Pickles et al and the house of Jo Malone

This time for the guest post Pickles came with a company. (Undina)

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Hello, my human and fur friends! My cousins, Wedge Licorice and Squirrel Jolie, came for a visit, and I decided to introduce them both to the house of Jo Malone.

My nana tells me it is probably the most popular fragrance house in our humble abode. Each of her human children was gifted a full bottle when they turned eighteen (Peony & Blush Suede for the eldest, Ginger Biscuit for the middle one and Wood Sage & Sea Salt for the youngest). My great-grandma and great-grandpa love all the Jo Malone offerings as well. And I know for a fact that Undina does too.

Over the years the entire family has drained three 100 ml bottles, ten 30 ml bottles and probably forty or more of those 9 ml travel sprays. As you can see from the photos we still have plenty in all sizes in the house.

Do you have a favorite Jo Malone? If not, what is your favorite perfume house?

Until next time, furry kisses and hugs,

Pickles Bella
Wedge Licorice
Squirrel Jolie

Saturday Question: Have You Ever Regretted Giving Away Perfume?

Continuing the last week’s topic of having enough perfumes. Several people have mentioned that they were giving away, donating or selling perfumes they didn’t love any longer. It got me wondering…

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #112:

Have You Ever Regretted Giving Away Perfume?

I know, I know, you all are generous people who enjoy other people’s joy from getting your gifts, so let’s stipulate that. But have you ever given away, sold, swapped or thrown any perfumes that later you regretted? If yes, what was that, did you do anything to rectify it, and has it influenced your later decisions to part with perfumes from your collection?

My Answer

I do not easily part with anything I own. It goes not only for perfumes but almost everything. I got used to things and prefer to keep them until they fall apart, stop working or spoil. So, while I do not mind sharing portions of my perfumes, letting go of a bottle is almost impossible for me.

I remember once “lending” a mini bottle of Organza by Givenchy to a co-worker who liked it. She loved it, and I didn’t like perfume enough to wear, so we agreed that she would use it up and return a bottle to me since I really liked the bottle and wanted to keep it.

Well… She left the company long before I remembered about that bottle. And I regretted giving it away because I thought that the bottle was so great. Many years later, I bought another mini bottle. Just to have it in my collection. But now I started thinking about paring down my wardrobe and maybe even downsizing my perfume collection. Nothing crazy, but maybe I will be able to give up something that I do not use any longer… Maybe.

Rusty and Givenchy Organza

Have You Ever Regretted Giving Away Perfume?

Pickles and L’Ether de IUNX

This second guest post from Pickles told by her human was planned for almost a month ago. Then life happened. I wasn’t sure if it was too late to publish this post, but Brigitte reassured me that it was still snowing yesterday where they live. (Undina)

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Hello again to my human and furry perfume pals! The part of the world where I reside experiences substantial changes in temperature throughout the four seasons so I am happy to have a warm and loving home when the thermometer drops. My friend the groundhog saw his shadow this year, which means we will probably still have more winter weather on the horizon. We’ve been experiencing some significant snow and ice storms lately. My poor nana woke up this morning to an ice covered car and driveway.

She thought it would be the perfect opportunity to pull out her Olivia Giacobetti 2003 masterpiece, L’Ether de INUX, a gift to her from a dear auntie of mine. This soft, resinous, sweet, powdery scent has an underlying presence of incense and is composed of rosewood, myrrh, benzoin, saffron, sandalwood and maple.

L'Ether de INUX

Not only does L’Ether de INUX smell amazing, but the original bottle is utterly unique. It’s shaped like a black teardrop, lays flat and the sprayer is on the tip with the button to activate the sprayer on the back of the bottle. It’s probably the most unusual bottle in my nana’s collection. And it makes a great pillow to boot.

Pickles & L'Ether de INUXWhat is your most unusual perfume bottle? What do you like to wear in the cooler weather?

Until next time, furry kisses and hugs,

Pickles Bella

Saturday Question: What Is Your Most Calming Perfume?

In our lives, we all go through periods of anxiety, uncertainty and disturbance – be that of an internal nature or imposed by circumstances. Can perfume help? Or is it better to stay away from favorites (not to associate them with those times) and avoid the rest (not to contribute to the general annoyance)?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #104:

What Is Your Most Calming Perfume?

Do you have a perfume that in your mind would have a positive calming and relaxing effect on you?

My Answer

I started thinking about this because the last couple of weeks weren’t the easiest for me, and at some point, I felt like perfume (or maybe just trying to choose what to wear) was contributing to my general unease. In such minutes I didn’t want to wear anything “loud,” edgy or too original. I wanted something pleasant and uncomplicated…

The answer I came up with surprised me: Tauer‘s limited edition When We Cuddle And I Can Smell My Perfume On Your Clothes. With one of the most bizarre names and absolutely non-perfume bottle, I would have never tried it in the first place if it weren’t for my friend and perfume twin hajusuuri who shared with me a decant. I liked it right away, it didn’t take me years. But it wasn’t fast enough: it was sold out and disappeared. But I really enjoy this almost simplistic blend of vanilla, benzoin, musk, patchouli and amber. I’m not sure if it calms me down, but it definitely doesn’t irritate me or make me think about the scent I’m wearing.

Rusty and I

How about you?

What Is Your Most Calming Perfume?

Pickles and Reglisse Noire

Recently, in the post for the 11th anniversary of this blog, I invited my regular readers to do a guest post on Undina’s Looking Glass. When Brigitte contacted me to accept the invitation, I didn’t realize that she wasn’t going to write the post herself, but rather she was an agent of a talented feline. (Undina)

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Hi perfume pals! My name is Pickles. I spent the first seven years of my life in a no-kill shelter until I found my forever family two years ago.


Like Rusty, I earn treats by being a fragrance model for my Nana. My very first photoshoot was for Reglisse Noire by 1000 Flowers. Reglisse Noire is one of my Nana’s all-time favorite fragrances, and she has several bottles of it (a vintage travel bottle from Portia, a vintage splash bottle from AnnieA and the current formulation of bottle number 4). My Nana tells me that she thinks of me when wearing it because it’s black licorice (reglisse noire) and sweet but sassy like me. A unique cacophony of notes (bergamot, spearmint, fresh ozone, shiso leaf, white pepper, black licorice, ginger, allspice, star anise, cocoa, patchouli, vetiver, musk, cedarwood and vanilla) that play extraordinarily well together. “An under the radar masterpiece,” to quote my Nana.



I’m curious to know if any of you have tried Reglisse Noire? What’s your favorite licorice fragrance?

I look forward to popping in from time to time to visit with Rusty, Undina and all of my Nana’s perfume pals here on Undina’s Looking Glass. Thanks for inviting me. Until next time, furry kisses and purrs.



Pickles Bella

Up To 11?

Yes, it has been another year. Today Undina’s Looking Glass turns 11. Since my blog’s anniversary falls that close to New Year, by this time, as usually, I’ve already published my yearly perfume stats. So, today I’ll peek into my blog’s statistics.

I don’t do that too often since I’ve never intended this blog to be anything but a private place to talk to friends (and make new ones). That’s why I only smile every time I get the next email offering to “undina.com team” to boost this blog’s SEO or to place a “guest post” of some marketing type.

But this time I checked it out just to confirm my feeling that this year was the most active in the history of the blog. And I was right: “with a little help from my friend” Portia, Undina’s Looking Glass published 118 posts. It comes to 2 posts per week with an extra post occasionally. For me, it feels like an ideal flow that allows my friends and readers to participate whenever they like the topic or feel like doing so but isn’t too fast-paced where one feels “left behind” if they were to comment a day or two (or a week) later.

Of course, non-commercial blogs are mostly about their authors and for their self-expression. But as with those trees falling unattended in proverbial forests, without you, my readers, this would have been a very lonely journey. So, I’m extremely grateful to all of you who comes back to engage in the conversation, validates my thoughts, ensures a steady flow of treats coming Rusty’s way (I try to reward him for every compliment he gets on my blog for his participation) and shares their experiences. Though, to tell the truth, I would love my readers to communicate more with each other and not just with me.

Speaking of communication with each other. I’m not sure if this idea will interest any of you, and my blog isn’t extremely popular or actively visited (that SEO won’t improve on its own!), but if any of my regular readers who do not have their own blogs but have a perfume story to tell would like to publish a guest post on ULG (without any further commitment of obligations), please contact me via email from the About Me page. If you’re not much of a writer but have a bunch of perfume (or your pet) pictures that didn’t get enough attention when you published them on Instagram (or you do not have an Instagram account) and you’d like to do a post here with a mosaic of your photos and a link to your IG account, I invite you as well. Any other ideas along these lines are also welcome. Let’s together make Undina’s Looking Glass 12th year even more active.

But even if everything else stays “as is,” I still plan to keep going. I enjoy having this blog, trying new perfumes and talking to all of you – be that every week or just once in a while.

Happy Anniversary

Saturday Question: Do You Wear Perfume When Working Out? (And Are You Working Out?)

By now, New Year resolutions about getting fit, if any of you had made them, have been already broken, and most of us should be back to the “status quo” (whatever it was pre-resolution), so it should be a good time to discuss the topic(s).

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #100:

Do You Wear Perfume When Working Out?

I realize that nobody would intentionally try to wash away perfume before working out if they happen to wear it earlier (or would you?), but what if for whatever reason before exercising you were “commando” perfume-wise – would you apply anything before going to somewhere to exercise or starting it at home? If yes, do you have any special perfumes or types of perfumes that you choose for that? If no, what’s the reason?

Bonus questions: Are you working out regularly? If yes, what do you do? If no, do you want to? Do you plan to? Do you have any favorite YouTube channels for exercising?

My Answer

While I never really enjoyed exercising, when I used to do it regularly (around the time when I started this blog), I discovered at some point that some perfumes bloomed perfectly in hot environment of Bikram yoga classes (for several years my post about it, Body Heat: Perfumes under Extreme Temperatures, was one of the most visited posts on the blog – of course, not for the content itself but because of the “Kathleen Turner body” search phrase that surprisingly a lot of people used back then).

In the recent years, due to laziness and health issues, my physical activity got to such a level where I wouldn’t call it “exercising” – so, it’s safe to say that I wasn’t working out while wearing my perfumes.

I started trying to get back to exercising before the New Year (just not to make those NY resolutions to break them later). I don’t do much: just some light stretching and a little bit of strength building. And since the only time I can make myself to do at least something is after my work day (when it ends at manageable time), and that is sometimes the first time I can pause, think about perfume and apply it, I again started combining these two activities. As I don’t disturb anyone but Rusty, who objects even more to the activity itself, I am not being mindful of my choices and wear whatever I feel like that day.

I have a quibble about many YouTube exercise videos “for beginners” that I was able to find: as someone who at some point was in a much better shape, now suffers from back issues (and plainly getting older) and tries take it slowly, I can tell that many of those stretches and yoga poses are not even close to be beginner-friendly. Unfortunately, it looks like I’ll have to seek some professional help to figure out what I can do without hurting myself. Meanwhile, it seems like my body reacts the best to the lying flat cat pose (unfortunately, extra pounds on me look not as cute as on Rusty).

Rusty on the Exercise Mat

Do You Wear Perfume When Working Out?

Brand Appreciation: INEKE

Many years ago, I planned to run a series of posts to feature brands that I wanted to spotlight – not because they’ve released the newest popular perfume or got some award but just because. It didn’t materialize, and I published just one post. Now I decided to come back to that idea*. And today’s choice is a local to me (San Francisco-based) niche brand named after its owner and perfumer: INEKE.

I’m not sure why this brand doesn’t get more love. I’m talking not as much of “hardcore perfumistas” with hundreds of uber-expensive uber-niche perfumes in their collection (not that I wouldn’t expect Ineke perfumes to be found there) but rather about perfume enthusiasts who clear out TJ Max perfume shelves or shop “bargain basement” of online discounters. In my opinion, INEKE has all the markers of a great brand for both “civilians” and people who report in the NST’s quarterly polls more than 15 bottles purchases.

INEKE’s perfumes are pleasant and pleasing; maybe not revolutionary or daring, but at the same time they are head above fruity-floral mass-market concoctions or cookie-cutter creations from the plethora of recent “niche” brands.

INEKE’s packaging is superb: bottles, boxes and samples are all of the good quality and tastefully decorated.

INEKE’s prices are almost perfumista-free – $125 for 75 ml, which is quite reasonable if you like a scent.

INEKE has a flexible sampling program: one can get a set of 7 samples for $30 (which includes a $15 coupon for the future full-size bottle purchase) or buy individual samples for $5.

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I wrote before about two of my favorite perfumes from this brand: four months after I wrote about Hothouse Flower, a bottle of it joined my collection. And five years later, I bought Idyllwild and published a story about it.

But somehow, I’ve never written about the first perfume from this brand that I’ve ever bought: Field Notes From Paris.

Ineke Field Notes From Paris

This perfume was launched in 2009. Notes include coriander seed, orange flower, bergamot, tobacco flower & leaf, patchouli, cedar, tonka bean, leather, beeswax and vanilla. Perfumer: Ineke Ruhland.

Though Field Notes From Paris is leaning a tad masculine, I enjoy its cologne-y freshness in the opening, but even more, I like the woody development. Reading “orange flower,” “tonka bean” and “vanilla,” one would expect more sweetness from this perfume. It does get sweeter 60 minutes into development, but for my nose, the sweetness comes from a tobacco leaf (not fully dried type) and not from those usual suspects. Field Notes From Paris has good longevity, especially on fabric: once I remember it surviving a washing machine on my blouse. But on my skin, it’s also quite good.

From the sample set that I bought first time (perfume names from A to G), I liked Fields Notes From Paris the most, and soon I found and bought a partial bottle from one of the FB groups. When my father, who usually wore Chanel, Jo Malone and Creed, asked me to recommend him something interesting and unusual, I figured out that he wouldn’t be going to stores to ask for and test perfumes, were I to suggest anything new. So, instead, I did what probably any of you would do: I made him a set of small decants from perfumes I thought he might be interested in and added a couple of Diptyque samples I happened to have. After Rusty approved my choices, I sent the package to my father.

Rusty and Samples for Father

Over time he went through all the decants that I prepared for him, and when I visited, he showed me two that he liked the most. One of them was Field Notes From Paris. So, for his birthday last week, I got him a bottle of this perfume. I hope he’ll enjoy wearing it.


Now I’m looking forward to their next letter – K.


Images: my own

* Disclaimer: it is not a sponsored post. Also, I’ve never received any promotional or free items from the brand (if not to count a hand-made sample I got at the event once, but it wasn’t as a blogger).

Saturday Question: What Perfume Bottles Got Better After The Re-design?

We habitually lament perfume reformulation of perfumes. Change in packaging often goes hand-in-hand with the changes in how perfume smells (and almost always it’s not a positive change). But what if we were to look only at bottles themselves leaving aside negative connotations of the whole process of repackaging?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #99:

What Perfume Bottles Got Better After The Re-design?

Can you think of any single perfume or brand’s bottles in general the second (or third) change to which you think was an improvement?

A bonus question: name 1-3 brands/perfumes where you disagree with the change and wish they haven’t done it. Don’t be “greedy”: do not do the whole laundry list of grievances. If you agree with someone else’s choice, add your negative vote to their comment – that will leave you more chances to scold the offending brand that hasn’t been named yet.

My Answer

I’m still lamenting the loss of those beautiful colored flutes of Annick Goutal, and I think that Teo Cabanel‘s glass bottles for their classic line were more attractive than the current “metallic” renditions. But I can think of at least one line whose repackaging increased their appeal to me: Mona di Orio. I know that some perfumistas preferred their champagne-bottle-style cap, but for my personal aesthetics, their second bottles interpretation for the line is much more attractive.

Rusty and Mona di Orio Vanille

What do you think?

What Perfume Bottles Got Better After The Re-design?