Saturday Question: Do You Keep Any Perfume Records? (And My 2021 Year Round-up Entertaining Statistics)

A couple of weeks ago, in another SQ post, Jyotsna suggested this question. And I decided it was a good idea to combine it with my yearly statistics post.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #98:

Do You Keep Any Perfume Records?

Do you have a spreadsheet of your entire collection? Or maybe you’re tracking them somewhere online, as a wardrobe in one of the perfume forums? Do you record what you wear or test? Or, maybe, what you buy?

If yes, how meticulous are you? If no, do you have a desire/urge to do it?

My Answer

As many of you probably know already, I record everything related to my perfume hobby in a database. If anyone hasn’t seen it yet and is curious, in my 2017 Year Round-up post I told more about that database and shared some screenshots. Data that I record there allows me to run these yearly calculations to share with my readers. I try to record what I wear or test daily (in the last year’s statistics post, I provided an infographic that explains wear vs test concept), but some days I don’t get to the home computer where I have that database, so then later I would try to catch up for several days, if I remember what it was.

In 2021, compared to 2020, I wore fewer perfumes (178 vs 210) from fewer brands (79 vs 96) on fewer occasions (291 vs 367). It means that for 2.5 months during 2021 I didn’t wear perfumes. It doesn’t mean that I was completely scentless on those days: if not to count several occasions when I wasn’t feeling well because of the vaccination shots, I used those days to test perfumes new to me or re-test those that I’ve previously tested. But even testing went down in 2021 (compared to 2020): I tested/re-tested 180 perfumes (327) from 68 brands (126).

My traditional Top 10 brands worn chart has the same 7 brands that keep re-appearing in my yearly posts for the last 9 years in slightly different order: Ormonde Jayne, Guerlain, Amouage, Tom Ford, Jo Malone, Chanel and Serge Lutens. The remaining three brands are new on that chart: Puredistance, Olfactive Studio and Masque Milano.

My Stats Year 2021

Nose Prose just did a post on the first week of the project she runs this month: to wear different perfume for each day. When I first read about it, I was almost surprised: how else? I’m so used to my routine of not repeating the same perfume for months, that I forgot that many people, even perfumistas, often rotate through some small subset of perfumes (and I’m not even talking about Brigitte who might wear the same perfume for weeks). This year, out of 178 perfumes that I wore 110 made their appearance just once. And perfume that I wore most often, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if, I wore only 6 times (plus 3 times I wore Ta’if Elixir).

The only aspect where I “improved” is the number of 2021 releases that I tested – 38 vs 22 (2020) vs 16 (2019). The list of my Top 5 new releases for 2021 is in the previous SQ post.

 

Now it’s your turn.

 

Do You Keep Any Perfume Records?

Saturday Question: What Are Your Top 5 Perfumes of 2021?

So, we’re in 2022. I think, by now we all learned to be rather cautious than optimistic about the year to unfold. But at the same time, in the beginning of something new (even though in this case it’s quite arbitrary, just a number accepted by a majority as an identifier for the span of time we find ourselves in), it is both customary and easy(ier?) to let yourself to be hopeful. So, let’s hope that the next 12 months will be kinder to those who had it hard in 2021 and at least not worse for those who didn’t suffer from that year much.

That was about life in general. Perfume-wise, in my opinion, 2021 wasn’t that bad. Yes, on the downside, some perfume events had been cancelled, and many of us had less opportunities to sniff something new both locally and while traveling. But at the same time, it felt like we finally got our wish: in 2021, not everyone and their uncle has launched a new perfume brand; and existing brands seemingly slowed down with new releases. And while we still had a lot more new releases than it’s feasible to test and review, somehow it felt less overwhelming (or maybe I just got used to it?).

So, I thought it might be interesting to share our “best of 2021” perfume finds.

Saturday Question #97:

What Are Your Top 5 Perfumes of 2021?

If you tried enough 2021 releases to come up with 5 that you liked, please share those. But if no, you do not have to limit yourself with just new launches: your top 5 might be of new for you perfumes that you tried in 2021 for the first time and liked. Or it can be 5 perfumes that you finally got into your collection in 2021. And if none of these apply (if you were on a strict “no buy” or just didn’t like anything), just give us your top 5 favorites that you wore in 2021.

My Answer

I plan to look into all of my 2021 numbers soon for my traditional Entertaining Statistics post, but I already looked it up and know that I tested 38 perfumes released in 2021 from 29 brands. And among those that I tested, there are enough perfumes that fit this week’s question. And I can even rank them.

#5: Chanel Paris – Edimbourg

While I don’t think I’ll buy Paris – Edimbourg for myself, I liked it, especially on my vSO. So, one day, after he finishes the samples I passed on him, he might get a bottle of it under a Christmas Tree.

#4: Eris Parfums Green Spell

What can I say? I love green perfumes. I’ll finish the sample I’ve got and then will probably get a 10 ml travel spray.

#3: Teo Cabanel Rendez Vous

Randez Vous was my favorite from the Teo Cabanel’s new line. I can see a small bottle in my future.

#2: Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée

Since I reviewed La Dompteuse Encagee, I had a chance to test it in Hawaii and confirmed that I enjoy it in hot/tropical weather. But since, at least under those conditions, it is less tenacious than I would like it to be, it seems that I will “need” a bottle of it.

#1: Puredistance No. 12

I consider Puredistance to be “my brand”: I had a couple of “loves” from them over the years, and most of the rest perfumes were strong “likes.” But each of their last three releases, Gold, Rubikona and now No. 12 (why haven’t I wrote about it yet?!), was making it almost impossible for me to choose my #1 perfume from this brand. But for 2021, No. 12 is my uncontested No. 1.

Puredistance No.12

What Are Your Top 5 Perfumes of 2021?

What I Wore Wednesday: Perfume Advent Calendar 2021, Week 2

As the year is coming to the end and with my Christmas vacation time approaching, the level of the work-related insanity got up to eleven. So, the help from my Perfume Advent Calendar in making a daily choice was greatly appreciated:

Day 8: By Kilian Amber Oud
Amber Oud
, my perfect By Kilian perfume that I found five years ago, isn’t much about the “oud,” and I love it about that perfume. Amber Oud is a beautiful amber, and I enjoy it every time I put it on. This time wasn’t any different. It’s still available in Europe in a refill form, but I haven’t seen it in the US for a while.

Rusty and By Kilian Amber Oud
Day 9: Hermès Eau de Mandarine Ambrée
Eau de Mandarine Ambree is one of the winners in my Search For The Perfect Mandarin. It feels right for the holidays season. This time it was surprisingly tenacious and didn’t require re-application.

Rusty and Hermes Mandarine Ambree

Perfumes for the following three days do not have their stories told yet on my blog, but I plan to get to them eventually.

Day 10: Masque Milano Madeleine Le Donne di Masque
Madeleine is new to my collection, but with notes of chestnut, whipped cream, milk and vanilla it felt very season-appropriate (this isn’t the full notes  list).

Day 11: Xerjoff Pykovaya Dama 2018
This is one of those perfumes that in my personal classification is a special occasion perfume. We don’t get too many of those recently, so I was glad to pull this name on a weekend: at least I wore it to a nice dinner at our friends’ place.

Day 12: Puredistance No. 12
No. 12 is my new perfume love. It was one of several perfumes that were pre-designated for a particular date: I thought it would be very fitting to wear perfume No. 12 on 12/12/21 and planned to do a post. It didn’t happen (unfortunately, I had to work that Sunday instead of writing my post). But I still hope to tell you its story soon.

Day 13: Jo Malone Sweet Milk
Sweet Milk is one of those perfumes that has the strongest olfactory connections to my childhood years, and it feels so warming and cozy and calming. I needed its support in the beginning of the week that came after a not exactly restful weekend – and I got it.

Day 14: Ineke Idyllwild
I can’t believe Idyllwild was launched four years ago: it feels like I just got this wonderful evergreen perfume. If you haven’t tried it, please read my original story. It was such a joy to wear it! And, just in case you have tried Idyllwild or just don’t want to go to the old post, I’ll put here the photo of Rusty from that post because I liked it but had a feeling that it was underappreciated (I’m sure that happened because everyone was taken in by my brilliant writing, I’m sure).

If you were considering purchase of any of Ineke’s perfumes, there is a nice promotion on the site now: for the price of the full bottle ($125), you can get their discovery set (currently $30) with a free delivery plus a coupon code for the full bottle with free shipping. This way you can get the discovery set free – either for yourself or to give it as a present to someone. If you’re not familiar with this brand, their discovery set (extremely well presented) comes with a $15 discount code against future full bottle purchase.

Rusty and Ineke Idyllwild

Day 15: Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan
By the time I got into the rabbit hole, discovered and bought Ambre Sultan, my first ever Serge Lutens bottle, it was such a well-loved and discussed perfume, that other than mentioning it here and there in amber-related posts or my Entertaining Statistics posts, there wasn’t much new to tell about it. Hence, there are no relevant links to provide. But I wanted to wear it this year, because I noticed my tendency to postpone wearing Ambre Sultan until it’s “cold enough,” which sometimes doesn’t happen with our winters. I still think it was worth the hype, though, of course, in the last decade many brands, both mainstream and niche, came out with really good amber perfumes. But I’m glad I have this classic of the genre for reference.

Rusty and Advent Calendar Week 2 Perfumes

I first tricked and then bribed Rusty into posing with the Week 2 perfumes under our lit but not decorated yet Christmas Tree. For more pictures of Rusty, see the Advent CaTendar on my Instagram account (@undina_ba) – a count up to Rusty’s 13th Birthday on Christmas Eve Day.

 

Images: my own

What I Wore Wednesday: Perfume Advent Calendar 2021, Week 1

The first week of December is behind us (I can’t believe it!), and here’s what my Perfume Advent Calendar helped me to choose for each day:

Day 1: Mona di Orio Vanille Les Nombres d’Or
My perfect vanilla perfume. Boozy, sweet (but not too sweet), resinous. It was symbolic that I randomly picked this one for the first day of wearing my favorite perfumes while working from home because that was one of the perfumes that I couldn’t wear to the office for a long time because my manager complained that it induced his headache (I don’t think so: I’m sure it was stress and weather, but since he was a nice guy, I stopped wearing Mdo’s Vanille to work).

Rusty and Mona di Orio Vanille
Day 2: Amouage Memoir Woman
Such a regal perfume! I enjoyed wearing it for the whole day and then could smell some remaining traces on my pillowcase for the next couple of days. Rusty, on the other hand, wasn’t amused by the fact that I used his daytime office space for my Perfume Advent Calendar and then added a strongly smelling bottle on top to take a picture.

Rusty and Amouage Memoir
Day 3: Chanel Coromandel EdT
One day when I finish this decant, I might check out the current then EdP. But for now I’m content: it’s a great perfume for colder days, not that many of which we have here.

Rusty and Chanel Coromandel
Day 4: Naomi Goodsir Or du Serail
Last year I published my story for this perfume: Better than a New-Car Scent. Beautifully complex composition that brings me joy every time I wear it. That day Rusty didn’t want to cooperate.

Naomi Goodsir Or Du Serail
Day 5: Serge Lutens Chergui
My December wouldn’t be right without Chergui. I’m sure this perfume doesn’t require an introduction, but if you weren’t around three years ago, you might find entertaining my post Almost Newcomb’s Paradox about mysteriously multiplying boxes.

Serge Lutens Chergui
Day 6: Mugler Angel Taste of Fagrance
This was one of the days in December when I didn’t leave it to the fate: I “pre-loaded” the bag #6 with this perfume’s name because I knew that I would be publishing our joint blogging Scent Semantics post, in which I pared this fragrance with the word “Angelic.”

Rusty and Mugler Taste of Fragrance
Day 7: Chanel Coco
My bottle is 11 years old (and back then I bought it new from Nordstrom), so I should have enough of this perfume for the next 10 years. But I still wonder: how much is today’s version different from what I smell here?

Rusty and Chanel Coco

And if you didn’t see enough pictures of Rusty, a reminder that I’m doing the Advent CaTendar on my Instagram account (@undina_ba) – a count up to Rusty’s 13th Birthday on Christmas Eve Day.

 

Images: my own

Vacation in the Time of COVID-19: Episode III, Hawaii Big Island – Perfumes

Whenever I go to Hawaii, I take with me perfumes that I consider my tropical perfume wardrobe. Over years I kept finding more and more perfumes that I thought would be suitable for that purpose. So, each next time I had more and more contenders for my attention (and my body) on those tropical retreats.

This year I think I went a little bit overboard when packing perfumes for the trip: even not counting samples I brought to test (and didn’t!) and shared perfumes, I had more than three perfumes per day of my vacation. Considering that our “social life” (i.e.: visiting restaurants and any indoor venues) was extremely limited and our current physical shape didn’t support the twice-a-day beach visits routine we used to follow when we felt stronger, even two perfumes per day would have been a stretch. But I have so many perfumes that wait their time to join me on a trip, that I couldn’t bring myself to pare down the set. The picture below doesn’t show new samples brought for testing that I didn’t even unpack (I’ll do a post about them later, once I finish testing) and a couple of perfumes that I forgot to bring for the photo shoot.

Kona Vacation PerfumesLast year, longing for a tropical vacation that we had to cancel, I did a post on my typical perfume selection for these trips. This time in Hawaii I wore seven out of nine perfumes that were featured in that post (I didn’t re-read it until I started writing this one): Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess, Ormonde Jayne Tiare and Frangipani, L’Artisan Parfumeur Traversee du Bosphore, Parfums DelRae Bois de Paradise, Byredo Bal D’Afrique and Yosh Ginger Ciao. I don’t have much new to say about these perfumes in addition to what I wrote last year (I still love them all), but I want to share that on this trip, for the first time, I smelled Ormonde Jayne’s Frangipiani side by side with live plumeria and realized how complex Frangipani was while prominently featuring this note.

In addition to these, I managed to wear Diptyque Volutes (EdT), our shared perfume for plane flights (I decanted it into a tiny roller ball bottle, so we can use it discreetly without bothering fellow-travelers), Moroccanoil Hair & Body Fragrance Mist, which together with Bronze Goddess spent the whole vacation in the fridge, and Serge Lutens La Dompteuse Encagée, which I wanted to try in tropical surroundings – and yes, I still want to get it, even though I confirmed my initial impression that its longevity in a humid hot weather wasn’t great. My vSO wore Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine (love-love-love it) and three of Tom Ford‘s perfumes (I don’t envision any of them in his full bottle collection, but they were fine as the after-the-sunset wear).

 

The next time I go to Hawaii, I will probably bring that exact line-up, because all of them are gorgeous in tropical weather, and each of them deserves more skin time. I don’t need any more tropical perfumes! And yet, I’m still curious… Do you have any favorite perfumes that are especially great in hot weather?

 

Images: my own

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