A Smell of Home

I was contemplating getting back to blogging for a while now. I want to do it. I miss thinking my posts through, choosing pictures for them, waiting for and then answering your comments. I even have pages of ideas for topics in my “Next” file. But the longer you postpone that next post, the harder it is to choose the “right” topic. After a seven weeks’ silence I couldn’t return with a post about the next lipstick I picked up for the cute name or with the next episode of my “Small Things That Brighten Life” series. I mean, of course I could, but it seemed wrong with this one being a perfume blog.

I traveled half of the time I was absent, mostly for work, and while I brought many perfumes with me and wore them daily, perfumes stayed at the back of my mind. Primarily I thought about staying awake (I hate jet lag!), keeping concentration that I needed to perform my duties (sleeping aids help to sleep but totally mess up cognitive functions) and Rusty who we left with a new cat sitter for such a long time. Rusty looked somewhat sad on daily reports’ photos but at least he was taken good care of.

 

 

Going to Ukraine, I had some hopes to check out their perfume offerings since I had 3 major cities on my itinerary. But time ran away from me, and the only true olfactory experience I got there was an extremely pleasant ambient scent in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Kiev. But everything was so hectic that I hadn’t checked if they had anything with that scent in their gift shop (or if they even had a gift shop, for that matter).

And then there was London. It was a wonderful week of vacation that started with what felt like half an hour but probably was three times longer meeting with Vanessa who, once again, arrived at the place we were staying ahead of us, though this time, unlike it happened in Paris, not only she didn’t get to talk to the owner but she couldn’t even get a confirmation from the person holding they keys whether we’d already collected them (to be fair, it wasn’t for Vanessa’s not looking trustworthy or that person being super careful – she just had no idea who I was since the key was dispatched in response to the code, no names asked).

While exchanging small gifts with Vanessa, I showed her some pictures and videos of Rusty who by that time got acclimated with his new nanny enough to enjoy staying on her lap, purring and allowing her to scratch his belly. “Aren’t you jealous?” Vanessa asked me.

 

 

By that time, I was asking myself the same. Every day, seeing the next portion of pictures and video clips, my vSO and I were, jokingly, exclaiming: “Traitor!” But while we acknowledged that we were somewhat jealous, the prevailing feeling was that we were happy that he befriended his stand-in (well, live-in) human and wasn’t lonely. For the first time in many years, while away on a long trip, I wasn’t missing Rusty so badly to want to cut the trip short. But still, I was pining for his company, his fluffy tail, his “meow” language that he trained my vSO and me to understand and the smell of his warm fur.

I rarely read reviews for perfumes that I haven’t tried because I don’t want reviews to influence my impressions of them when I finally test them. But since I usually do not care for hand-made perfumes and rarely get to try them, I read two inspiring reviews for Bengale Rouge, the latest creation by Liz Moores of Papillon Perfumes, published by my friends – Tara (A Bottled Rose) and Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume). I wasn’t paying much attention to notes but I did remember that it was “about the cat” or “Your Cat But Better.” So, when Vanessa shared her sample with me, even though normally I would have preserved “a sample in the hand” for later while fully exploring all opportunities provided by London, missing my cat, I started testing this perfume almost immediately.

I thought I was predisposed to like this perfume. I was wrong: I loved it. Since then I looked up the notes more than once (sandalwood, Turkish rose, honey, vanilla and sweet myrrh), and I still can’t really make them out. But does it really matter? Bengale Rouge is perfectly blended, elegant and complex perfume that purrs on my skin – maybe not as sweet as Rusty sitting on my lap but warm and comforting nevertheless.

When we returned home, Rusty behaved a little strange: he looked like he recognized us but still was not completely sure who we were, and he kept sniffing the air. And only after I showered, changed into clean clothes, put on Bengale Rouge and started smelling of home, Rusty conceded that he knew me.

Had Bengale Rouge been offered in smaller size, I would have bought it already. Actually, I was trying to buy a full bottle soon after coming home but, luckily, it was sold out everywhere I checked. Since the impulse has gone (and no full bottles are available yet anyway), I’ll probably try to buy a decant and then see if I need more. If I’m not the last one who tried it, I do recommend you, keeping up with a cat theme, get your paws on a sample: even if in the end you decide not to buy and wear Bengale Rouge, it’s one of the releases this year that is worth trying.

As I’m writing this, Rusty sits on my lap. And since he’s much more photogenic than an almost empty 1 ml vial of Bengale Rouge, and this post was “about the cat” at least as much as about perfume, I’ll finish this post with his picture – even though the only connection to Bengal cats he has is the animosity between him and a cute neighbor Bengal who comes to the door window from time to time to hiss at Rusty. On a couple of occasions Rusty and I formed a coalition and chased him away (well, I did while holding my indoor fluffy warrior).

 

Rusty on my lap

 

Images: my own

33 thoughts on “A Smell of Home

  1. All I can say is that it’s good to see you come back and that you were greatly missed. I understand your feelings, for me it was also difficult to come back. I was only away for 2 weeks and travelogues had nothing to do with perfume. But because I didn’t go to Pitti Fragranze I don’t have many perfume left that I’d want to talk about.

    I’m glad that you enjoyed your time in London and your meeting with Vanessa. Shame it was only a week, isn’t it? I have tried 2 or 3 from Papillon but none has worked for me.

    Rusty looks very good and I missed seeing his photos. I’m sure he’s happy you came back.

    Welcome home!

    • It’s good to be back, even though I would have preferred at least another week of vacation.

      I tried all of the previous Papillon perfumes, and none of them worked for me. I don’t think, though, that Bengale Rouge will work for you: it’s too feminine. I mean, if you come across it, you should definitely give it a try (for educational purpose/review) but I do not see you wearing it.

  2. Ah, cat sickness …. it’s a melancholy condition. Yes, it’s great that Rusty trusted his sitter and was happy, but I can imagine how it made you feel a teeny bit jealous, even though you wanted him to be OK. Our cat Holly would always ignore us for a few days after our return from holiday, showing us how miffed she was.

    As I said to Vanessa, I am very happy to read about all sorts of matters (especially cats!), not just perfume, and am just grateful to see my favourite bloggers blogging, even if they can’t write quite so frequently.

    It’s lovely to have you back.

    • Thank you Jillie. It’s good to be back. I plan to at least try not to disappear from my blog for that long.
      We’re lucky: Rusty never holds grudges, and usually is just happy that we are back.

  3. It was a real treat to have you in London! That was such a lovely day.

    I can well understand how hard it would be to spend weeks apart from Rusty. He has such an extraordinarily expressive face, you can easily tell if he’s not as happy as usual. How interesting that he could tell you smelt of somewhere else. At least he didn’t ‘punish’ you for being away. He’s such a sweetheart.

    Oh perfume! Yes, Bengal Rouge is very comforting with that soft feline vanilla. I still prefer Dryad but can well see why it has broader appeal.

    • It was a wonderful day, thank you, Tara. We’ll do it again.

      Rusty never punishes us, he’s a very good-natured cat.

      Dryad was 100% “not me,” the previous ones I didn’t dislike but didn’t want to wear, so if it weren’t for Vanessa I could have never even tried it.

  4. I understand what you’re saying about writing. I was off my feet half the summer due to a broken ankle. Plenty of time to write, right? Well I was totally uninspired, feeling so bad, and since I’m better the writing habit is broken and it is so hard to get back. Everything I write seems so “blah” but I trudge on, hoping it will get easier. Your trip sounds lovely! I so want to go to Ukraine! My husband and daughter went about five years ago, chasing family roots, and found a whole village with our last name. Welcome back, and you made me want to drag out my sample of Bengale Rouge that I haven’t even opened yet.

    • I think, Kiev is a nice place to visit if you ever were to go to Ukraine.

      I hope when you try Bengale Rouge, it’ll inspire you to write something that will feel to you not “blah” (I’m not saying that it has to be a positive inspiration ;) ).

  5. Welcome back, Undina! I missed you, your musings and Rusty. I hope things have settled down a bit with your crazy work schedule. Bengale Rouge is something else, isn’t it? It’s a good thing I got in on a split while it was on pre-order and chose the keep the bottle option 😉. Ah, and we also know how to get Rusty to switch allegiances 🤣!

    • I missed you too. Even though the schedule is still kind of crazy, I hope I’ll find at least some time for my blog: if for nothing else, to at least post some pictures of Rusty, who is totally converted back to being my lap cat.

  6. Welcome back! I have missed seeing Rusty, too. I have not sniffed Bengale Rouge – it usually takes me a year or two to get to any release. (Unless Hajusuuri is offering a split!)

    • Thank you.
      For me these days it’s also usually a year+ after the release that I get to try new perfumes and closer to “never” for most, so I know how it is.

  7. I’ve been wanting to try Bengale Rouge. I will definitely chase down a sample now! It sounds lovely. My husband and I left our Siamese cat for only a week once, with 2 times a day visits from our cat sitter. She was so angry with us when we returned, she followed us around for 3 days telling us in loud Siamese meows that we were horrible people and if we ever left her like that again she would bit our ankles daily. LOL

    • For trips for a week or less we also go with a two times per day feeding, but for longer periods we do not feel comfortable leaving him alone. Luckily for us he never gets angry with us once we’re back (though for a while he does become more vocal, if it’s even possible :) ).

  8. Hello Undina!
    I haven’t bought perfume in years – I think I have purchased only one sample since I stopped writing in my blog nearly five years ago. But this one I MUST TRY!! :)

  9. Bengale Rouge has many conquests indeed. I have yet to read anything negative. I’ve not tried it yet. I’m waiting for the adoration to die down not to be unduly influenced. At this juncture I almost feel obliged to love it. If not, what would that say about my nose!
    Rusty is as debonair as always. I see he likes the under chin scratches as well.
    Glad to see you writing again!

    • I don’t believe you would be influenced by positive opinions: I bet there are dozens of extremely famous perfumes that you don’t like. You can do it! :)

  10. I have a lot of trouble leaving my pets for longer than a few days. Once when I had to travel for work for five weeks my cats gave me the cold shoulder for several days when I got back.

    As for Bengale Rouge, I love it but feel miffed about the price increase, so I am waiting for the furor to die down so I can buy it with a coupon code from Twisted Lily or Indigo.

    Lastly, I am happy to see you blogging again, please write about anything you feel like!

    • I didn’t know about price increase since not being interested in any of the previous perfumes, I’ve never checked this brand’s prices before. I definitely want to wear it but I’m not ready to buy 50 ml of it.
      I miss Rusty a lot when I travel for pleasure. But this time it was easier because I knew that he was fine (and I was miserable :) ).

    • I know, that American indie and small niche brands are hard to get but I thought that European brands were easier to come by. Bengale Rouge isn’t a masterpiece that everyone has to try (I’m not sure if any perfume these days is) but I hope one day you’ll get to try it.

  11. Great to have you back a-blogging, Undina. I was starting to wonder if you had given it up. But now it all make sense. Glad you’re reunited with Rusty too, although his loyalty was in question.

  12. I was wondering if i had missed one of your posts… I’m glad to see you back but understand better than any how hard it is to return to blogging. I admire you, Vanessa and Tara for keeping up the regular blogging, and among the three of you, you have almost managed to make me want to blind buy Bengal Rouge. ( of cause I won’t blind buy and this stage of perfumedom).
    I still am very interested in all of the more indie brands, but paying loads for samples is no longer as alluring as it used to be, to many disappointments over the years… I will try Bengal Rouge eventually, I’m sure.

    • These days I blind buy samples :) I mean, I rarely buy anything at all, including samples, so whenever I buy a sample, I consider it a blind buy.
      I still love blogging and wish I had more time to relax and spend time writing. And I’m happy that my friends still keep visiting me when I finally publish something.

  13. Oh my goodness, I know I have been away for two weeks, but I only just received a notification that you had posted yesterday, along with 27 other blog related updates. What a fantastic return to posting, and Rusty is on top form with his ‘coming over all unnecessary pose’ at the end. I did enjoy our brief visit and chuckled again at the story of yet another ‘get in’ to your accommodation. Am delighted you like Bengale Rouge and can sort you out with some more! It was great that Rusty was so well cared for and that you can manage longer trips away now.

    • That company that takes care of Rusty during our trips is a godsend: there’s only that many favors one can ask from friends or neighbors, especially since their “cat situation” has changed. And paid but less professional help I used in the past sometimes left me feeling as if I was getting a favor , even though I was paying a fair price. So I’m glad I found these people (and they take good pictures of Rusty ;) ).

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