Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

Hey Crew, 2020 has been so unexpected. Here in Australia it started with bushfires, then we got floods. The world got C19 and we watched the USA plunge into anarchy. Brexit has been exactly the shit show that any person with an ounce of rationale could see coming. While all this was going on my business collapsed completely, leaving myself and the five drag queens who work for Turbo Trivia jobless for months. Many people whose lives were previously affluent, the world over, find themselves in dire straits and it’s terrifying to watch and live.

I’m one of the seriously lucky few. Jin continued working through the whole crisis, though only about 2/3 of his regular income. He has been incredibly generous with his money, gave me a weekly stipend and paid for all our groceries. The Australian government gave me a Job Keeper handout that kept me paying my half of the major bills. Quite a turnaround from being the major breadwinner in the house and my ego took a small battering.

For any of you doing it really hard in these times my heart goes out to you and wish you a speedy financial recovery in 2021.

Portia’s 2020 Noted Things

There were the usual squizillion launches this year and I was fortunate enough to get to smell quite a few of them. Libertine Parfumerie in Sydney is Australia’s largest niche distributor and they have kept me in the loop. PHEW! Here are a few fragrant things that I really loved.

Amouage Meander comes in a celadon green bottle and had me sold before I even smelled it. Thankfully it is as beautiful as it looks. Dark, resinous iris with interesting floral highlights. I’ll grab a bottle when I’m more flush.

Amouage Interlude Black Iris is mainly powdery iris and amber with a very generous nod to the original but nowhere near as iconic, large or as resinous. I was given a Press Bottle and am loving it.

Etat Libre d’Orange Spice Must Flow is a take on the rose/oud/incense trope. HUGE! For most perfumistas it will be an unnecessary addition to their wardrobe because it’s not a very new story. I really like it though and it smells different in village than up close. Worth a sniff.

Le Lion de CHANEL was the biggest hype train here in Sydney of the year. A Shalimar style offering with extra labdanum rich amber in the whole fragrance. Many people find it leather or incense heavy too. A different ride for every wearer. To make it less of an investment I hosted a split.

Maison Crivelli Fleur Diamantine from 2018 made it’s way to my nose. WOW! One of the most beautiful fragrances I’ve ever smelled. Sparkling white floral with rich warmth and surprising minty undertones. It’s a freaking knockout and very high son my full bottle wish list.

Miller et Bertaux Pimiento is the first cut of a capsicum/bell pepper on a summer day. This oddball design duo always manages to create beautiful, weird surprises. The base is a little generic but the opening and heart are fabulous. Libertine gave me a Press Bottle of this beauty too.

Trussardi Behind The Curtain Piazza Alla Scala is a powdery leather. Beautiful but not stunningly original. The racing green bottle with the greyhound cap had me at hello. Thankfully it smells amazing and I found it on an Australian discounters for an amazing price.

So what were the things that grabbed your attention in 2020?
Portia xx

December! WTF

December! WTF

Hey there Undina’s Looking Glassers. Portia from the sweltering heatwave that is Sydney, Australia. We have already had two 42C/110f days and today was the official start of summer. Hot is an understatement, especially coming out of nowhere like it did. How on earth have we already arrived at December 2020? WOW!

First day of December is always a little melancholy for me. It’s World AIDS Day. For anyone who lived in or around the gay community in the 1980s and 90s it is a day filled with quiet sorrow. It’s also filled with some of the most extraordinary memories of fundraising, community coming together, marching, getting our government on board (Australia was one of the first acknowledges and responders) and partying like we wouldn’t see tomorrow. For so many people that was the bleak truth. We lost nearly a whole generation and the gay community has never really recovered. Fortunately, getting HIV is now far less of a death sentence and people are being medicated into effectual remissions. Also, with the discovery of PrEP the transmission rates have slowed too.

It’s been so hot I’m having trouble trying to get my head to think of things you in the Northern Hemisphere could all be wearing to snuggle up to. Here are a few things you might want to spritz if you’d like to remember what summer feels like through scent.

 

Lys Soleia by Guerlain

The ultimate tropical white floral. Smooth, creamy and elegant. Nothing makes me feel more in tune with summer. Fruity white flowers, yang and vanilla with a bare hint of salt.

Mandragore by Annick Goutal

This is another of the weird ass Annick Goutal fragrances. Spearmint, pepper, star anise and ginger combine in the most cooling and refreshing gourmand I’ve ever met. Sweet, tart and spicy but like a cool wash.

Pichola by Neela Vermeire Creations

Another white floral, this time spicier, sparkling and backed by vetiver for depth. It may not be the most summery wear but it will always remind me of times spent staying in the Lake Palace in Undaipur, surrounded by the glittering Lake Pichola.

Pimiento by Miller et Bertaux

If you dream of that scent as you cut into a bell pepper/capsicum, then this is that make believe and magical first cut. All the reminders of summer salads, happy, healthy meals full of fun and laughter. A job I loved to do growing up.

Sakura by DIOR

OK, OK, OK! I know. Cherry blossoms are spring. Sure, but this is much more than blossom. Here we have the cherry fruit, roses, some soft woods and musk. A perfect summer spritz if ever there was one. Surprisingly long lived.

Scent by CoSTUME NATIONAL

Soft white flowers sit atop an amber and stuff base. A perfect fit for sweaty nights, trying to sleep under the ceiling fan. The base is dry and smells like a cross between electrical sparks and drilling concrete.

 

Hopefully some of these can help you get through the dark and cold of winters up north.

Do any of them sound like a good fit for you?
Portia xx

 

A Magical Greenery Tour

Hello friends!

I have had a very exciting week: after my post, in which I talked about how green and I don’t always get along in perfume, Portia sent me 11 numbered samples of some of his favourite greens. I tested two a day and journaled my immediate feelings and impressions. When I began, I had no intention of trying to guess what they were, but the allure of numbered mystery vials was too much for my brain. Often an immediate association came to mind, whether fragrance or house. Some might find this useful, and though none of my speculations were correct, I think you could take them as “in the style of” recommendations.

And now, to the perfumes!

 

Green Samples

 

Green No. 1

A lovely melon note under fresh green spiciness. Ma Griffe? Something of that era. Very gentle, reminds me of humid spring day. And I love humidity.

Peau d’Ailleurs by Starck (2016, Annick Menardo). I had never heard of this house, but I’m looking forward to wearing my sample again, as apparently it features geosmin heavily. Perhaps that was the humidity?

Green No. 2

While it begins light and crisp, the drydown is potent and long-lasting. Quite stiff and proper though sweet. Too high pitched for me, but a crowd pleaser, I suspect. O de Lancome-esque.

Sampaquita by Ormonde Jayne (2004, Geza Schoen). Oh my! I have tried to like this so many times due to its name and being on sale rather often. I’ve always found Ormonde Jayne to be too proper for me, I like them, but I feel I cannot love them. And no, I don’t just like the wild ones, but my proper quota has been fulfilled by quite a few classics. I’d recommend Ormonde Jayne as a house to others, but it seems we are not to be.

Green No. 3

Sweet like a green apple. Fruity, galbanum on a pillow of musk. It reminds me of Fidji, or rather my image of Fidji, which I haven’t smelled in 15 years. Very charming and young, the youth of another era before the invention of fruitchoulis.

A Scent by Issey Miyake (2009, Daphne Bugey). I remember trying this when it came out as the bottle was so appealingly minimalist. I liked it, but having little interest in greens or fresh at that point (I was deep into gothic orientals) a quick spray was as far as we went. Now I’m thinking this is a fun one to keep an eye out for, if it is still around.

 

Greenery

 

Green No. 4

I feel this one is thoroughly modern and playing homage to vintage. There’s a definite touch of cumin in there under the mossy forest floor. I would like very much to wear this scent, it has many secret qualities that appeal to my imagination.

Eau de Gloire by Parfum d’Empire (2003, Marc-Antoine Corticchiato). And straight to the top of the want list this goes! I would like to carry Eau de Gloire in my purse, always at the ready to secretly bolster the day. This was one of two standout favourites during my magical greenery tour. I was so enthralled with it that I emailed Portia begging to know what it was, but he held out until I had sampled everything!

Green No. 5

Chanel No. 19?

Futur by Robert Piguet (1960, presumably reformulated since then; Aurelien Guichard). It was a little sweeter than No. 19, but if you’re a No 19 fan you might like to spend some time with this one to see if you also love it.

Green No. 6

A tart fuzzy green with a touch of heliotrope to begin with. I immediately thought “Zoologist”, though not one I’ve smelled. Strong black tea. Smoke. Absolutely charming and interesting, reminds me of a great reading experience. 6 is the stand-out for me, it’s just so drinkable and fine. It made me a little emotional, the play of tea and fruit and smoke.

Eau de Givenchy, vintage (1980, Daniel Moliere and Daniel Hoffman). This was my favourite of the whole collection. I absolutely loved it. Looking up reviews, there’s a lot of talk about “a perfect spring day” and no talk of tea and tartness. Perhaps trying things without reading about them first has a lot of merit. This one I tested for two days.

 

Greenery

 

Green No. 7

A vile and antiseptic concoction infiltrated by sweaty cumin. A sweetness develops. By the drydown, it’s quite rich and acceptable. Amouage?

#2 Spiritus/Land by Miller et Bertaux (2006). I had quite a visceral dislike for this, but by the drydown it had mellowed into a well thought out fragrance, but not something I enjoyed. I see it has teak in it, which may contribute to my antiseptic response. Amouage and I have a troubled relationship, but one factor that brought Amouage to mind with Spiritus/Land was the high quality of the ingredients.

Green No. 8

Oh my! I want to say Cristalle, or rather the fantasy of Cristalle that I had when I began my perfume journey. It’s luminous! It reminds me of a beautiful yellow wine. I’m wondering why I don’t have whatever this is in my collection!

Cœur de Vétiver Sacré by L’Artisan Parfumeur (2010, Karine Vinchon-Spehn). One of the few L’Artisans I have not tried and yet another reason to adore the early L’Artisans, full of quirky masterpieces. I will be tracking down this sadly discontinued wonder to join my L’Artisan beloveds. I am quite thrilled to have tried this beauty, since it has always been on my radar as a L’Artisan I had missed out on.

Green No. 9

Guerlain Vetiver?

Tzora by Anat Fritz (2012, Geza Schoen). Well, isn’t that interesting. I was very careful during our green tour to only test two a day and not confuse my nose. I wore nothing else. Being in lockdown helped, as there are no other scents in the air, and the mood and temperature plodded on at a steady sameness. I’ve tried Tzora before, and I own Guerlain Vetiver. I ended up testing both side by side. Other than Tzora being a little richer and missing that delicate nutmeg, they were so close I thought it was my imagination that they were even different scents.

Green No. 10

Minty. Camphor. Sugar. Heeley Esprit du Tiger? It’s lovely, I could bathe in it! It is sugared in the most delicate and lovely way.

Oriental Mint by Phaedon (2011, Pierre Guillaume). This features “resins”, which, I suspect, is where the tiger balm accord comes in. I think it’s better than the Esprit du Tiger, not as simple. A very fun scent! I could see this being a bottle I wore excessively for a summer.

Green No. 11

I have spent some hours thinking on what this reminds me of. Lovely lemon, very fresh and bright to begin with. It then magically develops into a delicious sherbet! It’s as if a gelato maker sniffed the orchard air and rushed to capture the wonderful citrus and springtime scent in a gelato. I think this is a Hermetica, it feels like Hermetica DNA.

Granville by Dior (2010, Francoise Demachy). Oh my, how fantastic this is. I hope you all are able to try Granville, especially if you love lemon. Vividly natural ingredients.

And so we end our magical greenery tour. Through the testing phase and the reveal, I’ve been inspired, besotted, perplexed and gobsmacked. It has been a very enjoyable journey during this time of no travel (one of perfume’s secret powers). Thank you, Portia, for your samples and your wonderful enthusiasm to share your loves.

 

Greenery

 

Images: samples (Narth), greenery (Undina)