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