Shalimar EdT by Guerlain: Current

Shalimar EdT by Guerlain: Current

Hi Crew, Shalimar seems to have been part of my life forever. That Guerlain released it nearly 100 years ago in 1925 and won the Paris World Fair design award for the bottle was a particularly auspicious start.

Mum and a couple of her girlfriends were Shalimar wearers. It was the scent of daytime and coffee catch up hugs in my early years. Funnily, when I was working as a squirt bitch I made Mum start wearing Samsara so she’d stand out in her crowd. When I started properly down the fragrant rabbit hole it was a big surprise that Shalimar was such a revered scent. Going back and revisiting it was a revelation. It seems to hold the highest place in my heart, nose and brain. Seriously weird that I became such a collector when my favourite perfume has been with me all along.

In the years of collecting I have amassed a Shalimar specific collection. From EdC to extrait, a bunch of the flankers and many vintages. It became a bit of an obsession for a while because every version has its own personality. They have all aged, been cared for and kept differently. Each year, as much as they try for consistency, the batch is every so slightly different. The year specific naturals included react to each other. The regulation, reinterpretation, quality, weather and available synthetics have all given each year of Shalimar a “vintage” much like wine or whiskey. Sometimes the changes are imperceptible till the perfume is 10 or more years old.

Sometimes people ask me which I love more but it’s not really like that. I tend to wear a few of them more than others though for various reasons. I have a small set that remain out of boxes and at hand in a Guerlain box behind my desk. It holds a bunch of unboxed Guerlain beauties and gets quite a bit of action. Impossible to tell what they all are but I know you’ll have fun trying.

Shalimar EdT by Guerlain: Current

Portia Loves: Shalimar by Guerlain

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Blossoms, Bergamot
Heart: Iris, Jasmine, Rose
Base: Vanilla, Balsamic notes, Tonka bean

Above is my new bottle of Shalimar EdT. It’s a tester bottle bought for sweet nothing from FragranceNet. For favourites that I know will get used to their dregs I don’t need boxes or packaging, just the bottle and juice. This will stay out and get its share of use with my current other Shalimars; EdC and Sha-Lemur.

So I know that a new bottle will smell different. No oxygenation yet. It does seem though that there is a marked difference between this bottle and my last.

That opening swirl of lemon sorbet has been cut down to a rumble. Also the whole fragrance seems cleaner and less animalic. A floral reinvention, more sparkle and less depth. I’m not complaining. It still smells beautiful. It just isn’t as thick or rich. To be honest it smells like a fresh flanker or an Eau Fraiche for summer.

The longevity is still good but not as long lasting as the older formulations, or even the current EdC in the older bottle. Also, I feel this modern version leans more modern traditional feminine.

I think it’s the most day to day wearable of my Shalimar pillar scent collection. Less an event in itself and more a comfortable, longtime travelling buddy.

Have you tried the latest Shalimar EdT?
Portia xx

Le Regent by Oriza Legrand

Le Regent by Oriza Legrand

Hi there ULG crew. I ordered some fragrance and soaps from Oriza Legrand back in November 2020. The world and postal services being what they are right now it wasn’t until late February the package finally arrived. Inside were some small soaps and a couple of fragrances. The Oriza boys had a fab deal going art that time that if I bought a 100ml bottle (I was buying 100ml of Heliotrope, review coming) they’d add a 50ml of my choice. Well, Le Regent is new from 2019, the notes sounded fabulous and it was a FREE GWP! Of course it’s the one I grabbed.

Le Regent by Oriza Legrand

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Peru balsam, Tolu balm, Benzoin
Heart: Vanilla, Benzoin, Ambergris
Base: Opoponax, Gaiac wood, Leather

The Le Regent bottles are super indie feeling. They are glass, heavy and simple so don’t have the usual luxurious Oriza feeling. Don’t let this put you off but I thought it important to say.

If you are a fan of Mona di Orio‘s Eau Absolue but always felt it was a bit too cool and detached then Le Regent will warm the cockles of your heart. All the same smooth resinous beauty but handled in a much more welcoming way. Also Le Regent is a much bigger, more potent perfume, it’s a bad ass showstopper.

From the Oriza L Legrand site: “Le Régent” 1st Tome of the Collection “Jewels of the Crown”, explores the 18th century archives of the Maison Oriza L. Legrand which was then called “Parfumerie Oriza de Fargeon-Aîné” at the Court of Roy Louis XV also called in Europe “The Perfumed Court”. 

One of the things I have loved about the boys at Oriza is that they always allude to fact that they are inspired by historic fragrance, not copying it verbatim. Which is impossible nowadays anyway because the way perfume and accords are created is so different, even some of the original ingredients have long gone.

How does Le Regent smell? Firstly, it’s BIG! An over the top, smooth, resinous beauty. Amber amped up by some fabulous bells & whistles that take it well up to the next level. The very slightly briny ambergris adds so much texture and depth. Scotty was over yesterday and he spritzed wildly and nearly asphyxiated himself. I could still smell Le Regent in the living room when I got up this morning. By then it had dried to a deeply burnished woodsy amber. So beautiful.

Unisex, extra large silage and longevity. Advised to use sparingly until you know how it blooms on you.

The Oriza boys have hit this over the fence.

Sound like you might like it?
Portia xx

 

 

 

Amyris Femme and Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Amyris Femme and Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Hey there ULG, Here’s a bit of a story. Back in 2015 the gorgeous Tara from A Bottled Rose sent me a package. It must have arrived with a few other packages. Maybe I was about to go off on a holiday, moving house or extremely busy but these packages all got put in a box. On top of the packages were a few small sniffed sample packs and some papers. Over the six years the box has been in various places in my office and I never went through it, thinking they were only already sniffed sample sets. Slowly, through the last year I’ve been going through my boxes and finding lost treasures. This box is one of the last to be explored and what treasure! Tara sent me a big decant of Tart’s Knicker Drawer by 4160 Tuesdays and a pair of Amyris 5ml(?) manufacturers samples! WOW! So let’s meet this 2012 duo together, eh?

Amyris Femme and Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Amyris Femme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange, Lemon blossom
Heart: Amyris, Iris
Base: Ambergris, Vetiver

I had a decant of this way back when. Gosh! Now I know why I loved it so much. Like a cologne style but with a lighter, more relaxed approach. The opening is like a breath of fresh air. Softly citrus white floral with green accents. So elegant and utterly unisex. Amyris Femme is a full blown version of those perfectly soft whisperings of the magnolia inspired perfumes. This smells like a perfume for someone who is unafraid to change the air around them and get attention.
Not a blockbuster by any stretch of the imagination, no reflection of those 1980/90s superscents, here we have a fully fragrant expression of refined and luxurious life. I know MFK is quite an expensive brand but Amyris femme smells expensive, thoughtfully produced and beautiful to me.

Amyris Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Virginia cedar, Brazilian tonka bean absolute, Saffron, Caribbean amyris, Florentine iris, Sicilian mandarin orange, Moroccan rosemary

So interesting! The opening for me is greenery and citrus with a resinous background. Very pretty, slightly sweet. I would never have picked it as being made for a masculine market. The underlay seems to be one of this ubiquitous modern woodsy bases but tricked up a little to give it more depth and breadth. There also seems to be a lightly salty aquatic note through the heart that is very interesting and really helps to make the fragrance shine. I am finding the whole fragrance a completely unexpected journey. The tonka keeps it sweet but not sugary or ice creamy. Considering this was created 10 years ago I’m surprised it smells so avant-garde.
Amyris Homme smells like a sweet woody L’Eau d’Issey flanker with luxe ingredients. I really like it.

Did you ever wear these Amyris perfumes?
Portia xx

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Hi ULG, Coco is one of my long term faves. It’s also a very close friends signature. There are so many happy memories associated with this perfectly poised far east dream inspired perfume. Since the mid 1980s Coco has surrounded me. Back then it was friends Mums and sometimes an adventurous young woman. It’s the fragrance I associate with smelling a lot of in the department stores for a couple of decades. In Australia CHANEL counters are mostly at the front of the beauty section and until Coco Mademoiselle came along it was like a thick miasma around the squirt bitches (men and women). Today is Monday and I’m cleaning the house. My friend Kerri B noted on a FaceBook SOTD post that she was wearing Coco so I decided to join her in glamour. Sometimes scenting for success even makes the turbines of tedium sing a happy refrain.

Coco by CHANEL EdP and Extrait

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, Pimento, Coriander, Frangipani
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Orange blossom, Ylang-ylang, Cinnamon, Iris, Angelica
Base: Patchouli, Tonka bean, Benzoin, Frankincense, Amber, Musk, Honey, Civet

Here’s the thing with Coco. It is its very own scent. I love it too much to really parse it deeply. Somehow it feels like the magic may dissolve a little if I look too closely and work out the tricks. Coco smells like luxury, travel, wisdom and sensuality. Though it is exciting and playful I also feel remarkably calm and poised when I wear it. Almost as if the fragrance has so much drama I can let my natural penchant for it go, just a little. Enough to get a really deep breath and exhale.

Whenever I hug a friend wearing Coco it’s one pf the fragrances I can usually pick. That’s another reason I love it.

Todays wearing while doing laundry, dusting and vacuuming in the 30+C (around 100F) heat was so divine. Loads of pepper and cinnamon over a honeyed, resinous amber base. It wafted off me in great, glorious gouts and I reapplied four times throughout the day to get the thrill all over again.

Has Coco ever been your thing?
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

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Hi gang. Omnia Profumi is not a house I’ve taken any notice of. Their perfumes have been around since 2004 but the brand seems to have  properly launched in 2009. An Italian jewellery family capitalising on their fame and expanding their business. I’m 100% up for diversification, especially if it pays off for perfumistas.

In a recent order from Australian perfume distributors and sellers LKNU I was sent three samples of the earlier fragrances in the line. Thought you might like to joinmme on initial sniffs?

Omnia Profumi. Three Samples.

Acqua Marina

Briny spray as you skip across a sunlit sea towards  your fishing destination. Clean, fresh, free and glorious.  I can feel the wind in my hair, the anticipation of catching dinner for the crew, the fun and camaraderie of spending a day on the sea with buddies.

How are salt and water not mentioned in the notes. The opening is ALL about it. I know it’s probably the ambergris but the whole fragrance has this beautiful rich feel.

The floral heart is only a secondary player on me. It hardly registers with my nose. Maybe it is there to give lift and life rather than be the focus. I bloody love this, so beautiful.

Peridoto

This citrus opens weirdly on me. I’m not sure if it’s the perfume or me. Something a bit wonky.

After about 2 minutes Perdito settles into a pretty citrus underpinned by lightly salted vanilla woods. Think Guerlain Aqua Allegoria style and heft.

This is not my favourite.

Platino

WOW! The very first waft of Platino takes me back to the caramel coconut slice my Mum made for us. It’s uncanny. I could be anywhere school age, come home and sit at the kitchen bench, there would miraculously appear a glass or milk or juice and a snack of some kind. Usually Mum, my sister and I would have a chat about the day and give a rundown of our homework needs. In summer it would then be swim time before hitting the books before dinner. Great memories.

The heart is a floral vanilla and dry down soft focus vanilla and some smoke.

Does any one, or more, of these sound like you’d wear it?
Portia xx

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

You or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange – Portia

Hey Crew, You or Someone Like You is a fragrance but it’s also the title of a 2009 semi-autobiographical novel by Chandler Burr. The fragrance was created as a matching couplet and released 2017. As so many of the Etat Libre d’Orange oeuvre does, they take an old trope and freshen it up with a new twist, ingredient, direction or emphasis. As you all up there in the Northern Hemisphere are sweltering in the summer heat, I thought you might like refreshing spritz that is a bit more interesting and longer lived than a cologne. This fragrance has a wonderful lifespan story of phases.

You or Someone Like You by Etat Libre d’Orange

 

 

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Mint, anise, bergamot, grapefruit
Heart: Cassis, green notes, hedione, rose
Base: White musk

Summer in Australia, especially as we were growing up, involved visits to the local National Parklands. Our local one was nearly 400 hectares of bushland with a river running through the middle. It had loads of grassy playing areas with little wood fired BarBQs and cement picnic tables & chairs around the outsides. We would go as a family, often with other families, and while most of the Dads would get the BarBQ going and most of the Mums would organise the tables, bread rolls, salads and condiments, the kids would be taken off for a bushwalk. It was hilly and rocky, and the cooling eucalyptus would shade and scent our walks. We would be shown native flora and fauna, given little info bites about everything and surviving in the bush. We would invariably end up at the weir where there was a large colony of ducks and geese. Everyone would get a couple of pieces of stale bread, and we’d feed them. Then we’d all head back and the meats would be sizzling on the BarBQ, all the adults would have had a couple of boozy bevies, and we kids would run off adventuring or playing cricket till it was time to eat.

You or Someone Like You is a perfect summer spritz with the cool green wash of eucalyptus from my childhood memory. Not noted but definitely smells like it should be. It smells like finding the shade after walking through the hot sunshine. Something else not noted in the list is salt water. I get loads of it as well. Not in a very aquatic style but hinting towards some of the L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme line.

On opening, a sharply sweet citrus is enlivened by mint. It’s a beautifully mentholated coolness. The heart remains quite sharp green notes but feels like it’s been scoured clean by a cool sea breeze. There’s no hint of noxious seaweed under the pier. I also get no notion of the rose, and the white musk dry down still has green hints of mint and what I read as eucalyptus. So it never veers into that safe, bland, white musk laziness we smell so often after the initial fragrance fireworks have collapsed.

Totally unisex but veering towards mid 20th century traditional masculine, longevity is excellent, and projection is moderate.

Not the strangest of the Etat Libre d’Orange’s but also not a usual or expected scent.

Have you tried You or Someone Like You? Does it sound like you’d like it?
Portia xx

 

Image: my own

Portia and LE LION de CHANEL

Hello Crew,

We’ve had some excitement around here in Australia. The news breaks that CHANEL is releasing a new Les Exclusif, and only the Middle East are getting it. Dubai! Not even Paris by all reports. Oh CHANEL, how well you know us. Suddenly LE LION de CHANEL is hyped beyond the stratosphere. It’s this, it’s that, just wait, you’ll die, it’s their best offering since Coromandel, when can we get it? It’s been a long time since a release garnered so much interest, excitement and speculation. I was agog with lemmings.

The fact that the world has been going through trauma, we’ve been locked down, life has become a very small circle, yet we are attached by the computer & TV to everything that’s happening worldwide 24/7. Watching POC around the world with their friends, families and supporters marching for an equality long denied. Trans people being told, again, that they are not their gender (that doctors and psychologist have agreed they are), and that they deserve to be placed in the “OTHER” category, preferable far far away. A pandemic that threatens lives and livelihoods that no one can seem to get a handle on and that has different symptoms and virility in every person it touches.

We needed a ray of sunshine. 99 years on from the launch of CHANEL No 5. The perfume world has been given something to write home about.

LE LION de CHANEL 2020 by Olivier Polge

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon, Bergamot
Heart: Labdanum, Madagascan vanilla
Base: Sandalwood, Patchouli

Imagine the love child of CHANEL Coromandel, Guerlain Shalimar and DIOR Mitzah.

The first day I tried LE LION de CHANEL there were a group of about eight perfumistas having our first get together since C19 lockdown. We all had a spritz within about a minute. Every person got a different enough ride that they could have been different perfumes. On some it read crunchy toffee, others got animal resins, there was smoky incense, creamy sandalwood, citrus gelato, caramel. For everyone the timings were different, the depth, warmth, heft and also interestingly, WE ALL LOVED IT! Not one person in the room was less than spellbound.

My personal ride goes something like this. A swirl of pine lime gelato. Labdanum rich amber with a distinctly animalic bent. Creamy sandalwood tempered by a vanilla rich amber that has strong hints of the crackly toffee on the top of a creme brûlée. All day I was getting wafts of the most incredible resinously sweet fragrance out of the blue, and I’d think it was someone walking ahead, on the bus or train or in the department store. NOPE! It was me. The life of the fragrance is unbelievable. I’m still smelling a lived in vanilla and humanity over 24 hours later after running around town all day yesterday and then sleeping till 11 am.

How did I get it? One of my buddies owns a perfume chain here in Australia. His family owns department stores in Dubai, and they are selling LE LION de CHANEL. My buddy saw an opportunity and jumped on it. He brought in as much from Dubai as he could, which wasn’t very much. Last time we spoke he was waiting on a second order. I grabbed two 200ml bottles, and another buddy Matt and I hosted a split. We sold 150ml in 10ml batches at our cost price plus decant bottles and postage from each bottle and kept what was left for ourselves. The spots sold out in less than an evening. That’s why my picture is of a 3/4 empty bottle already.

Have you a lemming?
Portia xx

 

Image: My own