Perfume Chat Room, January 21

Perfume Chat Room, January 21

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, January 21, and we had snow a few days ago! It didn’t last beyond one day and night, but it was so pretty while it was falling. I’m thankful that we were able to get some needed masonry done in our garden before the cold temperatures and precipitation; and I was able to run around and add mulch to the root zone of some precious plants. I also clustered pots on the ground together as a small measure of protection. Our cold spells are rarely so cold that outside plants are actually threatened, as long as one takes some simple measures. I do keep some garden “frost blankets” on hand in case of need.

The fragrance blog and community Now Smell This had as its Friday “community project” to wear a Dior fragrance in honor of Christian Dior’s birthday, which resulted in a discovery — I may have more fragrances from the house of Dior than any other, which I learned as a result of looking for options to wear this week. This did surprise me, as I hadn’t really planned such a focus, but it results from a few things.

One, two of my earliest fragrance loves — the first two high-end scents I bought for myself — were Chanel No. 22 and Dior’s Diorissimo. Of the two, I wore Diorissimo more often, as it felt less formal than No. 22, much as I do love that. So I’m inclined to take an interest in Dior fragrances.

Two, I have a monthly scent subscription that has been offering decants of Dior’s “Collection” fragrances, and I’ve been collecting those. I like several of them very much, including La Colle Noire and Gris Dior. (The decants may tempt me toward a full bottle at some point — shhhhh! Don’t tell.).

Three, my trip down the fragrance rabbit-hole began when I read Turin & Sanchez’ “Perfumes: The A-Z Guide” and decided to renew my acquaintance with today’s Diorissimo. I made the rookie error of sampling the eau de parfum, a later creation, instead of the eau de toilette, which is closer to the original, and was taken aback at how much it seemed to have changed. So I went on a quest for a substitute, and thus the madness began. As part of that, I started to seek out vintage Dior fragrances, often in minis, so that added to my Dior stash.

Today, I’ll wear vintage Miss Dior in honor of M. Dior’s birthday today and his heroic sister Catherine, for whom the fragrance was named and whose love of flowers inspired it.

Collage of Dior family photos
Christian and Catherine Dior; image from http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Having survived the Nazis’ torture, prisons, and a concentration camp, she came home to Paris after the war and became a noted florist and wholesaler of flowers, together with the man she loved, also a Resistance fighter.

Miss Dior perfume, vintage ad

I know some of you, like Undina, deliberately track exactly how many fragrances you have from a given house. Which ones show up most often in your collection? Any surprises?

Vintage ad for Miss Dior fragrance
Perfume Chat Room, January 14

Perfume Chat Room, January 14

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, January 14, and it is the start of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend here in the US. I’m always heartened to see how many groups organize for a “day on, not a day off” on Monday, helping people take part in various service or educational projects. Since my city is expecting very cold weather and possibly snow on Sunday, and we’re still battling the omicron surge, I suspect that many of the activities will be virtual (as they were last January).

One of my colleagues remarked in a Zoom meeting today that the start of this semester feels rockier than usual. I tend to agree; and I wonder whether it is due to the ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic. I’ve noticed that in addition to more crises, people also seem to have lost some of their ability to get along. Just in the two weeks of work since our winter break, I’ve experienced some truly rude behavior by professional colleagues, let alone students. In fact, the colleagues have been worse, with less justification!

My January has been brightened, though, by the ongoing opening of my January Joy Box from 4160 Tuesdays. Every other day, there’s a new fragrance to try. And then the discussion that ensues on the brand’s Facebook community page is often hilarious! This week, the scents were: Rose Goes to Town, British Summer, and All Made of Flowers. I love Rose Goes to Town, and I like the others a lot.

Have you been able to try or revisit any fragrances that helped dispel any January blahs? Do tell!

Royal Ascot hat of giant roses
Ascot hat of roses; radiogorgeous.com
Perfume Chat Room, January 7

Perfume Chat Room, January 7

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, January 7, and it is 2022! Earlier this week, my fellow bloggers and I posted our monthly “Scent Semantics” post for January, riffing off the word “luscious.” Check out the posts on six different fragrance blogs!

The numbers 2022 in fireworks
2022 in fireworks; image from parade.com

Like many other Americans, my work week began again post-holidays, but we’re back to remote work because of the massive surge in omicron variant COVID cases. I feel much less anxious about it this time.

Instead of “dry January”, I’m going to make a conscious effort to minimize fragrance purchases this month, since I took full advantage of many sales and discounts before, during, and after Christmas! Most of those were from small or independent perfumers or perfumeries, so I don’t feel bad about supporting them. This month, I’m enjoying the “January Joy Box” from 4160 Tuesdays, which is a box of 15 fragrances, most of them limited editions or not yet in the main 4160 Tuesdays line, to be opened one at a time, every other day, in numbered order. Sarah McCartney started this annual tradition a few years ago, and it is great fun! It’s like a January Advent calendar. Lots of chatter about each fragrance on 4160 Tuesdays’ Facebook pages!

So far, I’ve opened 1) Spellbinder; 2) Cherry Who?; and 3) Dawn to Dusk. Of those, so far my favorite is Spellbinder, which Sarah actually created for an independent US business called Haunted Saginaw (the fragrances are labeled “13th Floor Fragrance Co.”). Here’s the published description:

Rich and luxurious tonka beans infused with superior Madagascar vanilla, bursting with a citrus & slightly earthy opening (Bergamot, Mandarin, Tart Cranberry & ripened Rhubarb) intertwined with a dark forest of woods (Cedar, Sandalwood, Cashmere) into a slightly smokey veil ( Sweet Tobacco, Incense & Leather) sensually merging into a dark floral heart ( Jasmine, Violet, and exotic Ylang Ylang) surrounded by an array of arromatic spices ( Cardamom, Nutmeg & more).

If this sounds like something you must have, it can still be purchased at the Haunted Saginaw website. By the way, Sarah and fragrance blogger Sam Scriven from “I Scent You A Day” published their book this fall, “The Perfume Companion“, and it is great fun. I love that two bloggers I follow, Sam and Neil Chapman of “The Black Narcissus” have both published books in recent years. I love reading their insights, and both books are great for browsing.

On the topic of books, one of my Christmas gifts this year, which I’ve just started reading, is the book “The Scent of Empires: Chanel No.5 and Red Moscow“, by Karl Schlogel. Already it promises to be fascinating to this history nerd!

Have you started off your New Year in any new fragrances, or with any new books? Do tell!

Perfume Chat Room, December 31

Perfume Chat Room, December 31

Welcome back to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 31, and it is the last day of 2021! Good riddance, I say. What a strange year it has been — we started off with most of us unvaccinated, then many of us were able to get vaccinated by the end of May, then we had a summer when we were able to see most of our extended family members after long absence. We were able to attend two family weddings, one in June and one in early October, the June wedding having been postponed from September 2020. We were also able to drive to New Hampshire and stay for two weeks to see my dear father-in-law at his assisted living residence; we rented a small lake cabin and worked remotely in the mornings, then went to see him every afternoon between lunch and dinner, which was lovely. On our drives up to NH and back, we were also able to visit some spots I have long wanted to see, mostly Civil War sites like Gettysburg and Antietam, but also the Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville and the Biltmore Estate. Our economy rebounded far better and faster than even an optimist like myself could have hoped. The fall started off with most colleges and universities returning to onsite operations, including the one our son attends. All three of our children faced and overcame challenges in 2021, and are finishing the year in good health, good spirits, and good jobs, and housing situations with good friends.

That was the good stuff. The bad stuff? Aside from some painful challenges our kids had to overcome, here in the US we had the extraordinary experience of a sitting US President claiming that the election he had lost was a fraud and playing a part (specifics still to be detailed by investigators) in a violent attack on the US Capitol and Congress on January 6. Rewatching some of the coverage from a year ago still boggles the mind; and that’s all I’ll say about that. After a somewhat normal summer, the highly contagious delta variant of COVID started to surge, and it was followed by the even more contagious omicron variant in the fall. Many of us got boosters as soon as they were available, which seems to have protected the vaccinated from severe illness (excellent news, btw). But cases are surging again worldwide to record highs, and frontline healthcare workers face another winter of extreme stress — too much stress and not enough gratitude, in my view. Many schools will start their spring semester with remote classes again, which feels necessary but discouraging. I’m just thankful that all my family are fully vaccinated and boosted, and thankful for the brilliant scientists and others who made that possible.

This may be the year I finally retire, so stay tuned! All in all, I’m perfectly happy to bid 2021 farewell, and I feel hopeful for 2022, despite the looming and already nutty midterms elections! I plan to ring in the New Year wearing one of my all-time favorite fragrances: the eau de toilette of Chanel No.22. Our evening plans have just changed and so will our dinner menu — our college student son had planned to be here tonight, so we were going to have pizza, albeit the local gourmet option, but now he has other plans so I can upgrade our dinner menu! Decisions, decisions …

Do you have any exciting plans, or have you already celebrated? (Looking at you, Portia!). What is your chosen SOTNY?

Fireworks exploding over water, Sydney, Australia
Sydney fireworks for New Year, 2022; image from theguardian.com.
Perfume Chat Room, December 17

Perfume Chat Room, December 17

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 17, and I am steeling myself for a visit to an endodontist in a few hours. Had to go to the dentist on Monday morning due to a rare and awful toothache, and she referred me for a consult and possible root canal. Ugh! Wish me luck! At least I will smell lovely; today’s SOTD, at least for the morning, is Carner Barcelona‘s El Born. And the endodontist prescribed meds that have taken away the pain, at least for now.

Young child with toothache
Toothache; image from consumerhealthnews.com

I plan to choose a different SOTD for the afternoon to align with today’s community project over at the blog “Now Smell This“, which is to wear your best fragrance buy of 2021. That can be interpreted however one chooses: best bargain, favorite purchase, whatever you like! Yesterday, after my Advent SOTD had faded away, I chose Rose Petals by Zara as my “best bargain” of 2021. I haven’t reviewed it yet because I hope to do that in another “Roses de Mai Marathon” this spring!

My work month is officially over, as I’ll be on vacation next week and my workplace is closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I’m so happy that I can now focus on home, hearth, holidays, hobbies, and family! I love Advent, but it’s hard to get and stay in the mood while work concerns and tasks still demand attention. I’m still planting things outside, as our local climate allows for cool-season flowers and vegetables which will grow all winter and into the spring. Many are very colorful, even the vegetables, which makes it more fun.

What will you be doing this week? Are you able to wind up work soon? Any fragrance items on your holiday wishlist now?

Perfume Chat Room, December 10

Perfume Chat Room, December 10

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, December 10, and it’s the last official day of final exams at my workplace! Hurray — it has been a long, long fall semester with several unexpected challenges. Although I’ll still be working next week, it will be very quiet with most of the faculty and students having departed for their winter break. I’ve been diligently posting daily about the little surprises in my DIY Advent calendar, which has been great fun.

We’re looking forward to our son’s return from college next week; although he is so close by that we can see him any time, we try to give him his space and only show up at his side of the campus when he requests it (he attends the same university where I work). I’ve been having a hard time getting into the true holiday spirit, and I think it’s because this is really the first Christmas when we haven’t had at least one kid living at home the whole month. Last year, both of our daughters had moved home during the pandemic, so they were here even though our son was living on campus for his freshman year. Now, they live elsewhere with roommates, though still very close by, and they’ll probably come here around December 23 and stay through Boxing Day.

I’m very excited because I found a gift for my husband that he hadn’t already chosen and bought for himself! He is famous for just getting the few things he wants, which makes it hard for his family to surprise him. I did show it to him online before buying it, to make sure he would like it, but he was delighted and surprised by what I had found (it’s a framed print of one of his favorite places). Yay! I’ve caved to his way of doing gifts, though, in that I buy fragrances I want for him to “give” me. He has actually done very well when choosing fragrances for me on his own, but he’d rather I choose as he knows I usually have something particular in mind that I’d like.

I still resist the cash transfers that many young adults request as gifts. To me, that’s not a gift — it’s a transaction. Even if I give cash or gift cards, I still add an actual physical gift. How do you and your family manage holiday gifts, if you exchange gifts?

Hands exchanging holiday gift; image from triplepundit.com
Holiday gift-giving; image from triplepundit.com

Scented Advent, December 3

Scented Advent, December 3

Today’s Scented Advent SOTD is Tom Ford’s Ombré Leather 16. (Aha! I remembered, with help from Google, how to put an accent aigu over an e!). I rarely seek out leather-based fragrances, the exceptions being Cabochard and Zara’s Vibrant Leather, so it’s actually a good thing to try this one in a small sample, as a surprise in my Advent calendar.

Bottle of Tom Ford's Ombré Leather eau de parfum against colored leather
Tom Ford Ombré Leather; image from whatmenshouldsmelllike.com.

As soon as I dab it on my wrist, I smell that smoky, tarry scent we have come to associate with “leather” in fragrances. It’s not overpowering, but then again, I was dabbing from a small sample vial. I imagine that if one were spraying, one would have to be careful not to overdo it. Many commenters online, including the great fragrance blogger Kafkaesque, have concluded that Ombre Leather 16 is a lighter sibling of Tom Ford’s mega-hit fragrance Tuscan Leather. I don’t know, as I haven’t tried Tuscan Leather, but if Kafkaesque says so, I’m inclined to defer to her!

Created by Sonia Constant and launched in 2016, this leather has notes of leather, violet leaf, oakmoss, cardamom, jasmine sambac, and patchouli. Some commenters smell the violet leaf right away; I don’t. What I get right away is the smoky, tarry leather; then it fades (but doesn’t disappear) just enough to reveal the other notes. Apparently the leather note is based on an older synthetic molecule with a distinguished perfume history, isobutyl quinoline. Overall, the additional impression is dry and a bit green, thanks to the violet leaf, cardamom, oakmoss, and patchouli. The way the leather appears strongly at the outset, then slowly retreats, really does give the impression of ombré fabric — very clever! It becomes very slightly sweeter during its drydown, but it is not fruity, to my nose.

About an hour into wearing it, I’m really enjoying Ombré Leather 2016, though it’s not something I would buy for myself (full disclosure — I wouldn’t buy most Tom Ford fragrances, as I think they’re ridiculously overpriced). It has been reformulated, also by Sonia Constant, and there is also now a parfum version, launched this year, which is said to be a more floral leather. I might like it a lot on my husband, though; I’ll have to try my sample on him!

What Men Should Smell Like has a terrific analysis of Ombré Leather; the featured image is borrowed from that review. As Friday is usually Perfume Chat Room day, please feel free to chat about anything in the comments!

Refillable wooden Advent calendar
My fragrance Advent calendar
Perfume Chat Room, November 26

Perfume Chat Room, November 26

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, November 26, and it is “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving in the US and traditionally a major launch to the holiday shopping season. As usual, I encourage supporting independent or small businesses, and as usual, some wonderful independent perfumers have holiday promotions.

First up is DSH Perfumes, by perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz. To get 20% off sitewide (except for one fragrance), use the code light20. This includes her annual set of Heirloom Elixir fragrances; if you haven’t previously subscribed, you can buy the whole 2021 set!

Next is 4160 Tuesdays, the company founded and owned by English perfumer Sarah McCartney. Today, which Sarah calls “Hot Pink Friday”, you can buy two, get a third free — and the third one can be the most expensive of the group! In Sarah’s words: “This is how it works: It is for 30ml, 50ml and 100ml bottles of 4160Tuesdays and OML perfumes. Here’s the unusual part. The free bottle can be the most expensive one. All three bottles in the offer must be the same size. You buy two bottles of perfume, then write the name of the third one in the notes as you finish the checkout process. You get a free perfume for every two you buy. This happens until 30th November.” Sarah and team can ship 30 ml bottles to the US.

Rogue Perfumery, owned and run by perfumer Manuel Cross, has 25% off at his Etsy site, November 26-29.

Do you have any recommendations or codes for weekend sales by independent perfumers or perfumeries? I include perfumeries, because they’ve had a tough time during this pandemic, and their support is crucial to independent, artisan, and niche perfumers.

Row of shoppers with bags
Black Friday shopping; image from waldengalleria.com
Perfume Chat Room, November 19

Perfume Chat Room, November 19

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Thanksgiving table decorations
Thanksgiving decor; image from nemacolin.com

Today is Friday, November 19, and my thoughts have turned to Thanksgiving! It is one of my favorite holidays, because I love to cook and I love feeding my family. All our kids will be here. My husband and I both got our vaccine boosters within the last week, and now that we’re over the side effects (mostly a 24-hour period of sleeping and chills), we’re looking forward to a family gathering. It will be just the five of us, unless one of the kids brings home a friend. We haven’t traveled for Thanksgiving since our oldest child was born in November; all of our family live a plane flight away, and with two fulltime jobs and limited time off, it was always going to be too stressful and challenging to drag children through airports on the busiest travel days of the year here in the US.

After last year’s plumbing disaster and this year’s restoration of our house, we finally have a functioning dining room again! I’m excited to be able to celebrate the holidays properly once more. AND the new garden helpers I’ve hired have cleared out the massively overgrown summer vegetable garden, so I can now plant the cool season and winter vegetables in my raised beds. So those are my plans for the next week: cooking, gardening, enjoying my family. Oh, and a couple of days of work next week, but it should be very quiet as most students and faculty will take those days off.

Fragrance-wise, I haven’t been very adventurous lately, though I did succumb to a purchase of a dramatically reduced bottle of Aura. I quite like it, and I do love that green bottle. I would call it a strong like, not a love. I know many people are huge fans of Mugler fragrances — do you have any favorites?

Green bottle of Aura perfume
Aura, by Mugler; image from wwd.com.
Perfume Chat Room, November 12

Perfume Chat Room, November 12

Welcome to the weekly Perfume Chat Room, perfumistas! I envision this chat room as a weekly drop-in spot online, where readers may ask questions, suggest fragrances, tell others their SOTD, comment on new releases or old favorites, and respond to each other. The perennial theme is fragrance, but we can interpret that broadly. This is meant to be a kind space, so please try not to give or take offense, and let’s all agree to disagree when opinions differ. In fragrance as in life, your mileage may vary! YMMV.

Today is Friday, November 12, and I’m taking my husband to get his booster vaccine later this morning, after physical therapy (he’s recovering from knee surgery and can’t drive). Wish us luck! The Christmas ads are proliferating, as are store decorations. In the past, I was a bit irritated by the displays that went up the day after Halloween, but this year I am enjoying them! I’m really ready to celebrate a more normal holiday season, as evidenced by a recent errand I ran to Target, which is completely overrun with holiday-themed everything — and not only did I not cringe, I beamed.

I keep seeing ads for gorgeous Advent calendars with lovely miniatures of various cosmetics and fragrances. The ones from Chanel, Dior, and Guerlain are spectacular! I’m not really tempted, though, because most of the calendars include many products I probably wouldn’t use. I’ve only ever bought one such Advent calendar; it was by Atelier Cologne, and each daily offering was a sample or mini vial of one of their scents. I may create my own Advent calendar for fun, and just fill one with minis and samples I haven’t tried yet, which would encourage me to work my way through more of them!

Have you ever bought a fragrance or cosmetic Advent calendar? Which one? Are you tempted by any of this year’s offerings?

Collection of beauty product Advent calendars, 2021
Advent calendars; image from oprahdaily.com