Saturday Question: What Was The Last New Perfume You Tried?

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 #6:

What Was The Last New Perfume You Tried?

As always, I have more questions that just the main one. What was the last new (for you) perfume that you tried? Where did you get it (unless you tried it at a store)? What’s your impression?

My Answer

Recently I had a surge of desire to test perfumes I hadn’t tried before. And I thought that supporting a local business might be not a bad idea at the moment. So I ordered several samples from Tigerlily. In addition to samples I ordered, they’ve included one more – Hereafter by Sarah Horowitz.

It’s oil perfume with the notes of blood orange, cardamom, Iso E Super, cedarwood, sandalwood, amber and vanilla.

I don’t think I would have tried this perfume even if I saw it at a store: a couple from this brand that I’d tried didn’t work for me before, and I usually don’t like oil perfumes. But since it just appeared at my house, I gave it a try. And unexpectedly I liked it very much. It starts with a touch of sweetness that subsides into a slightly bitter woody notes. I will be testing it more but I’m tempted to get that small bottle to use as a shared perfume for air travel. I mean, I hope, we still have some of those in future.

 

SHP Hereafter

 

How about you?

What Was The Last Perfume You Tried?

 

Image: Tigerlily site (but I think it’s from the brand)

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.

Fun in the Car with Youth Dew

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).

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“You’re a perfume snob”. So said my friend as we drove to lunch together. I was quite taken aback, “What, no! I’m not!” but my friend continued on seemingly enjoying herself. “Oh yes, you are, you are absolutely a perfume snob!”

This was hard to take, especially so as I was asphyxiating under a roiling cloud of Estee Lauder‘s Youth Dew, my friend’s favourite perfume. I had given her a bottle as a gift, even though I feared being in just this situation, trapped in a car full of Youth Dew, which I very much disliked. Neither youthful nor dewy to my nose, I thought it did not suit my friend at all but she loved it.

Trying to prove my lack of snobbery I informed her that I was wearing Britney Spears Curious in Control (a pleasant apple custard scent), so therefore I could not possibly be a snob. She laughed, “Oh, you’re 100% a snob!” Ugh, this was getting uncomfortable. I started worrying that offering up Britney as an example of my willingness to embrace  the cheapest celebuscent was actually proof of my snobbery, “Some of my best friends are celbuscents!” But then I got a grip and realized I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone. The word my friend was probably looking for was aficianado aka someone who knows too much and talks too much on a topic other people don’t deem worthy of a conversation. Sometimes (who am I kidding, most of the time) it’s better to just agree that Youth Dew is enchanting without harping on about oakmoss. It’s straight back to my childhood when I thought spouting facts about krill was a good response to a kid saying “penguins are nice”.

I love perfume and I love smells, some days it feels like I love every single smell in the world. I try to appear a little less of a weirdo, to pocket the leaf or cheese rind or odd flinty rock and not inhale them deeply in front of people. I think many of us who started out on this perfume journey because something smelled pretty have ended up here. Nose deep in a stout thinking about oud. Analyzing funk and and oils and laughing when connections are made. Once your brain and your nose start having deep and meaningfuls, there’s no going back.

So I must declare I am not a snob. I am just someone with too many facts and too many opinions on too many topics and one of them is perfume.

 

Gold Plated Bathroom

 

Photo is of my GOLD PLATED BATHROOM. Not really, but did you know that pure gold has no smell of its own?

Saturday Question: Do You Keep Perfume Boxes?

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.

Last week we had 91 comments, and the winner is: cookie queen cassieflower. Please contact me before the next SQ post with your choice of an indie brand’s site, for which you’d like to get the offered gift certificate.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #5:

Do You Keep Perfume Boxes?

On those rare occasions when I visit Facebook, I come across people posting in different perfume groups pictures of their collections: beautiful bottles displayed on shelves, dressing tables and vanity trays.

Also, in the same groups, people are selling perfumes, oftentimes without box or specifying that they’d send a box with extra postage.

It always makes me wonder: were all of those bottles testers? Or do people throw them away? Or store separately? Aren’t they afraid to expose their precious perfumes to light?

My Answer

In almost five years since I did a post on a similar topic (Thinking outside the Box), nothing has changed: all of my perfumes that have boxes are stored in them in the walk-in closet. Decants and rare “naked” bottles are tucked away into drawers in the same closet. And from time to time I’m adding to or changing a set of decorative bottles on my display tray. Wait… not exactly “nothing has changed”: we’ve added an accordion door to the closet, so now my perfumes are even more protected from a stray sunbeam that theoretically might peek into my bedroom through shades.

So, throwing away a box or keeping perfume that came in a box outside feels completely unnatural to me.

 

Rusty in the Box

 

How about you? If we get to 75 comments, I’ll do one more round of a random draw for a $25 (or equivalent in pounds or euro) gift certificate to an indie brand of your choice.

 

Do You Keep Perfume Boxes?

 

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.

Better than a New-Car Scent

Do you still remember those times when you could go to a department store, pick up a tester from a counter and spray it on a paper strip or on your skin? …

It was just a joke; I’m not practicing my March 2021 “A year in ‘shelter-in-place’” post. But when I started writing this post, I realized that I wasn’t sure what tense to use. Let’s pretend that life is (or very soon will be) what it used to.

In early days of getting acquainted with niche perfume world, as many of you probably did as well, on a single perfume shop trip I would use 4-5 spots on each arm to try multiple different perfumes after a quick sniff from a bottle or a test strip. But in the last 3-4 years I rarely test more than 2 perfumes at a time, and most days when I find myself at a store where I could try something, I am on my way to somewhere (a party, some theater or other performance or business trip) where I don’t want to reek of a cacophony of random perfumes.

So, what I normally do these days is: after sniffing from a nozzle (yeah, I know, extremely scientific approach), I identify perfumes that I want to try, spray those on paper, walk around, discard those that do not smell promising, try to get samples for a couple of those that I liked the most to test on skin at home and take away with me 5-6 paper strips with scents that I liked the most and want to check how they develop. If one day you happen to be around one of the “perfume centers” of San Francisco/Bay Area and see a woman walking the mall or adjacent streets with a fan of paper blotters in her hand who can care less how it must look like – there is a high chance it would be me. And then, when I get to my car, I use a vent grid to hold those strips separated until I get home.

 

Blotters in a Car Vent

 

That was exactly how it went last year when, on the spur of the moment, I went to Tigerlily Perfumery to try perfumes that are hard to get to test for free anywhere else around here. I went through, in my estimate, 40-50 bottles, bought several small samples (I love that they do that! I’d rather officially pay a small amount to take what I want to test at home than do all the dancing for maybe getting what I want) and left with 5 or 6 strips, mostly (but not all) of perfumes samples of which I bought.

At home I re-smelled the blotters and left them on the bathroom counter to re-visit the next day to see what remained from the scents. Samples went into the “to test” box but I wasn’t in a hurry to reach for them: I already smelled all of them in the store, I had them – so what is a month or two before I put them on skin?

But my car smelled wonderfully the next day. And the day after that. And probably for the next couple of weeks from time to time I kept catching a pleasant waft… It took me a while to realize that one of the paper strips fell into the vent and kept emitting an unknown aroma from the depth of my car. But which one was that? I hoped it was one of those that I bought a sample of, but I wasn’t sure. I went on testing, two at a time, waiting for that magnificent drydown.

I got lucky: it was one of the samples that I had. Naomi Goodsir Or du Serail, created in 2014 by Bertrand Duchaufour (BTW, have you noticed that he almost disappeared from the perfume scene last year? According to Fragrantica, there were just 7 perfumes he released for 4 brands – and I’ve never heard of 4 of them. In 2014 there were 15 and in later years there were even more). With Or du Serail it was one of those times when you know that you want that perfume. So, I bought it.

 

Naomi Goodsir Or Du Serail

 

Or du Serail is rich and very warm perfume. It’s not timid – it’s loud and strong and present. And I love wearing it. If you want a fuller review, read Kevin’s (Now Smell This) impression. But if you haven’t tried it yet, I think it’s one of those perfumes that is worth trying whether you end up liking it or not.

 

Images: my own

Saturday Question: How Are You Doing? What Are You Doing?

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.

Last week I asked you to name 3 most favorite Serge Lutens perfumes. 33 perfumes got nominated, some of them more than once. Top 3 were Iris Silver Mist (10), Ambre Sultan (7) and De Profundis (6).

This week I want to do something slightly different. I want to try to “document” what’s happening in different parts of the World where you, my friends and readers live in these strange times.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #4:

How Are You Doing? What Are You Doing?

What is the situation where you live – city or country, be as generic or specific as you wish. Did you get any extra food and supplies?

What is the situation with your job (if you were working)?

If you’re staying at home more than usual, what do you do?

Have your perfume habits changed recently?

My Answer

All individuals living in the State of California have been ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. This was announced on Thursday night following the last week’s “shelter-in-place” order in the county where I live. But my office sent everyone to work from home a week before then. So far, everyone I know personally is healthy (or at least not symptomatic).

After some initial panic last week, currently it’s calmer in our area. And while all the stores seem to be permanently out of toilet paper, cleaning supplies and some random items, in general, food is available. But of course, uncertainty breads fears, so, just in case, we stockpiled more food that I’ve probably ever had at one time in my house. My only excuse is that we bought almost nothing that we normally wouldn’t buy. So, I hope not to waste any food.

While I enjoy working from home once in a while (and last week it was quite convenient since I wasn’t feeling good – not virus/flu/etc.; getting better now), doing it every day is not fun: the boundaries between work and home life blur and not in a healthy way. And since both my vSO and I are doing a number of meetings and phone calls each day, one of us periodically has to leave the office not to interfere with the other’s activities. But we manage. Rusty, so far, seems to enjoy our company, though I suspect he’ll get tired of us soon.

 

Rusty Sleeping

 

My perfume habits followed the change in the work environment: I stopped wearing perfumes. If I were telling you this, I would have kept a longer pause. But I won’t do it here in writing and hurry to tell you that while I’m not wearing perfumes, I use this opportunity to test and re-test a lot of samples, trying to resolve some of the issues discussed a couple of weeks ago in the SQ#2. I tested more than 30 perfumes during last week and wore just one perfume – Amouage Dia for the grocery shopping today. But this weekend I plan to dress up for dinner (just for a change) and wear one of my favorite perfumes. But after that I’ll continue going through the piles of samples.

I want to share with you several links I collected during this week from different sources:

The Metropolitan Opera every day does HD streaming of famous operas. The one that was streamed the night before (7:30 PM EDT) is available for 20 hours. I’m not a huge opera buff but I figured out that it was a good opportunity to listen to/see some famous singers.

12 Famous Museums offer virtual tours. I haven’t tried them yet myself but plan to soon.

For the US readers: a grocery tracker that shows if grocers have made operational changes for your safety and theirs as well as whether or not employee benefits may be offered to those hard workers that help you get the items you need. This is a great way to choose where you shop during this craziness. There is detail on each grocer below the main list.

 

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63 comments last week means that there was no draw. Let’s lower the bar this week and shoot for 75 comments. If we reach it, there will be a prize: a random draw for a $25 (or equivalent in pounds or euro) gift certificate to an indie brand of your choice (I suspect they’ll need our support).

 

How Are You Doing? What Are You Doing?

 

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.

Turkish Delight? Yes, Please!

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).

* * *

When I was a child, I loved to read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, and I read it multiple times a year. In it a rather unpleasant child is offered a box of Turkish delight by a beautiful woman. He likes it so much he trades everything for more and more Turkish delight, everything being his siblings, Jesus, summer time, kittens… everything! I had no idea what Turkish delight was, but it was obviously very delicious since it was worth betraying everyone you ever met. For my whole childhood I imagined it was rum truffles, something I had tasted only a few times. They were rich and decadent, and you were never allowed to have as many as you wanted, so that to me was Turkish delight.

Many years later, I discovered what Turkish delight really was, and I love it far more than rum truffles! I’m also aghast that Edmund managed to eat boxes and boxes of it. I’ve always loved any foods with a perfumed note and rose flavour is the queen. Rose pastilles, rose truffles, rose gelato… I remember them all because they are not easy to find. Turkish delight, however, is readily available, and I buy it a few times a year and cover myself in powdered sugar eating far too many delightful cubes of rosy joy. So when a perfume smells like Turkish delight I am absolutely in LOVE.

My beloved favourite Turkish delight perfume is the original Boucheron Jaipur for women. It’s a beautiful bracelet (and confusingly one of the flankers is named “Bracelet” but that is a different perfume), and it I adore it. Sticky, candied rose and fruits created in 1994 by Sophia Grojsman. There are plenty of sweet rose perfumes that are delicious, such as Lush‘s Rose Jam, but to evoke Turkish delight you need that perfumey note. It’s more a caricature of rose than rose itself. Boucheron Jaipur just plainly makes me happy.

Top Notes: Pineapple, Apricot, Freesia, Peach, Plum
Middle Notes: Carnation, Iris, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Orchid, Peony, Black locust, Rose
Base Notes: Amber, Vanilla, Benzoin, Heliotrope, Musk, Sandalwood, Styrax

Turkish delight, or lokum can be flavoured with a variety of things, but the rose flavour made with rose water, which is a distillate of rose petals, is the most popular. There are synthetic versions as well and who knows which ones I’ve eaten. I’ve bought it in markets from huge slabs, as well as chucking it in the trolley from the supermarket. I have loved them all!

 

BoucheronJaipurAndLArtisanTraverseeDuBosphore

 

Though I have no idea if Sophia Grojsman ever thought about Turkish delight when creating Boucheron Jaipur, it was the inspiration for my other sticky perfume treasure, L’Artisan’s Traversee du Bosphore (2010) by Betrand Duchaufour.

Top Notes: Apple, Pomegranate, Tulip
Middle Notes: Iris, Leather, Saffron, Rose, Pistachio
Base Notes: Vanilla, Musk

The heart of Traversee Bosphore is a plasticky, perfumey rose, without a doubt more cheap rosewater than the actual flower. This is what makes it a true Turkish delight scent, that the rose is all about confection. There’s a powdery iris that speaks of the powdered sugar very well without altering the perfumey rose heart. Violet would have created something quite different here. However fear not, this is still a grown-up scent. Saffron and leather are very sexy skin scents in this creation, and the brightness of the top notes keeps it surprisingly fresh.

Rose is a constant perfume love for me, but I have a special place in my heart for the ones that evoke Turkish delight. I’ve tried some that claim to do so but add an almond marzipan note, which moves the creation firmly away from the simple joy of lokom and into a fancy cake shop. I want an indulgent sticky mess!

 

Images: my own (Narth)

Saturday Question: What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

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.

Last week’s question collected 68 comments (I start thinking that I might have scared some potential commenters away by offering a draw for more perfume samples), so, there was no draw. but I decided to extend the time for the first draw winner to contact me with the choice of a decanter/samples site for the gift certificate.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #3:

What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

I was torn between the desire to talk about the elephant in the room and inclination to maintain the normality. I don’t know what the next week will bring to the World, but for now let’s talk about something positive.

My Answer

This question was one of many that I planned to run eventually. It surfaced now partially because of the current situation and partially because of the last week’s Saturday question: while working from home, I decided to go through some of the samples that I had for years. The bag that I’ve got out first had a dozen of Serge Lutens samples that I collected over the years. As I was going through them, I was amazed by how much I liked most of them. And these were my “outcasts” – perfumes that I tried before and decided not to go beyond the sample. Today, years later, after having tested hundreds of modern perfumes, I got a new respect for this brand that at some point was on every perfumista’s mind and blog but recently seem to have fallen from grace.

I like and enjoy wearing a number of Serge Lutens’ perfumes, but if I have to name just three, it’ll be Boxeuses, my armor of strength for difficult situations, De Profundis, my way of celebrating life and Fille en Aiguilles, an ultimate Christmas perfume.

 

 

Now it’s your turn. If we get to 100 comments, there will be a prize: a random draw for a $25 (or equivalent in pounds or euro) gift certificate to a decanter service of your choice.

 

What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

 

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.