[N]SFW Perfumes

Flying on a plane, attending a symphony concert or visiting people in hospital – in all these circumstances we know the space limitations and are trying not to arrive in a nuclear cloud of a killer perfume. But all these situations happen once in a while so it’s easier to be mindful of the surroundings. When it comes to wearing perfumes to the office it gets trickier: we spend there a huge part of our life and we spend it mostly with the same people.

Many years ago I had a co-worker R. who really liked Victoria’s Secret Dream Angels Halo. I liked it too and even bought a small bottle of it, but I never wore it to work because everybody knew it was R.’s perfume: you could tell she was in the office on the second floor once you opened an entrance door on the first floor. As I said, I liked the scent but I was happy that we worked in separate offices. Since she was a senior person (both age- and position-wise) nobody dared to tell her she was going overboard with application. I don’t know if she was done with the bottle or somebody finally decided to speak up, but her next perfume wasn’t as loud. But for me it was a lesson well learned and for many years, long before my perfumista times, I classified all of the perfumes I wore or tried as safe-for-work or not-safe-for-work. DKNY Women, Calvin Klein Truth, Cacharel Noa fleur and later several Jo Malone‘s bottles were my SFW perfumes back then.

Rusty and Cacharel Noa Fleur

During the descent down the rabbit hole, for a while I used most of the time I was awake for testing perfumes. And since testing meant putting on my skin something, with which I was unfamiliar, for both my and my co-workers’ sake I applied them very sparingly (besides, have you seen those Luckyscent’s samples?!). So even though many of the perfumes I tested during that period weren’t particularly SFW-type, with a careful application they didn’t bother anybody much (bar a couple of accidents with a crushed vial and mistaken identity).

But after testing 356 perfumes in one year, I realized that I wasn’t wearing my favorite perfumes from the rapidly growing collection. So gradually I switched to wearing to work perfumes I love and testing in evenings or during weekends. And that’s when I discovered that not wearing Angel or Fracas (other than maybe in homeopathic dozes) wasn’t enough: I had to take into account personal dislikes of people with whom I was sharing space daily for 8-9 hours.

Trying to be a good person, I asked all my office-mates to let me know if any of my perfumes would bother them: with the size of my perfume wardrobe I could afford not to wear some of them, right? Over time I learned that one of my co-workers disliked Tom Ford Amber Absolute (“too kitchen spicy”) and Jo Malone‘s Sweet Milk. I had to let him go: who dislikes Sweet Milk?!! (Ok, just kidding, there were multiple disciplinary infractions.) Another co-worker said that Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient was too strong and “smelled as in Men’s department at Macy’s.” Though I was sad when she left (not because of my perfumes choice!), I was glad I could wear my Encens Mythique d’Orient again.

Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient

Several years ago during our short perfume sniffing walk with Birgit and Sandra (Olfactoria’s Travels) in Vienna in one of the shops Birgit attracted my attention to the brand. Her comment was along the line that she didn’t like it in particular but it was one of the brands that weren’t widely available elsewhere. Prompted by her an SA handed me a test strip with perfume – Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik.

We visited four shops that day and tried numerous perfumes but that single paper strip came with me back to the U.S. via Paris. Birgit was right: three years ago Shaik wasn’t easy to find in the U.S. But I still managed to get a tiny vial of Chic Shaik No 30 from one of the decanter sites and later tracked and bought a bottle.

Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik

When I unpacked my purchase, I couldn’t believe what I saw. Pictures cannot properly convey how bizarre everything about this perfume’s packaging was – from a flimsy box à la Ghirardelli-chocolate-packet with that awful bow to the horrendous bottle adornments; with “FROM THE PRINCE IN YOUR LIFE” etched into an unexpectedly good quality coffin-like leather case as an apogee of this disaster. I’m not familiar with Middle Eastern aesthetics so I might be off with my impressions but I do not understand this etsy-worth chic for expensive perfume.

Packaging and name aside (people, you have to be Chanel for the numbering to work and even Amouage got most of us confused with their Roman numerals!), I like Chic Shaik No 30. It combines two of my favorite characteristics: it’s both floral and amber perfume. The brand’s site doesn’t provide any useful information so I’m going with Fragrantica’s notes: bergamot, cardamom, passion fruit, rose, jasmine, patchouli, vanilla, ambergris and tonka bean. As usual, my nose isn’t sensitive enough to recognize most of them but I enjoy the composition.

Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik

I thought that with a light application Chic Shaik No 30 was a perfectly SFW perfume. But a co-worker with whom I used to share the office took a strong dislike to it. Surprisingly, she pinpointed exactly what bothered her about if: she said it smelled like a souk. She didn’t protest any of my other perfumes, so I had to respect her pet peeve.

I wore Chic Shaik No 30 on my first day at the new job. So far no complaints but only time will tell.

Did you come across any perfume that you considered SFW but got complaints, unfavorable comments or some form of non-verbal disapproval from a co-worker?

 

Images: my own

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Entertaining Statistics: 2014 Year Round-up

Year 2014 wasn’t the best year in my life, most of all because some of the negative events can’t be considered even educational. But still it wasn’t all bad and I’m grateful for the good things and look forward to more of those this year.

We’ve got some rain in the last two months of 2014. That hasn’t solved our drought problem but made it a bit less severe and gave us hope.

We got a chance to spend time with one of the friends from our youth whom we haven’t seen for many years. He hasn’t changed much and we already plan our future visits.

I had a relatively close encounter with charming Hugh Laurie.

I enjoyed many mini-trips to the surrounding wine regions; one of them with thoughtful and endlessly generous with her support Suzanne (Eiderdown Press) and her husband.

I received an extremely touching gift from Daisy (coolcookstyle) and hajusuuri (a spontaneous perfume lover who became a contributor on my blog).

I took an obscene number of perfumes to the Hawaii vacation (I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did).

I had good time perfume shopping with Natalie (Another Perfume Blog).

And, finally, despite all the work-related stress and busy schedule I had a wonderful holiday season, which culminated in the one of the most delightful New Year celebrations at our friends’ house in Austin.

NY 2014 Purrmaid

Now let’s see how my 2014 looks in perfume terms (numbers in parentheses are from 2013, for comparison where applicable).

Perfume Testing

In 2014 I tested1 even less perfumes than in years before. It isn’t a complaint, I think I’m testing enough: I pay attention not just to new releases or even perfumes new to me but also I’m revisiting some of the previously tested perfumes. I tested 299 (321) perfumes from 108 (107) brands on 391 (461) occasions. This year there were also fewer perfumes that I’ve tried for the first time – 147 (185) and only 55 (fifty-five!) of them were created in 2014. It’s less than, according to Parfumo, has been released by now from the beginning of this year. Probably I could add 15-20 mainstream perfumes that I smelled at a store on a paper strip and never went for a sample or skin test. But still it’ll barely scratch the surface of the last year’s new releases. 2,646! Can you believe it?! It’s a huge number of new releases and I tested 2% of them. Out of those 55, I liked – more or less – just 11 (20% of tested) but I would consider wearing only 6 (~10%) of them and, most likely, not from a full bottle purchase.

I have a feeling I’ll test even less in 2015: with endless new releases who can follow them?

Perfume Samples

Perfume Wearing

Since I usually end up not liking most of the perfumes I test and, at the same time, the number of perfumes I like and own is enough to wear a new one every day for several months, same as the year before, I mostly wore2 perfumes from my collection (bottles and decants) while using samples just for testing or the final decision stage before [not] buying the perfume I thought I liked. In 2014 I had a better rotation of perfumes than the year before – I wore 156 (142) perfumes from 61 (54) brands – but I used perfumes less often – just on 341 (355) occasions.

Stats 2014: Most Worn Brands

Eight out of twelve brands I wore the most this year are the same as for two previous years, which isn’t a big surprise: those are my favorite brands and I have those perfumes in my collection. More interesting are those brands that moved up. Two out of four got that high with a single perfume from each of the brands: Rajasthan by Etro (I told its story in the How many perfumistas does it take to … post) and Chic Shaik No 30 by Shaik (its story is still waiting to be written). The third brand, Lancome, made it also mostly thanks to one perfume – my first and everlasting perfume love Climat (I bought a back-up bottle and started wearing it more often) but there was one more perfume – Mille et Une Roses – that contributed to the statistics. The last new player on my yearly Wheel of Fortune chart is By Kilian. I finally found several perfumes in this line that I like to wear: Amber Oud, Prelude to Love and Love & Tears (and there are several more promising candidates).

Perfume Statistics

It’s getting harder to come up with new silly aspects of our hobby to present in numerical form for this monthly series. I realize that many of my current readers haven’t read all the previous posts and those who have, most likely, won’t remember each of them, but I still couldn’t bring myself to repeat exactly the same topic. Because of that there were fewer posts based just on my personal perfume-related habits (Perfumes Tested in 2014 by Year Released, How many perfumistas I met in RL, TwitterCounter’s Predictions vs. Reality) and more of those, input for which I asked from you (Ten Niche Brands You Need To Know, What is the main reason for your spontaneous perfume purchase?, 10 Most Popular Brands (based on Olfactoria’s Travels Monday Question), To Wear or Not to Wear a perfume you used to love but don’t any longer if there is no other choice?, Perfume Shopping Mecca, Favorite Amber Perfumes).

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Come back in a month to see if I could think of anything new to count. Hopefully, not sheep.

 

Images: my own

 

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.