My Blog’s Rainbow Anniversary

Rose, Oakmoss, Ylang Ylang, Galbanum, Bergamot, Iris, Vetiver

How do you like it for a rainbow colors mnemonic perfumista-style?

 

Rainbow Perfumes

 

I came up with it while thinking about my blog’s 7th anniversary and the significance of this number in our culture: there are many things counted in 7 – seven rainbow colors, seven notes to the diatonic scale, seven days of the week, seven letters in the Roman numeral system, Big Dipper/Plough consists of seven bright stars and so on.

So, is the seventh anniversary special in any way for my blog? I thought about it, and I can’t say it is. I mean, it is as special as any other anniversary, but it doesn’t feel any different from the previous one.

I still like this blog. I still enjoy telling my stories to you and every time look forward to seeing your “likes” and comments (and I miss some of you when I do not see you around for a while). I still love perfumes and get thrilled by new perfumes I try (thank you to all of you who participates in friendly swaps). And I still manage to find new perfumes to love and to add to my perfume wardrobe.

 

Speaking of my perfume wardrobe…

In the recent couple of weeks there were discussions in Perfumeland about [not] using or even remembering perfumes from our own collections because there were too many of them. So I got curious: how good/bad am I?

I got a blank piece of paper… I mean, opened a new spreadsheet on my computer and wrote down all the full bottles (including travel sizes) that I could remember. It is a strange exercise provided I have a database with all the perfumes – but how else would I check it?

When I couldn’t think of any more perfumes, I compared results to the list from my database. I won’t divulge any incriminating numbers (as the quarterly spending poll on NST blog says: it’s between me and my credit card) but I’m happy to report that I couldn’t remember less than 5% of perfumes in my collection. The biggest surprise was that I forgot my Vacation in a Bottle perfumeYosh Ginger Ciao, for which I just got a back-up bottle.

 

Rusty and Yosh Ginger Ciao

 

I decided it was a fluke. But, based on my experiment, at least I can say that I do not just buy perfumes and forget.

 

Speaking of not forgetting…

Without scrolling up, how many notes from those that I used in my perfumista-style rainbow mnemonics can you remember? “The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: Some Limits on Our Capacity for Processing Information,” one of the most highly cited (according to Wikipedia) papers in psychology, “is often interpreted to argue that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2” dependent on the type of the object and the age of the respondent (follow the link above for the more complex explanation).

 

Rose, Oakmoss, Ylang Ylang, Galbanum, Bergamot, Iris, Vetiver.

Serendipitously, one of the perfumes I used in the rainbow illustration above has all of these notes (I didn’t realize that when I was choosing perfumes for that picture). Would you guess which one?

 

Rainbow and Bird of Paradise

 

Speaking of rainbows…

Did you know that in Greek mythology Iris is the Goddess of the Rainbow and a messenger of the Olympian Gods? To celebrate my blog’s seventh anniversary, I’m going to designate February as a Month of Irises. I realize that irises are not as popular as roses for that month’s big holiday but – following Lucas’s lead – I did a Month of Roses last year already. Besides, I love irises – and not only in perfume form, so I think it will fit perfectly. Will you join me for a couple of days in February?

 

Rusty and Iris Necklace

 

And just not to publish an anniversary post without mentioning the most important perfume in my life, I want to state that today I wore Climat by Lancome – and loved it, as always.

 

Images: my own

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Second Sunday Samples: All that Glitters is not Gold

Two samples that I’ve chosen for this SSS post were on my mind for the last couple of months. Originally I planned to write about them in December but then plans changed, and I moved these to January.

The reason I thought these two were suited for December is that both perfumes come with festive golden flakes in flacons, so Christmas or New Year celebrations naturally come to mind.

 

Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve

Three Sea Stars

I really looked forward to trying Atelier des Ors Iris Fauve after reading Lucas’s review: our perfume tastes are very similar, and he liked it enough to go for a bottle, a sample from which he graciously shared with me.

I was supposed to like this perfume: I like iris, I like vetiver, I like myrrh, and all other declared notes (bergamot, cinnamon, patchouli, cypriol, musk, labdanum and liatris) are among those that I do not mind in my perfumes. I wanted to like this perfume, and I kept trying it again and again after reading each next positive review (Portia liked it , Steve liked it, Gaia liked it, and even Kafka didn’t hate it).

I must be anosmic to some ingredients in Iris Fauve: while it is not unpleasant on my skin, I can barely smell anything. Some kind of iris is there in the opening but it’s not any of its facets that I usually enjoy in perfumes. Half an hour into the development I can smell cinnamon (as always, I’m amazed when I can actually recognize one of the notes). Woodiness I smell probably comes from vetiver – though it’s also less pronounced than in several vetiver perfumes that I like.

There are many perfumes that others like and I don’t, but usually with those I understand what others smell but just do not share the love. With Iris Fauve I just don’t see (smell) what one can love (or even dislike) in this perfume: it is kind of there but not really. For my nose it is quiet, inoffensive and not memorable. And it comes only in that stupid 100 ml bottle. Though maybe if one bathes in it, it is more pronounced?

 

Molvizar and Atelier des Ors Samples

 

Ramon Molvizar Musk Oriental Goldskin

Four Sea Stars

Ramon Molvizar Musk Oriental Goldskin was one of two contenders for my Barcelona trip perfume trophy. I liked it when I first smelled it, and I spent an hour sniffing it trying to decide if I wanted to get it.

As I keep repeating, I’m not good with discerning notes in perfumes. But I have good “perfume memory”: I recognize similarities in perfumes I’m trying and those that I smelled before. So sniffing Musk Oriental Goldskin, I immediately told myself that it reminded me of something I already knew. I wasn’t completely sure but because of those doubts in the end I went with another perfume from the same brand – Sol/Sun. But I brought back with me a sample of Musk Oriental Goldskin.

 

Ramon Molvizar Sol/Sun

 

At home I confirmed my initial impression: Musk Oriental Goldskin (2007) had a lot in common with Jo Malone’s limited edition from 2008 Lotus Blossom & Water Lily. As we know, notes lists do not mean much but still I couldn’t help noticing the intersection.

Lotus Blossom & Water Lily notes: mandarin, grapefruit, bergamot, honeysuckle, freesia, jasmine, water lily, lotus, sandalwood, amber, musk, guaiac wood and incense.

Musk Oriental Goldskin notes: bergamot, ginger, green notes, floral notes, jasmine, lotus, water lily and musk.

Musk Oriental Goldskin is a light floral oriental perfume – warm enough for winter wear but sheer enough not to be overwhelming in hot weather as well. Despite the completely unnecessary golden flakes, this perfume smells luxurious and elegant. It is not phenomenal, and nobody should run and test it, but if you come across it, give it a try: it might pleasantly surprise you.

When asking for that sample at the store, I hoped that I would be able to prove to myself that I didn’t need Musk Oriental Goldskin. Well, I do not need it (I don’t need any more perfumes in general) but since, unfortunately, my Lotus Blossom & Water Lily bottle turned (I bought it used so I don’t know how it was stored before coming to me), I’m thinking about getting a bottle of Musk Oriental Goldskin from Ramon Molvizar’s “pocket line” if I can figure out how not to pay the enormous delivery fee on a reasonably priced 30 ml bottle.

 

Rusty and Molvizar and Atelier des Ors Samples

 

Images: my own

Entertaining Statistics: 2017 Year Round-up

Strictly from the personal prospective, 2017 wasn’t a bad year: it had its share of unpleasantness and hardships but nothing to be really unhappy – so I won’t complain or even mention that. Instead, I would rather remember that year by good things that happened – short and long trips, wonderful time spent with my friends, successful projects at work and wonderful perfumes I got to test and wear in 2017.

As I usually do it in the beginning of the new year, I’m looking back to my perfume records and sharing with you my insights.

 

How I do it

Years ago I created a personal database (using MS Access) to hold information on all the perfumes I own or test. Whenever I get a new sample, I add it to the database – below I give an example of the entry form I use. I do not always get all the information but I add what I can find. Perfume name, launch year and notes are free-text entry; designer (brand), perfumers, notes and some other data points are coming from the pre-defined lists, so there can be no discrepancies.

 

Sample DB Record

 

Whenever I wear or test perfumes, I record it in the Perfume Diary. In the form below, “Purpose” is one of the choices for when/why I wore or tested that perfume, e.g., “office wear” or “weekend day” or “Work from home.” Type of use is either “wore” or “tested”; “Response” is a formalized evaluation of how I reacted to that perfume on that day – e.g., “Enjoyed it a lot” or “Mixed feelings” or “I hated it,” etc. And finally “My notes” contain a short free-form comment, whatever I want to write about that time I wore or tested perfume.

 

DB Diary Entry

 

For those readers who haven’t been around when I was doing this series regularly, I want to explain what I mean when I say “tested” or “wore”: for testing I apply perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time. I do most of my testing in the evenings or while working from home. When I wear perfume, I apply it to at least three-four points, and usually I plan to spend at least 4-8 hours with the same scent so I’m prepared to re-apply if the original application wears off. After wearing a less tenacious perfume in the morning I might wear another one later. I wear perfumes mostly from bottles and decants; I wear perfumes from samples only when I consider buying a bottle or decant.

So, now when I explained how I collect data, let’s take a look at my 2017 in numbers.

 

178 Perfumes Worn

This year I wore more different perfumes than the year before – 178 (vs. 164 in 2016) from more brands – 72 (vs. 61) but did it less often – on 314 occasions (vs. 333).

Second year in a row Jo Malone was a brand I wore the most. I think it’s because these are my most “office friendly” perfumes. Neela Vermeire Creations made its way back into the Top 10 chart (last time it was here in 2014); while Le Labo fell completely off. The rest of the group just moved around but stayed on the chart, which isn’t surprising since I do not either update or expand my collection significantly any longer and keep wearing my favorites.

 

My Stats Year 2017 Brands

 

I tend to rotate perfumes I wear daily so I usually do not wear the same perfume even twice the same months – that’s how I go through that many different perfumes in a year. But I still managed to wear 67 perfumes more than once during 2017. Five perfumes I wore the most – Chanel No 19 (EdT, EdP and extrait), Lancôme Climat, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, Krigler Lieber Gustav 14 and Armani La Femme Bleue.

 

Testing: Recording 300 and “carrying over” 1,000

This year was remarkable in regards to testing: in addition to the cursory testing of about 1,000 perfumes during my LondonBarcelonaStockholm trip (those didn’t go into my database – unless I scored a sample to bring back with me), I recorded testing at home 300 perfumes (vs. 275 last year) from 103 (vs. 100) brands. 134 of them were completely new to me (the rest I had tested before). I really liked/loved 24 of them, liked 20, thought that 56 were just not interesting and disliked 34.

Out if the 134 new for me perfumes that I tested, only 45 were released in 2017. Two of the 45 I liked enough to buy – Ineke Idyllwild and Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss.

 

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

 

Has any of the 2017 releases joined your collection?

 

Images: my own

Results of Two Draws

From hajusuuri:

Woop woop! I saw the perfume unicorn! I finished my first Chanel No. 19 EDP bottle on December 27. I predicted I would finish before the end of the year and I did, wearing it exclusively in the past week and a half.

Empty Bottle Chanel No 19

tiffanie guessed the date correctly; however, since she has her own miniature L’Air du Desert Marocain, she chose to not be included in the contest. This means that everyone who guessed a date and did not opt out was included in a random drawing.

And the winner is …

LDDM Draw

Old Herbaceous!
Congratulations, Old Herbaceous. You have until 11:59PM PST on January 2, 2018 to get in touch with hajusuuri with your mailing address or the next person will win the prize.

From Undina:

I couldn’t find the right lighting to take a picture of Rusty with my newly arrived Bee’s Bliss travel bottle, so I’ll just go with the functional picture of the draw while admiring hajusuuri’s empty bottle of Chanel: it’s not something that I see often.

Bee's Bliss Draw

The winner of the Bee’s Bliss sample is Richard Goller. Please contact me with your shipping address.

This year I’m not doing “Best of 2017” post but if you haven’t seen it yet, I invite you to take a look at the list that Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) has posted: out of the 20 he’s chosen, I’ve tried 9 and liked all of them, so taking into the consideration that fact as well as our known “triplets” tendencies (Lucas, hajusuuri and I have a lot of perfume favorites in common), I can wholeheartedly endorse his list.

I’ll be back early next year with my yearly statistics post.

 

Happy New Year to all my friends and readers!

Rusty: Happy New Year 2018

Merry Christmas!

Rusty and Christmas 2017

 

Best wishes to all my friends and readers who celebrate Christmas. I hope your holidays are filled with joy and love. And good food (Rusty can relate to that last part).

 

Please join me in wishing many healthy and nutritious years to Rusty who turns 9 today. He is a wonderful cat who brightens our life and brings a lot of positive emotions to many other people.

They had me at “Hello” – and now “Goodbye”

How was that for an attention grabbing headline? But if you think about it, you’ll appreciate me not using just the last part (I was tempted a little but then I thought of all that wolves business and decided not even to joke about such serious matters).

But back to the topic. It is true: Lipstick Queen had won me over when I saw online the first (for me) lipstick from the brand – Hello Sailor. I liked everything – the color in the tube, the name, a pin-up-girl-style packaging and, as I confirmed later, the tint on my lips. I’m on my third lipstick now; and once it’s finished, I plan to get the next one.

 

Lipstick Qeen Hello Sailor

 

In four years since I said “Hello” to the first sailor, I found several more colors that I liked and adopted (see Black Lace in Tropics and Frog Prince(ss)’s Kiss). Both of them enchanted me with the name and the color in tube but after that I tried them first and then bought.

Recently one more lipstick from this brand caught my eye. Since now we have a Lipstick Queen counter in one of the close-by department stores, I went from testing and liking the color to appreciating its name: Goodbye.

 

Lipstick Queen Goodbye

 

Describing a lipstick’s color is probably an undertaking comparable to describing perfume’s scent. Though I’m not good with either, I’ll try. Goodbye is darker than my other Lipstick Queen favorites, with more pigment – so it covers lips better than more sheer colors – but it has a lot more shimmer than my other darker gloss sticks (such as Laura Mercier’s Black Orchid), so it is more forgiving, and it gives a more even coverage. The color on the lips is dark berry or plum with brownish undertone and bluish sparkle. One coat gives enough hue to the lips; and then with each additional swipe you can build it up to a darker color.

Either a tube or swatches’ pictures do not do the lipstick justice. But I showed you the former, so now I’ll show you the latter as well (in comparison to two other lipsticks I mentioned in the post).

 

Lipstick Queen Goodbye swatch

 

Other than with perfumes, do you pay attention to products’ names before you buy and use them?

 

Images: My own

SSS: SSS B’sB and More

When I started my Second Sunday Samples series, I thought of referring to it as SSS Series but since in Perfumeland that abbreviation is usually used for Sonoma Scent Studio, I dropped the idea.

While writing about Sonoma Scent Studio’s samples for this month’s episode, I thought those abbreviations would look fabulous together – hence the title.

* * *

I grew up in a large city. Horses were either an attribute of a rural life, about which most of us, city kids, had little knowledge, or something from “other times,” about which we read books or watched films. So horses were almost mythical creatures, if you think about it.

The closest I’ve ever got to a horse riding was, probably, favoring Tal-y-Tara Tea & Polo Shoppe in San Francisco. While drinking tea with cute sandwiches and scones, we would look around trying to figure out the use for different unusual things on the shelves around us.

 

 

Probably because of all that Sonoma Scent Studio’s Equestrian did not attract my attention when it was launched last year, despite several very favorable reviews and year-end lists. But recently when I was placing an order for a couple of perfumes that I wanted to replenish, I decided to catch up on the newest Sonoma Scent Studio’s releases and bought samples.

If it weren’t for the name and Laurie Erikson’s Comments, I would have never guessed that this scent has anything to do with horses. The list of notes wouldn’t give it away either (at least to me): apple accord, grassy notes, hay absolute, leather accord, jasmine sambac absolute, violet, labdanum absolute, Virginia cedar, natural oakmoss absolute, patchouli, New Caledonia sandalwood and benzoin.

The first time I tried Equestrian, it reminded me Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau. I know that these two have almost no notes in common, and since then I’ve done them in parallel and proved to myself that they are very different. And still, every time I put on just Equestrian, I immediately think: Jeux de Peau. I wonder if I make some subconscious connection Equestrian –> Tal-y-Tara Tea & Polo Shoppe –> scones –> palmiers (which were my association for the SL’s perfume)?

But back to Equestrian. My nose didn’t identify “apple” initially but once I read it in the notes, I agreed that whatever I smelled might be interpreted as such. That accord and benzoin give perfume just enough sweetness to put Equestrian on the border of gourmand territory (another nod to JdP) or maybe even slightly into it but not overwhelmingly so. The leather is smooth and subtle. And the rest of ingredients together paint a harmonious picture.

The more I test Equestrian, the more I like it. I’m not sure yet If it gets to four sea stars but it is close to that, so I’ll be spending more time with the sample.

Three and Half Sea Stars

* * *

My impressions from the second sample from that recent order, Bee’s Bliss, were completely congruous with both the name and perfumer’s comments. You do not even need to read the notes list to conjure the late spring – early summer day with all the blossoms that would be considered a paradise by any self-respecting bee. But just in case you haven’t seen the list yet, here it is: bergamot, apricot and peach, orange blossom, jasmine, mimosa, lilac, heliotrope, beeswax, honey, iris, vetiver, green leaves, benzoin, amber, oakmoss, patchouli and musk.

Bee’s Bliss is a beautiful and joyful floral perfume. What is interesting about it: if you’re familiar with other Sonoma Scent Studio’s floral compositions, you’ll be surprised how light and airy this perfume is. Bee’s Bliss doesn’t have the darker woodsy and resinous base that one has come to expect from Ms. Erikson’s creations. At the same time, it has enough substance to feel like a traditional perfume rather than summery cologne.

 

 

I liked Bee’s Bliss from the first application so I decided not to wait and ordered a purse spray.

Four Sea Stars

SSS’s shopping cart will be up until December 19th, so those of my U.S. readers who were thinking about trying this perfume or ordering something else from the brand still have time to do that.

I realize that it is harder for readers from other parts of the World to obtain samples from SSS, so I want to offer my sample in a draw for those who are NOT in the U.S. To be entered, you do not need to do anything other than say in what country you live. The draw is open until 23:59 PST on December 17th. The winner will be selected randomly.

SSS does ship to at least some countries but the official shipping is prohibitively expensive. So if the winner of the sample, after trying it, decides to buy a travel spray or a bottle (you can do it over e-mail even after the cart is taken down), I can offer to receive the package and send it your way through the regular mail, which should be cheaper than to do it through the international UPS.

A reminder: hajusuuri’s guessing game and giveaway is still open.

 

Images: my own