Pickles and Vintage Shalimar

It has been a while since Pickles visited us with a story about her human, but she’s back to help us to see off this year. (Undina)

* * *

Decades ago, when my Nana was in elementary school, her best friend’s mother, knowing of her love of perfume, gifted her a flask bottle of Guerlain Shalimar EDC. For a young girl with a modest perfume wardrobe of Avon and drugstore beauties, that was a prized possession. My Nana wore it to her heart’s content, but it was never replaced as there were always other shiny jewels in the world of perfume beckoning her. However, Shalimar always reminded her of her best friend’s mom, who sadly passed away much too young from breast cancer.

Guerlain Shalimar EdC

A few years ago, one of Nana’s pals from Australian Perfume Junkies surprised her for her birthday and mailed her the same flask as a birthday gift, knowing that my Nana had a strong scent memory attached to it. My Nana still loves how it smells and is secretly amused that she had the audacity to wear this bold and sexy fragrance out in public as a young girl. Her vintage formulation is from the 1960s and is certainly not as tame as the current one.

Pickles and ShalimarPersonally, I really love the bottle and enjoy posing with it. I think it’s aesthetically pleasing to the eye and smells pretty darn good on my Nana too.

 

What are your thoughts on Shalimar? Have you ever received a treasured perfume gift from a friend?

 

Until next time, furry kisses and hugs,

Pickles Bella

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Christmas 2022: It’s Not All Cake and Eggnog

Christmas 2022: It’s Not All Cake and Eggnog

Hi All, firstly, I know Christmas is full of grief and woe for many people. (Here’s a page with many worldwide HELPLINES. Please call them, they’re waiting for you.) Also, I know that many of our readers have another religion or zero religious affiliation. If you find the Christian religions to be hypocritical multinational business empire behemoths, intent only on raping the world and its people then you’re not alone. My beautiful Jin is an evangelical atheist. He sneezes, I say “God Bless You” he says, “There is no god”!

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 1

Where I’m At

I was brought up in the Roman Catholic faith. Church as an infant/toddler, Nuns in Junior School, Jesuits in Senior School. The Jesus story has been inculcated into my bones and though I know it was written long after his death, changed on multiple occasions by a committee (often of unscrupulous, evil tyrants) and used as a herding tool rather than a teaching one for the greater good, it is so deep in my marrow. Jesus himself sounds like a pretty good guy, except he forgot to address some key issues in the Old Testament, slavery, sexual equality, homosexuality and a few others I can’t think of right now. Thing is, I love the idea of there being a God. That if I’m a good person then I can have eternal salvation. Just the idea mind you, in reality I think living one life and death being a full stop is good. Then there are the questions. Why would an ever loving God give children cancer, create pedophiles, rapists and murderers (many within the canon of his churches), let global atrocities continue (starting with the Crusades and working forwards) and let us so recklessly ruin the beautiful world we have been given.
I’m not looking for answers or even help here. Just trying to explain my dilemma in the face of mounting lack of evidence. Sorry to lay this on anyone who feels attacked or undermined by my thought processes. I’m just laying bare my struggle. Hopefully some of you will find resonance.

Anyway, I still love Christmas. That we come together and mourn death, then celebrate the renewal of life. We do it by gathering people we love, family, friends, even some people we dislike. Sometimes people we hardly know in an Orphans Christmas situation. We come together and replenish our bonds and links of humanity through shared food, stories, memories and proximity. Even the drama creates new stories to be told throughout the next year and beyond. Before it was Christmas it had already been ritual for millennia, we just added glitter, reindeer and song.

If You’re Struggling

For those who feel completely alone, cut off and adrift from the rest of humanity. I’m hugging you right now. Please take time now to organise SOMETHING for this holiday. It’s relentless and can push us over the edge.
Have something nice or special to eat, doesn’t need to be expensive, something you like.
Maybe, if you have the funds or want to be involved, go have a meal out. Yes, you’ll be solo but you’ll be enveloped.

If solitude is your favourite thing then maybe a ramble around your neighbourhood? I find walking a really good way to beat off the blues, doesn’t have to be far to change my perspective and mood. The weather, the nature, the blood pounding and rhythm of my steps all combine to elevate my mood. Nearby we have a few parks, there’s nearly always some kind of life going on. People watching is nice too if you’re comfortable and sip a cuppa.

Have a plan. The best way to cope with anything is to have a plan. Make sure there are a couple of plans in case one gets derailed. Best to keep plans small and achievable, seriously, have a few.

The crushing overload of forced intimacy and aspirational Christmas spirit is a lot to handle, even for the strongest of us.

Also, say NO. If seeing your family, friends, anything is not what you want to do. Say NO. You don’t need to explain, just say no. Write an email if they are bullying you. “I will not be coming for Christmas. Hope it’s everything you want it to be. See you in the new year.”

Again: Here’s a page with many worldwide HELPLINES. Please call them, they’re waiting for you.

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 1

Our Christmas 2022

This year is the most low key we’ve done Christmas for years.

On Christmas Eve we are having a small group for dinner. There will be Jin’s Roast Pork & Crackling, roast veggies, cold chicken, salads and some breads. I’ve bought a supermarket Christmas Pudding and some Custard for dessert but I think Kath will do a Pavlova too. A few drinks, some cognac and teas to finish. Hopefully done by 10pm, clean up and off to bed.

Christmas Day just Kath and us. Leftovers, chill, TV.
Last year on Christmas night we put up on faceBook that we were heading to Club Parramatta for dinner. We ended up with a table of about 20 friends and acquaintances. It was lovely. There was no cooking or cleaning, a few bevies and we all just hung out together chatting and laughing.

Boxing Day is traditionally held at my BFF Kath’s family home. We eat cold cuts, make some fresh salads and put it all on buns. We swim the afternoon away and then we all go home and crash.

Christmas Perfumes

Even though Christmas in Sydney is hot I’m hoping to get a few spritzes of firm favourites Caron Nuit de Noel, Liquides Imaginaires Sancti, Maria Candida Gentile Exultat, CdG Avignon andL’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Intense. Mostly these will be cool of evening wears. I’m thinking to wear some Annick Goutals like Songes, Eau de Sud, Mandragore and Nuit Etoilee. That Lolita Lempicka Eau L’Aime, maybe L’Artisan Nuit de Tubereuse and Neela Vermeire Creations Rahele and Pichola. 

Christmas 2022 It's Not All Cake and Eggnog 11

These are the dream wears anyway. Honestly, I’ll probably get super busy doing stuff and wear easy reaches like Shalimar and Eau des Merveilles Bleue. Let’s see how it all comes out in the wash.

 

For those that celebrate. Merry Christmas.
Portia x

 

Tasmania Getaway, Pics and Thunks

Tasmania Getaway, Pics and Thunks

Hey ULG Crew, We created a personal long weekend with our mates Anna Maria and Johnny. Friday 7.25am flight to Launceston and Monday arrive around midday back in Sydney. We bought the flights for almost nothing months ago. It was our first time travelling as a foursome and only I had travelled with everyone before. I picked an old favourite hotel, The Grand Chancellor. It’s one of those 1990s built hotels with spacious rooms and lobby. Each room has two Queen sized beds and each couple had a room. The breakfast buffet is good and generous, without being brilliant, and we all had an excellent feed to start our days. Originally I had booked a small SUV but they gave us an upgrade to an enormous Nissan Outlander, it was like travelling in a lounge room.

Anna Maria and Johnny’s daughter Domenica was on the Australian MAFS 2022 series. They were interviewed a few times on the show and have become quite famous in their own right. They were recognised and had their pictures taken

Tasmania Getaway, Pics and Thunks

Our days were designed by meals. We all got to pick different food adventures.
Day one for lunch Jin wanted pies, a local sent us to Banjo’s Bakery and we went pie crazy. Delicious! Tasmania is famous for its Scallop Pies and all three of the others had one. After that Johnny wanted to get a shave by a barber so the rest of us went and had cocktails. Then we wandered the shopping district for a couple of hours, the stars getting papped left right and centre. Our hotel had $6 spirits for Happy Hour so we spent a leisurely hour or so drinking companionably. I’ll admit to getting a little tipsy. That night Johnny picked Kebabs for dinner. He’d seen a shop called King of Kebabs during the day and it stuck with him. It was such a strange choice but we sat instore and had the most wonderful Middle Eastern meals. We came back to the hotel, had a drink and watched the Australian Election unfold. Anna Maria, Jin and my team got up and won but Johnny’s crew were ushered out the door. He was devastated, we were quietly jubilant. OK, not so quietly. Yes, we are fully aware all politicians are lying pigs but at least the foundation of this new crew is Women, Climate and a Political Watch with teeth. They’ve been left a dogs breakfast financially and things will get austere here for at least a decade.

Day two we dropped into the Farmers Market across the road from the hotel. Again they were recognised and asked for photos, very bloody cool. I really wanted us to go out to the Lake District in the heart of Tasmania. I’d found The Great Lake Hotel and it sounded wonderful. Set right on one of the great lakes (much smaller than the US versions). This meant we also got to spend 1.5 hours in the car seeing Tasmanian scenery from urban, to farming and the hills and plateau. It was good. We had a table in the middle of the room, views of the lake and felt like we were in the action. Service was so friendly but slow as a wet week. Food was some of the best pub food I’ve had. Fortunately we had so much conversation and fun that the wait to be served and then for food to come sped by. On our way back we took a two hour detour to get the Best Vanilla Slice in the world from the bakery in Ross. It was well worth the drive. That slice was earth shatteringly delicious. Anna Maria chose Indian food for dinner. Neither Johnny nor she had ever had it. There was a restaurant called Pickled Evenings, #3 on Launceston Trip Advisor. We also had a couple of mates join us, Morag and Ward, so that lent an extra festive air to the evening. I kept the food choices very simple. Opened with Onion Bhajis and Potato Samosas. Mains were Veg Biryani, Butter Chicken, Beef Vindaloo (mild) and Goat Curry. It was a fine entree for them and only a little too spicy.

Day three we were up bright and early, busy day ahead. Today we were going to head north along the Tamar River. First stop was the Beaconsfield Mine, site of the 2006 cave in disaster and rescue. The Museum there is a wonderful memorial and there are some very eerie and saddening parts. Straight from there we went to Australia’s only Seahorse breeding centre and then next door to the Platypus and Echidna rescue. Both had excellent tours and we learned a lot. Lunch in a real, old fashioned riverside Fish & Chip restaurant chosen by Jin. Another thing Anna Maria and Johnny had never done was a wine tasting, so we found a popular Cellar Door nearby and the three of them had a wonderful hour while I watched and enjoyed it immensely. They were bloody hilarious and the hostess managed them brilliantly. Both couples have a case winging their way towards us as we speak. Being a Sunday night most of the restaurants were closed. We were going to introduce Anna Maria and Johnny to Vietnamese but the best close choice open was a very ra sha sha Chinese. Service, food, atmosphere and design were bloody wonderful. They were woefully understaffed due to C19 but still managed us, our food and the whole evening perfectly. We drank a couple of bottles of wine from our Cabbage Tree wine tasting that Jin had bought to celebrate our adventure.

Day four we had a leisurely breakfast and bumped out. The flight home had the best turbulence I’ve experienced in decades. It was a wild ride into Sydney and I loved every second. Poor Jin was a bit green by the time we got off though. Grabbed our bags, hugged everyone and holiday done. Jin and I spent the whole afternoon and night discussing what a perfect getaway and how much fun we had.

My Pics

Anna Maria’s Pics

Perfume

Wore Hermès Eau des Merveilles for the flight down. It’s salty, warm, mineral waft was perfectly understated and lasted till my nighttime change.

In the end I took these perfumes.
Atelier des Ors Rouge Saray: Wore this every evening on the trip. It was a perfect accompaniment to the dry chill night air. Spicy woods with a soft fruity sweetness, all mellowed by a vanilla patchouli. Beautiful. I thunked the decant, now desperately want a bottle.
BDK Bouquet de Hongrie: Didn’t wear it.
Diptyque Rose de Mai: Didn’t wear it.
Diptyque L’Ombre dans l’eau: Was supposed to bring this, thought it was stolen first morning by the cleaners. Thank goodness I didn’t kick up a fuss. It was here on my desk the whole time, hiding behind the Marveilles. BUMMER!
Guerlain Mademoiselle: When I first got this decant I was all meh. It has bloomed into a ridiculously beautiful marshmallow iris, so powdery and warm. I also get some roses in the heart that aren’t mentioned in the notes. Sadly it becomes a very soft wash in an hour and I can hardly smell it. Wore it on the last day and on the plane ride home. I won’t be buying another but absolutely loved it for this holiday.
Le Labo Neroli 31: First two days I wore so much of this and FINALLY thunked the decant. It’s nice but there are a million citrus type scents that smell better on me for much less money. It just does not live on my skin and I won’t be rebuying.

How ever did we fit so much into so little time? It was a really relaxing few days despite being jam packed and now I’m refreshed and ready for action.

Are you looking forward to a break? Has this given you some ideas? Where would you spend a few days nearby?
Portia xx

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?

What I Wore Wednesday: Perfume Advent Calendar 2021, Week 3

Even my Perfume Advent Calendar was no match to my last work week this year: I was so busy that I couldn’t concentrate on anything else. The Week 2 post included 8 days, and I noticed that only after I posted it. Then I had a bad headache, so I didn’t wear anything on Day 16. And since I was too overwhelmed on my last day, Wednesday, to do this post, I decided to include the last 3 days of the calendar.

Day 17: Dior Miss Dior vintage
To catch up our breath from the year-end insanity, my vSO and I took a day off and spent it in the nearby wine country. I invited Miss Dior to join me. It was fortunate that I drew it from my Advent Calendar that day: it was easy to bring with me that parfum bottle to take pictures. Miss Dior is my long time favorite, and I still enjoy it every time I wear it. And I still think I can pull it off wearing Miss Dior if I happen to find myself in a Groundhog Day.

Miss Dior

Day 18: Dusita Le Pavillon d’Or
An understated elegance. I chose Le Pavilion d’Or for this month for its “gold” part, but I think it wears better in warmer weather. Still, it was quite enjoyable.

Rusty and Dusita Parfums Pavillon d'Or
Day 19: Dior Mitzah
In the past, whenever anyone would mention this perfume, the reaction would immediately follow: “Oh, Mitzah, Oh…” But it got discontinued, whereas many other perfumes from the Dior La Collection stayed there and were re-issued after the most recent revamp. Either it was too expensive to produce, or it wasn’t selling that well. Anyway, I got the bottle when it was still available. I haven’t worn it in a while, and this time I was surprised that I didn’t love it. I liked it, yes, but it wasn’t even close to how I remember feeling towards it before. It might be that it isn’t cold enough here for it. I’ll need to revisit it again soon.
Dior MitzahDay 20: Aedes de Venustas Cierge de Lune

Many years ago I thought that I wasn’t a vanilla fan. But since then I discovered at least several vanilla perfumes that I really liked. Cierge de Lune is one of them. I wonder how the recently re-released version smells.

Aedes de Venustas Cierge de Lune

Day 21: Teo Cabanel Alahine
After I mentioned Alahine in the Second Sunday Samples: Teo Cabanel Les Expressions Parfumées post last month, I kept thinking that I didn’t wear it in a while – so, I added it to my calendar. It was absolutely wonderful. I love it, and I feel a little sad that the brand decided to go into another direction. It’s not to say that their new perfumes aren’t good: I liked two of them and even think of getting those. But they are very different from the first line…

Day 22: Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient
Encens Mythique d’Orient is has such a presence that I didn’t dare to wear it to the office, especially since one of my co-workers criticized it when I first got it. Interestingly, this time when I wore it, I think I got that whiff of masculine perfumes that she referred to. It didn’t spoil my enjoyment from wearing this perfume, but it was a curious discovery.Guerlain Encens Mythique d'OrientDay 23: Shaik Chic Shaik No 30
Completely unplanned, I got in sequence two perfumes that I previously considered “not safe for work.” Small perks of working from home.

All these years I hoped one day I would come across this brand somewhere at a store to try their other offerings, including masculine ones. But it hasn’t happened: after that first time many years ago in Vienna, I haven’t seen these perfumes anywhere, and none of the US decanter sites carries the brand. So, while I’m still curious to try those, for now I’m satisfied with the one that I have (but I still can’t get over that strangest packaging it came in).

Chic Shaik No 30 by Designer Shaik

Day 24: Amouage Ubar
As I’m writing it, this 24th day hasn’t happened yet. How do I know what I will be wearing? As for a couple of other cases, I pre-arranged perfume for that day because Ubar is one of my traditional perfumes for this holiday. I plan to wrap into it tomorrow to celebrate Christmas and Rusty’s birthday.

Amouage Ubar

For more pictures of Rusty, see the Advent CaTendar on my Instagram account (@undina_ba) or stop by the blog in the next couple of days to celebrate Rusty’s 13th Birthday.

 

Images: my own

Scent Semantics #1: BRAVE

Introducing a new collaboration of six bloggers: Portia (A Bottled Rose), Elena (The Plum Girl), Sheila (Alembicated Genie), Daisy (Cool Cook Style blog and IG), Old Herbaceous (Serenity Now Scents and Sensibilities) and Undina (Undina’s Looking Glass).

Once a month, one of us will be selecting a word (any part of speech representing an emotion, color, flavor, etc.), and we all will try to come up with a scent that we can connect to/associate with that word. We’re not limited by any particular format, so expect anything from a New-Yorker-cartoon-style picture caption to a War-and-Peace-type piece of writing (and everything in between).

Scent Semantics Project Banner

I agreed to participate in this project only because I love group efforts, AND it was Portia who organized it – how can anyone refuse? But I’m beyond bad in paring anything with anything. Nevertheless, I’m here, so let’s try.

* * *

This month’s word is: BRAVE

Unexpectedly, this one came easy.

Vol de Nuit was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1933, according to mentioning in different sources, inspired by the title of the book by his friend, Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

Vol de Nuit, both in its extrait and EdT versions, had been reformulated since then, probably more than once, which we all got used to. What amazed me beyond any words (well, I found some once the first reaction subsided) was that now marketers and brands reformulate not only perfumes and their stories but also classical literature.

My search for Vol de Nuit extrait (it seems no stores carry it now in the US) brought me to Harrods, where I discovered the following:

Vol de Nuit description at Harrods

the story of love and romance”? Have we read the same novel? I won’t argue “spicy musks” since for all I know we smelled different versions. But I question a blanket statement “the first years of aviation” (but that time aviation in general was quite well established). But at least they still mention the Art Deco aspect of the bottle design.

And then I decided to check the brand’s site. I don’t think they read the book at all:

Vol de Nuit Description at Guerlain site

Just in case you don’t remember or haven’t read the book yet, without giving away too much, I’d like to mention that the flight central for the story takes place on the route from Patagonia to Buenos Aires; it’s a storm, not a tornado, that plays an important role during the flight; there is nothing sudden in losing radio contact; and, finally, the pilot is flying towards his loved one (though, alright, let’s issue a poetic license here).

Night Flight is a story of bravery, bravery demonstrated not just by pilots who flew those early planes, but also radio engineers who accompanied them to keep communications going between the plane and airports, and even by those on the ground making decisions that influenced not only the lives of people who worked for them, their own careers but also the progress itself. It’s not war-time heroism we grew up appreciating and almost expecting, regardless of the cultures we were brought up in. It’s ordinary, almost prosaic courage that still would deeply impress you if you muse about it for a while.

What about perfume, you might ask? I hoped one day to try the current version again and, if it’s still recognizable, buy Vol de Nuit extrait during my trip to France or the UK. But with all the recent changes with Guerlain perfumes (and considering their attitude towards both their brand’s history and their national literally treasure), I started thinking that maybe I should brave international shipping from Harrods while that beautiful Art Deco propeller bottle is still available?

Guerlain Vol de Nuit

Please visit other participants (links in the opening paragraph) to see what associations for the word “Brave” they came up with. And return in a month for the second episode of this joint project.

Saturday Question: Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

It is not a confirmed information, but it looks like if not a straightforward discontinuation some changes are about to happen to this Guerlain‘s line. After the last week’s perfume bottles swaps discussion where hajusuuri mentioned that Guerlain was changing bottles for this line, I saw ThePerfumeGuy’s YouTube video, in which he shared tidbits he got from several brand’s SAs, all of which boiled down to these perfumes being re-released in new, larger and more expensive bottles. And it is not clear, which of the perfumes are coming back.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #76:

Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

Do you have any that you planned to buy eventually but haven’t yet? Or are there any bottles that you planned to re-purchase once you finish the current one? Do you hope for any of the previously discontinued perfumes from this line to come back?

My Answer

For the longest time, I planned to buy Angelique Noire once I finish the decant I have. I always liked this perfume, but with how seldom I wear each of the perfumes in my collection, I easily had another year before facing the decision whether to buy a bottle or try to get another decant.

When I learned about the upcoming changes, I searched for a bottle and found it available on one of the large department store’s websites. I could have bought it then and there, but of course being me I wanted to wear Angelique Noire once again… Do I have to tell that the next time I looked it was gone?

In a futile attempt to find it, among other places I visited the brand’s site. Of course, it’s not available there as well, but at least Angelique Noire is listed there with a somewhat pacifying “Email when in stock” action offered. I do realize that it might come back reformulated again and in a 100 ml (or larger?) bottle. But there is at least some hope. And that’s when I realized that I didn’t see there the first perfume from Guerlain that I bought – Cruel Gardenia.

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

I still have probably about 20 ml left in my bottle (the photo above was taken about 5 years ago). But the thought that it might be gone completely upset me so much that I ran back to the same sites looking now for a backup bottle of my beloved Cruel Gardenia. Luckily for me, it has always been an odd one in the line, so it is the last one left from the older creations (another one still available in the US stores is Iris Torréfié, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it). Since I want it for myself and do not plan to sell for profit or split, it doesn’t matter to me that others do not like it as much as I do. So, now maybe one of the last few Cruel Gardenia bottles left in the US is on its way to me.

How about you?

 

Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

Jin and Portia: The Ghan Train Trip 2021

Jin and Portia: The Ghan Train Trip 2021

Hey Crew. Jin and I have been trying to get back on this train for over a year. There have been three previous dates, all postponed due to C19. Finally it’s happened. So I thought you might like a few photos and some small commentary. We were away for nine fun filled nights. A few in Darwin, three on the Ghan itself and one in Adelaide. We flew up to Darwin and back from Adelaide. I know your first thought is “What perfumes did you take?”

I thought it might be a good time to wear some of the decants I loved but have lain forgotten in the mad rush for new around here. All these decants (Except Rouge Saray, sent by my beautiful buddy Megan In Sainte Maxime) are quite old in my collection and really need to get worn. It seems my selection is VERY vanilla heavy. No problem. It’s one of my favourite notes. It’s like I’ve picked four vanillas on four very different points of the spectrum. One thing they all have in common though is how beautifully created they are. Also how easy wear and versatile, yet interesting statement pieces as well.
Coeur de Vetiver Sacre by L’Artisan Parfumeur: Vetiver, tea, incense sweetened by vanilla/amber. This was the most worn of the selection in daytime. It’s sheer yet interesting beauty went so well with the trip.
Mon Precieux Nectar by Guerlain: Vanilla heavy white floral with almond & incense.
Rouge Saray by Atelier des Ors: Spiced fruits and fairy floss over a patchouli/vanilla base. Very ra sha sha. I wore this to almost every evening event and had compliments every time. So beautiful and noticeable.
Neroli 36 by Le Labo: White floral citrus backed by a lightweight vanilla.

One of our friends, Martin, was our travelling companion on the journey. He’d always wanted to do The Ghan and when his wife Jane heard we were going she pulled out all stops to get him on ours. It was excellent having him on the trip and it made the whole adventure even more special. The photos below are a mixed bunch taken by all three of us. By this stage I’m not sure who took what.

The class we travelled on this trip was Gold Superior. There were only two of these larger cabins on the train, the rest of the Gold class has less floor space. There is a higher glass, Platinum, but we think the Gold Class bar car is infinitely more fun. Quite pricey for a four day holiday but there is no more comfortable or fun way to see the centre of Australia. My pictures hardly do the whole trip justice and don’t show any of our four night stay up in Darwin. Also, all food and booze are included in the price. VERY dangerous! I drank more alcohol in the four days than I’d drunk for the whole year beforehand.

Jin and I are currently planning our next adventure, also on a train with the same company. This time from Perth to Adelaide ands then up to Brisbane. That’s how much we enjoyed the experience.

As a final aside, how freaking gorgeous is my husband Jin? He’s a bit of a fool in some of the pics but he is so charming and lovely the whole train fell under his spell. Every morning or evening the staff and voyagers would fall over themselves to greet him and he had smiles and chats for everyone. It was like travelling with a celebrity. We had a beautiful time and now we are back home, refreshed and ready for another few months of work and life before the next adventure.

Shalimar EdT by Guerlain: Current

Shalimar EdT by Guerlain: Current

Hi Crew, Shalimar seems to have been part of my life forever. That Guerlain released it nearly 100 years ago in 1925 and won the Paris World Fair design award for the bottle was a particularly auspicious start.

Mum and a couple of her girlfriends were Shalimar wearers. It was the scent of daytime and coffee catch up hugs in my early years. Funnily, when I was working as a squirt bitch I made Mum start wearing Samsara so she’d stand out in her crowd. When I started properly down the fragrant rabbit hole it was a big surprise that Shalimar was such a revered scent. Going back and revisiting it was a revelation. It seems to hold the highest place in my heart, nose and brain. Seriously weird that I became such a collector when my favourite perfume has been with me all along.

In the years of collecting I have amassed a Shalimar specific collection. From EdC to extrait, a bunch of the flankers and many vintages. It became a bit of an obsession for a while because every version has its own personality. They have all aged, been cared for and kept differently. Each year, as much as they try for consistency, the batch is every so slightly different. The year specific naturals included react to each other. The regulation, reinterpretation, quality, weather and available synthetics have all given each year of Shalimar a “vintage” much like wine or whiskey. Sometimes the changes are imperceptible till the perfume is 10 or more years old.

Sometimes people ask me which I love more but it’s not really like that. I tend to wear a few of them more than others though for various reasons. I have a small set that remain out of boxes and at hand in a Guerlain box behind my desk. It holds a bunch of unboxed Guerlain beauties and gets quite a bit of action. Impossible to tell what they all are but I know you’ll have fun trying.

Shalimar EdT by Guerlain: Current

Portia Loves: Shalimar by Guerlain

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Blossoms, Bergamot
Heart: Iris, Jasmine, Rose
Base: Vanilla, Balsamic notes, Tonka bean

Above is my new bottle of Shalimar EdT. It’s a tester bottle bought for sweet nothing from FragranceNet. For favourites that I know will get used to their dregs I don’t need boxes or packaging, just the bottle and juice. This will stay out and get its share of use with my current other Shalimars; EdC and Sha-Lemur.

So I know that a new bottle will smell different. No oxygenation yet. It does seem though that there is a marked difference between this bottle and my last.

That opening swirl of lemon sorbet has been cut down to a rumble. Also the whole fragrance seems cleaner and less animalic. A floral reinvention, more sparkle and less depth. I’m not complaining. It still smells beautiful. It just isn’t as thick or rich. To be honest it smells like a fresh flanker or an Eau Fraiche for summer.

The longevity is still good but not as long lasting as the older formulations, or even the current EdC in the older bottle. Also, I feel this modern version leans more modern traditional feminine.

I think it’s the most day to day wearable of my Shalimar pillar scent collection. Less an event in itself and more a comfortable, longtime travelling buddy.

Have you tried the latest Shalimar EdT?
Portia xx

December! WTF

December! WTF

Hey there Undina’s Looking Glassers. Portia from the sweltering heatwave that is Sydney, Australia. We have already had two 42C/110f days and today was the official start of summer. Hot is an understatement, especially coming out of nowhere like it did. How on earth have we already arrived at December 2020? WOW!

First day of December is always a little melancholy for me. It’s World AIDS Day. For anyone who lived in or around the gay community in the 1980s and 90s it is a day filled with quiet sorrow. It’s also filled with some of the most extraordinary memories of fundraising, community coming together, marching, getting our government on board (Australia was one of the first acknowledges and responders) and partying like we wouldn’t see tomorrow. For so many people that was the bleak truth. We lost nearly a whole generation and the gay community has never really recovered. Fortunately, getting HIV is now far less of a death sentence and people are being medicated into effectual remissions. Also, with the discovery of PrEP the transmission rates have slowed too.

It’s been so hot I’m having trouble trying to get my head to think of things you in the Northern Hemisphere could all be wearing to snuggle up to. Here are a few things you might want to spritz if you’d like to remember what summer feels like through scent.

 

Lys Soleia by Guerlain

The ultimate tropical white floral. Smooth, creamy and elegant. Nothing makes me feel more in tune with summer. Fruity white flowers, yang and vanilla with a bare hint of salt.

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

This is another of the weird ass Annick Goutal fragrances. Spearmint, pepper, star anise and ginger combine in the most cooling and refreshing gourmand I’ve ever met. Sweet, tart and spicy but like a cool wash.

Pichola by Neela Vermeire Creations

Another white floral, this time spicier, sparkling and backed by vetiver for depth. It may not be the most summery wear but it will always remind me of times spent staying in the Lake Palace in Undaipur, surrounded by the glittering Lake Pichola.

Pimiento by Miller et Bertaux

If you dream of that scent as you cut into a bell pepper/capsicum, then this is that make believe and magical first cut. All the reminders of summer salads, happy, healthy meals full of fun and laughter. A job I loved to do growing up.

Sakura by DIOR

OK, OK, OK! I know. Cherry blossoms are spring. Sure, but this is much more than blossom. Here we have the cherry fruit, roses, some soft woods and musk. A perfect summer spritz if ever there was one. Surprisingly long lived.

Scent by CoSTUME NATIONAL

Soft white flowers sit atop an amber and stuff base. A perfect fit for sweaty nights, trying to sleep under the ceiling fan. The base is dry and smells like a cross between electrical sparks and drilling concrete.

 

Hopefully some of these can help you get through the dark and cold of winters up north.

Do any of them sound like a good fit for you?
Portia xx