Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Hey crew, In my last order from Fragrance and Art there arrived a bunch of manufacturers samples to try. I also just noticed an Essential Parfums 8x2ml set for under US$20!. Not affiliated in any way but it’s good to know. They have an excellent radar for things I’ll like and this time there were a preponderance of vanilla rich fragrances. Maybe because the north is heading cool but also maybe because I bloody LOVE vanilla. It has so many facets and depths, and rarely disappoints. Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums immediately had me excited by the name alone.

Perfumer Olivier Pescheux is one whose work you definitely know; One Million, Herod, 34 boulevard Saint Germain, and Yohji Homme are just some highlights of his current 123 perfumes in Fragrantica.

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Black Pepper
Heart: Incense, Osmanthus, Pomarose
Base: Madagascar Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Siam Benzoin, Texas Cedar, Musk, Patchouli

Sometimes I write part of a post and then lose the sample. It stays here, in limbo, till I give up and delete the post or till I find the sample! Well, here we are moths later and I have refound it. I’m so dumb, could easily have come checked this post and found that it ws a grey carded manufacturers sample, not a red box. Who knows what I’ve mixed it up with? So we are here today to FINALLY write about Divine Vanille.

The opening is vanilla rich amber with some bells and whistles. Lightly spiced and a faint scratchy whiff of black pepper keep us firmly in the kitchen but savoury rather than super sweet. We have some South Korean cracker biscuits that are a little like this. A line drawn between the two poles.

As the heart makes itself known I get the rustic greenery of clary sage and subtle hints of osmanthus, that leathery white floral. Still reigning supreme though is the amber. It has started to gain a little smooth earthy patchouli that gives it some grunt, it also takes it into L’Artisan Havana Vanille territory. Add to it some lightweight animalic references and the fragrance remains interesting.

 

Divine Vanille by Essential Parfums

Heading towards dry down and Divine Vanille starts to get sweeter and more cookie in the oven-ish. Held grounded, and even a skew towards masculine, by the various resins. That smokiness giving the cookies a baking feel probably comes from somewhere there too. The patchouli takes itself in and out over time. I find that keeps my nose interested and the fragrance doesn’t send me nose blind.

I REALLY like Divine Vanille. It’s not incredibly ground breaking but it smells so good. Unisex, good longevity and moderate projection. It’s also very well priced, even bargain.

The question is, “Do I have enough vanilla perfumes?” Do you?
Portia x

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Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Heya Crew, BIG weekend. Huge. Did some stuff, wore some perfume, had a ball.

Cowra Weekend, 50th Birthday Gig, NRL Grand Final

Jin and I went on a mini adventure about 4 hours west of Sydney. We drove out on Friday in a leisurely way. Left at 9.30am, stopped for lunch at a lovely cafe where they home made their pies and a couple of other places, then got out to Cowra at about 3pm. Checked into the motel the guys had booked for us and waited for them to get back from picking arrivals up from the airport. Some of the guests were arriving by their private planes, including an ex fighter jet, and they were giving joy flights. Heaven. Yes, it was that kind of party. Heads of industry, politicians, LGBTQI+, family and locals all meshed together for a weekend of celebrating my warm acquaintance’s 50th birthday. I was the MC and entertainment, with the publican’s children (OMG! They were amazing and sang Journey We Built This City like angels). If you put everyone in country casual, add copious amounts of Moet and an open bar, a buffet dinner and one of Sydney’s most sought after DJs (Victoria Anthony), you start to get a picture of the happy bedlam.

Here I am in full flight, miming like crazy. No idea who took the photo.

Having slept soundly and with Saturday to ourselves before the party we decided to explore. Cowra was unexpectedly lovely and full of history. They had a POW camp in WWII. Italians and Japanese were the bulk of the internees. While the Italians were very happy in the compound it was overcrowded. The Japanese staged a huge breakout and many were killed. It’s an eerie set of ruins now but in the most gorgeous scenery of softly rolling hills and agriculture. Cowra has planted a Japanese Garden in the dead POW soldiers honour and every one of them has a blossom tree with plaque. Luckily we were there just as the blossoms were still hanging on, a week later and they’d be done.

There is also a perfectly maintained non working train station and some very famous old houses.

Again I’ve dropped the ball on photos (SORRY Undina) but here are a few.

Weirdest thing. The ducklings were obsessed with Jin and came up to him everywhere. They even followed him across the pond. I saw no one else have this unbelievable connection with them. I get it, he’s freaking adorable but it was spooky.

What perfumes did I take?

Divine EdP because it’s so rich and glamorous. The end game of aldehydic florals. CHANEL No 5 started the ball rolling and I think this is the best of breed. It’s also an excellent power perfume that works as armour and centre. If you haven’t tried it and aldehydic florals are your jam go do.

Cacharel Amor Amor is a lovely sweet fruity floral that has a soft amber base. The original that spawned a slew of flankers. The top notes list reads nothing like what I smell which is berry lollies. Add some light white flowers and a laundry musk vanilla. It’s simple but so jaunty and wearable. Perfect spring fare that works all year. My original bottle was a gift from one of our besties Anna Maria. Every time I wear it it’s as if she were with me.

Jin brought his vintage CHANEL Antaeus and smelled divine.

Sunday morning after the party we jumped in the car about midnight. Jin had to be back in Sydney by 9.30am to meet his BFF Matt. They’d won the NRL (Nat. Rugby League) Grand Final Experience. This included walking the ground, the dressing rooms and bleachers. They were able to meet and talk to two ex players who’d played in Championship Winning Teams! Back home for a couple of hours sleep and then off to the Grand Final in Row 9 tickets. It was their dreams come true and when they got the news they’d won there were a few happy tears shed.

Sadly both the women and men teams they barrack for were defeated but they had been there.

It was a BIG weekend. We took all of our public holiday Monday off to recuperate.

Did you do anything, wear anything, spritz anything you’d like to share? Please chat with me in the comments (and each other). It’s the connection I crave with you all. That’s what makes blogging so special.
Portia xx

 

 

 

Had a BIRTHDAY!

Had a BIRTHDAY!

OMG! So sorry Looking Glassers. I’m late. All my fault, take full responsibility. OOOPSIE! TBH I really thought I’d finished the half finished post that you’ll now get in a fortnight. Last week was Festivus de Portia, organised by my beautiful husband Jin. Every year he puts on quite a show for the week of my birthday (refuses to let us do it for him though).

Had a BIRTHDAY!

The event of my turning 54 started on the Monday with home Korean BarBQ. Just us. Delicious.

Wednesday evening Jin and his BFF Matt came and played Trivia at the pub I host in. It’s always nice having the home crowd in.

THEN Jin took Thursday & Friday off work. We were supposed to go to Melbourne for the day. 6am flight to and 8.30pm flight from. Then Australia got a Public Holiday on the Thursday and we knew it was going to be bedlam at the airport, in the galleries and restaurants etc. So we cancelled our flight, got a Voucher Refund and decided to keep it low key. Hung around the house together, I think we had pizza.

Friday was Jin’s big adventure birthday day for us. We were up at sparrows fart and on a bus, train and ferry to Taronga Zoo. He bought us annual passes, we saw the Giraffe feeding and keeper talk, the Seal show and the Bird show. The reptiles were surprisingly active and we got to watch the Red Pandas, Elephants, monkeys and big apes and a slew of other wonderful things. Lunch was meat pies and peppermint tea. We flew in the cable cars and then caught public transport home.
That evening my BFF Kath and Jin had organised a party at our favourite Nepalese restaurant. Nearly 30 people took over more than half the place and it was wonderful, overwhelming to see so many people we love in one room. Gosh, our friends are so gorgeous, very handsome crew.
The brief for gifts (Yes, I’d like it if no one bought me anything but it’s better to give them a focus and then they get to be givers and I get what I really want, mercenary I know) was “Please write me a card and put $10 in it.” The thing I really needed and wanted was a new toothbrush. Yeah, it’s a whiz bang one. Oral B, rose gold, five speed/functions, notifies me every 30 seconds. It comes with a travel case, that holds it and two heads, with a USB plug as well as the regular ones. Perfect for travelling. I’ll use that toothbrush twice a day for the next few years and every time I will think of all the friends who contributed, and the couple who didn’t. HA!

Saturday Jin and I hung together eating junk and watching TV and Sunday (the day of my birthday) BFF Kath, Jin and I went and had Peking Duck at my favourite Chinese. HEAVEN! Then I went off to work.

 

What a week! I’m pooped.

 

Perfumes? Bought myself the new DIOR 40ml Captain Kurk reprises. WOW! He doesn’t disappoint.

 

Back to regular scheduled stuff next time.

Stay well crew,
Portia xx

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Hi there Crew, CHANEL Cuir de Russie EdP was released in 2016. It’s a modern riff on Ernest Beaux’s 1924 leather & smoke bomb. A soapy reinterpretation of even the 2007 EdT. It’s still better than most things produced today, in my completely subjective opinion but a far cry from the original. What was a lion is now a perfectly trained, gorgeous house cat. My bottle was bought on a FaceBook Sale Doc from a person who was devastated at the change from EdT to EdP and couldn’t get rid of this bottle fast enough.

Cuir de Russie EdP CHANEL Les Exclusifs

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom Mandarin Orange Bergamot
Heart: Ylang-Ylang Jasmine Tobacco Rose
Base: Leather Birch Resins

You’ll notice how little has been used from the bottle. It’s strange because I love this soft focus soapy leather. TBH every time I think leather it’s 1980s Trussardi, Cuir d’Ange or Gentry Jockey Club. So strange also because I have to go find them and Cuir de Russie is on my grab tray, right next to the desk.

Today I was thinking to wear leather. With it being shoulder season I knew it had to do warm and cold time. The sunshine is absolutely gorgeous right now in Sydney but once you’re in shade it feels bitterly cold. Yes, I know. Sydneysiders are wimps because we have the mildest weather. Still, we also try and wear Polo shirts year round, on their own. So you see the conundrum. I did have my ever present Gap hoodie with me though just in case there was also breeze.

How does CHANEL Cuir de Russie EdP smell? It opens with aldehydes and an orange blossom so reminiscent of fatty soap I smile. There are flowers but it’s a bouquet, nothing rises above to make itself know. There is no star turn. Even the leather is not a huge stand out. There but part of what is a reserved, elegant wash of fragrance. I don’t understand why iris isn’t noted, it sure does smell like there is some here puffing up the rest. It’s like all the sharp corners and interesting combative parts of the original Cuir de Russie have been shorn away. Beautiful, low key, lightly sparkling fragrance with a hint of well loved leather goods and some smooth resins. I can’t even tell you what the resins are, amber and maybe some elemi?

Totally unisex and utterly inoffensive. The lasting power is very good though. I keep smelling this gorgeous wash for hours, there will probably still be a whisper when I wake. I’m going to respritz for bed and sail away on a cloud of Cuir de Russie.

Are you a fan?
Portia xx

 

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Hi Looking Glassers, Flesh by Pekji is newly arrived at Chez Portia. My buddy Scotty bought the set as soon as they came out and brought them over for sniffing. It’s taken me a while but now I too have a set of the 2021 releases. They came all the way from Fragrances and Art because Australia has no stockist of these tempestuous beauties anymore (yes, I paid retail, they’re worth it). Omer is such a perfumista himself, and so stringently interrogative of fragrances in general, that the weird, wonderful, confronting messes he makes are also a story running along the knife edge of gorgeous and disgusting. I don’t know how he manages to do this with every single release and still make wearable perfumes that smell excellent. It’s a gift that few share. Yeah, I’m a fan, also he’s a buddy of mine.

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Flesh by Pekji 2021

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Apricot, Spray paint, Vanilla, Iris, Ambrette (Musk Mallow), Musk, Civet, Osmanthus

Before we start on the scent I’d like to take a moment to talk about the packaging. Sensible, very heavy card, lovely print on sleeve and the holographic paper behind the perfume bottle is so beautiful on opening. Like looking at a mermaid. It’s sturdy but not an enormous wank of a box. The bottle is a simple heavy rectangle and the sprayer nozzle is so thoughtfully white against the black of the rest. Making it very easy for super blind me to see where I am spritzing. Bravo!

Flesh by Pekji 2021

How does Flesh smell? Iris, but not cardboard or dough or carrot. I probably wouldn’t have smelt the spray paint but now I know it’s in the notes I keep laughing about it. It’s there alright but I probably would have called it a hair lacquer note. Powder, make up, humanity. Like a drag queen dressing room, NO like the women at the end of Death Becomes Her. THIS is what the over made up, powdered, glued together, spray painted, broken pieces of undead would smell like.

Sounds terrible? Nope, gorgeous. Fluffy and feral, but low key. Iris, leather, osmanthus and tonnes of well powdered but slightly sweaty human.

Have you tried any of the Peckji oeuvre? Favourite?
Portia x

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Hi there Crew, Yves Saint Laurent is one of the big names in fashion that I’ve followed since childhood. When they took his first name from the brand it changed the way the houses name felt in my mouth. Suddenly one of the most forward, modern, beautiful fashion houses of the world sounded like a budget brand trying to be sophisticated. Saint Laurent sounds cheap and desperate to me, Yves Saint Laurent sounds like a couture house. Yes, you can disagree, we will still be friends. No, I will never buy anything with the label Saint Laurent.

Fortunately the beauty side of the business remains YSL and, of course, so do its vintage perfumes. Y has long been a favourite and a few years ago I stockpiled quite a bit of it. More than enough for two lifetimes even if it was the only perfume I wore. Since then I have sold or given as gifts over a litre of the EdT and still have enough to wear without being parsimonious; basically forever.

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Y by Yves Saint Laurent 1964

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes Green Notes Galbanum Honeysuckle Gardenia Peach Mirabelle Plum Heart: Hiacynth Orris Root Ylang-Ylang Jasmine Tuberose Bulgarian Rose
Base: Oakmoss Civet Vetiver Patchouli Sandalwood Benzoin Styrax

The reason I’m writing about Y? Well, on Saturday night I hosted a Studio 54 Hen’s Party. What else do you wear to a Studio 54 party than an aldehydic galbanum bomb floral chypre? So Y got the wear.

It was perfect. It helped me maintain my composure in the face of 50 screaming hens with no microphone. You have NO IDEA how much noise they made, it was bedlam. We all had a ball and my voice next morning was a croak.

Do you remember Y? Maybe you wear or wore it, or someone you know?
Let me know in the comments. I love to read your thoughts.
Portia xx

Miller et Bertaux. Do You?

Miller et Bertaux. Do You?

Hey ULG Crew, Miller et Bertaux are a couple of art dudes who ventured into fragrance 2006 with a strange set of three scents. #1 (For You) Parfum Trouvé, #2 Spiritus / Land and #3 Green, Green, Green and… Green. Originally intended as a mix and match trio, same base with different top & heart to be worn separately or together. I’m not sure how prevalent layering was at the time because up to that point all my information about perfume was coming from magazines and SAs. The scentbloggosphere and the online life of perfumistas didn’t come till a couple of years after here.

Anyway, at some point I came across the brand and was instantly smitten. My first purchase was around 2012 A Quiet Morning (2008) and it still makes my heart beat faster. Now I think there are 10 or more of their fragrances in my collection but three get more wear than any others. They stay out on my wardrobe perfume grab tray perennially and often get the spritz. Having worn two of them this week I thought maybe we could chat about them.

Hopefully some of you know the brand and can tell me your faves, likes, hates in the comments. Chatting with you all makes me happy.

Miller et Bertaux. Do You?

Miller et Bertaux. Do You?

A Quiet Morning (2008)

Dry and scratchy spiced saffron and woods. It’s supposed to have rice in it too but I can’t smell it at all. This is about as zen as a fragrance can get while still being a rocking great beauty.

Indian Study/ Santal +++ (2017)

A dry sandalwood, bone dry. Yet it still manages to feel creamy. Yeah, I don’t know how they do it either. It also has some of the harshness on open that I attribute to the Australian Sandalwood.

Pimiento +++ (2020)

You’re dreaming. In that dream you are cutting chillies and bell peppers. The juice is all over your fingers. When you lift your hand to your face in your dream, this is the fantasy your mind smells.

 

So, do you have any, or have you smelled some, of the Miller et Bertaux line?

Portia xx

CHANEL Les Eaux De Chanel

CHANEL Les Eaux De Chanel

Hiya ULG crew, Time got away from me this week. I had even gone and purchased the newest Eaux, Paris – Paris, so we could chat about it. Yesterday got hijacked by Jin though and a whole bunch of stuff didn’t get done. This is not a complaint. Jin did overnight overtime both Saturday and Sunday this weekend. That’s two EXTRA 12 hour shifts for the week. Basically he worked 7 days straight. He got an ADO on Monday, yesterday. So though we had seen glimpses of each other over the weekend it wasn’t real time. Given yesterday we took it and did stuff together. We went to the Dr, had some bloodwork done, checked a problem and fixed it temporarily at the new investment apartment, did some shopping, cut up a slew of veggies and cooked pork and then sat companionably together producing and eating Vietnamese Rolls while watching TV. Then when he hit the hay I wrote my TRIVIA Q&A for the week and after finishing was completely bushed.

Though all this happened yesterday. It meant today I had to do the apartment cleaning and other stuff usually done on a Monday. Fortunately it’s raining so hard laundry is out of the question. Hopefully there will be some sunshine later in the week for that.

Here we are. I’m not going to lie. There’s a window of about 20 minutes before i have to start putting my make up on for work tonight. Instead of writing about Paris – Paris today I offer you this picture.

Are you wearing Les Eaux De Chanel if you are in the Northern Hemisphere? Did you even try them?

My take is that the bottles are gorgeous, the fragrances beautiful (if fleeting) and the whole concept is kept extremely affordable for a luxury/aspirational brand. It’s still not cheap but coming from CHANEL I was pleasantly surprised at the price point.

Have Les Eaux De Chanel made their way into your heart or collection?
Portia xx

Bouquet de Hongrie BDK Parfums

Bouquet de Hongrie BDK Parfums

Hey ULGers, BDK Parfums are a brand I look out for. They have quite a few lovely perfumes. They’re mostly safe, elegant remixes of things you’ve smelt before but with a little twist. Perfect if you like to be scented but for it to be something quiet and restrained. Their Creme de Cuir is one of my favourite under the radar leathers, there is something totally luxurious about wearing a fragrance that is just for you, and those you allow very close.

Bouquet de Hongrie by BDK Parfums

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Yop: Pear, Strawberry, Cassis
Heart: Turkish Rose, Jasmine Sambac, Lorenox
Base: Musk, Amber, Cedar

From the note list I had expectations. Which you’d think after smelling perfume for decades I’d have grown out of. In my head it was going to smell quite like a sister to SJP Stash Unspoken or Burberry Britt for her. It doesn’t.

What it does smell like to me is peony petals and cherry blossom. Real peony and the perfumers shorthand for cherry blossom. It’s ridiculously pretty and delightful. Imagine one of the L’Occitane shower gels done with refined ingredients and you’re pretty much there. Actually, having worn Bouquet de Hongrie for a week in Bali, and read your comments on Sakura two weeks ago, I now know exactly what it smells like. It smells like a posh version of those Victoria’s Secret body mists you can buy for a couple of $$.

Bouquet de Hongrie BDK Parfums

If you’re after something sophisticated then you’ll be bitterly disappointed.

Thing is, I like it. It’s so femme leaning and feels like I should be wearing a short, ruffled, lacy frock in a strong pastel colour somewhere between peach and strawberry. The incongruity of me, a 53 year old hefty chunk of silver daddy, wearing it makes me smile like I’m being deliberately subversive. Musette wrote a short while ago about this very thing on Perfume Posse and I’ve been embracing it. Sorry I can’t find the piece because her musings ramble about, throwing up oodles of bits and pieces.

Projection and longevity are moderate to low, it softens considerably after about 30 minutes to a quiet jammy peony/cherry wash. It could be your fabric softener if you spent some big $$$$ on it.

What I REALLY like is that BDK makes these strong, beautiful 10ml Travel Sprays. There are 2 three packs and some singles available here in OZ but I bet there’s oodles more choice elsewhere. You can see my Bouquet de Hongrie is already over 2/3 spritzed.

Does Bouquet de Hongrie sound like a scent you’d wear?
Portia xx

Sakura by DIOR

Sakura by DIOR

Hi there crew. we are having a moment of remarkably spring-like weather. When I say remarkable I mean EVERYONE is saying it feels like spring. In almost every conversation. As banal and boring as that sounds, it does. We have had such a weird, wet, cool summer that finding ourselves in autumn and having these glorious sunshiny days, not too hot, is blissful.

On top of that my courtesy aunt, Aunty Tracey, is in town for a week and we are out day & night on adventures. We’ve been shopping, visiting, visiting the graves of our dead, lunching and generally hanging out in the daytimes. Every trivia she has come and Jin has accompanied. It’s been wonderful. Writing this on Thursday and I’m BUSHED! We only have a few more days but both Jin & I are definitely going to need a rest.

Sakura by DIOR

Sakura by DIOR

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Green Notes
Heart: Japanese Cherry Blossom, Rose, Jasmine, Hedione
Base: Mimosa, Violet, White Musk

Sakura is astringently sweet and green on open, like cherry, alcohol, and citrus pith. Soon it gets a soft fluffy feeling like to cool, softness of rubbing cherry blossom petals against your cheek. It smells like that feeling. As if it was in the cool late winter morning sunshine.

The heart is mimosa, cherry(isa) and something I can not put a name to. Like what I think the fur of a bee might smell like. Animal, honey, floral and something else.

As we head to dry down clean musks lead the charge to fade.

Sakura is lovely and I really like to wear it. It doesn’t smell like an expensive perfume though. It smells like a cheapy. Maybe I’m missing something here. If you’re a big fan could you explain please?

Low key, pretty, smells nice, lasts OK. Perfect for the young, people who want a fragrance but need it to be under the radar. Also good for those that like functional fragrance but don’t like perfume perfume. A perfectly poised sweet nothing that whispers spring.

Are you doing soft fruity florals like Sakura this Spring?
Porttia xx