Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 3: Stockholm

“Vacation” is usually not the first association when you hear “Stockholm.” On our itinerary this city got by chance: we live so far away from Europe, that there is a limited number of direct flights between us and the Old World. Barcelona did not have any, so to get back home we’d have to do a plane change. If you were to add an extra flight and a couple of hours for transfer, the trip would easily stretch for 17+ hours – something that I try to avoid whenever possible. So while planning the vacation, we decided we’d do a couple of days’ stopover in one of the direct-flights-reach cities. Stockholm was the one with the best combination of schedules and fares. The fact that all three destinations were monarchies had dawned on us much later – at Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armory in Stockholm) as we were discussing that not a single Royalty has acknowledged our presence in any of the visited countries…

Accommodations

For a change, for that last part of the trip we went for a hotel room. It was a pleasant hotel decorated in the style of Roaring Twenties. Our room was quiet, had heavy curtains and a very comfortable bed, in which we finally had a good night sleep (the first night we slept for 12 hours straight).

Haymarket Hotel Stockholm

It was rather cold (+14C after +26C in Barcelona) and raining; we discovered that Stockholm was a very practical and minimalistic city, even its old town part; but somehow it felt very comforting and friendly. The first evening as we walking in the rain enjoying clean and orderly streets, we came across a small park inside the Art Nouveau building of Stockholm’s Central Pool (Centralbadet) built in the beginning of the previous century. It was an absolutely magical experience: beautiful lilacs and other blossoms in the drizzle of evening rain. I felt happy.

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Three days that we spent there was a delightful coda to our vacation.

Perfumes I took with me

Following the idea of bringing to this vacation only perfumes local to the destination, I packed a couple of decants and a sample from the only Swedish brand I had in my collection – Byredo. La Tulipe was just amazing, and I might re-consider wearing it only as a summer perfume: it was wonderful in the colder weather. Pulp was predictably good. I hope these both perfumes are still available once I finish the decants I have. Bal D’Afrique, which I brought with me for further testing, was nice but not enough for me to go for a bottle.

Perfumes I tested

After my London and Barcelona perfume escapades, I didn’t plan to do much more perfume testing but I still managed to visit a couple of perfume spots – a perfume department in the luxury department store NK and a standalone perfumery Insanto.

Both places had interesting selection of perfumes but not too many of the brands not available elsewhere, and I concentrated my testing mostly on those brands, to which I do not have an easy access.

Insanto Stockholm

Perfumes I didn’t buy

Perfume prices in Sweden do not impel spontaneous perfume purchases. Also, there weren’t that many Swedish brands – so most of the tested perfumes did not fit the original intent to get “souvenirs” from the countries I visited. But several perfumes that I liked while testing on skin are worth mentioning: were they “Made in Sweden,” I would have considered buying one of these.

I love and own two perfumes by Keiko Mecheri but because this brand is not available where I live I’m not too familiar with their line. That’s why I was interested to try at least some of the perfumes – even though I didn’t think I’d buy them there. I thought that Bois Satin smelled very nice, and I hope to be able to test it again soon.

For a long time I stayed away from Xerjoff: even though I tested occasionally some of their perfumes that came my way one way or the other, I didn’t make any conscious attempts to follow their new releases, and of those perfumes that I tried before I didn’t warm up enough to any to go even for a decant. They clearly like Xerjoff in Sweden: I saw it in both stores where I tested perfumes (and I want to remind you that one of them was a department store). So I gave up and tested some of the perfumes. I liked several on paper and then one on my skin. I don’t know why I happen to like the one that is sold out almost everywhere – XJ 1861 Naxos. Now I’ll have to locate a sample to test it again before I start scavenging eBay and FB groups for a bottle.

I’ve never heard of either the “famous Costes Hotel in Paris” (Fragrantica) or the eponymous perfume that Olivia Giacobetti created for that hotel in 2004, but when I tested Costes for the first time, I liked it. I’m not completely sure yet how I feel about perfumes that perfume shops create under their own brands – let alone perfumes for hotels, so I will try Costes again if I come across it somewhere but I won’t probably be actively looking for it.

Stockholm Blotters

Speaking of hotel perfumes, the only perfume I was seriously considering on this part of the trip was perfume sold in the hotel’s gift shop: No 1 Haymarket Eau de Parfum. The scent is described as: “Velvetly vanilla, powdery ambergris, and smoky sandalwood united with modern and surprising tones of bergamot, citrus and a hint of pepper.” For a couple of days I would be stopping by the gift shop to apply this perfume and then would keep smelling my wrist… for the next couple of hours while perfume was still discernible. I thought it was nice. It was local. And it wasn’t even expensive (less than $30 for a 30 ml bottle). Why didn’t I buy it? I realized that with all the great perfumes that I already had in my collection (and several more that I might be considering after more tests), I would just never have time for this pleasant but nondescript little number – no matter how warm I felt about that hotel that sheltered us in the final part of our turbulent vacation.

Haymarket Hotel EdP No1

Just in case you got drowned in the endless parts of my trip: it was the last one, and in the next post Rusty and I will finally reveal what perfumes I brought back with me.

 

Images: all but the last one – my own; No 1 Haymarket EdP – from the hotel site.

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16 thoughts on “Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 3: Stockholm

  1. Haha, you sure keep us waiting for that final reveal!
    I love Stockholm, it’s an amazingly beautiful city I find, with all that water, the Art Deco, the archipelago… and I don’t think they do nasty hotel rooms, but I could be wrong 😉 Yours does look exceptionally smart, though.

    • The reveal won’t be as climatic as it should be after such a wait but I just didn’t have enough time to work my posts into a shorter format (paradoxically, it takes longer for those who are not naturally talented), and with their current form it would have been “cruel and unusual” to subject my readers to that volume of text in one go :)

      • I know what you mean actually, sometimes it’s a toss up between length and contents. I’m quite sure we would all have been with you in a longer post, though. Especially as your posts usually have the perfect length.

  2. I can well imagine Stockholm providing you with a restful and orderly haven at the end of a hectic trip. A favourite city of mine, not least for all the water. Interesting about the Swedes being drawn to Xerjoff, a brand I have always had mixed feelings about on account of the hazardous bottle tops and opaque bodies of some of the range.

    I wonder if Cow is still there? It was only small, and diagonally opposite Byredo’s own store. But it was 8 years ago that I was last there, plus it is not as though you needed to sniff a single extra thing after your heroic throughput in all three monarchies!

    • I owe you a “thank you” – it was your post about the perfume shopping in Stockholm (from the Perfume Shopping around the World page) that guided me. I considered looking for the Cow but then decided against it. And with Byredo… They have it everywhere! So I didn’t even think about looking for the brand’s shop.
      We would have gone for a boat trip if it had been a little warmer.

  3. Sounds like you’ll be getting more wear out of La Tulipe after your experience in Sweden. I’ve never been to Scandinavia but I intend to. What a sanctuary that hotel room must have felt like.

    People like us have no time or money to waste on nondescript perfumes, no matter how pleasant they are.

    Yay for Rusty pics and perfume purchases next time!

    • The hotel was actually very nice. But with the perfume they proverbially shot themselves in the foot: there was a body wash and a body lotion in the room scented with the same aroma. So while the perfume wasn’t too tenacious, the body products subliminally suggested that it wasn’t a high-end creation but rather something functional. But I brought back with me a small bottle with the body lotion from the hotel – to remind me of the scent.

  4. I love Stockholm! It’s such an easy city to navigate, the water is lovely and gives it a unique feel, and the narrow, twisting cobbled streets of Gamla stan are like something out of Harry Potter. The people are friendly, too.

    I also really like Costes perfume. It’s light and airy, yet somehow has notes with enough drama to make it memorable. (That seems to be the hallmark of a Giacobetti perfume.) Glad to hear you enjoyed it, too — and also to hear that you had a lovely stay in Stockholm. The hotel room you stayed in is so chic!

    • I’m pleased that there’s somebody else who knows that perfume! :) Now I think even warmer about it.

      We noticed that people in Stockholm with whom we had any interactions were very friendly. Not that we had any problems elsewhere but in there it was especially noticeable.

      That room was one of the most elegantly decorated hotel rooms I’ve ever stayed in. Not the most luxurious but definitely elegant. And that king bed after previous “doubles”… :)

  5. Hi Undina, I wish I had your restraint and the orderly way you seem to process everything! Can’t wait for the big reveal.

  6. I thought that your third monarchy would be Denmark, but it seems I was wrong ;)

    Glad you enjoyed Stockholm despite the rain and colder temperatures. I fret away from Xerjoff and other brands from Momo family (they own 3 or 4 lines) and they are far from affordable. Even if I loved any, I wouldn’t buy it because of the price.

    Can’t wait to hear about your “souvenirs” from vacation

    • Denmark will be next time (if we ever build up courage to leave our continent ;)).

      I know nothing about the Momo family (if you know something bad, please do not tell me :) ), but for a while I thought that those perfumes were too expensive. These days I rarely get enchanted by any of the … less expensive brands, so I’ll be trying anything I can get to try: if we’re not talking about the 15K By Kilian “special”, if I love some perfume I could probably afford it.

    • Not as glad as we were! :)
      The older we get, the more important part sleep plays in our capacity to enjoy life (I enjoyed your post on “beauty sleep” :) ).

  7. Pingback: Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 4: Perfumes I bought – Undina's Looking Glass

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