Four Stories for the Fourth Anniversary

I love special occasions – birthdays, holidays and other revelries. So, I’m glad to have an extra reason to be festive: the fourth anniversary of Undina’s Looking Glass. Come over, let’s celebrate.

Happy Anniversary

For the previous anniversaries I told the stories of this blog’s name (and how Undina came to be) and of my falling down the rabbit hole. Today I decided to do a little show & tell session. I bribed Rusty with several treats to help me.

Rusty and Paris-Paris Bottle

This was my first ever bottle of perfume. It was a gift but I can’t remember from whom – my grandmother or my father (I think it was from one of them). I was probably 13 when I got it. I had some vials of perfume oils before as well as was allowed to (or not but still did) use my mother’s perfumes, but this was my own bottle. Actually, it was a set – perfume and deodorant. The name was Paris-Paris. No brand. It was a bright floral scent, I liked it very much and used often while the bottle was full. Deodorant went first. Then the perfume was nearing the end, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to get another one (perfumes weren’t easily available for purchase even if I could save enough money from my allowance). So, I started saving it and would wear Paris-Paris once in a while, for special occasions. During a summer break, when I was away on a trip, my mom used up the remaining drops of it. Back then I was very upset. Now, looking back, I smile softly: not only because I realize that my mother, not having her own perfume at the time, got some enjoyment from using mine, but also because I find some poetic justice in that: as a child, I wasted enough of her precious perfumes. And not only for scenting love letters… Over the years I tried looking for this perfume but with the name Paris-Paris and no brand name… Have you ever seen that bottle or know anything about this perfume?

Rusty and Climat Bottle

With the story of Climat by Lancome I started this blog. On the picture above is that first bottle that my grandmother gifted to me when I was 16 or 17. When I moved to the U.S. years later, I left the empty bottle behind but brought it back with me (together with other bottles featured in this post) a couple of years ago when I went visiting there. Decades later, it still keeps a faint scent. If I had to choose just one perfume to use for the rest of my life, Climat would be my uncontested choice. I hope not to find myself in the situation where I have to make that decision but if I have to, I’m prepared:

Lancome Climat

For now I should be alright with a (presumably fake) parfum I bought 12+ years ago, a couple of EdP bottles from the 2006 Lancome’s anniversary re-issue as a part of La Collection and the most recent re-release of EdT version, but I still hope that one day I’ll come across a perfectly preserved vintage bottle of Climat (or win a lottery and allow myself to experiment with eBay’s offerings).

If you haven’t read it yet, here’s a post in which Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume), Suzanne (Eiderdown Press) and Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) did a blind test/comparison of my beloved perfume and Amouage Gold. I’ll wear Climat today to mark this anniversary.

Rusty and Miss Dior Bottle

This is an empty Miss Dior bottle that I bought at 19. I told a story of this bottle (and of the bottle on the left in the picture below) in the post I’ll miss you, Miss Dior, but then I didn’t have my first bottle to show to you (or to give to Rusty to play with). I still think of adding a pre-“originale” EdT bottle to my collection but for now please meet my Miss Dior family:

Miss Dior Family

The last bottle wasn’t technically mine… I was still living in my native country. My father, who had moved to the U.S. by that time, came to visit and brought us some gifts. I got Houbigant Raffinee but never learned to like it and gave it away to a friend who was ecstatic to get it. My vSO also received a bottle of perfume. It looked kind of masculine. So with English not being even our second language we both never questioned that perfume’s gender designation. Even the scent, which by my today’s views is unisex at best but leaning feminine, somehow wasn’t a giveaway to us. My father said it was a perfume for my vSO – and so it was. There’s nothing strange in the eau de toilette for men being called Black Lace, right? Right??! We both liked it a lot: he – to wear, I – to smell it on him. But not even once I thought of wearing it myself because back then even the idea of crossing gender boundaries with perfumes would have never occurred to me.

Black Lace Perfume Bottle

Black Lace, eau de toilette and “Made in England” were the only pieces of information I had about that perfume. Good luck running that search without a brand name. I tried. Many times. I know all the companies that produced perfumes with that name or had a special “black lace” edition one time or the other. That’s how I finally got a suspicion that most likely it wasn’t masculine cologne after all. I find it ironic that my vSO, who is “into perfume” mostly by association, was the first one in our family to have a gender-bending perfume fling while mine happened only years later.

A couple of months ago, after more than a decade of search, I suddenly found a bottle of “my” Black Lace on eBay. The seller had no idea what it was and was selling it “as is.” I bought it. On the picture above the bottle on the right is the original one, you can barely see the words; the bottle on the left is the one that I bought. Unfortunately, the perfume is spoiled but I can still recognize the smell and I would probably still like it had it been fresh.

Have you ever seen this bottle? Do you know anything about this perfume?

Rusty sniffs Miss Dior Bottle

Two years ago in the anniversary post I suggested you to ask me in two years if writing for my blog got easier over time. Did it? Not really. I think it means I should keep practicing.


Images: my own


46 thoughts on “Four Stories for the Fourth Anniversary

  1. Hello Undina and many congratulations on your fourth blog anniversary. 4 years of writing is a really long period and you’ve been serving us the interesting posts enriched with your own perfume photos (feauturing Rusty, the star of your blog).
    I very much enjoyed reading the 4 stories about these perfumes that appeared in your life at various stages.

    Happy biogoversary!


  2. Beautiful! I loved reading about your scented memories, and seeing the actual bottles made it even more special. This was such a lovely post from start to finish, and I was so carried away with the sweetness (and occasional dry funniness) of your memories that I was disappointed when it all ended. I could have read pages more, Undina!

    And all of this has completely made me forget why I initially popped by to begin with, to congratulate you and to wish you HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Four years, may there be many, many more.


  3. Hi Undina, I haven’t come across your Black Lace, but I wish you a very happy blog birthday, and as it happens…it is my actual birthday! And…I wore Amouage Gold to bed last night, I haven’t ever smelled Climat (have been tempted by your love of it to lemming it on several occasions), my nose had a similar response to Gold as I think Vanessa’s, this smells so like Chanel no 5, or how ‘old fashioned French perfume’ used to smell like (my birthyear is 1963…). At the moment I am veering towards the Oriental spectrum, so Climat has to wait. I included my sister in my obsession recently and I hope she gathered the family round to give me a collective present: Bois des Iles! My husband will buy me a scented present in Oman where we have planned a holiday. Happy blog birthday Undina!


    • Happy birthday, Hamamelis! Bois des Isles is such a beautiful perfume! I hope you’ll get it. I should wear it tomorrow! Please share what you get from Oman (when it happens).
      I love Gold and would have bought it (and still might) if it didn’t remind me Climat that much. But I’m glad that Amouage produces those perfumes that smell like real perfumes used to smell.


      • Hi Undina, not only did I get Bois des Isles in perfume, but my sister very kindly gave me my late mother’s 100 ml Chanel 5 eau de toilette, almost full, in a splash bottle, I think it must be 20 or even 30 years old. I never knew my mom had it, I only remembered her wearing Diorissimo (that bottle vanished or maybe she even threw it away…). I only smelled it the vintage 5 its the bottle, I will buy a pipet to use it, but it smells unlike anything I smelled before. Really breathtakingly gorgeous. It has darkened I suppose over years, but it still has this superb quality, and I am sure neither my mother nor my sister kept it in a box out of light and removed from heat…And I have not yet opened the Bois des Isles, I am studying Victoria’s post on how to open a sealed bottle properly. This present opened a perfume conversation between me and my father’s new partner (a very lovely person, so kind and generous and we are so lucky) and she has been wearing Mitsouko all her life, I would never have known if it wasn’t for me asking this present and the ladies talking perfume! And her current favourite, on a wish list (she will also ask it now as a ‘collective’ present, such a good idea ;) ) is…Amouage Gold! I will try and see if I can get her either a small bottle or if that is too pricey some soap or body lotion from Oman. Cuddles for Rusty!


        • That’s a really great present, congratulations! And I’m glad that you have people in your surrounding with whom you can talk about perfumes: online community is great but it’s nice to be able to talk to real people from time to time.
          Amouage is expensive and I don’t think you’ll get a better price in Oman than you can get online (though maybe delivery to where you live adds too much). The least expensive item would be a travel set and a solid perfume. But they still are pricey.


  4. Happy Anniversary! Congratulations on 4 years and I wish you and Mr. Rusty many more. I wonder if he knows he’s such a big star?
    I have never smelled Climat but feel I need to after hearing you say a few times that that would be the perfume you’d choose if you had only one. If nothing else I’ll need to track down some Gold so I can get the idea of it at least. I remember Raffinee. I had a bottle of that one ages ago. I had forgotten all about it. Thanks for the memories, yours and mine.


    • Thank you, poodle!
      I don’t think Rusty realizes what role he plays in this blog. He knows that he’s loved and he definitely knows how to be extremely cute to get treats and attention from me. But he doesn’t like when I take pictures of him, so usually it’s a game: to try to snap a picture of him while he’s still interested in a new object (a bottle or a decant).


  5. Happy anniversary, dearest Undina! I love reading your posts, since they always contain something surprising and interesting. And of course not to forget that Rusty supplies us with a good dose of beauty and feline elegance in every photo.
    Hugs to you and I raise my glas to many more years of blogging!


  6. Happy Anniversary, Undina! Wow, 4 years! I really enjoyed reading your memoir… and looking at photos of Rusty.

    Here’s one thing to report. I had a close encounter with Black Lace several weeks ago. I was walking around Rastro and saw this bottle among the other empty perfume bottles. It was completely empty and it’s been washed but I actually picked it up and tried to have a sniff of the trace of the scent!


  7. Happy fourth Undina! Those are some wonderful bottles and memories. I share your fondness for Climat , which is so smooth and elegant.
    Rusty is certainly looking in the pink, or the orange as the case may be. He is so obliging about fragrances, Miss Charcoal merely sneezes at most of mine and refuses to have anything to do with them!


    • Thank you, Blacknall.
      Rusty is also quite fickle. I just know some tricks and learned how to take all those pictures quickly while he’s still in his curious phase. Unfortunately, as he gets older it’s harder and harder to keep him interested long enough for me to take pictures. Treats help a little but I still have to catch him from the right side: he keeps moving!


  8. All those lovely bottles of Climat gathered together make a fine sight to see;-)

    I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you find a pristine vintage bottle of Climat soon!

    Happy 4th anniversary to you and Rusty.


    • Thank you, Anna! I’m still hopeful to find that bottle one day. And I didn’t realize how many different bottles I accumulated until I decided to pose them for this picture. But now I have no good excuse not to wear it more often.


  9. Undina, it’s no exaggeration for me to say that your blog impresses and delights me on so many levels: your ability to tell a story with nuance and feeling, your splendid wit, your amazing candor, your entertaining statistics … and then there’s a certain handsome cat. ;)

    Happy 4th-Year Blogoversary to you! I don’t think writing a blog ever gets easier, but writing well is an incredible accomplishment and, as they say, it’s own reward. So you have every reason to continue. :)

    One question for you: what foods are featured in the photo of your Happy Anniversary table setting? Is that borscht and a boiled egg — and the dish with the ice cream some kind of blueberry dessert?


    • Dear Suzanne, as always you’re extremely kind and I really value your friendship and your attention to details. As I previously said, I realize (or at least hope) that many of my readers “get” what I’m trying to say but you are one of the few who always validates my efforts and let’s me know that I managed to get it through. It’s a special gift and I’m grateful for that.

      The “anniversary” picture is much more prosaic: those all are desserts. I don’t remember exactly, but the one on the left was some type of a cobbler or an apple crumble with an ice cream on top. And the one on the right was strawberry, ice cream and, most likely, chocolate. It was one of our anniversaries celebrations and they did a great job at the restaurant to make it pleasant.


  10. Happy Fourth Blogoversary, Undina! Your blog is still as fresh and original as the day it started, and long may you continue. Afraid I can’t help on the Paris-Paris or Black Lace queries, but I enjoyed reading those stories. And yes, as Anna says, that is a lot of Climat collected in one place. You are clearly concerned about any future ‘Climat Change’. I have fond memories of our blind sniffing exercise – I think my vials still have their blue and yellow tape on them. Thanks for the linkage / shout out. I was wearing Vega already today, but it is also a vintage aldehydic floral, so in keeping with your theme. ;)


    • Thank you, Vanessa!
      With two vials I thought it was a fun project! If I ever come around any other “twins” I’ll do it again.
      BTW, do you realize that you’re the only person who answered about both perfumes? I thought, actually, that if anybody would be able to do that it would be you: I felt a little bit like being you while telling different stories and asking multiple questions :)

      I wore Climat today and absolutely loved it. It’s so great that we have such perfumes in our lives that make us feel this way.


  11. Dear Undina, a very happy 4th. I completely believe you when you say it’s not getting easier, however I hope it won’t keep you from blogging, and adding your very own and special voice and look out on all things fragrant.
    I don’t know the perfumes you enquire about, but hope you find out more soon. Gorgeous Rusty pictures as always. :-)


    • Thank you, Asali! Good news: so far it doesn’t get harder ;) so I’ll keep doing it for a while. And having friends who come, read and comment definitely helps.
      Rusty will be getting a handful of treats for being a star in this post.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations on your fourth blogging anniversary, Undina! I enjoy your posts tremendously since you put so much of yourself into each and every one. As I’ve said before, we will meet one of these days and I bet we’ll be like “long lost” friends.

    A hello to the photogenic and seemingly well-behaved Rusty.


    • Dear hajusuuri,
      Thank you for your friendship and support. I have no doubts that we’ll meet soon: it’s not that big of a country :)

      I shouldn’t complain much about Rusty’s behavior: he’s not mean at all and relatively manageable most of the time. The only problem is that as he gets older his attention span gets shorter: 5-10 seconds are usually enough for him to figure out if 1) something is edible or 2) he want to play with it. If I can’t take a picture of him in that time frame – he’s gone.


  13. Happy anniversary! And there’s a birthday coming up… ;)

    Glad you mentioned writing – I don’t find it becomes easier, quite the contrary. :) At least for me…


  14. Congratulations on your 4th Anniversary! I’m so glad that you will be continuing on. i love your insights, your posts on memories and of course you incredible stats. Besides, Rusty adds so much to your site. Funny, in looking at the first picture above, I thought the perfume read “Purty, Purty”. I think I need to beef up the prescription on my glasses!


    • Thank you, Steve :) I’m not sure though that a new prescription would help: do not discount the power of suggestion! Rusty can turn everybody’s thoughts towards purrfume, meau-de-toilette and extreats ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Myriad of belated blog anniversary congratulations, Undina! I think blogging never gets easy when the blogger puts their heart and soul in it! It is much simpler to be cursory, but I wish you will never be cursory in your reviews and stories! Ah, Climat…


    • Thank you, Lubov. Since it’s a pure hobby once it stops be fun I’ll stop. Until then I’ll keep it on the same personal level as it is now.
      I’m glad we share warm feelings toward Climat.


  16. Pingback: Undina’s Looking Glass Turns Five – Undina's Looking Glass

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