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 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: 2020 Year Round-up

We all said probably everything that could be said about the year we just saw out of the door. So, I’ll go straight to the perfume-related numbers.

Since I haven’t done a statistics post in a long while, I’ll remind the basic terms I use.

My Definitions

I wear perfumes and test perfumes. Both refer to applying perfume to my skin and staying with the scent for a while, observing its development over hours of its life. But I realize that different people understand different things under these terms. So, I prepared a short infographic that would explain what I mean when I say “wear” or “test.”

Perfumes Wear vs. Test Infograph

One more term that requires definition is Occasion. The continuation from the time I apply perfume (including continuous re-application) until it completely disappears is counted as one occasion.

Most days I wear one perfume and test two. But, theoretically, for one day I could record two occasions of wearing perfumes or up to eight occasions of testing.

So, let’s see my 2020 in numbers (in parentheses is a comparison to 2019).

Perfumes I Wore

In 2020, I wore more different perfumes (210 vs 190) from more brands (96 vs. 91) on more occasions (367 vs 351). I still didn’t reach a 2018 level when I wore perfumes on 372 occasions, but still, on average

I wore one perfume every single day of the year!

Last year I realized that the most popular brands for each year keep repeating with minor variations of the brands’ positions on the chart and 1-2 different brands temporarily replacing one another. I’m showing my standard Top 10 Brands chart but mostly to keep the tradition. The only surprise there was Byredo: it’s the first time ever the brand made it into the Top 10. It happened because I paired Ouai Super Dry Shampoo x Byredo Mojave Ghost with the same perfume, which I wore from the sample trying to figure out if I wanted to get a bottle. I haven’t decided yet.

My Stats Year 2020: Top 10 Brands

As always, with the number of perfumes I wore, I didn’t repeat the same perfume too often (my most worn perfume was worn on 9 occasions only – less than once per month). And the trend I observed for the last several years continues: the top 2 most frequently worn perfumes were 2 of my all-time favorites, Lancôme Climat (9) and Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (8). And the third place went to the new addition to my collection – Masque Milano Love Kills (6). In two previous years that place was taken by Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royal Collection Privee (2019) and Chanel Bois des Iles (2018).

 

 

Perfumes I Tested

Staying at home, I tested more perfumes than in a year before – 327 perfumes (vs. 272 in 2019) but from slightly fewer brands – 126 brands (vs. 128). I still haven’t got to the numbers from 2018 (380 perfumes from 139 brands). Since access to new perfumes was even more limited than usual, a big chunk of my testing was done on perfumes I tested previously but decided to revisit to get one final impression before passing them on someone else, finishing them (“thunking”) or binning them. Still,

In 2020, I tested 103 perfumes new to me

Undina’s Top 10 Perfumes in 2020

In 2020 I managed to improve the number of new releases that I tested (thank you to all my friends who shared some of these): I tested 22 perfumes released in 2020 (vs. 16 in 2019). And, unlike a year ago, I even managed to count 10 that I liked, which allows me to do this “top 10” list. And what was even more surprising, I didn’t dislike a single 2020 release that I tested. So, my subjective top 10 releases of 2020 (in the order of my preferences):

Puredistance Rubikona

DSH Perfumes L’Or{ris}

Tom Ford Rose Prick

Ormonde Jayne Tanger

Jo Malone Yuja

Parfums MDCI L’Aimee

Ormonde Jayne Byzance

Hiram Green Vivacious

Jo Malone Vetiver & Golden Vanilla

Ormonde Jayne Damask

In green, are perfumes I already have in my collection; in blue, are those that I consider buying. But after more testing of the rest, I might decide to get one of Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes as well.

Pictures of Rusty

Finally, an important number – a count of pictures of Rusty that I posted in 2020: 61, the highest number for the last 3 years (and this is not counting Instagram pictures that appear on the sidebar or the bottom of the blog!).

Rusty and Yellow Submarine

How was your perfume year? Do you have any numbers to share?

 

Images: My own; infograph created using Venngage

Twice into the same pond*…

Do you remember those times when all Jo Malone perfumes were done in standard transparent bottles with black and white labels and silver caps? They were absolutely uniformed, and the only visual difference was in the name.

 

Jo Malone Perfumes

 

And then twelve years ago Jo Malone released the Kohdo Wood collection. It was a limited edition collection that included two perfumes – Lotus Blossom & Water Lily and Dark Amber & Ginger Lily. The first one came in Jo Malone’s traditional clear bottle with the only difference that the label was transparent. And the second one… The second one was a perfection: a beautiful black bottle with a black label. Especially cute it was in a 30 ml format. As far as I know, it was the first colored bottle for the brand (Cologne Intense collection appeared two years later).

 

 

I liked both perfumes, but back then I wasn’t familiar yet with the limited-edition concept, so by the time I decided to buy them, both were long gone. I hunted down and bought on eBay Lotus Blossom & Water Lily, but all I could get for Dark Amber & Ginger Lily was a decant. So, whenever I would find myself at a Jo Malone counter, I would be asking SAs about that perfume, telling how great it was and what a pity it got discontinued. For a while it was rumored that Jo Malone would bring Dark Amber & Ginger Lily back… and despite all odds three years later they did! I’m telling myself that my voice (well, multiple voices since I did it at different stores with different SAs) made a difference, and I contributed to the brand’s decision to re-release it. Unfortunately, by that time they’ve already had that Cologne Intense collection with all black bottles and only 100 ml (now they have 50 ml as well), so since they didn’t have that 30 ml black bottle that I liked so much, in addition to my decant, I bought their smaller promotional 9 ml bottle – and it’ll be enough for me for a while.

Several years ago, I discovered that my bottle of Lotus Blossom & Water Lily had turned. Since most of the other bottles that I bought myself, many earlier than this one, were still fine, I wasn’t sure whether the issue was with how the previous owner stored it, or if it was perfume itself that had an unstable formula. And because of that I felt reluctant to buy another bottle from eBay. But I liked Lotus Blossom & Water Lily so much that I kept checking Jo Malone’s site hoping to catch it in their Archives collection. No luck so far. (Did you know about it? Only from their site you can order some of the previously discontinued perfumes, including my favorite French Lime Blossom.)

And then a couple of months ago Jo Malone released two perfumes – Yuja Cologne and Waterlily Cologne.

I couldn’t wait for stores to open (and I was right: you still can’t test any perfumes there) and bought 9 ml bottles of both.

I wrote about Yuja in my In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu post. As to the Waterlily

Do you remember Jo Malone used to release from time to time perfume combining sets with one full bottle of their scent and a couple of small bottles of additional notes that could be layered with the main perfume to create a more unique combination. Those additional “notes” were very nice and pleasant but even more simplistic than the main line Jo Malone perfumes, if you can imagine that. Waterlily Cologne reminds me of those “additional notes.” I like the opening: to my nose it has galbanum in it, though it isn’t listed anywhere (official notes: neroli, waterlily and white musk), but in the development it’s very simplistic and just doesn’t want to stay on my skin. I’ll use up my small bottle, but it’s not something I need in my collection, and it doesn’t remind me of Lotus Blossom & Water Lily at all.

But Jo Malone was adamant to continue tempting me: recently they’ve released two more new perfumes – Fig & Lotus Flower and Cypress & Grape Vine. Not only the first one had that “lotus” part in the name that filled me with hope that this one will be “it,” but also the second one was a part of the Cologne Intense collection, hence a black bottle).

 

Jo Malone Fig & Lotus Flower and Cypress & Grape Vine

 

With stores still closed, I just had to buy those cute travel bottles from eBay. So, was the second time a charm? Not really.

I like Fig & Lotus Flower, especially in the opening. It’s a pleasant and light fig perfume, and sometimes in development I can smell vetiver. I don’t know how lotus flower smells, but in this perfume I don’t smell what I perceive as a lotus note in several other perfumes, my illusive favorite Lotus Blossom & Water Lily included. I also compared Fig & Lotus Flower with my other Jo Malone favorite, Wild Fig & Cassis (also available from the Archives collection), which smells drier and more… grown-up (?) than a bright and uncomplicated new scent. I’ll wear Fig & Lotus Flower from my small bottle, but I don’t think I’ll want more after that.

Cypress & Grape Vine had nothing to do with my waterlily or lotus quest, but since I got it as a part of the set, I tested it as well. It is too masculine for me. Cypress & Grape Vine reminds me of very traditional men cologne. But if anyone likes that style, it’s very tenacious (and not just by Jo Malone standards). I’ll see if I like how it smells on my vSO, though it doesn’t seem like his style.

All-in-all, I should probably stop buying Jo Malone perfumes unsniffed, even in smaller bottles: while I still have many favorites from the brand, I rarely like their new creations. But I’ll be checking their Archives Collection hoping for the return of my original favorite.

 

Rusty and Jo Malone Fig & Lotus Flower and Cypress & Grape Vine

 

Images: Kohdo Wood collection – JM official; all others – my own.

 

* I know that I’ve previously used the allusion to this quote from Heraclitus, but the temptation was too strong.

In the Search for the Perfect Yuzu

Last year, when I published my Yuzu Overload post, in which I told my story of liking yuzu marmalade (as in “food”) but being disappointed by Demeter’s eponymous perfume, asked for recommendations on other yuzu-centric perfumes, I didn’t realize how many of those were out there.

I wasn’t sure where to start, but I got an unexpected help from a kind NST reader, Perfumelover67. As I was passing onto her a couple of samples that she wanted to try, she asked if there was anything I’d like to get in return. I mentioned that the only thing I was looking for at the time was yuzu… And she just happened to have 4 samples she could share with me.

That was how it all started. After that yuzu seemed to be jumping at me from all possible places, without me even trying. So, I decided to share with you my findings.

I will not do the usual “runner-up” sequence leading to the best. Instead, I want to start with introducing to you my perfect yuzu scent that I found. It was one of the PL67’s samples, and after testing it for a while, I decided that I wanted it in my collection.

 

Rusty and J-Scent Yuzu

 

Yuzu by J-Scent. I don’t think I should be surprised by the fact that a Japanese brand did the best job out of everything I tried so far. With notes lemon, bergamot, orange, thyme, grapefruit, lime, yuzu, rose and mandarin, it is an extremely believable yuzu scent, at least the way I know that smell from enjoying yuzu marmalade, jar after jar. If I were to smell it with my eyes closed, I’m not sure I would be able to tell whether I smell the first minute of J-Scent’s Yuzu development or an open jar of the preserve. It starts slightly sweet and very juicy, then develops into a tart scent that stays on my skin surprisingly long for that type of perfume. I have never been a big citrus perfume fan. But J-Scent’s Yuzu is just perfect for me, and I look forward to wearing it this summer.

* * *

All other perfumes that I tested for this Single Note Exploration project can be placed into one of the two categories: “I can smell yuzu note” and “If you say so…”

Most perfumes in the latter category do not deserve even a paragraph in this post – not because they are bad perfumes, but because that note is in their only nominally, they shouldn’t be considered as examples of this note in perfumery. And because of that I will just list them – so that whoever decides to run their own search for this note knows what not to test (though, otherwise than not having enough yuzu in them, these perfumes might be good on their own): Diptyque Oyedo, Gallivant Tokyo and Sylvaine Delacourte Smeraldo.

One more perfume from the same category I will single out – just because with that name I expected more.

Yuzu Rouge by Parfums 06130 – flat and slightly artificial abstract citrus in the opening, some pale rose on a good day after that. If you were to a read notes list, you’d expect this perfume to be fabulous. It’s not. For the sake of all the great ingredients listed, I hope they were either artificial or used in homeopathic doses. Sooo not interesting.

* * *

From perfumes in which I could smell yuzu I got mixed results, but they all are worth trying if you are interested in this note.

I knew nothing about this, also Japanese, brand, but I ordered a sample of Kazehikaru by Di Ser on a whim (I should have read first!). It’s all-natural perfume, astringent and slightly herbal (a very recognizable green bitterness I smelled often in all-natural perfumes). Notes: yuzu, neroli, lavender, shiso, Japanese rose and vetiver. I’ll pass, but be warned that, as a rule, I tend to dislike all-natural perfumes. If your experience is different, please give Kazehikaru a try.

* * *

Yuzu by Acqua Di Parma has a divine and very realistic yuzu opening. Unfortunately, it’s gone within seconds. I’m not exaggerating I re-tested several times because I couldn’t believe it was happening. It disappears quickly and becomes just a pleasant floral bouquet. Notes include yuzu, bergamot, Sichuan pepper, lotus, mimosa, violet leaves, jasmine, musk, liquorice and sandalwood. If you like any of AdP’s perfumes, try this one, whether you’re looking for yuzu or not. That opening!

 

Yuzu Perfume Samples

* * *

Tacit by Aesop is more astringent than some other scents I tested, but it’s not too bitter. Notes: Citrus, yuzu, basil, clove and vetiver (which is probably responsible for some woodiness I smell in development). I like it, and I could wear something like that if I needed more summer citruses: it is very pleasant, refreshing and not banal, even though for my taste it doesn’t have enough yuzu.

* * *

Peche au Yuzu by Kyse – mouthwatering yuzu/peach combination in the opening, but then it gets too … peach-y (?). It’s the sweetest perfume of all I tried for this post, and I think it’s quite pleasant if someone likes a peach note in perfumes. I don’t.

* * *

Note de Yuzu by Heeley – opens beautifully: juicy, sweet, slightly tart. It’s not too complex but bright and pleasant. My complaint is: it subsides too quickly on my skin. Nevertheless, I think it’s a beautiful summer perfume. I just don’t need more than 10-15 ml of it, otherwise, I wouldn’t mind adding it to my collection.

* * *

When I read it, I couldn’t believe that Jo Malone also released a yuzu-centric perfume. With quarantine going on, there was no chance I could get to try it for free, so for the first time… ever I paid for a Jo Malone sample. OK, it wasn’t exactly a sample: I got a mini bottle on eBay.

Hadn’t I found my perfect yuzu perfume, I would have been quite content with Yuja by Jo Malone this summer. A pleasant opening burst of yuzu (do you see a pattern?), and then it calms down quickly and reminds of many other Jo Malone “blossoms” from their limited editions. I will wear what I have (cute bottle, it’s very convenient for re-application), but I don’t think I’ll need more.

 

Rusty and Jo Malone Yuja

 

I found my perfect yuzu perfume (and at least one second best). Does it mean my search is over? I thought so until I read recently that Parfums de Nicolai has just released Eau de Yuzu. Of course, now I want to try it.

 

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Lavender, Take III

As I’ve told in one of my stories before, I had found my perfect lavender perfume – Lieber Gustav by Krigler. But my love to this plant in general and my hand-made sachet losing its scent after a while, keeps me on a lookout for more lavender-based perfumes and other products.

When I read that Jo Malone was about to release a new limited-edition collection based on lavender, I could barely hold myself till it was available in a store: I like lavender, I have a soft spot for the brand, and have you seen those purple tops for the bottles in that collection?

Had the brand released this collection as a set of three 9 ml bottles, I would have bought it. But I’m yet to see any of their limited editions done in that manner. Silver Birch & Lavender didn’t work for me (I would have still wanted it as a part of a set though). The other two smelled nice, but Wisteria & Lavender disappeared from my skin within 30 minutes, which isn’t acceptable even for Jo Malone. So, on my request, a friend bought for me Lavender & Coriander in a Duty-free in Heathrow airport, which, in combination with a nice purple cup, made that bottle even more attractive than it was four years ago when it was released first as a part of their garden herbs collection (though, the green bottle they put it in then was also quite appealing).

But the item that attracted my attention was the fourth item in the collection – Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist. I know that Jo Malone previously had linen sprays and ambiance scents, but this was something new and interesting. And I wasn’t the only one who thought so, I discovered while looking for it: not only it was gone from the Duty-free, but it was sold out in most online stores.

But I persevered, found and ordered it. And then the lock-down happened, and the package, which couldn’t be delivered to the closed office, went back to the seller (and it has never re-appeared on their site, so I couldn’t reorder it).

Since I wasn’t prepared to pay almost twice the price for it on eBay, I accepted that it wasn’t meant to be. (Who are those people who would?! It’s not a discontinued perfume that someone got to love and cannot buy any longer – so, why to pay that much for something you have no emotional attachment to?!) And then brand’s site restocked the complete collection – so, now I’m a happy owner of a bottle of Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist.

 

Rusty and Jo Malone Lavender and Musk Pillow Mist

 

It’s not an overpowering lavender (I wouldn’t mind it to be stronger). Lavender & Musk Pillow Mist is soft and warm and cuddling – just what you’d expect from a pillow spray. It is completely unnecessary – and probably it’s a part of its appeal. I don’t think I’ll ever repurchase it, even if it is re-released. But I’ll be using it while waiting for this year’s lavender season: if I manage not to miss it, maybe I’ll try to recreate that Diptyque’s magic wand.

 

Images: my own

Got Milk?

This is not a post about COVID-19-related shortage of milk, though the last time I checked, my local store was out of condensed milk, and at least some of Amazon prices for it tripled recently.

* * *

From what I read, it’s international: children do not like milk. When I was growing up, I was a strange child (probably, more than in one respect, but for this story I’ll mention the one that matters): not only I liked milk, I liked hot milk and even milk skin. Besides keeping my mother and grandmothers happy, it made me popular in my class.

For the first three years of the elementary school, children were given hot milk after the second period. I suspect that it was an attempt to provide nutrition to everyone, so that children from poor families would not go hungry. Most of my classmates came not from those families, so after having a good breakfast at home a couple of hours earlier, by the time milk was served they weren’t hungry yet. And did I mention it was hot milk? So, most kids in my class hated it. But drinking milk was mandatory, and our teacher would pressure pupils to empty their glasses. And almost every day, after finishing my glass, I would drink at least one or two more instead of my classmates (and they would bribe me with cookies or candies that they were given by parents to go with milk). And since I almost never had anything with me (I’m not sure if there was a reason for that, or if my mom just didn’t think of doing that), both parties were quite happy with the arrangement.

In addition to regular milk that I liked, I loved condensed milk. Nine years ago, I told a couple of stories from my childhood and teenage years that had a strong olfactory connection to Jo Malone’s limited edition perfume Sweet Milk (“Here’s a photo I’ve been looking for…”: Sweet Milk by Jo Malone), and I still have a strong bond with that perfume.

 

Sweet Milk by Jo Malone

 

My bottle is almost empty, and all these years I was on a lookout for another milk scent. Thanks to my perfumista friends, not only I got to try many great perfumes, but I think I found several excellent replacements for my favorite perfume – or at least something that I enjoy wearing.

Neyronrose from NST was very kind to send me her sample of Demeter’s Condensed Milk. Fragrantica lists just 2 notes: milk and sugar. I’m positive it has more. If you are familiar with Yves Rocher’s Pur Desir de Rose, it has a similar artificial spicy note as I can smell in Condensed Milk; and I do not care for it in either perfume. Still, as an exercise it was interesting.

Brigitte shared with me samples of two perfumes that fit this Single Note Exploration topic: Fichi e Panna by Kyse and Milk oil by Ava Luxe.

Fichi e Panna (notes: fig, milk, sugar, vanilla and sandalwood) is more about fig than milk, but it’s so delicious that I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist as I tested it. If you like fig in perfumes, do yourself a favor and try Fichi e Panna: it’s very warm and naturally smelling fig and vanilla custard. It comes in a variety of sizes and very reasonably priced. Now you see that I just had to get a travel spray.

But the second perfume, Ava Luxe’s Milk, was a clear winner: not identical, but it smells very close to Jo Malone’s Sweet Milk. Comparing them side by side, I think that Milk is slightly sweeter but otherwise – a perfect match. Since Brigitte’s sample was for oil, I decided to buy a small bottle of Milk oil perfume as well. But I was curious, so I also ordered a sample of EdP. I’m glad to report that they both smell identical. And both formulations have a good longevity. So, you can decide what you want to try based on your preferences for the medium without sacrificing the experience.

 

Ava Luxe Milk

 

I got a small decant of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere by Philosophy from hajusuuri. Notes listed: coconut, cashmere wood, vanilla, sandalwood and musk. Initially I dismissed it because it didn’t smell like Sweet Milk. But it wasn’t intended to! And once I accepted that, I realized that I liked that warm vanilla scent with milky undertones. A small travel bottle of Fresh Cream Warm Cashmere is making its way to me as I’m writing this.

You would think I would have stopped after finding not one but three milk-related perfumes, while still having my favorite perfume. But no. As I was recently placing an order with DSH Perfumes, I just couldn’t resist ordering a sample of her Au Lait VdP (notes deconstructed from the brand’s site: ambrette seed, buttercream accord, French vanilla, sweet cream, tonka bean, milk). If to go just by the opening, I think, I like Au Lait more than all other perfumes covered in this post: to my nose, in the very beginning it has some boozy quality that I just love. Had it been even slightly more tenacious, I would have bought a bottle already. Alas, this wonderful stage lasts just a couple of minutes. What is left after that is still eminently enjoyable: a beautiful gourmand scent that doesn’t project much but warmly enfolds you. But what I get from it is very close to Ava Luxe’s Milk that I already have. And for some reason I’m still not completely on board with the new Voile de Parfum format. I still plan to get a 3 ml sample spray of Au Lait the next time I order something from DSH.

 

Milk Perfumes

 

And now I’m off to the store to see if they’ve restocked sweetened condensed milk. If no, I’ll have to drink my weekend coffee black while sniffing my wrist: luckily, as you can see, there’s no shortage of milk-inspired perfumes in my household.

 

Images: my own

Second Sunday Samples: Jo Malone Vetiver & Golden Vanilla

Years pass, I come across many new brands and new perfumes from old favorites, but it seems that Jo Malone (brand, not the person) still manages to produce, among the avalanche of new releases, something that attracts my attention.

Unfortunately, my attention span shrank recently, so unless I come to the store right when a new offering takes the central stage on the stand, I might completely miss it.

I remembered from reading an announcement on NST that new Jo Malone would be released. I even remembered that it was supposed to be vanilla. On my first visit to the store I looked around, tried reading multiple labels – and didn’t succeed. Since I couldn’t remember the name (and for whatever reason it’s almost impossible to get Internet connection from inside our Nordstrom store), I just left without even asking.

The next time I got to the store, I couldn’t spot anything new … and I couldn’t remember the name again. But I told myself it would be silly to go away without trying. So, I surprised the SA agreeing that I needed his help (you could see in his body language that he was already half-way turning away fully expecting my polite “I’m just browsing”). I said: “You are supposed to have a new vanilla perfume, but I seem not to be able to notice it.” He immediately resolved the mystery: Vetiver & Golden Vanilla is released in the Cologne Intense collection – I wasn’t even looking there.

The SA complimented me on being adventurous because I wasn’t afraid to try the Intense Collection, which “most women avoid.” Really? I was surprised: out of all the brands that ventures in the unisex perfume territory Jo Malone seemed like the one that leans more feminine. But since he works there, he might know better (or not), I’m not familiar with “civilian’s” tastes.

 

Jo Malone Vetiver and Golden Vanilla

 

Neither brand’s site nor Fragrantica are too generous with the notes: cardamom, grapefruit tea accord, vetiver bourbon and vanilla bourbon. Perfumer (according to NST): Mathilde Bijaoui, who previously created for Jo Malone Myrrh & Tonka.

To my nose, Vetiver & Golden Vanilla is all about vetiver. I don’t think I can smell cardamom, and vanilla is surprising in this composition: it’s much less sweet than you might expect both from the material and from the brand. But it’s not a bad thing, don’t read it as a criticism. It creates an interesting “adult” composition that keeps your mind far away from the cupcake territory. On my skin perfume has moderate to good projection and moderate tenacity (and I’d expect it to be even better if sprayed from a bottle instead of a small sample).

Since I like vetiver in perfumes, Vetiver & Golden Vanilla smells good to me but, unlike most of Jo Malone main collection’s offerings, it is not the one that everybody will either like or stay indifferent: I expect some people to actively dislike it or (virtually waving Hi to that SA) feel that it’s too masculine. But if you enjoy vetiver (and especially if you, as I, like but get tired of Hermes’s Vetiver Tonka), give Vetiver & Golden Vanilla a try: if not a bottle, it might be worth a 10 ml decant space in your collection.

I’m thinking that I still don’t have a single bottle from the Cologne Intense collection… I could probably take a closer look at one of those 50 ml black bottles (I’m glad Jo Malone finally moved away from 100 ml only, but I wish they’ve done them in 30 ml black bottles – I still remember how great the Dark Amber & Ginger Lily 30 ml bottle looked).

 

Images: from the brand’s site (my sample vial looked not interesting to warrant bribing Rusty; if I end up buying a bottle, I’ll find a reason to publish a picture of Rusty with it)

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

Mimosa Week

Winter was uncharacteristically cold in our area this year, so we’ve got to experience almost real spring with warm rays of sun in cool air intervened by returning rains and cold spells. And since I was reminded of springs from my childhood, I got an urge to smell mimosa – blossom that used to encapsulate that time of the year for me.

Over years (and five posts in my Single Note Exploration series devoted to that note) I accumulated enough mimosa perfumes to cover more than a week, but I decided not to overdo it.

 

Mimosa

 

Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom is still one of my most favorite mimosa perfumes, though now I think that it is rather Fall than spring perfume: it’s too warm and spicy for the “life awakening” atmosphere. But I enjoy it every time I wear it. I think Mimosa & Cardamom was one of Jo Malone’s successes.

When I was thinking about perfumes to include into this project, I struggled to remember the name for Frederic Malle’s mimosa scent despite having it in my collection. For a while I got stuck between En Passant (“No, it’s lilac not mimosa,” I kept telling myself) and Mimosa pour moi (“No-no, it’s L’Artisan, I finished that sample already”). Une Fleur de Cassie (I had to look it up) this time didn’t work for me: it was too dirty. I think I like this perfume better when it’s warmer.

Once again I had a reason to bemoan the closing of Sonoma Scent Studio: Bee’s Bliss is such a sunny and joyful perfume with a nice prominent mimosa but with a lot more going on, it’s such a pity others won’t be able to experience it.

I finished my small decant of Prada Infusion de Mimosa: it’s a light and pleasant mimosa with some undertones from my favorite original Infusion d’Iris (though, I’m not sure if they even have a single note in common… alright, I checked – “orange mandarin” whatever it means). I think that it’s time to look for a reasonably priced bottle… unless I decide to go for…

Fragonard Mimosa. A friend of mine shared with me recently a sample from her bottle. I’ve never seen or tried it before, so it was a pleasant discovery. Official notes are bergamot, violet, gardenia, mimosa, orange blossom, heliotrope and musk, but for the price it sells I don’t expect or get much of anything but mimosa, which, ironically, in drydown to my nose is a dead ringer to drydown of Infusion de Mimosa. And since I do not suspect Prada in using too many natural ingredients, even at their price, I wouldn’t be surprised if it actually was the same aroma chemical.

What does surprise me is thatt Givenchy Harvest 2007 Amarige Mimosa still impresses me every time I wear it. Unlike many other old favorites that just evoke nostalgia, Amarige Mimosa is perfume that I enjoy wearing… whenever I remember to wear it. Rusty also looks somewhat surprised.

 

Rusty and Givenchy Harvest 2007 Amarige Mimosa

 

The last perfume I wore for the project was Atelier Cologne Mimosa Indigo: it’s a nice perfume with a good name quite fitting the topic, and in the end of the Mimosa Week I especially enjoyed wearing it since, to my nose, it doesn’t smell of mimosa (or of lilac to that matter). Interestingly, saffron in this perfume doesn’t bother me and works nicely with the soft leather and not too sweet vanilla.

 

 

Images: my own