Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Gosh ULG Crew! That weekend went by in a flurry. It seemed I was running from Friday to Monday inclusive. It was Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

For the first time in my memory I didn’t take part. There were two rival Oz niche distributors doing 20% off and free shipping. There were SO MANY candle crews giving enormous discounts. Indie niche houses, department stores, multinational beauty/fragrance houses like L’Occitane, Kiehl’s, B&BW and many others. My email, socials and even my letterbox were overflowing with discounts, GWPs, add ons, extras and anything they could do to get me to shop. It was thoroughly overwhelming.

So I did what I do best when overloaded, ignored the problem and shut down to it completely.

Don’t get me wrong. There were PLENTY of things on my wish list and want lists. Some of them 20% off or even more with extra cashbacks etc. I even had some money (read credit card space) set aside for it. PLUS I’m working again and money is finally back in the accounts.

But no. 2021 Black Friday and Cyber Monday passed me by and I’m OK with that.

How about you all? Did you score? Make me seethe with FOMO. Did you ignore?

Fingers crossed you all grabbed something you wanted, needed, got at such a discount it became the perfect thing.
Portia xx

Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors

Hi there Crew. Way back in 2012 Imaginary Authors brought out an original offering of 7 perfumes. It was overwhelming at the time and I kind of ignored them until a friend was wearing Bull’s Blood one day and I became instantly enamoured of the sillage, asking what that deliciously toxic monstrosity was. It was spellbinding. This was January 2013, I instantly bought a sample set from the Imaginary Authors site (GOSH! The set was only US$38 delivered to Australia). I remember sniffing them and writing about a few. Azar, Poodle and Ainslie seemed to write about them the most on APJ in the next few years with a lot of love so I left the brand pretty much to them.

 

I have written about Cape Heartache before but recently I was sent a GWP sample in an order from one of Australia’s big niche retailers LKNU. When I tried it on it sparked such a good feeling for me that I thought I might give it another outing in print.

Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors 2013

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Fir, Big Strawberry, Pine Tree, Woody Notes, Vanilla, Hemlock

Strawberry ice cream topping and a woody back beat. the two are so decidedly incongruous that it makes me smell and smell my wrist. It’s like one of those lenticular pictures that flash between two images depending on the light. Here I have sharp, dark woodland this unbelievably luscious lolly version of strawberries vying for my brain space. It’s enthralling. Hovering on the brink of falling into a huge vat of both but choosing neither.

That hemlock adds a green bitterness through the heart, it comes and goes. Like biting a tree branch after pulling off the bark, that vegetal bitterness.

I’m thinking the vanilla is what gives the strawberry its cartoonishly confectionary flavour, interesting how well that accord stays present during the life of Cape Heartache.

You know, I’ve had trouble trying to think of a person who would wear this as their stable go to fragrance. It’s a very weird gourmand, definitely jumping out of the box. A interesting ride, when I smell it it makes me so happy perfumers are selling such boundary pushing perfume. I feel like it should be ion a Must Try List of weird assed perfume that will blow your olfactory mind.

Portia x

 

 

 

Tabu Bath and Shower Gel

Hey Crew, yes, we are going to talk about one of my all time favourite cheap thrills. I bloody love it and when FragranceNet has it for under US$4 with coupon and I’m already buying something fro them. You can bet your ass that I’m getting a few of these beauties too. You’ll all remember Tabu the perfume? Right. Almost all of us had a teacher, neighbour, Aunt, Mum or someone one close that would smother you in Tabu hugs whenever they saw you. Well, I had a few. It was the scent of soft flesh, strong arms and loving kisses for me. I had no idea it was cheap and it always smelled fabulously textural to me. Now one of my regular Trivia players for over a decade who has now become a friend wears it so beautifully. I go in and snuggle her till she squeaks. Breathing in great gouts of gorgeous Tabu.

Tabu Bath & Shower Gel

Originally from 1932 Tabu is a great example of the perfumed kitchen sinker. It still is but quite a lot of the original notes have been eschewed in modern times or are simply not available anymore. So we have what’s left, buoyed with created molecules to give a modern smell of a fabulous antique. It’s not exactly the same but it’s still extremely good value if you love a spicy amber floral (Yep, I sure do). Sadly, on me the modern perfume is quite overwhelming and after about an hour or seven I just want to smell like something else.

Enter the Tabu Bath & Shower Gel. Really just the main notes: spices, cloves, amber, and hints of others. It’s a perfect base layer for anything vanilla, amber, spicy, resinous or even incense. It bubbles so richly and fragrantly in the bath and leaves my skin with the softest breath of Tabu dry down. The perfect amount of Tabu for me. Also, it’s basically FREE so I don’t sweat using it.

Tabu Bath & Shower Gel is also the best stocking filler. It’s the perfect value add to the main present and I guarantee that they’ll love the fragrance. I’ve been known to take it as my travelling shower gel also. It smells 100x more luxurious than its cost would imply.

You’re welcome,
Portia xx

 

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Subscription Service

Hi there crew. Many of you are already familiar with Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and her DSH Perfumes. Did you know though that she now has the coolest HEIRLOOM ELIXIR Limited Editions :: Subscription Service? Yep. It’s fabulous. You can order 1, 3 or 6 sets that come with 3ml of the bi-monthly heirloom release and samples of other interesting DSH smellables. I want to tell you about my personal favourite from my subscription. Don’t get excited it’s now discontinued. There will be more fabulously amazing things coming in the future though, never fear.

Giardini Segreti arrived last year, I sniffed it, loved it and put it into the To Be Reviewed Immediately box. Where it sat for a year or more! DAMN IT!

Giardini Segreti, Heirloom Elixir Limited Edition by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

WHOA! Straight out of the gate a thick, rich, buried my head in a fully flowering bush of gardenia standing right next to a hedge of flowering jasmine and under a blooming tree of Murraya paniculata at about 9pm. Intoxicating and rich but not an overpowering circus show. Here we have all the fragrance but after the first minute it’s muted and floats effortlessly alongside and around you like a sheer white floral nimbus. As we hit the heart I’m tantalised by a thick, creamy butter and a very slightly feral honeyed sweetness. This stuff is seriously gorgeous.

Even two to three hours later I’m still getting lovely wafts of sensual white flowers and I think it might be sandalwood. So good.

Giardini Segreti or Secret Garden is devoted to those spring bursts of flowering and scented miracles abuzz with bees.

I particularly love that this OTT scent is not a room stinker. I am beautifully fragrant but it stays close. Giardini Segreti is just for me, and those I allow close.

I’m thinking this might be a terrific gift for any perfumista in your life. $27 for a set is very reasonable. What a fun surprise they’d get.

Portia xx

 

 

Paco Rabanne Vintage

Paco Rabanne Vintage

Hey there Crew! It’s 3am Monday morning and I just realised that tomorrow I need to have a post done for Undina’s Looking Glass. Normally I’m incredibly organised and have something, or somethings, written in advance. In a good month I can have EVERYTHING written for the month before the month starts, across all three blogs. The problem is that usually I’m really busy doing shows, running businesses, keeping house and seeing friends. This C19 lockdown has me unable to function on even the lowest level. All previous timetabling has blown out the door and I’m left disoriented and incredibly unmotivated to get ANYTHING much done except to fill my face and watch ALL THE TELEVISION.

What has happened though in the last couple of weeks is that I’ve started going through my perfume cupboards. Yes, I have, and I’ve been selling off some of the vintage impossible to find stuff that I hoarded. The Aussie perfumistas have been scoring some amazing pieces and I’ve been selling them at what I paid, or less if I’ve used them a bit. A couple of them I bought in auction frenzy and paid far too much for, these I sold at a loss. No, I’m not boo hooing about it. I’m selling the excess. A few things I wore once when they arrived and never looked at again because there are already HEAPS of that exact thing here to get through. Or selling things I bought and just will not ever wear because it’s far too precious to me. Sending it to the next home, one that will hopefully use it till it’s dry, is about sharing the perfume wealth.

Tonight I picked out another 11 to go on the chopping block tomorrow morning. There are four I’ll be selling as a set that I think are interesting for themselves so let’s have a squiz, eh? No, don’t get excited. We can ONLY send perfume to Australia and they are destroying international stuff now, not even sending it back. Also, by now they’re hopefully sold.

Paco Rabanne Vintage

This little collection of Paco Rabanne came from a few places. eBay in Hong Kong and USA, FaceBook from USA and one from an Aussie perfumista mate. I’ve had them for years and have worn them a very little bit. They need to go somewhere, be appreciated and used. I will be sad to seee them go but happy that they’ve gone. Know what I mean?

First we have Calandra EdT, which smells lovely but I think those top notes might have taken a bit of a beating.  Next to it is Calandra parfum! 15ml that came to me in its cellophane. It is unutterably divine. What a perfume. Crazy stuff. Aldehydic floral chypre taken space age. Funnily, I often take the box out, open it up, pull out the little plastic cork and just sniff the cork. It’s too special to wear but having a sniff is jaw dropping. I’m not sure about age but there’s no barcode so pre 1980.

Next up is Paco Rabanne Pour Homme. This 1973 fougere fragrance became the smell of middle class working men in Australia for a while. Sometimes I think I smell it on an older gent walking past me still. A manly chypre to me. That lovely mossy base. I think it still smells similar, if not the same as this exactly.

Last is Metal. An aldehydic floral chypre that reminds me of one of the Nina Ricci perfumes, can’t remember off hand. If I were asked to produce a fragrance today, this is exactly what I would ask my perfumer to recreate in modern terms. Galbanum, flowers and oakmoss done dry and quite sheer for the era. A young, jet set fragrance. So cool.

UPDATE: I didn’t make this sale doc yet. Realised I probably can’t part with them. They smell too good. I can’t replace them. They’re a set. GAH! I’m pathetic.

Did you wear any of these beauties?
Portia xx

Portia’s Favourite Notes

Portia’s Favourite Notes

Hi there crew, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what notes draw me to fragrance. The ones that seem to give me a particularly swoony head rush as well as nostrilgasms. Though there is very little in the perfumed world that I actively dislike there are some favourites. Especially when they are done well or treated in a new way that piques may interest. Some of them I keep buying even though there are already three, four or ten in the collection almost exactly the same. Yes, I know, TRAGIC! I can’t help it though. If I get a super swoony rush the chances are my credit card is out and burned before I can even get my thoughts together enough to say, “Sorry, I already have five almost exactly the same.” Please tell me some of you are just as impulsive and ridiculous..

Portia’s Favourite Notes (Today!)

Amber

I think amber is the best represented not in my collection. On it’s own I already find it sensational, don’t need to add a thing. The accord is so varied and almost every iteration of it has caught me in its snare. Give it a few extra bells & whistles and take my money. So much so that I’m having to get really tough with myself. Nowadays when I smell a new amber it has to be something extremely unusual or perfectly produced for me to go bananas. NO, that was a lie. I still go for it but then I have to rein myself in.
Favourites include L’Eau d’Ambre by L’Artisan, Ambre Ceruleen by Huitieme Art, Ambre Russe by Parfum d’Empire, Ambre 114 by Histories de Parfum, Mitzah by DIOR, Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, Tiger’s Nest Memo Paris, Oriental Lounge by The Different Company, 24-09-11 by Hilde Soliani, Rima XI by Carner Barcelona, and Ambre Narguile by Hermès. I know I’m going to be pissed at how many I left off this list but seriously, it’s ridiculous how many bottles are here that are amber rich.

Narcissus

Narcissus crept up on me. While always loving it in the garden I didn’t really think about narcissus, or its place in perfumery, till I got hold of a decant of CB I Hate Perfume’s Narcissus Absolute. Suddenly I could tell when fragrances has a bit, or a lot. most of them keep it fairly well hidden as a back up singer, hiding among the bouquet. That’s a shame because the few that go all out are freaking stunning.
A couple I love are Jardins de Bagatelle by Guerlain (wearing it to write this!), Ostara by Penhaligon’s, Le Temps d’une Fête by Parfums de Nicolai, Infini by Caron, Narcisse by Chloé, and Volupté by Oscar de la Renta. There are so many others but these are the only bottles in my collection that I can think of.

Salt

Salt is a new love but one that I’m embracing. Actually, I think that’s not exactly true. I’ve long loved salt in fragrance but didn’t really know it until lately. It adds so much, like it does in food. Salt can be seaside, sweat, food, blood, driftwood, tears, skin, and so much more.
Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori, Couleur Vanille (large decant) and Batucada by L’Artisan, Eden-Roc by DIOR (large decant), Greg Lauren Barneys New York (still desperately searching for a bottle of this), Vanille Marine by M. Micallef, and though they never call themselves salted I always associate the L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme fragrances with sea water.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood seems to be ubiquitous. Indian Mysore, Australian, the replicants and something else grown I can’t remember. Having been introduced to it in Samsara while squirt bitching for Guerlain in the late 1980s, that hugely dramatic diva stole my heart and I bought it for Mum who wore it so well. Then in the early 2000s in India I was taken to a famous perfume wallah in Janpath Market in New Delhi. The sandalwood in the oils blew my mind. 
My most used. Samsara, Santal Royal and Mahora by Guerlain, Santal+++ by Miller et Bertaux, Santal Majuscule and Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens, Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creation (Yes, I know sandalwood is secondary but it’s definitely part of why it’s so beautiful), Santal Noir by Dior, Adam Levine for Women, Dama Koupa by Baruti, Babylon by Penhaligon’s (sample, WANT a bottle so badly!) and Santal Massoïa by Hermès.

Tropical Floral

OK, so I know this is a style. Yes, it’s not a note. There is something so alluring about this genre though and if it’s done even half way good I’m a sucker for it. As kids our family spent a lot of summer time on beach or island vacations, plus we had a pool.  So those creamy floral, vanilla, coconut, ozonics make my heart skip a beat and quite often my eyes roll back in my head.
Songes and Un Matin d’Orage by Annick Goutal, Un Jour d’Ete by Keiko Mecheri, Lys Soleia by Guerlain, Rahel by Neela Vermeire Creations, Dune and Grand Bal by Dior, l’esprit libre by Divine, Saskia and Queen of the Night by Grandiflora, Elle L’aime by Lolita Lempicka, Sun by Jin Sander and even on the borderline, Ysatis by Givenchy.

 

So there you have it. I have surprised myself. These were not the 5 notes I was expecting to write about when I first sat down. This article has been banging around me head for a long while. If I’d gone Top Ten then I think lavender, incense, vanilla, rose and aquatic would have been the next 5. GAH! Then I’ve left out things like cedar, patchouli, oud, jasmine, cardamom, basil, galbanum, oakmoss, aldehydes, geranium, leather, osmanthus, violet, pepper or tea.

So how about you tell me your 5 faves. Don’t worry, it’s only for today.
The ones that make you swoon and reach for the credit card every time.

Portia xx

Lost Alice by Masque Milano NEW! NEW!

Lost Alice by Masque Milano NEW! NEW!

Hi Crew, Lost Alice by Masque Milano is one of the decants to arrive in my latest Surrender To Chance order. Yeah, I’m affiliated with them because the STC crew are my mates. That doesn’t change the facts; they are terrific, have an excellent range and you can be guaranteed their stuff is the real deal. (OK unpaid ad over!). Lost Alice is an excellent title and the reason I bought this decant. Didn’t even look at the notes, it caught my eye as I was browsing their NEW section.

Lost Alice by Masque Milano 2021

Lost Alice by Masque Milano

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Black Pepper, Bergamot, Clary Sage
Heart: Black Tea, Orris, Carrot, White Rose
Base: Milk, Sandalwood, Broom

A clear and airy open, warm and cool vie against each other and are bridged by what I’m smelling as the two main players ambrette and iris. How is there no vanilla in this perfume? Maybe it’s the milk and sandalwood playing early but it doesn’t smell like them to me. The pepper and tea would normally give me a dry ache in my throat but here I get nothing.

Lost Alice is a strangely beautiful fragrance. It definitely has the feeling of yearning towards something. Maybe the blending is so good that parsing the notes is impossible (for me). It reminds me of two things without being like either of them. You know that rush of steam that blasts out if you open the dishwasher too soon? It’s a clean, hot, glasses fogging experience. Partly that feeling. The second thing is boiled lollies, not the taste but how smooth they become after you’ve sucked the edges off, just before you inevitably crunch it up.

Lost Alice by Masque Milano 2021

The whole fragrance feels barely there but is so distinctively unusual that it’s a constant presence. Do I like it? No, I haven’t fallen in love with it but Lost Alice is compelling, I’m forced to sniff it and sniff it again. Did you ever smell Dama Koupa by Baruti? Though the smell is quite different, the general attitude is the same.

After the initial fireworks burn off the thing I’m most reminded of is French Vanilla ice cream. Totally unexpected from the note list and my imaginings of what a Lost Alice would smell like. Finally, about an hour or so in a terrific, creamy sandalwood takes the spotlight and stays there for ages till fade. The whole fragrance comes together and it feels like Alice may not be so lost anymore.

Unisex, low to moderate projection but surprisingly good longevity.

Do you want to smell like a Masque Milano version of Lost Alice?
Portia xx

Sycomore by CHANEL

Sycomore by CHANEL

Hey Crew. CHANEL is one of the worlds most iconic brands. The marketing team is second to none. It’s hard to stay current and afloat in the world of fashion. Let alone doing it in the 21st century. With the historic stories of Gabrielle Chanel and her personal and political choices, any other brand would have been cancelled or censured. For more information read Hal Vaughan’s book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. She wasn’t alone according to this article. There has been some extra hype with No 5 turning 100 years old in 2021 and the release of the homewares inspired collectable Factory 5 Collection. They also manage to pump out some impressive fragrance in their Les Exclusif line. If you’re new to the perfume craving they are a good place to smell some beautifully crafted fragrance, accessible in most large department stores.

Sycomore by CHANEL EdP (2016)

Sycamore by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, Spices, Pink pepper, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Violet, Vetiver, Juniper, Cypress

Grassy greenness, the sweet shiver of pink pepper, the warm enveloping and silky smooth pairing of tobacco and sandalwood are all front and centre at the opening of Sycomore EdP. Less brilliant and sparkling than its EdT predecessor but warmer and more wearable by far. This feels more luxurious without the razza mattaz, showbiz style entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the EdT but there is a place in my heart for the EdP. Also, as more proof I own this small bottle of EdP and it wasn’t even on my list as an EdT.

The heart becomes a lightly spiced fresh hewn wood. Not a chest thumping, crackly, modern niche experience of woods. Here there is air between the notes. You aren’t in the sawmill, or even the lumberyard. It’s more like you’ve had a wood delivery at home and you can smell it as you enter and leave the house. I don’t know what it is but I also smell wood polish, like those lovely waxes that feed and nourish your wood table.

Dry down gets woodsier and woodsier as it fades over hours. Interestingly people around me can smell this long after I become nose blind. A perfect scent for those times you need to be softly fragrant for long periods of time.

Sycamore by CHANEL EdP

Sycomore is a modern, unisex fragrance. No matter that it was originally created in 1930. I never smelled the Ernest Beaux version but Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake have done a beautiful job of revamping the EdT.

Have you spent time with any of the CHANEL Sycomores?
Portia x

(EDIT: I spelled Sycomore as SycAmore through the whole post and then was pulled up. It is in fact SycOmore. Fixed now)

Montana Parfum d’Elle 2

Montana Parfum d’Elle 2

Hi Crew, Claude Montana has long been known for out there, boundary pushing design. His fragrance Parfum de Peau was a blockbuster and since then has been spotty; at best. Some have been downright ghastly. Montana Parfum d’Elle 2 is not one of his worst. The bottle alone is worth having in your collection. It’s fabulous, madcap and ridiculous in equal measure.

Montana Parfum d’Elle 2 (2002/3)

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Peach, Red berries
Heart: Geranium, Iris, Magnolia
Base: Amber, Musk, Tonka bean, Cedar

Soapy fruity floral in a big hair, cinched waist, shoulder pads and glittering bling kinda way. A definite hark back to the showstoppers of the late 20th century that arrived in the early 2000s, a full rejuvenation of the original, including a bottle change for ease of discernment. There’s even that hairspray and nail polish vibe of a 1980s salon, or a drag queens dressing room anytime since there’s been hairspray and nail polish. No one will tell you this is fine fragrance, it’s FUN fragrance. For those nights you want to be completely over the top. You know, a club night out, gala, prom, wandering around a coastal town in tourist season, anything that you want to radiate super feminised fragrance. Hell, wear it to the grocery shopping!

The note list seems a long way removed from the fragrance except the aldehydes and anonymous fruits. Everything else is buried in the mix.

I love this scratchy, flamboyant, magical mess and it gets a bit of wear around here, especially when I’m off to a drag gig. Montana Parfum d’Elle 2 is so fun it fits the bill perfectly. You’d have to be guy with rock solid confidence to wear this in public or just not care about peoples reactions. No, I take that back. This would be so unexpected on a guy and be a definite statement, also if you were into the opposite sex I think they’d swoon.

Could you? Would you Montana Parfum d’Elle 2?
Portia xx

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Hey All. Portia here and I think it’s time we look at something a little bit lavender. It seems to have had a resurgence in the last few years but it never went away. Just got hidden and had to play some bit parts and sing chorus. French Grey by Elizabeth & James is a 2017 release created by Nicole Mancini Issaq and Linda Song! Love seeing two women names signing off. They have both been a part of some other perfumes but the only glam gig is Linda Song for Fougere Platine by Tom Ford.

I grabbed this baby for almost nothing on FragranceNet (not affiliated but love to give you all a bargain tip)

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Lavender, Neroli, Musk

If you’re thinking summer, elegant, relaxed, cool, unruffled and slightly different then French Grey could be that thing you’ve been looking for but didn’t know it. They are calling it a fresh floral scent. While that kinda works it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, lavender is floral but it’s also quite herbal and the oil comes from the plant much more than the flowers.

French Grey smells to me like they have some green steering herbs and spices like basil or cardamom, or maybe even some violet leaves. Also, I smell some common base note that heads fresh white woods and some resins. All these hints and maybes play around the central pillar of sugared lavender lollies with a soft white floral undertow.

If you like Lolita Lempicka EdP but wish it was a little less playful and a lot more sophisticated then French Grey might be exactly your jam OR if CHANEL Boy is too expensive French Grey could be a fabulous substitution.

100% unisex, projection is moderate but trails off to low in the first hour, longevity is average. The bottle is fabulous, I love the way they have made an interesting yes oh-so-simple renovation to a historic look. VERY cool.

Would you French Grey?
Portia xx