Big Island Vacation, Episode I: Perfumes

Until recently I thought that Maui was my favorite island, so over the last many years that was our most frequent vacation destination. But this year we decided we wanted a change and, after a short hesitation, booked our trip to the Big Island of Hawaii. Just in case you were wondering, we hesitated because of the recent volcano eruption but then decided it would be fine. Luckily for us, many others were less adventurous, so … OK, I won’t say that we had the whole island to ourselves but it was much less crowded than it could have been.

Hawaii Big Island

We managed to pack a lot into six days we spent there, and I plan to cover some of the highlights in the next several posts. But I want to start with the most appropriate topic for this blog: perfumes.

Over years of going to Hawaii I collected a wardrobe of perfumes that I always bring with me.

The only full bottle of perfume that has ever traveled with me anywhere is Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder. I bring it with me to every tropical vacation (Big Island, Kauai and Maui). This time though I used it less often than I normally do because we shared the condo with our friends, and I couldn’t do my usual ritual of walking to the fridge (where I keep Bronze Goddess when in Hawaii), spraying it all over my body and putting on my clothes after that. But it still got several generous applications during the trip and enjoyed it every time.

Hawaii Big Island Perfumes

My “vacation in a bottle” perfume – Ginger Ciao by Yosh – was as great on actual vacation as I remembered. Tiare by Ormonde Jayne and I have rekindled our friendship after a recent cooling-off, and both Tiare and its sister Frangipani felt wonderfully appropriate for the place.

Unexpectedly, I came to the realization that I should stop bringing to Hawaii Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire Creations. For years I thought it was a very good fit and kept being slightly disappointed: it didn’t smell as great as I remembered and usually would disappear too quickly from my skin. This trip we stayed in for dinner more often than went out, so I got to wear Bombay Bling! in a well air-conditioned room. Under these circumstances, with little heat or humidity involved, this perfume bloomed wonderfully, and I could still smell it in my hair throughout the night. So, while I still love it, no more Hawaii vacations for Bombay Bling!

Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling!

L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Traversee du Bosphore and Byredo’s Pulp both are perfumes that I wear only in hot and humid weather, and these both were predictably good though I would prefer to spray them more liberally, which I couldn’t do this time: since the Island is called “Big” not for nothing, and it takes a couple of hours one way to get almost anywhere besides the close-by beach, we often voted for going somewhere in one car. And while it allowed us to spend more time in each other’s company, I had to be mindful of having four people in closed quarters for hours – so I was very discreet with my perfume application.

One more perfume that has proved absolutely not suited for the tropical weather was Selva Do Brazil by Parfums Berdoues. I brought my ScentBird decant of it with me thinking it would be just perfect there. It smelled very nice indeed… all 15 minutes that I could smell it either on me or on my vSO. I guess, Selva Do Brazi is one of those perfumes that are great to convey the idea of tropics rather than to be used there. Though, with hindsight, maybe it wasn’t that bad considering long car rides… Nah, probably still no.

I also did some testing of new for me perfumes, but I’ll probably leave it for the next post.

Hawaii Big Island Sunset

Do you have any perfumes that you always use for something particular – an event, place or something along these lines?

Images: my own

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What we did in Paris… in less than 48 hours

 

When I planned a three-day … well, I won’t even call it a trip – stopover in Paris I knew it would be not enough even to scratch the surface of everything that this city has to offer to a tourist, a perfumista or a foodie (who I am not but just saying). But when French air traffic controllers’ strike gave me a chance to meet Birgit and Sandra in Vienna at the same time it ensured I would have to revise whatever modest plans I might have had initially for Paris.

From Paris With Love

The lady who rented us the apartment was a little strange: she refused to talk to me on the phone claiming that “I do not see the need to call me. You have all the necessary information, and I am an honest and respectable 61-year French.” Persuasive, right? But I went ahead and signed the contract.

I’m not sure how we would have got into the apartment if it weren’t for Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume who came to Paris on a train earlier (the last-minute change of plans because of the above-mentioned strike) and offered to meet us at the apartment. She was entertaining the landlady and not letting her leave for some important errand while our taxi driver first maneuvered through the Friday traffic and then tried to figure out how to get to the required point on the one-way street (I refused to do it on feet with suitcases!).

After we got in and the landlady left Vanessa and I discussed for a while if the woman could be 60+. We both agreed that even for a Parisian who doesn’t age the same as us, mere mortals, the woman to whom we just paid money for the stay looked suspiciously young… My vSO and I agreed that we weren’t sure what would upset us more – having paid to an impostor or acknowledging that the woman we saw was actually 61.

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They say: Be careful what you wish for. I’d add: be careful what you do not wish for.

While we were planning our itinerary for the rest of the day, I mentioned that I didn’t really need to go to either Guerlain or Serge Lutens stores since I were up to date with the most current offerings and didn’t plan of buying anything there. But since I was in Paris it was just plainly wrong not to take a look at those legendary places…

You can read more about the events that followed that day in Vanessa’s post (the link above) but from me here are two pictures of the famous stores taken from the outside.

Guerlain store in Paris

Serge Lutens store in Paris

Vanessa was such a great company that I didn’t want to let her go. But after the last excuse – helping us to book a taxi drive to the airport for the departure day – we had to say good-byes hoping to meet again one day.

The second (and the only full) day in Paris we spent alternating walking the streets and eating/drinking. In about eleven hours we covered a lot including an incredibly pleasant meeting with Neela Vermeire of Neela Vermeire Creations and the second in two days trip to Jovoy to finish the methodical sniffing Vanessa and I had to halt the day before because of the store closing and to purchase my vacation perfume.

Neela proved to be to the every last bit as nice as all interviews with and stories about her portrait her. I was glad she found time to meet with me despite her busy schedule. Now I look forward to testing the newest perfumes from the line – Mohur Esprit de Parfum and Ashoka – samples of which Neela was kind to bring for me.

Paris

It seems that my vSO enjoyed all the perfume-related interruptions during this trip. Or at least he was a good sport – and I’m grateful to him for that.

Oh, and if you were wondering what perfume I bought to remind me about this – my first – trip to Paris, I’ll tell you without asking you to guess: Bombay Bling! by Neela Vermeire Creations. As I said in my story about three perfumes from the line, “It is a full-bottle worth perfume for me.”

Rusty and Bombay Bling

 

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

Brain Teaser: Matching Flowers to Paintings

 

I have previously mentioned in Three Pieces of Neela Vermeire’s India Puzzle story, I love brain teasers. So even though I’ve previously won a Discovery Set I couldn’t pass by another picture puzzle that Neela Vermeire posted on her Facebook Wall. I found the answer and won “Try your India” trial set. Out of three in the set my favorite perfume is Bombay Bling! I like Trayee and do not mind Mohur. Once my discovery set’s bottles are gone, I’ll either buy another one or will go for a full bottle. Extra 2 ml of each perfume won’t make much difference for me. So I thought it would be a good idea to spread the joy. I asked Neela if she would mind if I held a draw for my readers and transfer my winning to the lucky winner. She didn’t mind. So here we are.

If you a) have never tried these perfumes before, b) sniffed/tried those at the store and now want to try more or c) own samples already but want to test more before deciding, you are eligible. Just tell me which one it is – a, b or c. That’s it. It won’t affect your odds, I’m just curious.

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When I asked Neela about transferring my prize she offered to double the draw. How do you feel about solving a puzzle to be entered into the second draw?

In one of the halls of the de Young museum at the Bouquets to Art exhibition there were two paintings on the wall, one next to the other, and two flower arrangements inspired by those paintings. One of the arrangements, in my opinion, could be easily paired with any of the two paintings.

Caroline de Bassano, Marquise d'Espeuilles by John Singer Sargent

Caroline de Bassano, Marquise d'Espeuilles by John Singer Sargent

Flowers Puzzle Side1

Bouquet (front)

Flowers Puzzle Side 2

Bouquet (back)

My Daughter Dieudonne by William Merritt Chase

My Daughter Dieudonne by William Merritt Chase

Which painting do you think was an inspiration for that bouquet? Click on pictures to get a larger size. It doesn’t matter if you guess it right or not, you’ll be entered into the second draw. If you do not want to be entered into the draw, I’d still want to know your choice of a painting.

Images: paintings from http://www.wikipaintings.org; flowers – my own.

The drawing is closed now.

Three Pieces of Neela Vermeire’s India Puzzle

I love puzzles, quizzes, riddles and tests. I’m not seeking them out actively but when I come across one I might put off everything else and spend unreasonable time solving it.

I learned about Neela Vermeire Creations from several inspiring reviews. Usually when I read reviews for perfumes that I haven’t tested yet I glance over more technical details – notes, creator, etc. – and concentrate on the impressions, associations and a general mood from the perfumes. So all I remembered about that new line was a general favorable feeling.

Being not too active on the Facebook I miss a lot of friends’ updates. Unlike my blogroll, I’m not even trying to catch up. But I just happened to read my News feed When Neela posted a quiz.

The photo below – where is this from? North, south, east, west or central India? It is tough but some of you may know.Puzzle Part I

I had no idea, the picture was too generic and I wasn’t intrigued enough. Then there was a second picture and the next question:

Another hint for the quiz below. Name the place.Puzzle Part II

This time I got hooked, I wanted to solve that quiz. It took some time but I figured it out. I found the answer: it is a ceiling of the ‘Poomukkam’ room in Padmanabhapuram Palace. An interesting fact about this ceiling: there are ninety flowers carved on it, and each of them is unique.

My correct answer earned me a prize. I expected to get a set of samples for the line. Instead Neela Vermeire sent me a discovery set – three 10 ml bottles: Mohur, Trayee and Bombay Bling!

First I felt a little worried: what if I wouldn’t like those? In that case I would have felt much more comfortable if I had been sent just small sample vials… Now after I tried all three perfumes I’m so glad I got those bottles!

For a proper review I want to refer you to A Festival of Colour – Neela Vermeire Trayee, Mohur and Bombay Bling! Perfume Reviews by The Candy Perfume Boy: I can’t do better so I won’t even try. I want to share just a couple of personal impressions for each perfume.

Neela Vermiere Creations Trio

Trayee – is the most complex and sophisticated perfume out of three in the line. And the most tenacious. I enjoy wearing it and will definitely go through the bottle I have. And after that I might go for at least a decant. For even more impressions read enticing review for Trayee by Persolaise.

Mohur – is the most low-key perfume in the line. Though two out of four times I wore Mohur, it surprised me with an unexpected surge of agarwood in the opening. When it calms down it becomes a well-blended flower bouquet on my skin. It is never unpleasant and I suspect it might behave better on somebody else but in my collection it’ll stay, most likely, just for the reference.

Bombay Bling! – is my absolute favorite in the line. It’s so juicy, bright and happy! But despite its playfulness Bombay Bling! feels like a real perfume with an extremely interesting composition and graceful development. It is a full-bottle worth perfume for me.

I also want to mention that even before trying Neela Vermiere Creations perfumes I was very pleased that a new line has been launched with just three perfumes and there are both sample and discovery sets available. I wish more new and established companies Mrs. Vermiere’s lead.

I hope in years to come Neela Vermiere will present us with more pieces to her scented puzzle of India.

As always, feel free to link to your blog’s post if you’ve reviewed these perfumes.

Images: two of Padmanabhapuram Palace – Neela Vermiere, the last one – my own.