Lost Alice by Masque Milano NEW! NEW!

Lost Alice by Masque Milano NEW! NEW!

Hi Crew, Lost Alice by Masque Milano is one of the decants to arrive in my latest Surrender To Chance order. Yeah, I’m affiliated with them because the STC crew are my mates. That doesn’t change the facts; they are terrific, have an excellent range and you can be guaranteed their stuff is the real deal. (OK unpaid ad over!). Lost Alice is an excellent title and the reason I bought this decant. Didn’t even look at the notes, it caught my eye as I was browsing their NEW section.

Lost Alice by Masque Milano 2021

Lost Alice by Masque Milano

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Black Pepper, Bergamot, Clary Sage
Heart: Black Tea, Orris, Carrot, White Rose
Base: Milk, Sandalwood, Broom

A clear and airy open, warm and cool vie against each other and are bridged by what I’m smelling as the two main players ambrette and iris. How is there no vanilla in this perfume? Maybe it’s the milk and sandalwood playing early but it doesn’t smell like them to me. The pepper and tea would normally give me a dry ache in my throat but here I get nothing.

Lost Alice is a strangely beautiful fragrance. It definitely has the feeling of yearning towards something. Maybe the blending is so good that parsing the notes is impossible (for me). It reminds me of two things without being like either of them. You know that rush of steam that blasts out if you open the dishwasher too soon? It’s a clean, hot, glasses fogging experience. Partly that feeling. The second thing is boiled lollies, not the taste but how smooth they become after you’ve sucked the edges off, just before you inevitably crunch it up.

Lost Alice by Masque Milano 2021

The whole fragrance feels barely there but is so distinctively unusual that it’s a constant presence. Do I like it? No, I haven’t fallen in love with it but Lost Alice is compelling, I’m forced to sniff it and sniff it again. Did you ever smell Dama Koupa by Baruti? Though the smell is quite different, the general attitude is the same.

After the initial fireworks burn off the thing I’m most reminded of is French Vanilla ice cream. Totally unexpected from the note list and my imaginings of what a Lost Alice would smell like. Finally, about an hour or so in a terrific, creamy sandalwood takes the spotlight and stays there for ages till fade. The whole fragrance comes together and it feels like Alice may not be so lost anymore.

Unisex, low to moderate projection but surprisingly good longevity.

Do you want to smell like a Masque Milano version of Lost Alice?
Portia xx

Sycomore by CHANEL

Sycomore by CHANEL

Hey Crew. CHANEL is one of the worlds most iconic brands. The marketing team is second to none. It’s hard to stay current and afloat in the world of fashion. Let alone doing it in the 21st century. With the historic stories of Gabrielle Chanel and her personal and political choices, any other brand would have been cancelled or censured. For more information read Hal Vaughan’s book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. She wasn’t alone according to this article. There has been some extra hype with No 5 turning 100 years old in 2021 and the release of the homewares inspired collectable Factory 5 Collection. They also manage to pump out some impressive fragrance in their Les Exclusif line. If you’re new to the perfume craving they are a good place to smell some beautifully crafted fragrance, accessible in most large department stores.

Sycomore by CHANEL EdP (2016)

Sycamore by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, Spices, Pink pepper, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Violet, Vetiver, Juniper, Cypress

Grassy greenness, the sweet shiver of pink pepper, the warm enveloping and silky smooth pairing of tobacco and sandalwood are all front and centre at the opening of Sycomore EdP. Less brilliant and sparkling than its EdT predecessor but warmer and more wearable by far. This feels more luxurious without the razza mattaz, showbiz style entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the EdT but there is a place in my heart for the EdP. Also, as more proof I own this small bottle of EdP and it wasn’t even on my list as an EdT.

The heart becomes a lightly spiced fresh hewn wood. Not a chest thumping, crackly, modern niche experience of woods. Here there is air between the notes. You aren’t in the sawmill, or even the lumberyard. It’s more like you’ve had a wood delivery at home and you can smell it as you enter and leave the house. I don’t know what it is but I also smell wood polish, like those lovely waxes that feed and nourish your wood table.

Dry down gets woodsier and woodsier as it fades over hours. Interestingly people around me can smell this long after I become nose blind. A perfect scent for those times you need to be softly fragrant for long periods of time.

Sycamore by CHANEL EdP

Sycomore is a modern, unisex fragrance. No matter that it was originally created in 1930. I never smelled the Ernest Beaux version but Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake have done a beautiful job of revamping the EdT.

Have you spent time with any of the CHANEL Sycomores?
Portia x

(EDIT: I spelled Sycomore as SycAmore through the whole post and then was pulled up. It is in fact SycOmore. Fixed now)

Montana Parfum d’Elle 2

Montana Parfum d’Elle 2

Hi Crew, Claude Montana has long been known for out there, boundary pushing design. His fragrance Parfum de Peau was a blockbuster and since then has been spotty; at best. Some have been downright ghastly. Montana Parfum d’Elle 2 is not one of his worst. The bottle alone is worth having in your collection. It’s fabulous, madcap and ridiculous in equal measure.

Montana Parfum d’Elle 2 (2002/3)

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Peach, Red berries
Heart: Geranium, Iris, Magnolia
Base: Amber, Musk, Tonka bean, Cedar

Soapy fruity floral in a big hair, cinched waist, shoulder pads and glittering bling kinda way. A definite hark back to the showstoppers of the late 20th century that arrived in the early 2000s, a full rejuvenation of the original, including a bottle change for ease of discernment. There’s even that hairspray and nail polish vibe of a 1980s salon, or a drag queens dressing room anytime since there’s been hairspray and nail polish. No one will tell you this is fine fragrance, it’s FUN fragrance. For those nights you want to be completely over the top. You know, a club night out, gala, prom, wandering around a coastal town in tourist season, anything that you want to radiate super feminised fragrance. Hell, wear it to the grocery shopping!

The note list seems a long way removed from the fragrance except the aldehydes and anonymous fruits. Everything else is buried in the mix.

I love this scratchy, flamboyant, magical mess and it gets a bit of wear around here, especially when I’m off to a drag gig. Montana Parfum d’Elle 2 is so fun it fits the bill perfectly. You’d have to be guy with rock solid confidence to wear this in public or just not care about peoples reactions. No, I take that back. This would be so unexpected on a guy and be a definite statement, also if you were into the opposite sex I think they’d swoon.

Could you? Would you Montana Parfum d’Elle 2?
Portia xx

L’Esprit Libre by Divine NEW 2021

Hi Crew, L’Esprit Libre is one of two new releases from Divine this year along with Divine Intense, which doesn’t appear to be for sale on their site yet. Both crafted by the incredibly prolific Yann Vasnier, 91 named fragrances on Fragrantica. The email dropped into my inbox announcing the new arrival, and before I was even able to think it was checked out and on its way to me. All thoughts of lockdown business collapse, lack of funds and any skerrick of rationale deserted me. It wasn’t even a late night event, suddenly I’d bought it and L’Homme Sage, which has been on my list for years. Excitingly, they arrived in the mail this week. I’ve been lovingly looking at the pristine corrugated boxes in cellophane but decided it was time to open L’Esprit Libre up to share how it smells. It’s so rare for me to feel this kind of excitement about a new release.

L’Esprit Libre by Divine

L'Esprit Libre DivineAccording to the Divine site:

A light breeze, green and mellow with bergamot and green mandarine, then suddenly when you’re least expecting it, a ray of peony and magnolia. At its heart, a blue twinkle of iris, talc and earth, with essence and butter of iris and a leisurely finale of musk and ambergris.

WOW! Remember in the early 2000s and the world went mad for sheer feeling, radiant fragrances that had amazing projection and longevity like Elie Saab and SJP Lovely? They were almost always done with a white floral at the heart. It was like the logical next step from those enormous 1990s sheer/huge aquatics like L’Eau d’Issey and Aqua di Gio. This L’Esprit Libre feels like it’s the next progression in the story.

The citrus opening is sheer, tart and intoxicating. It starts icy cool and by the time the heart has arrived has warmed considerably. The peony and magnolia are only very peripheral, amorphous nods during the opening but make a more definite appearance well into the heart, but what does shine is an unmentioned woods note blown on the breeze. I’m wondering if it’s part of the dry rooty iris that feels sliced open as you pulled it up with earth still attached. (Edit: Amusingly, in today’s wear I have it on the back of both my hands and they both smell quite different. Left is much soapier and more floral, right features dry woods.) I’m surprised that there isn’t a mentioned green herbal note or a woody one. Maybe it’s a basil and an angelique, generic sawdust. These are what my brain keeps telling me but I’m not convinced.

L’Esprit Libre smells like a completely new direction for the Divine Parfums crew. Through the heart I definitely get the idea of breeze, or sky, or even that joyful feeling of being outdoors in the sun on a cool, breezy day. This is no loud 1980s showstopper, but it is wonderfully noticeable; I’m wondering if the more I wear it the more I can notice it? Maybe the more nuance I pick up? There’s something quite space age about it.

The ambergris is not a fecal, salty, bilge water adventure. There’s no hark to Womanity. It’s a sea breeze, not on the shore but maybe on a restaurant verandah overlooking thew sea, just a little up the hill.

For such a sheer fragrance the longevity is excellent. Projection is amazing for over an hour before it softens considerably.

Does L’Esprit Libre sound like something you might like?
Portia xx

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Hey All. Portia here and I think it’s time we look at something a little bit lavender. It seems to have had a resurgence in the last few years but it never went away. Just got hidden and had to play some bit parts and sing chorus. French Grey by Elizabeth & James is a 2017 release created by Nicole Mancini Issaq and Linda Song! Love seeing two women names signing off. They have both been a part of some other perfumes but the only glam gig is Linda Song for Fougere Platine by Tom Ford.

I grabbed this baby for almost nothing on FragranceNet (not affiliated but love to give you all a bargain tip)

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Lavender, Neroli, Musk

If you’re thinking summer, elegant, relaxed, cool, unruffled and slightly different then French Grey could be that thing you’ve been looking for but didn’t know it. They are calling it a fresh floral scent. While that kinda works it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, lavender is floral but it’s also quite herbal and the oil comes from the plant much more than the flowers.

French Grey smells to me like they have some green steering herbs and spices like basil or cardamom, or maybe even some violet leaves. Also, I smell some common base note that heads fresh white woods and some resins. All these hints and maybes play around the central pillar of sugared lavender lollies with a soft white floral undertow.

If you like Lolita Lempicka EdP but wish it was a little less playful and a lot more sophisticated then French Grey might be exactly your jam OR if CHANEL Boy is too expensive French Grey could be a fabulous substitution.

100% unisex, projection is moderate but trails off to low in the first hour, longevity is average. The bottle is fabulous, I love the way they have made an interesting yes oh-so-simple renovation to a historic look. VERY cool.

Would you French Grey?
Portia xx

Le Galion Discovery Sets: Portia

Le Galion Discovery Sets: Portia

Hey All. Firstly, I need to tell you that Jin and I are good mates with the guys from Le Galion. Nicolas and his partner Enno are always on our MUST SEE list while in Paris and we had a blast with them down here in Sydney for Mardi Gras a few years ago too. We know how hard they work to make Le Galion as good as it can possibly be and build upon the foundations set by……. WAIT! Why don’t we have a little look at their history?

In 1930, Prince Murat, a descendant of Joachim Murat, brother in law of Napoleon 1st, and King of Naples, founded Le Galion Perfume House.
In 1935, Prince Murat sold his company to perfumer Paul Vacher, who was already famous within the industry at that time. (Aged just 25, he worked with Marcel Guerlain and then joined Lanvin. In 1927, he created Arpège with Andre Fraysse. Following this success, he decided to launch his own perfume house.)
In 1946, when Serge Heftler-Louiche and Christian Dior wanted to develop a fragrance for their fashion house, Paul Vacher created Miss Dior and in 1963 Diorling.
In 1980 Le Galion was sold to a US company and it collapsed.
2014 and Nicolas Chabot buys the name and original formulas. He then gets a dream team of perfumers to recreate the original fragrances as nearly as possible with modern ingredients. He also starts creating new fragrances for the brand with the same perfectly curated, poised, thoughtful and beautifully blended feeling of Le Galion of old.
2020, Le Galion celebrates 90 years with the release of nine fragrances.

OK, you’re all caught up.

Le Galion Discovery Sets

This is really exciting news. The boys have created three Discovery Sets that you can now buy from the Le Galion site and have shipped to the world. The cost is €35 + P&H for a box of 8 individually packed 2ml samples.
You also get a €25 discount voucher for your next purchase of a full size 100 ml bottle. I KNOW! Right.
It looks really shmick too.

OK, so here’s a look at the three Discovery Sets. You could buy all three for around €100 + P&H and only have three doubles to share with friends.

Latest Releases

Lily of the Valley, Bourrasque, Brumes, Champs de Mai, Tilleul, Tulipe, Jasmin and Chypre

Masculines

Spécial for Gentleman, Esquive, Sang Bleu, Aesthete, Tilleul, Cologne Nocturne, Whip and Cuir

The Icons

Sortilège, Brumes, Bourrasque, La Rose, Tubéreuse, Iris, Cologne and 222

If you are after super weird assed fragrance that makes children run and adults question their existence. If you only love super beast mode bro juice or are into the deep artisan indie scene then Le Galion is probably not going to suit. These fragrances are made for people who love the best, who are wanting to smell luxuriously poised. You won’t get an “Oh My God what is that?” but you will get a raised, perfectly couture eyebrow and a knowing smile. I feel like Le Galion is for people who don’t need to showboat but want to smell wonderful to themselves and those who are close enough to notice. Niche for the truly discerning wearer of scent.

You all know how I love to have several fragrances from a brand I love. In the collection currently I have bottles of Aesthete, Cologne Nocturne, Cuir, Sang Bleu, Sovereign, Tilleul, and Whip. Most of them I bought but the guys gave me a couple too. I’m on my second, paid retail for bottle of Aesthete because I was so excited about it that I sent samples to everyone. I wanted them all to fall as madly in love with it as I have. Still on my list to purchase are 222, Brumes and Sortilege.

Have you had the pleasure of spending some sniff time with Le Galion perfumes?
Portia xx

Gris Dior by Dior

Hi there. Those temps should be getting high up there in the Northern Hemisphere. Sometimes in high heat I like to go super restrained with my fragrance. Luxurious but introverted. The way a sotto voce fragrance can surround you with a barely there nimbus of fragrance can be powerful in its understatement. Also, I like that a tenacious one can surprise me with little huffs of reminder through the day. Once called Gris Montaigne after the grey of the Rue de Montaigne store (I think i remember that rightly) and now called simply Gris Dior.

Gris Dior by Maison Christian Dior Collection 2018

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Calabrian bergamot, Turkish rose, Patchouli, Jasmine sambac, Amber, Oakmoss, Cedar, Sandalwood

OK, so Gris Dior is a softer, less intense version of the original Gris Montaigne. They are saying it’s the exact same thing but the big fragrance crews have often played fast and loose with the truth. Still beautiful, still luxurious and interesting but like a fraiche version of itself.

If a Middle Eastern rose/patch, hefty kinda perfume is your wish then go grab a bottle of something else. Gris Dior includes a lot of the ingredients but doesn’t do its thing flamboyantly.

The opening is rose water marmalade and a wash of cool white flowers. A light, airy fragrance that only hints at any darkness. Actually, Gris Dior is like smelling someone else’s perfume at lunch. Tangible and lovely but non intrusive.

Into the low level rose/woods heart Gris Dior continues to pump out a very low key prettiness. It’s an under the radar beauty. Until i purposely try to resmell it I’m blissfully unaware of any fragrance, unless there’s a surprise huff from my shirt.

Underwhelming sounds mean but I think that is exactly what François Demachy was aiming for here. Beautiful, poised and luxurious but barely there. A cool whisper of scent that you can wear anytime and anywhere.

Did you try Gris Dior?
Portia xx

Portia’s Perfume Ennui

Portia’s Perfume Ennui

Hey there Looking Glassers,

Do you ever get so overwhelmed with all your fragrances that it just feels like too much. Suddenly you stop thinking how fabulous it all is and start thinking what a burden this enormous amount of fragrant consumerism has become? What to wear? How to store? Blah! Blah! Blah! and suddenly the whole schemozzle starts to feel like hard work.

Portia’s Perfume Ennui

This happens to me every so often. Sometimes it’s for no real reason at all. Other times there came be triggers. Maybe when things are or have gone askew in perfume land or on the scentbloggosphere. It can be when I’m suffering low level depression. Perfume ennui can hit especially hard when I let my desktop become overcrowded (pictured currently ^^^) or there are a large number of unpaid bills (laziness OR lack of funds). I find myself not wanting to come into my office/perfume room hardly at all. So I call it my Perfume Ennui.

Perfume Ennui can creep up slowly so I’m not even aware until the signs are TOO obvious to miss. It can also be like a brick wall, wide and high. The other way it shows itself is my general lack of enthusiasm for spritzing.

Today I’m asking if you all ever get Perfume Ennui? Do you do something to get over it? Does it rectify itself? How do you cope?

Also, just as an aside. Turbo trivia started a new venue last Thursday and this is the entrance to the bar it will be held in every Thursday. It’s about 1.5x life size and stopped me dead in my tracks when I first saw it. How freaking cool is that?

So, back to the topic at hand. How do you deal with Perfume Ennui?
Portia xx

Jin and Portia: The Ghan Train Trip 2021

Jin and Portia: The Ghan Train Trip 2021

Hey Crew. Jin and I have been trying to get back on this train for over a year. There have been three previous dates, all postponed due to C19. Finally it’s happened. So I thought you might like a few photos and some small commentary. We were away for nine fun filled nights. A few in Darwin, three on the Ghan itself and one in Adelaide. We flew up to Darwin and back from Adelaide. I know your first thought is “What perfumes did you take?”

I thought it might be a good time to wear some of the decants I loved but have lain forgotten in the mad rush for new around here. All these decants (Except Rouge Saray, sent by my beautiful buddy Megan In Sainte Maxime) are quite old in my collection and really need to get worn. It seems my selection is VERY vanilla heavy. No problem. It’s one of my favourite notes. It’s like I’ve picked four vanillas on four very different points of the spectrum. One thing they all have in common though is how beautifully created they are. Also how easy wear and versatile, yet interesting statement pieces as well.
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre by L’Artisan Parfumeur: Vetiver, tea, incense sweetened by vanilla/amber. This was the most worn of the selection in daytime. It’s sheer yet interesting beauty went so well with the trip.
Mon Precieux Nectar by Guerlain: Vanilla heavy white floral with almond & incense.
Rouge Saray by Atelier des Ors: Spiced fruits and fairy floss over a patchouli/vanilla base. Very ra sha sha. I wore this to almost every evening event and had compliments every time. So beautiful and noticeable.
Neroli 36 by Le Labo: White floral citrus backed by a lightweight vanilla.

One of our friends, Martin, was our travelling companion on the journey. He’d always wanted to do The Ghan and when his wife Jane heard we were going she pulled out all stops to get him on ours. It was excellent having him on the trip and it made the whole adventure even more special. The photos below are a mixed bunch taken by all three of us. By this stage I’m not sure who took what.

The class we travelled on this trip was Gold Superior. There were only two of these larger cabins on the train, the rest of the Gold class has less floor space. There is a higher glass, Platinum, but we think the Gold Class bar car is infinitely more fun. Quite pricey for a four day holiday but there is no more comfortable or fun way to see the centre of Australia. My pictures hardly do the whole trip justice and don’t show any of our four night stay up in Darwin. Also, all food and booze are included in the price. VERY dangerous! I drank more alcohol in the four days than I’d drunk for the whole year beforehand.

Jin and I are currently planning our next adventure, also on a train with the same company. This time from Perth to Adelaide ands then up to Brisbane. That’s how much we enjoyed the experience.

As a final aside, how freaking gorgeous is my husband Jin? He’s a bit of a fool in some of the pics but he is so charming and lovely the whole train fell under his spell. Every morning or evening the staff and voyagers would fall over themselves to greet him and he had smiles and chats for everyone. It was like travelling with a celebrity. We had a beautiful time and now we are back home, refreshed and ready for another few months of work and life before the next adventure.

Jaipur Homme by Boucheron

Jaipur Homme by Boucheron

Jaipur Homme is 20+ years old, Boucheron wasn’t really on my radar at that time. It wasn’t till late 2000s that I smelled it. In the early 2000s, I was living with a man who came from halfway between Delhi & Jaipur. He took me to the Rambagh Palace for a few nights on our first holiday to India, and he knew every nook and cranny of the town, so I got a really fabulous look at it. After we had broken up and he’d returned to India, I found the Boucheron fragrance. It was so subtle compared to the reality of India but there were lovely reminders and the name itself conjures happy memories. Over the years, I’ve brought or sent him bottles of Jaipur and it’s been his signature scent.

Anyway, thought I hadn’t bought myself a bottle of Jaipur Homme in years, so I grabbed a super cheap EdT from FragNet recently and have been wearing it a bit. It’s still very nice.

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Heliotrope, Cardamom, Lime, Lemon
Heart: Amber, Jasmine, Carnation, Nutmeg, Rose, Vanilla, Cinnamon
Base: Benzoin, Clove, Patchouli, Tonka bean, Cedarwood

If you know ground cardamom from your spice cupboard then you’ll instantly recognise it in the opening of Jaipur Homme. The citrus creates an initial sparkling, zingy opening, and the cardamom becomes apparent almost immediately. It stays after the citrus burns off, and the cool powdery fluff of heliotrope is then a tangible note that leads us into the heart.

I’m drinking chai as I write this post, and the heart of Jaipur Homme is a softer, more French perfumery armchair dream of it. Very softly animalic, vanilla-heavy amber with spices. Clove is more noticeable than anything else, but I definitely get the sweet milky tea reference. It’s not the MAIN heart accord, but it plays alongside everything else.

The dry down is sweet amber woods. I become nose blind to it after a couple of hours, but it stays on my clothes for days. When I pick up a top to wash it, I am hit gently with a beautiful spiced wood fragrance. It’s really lovely, so I know that’s what I’m wafting at the end of a day.

Don’t let the homme fool you. Jaipur Homme is unisex. It doesn’t even lean towards a modern traditional masculine. It could be brought out as a women’s fragrance today, and no one would have questioned it. Longevity is excellent, projection after about 30 minutes is moderate to low but oh so lovely.

Did you ever try Jaipur Homme?

Portia xx