When Life Gives You Clementines, Enjoy Them

How many different citruses can you think of?

As I told before, in my childhood there were just four different citrus fruit – orange, mandarin, lemon and later grapefruit. Since it was pre-Internet, I didn’t even know about other varieties.

Of course, by now I’ve widened my fruit horizons, so as a mental exercise, without looking it up online, I came up with additional seven: pomelo, clementine, tangerine, lime and Meyer lemon – from my grocery shopping trips; and from my perfume hobby, I know about bitter orange and bergamot though I’ve never seen or eaten them. So, eleven in total.

While everybody in our household loves citrus fruits, citrus fragrances is probably one of the least represented categories in my perfume wardrobe. It’s not that I do not like how many of them smell, but somehow I always think about cologne-type creations as of “lesser” perfumes than their oriental, woody or even floral relatives. For a while I’ve been contemplating buying one of Atelier Cologne’s citrus perfumes but kept postponing until I finish the travel spray of Orange Sanguine and a decant of Cedrat Enivrant.

And then Atelier Cologne came up with the fifth cologne in their Joie de Vivre series – and I surrendered. Brand’s site gives the following notes for this perfume: clementine from California, mandarin from Italy, juniper berries from Macedonia, star anise from China, Sichuan pepper from China, basil from Egypt, vetiver from Haiti, sandalwood from New Caledonia and cypress from France. Clementine is not my favorite fruit; and I’m not sure that I would recognize its smell or even taste from, let’s say, tangerines. But Clémentine California smells great whatever citrus it’s supposed to invoke, and it is extremely juicy, bright and uplifting. It probably can be classified as unisex but, in my opinion, it’s a little sweeter than a “civilian” man would choose to wear. I cannot say that I like Clémentine California the most out of the 5 citruses in the line – I like Orange Sanguine and Pomélo Paradis probably not less. But Clémentine California bought me with the name; and I bought a bottle.

Atelier Cologne Clementine California

As the name pushed me towards this perfume, I kept thinking about it and even got annoyed: if it’s Clémentine than why not Californie; and if it’s California, why not Clementine? And, in general, why clementine and California – whatever language you choose? I do not have a definitive answer: if they’ve explained it in some interviews or in an ad copy, I haven’t found that. But I have a plausible theory based on what I read in Wikipedia. The fruit was first discovered in 1902 by Brother Clément Rodier, so it was named after him – first in French and then in English. The first commercial production of the fruit started in California in 1914. So that English-French centaur makes some linguistic sense.

 

By the way, do you know that there are only four original citrus species, from which the rest of cultivated citrus hybridized? No, those four aren’t the same four that I knew growing up. According to Wikipedia, the four core ancestral citrus taxa are citron, pomelo, mandarin and papeda.

Rusty and Atelier Cologne Clementine California

Images: my own

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In the Search for the Perfect Mimosa, Take 4

It’s spring again, and again I’m drawn to mimosa and mimosa-centric perfumes. Of course, our spring comes after our winter, so the change is not as drastic as it happens in many other areas. It reminds me of those make-believe magazine recommendations where a model in a perfectly fitting “simple” frock effortlessly “dresses it up” with a tiny accessory – which would never work for us, mere mortals, for whom anything like that requires careful planning and meticulous execution. Same happens with the season change here: our nature just carelessly put on a floral lace wrap – and got all beautiful for the spring party.

Mimosa and Palm Tree

I have enough mimosa perfumes in my wardrobe: Givenchy Amarige Harvest Mimosa, Frederic Malle Une Fleur de Cassie, Guerlain Champs Elysées and Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom are perfumes I discovered during my previous three takes on the topic.

One would think that it should be sufficient – and it is: I do not actively seek that note any more. But every time I hear about a new mimosa perfume, I just cannot pass on it. Especially when it comes from brands I like.

Prada launched Infusion de Mimosa last year in their Les Infusions de Prada collection. Thanks to a friend, I’ve got to test it long before a couple of luxury retailers started offering it in the U.S. (and I’m yet to see it in the actual store). I like it a lot. It doesn’t always work – to combine two good things, but in this case it does: it is still unmistakably the beautiful Infusion d’Iris’s relative, even though there are almost no notes in common listed, but also it has a wonderfully true to natural mimosa aroma – airy and intense at the same time. What I especially like about Infusion de Mimosa is that it feels summery without being citrus-y cologne.

Mimosa

When I smelled Mimosa Indigo by Atelier Cologne for the first time, I was utterly disappointed: it was not what I expected or wanted it to be; and I could smell absolutely no mimosa in it. Since I do not write perfume reviews, I do not always give perfumes another chance if I didn’t like them on the first encounter, especially if I don’t have a sample at home. With the number of new releases out there, I just do not usually bother with getting a sample of something that didn’t wow me on the first try. But I like Atelier Cologne, and that purple color just spoke to me… After a couple of shopping trips, during which my nose stayed glued to my wrist, I bought a bottle of Mimosa Indigo (thankfully, they have 30 ml bottles). I like it and enjoy wearing it. I think I can smell some mimosa in it but I wouldn’t be able to call it without reading a list of notes. It’s an interesting floral perfume on a gentle almost suede base.

Rusty and Atelier Cologne Mimosa Indigo

I do not need more perfumes – with or without prominent mimosa note. But I know that the next time one of my favorite brands releases their take on this flower, I’ll be tempted – the same way I was tempted by Chanel’s limited edition nail polish called Mimosa. They got the color perfectly: it’s definitely spring in a bottle.

Chanel Mimosa Nail Polish

Images: my own

Know-How: Brands with Perfumista Size Bottles

For years I keep repeating that more brands should release their perfumes in perfumista size bottles – 10-15 ml. Of course, for somebody who has a signature scent or alternates 2-3 perfumes in their day-to-day life, 50 ml, 100 ml or even 200 ml bottles might make more sense both economically and logically. But for anybody who has been “into perfume” for at least several years, not too many perfumes warrant the vats, in which most perfumes nowadays are sold.

Sure, big bottles are great for splits; and decants are nice for getting to wear something without committing your heart or money to a full bottle. But even the best decant – with well-made labels and a good sprayer – is still not as good as a real bottle. And I suspect that, as a rule, it has a shorter shelf life, even if you use parafilm or electrical tape to prevent evaporation: the act of spraying perfume from the original bottle into a smaller receptacle introduces additional oxidation to the juice, which cannot be healthy (should we add a blueberry or two?).

For all these reasons for anything more than 3-5 ml I would rather pay extra price per ml but get a travel bottle from the brand – if the brand has that option.

Surprisingly, when it comes to niche brands, those that offer smaller sizes are still rather an exception than a rule. So I decided to put together a list of the brands that offer smaller (perfumista size) bottles of their perfumes. I won’t include links since those change but it’s easy to find them through a search engine.

Perfumista Size Bottles

The following brands have single bottles for all or most of their perfumes (bottle size is given in parentheses):

  • April Aromatics (15 ml)
  • Frederic Malle (10 ml)
  • Hiram Green (10 ml)
  • Histoires de Parfums (15 ml)
  • Le Labo (15 ml)
  • Sonoma Scent Studio (4 ml & 17 ml)
  • Jul et Mad (5 ml & 20 ml)
  • Cognoscenti (5 ml)
  • Dame Perfumery (5 ml)
  • DSH Perfumes (multiple sizes)
  • EnVoyage Perfumes (15 ml)
  • 4160 Tuesdays (9 ml)
  • Roja Dove (7.5 ml)
  • The Different Company (10 ml)
  • Puredistance (17.5ml)

Several brands have smaller sizes just for some of their perfumes:

  • Atelier Cologne (12 different perfumes in 7.5 ml at Sephora)
  • Juliette Has A Gun (4 different perfumes in 7.5 ml at Sephora)
  • Ineke (15 ml, Floral Curiosities line only)

More brands recently have introduced the “travel” option – probably as a response to the air travel regulations. Unfortunately, those come in sets either of single perfume or of pre-selected (or all) perfumes from the brand. Single perfume sets are easier for friendly splits. Mixed sets defeat the purpose: how often does someone like all the perfumes in the set? I also found two brands that offer customizable mixed travel sets.

Perfumista Size Bottles

Single perfume sets:

  • Neela Vermeire Creations (2 x 15 ml)
  • Ormonde Jayne (4 x 10 ml)
  • Amouage (3 x 10 ml)
  • By Kilian (4 x 7.5 ml)
  • Byredo (3 x 12 ml)
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian (3 x 10 ml)
  • Aedes de Venustas (3 x 7.5 ml)

Perfumista Size Bottles

Customizable mixed sets:

  • Hermès (4 x 15 ml sets for both their regular line and Hermessence)
  • Tauer Perfumes (3 x 15 ml)

Perfumista Size Bottles

Pre-set mixed perfumes sets:

  • Viktoria Minya (5 x 15 ml)
  • Maison Francis Kurkdjian (8 x 10 ml)
  • Miller Harris (3 x 14 ml and 2 x 7.5 ml)
  • Aedes de Venustas (3 x 7.5 ml)

If you know any other brands that offer small bottles in one of these categories, please share in comments. And if you agree that more brands should have perfumista size bottles, keep repeating that whenever you publish a review on your blog or comment on perfume reviews and discussions on blogs, forums, FB or Twitter. Somebody might be reading…

Rusty and NVC Pichola

Updates from comments:

  • Maria Candida Gentile (7 ml and 15 ml single bottles)
  • Zoologist (11 ml single bottles)
  • Parfums MDCI (5 x 10 ml customizable set)
  • Memo (3 x 10 ml same perfume set)
  • Imaginary Authors (14 ml single bottles)
  • Maison Anonyme (10 ml single bottles)
  • Olympic Orchids (5 ml and 15 ml single bottles)
  • Soivohle (10 ml single bottles)
  • Ormonde Jayne (10 ml single bottles if you call)
  • Profvmvm Roma (18 ml single bottles for some of their scents)

Images: my own

A Month of Roses: Conclusion, Statistics and the Draw Winner

It was a great month filled with great perfumes. I’m so glad Lucas came up with this idea. While I’m not sure I’m ready to do another month of any particular note, I’m thinking about a couple of note-themed weeks (and even doing one already – but that’s the topic for the next post).

Peach Rose

Rose Perfumes for Week 4

February 22: Le Jardin Retrouvé Rose Trocadéro

A beautiful and extremely realistic in the opening rose. And it has my favorite black currant. I like it and actually plan to wear my sample, which I don’t do too often. But I’m not sure if I want more: it’s a rose soliflore, and it comes only in a HUGE 125 ml bottle. But it’s very nice, and I recommend testing this perfume if you get a chance.

February 23: Keiko Mecheri Mogador

I was supposed to wear another perfume but I couldn’t find the sample in the morning, so I decided to wear Mogador again. Loved it.

February 24: Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme

I had a large sample of Rose Anonyme, which I was testing periodically when I wanted to compare it to something else. When I scheduled it for wearing, I didn’t realize how little I had left in my sample. When I applied it first, very sparingly, I thought that I didn’t like it at all and was surprised since I remembered liking it more. But in the evening when I didn’t try to save it and put on the remains of my sample, it smelled much better – the way I remembered it from before. But I don’t think I need more Rose Anonyme in my life.

Rusty and Ineke Scent Library

February 25: Ineke Briar Rose

This is the only perfume from Ineke’s Floral Curiosities Collection, for which I do not have a travel bottle-book. It wasn’t by choice: they didn’t have it on sale at the time when I bought the other four, mostly just to have those “books.” But I had a sample in the set (the one, with which Rusty is playing on the picture above). I didn’t remember what I thought about Briar Rose but I remembered that Blacknall (aperfumeblog by Blacknall Allen) liked this perfume enough to go through the full bottle at some point. So I decided to give it a go. It’s not bad but I won’t want to wear it.

February 26: April Aromatics Rosenlust

One more change of plans: I got this sample with my purchase and wanted to re-test it. It’s a lemony rose – very natural and beautiful. But it’s just a rose. With many other rose-centric perfumes in my collection Rosenlust does not cross that line from “nice to have” to “need to have.”

Roses

February 27: Lancome Mille et Une Roses

This is one of my favorite perfumes; I enjoy wearing it every time. And I love its color. A couple of years ago I paired it with the second equation in my post A Simple Equation Or In the Search for the Perfect Rose.

February 28: Hermès Rose Ikebana

I left Rose Ikebana for the last day of the month because I thought it would be warm by then. I was wrong. We are having an unusually cold for our area winter (not that I’m complaining: it’s nice for a change; and it comes with long-expected rain), so Rose Ikebana was a little too light for the weather. But it still wore nicely.

February Statistics

Rose perfumes I wore: 27 (but two of them I wore twice)

Rose perfumes I tested: 5 (yes, it wasn’t enough that I wore a rose-centric perfume each day, I managed to test 5 more rose perfumes during that month)

Samples finished: 4

New bottles of rose perfumes: 1 (bought); 3 (being considered)

23 people left 75 comments for the Month of Roses posts. 34 of those comments had mentioning of the rose perfumes worn in the spirit of the Month of Roses – and, as I promised, they all were included into the draw for two bars of local artisan chocolates.

And the Winner is…

According to random.org, the winner is the most diligent commenter – hajusuuri! Congratulations! Now it’s your time to choose whether you want two bars of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or one of each.

Chocolate Fountain

Shall we do it again next year?

 

Images: my own

Best of 2016 and Welcome 2017!

I have never done a traditional “best of” perfume post before. Mostly, because as a result of my “no reviews” blog moto I do not really try to judge any perfumes – be that old or new releases – objectively, weighing their strong and weak points, but rather satisfy my curiosity, figure out whether I like perfume or not and move on. And if there is no story in it for me, there is nothing to tell on my blog.

So why am I doing this post, has anything changed? Not really. But as I was checking out the list of 2016 releases (I’m going to post my regular year round-up statistics post early in January), it occurred to me that this year I could safely name my Top 10 perfumes of 2016 since there were exactly 10 perfumes that I actually liked. So even though any list would be subjective, in this case I wouldn’t have to justify for myself why I put one of the perfumes on the list while leaving others out.

Candles

Puredistance Sheiduna – warm, spicy and addictive, this perfume will most likely join my collection when I’m done with the travel spray graciously sent to me by the brand.

Jul et Mad Secrets du Paradis Rouge is cheerful, with a perfect combination of fruity and floral notes. I can see it as one of my evening tropical vacation perfumes.

Two perfumes from Jo MaloneOrris and Sandalwood and Orange Bitters – made it up for me for the disaster that their limited Garden Collection was. I’ll probably be fine without the iris one (I have enough great irises in my collection) but I’ll enjoy wearing Orrange Bitters while my decant (thank you, hajusuuri!) lasts.

Since mimosa is one of my favorite scents in nature, I’m constantly in the search for the perfect mimosa perfume (to which three takes in my Single Note Exploration series can attest). So it’s not a surprise that two mimosa scents made it to my top 10 list this year. Once I got over the fact that Atelier Cologne Mimosa Indigo has nothing to do with mimosa (instead, it’s a very delicate, if you can use that characteristic for the material, leather perfume), I fell in love with it and welcomed a small bottle into my collection. Prada Infusion de Mimosa is much more about mimosa but this variation still maintains the backbone of the Infusion line, which I happen to like. I got to try this perfume thanks to Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) but it is not available in the U.S. yet, which might be partially a blessing: at this stage of my perfume hobby, I do not need 100 ml of any perfume (though, it might have been easier to buy a decant had Prada brought the perfume to the market here).

The next two perfumes were everybody’s favorites, so I’ll just mention that for the last couple of weeks I keep testing and liking Masque L’Attessa and Hiram Green Arbolé Arbolé. It’s too early to say if I’ll go for any of these two beyond testing but I’ve been enjoying the experience.

Amouage Myths Woman has restored my faith in my favorite brand. For a while none of the new releases really moved me, so I almost accepted that I’d have to stay with my classic favorites from the line. Myths is not just beautiful and happy perfume, but it’s also one of a few from Amouage that I want to wear not in cold weather (the other one is Dia). A decant of Myths I bought in a split should do for now, but I plan to stalk this beautiful purple bottle and get it eventually.

As to perfume #10… It’s getting late so I’ll tell its story (and run a small giveaway) in one of the January posts. Not that I think that you, my friends and readers, need any special incentive to come back next year.

Happy New Year 2016!

Happy New Year to all of you! Whether 2016 was good to you or not so, I wish the new one to be better. Please make a wish at 12 (or before you go to bed, if you do not plan to stay that late), and I wish it to come true for each of you who remembers to do that.

Images: my own

Scented Gift Ideas 2016

Last year I enjoyed writing a Gift Ideas post so much that this year I decided to do it again and early enough for you to have time before holidays to shop. By now (I mean time in your life, not of the year) you’ve probably identified people in your surroundings who might appreciate perfume-related gifts and, unless you’re extremely lucky, your list of such recipients isn’t much longer than mine. But if you like any of the things I found, maybe you could get them – just in case you later think of somebody who you want to give that as a gift? And, worse comes worst, you’ll have to toughen up and use it yourself. I chose $35 as an arbitrary upper limit for the gift ideas I shared below.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post in any form; and it doesn’t contain affiliate links.

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Atelier Cologne keeps coming up with great ideas for popularizing their perfumes: in addition to the last year’s great way of presenting a gift card in a company of 12 samples (it’s still available with the minimum GC amount $70), this year they offer a $35 Discovery Set that includes 32 colognes (their full range) with 32 postcards + $35 gift voucher towards any $70 future purchase. But if you already know most of their perfumes, and do not plan any full bottle purchases from the brand, you might want to check out their new hand creams in Orange Sanguine, Pomélo Paradis, Bergamote Soleil and Rose Anonyme scents. $25 is probably too expensive for a daily hand cream but it’s a nice gift to somebody else or small indulgence for yourself if you like one of the four perfumes.

Atelier Cologne Postcards

I spent about five minutes at the spa shop debating if it was an acceptable gift for somebody outside of the close family circle. I’m not sure yet – so I left without buying any – but I still might go back, even if to get one of these cute and pleasantly smelling shower sponges by Caren for myself. As it says on the brand’s website, “sponges have been infused with our luxurious body cleanser enriched with aloe vera, olive oil, lemon grass, sea kelp extracts, and abundance of creamy that insures the ultimate in pampering.”  Each one has different fragrance. I liked the Snowflake Limited Edition Blue Linen the most.

These last for 15+ washes, so at $12.50 a piece they are more expensive “per wash” than many luxury soaps, but it’s something different, and with the seasonal packaging those might be nice stocking stuffers.

Caren Shower Sponges

Modern artificial Christmas trees can be surprisingly natural-looking. Last year our friends didn’t realize we had one of those until I mentioned it to them. What those man-made wonders cannot replicate yet is a wonderful scent of the drying pine needles and resins from the cut branches. But fear not – Scented Christmas Ornaments to the rescue! (There are many brands available in the price range from $7 to $25 for a pack of 6 to 18 ornaments)

Scented Ornaments

If your Christmas tree is as natural as they come but you still want to add festivity to the ambience, many brands offer special candles for these holidays – but hurry: the small ones go fast. Take a look at Holiday Ornament Scented Candle or Birchwood Pine Scented Candle from NEST ($16 each), Le Roi Sapin (The festive fir tree), Épices et Délices (Delicious Spices) and Un Encens Etoilé (Sparkling incense) from Diptyque ($35 each) or Maison Holiday Travel Tin Candles (Set of 4) from Voluspa ($32; mini-candle also available separately for $9 each).

Holiday Candles

I’ve been eyeing this next item for a while: I love the idea but I do not have any practical application for Scented Inks by J Herbin ($21.95). The set contains the following colors (scents): red (rose), orange (orange), green (apple), purple (violet) and blue (lavender). If I were to use something like that, I might also consider Blue Supple Wax with Lavender Scent from the same brand ($24.40).

J Herbin Scented Ink Samples

And for those situations when you cannot wear your favorite perfume (“scent-sensitive” relatives, no-fragrance work environment or pesky insects) but still want to make a statement, take a look at these t-shirts: they come in four colors (olive, black, brown and cranberry) and two cuts (men and women) for $19.99. The text says:

1 frag-head
noun | frag•head | \’frag-hed\
: a fragrance obsessed person
(see: the one wearing this shirt)

frag-head T-shirt

If you do not plan on posting your own Gift Guide somewhere, please share any interesting “giftable” perfume-related items you came across recently.

 

Images: only the first one is my own; the rest are from the products’ sites, sometimes re-arranged a little (I thought it was a fair use since I linked to the products).

Scented Gift Ideas 2015

I always wanted to do a post about winter holidays gifts (for my family and close friends it’s more about the New Year gifts than those for Christmas). But usually I was doing my shopping in B&M stores, so whichever interesting items I would find there I usually couldn’t recommend to my readers. This year in general and November-December in particular were so hectic for me that most of my holiday shopping was and still is happening online. So I decided to share with you my scented gift ideas.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post in any form and it doesn’t contain affiliate links.

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While choosing perfume for somebody else is a very tricky task, some brands make it easier for both the giver and the recipient. So I’ll start with the brand that had changed my attitude towards gifting people with perfumes.

Ineke offers two discovery sets – Scent Library and Deluxe Sample Collection – both are beautifully presented and, at the price of $25 including S&H and $15 coupon towards the full bottle purchase, are perfect stocking stuffers. And if you’ve previously bought one of these and are thinking about a bottle, now is great time to go for it to take advantage of the free shipping until December 25th.

Rusty and Ineke Scent Library

Atelier Cologne, the brand that I really appreciate, offers a good variety of stocking stuffers and gifts, starting from $18 (I’m still contemplating trying one of their soaps) plus free US & Hong Kong delivery until December 25th and free personalization for travel sprays. And if you’re serious about giving somebody special a gift of perfume, I think that their latest offering – a gift card (minimum $70) that includes 12 samples – is a great idea.

Atelier Cologne Gift Card

Concluding the perfume-giving part of this post, I want to mention that Dame Perfumery‘s 5 ml trial size of Black Flower Mexican Vanilla for $10 including S&H is an absolute steal! Other perfumes are also available from that link.

For those who would still rather not venture into gifting perfumes, there are other options:

Perfumed Lace Garden bracelet or Alahine scented ceramic tile from Teo Cabanel. None of them will break the bank. And for those who’s looking for something more indulgent, there’s always By Killian with his scented jewelry collections (these are new ones) and Frederic Malle’s rubber incense.

Teo Cabanel Lace Garden Bracelet

I’ve recently discovered Beautyspin online store and I want to share it with you. You’ll have to overlook the percentage they promise you’re saving or the referenced “retail price” – those are pure fictional numbers. But their prices are very good (and sometimes you can find an additional discount code).

Check out these perfect stocking stuffers: Myrrhe Ardente, Encens Flamboyant and Musc Nomade shower gels ($3.35$5.19) by Annick Goutal or Bottega Veneta Pour Homme shower gel ($29).

Annick Goutal Shower Gels

After Rusty showed to me what I should do with the beautiful Amouage Dia soap, I decided that it would be a great holiday gift and bought Memoir and Epic perfumed soaps from Beautyspin ($24 each). Now I’m trying to persuade myself that those are great holiday gifts for somebody else since I still haven’t opened my Dia soap.

Rusty and Amouage Soaps

The person for whom you’re shopping for gifts is not into perfume-y scents? How about a fresh cut pine or coffee smell? Try these firestarters ($10 each):

Firestarters

And finally, if you want to steer clear of imposing any scent choice on your giftees, you might consider Blue Q You Smell Delicious socks ($9.99).

You Smell Delicious Socks

 

Will you be giving any scented gifts this year?