Month of Irises: Week 4 (Feb 22nd – Feb 28th)

I’ll be adding something new in the end of this post during the next 7 days. Come back whenever you remember to read something new, see what perfume I chose to wear, share your SOTD (even if it has absolutely nothing to do with irises) or just talk to me and others.

Can you believe it’s Week 4 of the Month of Irises? I still have perfumes for the next 7 days, and I’m curious to see what others find to wear.

There were no more “takers” for hosting an Iris Day so I’ll be doing all the daily updates (but if anybody wants to take over one of the remaining days, you’re still welcome).

* * *

Thursday, February 22, 2018

SOTD

I enjoyed wearing Chanel No 19 extrait so much that I decided to stay with Chanel for one more day. I will be wearing No 19 EdP.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

Rusty got really interested with my origami experiments. I’ll try to add a GIF for tomorrow but meanwhile just a teaser.

 

Rusty and Origami Iris


Friday, February 23, 2018

SOTD

Following Lucas’s lead, Hedonist Iris by Viktoria Minya.

GIF OF THE DAY

If for nothing else, it was worth making those origami irises because Rusty was really taken by those. Probably I should make a couple more for him to play.

 

Rusty Playing with Origami


Saturday, February 24, 2018

SOTD

I’ve been postponing it, but it’s probably time to finish my decant of Iris Silver Mist by Serge Lutens. I think it is one of perfumes that has such an iconic standing that it is difficult for it to live up to itself.

WINDOW SHOPPING

Have you seen this already? A note pad from Japanese company Triad that reveals architectural models as you keep using it. I do not really use paper notes but I love the idea (and the color! and have you noticed those irises on the base?). If $123 + $21 S&H doesn’t scare you away, click on the picture to pre-order this Omoshiroi Block Japanese Landmark Memo Pad Kiyomizudera Temple, Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower notepad or one of several other designs (I’m not affiliated).

 

Omoshiro Block Memo Pad

 

What are you wearing today?

 

Images: my own

Advertisements

Month of Irises: Week 3 (Feb 15th – Feb 21st)

I’ll be adding something new in the end of this post during the next 7 days. Come back whenever you remember (WordPress doesn’t have an option to inform the subscribers about the updates) to read something new, see what perfume I chose to wear and share your SOTD.

So, we’re in the Week 3 of the Month of Irises. Do you still have more iris perfumes to wear? Do you feel like wearing them? I’m good on both counts, and I hope you’ll join me regardless of perfumes you choose to wear.

I’ve learned my lesson: no more riddles. I still have some topical bits and bobs to entertain you. And you’ll get to visit a couple of friendly blogs hosting one of the SOTD threads (that is if you actually see the update and follow the link I share).

* * *

Thursday, February 15, 2018

SOTD

I plan to wear Gris Clair by Serge Lutens.  I would like to wear it for a foggy day (or, dare I wish, even a rainy one) but since the forecast has sunny days for at least next 10 days, I decided to go with it.

PICTURE OF THE DAY

After trying to smell, bite and play with irises, Rusty finally generously allowed me to take a picture of him not moving or turning his head away.

Rusty and Irises


Friday, February 16, 2018

DID YOU KNOW?

Iris Croatica (Hrvatska Perunika) is the national flower of Croatia – a home country of Ines (All I am – a redhead), who is hosting today’s SOTD thread. Visit her blog to read her thoughts on several iris perfumes and share what perfume you’re wearing on the last day of the work week.


Saturday, February 17, 2018

SOTD

Yesterday I didn’t have to plan and post my SOTD in advance (since Ines was graciously hosting that day), so I ended up wearing Bois d’Iris by Van Cleef and Arpels. It is nice woody and warm perfume (Vanessa, this might be an answer to both the project and your cravings) but either it actually disappears from my skin within a couple of hours, or I stop smelling it. I re-applied it 4 times during the day – which almost never happens to me even with Jo Malone perfumes.

So, Jo Malone it is for my Saturday’s SOTM. I plan to wear Orris and Sandalwood.

WINDOW SHOPPING

Remembering that weekends are slow, I invite you to do some window shopping with me. One of my favorite designer brands – Franz Porcelain Collection – a necklace from which Rusty helped to demo in my anniversary post, also makes tableware and home decor items. I like to look at them but I can’t imagine most of them in my day-to-day life – even if their price wasn’t higher than I would want to spend on any of that type items. But I can look at them, right? All these items are available from the Wildlife Wonders online store (no affiliation).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

SOTD

Belles Rives by La Parfumerie Moderne (from a sample from a friend). I like it but I think it’s a tad more unisex than I’d like it to be. And, in my opinion, requires warmer weather to properly bloom. I’ll leave the rest of the sample to re-test it in a month.


Monday, February 19, 2018

SOTD

Ormonde JayneVanille d’Iris. I have not made up my mind about this perfume but something tells me I won’t go beyond the sample I’ve got.

KHOW-HOW

Have you ever tried making an origami? Here are instructions for traditional origami iris flower; and here for the leaves.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Today Lucas (Chemist in the Bottle) hosts the Day of Iris. Please attend his very informative lesson A study of iris – from crop to perfume (and share your SOTD in the comments there).

 


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

DID YOU KNOW?

According to the Paula’s Choice Research Team (with the reference to the Botanical Dermatology Database), in skincare products orris root is used “primarily as a fragrant component due to its violet-like scent. It can cause sensitizing skin reactions and there is no research showing it has any benefit for skin.”

I read articles (in different sources including Vogue magazine) mentioning anti-ageing and other benefits to this ingredient in skincare products. But at this point I choose to believe Paula Begoun since, unlike it is in most of those other sources, she puts her name under her (her team’s) opinion.

SOTD, 2/21/18

Suddenly winter is back with a vengeance (4C/39F at night), and our heater stopped working right after the last store where we could get an additional portable heater had closed. A friend brought us his spare oil heater, which hopefully will be keeping Rusty warm tonight. So for the cold day at home while dealing with the heater repairman, I’ll wear Chanel No. 19 extrait.

 

What are you wearing today?

Images: Franz Collection – from the store I linked to above; the rest – my own

Entertaining Statistics: 2017 Year Round-up

Strictly from the personal prospective, 2017 wasn’t a bad year: it had its share of unpleasantness and hardships but nothing to be really unhappy – so I won’t complain or even mention that. Instead, I would rather remember that year by good things that happened – short and long trips, wonderful time spent with my friends, successful projects at work and wonderful perfumes I got to test and wear in 2017.

As I usually do it in the beginning of the new year, I’m looking back to my perfume records and sharing with you my insights.

 

How I do it

Years ago I created a personal database (using MS Access) to hold information on all the perfumes I own or test. Whenever I get a new sample, I add it to the database – below I give an example of the entry form I use. I do not always get all the information but I add what I can find. Perfume name, launch year and notes are free-text entry; designer (brand), perfumers, notes and some other data points are coming from the pre-defined lists, so there can be no discrepancies.

 

Sample DB Record

 

Whenever I wear or test perfumes, I record it in the Perfume Diary. In the form below, “Purpose” is one of the choices for when/why I wore or tested that perfume, e.g., “office wear” or “weekend day” or “Work from home.” Type of use is either “wore” or “tested”; “Response” is a formalized evaluation of how I reacted to that perfume on that day – e.g., “Enjoyed it a lot” or “Mixed feelings” or “I hated it,” etc. And finally “My notes” contain a short free-form comment, whatever I want to write about that time I wore or tested perfume.

 

DB Diary Entry

 

For those readers who haven’t been around when I was doing this series regularly, I want to explain what I mean when I say “tested” or “wore”: for testing I apply perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time. I do most of my testing in the evenings or while working from home. When I wear perfume, I apply it to at least three-four points, and usually I plan to spend at least 4-8 hours with the same scent so I’m prepared to re-apply if the original application wears off. After wearing a less tenacious perfume in the morning I might wear another one later. I wear perfumes mostly from bottles and decants; I wear perfumes from samples only when I consider buying a bottle or decant.

So, now when I explained how I collect data, let’s take a look at my 2017 in numbers.

 

178 Perfumes Worn

This year I wore more different perfumes than the year before – 178 (vs. 164 in 2016) from more brands – 72 (vs. 61) but did it less often – on 314 occasions (vs. 333).

Second year in a row Jo Malone was a brand I wore the most. I think it’s because these are my most “office friendly” perfumes. Neela Vermeire Creations made its way back into the Top 10 chart (last time it was here in 2014); while Le Labo fell completely off. The rest of the group just moved around but stayed on the chart, which isn’t surprising since I do not either update or expand my collection significantly any longer and keep wearing my favorites.

 

My Stats Year 2017 Brands

 

I tend to rotate perfumes I wear daily so I usually do not wear the same perfume even twice the same months – that’s how I go through that many different perfumes in a year. But I still managed to wear 67 perfumes more than once during 2017. Five perfumes I wore the most – Chanel No 19 (EdT, EdP and extrait), Lancôme Climat, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, Krigler Lieber Gustav 14 and Armani La Femme Bleue.

 

Testing: Recording 300 and “carrying over” 1,000

This year was remarkable in regards to testing: in addition to the cursory testing of about 1,000 perfumes during my LondonBarcelonaStockholm trip (those didn’t go into my database – unless I scored a sample to bring back with me), I recorded testing at home 300 perfumes (vs. 275 last year) from 103 (vs. 100) brands. 134 of them were completely new to me (the rest I had tested before). I really liked/loved 24 of them, liked 20, thought that 56 were just not interesting and disliked 34.

Out if the 134 new for me perfumes that I tested, only 45 were released in 2017. Two of the 45 I liked enough to buy – Ineke Idyllwild and Sonoma Scent Studio Bee’s Bliss.

 

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

 

Has any of the 2017 releases joined your collection?

 

Images: my own

Almost Newcomb’s Paradox

Everybody knows that people in the Perfumeland* are wonderfully generous and kind – towards friends and oftentimes to other members of their group who they don’t know too well.

I got my first sample of Serge Lutens Chergui from Suzanne of Suzanne’s Perfume Journal(read her perfect explanation why to wear Chergui in summer).

I liked this perfume though until recently for me it was a cold weather perfume. I finished Suzanne’s sample, then one more sample and was thinking of getting a decant, when Vanessa (Bonkers about Perfume) sent me her partial bottle of Chergui as an unofficial present for my birthday. I was happy to get it in a bottle: even though those take more space than decants, in the last years I noticed that I tend to favor actual bottles.

Several months later, while we were discussing samples exchange, Vanessa wrote to me that she would also send a box from Chergui that she recently found… As I read that e-mail in the office, I was anxious to get home: I clearly remembered that the partial bottle had come with a box…

I got home, confirmed that I wasn’t confused and even sent Vanessa a proof of having that box.

Rusty and Serge Lutens Chergui

Vanessa had no recollection of how she came to own that second box; and since she had no use for it she used it to send samples to me, making the answer to the post office clerk’s question “Are the bottles in their original boxes?” at least partially truthful: the box was original indeed.

Chergui is one of rare perfumes honey in which does not go urinous on my skin. As I started thinking about this post, I wore Chergui a couple of times, and I have to agree with Suzanne: it wears nicely in the hot weather. Too bad I cannot use a back-up box to even better protect perfume from that heat. I’ll have to rely upon a more conventional method – an A/C. I couldn’t even interest Rusty in checking it out: he clearly didn’t think it was that interesting the first time around when I tried to make a “proof of life” picture shown above.

Serge Lutens Chergui - Two Boxes

Speaking about back-ups… Are you getting any for your Serge Lutens favorites pre-repackaging/reformulation/moving to the Exclusives Collection?

 

Images: my own

* Of course, Perfumeland isn’t unique in that respect: people inside other groups with similar interests behave that way. But I’m writing about my current interests, so forgive me this … hmm… what would be the right antonym for “generalization” in this context?

** Here’s the link to the Wikipedia article about Newcomb’s paradox

A Month of Roses: Week 1

First seven days of not only a specific theme but predefined set of perfumes. Surprisingly, it was much easier to do than I thought: I didn’t have to think about what I would wear the next day – it was already on the calendar.

I publish this post to sum up my impressions from the first seven perfumes and to remind you that for each comment, in which you tell us what rose perfume you wore that day (or any of the days before), you are getting one entry into the draw for two bars of chocolate from a local artisan brand (my choice) – milk, dark or mix (winner’s choice) sent anywhere in the world.

Just remember: one comment – one entry, even if you tell in it about multiple perfumes worn on different days. At the same time, two comments about the same perfume posted on two different days will give you two entries. What’s the catch? You’ve probably noticed that, other than standard WordPress’ ads, there are no ads or affiliated links on this blog, so I’m not trying to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.

Red Roses

February 1: Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur Esprit de Parfum (Bertrand Duchaufour)

I know that it’s called officially Mohur Extrait now. But the sample I was wearing was from the period when it still had the old name that hadn’t become official. From the first trio of perfumes, Mohur was my least favorite: I didn’t dislike it but I didn’t feel I’d want to wear it. Mohur Extrait feels different than just a higher concentration of the EdP version: it’s deeper and smoother. And agarwood doesn’t jump out on me as it happened before with Mohur EdP. Just in case you’ve missed it somehow: Mohur Extrait is a limited edition, and I’m not sure if those gorgeous bottles will be available again once they are sold out.

February 2: Guerlain Rose Barbare (Francis Kurkdjian)

While I enjoy wearing this perfume from time to time, the small decant that I have is probably all I need. It is pleasant; it fits its Guerlain collection well; but, in my opinion, Rose Barbare is neither “barbare” (whichever English equivalent you choose) nor that much “rose.” I am not trying to say that there’s no rose in that perfume but smelling it blind, I would have never thought about it as a rose-centric perfume. But still, it’s a nice perfume to wear.

February 3: Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin (Christopher Sheldrake)

I think it is a beautiful perfume. It was the second time I’ve ever worn it properly, and I will not be doing it again: I have ideological grievances against it. I decided to wear it on that day because it served two purposes: while it was a beautiful rose perfume that fitted this Month of Roses project, I used it as an anti-lemming perfume in NST’s community project. I do not feel bad if you choose not to read [into] this perfume pedigree or think of Marlene Dietrich while wearing La Fille de Berlin, but for me this is where our relationship with this perfume ends.

February 4: Amouage Lyric (Daniel Maurel)

According to the calendar, I was supposed to wear Tauer Perfumes PHI – une rose de Kandahar. I didn’t realize that my sample was empty: probably, it’s time to buy a travel spray. And since it was a weekend, and we were invited to the friends’ house for dinner, I wanted to wear something special, not just a quickly found replacement out of all the perfumes that didn’t make it to the calendar in the first place. So I moved Lyric to the earlier date hoping to find a replacement for it later.

A couple of Valentine’s Days ago I paired Lyric with one of the stories from my childhood (Ax +By = A Genetic Mystery).

This is one of classic Amouage perfumes that is worth trying even if one doesn’t like rose or Amouage perfumes: it doesn’t work for everybody, it shouldn’t (and can’t) work for everybody but it is a great illustration for opulence in perfumery. I happen to love Lyric, and I feel joy every time I wear it. I wonder though, whether I actually smell this rose as a dark one or is it a power of suggestion from the packaging?

Deep Red Rose

February 5: By Kilian Rose Oud (Calice Becker)

Agarwood and I are not really friends. There is a handful of perfumes with this note that work for my skin (or at least for my nose when I smell them on my vSO) but most of them I rather dislike. Rose Oud is one of a few that are not bad, which brings me to the conclusion that it’s not real agarwood that makes up for this perfume’s price. No, I haven’t suddenly developed better olfaction abilities. But I remember that every time I thought I liked perfumes with agarwood, those were perfumes based on the “oud accord” (if any at all). I won’t probably go beyond the sample I have but I liked wearing it for the project.

February 6: Sonoma Scent Studio Velvet Rose (Laurie Erickson)

As with all Laurie’s perfumes, there is no doubt that it is a real rose you smell. More is going on in this perfume, but rose is at center stage from the big opening until the last curtain call, if I were to stretch that theater metaphor. Velvet Rose is very Sonoma Scent Studio perfume so if you like their floral perfumes, this one should work well for you. My bottle of this perfume is slowly nearing the end (so, 3-4 more years, and it’ll be done) – ask me then if I’m replenishing it.

February 7: Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille (Andy Tauer)

As I wrote in the post In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry, I cannot say that I love Une Rose Vermeille but I like it very much. It is fruity-floral perfume that is done the way this genre of perfumes should be done. It is a very strong and unapologetic lemony rose with the added raspberry sweetness. But unless you’re a [serial] monogamist when it comes to perfumes, do not go for anything more than 15 ml travel spray of this perfume: it is so potent that even that amount will serve you a decade.

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I will be back in a week with a write-up on the next seven perfumes on my calendar. I hope you like rose perfumes (and chocolate).

 

Images: my own

Entertaining Statistics: 2016 Year Round-up

As I was reading farewell posts for 2016 (or celebratory ones for 2017), I’ve noticed that many people were very unhappy with the year and were anxious to see it off. While I acknowledge all the madness and unpleasantness that the year had brought us, on the personal level I don’t have much to complain. All-in-all, it was a good year for me, and I’m grateful for that.

But let me show you my 2016 in numbers.

98% – 100%

Northern California finally got some relief from the drought we are having. It’s still not over, and a part of the state is still in miserable condition, but the area where I live got rainfall between 98 and 100 percent of historic average, which makes me happy (I’m not sure about Rusty, though: since the picture below had been taken, he’s developed an inexplicable phobia of umbrellas – so that he refuses to be in the same room with it. Now I have to dry umbrellas in the garage not to traumatize him any further).

Rusty and Umbrella

164 Perfumes Worn

I wear perfumes on most of the days that I work from the office and on weekends. When I work from home, I tend to use those days to test perfumes instead of wearing my favorites. Since at the new job I get less WFH days, 2016 numbers for perfume wearing went up compared to 2015 (the difference is given in parentheses): I wore 164 perfumes (+8) from 61 brands (+5) on 333 occasions (+29). And before you ask: no, I do not own 164 bottles of perfumes; some of these are travel bottles, minis or decants.

Jo Malone with a Vengeance

For many years I have been a Jo Malone’s fan. It started long before my trip down the rabbit hole but during the first several years of my descent I was so mesmerized by all the marvels of the niche perfumery world that I wore much less of my favorite perfumes from this brand even though I own more full bottles from Jo Malone than from any other brand.

Since I wasn’t doing my monthly statistics posts this last year, I haven’t noticed the tendency, so it got me by surprise when my year numbers showed that Jo Malone was the brand I wore the most often, and it was the highest number for one brand in the last three years: I wore Jo Malone’s perfumes on 29 occasions.

My Stats Year 2016 Brands

Lucky Number 13

This is how many times I wore Lancôme Climat – my all-time favorite perfume in 2016. You might think it’s not a high number for perfume that I love my whole life: just 13 days out of 365… no, actually 366. But look at it from another perspective: this is the highest number for any single perfume I wore during any of the past six years.

Testing… Testing… 275, 100, 361…

Despite being very busy and wearing perfumes more often, in 2016 I did a lot more testing (compared to 2015): I tested 275 perfumes (+ 97) from 100 brands (+15) on 361 occasions (+134). Not all the testing I’ve done was for new perfumes, I do a lot of comparison testing (e.g., a new to me perfume with the one I own or two new perfumes against each other) or just re-testing something I’ve tested before. But I did test 118 new for me perfumes (+26), 31 of which were released in 2016 (+3), and I listed 10 of the new releases that I liked in the last post of the year.

Care to guess, which line I tested the most? Told you – “with a vengeance.” I was surprised myself, and I blame it on their Garden Collection: probably I just couldn’t believe I couldn’t find a single perfume to like in those cute green bottles, so I kept trying them.

A Year of Zen [Gardens]

A year ago I changed jobs and I got myself a desk Zen Garden, about which I dreamed for years. Looking back, I can tell that it was a good decision. On both accounts – the job and the garden. It was a challenging busy year but I enjoy what I do, I like my job, and I still had time for changing my Zen Garden at least seven times (I can’t find a picture of the very first one I made but it was more traditional than the next six).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As you can see, I used all my favorite things – cats, perfumes, chocolates and holiday decorations. Yesterday I took off Christmas ornaments, and I’m ready for the next chapter in my Zen-gardening. Any ideas for what I should do next?

Zen Garden 8

Images: my own

Serge Lutens Boxeuses: Hanging Up My Gloves

Several days ago Tara (A Bottled Rose) linked her great review of Serge LutensBoxeuses to my post from 2014 (Serge Lutens Boxeuses: Round One – I won). I remembered what I wrote back then in the conclusion of the story:

The year isn’t over yet and it looks like I’ll need to consider either changing my job or buying a bottle of Boxeuses

Since the situation in 2015 didn’t improve, I welcomed a bottle of Boxeuses into my collection and it proved to be one of my Top 10 perfumes that got the most skin time in 2015, which on its own attests to what a year it was.

Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Yesterday I wore Boxeuses on my last day at my job of many-many-many years. The irony was that it wasn’t even just symbolic: I actually attended my last meeting of the type, for which this perfume was meant.

Changing jobs after that many years at the same place is a scary step. So even though I made this important (and long overdue) decision a while ago, it took me some time to go through with it. I liked many aspects of that job and people with whom I worked day-to-day. I’ll miss them. I’ll miss a great view from the window of my office. I’ll miss traditions I’ve created and fostered over the years (I’ve told on my blog a couple of stories before – about Halloween Nail Decoration contest and holiday ornaments). I’ll miss other small things that aren’t that important in the grand scheme of things but still are important on the personal level.

Next week I’m starting a new job. As with everything new, there is an excitement, worries and, of course, hopes. Even though I like Boxeuses, in future I hope to wear this perfume just for pleasure of experiencing the scent and not as a coping strategy. I also hope that maybe this time I will be able to make this beautiful orchid – a farewell gift from a coworker – bloom more than once. As the first step I should probably hide both from Rusty.

Rusty and Serge Lutens Boxeuses

Images: my own