L’Heure Folle X by Cartier. Full 180 Degree Turn

Hi there Crew, L’Heure Folle X by Cartier was originally a hard no for me. There was something in its make up that used to give me the heebee geebees. It may even have been March’s Perfume Posse review that sent me down the dark path of dislike. Anyway, her canned fruit analogy had me smelling ptomaine poisoning when I tried it too. Let’s skitch forward to the relatively near now. I was in at Cartier buying a bottle of another one of the L’Heure series and the lovely gent serving me said his favourite was X. Not remembering my previous distaste for it I gave myself a couple of decent blasts and walked out the door. Thinking what an absolute doll he’d been and loving this weird assed fragrance, which I now indelibly think of as his scent. So while doing some shopping a few months ago on FragranceNet I saw a tester bottle for under 1/3 of what a full presentation costs me here in Oz I jumped on it SO FAST! I just looked and they still have a few. SHH!

L’Heure Folle X by Cartier 2009

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Blueberry, Grenadine, Ivy, Red Currant, Black Currant, Boxwood, Violet, Pink Pepper

While this will not resonate with our Northern Hemisphere readers it’s currently 37C (98.6F) and incredibly humid here in Sydney. We’ve had a gloriously rainy summer so far and the sunshine is sucking the water out of the ground and it’s like walking through a fish tank.

That has me reaching for the cooling, sweet beauty of L’Heure Folle X. It’s funny, now that I love it my nose can’t even remember how much I hated it.

The opening is a chill fruity gelato. So sweet it’s sharp. Vibrant and fun but so beautifully blended. I can’t really taste the exact fruits but L’Heure Folle X has that crystalline effect of really good gelato. Cleansing and refreshing.

Through the heart the fruits are joined by greenery. It’s a broken twig and leaf scent. Very green. Do you ever trim your hedge with electric clippers? That scent, even with the very faint zing of metal. The fragrance maintains this stasis for the rest of it’s life till fade.

Unisex but leaning traditional modern femme. I think the ivy keeps the whole fragrance smack bang on for both sexes. Average longevity and not very large projection but it is noticeable.

Sound like something you’d wear?
Portia xx

 

 

 

Sambaka by Pierre Guillaume Paris

Sambaka by Pierre Guillaume Paris

Hi Crew, I have been pretty much out of work since Christmas due to C19 club staffing issues and the general low level of customers. One gig is still going each week, which is just enough to keep me afloat, plus Jin is still working and very generous. This is not to complain about my lot, which is so much better than many of my entertainment buddies. Just that there’s only a trickle of income. Back in November and December though it was going gangbusters. Thinking I could blow a couple of months income because we were definitely coming back first week of January was really bad planning. It did throw up some excellent buys, for really good prices on the FB Sale Docs here in Oz. One such item I blind bought (I know…. but PG and I seem to have very similar taste in fragrance) was Sambaka. The price was so good I’d PMd and bought it before real thoughts happened. I’m sure you know the deal. We’ve all done it.

Sambaka by Pierre Guillaume Paris 2020

Sambaka by Pierre Guillaume Paris

Fragrantica gives these featured notes:
Roasted Coffee Beans, Cardamom, Ginger, Coffee Tree, Brazilian Orange

Ooooh! The familiar super sweet zing of ethyl maltol from Angel by Mugler. This time the offset is coffee instead of patchouli, but I’m surprised patchouli isn’t one of the notes because I feel like I’m smelling it too. Imagine a coffee flavoured A*Men.

Have you ever eaten those candies? They’re chocolate on the inside and caramel on the outside but they always leave a slightly bitter, very more-ish coffee like aftertaste in my mouth. BAM! That’s what I’m smelling here. They’re Jin’s Mum’s favourite candy and he buys a HUGE box of them to send to South Korea every year. Basically costs more than the GDP of a small country but apparently they are SO MUCH yummier than the ones she can get there. HA! They both get huge amounts of bragging pleasure out of the transaction. Well worth it.

So, Sambaka is a child of the Mugler fragrance renaissance. Beautifully worked. Simple. Super sweet but slightly bitter. I’m sitting in ultra humid warm night air and something as full on as Angel/A*Men would probably give me nausea. This doesn’t. A smoother ride, less of an attack, as comfortable as such a fragrance can be.

Can we also please walkabout the beautiful colour of the bottle? WOW!

Sambaka by Pierre Guillaume Paris Jan 2022

Obviously, anyone can wear Sambaka. It’s got strong longevity and moderate projection. There is some story but it’s not profound. You’ll spritz and what you smell like 15 minutes later is it till fade.

I’ll be interested to see how much wear this gets.

Sound like you might like Sambaka?
Portia xx

Baiser Volé EdP by Cartier

Baiser Volé EdP by Cartier

Hey there Crew. I’m so sorry this post is late and I have no excuse at all except my organisational skills have taken a beating over the summer break here in Sydney. It’s finally got really hot here and we are also getting some very humid days. Sticky heat is nice but I’m glad it’s not always like this.

Jin and I are back at the gym and swimming and doing aquarobics. It’s so nice to have the venues back open again and both of us have some weighty covid kilos that need to get gone ASAP. In the heat of summer being immersed in water is my ultimate relaxation, even when logging the laps or panting my way through an aquarobics class.

JEFFREY SMART book

This week a couple of mates and I went down to the Nations Capital, Canberra, to see the Jeffrey Smart exhibition at our National Gallery. We arrived 30 minutes early and a snaffled one of the volunteer guides and she took us on a whirlwind of some important pieces in the galleries main collection. It was a very interesting capsule look at their important works. Then for the Jeffrey Smart I asked if there were Guided Tours and the boy on the door said, “Look for the badge that says “Ask Me About Jeffrey Smart.” OK, so I saw a couple of those badges on women chatting to each other and asked if they could take us around and explain. WOW! One woman, Jenny, was so excited. We went right to the beginning of the exhibition and for the next hour she transfixed us. So much information, we really got a deep dive into Jeffrey Smart, his use of colour, space, lack of story. We watched as his paintings evolved and progressed through the years. From his first watercolour self portrait at 19 to his very last oil painting, just before he died. I loved him before but now I’m in awe. (Above picture is the book of the exhibition.)

Baiser Volé EdP by Cartier 2011

Baiser Volé

The last few days I’ve been wearing Baiser Volé because it’s soft, dewy lily on open is refreshing and bright. I love the way it warms on my skin over the next 30 minutes and becomes a warmer, resinous lily. It starts to smell like a Georgia O’Keefe painting. Interesting, abstract, light and dark pushing against each other. It’s a quiet explosion of the dream of lily. Perfect for summer but also surprisingly good in the cooler months. Mathilde Laurent has such a way with fragrance, Cartier is lucky and clever to have her.

See you next fortnight.

 

Do you wear a lily soliflor, or any fragrance with lily as a note?
Portia xx

I by Costume National

I by Costume National

Hi All, I by Costume National is not one of my new perfumes. It was given to me by the Australian Libertine Parfumerie crew as a Press Bottle a couple of years ago. Right now I’m thinking it’s particularly good for you Northern Hemisphere crew because it’s the type of cozy that will be perfect for your winter. TBH our summer has been so wet and cold this year I’m still wearing it. I know it’s the least important thing about a perfume but every time I wear this someone says I smell amazing or asks what it is. 

I by Costume National

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Saffron Thyme Bergamot
Heart: Labdanum Lavender Geranium
Base: Leather Ambroxan Cedar

Most amber rich fragrances are pretty interchangeable, especially if you aren’t a full on, head in a box of perfume constituents type.  Ambroxan is so ubiquitous these days too. So when I first heard Costume National had released another amber it didn’t tweak my interest at all. I even may have rolled my eyes in the seasonal masterclass with my mate Ainslie. Then the host spritzed some mouillettes and the world tipped slightly sideways. WOW!

A very different herbal opening, not particularly textured or tapestried but very different. i catches me off guard every time. Even though I’m expecting it. Also, the fragrance is quite animalic but not in a feral way. A clean, cared for pet kinda way. There’s a smoky, mass market corn chips accord and all these side hustles float over and through a rich vein of amber.

I doesn’t stay still but is in constant fragrant motion for the first hour out so till it calms. Then it’s ambrosian/labdanum/smoky woods till dry down fade. It”s not a BIG perfume but has excellent sillage and projection, right till the very end. Perfectly unisex and smells so good to me and many of the people around me.

Are you an amber lover? Favourites?
Portia xx

 

Cheap Shit Portia Loved 2021

Cheap Shit Portia Loved 2021

Hey Crew. This year I used a few new bargain basement things from the fragrance arena. There were some heavily discounted or generally bargain basement shower gels, perfumes and soaps. There’s something incredibly satisfying for me when I find a super good deal, or a product that performs far past its price category. Hopefully this list will give you some inspiration too. We all love to feel and smell luxurious for less (as well as for shitloads more).

Most of my “Cheap Shit” frags are coming from FragranceNet. No, I’m not affiliated but the prices are excellent and they send to the world.

Cheap Shit Portia Loved 2021

Perfumes

Cabochard EdT by Parfums Gres

Recently revamped and getting loads of wear here lately. This modern take on the leather chypre is so wearable and the new bottle is definitely dresser worthy.

Diamonds & Emeralds by Elizabeth Taylor

How did it take me so long to find this crazy fruity big white floral with a little skank hiding in the background. It’s so wearable and fun.

Issey Miyake pour homme Intense

I know many of you don’t like the aquatic fragrances but I love a salty aquatic so much. Here it has a slightly amber base but what I really love is that shimmering citrus heavy salty water.

Lalique EdT for her

I wore thois beauty for a whole week this year as a test. Though I thought I’d never want to see it again it has become a mainstay in the collection. A very classy spiced fruity floral with vanilla down the back.

Stash Unspoken by Sarah Jessica Parker

I thought this beauty had been DCd but lately it has started popping up again in our chain chemist stores for very little money. zingy fruity up top and some lovely warm tonka and woods later. It isn’t groundbreaking or eye rollingly gorgeous but it does smell good and is definitely in the cheap shit pile.

Wish by Chopard

One of my besties Scotty gave me my bottle of Wish and I thought it was going to be hate at first sniff. NOPE! Unbelievably more-ish. Sweet, honeyed caramel drizzled lavishly over some fruit and vanilla heavy amber. The bottle makes it even more fun.

Soap & Body Wash

Can Can by Paris Hilton

Yes, shoot me now. I ordered my bottle of Can Can to add to a teens birthday present but the label on the bottle was askew and pulled off a bit. So I kept it and started using it daily to get it out of my sight. Sure, it’s not the most gorgeous scent on earth and no one will mistake its for a luxury item but it cleans my body and makes sensation bubbles in the bath. Sweet fruity floral nothings.

Florentino Soap Lilly Of The Valley

Another gift from Scott, this came in a three pack but two of the bars are currently in use in the house. If you like Muguet and are after a set that looks like it cost malt bank yet goes for well under $10 then this is the pack for you. I love this soap so much that I was looking to get myself more and could not believe the price. Even the packaging seems expensive.

LUSH Rose Jam

Yes, EVERY year I add this to the list. It’s not SUPER cheap but it’s affordable and comes in multiple sizes. I’ve never smelled such an intoxicating jammy rose in a shower gel/bubble bath. Every time I swoon. So perfect, iit lathers beautifully and leaves my skim softly fragrant for hours. A perfect underlay for any rose scent.

Mysore Sandal, Jasmine and Rose Bath Soaps

OK, full disclosure. I adore the original Sandal Soap. This year for the first time I saw this set and bought a few to gift. EVERTY person that has received them is astounded by their beauty. Even some real dyed in the wool perfumistas. Next time I’m in the Indian Grocery I’m going to order 20 packs. Not super Cooper cheap but for the incredible feedback I’m getting it’s bargain for buck.

Reem Acra Shower Gel

You probably know the fragrance is DCd. So I’m buying these beautiful white floral shower gel & lotion in 75ml for well under $5 each. A perfect little extra for any gift pack and they are the best for travelling. The scent is magic in the bathroom but unless you lotion yourself the shower gel is only the faintest after leaving the bathroom. 20 minutes later it’s gone. Ready for whatever perfume you choose for the day.

Winnie The Pooh Shower Gel

HONEY! A shower gel with honey. Yes, I know it’s designed for kids but it’s bloody fabulous. I bought a truckload of these for nearly nothing and they are going like hotcakes to friends. HONEY! They come in the shape of a honey pot and are so bloody cute. Sure, the kids will love them but YOU will too. Promise.

 

Not a complete list but there are some bargains beauties from the cheap shit piles that I’ve worn, used and bubbled away in in 2021. Do you have some good ones to add to the list?
Portia xx

 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Gosh ULG Crew! That weekend went by in a flurry. It seemed I was running from Friday to Monday inclusive. It was Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Black Friday and Cyber Monday

For the first time in my memory I didn’t take part. There were two rival Oz niche distributors doing 20% off and free shipping. There were SO MANY candle crews giving enormous discounts. Indie niche houses, department stores, multinational beauty/fragrance houses like L’Occitane, Kiehl’s, B&BW and many others. My email, socials and even my letterbox were overflowing with discounts, GWPs, add ons, extras and anything they could do to get me to shop. It was thoroughly overwhelming.

So I did what I do best when overloaded, ignored the problem and shut down to it completely.

Don’t get me wrong. There were PLENTY of things on my wish list and want lists. Some of them 20% off or even more with extra cashbacks etc. I even had some money (read credit card space) set aside for it. PLUS I’m working again and money is finally back in the accounts.

But no. 2021 Black Friday and Cyber Monday passed me by and I’m OK with that.

How about you all? Did you score? Make me seethe with FOMO. Did you ignore?

Fingers crossed you all grabbed something you wanted, needed, got at such a discount it became the perfect thing.
Portia xx

Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors

Hi there Crew. Way back in 2012 Imaginary Authors brought out an original offering of 7 perfumes. It was overwhelming at the time and I kind of ignored them until a friend was wearing Bull’s Blood one day and I became instantly enamoured of the sillage, asking what that deliciously toxic monstrosity was. It was spellbinding. This was January 2013, I instantly bought a sample set from the Imaginary Authors site (GOSH! The set was only US$38 delivered to Australia). I remember sniffing them and writing about a few. Azar, Poodle and Ainslie seemed to write about them the most on APJ in the next few years with a lot of love so I left the brand pretty much to them.

 

I have written about Cape Heartache before but recently I was sent a GWP sample in an order from one of Australia’s big niche retailers LKNU. When I tried it on it sparked such a good feeling for me that I thought I might give it another outing in print.

Cape Heartache by Imaginary Authors 2013

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Fir, Big Strawberry, Pine Tree, Woody Notes, Vanilla, Hemlock

Strawberry ice cream topping and a woody back beat. the two are so decidedly incongruous that it makes me smell and smell my wrist. It’s like one of those lenticular pictures that flash between two images depending on the light. Here I have sharp, dark woodland this unbelievably luscious lolly version of strawberries vying for my brain space. It’s enthralling. Hovering on the brink of falling into a huge vat of both but choosing neither.

That hemlock adds a green bitterness through the heart, it comes and goes. Like biting a tree branch after pulling off the bark, that vegetal bitterness.

I’m thinking the vanilla is what gives the strawberry its cartoonishly confectionary flavour, interesting how well that accord stays present during the life of Cape Heartache.

You know, I’ve had trouble trying to think of a person who would wear this as their stable go to fragrance. It’s a very weird gourmand, definitely jumping out of the box. A interesting ride, when I smell it it makes me so happy perfumers are selling such boundary pushing perfume. I feel like it should be ion a Must Try List of weird assed perfume that will blow your olfactory mind.

Portia x

 

 

 

Tabu Bath and Shower Gel

Hey Crew, yes, we are going to talk about one of my all time favourite cheap thrills. I bloody love it and when FragranceNet has it for under US$4 with coupon and I’m already buying something fro them. You can bet your ass that I’m getting a few of these beauties too. You’ll all remember Tabu the perfume? Right. Almost all of us had a teacher, neighbour, Aunt, Mum or someone one close that would smother you in Tabu hugs whenever they saw you. Well, I had a few. It was the scent of soft flesh, strong arms and loving kisses for me. I had no idea it was cheap and it always smelled fabulously textural to me. Now one of my regular Trivia players for over a decade who has now become a friend wears it so beautifully. I go in and snuggle her till she squeaks. Breathing in great gouts of gorgeous Tabu.

Tabu Bath & Shower Gel

Originally from 1932 Tabu is a great example of the perfumed kitchen sinker. It still is but quite a lot of the original notes have been eschewed in modern times or are simply not available anymore. So we have what’s left, buoyed with created molecules to give a modern smell of a fabulous antique. It’s not exactly the same but it’s still extremely good value if you love a spicy amber floral (Yep, I sure do). Sadly, on me the modern perfume is quite overwhelming and after about an hour or seven I just want to smell like something else.

Enter the Tabu Bath & Shower Gel. Really just the main notes: spices, cloves, amber, and hints of others. It’s a perfect base layer for anything vanilla, amber, spicy, resinous or even incense. It bubbles so richly and fragrantly in the bath and leaves my skin with the softest breath of Tabu dry down. The perfect amount of Tabu for me. Also, it’s basically FREE so I don’t sweat using it.

Tabu Bath & Shower Gel is also the best stocking filler. It’s the perfect value add to the main present and I guarantee that they’ll love the fragrance. I’ve been known to take it as my travelling shower gel also. It smells 100x more luxurious than its cost would imply.

You’re welcome,
Portia xx

 

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