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

 

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

Portia’s Bathtime Goodies

Hi there Posse, Beauty Queens Bathe! I don’t know where I originally heard it or if it is my own invention. Either are believable. I seem to be the ONLY person on Insta who has ever used it. Thing is, it utterly describes the way I feel about baths in a tongue-in-cheek way. When you want to feel totally pampered and cleaned then full submersion with a quick rinse at the end seems perfect.

Seriously, even if it’s 1am and I’m dead tired. A good steaming hot soak in a bath full of bubbles for at least 20 minutes then sets me up to sleep deeper and wake up more refreshed, smelling gorgeous. I know it feels like a lot of work (especially at ridiculous hours) but believe me, it’s worth the effort.

Portia’s Bathtime Goodies

FRONT ROW:

Olympic Orchids Amber Labdanum Bath Oil

Want to smell and feel unbelievably gorgeous? Just a few drops in the bath. It coats my skin, and afterwards there is no need for more fragrance, especially if you are going straight to bed. You can drift off in the most delicious, lightly animal amber dreams. It also works perfectly as a fixative for and amber fragrance. I particularly love to wear Mitzah by DIOR after a bath in Olympic Orchids Amber Labdanum Bath Oil.

JOOP! Le Bain

I read a Fragrantica piece about this scent not so long ago. INSTANT lemming. So, off I went looking for some. A small bottle with shower gel was less than a regular niche 3ml decant, so I splurged. It wears like a female veering barbershop, with vanilla and flowers rather than lavender. Softly resinous and not as sweet as the base notes would suggest. I’m eeking out this shower gel because it’s so precious.

Vintage Caron Bellodgia Bath Oil

This popped up on eBay about 10 years ago, maybe more. When I bought it, I thought it was a large bottle, like 150ml. When it arrived I was totally bummed, it had been expensive and come from overseas. Then the smell hit me. O M G! One drop is all I need to put in the bath, and the whole apartment is suddenly awash in the divine smell of vintage Bellodgia. As you can see, the bottle is about halfway empty. When it’s gone, I’ll have the amazing memory of having owned such lavish luxury.

Tabu

OK, I know. This is not a big ticket item. Reminds you of great aunt Agatha who you despise. Stop your bitching a get some. FragranceNet has this regularly for under US$5 before coupon. It smells like a soft version of vintage Tabu and gives excellent bubbles. Another good base for all your ambers but also works beautifully with woods, resins and leathers.

Reem Acra

This fragrance came out to general acclaim by perfumistas in 2012. Radiant white floral with enough bells and whistles to make it interesting as well as lovely. You can buy a bottle at FragranceNet of the perfume for peanuts nowadays and stock up on Shower Gel US$4 and Body Lotion US$7 before coupon! Remember to GOOGLE FragranceNet Reem Acra 90ml and follow the link to get the 35% discount code applied. Currently you’ll get a 90ml EdP, Shower Gel and Lotion for around US$25! (Not affiliated, just LOVE DISCOUNTS!)

L’Occitane Neroli & Orchidee

The only one on my shelf I’m yet to use. It was a birthday gift, and I loved the fragrance when it came out. Will be very excited to have myself a bath in these bubbles.

BACK ROW:

Guerlain Champs Elysees Bath Balls

These are PRECIOUS! A gift from my mate Scotty a couple of years ago. I have only had two baths in them, and the smell is so damn glorious. Every time I go to use them though my TOO PRECIOUS button kicks in. Just seeing them and having them is enough.

Cuir Vetiver

Bought on one of our holidays. Can you believe Yves Rocher isn’t in Australia? I think it was a stand alone store in Budapest, and I went a bit crazy. Their product is super affordable, smells great and makes excellent gifts in a world of multinationals. One of the downside to being able to get almost everything is that it denigrates the fun of shopping overseas for friends. What’s not to love here? Leather and vetiver with a few extras for cohesion. Perfect base for Penhaligon’s Halfeti Leather, vintage Trussardi donna and YSL Jazz.

L’Artisan Premier Figuier

I seriously wish I’d bought 100 of these bottles when I saw them deep discounted as they were being phased out of Australia. I did buy about 20 with a few Chasse and Amber in the mix and then gave most of them as gifts. NOW I’m kicking myself because they are so beautiful. Fig is in a few of my favourites like Premier Figuier & Extreme, Neela Vermeire Ashoka and Mugler Womanity.

L’Artisan Caligna

I just bought a pre-loved bottle of Caligna off a friend’s FB sale doc. I’m yet to wear the fragrance over the shower gel but have high hopes for extended longevity. This is the old style bottle that I bought at the discounters a while ago. The plastic wrap had started to come apart on the box, so I took it as a sign that it wanted some use. Another fig-centric fragrance but this time with lavender and woods. This also works beautifully as a base for CHANEL Boy and Caron Pour un Homme.

LUSH Rose Jam

You all know about this ridiculously beautiful rose shower gel? It is virtually free! Of all the LUSH products Rose Jam is by far my favourite and most used. It is a rich, jammy rose and amps any rose fragrance or can be worn alone as a soft rose wash that lasts a couple of hours by itself. I’ve lost count of how many bottles of Rose Jam I’ve gone through but it must be 10 or more.

Tabac Original

This was my fathers fragrance, and this year marks 30 years since he died. When I saw this freaking enormous bottle for sale, I bought two. Of all the money spent over my life on fragrance and accoutrements Tabac Original is still one of the best scents around. Not only does it smell fantastic but nowadays it is also a rarity to smell someone wearing it. Barbershop done right.

Sea Salt Mimosa

I have a mate, Andrew, in the USA who I send stuff to, and he repacks and forwards it on. TBH I have no recollection of where I bought this and a couple of other C O Bigelow shower gels from. They do some really interesting scent combos though and give huge bubbles in the bath. This one is salty mint. YUM! The fragrance doesn’t last on skin though spa my enjoyment is bath only. This is a good thing if I don’t want my bubbles to wreck my fragrance later.

 

As you can see, I have a formidable arsenal of potions. Part of my lavish bathing adventure is picking the scent.

What do you bathe or shower with?

Portia xx

Portia in the Looking Glass

Hello! My name is Portia, and Undina has invited me to come do some guest posting at Undina’s Looking Glass.

It’s very exciting, and nerve wracking, to jump into another person’s creation. They have worked so hard to produce a brand, and I hope that it’s a good fit for Undina, you and me. We all have perfume in common, and many of you I know already from around the scentblogoshere. Up till now, I have written for a few other blogs, including Olfactoria’s Travels, Perfume Posse, A Bottled Rose and Australian Perfume Junkies. Undina was the very first person I never met to subscribe to APJ, and we have been friends ever since, she has been also brains trust, confidant, blog rescuer and aspirational icon. We also bonded over the naming of her cat Rusty: my very first cat was a gorgeous ginger and white tom called Rusty. Synchronicity! Every time I see pics of him, it brings back some happy memories.

Continue reading

Linden Week

I planned to do this mini-project for the first week of July, a month a name of which, as we discovered, in several Slavic languages is connected to linden. But first it was my mini-vacation, then I was too busy, then something else came up. But I still did it!

I love linden, and I wouldn’t mind wearing perfumes with this prominent note for 7 days in a row or even longer but I didn’t have enough to cover the whole week.

 

Linden Blossom

 

From my two previous Single Note Exploration posts (Take 1 and Take 2) I found only three perfumes that I like, own and wear: my two absolute favorites Jo Malone French Lime Blossom and April Aromatics Under den Linden. I also wore Tauer Perfumes Zeta, which still didn’t smell like linden to my nose but since otherwise it’s a pleasant green perfume, I will finish the bottle eventually.

In addition to these three that I wore, I tested two more linden-centric perfumes.

One of the readers shared with me a sample of Frau Tonis Parfum No. 10 Linde Berlin. Until she mentioned it, I haven’t even heard of the brand. Notes for this perfume are not too complex: green notes, honey and linden. A couple of times when I tested it, it smelled a little too sweet while on other occasions I thought it was rather bitter and acidic, which I liked more. It is not my favorite linden perfume but had I traveled to Berlin, I would have picked up at least a travel bottle of it. Maybe one day I will.

Schone Linden 05 by Krigler (seriously, what is it with all these brands and numbers?!) got to me by pure chance: a friend who was shopping at the boutique managed to get this free (!) sample for me.

Do you know of this brand? I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for that friend who introduced me to the best lavender perfume I found so far – Lieber Gustav 14.

Schone Linden is a beautiful-beautiful perfume. Despite the name though, it is not a linden perfume. Rather it smells of the whole bouquet: camellia, carnation, gardenia, lilac, linden, tuberose and violet (additional two notes mentioned vanilla and musk). I would love to give it some more skin time but unfortunately my small sample is empty.

Despite my love to Lieber Gustav and some infatuation with Schone Linden, the brand irritates me: they keep spinning that BS about perfumes for royals and stars but for me it feels like they could take some lessons in sticking their pinky out (I won’t name names). Nowadays, at $365 for 100 ml and availability for online purchase, their perfumes are hardly that exclusive or special but they carry themselves as if they were. Their samples are $20-$31 for a single 2ml plastic vial (or $105-$165 for 5 x 2 ml). Not even redeemable against a full bottle purchase.

Krigler currently has 4 stores Worldwide with 2 more opening this Fall. One of them – in San Francisco, where I plan to visit it to try Schone Linden sprayed lavishly (I guess, should go for at least $5-worth spraying spree).

In my search, I discovered one more beautiful linden perfume, thanks to Asali (The Sounds of Scent). First she sent me a “blind sample” for testing. It smelled pleasant, I liked it. But what I liked about it probably even more was that not only I recognized several notes that actually were present in it – linden and mimosa, but I guessed the brand (it reminded me of Tiare Mimosa, which I didn’t know well but smelled earlier), which is not something ordinary for me and excites me every time it happens.

As it was revealed, the sample was of Guerlain Aroma Allegoria Aromaparfum Apaisant launched in 2002 but sadly discontinued long before I got to try it. Asali was very kind and shared with me a decant from her bottle. I used it up and liked so much that I kept rummaging through eBay listings until several years later I found a partial bottle.

 

Guerlaine Aromaparfum Apaisant

 

Aroma Allegoria Aromaparfum Apaisant’s notes: freesia, wormwood, linden, mimosa, chamomile ylang-ylang and vanilla. If you look at this perfume’s entry on Fragrantica you’ll notice how “yellow” the scent description in notes pictures looks – and this is exactly how it smells! It is an uncomplicated and indeed soothing spring/summer perfume with an unusual longevity: applied in the morning, it stayed noticeable on me until the end of the work day (in an AC’d office though). It is not a masterpiece the loss of which we should lament but it is very pleasant to wear, and I could think of other perfumes that should have rather been on a chopping block.

Have you come across any good linden perfumes recently?

 

Images: my own

Month of Irises: Week 1 (Feb 1st – Feb 7th)

Welcome to our Month of Irises project!

This post will be updated continuously during the next 7 days. For more details see here, but in short – come back every day to read something new I added for the day, see what perfume I chose to wear and share your SOTD.

February 1, 2018

DID YOU KNOW?

As I discovered (and more or less confirmed beyond just reading Wikipedia), it is not a coincidence that iris plant has the same name as Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow: there is an opinion that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species of irises. How many? 260–300, according to the Wikipedia article in English. I’m mentioning the language because, as I noticed by browsing pages in several different languages, the number of species varies significantly from language to language (e.g., it mentions 100 in Greek, 210 in French and 800 in Russian) but only English version has citations for the numbers – so it seems the most trustworthy.

 

 

SOTD 2/1/18

I decided that it would be fitting to start this month with the perfume that serendipitously had all of the notes in my perfumista-style rainbow mnemonic:

Rose, Oakmoss, Ylang Ylang, Galbanum, Bergamot, Iris, Vetiver

As several of you correctly guessed, it is Chanel No 19 EdT. And since it’s one of those perfumes that does not require an introduction, I’ll just leave it at that.


February 2, 2018

SOTD

In how many projects can one person participate with the same perfume on the same day? My goal for today was to fit both this project and NST’s Groundhog Day community project, for which each of us is supposed to randomly choose between “winter” and “spring” perfumes, predicting that way what to expect from this winter.

Since my Winter and Spring iris perfumes come in bottles, it would have been hard to “randomize” them. Instead, I decided to trick Rusty into making that choice for me. Two balls made from tissue paper were to represent Winter (blue) and Spring (green). After careful consideration, Rusty ran away with the green ball (all pictures are from the same sequence, I didn’t touch the paper balls between shots – hover over each picture to see the steps description).

 

 

So, according to Rusty, there will be an early spring – and I’ll be wearing my “alien” Spring perfume Prada Infusion d’Iris EdP. Now let’s wait and see whether Punxsutawney Phil will see his shadow.

FUN FACT

Angela Zito, a co-director of the Center for Religion and Media at New York University, screens the film for students in her Buddhism class. She said that ”Groundhog Day” perfectly illustrates the Buddhist notion of samsara, the continuing cycle of rebirth that Buddhists regard as suffering that humans must try to escape (a belief, Dr. Zito noted, that was missed by executives at Guerlain, who, searching for an exotic name, introduced a perfume called Samsara in the 1980’s, overlooking the negative connotations).

Groundhog Day is one of my all-time favorite movies. I own it on a DVD, watched it many times and plan to watch again today to celebrate this day. I expect Rusty to particularly enjoy it too since the only place I can watch it is sitting on the sofa, and he’ll get to spend the whole evening sleeping on my lap.


February 3, 2018

SOTD

Infusion d’Iris that I wore yesterday was great, and I could still smell it through the whole movie we watched but I hope not to be stuck in the same day wearing it…

I know that 6 more weeks of winter was predicted, so to everyone who suffers from cold weather, I’ll cite beautiful lines from Coleridge’s “Work Without Hope” that I noticed today for the first time in the “Groundhog Day”:

And WINTER, slumbering in the open air,
Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!

By the way, I was right: Rusty must think that this film is the best thing… OK, not ever but since Die Hard, which we watched for Christmas.

Today I plan to wear Chanel 28 La Pausa: since it’s a weekend, I plan to try “hajusuuri’s approach” – 8 sprays (or as many as I have left in my sample) to see if it sticks around (and I still can’t stop giggling at Lucas’s comment:“At least it doesn’t need 28 sprays!”).

RIDDLE 1

Saturdays are usually lazy, so I’ll leave you with a short riddle:

What do Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain and Louisiana have in common?


February 4, 2018

RIDDLE 2

I’m not sure whether nobody saw the riddle (post updates do not trigger e-mail or other notifications, so I don’t know how many readers remember about my “rolling” post), or just wasn’t interested, or didn’t know the answer – so I’ll give the second clue, and tomorrow provide the answer.

Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain and Louisiana have in common the same thing as Bamboo, Blood, Blue flag and White cemetery. What Is that?

SOTD 2/4/18

While 28 La Pausa was very nice and, applied with a heavy hand, stayed longer than I remembered, I’m glad to report that I do not regret not buying a bottle of EdT while I could. But still – very nice.

I plan to wear Guerlain Iris Ganache hoping that my decant is still fine – I haven’t touched it in a couple of years, which probably means that it was a good idea to buy just a small portion instead of going for a bottle. But I’ll report back.


February 5, 2018

The answer to the riddle: “What do Pacific Coast, Rocky Mountain, Louisiana, Bamboo, Blood, Blue flag and White cemetery have in common?” – these all are common names for irises.

DID YOU KNOW?

Speaking of names, did you know that there is an iris cultivar called Perfume Counter?

 

Iris

 

SOTD 2/5/18

I plan to wear Atelier Cologne Silver Iris – one more decant that I’ve been neglecting. Iris Ganache (older version, not the one re-released last year) was very pleasant but I was right: I don’t need more than I have since there are so many perfumes that I enjoy more.


February 6, 2018

LINKS, LINKS, LINKS

Silver Iris that I wore yesterday was very pleasant but … too office-friendly: not being too strong to start with (just enough oomph for me to find it interesting), it sets down to almost nothing within a couple of hours. But it seems that it behaves differently both for Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) who likes it very much and Angela (NST) who didn’t love it herself but thought it was good perfume to test for those who were “starting out on […] iris quest.”

And this is Victoria’s (Bois de Jasmin) review for Mugler’s Oriental Express – perfume that a couple of readers wore yesterday, even though it doesn’t list iris as an official note. I can confirm that from my own impression it does smell like iris.

SOTD 2/6/18

Since I have a couple of meeting during the day in a small conference room, I need something quiet – so I decided to go with Hermès Iris Ukiyoé.


February 7, 2018

The last, seventh, day of the first week of the Month of Irises. It is probably a good enough reason to have a celebratory drink…

DID YOU KNOW?

Orris root is among the most common botanicals in gin. It is used, mostly, not for its own taste profile but rather as an aromatic fixative that helps to preserve other aromas in gin.

 

Gin

SOTD 2/7/18

Iris Ukiyoé, which I wore yesterday, is probably the most floral of my iris perfumes (as tiffanie perfectly described it in her comment below – “not-iris iris perfume”). And it’s extremely quiet. So today I want something “louder.” I should probably go with Le Labo Iris 39, one of my most favorite iris perfumes.

 

What are you wearing today?

 

Images: from Wiki Commons red iris – KENPEI, orange iris – Kor!An, “green” iris – Simone; the rest – my own.

Entertaining Statistics: 2017 Year Round-up

Strictly from the personal prospective, 2017 wasn’t a bad year: it had its share of unpleasantness and hardships but nothing to be really unhappy – so I won’t complain or even mention that. Instead, I would rather remember that year by good things that happened – short and long trips, wonderful time spent with my friends, successful projects at work and wonderful perfumes I got to test and wear in 2017.

As I usually do it in the beginning of the new year, I’m looking back to my perfume records and sharing with you my insights.

 

How I do it

Years ago I created a personal database (using MS Access) to hold information on all the perfumes I own or test. Whenever I get a new sample, I add it to the database – below I give an example of the entry form I use. I do not always get all the information but I add what I can find. Perfume name, launch year and notes are free-text entry; designer (brand), perfumers, notes and some other data points are coming from the pre-defined lists, so there can be no discrepancies.

 

Sample DB Record

 

Whenever I wear or test perfumes, I record it in the Perfume Diary. In the form below, “Purpose” is one of the choices for when/why I wore or tested that perfume, e.g., “office wear” or “weekend day” or “Work from home.” Type of use is either “wore” or “tested”; “Response” is a formalized evaluation of how I reacted to that perfume on that day – e.g., “Enjoyed it a lot” or “Mixed feelings” or “I hated it,” etc. And finally “My notes” contain a short free-form comment, whatever I want to write about that time I wore or tested perfume.

 

DB Diary Entry

 

For those readers who haven’t been around when I was doing this series regularly, I want to explain what I mean when I say “tested” or “wore”: for testing I apply perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time. I do most of my testing in the evenings or while working from home. When I wear 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. After wearing a less tenacious perfume in the morning I might wear another one later. I wear perfumes mostly from bottles and decants; I wear perfumes from samples only when I consider buying a bottle or decant.

So, now when I explained how I collect data, let’s take a look at my 2017 in numbers.

 

178 Perfumes Worn

This year I wore more different perfumes than the year before – 178 (vs. 164 in 2016) from more brands – 72 (vs. 61) but did it less often – on 314 occasions (vs. 333).

Second year in a row Jo Malone was a brand I wore the most. I think it’s because these are my most “office friendly” perfumes. Neela Vermeire Creations made its way back into the Top 10 chart (last time it was here in 2014); while Le Labo fell completely off. The rest of the group just moved around but stayed on the chart, which isn’t surprising since I do not either update or expand my collection significantly any longer and keep wearing my favorites.

 

My Stats Year 2017 Brands

 

I tend to rotate perfumes I wear daily so I usually do not wear the same perfume even twice the same months – that’s how I go through that many different perfumes in a year. But I still managed to wear 67 perfumes more than once during 2017. Five perfumes I wore the most – Chanel No 19 (EdT, EdP and extrait), Lancôme Climat, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, Krigler Lieber Gustav 14 and Armani La Femme Bleue.

 

Testing: Recording 300 and “carrying over” 1,000

This year was remarkable in regards to testing: in addition to the cursory testing of about 1,000 perfumes during my LondonBarcelonaStockholm trip (those didn’t go into my database – unless I scored a sample to bring back with me), I recorded testing at home 300 perfumes (vs. 275 last year) from 103 (vs. 100) brands. 134 of them were completely new to me (the rest I had tested before). I really liked/loved 24 of them, liked 20, thought that 56 were just not interesting and disliked 34.

Out if the 134 new for me perfumes that I tested, only 45 were released in 2017. Two of the 45 I liked enough to buy – Ineke Idyllwild and Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss.

 

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

 

Has any of the 2017 releases joined your collection?

 

Images: my own

Back to School: Dress Code

Living in the U.S. for the last… many years I gradually got used to the fact that kids go back to school from early August to mid-September. And still, every year on the September 1st, I think of it as of the back to school day because for the first 22 years of my life (well, technically 15 – since we would start school at 7) it was the day when all schools and all other full-time educational institutions would start their new school year.

September 1st

Because of that date that imprinted in my mind probably forever, I got an urge to post something related to it. Last week there was a community project for back to school perfumes – whatever association you’ve got with that idea. My answer was Serge Lutens De Profundis, but since I’ve previously told that story, as I was reading other commenters’ interpretations, I kept comparing their ideas with my memories.

The responses were quite interesting, people had many connections:

  • Perfumes, associated with places – Library (CB I Hate Perfume In the Library); trees in the park surrounding the school (Ormonde Jayne Woman), campus in the forest (Annick Goutal Nuit Etoilee) – my school was in the downtown, and whatever the smell was, it’s not something you want to recreate with your perfume.
  • Perfumes with the smell of pencil shavings – Serge Lutens Santal Blanc and Chene, Berdoues Arz el-rab – though I’ve sharpen my share of pencils while at school, I have absolutely no recollection as to how those smelled.
  • Perfumes with apple note – Hermes Sous le Toit de Paris and Nobile 1942 La Danza delle Libellule – I didn’t know “an apple for the teacher” saying until I moved to the U.S. long after my school years, so it is not my association as well.
  • One-off clever associations “Fracas – for the fracas that the first week of school tends to be” and “going Old School” with vintage Diorella – can’t say anything about Fracas, and did previously cover school years, Diorella and my first love.
  • Perfumes that people wore during their school years – too many to list what others wore, and since for the first 20 years of my life I was in almost monogamous relationships with Lancôme Climat, this perfume is not associated for me with starting school. Besides, I wrote about it multiple times before.

And then I read something I could relate to. I don’t remember what perfume it was but the association was: new perfume in the wearer’s perfume wardrobe (connection – new clothes for the new school year). And it suddenly resonated with my memories.

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In my school years we wore uniforms. It was the same type of uniform for all schools in the country: brown dresses with black aprons (or white aprons for dress-up occasions) for girls and navy suits for boys. They were slightly different from city to city but you wouldn’t confuse it with anything else, you could tell it was a school uniform. But even though those uniforms weren’t too exciting, every year before the start of the school year I had a surge of excitement while getting a new dress and aprons.

Once I started thinking about school and clothes, my immediate association was Guerlain Habit Rouge Dress Code.

It wasn’t like that everywhere, but my school had a very strict dress code: we weren’t allowed to wear anything but those dresses and black aprons – no extra sweaters or cardigans, no colored leggings or tights, no jewelry. Of course, we weren’t allowed any make-up. How about perfumes? To tell the truth, I have no idea. Most likely not, but I don’t think anybody would think of doing it: perfumes were scarce commodity, not for the everyday use. I don’t think even teachers wore any perfumes to work.

It is not that I think that Habit Rouge Dress Code would go well with school uniform: in my opinion, it’s a more mature perfume; and probably I wouldn’t have even liked it at that age. Also, it is far too unisex for the times when I wore that uniform. But I like Gurlein’s Dress Code today and feel excited about wearing it more often than just in the beginning of a school year.

For the real review, if you haven’t tried Habit Rouge Dress Code by now and are curious about what you’ve missed, read Kafka’s review. I just want to say that I think it’s a pity that Guerlain decided to produce it as a limited edition.

Guerlain Habit Rouge Dress Code

I have many questions today. Did you have to wear a uniform to school? What was it? Were you allowed to wear perfumes? Did you? Do you have any association for back-to-school and perfumes? (I promise not to fail you if you do not answer them all)