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

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Are you a Perfume Extrovert or Introvert?

When asked about their perfume hobby some people admit that they are open and outgoing about it, others are secretive – not to be ridiculed, get disapproval or just because they are very private. I’m not sure if personality types are directly connected to how we communicate our love of perfume to the world or if it has a more complex correlation but there are definitely Perfume Introverts and Perfume Extroverts. I am the latter.

Rusty "extrovert"

I was sharing my love for perfume long before I discovered Perfumeland or started this blog. I would talk about new [mainstream] releases with friends and co-workers who expressed any interest in perfumes. I would be finding best online deals when somebody was looking for something (that was in pre- and early-Google times). And I would always try to recruit more followers into this not so secret society.

My tally? Not counting minor wins here and there, I have three success stories.

Two friends – one of whom has never worn perfumes before (because they all were too perfume-y) and one who did it very sporadically – under my influence and with my help found perfumes to love and wear. Interestingly, for both of them those were Jo Malone‘s perfumes – Nectarine Blossom & Honey, Vanilla & Anise and Black Vetyver Café for one of them and Wild Fig & Cassis and French Lime Blossom for the other. That’s why I’m persuaded that Jo Malone is a great “starter house.”

My best friend L., who lives half the world away from me, for many years stayed faithful to her signature scent – GF Ferre Lei-Her. After it got discontinued for a while she was able to find another bottle. When she couldn’t find it any longer, she started exploring the current offerings (very-very mainstream), got completely disappointed (who wouldn’t!) and almost swore off perfume. Last year when I visited her I brought with me more than a dozen samples and decants. That was the first time L. realized that there was something beyond pink fruitchulies that invaded the market. After that we went together to the high(er)-end perfume store (the one she was too intimidated to visit on her own before). There L. surprised me: while she did like some of the perfumes I suggested her to try – Prada Infusion d’Iris, Guerlain Champs-Élysées and Cartier Baiser Volé – she absolutely loved Juliette Has A Gun Midnight Oud and a couple of Montale‘s perfumes – not the most obvious choice for a newbie. She keeps exploring and I’m sure she’s on the right track now.

During her recent visit Suzanne (Eiderdown Press) told me one of her success stories. I liked it so much that I asked Suzanne to write it up to share with you. She did:

My friend M is someone I met in a writing group. It wasn’t even a group, there were only three of us, so we got to know each other fairly well in the space of a year—our literary tastes and styles, first and foremost. M wrote both fiction and poetry, and while her fiction was a poignant lens that allowed one to gain insight into the workings of a person’s mind (into the minds of characters who represented the baffling array of human behaviors), her poetry was different: it was more personal and sensual and often seemed to speak of “home”—of the rites of passage that sisters go through together, or the memories of a stepmother who’d been in Europe at the end of World War II, for instance. Given the nature of her writing—its private turning-point moments that hinge on such things as the remembrance of her stepmother giving M her first ‘perm’ (the smell of the hair perming solution, the fitful way she felt about it, and how it became an anchor for stories her stepmother told during this session)—I was rather surprised at the disinterested reaction I got from her when I first started talking about perfume.

By this time, our writing trio had disbanded because our other friend had moved away, and I was taking a break from fiction to start a perfume blog. I remember M’s puzzled look as she questioned how one would go about writing about perfume—and the look of even deeper puzzlement (the slight snicker and firm wave-off of her hand) when I asked if she’d like to sample some perfumes. I forget her reasons for declining my offer, so perhaps it’s unfair of me to surmise, but I got the distinct feeling that she saw perfume as something that would clash with her professional image (as a senior lecturer at the nearby university, teaching women’s studies and writing). Maybe because I was in the early stages of perfume infatuation … well, I’m not sure why I felt this deep conviction, but I did: I felt that anyone who wrote as M did would have to love perfume—would understand its deep connection to memory, to sensuality, to individuality. If she’d been a science fiction writer, I wouldn’t have bothered to try to convert her, but in November 2007, just before Thanksgiving, when the first snowflakes were floating in the air, I decanted some Chanel Coromandel for her, calling it “an early Christmas present” when we met for lunch. She accepted it graciously but skeptically—and I made sure to be nonchalant. I told her she could give it back if it didn’t suit her—that I simply thought it had a beautiful frankincense note that might appeal. In my head, though, I was convinced that it would be airy enough not to frighten her, and at the same time, have a sense of gravity that would appeal to her serious side—and I was right. M fell deeply for Coromandel and within a few days was requesting other perfume samples. Now, six and a half years later, she has a few other favorites (Montale Black Aoud is one) but Coromandel is pretty much her signature scent.

Hajusuuri, a guest writer on my blog, also agreed to share her success story:

Many years ago, more years than I care to remember, my sister and I went to Boston on vacation. For two shopaholics, there was no better place to window-shop than posh Newbury Street where we chanced upon a small perfumery. While we were not into perfumes, we browsed around anyway. If memory serves me right, that shop sold only custom-blended essential oils, which were available only in roll-on bottles. My sister bought several while I left without purchasing anything. Year after year, she would call the store to place an order to replenish. In 2008, she said that the perfumery moved to Colorado but that she was still able to call Dawn to place her order for China Rain blend and French Lily.

I fell down the rabbit hole around 2010-2011 and have grown a too-big collection of mainstream and indie/niche perfumes. In 2011, I somehow managed to convince my sister that she should expand her perfume horizon and consider checking out better mainstream perfumes because her little perfumery probably moved to Colorado due to a business slow-down, that it probably could not afford to stay in Boston and who knows for how much longer it will be open. Since then, she had acquired Elie Saab, Jo Malone Black Vetyver Café, Jo Malone Peony and Blush Suede and Cartier Baiser Vole Essence – a pretty decent collection, don’t you think?

But wait! There’s more!

When Undina first suggested a Success Stories post, I immediately thought of my sister as my success story. Curious as to whether or not I could figure out the name of the perfumery that moved to Colorado, I googled “Newbury Perfume Colorado”. The first entry from that search yielded “Essence Studio – Boulder Colorado”. Clicking through to the entry and then the Visit Website link, I was shocked to be redirected to DSH Perfumes. The “Dawn” my sister spoke with to place her orders turned out to be none other than American perfumer extraordinaire, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz!

Now excuse me while I go sit in the timeout corner…

Rusty "introvert"

Are you a Perfume Extrovert or a Perfume Introvert? Have you converted anybody?

Share your success stories in comments (or give a link to your posts on the topic).

 

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Lilac, Take 2

 

It has been a long time since I published the first episode in which I shared my impressions of Pur Desir de Lilas by Yves Rocher, Lilac by ElizabethW, French Lilac by Pacifica, Lilacs & Heliotrope by Soivohle, Highland Lilac of Rochester, After My Own Heart by Ineke and En Passant by Frederic Malle. Since then I bought French Lilac by Pacifica – as I planned, still haven’t got Highland Lilac and tried more lilac perfumes.

Rusty And Lilacs

Purple Lilac by DSH Perfumes and White Lilac by DSH Perfumes. They both smell quite realistically: I could clearly picture each of the flowers; purple lilac – slightly wilted, with some green; white – brighter and fresher. I like White Lilac more but both do not seem like a finished perfume.

Lilac by Demeter (2009). It’s perfect for the price I paid (~$5 for 30 ml). I don’t think it’s a perfume for adults but it makes a nice room spray: it smells good but doesn’t stay long enough to become overwhelming.

Purple Lilac (Lilas Mauve) by Yves Rocher (Annick Menardo, 2012). Last year I jumped through some hoops to get it from the U.K. since it wasn’t available yet from the U.S. website. It smells of lilacs if you smell it alone but in comparison to other lilac scents it seems too artificial. I was so disappointed that I haven’t even compared it to the other Yves Rocher’s lilac I own – Pur Desir de Lilas.

After all the testing I realized that even though I still miss lilacs and still enjoy the smell of flowers (and my ideal lilacs bouquet has only lilacs in it) I do not want to wear it as a soliflore. I like the note in perfumes but I want it to be well-mixed with other flowers. I think at least partially it’s because now I know that there is no natural lilac, this note is either created artificially or recreated using other floral notes so a single-dimensional scent seems too simple. If I ever want just it Pacific’s perfume is more than enough (I urge you to try a roll-on if you haven’t tried it yet).

Rusty And Lilacs

I was really looking forward to trying Opardu by Puredistance (Annie Buzantian, 2012): if anybody, this brand could pull off this note in a beautiful composition… I can’t say I disliked Opardu: it was very pleasant and it did start with a burst of beautiful lilacs but it didn’t wow me. After the first disappointment wore off I tested Opardu again, this time with a better response – that’s how it usually happens to me. Now I plan to try it sprayed since I suspect it might wear differently this way.

Rue des Lilas by Phaedon (Pierre Guillaume, 2011) just happened upon me. I heard something about it and spontaneously decided to buy a small decant from a split. I was pleasantly surprised by the perfume: it’s an interesting composition of wood and my two favorite nonexistent (for the perfumery purposes) flowers – lilac and lily-of-the-valley. Unlike Demeter’s or Yves Rocher’s lilac perfumes Rue des Lilas is a lilac perfume for grown-ups. My problem with this perfume is that I dislike the bottle: it reminds me of functional products. So if I decide to get more after I use up my decant I might go for the next decant.

White Lilac & Rhubarb by Jo Malone (Christine Nagel, 2012) was a strong like from the first sniff. Since it was a limited edition I had to decide quickly… I enjoy wearing it in hot weather. It’s more than just a lilac perfume: rhubarb and heliotrope add complexity and sweetness to the bouquet. I know that there is supposed to be rose in it but I can’t smell it at all (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing since Jo Malone’s Red Roses turns awfully soapy on my skin). With White Lilac & Rhubarb I had one of those moments when you keep turning your head trying to figure out from where that great scent comes only to realize that it’s coming from you. I like this perfume but still can’t imagine that anbody in her right mind would pay the price currently asked for it! And it’s not even a question of how good the perfume is: it was out there for such a short period of time that I don’t know how anybody could have developed such a deep connection to it to spend $300-$500 on a 100 ml bottle. 

Rusty and Jo Malone White Lilac & Rhubarb

Do you have a favorite lilac perfume?

 

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Linden, Take 2

 

I’m not much of a spontaneous person, if you haven’t noticed yet. I try to plan most things in my life. It gives me the feeling of comfort and control. But, as with many other things we crave because we do not have them – straight/curly hair, lighter/darker skin, etc., from time to time I wish I would do something on an impulse, without going through every detail in my head first.

My vSO is even less spur-of-the-moment man. So when a couple of weekends ago he told me: “Let’s go to Santa Cruz mountain wineries!” in less than an hour we were on our way there.

*

I just couldn’t pass by a small boutique named Scentsations# – a tiny soap and cosmetics shop. An older gentleman, most likely an owner, peeked over the newspaper he was reading to greet me. A usual small shop small talk (as I keep sniffing different soaps):

– It’s a nice day. What are you doing today?
– Yeah, it is. We’re here for the wine tasting.
– Are you even old enough to drink?
– (I laugh: I know I’m old enough to have a kid of a drinking age but since he’s old enough to be my father I do not feel bad about his obvious flattery) Thank you, I appreciate it.
– Where are you from?
(my habitual answer to such questions) I live in the Bay Area, my accent is from…
– I thought so. You should try this one…

He hands me a bar of soap. It is tender green and smells of linden. On the paper wrap it says “Tilleul” and “Made in France”. How could I not buy it?

Linden Soap And Rusty

In my last year post I told the story behind my affection towards linden blossom and reviewed briefly perfumes that I tried while looking for the perfect linden-centric perfume: French Lime Blossom by Jo Malone, Linden by Demeter, Tilleul by Provence Sante and Zeta by Tauer Perfumes. I didn’t find the perfect perfume then so I kept looking.

Waltz No. 14 by Tokyo Milk – notes include linden, honeyed rose, wisteria petals and white musk. To my nose it’s a bitter green scent. I can smell what is supposed to be a linden note (it’s not a bad representation of linden if smelled alone without comparing to other takes on the same scent). I do not smell rose in Waltz – honeyed or otherwise. It’s nice and crisp on my skin for the first 10-15 minutes but then gets a little soapy for a while. Like most Tokyo Milk’s perfumes that I tried it doesn’t stay for too long. The sample sent me by Victoria of EauMG (thank you!) will stay in my scents library. Read her real review for Waltz.

Tilleuls au Vent by L’Artisan Parfumeur isn’t really a perfume, it’s a room spray but it usually doesn’t stop a real perfumista in the search for a perfect scent (thank you to Vanessa of Bonkers about Perfume for sending me this sample). What can I say? It’s a room spray. Tilleuls au Vent is a very pleasant scent but it’s too single-dimensional and lacks depth.

La chasse aux Papillons by L’Artisan Parfumeur – created by Anne Flipo in 1999, notes include linden blossom, lemon tree blossom, orange blossom, jasmine and tuberose. I tested it for several times and even though I couldn’t smell too much linden in it, I enjoyed the scent. And then I read Victoria’s (EauMGreview for La chasse aux Papillons and now I cannot help smelling in it tuberose to which I didn’t pay attention before. I do not like tuberose and now it haunts me in this perfume. I’ll try to test it again in a while but for now a sample in my scent library is all I need.

Linden Soap And Rusty

Unter den Linden by April Aromatics – created by Tanja Bochnig in 2012, notes include linden blossom, mimosa, frangipani, honey extract, bergamot and gardenia. I haven’t heard about this brand until I read Asali’s (All I am – a redhead) beautiful review for Unter den Linden. Asali was very generous and sent me a sample. I’m very grateful to her but I’m not sure if I’m glad that I’ve got to try it. It’s a very pretty perfume and I take back my original impression that Unter den Linden smelled like a more lemon-y version on one of my favorites Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom. Unter den Linden is lighter, more refined and blended more seamlessly than French Lime Blossom (I still like the latter though). What makes me unhappy is the price: however beautiful, this perfume isn’t unique enough or using really expensive and rare ingredients to justify to me $7/ml price for EdP. But if it weren’t for that I’d love to add a bottle of Unter den Linden to my collection. I still might.

Honey Blossom by Aftelier Perfumes – created by Mandy Aftel in 2010, notes include linden blossom, orange blossom, ambergris and benzoin. It is not a linden perfume. For my nose it’s a very sweet honeyed floral bouquet, warm and soothing scent. I like smelling it from my wrist but I do not want to wear it as a perfume. It makes a perfect sleep scent for me though. So once my small parfum sample that I’ve got from Mandy via Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) – thank you both – is gone I’ll probably buy the next one. For a real review read Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) Aftelier Honey Blossom : Natural Fragrance Review.

Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour by DSH Perfumes – created by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz in 2012 for the YSL Retrospective Collection, notes include bergamot, lemon, ozone, Bulgarian rose absolute, Dossinia orchid, French linden blossom (accord), honeysuckle, linden blossom absolute, lily of the valley, sambac jasmine, wisteria, ylang ylang, Australian sandalwood, civet, East Indian patchouli, musk and vanilla. This perfume got me by surprise: it was the last perfume in the collection and I didn’t expect it to be a linden scent. I like it. Will Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour become a full bottle in my collection once I’m done with the sample sent to me by Dawn (thank you!)? I don’t know yet.

Linden Soap And Rusty

I still can’t say that I found the perfect linden perfume but I will suspend my search until I get a chance to smell a real blossoming linden tree to re-acquaint myself with the aroma of my youth. On my recent trip to Baltimore I saw those pre-bloom linden trees and almost cried – two more weeks and I could have smelled something I hadn’t smelled in 15 years. Maybe next year…

If you are looking for a linden-centric perfume definitely give a try to Unter den Linden and Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour and judge for yourself. You might just fall in love.

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# Address for Scentsations: 402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, (831) 423-8900

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Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Mimosa, Take 2

“She was carrying repulsive, alarming yellow flowers in her hand. Devil knows what they’re called, but for some reason they’re the first to appear in Moscow. And these flowers stood out clearly against her black spring coat. She was carrying yellow flowers! Not a nice colour.”
M.Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita

Last March I tested several perfumes with a dominant mimosa note in them. I tried Amarige Mimosa 2007 by Givenchy, Mimosa by Calypso Christiane Celle, Mimosa pour Moi by L’Artisan Parfumeur, Le Mimosa by Annick Goutal, Library Collection Opus III by Amouage. I didn’t find the perfect mimosa and stopped looking for a while.

Half a year later I got a vial of mimosa absolute as a part of Laurie Erikson’s (Sonoma Scent Studio) Nostalgie testing. That was when I started questioning my memory of the scent. Mimosa absolute didn’t smell the way I remembered real mimosa blooming branches did. To my nose mimosa absolute smelled flat, single-dimensional and dusty.

Mimosa

There are several mimosa trees not too far from where I live. I was driving by them all February long planning to stop one day and smell real flowers. Ten minutes drive plus two minutes walk and I could smell all the mimosa I wanted… Mid March I realized that I almost missed it. I drove there, walked to the tree, reached the branch, pulled it to my face, inhaled… and had to admit that I waited for too long. Flowers were still there, I could see and touch them but the scent was almost gone. Despite my vSO’s protests I snapped off a twig and pressed it against my nose.  There was a faintest scent of mimosa flowers mixed with the smell of greenery and a twig itself. I could barely smell mimosa itself but it helped me to figure out why both mimosa absolute and many perfumes with mimosa smelled “wrong” to me: mimosa from my childhood was a full tree experience, not just flowers on their own.

I tested several more perfumes with a prominent mimosa note. I think now I can appreciate better the more complex compositions that feature mimosa but go beyond being a soliflore.

Une Fleur de Cassie by Frederic Malle – created by Dominique Ropion in 2000, notes include mimosa absolute, jasmine absolute, cassie absolute, rose absolute, carnation, vanilla and sandalwood. I think I like it but it’s not an airy floral perfume: I smell something heavy, grounded and substantial. I’m half way through the official sample and still don’t know if I need a travel bottle of it in my collection. If you need information, read Victoria’s precise and very descriptive review. If you need an inspiration you just cannot miss Suzanne’s captivating piece.

Mimosa by DSH Perfumes – created by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz, notes include acacia, broom, cassie, French linden blossom, mimosa, iris, sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla. I can’t find it any longer on the DSH Perfumes’ site so I’m not sure if it’s still in production. I think it’s a pleasant but not distinct enough scent. One of those perfumes that you pick up on the spur of the moment from a boutique during your vacation in a small town by the sea, enjoy wearing it while it lasts and keep a warm memory of it once it’s gone.

Tiaré Mimosa by Guerlain – created in 2009, a part of Aqua Allegoria collection, notes include lemon, pink pepper, tiare, mimosa, musk and vanilla. Warum was kind to send me a sample of it when I was on my quest for a new Guerlain love. I liked the nice combination of citrus and flower notes and even contemplated skipping all the wish list’s lines for an affordable bottle of this perfume… but then I got to test the perfume I’ll describe next…  and I do not want Tiare Mimosa any more.

Champs Elysées Parfum by Guerlain – (re)created by Jacques Guerlain and Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1996, notes include peach, melon, violet, anise, mimosa, rose, peony, lily of the valley, vanilla, benzoin, cedarwood and sandalwood. I told the story of me falling in and then out of love with Champs Elysees. Recently I decided to try it again. I wore Champs Elysees in two concentrations – EdT and parfum. For my nose they are very similar but I like parfum a little more – it’s smoother and more blended. I think I might be falling back in love with this bright, loud and cheerful perfume. Victoria (EauMG) also likes Champs Elysees.

Next year I won’t miss it! Now I know that two different types of mimosa grow close-by.

Rusty plays with mimosa

If you previously reviewed any of these perfumes please share links.

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Images: my own.