floral composition that visually illustrates the name).




Blocki line consists of four perfumes: 3 from 2015; and one more they released this year. I’m curious to try the remaining two.

Blocki perfumes come in 50 ml and 10 ml bottles. Also, you can buy samples from the brand’s site, which makes sense only if you want to try just one: you’ll be getting a 1.5-2 ml for $10, including S&H, which is the same price as you’d pay for a twice smaller dab vial delivered from perfume stores or decanter sites. Until April 1st, you can use the code AMOUR14 to get a 14% discount (no affiliation). Twisted Lily and Smallflower also carry these perfumes.


Have you heard about the brand? Have you tried any of their perfumes?


Images: my own

Entertaining Statistics: Februiris 2018

I want to start this post with saying “Thank you” to all of you who participated in the Month of Irises project. I had fun but without you it would have felt really strange to keep updating those posts on a daily basis. Special gratitude goes to Lucas for coining a great name for the month and supporting and promoting this project throughout the month, Tara and Ines for hosting two days on their blogs.

Daily updates… It was harder than I expected it to be but it was an interesting experience: I’ve never done it before for that many days in a row. Though I still like the idea, I’m convinced now that publishing the continuous updates to the same post isn’t the right format for WordPress: without a notification delivered through the channels readers used to get their updates, only the most persistent ones remember to come back regularly. I’ll have to think of a better approach next year for the Month of X project. I mean, we are going to do it, aren’t we?





I went through all the comments on the posts for the project on my blog and three Day of Iris posts hosted by others (455 comments, if you were curious) and got together some numbers.

22 Perfumistas

During this February 22 people participated in the project: I counted only those who reported on one of the participating blogs; I saw some people reporting only on the NST, and I was glad it went “viral” but I couldn’t possibly include those in these statistics.

100 Perfumes

Among all the participants, we wore 100 different perfumes, collectively on 212 occasions.

28 Days

I and at least three more people wore iris perfumes for all 28 days – hajusuuri, Chocolate Marzipane (though she cheated a little wearing the same iris perfume as her bed scent) and Lucas (if you haven’t seen it yet, take a look at his beautiful calendar).

9 Project’s Favorites

Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist and Atelier Cologne Silver Iris are two the most popular perfumes (reported by 6 people each). Infusion d’Iris by Prada takes the third place (5 people). Atelier Cologne Iris Rebelle, Chanel 28 La Pausa and No 19 EdT, Hermès Hiris, Prada Purple Rain and Van Cleef & Arpels Bois d’Iris got 4 mentions each.

Undina’s Top 7 Iris Perfumes

Since the idea of this project came  from my blog’s seventh anniversary, I decided to conclude it with the list of my 7 most favorite iris perfumes based on my recent experience with the whole bunch of them (in no particular order):

Chanel No 19 EdT
Le Labo Iris 39
Armani Prive Le Femme Bleue
Annick Goutal Heure Exquise
Frederic Malle Iris Poudre
Prada Purple Rain
Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris

Result of the Month

Interestingly, I did not get tired of iris perfumes and plan to wear at least a couple of them again soon. I got myself a small travel bottle of Atelier Cologne Iris Rebelle. And I think I want to get more of L’Attessa once I’m done with my tiny decant – it grew on me. Oh, and I learned how to make “orrisgami” (© Lucas).

Rusty and Origami

What is your best iris perfume (or three, or seven)?


Images: my own

Month of Irises: Week 4 (Feb 22nd – Feb 28th)

I’ll be adding something new in the end of this post during the next 7 days. Come back whenever you remember to read something new, see what perfume I chose to wear, share your SOTD (even if it has absolutely nothing to do with irises) or just talk to me and others.

Can you believe it’s Week 4 of the Month of Irises? I still have perfumes for the next 7 days, and I’m curious to see what others find to wear.

There were no more “takers” for hosting an Iris Day so I’ll be doing all the daily updates (but if anybody wants to take over one of the remaining days, you’re still welcome).

* * *

Thursday, February 22, 2018


I enjoyed wearing Chanel No 19 extrait so much that I decided to stay with Chanel for one more day. I will be wearing No 19 EdP.


Rusty got really interested with my origami experiments. I’ll try to add a GIF for tomorrow but meanwhile just a teaser.


Rusty and Origami Iris

Friday, February 23, 2018


Following Lucas’s lead, Hedonist Iris by Viktoria Minya.


If for nothing else, it was worth making those origami irises because Rusty was really taken by those. Probably I should make a couple more for him to play.


Rusty Playing with Origami

Saturday, February 24, 2018


I’ve been postponing it, but it’s probably time to finish my decant of Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens. I think it is one of perfumes that has such an iconic standing that it is difficult for it to live up to itself.


Have you seen this already? A note pad from Japanese company Triad that reveals architectural models as you keep using it. I do not really use paper notes but I love the idea (and the color! and have you noticed those irises on the base?). If $123 + $21 S&H doesn’t scare you away, click on the picture to pre-order this Omoshiroi Block Japanese Landmark Memo Pad Kiyomizudera Temple, Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower notepad or one of several other designs (I’m not affiliated).


Omoshiro Block Memo Pad

Sunday, February 25, 2018


I decided to give Iris Silver Mist one more wear. While it was nice, I don’t think I like it more than several other irises I have or tried this month. So once I finish my decant (probably one or two more times), I won’t try to get a bottle. Maybe another decant.

Monday, February 26, 2018


I wanted to wear Purple Rain by Prada on a rainy day. Unfortunately, February this year was dry. One day when it suddenly rained, I was already wearing another perfume that was tenacious enough to last me through the day. But now we have rain forecast for this Monday, so I’ll be wearing Purple Rain. I wish I had this umbrella to accompany it:

Iris Umbrella

Tuesday, February 27, 2018


Recently I was watching (again) Hercule Poirot series and was reminded how much I liked the song used in one of the episodes – Yellow Iris. Unfortunately, from what I managed to find, it had never been released as a stand-alone song, so all you can do is to listen to it in the clip from the episode (in which, by the way, there is a reference to the flower of the month – so I thought it was at least partially relevant). The song is beautiful, and I wanted to share it with you (and I’ll add lyrics under the video – in case some of the words are not clear in the background).


I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
The way you walked, the way you talked, the things you used to say.

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
I couldn’t say for sure today
Whether your eyes were blue or grey.

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
Your smile, your touch,
Which meant so much,
Somewhere along the way.

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
I changed my mind , my love was blind ,
Now I’ve forgotten you.

Oh, what a lie!
I shall think of you,
Think of you,
Think of you,
Till I die


SOTD 2/27/2018

With just 2 days left in the month I’m going through the remaining list of my iris-centric perfumes choosing carefully what gets a wear within this project. I’m going with my first unsniffed purchaseChanel No. 19 Poudré, even though I suspect it might be a little too cold for it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

So we are on the last day of A Month of Irises project. After it’s over, I’ll probably do a round-up post with some statistics – so please, keep going, do not give up until the end of the month (and report back).


I thought it would be very fitting to finish my updates for the month of irises, rainbows and perfumes with a link to Asali’s (The Sounds of Scent) review of the legendary Iris Gris perfume – At the end of the rainbow.


SOTD 2/28/2018

I started this project with a list of iris perfumes that had more than 28 scents, so it is not a surprise that I had a choice of what to wear for the last day. After going back and forth between a couple of contenders, I decided that Hiris by Hermès would be a perfect conclusion for the month: it is very office-friendly (and I have some meetings in a small office), it is a classic iris perfume, it is the last perfume featured in the picture of the introductory post for this project that I haven’t worn yet, and this mini bottle was a gift from dear Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies).


Rusty and Iris Perfumes


What are you wearing today?


Images: memo block and umbrella – from the sites selling the products, linked (no affiliation); the rest – my own

Month of Irises: Week 3 (Feb 15th – Feb 21st)

I’ll be adding something new in the end of this post during the next 7 days. Come back whenever you remember (WordPress doesn’t have an option to inform the subscribers about the updates) to read something new, see what perfume I chose to wear and share your SOTD.

So, we’re in the Week 3 of the Month of Irises. Do you still have more iris perfumes to wear? Do you feel like wearing them? I’m good on both counts, and I hope you’ll join me regardless of perfumes you choose to wear.

I’ve learned my lesson: no more riddles. I still have some topical bits and bobs to entertain you. And you’ll get to visit a couple of friendly blogs hosting one of the SOTD threads (that is if you actually see the update and follow the link I share).

* * *

Thursday, February 15, 2018


I plan to wear Gris Clair by Serge Lutens.  I would like to wear it for a foggy day (or, dare I wish, even a rainy one) but since the forecast has sunny days for at least next 10 days, I decided to go with it.


After trying to smell, bite and play with irises, Rusty finally generously allowed me to take a picture of him not moving or turning his head away.

Rusty and Irises

Friday, February 16, 2018


Iris Croatica (Hrvatska Perunika) is the national flower of Croatia – a home country of Ines (All I am – a redhead), who is hosting today’s SOTD thread. Visit her blog to read her thoughts on several iris perfumes and share what perfume you’re wearing on the last day of the work week.

Saturday, February 17, 2018


Yesterday I didn’t have to plan and post my SOTD in advance (since Ines was graciously hosting that day), so I ended up wearing Bois d’Iris by Van Cleef and Arpels. It is nice woody and warm perfume (Vanessa, this might be an answer to both the project and your cravings) but either it actually disappears from my skin within a couple of hours, or I stop smelling it. I re-applied it 4 times during the day – which almost never happens to me even with Jo Malone perfumes.

So, Jo Malone it is for my Saturday’s SOTM. I plan to wear Orris and Sandalwood.


Remembering that weekends are slow, I invite you to do some window shopping with me. One of my favorite designer brands – Franz Porcelain Collection – a necklace from which Rusty helped to demo in my anniversary post, also makes tableware and home decor items. I like to look at them but I can’t imagine most of them in my day-to-day life – even if their price wasn’t higher than I would want to spend on any of that type items. But I can look at them, right? All these items are available from the Wildlife Wonders online store (no affiliation).

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Sunday, February 18, 2018


Belles Rives by La Parfumerie Moderne (from a sample from a friend). I like it but I think it’s a tad more unisex than I’d like it to be. And, in my opinion, requires warmer weather to properly bloom. I’ll leave the rest of the sample to re-test it in a month.

Monday, February 19, 2018


Ormonde JayneVanille d’Iris. I have not made up my mind about this perfume but something tells me I won’t go beyond the sample I’ve got.


Have you ever tried making an origami? Here are instructions for traditional origami iris flower; and here for the leaves.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Today Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) hosts the Day of Iris. Please attend his very informative lesson A study of iris – from crop to perfume (and share your SOTD in the comments there).


Wednesday, February 21, 2018


According to the Paula’s Choice Research Team (with the reference to the Botanical Dermatology Database), in skincare products orris root is used “primarily as a fragrant component due to its violet-like scent. It can cause sensitizing skin reactions and there is no research showing it has any benefit for skin.”

I read articles (in different sources including Vogue magazine) mentioning anti-ageing and other benefits to this ingredient in skincare products. But at this point I choose to believe Paula Begoun since, unlike it is in most of those other sources, she puts her name under her (her team’s) opinion.

SOTD, 2/21/18

Suddenly winter is back with a vengeance (4C/39F at night), and our heater stopped working right after the last store where we could get an additional portable heater had closed. A friend brought us his spare oil heater, which hopefully will be keeping Rusty warm tonight. So for the cold day at home while dealing with the heater repairman, I’ll wear Chanel No. 19 extrait.


What are you wearing today?

Images: Franz Collection – from the store I linked to above; the rest – my own

Monday Quick Sniffs, part 46

Undina: I think most of my readers know Lucas and his blog Chemist in the Bottle – but if no, Lucas is one of rare perfumistas who went beyond just perfume appreciation: he works in the industry, and one day, I’m sure, I will be wearing perfumes of his creation. While thinking about the ways to keep ourselves and our blogs even more entertaining, we thought it would be a good idea to swap blogs for a day. Yesterday he hosted my Second Sunday Samples on Chemist in the Bottle, and today I invite you to welcome him on Undina’s Looking Glass.

* * *


I am new to the brand of Paul Schütze and it seems I started discovering this brand from its bold side. Tears of Eros (yes, I chose the sample based on its name!) starts with a big hyacinth – it’s very floral at first but several minutes later it becomes very green, with a plant juice dripping all over the place. Plus it gets really earthy & vegetal. Kind of like a gloomy orris root. Woody notes of guaiac wood and cedar follow next, as they spread their scent. It’s dry, woodsy and has a rough feeling to it. It’s very solid and thanks to incense accord this perfume feels much darker and mysterious. It has a spiritual accents but to me this is how a dangerous forest from a fantasy book could smell like. Ambergris makes Tears of Eros more mineral, benzoin adds a resinous facet while cardamom makes it a little bit more spicy in a cool way. This is a daring perfume for perfume people with a lot of courage.


In response to the success of Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Homme this renowned fashion brand recently introduced its counterpart for women. Guilty Absolute pour Femme opens with beautiful and mouth-watering blackberry note. I just love how nicely it incorporates juicy and sweet aspect of this red fruit with its more tart, tangy side. Through this balance it smells very realistic and super delicious. Gentle zing of bergamot guides us further to a cypress accord that has a green, slightly woody smell. It actually makes me think of a blackberry bush. Next there is a lovely Bulgarian rose than blends nicely with red fruity aroma making it much more feminine and sensual. Pink pepper provides something tingly, sparkling in the background. Amber and patchouli in the base make Guilty Absolute pour Femme more guilty and seductive through its warmth. There’s a bit more woodiness later (from Goldenwood® molecule). Well done Gucci, really well done! Thumbs up!


Making Of, a niche brand based in Cannes debuted with 5 fragrances four years ago and this fact somehow slipped my mind. I haven’t tried them for all that time, despite having samples somewhere in the drawer. For today I picked Inavouable, a composition that sets off with tangy combination of lemon, bergamot and blood mandarin. What I noted is that there’s not much juiciness to them, they feel more dry (gin?) and aromatic. Aquatic and sheer magnolia follows next but it gets completely overwhelmed by a slightly indolic jasmine that appears shortly after. After some time tiare flowers gives Inavouable a tropical twist. Sweetness of vanilla blends with it and on my skin it smells like a lovely suntan lotion. It’s a little sultry too. Ambery facets appear after few hours introducing more warmth and sensuality to the fragrance. Benzoin makes Inavouable more balsamic while musk gives something animalic. It’s not a bad perfume, just not memorable one for me.


And now please join me in wishing Undina all the best for her birthday, which happens to be today! Everyone raise your glass for our beloved birthday girl. May all your wishes come true and may 2018 be filled with many wonderful things. We love having you around.

Crossover Episodes of SSS and MQS

This month Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) and I decided to run our regular features – my Second Sunday Samples and his Monday Quick Sniffs – on each other’s blogs. Just in case you do not subscribe yet to Lucas’s blog updates, follow this link to see my guest appearance there. And tomorrow come back here to see the new episode of MQS by Lucas.

Week 2 post stays open for SOTD comments, and I will be answering to all comments, but I’m taking two days off from daily updates to celebrate my birthday.

Rusty and Bouquet of Irises