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

Advertisements

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

A Month of Roses: Conclusion, Statistics and the Draw Winner

It was a great month filled with great perfumes. I’m so glad Lucas came up with this idea. While I’m not sure I’m ready to do another month of any particular note, I’m thinking about a couple of note-themed weeks (and even doing one already – but that’s the topic for the next post).

Peach Rose

Rose Perfumes for Week 4

February 22: Le Jardin Retrouvé Rose Trocadéro

A beautiful and extremely realistic in the opening rose. And it has my favorite black currant. I like it and actually plan to wear my sample, which I don’t do too often. But I’m not sure if I want more: it’s a rose soliflore, and it comes only in a HUGE 125 ml bottle. But it’s very nice, and I recommend testing this perfume if you get a chance.

February 23: Keiko Mecheri Mogador

I was supposed to wear another perfume but I couldn’t find the sample in the morning, so I decided to wear Mogador again. Loved it.

February 24: Atelier Cologne Rose Anonyme

I had a large sample of Rose Anonyme, which I was testing periodically when I wanted to compare it to something else. When I scheduled it for wearing, I didn’t realize how little I had left in my sample. When I applied it first, very sparingly, I thought that I didn’t like it at all and was surprised since I remembered liking it more. But in the evening when I didn’t try to save it and put on the remains of my sample, it smelled much better – the way I remembered it from before. But I don’t think I need more Rose Anonyme in my life.

Rusty and Ineke Scent Library

February 25: Ineke Briar Rose

This is the only perfume from Ineke’s Floral Curiosities Collection, for which I do not have a travel bottle-book. It wasn’t by choice: they didn’t have it on sale at the time when I bought the other four, mostly just to have those “books.” But I had a sample in the set (the one, with which Rusty is playing on the picture above). I didn’t remember what I thought about Briar Rose but I remembered that Blacknall (aperfumeblog by Blacknall Allen) liked this perfume enough to go through the full bottle at some point. So I decided to give it a go. It’s not bad but I won’t want to wear it.

February 26: April Aromatics Rosenlust

One more change of plans: I got this sample with my purchase and wanted to re-test it. It’s a lemony rose – very natural and beautiful. But it’s just a rose. With many other rose-centric perfumes in my collection Rosenlust does not cross that line from “nice to have” to “need to have.”

Roses

February 27: Lancome Mille et Une Roses

This is one of my favorite perfumes; I enjoy wearing it every time. And I love its color. A couple of years ago I paired it with the second equation in my post A Simple Equation Or In the Search for the Perfect Rose.

February 28: Hermès Rose Ikebana

I left Rose Ikebana for the last day of the month because I thought it would be warm by then. I was wrong. We are having an unusually cold for our area winter (not that I’m complaining: it’s nice for a change; and it comes with long-expected rain), so Rose Ikebana was a little too light for the weather. But it still wore nicely.

February Statistics

Rose perfumes I wore: 27 (but two of them I wore twice)

Rose perfumes I tested: 5 (yes, it wasn’t enough that I wore a rose-centric perfume each day, I managed to test 5 more rose perfumes during that month)

Samples finished: 4

New bottles of rose perfumes: 1 (bought); 3 (being considered)

23 people left 75 comments for the Month of Roses posts. 34 of those comments had mentioning of the rose perfumes worn in the spirit of the Month of Roses – and, as I promised, they all were included into the draw for two bars of local artisan chocolates.

And the Winner is…

According to random.org, the winner is the most diligent commenter – hajusuuri! Congratulations! Now it’s your time to choose whether you want two bars of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or one of each.

Chocolate Fountain

Shall we do it again next year?

 

Images: my own

Scented Gift Ideas 2015

I always wanted to do a post about winter holidays gifts (for my family and close friends it’s more about the New Year gifts than those for Christmas). But usually I was doing my shopping in B&M stores, so whichever interesting items I would find there I usually couldn’t recommend to my readers. This year in general and November-December in particular were so hectic for me that most of my holiday shopping was and still is happening online. So I decided to share with you my scented gift ideas.

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post in any form and it doesn’t contain affiliate links.

***

While choosing perfume for somebody else is a very tricky task, some brands make it easier for both the giver and the recipient. So I’ll start with the brand that had changed my attitude towards gifting people with perfumes.

Ineke offers two discovery sets – Scent Library and Deluxe Sample Collection – both are beautifully presented and, at the price of $25 including S&H and $15 coupon towards the full bottle purchase, are perfect stocking stuffers. And if you’ve previously bought one of these and are thinking about a bottle, now is great time to go for it to take advantage of the free shipping until December 25th.

Rusty and Ineke Scent Library

Atelier Cologne, the brand that I really appreciate, offers a good variety of stocking stuffers and gifts, starting from $18 (I’m still contemplating trying one of their soaps) plus free US & Hong Kong delivery until December 25th and free personalization for travel sprays. And if you’re serious about giving somebody special a gift of perfume, I think that their latest offering – a gift card (minimum $70) that includes 12 samples – is a great idea.

Atelier Cologne Gift Card

Concluding the perfume-giving part of this post, I want to mention that Dame Perfumery‘s 5 ml trial size of Black Flower Mexican Vanilla for $10 including S&H is an absolute steal! Other perfumes are also available from that link.

For those who would still rather not venture into gifting perfumes, there are other options:

Perfumed Lace Garden bracelet or Alahine scented ceramic tile from Teo Cabanel. None of them will break the bank. And for those who’s looking for something more indulgent, there’s always By Killian with his scented jewelry collections (these are new ones) and Frederic Malle’s rubber incense.

Teo Cabanel Lace Garden Bracelet

I’ve recently discovered Beautyspin online store and I want to share it with you. You’ll have to overlook the percentage they promise you’re saving or the referenced “retail price” – those are pure fictional numbers. But their prices are very good (and sometimes you can find an additional discount code).

Check out these perfect stocking stuffers: Myrrhe Ardente, Encens Flamboyant and Musc Nomade shower gels ($3.35$5.19) by Annick Goutal or Bottega Veneta Pour Homme shower gel ($29).

Annick Goutal Shower Gels

After Rusty showed to me what I should do with the beautiful Amouage Dia soap, I decided that it would be a great holiday gift and bought Memoir and Epic perfumed soaps from Beautyspin ($24 each). Now I’m trying to persuade myself that those are great holiday gifts for somebody else since I still haven’t opened my Dia soap.

Rusty and Amouage Soaps

The person for whom you’re shopping for gifts is not into perfume-y scents? How about a fresh cut pine or coffee smell? Try these firestarters ($10 each):

Firestarters

And finally, if you want to steer clear of imposing any scent choice on your giftees, you might consider Blue Q You Smell Delicious socks ($9.99).

You Smell Delicious Socks

 

Will you be giving any scented gifts this year?

 

Entertaining Statistics: October 2013

 

October was very warm (too warm if you talk to my vSO), with no rain (which isn’t good whoever you talk to) and a lot of work (no comments). I’m hopelessly behind reading blogs and commenting and I suspect my testing is hitting an all-time record low so I’m glad that this month I decided my readers to help again with the data for the October statistics post.

I asked my readers: Have you ever given a perfume as a gift not knowing beforehand that the recipient wanted to get/liked that specific perfume?

I’ve got thirty-one answers (plus my response). Respondents came from 10 different countries (and 2 not disclosed locations). Out of 32 votes, 22 reported more or less successful perfume-giving experience and 10 stated that they’d never given a gift of an “unsolicited” perfume. It would be interesting to conduct a similar study on a control group of people who do not consider themselves perfumistas.

October 2013 Stats

Until today I’ve hidden only draws announcements in the body of my posts. Today I reached new heights: I’m not mentioning the results of the draw in the headline. But – as I promised – here we go: according to random.org the winner of the Scent Library by Ineke is hajusuuri (#10). Please contact me with your mailing address.

Rusty and Ineke Scent Library

For those who didn’t win: consider buying this limited edition set as a collector item before it’s gone. I have absolutely no financial interest in posting this, it’s just a “public service” type of post. I decided that I will buy one set for my collection. Rusty approves.

A Gift of Perfume

 

At fourteen I swapped my first love, to which I held on for four years,  for a new imaginary relationship. I do not mean that the other person didn’t exist: S. was a perfectly real 15-years old boy I met and befriended during the summer break. Our romance started months later, as the result of the frequent letters exchange, real hand-written letters sent over the regular post. Since we lived a 6-hours bus ride apart, in two years that it all lasted we spent together less than three weeks and even that was only because we had smart and understanding parents who would organize carefully supervised his visits to my city or my trips to his. We would write every 3-5 days, talk on the phone once in a while (long distance calls were expensive) and spend together several days during school breaks.

Where I lived back then, being a rare and expensive commodity, perfumes were not just acceptable but rather desirable gifts and not just for romantically involved people or relatives: a bottle of perfume could be gifted by parents to a kindergarten teacher, offered as a “special thank you” to a doctor by a patient or presented to the retiring accountant by colleagues. Personal tastes weren’t taken into the consideration. As today most people wouldn’t think twice before bringing a bottle of wine as a gift, the same way people felt about giving a perfume while knowing nothing about recipients’ preferences.

Tet-a-Tet Cologne

S. was the first person in my life to whom I gave a perfume as a gift. It was cologne Tête-à-Tête produced by Nouvelle Etoile (Moscow). I remember that I liked the scent but I have almost no recollection about how it smelled. I don’t know if S. liked and wore Tête-à-Tête: it hadn’t come up in our correspondence and six month later he outgrew our love story. I wonder if I would have recognized it today. It’s still in production but I decided not to chase it either in its modern or in the vintage form: since I smelled Tête-à-Tête only from the bottle I have no nostalgic feelings about it.

***

It’s hard to predict whether I would like a perfume – even though I know my tastes, read notes and other people’s impressions. So with other people it’s almost impossible to guess the right perfume for them. And for many years I steered clear of gifting people with perfumes unless I knew which one they liked. The brand that has changed it for me is INEKE.

On my last trip to Ukraine I brought two travel bottles from Ineke’s Floral Curiosities line – Poet’s Jasmine and Sweet William – as gifts to two of the relatives who do not wear perfumes much but I thought would appreciate them: not revolutionary but pleasant perfumes created by a perfumer from the city where I live (well, if you look from Europe) and with the impossibly cute packaging (I couldn’t resist and bought four “books” for my collection). Both recipients liked their gifts.

Ineke Scent Library

With upcoming holidays that involve family gatherings and gift exchanges, I want to suggest a perfect, in my opinion, gift for somebody who isn’t into perfumes, is in the beginning of their fragrant journey or uses mainstream perfumes primarily: Scent Library from Ineke. It’s a set of samples of all five perfumes in the Floral Curiosities line presented in an unbelievably attractive package. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a presentation of samples with more attention to the smallest detail. For $22 (including S&H) you’re almost guaranteed to get a smile from your mom or sister who still remembers old library system with the paper pocket in each book and library cards or a conversation with a younger niece about the changes that happen during the lifetime of any generation, hand-written letters and rotary phones. And if they end up liking any of the perfumes in the set they will be able to redeem the full price of the set against any 75 ml bottle purchase from the site.

Ineke Scent Library

Scent Library set was sent to me by the brand (without any conditions). I haven’t decided yet if I should get one for my collection: I love it but I have four perfumes from the set already and the packaging of each fragrance “book” that I bought is almost as cute as the one for the Library. Meanwhile I decided to have a draw for the set I’ve got. It’s new but I sprayed one of the samples twice (Briar Rose) and Rusty “helped” me with the pictures. I will send it anywhere in the world but I won’t be responsible for the package if your postal service decides it’s too cute dangerous and destroys it.

Usually I don’t have any special conditions for entering into my draws but this time I have a requirement. To be entered into the draw answer the question below (I’m gathering data for this month’s statistics post) and tell me the country where you live (this way I’ll know that you want to be in the draw). If you do not want to enter, just answer the question for my stats. I’ll close the draw on Thursday, October 31 PDT, and announce the winner in the October Entertaining Statistics post in the beginning of November.

Rusty andI neke Scent Library

Have you ever given a perfume as a gift not knowing beforehand that the recipient wanted to get/liked that specific perfume?

 

Images: Tête-à-Tête from some auction site; all others – my own

Does the size… (strike that) bottle matter? Yep!

 

A while ago Monday Question on Olfactoria’s Travels was: How Important Is The Perfume Bottle To You?

Out of 38 respondents 25 (66%) said bottles were very important for the enjoyment of a perfume; 7 (18%) didn’t care for bottles much and 6 (16%) put bottles into the “nice to have but not crucial” category.

I’ve added my voice to the “bottles, please” crowd but my position is a little quirkier; so even though this post covers a slightly different topic I want to reiterate the answer from my comment there.

If I’m in love with a perfume I want to own a bottle of it. And it has to be a real bottle, with a cap and a box: a tester or a refill bottle won’t satisfy my need for a full aesthetic experience. I have no problems with partial bottles though.

When it comes to the perfumes that I just like I’m attracted to unique bottles. And if a brand has standard bottles (Chanel Les Exclusifs, Dior La Collection, Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, Ormonde Jayne, Guerlain L’Art et La Matière, etc.) owning just one bottle from the line seems to lull the cravings and I feel content with just decants of the other perfumes from that line.

Chanel Cuir de Russie

In the same post Birgit referred to her earlier post about the purchase one of the reasons for which was the beauty of the bottle: So I saw this bottle […] and knew I wanted it for its beauty alone. That it holds an exquisite scent is only the cherry on top and something that makes me happy, but unexpectedly so, because all I knew about 24 Faubourg before I laid hands on my precious Quadrige Edition was from one spray on the back of my hand right there in the store.

I went even further: recently I bought several perfumes… just because of the packaging.

Last July at the First Artisan Salon in San Francisco I saw new packaging for Ineke‘s Floral Curiosities line for Anthropologie and thought it was great. When I initially tested perfumes from the line they were fine but I didn’t love any of them enough to go for a full bottle. But these travel sprays disguised as poetry books were just calling my name. Also since I keep saying that companies should be releasing more perfumes in small bottles I felt like I just had to buy these… So I bought all four: Scarlet Larkspur, Poet’s Jasmine, Sweet William and Angel’s Trumpet.

Ineke Floral Curiosities Travel Bottles

I’ve tested Premier Figuier Extrême by L’Artisan Parfumeur before and thought it was nice but there are several other fig perfumes in my collection and I already have one bottle from L’Artisan Parfumeur line (though those colored labels add some appeal to otherwise similar bottles). Then I came across a special edition bottle… and just couldn’t resist. I will gladly wear Premier Figuier, I like this perfume and think it’ll make a very pleasant office scent. But I do not think I would have bought it any time soon if it hadn’t been for that gorgeous bottle.

Rusty And L'Artisan Premier Figuier

There are several more bottles on my “to buy” list but I think for now I’ve scratched that itch… unless you know where I can buy L’Artisan’s Mure et Musc Extreme in the blackberry-shaped bottle.

4 people from the survey mentioned above also confessed to buying perfumes just for the bottle.

Have you ever bought a perfume just because of the packaging?

 

Images: my own