I Hate IFRA and EC

This isn’t going to be a long and well-thought-out post. It’s rather a reaction to the news I read yesterday on the Chemist in the Bottle about further restrictions on the perfume ingredients.

I am not a huge fan of chypre perfumes: there are just 5 or 6 that I would really miss (Note to myself: get an extra back-up bottle of Miss Dior). But it makes me angry to read the news that means even further butchering of many perfumes others love. I sympathize with people who have sensitivities to any of the ingredients in different product or food allergies. But what I can’t understand is why while it is considered sufficient to post warnings about peanuts or even cigarettes, with perfumes we should be protected by law. Because, G-d forbid, someone doesn’t read the label warning and gets a rush. Can you imagine how much more dangerous it is than a cardiac arrest (peanuts) or cancer (smoking)?!

Cigarettes and Peanuts Warning

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Perfume News, Perfume Deals and Cat Pictures (with Perfumes), Episode 1

A holiday in the middle of the week is a strange thing. We haven’t planned anything special for this year’s 4th of July, so I had a little extra time on my hands, and I decided to share some news and deals that you might have missed. I might do it periodically, hence the “Episode 1” designation.

In case you missed the news, Australian Perfume Junkies blog is back after almost a three-month hiatus. Hopefully, issues with hackers are resolved for good, and soon it will be accessible from the regular address (http://australianperfumejunkies.com/) but for now it can be reached at https://australianperfumejunkiescom.wordpress.com/. Also please note that you need to re-follow the blog if you want to be getting e-mail notifications.

APJ Blog

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A couple of days ago Lucas celebrated 6th anniversary of his blog – The Chemist in the Bottleanswering interview questions from one of his blog’s loyal readers Jillie. Go read it to find out what a fragrance evaluator job involves, whether Lucas plans to create his own perfume brand, and just to say “Congratulations” on this rather significant milestone.

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Did you know that Ormonde Jayne now has smaller 30 ml bottles? It’s the same price as their travel set but it can be shipped to the U.S. (free S&H). Also, from their news letter: “to celebrate the new site and life in general, we will send you a surprise gift with every order when you use the promotional code ‘YIPPEE’ at the checkout.”

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If you followed Le Jardin Retrouvé’s Perfume Revival Project 2018, you know that the winning “dot” was the black one – Oriental Sans Souci. This one and the two out of the remaining three will be released as a limited edition of 200 bottles (50 ml) and can be pre-ordered here until the end of July and will be delivered in October. I have not tried any of these but I refer you to Cynthia’s (The Fragrant Journey) post about it.

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April Aromatics in their recent newsletter have revealed that there is a new iris perfume in progress. Also, since the site will be closed for a vacation from July 9th to August 10th, until July 8th they offer 20% off for their 30 ml bottles with the coupon AASUMMER2018. (though, I’d still go for smaller ones)

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Picture of Rusty is a bonus: it’s not special enough to go on its own into the “From the Cutting Room Floor” series, but I decided to share with you a picture of Rusty with Sonoma Scent Studio’s Bee’s Bliss that I wore today to celebrate the 4th of July.

 

Rusty and Sonoma Scent Studio Bee's Bliss

 

Have you recently come any news, deals or cat pictures to share?

Images: my own

My Favorite Linden Perfumes and the Eternal Question: To Back Up or Not To Back Up?

Being a fan of floral perfumes, I like many flowers and blossoms and enjoy many perfumes in that genre. But if by some cruel turn of events I were to choose just a single floral note for my perfumes, it would probably be linden.

Partially it is the scent itself, partially an emotional response to memories associated with it, but linden holds a special place in my mental olfactory catalog.

Linden Blossom

Years ago I did a couple of posts on the topic (In the Search of the Perfect Linden linked to above and Take 2). I can’t say that I found an ultimate linden perfume then or since: real tree in full bloom smells so much better than any perfume I’ve ever tried, but until anything even more realistic is created, I have two perfumes that come close, about which I want to remind you and warn you.

Linden and Perfumes: Jo Malone French Lime Blossom and April Aromatics Unter den Linden

French Lime Blossom from Jo Malone is one of the oldest perfumes in my collection that I still love and wear. People who are not familiar with the smell of linden blossom often talk about citrus component and sweetness from the (provided by Fragrantica but not mentioned by the brand) beeswax note while both of the facets are characteristic of the true linden blossom.

I was very sad to learn that French Lime Blossom has been discontinued (a kind reader informed me and then an SA at Heathrow airport Jo Malone duty-free store confirmed the news). You can still buy a bottle online from large department stores’ sites but it is the remaining stock. Jo Malone website does not have it any longer, so once gone I doubt it’ll ever be resurrected: it’s not one of those anemic “blossoms” they’ve produced in the recent years and keep redressing in pretty bottles. I’ve got a back-up bottle of French Lime Blossom but I would have been much happier knowing that it is still in production.

Rusty and April Aromatics Unter den Linden

In the Take 2 post I mentioned the second linden-centric perfume I discovered – April Aromatics Unter den Linden. Since nobody usually checks links to older posts, I’ll cite what I wrote back then:

It’s a very pretty perfume and I take back my original impression that Unter den Linden smelled like a more lemon-y version on one of my favorites Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom. Unter den Linden is lighter, more refined and blended more seamlessly than French Lime Blossom (I still like the latter though). What makes me unhappy is the price: however beautiful, this perfume isn’t unique enough or using really expensive and rare ingredients to justify to me $7/ml price for EdP. But if it weren’t for that I’d love to add a bottle of Unter den Linden to my collection. I still might.

And I did: once April Aromatics started offering a smaller bottle (15 ml), I bought one a year ago. It was the first all-natural perfume in my collection. Unter den Linden has a recognizable linden note but I wish it had a bit more of that sweet floral component of the real blossom. I also have a concern that all-natural perfumes might not be for me even if I like them because even with proper storage (cool closet, out of light), just a year after I bought it, I can smell changes in Under den Linden: there is a hint of dry linden blossom – the one that is used for tea. I do not dislike it but I’m afraid it’s a sign that my perfume turns, and I do not wear it often enough. I guess back-up bottles of Unter den Linden would be out of question, no matter what. Interestingly, the remaining French Lime Blossom in my 10 years old bottle is still fine.

So if you are, like me, mostly used to mixed media perfumes, go check on anything all-natural you might have and start enjoying those perfumes before it’s too late.

Linden Tea

Images: my own

 

Sniffapalooza: Samples, Glorious Samples

For this month’s Second Sunday Samples episode hajusuuri shares a short recap of the event she attended and gives you an opportunity to win your own mini-swag bag of fragrant goodies.

Undina

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Before reading on, click on the link below, close your eyes, and listen to the beat of this 80s commercial:

 

 

What does cheese have to do with perfume? Nothing! The point is the joyful nature of the commercial jingle is how I feel about receiving scented product samples, perfume samples in particular. Imagine getting over 60 samples in one day! This is how I will always remember Sniffapalooza Spring Fling 2018.

This spring’s Sniffapalooza, held April 27-29, 2018, was quite the low-key affair, as compared with my first Sniffapalooza in 2014 (read all about it here); however, this did not diminish the delight of discovering new perfumes, revisiting old ones and meeting friends both new and old. Since my new iPhone 8 did not take very good pictures, you can see event photos at Sniffapalooza.com.

Here are some highlights of the event…and a few asides:

Sniffing at Bergdorf Goodman (BG) – While I can visit BG any day, sniffing during Sniffapalooza day feels special because the SAs seem to be more welcoming and generous. Among others, Ex-Nihilo (3 travel sprays and 8 atomizer samples) and Armani Prive (custom selected by me) were over-the-top generous. I ended up getting two shower gels from Kilian and I received the new Miami Vice sample set (Love the Way You Feel and Love the Way You Taste) and a travel spray of Gold Knight. I actually liked Woman in Gold better but they ran out of it. What’s a girl to do? I got one from eBay (thanks to the Unseen Censer’s sharp eyes) AND took advantage of a coupon and ebates special at Saks and got myself a travel spray set.

 

SniffaMay2018 By Kilian

 

Lunch at Mangia – Not quite up to the standards of Brasserie 8 1/2 across the street, but with the low attendance, the organizers could not justify booking the private dining room. In any case, the food at Mangia was good and the portions generous. My only complaint was the wait staff ran out of steam at the end and only took coffee/tea orders from a third of the group. Speaker highlights included:

  • Barbara Herman / Eris Parfums – she highlighted the gender neutral Mx., a sample of which was included in the goodie bag. No flowers were harmed in the making of Mx. It is office-friendly and, on first sniff, is likely to rise up to my FB list. I will wear my sample to see how it goes. For a review of Mx., visit Megan In Sainte Maxime.
  • Jon Bresler / Lafco New York – How closely do you read the ingredients list of your body products? If you are like me, probably not often enough. He practiced what he preached by including a 15 oz. “sample” of Lafco olive oil based liquid soap in the goodie bag. As you can see from the picture, I have already started to use it (I filled another soap dispenser with the soap). The scent I got was Mint Tisane and it has a pleasant minty smell. I am going to try the Champagne scent next.
  • Mary Ellen Lapsansky / The Perfume Plume Awards – She acknowledged the winners of the 2018 Perfumed Plume Awards announced on April 11, 2018. I encourage you to read the winners and finalists’ work and perhaps it will inspire you to write something perfume-related and/or nominate a well-written work.

 

Sniffa May 2018 BG Samples

 

Visiting the Diptyque Boutique – Located at 971 Madison Avenue, the Diptyque boutique is way uptown, between 75th and 76th Street. We were greeted with mimosas and mini cupcakes. After indulging in the refreshments, I got down to business with sniffing. I liked the newest fragrance (Tempo) enough to buy a bottle on the spot! Then I spotted 34 Boulevard Saint Germain soap and a tote bag and I bought those as well. With these purchases, I received a travel-sized spray of Fleur de Peau, 2 candles and a bunch of samples. I’m eyeing 34 Boulevard Saint Germain in Black for FB purchase but I will test the perfume on skin first before making a decision.

 

Sniffa May 2018 Diptyque

 

Cocktail Party / Antica Farmacista at Bergdorf Goodman – As often as I’ve been to BG, I have never gone beyond entering from the street level and heading down to the beauty floor at the lower level. The Decorative Home Décor 7th Floor is a visual and olfactory delight; I will spend more time there in the future, as there are many nooks and crannies to explore! As to the Cocktail Party, it was held in a nice alcove with home scents galore. The featured home fragrance was Daphne Flower, delicately scented. A special Daphne Flower cocktail1 was concocted for the occasion. I would have bought the newest product, a car diffuser, but my 4 year old car still has a new car smell, which is the best smell a car could have, in my opinion. My favorite from this line is what I am currently using at home year-round – Vanilla Bourbon Mandarin.

 

Sniffa May 2018 Samples

 

Shopping at Hermes – This was not on the itinerary but I wanted to smell the new Hermessence. There were only two available for sniffing: Agar Ebene and Cedre Sambac. The SA was uncharacteristically stingy even though I bought a bracelet, but nevertheless, I came home with said bracelet, a sample each of the two Hermessence and two each of Eau de Citron Noir and Twilly.

 

Sniffa May 2018 Hermes

 

That’s it for this edition of Sniffapalooza! To thank you for your readership, I am giving away 2 packs that include: manufacturers’ samples I received from the event, extras from other sniffing adventures AND a 5mL decant of the newest addition to my collection – Diptyque Tempo. All you have to do is leave a comment with the perfume that is on top of your To Buy List and the country where you live. Anyone in the world can enter. There will be one winner from the U.S. and one winner from the rest of the world. You have until 11:59 PM PST on May 20, 2018 to enter the draw. Neither Undina nor hajusuuri is responsible for lost packages.

 

1 Daphne Flower Cocktail: Stoli Orange Vodka, Grapefruit Liqueur and Raspberry Lime juice

 

Images: my own (hajusuuri)

Lily of the Valley – Once Again

Since my first Single Note Exploration post about lily of the valley perfumes five years ago, I weren’t exploring the note much: the rumor about Malle’s possible venture into featuring this note in his next creation proved to be just that – rumor. Instead, he released magnolia perfume and sold the brand (not sure, in which order).

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Back then I had three perfumes in the “Lily of the Valley I Loved” category.

I still wear my favorite Dior Diorissimo – not as often as it deserves but then I do not wear any of my perfumes too often.

Instead of a mini bottle that I thought of buying, I got a full bottle of Lily of the Valley by Penhaligon’s (thanks to a kind friend).

Even though I liked Guerlain Muguet and was contemplating getting a decant, later I realized that perfume itself, though nice, wasn’t what was driving the price. The main part of it comes from the unique, limited edition bottle. And I was admiring from afar yearly updates of those bottles but I decided that paying the proportionate price for juice without getting at least a chip off that bottle just wouldn’t make much sense.

Lily of the Valley

Last year, when I read that Thierry Wasser created a new perfume for 2016 LE of Muguet, I was mildly curious – but never got around to trying it. This year, when I saw the announcement for the new edition, I’ve got a strange reaction: I felt offended.

Perfume prices went up significantly in the recent years: what was labeled as an “aspirational price” in 2010, became a mundane reality of new releases today. Guerlain, on the other hand, kept their limited edition perfume at the same price point all these years – around $500, give or take, dependent on the Euro rate, which isn’t cheap if you were to think about what goes into its production. It is Eau de Toilette – so about 10% of aromatic compounds, main of which, lily of the valley, is not even something that can be sourced naturally – it is a chemical compound. All of that was secondary while Guerlain was producing a limited number of special collectors bottles of that concoction: even if one wears that perfume as a signature scent, I doubt 125 ml of it will be gone in a year, in time for the next bottle, so, most likely, people were buying it not really for the juice itself.

Muguet 2017 was launched in a differently colored but otherwise same bottle, in which they’d previously launched their perfume sprays for lingerie and wool/cashmere. They through in some “pristine white bells fashioned by the Maison Legeron are meticulously hand-embroidered by the Atelier and embellished with a fine, golden-beaded leaf.” But the result still looks much cheaper than their previous creations for this “special” perfume. We’ll never know, but I would be really curious to know how the sales of this year’s LE fares compared to other years. For one, I’m not even tempted.

Today, for the May 1st, I’m wearing Penhaligon’s Lily of the Valley. Its ribbon is not as impressive and definitely not hand-anything. Its original price is, in my opinion, still too high for what it is. But it is light, spring-like, very uncomplicated and believable lily of the valley perfume. And it can be had almost for a song from discounters.

Penhaligon's Lily of the Valley

Images: All but the last one – my own (I re-used pictures of Rusty from the previous post – just in case you haven’t seen them before); the last one – from FragranceNet (they have a really good price for this perfume – no affiliation).

Dreaded D-word and Back-up Bottles

Discontinuation is a horrifying word for many of us. More than once I caught myself feeling sad when I heard the news about perfumes being disconnected – sometimes even if those weren’t perfumes I loved or wore.

A while ago in the post on this topic Blacknall wrote:

Anyone who loves perfume tends to complain about the arbitrary way in which one scent after another can bite the dust, but we have to remember after all these are businesses, not revolving exhibitions. Either perfumers manage to stay current with public tastes and fashions or they don’t, and when they don’t, sales decline.

Even though I agreed with her in principle, something bothered me – so I kept thinking.

While discontinuation might be a necessary evil, a conspiracy theorist in me has a lot of doubts. Are those perfumes that get discontinued really worst sellers? Or, with everything else being equal, do companies put on the chopping block something that is more expensive to produce – be that due to costs of raw materials, bottle production, packaging or any other components that affect the bottom line? And isn’t it a negative reinforcement: companies train customers to like simpler perfumes that are cheap(er) to produce, put much more into promoting those – and as a result get lower sales for better perfumes and then discontinue them?

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I’m not even sure that reasons are the same for different companies in the same market. But I’m wondering if it is really in companies’ best interest to silently kill off the scent that didn’t meet whatever criteria are required for staying on the show for the next season. Is there really any downside to letting loyal fans know that the discontinuation is coming, which would allow them to stock up on their favorites? (And if we’re talking about the U.S., those would be acquired at full price since perfumes never go on sale in big department stores here.)

Whatever the truth is, I don’t expect to learn it from any of LVMH or Estee Lauder‘s companies. And since the reasons would be different for those brands, for which economies of scale do not apply, there’s not much sense in asking them either. So I’ll have to keep wondering until somebody publishes an all-revealing memoir.

When I recently heard of three of the perfumes I like being discontinued – Diptyque Volutes, Bvlgari Black and Tom Ford Fleur de Chine, – I realized that I wasn’t ready to buy a second bottle of any of them. Eau de Tommy Sooni II has disappeared with the brand, but even if I could find a bottle now, I’m not sure I would buy it. I might regret it one day but for now it feels like I have enough of them, taking into the account SABLE (Stash Above & Beyond Life Expectancy – Vanessa ©) state of my collection. I thought about it more and realized that Ormonde Jayne Ta’if is the only one, about which with a 100% certainty I can say that I’d buy a back-up bottle (or two) in a heartbeat at the first mentioning of the D-word.

Ormonde Jayne Ta'if

Look at your collection. Disregard decants, samples and “to buy” lists and concentrate only on full bottle of perfumes that are still in production. Now imagine that you learn that those all are being discontinued (not all at once: that would be too cruel even for a hypothetical question). Are there any perfumes for which you would buy a back-up bottle?

Images: my own

Jul et Mad Love Dose

 

In January I ended my, very favorable review of Jul et Mad‘s Amour de Palazzo with the following passage:

My only complaint about Amour de Palazzo and the brand in general is that it’s only available in one size (50 ml beautiful bottle + 7 ml refillable travel atomizer that is also very nice). Most perfumistas (read – those who will know about the brand and are potential customers) do not need 50 ml of almost any perfume. We will be fine: we’ll do splits. But I think the brand might benefit from selling smaller sizes – even if those will be more expensive per ml than a bigger bottle.

I’m happy to report that starting today small 5 ml bottles of all three perfumes by Jul et Mad – Stilettos on Lex, Terrasse à St-Germain and Amour de Palazzo – are available for purchase from the brand’s website. These perfumes come in beautiful small bottles and boxes in Extrait de Parfum concentration.
The price of each is 22.50 € / $ 29 (including delivery).

Love Dose Palazzo 

Image: provided by Jul et Mad