Orto Parisi Stercus

Even though there were at least a couple of guest writers on Undina’s Looking Glass, over the last couple of years I was a sole contributor, so for a while I will be reminding my readers to look at the By line (Undina).

* * *

The most sensual of aromas is the essence of a young raven
fed only boiled eggs for forty days, then killed and preserved
in myrtle and almond oil.
Tongue, by Kyung Ran Jo

Reading that quote my perfume loving friends are you not just dying to rub preserved raven all over your pulse points and inhale the magic? Let us take gourmands to the next level! Ridiculous and yet not ridiculous in the eyes (or copy) of some perfumers.

There is seemingly no end to permutations within current perfume trends. We’ll have rosy ouds and oudy roses and roses with stinky oud and clean oud with stinky roses. This one is rich! This one is sheer! This one has barely discernible notes and only if you squint! If a current perfume trend is something you dearly love then this can be quite enjoyable.You may have always wanted a rosy oud that was sparkling and a rosy oud that was liturgical. And then we have the creative perfumers who are here to help you discover things you never even knew you wanted.

So. Stercus means feces. I’m feeling for Undina who wasn’t fond of Lush’s name “Dirty” for their mint fragrance. I think if I send her a sample of this one I shall have to rename it. Undina for the love of fragrance do not look at the Orto Parisi website!

The perfume house Orto Parisi was created by the man behind Nasomotto, Alessandro Gualtieri. He introduces Orto Parisi with this bit of hyperbole: “The parts of the body that carry more smell are those where more soul is collected. The strong smells have become unpleasant to us, because the excess of soul is intolerable to the extent that our innate animalism is repressed and breaking from civilization.” But forget all that (I’m sure you have already!).

I once had a craft beer whose name I’ve forgotten that tasted intensely and immediately of too ripe bananas and smoked meats. It was so ridiculous and disgusting I announced to the pub that this brewery was surely trolling it’s patrons with this concoction. Having read the ad copy for Stercus before I obtained a bottle I was convinced that I was going to repeat this experience in perfume. I was wrong. I am IN LOVE with Orto Parisi Stercus. It is beautiful and rich and comforting and dramatic all at once. Orto Parisi won’t give out notes so these are all my own impressions from my love affair with Stercus. We have chocolate and camphor and rotten fruit and oud and a sugared croissant. There’s a sharp jasmine in the top notes that almost magically hovers over all the bakery oudy goodness warming this fragrance. It’s quite an original scent and the deft creativity impresses me. But what of the name? Let’s just say I understand the connection being drawn between the name and the fragrance. I am unable to summarily dismiss this idea even while thinking it is a pretentious attempt at getting attention. If this were an abstract painting entitled “Stercus” I would nod my head and think a good job had been done.

Given these times I was tempted to just cave to the copy and take a photo of Stercus on a row of precious, precious toilet paper. But I resist as Stercus is too beautiful to be pigeonholed by its silly ad copy. Too beautiful and too complex.

 

Joan Miro Painting

 

Photo is of my beloved Stercus and Joan Miró’s “Painting”.

Saturday Question: What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

I haven’t published anything in this series in a while. Then I thought that these times called for any positivism that we could master, and I started writing this post, but was either too busy or too tired to finish it a couple of days ago. So, I decided to combine it with the weekly Saturday Question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #9:

What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

Off the kitchen in our townhouse there is a tiny patio. When the house was on the market, the previous owner put there a small round iron cast table and a couple of chairs: those of the type that look great on pictures as an idea of sitting outside with a cup of … something, but in reality are not comfortable to actually do that.

After we moved in, we never furnished that patio and allowed a bush that grew in the corner to fully overtake it. We liked it even more like that.

About a month ago, one morning having looked out of the window, we noticed that a hummingbird had built a nest on the branch of the bush.

 

Hummingbird in the Nest

 

Since then, once or twice during the day we would be carefully looking out from the window to see how she was doing. We were being very careful trying not to open blinds too wide not to disturb her. Most of the time the hummingbird was sitting in the nest leaving it just for a short while, probably to find food. Then one day, while the nest looked empty, I noticed some movement there… and then several days later we spotted two beaks.

For the next week or so the bird was absent most of the time: I suspect, it wasn’t easy to feed two growing nestlings. Also, I’m not sure all three of them would still fit into the nest. But it was joyful to see those two little birds growing.

Short before two young hummingbirds left the nest, Rusty had finally realized that something was going on there. When he peaked out of the patio door, the mother bird started flying angrily in front of the screen door, making threatening sounds and looking very resolved. I hurried to distract Rusty with a treat in another room.

Now the nest is empty, so we’re free again to open the blinds and the door to let light and fresh air in, and Rusty is free to sit in front of the screen door and enjoy sun. But, as I read, hummingbirds might return to their nests in future, if those survive. So, we’ll be very careful pruning the bush, and hopefully our hummingbird will return the next spring: seeing her every day provided some normality into the current strange and slightly unrealistic situation.

 

Hummingbird in the Nest

 

How about you? Please share anything nice that helps you these days, be that nature outside, beloved pets, comforting perfumes, interesting books, movies or sites, favorite (or new?) recipes, supportive exercise or self-help videos or anything else. Feel free to post any links.

 

What Are Small Things That Brighten Your Life?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

Saturday Question: Do You Own Any Solid Perfumes?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #8:

Do You Own Any Solid Perfumes?

Solid perfumes are much less typical version of perfumes than many others, but some brands produce them. Do you have any of them in your collection? Are they of the same scent as you have in other format (EdP, EdT, etc.), or are they unique? When do you choose to wear them?

My Answer

I looked at my collection and realized that I do not own a single solid perfume. For a while I was entertaining the idea of getting Diptyque‘s Volutes in this form since it is perfume that my vSO and I share when we fly somewhere, but since this one is (was?) available only from the Paris Boutique, and I made us a decant into a tiny roller ball bottle, I’d never gone through with that plan.

Later, I was tempted by Jo Malone‘s solid perfumes, but since I never saw them in a store, I told myself that I wouldn’t expect them to be more tenacious than their liquid siblings, which already are pushing my tolerance towards the necessity to re-apply perfume multiple times per day, so that lemming had also died unfulfilled.

Thanks to hajusuri who sent me a tiny sample, I tried Bergamoss by Aftelier Perfumes. I didn’t expect that, but I like it very much. Not $275/8 ml much, though. I mean, I do not question the price of this creation (it includes a “refillable” $50 sterling silver case): with all that goes into the development of these perfumes, it might be well worth the money. I just do not love that perfume in that form enough to want to pay this price. But maybe I’ll buy another tiny sample, try again and change my mind? It is quite unique.

 

Do You Own Any Solid Perfumes?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

Discoveries: A Perfume Story

Even though there were at least a couple of guest writers on Undina’s Looking Glass, over the last couple of years I was a sole contributor, so for a while I will be reminding my readers to look at the By line (Undina).

* * *

Discovery sets. Do you buy them? They seem like a great idea. A decent amount of each juice thematically selected by a perfume house, often nicely packaged. Sadly though I have sworn off discovery sets. Invariably in a set of five I will love two, talk myself into maybe liking one and outright dislike two more. Then I sit there looking at my discovery set thinking about how it costs half the price of a nice fat bottle of the one I like the most. Math is cruel. Last time I bought one it was out of some weird guilt after having sniffed every last thing in a shop and taken up the owner’s time and conversation. I had been unable to decide on any of the sale items so I sprung for a discovery set of the illustrious candle maker Cire Trudon’s perfumes. Trudon has been making candles since 1643 and perfumes since 2017. As discovery sets go, this one beat the odds.There are three I like, one I have no need of and then the subject of this post, Trudon Deux/ II (2017).

Notes: green leaves, pine, juniper, Ambroxan, Cashmeran

Deux perfectly captures one of my nature loves, the dark, viscerally bitter greenness of so many plants. There’s pine, but it’s not a sweet pine, no cozy winter associations here. If you’ve ever tasted pine sap because it was so pretty and recoiled at its bitterness, this is that pine. Now I LOVE bitter things. Bitter beer, bitter foods. Just thinking about cruciferous vegetables makes my mouth water. It’s watering right now with the visions of broccoli, my best friend vegetable, that popped into my head when I typed “cruciferous”.

Since I was a small child, I have loved bitter flavours. My dad used to give me non-alcoholic beer in order to get me used to the taste. Yes, I realize how this sounds! He was a true foodie, and he wanted to make sure my palate was ready for anything. We ate grapefruit many a morning and of course we did not put sugar on it, the bitterer the better! Fresh, bright, rindy, pithy grapefruit. I was naturally attracted to bitterness, and this was encouraged. People who put sugar on their grapefruit were weak!

 

Trudon Deaux II

 

Deux is sharp, linear, dark green and bitter, bitter, bitter. It smells exactly like a plant, impressively so. I’m not one to ask “but is it perfume?” however this phrase did jump into my head while wearing it. Though I love to eat bitterness, it seems I do not love to smell it, a confusing and sad revelation. I have always tried with green perfumes because they seem like I should love them, my personality is whispering “make that your scent… yes that green sappy one…”. But I can’t do it, the more realistic and dark green the fragrance, the more it bothers me. I can love a fragrance that is a water colour in a green wash, such as Diorella, but once we’re in niche or vintage territory where true greenery is the point I have to sadly bow out.

If you are on a holy grail for greenness I do encourage you to try Trudon Deux/ II. It doesn’t bother with smelling like a beautiful woman in a forest, or even the whole forest. It’s crushed dark leaves and pine, bright and bitter and good.

 

Image: my own

Saturday Question: How Do You Sample Perfumes New to You?

Undina: Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

This week your host is hajusuuri.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #7:

How Do You Sample Perfumes New to You?

With so many perfume launches and buzz about both new and old perfumes, how do you actually get to sample them?

My Answer

For the past several years, including this year, companies have been launching multiple perfumes in one shot. In just the last two weeks, and only relying on Now Smell This (NST) for perfume news, there were launches for 2 (Louis Vuitton), 3 (Memo Paris) and 9 (Givenchy). Interspersed with these multi-national companies with relatively large marketing budgets, there are also many niche and indie brands that tend to rely on social media such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook, among others. Coupled with new perfumes, there are older perfumes that one may not have caught up with as yet. It is, therefore, not surprising to feel like Sisyphus in trying to keep up with perfume!

I narrow down perfumes I like to try by paying attention to what my favorite bloggers, NST commenters and Instagrammers I follow wear, as long as there’s a description that excites me. With a shorter list, here’s how I get to sample them:

  1. Working in New York City, I have access to higher end department stores, boutiques and niche perfumeries. I breeze through and sniff as many perfumes as possible (via scent strips) and beg for samples. (NB: This is currently not possible to do since all the non-essential stores are closed and I am also working from home in New Jersey.)
  2. Participate in swaps and splits.
  3. If I happen to buy perfumes online, I include a notation as to which other perfumes I would like to sample. Tip: Always add one or two more on the list than the number of samples you are entitled to; more than half of the time, the seller will include extras.
  4. Purchase a niche / indie perfume subscription service. My favorite one is the Scented Subscription Program at Indigo Perfumery. Every month, I get 3 atomizer samples, along with a newsletter with information about 2 of the perfumes and a write up on a perfumery note. There’s also a discount on a full bottle purchase of the featured perfume, as well as a chance to win a full bottle if you guess the mystery sample correctly. Although the monthly samples may not necessarily include the perfumes I am keen to try, every set ends up being a curated set of perfumes worth sampling.
  5. And not for the faint of heart — Buy a large “sample,” sometimes referred to as a hajusuuri-sized sample.

 

Indigo Perfumery Subscriprion Samples

 

How about you? If we get to 100 comments, there will be a prize: a random draw for a $25 gift certificate to (your choice) either Indigo Perfumery or Surrender to Chance (not affiliated with either).

 

How Do You Sample Perfumes New to You?

 

Images: hajusuuri’s Scented subscription program samples, October 2019 – March 2020.

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

Got Milk?

This is not a post about COVID-19-related shortage of milk, though the last time I checked, my local store was out of condensed milk, and at least some of Amazon prices for it tripled recently.

* * *

From what I read, it’s international: children do not like milk. When I was growing up, I was a strange child (probably, more than in one respect, but for this story I’ll mention the one that matters): not only I liked milk, I liked hot milk and even milk skin. Besides keeping my mother and grandmothers happy, it made me popular in my class.

For the first three years of the elementary school, children were given hot milk after the second period. I suspect that it was an attempt to provide nutrition to everyone, so that children from poor families would not go hungry. Most of my classmates came not from those families, so after having a good breakfast at home a couple of hours earlier, by the time milk was served they weren’t hungry yet. And did I mention it was hot milk? So, most kids in my class hated it. But drinking milk was mandatory, and our teacher would pressure pupils to empty their glasses. And almost every day, after finishing my glass, I would drink at least one or two more instead of my classmates (and they would bribe me with cookies or candies that they were given by parents to go with milk). And since I almost never had anything with me (I’m not sure if there was a reason for that, or if my mom just didn’t think of doing that), both parties were quite happy with the arrangement.

In addition to regular milk that I liked, I loved condensed milk. Nine years ago, I told a couple of stories from my childhood and teenage years that had a strong olfactory connection to Jo Malone’s limited edition perfume Sweet Milk (“Here’s a photo I’ve been looking for…”: Sweet Milk by Jo Malone), and I still have a strong bond with that perfume.

 

Sweet Milk by Jo Malone

 

My bottle is almost empty, and all these years I was on a lookout for another milk scent. Thanks to my perfumista friends, not only I got to try many great perfumes, but I think I found several excellent replacements for my favorite perfume – or at least something that I enjoy wearing.

Neyronrose from NST was very kind to send me her sample of Demeter’s Condensed Milk. Fragrantica lists just 2 notes: milk and sugar. I’m positive it has more. If you are familiar with Yves Rocher’s Pur Desir de Rose, it has a similar artificial spicy note as I can smell in Condensed Milk; and I do not care for it in either perfume. Still, as an exercise it was interesting.

Brigitte shared with me samples of two perfumes that fit this Single Note Exploration topic: Fichi e Panna by Kyse and Milk oil by Ava Luxe.

Fichi e Panna (notes: fig, milk, sugar, vanilla and sandalwood) is more about fig than milk, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist as I tested it. If you like fig in perfumes, do yourself a favor and try Fichi e Panna: it’s very warm and naturally smelling fig and vanilla custard. It comes in a variety of sizes and very reasonably priced. Now you see that I just had to get a travel spray.

But the second perfume, Ava Luxe’s Milk, was a clear winner: not identical, but it smells very close to Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk. Comparing them side by side, I think that Milk is slightly sweeter but otherwise – a perfect match. Since Brigitte’s sample was for oil, I decided to buy a small bottle of Milk oil perfume as well. But I was curious, so I also ordered a sample of EdP. I’m glad to report that they both smell identical. And both formulations have a good longevity. So, you can decide what you want to try based on your preferences for the medium without sacrificing the experience.

 

Ava Luxe Milk

 

I got a small decant of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere by Philosophy from hajusuuri. Notes listed: coconut, cashmere wood, vanilla, sandalwood and musk. Initially I dismissed it because it didn’t smell like Sweet Milk. But it wasn’t intended to! And once I accepted that, I realized that I liked that warm vanilla scent with milky undertones. A small travel bottle of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere is making its way to me as I’m writing this.

You would think I would have stopped after finding not one but three milk-related perfumes, while still having my favorite perfume. But no. As I was recently placing an order with DSH Perfumes, I just couldn’t resist ordering a sample of her Au Lait VdP (notes deconstructed from the brand’s site: ambrette seed, buttercream accord, French vanilla, sweet cream, tonka bean, milk). If to go just by the opening, I think, I like Au Lait more than all other perfumes covered in this post: to my nose, in the very beginning it has some boozy quality that I just love. Had it been even slightly more tenacious, I would have bought a bottle already. Alas, this wonderful stage lasts just a couple of minutes. What is left after that is still eminently enjoyable: a beautiful gourmand scent that doesn’t project much but warmly enfolds you. But what I get from it is very close to Ava Luxe’s Milk that I already have. And for some reason I’m still not completely on board with the new Voile de Parfum format. I still plan to get a 3 ml sample spray of Au Lait the next time I order something from DSH.

 

Milk Perfumes

 

And now I’m off to the store to see if they’ve restocked sweetened condensed milk. If no, I’ll have to drink my weekend coffee black while sniffing my wrist: luckily, as you can see, there’s no shortage of milk-inspired perfumes in my household.

 

Images: my own

Saturday Question: What Was The Last New Perfume You Tried?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #6:

What Was The Last New Perfume You Tried?

As always, I have more questions that just the main one. What was the last new (for you) perfume that you tried? Where did you get it (unless you tried it at a store)? What’s your impression?

My Answer

Recently I had a surge of desire to test perfumes I hadn’t tried before. And I thought that supporting a local business might be not a bad idea at the moment. So I ordered several samples from Tigerlily. In addition to samples I ordered, they’ve included one more – Hereafter by Sarah Horowitz.

It’s oil perfume with the notes of blood orange, cardamom, Iso E Super, cedarwood, sandalwood, amber and vanilla.

I don’t think I would have tried this perfume even if I saw it at a store: a couple from this brand that I’d tried didn’t work for me before, and I usually don’t like oil perfumes. But since it just appeared at my house, I gave it a try. And unexpectedly I liked it very much. It starts with a touch of sweetness that subsides into a slightly bitter woody notes. I will be testing it more but I’m tempted to get that small bottle to use as a shared perfume for air travel. I mean, I hope, we still have some of those in future.

 

SHP Hereafter

 

How about you?

What Was The Last Perfume You Tried?

 

Image: Tigerlily site (but I think it’s from the brand)

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.