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

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

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

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