A Month of Roses: Week 1

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

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

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to get any hits or clicks from my readers; I just enjoy your company and want you to come back more often – even if I do not publish a new post.

Red Roses

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

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

February 2: Guerlain Rose Barbare (Francis Kurkdjian)

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

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

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

February 4: Amouage Lyric (Daniel Maurel)

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

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

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

Deep Red Rose

February 5: By Kilian Rose Oud (Calice Becker)

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

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

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

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

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

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

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

 

Images: my own

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In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry

I picked up a large jar of raspberry preserves at a local ethnic food store. It has been a while since we had any so the moment we opened that jar it sent my vSO and me down memory lane.

In our childhood there were no mass-produced fruit preserves or jams. The only way to get those was to make them during summer when fruit and berries were in season. City dwellers had a limited access to any produce so each family would make just a few jars. Usually those preserves were saved for winter, when you couldn’t get almost any fresh fruit.

Raspberry

In mental hierarchy of preserves those made from raspberries were probably on the top. Not just for their taste or because raspberries were more expensive than some other berries, but also because raspberry preserves were believed to serve as a natural cold remedy. So even in winter we normally didn’t get to eat raspberry preserves “just because.” But once you got cold, the sacred jar would be summoned from the depths of the storage cabinet and you’d be treated with (and to) a cup of hot tea with several tea spoons of raspberry preserves in it. I’m not sure if it worked or not but it was the best part of being sick. Well, after not going to school, of course. And getting to finish preserves in the open jar after you got better.

I remember that distinct aroma of raspberry coming from the cup. It was so strong that it would get through the worst nasal congestion, which I cannot say about the content of the jar I bought recently. I don’t know what torture those strawberries went through but they had completely given up their identity: with my nose almost pressed against the opening of the jar all I can get is a faint smell resembling raspberry. My vSO couldn’t smell anything at all. We didn’t test it on Rusty since all he has for the point of comparison is a raw raspberry.

Rusty and Berries

I could keep looking for better preserves/jam (and I might still do it) but meanwhile I decided to concentrate on perfumes featuring raspberry note.

When I read notes for Russian Tea, created by Julien Rasquinet for Masque in 2014 (mint, black pepper, raspberry, black tea, magnolia, immortelle, leather, incense, birch and labdanum), I was excited, partially because of that association with tea and raspberry preserves. I even bought a sample! Isn’t that a recipe for a disappointment more often than not? Russian Tea starts promising: I can smell a little bit of black tea and even some mint. But that’s it. I can’t smell raspberry at all. The rest of the perfume development is mostly birch tar and smoke. Since I do not plan to do a post on this perfume, I want to use this chance to say that I find the whole story for the perfume bizarre: Russia has never been known for its tea and there is no special significance for either this product or tradition of drinking it. OK, maybe using samovars in the past can be considered a distinct and distinguishable tradition but still 5 o’clock tea it’s not. The only association I get when I hear “Russian tea” is Kustodiev‘s painting Merchant’s Wife (the original name in Russian is something like “merchant’s wife drinking tea”).

Kustodiev Merchant's Wife

In the first post of this berries series – the one about strawberries – two people mentioned Ambre a Sade by Nez a Nez and one of them – Susan from now closed FineFragrants – even sent me a sample to try. While strawberry note is the most prominent berry in that perfume, raspberry is also noticeable and, in general, it’s a very interesting and quirky perfume. Too bad it seems to be discontinued. If you haven’t tried it, you can read Suzanne’s (Eiderdown Press) post Ambre à Sade by Nez à Nez: Berry Unexpected to see what you’ve missed (and to learn what Marquis de Sade’s wife would bring him to sweeten his time in prison).

Birgit (Olfactoria’s Travels) attracted my attention to Parfumerie Generale‘s Brûlure de Rose almost four years ago (if you haven’t tried the perfume yet, you should read her review… on the second thought, even if you tried the perfume, read her review anyway). I got a sample, tried it several times, liked it – and completely forgot about it. I tried it again several days ago and was amazed by how much I liked it. It’s beautiful on all stages – from the lemony rose in the opening to the warm ambered drydown. I’m not sure I’d recognize raspberry in Brûlure de Rose without reading the notes (Brazilian rosewood, amber, musk, raspberry, vanilla, cacao and rose) but the berry part in this perfume is a very mature one. And since my sample is empty, I think Brûlure de Rose will be added to my “to buy” list.

My absolutely favorite raspberry perfume – the one that isn’t ashamed of its association with raspberry – is Une Rose Vermeille by Tauer Perfumes. It is so powerful that sometimes I choose to wear it from a dab vial – even though I own a bottle, which is a little ironic knowing Andy Tauer‘s views on the importance of “the flacon, the packaging, the hand written note” for the complete perfume experience (for those few who weren’t around a couple of years ago, more on the topic in my old post Perfume Bottle Splitters: Friends or Foes?). I can’t say that I love Une Rose Vermeille but I like it very much and it’s one of my mostly complimented perfumes.

Rusty and Une Rose Vermeire

I’ve tried several more perfumes that feature raspberry note. Courtesan by Worth is nice but I’m not sure I’d recognize it if I smelled it even a couple of hours after I wore it. If raspberry is in there, it contributes to the general “fruitiness” and sweetness. By Kilian‘s Back to Black definitely has raspberry but, as many other perfumes from the line, is unpleasant on my skin. And Rose Oud by Parfums De Nicolai, for my nose, doesn’t have any raspberry and is very unpleasant on my skin.

Do you have any favorite perfumes with prominent raspberry note? Do you have any favorite raspberry preserves/jam brand?

 

Images: Merchant’s Wife from Wikipedia; the rest are my own.

Entertaining Statistics: 2012 Year Round-up

 

Wearing and testing perfumes every day and getting monthly statistics numbers create some general feeling about where you stand on your likes and dislikes but nothing puts it into prospective better than the complete year data. As I was contemplating this post I was both excited and scared: what would I discover about myself when I compile all the results?

In 2012 I wore and tested more perfumes than in 2011: 414 vs. 376 perfumes from 119 vs. 110 brands. But since starting from December 2011 I was recording the type of use – wear1 vs. testing2 I’m able to get deeper into from where those numbers come.

 

Quick 2012 stats:

* Different perfumes worn1138 from 50 brands on 348 occasions;

Brands I wore in 2012

* Different perfumes tested2356 from 114 brands on 572 occasions;

Brands I tested in 2012

* Perfumes I tried for the first time: 245 (it was 303 in 2011);

I wear perfumes I like and own almost every day. Perfumes I reached for the most in 2012 (with times worn): Dior New Look 1947 (11), Chanel №19# EdT & parfum (10), Chanel Cuir de Russie (8), Guerlain Cruel Gardénia (8), Antonia’s Flowers Tiempe Passate (7), Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille# (7), Yosh Ginger Ciao (7), Hermès Voyage d’Hermès (6), Les Parfums de Rosine Rose d’Amour (6), Tom Ford Violet Blonde (6), Chanel Bois des Iles (5), Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient (5), Lancome Climat (5), Neela Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling! (5), Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe (5), Tom Ford Amber Absolute (5).

 

Counting my Lemmings (don’t fall asleep!)

In the Weekly Roundup series this year I mentioned 46 perfumes I was looking forward to testing. I still haven’t tried 19 of those (5 haven’t been released yet). My most cherished lemmings are: Ann Gerard Perle de Mousse, Ramón Monegal Impossible Iris, Parfumerie Generale L’Ombre Fauve and Armaini Privé Cuir Noir. I’m still trying to avoid paying for samples so if you have any extras for those mentioned above – let’s swap!

Out of those 27 lemmings that I managed to try I liked 15 and thought that the rest were fine – so no big disappointments.

2012 in Statis Pictures

Seeing 2012 off

Speaking of disappointments, I was surprised to read on many blogs that 2012 wasn’t a good year perfume-wise for many perfumistas. My feeling was that there were many perfumes that I liked. I went through the list of perfumes from 2012 (only those that I’ve tried, not all 1,300+). I liked very much at least 25 perfumes released last year: Amouage Beloved and Opus VI; Annick Goutal Nuit Étoilée; By Kilian Amber Oud, Bamboo Harmony, Forbidden Games and In the City of Sin; Cognoscenti Scent No.16 – Tomato Leather and Scent No.19 – Warm Carrot; Dior Grand Bal; Diptyque Volutes; DSH Perfumes Euphorisme d’Opium, Ma Plus Belle Histoire d’Amour and The Beat Look; Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient and Myrrhe et Délires; Ineke Hothouse Flower; Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay and White Lilac & Rhubarb; Jul et Mad Amour de Palazzo; L’Artisan Parfumeur Seville a l’aube; Parfums MDCI Chypre Palatin; Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule; Six Scents Napa Noir and Tom Ford Ombre de Hyacinth. I have four full bottles and seven decants to show for these “likes” and I’m considering several more. Another 15 were not bad; I just didn’t love them.

I’ve done two full years of these monthly stats posts. I wonder if I can still find an interesting angle of analyzing data I collect. We’ll see.  

 

1 For the testing I apply a perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. But, most likely, I’m the only one who can smell it. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time.

2 When I wear a 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.

# These were in the Top 10 of 2011 as well.

 

Images: my own

New Year Resolutions, Part I: 2011 Round Up

New Year resolutions… Crowds in gyms and dance classes usually subside by mid-February allowing regulars to go back to their normal routines. Healthier eating habits get buried under stress of a “holiday-less” life and kitchen catch-all drawers stay in their natural state that makes finding any useful thing we put in there at some point an adventure.

In the beginning of 2011 I decided to see at least one of my New Year resolutions through. The resolution was: I will wear one of my favorite perfumes at least two times a week. By that time I’d created already a database to hold information about perfumes in my collection. So all I needed to add was a diary part where I could record my perfumes usage.

I’m proud to report that in all twelve months of 2011 I followed my NY resolution and gave perfumes in my permanent collection the attention they deserve. In addition to that, my numbers collecting provided me with a lot of interesting though probably not that useful data points which I’d shared with my readers in the Quick stats section of my monthly reports.

I was very curious to see the numbers for the whole year. So, here they are.

Quick 2011 stats:

* Different perfumes worn/tested: 376 (303 tested for the first time and 73 previously tested – see the chart by month) from 110 brands;

2011 statistics: perfumes worn by month* Perfumes I wore just once: 191;

* My Top 10 Brands (perfume house I wore/tested most often): see the chart, click on it for a full size;

My Top 10 Brands in 2011

* My Top 10 Perfumes (those that I wore the most often):

Perfume

Times Worn

№19 EdT by Chanel

16

Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal

13

Tiare by Ormonde Jayne

12

№19 Poudre by Chanel

10

Bronze Goddess by Estee Lauder

9

Iris Poudre by Frederic Malle

9

Une Rose Vermeille by Tauer Perfumes

9

Antonia by Puredistance

8

Jeux de Peau by Serge Lutens

8

Ta’if by Ormonde Jayne

8

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Coming up in the next couple of days New Year Resolutions, Part II: Perfumed resolutions for 2012.

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Images: my own

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See also year end posts and Top N lists for 2011 from the friendly blogs:

Another Perfume Blog: Best Perfumes of 2011: A Joint Blogging Event

beauty on the outside: Highlights from 2011

EauMG: Best of 2011 – Perfume Blogging Event

eyeliner on a cat: Best Fragrances of 2011

From Top to Bottom: My 2011

Muse in Wooden Shoes: 2011: The Year’s Fragrance Releases in Review

Olfactoria’s Travels: The Best Of 2011 – My Favorite Perfumes Of The Year

Perfume in Progress: Some thoughts as the year ends

Persolaise – A Perfumer’s Blog: The Best Perfumes Of 2011 & Thoughts On Independence

Pieces of paper, squiggy lines: My Favorite Fragrant discoveries of 2011

Scent of the Day: My Favorites of 2011

Scents of Self: Forgotten Fragrances of 2011

The Alembicated Genie: Best of the Best 2011 – Perfumes and Perfumers and Best of the Best 2011 – Worn and Adored

The Candy Perfume Boy: The Candy Perfume Boy’s Best Picks of 2011

The Non-Blonde: 2011 In Perfume- Delights & Rants

WTD, Episode 2.3: Rose Absolu and Pur Desir de Rose by Yves Rocher

Rose Absolu and Pur Desir de Rose by Yves RocherRose Absolu – created in 2007 by Christine Nagel, notes include Damascene rose, cinnamon, patchouli and tonka bean. This one is tricky: two out of three times I tried it I couldn’t smell a rose note. Not a good one, not a bad one – none at all. And it’s really disconcerting when it comes from a perfume with this specific name. Once, when tried against another perfume, I think I smelled something close to the rose scent… But it could be a “transferred” effect – the same way as some people’s eyes can “pick up” a color from a piece of clothing. Other than that, Rose Absolu smells nice on the skin and wears very close to it.

Yesterday I read in the Fragrance Friends group on Facebook somebody’s comment that Rose Absolu reminds her Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille. Even though I immediately felt somehow offended by that suggestion (I don’t know why since I’m not even familiar with that person) I still decided to give it a try. What can I say? With Une Rose Vermeille on one wrist and Rose Absolu on another I think I could smell some rose in Rose Absolu. In addition to the rose both perfumes use tonka bean. That’s it. Beyond those two facts I cannot smell any similarities. Maybe if I were to take a shower and then re-apply only Rose Absolu … But I’m still doubtful.
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