Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Subscription Service

Hi there crew. Many of you are already familiar with Dawn Spencer Hurwitz and her DSH Perfumes. Did you know though that she now has the coolest HEIRLOOM ELIXIR Limited Editions :: Subscription Service? Yep. It’s fabulous. You can order 1, 3 or 6 sets that come with 3ml of the bi-monthly heirloom release and samples of other interesting DSH smellables. I want to tell you about my personal favourite from my subscription. Don’t get excited it’s now discontinued. There will be more fabulously amazing things coming in the future though, never fear.

Giardini Segreti arrived last year, I sniffed it, loved it and put it into the To Be Reviewed Immediately box. Where it sat for a year or more! DAMN IT!

Giardini Segreti, Heirloom Elixir Limited Edition by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz

WHOA! Straight out of the gate a thick, rich, buried my head in a fully flowering bush of gardenia standing right next to a hedge of flowering jasmine and under a blooming tree of Murraya paniculata at about 9pm. Intoxicating and rich but not an overpowering circus show. Here we have all the fragrance but after the first minute it’s muted and floats effortlessly alongside and around you like a sheer white floral nimbus. As we hit the heart I’m tantalised by a thick, creamy butter and a very slightly feral honeyed sweetness. This stuff is seriously gorgeous.

Even two to three hours later I’m still getting lovely wafts of sensual white flowers and I think it might be sandalwood. So good.

Giardini Segreti or Secret Garden is devoted to those spring bursts of flowering and scented miracles abuzz with bees.

I particularly love that this OTT scent is not a room stinker. I am beautifully fragrant but it stays close. Giardini Segreti is just for me, and those I allow close.

I’m thinking this might be a terrific gift for any perfumista in your life. $27 for a set is very reasonable. What a fun surprise they’d get.

Portia xx

 

 

Paco Rabanne Vintage

Paco Rabanne Vintage

Hey there Crew! It’s 3am Monday morning and I just realised that tomorrow I need to have a post done for Undina’s Looking Glass. Normally I’m incredibly organised and have something, or somethings, written in advance. In a good month I can have EVERYTHING written for the month before the month starts, across all three blogs. The problem is that usually I’m really busy doing shows, running businesses, keeping house and seeing friends. This C19 lockdown has me unable to function on even the lowest level. All previous timetabling has blown out the door and I’m left disoriented and incredibly unmotivated to get ANYTHING much done except to fill my face and watch ALL THE TELEVISION.

What has happened though in the last couple of weeks is that I’ve started going through my perfume cupboards. Yes, I have, and I’ve been selling off some of the vintage impossible to find stuff that I hoarded. The Aussie perfumistas have been scoring some amazing pieces and I’ve been selling them at what I paid, or less if I’ve used them a bit. A couple of them I bought in auction frenzy and paid far too much for, these I sold at a loss. No, I’m not boo hooing about it. I’m selling the excess. A few things I wore once when they arrived and never looked at again because there are already HEAPS of that exact thing here to get through. Or selling things I bought and just will not ever wear because it’s far too precious to me. Sending it to the next home, one that will hopefully use it till it’s dry, is about sharing the perfume wealth.

Tonight I picked out another 11 to go on the chopping block tomorrow morning. There are four I’ll be selling as a set that I think are interesting for themselves so let’s have a squiz, eh? No, don’t get excited. We can ONLY send perfume to Australia and they are destroying international stuff now, not even sending it back. Also, by now they’re hopefully sold.

Paco Rabanne Vintage

This little collection of Paco Rabanne came from a few places. eBay in Hong Kong and USA, FaceBook from USA and one from an Aussie perfumista mate. I’ve had them for years and have worn them a very little bit. They need to go somewhere, be appreciated and used. I will be sad to seee them go but happy that they’ve gone. Know what I mean?

First we have Calandra EdT, which smells lovely but I think those top notes might have taken a bit of a beating.  Next to it is Calandra parfum! 15ml that came to me in its cellophane. It is unutterably divine. What a perfume. Crazy stuff. Aldehydic floral chypre taken space age. Funnily, I often take the box out, open it up, pull out the little plastic cork and just sniff the cork. It’s too special to wear but having a sniff is jaw dropping. I’m not sure about age but there’s no barcode so pre 1980.

Next up is Paco Rabanne Pour Homme. This 1973 fougere fragrance became the smell of middle class working men in Australia for a while. Sometimes I think I smell it on an older gent walking past me still. A manly chypre to me. That lovely mossy base. I think it still smells similar, if not the same as this exactly.

Last is Metal. An aldehydic floral chypre that reminds me of one of the Nina Ricci perfumes, can’t remember off hand. If I were asked to produce a fragrance today, this is exactly what I would ask my perfumer to recreate in modern terms. Galbanum, flowers and oakmoss done dry and quite sheer for the era. A young, jet set fragrance. So cool.

UPDATE: I didn’t make this sale doc yet. Realised I probably can’t part with them. They smell too good. I can’t replace them. They’re a set. GAH! I’m pathetic.

Did you wear any of these beauties?
Portia xx

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

Sycomore by CHANEL

Sycomore by CHANEL

Hey Crew. CHANEL is one of the worlds most iconic brands. The marketing team is second to none. It’s hard to stay current and afloat in the world of fashion. Let alone doing it in the 21st century. With the historic stories of Gabrielle Chanel and her personal and political choices, any other brand would have been cancelled or censured. For more information read Hal Vaughan’s book Sleeping With The Enemy: Coco Chanel’s Secret War. She wasn’t alone according to this article. There has been some extra hype with No 5 turning 100 years old in 2021 and the release of the homewares inspired collectable Factory 5 Collection. They also manage to pump out some impressive fragrance in their Les Exclusif line. If you’re new to the perfume craving they are a good place to smell some beautifully crafted fragrance, accessible in most large department stores.

Sycomore by CHANEL EdP (2016)

Sycamore by CHANEL

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Aldehydes, Spices, Pink pepper, Sandalwood, Tobacco, Violet, Vetiver, Juniper, Cypress

Grassy greenness, the sweet shiver of pink pepper, the warm enveloping and silky smooth pairing of tobacco and sandalwood are all front and centre at the opening of Sycomore EdP. Less brilliant and sparkling than its EdT predecessor but warmer and more wearable by far. This feels more luxurious without the razza mattaz, showbiz style entrance. Don’t get me wrong, I love the EdT but there is a place in my heart for the EdP. Also, as more proof I own this small bottle of EdP and it wasn’t even on my list as an EdT.

The heart becomes a lightly spiced fresh hewn wood. Not a chest thumping, crackly, modern niche experience of woods. Here there is air between the notes. You aren’t in the sawmill, or even the lumberyard. It’s more like you’ve had a wood delivery at home and you can smell it as you enter and leave the house. I don’t know what it is but I also smell wood polish, like those lovely waxes that feed and nourish your wood table.

Dry down gets woodsier and woodsier as it fades over hours. Interestingly people around me can smell this long after I become nose blind. A perfect scent for those times you need to be softly fragrant for long periods of time.

Sycamore by CHANEL EdP

Sycomore is a modern, unisex fragrance. No matter that it was originally created in 1930. I never smelled the Ernest Beaux version but Jacques Polge and Christopher Sheldrake have done a beautiful job of revamping the EdT.

Have you spent time with any of the CHANEL Sycomores?
Portia x

(EDIT: I spelled Sycomore as SycAmore through the whole post and then was pulled up. It is in fact SycOmore. Fixed now)

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

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Hey All. Portia here and I think it’s time we look at something a little bit lavender. It seems to have had a resurgence in the last few years but it never went away. Just got hidden and had to play some bit parts and sing chorus. French Grey by Elizabeth & James is a 2017 release created by Nicole Mancini Issaq and Linda Song! Love seeing two women names signing off. They have both been a part of some other perfumes but the only glam gig is Linda Song for Fougere Platine by Tom Ford.

I grabbed this baby for almost nothing on FragranceNet (not affiliated but love to give you all a bargain tip)

French Grey by Elizabeth and James

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Lavender, Neroli, Musk

If you’re thinking summer, elegant, relaxed, cool, unruffled and slightly different then French Grey could be that thing you’ve been looking for but didn’t know it. They are calling it a fresh floral scent. While that kinda works it doesn’t tell the whole story. Yes, lavender is floral but it’s also quite herbal and the oil comes from the plant much more than the flowers.

French Grey smells to me like they have some green steering herbs and spices like basil or cardamom, or maybe even some violet leaves. Also, I smell some common base note that heads fresh white woods and some resins. All these hints and maybes play around the central pillar of sugared lavender lollies with a soft white floral undertow.

If you like Lolita Lempicka EdP but wish it was a little less playful and a lot more sophisticated then French Grey might be exactly your jam OR if CHANEL Boy is too expensive French Grey could be a fabulous substitution.

100% unisex, projection is moderate but trails off to low in the first hour, longevity is average. The bottle is fabulous, I love the way they have made an interesting yes oh-so-simple renovation to a historic look. VERY cool.

Would you French Grey?
Portia xx

Gris Dior by Dior

Hi there. Those temps should be getting high up there in the Northern Hemisphere. Sometimes in high heat I like to go super restrained with my fragrance. Luxurious but introverted. The way a sotto voce fragrance can surround you with a barely there nimbus of fragrance can be powerful in its understatement. Also, I like that a tenacious one can surprise me with little huffs of reminder through the day. Once called Gris Montaigne after the grey of the Rue de Montaigne store (I think i remember that rightly) and now called simply Gris Dior.

Gris Dior by Maison Christian Dior Collection 2018

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Calabrian bergamot, Turkish rose, Patchouli, Jasmine sambac, Amber, Oakmoss, Cedar, Sandalwood

OK, so Gris Dior is a softer, less intense version of the original Gris Montaigne. They are saying it’s the exact same thing but the big fragrance crews have often played fast and loose with the truth. Still beautiful, still luxurious and interesting but like a fraiche version of itself.

If a Middle Eastern rose/patch, hefty kinda perfume is your wish then go grab a bottle of something else. Gris Dior includes a lot of the ingredients but doesn’t do its thing flamboyantly.

The opening is rose water marmalade and a wash of cool white flowers. A light, airy fragrance that only hints at any darkness. Actually, Gris Dior is like smelling someone else’s perfume at lunch. Tangible and lovely but non intrusive.

Into the low level rose/woods heart Gris Dior continues to pump out a very low key prettiness. It’s an under the radar beauty. Until i purposely try to resmell it I’m blissfully unaware of any fragrance, unless there’s a surprise huff from my shirt.

Underwhelming sounds mean but I think that is exactly what François Demachy was aiming for here. Beautiful, poised and luxurious but barely there. A cool whisper of scent that you can wear anytime and anywhere.

Did you try Gris Dior?
Portia xx

Jaipur Homme by Boucheron

Jaipur Homme by Boucheron

Jaipur Homme is 20+ years old, Boucheron wasn’t really on my radar at that time. It wasn’t till late 2000s that I smelled it. In the early 2000s, I was living with a man who came from halfway between Delhi & Jaipur. He took me to the Rambagh Palace for a few nights on our first holiday to India, and he knew every nook and cranny of the town, so I got a really fabulous look at it. After we had broken up and he’d returned to India, I found the Boucheron fragrance. It was so subtle compared to the reality of India but there were lovely reminders and the name itself conjures happy memories. Over the years, I’ve brought or sent him bottles of Jaipur and it’s been his signature scent.

Anyway, thought I hadn’t bought myself a bottle of Jaipur Homme in years, so I grabbed a super cheap EdT from FragNet recently and have been wearing it a bit. It’s still very nice.

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Heliotrope, Cardamom, Lime, Lemon
Heart: Amber, Jasmine, Carnation, Nutmeg, Rose, Vanilla, Cinnamon
Base: Benzoin, Clove, Patchouli, Tonka bean, Cedarwood

If you know ground cardamom from your spice cupboard then you’ll instantly recognise it in the opening of Jaipur Homme. The citrus creates an initial sparkling, zingy opening, and the cardamom becomes apparent almost immediately. It stays after the citrus burns off, and the cool powdery fluff of heliotrope is then a tangible note that leads us into the heart.

I’m drinking chai as I write this post, and the heart of Jaipur Homme is a softer, more French perfumery armchair dream of it. Very softly animalic, vanilla-heavy amber with spices. Clove is more noticeable than anything else, but I definitely get the sweet milky tea reference. It’s not the MAIN heart accord, but it plays alongside everything else.

The dry down is sweet amber woods. I become nose blind to it after a couple of hours, but it stays on my clothes for days. When I pick up a top to wash it, I am hit gently with a beautiful spiced wood fragrance. It’s really lovely, so I know that’s what I’m wafting at the end of a day.

Don’t let the homme fool you. Jaipur Homme is unisex. It doesn’t even lean towards a modern traditional masculine. It could be brought out as a women’s fragrance today, and no one would have questioned it. Longevity is excellent, projection after about 30 minutes is moderate to low but oh so lovely.

Did you ever try Jaipur Homme?

Portia xx

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Portia’s Most Worn

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Portia’s Most Worn

Hiya ULG, L’Artisan are one of those houses that many perfumistas had as a gateway to the rest of the world of perfumery. L’Artisan Parfumeur was established in 1976 by Jean Laporte making luxurious ambergris scented balls. He stayed till 1982. Interestingly, two of the first years perfume releases (1978) are still available; L’Eau d’Ambre and Mure et Musc. Over the years they have been incredibly groundbreaking. The first blackberry, fig, mimosa and others. Several have gone on into fabled history like Iris Pallida, La Haie Fleurie du Hameau, L’Eau du Navigateur and who can forget the fragrance made for a NYC store that started its own brand; Aedes de Venustas. Through the 21st centuries early naughties and teens they were available at almost every large department store. They have the added bonus of being slightly weird but extremely wearable, perfect for the newly minted perfumista. I have a whole box dedicated to them in my collection but only a few get year round, reach for a lot, wear. I thought it might be nice if we had a look at these easy go-to scents from a brand that I hope will see a new lease of life under their current owners since 2015, Puig.

L’Artisan Parfumeur: Portia’s Most Worn

Honestly, I was quite surprised at which bottles were most empty. A couple that I really adore seem to hardly have been used at all. So I picked the bottles with the most air in them, that seemed fairest. One day I’ll do a favourites from the line post and the outcome will only have a couple of crossover perfumes.

lartisan-parfumeur-portias-most-worn

Al Oudh

You know when the L’Artisan hands touch anything it’s going to be a smooth and classy version of whatever it is. Add in that this is a Bertrand Duchaufour fragrance. Al Oudh was a 2009 entrant into the oudh race. Just before I found you all on the scentbloggosphere. So when I hit the blogs it was a big, talked up fragrance along with Vanille Absolument (a rerelease of Havana Vanille) and Côte d’Amour (their first stab at all natural). A sweet and spicy look at the oudh/saffron/rose/patchouli combo that stays sheer and elegant, even though it has a lovely dirty/medicinal hit of oudh.

Bois Farine

Jean Claude Ellena created this 2003 beauty. I bought my bottle second hand and already there was juice missing to the top of the title. Powder, woods, iris and I don’t know how there are not sugar and almonds in the mix. In deepest dry down ALL I can smell is those sweet, puffy, almond horseshoe biscuits. It’s uncanny. Clearly my nose smells stuff ay out of whack sometimes but I really don’t care. Part of what I love about this beauty is it’s gourmand hints as it dries down.

Caligna

This is my favourite fig from the L’Artisan line up, created by Dora Baghriche. I love its more aromatic and herbal take on fig. Still creamy but with so many more interesting bells and whistles. Sage, citrus leaves, pine and ambroxan make for a very modern look and yet they also make it seem thoroughly reminiscent of the mid 20th century mens cologne fragrances. It’s an interesting mix that really captures my nose but could fit any time or place and any gender. That’s probably why I wear it so much. Also, it’s less OTT than Premier Figuier.

L’Eau du Navigateur

This was released back in 1979 and had gone through some heavy reformulations before I bought my bottle mid 2010s. At the time I’d only read about it in reverent tones and never seen a bottle. One day at a sale I saw one bottle left, didn’t even ask if they had a tester, I just bought it then and there. So happy I did. A Jean Claude Ellena from his earlier, heavier, more note filled days. Here we have a wooden spice boat on the seas, filled with cargo, deck hands, briny winds and the million other smells of sailing. Just close your eyes and live in this cleaned up fantasy of travel in the spice trade.

Poivre Piquant

This foody trilogy was released in 2002. Piment Brûlant, Poivre Piquant and Saffron Troublant are odes to Bell peppers (chilli), Peppercorns and Saffron. Almost photo realistic recreations of the named foodstuff that open each perfume. Poivre Piquant is pepper but wears like a zingy mix of black and pink peppers, drizzled with honey and sweetened to a liquorice deliciousness by dry down. Pepper lollies! Can you even imagine? It sounds as weird and out there as a fragrance could be but mercifully it’s all done in the cool, smooth, low key Duchaufour/L’Artisan style.

Seville a l’Aube

This is my second bottle of Seville a l’Aube. The Perfume Lover book by my buddy Denyse Beaulieu changed the way I viewed perfume creation and I fell in love with her wild and wicked ways. Though the fragrance itself is not sensual I always feel infused with her free spirit and zest for adventure when I wear it. Oranges, smoky incense, white flowers and honey mix together in an overwhelmingly ripe fragrance that tells the story of a romantic adventure remembered and brought to life by Bertrand Duchaufour. What’s not to love?

Tea for Two

When Tea for Two was first DCd in 2013 the Perfume Posse crew organised a Bus Tour through LA to some of the major fragrance venues. I was SO BUMMED about missing out on a bottle and begged the crew at Beauty Habit to give me their tester. As we were leaving they ran after the bus, stopped it and gave me the tester. This unbelievable fragrance. Smoky, incense laden, rich milky chai tea. Olivia Giacobetti masterfully arranges a fragrance rest stop in an Indian backstreet where the chai wallah has your tea at the ready. It’s sweet, milky, spicy and has the slight smell of frizzing electrical junctions, incense smoke, dusty streets and humanity.

I have at least a dozen more bottles of L’Artisan in the cupboard. Some of them I love infinitely more than these few yet these are the ones I reach for most.

What are your Most Worn L’Artisans?
Portia xx