Saturday Question: Do You Keep Any Perfume Records? (And My 2021 Year Round-up Entertaining Statistics)

A couple of weeks ago, in another SQ post, Jyotsna suggested this question. And I decided it was a good idea to combine it with my yearly statistics post.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #98:

Do You Keep Any Perfume Records?

Do you have a spreadsheet of your entire collection? Or maybe you’re tracking them somewhere online, as a wardrobe in one of the perfume forums? Do you record what you wear or test? Or, maybe, what you buy?

If yes, how meticulous are you? If no, do you have a desire/urge to do it?

My Answer

As many of you probably know already, I record everything related to my perfume hobby in a database. If anyone hasn’t seen it yet and is curious, in my 2017 Year Round-up post I told more about that database and shared some screenshots. Data that I record there allows me to run these yearly calculations to share with my readers. I try to record what I wear or test daily (in the last year’s statistics post, I provided an infographic that explains wear vs test concept), but some days I don’t get to the home computer where I have that database, so then later I would try to catch up for several days, if I remember what it was.

In 2021, compared to 2020, I wore fewer perfumes (178 vs 210) from fewer brands (79 vs 96) on fewer occasions (291 vs 367). It means that for 2.5 months during 2021 I didn’t wear perfumes. It doesn’t mean that I was completely scentless on those days: if not to count several occasions when I wasn’t feeling well because of the vaccination shots, I used those days to test perfumes new to me or re-test those that I’ve previously tested. But even testing went down in 2021 (compared to 2020): I tested/re-tested 180 perfumes (327) from 68 brands (126).

My traditional Top 10 brands worn chart has the same 7 brands that keep re-appearing in my yearly posts for the last 9 years in slightly different order: Ormonde Jayne, Guerlain, Amouage, Tom Ford, Jo Malone, Chanel and Serge Lutens. The remaining three brands are new on that chart: Puredistance, Olfactive Studio and Masque Milano.

My Stats Year 2021

Nose Prose just did a post on the first week of the project she runs this month: to wear different perfume for each day. When I first read about it, I was almost surprised: how else? I’m so used to my routine of not repeating the same perfume for months, that I forgot that many people, even perfumistas, often rotate through some small subset of perfumes (and I’m not even talking about Brigitte who might wear the same perfume for weeks). This year, out of 178 perfumes that I wore 110 made their appearance just once. And perfume that I wore most often, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, I wore only 6 times (plus 3 times I wore Ta’if Elixir).

The only aspect where I “improved” is the number of 2021 releases that I tested – 38 vs 22 (2020) vs 16 (2019). The list of my Top 5 new releases for 2021 is in the previous SQ post.

 

Now it’s your turn.

 

Do You Keep Any Perfume Records?

Saturday Question: What Are Your Top 5 Perfumes of 2021?

So, we’re in 2022. I think, by now we all learned to be rather cautious than optimistic about the year to unfold. But at the same time, in the beginning of something new (even though in this case it’s quite arbitrary, just a number accepted by a majority as an identifier for the span of time we find ourselves in), it is both customary and easy(ier?) to let yourself to be hopeful. So, let’s hope that the next 12 months will be kinder to those who had it hard in 2021 and at least not worse for those who didn’t suffer from that year much.

That was about life in general. Perfume-wise, in my opinion, 2021 wasn’t that bad. Yes, on the downside, some perfume events had been cancelled, and many of us had less opportunities to sniff something new both locally and while traveling. But at the same time, it felt like we finally got our wish: in 2021, not everyone and their uncle has launched a new perfume brand; and existing brands seemingly slowed down with new releases. And while we still had a lot more new releases than it’s feasible to test and review, somehow it felt less overwhelming (or maybe I just got used to it?).

So, I thought it might be interesting to share our “best of 2021” perfume finds.

Saturday Question #97:

What Are Your Top 5 Perfumes of 2021?

If you tried enough 2021 releases to come up with 5 that you liked, please share those. But if no, you do not have to limit yourself with just new launches: your top 5 might be of new for you perfumes that you tried in 2021 for the first time and liked. Or it can be 5 perfumes that you finally got into your collection in 2021. And if none of these apply (if you were on a strict “no buy” or just didn’t like anything), just give us your top 5 favorites that you wore in 2021.

My Answer

I plan to look into all of my 2021 numbers soon for my traditional Entertaining Statistics post, but I already looked it up and know that I tested 38 perfumes released in 2021 from 29 brands. And among those that I tested, there are enough perfumes that fit this week’s question. And I can even rank them.

#5: Chanel Paris – Edimbourg

While I don’t think I’ll buy Paris – Edimbourg for myself, I liked it, especially on my vSO. So, one day, after he finishes the samples I passed on him, he might get a bottle of it under a Christmas Tree.

#4: Eris Parfums Green Spell

What can I say? I love green perfumes. I’ll finish the sample I’ve got and then will probably get a 10 ml travel spray.

#3: Teo Cabanel Rendez Vous

Randez Vous was my favorite from the Teo Cabanel’s new line. I can see a small bottle in my future.

#2: Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée

Since I reviewed La Dompteuse Encagee, I had a chance to test it in Hawaii and confirmed that I enjoy it in hot/tropical weather. But since, at least under those conditions, it is less tenacious than I would like it to be, it seems that I will “need” a bottle of it.

#1: Puredistance No. 12

I consider Puredistance to be “my brand”: I had a couple of “loves” from them over the years, and most of the rest perfumes were strong “likes.” But each of their last three releases, Gold, Rubikona and now No. 12 (why haven’t I wrote about it yet?!), was making it almost impossible for me to choose my #1 perfume from this brand. But for 2021, No. 12 is my uncontested No. 1.

Puredistance No.12

What Are Your Top 5 Perfumes of 2021?

What I Wore Wednesday: Perfume Advent Calendar 2021, Week 1

The first week of December is behind us (I can’t believe it!), and here’s what my Perfume Advent Calendar helped me to choose for each day:

Day 1: Mona di Orio Vanille Les Nombres d’Or
My perfect vanilla perfume. Boozy, sweet (but not too sweet), resinous. It was symbolic that I randomly picked this one for the first day of wearing my favorite perfumes while working from home because that was one of the perfumes that I couldn’t wear to the office for a long time because my manager complained that it induced his headache (I don’t think so: I’m sure it was stress and weather, but since he was a nice guy, I stopped wearing Mdo’s Vanille to work).

Rusty and Mona di Orio Vanille
Day 2: Amouage Memoir Woman
Such a regal perfume! I enjoyed wearing it for the whole day and then could smell some remaining traces on my pillowcase for the next couple of days. Rusty, on the other hand, wasn’t amused by the fact that I used his daytime office space for my Perfume Advent Calendar and then added a strongly smelling bottle on top to take a picture.

Rusty and Amouage Memoir
Day 3: Chanel Coromandel EdT
One day when I finish this decant, I might check out the current then EdP. But for now I’m content: it’s a great perfume for colder days, not that many of which we have here.

Rusty and Chanel Coromandel
Day 4: Naomi Goodsir Or du Serail
Last year I published my story for this perfume: Better than a New-Car Scent. Beautifully complex composition that brings me joy every time I wear it. That day Rusty didn’t want to cooperate.

Naomi Goodsir Or Du Serail
Day 5: Serge Lutens Chergui
My December wouldn’t be right without Chergui. I’m sure this perfume doesn’t require an introduction, but if you weren’t around three years ago, you might find entertaining my post Almost Newcomb’s Paradox about mysteriously multiplying boxes.

Serge Lutens Chergui
Day 6: Mugler Angel Taste of Fagrance
This was one of the days in December when I didn’t leave it to the fate: I “pre-loaded” the bag #6 with this perfume’s name because I knew that I would be publishing our joint blogging Scent Semantics post, in which I pared this fragrance with the word “Angelic.”

Rusty and Mugler Taste of Fragrance
Day 7: Chanel Coco
My bottle is 11 years old (and back then I bought it new from Nordstrom), so I should have enough of this perfume for the next 10 years. But I still wonder: how much is today’s version different from what I smell here?

Rusty and Chanel Coco

And if you didn’t see enough pictures of Rusty, a reminder that I’m doing the Advent CaTendar on my Instagram account (@undina_ba) – a count up to Rusty’s 13th Birthday on Christmas Eve Day.

 

Images: my own

Sycomore by CHANEL

Sycomore by CHANEL

Hey Crew. CHANEL is one of the worlds most iconic brands. The marketing team is second to none. It’s hard to stay current and afloat in the world of fashion. Let alone doing it in the 21st century. With the historic stories of Gabrielle Chanel and her personal and political choices, any other brand would have been cancelled or censured. For more information read Hal Vaughan’s book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. She wasn’t alone according to this article. There has been some extra hype with No 5 turning 100 years old in 2021 and the release of the homewares inspired collectable Factory 5 Collection. They also manage to pump out some impressive fragrance in their Les Exclusif line. If you’re new to the perfume craving they are a good place to smell some beautifully crafted fragrance, accessible in most large department stores.

Sycomore by CHANEL EdP (2016)

Sycamore by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, Spices, Pink pepper, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Violet, Vetiver, Juniper, Cypress

Grassy greenness, the sweet shiver of pink pepper, the warm enveloping and silky smooth pairing of tobacco and sandalwood are all front and centre at the opening of Sycomore EdP. Less brilliant and sparkling than its EdT predecessor but warmer and more wearable by far. This feels more luxurious without the razza mattaz, showbiz style entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the EdT but there is a place in my heart for the EdP. Also, as more proof I own this small bottle of EdP and it wasn’t even on my list as an EdT.

The heart becomes a lightly spiced fresh hewn wood. Not a chest thumping, crackly, modern niche experience of woods. Here there is air between the notes. You aren’t in the sawmill, or even the lumberyard. It’s more like you’ve had a wood delivery at home and you can smell it as you enter and leave the house. I don’t know what it is but I also smell wood polish, like those lovely waxes that feed and nourish your wood table.

Dry down gets woodsier and woodsier as it fades over hours. Interestingly people around me can smell this long after I become nose blind. A perfect scent for those times you need to be softly fragrant for long periods of time.

Sycamore by CHANEL EdP

Sycomore is a modern, unisex fragrance. No matter that it was originally created in 1930. I never smelled the Ernest Beaux version but Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake have done a beautiful job of revamping the EdT.

Have you spent time with any of the CHANEL Sycomores?
Portia x

(EDIT: I spelled Sycomore as SycAmore through the whole post and then was pulled up. It is in fact SycOmore. Fixed now)

Saturday Question: Are You Tempted by the Chanel Factory 5 Collection?

To mark the centennial anniversary of THE perfume, Chanel produced seventeen new N°5-scented bath and body products with black and white utilitarian packaging inspired by everyday objects – refill stand-up pouch, tea tin, water bottle, gouache tubes, paint can and so forth. All these are limited edition, some are available online, some in pop-up boutiques only, some are already sold out. Which brings us to today’s question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #71:

Are You Tempted by the Chanel Factory 5 Collection?

Have you bought any of the objects? Do you plan to? Are you tempted?

Bonus questions: Do you have N°5 in your collection already? Do you like it?

My Answer

For years I tried Chanel No 5 again and again hoping I would “grow up” to like it. I still don’t. I learned to appreciate it, and I even enjoy smelling it from others. But whenever I try it on my skin, I end up slightly disappointed that it keeps leaving me cold. I tried both modern and vintage versions, EdT and EdP, the original one and all the flankers. I kind of could wear No 5 L’Eau, but I do not love it.

Chanel No5

And still, I’m tempted by this extremely strange collection. Luckily for me, the item that I wanted the most – the tea tin – isn’t available online, and none of the designated boutiques that are supposed to carry this collection is around where I live (I was surprised that not all Chanel boutiques got it!). Paint can is also not available. So, I’m looking at the soap in a tin, but for a small tin $45 seems too much (I don’t really care for the soap, I’m attracted to the tin). From the practical side, shower gel is the best product for me: using in the shower the scent that I do not mind but do not wear as perfume is perfect (otherwise the scent gets to mundane, and I somehow value perfume less), and it is still available online. But for me a dish soap bottle is one of the least attractive objects in that collection.

And then I started thinking… Maybe I should buy a bottle of actual perfume? It’s a new redesigned and, if I understand it correctly, limited edition bottle. And maybe – just maybe, I have absolutely no knowledge that it is or even could be the case – since it’s a special and limited edition, they’ve used a better quality ingredients (it’s wishful thinking, I know). So, should I finally get No 5 or L’Eau into my collection?

Of course, if I keep thinking for two long, the decision will be made for me: I expect the collection to sell out soon. Will I regret missing this collection? I wish it was No 19 or Coco – I would have pounced already, on the first day of the release. But on the other hand, No 5 is such an iconic perfume…

 

Are You Tempted by the Chanel Factory 5 Collection?

 

Image: from the brand’s site

Chanel Paris – Edimbourg

Last weekend, as I stopped by the perfume counter at my local Nordstrom to quickly pick up a birthday gift for my friend (a nice Diptyque candle, if you’re curious), I experienced a light shock: I discovered a new addition to Les Eaux de Chanel collection.

Of course, it wasn’t the fact of its release itself that surprised me (after all, it’s the fifth installment in the series in less than that many years). What startled me and even made a little sad was that I was completely unaware of this release happening. Yes, I’ve been busy with work and spent even less than usual time on NST or other perfume-related platforms. But still… It shows how fragmented this world has become since the number of blogs and both people writing and reading them declined. Can you imagine missing a new release from Chanel (or, let’s say, Serge Lutens) five-six years ago?

I asked the friendly SA O., from whom I usually buy those rare perfume-related items that I buy at Nordstrom, if she could give me a vial so that I could make myself a sample (since they are not allowed to do it any more), and she conspiratorially told me that she had a real sample for me; but that, probably, it would be more to my vSO’s liking (who patiently waited not too far away for me to finish purchasing the gift and talking to O.) than to my. Than she stopped herself (probably remembering all the trainings they are getting these days) and said (without much conviction though): “Or you might like it…” That was how I got to try Paris – Edimbourg sample.

Chanel Paris-Edimbourg

She was right on both accounts. I kind of like it. And it is quite masculine.

I have to correct myself. Paris – Edimbourg is not masculine-masculine cologne that would be classified as such unequivocally. But compared even just to perfumes in that collection, not even talking about other Chanel perfumes, Paris – Edimbourg is the most masculine one. Had you smelled it blindly, you would have thought Atelier Cologne before thinking Chanel.

Notes (according to Fragrantica): juniper berries, cypress, lavender, cedar, vetiver, vanilla and musk.

Perfumer: Olivier Polge

I can clearly smell juniper. Lavender in Paris – Edimbourg isn’t as prominent as it is in several other Chanel perfumes. And vetiver is much tamer than it usually is in masculine perfumes. It is fresh, uplifting, slightly woody (very slightly) and quite naturally smelling, which these days pleasantly surprises me since more and more perfume brands seem to have discovered financial joys of creating escentric-molecules-style perfumes. In addition to that, it is reasonably priced compared to many other modern offerings.

All in all, I’m not disappointed. I like Paris – Edimbourg, and I could wear something like that in summer, but I prefer other, more feminine numbers from that collection. So, I’ll pass the sample to my vSO, but I do recommend checking it out the next time you find yourself close to Chanel counter.

 

Image: my own

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Hi ULG, Coco is one of my long term faves. It’s also a very close friends signature. There are so many happy memories associated with this perfectly poised far east dream inspired perfume. Since the mid 1980s Coco has surrounded me. Back then it was friends Mums and sometimes an adventurous young woman. It’s the fragrance I associate with smelling a lot of in the department stores for a couple of decades. In Australia CHANEL counters are mostly at the front of the beauty section and until Coco Mademoiselle came along it was like a thick miasma around the squirt bitches (men and women). Today is Monday and I’m cleaning the house. My friend Kerri B noted on a FaceBook SOTD post that she was wearing Coco so I decided to join her in glamour. Sometimes scenting for success even makes the turbines of tedium sing a happy refrain.

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, Pimento, Coriander, Frangipani
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Orange blossom, Ylang-ylang, Cinnamon, Iris, Angelica
Base: Patchouli, Tonka bean, Benzoin, Frankincense, Amber, Musk, Honey, Civet

Here’s the thing with Coco. It is its very own scent. I love it too much to really parse it deeply. Somehow it feels like the magic may dissolve a little if I look too closely and work out the tricks. Coco smells like luxury, travel, wisdom and sensuality. Though it is exciting and playful I also feel remarkably calm and poised when I wear it. Almost as if the fragrance has so much drama I can let my natural penchant for it go, just a little. Enough to get a really deep breath and exhale.

Whenever I hug a friend wearing Coco it’s one pf the fragrances I can usually pick. That’s another reason I love it.

Todays wearing while doing laundry, dusting and vacuuming in the 30+C (around 100F) heat was so divine. Loads of pepper and cinnamon over a honeyed, resinous amber base. It wafted off me in great, glorious gouts and I reapplied four times throughout the day to get the thrill all over again.

Has Coco ever been your thing?
Portia xx

 

Centenary Perfumes

Centenary Perfumes

Hi there UGL, It’s Portia and I am looking at four things released in 1921 that are still widely available. Yep, Centenary Perfumes! My search goes only as far as Fragrantica so it’s probably not a full list. I really want to hear if you know of others in the comments. Yeah, a century of continuous production. Amazing, right? Let’s look eh?

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

CHANEL No 5

Most of us are well aware of CHANEL No 5. One of the most talked about and bought fragrances in the world, still. Known in the industry as “the monster”. It’s allure seems so timeless and is an easy, sensible, luxurious gift choice for flummoxed husbands and lovers the world over. The aldehydic floral that changed the game of perfumery. That it still smells pretty much like itself 100 years later is a miracle of modern technology.

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Emeraude by Coty

I had a small bottle of vino-ish Emeraude early on in my collecting saga. My memory is that it screeched at me. Maybe it was off or fake or maybe it’s just not for me. Green is my favourite colour so you can imagine how sad I was. There are people who swear by it and that’s why it’s still in production. It’s a hard no from me.

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Habanita by Molinard

Habanita is a weird one. I had a bottle. Loved wearing it. Somewhere along the line I sold or gifted it away. Now I have a small carded sample vial the I sniff when I need a fix. Who doesn’t love a vintage style fruity floral amber with loads of oak moss in the base?

Welcome from 1921 to 2021

Maja by Myrurgia

I’ve never owned a bottle of Maja perfume but to this very day I still have some soaps. My Mum always had Maja soaps in her knicker drawers. Me too. That spicy carnation, orange blossom and rose and amber+++ base is glorious in the soaps. They hold their scent to the very last sliver too when I finally use them.

So Happy 100th Birthday to these beauties.
Do you know of others?
Portia xx

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Hey Crew, 2020 has been so unexpected. Here in Australia it started with bushfires, then we got floods. The world got C19 and we watched the USA plunge into anarchy. Brexit has been exactly the shit show that any person with an ounce of rationale could see coming. While all this was going on my business collapsed completely, leaving myself and the five drag queens who work for Turbo Trivia jobless for months. Many people whose lives were previously affluent, the world over, find themselves in dire straits and it’s terrifying to watch and live.

I’m one of the seriously lucky few. Jin continued working through the whole crisis, though only about 2/3 of his regular income. He has been incredibly generous with his money, gave me a weekly stipend and paid for all our groceries. The Australian government gave me a Job Keeper handout that kept me paying my half of the major bills. Quite a turnaround from being the major breadwinner in the house and my ego took a small battering.

For any of you doing it really hard in these times my heart goes out to you and wish you a speedy financial recovery in 2021.

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

There were the usual squizillion launches this year and I was fortunate enough to get to smell quite a few of them. Libertine Parfumerie in Sydney is Australia’s largest niche distributor and they have kept me in the loop. PHEW! Here are a few fragrant things that I really loved.

Amouage Meander comes in a celadon green bottle and had me sold before I even smelled it. Thankfully it is as beautiful as it looks. Dark, resinous iris with interesting floral highlights. I’ll grab a bottle when I’m more flush.

Amouage Interlude Black Iris is mainly powdery iris and amber with a very generous nod to the original but nowhere near as iconic, large or as resinous. I was given a Press Bottle and am loving it.

Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow is a take on the rose/oud/incense trope. HUGE! For most perfumistas it will be an unnecessary addition to their wardrobe because it’s not a very new story. I really like it though and it smells different in village than up close. Worth a sniff.

Le Lion de CHANEL was the biggest hype train here in Sydney of the year. A Shalimar style offering with extra labdanum rich amber in the whole fragrance. Many people find it leather or incense heavy too. A different ride for every wearer. To make it less of an investment I hosted a split.

Maison Crivelli Fleur Diamantine from 2018 made it’s way to my nose. WOW! One of the most beautiful fragrances I’ve ever smelled. Sparkling white floral with rich warmth and surprising minty undertones. It’s a freaking knockout and very high son my full bottle wish list.

Miller et Bertaux Pimiento is the first cut of a capsicum/bell pepper on a summer day. This oddball design duo always manages to create beautiful, weird surprises. The base is a little generic but the opening and heart are fabulous. Libertine gave me a Press Bottle of this beauty too.

Trussardi Behind The Curtain Piazza Alla Scala is a powdery leather. Beautiful but not stunningly original. The racing green bottle with the greyhound cap had me at hello. Thankfully it smells amazing and I found it on an Australian discounters for an amazing price.

So what were the things that grabbed your attention in 2020?
Portia xx

Which 20 Would Portia Keep?

Hi there Crew,

Recently Undina (What Are Your Top N Perfumes?) and Tara (My Perfume Collection – Top 15) have done their “which would I keep” posts, following on from from Vanessa (‘Be more Undina’). After you’ve read this go have a squiz at theirs too. Who doesn’t love lists, right? So, I’m thinking “Damnit! I want to do this too.” It’s such a mind blowing, freak me right out, dumb assed thing to want to try because invariably my head explodes. Then the next day I instantly start second guessing my choices and that can rattle around my head for a couple of weeks before my brain lets it go. BUT! I also love doing it, just to see what my head and heart come up with this time.

Jin and I have often talked of buying a van and travelling through Europe for a couple of years. As part of that adventure my mind instantly goes to “How many perfumes would I take and which would they be?” So I’m kind of experienced at it now. Problem is some of them change, HA! Impossible, right. Usually I say 25 bottles and a bunch of samples/decants but in all honesty I think it will more likely be 10. So today I’m formalising my ideas for you all and myself. Subject to change at a moments notice.

You might want to grab a cuppa or a boozy bevy. This post is LONG! Continue reading