Holiday Gift Mini-Guide 2020

I’ve been thinking about doing this post for a while, and suddenly I realized that we’re almost out of time: with the volume of products delivered via all possible carriers, and with many places heading into the next wave of lockdowns, it’s hard to predict how long any of the purchases will roam this season. I recently had a box traveling from somewhere around LA to South San Francisco’s sorting facility, then to somewhere in Minnesota and then again to South San Francisco before arriving at my place 15 miles away from that last mentioned hub. So, it might be that we have days rather than weeks before it’s too late to bring some holiday joy to ourselves and our loved ones.

One more “complication”: probably more than half of my readers live either in Europe or in Australia, so some of my recommendations wouldn’t probably work for them (but some would). And I thought that they still might spark some ideas. None of the links are sponsored or affiliated.

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For many years we kept talking how niche brands should be releasing perfumista-friendly bottles. And some of them listened. So, I’m including several brands in my list.

Olfactive Studio has just recently released many of their perfumes in 15 ml bottles (available in the US and in Europe). These might be too expensive for a blind buy/unsolicited gift, but if you like any of these, you’ll get a chance to get something beautiful for yourself. I plan to find some of the newest “shots” under my tree (Iris Shot, Violet Shot and Rose Shot are especially calling my name). But if you haven’t tried this collection yet, then this sample set might be a good idea (you’ll get $25 off your next purchase of a 100 ml bottle).

Olfactive Studio Perfumes: Three Shots

Masque Milano has also launched 10 ml travel sizes for their perfumes. Currently available from their EU site, but they ship Worldwide. I already have in my collection a couple of perfumes that I love from this brand, otherwise I would have been tempted.

Ormonde Jayne is now doing mixed travel sets 5 x 8 ml. These are not “mix-and-match” but the combinations are good (if you like the brand), and an occasional one or two you do not care for should be not that hard to do in a split with fellow perfumistas. I would have bought the Set 3 if I hadn’t owned already 4 out of 5 perfumes.

Ormonde Jayne Travel Lab

I think, Parfums Dusita released their 7.5 ml travel bottles last year, but now they are available from Luckyscent. This is one of travel bottles about which I’m hesitant: while I like an idea of an original bottle, it is slightly less than I’d like to have of perfume that I like (Splenderis), and at the same time it’s twice more expensive per ml than a full bottle. But if I cannot find a decant to buy at a better rate, I still might consider it at some point.

Since perfumes are more likely to be gifts for ourselves, let’s see what can be either a shared pleasure (if you buy it for someone in your household) or would make a sensible gift.

Tauer Perfumes has released this year perfume in a soap again – Data Miner, Mandarines Ambrées and Majestic tuberose are available from the brand’s site with Worldwide shipping.

 

Tauer Soaps

 

Bruno Fazzolari (Fzotic) has also created several soaps. You can buy a set of three soapsHoney Cedar, Black Suede, Toasted Lilac or one of each.

Fzotic Soaps

If a soap bar isn’t something you normally use, as some of the readers mentioned in comments to one of the Saturday Questions, Thymes has a very season appropriate Frasier Fir hand wash. And if you’re a fan of fir scent, they have an extensive range of everything fir scented, including hand cream, linen spray, room spray, reed diffusers, candles in multiple different sizes and even laundry detergent.

Thymes Frasier Fir Liquid Soap

No gift guide would be complete these days without a new wardrobe item – a mask. Even though wearing those relaxed not only make-up routines but also perfume wearing restrictions, one might opt for wearing perfumes proudly not only on their body but also on their faces.

I found one design by Loralee Lewis. I’m not familiar with the brand, but reviewers seem to like these. On the picture (see below) I recognize Miss Dior and Prada Candy, but the rest aren’t too familiar, which, most likely, speaks to how well I know mass market perfumes. If you want something more subtle, Etsy offers this one (I recognize Shalimar and J’Adore bottles). Or if you want an even less obvious choices, here is another one with unidentifiable vintage bottles.

 

 

And just in case you have some time on your hands and consider remodeling, here is an idea: “Perfect for bathrooms and bedrooms alike, this romantic wallpaper features fancy bottles of perfume. A colorway emphasizes its classic style.” My guess: Chanel (probably 19), Guerlain Shalimar (EdT or Initial), Marc Jacobs Daisy EdT, Miss Dior, Elie Saab Le Parfum and one of Guerlain’s classic bottles (not sure which perfume). Not sure I recognize tall bottle to the left from Chanel.

Perfume Wallpaper

Are there any perfume-related items in your nearest holiday future?

Images: from the sites to which I link for each of the products cropped or compiled by me

Saturday Question: What Perfumes Do You Associate with Your Loved Ones?

Only positive thinking today: we have enough negativity from all over the World, so let’s think of something nice and pleasant, even if slightly melancholic.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #37:

What Perfumes Do You Associate with Your Loved Ones?

Are there any perfumes that always remind you of one of your parents, grand-parents, siblings, close friends, etc.? We’re talking only about positive associations here, so please no evil stepmothers that killed the otherwise brilliant LBEV for you!

Name just one or all of them (well, unless your cool aunt was/is a perfumista) and tell us whether you like those perfumes. Do you own them? Do you wear them?

My Answer

I’m in a slight disadvantage here since it’s my perfume blog where I tell perfume-related stories, so in all the years I’ve already told most of the stories closely connected to people in my life (but not all yet – can you believe it?!). And many of you had previously read those stories and even commented on them. But I’ll link to the older posts for those who is newer to my blog or has missed my previous 10 linking back.

Those of you who read NST daily threads might have thought that this topic was brought by this week’s CP – Nostalgia Friday (“wear something that takes you back to a happy moment in your childhood”), but no. I’ve been so busy this week that the first time I read about the topic was only this morning. The CP just coincided with my Grandma’s “would-have-been-100” birthday on November 3rd. In her honor that day I wore my life-long perfume love – Lancome Climat, which she wore and to which she has introduced me when I was a child. I wrote about that connection four years ago in the post The Sillage of Rosa. I still love, own and wear this perfume.

 

Grandma and Climat

 

The second perfume I want to mention is Dior Diorella. While the story I published almost 10 years ago First Love: Love (the title was a logical continuation to the title of my very first post on the blog – First Love: Perfume dedicated to the above-mentioned Climat) was about my childhood crush, I associate Diorella with my mom, from whom I got that perfume without asking permission to scent the “love note” to my future first boyfriend. Last week, thinking philosophically about the blessing of childhood selfishness and self-centeredness, I remembered that episode and wore Diorella thinking of my late mother and trying to evaluate whether, as an adult, I sufficiently “paid back” for the childhood shenanigans. I hope I did… but of course I wish I could had done more. I never loved Diorella, but I like it and wear once or twice a year.

 

Mom and Diorella

 

What Perfumes Do You Associate with Your Loved Ones?

Which 20 Would Portia Keep?

Hi there Crew,

Recently Undina (What Are Your Top N Perfumes?) and Tara (My Perfume Collection – Top 15) have done their “which would I keep” posts, following on from from Vanessa (‘Be more Undina’). After you’ve read this go have a squiz at theirs too. Who doesn’t love lists, right? So, I’m thinking “Damnit! I want to do this too.” It’s such a mind blowing, freak me right out, dumb assed thing to want to try because invariably my head explodes. Then the next day I instantly start second guessing my choices and that can rattle around my head for a couple of weeks before my brain lets it go. BUT! I also love doing it, just to see what my head and heart come up with this time.

Jin and I have often talked of buying a van and travelling through Europe for a couple of years. As part of that adventure my mind instantly goes to “How many perfumes would I take and which would they be?” So I’m kind of experienced at it now. Problem is some of them change, HA! Impossible, right. Usually I say 25 bottles and a bunch of samples/decants but in all honesty I think it will more likely be 10. So today I’m formalising my ideas for you all and myself. Subject to change at a moments notice.

You might want to grab a cuppa or a boozy bevy. This post is LONG! Continue reading

Puredistance Rubikona: Iacta alea esto!

I rarely participate in campaigns when new niche perfumes are launched: if I do not like them, I prefer to keep silence, and if I like them, I go through the careful testing first, then add perfume to my collection, and only after that I would write about that perfume – and only if I have a story. I have a few perfumes in my collection that I love and wear but have never covered in the blog.

With the new release from Puredistance, RUBIKONA, I had a conundrum: while I liked this perfume very much, I would not be buying it any time soon … because the brand sent me a beautiful travel spray of it. At the same time, in the “new normal” situation with perfume sales, any small brand needs all the possible help in promoting perfumes that are worth the attention. So, it wouldn’t be fair to “punish” the brand because I do not have to buy perfume now. Because of that, I am doing this post and a giveaway – as a part of the self-organized mini joint project between my scent triplets – hajusuuri and Lucas (see the details at the end of this post).

 

Rusty and Puredistance Rubikona

 

A couple of days ago Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) published a comprehensive review for Rubikona, so I invite you to read it if you want to get a real review since from me you’re getting mostly impressions and pictures of Rusty.

Perfumer: Cécile Zarokian. Top notes – grapefruit, bergamot and mandarin; middle notes – rose, iris, ylang, clove, orange blossom and creamy notes; base notes – patchouli, cedarwood, vanilla, solar notes and musk.

Sometimes, trying to explain what something is, it is easier to describe what it is not. Puredistance Rubikona is not an exercise in edgy modern aroma creation. It absolutely cannot be described as “nice perfume.” And nobody would mistake Rubikona for an ambiance scent.

 

Puredistance Rubikona

 

I do not get any vintage vibe from Rubikona but at the same time the moment I smell it I know that it is perfume in its classical meaning: it is polished and elegant and complete, without any rough edges or artistic imperfections. Recently I find myself gravitating towards this type of perfume – neither too loud nor a whisper, not obnoxious but with enough confidence, not Angel-like revolutionary but distinct enough not to have close dupes in my scent wardrobe. And Rubikona fits the narrative perfectly.

 

Rusty and Puredistance Rubikona

 

I would like to briefly discuss the price. Historically, perfumes from Puredistance were expensive: these are not something one buys on a whim. But despite the format (spray flacons), these are extraits. And if we were to compare these to other brands’ perfumes in the same concentration, we’d see that Puredistance offers them more than twice cheaper than extraits from mainstream brands – and those sell perfumes in hundreds of thousands of bottles per year, if not more. So, it’s hard to expect a small niche brand to be able to produce high-quality perfumes cheaper.

As much as I like Puredistance’s colorful flacons, I think that even smaller volume of perfume in a glass dabber bottle à la mini bottles for Givenchy Extravagance, Organza or Organza Indecence for the current price would feel a more justified purchase. It looks though, one has to choose what to pay for – a beautiful bottle or high-quality composition.

But at that price, no matter how great and pure ingredients are, one must love perfume to justify paying this sum for a single bottle instead of 3-4-5 “instant gratifications” of discounter bargains or vintage eBay finds. And to have a chance to like it, one needs to try it first. Definitely on skin.

 

Rusty and Puredistance Rubikona

 

To help with promoting this perfume that we all liked, hajusuuri, Lucas and I are running parallel giveaways on blogs (Undina’s Looking Glass for the US and Chemist in the Bottle for Europe) and Instagram (my account is linked on the side (web)/below (mobile) and here is hajusuuri’s account – both for readers in the US). The US readers get to enter into any or all giveaways. Follow the instructions for each of the draws.

To be entered on this blog, all you need to do is to add in your comment that you live in the US. Otherwise, I’ll consider your comment as a “DNEM.”

 

Rusty's Tail and Puredistance Rubikona

 

What do you think about Puredistance bottles? Do you like them? Would you prefer glass bottles with extraits? Do you think they should produce less expensive EdP or even EdT versions of their extraits?

 

Images: my own

Saturday Question: What Are Your Top N Perfumes?

I miss those times when we used to have group posts with several bloggers. From time to time we still try to do it, and there is a great group that does Mood Scent 4 series (Portia at A Bottled Rose, Esperanza at L’Esperessence, Megan at Megan In Sainte Maxime and Samantha at I Scent You A Day). So, when Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) first and then Tara (A Bottled Rose) posted their Top 20 and Top 15 perfumes correspondingly, I jumped at the chance to use this topic for the Saturday Question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #34:

What Are Your Top N Perfumes?

We’re using a variation on the “burning building speed grab method”: don’t try to choose perfumes that would cover all possible basis or fit logical categories of “perfumes for work,” “summer wear” or “irreplaceable,” but rather an emotional selection of perfumes that you’d like to “save” from that proverbial burning building, even if all N of them are just a slight variation on the “little black dress” theme.

Name your top 5-10-15, etc., whatever feels right. I suggest to limit the selection by 20 bottles – not because I think we all could live just with that number, but just because otherwise others would probably just skim through your list – and all that after you would risk your other valuable possessions to  save those N bottles!

My Answer

I played this game many times before, but it looks like I’m more or less set in my loves: I selected a list of 30 perfumes I like the most, then sorted it by their importance to me at the moment and chose the top 20 perfumes:

  1. Lancome Climat
  2. Ormonde Jayne Ta’if
  3. Amouage Ubar
  4. Chanel No 19 EdT
  5. By Kilian Amber Oud
  6. Krigler Lieber Gustav
  7. Jo Malone French Lime Blossom
  8. Dior Miss Dior parfum
  9. Guerlain Chamade extrait
  10. Armani Prive Le Femme Bleue
  11. Puredistance Antonia
  12. Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Amour
  13. Tom Ford Fleur de Chine
  14. Jo Malone Sweet Milk
  15. Yosh Ginger Ciao
  16. Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady
  17. Amouage Dia
  18. Guerlain Cruel Gardénia
  19. Serge Lutens De Profundis
  20. Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom

 

 

When I compared this list to the list I did 3.5 years ago, interestingly enough, also prompted by Vanessa’s post, I discovered that today’s list contains 16 out of the 20 perfumes that I’d chosen then. The other four are not new, they just moved slightly up and replaced four perfumes that I still like, so, they are still in the top 30, which also includes several new perfumes that joined my collection since I created the previous list. And while I liked them enough not only to buy but to consider for this important exercise, they haven’t replaced any of my old favorites.

I won’t be linking perfumes in the list to posts I previously published about them, but just in case anyone is interested, they are all linked on My Perfume Portrait page (which reminds me that I need to update it with my new loves I accumulated in two years since the last update).

How about you? How fleeting are your perfume loves?

 

What Are Your Top N Perfumes?

Perfumes of My Hawaiian Vacations

I realize that a vacation at a tropical destination is a luxury, and many people cannot afford those or even going to the seaside. But since both my vSO and I work and work hard, as a rule, we try to go to Hawaii every second year. Last year we had a business trip combined with visiting relatives back in our country of birth followed by a week in London. It wasn’t the easiest trip (if not to count the UK portion of it, which was fabulous in all respects), but it ate up most of our travel budget and time off, so I was looking forward to going to Hawaii this year.

When the pandemic started, I was still hopeful that it would get resolved in the next several months, so I even booked a plane part of the trip late in March, and as September/October (the planned time for the trip) was approaching, I was still optimistic that the 14-days quarantine mandatory in Hawaii would get eased up, and we wouldn’t have to postpone the trip (the air tickets these days are easy to be moved or canceled – no penalties or change fees). The closer we got to the time, the less likely it seemed that we would be able to go, but it wasn’t until August when our airline sent me a notification that the flights have been canceled. They offered to move our itinerary to different days… But that’s when we decided that we should move that trip to the next year.

It was a disappointment, but on the grand schema of things, it’s not the worse what could have happened or is happening to many, so I’m trying to be positive about it and hope that we’ll go there next year (and I might even be able to shed some pounds by then – well, one can dream, right?).

But one thing that struck me as something sad and depressing was that, in addition to clothes that I wear only while in Hawaii, I have a list of perfumes that I also tend to wear mostly when I’m on a tropical vacation. And not going there meant that those perfumes would be waiting one more year for the skin time.

 

Perfumes for a Tropical Vacation

 

So, I decided to do a mini-project: a week of perfumes of my Hawaiian vacations. I thought about doing this project during my staycation, but then I figured that to keep reminding myself that we had to stay at home instead of enjoying time somewhere else would be too depressing. Besides, the week of my staycation promised to be pleasantly cooler (and it was). But the week before was hot, so it was just perfect for the project.

Almost all these perfumes I wore in Hawaii before (the picture above is from one of the previous trips), and I even wrote about some of them before – so, I knew that I liked them and would enjoy wearing them again. So, I’ll share just a couple of thoughts here and there, as well as several pictures from the previous visits to Hawaii – not paring those images to perfumes, just using them to set the mood.

 

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Eau Fraiche Skinscent

Bronze Goddess is one of those perfumes that could have completely gone by me if it weren’t for Perfumeland. But thanks to a perfumista friend who shared a decant with me many years ago, this perfume became a staple of all my Hawaiian vacations. Working from home, I didn’t follow my usual vacation ritual of getting the bottle cold from the fridge and using it as a body mist, but it was extremely enjoyable still.

 

Sunset Big Island Hawaii

 

Ormonde Jayne Tiare

Two years ago, I complained that Tiare, my proven friend and companion on many tropical vacations, felt completely out of place in the office environment. This time, worn for the evening neighborhood walk on a warm evening, it was pleasant again, and we rekindled our friendship.

 

Tiare Big Island Hawaii

 

Ormonde Jayne Frangipani

Whenever I wear Frangipani, I realize how much I like it. But then I forget about it again until the next time I pack for my trip. It blooms wonderfully in hot weather, and I know that when I’m done with the last travel spray, I’ll want more.

 

Byredo Pulp

I don’t think I can wear Pulp where I live: even in hot weather these overripe fruits seem too much and almost nauseating. But I know that I feel completely differently about it when I put it on in Hawaii. Conclusion: I need to go to Hawaii.

 

Tropical Fruit

 

L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore

Traversee du Bosphore works for me only when it’s hot. I checked: it doesn’t have to be Hawaii, as I proved to myself this time wearing it in hot Californian weather. But it needs heat to bloom. So, as much as I like this perfume, it’ll be a while before I finish my decant, and until then I probably do not need a bottle.

 

Kawaii Hawaii

 

Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling!

As I discovered the last time when I wore Bombay Bling in Hawaii, it smells the best in A/C’d environment. This time I wore it again on a hot day in the house with working A/C, and it was beautiful. So, I think in future I’ll keep wearing it at home and let one of the two new to my collection perfumes mentioned further to take up its place in my holiday wardrobe.

 

Volcano Maui Hawaii

 

Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradise

Many years ago, one of the bloggers sent me a small sample of Bois de Paradise, and I thought it was the right choice for my vacation wardrobe. I brought that vial with me on one of my trips and used it up there. Since then I had it somewhere on the back of my mind that I wanted to buy it. But I was waiting for the brand to release it in a smaller bottle (I hoped it would be released since they were asking opinions on the size on Twitter, I think). It had never happened, and once I saw it on sale at Luckyscent last year, I immediately bought it. I was right: the brand went out of business later that year. Since then I’ve been waiting for the chance to wear Bois de Paradise in Hawaii… Since it didn’t happen, I’ll wear it at home. It’s great, and I even got a compliment from a friend (from my “extended bubble”).

 

Tropical Forest Maui Hawaii

 

Byredo Bal D’Afrique

I’ve never tried Byredo Bal D’Afrique in Hawaii, but it was very pleasant both in humid heat or New Orleans and in drier Californian heat, I suspect I will like it in tropical environment as well. If I ever get to go there again.

 

I didn’t get to wear one more of my “usual suspects” for tropical vacation – Yosh Ginger Ciao. But unlike all other perfumes in this mini-project, I wore Ginger Ciao several times this summer, so I didn’t feel like I abandoned it. But whenever I go to Hawaii the next time, this Vacation in a Bottle is coming with me.

 

Palm Trees and Moon Maui Hawaii

 

Images: my own

Perfume True To Its Name

As I mentioned once or twice before, I love orchids. But since I had almost no encounters with fragrant orchids, my love to them lives in the universe that is parallel to my perfume love: I enjoy looking at them and keep searching for perfect jewelry pieces with the orchid theme but I do not think of them as an olfactory experience. Though, once I came across a fragrant orchid.

 

Rusty and Orchids

 

Sensual Orchid created by Jerome Epinette for Laurent Mazzone Parfums in 2012 is one of those perfumes that, very likely, I wouldn’t have ever tried if it weren’t for my (rarely visiting) guest author hajussuri. Considering her my scent twin, I decided to participate in the split she hosted, even though I haven’t tested it before then.

The first thought that popped up in my head once I applied Sensual Orchid was that the name fitted it perfectly. I cannot explain what qualities of this perfume prompted the thought (it’s an I-know-when-I-see-it-type feeling), but it was a positive thing since, in general, I do not like when brands exploit sex for marketing purposes.

I didn’t even finish my small decant before I found and bought a bottle of this wonderful perfume. My quick take on it: I enjoy wearing it, and a couple of years ago it inspired me to write a haiku for the NST haiku project (which is very telling if you consider that you can count any type of poetry I ever wrote with fingers on one hand):

Sensual Orchid –
Perfume true to its name…
His heartbeat agrees

If you haven’t tried Sensual Orchid yet and want to know more, you should read Kafka’s (Kafkaesque) review.

 

Laurent Mazzone Sensual Orchid

 

Have you tried any perfumes from this brand? What did you think? I was tempted by their Radikal collection (Radikal Iris sounds interesting, right?), but nobody I know ever mentioned trying those, none of the decanter sites here has them, and I’m not adventurous enough for a blind buy.

 

Images: my own

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Hey there crew,

Mid Seasons are my favourites. I love the less extreme temperatures and the chopping and changing. Whether it’s Spring or Autumn, the days play similarly, and I find the same set of fragrances can often get some play. One day hot, next day cloudy, sunshiny days and chilly nights happen in both seasons. It does mean our easy reach fragrances need to be able to fit into more than a single weather mood. So I have a bunch of perfumes each year that are able to cross the borders comfortably. I pop them on the easy access tray with some all-year contenders. This year looks like it’s going to be fun.

 

 

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Continue reading

In the Search for the Perfect Mimosa, Take 6

Even if you were new to my blog (which not too many of my current readers are), just from the post’s title you could guess that I like mimosa in perfumes. Correction: I like mimosa. Period.

 

Mimosa

 

My perfumista friends clearly made that connection, and in the last couple of years I’ve been getting different mimosa-related gifts from them.

Previously, I wrote about the shower gel Cotton Flower & Mimosa (Yves Rocher) that my perfume twin Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) sent to me when it wasn’t yet available in the U.S. and Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea Mimosa perfume that hajusuury, my other perfume sibling, gifted to me.

Last year in London, Tara (A Bottled Rose) gave me a beautiful Mimosa soap by Molinard that she brought back from her trip to France. It smells so wonderful that I did something I haven’t done before but remembered from decades back – a custom from my childhood to keep fragrant soaps in a drawer to scent lingerie. But I plan to start using it soon, before it loses its aroma.

 

Molinard Mimosa Soap

 

Then last Christmas I got another unexpected gift from Lucas: Mimosa perfume by Monotheme Fine Fragrnces Venezia. Before then I had never heard about that brand, though Fragrantica has 72 (!) perfumes listed for it. Even without it being a gift from a friend, Mimosa is quite nice. Simple, uncomplicated but nice and surprisingly wearable.

 

Rusty and Monotheme Mimosa

 

But this is not all the “damage” Lucas has done recently: first he shared with me a sample of Amouage Love Mimosa, and later he found a bottle at a great price, and he, hajusuri and I split it. If you haven’t tried Love Mimosa yet, read Lucas’s great review.

 

Amouage Shop in London

 

The picture above is from my last year’s trip to London. [Un]fortunately, that day the store was closed – or I could have left it with a full-price bottle of Love Mimosa. I didn’t get that cute yellow bottle, but I got more than enough perfume to wear for the next many upcoming mimosa seasons, especially considering all other great mimosa perfumes that I accumulated over the years and previous five takes on this single note exploration. I like, own and wear Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom, Givenchy Amarige Mimosa, Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss, Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie, Atelier Cologne Mimosa Indigo and Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Mimosa. And I’m extremely close to needing a replacement for the decant of Prada Infusion de Mimosa.

 

Images: my own

Zoologist Bee

Have you ever had a perfume note that was never center stage enough for you? A supporting note that warms, cools or brightens the star of the fragrance. You talk about how much you love the inclusion of that note, how wonderfully it is used! But the more you wear it the more you think: why can’t this note be the star? Always the bridesmaid, never the bride! In Zoologist Bee the main player is honey sodden beeswax, and all the floral attributes serve only to praise and fete the delightful waxiness.

I’ve found beeswax to be an elusive note in fragrance, I can remember only a few times being absolutely delighted by its presence. BPAL and Arcana perfume oils have scents with a beeswax note, but even while smearing on a generous amount of oil, I’ve always wanted it to be more intense. Penhalgion’s Sartorial has a waxy note designed to evoke the wax blocks used with thread by tailors, and I’ve huffed my arm trying to focus on those waxy, wonderful moments. I’ve found many honey perfumes are just sweetness without the wax, which doesn’t work for me. If you eat really excellent cold pressed honey, that wax note will be there.

When I was a child, my Dad would often bring home honeycomb, and I’d sit at the table spooning up great gobs of it, chewing away at the wax until only a tiny bit was left. Sometimes there was even a bee in the honeycomb! It was a far cry from squeezy bottles shaped like bears full of sugar syrup. Zoologist Bee is truly all about the bee and his creations. The floral notes capture that mouthwatering moment you try some fresh from the hive honey and marvel at how many flavours you can taste in it. Orange blossom, pollen, a resinous goodness, honey is a work of art. I’m honestly astonished to find all these beautiful tastes so vividly portrayed in this scent.

 

Zoologist Bee

 

Zoologist Bee (Cristiano Canali, 2019)

Top Notes: Orange, Ginger Syrup, Royal Jelly Accord

Middle Notes: Broom, Heliotrope, Mimosa, Orange Flower

Base Notes: Benzoin, Labdanum, Musks, Sandalwood, Tonka, Vanilla

Bee is quite linear. Potency gradually softening is the extent of the journey. And potent it is, no delicate wafting breeze here. This is a wonderful thing when beeswax is often only a bit player in a vanillic drydown. Is it too sweet? Is excellent honey too sweet? There’s your answer. It’s too sweet because it’s supposed to be. The only thing holding me back from acquiring a bottle is that I have yet to try Hiram Green‘s Slow Dive, another true beeswax and honey scent according to reviews. I’ve sniffed it once, and I suspect it is richer, while Bee is simpler. Both are very appealing, but I probably do not need two intensive honey and beeswax scents. I’m looking forward to our lockdown being over, someday, and being able to take myself off to the perfume shop and have a Slow Dive sniff.

And here’s an odd tidbit about Zoologist Bee. I have accidentally eaten some of this fragrance, and it tastes just like it smells! I honestly think you could make this into a liqueur or a gelato flavouring. This is not the first time I’ve accidentally eaten perfume, and usually it is a vile experience, so I was quite surprised.

 

Image: my own