Second Sunday Sample: Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée

Let’s talk about the weather for a moment. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, what was the highest temperature in the area where you live this summer so far? (Please mention where you are – at least a country, city or area, if you feel comfortable doing so – for those who don’t know you.) How do you cope? And for my readers from Down Under, what was the coldest so far?

In the SF Bay Area where I live, we had a day or two really hot in June (I did a screenshot of the Weather app with 36C/97F on June 17), but other than that our weather was surprisingly nice all that time while I heard and read horror stories from all over the world.

But my vSO and I managed to choose the hottest days to visit a wine country this week. Given, we were limited by dates for which we planned that trip since we did it as a part of celebrating our anniversary, we had to book everything in advance, including the most important part – feeding Rusty in our absence. So, once it became clear it’ll be extremely hot in our destination spot, we discussed whether we should cancel but decided not to.

Two days that we spent in Sonoma wine country, it got to 37C/99F at the peak. Wine tasting in these circumstances was a tricky proposition. But since everything these days must be planned well in advance (and is mostly not refundable), we tried to make the best of the trip (I plan to do a separate post about it soon).

LaRue Winery

And since we were going to the almost tropical environment, I decided it was a great opportunity to test new Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée, which after the initial test at home seemed like a perfect tropical scent.

Since I missed several years of Serge Lutens’ new releases, and after Barney’s demise there are no more B&M places around here where I’d be able to test the brand, recently I got some samples from the Surrender to Chance. I was going back and forth choosing perfumes and sizes (for most of my samples I go for 0.5 ml – 1 ml), and somehow I ended up with two 1 ml samples of La Dompteuse Encagee. I was surprised but then thought that since it’s a new 2021 release, I’d test and review one sample and pass onto somebody else the second one. Nope. Somebody won’t be getting it: for testing on the road, I decided to pour both into a spray vial.

Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagee

Serge Lutens’ ad copy is cryptic, as always, so I don’t want to spend time even trying to make any sense of it. When it comes to providing any specific information on the composition, they are also not being too generous. But I find it entertaining how being given just three notes – frangipani, Ylang Ylang and almond – most reviewers dance around them not daring to speculate on other notes. Too bad Kafka isn’t reviewing perfumes any longer: this is one of the cases where I’d be extremely curious to know what she smells here. Me? I’m sure that this perfume contains more ingredients than the mentioned three. But since I rarely recognize notes even when they are listed, I’ll do what I always do – impressions and comparisons.

As a rule, I don’t like the almond note in perfumery, so I’m very pleased that I do not smell it in La Dompteuse Encagee. When I applied it for the first time, not expecting to like or be interested, it immediately reminded me of something else – not an identical aroma but rather the mood… After searching my mental perfume library, I realized that it reminded me of Annick Goutal Songes. Interestingly, Songes’ notes include frangipani and Ylang Ylang as well (also jasmine, tiare and vanilla). I tried La Dompteuse Encagee and Songes side by side, and I think I was right: they don’t smell similar, but for me, they evoke the same summer vibe. I rarely think of perfumes in colors, but both these are yellow in my palette (even though they both are predominantly white flowers). Speaking of white flowers, both in Songes and La Dompteuse Encagee I imagine smelling tuberose (which isn’t listed in either) and jasmine (not given for the latter perfume’s pyramid).

La Dompteuse Encagee is one of the florals in the Serge Lutens’ line (so, no stewed fruits), but unlike most other florals that I like – De Profundis, Vitriol d’oeillet or Iris Silver MistLa Dompteuse Encagee is not solemn and austere but very bright and radiant. I liked it much more than I expected. I don’t even mind the name, whatever Mr. Lutens meant (online consensus has it translated as a “Caged Tamer” with the noun being feminine). My only complaint is that in hot weather it is more fleeting than I’d like it to be. But I still want a bottle (if/when I can get at least 20% off): I need to give it proper wear in a real tropical environment. I still hope to get there eventually.

Butterfly

Images: my own

Which 20 Would Portia Keep?

Hi there Crew,

Recently Undina (What Are Your Top N Perfumes?) and Tara (My Perfume Collection – Top 15) have done their “which would I keep” posts, following on from from Vanessa (‘Be more Undina’). After you’ve read this go have a squiz at theirs too. Who doesn’t love lists, right? So, I’m thinking “Damnit! I want to do this too.” It’s such a mind blowing, freak me right out, dumb assed thing to want to try because invariably my head explodes. Then the next day I instantly start second guessing my choices and that can rattle around my head for a couple of weeks before my brain lets it go. BUT! I also love doing it, just to see what my head and heart come up with this time.

Jin and I have often talked of buying a van and travelling through Europe for a couple of years. As part of that adventure my mind instantly goes to “How many perfumes would I take and which would they be?” So I’m kind of experienced at it now. Problem is some of them change, HA! Impossible, right. Usually I say 25 bottles and a bunch of samples/decants but in all honesty I think it will more likely be 10. So today I’m formalising my ideas for you all and myself. Subject to change at a moments notice.

You might want to grab a cuppa or a boozy bevy. This post is LONG! Continue reading

Saturday Question: Which Serge Lutens Perfume Is The Most Famous?

Today I want to do something slightly differently. My main question is not about your personal preferences but rather about your opinion.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #31:

Which Serge Lutens Perfume Is The Most Famous?

As someone who reads perfume-related blogs, forums and other media, in your opinion, which Serge Lutens perfume is the most recognizable by name, most often spoken of and/or loved the most by others in the Perfumeland?

Of course, you can answer any way that feels right, but just a suggestion: think about your answer first. Then look through the comments posted by the time you’re ready (if any). If someone else has already posted perfume you thought of, post your answer under their comment. If your answer is different than all other choices, comment under the post and see if others agree with you.

Bonus Questions: Do you like that perfume? If yes, do you own or plan to buy it? If no, why?

My Answer

As I said, I’m trying to do it differently this time, so I will not post my answer here – not to influence your thinking. Instead, I’ll add my answer in comments.

 

Which Serge Lutens Perfume Is The Most Famous?

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Hey there crew,

Mid Seasons are my favourites. I love the less extreme temperatures and the chopping and changing. Whether it’s Spring or Autumn, the days play similarly, and I find the same set of fragrances can often get some play. One day hot, next day cloudy, sunshiny days and chilly nights happen in both seasons. It does mean our easy reach fragrances need to be able to fit into more than a single weather mood. So I have a bunch of perfumes each year that are able to cross the borders comfortably. I pop them on the easy access tray with some all-year contenders. This year looks like it’s going to be fun.

 

 

Portia’s Mid Season Beauties 2020

Continue reading

Portia Reconnecting with Serge Lutens

Hey crew,

Last time we chatted I told you about bringing my Serge Lutens open, now old style, 50ml export bottles out of their box and onto my easy reach tray next to my desk. It’s been spritz changing, even in these few short weeks. With them lined up before me I think about them much more often and am revisiting long languished loves again. It’s like a fragrant voyage of rediscovery. It reminds me how deeply the brand changed the way I thought about scenting myself. The possibilities, choice and intricacies of scent. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not fooling myself that every release or even favourite of mine is a boundary pushing masterpiece. Some are merely beautiful, easy wear interpretations of old tropes, but always with an interesting twist and/or perfectly balanced symmetry.

 

 

As luck would have it, I’ve had the opportunity to do two masterclasses in the Yellow Room upstairs in the Palais Royale store in Paris. The first was Jin and I with Elvire. Over the course of an hour or two we were introduced to the entire bell jar range, her favourite exports and the history of Féminité du Bois. It was an unbelievably jaw-dropping event. We already had some orders to fulfill from Aussies, and then I dropped a very large wad of cash on bell jars and travel sets for both Jin and myself. Jin fell madly in love with Muscs Koublaï Khän and is now on his second bell jar of it. He lovingly decants it into a beautiful black octagonal Serge Lutens travel spray and spritzes with gay abandon. I’ve never let him see how much it cost, he’d be horrified.

The second visit a couple of years ago was with a crew of perfume buddies. It was a much louder, more raucous affair and our hosts were not prepared at all to explain fragrance to frag nerds. BEDLAM! It was still fantastic though, and I was reintroduced to a couple of fragrances that I suddenly needed to own immediately. Chene and La Myrrhe. They sit in my collection, still in their cellophane. I don’t want to dab them, and I don’t want to decant them. What I do though is look at the boxes and reminisce. I wasn’t the only one to bust out the credit card and shop. I think there were 16 of us, and everyone purchased at least one bottle. Some people, who knew this might be their only visit to the grande purple emporium, splashed out on much more. While I didn’t learn much on this occasion, it is the one I smile to myself about so much more. Nothing compares to sharing the love of perfume with frag heads, made exponentially magic because we’d come from all over the world to meet in Paris.

 

 

So, I know you’re dying to know what’s been put up on the tray. I’d be chomping at the bit if I was reading your posts and it had gone this far without a list.

Arabie

I love the spicy opening that reminds me of ginger beer. When that settles down, I get a fruity, resinous melange that some days dips into apple pie territory and others into the scorch of spices sizzling in the pan in a sweet curry. Arabie lets me dream of Bedouin life from my comfortable couch.

Bas de Soie

I had been using a decant of this from Surrender To Chance, there was about 1ml left. I sprayed it all on and then wanted more. So I finally opened my bottle and gave myself a dousing. Something amazing happens to Bas de Soie at that level of heft. Suddenly it is a huge breath of spring. Even in our cold, rainy autumn here in Sydney I was transported to a springtime wonderland. Hyacinth, iris and musk blowing on a cool breeze.

Chergui

Chergui is the fragrance I most recognise as a Serge Lutens. It seems to capture and embody the spirit of the brand perfectly for me. Spicy and honeyed herbal opening, sweet tobacco and amber woods to close, and it runs the gamut of olfactory gorgeousness through its heart. It gives me visions of the legend travellers of the Middle East all the way down through Mongolia to the Far East.

Daim Blond

This was my favourite Serge for a while, but along came Bottega Veneta EdP, and I was like “Daim Blond who?” Fruity almonds and leather. It now smells dank and dated to me. Sad face. The dry down of softest, well loved leather is very nice next morning if you wear Daim Blond to bed.

Datura Noir

I wear Datura Noir quite a lot. First in decants and now in a bottle. I thought it wasn’t me. Too clean and fresh, a creamy white floral without the breath or skank seemed pointless. Yet, there I was/am, reaching and spritzing and loving it.

Féminité du Bois

My bottle has less than 10ml left. It’s got the Palais Royale logo on the label. Still smells fabulous, but I rarely wear it because I’m scared to not have it in this eras bottle. Spicy stewed fruits and woods. It’s absolutely heartbreakingly gorgeous.

Fille en Aiguilles

Also in the Palais Royale logo. More stewed fruit, but this time backed by incense and sharp pine. i love this so much for winter that I bought a few bottles and gave them out as gifts to various friends. Every one of them (non-perfumistas all) has re-bought it for themselves after using up that first bottle.

Five O’Clock au Gingembre

My favourite Serge Lutens fragrance so far. 10% into my second bottle. There is something about that opening zing of fruity ginger that I find so invigorating. You know I haven’t read the note list for years, and my nose tells me it is a ginger, tea, white flower and honey fragrance. I’m surprised to see no white flowers or tea mentioned, and find chocolate and patchouli there. WOW! My nose is clearly broken and has been for years.

L’Orpheline

The only notes given for L’Orpheline are incense and musk. To me they miss out on the smell of icy cold, snow filled winds in the monasteries of the Himalayas. Funnily, I get cold incense like you’re standing outside the temple shop, and the breeze is stealing most of the scent but it’s there.

Sa Majesté la Rose

This is not my favourite rose perfume. It does smell like you’ve stuck your nose in a particularly fragrant bloom early in the morning while it’s still got the dew on it and the scent hasn’t had time to burn off. The problem is that I find myself wanting a rose perfume to do a few more tricks than that. I need rose +++. This has rose. When the mood takes me, I look for and wear this but it’s a rare thing.

Santal Majuscule

That creamy, soapy sandalwood smell. So smooth and elegant. None of that rough, eucalyptus like opening of the Aussie stuff. This smells like the grown up, wealthy, settled down, gravitas version of Samsara. I have a really happy memory associated with Santal Majuscule. When it was first released I went in a split and bought 10ml. After wearing it twice I was about to write a review. As I reached for the decant, I knocked it over, and it smashed all over my desk. I was so upset at my clumsiness. Jin rushed in and saw the problem, after asking if I was OK and hearing the story, he said very calmly, “Well, you better buy a bottle. It smells fantastic” or some words to that effect. So I did.

Un Boise Vanille

The last of my Palais Royale label bottles. A thick, rich, crunchy vanilla that goes on strong and stays all day. Its simplicity hides depths and layers, if you bother to look, but for most non-perfumista wearers I imagine it just smells fabulous.

 

So that’s how I’ve been spending my lockdown time lately. Our restrictions ease gradually. One of my club groups got in touch, and they are hoping to reinstate trivia nights in late July. So, I’m a ways off working again. Maybe I’ll finally get to the mending pile on the floor in front of my sewing machine this week. It’s getting so big, I think it might take two full days.

 

What are your favourite Serge Lutens? Which bottles do you have open and use?
Portia xx

Saturday Question: What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

Following great tradition started by two wonderful bloggers, Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) and Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies), once a week I or one of the guest writers will keep the lights on in this virtual leaving room, but I hope that you, my friends and readers, will engage in conversation not only with me or the other host, but also with each other.

Last week’s question collected 68 comments (I start thinking that I might have scared some potential commenters away by offering a draw for more perfume samples), so, there was no draw. but I decided to extend the time for the first draw winner to contact me with the choice of a decanter/samples site for the gift certificate.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #3:

What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

I was torn between the desire to talk about the elephant in the room and inclination to maintain the normality. I don’t know what the next week will bring to the World, but for now let’s talk about something positive.

My Answer

This question was one of many that I planned to run eventually. It surfaced now partially because of the current situation and partially because of the last week’s Saturday question: while working from home, I decided to go through some of the samples that I had for years. The bag that I’ve got out first had a dozen of Serge Lutens samples that I collected over the years. As I was going through them, I was amazed by how much I liked most of them. And these were my “outcasts” – perfumes that I tried before and decided not to go beyond the sample. Today, years later, after having tested hundreds of modern perfumes, I got a new respect for this brand that at some point was on every perfumista’s mind and blog but recently seem to have fallen from grace.

I like and enjoy wearing a number of Serge Lutens’ perfumes, but if I have to name just three, it’ll be Boxeuses, my armor of strength for difficult situations, De Profundis, my way of celebrating life and Fille en Aiguilles, an ultimate Christmas perfume.

 

 

Now it’s your turn. If we get to 100 comments, there will be a prize: a random draw for a $25 (or equivalent in pounds or euro) gift certificate to a decanter service of your choice.

 

What Are Your Top 3 Serge Lutens Perfumes?

 

Disclaimer: this blog doesn’t use any affiliated links or benefit from any of the G-d awful ads that some of you might see inserted tastelessly by the WP engine inside the post and/or between comments. Encouraging readers to post more comments does not serve any purpose other then getting pleasure from communicating with people who share same interests.

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


Sunday, February 25, 2018

SOTD

I decided to give Iris Silver Mist one more wear. While it was nice, I don’t think I like it more than several other irises I have or tried this month. So once I finish my decant (probably one or two more times), I won’t try to get a bottle. Maybe another decant.


Monday, February 26, 2018

SOTD

I wanted to wear Purple Rain by Prada on a rainy day. Unfortunately, February this year was dry. One day when it suddenly rained, I was already wearing another perfume that was tenacious enough to last me through the day. But now we have rain forecast for this Monday, so I’ll be wearing Purple Rain. I wish I had this umbrella to accompany it:

Iris Umbrella


Tuesday, February 27, 2018

VIDEO CLIP OF THE DAY

Recently I was watching (again) Hercule Poirot series and was reminded how much I liked the song used in one of the episodes – Yellow Iris. Unfortunately, from what I managed to find, it had never been released as a stand-alone song, so all you can do is to listen to it in the clip from the episode (in which, by the way, there is a reference to the flower of the month – so I thought it was at least partially relevant). The song is beautiful, and I wanted to share it with you (and I’ll add lyrics under the video – in case some of the words are not clear in the background).

 

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
The way you walked, the way you talked, the things you used to say.

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
I couldn’t say for sure today
Whether your eyes were blue or grey.

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
Your smile, your touch,
Which meant so much,
Somewhere along the way.

I’ve forgotten you,
I never think of you,
I changed my mind , my love was blind ,
Now I’ve forgotten you.

Oh, what a lie!
I shall think of you,
Think of you,
Think of you,
Till I die

 

SOTD 2/27/2018

With just 2 days left in the month I’m going through the remaining list of my iris-centric perfumes choosing carefully what gets a wear within this project. I’m going with my first unsniffed purchaseChanel No. 19 Poudré, even though I suspect it might be a little too cold for it.


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

So we are on the last day of A Month of Irises project. After it’s over, I’ll probably do a round-up post with some statistics – so please, keep going, do not give up until the end of the month (and report back).

LINKS, LINKS, LINKS

I thought it would be very fitting to finish my updates for the month of irises, rainbows and perfumes with a link to Asali’s (The Sounds of Scent) review of the legendary Iris Gris perfume – At the end of the rainbow.

 

SOTD 2/28/2018

I started this project with a list of iris perfumes that had more than 28 scents, so it is not a surprise that I had a choice of what to wear for the last day. After going back and forth between a couple of contenders, I decided that Hiris by Hermès would be a perfect conclusion for the month: it is very office-friendly (and I have some meetings in a small office), it is a classic iris perfume, it is the last perfume featured in the picture of the introductory post for this project that I haven’t worn yet, and this mini bottle was a gift from dear Portia (Australian Perfume Junkies).

 

Rusty and Iris Perfumes

 

What are you wearing today?

 

Images: memo block and umbrella – from the sites selling the products, linked (no affiliation); the rest – my own

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