Friday, September 30, 2011

Tainted Love & Gypsy Queen

Lately I've started wondering if I'm losing my ability to write about perfume. I mean, I smell and try to write down what I'm smelling but I don't get very far.
And although that is still a distinct possibility, I think it's more the case that lately I've been smelling some truly well-blended perfumes.
Because that is what they are supposed to smell like, perfumes, not a parade of notes.

Today I want to talk about 2 such creations from Haydria Perfumery. When Hadria asked me if I wanted to try her perfumes, I jumped at the chance. Her perfumes are inspired by the pin-up girls of the 30s, 40s and 50s and I'm always eager to smell perfumes that talk about a past I didn't get to know.

So, here we go.

Tainted Love

" A flirtatious and feminine bouquet of violets, berries and light amber drizzled with honey."

Well, if you were to consider the opening and the description, you might come to the conclusion that someone switched the label on your bottle. Because it opens with a bitter, nettle clean feel. Yes, there is some fruitiness hiding under there along with sweetness, but blink once, and they're gone. I keep thinking there must be something of the rooty iris in there and possibly licorice or something similar giving off a light anis-like feeling.
Of course, I could be wrong and except for the violety powderiness, there might be other aspects of violets I'm not aware of.
It's really strange because each time I smell it, it's slightly different. Last time, I could smell fruit, bittery violets. So, there you go.
I would classify this as bitter floral, until you get further along, into the drydown, when the bitterness dissipates almost completely

I've been testing this for days and this is the best I could come up with. But it does have a retro feel and I LOVE the bitterness of it you can't really find nowadays.

Gypsy Queen

"an enchanting, mysterious and intoxicating brew of lush florals and rich spices smoldering with deep wood notes"

The lush florals certainly take their time in showing up. For me it opens as a sweet and clean, lightly fruity little thing. And when I say fruity, I don't mean the fruitiness that permeats the modern perfumes, this is an elegant fruitiness. Does anybody else wonder what exactly that means? :)
This one goes through many stages for me, and I'm trailing behind it trying to put my nose input into word output.
Of the rich spices, I get something reminiscent of cocoa and a familiar spice I, of course, cannot name. Then it gets a green whisper of marshes before I finally emerge in the lush territory. It certainly took its time giving me the merry go round until my beloved tuberose peeks through.
But as I don't have the notes, I sincerely hope I didn't conjure the tuberose out of thin air. :)

In my defense, I really have to say these perfumes are blended into a perfume. They don't allow for themselves to be taken apart and studied.
You will either take these women as they come, or better leave this instant, these ladies don't allow to be trifled with...

Notes and pics by:

Monday, September 26, 2011

In the vineyard

This Saturday was a lovely day which I spent gathering grapes in our friends' vineyard.

I love going there and enjoy it particularly when the weather is warm and sunny. And since this was a dry year, the yield was great so at the end of the day, I was exhausted. Pleasantly though. :)

Some photos from the day.

 9 o'clock in the morning

In the vineyard

View from the vineyard

Photos are mine.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Your favourite perfume moment(s)?

I'm finally reading Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove and can't help but ponder the subject.
Not that I don't ponder perfumes as a subject regularly. ;)

But at one point, it hit me.

I have a favourite perfume memory!

It was the moment I smelled Shalimar and fell in love (that wasn't even close to my first try).
Closely followed when the same thing happened with Vent Vert and Chanel 19.

Do you have a favourite perfume moment? More than one?

Friday, September 23, 2011

The winners of Vitriol

I don't use, I put names on pieces of paper and take them out of a bag (box, whatever container I can find). :)

So, the 2 lucky winners of small decants are Lindaloo and Undina.

And a sample goes to Diana. :)

Congratulations! And please now contact me with your addresses. Thanks everyone for participating.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vitriol d'Oeillet - friend or foe (and a draw)

It seems that lately there isn't so much love for the SL releases. Beats the hell out of me why that is so, because to me, they are still so very Lutenesque. And by that I mean, it takes several wearings for me to get to know it and then get friendly with it and then, comes love for life.
That's my usual path with any SL perfume (exceptions exist but aren't many).

Therefore, I don't get disappointed if a SL perfume doesn't instantly sweep me off my feet. It is usually a complex stranger you would be wrong to take at initial value.
So, I don't. :)

I've been testing and wearing it for some time now and what can I say? :) I'm a huge clove fan. For some reason, I keep thinking of this as a clove perfume even though it exhibits the carnation most of the time.

Notes: cayenne pepper, black pepper, pink pepper, clove, carnation, wallflower, lily, ylang-ylang, nutmeg.

I guess you can tell by all the peppers it's going to smell sharp on the start (clove helps too). If you ever smelled an SL creation, you probably know that no description can prepare you for what you're going to smell. So, when I say it starts peppery sharp with a clove twist, I'm hoping you're imagining your nose tinkling in response. :)
But before that happens, just after the initial spray, before the pepper takes over for a while, you will get the  sweet whiffs of nutmeg being propped by ylang-yland and lily. I'm still not sure on how good the lily part is  but it seems to work. Later, it will take much more work to smell all this under the peppers.

For me this perfume emits a constant light charge - each time I smell it, it seems my nose gets a little electrical charge. Quite interesting really. And then I smell the carnation. But for the life of me, I can't think of this as a carnation perfume. :) Yes, most of the time, it smells like carnations. But those are metallic, strange carnations, emiting even a lightly meaty smell at one time. Ok, so that last part might not sound enticing but it's not bad.
And yes, I noticed my constant use of "buts". :) That's because I keep thinking that while I'm describing this, I'm making it sound bad and my opinion couldn't be further away.

Once the carnation gets going, there's not much change, it lasts and slowly loses the charge. Less clove-y, more floral.

And each time I wear it, it seems more friendly and easier to love (less sharp, more sweet). Luckily, I'm not going to run out of it any time soon... :)

As I was the lucky recipient of a whole bottle, courtesy of Ca Fleure Bon and  Serge Lutens (it was supposed to be a mini bottle but they generously sent me the whole), I have 2 little decants and a sample to give. State your interest in the comments, and let me know whether you think you can like this or not.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Some of my thoughts for the freshly anointed (a.k.a budding perfumistas)

There's been a lot of posts written about advice for budding perfumistas, so this is not advice, these are the things I learned in the process of becoming one. :)

1. Once you start calling yourself a perfumista (perfume lover, perfume geek, however you want to call yourself), IT'S FOR LIFE. There is just no way you are going to go back to that time in the past when your nose could distinguish only the most common things. And dismiss them in the next instant.

2. However do you start, ordering an army of samples and getting lost in their perfumed sillage or taking time with one by one, it will still take a couple of years of constant smelling for your nose to learn enough so you can finally smell and name the nuances.
Take your time, the journey is lovely and fragrant.

3. After learning this works for me, I actually read it on one of the perfume blogs as proven fact. Nowadays, when I smell anything, I breathe in several quick breaths instead of one long one. Pretty much like a dog sniffing out something. :) Works much better.

4. Once the fragrant world opens its doors and lets you in, you will be joyfully smelling everything in your path as you probably won't be familiar with the smell of so many things you live surrounded with. And you will start cataloguing them in your mind.

5. Your sense of smell will improve and you'll be able to detect whiffs of things people around you won't be able to smell.

6. Don't got for naturals if you haven't had previous experience with essential oils and are unfamiliar with the way they smell. Naturals are a perfume category for itself.

7. Pretty much the same goes for vintage. It takes time to understand and like perfumes from days past. But you will. :)

8. The perfume community is full of the most lovely people you are ever going to virtually meet (and some of them you might actually meet in real life). Finding beauty in such an ethereal thing like perfume is not something many people actually appreciate and my thoughts run in the vein of perfume people being positive and optimistic to find and actively search for beauty in those little wispy whiffs.

9. Frustration with mainstream will abound. But sometimes, a gem will be found among those shelves of synthetic fruity-florals (or whatever the current vogue).

10. At one point, you will be sure samples procreate and have children of their own. Beacuse they will take over every free space you have (and those that aren't free, too).

11. Don't worry if at one point you lose all enthusiasm for smelling and you feel you'll never get it back. It happens. It also never lasts long. :)

12. Thanks to Undina who reminded me - NEVER SAY NEVER. :) You might think you don't like a perfume family or a single note, but it's just a question of discovering the right perfume that will open the door into the previously forbidden smelly teritorry (you just wait and see). :)

P.S. I plan on updating the list when something new occurs to me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stephanie Laurens: The Reasons for Marriage

One good thing that comes from my Kindle (well, there are many but this one is the important one for this post) is that I browse and get recommended some long lost titles. :)

I've been a fan of Stephanie Laurens for a long, long time but not as far as 1995. (if I remember correctly  the year this was published).
And there are definitely some noticeable differences between this romance novel and the ones that came later. And the main character being a rake isn't one of them. :)

I'd say she drew on Pride and Prejudice when starting this novel. The main character, being a duke, is very, ha, can't say egotistic because he is not intentionally mean, but being an extremely handsome and intelligent man (and a duke!) he can do and get pretty much anything he wants and love is not a word he recognizes as part of his vocabulary.
Honestly, he comes off so high-handedly aloof that I wondered how was SL going to show us he can fall in love. Because that's what all good rakes do. First they gather enough sexual experience to last them a dozen lifetimes and then they fall in love with intelligent beauties and are forever their loving husbands.

In the meantime, you get a lot of easy, fun banter and steamy sex scenes.

Only, this time around, there are no steamy sex scenes in this novel. And that is the main difference between this novel and later works by Stephanie Laurens.
Not that I find the book lacking because of it, quite the contrary, it made me tear up due to emotion (which doesn't happen when steamy scenes are involved for some reason). :)

P.S. One of the families visiting is called Darcys. :D

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Filching a birthday present

As all of you who read Birgit's blog Olfactoria's Travels know, she did mini reviews yesterday of DSH perfumes in honour of Dawn's birthday today.
I think it is a lovely idea so I thought I'd give my thoughts on the latest trio I tried of Dawn's creations.
And a very happy birthday Dawn! :)

Top notes: Cassis Bud, Hazelnut, Silver Fir

Middle notes: Carnation, Centifolia Rose Absolute, Jasmine, Tuberose Absolute
Base notes: Brown Oakmoss, Olibanum (Frankincense), Oude (Agarwood)

I'd swear there was some patchouli in this as it starts sweet, lightly earthy-rooty so it instantly reminded me of patchouli. Also, I just realized, that the earthy-rooty thing might not sound appealing in terms of perfume but to me, it always smells great. I was already starting to get worried I might be imagining things as I smelled carnation (and I tested Vitriol d'Oiellet morning before) but carnation is in there. And I can smell the wonderful oakmoss base. And to imagine I used to think I didn't like oakmoss (that's until you smell the real deal).
Basically, to me it smells darkishly woody and lightly floral, and then it gets more rosy-woody until woodsy notes are all I can smell and it makes me feel calm and relaxed and while I'm not watching, the woods give way to florals and I'm floating on a cloud.
Oude Arabique
Top notes: Mastic

Middle notes: Oude (Agarwood), Tamil Nadu Sandalwood
Base notes: Australian Sandalwood, Buddahwood, Himalayan Cedar, Tolu Balsam

Of this trio, Oude is my favourite but it doesn't smell really oudish to me. It starts sweetly, floral-sandalwoody and then I get this wonderfull creaminess that is very reminiscent of Love Coco but there is no coconut or ylang-ylang in this. The best I could come up with was that mastic and sandalwood were playing tricks on me because later I could smell sandalwood more clearly.
As I follow my nose and notes are there to point the way most of the time, I ended up with something floral in the base (again). :) Not that I mind.
L'Eau d'Iris
Top notes: Bergamot, Florentine Iris Flower, Violet

Middle notes: Neroli, Orris Root
Base notes: Benzoin, Musk, Sandalwood

I really thought this wasn't my kind of perfume until the initial iris bitterness was mellowed  by violet. And if I read that somewhere else, I wouldn't have been interested as I'm not really a violet fan, but lately it seems to be getting under my skin.
The initial iris smells very strict and uncompromising to me until it gets mellowed by the violet and then later musc (reminding me a bit of MdO Musc where the pair works wonderfully). I really tried smelling the bergamot but it's more of a backdrop to the iris's center stage.
Does that happen to anyone else? I mean, I can't smell a note but I know it's there because of the way the most obvious note smells like.
So, iris loses its strength slowly and while making way for violet, in the end it makes it into sandalwoody muskiness. Extremely lovely. Especially when considering where it started from.

Notes and pics by:

Thursday, September 8, 2011

De Profundis

By Asali

I can’t remember anticipating a Serge Lutens release as much as this for a long while. The name of De Profundis had captured my imagination well before the beautiful bell jar with the purple juice arrived in its black box. Describing De Profundis, M. Lutens once again reached Sfinxish heights, referencing certain periods of French and English literature and its flirtatious fascination with death.
I find it is a fragrance full of quiet surprises on every corner you turn with it, from the very first green notes of the funeral march, to the last sweet whispers from beyond. Much has been written about the resemblance to funeral wreaths, church yards and mourning veils, but to me it’s not gothic and dark, if any connection to these, it’s more like a remembrance, a peaceful celebration, a sanctuary. But having said that, I don’t feel that the fragrance has limitations as such, I could certainly wear it often. Perhaps because it’s a quiet, all be it persistent, Serge. De Profundis Clamavi might translate as I shouted from the depths, but there is never any shouting from De Profundis EdP.

I like the opening of the green yet friendly, chrysanthemums followed by the cool violet and rest of the bouquet, which together with the aldehydes are all together more extrovert and less melancholic than I would have expected. The flowers have a bit of own spiciness and it feels like some musk works its way into the bouquet as the violet softly withers from the perfume. I get the decided feeling that the fragrance itself yearns and beseeches you to think of the violet, once gone, like an echo. There is incense but I find it only detectable as a feeling of calm and quiet, it isn’t a dominant note, and yet it almost feels like it is a main player of the fragrance because of the serenity it emits. Is it perhaps some chamomile which reinforces that sensation of peacefulness as the perfume slowly descends into the base? This is richer than one would have expected of the opening and the aldehydic flowers, yes, it turns out to surprise by its Lutenesque familiarity. Like a last caress, it whispers of spices and warmth.

I imagined many different poems and poets, before receiving De Profundis, but the one I’d like to share with you that I find to be the closest poetic soundtrack is by Rainer Maria Rilke and called Traumgekrönt.


Das war der Tag der weißen Chrysanthemen,
Mir bangte fast vor seiner Pracht...
Und dann, dann kamst du mir die Seele nehmen
Tief in der Nacht.

Mir war so bang, und du kamst lieb und leise,
Ich hatte grad im Traum an dich gedacht.
Du kamst, und leis’ wie eine Märchenweise
Erklang die Nacht.

Crowned with dreams
That was the day of the white chrysanthemums,
Its splendor almost frightened me,
And then, then you came to take my soul
At the dead of night.

I was so frightened, and you came sweetly and gently
I had been thinking of you in my dreams.
You came, and soft as a fairy tune
The night resounded.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

One of my loves for life - pilates

I'm at a sort of crossroads when it comes to my training routine.
For some 7-8 years I've been going to my local gym for pilates and occasional workout class but always pilates.
And it took me some time to achieve what I thought was a balance, I wasn't as pilates-fit as our trainer but I felt good changes in my body and actually grew a whole centimeter. :)

But for years now, I feel like I'm only maintaining the level I achieved and I can't seem to cross it. Then it dawned on me.
We are a large group there (at least 20, usually more) and our trainer only instructs us, she doesn't go around improving our posture and setting us straight in positions we are supposed to achieve.
And I want to improve - I can feel my spine losing its mobility just for the 3 months I've been away from it.

So, I've decided since I love doing pilates, to go to a real pilates studio and exercise in a small group of 5 where the trainer is always there to make you do the exercise right (and basically torture you). :)

There were 2 studios that  I decided to try and now I'm having a problem. I mean I decided to go to the second one, where they do straight Pilates pilates and not STOTT pilates which seemed interesting to me when I went for a class there.

One of the things I love about both pilates studios I've been to, is that the atmosphere is completely different than from the gym. They are more oriented to the individual and it feels more welcome and you feel like someone is actually paying attention to what you do.
Of course, this is going to cost me twice as much as my usual gym card did, but I'm willing to try and see if it works (and from the 2 classes I've been to, I can't see how it won't).

Hmmm, if you were wondering how did I get to explaining my pilates studio choices from pilates being the love of my life, well it's easy.
I love it so much and I saw that what I did wasn't getting me anywhere, so I decided to change my routine pattern that was a normal part of my life, and go for something new and more demanding.
I am ready to face my new pilates life. Beacuse I love it so much.

And I hope after a few months of training in a little group and learning better pilates postures, I will go for an instructor course.

Beacuse this love of my life brings more fullness to my life the more I invest myself in it. Isn't that what true love is about?

Pic by:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Short foray into mainstream

It's not often I visit Sephora as it's not close to my usual places but today, I was at the exact spot and had 10 minutes. :)
So, of course I took the chance and went in search of a spray of Chanel 19 Poudre.

Basically, I won't go searching for it again. I am very disappointed. Not that it's bad for the general, youthful I'd say, public, but it holds no candle to the original. It feels exactly like what Guerlain did with Shalimar, only their flanker is much more wearable to a lover of Shalimar than Poudre is to a lover of Chanel 19.

Not to mention the fact that after 10 minutes, I could no longer smell it on my arm. Poof! It was gone.
Notes I could find: neroli, galbanum, jasmine, iris, white musk, vetiver and tonka bean.

I also got to finally smell Jimmy Choo (which for some reason I keep calling in my mind Jimmy Chang, have no idea why...).
I thought it was perfectly nice and acceptable and would probably make a good gift if you have no idea what the woman in question loves (and she isn't a hardcore perfumista). I'll give it some skin time next time around.
Heart notes: Tiger Orchard

Top notes: Pear Nectar, Sweet Italian Orange
Base notes:Toffee, Indonesian Patchouli

The surprise of the evening was Bulgari Jasmin Noir. The only problem is I tested it on paper and Bulgaris usually fail in contact with my skin. What appears on paper is nowhere close to what appears on me. So, I'll give this another go on skin. 
At first, I couldn't detect any jasmine, but then it slowly appeared and being upset with Poudre's disappearance, I forgot to follow but I will definitely give it another go. The idea I got wasn't noir though. :)

Notes: green plants juice, gardenia flowers, Sambac jasmine absolute, sateen almond aromas, dark notes of precious wood, liquorice absolute and accords of Tonka.

The last try for the evening was Kenzo's Flower Tag. And with it, my enthusiasm for discovering more mainstream evaporated. Yep, a fruity floral. A sweet fruity-floral.

Top notes: mandarin, black currant, rhubarb

Heart: peony, jasmine, lily of the valley
Base: tea, musk, vanilla