Mediterranean Mirage

It wasn’t even a real vacation: this year my vSO’s birthday fell on a weekday, and since we weren’t traveling this time, we decided to take a day off. In the new reality of working from home, unless we physically leave the house, it usually results in both of us taking a quick peek at work emails… and 3-4 hours later telling ourselves and each other that it’s not the right way to spend a day off. To avoid even a temptation, we decided to spend some time at Santana Row (“Silicon Valley’s premier destination for shopping, dining, living, and more.”) and even invented a goal of that visit: to actually see and touch a travel backpack that we were going to buy as a present for my vSO.

I say “invented” because we could have easily gotten it delivered to our place with a free delivery and return. But it felt like a special treat – going to a regular (not a grocery) store, touching things and choosing them not by magnifying each of the 1.5 (on average) available pictures and reading a dozen of reviews of the “I give it 3 stars because I thought it would be bigger” (despite clearly provided dimensions)-type. Not that I haven’t done all that before going to the store…

The mission was a complete success: the backpack was exactly as we imagined it based on pictures online and carefully measured our old one. It will perfectly fit two work laptops that we always bring with us to our vacation trips (those emails won’t read themselves, you know).

Tumi Backpack

Inspired by that, we decided to visit a recently built luxury wing of the mall. I’m not sure whether it happened before the COVID, or if they used that year to complete the project, but we haven’t been to that mall in a while, so both versions are plausible. My main goal was to see if there were any new perfumes to try at any of the shops that carry brands that I might be interested in.

Macy’s, through which we went to get inside the mall, smelled just awful of the cheap synthetic men colognes. It was disgusting, and we hurried to leave the area. I don’t remember when the last time was I stopped at any Macy’s cosmetics counter: for many years they’ve been so stingy with samples that I just stopped buying anything there. In general, I’m sad, but I think that Macy’s is on its way out: inside the stores, it feels like it was in Mervyn’s first and then Sear’s before they finally succumbed to inevitable. Oh well…

Nordstrom was slightly better, but there wasn’t a single new perfume to test. And then looking through the Directory I found a stand-alone Diptyque boutique, which hasn’t been in this mall when I was there last time. I remembered that there was a new Diptyque perfume that for some reason I couldn’t find at Diptyque counters in department stores.

I marched into that boutique and, instead of my regular “just browsing,” immediately inquired about “the latest one” (for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name, but even if I could, I wouldn’t be sure how to pronounce it). “Oh, yeah – Ilio,” replied a cheerful SA, “It is sold out.” I didn’t expect that, but since I wasn’t there to buy it, I was insistent, and he acknowledged that they still have a tester for it (but no samples, of course). Since that was all I wanted, I lavishly sprayed Ilio on my wrist, and we went to check out a new seafood restaurant.

As we were waiting for the order (the food was good, but the service was unexpectedly slow… though, I haven’t been to a restaurant in a long while, so maybe it’s a new normal?), I kept sniffing my wrist. It was quite nice. With the international perfumistas’ gesture, I shoved my wrist under my vSO’s nose and demanded to know what he thought. As usual, he thought it was “nice.” I authoritatively explained that it was a nice mimosa scent…

When I got home and checked both Fragrantica and the brand’s site, I discovered that there was no mimosa among the Ilio notes: prickly pear, bergamot, jasmine and iris. I can’t say that I was too surprised: as I keep repeating, I don’t think my nose is that well trained, I rarely smell notes announced in perfumes (and now clearly smell some that aren’t). According to Diptyque site:

Ilio is a tribute to this Mediterranean land bathed in light and fragrance.

And then I went to read Lucas’s (Chemist in the Bottle) review, and you can imagine my surprise when I read that he also thought that Ilio smelled of mimosa! We both saw (well, smelled) something that wasn’t there.

As I was investigating that mirage mimosa note happening, I discovered that Ilio was sold out almost everywhere. Of course, I wanted it!

Diptyque Ilio

If you are curious and haven’t read yet, for the review go to the link I provided above. But this perfume is almost impossible to buy now. And, to tell you the truth, it is not really worth it. It is pleasant. It is nice. It is not something that I would expect released as a celebratory perfume for the 60th anniversary of the brand. It is not something that you are missing out on. But if you feel like you are, you could get it on eBay for $200+.

On a separate note. What is with all these brands that for their anniversaries release super-limited editions in quantities that are being sold out within days (if not hours) from the release?! Did they actually not expect to sell them easily, so they decided to do just a gesture? Or do they try to condition consumers to be prepared to buy future releases without thinking much? I can’t imagine that they tried to create a business opportunity for all those eBay sellers who ask a double price for all sold-out special items?


Images: my own


20 thoughts on “Mediterranean Mirage

  1. Limited editions kind of drive me crazy – this one in particular seems insane. Something that sells out so quickly – how much of it is just going to get resold at a markup. Why not plan to have it available for the entire anniversary year? I don’t really need something that smells like mimosa, so I’m not really sad, but it just seems silly. Happy Birthday to your VSO!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, MMKinPA.
      I would have expected companies to shout about their anniversaries, milk it all the way, create a buzz. I don’t understand these stealth releases.


  2. That sounds like such a lovely day. Trips like this have become a novelty after being home for so long.

    Limited editions with very limited runs feel like a marketing gimmick to me. It raises the exclusivity factor and as you say, makes consumers want to get there first next time no matter what the perfume is.

    Isn’t it satisfying though when someone else smells something ypu have too but that isn’t listed?


    • I think it’s even worse when it comes to makeup releases. I try not to participate in these races.

      I enjoy random days off: it feels especially nice to suddenly be off work while everyone else is on their regular schedule. But I’m still cautious about going indoors without a mask.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It was a miraculous coincidence that for both of us Ilio had something about it that made us think f mimosas.
    I know it’s not a groundbreaking perfume and nothing extraordinary to celebrate 60 years of existence but I like the scent so I’ll take it. The bottle is cute too!


  4. Nothing like a good backpack…I remember the satisfaction of buying one for my last trip to the States, and the lovely feeling of putting it on for the first time, all packed and ready for an adventure…

    Very interested in your experience with Ilio, and I do love a good mimosa note, real or imagined. Still kicking myself that my first niche purchase was L’Ete en Douce instead of Mimosa pour Moi, the other near contender.

    How do you feel about the rounder bottles of Diptyque? I am not sure about them, though they do remind me of Pears Soap, if you have that over there.


    • When they just released those rounder bottles, I thought that I didn’t like them. But recently when I got out my old square Tam Dao, I thought that I wasn’t sure any more that I preferred the older bottle. Perfume is a different thing: I always prefer the previous version ;)


  5. Sounds like a great shopping trip! I haven’t been shopping in a store (except for a grocery store, of course) for over a year. I’ve done a LOT of online shopping, though, and a lot of perfume sampling. I’m glad to know I’m not missing a lot with Ilio. It sounds pleasant, but not anything any of us need right now. The nicest mimosa scent I have found this year is Fragonard’s Belle de Grasse. It’s well priced and very pretty.
    I love that Tumi backpack. I have 4 Tumi suitcases that I have bought over the years whenever they have a good sale and I love them. I keep thinking I will buy a Tumi backpack, but I got a much cheaper travel backpack 2 years ago and it’s just meh. It’s fine for holding snacks and books for car trips, but that’s about it.


    • It was a nice trip and, probably, the last for a while: I’m fine with online shopping to minimize unnecessary risks.

      As much as I like Tumi, unless you prefer to stay with the same brand for all your luggage (which I totally would understand) and find a backpack on a very good sale, do the research: there are several solid alternatives that would cost at least twice cheaper. But if you do decide to go with Tumi, it is very-very nice, and I’m happy with the choice.


  6. Pingback: Saturday Question: Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released? – Undina's Looking Glass

  7. Hey Undina,
    Happy Birthday to the VSO!
    Backpacks are important! I have two. Both gifts from Jin. My favourite is a bright blue with orange picking that I have used as onboard luggage and as my go-to for years. His Mum is embarrassed when I wear it and calls it my pooh bag. When I’m on the motorbike apparently it’s visible for miles and Jin can always pick me out if he’s behind.
    That Ilio sounds really pretty. I like Diptyque. They may not be awesomely ground breaking but they do really solid and comfortable scents that I love to wear.
    Portia x


    • I’m curious whether this one will ever make it to Australia: I know that you often get something later than it appears in Europe or in the US, but did they “put aside” some for AU while it’s sold out everywhere else?

      We have several backpacks, but I wanted my vSO to get something really nice and good quality for my vSO’s birthday.


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