Lost Alice by Masque Milano NEW! NEW!

Lost Alice by Masque Milano NEW! NEW!

Hi Crew, Lost Alice by Masque Milano is one of the decants to arrive in my latest Surrender To Chance order. Yeah, I’m affiliated with them because the STC crew are my mates. That doesn’t change the facts; they are terrific, have an excellent range and you can be guaranteed their stuff is the real deal. (OK unpaid ad over!). Lost Alice is an excellent title and the reason I bought this decant. Didn’t even look at the notes, it caught my eye as I was browsing their NEW section.

Lost Alice by Masque Milano 2021

Lost Alice by Masque Milano

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Black Pepper, Bergamot, Clary Sage
Heart: Black Tea, Orris, Carrot, White Rose
Base: Milk, Sandalwood, Broom

A clear and airy open, warm and cool vie against each other and are bridged by what I’m smelling as the two main players ambrette and iris. How is there no vanilla in this perfume? Maybe it’s the milk and sandalwood playing early but it doesn’t smell like them to me. The pepper and tea would normally give me a dry ache in my throat but here I get nothing.

Lost Alice is a strangely beautiful fragrance. It definitely has the feeling of yearning towards something. Maybe the blending is so good that parsing the notes is impossible (for me). It reminds me of two things without being like either of them. You know that rush of steam that blasts out if you open the dishwasher too soon? It’s a clean, hot, glasses fogging experience. Partly that feeling. The second thing is boiled lollies, not the taste but how smooth they become after you’ve sucked the edges off, just before you inevitably crunch it up.

Lost Alice by Masque Milano 2021

The whole fragrance feels barely there but is so distinctively unusual that it’s a constant presence. Do I like it? No, I haven’t fallen in love with it but Lost Alice is compelling, I’m forced to sniff it and sniff it again. Did you ever smell Dama Koupa by Baruti? Though the smell is quite different, the general attitude is the same.

After the initial fireworks burn off the thing I’m most reminded of is French Vanilla ice cream. Totally unexpected from the note list and my imaginings of what a Lost Alice would smell like. Finally, about an hour or so in a terrific, creamy sandalwood takes the spotlight and stays there for ages till fade. The whole fragrance comes together and it feels like Alice may not be so lost anymore.

Unisex, low to moderate projection but surprisingly good longevity.

Do you want to smell like a Masque Milano version of Lost Alice?
Portia xx

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

Holiday Gift Mini-Guide 2020

I’ve been thinking about doing this post for a while, and suddenly I realized that we’re almost out of time: with the volume of products delivered via all possible carriers, and with many places heading into the next wave of lockdowns, it’s hard to predict how long any of the purchases will roam this season. I recently had a box traveling from somewhere around LA to South San Francisco’s sorting facility, then to somewhere in Minnesota and then again to South San Francisco before arriving at my place 15 miles away from that last mentioned hub. So, it might be that we have days rather than weeks before it’s too late to bring some holiday joy to ourselves and our loved ones.

One more “complication”: probably more than half of my readers live either in Europe or in Australia, so some of my recommendations wouldn’t probably work for them (but some would). And I thought that they still might spark some ideas. None of the links are sponsored or affiliated.

* * *

For many years we kept talking how niche brands should be releasing perfumista-friendly bottles. And some of them listened. So, I’m including several brands in my list.

Olfactive Studio has just recently released many of their perfumes in 15 ml bottles (available in the US and in Europe). These might be too expensive for a blind buy/unsolicited gift, but if you like any of these, you’ll get a chance to get something beautiful for yourself. I plan to find some of the newest “shots” under my tree (Iris Shot, Violet Shot and Rose Shot are especially calling my name). But if you haven’t tried this collection yet, then this sample set might be a good idea (you’ll get $25 off your next purchase of a 100 ml bottle).

Olfactive Studio Perfumes: Three Shots

Masque Milano has also launched 10 ml travel sizes for their perfumes. Currently available from their EU site, but they ship Worldwide. I already have in my collection a couple of perfumes that I love from this brand, otherwise I would have been tempted.

Ormonde Jayne is now doing mixed travel sets 5 x 8 ml. These are not “mix-and-match” but the combinations are good (if you like the brand), and an occasional one or two you do not care for should be not that hard to do in a split with fellow perfumistas. I would have bought the Set 3 if I hadn’t owned already 4 out of 5 perfumes.

Ormonde Jayne Travel Lab

I think, Parfums Dusita released their 7.5 ml travel bottles last year, but now they are available from Luckyscent. This is one of travel bottles about which I’m hesitant: while I like an idea of an original bottle, it is slightly less than I’d like to have of perfume that I like (Splenderis), and at the same time it’s twice more expensive per ml than a full bottle. But if I cannot find a decant to buy at a better rate, I still might consider it at some point.

Since perfumes are more likely to be gifts for ourselves, let’s see what can be either a shared pleasure (if you buy it for someone in your household) or would make a sensible gift.

Tauer Perfumes has released this year perfume in a soap again – Data Miner, Mandarines Ambrées and Majestic tuberose are available from the brand’s site with Worldwide shipping.

 

Tauer Soaps

 

Bruno Fazzolari (Fzotic) has also created several soaps. You can buy a set of three soapsHoney Cedar, Black Suede, Toasted Lilac or one of each.

Fzotic Soaps

If a soap bar isn’t something you normally use, as some of the readers mentioned in comments to one of the Saturday Questions, Thymes has a very season appropriate Frasier Fir hand wash. And if you’re a fan of fir scent, they have an extensive range of everything fir scented, including hand cream, linen spray, room spray, reed diffusers, candles in multiple different sizes and even laundry detergent.

Thymes Frasier Fir Liquid Soap

No gift guide would be complete these days without a new wardrobe item – a mask. Even though wearing those relaxed not only make-up routines but also perfume wearing restrictions, one might opt for wearing perfumes proudly not only on their body but also on their faces.

I found one design by Loralee Lewis. I’m not familiar with the brand, but reviewers seem to like these. On the picture (see below) I recognize Miss Dior and Prada Candy, but the rest aren’t too familiar, which, most likely, speaks to how well I know mass market perfumes. If you want something more subtle, Etsy offers this one (I recognize Shalimar and J’Adore bottles). Or if you want an even less obvious choices, here is another one with unidentifiable vintage bottles.

 

 

And just in case you have some time on your hands and consider remodeling, here is an idea: “Perfect for bathrooms and bedrooms alike, this romantic wallpaper features fancy bottles of perfume. A colorway emphasizes its classic style.” My guess: Chanel (probably 19), Guerlain Shalimar (EdT or Initial), Marc Jacobs Daisy EdT, Miss Dior, Elie Saab Le Parfum and one of Guerlain’s classic bottles (not sure which perfume). Not sure I recognize tall bottle to the left from Chanel.

Perfume Wallpaper

Are there any perfume-related items in your nearest holiday future?

Images: from the sites to which I link for each of the products cropped or compiled by me

“Love won’t take no reservations…”

I can still remember times when the Perfumeland would buzz with an anticipation of the next release from a handful of niche brands everybody knew and loved. First there would be an announcement. Then discussions/speculations about what it was expected or hoped to be would follow. And then – the first reviews from lucky bloggers who managed to get a sample would create hordes of lemmings for anyone reading them.

After niche field has exploded, our collections saturated, and we spent small fortune on trying the latest new brand or new perfume from a favorite brand or perfumer, we barely register some of new releases, skim through articles and wait for the trip to a store … at some point in the next 12 months to maybe sniff a nozzle of the bottle while deciding if we even want to waste a paper strip.

In the last several years the only reviews for perfumes I read were predominantly those written by bloggers whom I consider friends: not because I am looking for more perfumes to introduce into my life, but mostly because from those people I’d read anything including a holiday menu or even a shopping list. (If you think about it, something like that coming from Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) or Portia (ex APJ) would be hilarious – maybe I should invite them to my blog with a guest post on the topic? But I digress).

Last December I chanced upon Angela’s (NST) review of the new Masque Milano fragrance Love Kills. I planned to quickly go through it, read a list of notes and be done: even though at the time I liked, owned and wore two perfumes from the brand, since none of the stores here carried it, a chance of trying their new perfume any time soon was seriously underfed. And then something unexpected happened: I got enchanted with… no, not with perfume – with Angela’s review:

What I do understand is this: Love Kills is a Birgit Nilsson of a rose soliflore. It’s a rich scarlet rose — maybe an old rose that clings to stone walls and blooms only once a summer. When it flowers, it’s like a full moon. Bees become town drunks, and afternoons in the garden should carry warnings against operating heavy machinery. Girls shut themselves in their rooms and cry, and grown women eye the pool boy with startling interest. Cakes won’t rise. Sinners repair to the confessional, but the priest is unexpectedly away.

Are you familiar with that desire to capture something beautiful with a photo? You see a magnificent rose or a spectacular sunset, and you take a dozen of pictures, even though you have no idea what you’d do with those. But you want to “own” it. I felt something similar when I read that passage. I decided that I needed to buy a sample – if for nothing else, to write about it on my blog and cite Angela’s review on my blog, a sort of “taking a picture” of a beautiful thing to make it mine.

I didn’t expect to love Love Kills. It was going to be a Second Sunday Sample feature (if I ever decide to revive the series) or, maybe, a part in my Single Note Exploration for the rose note. But the first time I put on Love Kills, I knew that it was love (despite of the name that I can tolerate only by reminding myself about the theatrical theme chosen by the brand as their inspiration). Read the rest of Angela’s review if you haven’t tried this perfume yet. But be warned: it’s very convincing. As a proof of that: a beautiful bottle has just recently joined my collection, and I’m amazed how much I enjoy it, even though I already have many exquisite roses in my perfume wardrobe.

 

Masque Milano Love Kills

Image: my own (one of the dozen taken)