Monday, February 28, 2011

Visit and try your hand at winning

Suzanne over at Perfume Journal is having a wonderful drawing for a 4ml mini of Cartier's L'Heure Fougeuse and at the same time wrote a wonderful post that made me blush and for which I am so very grateful.

Especially the part where she calls our perfume community a perfume "shire". :D

Thank you Suzanne!

P.S. I just realized I managed to use the word wonderful two times in one sentence. Oh well, I was excited so I'll leave it now. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Perfume trivia

This one is from my personal experience.

I am proud to say I seem to have turned my boyfriend into a perfumista! Or a word that describes that in a more masculine way. ;)

Anyway, he is not going to follow the new releases or look for interesting perfumes to try (he has me for that) but he will gladly try them and go a step further it seems. He started wearing perfume for sleep! And I don't. I can't believe it.
I started thinking how I might get into the habit because, you know, it IS a great habit but he beat me to it. And we can't both waft so much, so I'll have to stick to my wrists. Oh, well, as long as it smells great while I'm falling asleep, I don't care who wears it.

P.S. If you're wondering what he keeps wearing, it's Paestum Rose by Eau d'Italie.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Giving in to my perfume sweet tooth - Un Bois Vanille

I find it both interesting and telling that at this point in month, the two perfumes that made such an impression are both sweet. :)

First, I'm forever thankful to the Perfume Posse for hosting that incredible mass swap before Christmas, I got so many wonderful things in exchange, I still need to go through them properly.

One of the things I received was the decant of Un Bois Vanille as I never tried it before and since I, well, like pretty much anything coming from SL line, I wanted to try it. It took a while for me to take it out (two days ago actually) and I decided to spray it on without testing it first.

It wasn't a mistake. :)

In my case at least. I'm not sure though how many people actually appreciate burnt caramel smell. But it's so wonderfully done! I keep getting that burnt caramel/sugar vibe with some smoke hidden under that heaviness but it's so good. (I'm doing a little happy dance in my chair just thinking about it) :)

Before you start thinking that's all there is to it, I do get traces of vanilla, the one that makes me love Vanilia by L'Artisan (why in the world did they decide to discontinue it?!).

For me the burnt caramel never truly goes away but it certainly dissipates enough to get you to smell a nutty (slightly bitter) vibe and then it just dries down to a less sweet (not that it was too sweet in the first place) woody burnt caramel/nuttiness. The burnt part has here already been mostly cleared by the wind.

Notes: Black vanilla absolute, licorice, sandalwood, coconut milk, beeswax, caramelized benzoin, bitter almond, Gaiac wood, tonka bean

P.S. I do wish I got a 10ml decant instead of 5ml.

Steven Brust: Taltos

I'm slowly going through Vlad Taltos books (I wish I had more time so it would go faster) and I'm having so much fun. :)

I love the way Mr. Brust writes and the fact that Vlad is such a real character in my mind. It doesn't happen often that a character gets real for me in such a manner that I no longer consider him a character in the books I read, but as a person whose new adventure I am about to embark upon. There is a big difference between the two in my mind.

I'm reading books the way they were written, so I'm going back and forth in Vlad's life. The story in Taltos is how Vlad met Sethra and Morrolan, who we already know from the first book that they are now all friends.

Well, they weren't friends in the beginning and I love how it all started.
I particularly enjoyed reading this book because it is written in such an ingenious manner that you need to pay attention when you switch from the story of what is happening to Vlad at the moment, to a complementary story also told by Vlad of how he started with this whole assasination business. Not to mention the fact that each chapter starts with the explanation of what the final enchantment looks like and that continues through the chapters until the end.
And the most intriguing part is, I kept thinking when are we going to switch to present Vlad time (where he has adventures with his wife) so the whole book felt like it was a story being told by Vlad even though the main story is written as present adventure.

Hopefully, I didn't complicate this too much. :) It's just that I love the way the books are written and all the little hints dropped everywhere and the fact you need to deduce some parts as they are never explicitly revealed.

I still feel that the books should be read in the way they were written and not chronologically.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Woody chocolate anyone?

I should write this before it's gone so if anyone has a liking, it can be snatched for a reduced price.
I'm talking about DSH Bois du Chocolate, a sample of which arrived with my last order and has been going around with me for weeks as it just didn't beckon to me.

Today I decided to forget about the beckoning part and just try it. It's wonderful! Simple yet brilliant. I don't where this is coming from, I didn't write this down when smelling it but now I look back to what it smelled like, I find it great.
Well, I thought it was great then as well. :)

Top notes: Sandalwood

Middle notes: Dark Chocolate, Vanilla
Base notes: Musk, Patchouli

Straight away I got dark chocolate and it wasn't sweet. It was as dark chocolate is supposed to smell like. I wanted to describe that smell but the best I got is deep, dark chocolate. :) And I need to work on better distinguishing variants of patchouli and vetiver, I thought I smelled vetiver and it turned out, patchouli was in the notes. But you certainly cannot miss the sandalwood. I did miss the musk and vanilla though. Vanilla isn't surprising, as it probably underscores chocolate and is there to make it work its magic. Musk completely by-passed me, but then again, it was made clear to me yesterday, I can't smell some musks very well (like Musc Nomade by AG, I could barely sniff it on my arm).

Anyway, I enjoyed smelling this, it's exactly what it says, but it smells so much better than you can guess by reading the notes (or the name). Seductive but not sweet (I'm wondering now if I find the smell of dark chocolate seductive, it seems to pop out each time I smell a perfume with it).

And if I recover from my recent perfume stunts in time, while there is a bottle of this farewell item left, I believe I'll have one. And check if men find it seductive as well. ;)

Notes and pic by:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Steven Brust: Teckla

I have high respect for male authors who manage to portray the inner workings of a male mind (and heart) at the same time making it sound honest and true to a female reader.
As a woman, I really have no idea what goes on in guys' minds but reading Vlad Taltos' books certainly makes me get a good glimpse.

It is so strange reading about an assassin (out of necessity but an excellent one) who also is something like a mob boss but who also suffers through relationship problems and tries to deal with them. That is what i got out of this book, the complications that led to it and keep the problems alive are from my perspective only the backdrop of that story.

At one point near the end, I started thinking that I might have misunderstood the whole character of Vlad Taltos but then my fear turned out to be unwarranted. :)
The best part of each and every book - even though Vlad struggles each time through a difficult situation where he can easily get killed and then he successfully tackles it, there is always a surprising additional bonus to come out of them. Both for Vlad and the reader. :)

Pic by:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ombre Rose by Jean-Charles Brosseau (vintage)

First off, a huge thank you to Olenska from Parfumieren who sent this. And here is where I have to say that packages arriving from perfume bloggers/enthusiasts are simply the best. You know what you are receiving but there is always something in there you are not expecting that makes it so much more fun.  :)

Oh, where to start...
I loved this one from the start. I smelled the aldehydes and the rose in the opening and so much more than words can convey.
I love smelling vintage perfume becasue unfortunately, you really can't smell that anymore today (well, you can but very rarely and it will probably then cost some serious money). Anyway, the thing is, vintage doesn't always correspond to something you will like/love, but usually it does mean you will appreciate the trip.

I was completely prepared to love Ombre Rose. It smelled to me like the first cousin of Shalimar. Obviously not a sibling, but very close family. Somewhat more proper but with a twinkle in the eye that hinted at more interesting things. Not as powerfully present and strongly opinionated as Shalimar but still having the same beauty displayed in a different manner.

Oh, I was seduced by the rosewood making my association to Shalimar veer off in another direction and giving this spirit of its own. I was so happy to find another friend.

And then we got to know each other better.

Turned out that the twinkle in the eye was only learned from the more experienced cousin but there was nothing afterward to give it credence. The interesting cousin turned out to be a proper little miss smelling of shampoo flowers/rose and not the sexy minx from the introduction.
Unfortunately, we were not meant to associate for long.

Notes: aldehydes, peach, brazilian rosewood, geranium, sandalwood, orris root, vetiver, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, cedar, rose, honey, orris, tonka bean, cinnamon, musk, vanilla and heliotrope.

I do wonder though, how it was possible to turn one into the other, perfumer-wise. It must be a feat.

Pic by:

Monday, February 14, 2011

The winner of the give-away...

is KathyT. Congratulations!

Please contact me with your address so I can send the decants. :)

And since this time there were many more participants than usual, I have a consolidation prize of a set of samples to give to another lucky participant - Beautiful Things.

So, please send your address too. :)

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I like the fact that my birthday falls at the beginning of the year, so lately it started to feel like my new year starts with it.

I'm feeling very positive and optimistic regarding the year ahead, January has passed (it feels like a dead month to me), we are experiencing spring weather here (in the middle of winter) and I'm supposed to be getting a Kindle for my birthday (in a  few days). It really feels like a good start to a new year for me. :)

So, I want to celebrate it with you with a little give-away of some of my latest acquisitions - 5ml decants of SL Boxeuses, Shalimar Ode a la Vanille and Worth Courtesan for one lucky commenter.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sean Slater: The Survivor

Reading is something I can't do without. And I'm always buying books, so when one lands in my lap for free, and it's a crime story (which I don't read nearly as much as I'd like to), I'm even happier. On my own, it would probably take time for me to realize there is a good crime novel out there, if I were to realize it at all (I'm sure there are many out there I'm oblivious to).

So, what makes The Survivor a good crime novel for me?

Many things but one that stood out from the start and made me so happy was the fact that detective Striker has no qualms about saying his piece to a superior officer who is obviously an *** (I'll be polite and won't say what I was about to say). I'm tired of good, honest characters taking the blame heaped upon them by politicians/ambitious superiors/or anything similar (thing in this case being there on purpose)and having to put up with it as part of the job. It makes me frustrated. And I'm just reading it.
Anyway, that's not the case here and that makes me seriously happy (even though it's not really relevant to the crimes comitted).

One thing that did make me frustrated though is, are really all teenagers such pain in the a..? Yes, his daughter went through some bad stuff but it's annoying. It makes me seriously question my wish to have children. :) Although it works wonders for the dramatization.

I'm getting off the subject now.
What makes this book good is the fact I learned something. Though in this case, I wish I hadn't. The history of our world is full of terrible tragedies caused by humans and one of those is referenced in this novel. I won't give details because the story is written so minutely precise that each time another detail is revealed, another step toward explanation is taken and everything starts to fit better.
It's definitely one of the better points of Mr. Slater's writing (who is btw a Vancouver cop), this precision in revealing details. Also, the real life of a cop is very well described - the private life, the work life and all the life's little touches are there.
One thing that surprised me though, is the amount of luck needed in investigative work. Or perhaps that is only true in the life of Detective Striker. But my guess is that it's probably true more often than not in real life as well.

Basic line for me is this - I want the next installment of Jacob Striker story as this one got under my skin. I will be thinking about some of the facts and parts of the story for some time to come. And that is the best any book can do for me because it makes me remember it.

This book was an ARC provided by Simon and Schuster to all participants of the Book Chick City Thriller and Suspense Challenge 2011. And thank you for providing it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

A walk through Arizona high-country and a possible mango grove

I love it when perfumes manage to surprise me and one by Olympic Orchids did that splendidly. More on that one later, for now, I want to start with Arizona. And a huge thank you to Ellen who sent some of her creations for me to try. :)


Notes: pine, juniper, sage, chaparral, high desert wildflowers

My geographical knowledge is well, limited to put it mildly, so when I first read the name of this, I imagined it was supposed to connote desert. Then I read the description on Olympic Orchids site and realized it was supposed to give you the following - "Experience a walk through the pine forests and clearings of the Arizona high country on a sun-warmed summer day."
So, it's not just desert but forests as well (and a quick google search helped clear all my misunderstandings).
Actually, it must be quite an interesting part of the US and it sure smells great when depicted by Ellen Covey.

To me, it starts dry and warm, like you're smelling the dirt  on a path you're walking along through shrubbery - wouldn't really call it a forest at this point. Eventually the herbaceousness of the notes is more prominent and though it reminded me somewhat of lavender, I can imagine the trees giving off their scent lighty in the summer heat. The pine and juniper spiciness (for the lack of a better word), that at one point smell almost menthol-like (that's quickly gone), are most of the time held in check by those wild flowers mentioned in the notes and even though I can't really say I smell the flowers, I can smell those notes sort of floating on a cloud of something that makes them feel warm and subdued.
I thought I could smell both some cedarwood and sandalwood in the drydown as it starts to acquire a more creamy woody quality. It smells refreshing for the spirit as I'm sure a walk through a forest on a summer day must feel like.

And now onto my incredible discovery.

A Midsummer's Day Dream

I cannot give you any notes as I couldn't find any but what this smells on me is the most vivid mango you could imagine. I'm pretty sure that is not what this is supposed to smell like, I mean if you read Tarleisio's review you'll see what I mean, but I just can't get past it. Not that I would want to, I love mango and I love the way it smells. I just wish I knew what notes are in there that conspired to make such a vivid mango picture for me.

It starts with that sweet juiciness typical of peaches and mangoes but never does it smell peachy to me, straight away there is this raspiness to it - if you ever tried mango, you'll recognize the smell of it and the feel of it on your tongue. Ok, I understand that people might not want to smell like mango (but I sure do) - it is such a live image of it, cut for eating on a bright, warm, sunny day. The perfume is actually sparkling in its fruity exuberance.
Eventually, the juiciness subsides but the raspiness can still be felt and there is something else in there I can't put my nose on but for me, the mango idea never goes away.

Pic of mango grove by:
Arizona pic and notes by:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Outlaws, part 3

It's time I brought my outlaw experience to its end. Not that there is an actual end to this particular experience - I feel like I could test them over and over again and never be sure if my opinion was correct.

DSH: Mata Hari

Top notes: Bergamot, Coriander Seed, Fruit Note no.1 (botanical accord), Green Mandarin, Neroli, Orange Flower Absolute - France, Tarragon (Estragon)
Middle notes: Cassie Absolute, Champaca Absolute, Cinnamon Bark, Cinnamon Leaf, Clove Bud, Lilac Cocktail (botanical accord), Moroccan Rose Absolute, Orris Concrete, Sambac Jasmine, Tuberose Absolute, Vintage Orchid (botanical accord)
Base notes: Australian Sandalwood, Benzoin, Brown Oakmoss, Buddahwood, Cade, Cassis Bud, Ciste Absolute, East Indian Patchouli, Green Oakmoss, Indonesian Vetiver, Leather (botanical accord), musk eau natural accord, Tonka Bean, Vanilla Absolute

The best advice I can give you when it comes to DSH scents, just ignore the notes and follow your nose. There is always such a wealth of notes, there's no way you are going to discern them all (or half of them, or a third...). :)
As you saw through my previous reviews, I had some problems writing coherent reviews that would give you the right impression. Mata Hari is one of those that gave me serious trouble. It is a fruity chypre. Ok. I have an idea what a chypre smells like but it seems my idea might not be true in all cases. This is definitely a fruity perfume (I seem to be a fertile ground these days for fruity, all the fruit practically blossoms on me, if fruit can do that).

Anyway, this starts on me with an amazing peach booze accord that quickly gets encased in chocolate. Like you had this chocolate filled with peach liquor that smells so very fruity when you bite through it so you can barely register the chocolate, the peach liquor is all that makes you swoon. It really lasts for me so by the time other things start to happen, my concentration is gone (drunk on liquor and chocolate).
Yes, I get some piquancy at one point (cinammon?), some leathery aspect peaking out from somewhere and a dark, marshy base that can't get through but is there underneath the fruit giving this depth, opulence and a bit of darkness. Which is strange given the opening but obviously very appropriate given the name.
Anyway, this made me re-think my opinion on chypres, they are not the strange, unwearable creatures I thought I knew, but mysterious, deep, sultry enchantresses when put into right hands.
Even though I know I can't wear this at all times, I find it really incredible.

Joanne Basset: Amazing

Notes: Oakmoss, Cassie, Cinnamon, Vintage Jasmine, Lemon Verbena, Rose Otto, Muhuhu, Ginger, Yuzu, Rhododendron, Benzoin, Violet Leaf, and 19 others

And if I don't seem to be able to wear Mata Hari at all times, I definitely know when I can wear Amazing. Any time I need some happiness and sunshine in my life. This one is all that. It might not have the depths of some other Outlaws  but it sure has serious sunny effect.
It's at the same time green, citrusy (quite so as it smells like you're peeling the rind from a lemon), piquant and just alive. Eventually the citrusness subsides and some piquancy (not the lemon rind kind) is there - my guess is cinammon and this is where it gets strange.
By now, I realized that all the strangeness I'm feeling is probably due to the fact that I wasn't familiar with real oakmoss until now and now that I am, I'm lacking words for describing it. But at least I'm learning. :)
The thing is - outlaw strangeness is good.

Dupetit: Cannabis

Notes: Basil oil (holy), Bay oil (West Indian), Bergamot leaf oil, Birch tar oil, Citronella oil, Clove oil, Geranium oil, Ginger oil, Grapefruit peel oil, Jasmine Sambac absolute, Lemon peel oils, Lemon verbena absolute, Lime peel oil (expressed) Mace oil, Nutmeg oil, Orange blossom absolute, Orange leaf oil, Orange peel oil (bitter) orange peel oil (sweet), Peppermint oil, Rose absolute, Rose oil, Rue oil, Taget (marigold) absolute, Thyme oil (thymol CT) Tolu balsam extract.

Well, how do you talk about a perfume that is named Cannabis? :) I'll do it quickly.
It's a sparkly, Sprite-feeling cannabis perfume. Sparkly as in a sparkly soda made of lemon stuff (just check the notes on this one).
Eventually this subsides and  a nice feeling cannabis remains surrounded by floral, lightly resiny friends.

P.S. I really tested all of these many times and applied great amounts and had NO side effects what so ever.

Pics by:, and