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

Narth’s Musings: Perfume’s Power

I’m sure we’ve all talked about this before, but it’s been on my mind of late: negative scent associations that mean a perfume will never work for us. Sometimes it’s obvious, a person we found difficult drenched themselves in a scent, and now we don’t care for it. But often it’s a more subtle and layered experience.

The sight of the black Lanvin Arpege bottle with its gold embossed mother and child will always make me feel a combination of guilt, sadness and anxiety. My mother wore Arpege, and this bottle has an almost claustrophobic effect on me. I prefer my perfume to be, at its very worst, dreadfully dull. I do not like it when perfume triggers a horrible flashback of feelings, a sudden reminder that yes, you have these feelings, and here they are in a big feeling vomit, enjoy! Many years ago, I bought a bottle of Lanvin Arpege after convincing myself I would redeem it, and it would be only about good associations. Sadly, the mother and child motif was too much, and when I finally swapped it away, I was relieved. I think if you had a great relationship with your mom, and she wore this scent the bottle would be the sweetest thing! Maybe you can’t bottle maternal love, but for myself personally Lanvin Arpege mockingly bottles the absence of it. I do not have a rational relationship with this perfume.

Another Odor Horribilis for me is anything with a whiff of campfire. I like my smoke scents to smell like an ashtray left rotting under the couch in a sharehouse. The moment we trek out into the woods with a bonfire burning I shut down hard. Having lived through several bushfires and known beautiful folk who didn’t make it, I absolutely cannot abide this smell, this burning, burning smell. It will never be a scent of pleasure again. I do remember a time in my childhood when it was one of those “best smells ever” and all about camping, singing and eating too much sugar… But that’s another Narth. There is a Naomi Goodsir fragrance I’ve never tried because of the bonfire note. As the SA was enthusiastically listing the notes, I said “NO” rather too firmly and then sheepishly mentioned bushfires. She immediately understood, and we moved on to something happily floral.

Perfume is powerful stuff. I’ve had several long perfume breaks where I stopped thinking about it at all, but negative associations would still throw themselves at me against my will. Smell, the sense most people value the least, has been busy building a personal history with us all our lives.

I’d love to hear your own associations, if you want to share, of scents you would rather not revisit.

Bushfire Smoke AZ

Photo by me, during our long summer of bushfire smoke. This was reality for many weeks and the smell filled the house.

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 Theory of Fragrant Relativity

Hi there, ULG Perfume Buddies. I have a theory. Well, I’ve called it a theory, but that’s because I suffer delusions of grandeur. It’s just a thing that’s been rattling around in my brain for a while. It didn’t really have much fom till I mentioned it to some mates, and they all piled on with thoughts and japes. It was kind of out-of control. What came out of it was a crystallising of my thoughts, and then I thought it might be fun to discuss it with you all.

In 20-40 years time, the perfumistas will be reminiscing about their love for perfumes from Juicy Couture, Jessica Simpson, Agent Provocateur, Lady Gaga and Benefit.

They will dream of fruitchoulis, calone and rose/oud combos like we do about oak moss and musks.

The prices of these scents will skyrocket on the future equivalent of eBay, and we will finally get our long lost fougere, chypre and galbanum rich beauties for next to nothing.

Now, I also have a confession.

When I heard that Agent Provocateur had gone bust, I went straight to FragranceNet and bought two 100ml of three from their range. Maitress, Lace Noir and Blue Silk. Then I went searching high and low for their original Agent Provocateur EdP, found two bottles of that for quite good prices and am awaiting their arrival. Finally, I saw Fatale Intense in my local chemist and snaffled that too.

NOW I have to find somewhere to put the damn things…

Also, have you noticed Jessica Simpson frags getting harder to find? I might have panic bought some of them too.

 

 

The only bottles already in my collection were original Agent Provocateur EdP and Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights (not pictured). They have been long standing regular use perfumes in collection, and I’ll be sad to not have them. So, buying them makes sense, right? Backing up your disappearing beauties is a perfumistas stock in trade. Everything else, though, is a freaked out blind buy. There is no rhyme or reason to this. Suddenly the urge was upon me, the hunt was on, my cart full, checked out and sent. It’s like all my impulse control goes flying out the window.

Do you ever panic buy stuff just because it’s going, going, gone? What do you think of my Theory of Fragrant Relativity? What will you want to hoard?

Portia xx

 

Image: my own

Portia Reconnecting with Serge Lutens

Hey crew,

Last time we chatted I told you about bringing my Serge Lutens open, now old style, 50ml export bottles out of their box and onto my easy reach tray next to my desk. It’s been spritz changing, even in these few short weeks. With them lined up before me I think about them much more often and am revisiting long languished loves again. It’s like a fragrant voyage of rediscovery. It reminds me how deeply the brand changed the way I thought about scenting myself. The possibilities, choice and intricacies of scent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fooling myself that every release or even favourite of mine is a boundary pushing masterpiece. Some are merely beautiful, easy wear interpretations of old tropes, but always with an interesting twist and/or perfectly balanced symmetry.

 

 

As luck would have it, I’ve had the opportunity to do two masterclasses in the Yellow Room upstairs in the Palais Royale store in Paris. The first was Jin and I with Elvire. Over the course of an hour or two we were introduced to the entire bell jar range, her favourite exports and the history of Féminité du Bois. It was an unbelievably jaw-dropping event. We already had some orders to fulfill from Aussies, and then I dropped a very large wad of cash on bell jars and travel sets for both Jin and myself. Jin fell madly in love with Muscs Koublaï Khän and is now on his second bell jar of it. He lovingly decants it into a beautiful black octagonal Serge Lutens travel spray and spritzes with gay abandon. I’ve never let him see how much it cost, he’d be horrified.

The second visit a couple of years ago was with a crew of perfume buddies. It was a much louder, more raucous affair and our hosts were not prepared at all to explain fragrance to frag nerds. BEDLAM! It was still fantastic though, and I was reintroduced to a couple of fragrances that I suddenly needed to own immediately. Chene and La Myrrhe. They sit in my collection, still in their cellophane. I don’t want to dab them, and I don’t want to decant them. What I do though is look at the boxes and reminisce. I wasn’t the only one to bust out the credit card and shop. I think there were 16 of us, and everyone purchased at least one bottle. Some people, who knew this might be their only visit to the grande purple emporium, splashed out on much more. While I didn’t learn much on this occasion, it is the one I smile to myself about so much more. Nothing compares to sharing the love of perfume with frag heads, made exponentially magic because we’d come from all over the world to meet in Paris.

 

 

So, I know you’re dying to know what’s been put up on the tray. I’d be chomping at the bit if I was reading your posts and it had gone this far without a list.

Arabie

I love the spicy opening that reminds me of ginger beer. When that settles down, I get a fruity, resinous melange that some days dips into apple pie territory and others into the scorch of spices sizzling in the pan in a sweet curry. Arabie lets me dream of Bedouin life from my comfortable couch.

Bas de Soie

I had been using a decant of this from Surrender To Chance, there was about 1ml left. I sprayed it all on and then wanted more. So I finally opened my bottle and gave myself a dousing. Something amazing happens to Bas de Soie at that level of heft. Suddenly it is a huge breath of spring. Even in our cold, rainy autumn here in Sydney I was transported to a springtime wonderland. Hyacinth, iris and musk blowing on a cool breeze.

Chergui

Chergui is the fragrance I most recognise as a Serge Lutens. It seems to capture and embody the spirit of the brand perfectly for me. Spicy and honeyed herbal opening, sweet tobacco and amber woods to close, and it runs the gamut of olfactory gorgeousness through its heart. It gives me visions of the legend travellers of the Middle East all the way down through Mongolia to the Far East.

Daim Blond

This was my favourite Serge for a while, but along came Bottega Veneta EdP, and I was like “Daim Blond who?” Fruity almonds and leather. It now smells dank and dated to me. Sad face. The dry down of softest, well loved leather is very nice next morning if you wear Daim Blond to bed.

Datura Noir

I wear Datura Noir quite a lot. First in decants and now in a bottle. I thought it wasn’t me. Too clean and fresh, a creamy white floral without the breath or skank seemed pointless. Yet, there I was/am, reaching and spritzing and loving it.

Féminité du Bois

My bottle has less than 10ml left. It’s got the Palais Royale logo on the label. Still smells fabulous, but I rarely wear it because I’m scared to not have it in this eras bottle. Spicy stewed fruits and woods. It’s absolutely heartbreakingly gorgeous.

Fille en Aiguilles

Also in the Palais Royale logo. More stewed fruit, but this time backed by incense and sharp pine. i love this so much for winter that I bought a few bottles and gave them out as gifts to various friends. Every one of them (non-perfumistas all) has re-bought it for themselves after using up that first bottle.

Five O’Clock au Gingembre

My favourite Serge Lutens fragrance so far. 10% into my second bottle. There is something about that opening zing of fruity ginger that I find so invigorating. You know I haven’t read the note list for years, and my nose tells me it is a ginger, tea, white flower and honey fragrance. I’m surprised to see no white flowers or tea mentioned, and find chocolate and patchouli there. WOW! My nose is clearly broken and has been for years.

L’Orpheline

The only notes given for L’Orpheline are incense and musk. To me they miss out on the smell of icy cold, snow filled winds in the monasteries of the Himalayas. Funnily, I get cold incense like you’re standing outside the temple shop, and the breeze is stealing most of the scent but it’s there.

Sa Majesté la Rose

This is not my favourite rose perfume. It does smell like you’ve stuck your nose in a particularly fragrant bloom early in the morning while it’s still got the dew on it and the scent hasn’t had time to burn off. The problem is that I find myself wanting a rose perfume to do a few more tricks than that. I need rose +++. This has rose. When the mood takes me, I look for and wear this but it’s a rare thing.

Santal Majuscule

That creamy, soapy sandalwood smell. So smooth and elegant. None of that rough, eucalyptus like opening of the Aussie stuff. This smells like the grown up, wealthy, settled down, gravitas version of Samsara. I have a really happy memory associated with Santal Majuscule. When it was first released I went in a split and bought 10ml. After wearing it twice I was about to write a review. As I reached for the decant, I knocked it over, and it smashed all over my desk. I was so upset at my clumsiness. Jin rushed in and saw the problem, after asking if I was OK and hearing the story, he said very calmly, “Well, you better buy a bottle. It smells fantastic” or some words to that effect. So I did.

Un Boise Vanille

The last of my Palais Royale label bottles. A thick, rich, crunchy vanilla that goes on strong and stays all day. Its simplicity hides depths and layers, if you bother to look, but for most non-perfumista wearers I imagine it just smells fabulous.

 

So that’s how I’ve been spending my lockdown time lately. Our restrictions ease gradually. One of my club groups got in touch, and they are hoping to reinstate trivia nights in late July. So, I’m a ways off working again. Maybe I’ll finally get to the mending pile on the floor in front of my sewing machine this week. It’s getting so big, I think it might take two full days.

 

What are your favourite Serge Lutens? Which bottles do you have open and use?
Portia xx

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.

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“Love won’t take no reservations…”

I can still remember times when the Perfumeland would buzz with an anticipation of the next release from a handful of niche brands everybody knew and loved. First there would be an announcement. Then discussions/speculations about what it was expected or hoped to be would follow. And then – the first reviews from lucky bloggers who managed to get a sample would create hordes of lemmings for anyone reading them.

After niche field has exploded, our collections saturated, and we spent small fortune on trying the latest new brand or new perfume from a favorite brand or perfumer, we barely register some of new releases, skim through articles and wait for the trip to a store … at some point in the next 12 months to maybe sniff a nozzle of the bottle while deciding if we even want to waste a paper strip.

In the last several years the only reviews for perfumes I read were predominantly those written by bloggers whom I consider friends: not because I am looking for more perfumes to introduce into my life, but mostly because from those people I’d read anything including a holiday menu or even a shopping list. (If you think about it, something like that coming from Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) or Portia (ex APJ) would be hilarious – maybe I should invite them to my blog with a guest post on the topic? But I digress).

Last December I chanced upon Angela’s (NST) review of the new Masque Milano fragrance Love Kills. I planned to quickly go through it, read a list of notes and be done: even though at the time I liked, owned and wore two perfumes from the brand, since none of the stores here carried it, a chance of trying their new perfume any time soon was seriously underfed. And then something unexpected happened: I got enchanted with… no, not with perfume – with Angela’s review:

What I do understand is this: Love Kills is a Birgit Nilsson of a rose soliflore. It’s a rich scarlet rose — maybe an old rose that clings to stone walls and blooms only once a summer. When it flowers, it’s like a full moon. Bees become town drunks, and afternoons in the garden should carry warnings against operating heavy machinery. Girls shut themselves in their rooms and cry, and grown women eye the pool boy with startling interest. Cakes won’t rise. Sinners repair to the confessional, but the priest is unexpectedly away.

Are you familiar with that desire to capture something beautiful with a photo? You see a magnificent rose or a spectacular sunset, and you take a dozen of pictures, even though you have no idea what you’d do with those. But you want to “own” it. I felt something similar when I read that passage. I decided that I needed to buy a sample – if for nothing else, to write about it on my blog and cite Angela’s review on my blog, a sort of “taking a picture” of a beautiful thing to make it mine.

I didn’t expect to love Love Kills. It was going to be a Second Sunday Sample feature (if I ever decide to revive the series) or, maybe, a part in my Single Note Exploration for the rose note. But the first time I put on Love Kills, I knew that it was love (despite of the name that I can tolerate only by reminding myself about the theatrical theme chosen by the brand as their inspiration). Read the rest of Angela’s review if you haven’t tried this perfume yet. But be warned: it’s very convincing. As a proof of that: a beautiful bottle has just recently joined my collection, and I’m amazed how much I enjoy it, even though I already have many exquisite roses in my perfume wardrobe.

 

Masque Milano Love Kills

Image: my own (one of the dozen taken)

Fun in the Car with Youth Dew

Even though there were at least a couple of guest writers on Undina’s Looking Glass, over the last couple of years I was a sole contributor, so for a while I will be reminding my readers to look at the By line (Undina).

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“You’re a perfume snob”. So said my friend as we drove to lunch together. I was quite taken aback, “What, no! I’m not!” but my friend continued on seemingly enjoying herself. “Oh yes, you are, you are absolutely a perfume snob!”

This was hard to take, especially so as I was asphyxiating under a roiling cloud of Estee Lauder‘s Youth Dew, my friend’s favourite perfume. I had given her a bottle as a gift, even though I feared being in just this situation, trapped in a car full of Youth Dew, which I very much disliked. Neither youthful nor dewy to my nose, I thought it did not suit my friend at all but she loved it.

Trying to prove my lack of snobbery I informed her that I was wearing Britney Spears Curious in Control (a pleasant apple custard scent), so therefore I could not possibly be a snob. She laughed, “Oh, you’re 100% a snob!” Ugh, this was getting uncomfortable. I started worrying that offering up Britney as an example of my willingness to embrace  the cheapest celebuscent was actually proof of my snobbery, “Some of my best friends are celbuscents!” But then I got a grip and realized I didn’t have to prove myself to anyone. The word my friend was probably looking for was aficianado aka someone who knows too much and talks too much on a topic other people don’t deem worthy of a conversation. Sometimes (who am I kidding, most of the time) it’s better to just agree that Youth Dew is enchanting without harping on about oakmoss. It’s straight back to my childhood when I thought spouting facts about krill was a good response to a kid saying “penguins are nice”.

I love perfume and I love smells, some days it feels like I love every single smell in the world. I try to appear a little less of a weirdo, to pocket the leaf or cheese rind or odd flinty rock and not inhale them deeply in front of people. I think many of us who started out on this perfume journey because something smelled pretty have ended up here. Nose deep in a stout thinking about oud. Analyzing funk and and oils and laughing when connections are made. Once your brain and your nose start having deep and meaningfuls, there’s no going back.

So I must declare I am not a snob. I am just someone with too many facts and too many opinions on too many topics and one of them is perfume.

 

Gold Plated Bathroom

 

Photo is of my GOLD PLATED BATHROOM. Not really, but did you know that pure gold has no smell of its own?