Serge Lutens Boxeuses: Hanging Up My Gloves

Several days ago Tara (A Bottled Rose) linked her great review of Serge LutensBoxeuses to my post from 2014 (Serge Lutens Boxeuses: Round One – I won). I remembered what I wrote back then in the conclusion of the story:

The year isn’t over yet and it looks like I’ll need to consider either changing my job or buying a bottle of Boxeuses

Since the situation in 2015 didn’t improve, I welcomed a bottle of Boxeuses into my collection and it proved to be one of my Top 10 perfumes that got the most skin time in 2015, which on its own attests to what a year it was.

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Yesterday I wore Boxeuses on my last day at my job of many-many-many years. The irony was that it wasn’t even just symbolic: I actually attended my last meeting of the type, for which this perfume was meant.

Changing jobs after that many years at the same place is a scary step. So even though I made this important (and long overdue) decision a while ago, it took me some time to go through with it. I liked many aspects of that job and people with whom I worked day-to-day. I’ll miss them. I’ll miss a great view from the window of my office. I’ll miss traditions I’ve created and fostered over the years (I’ve told on my blog a couple of stories before – about Halloween Nail Decoration contest and holiday ornaments). I’ll miss other small things that aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things but still are important on the personal level.

Next week I’m starting a new job. As with everything new, there is an excitement, worries and, of course, hopes. Even though I like Boxeuses, in future I hope to wear this perfume just for pleasure of experiencing the scent and not as a coping strategy. I also hope that maybe this time I will be able to make this beautiful orchid – a farewell gift from a coworker – bloom more than once. As the first step I should probably hide both from Rusty.

Rusty and Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Images: my own

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Serge Lutens Boxeuses: Round One – I won

A while ago I did a post on several perfumes’ performance under extreme temperatures. As posting a picture from my Bikram yoga studio was out of question, I used a shot of Kathleen Turner from Body Heat (and mentioned her in the post). Since then different combinations of “Kathleen Turner “, “hot” and “body” brought to my blog more than six hundred visitors – just twice less than my blog’s traffic from the word “perfume” among the search terms, which is ironic since it is a perfume blog. And, as I checked out, not a single visitor came to Undina’s Looking Glass by searching for “Serge Lutens” or “Boxeuses”, both of which were mentioned (and tagged!) in the same post with the hot actress named above.

It’s not my attempt to improve my search engine ratings or attract more visitors (I’m not sure if I got even a single returning reader from native search traffic) but rather a quest to improve the balance of these search terms out there that I influenced unintentionally.

Radio Pictures Chorus Girls

Have you ever tried explaining to somebody who has almost no understanding in something that you know well why it takes exactly the amount of time you say it will and can’t be done twice faster? I do not write much about my day job on my blog but to give you a better idea of how I felt I want to mention that it’s a technology-related job in a non-technological company.

Last twelve months were extremely busy and stressful for me: we were working on a big project. It started with a series of meetings during which I had to fight for the realistic schedule. Preparing to those meetings was nerve-wracking: I knew the project would be a much more complex than my audience could comprehend or was willing to acknowledge; I knew they would be pushing for a shorter cycle and expecting an enthusiastic “Yes, we can” but I just couldn’t promise them something that wasn’t achievable.

One morning while dressing up for the Big Meeting I tried to choose what perfume to wear. Normally I would wear something discreet (e.g. Chanel No 19 parfum) but I knew that meeting would be a fight. Boxeuses! I do not wear perfumes as mood enhancers, I consider them ornamental. But in this case the name itself made me smile: it fit just perfectly!

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

I’m not sure what it was – a combination of the birch tar smokiness and dark fruit sweetness, an extra smile I got from the perfume name or my brilliantly performed presentation but I won that round and my schedule was approved.

Since then Boxeuses by Serge Lutens became my perfume for tough meetings. With that complex project my technical group was right on schedule while the data group, the manager of which was one of those pushing for unrealistic deadlines, spent extra seven weeks after that finishing their part. It took me a small-decant-worth number of unpleasant meetings and a lot of efforts.

The year isn’t over yet and it looks like I’ll need to consider either changing my job or buying a bottle of Boxeuses

 

For real reviews read Grain de Musc, Bois de Jasmin and Kafkaesque.

Images: Women boxing on a roof, 1938 – I’m not sure who is the author, but here I found the best information about it; perfume – hajussuri (from whom I also received the decant that got me through this year – thank you!)

In the Search for the Perfect Leather

 

It was one of the first cool days of the last fall. We were driving home after a pleasant evening at our friends’ house. I kept sniffing the air thinking to myself: I haven’t noticed before that my leather jacket smells that nice… Too nice… What’s going on?

That’s when I realized that the smell was coming from a blotter sticking out of the vent grid where I affixed it several hours earlier.

 

Tom Ford Tuscan Leather

 

That evening before going to the party I stopped by Neiman Marcus to sniff several perfumes. I didn’t want to put anything on my skin to avoid arriving to the party smelling like a perfume counter. So after sniffing from a blotter Tom Ford’s Tuscan Leather (I missed it somehow in my previous tests) and talking for a while to the SA I asked him: “How does it develop on the skin?” thinking of asking next to make me a sample. In response he silently took a fresh blotter, sprayed it with Tuscan Leather and handed it to me… I was so amused that all I could do was to thank him and leave.

I think that Tuscan Leather is a gorgeous masculine fragrance. Can a woman pull it off? Of course! I would have worn it myself if I haven’t had somebody else to put it on. My vSO likes it so I’ll use a decant I have on him. And then I’ll want more.

I like leather perfumes but do not own too many of them. Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d’Empire – a bottle that I bought for my vSO (he likes it a lot) but he doesn’t mind sharing.

The only full bottle of a “leather” perfume that I have for myself is Cuir de Russie by Chanel. It’s such an elegant perfume!

 

Chanel Cuir De Russie PdE Cuir Ottoman

 

Tabac Aurea  by Sonoma Scent Studio doesn’t smell too much of leather but it’s a very pleasant dry woodsy scent that works well on my skin in cooler weather. Once I’m done with my 2.5 ml spray bottle I’ll probably get a purse spray.

Boxeuses by Serge Lutens – one of my Bikram yoga favorites and recently I discovered that I liked it as a sleep scent as well. I haven’t tried wearing Boxeuses sprayed but once my roll-on sample is empty I’ll want a decant of this strange and interesting perfume.

Another Serge Lutens’ leather perfume, of which I have a decant already, Cuir Mauresque unfortunately doesn’t work for me. I tried to wear it several times and still no. It smells harsh, dirty and somewhat unpleasant on me.

I reviewed Scent No.16 Tomato Leather by Cognoscenti a couple of months ago (You say ‘Tomato’, I say ‘Leather’). I still like it but I’ll wait for Cognoscenti to release their perfumes in a smaller bottle.

I didn’t like Traversee du Bosphore by L’Artisan Parfumeur when I first tried it but it grew on me. It wears nicely in warm weather and one day it might join my collection.

Another perfume I wasn’t a fan of initially – Bottega Veneta. Last year when everybody praised it I just shrugged my shoulders. What changed my mind was me testing recently Cuir Amethyste by Giorgio Armani. It started harsh and too leather-y to my taste but then mellowed down to a very smooth and buttery suede accord that reminded me of Bottega Veneta. I thought I found another smell-alike for my Déjà vu series but while I was trying to compare notes (there are just two in common among declared) I found out that the same nose, Michel Almairac, was behind both. I’ll see if I need more of Bottega Veneta Parfum once my mini bottle is gone.

Cuir de Lancome by Lancome – everybody seems to love this one. I want to like it but I’m not sure if I do. Sometimes I think that maybe my sample is off.  Nevertheless, I want this bottle in my collection – not that there was any logic in that.

 

Leather Perfumes Samples

 

Other perfumes with prominent leather that I’ve tried and liked: Cuir Beluga by Guerlain (it’s growing on me, I want to get a decant to test more), Cuirelle by Ramon Monegal (starts a little too sweet but develops nicely; needs more testing preferably from a spray bottle), Napa Noir by Six Scents (I had a tiny, one application sample, but I liked what I smelled), Lonestar Memories by Tauer Perfumes (have to get a new sample since the one I have become too concentrated as a result of evaporation) and Vanille Cuir by M.Micallef (something appeals to me in this fragrance; I’ll keep testing it and see if I want to werat it).

Perfumes that didn’t work for me: Leather Oud by Dior (it’s nice on my vSO but a little too much on me), Songe d’un Bois d’été by Guerlain (it’s too harsh on my skin; I find something pleasant two-three hours into the development but I won’t wait for that long to enjoy my perfume), Mon Cuir by Ramon Monegal (a strange combination of leather and what I think of as a traditional men cologne) and Kelly Calèche by Hermès (I can smell no leather at all. Do I have a wrong sample?)

What is your favorite leather perfume?

 

Images: my own.

Body Heat: Perfumes under Extreme Temperatures

There are people who love running, playing tennis or swimming. I heard they can experience a withdrawal if they have to skip several training sessions. It’s not my story. I hate exercising as long as I can remember myself. I do engage in different activities but do it out of the necessity only: if I could get Kathleen Turner’s body and don’t worry about my health without exercising I wouldn’t (I wonder which perfume bottle she’s holding in that scene).

Kathleen Turner in Body HeatWell, since a lean gene wasn’t one of those passed to me from my parents I do my part in at least keeping myself healthy.

At least as much as physical activity, if not more, I dislike heat. I don’t like cold either.  My comfortable zone is somewhere around 24°C (75°F).

All that makes it hard to explain why out of all available types of physical activities I chose Bikram yoga – a system of yoga practiced in a room heated to 40°C (105°F). I’ve been practicing Bikram yoga (with some breaks) for 18 months. I still hate every minute of a 90 minutes class. But I plan to keep doing it.

For me yoga is just an exercise. I do not subscribe to the philosophy. If I follow the breathing instructions I do it only if it helps to maintain the posture. I do not try to clear my mind and concentrate on what I’m doing. I’m not pushing myself too hard. I’m just trying to survive. One of the things that help me through the class is thinking about perfumes – about which I read or plan to write or which I want to try.

For a long time I tried not to wear any perfumes to my classes thinking they wouldn’t perform well in high heat or would bother me or my neighbors. And then one day I didn’t think about the class I had scheduled in the evening. I wore a perfume to the office and even re-applied it mid-day. By the time I started the first breathing exercise I forgot about it. And when my body heated up enough suddenly the perfume started blooming on my skin. It was magical. It was much more interesting than what I experienced earlier that day with the same perfume. It was Serge LutensBoxeuses.

Since then I started experimenting with different perfumes. I apply just a little bit of a perfume in the décolleté area and on my wrists an hour before I go to the class and then during JanuShirasana or Pavanamuktasana I inhale wafts of the hot air mixed with moisture and perfume particles. It makes my classes go by faster and gives them some additional purpose.

Perfumes that performed the best under such strange conditions: another Serge Lutens’ creation – Ambre Sultan, Ubar by Amouage and Alahine by Teo Cabanel.

Tom Ford’s Arabian Wood, Chergui by Serge Lutens and Mitzah by Dior were very nice but didn’t survive Garudasana (approx. 15 minutes into the class). All three were applied from a dab vial so maybe a more generous spray application would produce a better effect – I’ll re-try them when I get those into my collection.

No 19 Poudre by Chanel didn’t work at all. Not possessing a remarkable staying power as is, it disappeared from my skin by the time I unfolded my yoga mat. It was a strange experiment but I thought that maybe it had some hidden powers. It didn’t.

I remember reading on one of the blogs that I always read a topic about a “treadmill scents” (or something to that effect) but now I can’t find that post. If an owner recognizes it from the description or if you covered this topic in your blog, please post a link.

What is your torture of choice and what perfumes (if any) make it more enjoyable?

Image: Kathleen Turner in Body Heat by allposters.com

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