Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Hi ULG, Coco is one of my long term faves. It’s also a very close friends signature. There are so many happy memories associated with this perfectly poised far east dream inspired perfume. Since the mid 1980s Coco has surrounded me. Back then it was friends Mums and sometimes an adventurous young woman. It’s the fragrance I associate with smelling a lot of in the department stores for a couple of decades. In Australia CHANEL counters are mostly at the front of the beauty section and until Coco Mademoiselle came along it was like a thick miasma around the squirt bitches (men and women). Today is Monday and I’m cleaning the house. My friend Kerri B noted on a FaceBook SOTD post that she was wearing Coco so I decided to join her in glamour. Sometimes scenting for success even makes the turbines of tedium sing a happy refrain.

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, Pimento, Coriander, Frangipani
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Orange blossom, Ylang-ylang, Cinnamon, Iris, Angelica
Base: Patchouli, Tonka bean, Benzoin, Frankincense, Amber, Musk, Honey, Civet

Here’s the thing with Coco. It is its very own scent. I love it too much to really parse it deeply. Somehow it feels like the magic may dissolve a little if I look too closely and work out the tricks. Coco smells like luxury, travel, wisdom and sensuality. Though it is exciting and playful I also feel remarkably calm and poised when I wear it. Almost as if the fragrance has so much drama I can let my natural penchant for it go, just a little. Enough to get a really deep breath and exhale.

Whenever I hug a friend wearing Coco it’s one pf the fragrances I can usually pick. That’s another reason I love it.

Todays wearing while doing laundry, dusting and vacuuming in the 30+C (around 100F) heat was so divine. Loads of pepper and cinnamon over a honeyed, resinous amber base. It wafted off me in great, glorious gouts and I reapplied four times throughout the day to get the thrill all over again.

Has Coco ever been your thing?
Portia xx

 

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Hey there ULG, I know a lot of you are caught in the depths of winter so I thought we could look forward to spring through fragrance today. Muguet Fleuri is Lily of the Valley. That glorious harbinger of spring. On May 1 the whole of Paris smells of it and little bouquets and flowering pots can be bought on street corners. It’s heavenly.

In 2014 I first visited Hugo and Franck of Oriza L Legrand at their 18 Rue Saint-Augustin, Paris store. The brand is a modern resurrection of a long lost perfume house. They took us through their collection and I purchased some soaps and a bottle of Jardin d’Armide. This was the defining moment of my love affair with the brand. The space is gorgeous and chock full of soaps, candles and fine fragrance. Since then I’ve been back to the store a few times. Their affordable product and FREE postage over €100 to Australia means I often buy their soaps and fragrances for gifts.

Did you know that the original Oriza L Legrand patented the idea of solid perfume?

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand 2014

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Green leaves, grass, lily-of-the-valley
Heart : Galbanum, angelica, violet leaf, lily-of-the-valley
Base: Lily-of-the-valley, oakmoss, lily

I love the calm feeling of a Lily of the Valley fragrance, dewy and air conditioned. The Muguet Fleuri opening is cool and slightly mentholated. I get nothing grassy particularly but much more like the juice of Aloe Vera (yes, got a bit sunburned helping my BFF Kath high pressure hose her dad’s driveway). Flore by Carolina Herrera has a very similar plastic Lily of the Valley note but in Muguet Fleuri I find it subtle and refreshing, helped by galbanum and angelica to keep everything super green. None of the modern cucumber/aquatic note like in Muguet Porcelain by Hermès.

It’s excellent to me how they keep the focus so firmly on Lily of the Valley in Muguet Fleuri. The scent feels luxurious and refined while creating  a very nice silage for the first hour or so. Fairly linear througfhout its life, there are slight increments of difference and a gradual earthing of the scent towards the end.

If you often, or even sometimes, wish for a fragrance as true to cut Lily of the Valley stems from the florist as possible but still interesting and beautiful then I would send you immediately to try Muguet Fleuri. Only the first two hours are fragrant, then it hums along quietly as a soft, background wash.

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Oriza L Legrand has a €30/choose your 6 x 2ml Sample Set (delivered worldwide). My review today is from an old sample I refound in my collection, looking for something cool and summery.

Are you a Lily of the Valley fan? Do you have a favourite?
Portia xx

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Hi gang. Omnia Profumi is not a house I’ve taken any notice of. Their perfumes have been around since 2004 but the brand seems to have  properly launched in 2009. An Italian jewellery family capitalising on their fame and expanding their business. I’m 100% up for diversification, especially if it pays off for perfumistas.

In a recent order from Australian perfume distributors and sellers LKNU I was sent three samples of the earlier fragrances in the line. Thought you might like to joinmme on initial sniffs?

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Acqua Marina

Briny spray as you skip across a sunlit sea towards  your fishing destination. Clean, fresh, free and glorious.  I can feel the wind in my hair, the anticipation of catching dinner for the crew, the fun and camaraderie of spending a day on the sea with buddies.

How are salt and water not mentioned in the notes. The opening is ALL about it. I know it’s probably the ambergris but the whole fragrance has this beautiful rich feel.

The floral heart is only a secondary player on me. It hardly registers with my nose. Maybe it is there to give lift and life rather than be the focus. I bloody love this, so beautiful.

Peridoto

This citrus opens weirdly on me. I’m not sure if it’s the perfume or me. Something a bit wonky.

After about 2 minutes Perdito settles into a pretty citrus underpinned by lightly salted vanilla woods. Think Guerlain Aqua Allegoria style and heft.

This is not my favourite.

Platino

WOW! The very first waft of Platino takes me back to the caramel coconut slice my Mum made for us. It’s uncanny. I could be anywhere school age, come home and sit at the kitchen bench, there would miraculously appear a glass or milk or juice and a snack of some kind. Usually Mum, my sister and I would have a chat about the day and give a rundown of our homework needs. In summer it would then be swim time before hitting the books before dinner. Great memories.

The heart is a floral vanilla and dry down soft focus vanilla and some smoke.

Does any one, or more, of these sound like you’d wear it?
Portia xx

Centenary Perfumes

Centenary Perfumes

Hi there UGL, It’s Portia and I am looking at four things released in 1921 that are still widely available. Yep, Centenary Perfumes! My search goes only as far as Fragrantica so it’s probably not a full list. I really want to hear if you know of others in the comments. Yeah, a century of continuous production. Amazing, right? Let’s look eh?

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

CHANEL No 5

Most of us are well aware of CHANEL No 5. One of the most talked about and bought fragrances in the world, still. Known in the industry as “the monster”. It’s allure seems so timeless and is an easy, sensible, luxurious gift choice for flummoxed husbands and lovers the world over. The aldehydic floral that changed the game of perfumery. That it still smells pretty much like itself 100 years later is a miracle of modern technology.

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Emeraude by Coty

I had a small bottle of vino-ish Emeraude early on in my collecting saga. My memory is that it screeched at me. Maybe it was off or fake or maybe it’s just not for me. Green is my favourite colour so you can imagine how sad I was. There are people who swear by it and that’s why it’s still in production. It’s a hard no from me.

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Habanita by Molinard

Habanita is a weird one. I had a bottle. Loved wearing it. Somewhere along the line I sold or gifted it away. Now I have a small carded sample vial the I sniff when I need a fix. Who doesn’t love a vintage style fruity floral amber with loads of oak moss in the base?

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Maja by Myrurgia

I’ve never owned a bottle of Maja perfume but to this very day I still have some soaps. My Mum always had Maja soaps in her knicker drawers. Me too. That spicy carnation, orange blossom and rose and amber+++ base is glorious in the soaps. They hold their scent to the very last sliver too when I finally use them.

So Happy 100th Birthday to these beauties.
Do you know of others?
Portia xx

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Hey Crew, 2020 has been so unexpected. Here in Australia it started with bushfires, then we got floods. The world got C19 and we watched the USA plunge into anarchy. Brexit has been exactly the shit show that any person with an ounce of rationale could see coming. While all this was going on my business collapsed completely, leaving myself and the five drag queens who work for Turbo Trivia jobless for months. Many people whose lives were previously affluent, the world over, find themselves in dire straits and it’s terrifying to watch and live.

I’m one of the seriously lucky few. Jin continued working through the whole crisis, though only about 2/3 of his regular income. He has been incredibly generous with his money, gave me a weekly stipend and paid for all our groceries. The Australian government gave me a Job Keeper handout that kept me paying my half of the major bills. Quite a turnaround from being the major breadwinner in the house and my ego took a small battering.

For any of you doing it really hard in these times my heart goes out to you and wish you a speedy financial recovery in 2021.

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

There were the usual squizillion launches this year and I was fortunate enough to get to smell quite a few of them. Libertine Parfumerie in Sydney is Australia’s largest niche distributor and they have kept me in the loop. PHEW! Here are a few fragrant things that I really loved.

Amouage Meander comes in a celadon green bottle and had me sold before I even smelled it. Thankfully it is as beautiful as it looks. Dark, resinous iris with interesting floral highlights. I’ll grab a bottle when I’m more flush.

Amouage Interlude Black Iris is mainly powdery iris and amber with a very generous nod to the original but nowhere near as iconic, large or as resinous. I was given a Press Bottle and am loving it.

Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow is a take on the rose/oud/incense trope. HUGE! For most perfumistas it will be an unnecessary addition to their wardrobe because it’s not a very new story. I really like it though and it smells different in village than up close. Worth a sniff.

Le Lion de CHANEL was the biggest hype train here in Sydney of the year. A Shalimar style offering with extra labdanum rich amber in the whole fragrance. Many people find it leather or incense heavy too. A different ride for every wearer. To make it less of an investment I hosted a split.

Maison Crivelli Fleur Diamantine from 2018 made it’s way to my nose. WOW! One of the most beautiful fragrances I’ve ever smelled. Sparkling white floral with rich warmth and surprising minty undertones. It’s a freaking knockout and very high son my full bottle wish list.

Miller et Bertaux Pimiento is the first cut of a capsicum/bell pepper on a summer day. This oddball design duo always manages to create beautiful, weird surprises. The base is a little generic but the opening and heart are fabulous. Libertine gave me a Press Bottle of this beauty too.

Trussardi Behind The Curtain Piazza Alla Scala is a powdery leather. Beautiful but not stunningly original. The racing green bottle with the greyhound cap had me at hello. Thankfully it smells amazing and I found it on an Australian discounters for an amazing price.

So what were the things that grabbed your attention in 2020?
Portia xx

December! WTF

December! WTF

Hey there Undina’s Looking Glassers. Portia from the sweltering heatwave that is Sydney, Australia. We have already had two 42C/110f days and today was the official start of summer. Hot is an understatement, especially coming out of nowhere like it did. How on earth have we already arrived at December 2020? WOW!

First day of December is always a little melancholy for me. It’s World AIDS Day. For anyone who lived in or around the gay community in the 1980s and 90s it is a day filled with quiet sorrow. It’s also filled with some of the most extraordinary memories of fundraising, community coming together, marching, getting our government on board (Australia was one of the first acknowledges and responders) and partying like we wouldn’t see tomorrow. For so many people that was the bleak truth. We lost nearly a whole generation and the gay community has never really recovered. Fortunately, getting HIV is now far less of a death sentence and people are being medicated into effectual remissions. Also, with the discovery of PrEP the transmission rates have slowed too.

It’s been so hot I’m having trouble trying to get my head to think of things you in the Northern Hemisphere could all be wearing to snuggle up to. Here are a few things you might want to spritz if you’d like to remember what summer feels like through scent.

 

Lys Soleia by Guerlain

The ultimate tropical white floral. Smooth, creamy and elegant. Nothing makes me feel more in tune with summer. Fruity white flowers, yang and vanilla with a bare hint of salt.

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

This is another of the weird ass Annick Goutal fragrances. Spearmint, pepper, star anise and ginger combine in the most cooling and refreshing gourmand I’ve ever met. Sweet, tart and spicy but like a cool wash.

Pichola by Neela Vermeire Creations

Another white floral, this time spicier, sparkling and backed by vetiver for depth. It may not be the most summery wear but it will always remind me of times spent staying in the Lake Palace in Undaipur, surrounded by the glittering Lake Pichola.

Pimiento by Miller et Bertaux

If you dream of that scent as you cut into a bell pepper/capsicum, then this is that make believe and magical first cut. All the reminders of summer salads, happy, healthy meals full of fun and laughter. A job I loved to do growing up.

Sakura by DIOR

OK, OK, OK! I know. Cherry blossoms are spring. Sure, but this is much more than blossom. Here we have the cherry fruit, roses, some soft woods and musk. A perfect summer spritz if ever there was one. Surprisingly long lived.

Scent by CoSTUME NATIONAL

Soft white flowers sit atop an amber and stuff base. A perfect fit for sweaty nights, trying to sleep under the ceiling fan. The base is dry and smells like a cross between electrical sparks and drilling concrete.

 

Hopefully some of these can help you get through the dark and cold of winters up north.

Do any of them sound like a good fit for you?
Portia xx

 

Portia: Perfume That Got Away

Portia: Perfume That Got Away

Hi there Undina’s Looking Glassers. Do any of you share my shopping madness over the C19 period? It’s crazy! I’m earning less than the last 20+ years but it seems EVERYONE is going through their closets and selling off the unworn, unloved and unexceptional. Here’s the kicker though, some of those frags have been on my list for YEARS! They are being sold for a lot less than retail. Who cares that there are 5mls missing, or the box is dented, or there is no box? Don’t look at me, I couldn’t care less.

No, I’m not going to tell you all the things I’ve scored. Sorry. It’s too embarrassing. I will tell you though that I’m still on the lookout for a bottle of Greg Lauren for Barney’s. I had a decant which has long gone and I miss it a lot. One of my buddies was selling one on FB not so long ago but I missed out on it because she was only sending CONUS. I could easily have had it sent to mates in the US but……. NOW I’m kicking myself.

Does anyone even remember this salty vanilla beauty?

Greg Lauren for Barneys New York

Notes are extremely simple: Tonka bean, Vanilla, Marine notes. The whole is MUCH more than the sum of its parts though.

By the time I got my decant it had already been DCd and people bragged about the bargain prices they paid. As little as US$20 in its final mark downs. I would have bought 20 bottles for that and happily worn it as my signature scent.

Sadly it was not to be.

I’m sure every one of you has a similar story about a different fragrance.

What are the perfumes that got away from you?
Portia xx

Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis by Caron 2020

Hey Posse, Caron is owned by Cattleya Finance since 2018. It seems they have been taking stock and getting a feel for the company before launching anything new. It’s so interesting that they chose to market their first new outing to the boys. Needless to say, this is actually a unisex fragrance, it has facets from both major genders playing fields and melds them seamlessly. It could easily have been marketed to ALL genders. Interesting also that the name they chose has echoes of other Carons: N’Aimez Que Moi (1917) and Aimez-Moi (1996). The moment I read that this was coming I organised a split here in Australia and sent to Paris for two bottles. One I would keep and the other my very dear buddy Scotty would get, after we had split off the required amounts.

Aimez-Moi Comme Je Suis by Caron 2020

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Portia’s Gucci Timeline

Hey ULG Crew, What the hell is a Gucci timeline? I have long loved the word Gucci. Next year, 2021, Gucci is 100 years old! As I was growing up in the 1970/80s it was a fashion leader and the style magazines were full of it. Though the brand had survived to the 1980s it didn’t hold the same cachet and while I studied fashion it was held up as a “what NOT to do with your company.” They released Gucci No 3 and it never registered with me. Around 1988, my mate was working as a squirt bitch in town, putting himself through uni (University was still free in Australia at the time but he kept himself). While buying a bottle of CHANEL Antaeus from him he slipped a full tester bottle of Gucci No 3 in as a GWP! Well, my mind was officially blown. This was my first inkling that scent is totally unisex, even though I’d been nicking Mum’s Shalimar, No 5 and Samsara while living at home this felt different. A step towards something. My partner at the time and I drained that bottle. It also put Gucci back on my radar.

Through the late 1980s and early 1990s Gucci became a laughing stock. They lost their seat at the table and went into rapid decline. It seemed like they were chasing fashion, not creating it.

In the 1990s Tom Ford jumped into their womens fashion, then fashion director, then in 1994 he took over as Creative Director of Gucci. By 1994 we were already taking notice of the changes there. They still made fabulous shoes. My pair of 1995, bought in Rome, loafers are still going strong two half sole replacements later. They are comfortable, sturdy, beautiful and still hold pride of place on my shoe wall. I wore them non-stop for 15 years, they were my walking, dancing, business, travelling shoes of choice. Nothing said change like the release of Gucci Envy in 1997 and then in 1998 Gucci Envy Men. This was, and still is, one of the best ever mens fragrances. We all went absolutely apeshit for it. The clubs, malls, streets and restaurants were a coruscating mass of gorgeous people wearing this spicy woody oriental. WOW! Suddenly Kouros, Jazz, Le Male and Armani Pour Homme were so old fashioned and dated. You’ll notice I have a BNIC 100ml in the photo. I went through 100ml really quickly, then during another 50ml it got DCd. I panic bought this 100ml and haven’t had the heart to open it. I have also gone through another couple of bought from FB Sale Docs 50mls.

There were some other fine releases during this time. Who can forget the bottle and BWFness of Gucci Rush from 1999. What a perfume, so many happy memories. I also owned a bottle of Gucci Pour Homme, from 2003 with the brown juice, but it rarely got worn. I moved it on to someone who was really sad that they’d DCd it. He was grateful.

In 2007 Gucci by Gucci was released and I have loved its honeyed white floral fruitchouli wafts ever since. I went through a bottle but its replacement never got worn. In 2008 Gucci by Gucci Homme came out and flopped. I buy it for my business friends. It’s tobacco, pine and violet is unusual enough to be interesting but not overpowering or show pony-ish. It can be had for a song at the discounters nowadays and suits everyone I’ve given it to.

I have a bottle of 2010 Gucci Guilty. It was given to me by a friend who thought she was going to love it but it gave her headaches. Jasmine and lilacs set in a fruitchouli/vanillic amber diva of a fragrance. It’s a solid perfume, nothing earth shattering but pleasant and lasts all day into the night. Every time I wear it though people notice my fragrance and go out of their way to tell me how good I smell. Really good pick me up for blue days.

Gucci has been slowly diminishing again. It’s become a deplorable fashion circus and for years it released safe mainstream platitudes instead of perfume. I had given them up as an expensive, poorly timed joke and then in 2017 they release Gucci Guilty Absolute! Like, WTAF! Where did this cutting edge, niche like, behemoth of a fragrance come from. WOW! The 2018 Gucci Guilty Absolute pour Femme version is awesome too, grab some, it will blow your mind. Also in 2017, can we please have a chat about Gucci Bloom. SO GOOD! The bottle, the scent, even the flankers are clever and fun. Tuberose in myriad forms is always going to be a winner for me. Did someone at Gucci remember how to creative direct a perfume? YAY!

Now they’ve released their modern, aqueous, expensive line of cash grab elitist crap and I’m yawning. They’re not all awful but after suddenly getting back into the scent game so splendidly I was expecting a lot more. Loads of people love them, have at it I say.

You will also notice in my photo there is an Eau de Gucci Concentree from the early 1980s. I bought this not long ago from eBay. It’s an aldehydic floral leaning towards green bulbs, quite light compared to other offerings of its day but rich and tapestried like very little of today. So beautiful. WAY too precious to wear very much but I love it.

So that’s my love affair with Gucci in a rambling, ranty nutshell.
Which ones have you loved or loathed?
Portia xx

 

 

 

You or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange – Portia

Hey Crew, You or Someone Like You is a fragrance but it’s also the title of a 2009 semi-autobiographical novel by Chandler Burr. The fragrance was created as a matching couplet and released 2017. As so many of the Etat Libre d’Orange oeuvre does, they take an old trope and freshen it up with a new twist, ingredient, direction or emphasis. As you all up there in the Northern Hemisphere are sweltering in the summer heat, I thought you might like refreshing spritz that is a bit more interesting and longer lived than a cologne. This fragrance has a wonderful lifespan story of phases.

You or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange

 

 

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Mint, anise, bergamot, grapefruit
Heart: Cassis, green notes, hedione, rose
Base: White musk

Summer in Australia, especially as we were growing up, involved visits to the local National Parklands. Our local one was nearly 400 hectares of bushland with a river running through the middle. It had loads of grassy playing areas with little wood fired BarBQs and cement picnic tables & chairs around the outsides. We would go as a family, often with other families, and while most of the Dads would get the BarBQ going and most of the Mums would organise the tables, bread rolls, salads and condiments, the kids would be taken off for a bushwalk. It was hilly and rocky, and the cooling eucalyptus would shade and scent our walks. We would be shown native flora and fauna, given little info bites about everything and surviving in the bush. We would invariably end up at the weir where there was a large colony of ducks and geese. Everyone would get a couple of pieces of stale bread, and we’d feed them. Then we’d all head back and the meats would be sizzling on the BarBQ, all the adults would have had a couple of boozy bevies, and we kids would run off adventuring or playing cricket till it was time to eat.

You or Someone Like You is a perfect summer spritz with the cool green wash of eucalyptus from my childhood memory. Not noted but definitely smells like it should be. It smells like finding the shade after walking through the hot sunshine. Something else not noted in the list is salt water. I get loads of it as well. Not in a very aquatic style but hinting towards some of the L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme line.

On opening, a sharply sweet citrus is enlivened by mint. It’s a beautifully mentholated coolness. The heart remains quite sharp green notes but feels like it’s been scoured clean by a cool sea breeze. There’s no hint of noxious seaweed under the pier. I also get no notion of the rose, and the white musk dry down still has green hints of mint and what I read as eucalyptus. So it never veers into that safe, bland, white musk laziness we smell so often after the initial fragrance fireworks have collapsed.

Totally unisex but veering towards mid 20th century traditional masculine, longevity is excellent, and projection is moderate.

Not the strangest of the Etat Libre d’Orange’s but also not a usual or expected scent.

Have you tried You or Someone Like You? Does it sound like you’d like it?
Portia xx

 

Image: my own