Entertaining Statistics: 2019 Year Round-up

2019 was crazy busy at work. I hope not to repeat it this year. Most likely because of all the stress, I had more health issues than usually. I hope not to repeat that either. But I got to travel much more than I usually do, both for work and pleasure, including a visit to London during which I had a chance to spend some time with Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) and Tara (A Bottled Rose), as well as visit all the usual places that this perfume Mecca offers. I hope to keep this trend up in 2020. So, I’d say that the difference between all the great experiences I had last year and any negatives is still positive. 2019 wasn’t a bad year for me.

But let’s look at the last year perfume numbers.

In 2019, compared to 2018, I wore slightly less different perfumes (190 vs. 196) from significantly more brands (91 vs. 79) on less occasions (351 vs. 372). It means that I wore perfumes not every day. Partially, it was because there were some days when I didn’t want to risk associating how I felt with any of perfumes I love. Also, on some days, while working from home, I would test several new perfumes instead of wearing one.

Since I tend to wear favorite perfumes from my collection, the same seven brands stayed on my Top 10 Brands chart, changing places, for the last 8 years that I’ve been keeping detailed records. Between any 2 years usually only 2 brands fall out from/appear on the list. New contenders this year were Houbigant Paris (because of the new favorite Summer Iris and one more perfume, about which I’ll write soon) and Tauer Perfumes (no special reason, just felt like wearing 3 of my favorite perfumes).

 

My Perfume Stats Year 2019

 

Top three perfumes that I wore the most often during 2019 – two of my all-time favorites, same as top perfumes from 2018, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if (9 occasions) and Lancôme Climat (8) and a new favorite Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royal Collection Privee (8). I see a pattern here with wearing more often perfumes newly added to my collection (in 2018 it was Chanel Bois des Iles).

Despite all the hurdles describing which I started this post, I managed to do enough testing: 272 perfumes (vs. 380 in 2018) from 128 brands (vs. 139). Out of 272 perfumes tested, only 107 were new to me: the rest was either repeated testing of older samples or comparison testing between new samples and either older samples or perfumes I own. These numbers do not include my London sniffing sessions since most of perfumes that I tried there had never made it to skin.

I’ve done once, I think, “The Best N New Perfumes of the Year” post. But this year, even had I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t have been able to: out of just 16 new releases that I managed to try in 2019 (Sixteen! It’s almost a quarter of what has been released just in 4 days of 2020!), there were only 5 that I liked and 3 that were not spectacular but not bad. I think, you’ll agree that Top/Best 5 (or even 8) perfumes of 2019 sounds somewhat pathetic. But I’ll mentions those 5 here: Bengale Rouge by Papillon Artisan Perfumes, Puredistance Gold, Paris – Riviera by Chanel, Mon Boudoir by Houbigant and I am not a flower by Floraiku.

In the 2018 Year Round-up post for the first time I started counting pictures of Rusty that I used in my posts during the year. I decided to continue this tradition. In 2019 I used 39 pictures of Rusty, which was significantly fewer than in the previous year (51), but I managed to publish just 29 posts (vs. 48), so the ratio of picture to posts is much higher.

 

Rusty in a Bowl

 

Images: My own

… and I’ll be there…

A month ago Twitter’s meme “What 5 items would someone put in a salt circle to summon you?” got viral when J.K. Rowling answered it.

 Summonning JK Rowling

 

In other answers there were perfumes (that’s how I learned about it – from somebody’s mentioning it on the NST’s daily threads), books, snacks and a LOT of cats.

So of course I started playing this game in my head. My first thought was: “Rusty!” But then I realized that, first, Rusty wouldn’t sit still in any circle with or without other objects, and second, Rusty alone would be enough to summon me.

 

Rusty in a Circle

 

But since I still wanted to play this game, I decided to count Rusty out and go with inanimate objects. So, what would be a set of five things to summon me? I don’t think it would be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog that Climat by Lancôme would be the first thing to go on the list. The next one would be probably that quirky blue Hello Sailor lipstick by Lipstick Queen and The Fifth Element – one of my all-time favorite movies. Now, when we took care of my mind and my look, let’s attend to my body: dark chocolate lava cake and a cup of cappuccino. Yeah, looks about right: put these five together, and I’ll be there.

 

 Summonning Undina

 

What should I put in a circle to summon you?

 

Images: the salt circle from here; DVD cover – don’t remember; the rest – my own.

Entertaining Statistics: 2017 Year Round-up

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

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

 

How I do it

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

 

Sample DB Record

 

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

 

DB Diary Entry

 

For those readers who haven’t been around when I was doing this series regularly, I want to explain what I mean when I say “tested” or “wore”: for testing I apply perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time. I do most of my testing in the evenings or while working from home. When I wear perfume, I apply it to at least three-four points, and usually I plan to spend at least 4-8 hours with the same scent so I’m prepared to re-apply if the original application wears off. After wearing a less tenacious perfume in the morning I might wear another one later. I wear perfumes mostly from bottles and decants; I wear perfumes from samples only when I consider buying a bottle or decant.

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

 

178 Perfumes Worn

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

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

 

My Stats Year 2017 Brands

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

 

Has any of the 2017 releases joined your collection?

 

Images: my own

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

Entertaining Statistics: 2016 Year Round-up

As I was reading farewell posts for 2016 (or celebratory ones for 2017), I’ve noticed that many people were very unhappy with the year and were anxious to see it off. While I acknowledge all the madness and unpleasantness that the year had brought us, on the personal level I don’t have much to complain. All-in-all, it was a good year for me, and I’m grateful for that.

But let me show you my 2016 in numbers.

98% – 100%

Northern California finally got some relief from the drought we are having. It’s still not over, and a part of the state is still in miserable condition, but the area where I live got rainfall between 98 and 100 percent of historic average, which makes me happy (I’m not sure about Rusty, though: since the picture below had been taken, he’s developed an inexplicable phobia of umbrellas – so that he refuses to be in the same room with it. Now I have to dry umbrellas in the garage not to traumatize him any further).

Rusty and Umbrella

164 Perfumes Worn

I wear perfumes on most of the days that I work from the office and on weekends. When I work from home, I tend to use those days to test perfumes instead of wearing my favorites. Since at the new job I get less WFH days, 2016 numbers for perfume wearing went up compared to 2015 (the difference is given in parentheses): I wore 164 perfumes (+8) from 61 brands (+5) on 333 occasions (+29). And before you ask: no, I do not own 164 bottles of perfumes; some of these are travel bottles, minis or decants.

Jo Malone with a Vengeance

For many years I have been a Jo Malone’s fan. It started long before my trip down the rabbit hole but during the first several years of my descent I was so mesmerized by all the marvels of the niche perfumery world that I wore much less of my favorite perfumes from this brand even though I own more full bottles from Jo Malone than from any other brand.

Since I wasn’t doing my monthly statistics posts this last year, I haven’t noticed the tendency, so it got me by surprise when my year numbers showed that Jo Malone was the brand I wore the most often, and it was the highest number for one brand in the last three years: I wore Jo Malone’s perfumes on 29 occasions.

My Stats Year 2016 Brands

Lucky Number 13

This is how many times I wore Lancôme Climat – my all-time favorite perfume in 2016. You might think it’s not a high number for perfume that I love my whole life: just 13 days out of 365… no, actually 366. But look at it from another perspective: this is the highest number for any single perfume I wore during any of the past six years.

Testing… Testing… 275, 100, 361…

Despite being very busy and wearing perfumes more often, in 2016 I did a lot more testing (compared to 2015): I tested 275 perfumes (+ 97) from 100 brands (+15) on 361 occasions (+134). Not all the testing I’ve done was for new perfumes, I do a lot of comparison testing (e.g., a new to me perfume with the one I own or two new perfumes against each other) or just re-testing something I’ve tested before. But I did test 118 new for me perfumes (+26), 31 of which were released in 2016 (+3), and I listed 10 of the new releases that I liked in the last post of the year.

Care to guess, which line I tested the most? Told you – “with a vengeance.” I was surprised myself, and I blame it on their Garden Collection: probably I just couldn’t believe I couldn’t find a single perfume to like in those cute green bottles, so I kept trying them.

A Year of Zen [Gardens]

A year ago I changed jobs and I got myself a desk Zen Garden, about which I dreamed for years. Looking back, I can tell that it was a good decision. On both accounts – the job and the garden. It was a challenging busy year but I enjoy what I do, I like my job, and I still had time for changing my Zen Garden at least seven times (I can’t find a picture of the very first one I made but it was more traditional than the next six).

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As you can see, I used all my favorite things – cats, perfumes, chocolates and holiday decorations. Yesterday I took off Christmas ornaments, and I’m ready for the next chapter in my Zen-gardening. Any ideas for what I should do next?

Zen Garden 8

Images: my own

The Sillage of Rosa

My Grandma’s name was Rosa (“rose” in Russian). Today we would have celebrated her 96th birthday.

I had two months to come to terms with this loss, and this post is not a call for sympathy. Thinking about my grandmother and her role in my life, I realized that most of you who reads this post today would have never met me, had I not inherited my Grandma’s love for perfume and decades later decided to write a story about my first and everlasting fragrant love – Lancôme Climat, the first bottle of which was gifted to me by her. So I want you all to “meet” her and help me to celebrate her life.

Rosa

Image: I doubt any other pictures of my grandmother are out there, so I wanted to leave a digital sillage of Rosa in the Universe. I took a picture of one of my favorite photos of her and Climat bottle that she gave me all those years ago.

Undina’s Looking Glass Turns Five

How many times can the same perfume be featured on the same blog? Let’s see…

Five years ago I started this blog with the story of my first and life-long perfume love Climat by Lancôme. A year later Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume), Suzanne (Eiderdown Press) and Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) participated in one of the Déjà vu series’ post doing a blind comparison of Amouage Gold and Lancôme Climat. Two years ago Climat made an appearance in a short romantic account of my birthday trip. And finally, last year I invited my whole Climat family to my blog’s fourth anniversary. So, not counting numerous mentions whenever a topic of favorite perfumes is brought up, I told you four stories about this perfume. Believe it or not, I have the fifth one.

Several months ago, after probably a year of silence, out of the blue, I got a note from Jordan (Fragrant Man) alerting me to the news about my favorite perfume: to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the brand’s presence in Russian market, Lancôme has launched a limited edition of ClimatL’Edition Mythique.

Lancome Climat L'Edition Mythique

I immediately went online and read everything I could find about that release: there were only 3,000 bottles made and it was available in one boutique in Moscow. There weren’t any “professional” reviews out yet but I found several first impressions. As always, some liked it and thought it was very close to how Climat used to smell in 80s, others were disappointed.

I wanted it. Good or not, I wanted to experience it myself and be the judge. And that’s when I started panicking: Climat used to be one of the most popular perfumes in Russia; if I wanted it, how many other people – with the same nostalgia – would want it too? Yes, it was on the pricey side, but three thousand bottles didn’t seem that much for one of the richest cities in the world with 12 million population (not counting tourists).

You know how friendly and helpful perfumistas are. What I’ve discovered was that people in the cooking community are also extremely responsive and outgoing. Once I realized I didn’t know anybody from Moscow, I asked my friend Katya (Lyukum Cooking Lab) if maybe somebody from her circles could help.

Within two days a multi-step extraction mission had been devised. Katya’s friend who lived in Moscow made a trip to the boutique and got a bottle of Climat – L’Edition Mythique. Then she handed it to another friend who was leaving for China on a culinary school tour, which my friend Katya was joining as well. From China Katya brought the bottle to Texas where she lives and my friend A., whom some of you know as a “perfume mule”, went there for a business trip and delivered the perfume to me. Moscow -> China -> Texas -> Bay Area, CA. It is one of the most well-traveled bottles I’ve known!

Rusty and Lancome Climat L'Edition Mythique

Since then I wore this perfume a couple of times as well as tested it in parallel with all other bottles and samples I have. I don’t think it’s better than the previous re-issue (2005 La Collection) or closer to the 80s’ version that I knew and loved. But I’m glad that thanks to all the friends, virtual and real-life ones, I was able to get this bottle: I own the latest three genuine Lancôme’s takes on this perfume – Climat La Collection (EdP), Climat (EdT) and Climat – L’Edition Mythique (perfume extract) and I love them all.

So, on this fifth anniversary of my blog I officially announce that I stop chasing my tail in the quest for this perfume because I do not remember any longer how “my” Climat smelled 30 years ago and I do not miss it.

Speaking of tails… How many tails do you think are there on the photo above?

 

Images: my own

P.S. If you’re not familiar with this perfume, I recommend reading the blind comparison post from the link above.

P.P.S. If you have any interest in cooking, I strongly urge you to browse my friend’s Katya’s site (though I do not recommend doing it while being hungry).