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

Visiting Three Monarchies, Part 3: Stockholm

“Vacation” is usually not the first association when you hear “Stockholm.” On our itinerary this city got by chance: we live so far away from Europe, that there is a limited number of direct flights between us and the Old World. Barcelona did not have any, so to get back home we’d have to do a plane change. If you were to add an extra flight and a couple of hours for transfer, the trip would easily stretch for 17+ hours – something that I try to avoid whenever possible. So while planning the vacation, we decided we’d do a couple of days’ stopover in one of the direct-flights-reach cities. Stockholm was the one with the best combination of schedules and fares. The fact that all three destinations were monarchies had dawned on us much later – at Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armory in Stockholm) as we were discussing that not a single Royalty has acknowledged our presence in any of the visited countries…

Accommodations

For a change, for that last part of the trip we went for a hotel room. It was a pleasant hotel decorated in the style of Roaring Twenties. Our room was quiet, had heavy curtains and a very comfortable bed, in which we finally had a good night sleep (the first night we slept for 12 hours straight).

Haymarket Hotel Stockholm

It was rather cold (+14C after +26C in Barcelona) and raining; we discovered that Stockholm was a very practical and minimalistic city, even its old town part; but somehow it felt very comforting and friendly. The first evening as we walking in the rain enjoying clean and orderly streets, we came across a small park inside the Art Nouveau building of Stockholm’s Central Pool (Centralbadet) built in the beginning of the previous century. It was an absolutely magical experience: beautiful lilacs and other blossoms in the drizzle of evening rain. I felt happy.

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Three days that we spent there was a delightful coda to our vacation.

Perfumes I took with me

Following the idea of bringing to this vacation only perfumes local to the destination, I packed a couple of decants and a sample from the only Swedish brand I had in my collection – Byredo. La Tulipe was just amazing, and I might re-consider wearing it only as a summer perfume: it was wonderful in the colder weather. Pulp was predictably good. I hope these both perfumes are still available once I finish the decants I have. Bal D’Afrique, which I brought with me for further testing, was nice but not enough for me to go for a bottle.

Perfumes I tested

After my London and Barcelona perfume escapades, I didn’t plan to do much more perfume testing but I still managed to visit a couple of perfume spots – a perfume department in the luxury department store NK and a standalone perfumery Insanto.

Both places had interesting selection of perfumes but not too many of the brands not available elsewhere, and I concentrated my testing mostly on those brands, to which I do not have an easy access.

Insanto Stockholm

Perfumes I didn’t buy

Perfume prices in Sweden do not impel spontaneous perfume purchases. Also, there weren’t that many Swedish brands – so most of the tested perfumes did not fit the original intent to get “souvenirs” from the countries I visited. But several perfumes that I liked while testing on skin are worth mentioning: were they “Made in Sweden,” I would have considered buying one of these.

I love and own two perfumes by Keiko Mecheri but because this brand is not available where I live I’m not too familiar with their line. That’s why I was interested to try at least some of the perfumes – even though I didn’t think I’d buy them there. I thought that Bois Satin smelled very nice, and I hope to be able to test it again soon.

For a long time I stayed away from Xerjoff: even though I tested occasionally some of their perfumes that came my way one way or the other, I didn’t make any conscious attempts to follow their new releases, and of those perfumes that I tried before I didn’t warm up enough to any to go even for a decant. They clearly like Xerjoff in Sweden: I saw it in both stores where I tested perfumes (and I want to remind you that one of them was a department store). So I gave up and tested some of the perfumes. I liked several on paper and then one on my skin. I don’t know why I happen to like the one that is sold out almost everywhere – XJ 1861 Naxos. Now I’ll have to locate a sample to test it again before I start scavenging eBay and FB groups for a bottle.

I’ve never heard of either the “famous Costes Hotel in Paris” (Fragrantica) or the eponymous perfume that Olivia Giacobetti created for that hotel in 2004, but when I tested Costes for the first time, I liked it. I’m not completely sure yet how I feel about perfumes that perfume shops create under their own brands – let alone perfumes for hotels, so I will try Costes again if I come across it somewhere but I won’t probably be actively looking for it.

Stockholm Blotters

Speaking of hotel perfumes, the only perfume I was seriously considering on this part of the trip was perfume sold in the hotel’s gift shop: No 1 Haymarket Eau de Parfum. The scent is described as: “Velvetly vanilla, powdery ambergris, and smoky sandalwood united with modern and surprising tones of bergamot, citrus and a hint of pepper.” For a couple of days I would be stopping by the gift shop to apply this perfume and then would keep smelling my wrist… for the next couple of hours while perfume was still discernible. I thought it was nice. It was local. And it wasn’t even expensive (less than $30 for a 30 ml bottle). Why didn’t I buy it? I realized that with all the great perfumes that I already had in my collection (and several more that I might be considering after more tests), I would just never have time for this pleasant but nondescript little number – no matter how warm I felt about that hotel that sheltered us in the final part of our turbulent vacation.

Haymarket Hotel EdP No1

Just in case you got drowned in the endless parts of my trip: it was the last one, and in the next post Rusty and I will finally reveal what perfumes I brought back with me.

 

Images: all but the last one – my own; No 1 Haymarket EdP – from the hotel site.