Saturday Question: How Many Perfumes Do You Bring to Your Vacations?

The question is inspired by the recent Portia’s post about perfume wardrobe for the South Korea trip.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #157:

How Many Perfumes Do You Bring to Your Vacations?

Do you have some rule or a tradition related to which perfumes you take with you an a vacation? Does it depend on the length of the trip, destination or a mode of transportation? Do you usually bring more or less than you need?

My Answer

As a rule, I take two perfumes for each day of the trip plus one or two extra if it’s a longer trip. And usually, I manage to wear more than half of them. But once I remember I brought 21 perfumes to my 8-day Hawaiian vacation, which was overkill even with multiple swims and showers daily.

Maui 2014 Parfums

Other than tropical vacations, I do not have any special selection of perfumes I take with me: I try to guess what I’ll enjoy wearing based on the location and expected weather there. It doesn’t always work – hence the multiple options I bring. Since I rarely go anywhere with carry-on luggage only, my choice doesn’t depend on whether it’s a flight or a drive to the destination.


How about you?

How Many Perfumes Do You Bring to Your Vacations?


South Korea March 2023

Hey there ULGers, It’s a little CRAZY around here at the moment. I’m writing from last week because currently Jin, a couple of our girlfriends and I are in South Korea for a short but sweet tour. Temperatures are expected to range from -1 to 20C (30-68f). When are you all going to catch up with modern systems so we can all have the same? It will be a very nice change from Sydney’s current 40C (104f) with a shit tonne of humidity. It’s nicer outside than in the apartment though. Jin has the AC on and my body doesn’t really like it.

This will definitely NOT be a perfume shopping trip. We have other adventures planned this year that could become very fragrant. More on those later.

South Korea March 2023

So, I’m furiously trying to work out what to take with me perfume wise. I’m in the middle of the New Idea 2023 and will need to take some samples and decants to use up. Also, I like to have a few old faves for stability in the whirlwind rush of holiday adventures.

So here are my ideas.

Cacharel Amor Amor: A fun fizzy fruit scent that makes me smile in remembrance of Anna Maria who gave me my first 30ml.
Guerlain Terracotta le parfum: Need a white floral with tropical accents to add a little zip.
Hermès Cuir d’Ange: I’m halfway through my 15ml travel of this softly leather beauty.
Miller Harris La Fumee Ottoman: Newish 8ml travel from FragranceNet. Something smoky and dark will be nice for the cold.
Niki de Saint Phalle: The 12ml travel size are perfect in the wetpack. A chypre will always centre me.

On top of that I’m going to grab a random selection of samples/decants to help with New Idea 2023.

Does this feel like a sensible perfume selection?
What 5 would you take?
Portia xx

Saturday Question: For Which Brand(s) Do You Have a Week’s Worth of Wearable Perfumes?

I just blinked, and my week ran away from me. Due to various reasons, I didn’t wear perfumes every day. One of the reasons was decision paralysis: I felt too overwhelmed with other stuff and was afraid to make a wrong choice. That got me thinking: would it be simpler if I chose just one brand and went through 7 perfumes from that brand? Do I even have any brand with enough different scents to do that?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #156:

For Which Brand(s) Do You Have a Week’s Worth of Wearable Perfumes?

I’m asking not about just any 7 perfume from a random brand: most of us will probably have a discovery set or 7 random perfume samples for several brands. But do you have 7 perfumes from a brand that you bought (or swapped) because you liked them and planned to wear them? You can count any bottles or decants of 5 ml or larger but not samples.

Bonus question: How often do you wear perfumes from the same brand on multiple consecutive days?

My Answer

I practically never wear the same perfume two or more days in a row. And I rarely wear perfumes from the same brand within a week.

I have several brands for which I counted enough scents to support my imaginary project. But one brand stood out: Jo Malone. Even though in recent years I lost interest in their new creations (as in “getting not more than one or two new mini bottles per year”), throughout my hobby, I accumulated enough perfumes that I like from this brand to wear a different one for at least 3 weeks.

So, starting tomorrow and until the end of March, I will wear one of Jo Malone’s perfumes. Luckily, many of them are not too tenacious, so if I apply one in the morning, I’ll be free to choose any other scent later in the afternoon.

Jo Malone

How about you?


For Which Brand(s) Do You Have a Week’s Worth of Wearable Perfumes?

Saturday Question: Do You Have Any Perfume Hacks?

Somewhere between the last SQ post and this one, we quietly passed a three-year mark since this series moved to Undina’s Looking Glass. I’m glad that you still keep coming back to participate. And especially I’m pleased to see when the conversation goes beyond just exchanging a couple of comments with me, and you find each other’s comments engaging (particularly when I’m late with my replies, as it was in the last couple of weeks, about which I’m sorry but wanted to let you know that even when I don’t reply, I read your comments within several hours after you post them). But I promise I’ll try to be more present.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #155:

Do You Have Any Perfume Hacks?

It doesn’t have to be something significant or unheard of. But if there is something you find helpful for yourself – be that about wearing, storing or buying perfumes, making them last longer (or getting rid of the offensive scrubbers), anything else that some people might not know (or just don’t think of it) – please share.

Bonus question: What perfume are you wearing today?

My Answer

I suddenly had the urge to wear Neela Vermeire Creations Trayee. I think it’s an amazing perfume. And I wonder how much it has changed since its first release in 2012. Has anyone had a chance to smell it from the newer bottle in the last 2-3 years?

Now to hacks.

1. It applies mainly to decants and handmade samples, but I found it to be the case with some full bottles as well: if you haven’t used them for a long while (6 months+), before spraying perfume on yourself, do the “dry run” first – let the first 1-2 sprays to go into the air (away from you) or in a sink: I noticed that for whatever reason a portion of perfume that is left in the tube and the spraying mechanism spoils faster than the rest of the vial. So, if you “clear” the stale or rancid portion, the rest might still be good to wear.

2. This is more like observation and recommendation. If you like a newly released mainstream perfume and are considering buying it, try to do it within the first year of the release. It seems like companies reformulate their fragrances as soon as they become popular. If in the past we could blame IFRA for more and more limitations, these days, I think it’s all corporate greed and desire of the brands’ executives to report to “stakeholders” an extra percent of profit, which comes from cutting corners where possible hoping that nobody notices.

Do You Have Any Perfume Hacks?

Green Tea Mimosa by Elizabeth Arden

Hi Crew. Today I’m reminding you that spring will be with you soon. One of the loveliest harbingers of spring in Australia is its wattle. Yeah, that’s what we call our versions of mimosa. Late winter it blooms here and that bright yellow through to lime green puff ball extravaganza always brings a smile to my winter face. Sadly it plays merry hell with Jin’s hay fever and he suffers dreadfully with it. Fortunately it’s the pollen not the perfume so I’m free to wear mimosa perfumes whenever I want. This summer I finally caved and bought a bottle of Green Tea Mimosa.

Green Tea Mimosa by Elizabeth Arden 2016

Green Tea Mimosa by Elizabeth Arden

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Green Tea, Citruses
Heart: Mimosa
Base: Heliotrope, Ambrette (Musk Mallow)

I know, yet again I’m very late to the party. Thing is the Elizabeth Arden counters in the mall are never at the front. That means I’ve usually found something else to sniff and spritz by the time I get there. Also, there’s rarely a specific Elizabeth Arden SA anymore. Perfume sniffing is about engagement, right? Sure it’s fun to go and sniff the aisles solo but having a representative I can make a human connection with will get my wallet out of my pocket so much faster. Sorry, end rant.

Green Tea Mimosa is a perfect spring and summer spritz, yes. I’m wearing it a LOT in our very muggy summer here right now to give me a moments respite. I tried it in the fridge but that is just TOO COOL! HA! It did strike me though today that it could very well be a winter blues buster. I know many of you are suffering the lack of sunlight and warmth. For next to nothing a few spritzes of Green Tea Mimosa could very well give you a much needed lift.

How does it smell? That opening waft is a lovely citrus/mimosa combo with that back of throat ache that comes with perfumery tea. Don’t expect it to be a replacement for Amouage Love Mimosa, or any of the big speedy niche mimosas. It’s a lovely fresh budget spritz that smells a LOT better than you’d expect at the price.

This is a fresh, powdery mimosa with none of the honeyed animals backbeat, though the vegetal musk is very nice. I think there might even be a little lily of the valley accord and some narcissus within the mix. Maybe even some jasmine. The heart and dry down are a little soapy.

Longevity is better than expected for something so ethereal. I’m fragrant but there seems to be a lot of space between the notes. After the first 10-20 minutes it’s a lightweight and gauzy beauty, not under the radar but low key. Totally unisex.

Do you ever use scent to pull you out of the winter blues?
Portia xx

Saturday Question: What Are The Strangest Notes In Perfume You Encountered?

I came up with this question a couple of weeks ago when I told you about the gasoline accord in Parfumes Quartana Ierofante. But it was right before Valentine’s Day, so chocolate seemed like a better idea. And then I forgot.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #154:

What Are The Strangest Notes In Perfume You Encountered?

It can be a note in the perfume pyramid you own or tried. Or something you read about. Or a weird note you smelled in perfume even though it wasn’t listed.

My Answer

If I were to sift through my database, I could find more strange notes. But that would have been cheating: most of my readers do not have a database to check. So, I’m going with the note I remembered without looking: Instant film accord in Vogue 125 by Comme des Garcons.

I didn’t read notes before trying it for the first time, so this note surprised me. I didn’t recognize what it was. It reminded me of acetone, and I wondered what it was. But when I read about that note, it fit just perfectly matched what I smelled. And it has the ink note, which also isn’t the most common or expected. I don’t want to wear it, so a small sample is all I have. But it was interesting to smell.


How about you?


What Are The Strangest Notes In Perfume You Encountered?

Saturday Question: Which 3 Perfumes Would You Like To Experience Again?

Please don’t rush to answer (I know some of you who practice TL;DR). This question has a twist. Please bear with me; I’ll explain below.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #153:

Which 3 Perfumes Would You Like To Experience Again?

This is not a question about which perfume you’d like to be “resurrected.” And not about which vintage perfume in an intact condition you’d like to find one day. Perfumes that fall under this mental exercise are perfumes that 1) you previously smelled; 2) they are now either discontinued or reformulated.

So, if you were offered an opportunity to smell (OK, I’ll be generous – and wear, if you want to) again just once any perfume that fits the criteria listed above – which 3 would you have chosen?

My Answer

I thought of this SQ after exchanging comments in the last week’s post. I would love to be able to smell once again Thierry Mugler’s Angel as it was in 1993-94 (that’s when I first smelled it). My bottle is from around 1999-2000, and I’m not 100% sure that even it was the same as it was initially created. Now it’s more than 2 decades old, so it smells somewhat different from how it was when I bought it. And newer versions are definitely reformulated – even though they are still quite recognizable. But my memory of what it was like in the beginning is so vivid (not the scent but my reaction to it) that I would like to experience that Angel again. Though, I’m not sure if I’d want to wear it.

The second perfume of my choice would be my lifelong love Climat by Lancome. I’d like to smell and wear that perfume in its early 80s version. I have at least 5 different versions of it in my collection, and I love, like or appreciate them. But I remember how I thought that Climat was the most beautiful perfume ever (and couldn’t understand how not everyone felt the same about it). So, I would like to compare my memory to the actual scent.

The last wish is more practical, so to speak. Eight years ago, for the blog’s anniversary, I told the story of a perfume that I owned in my adolescent years and could never find since (due to the inconspicuous name “Paris Paris” and an unknown to me brand name). I would like to smell it again to learn if I still like it and, if yes, with my better understanding of perfumes and experience with thousands of them, to try to find something that smells similar.

Rusty and Paris-Paris Bottle

Which 3 Perfumes Would You Like To Experience Again?

Par 4 by Detaille

Par 4 by Detaille

Hi there Looking Glassers, Back in 2017 Jin and I were lucky enough to get to Excense in Milan. It was my first, and only, perfume showcase. I hadn’t realised exactly how much time I would need and we also wanted to do the sightseeing and shopping. One day I’ll go back, solo, and really spend time seeing, sniffing, engaging and learning. On this adventure we basically went and saw all our mates. That was really nice too. It was the last time I got to hang with Vero, the first time I met Pia and Margo and a slew of other perfume peeps. Made a dick of myself fangirling Katie Pucrick. We stayed in a lovely little hotel just around the corner from the event and unsurprisingly there were industry insiders there. One such was the owner of Detaille and his wife. We got to chatting one morning over breakfast and he gave me a tester bottle of his new at the time Bois d’Oud (which is nearly finished now). It’s a fine, simple, scratchy woods, oudh and saffron. There are a lot more expensive renderings that are worse.

Along with that he gave me a few samples of their other work. Because I’ve been going through the perfume room and getting all the lost samples Par 4 jumped out at me and I thought we could spend a moment discovering it together.

Par 4 by Detaille


Par 4 by Detaille

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Bergamot, Woodsy Notes, French labdanum, Galbanum, Thyme, Fir, Clary Sage, Saffron, Vetiver, Basil

Though I haven’t seen it in real life the bottle looks so beautiful. I love the look of it, modern riff on deco. The fluted lid reminds me of early L’Artisan and Parfum d’Empire, before they went basic.

How does it smell? Opening is very cologne-ish. Crisp, bright, green and citrus. It does become more herbal after the initial fireworks die off. Lovely, surprisingly tapestried and I like the slight resinous sweetness through the herbaceousness. Not mentioned but I smell tomato leaf or a reminder of it. My closest real life analogy as the heart blooms is pesto. Not exactly Pesto but that immediate freshness and healthy goodness you smell as it’s being made.

The woods make themselves known through the heart. It’s not immediately apparent. A subtle rising until suddenly they are prominent and you realise they’ve been hiding under and between the other notes. The resins keep everything to a storyline, if that makes sense. After about an hour, or so, the greenery has become a soft drying grass with the resinous woods. Once this point is met the fragrance meanders comfortably, low key, traditional masculine fading to dry down. Groundbreaking? No. Wearable? Yes. A very nice woodsy aromatic that could easily be a signature scent. Someone who knows smelling good is important and doesn’t want to break the bank. Probably not sophisticated enough for the hard core perfumista but most of us need some easy reach go tos right?

Though I say traditionally masculine Par 4 can easily be worn by anyone who likes the idea of smelling like a day in the great outdoors that ends in the warmth of the 19th hole.

Another good thing: Detaille has the most affordable sample sets. 19 euros will get you all 19 samples, then add postage. What a bargain.

Do you or do you think someone close to you would like to wear Par 4?
Portia xx

Saturday Question: Do You Like A Chocolate Note In Perfume?

With the upcoming Valentine’s Day, and since we’ve previously covered a question about roses, I decided the other ubiquitous element of the celebration might be appropriate for today’s SQ.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #152:

Do You Like A Chocolate Note In Perfume?

Do you own any perfumes with that note? Do you wear them?

A bonus questions: Do you like chocolate? If yes, what is your favorite type?


My Answer

Let’s start with the important part: I love eating chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate with nuts. The best combination for me is dark chocolate (~72-75%) with hazelnuts.

As to perfumes, I was surprised to discover how many perfumes with this note I have and wear. I’ll name just three (and then will join you in comments if you mention any of those that I also like:

1. Mugler Angel Taste of Fragrance: unlike the original Angel, which also has this note, I still wear this one from time to time.

2. Armani Prive La Femme Bleue: I think, this is my #1 favorite chocolate perfume – I wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that it also contains the most beautiful iris note?

3. Guerlein Gourmand Coquin: I wish I would have figured out earlier how much I liked this perfume. Now I should persuade myself not to hoard the remaining ml in my dab sample and enjoy wearing it last couple of times.

Rusty and Candies

How about you?

Do You Like A Chocolate Note In Perfume?

The Scent of 2022?

At the end of the last year, I looked at the miserable list of new fragrances that I managed to try and realized that I couldn’t do even the Top 5 – let alone any more significant number of successes.

I think this made me susceptible to “undue influence”: when I got an email from Parfumes Quartana (I used to know that brand as Six Scents Parfums) describing how their new perfume, Ierofante, had been named in three “Top N” lists and offering a sample for $5 (including S&H), my “no-buy” resolution didn’t even raise its head, and the sample was on its way to me.

Before trying it for the first time, I haven’t read a single line about or note of Ierofante. And it was a shock: one just doesn’t expect a whiff of gasoline from their fine fragrance. But there it was.

The complete list of notes for Ierofante (as printed on the sample card; Fragrantica has a slightly different list) includes suede, gasoline accord, nutmeg, smoky leather, styrax pyrogene, golden amber, cashmeran and vetiver. The nose behind this perfume is Luca Maffei.

Even though I immediately knew I would not want to wear that as perfume and was questioning the decision to spend even $5 on this experiment, I decided to go through with the testing. I wanted to fully experience the fragrance that Steven Gavrielatos (Ca Fleure Bon), Lola (@lolascents) and Persolaise (eponymous blog) considered one of the best perfumes of 2022 (which, if to think about it, might not necessarily be a compliment or indicative of how good the perfume is).

As the gasoline accord was burning out, something strangely familiar started radiating through the remaining harsher smell. And suddenly, I realized what it reminded me of: if to substitute gasoline with burning rubber and instead of vetiver throw in the fire, so to speak, sandalwood, you would get… Bvlgari Black.

Bvlgari Black and Ierofante

Created by Annick Menardo in 1998, Black includes notes of smoky black tea (lapsang souchong), bergamot, rose, sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine, leather, vanilla, amber, musk and oakmoss. It’s hard to believe, but I told my story From Zero to Forty (ml) in less than 15… years: Bvlgari Black almost ten years ago!

As you can see, Ierofante and Black do not have too many notes in common and are far from smelling identical. But that effect of a foreign-to-perfume industrial chemical start that mellows down to a softer ambery base makes them reminiscent of each other.

I like Black better: not only is its opening not as harsh as Ierofante’s, but it also is much smoother in development. Unfortunately, I can’t even recommend buying it instead if you haven’t tried it before: these days its price online is quite steep. Though, it’s still less than the price of Ierofante ($235/50 ml).

Bvlgari Black and Ierofante

One more perfume I tested with Black and Ierofante was Nappa Noire created for the Quartana’s parent company/predecessor, Six Scents Parfums, by Calice Becker. Nappa Noire also has something in common with Ierofante, but since this perfume is much less commonly known and is sold out on the brand’s site, I won’t spend more time on it (but if you want, read my story about it – Every White has its Noir).

I didn’t have a chance to try Ierofante in parallel with L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea for Two, created in 2000 by Olivia Giacobetti, because I didn’t think about it until now. Still, I suspect that with the notes like tea, star anise, bergamot, cinnamon, spices, ginger, gingerbread, tobacco, honey, leather and vanilla, it is bound to have at least some similar development phases. And it is still in production. (And for those few who weren’t around seven years ago, I want to share my story about this perfume – Tu-ti-tu-rum-tu-tu or Musical Perfume. I promise it’s not a review.)

Since I already own three perfumes that remind me of Ierofante, and I prefer them to this new offering, I will pass the remaining sample to someone else before it evaporates. But after spending more time trying, analyzing and comparing it to all my favorites, I feel much more positive about it. And I think that, strangely, it represents the year 2022 well.

Rusty and Bvlgari Black and Ierofante

Images: my own