Song of the Sea

There is a term “false friend of a translator” – words in two languages that look or sound similar, but differ significantly in meaning (see Wikipedia). These words do not even have to look/sound exactly the same but as long as they somehow “click”, one’s mind does the rest.

My first encounter with this phenomenon was a word “complexion”: it sounds similar to the word in Russian “комплекция” that means “build” (as in “the dimensions or proportions of a person’s or animal’s body”). The next one was even more drastic: English “pathetic” just begs to be used as a translation for Russian “патетический” (“grandiloquent”).

As I’ve discovered, it doesn’t even have to be a foreign-native pair; foreign-foreign works as well. For a while in my mind “Sogni del Mare” was associated with “Song of the See.” I don’t know if for a native speaker (reader?) “sogni” looks anything like “song”, but for my eye it was (and is) close enough – even now when I know that it means “dreams.”

I tried Sogni del Mare (Dreams of the Sea) by Antonia’s Flowers for the first time many years ago from a dab vial that I bought from the brand’s site as a part of a sample set*. I liked it very much and was even considering a bottle purchase (in my regular “think ten times” manner). Then one day I saw Sogni del Mare at Barneys and was about to buy it but decided to spray it first – just to see how I like it in that form.

It was awful! Not just different from how I remembered or less interesting but plainly awful. There were some very unpleasant herbal notes I never smelled in it before… Of course, I didn’t buy it then.

At some point later at home, when I remembered about the incident, I re-tested my old sample: I still liked it. I couldn’t believe it was the same perfume! “Maybe they’ve reformulated it since I got my sample?” – I asked myself and ordered another set of samples. Reformulation wasn’t the case: I still liked Sogni del Mare from the new vial. Then the only explanation I could think of was that Barneys had a turned tester bottle.

A year later, while at Barneys again, I decided to try Sogni del Mare again – with the same result, believe it or not. I was amazed and I couldn’t explain how it could happen (it couldn’t have been the same tester, could it?). But I asked for a sample, which I brought, together with the other two, to my recent Maui vacation.

Antonia's Flowers Sogni del Mare

I wasn’t imagining things: the sample from Barneys’ bottle was clearly off. I do not know how exactly they managed to do that, but even remains of my ancient first sample (from 2007!), though slightly changed, smells closer to the newer sample than what I smelled twice at Barneys (a year apart).

Sogni del Mare isn’t a statement perfume: it’s soft, tender and … dreamy. I’m not a big fan of colognes but this perfume’s citrus opening charms me. I do not like rhubarb in any of its uses but it doesn’t bother me here. I love black currant and like lotus note in perfumes but I do not distinguish them in Sogni del Mare. All that said, every time I try Sogni del Mare, I realize that I still like it. The only reason I haven’t bought it yet is my fear that samples were from the “old batch” while the perfume was reformulated and “what you smell [at Barneys] is what you get.” But maybe I should still risk it?..

I’m not sure I have a notion about how exactly dreams of the sea might smell, but if you would tell me they smell like Sogni del Mare, I would say: I don’t see why not…

Maui: Dreams of the Sea

Images: my own

* It looks like the sample set is still offered from the brand’s site for a nominal price. They do not ship to Europe but if you’re in the U.S. and haven’t tried their perfumes, you have to!

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My First Niche Perfume: Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers

 

Ten years ago I knew nothing about the existence of a niche world in perfumery. When I got a sample of Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers among other samples with a perfume purchase, it was just that – another sample.

At the time I was arrogant enough to think that I knew most of the modern perfumes and could find online any of those for less than available from department stores. So I was a little surprised that I didn’t know the brand and never heard about that perfume.

The scent was very different from everything I knew and liked then but unlike many other fragrances  that left me indifferent or were resolutely classified “not for me” this one caught my attention and kept drawing me in.

Antonias Flowers Tiempe Passate

By the time I’d used up my Tiempe Passate sample I knew that I wanted more. That was when I found out that it could not be bought not only from those mass-market online discount sites but also from B&M stores.

Several years later I finally found Antonia’s Flowers website and ordered a set of samples. I was curious to try other perfumes from the line but the main purpose was to see if I still liked Tiempe Passate because $140 for 60 ml seemed totally unapproachable.

The minute I put Tiempe Passate on I felt an awful disappointment: not because it didn’t smell the way I remembered – it just didn’t smell at all! All other samples were fine but this one had just a faint smell of alcohol. I wrote to the company asking if it was possible that the sample just was off. They were surprised but sent me another one. This time it smelled great.

Three years ago my vSO got me a bottle of Tiempe Passate for my birthday. And it was the first niche perfume in my collection.

Rusty And Tiempe Passate

Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers – created by Norbert Bijaoui in 1999, notes include (I’ll go with NTS’s list) bergamot, clementine, sage, mimosa, cyclamen, Montauk rose, white orris, cedar, vetiver and amber.

Tiempe Passate starts really strong and almost unpleasant for the first minute. All I can smell is alcohol and something plastic-y or rubber-y. And then it settles and smells… just wonderful. For hours Tiempe Passate is a very pleasant skin scent with unexpected bursts of projection. I’ve got multiple compliments while wearing it.

In my two years anniversary post I mentioned that there were some personal posts that haven’t got as many readers as I’d want. One of such posts – Elusive Perfume – in addition to (hopefully) being entertaining, will explain what happened with me and the first Tiempe Passate sample vial.

Rusty and Tiempe Passate

I didn’t figure it out until today: though the list doesn’t mention Iso E Super, it is there, I’m sure. I tested two of my favorite perfumes in parallel – Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules and Tiempe Passate by Antonia’s Flowers and I have to concede that the latter is just a nicely embellished variation of the former. And Iso E Super is exactly what I was enjoying in both (on those occasions when I could smell it). And now I know why I was having a hard time trying to describe what Tiempe Passate smelled like. Well, at least I’m being consistent in my fragrant crushes.

Even though I’m slightly disappointed I still think Tiempe Passate is worth trying. Barney’s carries Antonia’s Flowers line. Or you can order samples from the brand’s website for a more than reasonable price.

Rusty and Tiempe Passate

There are not too many reviews for this perfume. I was surprised that Robin (NST) liked it (though it was many years ago).

Do you remember your first niche perfume?

 

Images: my own

Entertaining Statistics: 2012 Year Round-up

 

Wearing and testing perfumes every day and getting monthly statistics numbers create some general feeling about where you stand on your likes and dislikes but nothing puts it into prospective better than the complete year data. As I was contemplating this post I was both excited and scared: what would I discover about myself when I compile all the results?

In 2012 I wore and tested more perfumes than in 2011: 414 vs. 376 perfumes from 119 vs. 110 brands. But since starting from December 2011 I was recording the type of use – wear1 vs. testing2 I’m able to get deeper into from where those numbers come.

 

Quick 2012 stats:

* Different perfumes worn1138 from 50 brands on 348 occasions;

Brands I wore in 2012

* Different perfumes tested2356 from 114 brands on 572 occasions;

Brands I tested in 2012

* Perfumes I tried for the first time: 245 (it was 303 in 2011);

I wear perfumes I like and own almost every day. Perfumes I reached for the most in 2012 (with times worn): Dior New Look 1947 (11), Chanel №19# EdT & parfum (10), Chanel Cuir de Russie (8), Guerlain Cruel Gardénia (8), Antonia’s Flowers Tiempe Passate (7), Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille# (7), Yosh Ginger Ciao (7), Hermès Voyage d’Hermès (6), Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Amour (6), Tom Ford Violet Blonde (6), Chanel Bois des Iles (5), Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient (5), Lancome Climat (5), Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling! (5), Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe (5), Tom Ford Amber Absolute (5).

 

Counting my Lemmings (don’t fall asleep!)

In the Weekly Roundup series this year I mentioned 46 perfumes I was looking forward to testing. I still haven’t tried 19 of those (5 haven’t been released yet). My most cherished lemmings are: Ann Gerard Perle de Mousse, Ramón Monegal Impossible Iris, Parfumerie Generale L’Ombre Fauve and Armaini Privé Cuir Noir. I’m still trying to avoid paying for samples so if you have any extras for those mentioned above – let’s swap!

Out of those 27 lemmings that I managed to try I liked 15 and thought that the rest were fine – so no big disappointments.

2012 in Statis Pictures

Seeing 2012 off

Speaking of disappointments, I was surprised to read on many blogs that 2012 wasn’t a good year perfume-wise for many perfumistas. My feeling was that there were many perfumes that I liked. I went through the list of perfumes from 2012 (only those that I’ve tried, not all 1,300+). I liked very much at least 25 perfumes released last year: Amouage Beloved and Opus VI; Annick Goutal Nuit Étoilée; By Kilian Amber Oud, Bamboo Harmony, Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin; Cognoscenti Scent No.16 – Tomato Leather and Scent No.19 – Warm Carrot; Dior Grand Bal; Diptyque Volutes; DSH Perfumes Euphorisme d’Opium, Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour and The Beat Look; Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient and Myrrhe et Délires; Ineke Hothouse Flower; Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay and White Lilac & Rhubarb; Jul et Mad Amour de Palazzo; L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l’aube; Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin; Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule; Six Scents Napa Noir and Tom Ford Ombre de Hyacinth. I have four full bottles and seven decants to show for these “likes” and I’m considering several more. Another 15 were not bad; I just didn’t love them.

I’ve done two full years of these monthly stats posts. I wonder if I can still find an interesting angle of analyzing data I collect. We’ll see.  

 

1 For the testing I apply a perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. But, most likely, I’m the only one who can smell it. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time.

2 When I wear a 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.

# These were in the Top 10 of 2011 as well.

 

Images: my own