Does Good Packaging Make the Perfume?

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence.
Mark Twain

Ukiyo-e, shodō, ikebana, kimono, kabuki… I do not dislike culture of Japan, but I reject the awe some Europeans and Americans have towards it: yes, it is different and has interesting aspects. But by the same token as I do not think that being different means “inferior,” it doesn’t mean “superior” either. It is just different. So, usually I instinctively stay away from anything artificially Japonesque (I must admit, though, that I love California roll sushi that have nothing to do with traditional Japanese food).

Unrelated, I am usually skeptical when brands launch new sub-brands or lines under different names in parallel to their main brand: I see it as a plot to trick consumers into buying more because it’s something new and different.

So, how did it happen that I bought (!) a sample set from Floraiku – an “inspired by Japanese culture, traditions and ceremonies and named after haiku poetry” (©Fragrantica) brand created by the founders of Memo Paris?

In my defense, I can say that I was “vulnerable”: soon after my In the Search for the Perfect Magnolia post, I bought Magnolia Grandiflora Michel by Grandiflora – perfume that I found the most interesting during my magnolia note exploration quest. And, as much as I liked perfume itself, I thought that the bottle was hideous. The paper label looked extremely cheap, and today it seems to be pilling off that not even a year-old bottle. Which reminded me of new design for L’Artisan’s bottles that I saw recently at a department store: the testers were still probably half-full, but those paper labels were already in a dismal state. I have never seen anything like that happening to the original L’Artisan packaging. Greed is ugly.

So, while I was lamenting poor packaging of some nice niche brands, I read Cynthia’s (The Fragrant Journey) review of Floraiku set. I was curious about the line even before, but Cynthia’s praises for the presentation did it for me, and within days I placed my order.

 

Floraiku Sample Set

 

My impressions? Floraiku set is very beautiful, with a lot of attention to details. I’m not sure about names: I don’t like “I-s” and “My-s” in perfume names, so five out of 11 names using that form … is a little too personal. And most of the names seem not to have any connection to the notes used to compose them. I See the Clouds Go By featuring black currant leaves, cherry blossom and white musk – really? OK, maybe if I were to lay down in some garden watching the sky… though, when those cherries blossom, I would get cold quickly laying down.

I know that those note pyramids have very vague connection to what actually goes into those 15-20% of a volume of any given perfume. So I’d be fine with a brand not revealing the notes at all or giving just a general impression for the scent. But listing three notes?! Are they paying royalties to creators per an officially published note? At $350 for the set (50 ml full bottle plus 10 ml travel spray) I feel cheated.

I also do not care for pretend haiku. Actually, I’m not a big fan of haiku per se. I assume they sound better in Japanese, but English attempts usually rather perplex me: why to bother? It’s not poetry… But even more I’m annoyed by pseudo-haiku that do not even follow the formal rules of constructing those mini poems. And all that after naming the brand Floraiku!

The owl is watching
twilight
between two trees

Maybe if to think of them as of an abstract mood-setting description for these perfumes, they are not awful.

But what about the most important aspect – perfumes themselves?

You should read mentioned above Cynthia’s post for more detailed review on these perfumes. As for my impressions, Sound of a Ricochet and Cricket Song are my favorites, which isn’t surprising since they are oriental vanilla and floral (magnolia) woody musk respectively – and I usually like those. Three more – Sleeping on the Roof, Moon and I and My Shadow on the Wall I could probably wear. The remaining six – One Umbrella for Two, I Am Coming Home, I See the Clouds Go By, First Dream of the Year, My Love Has Color of the Night and Between Two Trees – are not something that I find interesting (though, none of them is unpleasant).

 

Floraiku Sample Set

 

Will any of these join my collection? Not unless I come across them at 70% off. I’m not discussing merits of selling these at $350 for 60 ml, it’s just that for me none of them is even close to be worth that price.

But I can wholeheartedly recommend getting the sample set because it is perfect for testing: it will be interesting to try the line, it’s aesthetically pleasing, none of the perfumes is challenging in any way, and, most likely, with any of them you won’t be tempted to get more than a 10 ml travel spray (which can be bought separately).

Eden Square (no affiliation, but I successfully ordered once from them – not this set though) offers the set for $25 + $5 S&H in the US (and you can get 10% off if you sign up for their newsletter).

 

Rusty and Floraiku Sample Set

Images: my own

Portia in the Looking Glass

Hello! My name is Portia, and Undina has invited me to come do some guest posting at Undina’s Looking Glass.

It’s very exciting, and nerve wracking, to jump into another person’s creation. They have worked so hard to produce a brand, and I hope that it’s a good fit for Undina, you and me. We all have perfume in common, and many of you I know already from around the scentblogoshere. Up till now, I have written for a few other blogs, including Olfactoria’s Travels, Perfume Posse, A Bottled Rose and Australian Perfume Junkies. Undina was the very first person I never met to subscribe to APJ, and we have been friends ever since, she has been also brains trust, confidant, blog rescuer and aspirational icon. We also bonded over the naming of her cat Rusty: my very first cat was a gorgeous ginger and white tom called Rusty. Synchronicity! Every time I see pics of him, it brings back some happy memories.

Continue reading

Saturday Question: What Chanel Perfume Would You Wear Today?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #12:

What Chanel Perfume Would You Wear Today?

You have probably seen more than once what usually happens when anybody poses a question that requires people to make a choice. Ask perfumistas to name their top N of something or choose X perfumes to take to the afterlife, and everybody gets really creative trying to sneak in a couple of extra names in a manner Oscar winners “smallprint” everybody they need to thank for their winning – as if not mentioning one of the favorites will anger the Gods of Perfumeland.

So, I decided to try to do it differently. I’m not asking you to choose your absolute favorite, name the “best of” or subscribe to wearing it till death do you part. But if you were asked to choose Chanel perfume that speaks to you the most to wear today (tomorrow it might be something else), what would it be? Just one name (and, if you wish, why you made that choice).

My Answer

Chanel No 19 EdT. It was the first Chanel perfume that I fell in love with. For years I kept trying No 5 hoping to “get” it, but it never worked (and still doesn’t). Somehow that prevented me from trying any other classic Chanel perfumes, and Chance, which I tried, was just awful. And then one day, being in a good mood after a day trip to the wine country, on the way back home we stopped by Nordstrom, and a very nice SAs made me a couple of samples of different Chanel perfumes (it was long before Nordstrom introduced the DIY sampling program).

That was a turning point for me. I loved No 19 EdT! Since then added both EdT and extrait to my collection. I tried vintage EdT (nice, but I’m fine with the one I got 9 years ago). I have a small decant of the modern EdP (hajusuuri, thank you), which I like and enjoy wearing. I even bought No 19 Poudré when it was first released. Unsniffed. But No 19 EdT is still my favorite Chanel – and I’m wearing it today.

 

Rusty and Chanel 19 EdT

 

What Chanel Perfume Would You Wear Today?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

In the Search for the Perfect Lavender, Take III

As I’ve told in one of my stories before, I had found my perfect lavender perfume – Lieber Gustav by Krigler. But my love to this plant in general and my hand-made sachet losing its scent after a while, keeps me on a lookout for more lavender-based perfumes and other products.

When I read that Jo Malone was about to release a new limited-edition collection based on lavender, I could barely hold myself till it was available in a store: I like lavender, I have a soft spot for the brand, and have you seen those purple tops for the bottles in that collection?

Had the brand released this collection as a set of three 9 ml bottles, I would have bought it. But I’m yet to see any of their limited editions done in that manner. Silver Birch & Lavender didn’t work for me (I would have still wanted it as a part of a set though). The other two smelled nice, but Wisteria & Lavender disappeared from my skin within 30 minutes, which isn’t acceptable even for Jo Malone. So, on my request, a friend bought for me Lavender & Coriander in a Duty-free in Heathrow airport, which, in combination with a nice purple cup, made that bottle even more attractive than it was four years ago when it was released first as a part of their garden herbs collection (though, the green bottle they put it in then was also quite appealing).

But the item that attracted my attention was the fourth item in the collection – Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist. I know that Jo Malone previously had linen sprays and ambiance scents, but this was something new and interesting. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so, I discovered while looking for it: not only it was gone from the Duty-free, but it was sold out in most online stores.

But I persevered, found and ordered it. And then the lock-down happened, and the package, which couldn’t be delivered to the closed office, went back to the seller (and it has never re-appeared on their site, so I couldn’t reorder it).

Since I wasn’t prepared to pay almost twice the price for it on eBay, I accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. (Who are those people who would?! It’s not a discontinued perfume that someone got to love and cannot buy any longer – so, why to pay that much for something you have no emotional attachment to?!) And then brand’s site restocked the complete collection – so, now I’m a happy owner of a bottle of Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist.

 

Rusty and Jo Malone Lavender and Musk Pillow Mist

 

It’s not an overpowering lavender (I wouldn’t mind it to be stronger). Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist is soft and warm and cuddling – just what you’d expect from a pillow spray. It is completely unnecessary – and probably it’s a part of its appeal. I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase it, even if it is re-released. But I’ll be using it while waiting for this year’s lavender season: if I manage not to miss it, maybe I’ll try to recreate that Diptyque’s magic wand.

 

Images: my own

Saturday Question: How Are You Doing? What Are You Doing?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

Last week I asked you to name 3 most favorite Serge Lutens perfumes. 33 perfumes got nominated, some of them more than once. Top 3 were Iris Silver Mist (10), Ambre Sultan (7) and De Profundis (6).

This week I want to do something slightly different. I want to try to “document” what’s happening in different parts of the World where you, my friends and readers live in these strange times.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #4:

How Are You Doing? What Are You Doing?

What is the situation where you live – city or country, be as generic or specific as you wish. Did you get any extra food and supplies?

What is the situation with your job (if you were working)?

If you’re staying at home more than usual, what do you do?

Have your perfume habits changed recently?

My Answer

All individuals living in the State of California have been ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except as needed to maintain continuity of operation of the federal critical infrastructure sectors. This was announced on Thursday night following the last week’s “shelter-in-place” order in the county where I live. But my office sent everyone to work from home a week before then. So far, everyone I know personally is healthy (or at least not symptomatic).

After some initial panic last week, currently it’s calmer in our area. And while all the stores seem to be permanently out of toilet paper, cleaning supplies and some random items, in general, food is available. But of course, uncertainty breads fears, so, just in case, we stockpiled more food that I’ve probably ever had at one time in my house. My only excuse is that we bought almost nothing that we normally wouldn’t buy. So, I hope not to waste any food.

While I enjoy working from home once in a while (and last week it was quite convenient since I wasn’t feeling good – not virus/flu/etc.; getting better now), doing it every day is not fun: the boundaries between work and home life blur and not in a healthy way. And since both my vSO and I are doing a number of meetings and phone calls each day, one of us periodically has to leave the office not to interfere with the other’s activities. But we manage. Rusty, so far, seems to enjoy our company, though I suspect he’ll get tired of us soon.

 

Rusty Sleeping

 

My perfume habits followed the change in the work environment: I stopped wearing perfumes. If I were telling you this, I would have kept a longer pause. But I won’t do it here in writing and hurry to tell you that while I’m not wearing perfumes, I use this opportunity to test and re-test a lot of samples, trying to resolve some of the issues discussed a couple of weeks ago in the SQ#2. I tested more than 30 perfumes during last week and wore just one perfume – Amouage Dia for the grocery shopping today. But this weekend I plan to dress up for dinner (just for a change) and wear one of my favorite perfumes. But after that I’ll continue going through the piles of samples.

I want to share with you several links I collected during this week from different sources:

The Metropolitan Opera every day does HD streaming of famous operas. The one that was streamed the night before (7:30 PM EDT) is available for 20 hours. I’m not a huge opera buff but I figured out that it was a good opportunity to listen to/see some famous singers.

12 Famous Museums offer virtual tours. I haven’t tried them yet myself but plan to soon.

For the US readers: a grocery tracker that shows if grocers have made operational changes for your safety and theirs as well as whether or not employee benefits may be offered to those hard workers that help you get the items you need. This is a great way to choose where you shop during this craziness. There is detail on each grocer below the main list.

 

* * *

63 comments last week means that there was no draw. Let’s lower the bar this week and shoot for 75 comments. If we reach it, there will be a prize: a random draw for a $25 (or equivalent in pounds or euro) gift certificate to an indie brand of your choice (I suspect they’ll need our support).

 

How Are You Doing? What Are You Doing?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

Saturday Question: What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

Last week’s question collected 68 comments (I start thinking that I might have scared some potential commenters away by offering a draw for more perfume samples), so, there was no draw. but I decided to extend the time for the first draw winner to contact me with the choice of a decanter/samples site for the gift certificate.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #3:

What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

I was torn between the desire to talk about the elephant in the room and inclination to maintain the normality. I don’t know what the next week will bring to the World, but for now let’s talk about something positive.

My Answer

This question was one of many that I planned to run eventually. It surfaced now partially because of the current situation and partially because of the last week’s Saturday question: while working from home, I decided to go through some of the samples that I had for years. The bag that I’ve got out first had a dozen of Serge Lutens samples that I collected over the years. As I was going through them, I was amazed by how much I liked most of them. And these were my “outcasts” – perfumes that I tried before and decided not to go beyond the sample. Today, years later, after having tested hundreds of modern perfumes, I got a new respect for this brand that at some point was on every perfumista’s mind and blog but recently seem to have fallen from grace.

I like and enjoy wearing a number of Serge Lutens’ perfumes, but if I have to name just three, it’ll be Boxeuses, my armor of strength for difficult situations, De Profundis, my way of celebrating life and Fille en Aiguilles, an ultimate Christmas perfume.

 

 

Now it’s your turn. If we get to 100 comments, there will be a prize: a random draw for a $25 (or equivalent in pounds or euro) gift certificate to a decanter service of your choice.

 

What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

Rusty the Cat: On Food and Treats

I’m not sure if this post will become the first in the series. It may, since I like series, Rusty is a tireless provider of amusement in my life, and, in general, Internet runs on cats. But I won’t promise any regularity since these posts require pictures, which, in their turn, require good lighting, which is not easy to catch with my crazy work hours that do not promise to be much better this year, despite all my attempts. But we’ll see.

* * *

I’ve heard of the cats who can leave half-full bowl and come back to it later or refuse to eat something. Rusty isn’t one of those cats: any food stays in his bowl for two minutes or less. He inhales* whatever we put there and wants more. All his life he gets cat food, but I’m not sure he understands the difference. For him all food is food, but for some strange reason we refuse to share with him as much of our food as he’d like us to. So, he resorts to begging or … I can’t even say “stealing” since he doesn’t try to do it covertly – prying it from us.

 

Rusty asking for Treats

 

Since we feed him canned food, mostly pâtés, I was worrying that he didn’t get to chew anything, and his teeth weren’t being cleaned. The only things that he normally chews on are tiny treats I give him as a bribe or a reward for taking pictures for my blog or as incentive to do a trick (he does those for treats). But those tiny things take him a second or two. I hear: “crunch-crunch” – and he’s done.

 

Rusty eats a Treat

 

Friends recommended special dental treats that were supposed to be good for cats. I must say that those are quite expensive treats (approx. 50 c per treat). But what won’t we do for our feline friends, right? These treats are much larger than usual “one bite” cat treats: they are about a size of a wine bottle cork (see the picture below). But they are relatively soft and easy “bitable,” so one would expect a cat to spend some time biting smaller pieces off of it allowing enzymes in it to work on plaques to improve cat’s oral hygiene.

 

Treat for Rusty and Wine Cork

 

Rrright… When I gave it to Rusty for the first time, he was extremely excited: he got it from me, spent a couple of seconds re-arranging it in his mouth, after which, with a visible effort, he… just swallowed it whole. I was watching him in terror thinking what to do if he starts choking. Even though he was fine, I didn’t have the courage to repeat the experiment. But since I still wanted to get some health benefits for Rusty from the treats I bought, I started feeding them to him while holding them in my fist and allowing Rusty to take a smaller bites of it, preferably with his molars.

You should have seen the expression on my cat’s face when I started doing that! He couldn’t understand what I wanted from him, and why he couldn’t just gulp the thing, but “food is food,” so in a while he learned what I wanted him to do – even though he still clearly thought his human had some issues. The disadvantage of this method, though, was that in his enthusiasm Rusty could not always distinguish the treat from my fingers…

 

Treats for Rusty

 

You can understand my excitement when last Christmas Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle), in addition to wonderful gifts for me (and not only of the perfumed kind), sent some treats for Rusty (picture above). Being much longer and denser, those looked like something that Rusty would definitely have to chew on. (sigh) Nope. I’ll give him that: he didn’t swallow it in one piece. But he quickly bit it in half – and then swallowed. I was petrified: the way he was swallowing it, I was sure it wouldn’t go through, and I’d have to rescue my cat from suffocating. To my relief and amazement, he was fine. But that was the last time I experimented with making him to bite something off: I cut or tear smaller pieces before giving it to him. He doesn’t mind.

 

Treats for Rusty and Wine Cork

 

* As I was writing this post, I got curious about different synonyms for “eating quickly” and in my search came across a discussion in the WordReference forum in 2007 where a number of people, especially from the U.K., claimed they’d never heard the verb “to inhale” to be used in that meaning, even jokingly. I was surprised because for me it was something given. I asked my vSO, and he reminded me from where it came into our lexicon:

Ross: I’m just saying, if you can’t eat by yourself, how do you expect to have a baby by yourself?
Rachel: I can too eat by myself!
Ross: When have you ever?
Rachel: When certain people leave the table and I am not finished!
Ross: Well, certain other people take 2 hours to eat a bowl of soup!
Rachel: Oh, please, you inhale your food!
Ross: I grew up with Monica. If you didn’t eat fast, you didn’t eat!

Friends, Episode 8.03, 2001

Out of many synonyms suggested on that forum, I really liked the idiom “to wolf down” and thought that in our household it could be transformed into “to cat down,” as in “He catted down his lunch and hurried back to the office.”

What phrases or idioms do you use for “eat fast”?

 

Rusty asking for MORE Treats

 

Images: treats – my own; all pictures of Rusty – from our wonderful cat sitters

Paying it Forward: (in) Puredistance Gold

This post is a part of a joint mini project, a.k.a. giveaway, held by Undina (Undina’s Looking Glass), Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume), Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies) – see details at the bottom of the post.

* * *

In this age of advertising in social networks and working through influencers, vloggers and instagrammers (ha! MS Word’s spell checker knows the former but objects to the latter while Firefox browser’s spell checker doesn’t think any of the three terms are grammatically correct), it is hard to justify spending marketing resources on a handful of “old school” bloggers with quirky blogging styles and limited outreach via followers or organic search.

Most brands stopped doing that silently. Some were quite vocal about it (I will not name names now, but will mention that even years later I still hold a grudge – not for the decision not to provide free samples itself but rather for the publicly provided “justification” for that decision, but I digress). And a very few keep doing that through the years for whatever reasons – be that gratitude for the role perfumistas in general or particular individuals played once in popularizing niche perfumery or the brand; or out of sentimental feelings towards the “dying art” of blogging; or even pragmatical calculation that people who spend hundreds, sometimes thousands dollars per year on their hobby and who “talk” to others with the same predisposition might be a better target audience for a “free sample” than an average perfume counter visitor. I don’t know the reasoning, but I know that those brands are still out there.

 

 

Puredistance is one of such brands that – as long as I remember, even before I started blogging – was extremely friendly and generous with bloggers, and not just with press release samples that would promote their newest perfume but with acknowledgement of bloggers contribution to spreading good word about the brand, their time in communications and some unexpected surprises for the brand’s milestones.

Late last year Puredistance sent me a travel spray of their newest perfume Puredistance Gold. As always, no strings attached.

I tied and I liked Puredistance Gold, which made me happy and thankful to the brand for bringing me joy that holiday season. And at the same time, I felt bad because there was no story or topic in my head that I could use for a post, and since I don’t do regular reviews, it meant I wouldn’t be able to make my tiniest input into promoting this perfume to the World.

 

Puredistance Gold

 

And then I thought that even if I were to review this perfume, in my opinion, it wouldn’t be enough because while it is like that for many good perfumes, for Puredistance Gold it is particularly true: to fully appreciate it, one needs to wear it. Even if I were to tell you that it’s great, since the only place where you could test it would be a niche shop with dozens of other perfumes that compete for your attention, you’ll spray it on paper, sniff and, most likely, move to the next bottle.

And that’s how the idea of this joint mini project came to live. We, several bloggers who were lucky to get some preview samples from Puredistance, decided to share what we got – just to make sure it reaches more people who might otherwise never try it.

* * *

Puredistance Gold Sample(s) Giveaway

One ~ 1.5ml handmade sample of Puredistance Gold is offered in a giveaway on each blog for a reader from the specific geographical region:

Undina’s Looking Glass (this blog) – the US and Canada

Chemist in the Bottle – Europe (without the UK)

Bonkers about Perfume – the UK

Australian Perfume Junkies – Australia

 

While you’re invited and encouraged to comment on any/all of the participating blogs, to be entered into the draw you should leave comment on “your” region’s blog following the instructions given there.

If you are in the US or Canada and wish to enter the giveaway, all you need to do on this blog is to state in your comment “I live in [country]. That’s it. The draw on this blog will close on February 23rd. You know all the disclaimers, etc.

Regardless of whether you participate in my draw or not, I would love to know: Have you tried any of Puredistance perfumes? Do you have favorite ones? Are there any you haven’t tried yet but want to?

 

Images: my own

The (Last?) Two Queens

Lipstick Queen is one of my favorite lipstick brands. It isn’t the only brand that I wear but it’s one that is heavily represented in my lipstick wardrobe and on my blog. I won’t reveal the total number of tubes from the brand, but I’ll say that there are at least three shades that I bought repeatedly, some even more than twice.

I’m not sure what attracts me in these lipsticks the most: I like their names, I enjoy strange colors, and their formula (especially the one they use for their sheer lipsticks) works great for my lips. So, whenever I would come across the next release, I’d get curious and often end up buying it, even though my lipsticks collection is running over the space I designated to it, similar to my perfumes wardrobe.

 

 

I have a bad feeling that I might need to start looking for another favorite. First, at some point, I suddenly realized that I haven’t heard for a while about any new quirky names/collections from the brand. Then there was a slew of their products on sale at different outlets (I took advantage of some of those). Then I noticed prices going back up for several of those lipsticks that I keep an eye on planning to replenish once the lipstick in use is done. And then I went to the Lipstick Queen brand’s site to discover that it shrank to a couple of pages: no online shopping, no information about the new and existing products – just a store finder. It looks like the company that bought Lipstick Queen in 2011 lost interest in the brand soon after the original owner had left it in 2017.

I decided to tell you about two lipsticks I added to my collection last – while those are still available, if anyone wants to play.

 

Lipstick Queen Queen Bee Lip Treatment

 

I saw some sites calling Lipstick Queen’s Queen Bee a “lip treatment.” I’m not sure: I bought it as a lipstick, but as well I can imagine that I’m “treating” my lips because it doesn’t provide too much color anyway. As much as I love the idea of a golden lipstick (and have probably a couple more tubes from different brands to attest to that), my skin is too fair for it to wear on its own other than for those hot days when a real lipstick would feel too heavy, but one would like to add some shimmer to lips. Hawaii is a perfect place to wear Queen Bee (and to take a picture of it). Otherwise, it goes well on matte colored lipstick if I want to brighten it a little.

 

Lipstick Queen Queen Bee Lip Treatment Swatch

 

If to borrow terminology from photography, while Queen Bee is a like a warm filter that can be applied to one’s lips, Ice Queen is a cool filter. It also provides shimmer but it’s rather silver-toned. Most likely, I’m influenced by the name and packaging, but with the same sheer coverage I still consider Ice Queen a winter lipstick. Counterintuitively, my lips and complexion “tolerate” this cold shimmer on its own better than the golden one. But I still wear it mostly over darker colors to add festive stardust to my lips during the holidays season.

 

Lipstick Queen Ice Queen

 

Poppy King, the creator of Lipstick Queen, was planning her comeback with her third lipstick company and a new line Femme De Poppy. Last year she launched it at Barney’s… It doesn’t look like the new owner, Saks, picked it up. Today the new brand’s site is even less informative than the Lipstick Queen’s one. But I signed up for the updates and look forward to trying whatever Ms. King comes up with next. I’m really rooting for her not only because she created those great lipsticks that both work well for me and amuse me (wearable blue, green, black lipsticks named Hello Sailor, Frog Prince and Black Lace Rabbit with well thought-through packaging), but also I feel like I can relate to her: we’re almost the same age, she has fair skin, and she gets her inspiration from her kitty cat Meowsy. On the other hand, unlike her, I’m absolutely not entrepreneurial. I’ve just ordered and plan to read her first book (not an affiliated link) – Lessons of a Lipstick Queen: Finding and Developing the Great Idea That Can Change Your Life – not that I plan to change my life but I’m curious.

 

Rusty and Lipstick Queen 3 Minis

Images: my own

On Cloud Nine

It’s my blog’s ninth anniversary. As always, let’s do some stories and some perfumes (and probably some cat’s pictures).

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I’m not a big drinker. My conundrum is: while I love the “taste” component of drinking, I do not enjoy being inebriated. Probably, it’s a control issue. But whatever the reason be, the fact is that I like drinking but hate feeling drunk. Despite all the cultural stereotypes, I do not ever drink vodka. Unless it’s a special occasion or a wine tasting trip, my usual drinking is limited to a glass of wine or a cocktail on the weekends.

Last year was very stressful at work (mostly due to the deadlines, not people-related, which is better, as far as work stresses go), so I found myself having a little wine (less than a glass) late in the evening 3-4 times a week. In this case, what I usually don’t like about alcohol would rather help me: I’d relax and fall asleep easier. But I knew that I didn’t really need those extra glass or two per week and could easily give them up.

That was before I got sick in December and had to take antibiotics that categorically couldn’t be combined with any alcohol (as in not just being less effective but being poisonous). So, I had to stop drinking. Period. I had a break between two courses around Christmas, so I had some wine for that celebration, but on the New Year Eve all I had was a sip of champagne at 12. That was my soberest New Year celebration in several decades! And it was hard: I wanted my glass of wine. Or two.

 

Barrels with wine

 

So, it’s fair to say that drinking was on my mind as I was thinking about the blog’s anniversary.

There are many beverages represented in perfumery, and I might do another post to cover some of them in future, but today I want to talk about what I missed the most in the last month – wine.

Sparkling wine/champagne/prosecco is usually associated with special events or leisure time. My favorite moment with this drink is the first couple of sips. So, when it’s just two of us, it feels almost wrong to open an expensive bottle: I rarely enjoy drinking more than a glass of champagne, and it doesn’t keep well. But when it comes to perfumes featuring this note, none of the two I want to mention will break the bank.

Antica Farmacista is a brand that is known for their ambient products – candles, diffusers and room sprays. From time to time they produce “Home and body” sprays that, as it’s clear from the name, can be used for either (last year I finally found an almost perfect Daphne scent done by the brand). Prosecco was their last year’s limited-edition scent. It’s light and sparkling, and it fits the name perfectly. While I still plan to finish the sample I’ve got, I think that as a diffuser or a candle scent or even as body products it should be even better. And they all are still available, so give it a sniff if you come across it.

Champagne de Bois from Sonoma Scent Studio was getting so much love when I was just starting the descend into the rabbit hole of niche perfumery. I stopped hearing (reading) much about it long before Laurie Erikson decided to move away from the business. And it’s a pity because it is a very good perfume, and I think that having a chance to try it, many more people would enjoy wearing it. My biggest complaint with many of SSS’s perfumes was… their concentration. In my opinion, the way they were created, they should have been used as extraits of the past – dabbed, not sprayed. And for spraying there should have been a much less concentrated version. Recently I was diluting some of the SSS’s perfumes with perfumer alcohol and using them like that. Champagne de Bois, in my opinion, is one of such perfumes. But otherwise, if dabbed or sprayed after being diluted, it is gorgeous. In my head I classified Champagne de Bois as a “winter champagne”: it’s sparkling and festive but not refreshing. I wonder if its formula stays the same under new ownership (I plan to check it out soon).

 

Sonoma Scent Studio Champagne de Bois

 

If you prefer something sweeter, may I interest you in Tokay wine?

Tom Ford Champaca Absolute is one of my favorite perfumes for the last 8 years. I’m not sure how Fragrantica comes up with their notes lists (and usually I do not question them), but Tokay (Tokajii) wine note isn’t in their pyramid, even though it was mentioned in the perfume’s description from the start, and TF’s website still lists it. Champaca Absolute is a big floral perfume that balances well between light and darkness. Similar to those versatile pieces in one’s wardrobe that can be dressed up or down, Champaca Absolute, applied with a lighter hand or sprayed with an abundance, would perfectly fit a business function or a big party. Exactly like Tokay wine would.

While I enjoy both champagne and white wine, having a choice between [expectedly] good white or good red wine, nine out of ten times I’d go for red (by the way, with [presumably] bad wines, I choose the opposite, because, as a rule, white cheap/bad wine is more drinkable than red one).

 

Les Liquides Imaginaires Bello Rabelo

 

Les Liquides Imaginaires was one of the brands that I’ve discovered on my own: before seeing and trying them for the first time at Barney’s, I’ve never read anything about their perfumes and had no expectations. Bello Rabelo was probably the most spontaneous purchases I’ve ever made. But I was in a good company (another perfumista who had left Perfume blogosphere since), I was buying this perfume rather for my vSO than myself (and he liked it, though he’s much less discriminatory against perfumes in general on account of allergy-induced stuffed nose), and I was “due” to buy something from the store (there are only that many times I feel comfortable trying perfumes/asking for samples without buying something when the store has the same SAs over years). Luckily, both my vSO and I still like it. Bello Rabelo is not phenomenal or groundbreaking, but I find it quite original – at least I don’t have anything like it in my collection. Different sources cite slightly different notes, but they all rotate around dried fruits, vanilla, benzoin and wood. I can equally imagine either a “red wine” (Fragrantica) or a “porto accord” (brand’s site) note in Bello Rabelo, and whatever it is, it smells good. And same as wine, it is quite gender neutral.

 

Rusty and Bello Rabelo

 

And now I’ll get a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon and return to my cloud nine. It’s your turn.

Are you a wine drinker? What is your favorite wine? Do you have any of the favorite perfumes that either officially include champagne/wine/port/etc. or remind you of one of these drinks?

Also, if you’d like to be entered into a draw for a 5 ml decant of (one of your choice) Champagne de Bois (“new stock”), Champaca Absolute or Bello Rabelo, just state your choice in the comment. Otherwise, I’ll assume “DNEM.”

 

Images: my own