Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 3: Stockholm

“Vacation” is usually not the first association when you hear “Stockholm.” On our itinerary this city got by chance: we live so far away from Europe, that there is a limited number of direct flights between us and the Old World. Barcelona did not have any, so to get back home we’d have to do a plane change. If you were to add an extra flight and a couple of hours for transfer, the trip would easily stretch for 17+ hours – something that I try to avoid whenever possible. So while planning the vacation, we decided we’d do a couple of days’ stopover in one of the direct-flights-reach cities. Stockholm was the one with the best combination of schedules and fares. The fact that all three destinations were monarchies had dawned on us much later – at Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armory in Stockholm) as we were discussing that not a single Royalty has acknowledged our presence in any of the visited countries…

Accommodations

For a change, for that last part of the trip we went for a hotel room. It was a pleasant hotel decorated in the style of Roaring Twenties. Our room was quiet, had heavy curtains and a very comfortable bed, in which we finally had a good night sleep (the first night we slept for 12 hours straight).

Haymarket Hotel Stockholm

It was rather cold (+14C after +26C in Barcelona) and raining; we discovered that Stockholm was a very practical and minimalistic city, even its old town part; but somehow it felt very comforting and friendly. The first evening as we walking in the rain enjoying clean and orderly streets, we came across a small park inside the Art Nouveau building of Stockholm’s Central Pool (Centralbadet) built in the beginning of the previous century. It was an absolutely magical experience: beautiful lilacs and other blossoms in the drizzle of evening rain. I felt happy.

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Three days that we spent there was a delightful coda to our vacation.

Perfumes I took with me

Following the idea of bringing to this vacation only perfumes local to the destination, I packed a couple of decants and a sample from the only Swedish brand I had in my collection – Byredo. La Tulipe was just amazing, and I might re-consider wearing it only as a summer perfume: it was wonderful in the colder weather. Pulp was predictably good. I hope these both perfumes are still available once I finish the decants I have. Bal D’Afrique, which I brought with me for further testing, was nice but not enough for me to go for a bottle.

Perfumes I tested

After my London and Barcelona perfume escapades, I didn’t plan to do much more perfume testing but I still managed to visit a couple of perfume spots – a perfume department in the luxury department store NK and a standalone perfumery Insanto.

Both places had interesting selection of perfumes but not too many of the brands not available elsewhere, and I concentrated my testing mostly on those brands, to which I do not have an easy access.

Insanto Stockholm

Perfumes I didn’t buy

Perfume prices in Sweden do not impel spontaneous perfume purchases. Also, there weren’t that many Swedish brands – so most of the tested perfumes did not fit the original intent to get “souvenirs” from the countries I visited. But several perfumes that I liked while testing on skin are worth mentioning: were they “Made in Sweden,” I would have considered buying one of these.

I love and own two perfumes by Keiko Mecheri but because this brand is not available where I live I’m not too familiar with their line. That’s why I was interested to try at least some of the perfumes – even though I didn’t think I’d buy them there. I thought that Bois Satin smelled very nice, and I hope to be able to test it again soon.

For a long time I stayed away from Xerjoff: even though I tested occasionally some of their perfumes that came my way one way or the other, I didn’t make any conscious attempts to follow their new releases, and of those perfumes that I tried before I didn’t warm up enough to any to go even for a decant. They clearly like Xerjoff in Sweden: I saw it in both stores where I tested perfumes (and I want to remind you that one of them was a department store). So I gave up and tested some of the perfumes. I liked several on paper and then one on my skin. I don’t know why I happen to like the one that is sold out almost everywhere – XJ 1861 Naxos. Now I’ll have to locate a sample to test it again before I start scavenging eBay and FB groups for a bottle.

I’ve never heard of either the “famous Costes Hotel in Paris” (Fragrantica) or the eponymous perfume that Olivia Giacobetti created for that hotel in 2004, but when I tested Costes for the first time, I liked it. I’m not completely sure yet how I feel about perfumes that perfume shops create under their own brands – let alone perfumes for hotels, so I will try Costes again if I come across it somewhere but I won’t probably be actively looking for it.

Stockholm Blotters

Speaking of hotel perfumes, the only perfume I was seriously considering on this part of the trip was perfume sold in the hotel’s gift shop: No 1 Haymarket Eau de Parfum. The scent is described as: “Velvetly vanilla, powdery ambergris, and smoky sandalwood united with modern and surprising tones of bergamot, citrus and a hint of pepper.” For a couple of days I would be stopping by the gift shop to apply this perfume and then would keep smelling my wrist… for the next couple of hours while perfume was still discernible. I thought it was nice. It was local. And it wasn’t even expensive (less than $30 for a 30 ml bottle). Why didn’t I buy it? I realized that with all the great perfumes that I already had in my collection (and several more that I might be considering after more tests), I would just never have time for this pleasant but nondescript little number – no matter how warm I felt about that hotel that sheltered us in the final part of our turbulent vacation.

Haymarket Hotel EdP No1

Just in case you got drowned in the endless parts of my trip: it was the last one, and in the next post Rusty and I will finally reveal what perfumes I brought back with me.

 

Images: all but the last one – my own; No 1 Haymarket EdP – from the hotel site.

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

A Month of Roses: Week 3

Have you heard that it takes 21 days (3 weeks) to form a new habit? I wonder if I should start packing away my all other, not rose-heavy perfumes…

Did you wear any rose perfumes recently? Please share even if you are not interested in artisan chocolate, an entry into the draw for which each comment will secure for you. You have four more days – until the end of the month – to get four more entries for each comment about rose perfume you’re wearing. I’ll announce the winner in the Week 4 report post.

Chocolate Fountain

February 15: Le Labo Rose 31

I completely recovered from my olfactory fatigue with this perfume and now enjoy wearing it. I still think Le Labo’s bottles are ugly so when I’m done with my current decant I’ll go for the next one.

February 16: Tom Ford Café Rose

After wearing it one more time, I can confirm that it was as big of a disappointment as a rose scent as it was when I tested it for my In the Search for the Perfect Coffee post: it’s not unpleasant, it behaves well on my skin but it’s so not interesting… I don’t understand how this one stays in production while much more interesting perfumes from the line get discontinued.

February 17: Keiko Mecheri Mogador

Originally Amouage Lyric was scheduled for that day. But when earlier I ran out of PHI and decided to move Lyric to the first week, I got an empty spot, which I decided to fill in with Mogador – perfume, about which I completely forgot while arranging my calendar and about which I was reminded by rickyrebarco’s comment on the Lucas’ Month of Roses post. What can I say? I like it a lot. I will probably write more once my full bottle arrives.

Red Rose

February 18: Papillon Artisan Perfumes Tobacco Rose

This is one of perfumes that I wanted to love: these are “my” notes (rose, oakmoss, ambergris, beeswax and peru balsam); it’s a good brand, and Tara (A Bottled Rose) who generously sent me a sample of it loves it. But the heart… I mean, the nose wants what it wants, and while I appreciate Tobacco Rose, I don’t want to wear it.

February 19: Tauer Perfumes Rose Flash

I didn’t like the idea of the new line: I do not believe in “more affordable” versions of something that is good: usually it results in cheap knock-offs sold at half the price of something that was good but expensive. Besides, I disliked the previous experiment – Pentachords line. Thanks to hajusuuri, I got to try Rose Flash and I liked it. But I already have Rose Vermeille, which, in my opinion, is a better version of the same idea.

February 20: Dior Ambre Nuit

Ambre Nuit decant fulfilled its destiny: I wore the last of it for this project. I love this perfume – despite it being a misnomer: it is not amber perfume. But it is such a beautiful rose! Why do they have to produce it in those huge bottles?!! Who needs 125 ml of any single perfume?!  But if it weren’t for that small detail (there should be some pun in there), I would be buying a bottle at this point.

Amber Rose

February 21: Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert

I wasn’t thinking straight when I slotted this perfume for a work day: it is too strong for workplace. But since I didn’t want to change the plan (not that anybody would have noticed, I know), I applied just a tiny spritz from my small decant. I understand why many people like Rose Nacrée du Désert but for me it’s still only number two from The Déserts d’Orient line: unlike Songe d’un Bois d’Eté that just doesn’t work for me, I could wear this one if I didn’t have any other perfumes I love more.

Flowers

By the way, have you read that forming a habit in 21 days is a myth?

Images: my own

If Johana by Keiko Mecheri were a shoe…

 

Being parfumistas we accept that most perfumes are unisex and even those that lean towards masculine or feminine designation might be worn by any gender. The same way there are no strict rules as to which genre of perfumes should be worn in which environment or on which occasion (breathing conditions permitting).

It might be a nice contrast to put on, let’s say, a vintage Vol de Nuit extrait while wearing jeans and sneakers and running mundane errands or to use some faint and subtle skin scent with a statement evening gown. But we often think of perfumes in terms of the occasion, something like:  office-friendly, night out, beach walk or my best friend’s wedding. I thought about that while trying to classify my recent favorite – Johana by Keiko Mecheri.

It’s not an elegant and graceful Dior New Look 1947 ready for an evening in symphony (even though Luckyscent describes Johana as “elegant perfume” – I disagree).

Dior New Look and Shoes

But, on the other hand, neither it is a carefree and relaxed Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess on a tropical vacation.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess and Shoes

Following the idea above, to describe how I see it, I pared Johana with shoes. This perfume is more than just comfortable casual loafers but rather fun and playful (well, as far as “playful” goes for my clothes) Mary Jane shoes. Johana is a dramatic but at the same time airy perfume. It doesn’t make a shocking statement but keeps grabbing my attention as I wear it.

Keiko Mecheri Johana and Shoes

When I was planning my visit to MinNY last Fall I had no intention to test Keiko Mecheri line. Did I have any particular reason? Not really, it’s not one of the lines I’m boycotting. Other than MinNY having plethora of other brands to which I normally have no access, there is that strange feeling that there are too many perfumes in the line – and until then I haven’t tried a single one.

How did it happen that after I’ve tested a dozen of Xerjoff‘s, all available Mona di Orio‘s, as many as I could Miller Harris‘ and many other perfumes I ended up leaving with Amour de Palazzo on the wrist and a single sample of Johana in my bag? It must have been fate!

In several month I went through a couple of samples, liked the perfume more and more, went to MinNY site hoping to buy it, panicked since not only they didn’t have it in stock any longer but I also couldn’t find it on the brand’s website – I thought it was some kind of an unannounced limited editions or promptly discontinued perfume. So when I saw a partial bottle of Johana sold in one of the FB perfume-related groups I immediately grabbed it. It’s available again from MinNY and Luckyscent (it’s still not mentioned on the official website!) but I’m glad I got it.

Rusty and Johana

Johana by Keiko Mecheri – created in 2012, notes include Japanese chrysanthemum, galbanum, rose, wisteria, iris, cocoa, patchouly, incense, vanilla and sandalwood. I love most of these notes in perfumes. In Johana I cannot smell any of these! But I really enjoy this perfume even without being able to deconstruct it. Or maybe because of it?

If you want a real review, I liked very much Brian’s take on it (be patient, it takes a while for this site to load – I don’t know what widgets they use there but each time it’s a pain…)

 

Images: my own