In the Search for the Perfect Lavender, Take II

It’s not exactly true: I think I found my perfect lavender perfume – Lieber Gustav 14 by Krigler. Since I published that Take I post, I finished the decant of Serge Lutens Gris Clair and bought a bottle of it. And I’m still contemplating getting Fourreau Noir if I ever get somewhere where I don’t have to pay $300+ for the bell jar. Maybe I should go for a travel spray.

    

Rusty and Lieber Gustav

 

But lavender is still on my mind, and I seek it in many different forms. Earlier today, for example, I had a cocktail with lavender syrup. It was probably the best part of the dinner.

For the recent 3-4 years I kept planning to go to a lavender festival. But every year I was either traveling somewhere else at that time or would remember about it only when I saw some lavender at a store – and it was already too late for that year: the main flowering time would be over.

Before I proceed with my story, I want to remind you (if you haven’t read it before and/or didn’t follow the link I shared above) that lavender came into my life relatively late, so I wasn’t really familiar with many aspects that probably would be obvious to those of you who grew up in countries where it was widely used.

 

Lavender

 

A couple of years ago I bought a lavender bunch at a local farmers market and, as I do with other flowers, put it into a vase with water. It smelled nice but a week later it started dropping buds and, what was even worse, the stems were rotting. I cut off everything that was in water, fasten the remaining stems with a blue rubber band, and put that improvised lavender sachet into my linen closet. Unlike it happened with Le Labo’s Rose 31 (if you weren’t around 5 years ago, see my post Know-how [not to]: Freshen up a linen closet), this haven’t fended me off lavender, though, as it was drying, it kept losing its petals, which made it a little messy… But I put it on some napkin and kept moving that napkin from place to place when I needed to take something out of the closet or put in.

 

Rusty and Lavender

 

The next year, when I got another lavender bunch, I was smarter: I hanged it to dry in the spare bathroom and then, once it was dry, I used one of a bigger organza bags that I’ve got either with a purchase of something else or from a swap with a perfumista friend to put the bunch in to prevent a mess.

 

Lavender Sachet

 

You can’t imagine how proud I was coming up with that novel idea! What’s more, my vSO was very impressed with what I’ve done. I was (and still am) using it in our bed putting it between pillows during the day. By now I have probably half of it just bouncing in the bag loose, but it still smells nice though very faint. I bet Rusty can still smell it strong.

 

Rusty and Lavender Sachet

 

And then one day Robin from the NST posted in her Daily Lemmings this:

 

Diptyque Lavandier Wand 2018

 

I was gobsmacked: it was so beautiful, so elegant, so… in a different league compared to my creation. I don’t remember if it was still available when Robin posted it, but by the time I thought of getting it, it was sold out. And since it usually means that it isn’t coming back, after researching it online and discovering that, even though there were many similar products offered, nobody does it exactly the way Diptyque did, I started planning on trying to make one myself next time I get a lavender bunch.

I studied instructions, found ribbons to use (2 different sizes and colors!), and was waiting for the lavender season… It must have happened this summer, right? Every weekend I was on a lookout for the main ingredient for my DIY project – without much success. I don’t know how but I managed to miss it again. I blame my work schedule. I should try again next year.

Meanwhile, I keep adding from time to time a drop or two of lavender oil into my sachet. And I also found and was enjoying Lavender Lip Mask from Bite Beauty – a brand that makes my favorite Agave Lip Balm.

 

Lavender Bite Lip Mask

 

Images: all but Diptyque’s wand – my own

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Last Week the President of the U.S., my vSO and I visited Seattle

With the workload of the last five months both my vSO and I needed some change of scenery, and Seattle seemed to be a perfect destination for a three night trip.

It’s just a 15-minutes’ drive to the airport but you can’t predict how bad the traffic will be, so we left 15 minutes earlier. There was no traffic.

We had just carry-on bags and checked in a day earlier but with the recent situation with TSA you can never know how long the security check will take, so in my calculations I allowed 60 minutes before boarding time for waiting for the privilege to take your socks (but not shoes!) through a full-body scanner. It took us only 15 minutes.

The boarding had started just 15 minutes later than it was supposed to, but it was well-organized, and “a full flight” (lingo used by flight attendants to scare people into checking in their carry-on bags) managed to play the luggage puzzle game in a record time and without odd pieces.

It was supposed to be a two-hour flight. “An hour and a half once we’re flying” kept repeating our captain while explaining first that “a technical crew needs more time to go through <inaudible>”, then “it’ll be at least another hour” and then “it looks like we’ll need to change planes.”

We landed in Seattle almost 2.5 hours later than scheduled and 15 minutes after the gourmand tour, for which we had tickets, started.

But from this point on everything went just perfect: nice hotel, great food, a couple of pleasant evenings with friends who live in Seattle. We even got to see some rain (we loved it!) and the President’s Motorcade (we had to wait for it to pass to get to the hotel).

Mr President

I brought with me enough perfumes to change them twice a day (I didn’t) and I planned to do some perfume sniffing (I did). But if I had to name just one scent/note that lingered over my stay in Seattle, it would be lavender.

If you were wondering, no, we didn’t visit any of the lavender farms near Seattle, we stayed mostly within a short walk or taxi drive from the downtown; the picture below is from one of my trips to the local wine country last year. But lavender somehow sneaked into our urban retreat.

Lavender

It started the first evening when after dinner at a seafood restaurant I was brought a bowl of water with lavender and lemon to wash my hands. It smelled divine and turned my thoughts towards the Chanel counter at the flagship Nordstrom store nearby, which, as I remembered from the previous visit, had Les Exclusifs line, and where I hoped to try their new perfume featuring that note… So there we went.

An SA at the Chanel counter was very nice and completely went along with “smells-interesting-but-I-need-a-sample-since-I’m-wearing-something-else-now” (I was!), and Boy Chanel sample landed in my purse.

I like both lavender and rose that I can smell in the Boy Chanel‘s opening. It is unmistakably Chanel, and I felt a surge of that excited feeling: “Is this the one? Will I love it?” But within half an hour it develops on my skin into a soapy but strangely dry scent. I dislike it at that stage but mercifully it goes away in the next 30 minutes. Unfortunately, together with the rest of the perfume. I won’t say that Boy Chanel has the worst longevity out of all Les Exclusifs but it will be a close competition with some of them. Robin (Now Smell This) in her review of this perfume wrote: “Boy would make a great no-brainer summer cologne if you needed such a thing” – clearly not for me: I wore it on a mildly warm day of leisure walk in Seattle and each application lasted barely a couple of hours.

Boy Chanel wasn’t the only or the best lavender perfume I came across during that jaunt, so I could have probably made a sequel to the last year’s In the Search for the Perfect Lavender episode if I hadn’t tried to sneak Mr. President into the title. But since I couldn’t resist, I will probably leave my other lavender discovery for the next post.

 

Images: my own

In the Search for the Perfect Lavender

Because of the perfume, war clearly was on my mind that day.

When in my office’s vestibule I almost ran into a guy carrying a long box, my thoughts immediately went to the mall scene from Terminator 2:

 

I’d never seen him in our building before so I was suspicious:

– I hope it’s not a shotgun in there…
– ???
– In the box…
– Oh, no. Those are just fluorescent light tubes.
– Ah, I see. That’s reassuring.

We smiled at each other and, as I passed him, he dropped casually:

– Nice perfume!
– Thank you!

I was wearing Lieber Gustav 14 by Krigler. You might wonder how the perfume, notes of which include lavender, black tea, tonka bean, geranium, leather and sandalwood, prompted those violent thoughts.

I could have told you that it was because the perfumer created Lieber Gustav in memory of his daughter’s fiancé who had been killed in WWI.

Or I could have drawn a complex association “Lieber Gustav” -> “Ach, du lieber Augustin” song that in the war mythology with which I grew up stereotyped fascists played on their harmonicas during WWII. Or…

But everything was much simpler: I chose Lieber Gustav as a perfume for the NTS’s Gender Wars Friday community project.

Krigler Lieber Gustav

While in the U.S. lavender is one of the most ubiquitous scents used in … everything (alongside with lemon/citrus, strawberry and rose), it wasn’t cultivated or widely used where I lived as a child. So until I moved to the U.S. in my late 20s the only thing I knew about lavender was the word itself. I’m not sure if that played any significant role in my affection towards lavender. Or maybe it was thanks to Yves Rocher‘s lavender oil that I used on pulse points when I or my vSO couldn’t sleep – and it seemed to help. Or was it a wonderful gift from a friend – “Do not Disturb” Lavender Spa Relaxation Heat Wrap* – that over years soothed many of my pains and left me feeling warm about that scent? Whatever it was, I like the smell of lavender – in body products, sachets and even food. I was surprised when I realized that I also enjoy lavender in perfumes.

Rusty and Krigler Lieber Gustav

In perfumes that I like lavender can’t be too “simple”: both Yves Rocher’s and Demeter‘s lavender scents went directly to the linen closet.

For a while I thought I liked Brin de Réglisse from the Hermessense collection. I even bought a travel bottle. Unfortunately the first couple of hours of licorice are killing it for me since I strongly dislike licorice in any form. By the time it subsides enough for me to tolerate it (or maybe I just get used to it), like most perfumes from this line it’s barely noticeable on my skin. I should probably consider Brin de Réglisse as my first official “albatross” (© Olfactoria).

Before I tried Lieber Gustav 14, I didn’t know anything about either that perfume or that brand. I didn’t know the perfume had lavender as one of the main notes. A friend of mine gave me a sample and offered a bigger decant later from her bottle if I liked it, in which she wasn’t sure since Lieber Gustav isn’t too popular in the Perfumeland. It was love at the first sniff! I decided not even to go through that illogical stage of getting a decant but saving the last couple of drops and not using it up completely and at the same time not buying a bottle because decant hasn’t been finished yet.

With just the right combination of lavender, leather and woodsy notes Lieber Gustav is a truly unisex perfume. Leather in this perfume isn’t harsh or strong but it’s definitely leather, not suede. Lavender is aromatic but not medicinal. It’s the second perfume in my collection that I equally love on me and on my vSO (I haven’t tried it on Rusty).

Rusty and Krigler Lieber Gustav

Serge LutensGris Clair is another lavender perfume that I like. In several reviews (both positive and negative) Gris Clair was called cool or even cold, which was very surprising to me because it wasn’t how I perceived this perfume. It smelled like lavender and heated… heated… but what? Not soil or grass or road – something cleaner. For a long time it bothered me that I could distinctively smell a certain note but even though the recognition was on the tip of my tongue (nose?) it kept slipping away. And then I found and re-read Christos’ (Memory of Scent) review of Gris Clair. He called it “hot iron note.” Of course! It’s exactly what I smell. And since I like ironing (yes, I know how strange it sounds for most people), I’m not surprised my small decant is almost empty. I’m not sure though what to do next: I recently tried another Luten’s lavender perfume – Fourreau Noir – and liked it even more than I like Gris Clair. And since it’s a bell jar perfume, I should probably save my lavender-allocated budget for it and get my hot iron note directly from the source.

Serge Lutens Fourreau Noir

Do you like lavender? Do you wear lavender-centered perfumes?

 

Images: all but the special edition Fourreau Noir – my own

* Do not Disturb wrap on the pictures is the “second generation”: after I wore out the first one I bought a new one here (I’m not affiliated).