Celebrating Missed Opportunities

As I’ve mentioned more than once, I live in the area where we have two seasons: summer and the rest of the year. I do not complain: I love our weather (even when I wish we’d have more rain) and think that our climate is one of the best possible. But from time to time, especially around winter holidays, I get a pang of nostalgia for real winter with snow, icicles and colder weather. Then we go to nearby mountains – and it cures those feelings for the next couple of years.

Since neither my vSO no I are into the downhill skiing, on our winter trips we usually enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Because of the drought we had in 2012-16, for several years we didn’t go “into winter”: while skiing resorts were making artificial snow for quite expensive downhill rides, our preferred winter activities were out of question. And without snow there wasn’t much sense in going there.

So when after five years of snowless New Year celebrations I wanted my snow fix, we decided not to rely on unpredictable California weather and planned a trip to Utah. Nobody in our “party of six” had ever been to there, and it was promising to be a perfect New Year getaway.

 

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Panoramic views from the dining room of the cabin where we stayed were spectacular, including what felt like a private viewing of the supermoon… And that was almost the full extent of my winter experience this time since, following my vSO’s steps (which almost never happens in these matters), I got extremely sick soon after the arrival.

 

Utah 2018 Supermoon

 

It was perfect winter outside: not too cold, fresh snow, sun during the day and full moon at night. And all I could manage was to crawl downstairs to the living room to spend time with our friends (when they weren’t outside), watch TV (re-watching Monk TV show was surprisingly comforting), work on a mystery puzzle (2 x 1000 pieces without a hint – and we solved the murder!) and eat great meals that our friends cooked. And these simple things would take up all of my strength and resolve.

 

 

Not long before the trip I bought two travel sprays from Sonoma Scent StudioWinter Woods and Fireside Intense. I had an idea that where we were going would be just the right setting for wearing both of those perfumes. I planned to take some appropriate pictures and make a post out of it once I got back.

Despite being sick, I wore some perfumes during this trip but none of the two SSS’s perfumes felt right to wear while being stuck in the cabin: both seemed too strong and intense. But what was even worse, I felt too weak to even try to put on warm clothes and try to go for a photo shoot outside. So my friend agreed to help and in between producing all that food pictured above spent 15 minutes outside taking pictures according to the general directions I gave her from my sick sofa.

 

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods and Fireside Intense

 

I was barely out of the woods (both literary and figuratively speaking), when I got the news that Laurie Erickson was retiring from the business. Combined with my failed vacation, it seemed strange to write about perfumes that nobody could either try or buy any longer. Then my blog’s anniversary, a Month of Irises and my birthday came, and I put all that out of my mind.

March is being great this year: we got a lot of rain that we needed. And with it cold weather came, which allowed me to wear many of my winter favorites that I didn’t get a chance to wear earlier in the year. Including Winter Woods and Fireside intense. And I enjoyed them both very much.

Many years ago I wrote about Winter Woods. It took me 6 years to go through my 2.5 ml sample. So, I think I’ll be fine for a while with these 5 ml travel sprays. So, as much as it makes me sad to see this brand go (or changing hands, which, in general, is the same thing), I’m glad that I got to know it, and there will be many more chances for me to wear these perfumes – with or without snow around me. It’s a pity that those of you who haven’t tried them (or my most recent favorite Bee’s Bliss), won’t get to. But there will be other winters, other perfumes and other opportunities. And I hope that Laurie Erickson who created perfumes that touched so many people will be successful in pursuing her new opportunities.

 

Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods and Fireside Intense

 

Are there any perfumes that you wish you had bought before they disappeared?

 

Images: my own

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«О, Ёлочка!» – O Tannenbaum!

This post is a part of a Joint Blogging Event – O Tannenbaum!, a celebration of perfumes highlighting woody notes.

I grew up without Christmas. I knew of Christmas but I didn’t really know Christmas. It was something from another time (O’Henry’s The Gift of the Magi, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker) or another place (foreign movies, e.g. A Christmas Story, Die Hard) but it wasn’t a holiday celebrated in the country where I lived.

Instead we celebrated the New Year. It was one of the most popular and loved holidays. It resembled Christmas in many ways: there were traditional family gatherings, festive food and presents under the tree (mostly for kids but some adults exchanged gifts as well). We would buy a holiday tree around December 28 and set it up just in time for the New Year celebration and would keep until mid-January.

Winter WoodsWe didn’t have Christmas but we had winters – very cold and snowy one year; chilly and sludgy another. There whole city would be colored in grayscale tones – white sidewalks, gray roads and almost black tree branches against the whitish winter skies.  And it was so cozy to look at those bare branches through a window from warmth of a room while decorating a holiday tree. Just add a fireplace (we didn’t have those but I can “see” it now) and you’ll get the picture I paint in my mind when I think about Winter Woods perfume.

Winter Woods by Sonoma Scent Studio – created in 2008 (and updated in 2009) by Laurie Erickson, notes include guaiacwood, cedar, sandalwood, birch tar, cade, oakmoss absolute, castoreum, amber, labdanum absolute, vetiver, ambergris and musk.

Ines from All I am – a redhead smells sweetness in Winter Woods. If it’s there I cannot smell this type of sweetness. For me it’s a pleasant combination of several woods: wood burning in a fireplace, wood log next to in a holder, Christmas tree by the window and even a snow-covered bough outside of the window.

Winter Woods is available from Sonoma Scent Studio website in multiple sizes (1 ml, 2.5ml, 5 ml, 17 ml and 34 ml). I’m using the 2.5 ml spray sample that I bought as a part of a very nice box set. It has a good tenacity so my sample will be enough for a while. When it’s done I’ll go for another one of a purse spray.

After we’ve moved to California, I remember it was so unusual that all the decorations were up early in December. Combined with heavy rains, evergreen plants and relatively warm weather the idea of celebrating Christmas hadn’t taken roots for a while.

Christmas TreeOur first year here we went to get a tree the next day after Christmas. We found it on the closest abandoned Christmas tree lot. It was free. When it was time to take it down (mid-January, remember?) we couldn’t figure out a way to dispose of it. Now it seems so trivial, I can think of many options – for that or any other “problem” but back then, several months in the country, it felt unsolvable. The best solution we found was to take it out to the balcony… It stayed there for another two years and became at some point a family joke.

For the second New Year here we tried to follow the same strategy (in the first part – getting a tree, with throwing it away we were smarter and did it in line with neighbors). It failed! I think it was a city ordinance that prevented lots’ owners from abandoning them again, even for a couple of days. So by the time we went looking for a tree everything was gone. The New Year would have been ruined for me if it weren’t for some neighbor who had no use for a Christmas tree a day or two after the holiday: we found a perfectly fresh tree next to a dumpster and not being too squeamish, brought it home, decorated it and let this tree fulfill its destiny the second time. How many other cut Christmas trees are getting the second chance?

When I’m thinking about that time one perfume comes to mind – Rush for Men. That was the first perfume I bought for my vSO here, and we both always thought it smelled of “ёлочка” (Tannenbaum).

Rush for Men by Gucci – created in 2000 by Daniela Roche-Andrier and Antoine Mainsondieu, notes include lavender, cypress, incense, cedarwood, patchouli, Okoumé wood, sandalwood and musk. Does it really smell like a pine or a fir tree? Not any more since now my nose can distinguish scents more precisely. But still when I carefully spray Rush from an almost empty bottle – that same bottle that I bought more than ten years ago – the first thought that crosses my mind is “it smells of “ёлочка.” Sadly Rush for Men has been discontinued and can be found only on eBay at the price that successfully cures nostalgia. As I’ve mentioned already, my bottle is almost empty and the staying power of the perfume decreased over years so I might buy another bottle if I come across it for a more reasonable price.

I haven’t found any real reviews for Gucci Rush for Men from any blogs I read. If you reviewed this perfume please share a link in your comment.

In the recent several years we started celebrating all winter holidays – Christmas, Hanukkah and the New Year. We get (and sometimes even decorate) our holiday tree earlier in December; I kindle my Menorah for eight days; we attend a traditional Christmas Day dinner at our friends’ house (and even hosted it once when their house was being rebuilt); and we gather with our close friends to greet a New Year at 12 o’clock on December 31, eat, drink and exchange gifts trying to stay awake as long as we can.

Christmas Tree 2I love the scent of a Christmas tree. I wait the whole year for that one month that smells of pine or fir resin and needles. I look forward to decorating trees, both at the office and at home. And an olfactory experience is a big part of the joy.

This year everything is slightly off.

First, I made a decision (yes, it was all my doing, I have nobody to blame) to buy an artificial tree for our office. I had good reasons for that: while natural trees of the size we need do not survive with our AC/heating system, I found a perfect artificial tree that looks extremely lifelike. It doesn’t smell.

Then for my home I bought a beautiful real tree in a pot. After holidays we plan to either plant it on our backyard or keep it there in its pot for a year and use it again for the next holiday season. It’s very beautiful – just the right size, color and fluffiness. Guess what? IT DOESN’T SMELL!

How have I been coping with that mishap? Over the last couple of weeks while thinking about this post and then writing it, I was constantly wearing Winter Woods, Rush and especially Fille en Aiguilles.

Fille en Aiguilles by Serge Lutens – created in 2009 by Christopher Sheldrake, notes include Pine needles, vetiver, sugary sap, laurel, fir balsam, frankincense, candied fruit and spice.

They say “Be careful what you wish for.” In my comment to Birgit’s wonderful review and giveaway I wrote “I still hope to find at least one SL’s perfume to love and to want to buy a FB.” I won that giveaway (once again – thank you, Birgit, for hosting it and thank you, Vanessa, for delivering it to me). I’m almost done with my Fille en Aiguilles sample vial and I definitely want need more! I won’t try to describe the scent: if you haven’t tried it yet read that review at Olfactoria’s Travels (link above) and then try it for yourself. I just want to say that I really enjoy Fille en Aiguilles and I’m grateful to it for helping me through this unscented holiday season.

Images: my own

If you haven’t done it yet, check out other Joint Blogging Event participants’ blogs: