Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 4: Perfumes I bought

More than three years ago, while describing my indecisiveness when it comes to buying perfumes, I wrote:

I have that dream of going into a perfume shop while on a vacation or at a fragrance event and finding perfume, without which I wouldn’t want to leave that store.

It hasn’t happen to me since then. If anything, I became even less spontaneous, which isn’t surprising taking into the consideration my steadily expanding collection and exponentially increasing number of new releases. But the dream lived on. So going on the vacation to London, Barcelona and Stockholm, I decided not only to take with me and wear perfumes created by the brands from the respective countries but also to bring back perfumes from each of the destinations – with the same caveat of the brand’s origin.

As I’ve described in the posts about each part of my trip, in our era of globalization it wasn’t easy to find perfumes that would fit the set criteria, even though I tried to cheat a little by bringing with me samples of perfumes that I’ve previously tried and… let’s put it this way – didn’t dislike.

After all the sniffing Tara, Vanessa and I and then Vanessa and I did in London, on the last evening in the city I was still hesitant. I might have ended up not buying anything at all if it weren’t for the serendipitous circumstances.

One of the most pleasant memories from our previous visit to London was a restaurant on the corner of the same street where we happened to stay then in a tiny hot room under the roof. For the whole week in London this time we kept planning to go there but something else would come up. So finally I reserved a table there for the last evening.

When you spend the day walking the city, it’s hard to plan perfectly. We arrived to the restaurant almost an hour earlier but since we weren’t hungry yet, instead of checking with them if they could seat us immediately, we decided just to walk around and see the area where we spent time seven years ago.

We went by the B&B where we stayed – it looked the same. We checked out a bakery that seemed very appealing back then – probably not the fairest comparison with it being after 5 P.M., but the selection of baked goods didn’t impress. We walked by the private park for the residents of one of the buildings – it was still very charming and inaccessible. Then we came across the second location of Les Senteurs. Since Vanessa and I went through everything at the other location the day before, I just sprayed again Tom Daxon’s Magnolia Heights to give it one last wear before going for a bottle. And then I saw it…

Jo Loves London Boutique

Of course, later I remembered Vanessa’s suggestions to the fellow-shoppers in Ormonde Jayne store to visit this area for Les Senteurs and Jo Loves boutiques. But it completely went by me at the time. Since I still kept my grudges against this brand for offering to send me scented blotters in response to my inquiry to purchase samples when the line had been launched (six years later I think I can safely reveal the brand, about which I wrote that post), I didn’t even think of visiting that store. But there we were – so I just couldn’t pass it by.

It wasn’t the first time I smelled Jo Loves’ perfumes: a year after the launch they had some limited promotion where you could request 2 samples. My friend and I each requested two – so we got to try four perfumes. “Nice but nothing special” was a verdict for three of them, and I liked but didn’t love the forth one (Gardenia). Several months ago I got hajusuuri’s “traveling samples set” – so I was able to try 7 more of their scents and really liked one of them.

Even though I came partially prepared, it took me some time to make a decision. In the end I decided to go with perfume that I liked from the hajusuuri’s set – No. 42 The Flower Shop.

Rusty and Jo Loves The Flower Shop

Most of you who have been around for a while saw on my blog many beautiful bouquets (usually in Rusty’s company). Those we created in one of the local florist shops, which both I and my vSO like. He usually goes there on his own (to order flowers for me, not trusting online ordering) but from time to time we visit it together – not to buy anything but just to check what they’re offering. There is a cold room in the shop – a walk-in floral refrigerator for pre-made floral arrangements and buckets of different flowers. No. 42 The Flower Shop smells exactly like that room: greenery with mixed floral bouquet, light and pleasant (Notes from Fragrantica: green leaves, mandarin orange, peony, lily of the valley, freesia, jasmine, narcissus, iris, white musk, moss and patchouli). I plan to put the bottle in the fridge and use on hot summer days. The name of this perfume was inspired by the flower shop, in which Ms. Malone worked as a girl. Many years later she opened her boutique on the same street where that flower shop used to be.

Jo Loves No. 42 The Flower Shop

There was a close second contender – Mango Thai Lime. But since I’ve never tried it before on skin, the store was closing, and we were getting late for dinner, I decided to go for the safer choice, but tried to get a sample of this one – to test later and see if I would want to get a bottle. Would you care to guess what I was offered?

Rusty and Jo Loves The Flower Shop

And if you were curious, dinner at the restaurant, which happened to be just one short block away from the Jo Loves shop, was just alright: the food was edible but much simpler than 7 years ago (and as I happen to still have a menu from that first time, I was able to confirm that my memory wasn’t playing tricks on me). But those memories brought me back to that street, that boutique and to that perfume. And the picture below is what I saw first today when I went to the Jo Loves site to look-up something for this post. A magical coincidence indeed.

Jo Loves 42 The Flower Shop

The story of the next perfume will be not as poetic and a little shorter.

In Barcelona, predictably, I didn’t have any “prospects” until the last day. When I got to La Basilica Galeria (the one with 1,000+ perfume), I told myself that if anywhere, I should be able to find there something to fit the criteria I imposed on this perfume hunt. Luckily for me, local perfumes were thoughtfully marked as such, so while methodically sniffing through all the shelves, I paid additional attention to those with “Made in Spain” labels.

Rusty and Ramon Molvizar Sun Sol

No, I didn’t bring back with me a toy for Rusty instead of perfume though I came close to that. Perfumes that I liked the most were in the case before the last. Before that day I have never heard of this brand – Ramon Molvizar, though the first fragrance in the Fragrantica’s database is dated as 1999. Probably, it was for the best because had I read the brand’s claims of “exquisite luxury” and “taking the perfumer’s art to its extreme where it becomes a masterpiece,” I would have felt much more skeptical. But since I was blissfully ignorant, I approached these perfumes practically with an open mind: I almost didn’t hold against them those strange shiny fragments inside the bottles.

Ramon Molvizar Sol Sun

After trying several of Molvizar’s perfumes on paper, I pared down my choices to two. Those went on my wrists, and we went to sleep eat on it. I tried to be discreet in the café, but since I spent equal time sniffing and chewing, I suspect I didn’t fully succeed. But I made up my mind.

Rusty and Ramon Molvizar Sol Sun

Sol Sun on my skin opens with a cheerful citrus – perfect for that summer day in Barcelona. In the development I recognize lotus (not as a real flower but as a note I know from other perfumes) and some hints of wood. Those of you who have better nose would probably be able to recognize other notes from the list: lemon, ginger, bergamot, rose, orchid, jasmine, musk, wood and sugar cane. It is not one of those perfumes that everybody needs to experience: there’s nothing groundbreaking, unique or even quirky about Sol Sun. But I like this bright and sweet floral perfume with warm amber-y drydown – despite of the slightly tacky, in my opinion, 23-karat gold flakes (c’mon, for $8 you can get Beverly Hills Gold with 24 (!) kt gold flakes). And, as an additional bonus, Sol Sun comes in a beautiful wooden box, also made in Spain (which impressed my vSO in our made-in-China century). That packaging will allow me to keep this perfume on my dresser, which is valuable given the aforementioned collection proliferation. Nothing else would fit into it though besides the bottle – Rusty has checked.

Rusty and Ramon Molvizar Sol Sun

As to the last leg of the trip: I drew a blank. By that time I tried and liked so many great perfumes that it didn’t feel right to buy anything less interesting than those perfumes from the “Perfumes I didn’t buy” sections of my travel posts only because it was local. But when I finish my La Tulipe decant, I’ll buy a bottle in memory of how wonderful this perfume was on a cold summer day in Stockholm.

 

Images: all but the one from the Jo Loves site, my own

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25 thoughts on “Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 4: Perfumes I bought

  1. YES, finally! Great to learn about your summer holidays aquisitions from abroad.

    I got to try a few of Jo Loves fragrances when they were only getting started (and didn’t have brick & mortar store) and guess what, back then they easily sent me spray samples. I remember trying Green Orange & Coriander or Pink Vetiver. The vetiver was the last one I tried and since then I didn’t smell any of their newer offerings.

    As to Ramon Molvizar, they are pretty popular in Poland but since I find the packaging to be over the top and the prices are not exactly what I’m willing to pay, I just ignored this brand without even trying the perfumes

    I hope you’ll enjoy your 2 new perfumes (and that Clementine California too!) – shame that in Stockholm there was nothing from local brands that would impress you.

    • Shh! It’s still a secret! (until tomorrow) ;)

      I think that it was lucky I found two perfumes that quickly. Now I’ll have to go to Stockholm again to finish that project. :)

      It’s interesting that Molvizar is popular in Poland. But Spain is much closer to you than to me. If you get a chance, try Black Goldskin. On the positive side, they now have “pocket size” ($30 ml) perfumes in much more practical packaging for 89 Euro – not that bad for niche perfumes.

  2. Probably “Perfumes I didn’t buy” would be the most interesting posting from your European adventure, Undina! Don’t know any JoLoves, nor Ramon Molvizar’s gold and silver layered scents, except for a few spritzes of Goldskin (which I liked, but didn’t love from first sniff). Looking forward to the next piece of sincerety! :)

    • What do you mean “would be”? Each of the previous three parts have that section :) Though, it looks like after more testing I still might go for a couple of perfumes I didn’t buy on the spot.

      It’s good to see you again, Lyubov.

  3. Ooh, I did enjoy this ‘final reveal’ post! And what a magical coincidence indeed that your London purchase had so many strands connecting you to it. I can imagine a flower shop in all its facets – there’s a lot of cut greenery – being a great inspiration for a perfume.

    How sweet is that picture of Rusty’s paw!! I like the sound of your Spanish purchase too, though I am ambivalent at best about the added sparkle. And La Tulipe would be gorgeous on a cold day. I associate it with a hot summer’s day in Dresden!

    • Because of those gold flakes I’m hesitant to spray it on clothes: on skin it is quite noticeable.

      Before this trip I always thought of La Tulipe as about Spring/Summer perfume. But it was just gorgeous in cold weather.

  4. Lucas must be one of the very few lucky ones, because I very nicely asked if I could possibly have (or even pay for) some samples when Jo Loves launched and only got the paper strips! Maybe I will see what I’m offered when – spurred by your review – I enquire about The Flower Shop ….

    Dear, serious Rusty – he obviously gives great consideration to your purchases.

    • Wait… While buying a bottle, all I was offered in response to my request for a sample of the second perfume that I liked, was that cure paper flower blotter sprayed ;) Something never changes. I do not have any warm feelings towards this brand.

  5. Loved this post. The “magical coincidence” makes for a lovely story and I can imagine No. 42 The Flower Shop being perfect straight from the fridge.
    I hadn’t heard of Ramon Molvizar but this perfume sounds fun for summer and that box made in Spain is great. Adore the two pics of Rusty looking at the bottle and with his paw in the box!
    You now have that scent of memory of La Tulipe in Stockholm so it really doesn’t matter if you end up buying the bottle back home.

    • I agree about the memory that will now connect La Tulipe and Stockholm, regardless of the place where I buy the bottle (and here it might be more economically sound).

      It took some … persuading to involve Rusty in that photo shoot (I had to bribe him with treats ;) ).

  6. I enjoyed hearing about your purchases and travels, Undina. As you know my blog kind of focuses on travel and scents so I am always keen to hear that other people plan perfumes for a trips location. I have wanted to try the Jo Loves line, but didn’t realize you couldn’t try samples. When I smell paper strips, the smell of paper overwhelms anything else for me. You would think, with all the articles about how she scents her house and lives with scent, she would be a little more aware? Perhaps its a cost issue? Anyway, disappointing. The one time I perfume shopped in London I went to Harrods and was so overwhelmed I walked away with nothing. The RM from Barcelona sounds like something I would buy. I also am really hesitant with full bottle purchases now, but went a bit crazy yesterday with sales at Twisted Lily and Luckyscent and bought Keiko Mecheri Isles Lontaines and the cherry blossom one by Berdeous. I’m sure Rusty is glad to have you back!

    • [rant on]
      Well, you can try samples… This brand has one of the meanest sampling program: you can pay for the future full 50 ml or 100 ml bottle (70/115 pounds) plus 35 pounds for ten 2 ml samples plus 5 pounds for the U.K. delivery (25 to the U.S.). Total – 130/175 pounds, if you want to “try” their perfumes in the U.S. The price of samples isn’t deductible from the price of the full bottle. You cannot buy only the samples set. So it’s an interesting “gift experience” (yes, they call it like that). Once you decided “to try,” you’ve not only paid for sampling but already for the full bottle as well – even if you end up hating each and every scent. Obviously, it works for the brand, but I think it’s an unscrupulous scheme.
      [/rant of]

      Luckily for me, Luckiscent didn’t have anything I wanted to get right away but Twisted got some of my money in that sale :) I haven’t tried either of the two perfumes you bought but I hope to read your reviews for them soon.

      Rusty was indeed happy that we came back, which actually makes it so much easier to come back from vacations.

    • You knew it! :)
      The older Rusty gets, the harder it becomes to keep his interest in my perfumes long enough to take good pictures. He still comes to check out anything new but he quickly figures out that it’s nothing he can eat or play with – and gets away before I get to him from the right angle.

  7. I’m loving the photos of Rusty with the Ramon Molvizar bottle! I love that bottle design in general and the fact that you can keep it in the (made in Spain!) box.

    No. 42 The Flower Shop looks and sounds absolutely lovely. Ms. Malone’s inspiration for the name is nice and nostalgic. I’m laughing about the fact that they offered you another scented blotter strip though, too ridiculous!

    • The box is very well made! It’s a pleasure to handle it.

      I wonder if they would ever learn? There was a good chance I would have ordered that second bottle later after trying perfume a couple of times more at home. Now I doubt I’d ever come back to it. I always thought that customers who were already buying something else were good candidates for the further promotions… But clearly the successful business woman Ms. Malone is, she calculated it better. It just leaves a bad taste when company tries to nickel-and-dime me.

  8. Hey Undina! I love how you built up to your purchases!

    Your stumbling into Jo Loves was the exact opposite of mine. I targeted Jo Loves as the one and only perfume store I must go to since I had my voucher for a 50 mL fragrance and I wanted to pick it up in person. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it since it was Dec. 31st and I was enjoying a very nice tea at Fortnum & Mason with some fellow travelers but I zipped to Elizabeth St. in a cab. I’m glad you found your love there…I need to revisit once my set comes back again. I asked for samples too and the only one they had available (and I don’t really believe it) was Pomelo (which was the bottle i got with my voucher) and I gave it away to a friend. Had they offered the test strips only, I would have taken them, ripped them in front of the SA and left the debris on the counter (I know, so bitchy but what they did was beyond ridiculous).

    Your Barcelona purchase looks fabulous and it looks like Rusty approved with the “hidden” treat!

    • So, after paying for the samples delivery, instead of using the free S&H for your bottle, you paid for the cab to pick it up? ;)
      I was so surprised with that offer to spray one more paper flower (as if I was too stupid to figure it out on my own) that I just dropped that topic without even suggesting to make it into a sample bottle that I had with me.

  9. Oh so I was interested to hear what you bought while on vacation- and you did like a Jo Loves! I am stoked, because I thought you might. Interesting that the choice came down to The Flower Shop and Thai Mango and Lime, with the latter not quite making the cut.

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