Entertaining Statistics: 2020 Year Round-up

We all said probably everything that could be said about the year we just saw out of the door. So, I’ll go straight to the perfume-related numbers.

Since I haven’t done a statistics post in a long while, I’ll remind the basic terms I use.

My Definitions

I wear perfumes and test perfumes. Both refer to applying perfume to my skin and staying with the scent for a while, observing its development over hours of its life. But I realize that different people understand different things under these terms. So, I prepared a short infographic that would explain what I mean when I say “wear” or “test.”

Perfumes Wear vs. Test Infograph

One more term that requires definition is Occasion. The continuation from the time I apply perfume (including continuous re-application) until it completely disappears is counted as one occasion.

Most days I wear one perfume and test two. But, theoretically, for one day I could record two occasions of wearing perfumes or up to eight occasions of testing.

So, let’s see my 2020 in numbers (in parentheses is a comparison to 2019).

Perfumes I Wore

In 2020, I wore more different perfumes (210 vs 190) from more brands (96 vs. 91) on more occasions (367 vs 351). I still didn’t reach a 2018 level when I wore perfumes on 372 occasions, but still, on average

I wore one perfume every single day of the year!

Last year I realized that the most popular brands for each year keep repeating with minor variations of the brands’ positions on the chart and 1-2 different brands temporarily replacing one another. I’m showing my standard Top 10 Brands chart but mostly to keep the tradition. The only surprise there was Byredo: it’s the first time ever the brand made it into the Top 10. It happened because I paired Ouai Super Dry Shampoo x Byredo Mojave Ghost with the same perfume, which I wore from the sample trying to figure out if I wanted to get a bottle. I haven’t decided yet.

My Stats Year 2020: Top 10 Brands

As always, with the number of perfumes I wore, I didn’t repeat the same perfume too often (my most worn perfume was worn on 9 occasions only – less than once per month). And the trend I observed for the last several years continues: the top 2 most frequently worn perfumes were 2 of my all-time favorites, Lancôme Climat (9) and Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (8). And the third place went to the new addition to my collection – Masque Milano Love Kills (6). In two previous years that place was taken by Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royal Collection Privee (2019) and Chanel Bois des Iles (2018).

 

 

Perfumes I Tested

Staying at home, I tested more perfumes than in a year before – 327 perfumes (vs. 272 in 2019) but from slightly fewer brands – 126 brands (vs. 128). I still haven’t got to the numbers from 2018 (380 perfumes from 139 brands). Since access to new perfumes was even more limited than usual, a big chunk of my testing was done on perfumes I tested previously but decided to revisit to get one final impression before passing them on someone else, finishing them (“thunking”) or binning them. Still,

In 2020, I tested 103 perfumes new to me

Undina’s Top 10 Perfumes in 2020

In 2020 I managed to improve the number of new releases that I tested (thank you to all my friends who shared some of these): I tested 22 perfumes released in 2020 (vs. 16 in 2019). And, unlike a year ago, I even managed to count 10 that I liked, which allows me to do this “top 10” list. And what was even more surprising, I didn’t dislike a single 2020 release that I tested. So, my subjective top 10 releases of 2020 (in the order of my preferences):

Puredistance Rubikona

DSH Perfumes L’Or{ris}

Tom Ford Rose Prick

Ormonde Jayne Tanger

Jo Malone Yuja

Parfums MDCI L’Aimee

Ormonde Jayne Byzance

Hiram Green Vivacious

Jo Malone Vetiver & Golden Vanilla

Ormonde Jayne Damask

In green, are perfumes I already have in my collection; in blue, are those that I consider buying. But after more testing of the rest, I might decide to get one of Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes as well.

Pictures of Rusty

Finally, an important number – a count of pictures of Rusty that I posted in 2020: 61, the highest number for the last 3 years (and this is not counting Instagram pictures that appear on the sidebar or the bottom of the blog!).

Rusty and Yellow Submarine

How was your perfume year? Do you have any numbers to share?

 

Images: My own; infograph created using Venngage

Saturday Question: Perfume or Fragrance?

The first week back to work (even though not “back in the office”) happened to be more taxing than I expected, and because of that I haven’t finished my statistics post in time to publish it mid-week. But since I don’t want to postpone it for much longer, today’s question is a “lighter” one, and I invite you to come back tomorrow for my Year 2020 Entertaining Statistics post.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #46:

Perfume or Fragrance?

Which of the two words do you use or use more often? Is there any distinction for you when each of the two is/should be used?

My Answer

Not being a native English speaker, in many cases I follow the flow, pick up words and phrases from things I read or hear, not thinking too much on why one or the other synonym is used – I just take it as given. And then sometimes I suddenly discover that some term, phrase or idiom that I knew was more specialized than I thought or was not as widely known as I assumed. Then I start doubting myself.

Of course, I’m familiar with both words, and came across both “perfume” and “fragrance” multiple times starting from the pre-perfumista times. But both in my writing and on other blogs, forums and FB groups I see the word “perfume” used much more often than “fragrance.”

Over the last couple of months, I’ve been watching … YouTube videos. Don’t start fainting yet: I was watching make-up reviews and tutorials. Having found myself in the situation where I had to figure out without going to stores a replacement for the discontinued tinted moisturizer that I used for many years, I turned to this channel of getting some type of a guidance. While doing that, I found several “content producers” whose videos I find useful, entertaining or both. But what I noticed while watching those videos was that on those rare occasion when the product in question was mentioned (usually mainstream or luxury lines), everybody always refers to it as “fragrance.” I was surprised but didn’t pay too much attention to that (and you don’t want to know what people who are not “into perfume” are telling others while describing those “fragrances”!). But then, following a link on Instagram, I came to the YouTube channel of “one of us.” And there, again, that guy kept calling what he was reviewing “fragrances.” After that I found several random YouTube perfume reviews just to confirm that it was a common practice. It seems so.

I decided to check. Google provided me these definitions that didn’t explain my observations:

Perfume and Fragrance Definitions

Then I decided to compare numbers (you know how I like doing that; I would have done charts if it weren’t for the statistics post that I was working on). Searches that I ran in Google produced strange results. Nobody knows Google’s algorithms, so I can’t even speculate how it happens that while there are more hits for the singular form “fragrance” (593 M) vs. “perfume” (555 M), hits for the plural form “perfumes” (644 M) beats both the singular and the plural form “fragrances” (488 M).

My next experiment was with a popular hashtag generator for Instagram. Results there were much further apart, with the form that I use being much more popular: #perfume (15.14 M), #perfumes (5.13 M), #fragrance (6.36 M), #fragrances (1.4 M).

YouTube doesn’t provide count for the searches, so I can’t check it there. But all that makes me wonder: have I just managed to come across of the example of an unrepresentative sample fallacy? Or do YouTubers actually prefer “fragrance” to “perfume”? And if yes, why? What do you think?

 

Perfume or Fragrance?

Saturday Question: Do You Have Any Perfume-related New Year Resolutions?

So, it’s 2021. Hello New Year! Are you going to behave? ‘Coz we all saw your predecessor, and I gotta tell you: most of us wasn’t that enamored with it.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #45:

Do You Have Any Perfume-related New Year Resolutions?

It’s that time of the year when one time or the other we all got tempted to make some New Year resolutions aiming at changing our existing habits or targeting some desired result.

Was this New Year one of those times? Did you make any New Year Resolutions/Plans? (Yes/no would suffice but please share more details if you can/want – I’m always curious, and “saying it aloud” might help your motivation). If yes, were any of them perfume-related? What exactly do you hope to change or improve?

My Answer

I am making some resolutions this year. I’m painfully aware that, as many others, I would doubtfully stick to these, but if I do not try, I definitely won’t succeed. So, at least I can try. The one of the general resolutions that I’m willing to share is my intent to try to start reading something not work-related again. I remember loving to read for the first 20-25 years from when I learned how to read. It was such a joy! A good book could completely take my mind away from reality for hours. And I would have to force myself to put a book aside to get some sleep, otherwise I would be reading through the night. And then, gradually, it started going away… It wasn’t related to the language – I read many books in English after moving to the US. But somehow reading more serious books started burdening me, and reading something light didn’t seem all that virtuous or better than watching the same type of content but as TV shows or movies. But this year I will try again in a company with a couple of friends. I’ve never been in a book club, but the idea of a some type of virtual book club appeals to me. We’ll see how it goes.

As to perfume-related resolutions, I do not have any plans for changing my perfume habits, but I have two things I want to try.

  1. One day a week, I’ll wear perfumes hajusuuri-style – 8 sprays. For so many years I felt conscious about wearing perfumes to the office. First, I was a “big boss,” and I didn’t want to subject people who depended on me to the difficult choice of either tolerate perfume they didn’t like or to tell their manager they didn’t like it (though, I suggested to them to let me know if even my light application of some of my perfumes bothered them, and on several occasions they did, and I took those perfumes off my office rotation). Later, in my next work place, I had a manager who probably didn’t like any perfumes but was very delicate and complained just a couple of times when I was overly enthusiastic with the application. But both experiences trained me to under-apply (2, maybe 3 light sprays of my more office-friendly perfumes), and even working from home where my perfumes usually do not disturb anybody, I am still doing the same couple-of-sprays-light-hand application. So, now I’m curious to see how it feels with the “real application.” Though, I think I’ll start with Jo Malone colognes and similar.
  2. Doing my December CaTendar (the countdown to Rusty’s 12-year birthday on Christmas Eve) on Instagram was hard, even though I have hundreds of pictures of Rusty. But at the same time it was fun. Pictures of Rusty will appear with the same regularity as before December (or maybe more often, but I’m not making any resolutions about that), but I decided to try and post photos of perfumes a little more often. There is no way I could do daily SOTD posts. But at least sometimes, when I have more time to put together a shot of a bottle of  perfume I wear, I’ll do an IG post, even if I do not publish a blog story about it. Like I did on January 1, 2021, for Frederic Malle‘s Portrait of a Lady that I rocked in my flannel PJs recuperating from the late-night New Year celebration.

Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady perfume

How about you?

 

Do You Have Any Perfume-related New Year Resolutions?

2020: What Went Well

For the last probably 5 years, as the next new year celebration was approaching, I kept reading/hearing from people that they were glad “this year” was ending and looking with hope for the next one. And all those years I was thinking – and even using it as a celebratory toast more than once – that I hope that personally for me the next year would be at least not worse than the year we were seeing off.

Several years ago, I came across What Went Well Wednesday series on the Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities blog. As Old Herbaceous has described, it is a gratitude exercise when you’re on a regular basis list three things that went well and explain why (“Adding “why” allows one to pinpoint times when acts of one’s own or others contributed to what went well”). I mentally played that game for a while, and even contemplated “borrowing” the idea for my blog but had never implemented it.

As challenging as 2020 was for everyone, believe it or not, I still stand by my New Year mantra: I hope that for me and my loved ones the next year will be at least not worse than this awful, strange, “unprecedented” and totally unexpected 2020. And I want to share with you what went well for me this year.

Health

First, nobody from my close circle of family and friends got sick so far. Mostly, it is just luck (though we all are trying to do our part), and I realize that we’re not out of the woods yet. But I’m glad that until now we’ve been lucky.

Second, an unpleasant health issue that started for me last December has finally resolved (at least temporary) without a surgery that seemed inevitable mid-year. I’m so relieved! I did all I could, including some folk remedies and postponing the surgery until I found a surgeon I trusted (we had a hilarious conversation about those folk remedies, none of us really believing in them but not completely dismissing either) and not going with the one who suggested to go ahead with the surgery right there and then. My vSO was so helpful, supportive and patient through the whole ordeal, that whatever role the moral well-being might have played in fighting infection, he deserves all the credit.

Finally, Rusty who had some stomach issues, seems to be better now when he doesn’t shed as much. And his lab work results are all good, which was a huge load off our minds. But it reminds me that I should brush him more regularly.

Rusty on the Bed

Job

We both stayed employed, and our jobs allow us to work remotely. Moreover, though much better than it was the previous year and with a better staffed team, my work kept me so busy, that I barely noticed the “stay at home” part.

Also, this year I got a great performance review from my manager. I’m mentioning it because it was the first time ever in my life. I’m quite used to not getting any feedback or getting (and, frankly, giving) formal and meaningless reviews. The fact that somebody made an effort and expressed in written words what I know I did good was an absolutely new experience. If I ever write a performance review for anyone again, I’ll need to remember how it feels to get a deserved acknowledgement.

And the last in this section, this year we finally were able to take time off during the winter holidays and get some so needed rest.

Family

Our state was partially open just in time for the local trip that my vSO and I planned for our big anniversary this year. Originally, the plan was just for two of us to get away for several days – spas, wineries, eating out. But after four months at home and most places still take-out only or outside seating, it felt less of a getaway. And since the house we rented was big enough for more people, we invited four of our closest friends whom we knew for decades to join us – and they did. It was a very pleasant mini trip. Picture below is taken from the balcony of the rebuilt tasting room of our favorite winery – Paradise Ridge, that burned down three years ago in the first big North Cal fire. They opened earlier this year, which I also write down in the positive column.

Paradise Ridge Winery

Friends and Hobbies

I’m lucky to have friends to talk to, exchange news and share worries. These are people I’m ready to help, and who is ready to help me. I miss seeing many of them, but I hope we’ll have more time to spend together, to travel and celebrate important events next year or the year after that or…

I’m also glad I have my Perfumeland friends. Not only we share our love of perfume, which is even more important now than it ever was, but we also help each other to stay informed about what’s happening in different countries and parts of the World, which allows us to better understand the situation, compare experience and get prospective.

Thanks to Portia who passed on me the APJ’s weekly Saturday Question series, I got what I always wanted for my blog – a continuous conversation with perfumista friends and loyal readers. And thanks to, again, Portia, Narth, hajusuuri and Christine W, my wonderful guest writers, the blog got more inhabited and diverse. I’m also thankful to all who’s reading this and other posts, commenting or not (though, I would prefer to have a chance to talk to everybody, even from time to time).

Thanks to Tara’s (A Bottled Rose) Beauty Reviews, I revisited my skincare routine. I don’t know if I’m getting any results, but at least it’s something new and it’s a pastime that I enjoy. The next thing will be to follow her and Vanessa’s (Bonkers about Perfume) suit and start reading again.

I’m thankful to Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle), my scent twin (well, triplet with hajusuuri, to be precise), who keeps reviewing new perfumes, even in this environment with limited access to new releases, so that I do not have to wonder whether to get samples for any of those: our tastes do not coincide 100%, but they overlap significantly, especially on perfumes that can be qualified as “unisex.”

And I’m grateful to hajusuuri who, in addition to being an inspiration with her daring 8-spray perfume application, just single-handedly provided me with a month-worth daily testing subjects. So, not only I got a wonderful gift under my New Year tree (see the photo below), but I also have something interesting to look forward to every day in January when all the holidays that I love so much are behind us.

NY Tree and samples

Speaking of Christmas/New Year trees. This year, we managed to decorate not only our house outside (seeing decorated houses makes me happy, so I wanted to help brightening this gloomy year to others who also enjoy holiday decorations) and inside (spending that much time at home, I wanted to make it more festive), but in addition to the big tree in the living room (on the postcard below), I decorated a tiny one for the bedroom (that’s where all those samples went to be safe from Rusty). And for the latter I used ornaments that are more than 4 decades old: my grandmother bought them for my tiny plastic tree when I was a child, and I saved them and brought with me when I moved to the US. The wooden decoration with a reindeer is a gift from Lucas, and the orange cat is an ornament that I bought in Hawaii several years ago and painted to resemble Rusty.

And finally, this year allowed me to wear my favorite perfumes more freely, not worrying whether it would bother my co-workers. I re-tested many of the samples I accumulated over the years, finished some, passed on some, got new ones to test, and found new perfume loves. Same as in years before, I haven’t tested enough new releases to do my own top N releases of 2020, but I will be back early next week with my 2020 Year Round-Up Entertaining Statistics post, in which I’ll mention my favorites from this year.

Rusty and New Year Tree 2021

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers! I will take mine 2021 at least not worse than 2020, but to all of you who felt that this year was too much of a leap (pun intended), I wish 2021 to be kinder, calmer and more joyful.

Will you share at least one thing in your life that went well this year? (But you do not have to stop at one)

Saturday Question: What Perfume did You Wear on Christmas Eve?

It’s the last Saturday of 2020. Some of the winter celebrations are already behind us, but we still have some to look forward to, so let’s keep the spirit of the holidays high and talk about them a little more.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #44:

What Perfume did You Wear on Christmas Eve?

In fact, I’m curious not only what perfume you’ve chosen (for the celebration or just for that day, if it wasn’t your holiday), but I’d also want to know about the reasoning behind that choice.

Also, if you do not mind, share what you did this Christmas Eve. Did you eat anything especially great and worth mentioning? Did you get any gifts that made you happy (not necessarily perfumes, but please share if you got those as well).

My Answer

We celebrated Christmas with our “extended bubble,” even though none of us can “claim” this holiday as ours. But it’s a long-standing tradition for us, so we celebrate it every year. Since I tried my hardest to make this holidays season as great as possible despite everything that’s happening in the World, I chose to wear Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, my all-times love #2, for the holiday that I adopted after moving to the US, saving my #1, Lancome Climat, for the New Year celebration, since that perfume was with me through many new years, some of which were probably even harder for me personally than 2020 was.

When we were much younger, our traditional New Year celebration would start with a festive dinner… around 10 PM to be done by midnight, toast the New Year – and then spend the rest of the night celebrating. As we grew … up, first we stopped going through the whole night of celebration, cutting it short at 3-4 AM first and recently rarely making it to after 1:30-2 A.M. With that, our evening meals started getting lighter and lighter: the older we get, the harder it gets to eat a big dinner 3-4 hours before going to bed. At some point we figured out that Christmas Eve dinner was a much better time to eat all of our traditional New Year celebratory dishes – and that’s what we’ve been doing this year. A highlight of the dinner this year was a roasted duck that our friend cooked.

As a gift I got a funny t-short (see the picture below) that I plan to wear the next time I’m forced to participate in an early morning meeting. I bought a perfume gift for myself, but since it’s not here yet, I’ll tell you about it next year when it arrives.

Since the birthday boy refused to fully participate in my perfume photo shoot (despite my promises to reward him with treats), I made a picture of Ta’if with the Old World Christmas‘s Santa Kitty ornament, which we bought as one of the two yearly additions to our ornaments collection.

What Perfume did You Wear on Christmas Eve?

Rusty the Cat: 12 Years Young (And Merry Christmas!)

I’m positive that even smartest of our feline companions (or even canine, for that matter) do not have a notion of birthdays and celebrations. So, I realize that Rusty is blissfully unaware of his age and surely isn’t expecting anything from us on that day. I mean, not more than he usually expects, daily.

But since we, humans, anthropomorphize, of course my vSO and I feel that we need to do something special for Rusty’s birthday, so again and again we’re trying to find him gifts. How do they call doing the same thing and expecting different results? Yeah, I know.

In almost 12 years I know our cat, he exhibited almost no interest in the cat toys bought at a store. We went through soft and crunchy and bouncy and… (you got the picture) toys with the same result: at best, Rusty would sniff it and, maybe, bat it once or twice – to never touch them again. In the worst cases – like an iPad-navigated running sphere promised to amuse your cat for hours – Rusty would be scared of it and try to hide every time we attempted to play with him.

I rarely react to ads, be that TV, radio or online pop-ups. I’m even less inclined to believe any of those infomercials promising you miracle devices that help you to lose weight, while growing hair and learning a new language. But somehow, I let my guard down while playing one of the games on my phone: they showed how enthusiastically cats played with that toy… And it was just $14.95… (clip below might take some time to load)

Rusty playing with a Toy

To be fair, Rusty might have played with it for longer, had they thought through the mechanics. In a couple of minutes, he figured out that he needed to catch the wire, not the bird. Besides, even if he catches the bird, once he pulls it, the stand falls, and it stops flying. There are stickers on the bottom to stick the base to… not sure, what to, but even if I could figure it out, the issue is that both an ON/OFF switch and the opening to change batteries are there, on the base. So, Rusty played with it a couple of times with my help to reposition it every time after falling, but then both of us got tired.

So, the only store-bought cat toy that manages to hold his attention for quite a while is a simple plastic spring. He went through 20+ of those. We do not know for sure what happens to them in the end: after a day or two of playing, we never see them again. I suspect that once we replace a refrigerator or a stove, we’ll find a plastic springs cemetery. Meanwhile, for this birthday I ordered for Rusty the next set of those springs. They are supposed to be delivered before Christmas – not that Rusty would care one way or the other.

Cat Toy

Below is a collection of pictures of Rusty – one picture from every year of his life. But if you want more, just filter posts by the Category “Four legs good” to see all photos of Rusty that I used in the blog, as well as all the posts about the cat who keeps bringing endless joy to my and my vSO’s lives.

Happy Birthday to our Christmas cat and Merry Christmas to all my friends and readers who celebrate this holiday.

Rusty and Christmas 2020

Saturday Question: Are There Mere-exposure Effect Perfumes in Your Collection?

If you are not familiar with a psychological phenomenon called the mere-exposure effect or familiarity principle, you can read more about it in this Wikipedia article. I am using it rather jokingly, as a conversation starter for this week’s Saturday Question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #43:

Are There Mere-exposure Effect Perfumes in Your Collection?

The idea behind that phenomenon was: “After repeated exposure, the observing organism will begin to react fondly to the once novel stimulus.”

Do you have any perfumes that you like more now then you liked them when you first bought them or got them as a gift? We’re not talking about the situation when you tested a sample or a small decant, didn’t like it, then tested more, liked and bought perfume. Or didn’t like perfume initially then tested years later and fell in love.

Can you think of any perfume that you liked but didn’t love … until you got used to it?

My Answer

I knew I would buy Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee as soon as I saw an announcement about its launch: I liked the brand, I was very partial to their old-style colored bottles, and especially I liked that dark blue color. So, once I found it at a store, I bought it. It wasn’t a blind buy, I liked it, but at that time there were so many other great perfumes that Nuit Etoilee seemed somewhat simple and … not challenging (?). It wasn’t a statement perfume (I gravitate to those). And for a while I thought that it reminded me of Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles. I even solicited blind testing experiment from three fellow-parfumistas (if you weren’t around then and curious or want to read objective impressions of this perfume from reviewers who didn’t know what they were testing, take a look: Déjà vu, Episode 4: des pairs, dis-pair, Despair).

Rusty and Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee

Starry Night? Where?!!

I wore Nuit Etoilee for a while, but then somehow forgot about it and didn’t wear it for at least 4 years. I didn’t change my mind about it. I didn’t dislike it. I just never chose to wear it.

A couple of months into the lockdown, I thought of wearing it – I don’t remember what prompted it. It was almost a shock: I liked it very much. It surprised me. What was that? Have my tastes changed? Does this perfume seem so much better now compared to endless modern concoctions? Or was it a true case of the mere-exposure effect?

[…] analysis found that the effect is strongest when unfamiliar stimuli are presented briefly. Mere exposure typically reaches its maximum effect within 10–20 presentations, and some studies even show that liking may decline after a longer series of exposures. For example, people generally like a song more after they have heard it a few times, but many repetitions can reduce this preference. A delay between exposure and the measurement of liking actually tends to increase the strength of the effect.

 

Are There Mere-exposure Effect Perfumes in Your Collection?

Saturday Question: What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?

I don’t think any single year got as much of “bad publicity” as 2020, and deservedly so I must add. So, I doubt it will ever be remembered as anyone’s favorite year in any respect, including perfume releases (though, I hope we’ll see soon everyone’s “Best of 2020” lists). But one year is not much either in anyone’s life or in perfume lifespan, so let’s step back and from afar look at decades, including the one that is being concluded by this blighted year.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #42:

What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?

You can choose by any criterion, be that the most perfumes from that decade in your collection, decade from which your most favorite perfume comes, a decade you think was the best for perfume industry – or any other way you want to look at it. Just tell us your reasoning.

Decades start from XXX1 and end with XXX0, e.g., 1981 – 1990 (otherwise, in the first decade AD there would have been just 9 years, not that I expect too many votes for perfumes for those times).

My Answer

Having a luxury of my perfumes being recorded in a database, I was able to count how many perfumes from each decade I own (I included only bottles, both regular and travel sized). Would you guess, which decade produced the highest count? The current one. Did you guess?

But while it is completely understandable that I accumulated the most perfumes from the decade during which I’ve been blogging about perfumes and reading all the perfume blogs, I don’t consider this decade to be my favorite: if anything, it’s a decade when dear to my heart niche perfumery got flooded with uninspired and jump-on-the-bandwagon-type releases.

So, I decided to see what decade produced the most of perfumes from my “Never want to be without” list. And my answer is: 2001 – 2010. In general, that list is quite diverse, but eight perfumes that I love, including my second all-time perfume love and the reason I went down the rabbit hole leading into the PerfumelandOrmonde Jayne Ta’if was release during that decade.

Ormonde Jayne Ta'if Parfum

What Is Your Favorite Perfume Decade?

Lipstick Extravaganza

What would possess anyone who does not have a YouTube beauty channel to buy 6 (six!) statement lipsticks these strange days when most of the time we spend not at home is either exercising or wearing masks (or both)?

Lisa Eldridge Lipsticks

I blame Laura Mercier (brand) that discontinued/reformulated my decade-long favorite tinted moisturizer and Tara (A Bottled Rose) who introduced me to Liza Eldridge’s blog… 7 years ago.

For many years my makeup routine was so minimalistic, and my attention was so focused on perfumes and lipsticks, that I wasn’t really interested in any makeup-centered blogs. And being a complete Luddite when it comes to YouTube, I steered clear of that medium for the longest time.

As my last tube of Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF20 in Porcelain that fit my skin perfectly was nearing its end (while already being past expiration date), I got completely baffled by the idea of finding a new suitable product without being able to go to a physical store and try it on my skin. The solution I found was to check swatches and comparisons online and try to find what beauty blogs write about different foundations.

The more I looked, the more often I was coming across YouTube videos. So, I tried watching some, but it was such a mixed [makeup] bag of presenters… And then I remembered that Lisa Eldridge was such a talented makeup artist, and that I liked her videos back when I was following her… So, of course it made sense to see her recommendations for a type of a product I tried to choose.

I came to Lisa’s site and YouTube channel right at the time she was about to re-issue her legendary True Velvet lipsticks. I read about them two years ago when she launched them first. But back then buying a lipstick without trying it at least on my palm was a non-starter, and the collection was quickly sold out anyway. This year with ALL lipsticks (and other makeup items) being sold this way, I suddenly got an urge to … well, speaking our perfumista language, blind-buy one of the True Velvet lipsticks.

As I waited for the release date, I kept watching her presentation of the different colors, swatches on different skin tones and reviews for the previous releases. And I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to buy. So, when the time came, and the color that I liked the most (Velvet Affair, probably the most neutral of them all) was sold out within the first day, I threw my usual caution to the wind and bought just six out of 15 lipsticks in the release.

 

 

Do I like them? I do. And I don’t. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever worn matte lipsticks before, so partially my dissatisfaction comes from seeing on my lips something I’m not used to. Also, wearing a “full coverage” lipstick when working from home seems a little out of place, while I really enjoy wearing more sheer ones. But the more I wear them, the more I like them: beautiful colors, very pleasant feeling on my lips and extremely nice metal packaging with a magnetic cup. And now I like choosing every day which lipstick I’ll put on, play with different lip pencils and try different methods of application. Of all shades that I’ve got, the most “dramatic” of them, Velvet Decade, I like the most, which is ironic since had I managed to buy Velvet Affair, I might have never even tried Velvet Decade.

Lisa Eldridge Velvet Decade Lipstick and Natasha Denona Glam Palette

Just in case you were wondering, as of now, seven shades are still available at the brand’s site (no affiliation).

 

Images: My own

Saturday Question: What Perfume Is Really Noir?

Have you ever heard anyone complaining that perfume called [Something] Light or [Something] Fraiche wasn’t light or fresh enough? I haven’t. But with rare exceptions, most of the reviews for [Something] Noir ends up mentioning that perfume in question does not live up to the proud “Noir” part of its moniker. So, I got curious: What perfumes in your collection or out of those that you have tried don’t cause cognitive dissonance?

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #41:

What Perfume Is Really Noir?

My Answer

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was … Noirvember.

After playing on this month’s name a couple of times in the past (Perfume Diary: NovAmber and I did it again: NovAmber 2018), I thought of using this new variation to wear in November perfumes with the “Noir” as a part of the name.

I started with the list of such perfumes that I have. My database showed that I either have or at least used to have at some point enough perfumes with that name to sustain me for longer than a month. Unfortunately, most of them were samples that I tried at some point and didn’t like much, so even if I could dig them out from wherever that final destination for such samples that I call “Library” is, I wouldn’t have enjoyed wearing them – and with enough negative things going on in our day-to-day life I decided against making that sacrifice “in the name of science” (besides, who would have patience to read through 30 even one-paragraph descriptions for random perfumes?).

But since I liked the idea (well, mostly I liked the Word), I collected only those perfumes that I either liked or wanted to try again. And while wearing them and writing down my impressions, I realized that out of eight perfumes that I went through for this mini-project, just two or maybe three didn’t feel like a misnomer – Tom Ford Noir Pour Femme (I previously wrote about it in Mr. & Mrs. Tom Ford Noir), SixScents Parfums Nappa Noir (my story here) and maybe Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir.

I’m not sure what makes these three “noir” (and we all understand that when talking about perfumes, we do not think of a literal translation of this French word), but they somehow fit into the image in my head, most likely created by the Film noir genre, definition of which itself is still being debated.

 

Rusty and Sixth Scents Nappa Noir

 

What Perfume Is Really Noir?