What I Wore Wednesday: Perfume Advent Calendar 2021, Week 2

As the year is coming to the end and with my Christmas vacation time approaching, the level of the work-related insanity got up to eleven. So, the help from my Perfume Advent Calendar in making a daily choice was greatly appreciated:

Day 8: By Kilian Amber Oud
Amber Oud
, my perfect By Kilian perfume that I found five years ago, isn’t much about the “oud,” and I love it about that perfume. Amber Oud is a beautiful amber, and I enjoy it every time I put it on. This time wasn’t any different. It’s still available in Europe in a refill form, but I haven’t seen it in the US for a while.

Rusty and By Kilian Amber Oud
Day 9: Hermès Eau de Mandarine Ambrée
Eau de Mandarine Ambree is one of the winners in my Search For The Perfect Mandarin. It feels right for the holidays season. This time it was surprisingly tenacious and didn’t require re-application.

Rusty and Hermes Mandarine Ambree

Perfumes for the following three days do not have their stories told yet on my blog, but I plan to get to them eventually.

Day 10: Masque Milano Madeleine Le Donne di Masque
Madeleine is new to my collection, but with notes of chestnut, whipped cream, milk and vanilla it felt very season-appropriate (this isn’t the full notes  list).

Day 11: Xerjoff Pykovaya Dama 2018
This is one of those perfumes that in my personal classification is a special occasion perfume. We don’t get too many of those recently, so I was glad to pull this name on a weekend: at least I wore it to a nice dinner at our friends’ place.

Day 12: Puredistance No. 12
No. 12 is my new perfume love. It was one of several perfumes that were pre-designated for a particular date: I thought it would be very fitting to wear perfume No. 12 on 12/12/21 and planned to do a post. It didn’t happen (unfortunately, I had to work that Sunday instead of writing my post). But I still hope to tell you its story soon.

Day 13: Jo Malone Sweet Milk
Sweet Milk is one of those perfumes that has the strongest olfactory connections to my childhood years, and it feels so warming and cozy and calming. I needed its support in the beginning of the week that came after a not exactly restful weekend – and I got it.

Day 14: Ineke Idyllwild
I can’t believe Idyllwild was launched four years ago: it feels like I just got this wonderful evergreen perfume. If you haven’t tried it, please read my original story. It was such a joy to wear it! And, just in case you have tried Idyllwild or just don’t want to go to the old post, I’ll put here the photo of Rusty from that post because I liked it but had a feeling that it was underappreciated (I’m sure that happened because everyone was taken in by my brilliant writing, I’m sure).

If you were considering purchase of any of Ineke’s perfumes, there is a nice promotion on the site now: for the price of the full bottle ($125), you can get their discovery set (currently $30) with a free delivery plus a coupon code for the full bottle with free shipping. This way you can get the discovery set free – either for yourself or to give it as a present to someone. If you’re not familiar with this brand, their discovery set (extremely well presented) comes with a $15 discount code against future full bottle purchase.

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

Day 15: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan
By the time I got into the rabbit hole, discovered and bought Ambre Sultan, my first ever Serge Lutens bottle, it was such a well-loved and discussed perfume, that other than mentioning it here and there in amber-related posts or my Entertaining Statistics posts, there wasn’t much new to tell about it. Hence, there are no relevant links to provide. But I wanted to wear it this year, because I noticed my tendency to postpone wearing Ambre Sultan until it’s “cold enough,” which sometimes doesn’t happen with our winters. I still think it was worth the hype, though, of course, in the last decade many brands, both mainstream and niche, came out with really good amber perfumes. But I’m glad I have this classic of the genre for reference.

Rusty and Advent Calendar Week 2 Perfumes

I first tricked and then bribed Rusty into posing with the Week 2 perfumes under our lit but not decorated yet Christmas Tree. For more pictures of Rusty, see the Advent CaTendar on my Instagram account (@undina_ba) – a count up to Rusty’s 13th Birthday on Christmas Eve Day.

 

Images: 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

Light and Shadows: Ineke Idyllwild

I’m a city person. I grew up in downtown of a big city, and I still would prefer to live in one of those. Moving to the Northern California suburbia wasn’t a conscious choice: work-related circumstances brought us here. But since we moved, San Francisco Bay Area became our home, and I love it.

There are many great things about this area but one of them that I want to mention in this post is that there are several great parks 30-90 minutes’ drive from where I live.

Idylwild, new perfume from the San Francisco-based brand INEKE, to my nose does not smell of any of the forests I’ve been to around here (and I’ve been to many different ones) but it perfectly evokes the image of California forest on a sunny day: as you follow the trail, you move from brightly sunlit areas through the mélange of light and shadows to dark patches and back to the bright openings.

 

 

Notes: rhubarb tea, grapefruit, lavender, Big Sur sagebrush, cypress, fir needle, cardamom, woods, oud and musk.

The moment I sprayed on Idyllwild, an unexpected association popped into my head: Christmas in July. Even if you’re familiar with the term, the association probably needs explaining.

This is one of those concepts, about which you are not aware until you either experience it yourself or come across it in some media. I grew up knowing about Christmas in the country that didn’t celebrate the “regular” one, let alone any other kind. After moving to the U.S., I embraced that holiday but until recently I haven’t heard about Christmas in July.

My knowledge about it came from the episode Murder Under the Mistletoe of the Australian series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Not everybody who celebrates Christmas lives in areas that have winter, snow and everything else that accompanies Christmas celebration in Northern Hemisphere – for example, where I live it never snows – so for our winter-for-winter-holidays fix we usually drive to mountains but otherwise feel content with a single Christmas celebration. But it made some sense that living on the opposite side of the globe and having winter weather but offset 6 months related to Christmas, somebody would come up with the second celebration.

Back to my association. Idyllwild smells like Christmas in July but in the area where I live – meaning, a hot July Christmas. Why? All those evergreens and cardamom in the notes vividly conjure Christmas but unlike other Chistmas-y perfumes, for example, Fille en Aiguilles, Idyllwild starts so bright and light and cheerful that white and cold winter is the last thing that comes to mind. Grapefruit is as juicy as it can be and while it is citrus, I associate it more with summer than with Christmas (unlike oranges and mandarins). As it dries down, it transitions from the sunny territory into the shadowy wood full of fir needles – though you can still “see” glimpses of “light.” I can’t smell agarwood – real or not – but it is a plus for me. Idyllwild is not the most tenacious perfume I wear but it’s not the least either.

 

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

 

Woody Aromatic perfumes aren’t “my thing”: until now I had just a travel bottle and a small decant in this genre. But somehow Idyllwild captured me from the first time I put it on. So soon after that a bottle has joined my collection.

Speaking of the bottle, this was my only disappointment about this perfume. Starting from the letter “E,” Ineke decorated each of the bottles so beautifully that I was looking forward to the arrival of my new bottle hoping for a nice forest-themed artwork. The bottle is still the same they used before but this time it’s back to “blank” bottle. Coupled with a slightly changed box – a generic box and a dust jacket with the perfume name on it instead of a “designated” printed box, it seems like the brand cheapened the packaging a little. But as long as they do not compromise on their scents quality, I won’t complain much.

 

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

 

I was almost ready to publish this post yesterday but I couldn’t finish working with pictures in time. Last thing before going to bed I checked my inbox and was surprised by a coincidence: Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) published his review of the same perfume. He liked it as well. You might want to check it out if you’re curious what the perfumer told him about this perfume in a private conversation.

 

Images: my own