Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Hi Looking Glassers, Flesh by Pekji is newly arrived at Chez Portia. My buddy Scotty bought the set as soon as they came out and brought them over for sniffing. It’s taken me a while but now I too have a set of the 2021 releases. They came all the way from Fragrances and Art because Australia has no stockist of these tempestuous beauties anymore (yes, I paid retail, they’re worth it). Omer is such a perfumista himself, and so stringently interrogative of fragrances in general, that the weird, wonderful, confronting messes he makes are also a story running along the knife edge of gorgeous and disgusting. I don’t know how he manages to do this with every single release and still make wearable perfumes that smell excellent. It’s a gift that few share. Yeah, I’m a fan, also he’s a buddy of mine.

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Apricot, Spray paint, Vanilla, Iris, Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Musk, Civet, Osmanthus

Before we start on the scent I’d like to take a moment to talk about the packaging. Sensible, very heavy card, lovely print on sleeve and the holographic paper behind the perfume bottle is so beautiful on opening. Like looking at a mermaid. It’s sturdy but not an enormous wank of a box. The bottle is a simple heavy rectangle and the sprayer nozzle is so thoughtfully white against the black of the rest. Making it very easy for super blind me to see where I am spritzing. Bravo!

Flesh by Pekji 2021

How does Flesh smell? Iris, but not cardboard or dough or carrot. I probably wouldn’t have smelt the spray paint but now I know it’s in the notes I keep laughing about it. It’s there alright but I probably would have called it a hair lacquer note. Powder, make up, humanity. Like a drag queen dressing room, NO like the women at the end of Death Becomes Her. THIS is what the over made up, powdered, glued together, spray painted, broken pieces of undead would smell like.

Sounds terrible? Nope, gorgeous. Fluffy and feral, but low key. Iris, leather, osmanthus and tonnes of well powdered but slightly sweaty human.

Have you tried any of the Peckji oeuvre? Favourite?
Portia x

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Portia’s Favourite Notes

Portia’s Favourite Notes

Hi there crew, I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what notes draw me to fragrance. The ones that seem to give me a particularly swoony head rush as well as nostrilgasms. Though there is very little in the perfumed world that I actively dislike there are some favourites. Especially when they are done well or treated in a new way that piques may interest. Some of them I keep buying even though there are already three, four or ten in the collection almost exactly the same. Yes, I know, TRAGIC! I can’t help it though. If I get a super swoony rush the chances are my credit card is out and burned before I can even get my thoughts together enough to say, “Sorry, I already have five almost exactly the same.” Please tell me some of you are just as impulsive and ridiculous..

Portia’s Favourite Notes (Today!)

Amber

I think amber is the best represented not in my collection. On it’s own I already find it sensational, don’t need to add a thing. The accord is so varied and almost every iteration of it has caught me in its snare. Give it a few extra bells & whistles and take my money. So much so that I’m having to get really tough with myself. Nowadays when I smell a new amber it has to be something extremely unusual or perfectly produced for me to go bananas. NO, that was a lie. I still go for it but then I have to rein myself in.
Favourites include L’Eau d’Ambre by L’Artisan, Ambre Ceruleen by Huitieme Art, Ambre Russe by Parfum d’Empire, Ambre 114 by Histories de Parfum, Mitzah by DIOR, Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, Tiger’s Nest Memo Paris, Oriental Lounge by The Different Company, 24-09-11 by Hilde Soliani, Rima XI by Carner Barcelona, and Ambre Narguile by Hermès. I know I’m going to be pissed at how many I left off this list but seriously, it’s ridiculous how many bottles are here that are amber rich.

Narcissus

Narcissus crept up on me. While always loving it in the garden I didn’t really think about narcissus, or its place in perfumery, till I got hold of a decant of CB I Hate Perfume’s Narcissus Absolute. Suddenly I could tell when fragrances has a bit, or a lot. most of them keep it fairly well hidden as a back up singer, hiding among the bouquet. That’s a shame because the few that go all out are freaking stunning.
A couple I love are Jardins de Bagatelle by Guerlain (wearing it to write this!), Ostara by Penhaligon’s, Le Temps d’une Fête by Parfums de Nicolai, Infini by Caron, Narcisse by Chloé, and Volupté by Oscar de la Renta. There are so many others but these are the only bottles in my collection that I can think of.

Salt

Salt is a new love but one that I’m embracing. Actually, I think that’s not exactly true. I’ve long loved salt in fragrance but didn’t really know it until lately. It adds so much, like it does in food. Salt can be seaside, sweat, food, blood, driftwood, tears, skin, and so much more.
Gucci Bloom Acqua di Fiori, Couleur Vanille (large decant) and Batucada by L’Artisan, Eden-Roc by DIOR (large decant), Greg Lauren Barneys New York (still desperately searching for a bottle of this), Vanille Marine by M. Micallef, and though they never call themselves salted I always associate the L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme fragrances with sea water.

Sandalwood

Sandalwood seems to be ubiquitous. Indian Mysore, Australian, the replicants and something else grown I can’t remember. Having been introduced to it in Samsara while squirt bitching for Guerlain in the late 1980s, that hugely dramatic diva stole my heart and I bought it for Mum who wore it so well. Then in the early 2000s in India I was taken to a famous perfume wallah in Janpath Market in New Delhi. The sandalwood in the oils blew my mind. 
My most used. Samsara, Santal Royal and Mahora by Guerlain, Santal+++ by Miller et Bertaux, Santal Majuscule and Santal Blanc by Serge Lutens, Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creation (Yes, I know sandalwood is secondary but it’s definitely part of why it’s so beautiful), Santal Noir by Dior, Adam Levine for Women, Dama Koupa by Baruti, Babylon by Penhaligon’s (sample, WANT a bottle so badly!) and Santal Massoïa by Hermès.

Tropical Floral

OK, so I know this is a style. Yes, it’s not a note. There is something so alluring about this genre though and if it’s done even half way good I’m a sucker for it. As kids our family spent a lot of summer time on beach or island vacations, plus we had a pool.  So those creamy floral, vanilla, coconut, ozonics make my heart skip a beat and quite often my eyes roll back in my head.
Songes and Un Matin d’Orage by Annick Goutal, Un Jour d’Ete by Keiko Mecheri, Lys Soleia by Guerlain, Rahel by Neela Vermeire Creations, Dune and Grand Bal by Dior, l’esprit libre by Divine, Saskia and Queen of the Night by Grandiflora, Elle L’aime by Lolita Lempicka, Sun by Jin Sander and even on the borderline, Ysatis by Givenchy.

 

So there you have it. I have surprised myself. These were not the 5 notes I was expecting to write about when I first sat down. This article has been banging around me head for a long while. If I’d gone Top Ten then I think lavender, incense, vanilla, rose and aquatic would have been the next 5. GAH! Then I’ve left out things like cedar, patchouli, oud, jasmine, cardamom, basil, galbanum, oakmoss, aldehydes, geranium, leather, osmanthus, violet, pepper or tea.

So how about you tell me your 5 faves. Don’t worry, it’s only for today.
The ones that make you swoon and reach for the credit card every time.

Portia xx

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

L’Esprit Libre by Divine NEW 2021

Hi Crew, L’Esprit Libre is one of two new releases from Divine this year along with Divine Intense, which doesn’t appear to be for sale on their site yet. Both crafted by the incredibly prolific Yann Vasnier, 91 named fragrances on Fragrantica. The email dropped into my inbox announcing the new arrival, and before I was even able to think it was checked out and on its way to me. All thoughts of lockdown business collapse, lack of funds and any skerrick of rationale deserted me. It wasn’t even a late night event, suddenly I’d bought it and L’Homme Sage, which has been on my list for years. Excitingly, they arrived in the mail this week. I’ve been lovingly looking at the pristine corrugated boxes in cellophane but decided it was time to open L’Esprit Libre up to share how it smells. It’s so rare for me to feel this kind of excitement about a new release.

L’Esprit Libre by Divine

L'Esprit Libre DivineAccording to the Divine site:

A light breeze, green and mellow with bergamot and green mandarine, then suddenly when you’re least expecting it, a ray of peony and magnolia. At its heart, a blue twinkle of iris, talc and earth, with essence and butter of iris and a leisurely finale of musk and ambergris.

WOW! Remember in the early 2000s and the world went mad for sheer feeling, radiant fragrances that had amazing projection and longevity like Elie Saab and SJP Lovely? They were almost always done with a white floral at the heart. It was like the logical next step from those enormous 1990s sheer/huge aquatics like L’Eau d’Issey and Aqua di Gio. This L’Esprit Libre feels like it’s the next progression in the story.

The citrus opening is sheer, tart and intoxicating. It starts icy cool and by the time the heart has arrived has warmed considerably. The peony and magnolia are only very peripheral, amorphous nods during the opening but make a more definite appearance well into the heart, but what does shine is an unmentioned woods note blown on the breeze. I’m wondering if it’s part of the dry rooty iris that feels sliced open as you pulled it up with earth still attached. (Edit: Amusingly, in today’s wear I have it on the back of both my hands and they both smell quite different. Left is much soapier and more floral, right features dry woods.) I’m surprised that there isn’t a mentioned green herbal note or a woody one. Maybe it’s a basil and an angelique, generic sawdust. These are what my brain keeps telling me but I’m not convinced.

L’Esprit Libre smells like a completely new direction for the Divine Parfums crew. Through the heart I definitely get the idea of breeze, or sky, or even that joyful feeling of being outdoors in the sun on a cool, breezy day. This is no loud 1980s showstopper, but it is wonderfully noticeable; I’m wondering if the more I wear it the more I can notice it? Maybe the more nuance I pick up? There’s something quite space age about it.

The ambergris is not a fecal, salty, bilge water adventure. There’s no hark to Womanity. It’s a sea breeze, not on the shore but maybe on a restaurant verandah overlooking thew sea, just a little up the hill.

For such a sheer fragrance the longevity is excellent. Projection is amazing for over an hour before it softens considerably.

Does L’Esprit Libre sound like something you might like?
Portia xx

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Hey there ULG, I know a lot of you are caught in the depths of winter so I thought we could look forward to spring through fragrance today. Muguet Fleuri is Lily of the Valley. That glorious harbinger of spring. On May 1 the whole of Paris smells of it and little bouquets and flowering pots can be bought on street corners. It’s heavenly.

In 2014 I first visited Hugo and Franck of Oriza L Legrand at their 18 Rue Saint-Augustin, Paris store. The brand is a modern resurrection of a long lost perfume house. They took us through their collection and I purchased some soaps and a bottle of Jardin d’Armide. This was the defining moment of my love affair with the brand. The space is gorgeous and chock full of soaps, candles and fine fragrance. Since then I’ve been back to the store a few times. Their affordable product and FREE postage over €100 to Australia means I often buy their soaps and fragrances for gifts.

Did you know that the original Oriza L Legrand patented the idea of solid perfume?

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand 2014

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Green leaves, grass, lily-of-the-valley
Heart : Galbanum, angelica, violet leaf, lily-of-the-valley
Base: Lily-of-the-valley, oakmoss, lily

I love the calm feeling of a Lily of the Valley fragrance, dewy and air conditioned. The Muguet Fleuri opening is cool and slightly mentholated. I get nothing grassy particularly but much more like the juice of Aloe Vera (yes, got a bit sunburned helping my BFF Kath high pressure hose her dad’s driveway). Flore by Carolina Herrera has a very similar plastic Lily of the Valley note but in Muguet Fleuri I find it subtle and refreshing, helped by galbanum and angelica to keep everything super green. None of the modern cucumber/aquatic note like in Muguet Porcelain by Hermès.

It’s excellent to me how they keep the focus so firmly on Lily of the Valley in Muguet Fleuri. The scent feels luxurious and refined while creating  a very nice silage for the first hour or so. Fairly linear througfhout its life, there are slight increments of difference and a gradual earthing of the scent towards the end.

If you often, or even sometimes, wish for a fragrance as true to cut Lily of the Valley stems from the florist as possible but still interesting and beautiful then I would send you immediately to try Muguet Fleuri. Only the first two hours are fragrant, then it hums along quietly as a soft, background wash.

Muguet Fleuri by Oriza L. Legrand

Oriza L Legrand has a €30/choose your 6 x 2ml Sample Set (delivered worldwide). My review today is from an old sample I refound in my collection, looking for something cool and summery.

Are you a Lily of the Valley fan? Do you have a favourite?
Portia xx

Interlude Black Iris by Amouage. NEW! NEW! NEW!

Hey crew, It’s Portia in the Sydney spring sunshine.

What a lovely time of year down here. I was in Libertine Parfumerie (Australia’s most respected niche importer and distributor) offices the other day. It was so good to see everyone. Everything is being released by ZOOM meeting now, and we are all sent a package to sniff and join the conversation. It’s interesting but much more clinical discussion and little room for personal experiences or interaction. Got to sniff the new Amouage Renaissance Collection! Can’t wait to write about those for you. Also, I picked up my Press Bottle of today’s extravaganza, Interlude Black Iris. Yes, Amouage has released its first flanker of its most popular fragrance Interlude Man.

 

Interlude Black Iris

From Amouage:

Crafted as an overpainting, Interlude Black Iris uses a refined palette to smoothen the facets of the original creation. A complex interplay of dark stoic serenity and buried vibrant power bursting upwards, into the light…

Top: Bergamot, Rosemary, Violet Leaves
Heart: Orris, Amber, Frankincense, Cistus, Myrrh, Vanilla
Base: Leather, Agarwood Smoke, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Cedarwood

Right from open mixed with the zing of citrus and cool green of violet is the dry, dusty and earthy facet of iris. The opening is so fleeting on me I had to come back for a second and third round to really get an idea of how it flows. In the time it took me to write this paragraph we are already in the heart with all the resins surrounding and lifting the iris. At this point, the iris gets a buttery softness, and the resins start to feel very churchy. The cool heart of a busy, clean church with the memories of a thousands days of worship, incense, woods and their waxy clean/preservers.

I’m not sure if it’s the cistus, leather or oudh that brings darkness and a cold touch of otherworldliness to Interlude Black Iris. It descends like a whisper and then takes the iris to a carroty rootiness. GOSH! So interesting. It’s all this way in that I finally get a whiff of the green, herbal rosemary!

 

Amouage Interlude Black Iris Sept 2020

 

Dry down is a gentle woody melange with some patchouli and iris to give interest. Interlude Black Iris hums away quietly, nowhere near the beast mode power trip of the original Interlude. This is a refined, urbane, sophisticated journey. The word that I keep wanting to write is centered. Without being anything like it, I am reminded of the elegant aloofness and backbone inducing fortitude of CHANEL No 19. This is a much more 21st century niche offering, but the heart, the integrity of the scent seems similar to me.

I can’t wait to hear what you all think.

Portia xx