December! WTF

Hey there Undina’s Looking Glassers. Portia from the sweltering heatwave that is Sydney, Australia. We have already had two 42C/110f days and today was the official start of summer. Hot is an understatement, especially coming out of nowhere like it did. How on earth have we already arrived at December 2020? WOW!

First day of December is always a little melancholy for me. It’s World AIDS Day. For anyone who lived in or around the gay community in the 1980s and 90s it is a day filled with quiet sorrow. It’s also filled with some of the most extraordinary memories of fundraising, community coming together, marching, getting our government on board (Australia was one of the first acknowledges and responders) and partying like we wouldn’t see tomorrow. For so many people that was the bleak truth. We lost nearly a whole generation and the gay community has never really recovered. Fortunately, getting HIV is now far less of a death sentence and people are being medicated into effectual remissions. Also, with the discovery of PrEP the transmission rates have slowed too.

It’s been so hot I’m having trouble trying to get my head to think of things you in the Northern Hemisphere could all be wearing to snuggle up to. Here are a few things you might want to spritz if you’d like to remember what summer feels like through scent.


Lys Soleia by Guerlain

The ultimate tropical white floral. Smooth, creamy and elegant. Nothing makes me feel more in tune with summer. Fruity white flowers, yang and vanilla with a bare hint of salt.

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

This is another of the weird ass Annick Goutal fragrances. Spearmint, pepper, star anise and ginger combine in the most cooling and refreshing gourmand I’ve ever met. Sweet, tart and spicy but like a cool wash.

Pichola by Neela Vermeire Creations

Another white floral, this time spicier, sparkling and backed by vetiver for depth. It may not be the most summery wear but it will always remind me of times spent staying in the Lake Palace in Undaipur, surrounded by the glittering Lake Pichola.

Pimiento by Miller et Bertaux

If you dream of that scent as you cut into a bell pepper/capsicum, then this is that make believe and magical first cut. All the reminders of summer salads, happy, healthy meals full of fun and laughter. A job I loved to do growing up.

Sakura by DIOR

OK, OK, OK! I know. Cherry blossoms are spring. Sure, but this is much more than blossom. Here we have the cherry fruit, roses, some soft woods and musk. A perfect summer spritz if ever there was one. Surprisingly long lived.


Soft white flowers sit atop an amber and stuff base. A perfect fit for sweaty nights, trying to sleep under the ceiling fan. The base is dry and smells like a cross between electrical sparks and drilling concrete.


Hopefully some of these can help you get through the dark and cold of winters up north.

Do any of them sound like a good fit for you?
Portia xx



28 thoughts on “December! WTF

  1. Portia, I love your choices as always. I’m curious about the Costume National Scent. I think they have really nice underrated scents but I haven’t tried them for many years. I should give them another try.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun choices – mostly new to me. I have tried Pichola, have a bottle of Mandragore (although the clear bottle, not the purple…) We have snow on the ground here, a few days after it was 60f for Thanksgiving.


  3. I love your posts, Portia. I’m glad AIDS is well under control, and I’m so sorry for all the beautiful people who left the planet too soon.

    I remember reading about the fires in Australia last year, and I hope it won’t be as severe this year. I love all your choices of fragrances! Have you ever tried Mandragora and Duel, as a combination? We had a hot summer here, by our standards, and I’d put a spritz of duel on my ankles and Mandragore down my spine, which is my favourite place to put cologne. Songs also blooms so beautifully in the heat. But I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced heat like you’re describing :)

    Take care,



    • Thank you Carole,
      We have been told there will be more rain this year so the bush won’t be so tinder dry. Fingers crossed.
      OOOOH! Mandragore and Duel! What an interesting idea. thanks.
      It’s funny. The heat is MUCH worse when you’re inside trying to beat it. Once you’re out in it for short periods of time it becomes quite comfortable, unless the humidity is high. It’s been quite dry though so hot but bearable.
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lys Soleia is the only one of those I’ve worn. My summer scents are usually Bulgari au Thé Bleu, Eau de Magnolia, Cologne Indélibile and Blanche Immortelle.

    Growing up in San Francisco in the 80’s I was in what felt like the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic. Three of my high school friends died in the first wave. I remember the huge quilt that was made. So glad treatment and prevention are better now. It was a very dark time.

    Liked by 1 person

      • So terrible, and something that must always be remembered. I feel like a lot of the non-lgbtq world has forgotten about AIDS (which is also a worry from a health perspective).


  5. Hey Portia
    A big hug from me on World AIDS Day. The Daily Calm on my app was dedicated to it today and we did a loving kindness meditation.
    Pichola is such a lovely breezy, petally summer scent.


  6. I can’t even imagine 42 C. weather. How are your poor pups managing it? I guess you have to keep walks short and make sure they don’t burn their paws on sidewalks. My hot weather go to is Teo Cabanel Meloe, a soft citrus, it’s cooling and calming, and Cabanel’s Early Roses, a very light, bright rose.

    December 1 is a tough day for me as well. I lost my wonderful brother to AIDS in 1995. He contracted the virus in the 80’s and did very well for quite a few years, but became very ill in 1994-1995. So many good people were lost to AIDS. Never forget.


    • Heya Ricky,
      42C is pretty hot. the dogs live their lives between a large fully covered balcony that gets loads of sun in winter and shade in summer and their beds in our living room. The inside beds are right in front of the TV so they feel like we are always paying attention to them.
      I love Teo Cabanel too but neither of those is in my wardrobe. I’ll check them out.
      I’m so sorry you lost your brother. All the hugs. Yes, I will not forget.
      Portia xx


  7. It’s amazing that something which was a guaranteed death sentence is now not only survivable, but people live well and comfortably. And this during our lifetime.
    You’ve picked a few beauties there, I am still kicking my own ass that I didn’t swipe a big bottle of Lys Soleia when I had the chance. I had it in my hand and put it back on the shelf, saying that I’d buy it another time, but of course it disappeared soon after. And Costume National has done likewise. You introduced me to Pichola and it was instant love. I may wear that tomorrow now that you’ve nudged my memory. As your temps climb, ours are tipping the scale the other way, frosty has made an appearance this week. I’m glad that December is here, I have been done with this year for ages already. Same as everyone else.


    • Hey Cassieflower,
      The ONLY things we really regret are chances missed. Trite but true.
      Costume National are available very cheap from FragranceNet and other discounters. SHH!
      Glad you are happy 2020 is almost over. How are C19 numbers in your area?
      Portia xx


  8. Oh I ADORE Mandragore and you’ve reminded me I have it. Hot weather scents have never been favourites for me in the past but times, and myself, have changed. Nowadays I love anything with a whiff traditional cologne. Sartorial, Tom of Finland, the NEW Caron, EDLO’s Je Suis Un Homme, good old Guerlain L’Homme Ideal.. yes a pattern is emerging!


    • OOOOH Narth!
      What a spectacular line up. I love that you are wearing so many masculines. So cool.
      YAY! Another Mandragore fan. It seems to be the favourite pick of ULG commenters today. I’m glad because it’s rarely referenced anymore.
      Will you do a Dudes Frags for Dames post? I’d love to read your choices and why.
      Portia xxx


      • I’m hoping for the banishment of gender categories in perfume and yet.. that’s what both held me back in the past and attracts me today. That leads to so many questions (and the best of niche can throw out all expectations).

        Mandragore IS weird. I wore it to every Harry Potter film. There was a more concentrated version at some point I think? I have the purple bottle as well.


  9. It’s not that cold here yet (we’re having a really warm year), so I’m still struggling with wearing my favorite “heavy hitters” – but I’m trying!

    Pichola is my recent acquisition (a decant): I wasn’t impressed by it in the beginning, but then suddenly it “clicked” – so, I swapped with a lovely NSTer. When It’s done, I’ll get a smaller bottle.

    And yep, I can’t believe it’s December already. Time to decorate my house for holidays! :)


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