Entertaining Statistics: 2018 Year Round-up

Another year is behind us. Once again, it was not that bad for me. Would I want 2019 to be better? I would. But I would settle for it to be not worse than 2018.

Perfume-wise 2018 was a solid year for me. I keep “diversifying”: I wore 196 perfumes (vs. 178 in 2017), from 79 brands (vs. 72) on more occasions (372 vs. 314 in 2017). And if you are wondering how I manage to wear more perfumes than days in a year and also do a lot of testing, just look at the brand I wore the most: with its tenacity I could have worn probably twice as many perfumes if I were to carry extra ones with me to apply later during the work day.

Brands I wore most in 2018

Jo Malone and Chanel keep the first two positions, the next 6 brands changed places but are still on my Top 10 list, and only two brands are new compared to the previous year – Dior and Frederic Malle.

I still rotate perfumes daily, so I do not wear any one of my favorites too often. Perfumes I wore the most often in 2018: Lancôme Climat (10 times), Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (7) and Chanel Bois des Iles (6), which isn’t surprising since the first two are my absolute favorites and the third one was a new bottle purchase this year.

Chanel Bois des Iles

Also, I managed to test more perfumes than I did last year (if to count only perfumes I tested at home): 380 perfumes (vs. 300 in 2017) from 139 brands (vs. 103). Out of these 380 perfumes 145 I tested for the first time.

The only position where I did “worse” than the year before is 2018 releases tested: I managed to try 44 perfumes released last year (vs. 45 in 2017) and liked several of them enough to add to my collection. But I plan to tell their stories in future posts, so for now they shall stay unnamed.

I used 51 pictures of Rusty in posts in 2018 (I didn’t count them before, so I have no comparison point here but you can see all of them if you filter my posts by the “Four legs good” CATegory).

Rusty on the Stairs

How was your 2018 perfume-wise and in general?

 

Images: my own

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Orange Cats in My Life – Part… X*: Rusty turns 10

As I told in the story of Rusty coming into our lives (Part IV: Those that have just broken the flower vase…), we consider Rusty to be our Christmas cat and celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve.

Cats are not dogs, so when choosing a cat as a companion, I knew what would be missing – loyalty, affection and obedience. Obedience is clearly not in Rusty’s repertoire (though I did manage to teach him not to come and ask for food before he hears the alarm clock), but in terms of loyalty and attachment, Rusty is probably the farthest to the right on the long tail of the statistical distribution of these qualities in felines.

Rusty's Tail

Rusty is also an extremely social cat: not only he spends a lot of time with me and my vSO, but he also inserts himself in the middle of any gatherings at our place: if there’s a free chair at the table, he’d sit on it and, at some point, he might feel comfortable enough to try to steal our food.

So this year I decided to invite some of my perfumista friends and their furry kids to the to the virtual celebration of Rusty’s birthday. This still being a perfume blog (at least from time to time), I also asked all of the guests to tell us what perfume(s) they plan to wear this Christmas and, optionally, why.

* * *

H

Hajusuuri, my lovely guest-writer and one of the most generous people in the Perfumeland, is known to many by the avatar of this extremely handsome dog. It’s not her pet but a part of the extended family, so he was invited officially to Rusty’s big 1-O celebration.

He decided to stay anonymous, so we’ll just call him H. Two of his siblings, F. and S., were also invited – not to be left out, you know how it can be in a family…

S, H and F

Hajusuuri: As to what perfume I will wear on Christmas, the theoretical answer is Chanel No. 5 L’eau from my Red bottle. The practical answer is I will be nice to my scent-phobe family members and wear a swipe of Al-Rehab Choco Musk or perhaps a teeny tiny dab of Aftelier Vanilla Smoke.

* * *

Truffle

Meet Truffle, a beautiful three-year old companion of Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume), who (the cat, not V.), when is not trapped in one of the neighbours’ garages, attends to her human in time of need.

If you want to know more about Truffle, her tricks and mischief (or just to see more pictures), take a look at a Christmas post on Truffle as a kitten or a post for her second birthday.

Vanessa: On Christmas Day, after much deliberation and auditioning of samples, I have decided to wear By Kilian‘s Amber Oud. As Undina is the ‘hostess’ of this Christmas post, my selection is a nod towards her recent ‘Novamber’ sniffathon and ongoing love of the note, as well to the fact that she has given me samples of Amber Oud at least twice.;) I like Amber Oud because the older I get, the more my tolerance for sweetness in perfumes increases, and this scent, with its comforting, almost maple syrup-type amber laced with lashings of vanilla, is judiciously tempered by spices, a more austere cedar note, and of course the oud, and ends up less sticky and more sheer. I would never normally be drawn to a scent with ‘oud’ in the name, in case it is too medicinal and sharp, but the blend here is marvellously mellow and will create a warm festive hum around my person on the big day!

* * *

Boxer on his beach chair

Admit that you didn’t expect to see a rabbit at this virtual party. Boxer lives with Suzanne (Suzanne’s Perfume Journal). To keep him fit and healthy, Suzanne developed a special morning exercise routine for him. Judging by the way he looks, it works. After holidays Rusty and I should be probably consulting her to start preparing to the bikini season.

Suzanne: When I think about the perfect Christmas perfume, I think of Caron Parfum Sacre. It has a very beautiful nutmeg note intertwined among its rich layers, and nutmeg always reminds me of Christmas since it’s a featured spice in eggnog, plum pudding and the like. The nutmeg lifts the deep, velvety expression of rose, the bewitchingly syrup-and-evergreen scent of myrrh, and the custard-like vanillic base of Parfum Sacre. There’s even a small, purring amount of civet in this perfume, of which I think Rusty, the Christmas cat, might approve. ;-)

* * *

Vega

Follow the link to learn how a shy rescue kitty who graciously accepted Asali’s (The Sounds of Scent) companionship got her shiny (and perfume-related!) name Vega.

Asali: For Christmas, I will 1) wear the to me unknown perfume of my Advent Calendar#, and 2) wear Nez a Nez Marron Chic.

# Here’s the post about Asali’s DIY Advent Calendar. I’m borrowing the idea next year!

* * *

Paris Jinx Jan 2018

Two handsome greyhounds – Paris and Jinx (can you guess which one was named by Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies) and which one by Jin?) – as Portia informed me, were “so excited that Rusty is turning 10 and wish him many more happy years on this earth with you. Plus all the treats, cuddles, pats and smooches that should go along with being a pampered pet.”

Surprisingly, there’s no dedicated post on the APJ but if you read Portia’s weekly updates, it’s hard to miss that these two guys play important roles in their owners’ lives.

Portia: Nuit de Noel by Caron for Xmas Eve watching the Carols by Candlelight; UR ± Silk 19 by UER MI** for Xmas lunch. It’s a fig tea, jasmine and woods fragrance that seems good for the heat of our Xmas Day.
For Xmas evening Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations, its spicy rose and woods fits all occasions perfectly for me, adds luster to whatever i’m doing.
Boxing Day will be spent BarBQ-ing and swimming so L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Intense will get a whirl.

** I thought one of the dogs had interrupted Portia, and it was a random set of characters but I checked: it’s a name of actual perfume!

* * *

Meepsy

If you were to scour Val’s, the Cookie Queen, Instagram feed (@armadilloscookiequeen), you would have probably conjectured that this Snow White’s name is actually “Cat” – and would have been wrong. Her full name is Meep Meep or Meepsy (“When she was a tiny kitten she ran around the apartment so fast you could not see her”).

Val: I will be wearing vintage Chanel N°5 parfum on Christmas Day, 25th. It feels very suitable and elegant, like me. Hahahaha. Family will be here, and wearing any kind of leather and smoke would be too much. I’ve been in a N°5 binge.

* * *

Duncan

Duncan, who is just 15 years young, is enjoying an early retirement with his humans in sunny Mérida. Steve (The Scented Hound) says that “for Xmas, I will be wearing my vintage Caron Nuit de Noel (of course).”

* * *

Mila

Mila, the youngest guest on today’s party (so, probably no valerian root beer for her), will grow to be probably one of the most well-traveled pets, as she accompanies her mom, Tara C on her seasonal migration between Canada and the U.S. Look at those ears!!!

Tara C: I normally wear Nuit de Noel on Christmas eve and Chopard Wish on Christmas day.

* * *

Ophelia, Border, Rita and Lucy all live with Marcella. They all decided to join the celebration, and I’m using this opportunity to introduce them to the Perfumeland since their human doesn’t have any public social media accounts where she’d be proudly demonstrating each of these beauties.

Marcella: This year I will be wearing vintage Shalimar perfume. I bought it for myself for my birthday this year. I wore it extensively in the 70’s and nostalgia prompted me to order a bottle. It’s still unbeatable. Absolutely glorious.

Actually, I think I will start off in Parfum de Thérèse which was a pre-Christmas gift from my hubs, and then transition to Shalimar once the cooking is done. Yes. That makes sense!

* * *

I don’t think I’ll surprise anybody who reads my blog for a while if I tell that on the Christmas Eve I plan to wear Climat by Lancome: not only it is my #1 all-time favorite perfume that I wear for special-special occasions, but also it was the first ever perfume that I took a picture of in general and the one with Rusty and perfume in particular (though, not the best or the last one with that perfume). And it was the first post about Rusty on this blog.

For his birthday Rusty got a new pure wool artisanal cat cave “handcrafted by women in Nepal.” He seems to like it.

Rusty in Cave

What a great party (and wonderfully smelling at that)! I’m so happy to have all of my real and virtual friends and their graceful companions to join me in celebration of the 10th Birthday of a very special orange cat in my life who is kneading and purring loudly on my lap as I’m trying to finish this post.

If you’re reading this, and you’re blessed with a furry companion, please introduce them and share a link to their pictures with us – so they could join the party and increase the enjoyment we all get from seeing each others four-legged friends. And, of course, tell me: what is your Christmas perfume this year?

 

Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers!

 

* For those of my readers who hasn’t read the previous episodes: no, I haven’t told 9 stories before this one but I thought that a 10th Birthday is a good reason to skip a couple of numerals.

Second Sunday Samples: YSL Le Vestiaire des Parfums

I cannot believe it’s the second Sunday of December: where did the year go?! I was so busy recently that I skipped a couple of Sundays moving posts originally planned for this series to be just posts. Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) and Old Herbaceous (Serenity Now) were smarter about their Monday Quick Sniffs and Scent Sample Sunday correspondingly: they get 4 or sometimes even 5 days per month to choose from when it comes to running the next episode of their series. But since the second Sunday comes just once a month, all I can do is to either make it or wait for the next one. I decided to do the last episode this year, especially since perfumes about which I’m writing fit perfectly to this season – even though by the not observing the back to the Standard Time shift WP’s clock it’s technically Monday already.

When it comes to perfumes and perfumistas, there are luxury perfume brands existence of which we acknowledge and either splurge on from time to time (Tom Ford or By Kilian) or mostly ignore (Creed or Clive Christian). Then there are brands’ luxury divisions which, although added later in the brand’s life, were rather welcomed and appreciated: L’Art et La Matiere from Guerlain, Les Exclusifs de Chanel, Hermessence or Dior’s La Collection Privee (though, it seems that the most recent revamp/rename to the “Maison” collection didn’t get any enthusiasm from the part of Perfumeland that I know). Of course, most of the brands that released their “top shelf” collections were in perfume business probably from the time when their “regular” lines were luxury not easily affordable for most buyers, so with everything being “dumbed down” as well as priced down to fit mass market, it felt somewhat justified that high quality and creativity was elevated into a separate collection and price category.

But that was 2004 – 2007. And then the levees broke: not talking about an avalanche of new super-niche super-expensive brands with real, bought or invented history, but all luxury brands, with or without the regular perfume portfolio, forayed into the luxury perfume space. And most of them are being ignored by the “old guard” perfumistas. Have you tried any of Louis Vuitton or Bottega Veneta’s Parco Palladiano Collection?

Yves Saint Laurent, a brand that had all the reasons and pedigree to be among the first creators of a luxury perfume branch, came to the party really late: they released their first five perfumes in the Le Vestiaire des Parfums (the Perfume Wardrobe) Collection in 2015. The collection name explains individual perfume names: they represent pieces of clothes designed by the brand or, later, once they ran out of significant attire articles, fabric used for those creations.

YSL Le Vestiaire des Parfums

I can’t tell you how many times I went by this stand at my local Neiman Marcus without even pausing. The reason was that on those rare occasions when I get to the NM’s perfume area, I usually have something else I want to try, and since I usually do not buy perfumes there, I try to minimize time I do the browsing since there’s only that many samples you can score from the same SAs without making a purchase. I mean, I can sniff my head out at any random place where I do not plan to come again but in the not that crowded local perfume “watering holes,” to which I keep coming back, I try to maintain some reasonable balance.

But recently when I finally decided to make a purchase (for the first time on my memory NM had 20% off, Beauty & Fragrances included, and there was something that I couldn’t buy elsewhere anyway). Can you imagine having all the possible good will from the SA and … absolutely nothing that I’d really want to try? (Our local store isn’t the most impressive in the perfume department.) I desperately looked around… and realized that I had never tried any perfumes in that 2015 YSL’s collection. So I asked and got generous 3.5 ml official samples for 3 perfumes from the original collection as well as small hand-made samples for two later additions.

Tuxedo

Three and Half Sea Stars

Tuxedo (2015, perfumer Juliette Karagueuzoglou – the name didn’t sound familiar to me so I checked: among mostly unfamiliar to me mass-market perfumes, last year she created Un Air de Bretagne for L’Artisan and Savoy Steam for Penhaligon’s) is described by the brand as “smoked patchouli blended with ambergris accord.” To my nose, it’s a warm amber-y perfume on a drier side with a dab of spices added. Based on the history of this garment, I’d expect some tobacco note but it’s not there – either listed or perceived.

Have you seen pictures of women in tuxedos? Even though they might look beautiful and sexy, looking at those pictures you still know that traditionally it’s a part of men’s wardrobe. Tuxedo perfume, in my opinion, is precisely like that: I can imagine a woman (maybe even myself) wearing this perfume but I think it leans masculine. Because of that I gave it just 3.5 sea stars but I plan to try it on my vSO to see if I 4-star-like-it on him.

Trench

Three Sea Stars

Trench (2015, perfumer Amandine Clerc-MarieMDCI’s Peche Cardinal, Mugler Angel EdT and Aura), “a citrus scent featuring dry cedarwood and white musk,” does start with a beautiful citrus that I’d love to keep smelling. Unfortunately, it subsides quickly into a more soap-y scent – still pleasant but not spectacular. Trench is supposed to feature fig and iris but my nose doesn’t catch either – even though these are some of a few notes that I usually easily recognize. Despite that as I said Trench is nice. Not its price-nice but good enough to try if you come across it without paying for it.

Caftan

Three and Half Sea Stars

Caftan (2015, perfumer Calice Baker) is a straight-forward amber perfume. It’s not Ambre Russe or Mitzah-type amber with resins punching you in the nose without warning, and it’s less sweet than, for example, Floris Honey Oud or EnVoyage Perfumes Captured in Amber, which makes it more unisex and easier to wear by a man. I wouldn’t refuse a travel spray of Caftan (it doesn’t come in one, I’m speaking theoretically) but I probably do not need this amber in addition to all the great ambers that I already have in my collection. But do try Caftan if you see it: it might work better for you, especially if you’re not a hardcore amber lover.

Velours

Four Sea Stars

Velours (2016, perfumer Carlos Benaim), yet another amber in this collection (can you even have too many ambers?) proved to be my favorite. I often get black tea note mistaken in perfumes for very supple leather, which happened here. Until I read notes, I was sure that this perfume, despite of the name, contains leather or at least suede note. But tea makes more sense. Velours is not a perfume to win any creativity or originality awards (well, the bottle is very nice – so, maybe for the packaging) but it’s easy to wear, smooth and refined. I saw several people comparing it to Dior Homme Parfum, which is supposed to be a good thing, I think, but since I’m not familiar with that Dior’s perfume, I don’t have that reference point to offer you. Too bad, unlike the original collection, the “de Nuit” addition to it (Velours being one of the three perfumes in it) comes only in 125 ml bottles, with is a lot even if not to consider the price.

Blouse

Four Sea Stars

The latest addition to the original collection – Blouse (2018, perfumer Quentin BischMandarin Corsica for L’Artisan, Mugler Angel Muse and Ambre Imperial for Van Cleef & Arpels) has won me by surprise. Being a floral perfume lover, I probably appreciated finally prominent floral notes in a slew of wood, amber and vanilla ingredients of perfumes I wore for the last month for my NovAmber project and tested from this collection. Despite the name that I find stupid (“Blouse” is such a non-descriptive name, and it’s completely out of sync with the rest of the collection.) and, again, stupid ad copy for the perfume on the brand’s site (they use words “sensual” and “sensuality” six times in a 7-sentences’ description), I like Blouse because it smells of a very natural and delicate (not sensual!) pink rose, and it lasts for a very long time for a light perfume. But I’m not buying 125 ml (again, the only size available now) of a pink (!) rose musk niceness.

– You smell nice. What are you wearing?
– YSL Blouse
– Duh!..

 Rusty and YSL Le Vestiaire des Parfums  

Images: my own

I did it again: NovAmber 2018

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while might remember that just a couple of years ago I did a whole month of amber perfumes… At least I thought so until I checked: I published a post about it 4 years ago to the day. Time seems to be even more fleeting than perfumes…

Since I have a penchant for cold weather perfumes and almost no cold weather where we live (it’s 14C/56F outside now), if I want to wear my favorites, I cannot just sit and wait for the proper weather. So I decided to do another NovAmber month.

Amber Autumn

I purposefully didn’t check which perfumes I’d chosen last time: while I still don’t have 30 bottles or decants of amber perfumes in my collection, since for such projects I allow myself to wear perfumes from samples (which I normally don’t do), combined number of all amber perfumes that I have access to would be sufficient for a couple of months, so I was curious which perfumes I’d choose for the line-up.

For thirty days I wore only amber perfumes. Not all of them were “amber forward” but they all had amber as a part of the composition.

Half of the perfumes that I chose were the same as I wore four years ago: Montale Blue Amber, L’Artisan L’eau d’Ambre Extreme, Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily, Annick Goutal Ambre Fétiche, Bvlgari Black, Dior Ambre Nuit, Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan, Armani Prive Ambre Orient, Ormonde Jayne Tolu, Dior Mitzah, By Kilian Amber Oud, Eau de Tommi Sooni II, Royal Apothic Dogwood Blossom, Amouage Ubar and L’Artisan Eau de Mandarine Ambrée.

I won’t repeat my impressions of these since they are not much different from what I described in the previous post. I just wanted to mention that Ubar, which many of the commenters didn’t associate with amber perfumes, is still one of my most favorite amber perfumes. Two other perfumes that I predicted would join my collection – By Kilian Amber Oud and Dior Ambre Nuit – did: the former as a refill bottle (see In the Search for the Perfect… By Kilian Perfume) and the latter as the next decant (I still plan to get a 40 ml real bottle one day, I just can’t do 120+ ml now).

Rusty and By Kilian Amber Oud

The next group consists of perfumes that, most likely, do not need an introduction (but I’ll still link to the stories that I told for some of them before): Chanel Coco EdP and Bois des Iles EdP, Serge Lutens Chergui and Jeux de Peau and Teo Cabanel Alahine. I enjoyed wearing all of them though I confirmed for myself my recent conclusion that I do not love Jeux des Peau enough to warrant a full bottle (I’m still not done with that first decant I bought 7 years ago).

Floris Honey Oud and En Voyage Perfumes Captured in Amber, both new to my collection compared to it four years ago, were perfect additions for this project. In the earlier post I promised to share a picture of Rusty sniffing Captured in Amber once I decide on the concentration and get a bottle. I ended up buying pure parfum but since the bottle is tiny, the best I could do was to capture a photo of Captured in Amber captured in amber-y Rusty’s fur.

Rusty and En Voyage Captured In Amber

This project brought a couple of personal discoveries. First, I finished my sample of Aedes de Venustas Cierge de Lune and realized that I want more. Probably not a bottle-worth more but I really hope Aedes will release it in travel spray format. Another surprise was Van Cleef & Arpels Ambre Imperial: while at a store, I allowed the SA who had just made me a couple of samples to spray my wrist with this perfume. I think I didn’t expect to like it so it was easier to just agree with her and be on my way. I should have been greedy and asked for the third sample! Either I just had amber on my mind, or it was actually as good as it seemed in the moment… Now I’ll have to go back and test it again.

I’ll skip mentioning several perfumes that I either didn’t like or, on the contrary, liked and plan to tell you more about them in future posts.

During November I wore more than 30 amber perfumes. And I’m not done yet. It probably means that I really like amber in my perfumes, right?

 

How about you? Do you like amber in your perfumes? What are your absolute favorites? Were there any recent discoveries?

 

Images: my own

Big Island Vacation, Episode III: Trivia Edition

As my friend Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) usually does it, here’s a disclaimer: this is not a perfume-related post. But you know what? If you read my “perfume” posts and are still around, I would bet that this one can’t be that much less interesting/useful.

This trip to Hawaii was quite educational, and I do not use it as a euphemism for something unpleasant. Quite literally, I learned many new and interesting trivia bits and had interesting experiences, mostly food-related, which now I plan to share with you.

Did you know that…

  • Between 1790 and 1870, sandalwood was a major part of Hawaii’s agricultural industry1. Too bad it’s not any more – it would have been interesting to compare it to sandalwood from other areas.
  • In the 1960s, Hawaii was responsible for 80% of the world’s pineapple. Today, Hawaii produces only 2% of the world’s pineapple. But 90% of the world’s macadamia nuts are still produced there [1].

Big Island Macadamia Nuts

  • Peaberry coffee (oval, pea-shaped coffee beans) is not a special coffee variety but rather a rare (about 5%) mutation produced by regular coffee trees.
  • Roasted coffee beans are bigger than green ones [2].

Big Island Roasted Coffee

  • Passion fruit is a vine.

Passion Fruit

  • Strawberry guava is considered the most invasive plant in Hawaii [3].

Big Island Strawberry Guava

  • Left not picked, a tea bush can grow higher than the tallest person.
  • Both green and black tea are grown on the same bush but, counter-intuitively, green tea is “cooked” (leaves are heated in a special appliance, shown below, to stop the oxidation), while black – isn’t [4].

Big Island Tea Roasting Machine

During this trip I’ve seen for the first time:

  • Tea flowers and tea seeds: you can propagate tea by either cuttings or seeds [4]. Tea flowers look beautiful both in rain and on a sunny day.
  • Growing vanilla: it looks like green beans!

Big Island Vanilla

  • Cinnamon tree: I didn’t realize before that it’s made from the bark is harvested from a live tree [4].

Big Island Sinnamon Tree

We experienced:

  • Mead from local honey infused with local tea: it tastes great on a hot day.

Big Island Tea Infused Mead

  • Chinese tea ceremony during which I smelled strong floral scent of one of the black teas: it wasn’t an imaginary or pretend-I-know-what-you-mean scent as it happens sometimes with wine tasting but it actually smelled of flowers [4].

Big Island Chinese Tea Ceremony

  • Freshly baked homemade scones with passion fruit curd: we were treated to these in the end of the tea ceremony, and they were so tasty that I started contemplating making them at home.

Scone and passion fruit curd

  • Hot and sunny mornings, perfect tropical rains and the most beautiful sunsets – and all that within an hour-drive distance

 

1 Source https://www.to-hawaii.com/agriculture.php

2 From our visit to Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation that offers free coffee farm tours lead by enthusiastic staff members, sampling of coffee and other products in their shop, as well as inexpensive nature walks.

3 Wikipedia

4 From the private tour in Onomea Tea Company – three-hour event that included the tour and tea ceremony. It was probably the best experience of this type in my life, so I would highly recommend it.

 

Images: my own

A Postcard from Undina: Happy Rainy Thanksgiving!

I know that for many people rain isn’t something pleasant or desirable. But here, in California, after several years of serious drought, rain is always welcome. But even more so today: it brought us a beautiful Thanksgiving gift of “Good” Air Quality Index – after a week of fluctuations between “Unhealthy” and “Very Unhealthy” because of the devastating and the deadliest in California history Camp Fire that is still ruining our beautiful state (it’s 75% contained as of now).

I’m thankful for the rain. I’m thankful that my loved ones are alive and safe this holiday. I’m thankful I have people with whom I will be celebrating this holiday that hasn’t been mine when I grew up but which I grew to appreciate over years living in the U.S.

 

Happy Rainy Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!

Image: my own taken earlier today

Big Island Vacation, Episode II: Perfume Testing

Usually I try not to bring with me new samples for testing on a vacation. The idea is not to influence my first impression one way or the other as well as not to change my usual testing routine. But Regime des Fleurs arrived not long before we were to leave, and it was a Hawaii-themed collection, so I took it as a sign.

 

Regime Des Fleurs Oahu Collection Samples

 

Look at this official photo for the collection! These bottles bring to mind some exotic drinks taken out of the fridge a minute ago. Obviously,  perfumes were just made for a tropical vacation, right?!

Wrong! Regime des Fleurs’ Oahu Collection perfumes not only smelled chemically artificial in Big Island’s environment (Wrong island?) but also they had absolutely no tenacity in hot and humid weather. I was so disappointed that I didn’t write down any specific impressions from my testing: I had no intentions even to mention these perfumes on the blog.

But then I decided to do a write-up on them for my Second Sunday Samples post, so I had to test them again.

Suddenly, in our California warm Fall these perfumes behaved completely differently. I think that, similar to my experience with Selva Do Brazil by Parfums Berdoues that I mentioned in the previous post, these perfumes project the idea of Hawaii rather than are intended to be used there. I ended up being too busy and missed the intended posting schedule but not to waste the efforts, I transformed my quick impressions into the second episode of my vacation series.

Five perfumes in this collection are Shells, Falls, Vines, Waves and Leis.

 

Hawaii waves

 

The least favorite out of the five tested were Waves (crushed herbs, beachside buds, ti leaf, saltwater, ocean froth, lava rock, sea minerals, mango wood) and Falls (tropical spices, hapu’u tree ferns, rushing water, green mist, wet jungle moss, monkeypod bark, manoa red clay).

Waves, to my nose, in the opening smell as toothpaste. It settles down quickly and becomes just not too interesting: some aromatic herbs and something aquatic. Not a fan.

 

Hawaii fall

 

Falls, while not producing any immediate negative associations, just does nothing for me. Testing it I’m pressed to define what I smell and why I dislike it but I do.

So, as much as I like both ocean and waterfalls, these two perfumes were a miss.

Out of all, Leis (butterfly ginger lily, pua kini kini, frangipani, tuberose, jasmine sambac, black salt, ambergris) had the most theoretically recognizable notes and one unfamiliar but very intriguing – pua kini kini (Perfume Flower Tree).

While Leis is a quite pleasant light fruity floral perfume, it doesn’t showcase any of the declared notes (which might be not a bad thing for me when it comes to tuberose) and doesn’t satisfy my curiosity about pua kini kini.

 

Hawaii Vines

 

In Vines (healing herbs, overripe citrus, indigenous fig, stephanotis leaf, ambrette seed, forest musks) I don’t recognize fig (indigenous or not), can confirm some herbs (not sure about the “healing” part) and probably musk (“forest”?!), but beyond that I can’t say much: I’m not familiar with the rest of ingredients and not sure I have any reference points for describing what I smell. But the composition is rather pleasant; I liked it the most and could see myself wearing this perfume once in a while.

Shells (Li hing, liliko’i, teak resin, macadamia seed, sandalwood, vanilla oleoresin), probably the most abstract inspiration image for perfume, was the biggest surprise when worn in cooler weather. I was upset though that I couldn’t smell passion fruit (liliko’i), not even because I especially love this note in perfumes (I would have gone with Arielle Shoshana perfume if I did) but because that scent is very distinct and I know it really well, which I can’t say about too many notes. But as an abstract idea of that part of Hawaii ecosystem Shells is pleasant enough to try – if you come across this brand.

 

Regime Des Fleurs Oahu Collection Samples

 

All-in-all, while I liked two perfumes from the collection, I’m opposed to the idea of perfumes that are designed for both “body and environment.” On more than one occasion I used an ambiance spray as a personal perfume but those were bought as such – room sprays – and were priced accordingly. $125 for a 100 ml bottle of summer cologne is not that outrageous, if you like the scent, but as room spray it seems a little too aspirational. But bottles are attractive, and colored juice looks playful (and reminds me the new Mugler Cologne collection), so I do not feel completely dismissive towards Oahu Collection.

As for samples, I got them free of charge (not as a blogger: the brand had offered them to NST’s readers in the comment to the announcement of this line release), so I shouldn’t look that horse in the mouth. But as a blogger I still want to comment that, in my opinion, both for the price they charge for the “Sampling Flight” ($25, credited towards a full bottle purchase) and to make justice to their perfumes, they should look into switching to spray format (even if with the same 1 ml volume): dabbed, these perfumes do not either project much or live long.

 

Images: All but the first official image – my own