Yuzu Solinotes

Yuzu Solinotes

Hi there crew. You may know that Undina has been searching for the ultimate Yuzu. In a recent order from Surrender To Chance I happened upon one I’d not seen before. Yuzu by Solinotes. Now that I look it up I have seen this brand in the drug stores. Very inexpensive. Honestly, I passed them by thinking they’d be dross.

Yuzu by Solinotes

Yuzu Solinotes

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon, Bergamot
Heart: Yuzu, Tangerine, White Flowers
Base: Oakmoss, Patchouli

Full disclosure, I can’t remember ever having Yuzu. Wikipedia tells me it’s “A naturally occurring hybrid between an Ichang papeda (hardiest citrus, bitter juice) and a Mandarin orange.”

Citrus! Yes, of course citrus but the opening burst is juicy and tart. It has just the right amount of pith to make it seem like you’ve cut open a fresh something off the tree. It’s a soft focus, bittersweet amalgam of the citrus I know. Just shy of ripeness. The opening lasts unusually long and citrus still remains the main player through the heart. That musky pith comes up to meet it as the fragrance softens in strength.

Yuzu Solinotes

About 20 minutes in all fireworks are over and a smooth, quite clean feeling, faint wash of fragrance remains. A little citrus, pith and better-than-me skin scent remain. It quietly pumps for a while and I’m not sure if the fragrance disappears or I become blind to it.

Super easy wear scent for both sexes. Perfect for anyone who loves perfume but works where it is eschewed. By the time you arrive it will be so soft it could be your face or body lotion.

I’m pretty sure you don’t need this in your Yuzu army Undina but it is nice enough and definitely punching above its price range.

We are heading into summer here in Oz. I’m going to pop this decant into the fridge and spritz with abandon a couple of times to use it up.

Do you like a cheapie? Is Yuzu a thing for you?
Portia xx

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Je Veux Mon Livre by The Strange South

Je Veux Mon Livre by The Strange South

Hi Crew, Je Veux Mon Livre by The Strange South is a fragrance from 2017. Here we have yet another perfume house I’d never heard of but bought a decant blind from Surrender To Chance because the notes sounded good and the names were very alluring. I think it might have come up as a suggestion and I jumped on it.

Both the following copy and picture are from their site:

Je Veux Mon Livre by The Strange South

The Strange South Je Veux Mon Livre features notes of tea leaves, sage pressed between the ancient pages of a leather-bound grimoire. It is an eau de parfum, edp.
The Strange South’s perfumes are blended by hand and bottled in small batches. They are alcohol, paraben, phthalate, and cruelty-free; the only testing being on willing human subjects.

Je Veux Mon Livre by The Strange South 2017

Parfumo gives threse featured accords:
Tea, Sage, Leather, Aged paper

Sometimes the world works serendipitously. I’ve read a couple of threads lately about the smell of old bookstores. That combination of disintegrating paper and leather, dust, sometimes hints of mould, very old floorboards and shelves. Often accompanied by the scent of the flatulent, not quite clean owners and if you’re incredibly lucky their cat. I love the smell of old bookstores. Each different but all following a common theme. We also have a couple of very ra sha sha bookstores in Sydney that do interesting first editions, have a cafe and are not of the oeuvre. They smell like MONEY. We aren’t talking about them here. Well, I’m not. I like the ones with piles of books, some order but also bedlam. The ones you can scurry around in for half a day. HEAVEN! Haven’t done it for years.

Sorry, Back to perfume.

How does Je Veux Mon Livre smell? The opening is greener and fresher than expected. I think we might be in one of this quite expensive first edition type bookstores. Maybe the greenness is trying to capture the slightly mouldy bread smell but it’s too sunny and springlike to do that properly. More hotel lobby than grimoire. Very pretty though, just my expectations being trampled underfoot.

As we enter the heart it’s tea and sage in the forefront. Green tea and chamomile seem to be the major protagonists. Yet again. A lovely fresh, bright scent that in no way reflects my dreams of old bookstore or even a grimoire.

I am surprised that something so very perfumes is alcohol, paraben, phthalate, and cruelty-free. My mind keeps saying this would be so beautiful in a very upmarket hotel lobby. It would be refreshing and surprising.

Maybe I’m not getting what the perfumer intended on my skin or with my nose. Still, very nice, low projection and longevity but much better than expected. Unisex. I think I’d be more inclined to glowing revue if it was called Garden Tea.

Dry down becomes the softest waft of scent. It’s still green but the leather and slight vanilla of disintegration books is there at last. Sadly, by the time it gets to this point I can hardly smell it. BUMMER!

Did you love the smell of books and old bookstores?
Portia xx

Beekeeper’s Daughter by Sucreabeille

Beekeeper’s Daughter by Sucreabeille

Hi Crew, This is another blind buy decant from Surrender To Chance. Suceabeille seems new to the STC site but Beekeeper’s Daughter was released in 2019. On looking up Parfumo there seem to be dozens of perfumes by Sucreabeille and this fragrance is so affordable, especially for its being vegan and cruelty free. Extra plus is that it’s woman owned, Andrea. Based in Washington state USA. Also it comes in oil or EdP. Sucreabeille site sends to most of the world except the EU

Beekeeper’s Daughter by Sucreabeille

The Beekeeper's daughter by Sucreabeille

Sucreabeille gives these featured accords:
Pure honeycomb, freshly harvested from the hive; a blooming herb garden full of clary sage, fennel, and thyme; peach blossoms and a touch of medicinal camphor.

O M G! Rich honey, funky and herbal. We get our honey from friends who get it directly from their hives. It is so tapestried and flavoursome that it doesn’t even compare to the stuff in the shops. Every batch is slightly different. Sometimes it has a green tinge, exactly like this. Honey from the shops is much cleaner, sweeter and far less animal.

I can smell the garden through the heart but it’s still honey in the forefront. There is also a reference to the smell of dogs paws, well my beautiful dog’s paws smell like it. Also, the super sweet smell of men’s urinals from outside the block. Not that disgusting foulness from inside, up close. It’s one of my favourite animalics and honey quite often reflects it.

Beekeeper's Daughter by Sucreabeille

This is not for the faint of heart. Absolutely unisex and delightfully feral. From wrist length it smells much less confrontational but bring it up to my nose and it’s all the growly honey. Amazing. I seriously can’t recommend this highly enough if off the charts honey is your jam.

Does vegan and cruelty free make you more interested?
Portia xx

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Hey crew, In my last order from Fragrance and Art there arrived a bunch of manufacturers samples to try. I also just noticed an Essential Parfums 8x2ml set for under US$20!. Not affiliated in any way but it’s good to know. They have an excellent radar for things I’ll like and this time there were a preponderance of vanilla rich fragrances. Maybe because the north is heading cool but also maybe because I bloody LOVE vanilla. It has so many facets and depths, and rarely disappoints. Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums immediately had me excited by the name alone.

Perfumer Olivier Pescheux is one whose work you definitely know; One Million, Herod, 34 boulevard Saint Germain, and Yohji Homme are just some highlights of his current 123 perfumes in Fragrantica.

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Black Pepper
Heart: Incense, Osmanthus, Pomarose
Base: Madagascar Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Siam Benzoin, Texas Cedar, Musk, Patchouli

Sometimes I write part of a post and then lose the sample. It stays here, in limbo, till I give up and delete the post or till I find the sample! Well, here we are moths later and I have refound it. I’m so dumb, could easily have come checked this post and found that it ws a grey carded manufacturers sample, not a red box. Who knows what I’ve mixed it up with? So we are here today to FINALLY write about Divine Vanille.

The opening is vanilla rich amber with some bells and whistles. Lightly spiced and a faint scratchy whiff of black pepper keep us firmly in the kitchen but savoury rather than super sweet. We have some South Korean cracker biscuits that are a little like this. A line drawn between the two poles.

As the heart makes itself known I get the rustic greenery of clary sage and subtle hints of osmanthus, that leathery white floral. Still reigning supreme though is the amber. It has started to gain a little smooth earthy patchouli that gives it some grunt, it also takes it into L’Artisan Havana Vanille territory. Add to it some lightweight animalic references and the fragrance remains interesting.

 

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Heading towards dry down and Divine Vanille starts to get sweeter and more cookie in the oven-ish. Held grounded, and even a skew towards masculine, by the various resins. That smokiness giving the cookies a baking feel probably comes from somewhere there too. The patchouli takes itself in and out over time. I find that keeps my nose interested and the fragrance doesn’t send me nose blind.

I REALLY like Divine Vanille. It’s not incredibly ground breaking but it smells so good. Unisex, good longevity and moderate projection. It’s also very well priced, even bargain.

The question is, “Do I have enough vanilla perfumes?” Do you?
Portia x

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Heya Crew, BIG weekend. Huge. Did some stuff, wore some perfume, had a ball.

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Jin and I went on a mini adventure about 4 hours west of Sydney. We drove out on Friday in a leisurely way. Left at 9.30am, stopped for lunch at a lovely cafe where they home made their pies and a couple of other places, then got out to Cowra at about 3pm. Checked into the motel the guys had booked for us and waited for them to get back from picking arrivals up from the airport. Some of the guests were arriving by their private planes, including an ex fighter jet, and they were giving joy flights. Heaven. Yes, it was that kind of party. Heads of industry, politicians, LGBTQI+, family and locals all meshed together for a weekend of celebrating my warm acquaintance’s 50th birthday. I was the MC and entertainment, with the publican’s children (OMG! They were amazing and sang Journey We Built This City like angels). If you put everyone in country casual, add copious amounts of Moet and an open bar, a buffet dinner and one of Sydney’s most sought after DJs (Victoria Anthony), you start to get a picture of the happy bedlam.

Here I am in full flight, miming like crazy. No idea who took the photo.

Having slept soundly and with Saturday to ourselves before the party we decided to explore. Cowra was unexpectedly lovely and full of history. They had a POW camp in WWII. Italians and Japanese were the bulk of the internees. While the Italians were very happy in the compound it was overcrowded. The Japanese staged a huge breakout and many were killed. It’s an eerie set of ruins now but in the most gorgeous scenery of softly rolling hills and agriculture. Cowra has planted a Japanese Garden in the dead POW soldiers honour and every one of them has a blossom tree with plaque. Luckily we were there just as the blossoms were still hanging on, a week later and they’d be done.

There is also a perfectly maintained non working train station and some very famous old houses.

Again I’ve dropped the ball on photos (SORRY Undina) but here are a few.

Weirdest thing. The ducklings were obsessed with Jin and came up to him everywhere. They even followed him across the pond. I saw no one else have this unbelievable connection with them. I get it, he’s freaking adorable but it was spooky.

What perfumes did I take?

Divine EdP because it’s so rich and glamorous. The end game of aldehydic florals. CHANEL No 5 started the ball rolling and I think this is the best of breed. It’s also an excellent power perfume that works as armour and centre. If you haven’t tried it and aldehydic florals are your jam go do.

Cacharel Amor Amor is a lovely sweet fruity floral that has a soft amber base. The original that spawned a slew of flankers. The top notes list reads nothing like what I smell which is berry lollies. Add some light white flowers and a laundry musk vanilla. It’s simple but so jaunty and wearable. Perfect spring fare that works all year. My original bottle was a gift from one of our besties Anna Maria. Every time I wear it it’s as if she were with me.

Jin brought his vintage CHANEL Antaeus and smelled divine.

Sunday morning after the party we jumped in the car about midnight. Jin had to be back in Sydney by 9.30am to meet his BFF Matt. They’d won the NRL (Nat. Rugby League) Grand Final Experience. This included walking the ground, the dressing rooms and bleachers. They were able to meet and talk to two ex players who’d played in Championship Winning Teams! Back home for a couple of hours sleep and then off to the Grand Final in Row 9 tickets. It was their dreams come true and when they got the news they’d won there were a few happy tears shed.

Sadly both the women and men teams they barrack for were defeated but they had been there.

It was a BIG weekend. We took all of our public holiday Monday off to recuperate.

Did you do anything, wear anything, spritz anything you’d like to share? Please chat with me in the comments (and each other). It’s the connection I crave with you all. That’s what makes blogging so special.
Portia xx

 

 

 

Had a BIRTHDAY!

Had a BIRTHDAY!

OMG! So sorry Looking Glassers. I’m late. All my fault, take full responsibility. OOOPSIE! TBH I really thought I’d finished the half finished post that you’ll now get in a fortnight. Last week was Festivus de Portia, organised by my beautiful husband Jin. Every year he puts on quite a show for the week of my birthday (refuses to let us do it for him though).

Had a BIRTHDAY!

The event of my turning 54 started on the Monday with home Korean BarBQ. Just us. Delicious.

Wednesday evening Jin and his BFF Matt came and played Trivia at the pub I host in. It’s always nice having the home crowd in.

THEN Jin took Thursday & Friday off work. We were supposed to go to Melbourne for the day. 6am flight to and 8.30pm flight from. Then Australia got a Public Holiday on the Thursday and we knew it was going to be bedlam at the airport, in the galleries and restaurants etc. So we cancelled our flight, got a Voucher Refund and decided to keep it low key. Hung around the house together, I think we had pizza.

Friday was Jin’s big adventure birthday day for us. We were up at sparrows fart and on a bus, train and ferry to Taronga Zoo. He bought us annual passes, we saw the Giraffe feeding and keeper talk, the Seal show and the Bird show. The reptiles were surprisingly active and we got to watch the Red Pandas, Elephants, monkeys and big apes and a slew of other wonderful things. Lunch was meat pies and peppermint tea. We flew in the cable cars and then caught public transport home.
That evening my BFF Kath and Jin had organised a party at our favourite Nepalese restaurant. Nearly 30 people took over more than half the place and it was wonderful, overwhelming to see so many people we love in one room. Gosh, our friends are so gorgeous, very handsome crew.
The brief for gifts (Yes, I’d like it if no one bought me anything but it’s better to give them a focus and then they get to be givers and I get what I really want, mercenary I know) was “Please write me a card and put $10 in it.” The thing I really needed and wanted was a new toothbrush. Yeah, it’s a whiz bang one. Oral B, rose gold, five speed/functions, notifies me every 30 seconds. It comes with a travel case, that holds it and two heads, with a USB plug as well as the regular ones. Perfect for travelling. I’ll use that toothbrush twice a day for the next few years and every time I will think of all the friends who contributed, and the couple who didn’t. HA!

Saturday Jin and I hung together eating junk and watching TV and Sunday (the day of my birthday) BFF Kath, Jin and I went and had Peking Duck at my favourite Chinese. HEAVEN! Then I went off to work.

 

What a week! I’m pooped.

 

Perfumes? Bought myself the new DIOR 40ml Captain Kurk reprises. WOW! He doesn’t disappoint.

 

Back to regular scheduled stuff next time.

Stay well crew,
Portia xx

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Hi there Crew, CHANEL Cuir de Russie EdP was released in 2016. It’s a modern riff on Ernest Beaux’s 1924 leather & smoke bomb. A soapy reinterpretation of even the 2007 EdT. It’s still better than most things produced today, in my completely subjective opinion but a far cry from the original. What was a lion is now a perfectly trained, gorgeous house cat. My bottle was bought on a FaceBook Sale Doc from a person who was devastated at the change from EdT to EdP and couldn’t get rid of this bottle fast enough.

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom Mandarin Orange Bergamot
Heart: Ylang-Ylang Jasmine Tobacco Rose
Base: Leather Birch Resins

You’ll notice how little has been used from the bottle. It’s strange because I love this soft focus soapy leather. TBH every time I think leather it’s 1980s Trussardi, Cuir d’Ange or Gentry Jockey Club. So strange also because I have to go find them and Cuir de Russie is on my grab tray, right next to the desk.

Today I was thinking to wear leather. With it being shoulder season I knew it had to do warm and cold time. The sunshine is absolutely gorgeous right now in Sydney but once you’re in shade it feels bitterly cold. Yes, I know. Sydneysiders are wimps because we have the mildest weather. Still, we also try and wear Polo shirts year round, on their own. So you see the conundrum. I did have my ever present Gap hoodie with me though just in case there was also breeze.

How does CHANEL Cuir de Russie EdP smell? It opens with aldehydes and an orange blossom so reminiscent of fatty soap I smile. There are flowers but it’s a bouquet, nothing rises above to make itself know. There is no star turn. Even the leather is not a huge stand out. There but part of what is a reserved, elegant wash of fragrance. I don’t understand why iris isn’t noted, it sure does smell like there is some here puffing up the rest. It’s like all the sharp corners and interesting combative parts of the original Cuir de Russie have been shorn away. Beautiful, low key, lightly sparkling fragrance with a hint of well loved leather goods and some smooth resins. I can’t even tell you what the resins are, amber and maybe some elemi?

Totally unisex and utterly inoffensive. The lasting power is very good though. I keep smelling this gorgeous wash for hours, there will probably still be a whisper when I wake. I’m going to respritz for bed and sail away on a cloud of Cuir de Russie.

Are you a fan?
Portia xx

 

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Hi Looking Glassers, Flesh by Pekji is newly arrived at Chez Portia. My buddy Scotty bought the set as soon as they came out and brought them over for sniffing. It’s taken me a while but now I too have a set of the 2021 releases. They came all the way from Fragrances and Art because Australia has no stockist of these tempestuous beauties anymore (yes, I paid retail, they’re worth it). Omer is such a perfumista himself, and so stringently interrogative of fragrances in general, that the weird, wonderful, confronting messes he makes are also a story running along the knife edge of gorgeous and disgusting. I don’t know how he manages to do this with every single release and still make wearable perfumes that smell excellent. It’s a gift that few share. Yeah, I’m a fan, also he’s a buddy of mine.

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Apricot, Spray paint, Vanilla, Iris, Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Musk, Civet, Osmanthus

Before we start on the scent I’d like to take a moment to talk about the packaging. Sensible, very heavy card, lovely print on sleeve and the holographic paper behind the perfume bottle is so beautiful on opening. Like looking at a mermaid. It’s sturdy but not an enormous wank of a box. The bottle is a simple heavy rectangle and the sprayer nozzle is so thoughtfully white against the black of the rest. Making it very easy for super blind me to see where I am spritzing. Bravo!

Flesh by Pekji 2021

How does Flesh smell? Iris, but not cardboard or dough or carrot. I probably wouldn’t have smelt the spray paint but now I know it’s in the notes I keep laughing about it. It’s there alright but I probably would have called it a hair lacquer note. Powder, make up, humanity. Like a drag queen dressing room, NO like the women at the end of Death Becomes Her. THIS is what the over made up, powdered, glued together, spray painted, broken pieces of undead would smell like.

Sounds terrible? Nope, gorgeous. Fluffy and feral, but low key. Iris, leather, osmanthus and tonnes of well powdered but slightly sweaty human.

Have you tried any of the Peckji oeuvre? Favourite?
Portia x

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Hi there Crew, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the big names in fashion that I’ve followed since childhood. When they took his first name from the brand it changed the way the houses name felt in my mouth. Suddenly one of the most forward, modern, beautiful fashion houses of the world sounded like a budget brand trying to be sophisticated. Saint Laurent sounds cheap and desperate to me, Yves Saint Laurent sounds like a couture house. Yes, you can disagree, we will still be friends. No, I will never buy anything with the label Saint Laurent.

Fortunately the beauty side of the business remains YSL and, of course, so do its vintage perfumes. Y has long been a favourite and a few years ago I stockpiled quite a bit of it. More than enough for two lifetimes even if it was the only perfume I wore. Since then I have sold or given as gifts over a litre of the EdT and still have enough to wear without being parsimonious; basically forever.

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes Green Notes Galbanum Honeysuckle Gardenia Peach Mirabelle Plum Heart: Hiacynth Orris Root Ylang-Ylang Jasmine Tuberose Bulgarian Rose
Base: Oakmoss Civet Vetiver Patchouli Sandalwood Benzoin Styrax

The reason I’m writing about Y? Well, on Saturday night I hosted a Studio 54 Hen’s Party. What else do you wear to a Studio 54 party than an aldehydic galbanum bomb floral chypre? So Y got the wear.

It was perfect. It helped me maintain my composure in the face of 50 screaming hens with no microphone. You have NO IDEA how much noise they made, it was bedlam. We all had a ball and my voice next morning was a croak.

Do you remember Y? Maybe you wear or wore it, or someone you know?
Let me know in the comments. I love to read your thoughts.
Portia xx

Afternoon Tea Sniff with Sonya

Afternoon Tea Sniff with Sonya

Howdy ULG-ers. Last month I was thinking about a friend of mine quite a lot. We hadn’t seen each other in real life for well over a year. So, I do what we do when the call comes, I got in touch. We set a date to get together. Originally she was coming out to our place but then the worlds went sideways and I had a plethora of things fit very tight around our get together and all of it in town or on the North Shore. Fortunately we were able to meet at her near city pad in Bondi Junction. For most of you this is just gibberish, I know, hopefully some of you have been to Sydney and this paints a picture.

This meet up happened two days before I tested Covid positive but fortunately no one got it that I saw. PHEW!

Also, you may remember Sonya as Chairman Meow on APJ.

Afternoon Tea Sniff with Sonya

Catching up was wonderful. There was SO MUCH news and new information. We chattered non stop and each topic led to another. Sonya had bought some home made cannoli from a woman with a cart in a nearby mall. I’m sorry New York City but your perfect cannolis have been surpassed, by a country mile.

We also had some sniffing to do. Sonya’s cabinet had some unopened vintage beauties that she wanted to share the moment with. As well as some vintage pick ups that neither of us had smelled. First though she wanted to share first sniff moments on the Les Indemodables sample pack.

There are some nice things in Les Indemodables. They are perfectly fine. I’m not sure if I’m jaded or if this line is too introverted for my taste but even the very interesting couple were a bit shy. Maybe I’m not their target market.

These vintages were Brand New In Cellophane. Lancôme Magie, Dioressence and Balenciaga Quadrille. We also had opened vintage bottles of Faberge Babe and Pucci Vivara. Some less vintage L’Artisan Vanille Absolumont to test against the Les Indemodables Orient and Parle Moi de Parfum Milky Musk 39 for no reason but to try.

The modern perfumes were so nothing by comparison to the oldies. These perfumes have character, feel inspired and richer in texture. Why have we even bothered to make new perfumes?

Catch up, cannoli and vintage perfume opening ceremonies! What a perfect couple of hours. Sonya walked me to the station, big hugs, obligatory selfie and I was off towards my next adventure.

We have another date booked this weekend with a crew. Happy days.

Do you ever get together with perfume peeps?
Portia xx