Perfume Chat Room, February 25

Perfume Chat Room, February 25

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, February 25, and it is a somber day in Eastern Europe. Russian forces have invaded Ukraine. Thousands of anti-war protesters in Russia and other former Soviet countries have taken to the streets. Tens of thousands of Ukrainian civilians are fleeing west. Whatever one thinks of the geopolitics involved, one can surely feel for the residents of Ukraine whose lives have been turned upside-down. My heart goes out to them.

Some of you probably also read the wonderful blog Bois de Jasmin, written by Victoria Frolova. Although Victoria lives in Brussels, Belgium (where I spent part of my childhood), she is Ukrainian by birth, and she traces much of her love of fragrance back to her years of visiting family in Poltava. She has been my own little window into a part of the world I don’t know well; I pray that her family, friends, and their hometown remain unharmed.

Today is ex-Beatle George Harrison’s birthday, and in honor of that, the “community project” at Now Smell This is to pair a fragrance with a song by George Harrison or the Beatles. Robin thinks that was my idea at some point; I don’t remember suggesting it, but I’m happy to take credit! The clear choice for my SOTD is my beloved Ostara, the very fragrance of yellow daffodils, paired with one of my favorite songs by George Harrison, “Here Comes The Sun.”

Gibbs Gardens daffodils; song by the Beatles; copyright and credits here.

I recently watched the documentary “Get Back”, about the Beatles’ work on their album “Let It Be”, and it shows very clearly some of the tension among the Fab Four, but also the joy and fun they often had while working together. Sadly, it really does show how George was sometimes brushed aside as a songwriter and wrote many of his songs on his own, unlike the formidable Lennon/McCartney songwriting partnership. Watching the documentary was like watching a marriage break up in slow motion. There was still so much love and affection, and many moments of laughter, but it seemed to me that John Lennon was clearly pulling away, Paul McCartney was like the partner who sees this long relationship ending, against his wishes, George was like the child whose needs are being overlooked because of the marital drama, and Ringo Starr was like the kid who’s just trying to make everyone happy by putting his head down and doing his job. At some point in this era, though not on film, Lennon apparently referred to his desire to leave the group as “wanting a divorce.”

“Here Comes The Sun”, released on the album “Abbey Road,” was written by George after a day spent in the sunny garden of his friend Eric Clapton. I have read that it is the most streamed Beatles song on Spotify, which is remarkable given their legendary output. I also have fond memories of it because it was my youngest child’s very favorite song of any when he was a little boy, which matched his sunny, happy disposition. Happy birthday, George, and thank you for helping to create the most memorable songs I recall from my childhood and beyond!

Hillside covered with daffodils at Gibbs Gardens
Daffodils at Gibbs Gardens
Perfume Chat Room, February 18

Perfume Chat Room, February 18

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, February 18, and I am the happy recipient of a full bottle of Maison Lancome’s Peut-Etre, a Valentine’s “gift” from my lovely husband. I put “gift” in quotation marks because, like many of us, I chose and ordered the fragrance so HE could give it to ME. He is a patient, lovely man! He also surprised me with a beautiful orchid plant; I made him a fancy dinner that included filet mignon and an excellent bottle of red wine. This may be the first Valentine’s Day we’ve had alone together since becoming parents. In 2020, we still had one child living at home; and in 2021, we had all three children living at home due to the pandemic!

Today, though, I’m wearing Maison Christian Dior’s Jasmin des Anges, from a decant that came in my monthly scent subscription. It’s really pretty! I’m a bit cautious around white flower scents, but this one is light and lovely. It has notes of peach, apricot, and osmanthus with the jasmine, which keep it fresh and airy. It reminds me a bit of a light white wine, even prosecco, but more floral.

The name of the fragrance reminded me that there is a lovely tropical jasmine called “Angel Wings jasmine”, or Jasminum nitidum, which then reminded me of this wonderful art project called the Global Angel Wings Project, by Colette Miller. She started it in Los Angeles, the “City of Angels”, with a street mural of painted angel wings, where passers-by could pose in front as if they themselves had sprouted wings. She has now painted angel wings all around the globe.

Painting of angel wings above water
Angel wings, by artist Colette Miller, for her Global Angel Wings Project.

How do you react to jasmine fragrances? Do you have any favorites?

Perfume Chat Room, February 11

Perfume Chat Room, February 11

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, February 11, and it’s almost Valentine’s Day! Since perfume and other fragrance gifts are often given for Valentine’s Day, do you expect to give or get any? Anything you are secretly hoping to receive? I don’t yearn for these chocolates myself, but I certainly wouldn’t turn my nose up at them! Pun intended. And don’t miss the full review of the chocolates by Nose Prose!

Box of Valentine's heart-shaped chocolates
Neuhaus “perfume” chocolates; image from Neuhaus.

Like many perfumistas, I’ve already chosen and bought the fragrance I’d like to receive from my husband, lol. I haven’t opened it yet, though!! For any new readers: I am blessed, like many of you, with a partner who indulges my hobby/obsession. He has even picked out some of my favorites completely on his own, and when we travel (at least, when we did travel, in the before times), he will go with me to perfumeries and encourage me to buy fragrances.

The perfume I chose for myself was Lancome’s Peut-Etre, which I had been eyeing for some time. When I got an email offer in January for 40% off one item on their website, plus gifts with purchase, I caved. Considering that the gifts with purchase (full sizes of several skincare and cosmetics items) were said to have a combined retail value well above $200, the perfume was perfume-math free! Or so I tell myself.

Peut-Etre is said to be a musky, powdery rose, and it was created by Nathalie Lorson, so it was definitely calling my name. Plus I love the bottles in the Maison Lancome line, they’re so pretty! I’ll let you all know what it’s like, once I open it! And if I do another “Roses de Mai Marathon“, I’ll review it there.

If you haven’t yet browsed this month’s Scent Semantics posts, please do! You’ll find links to all six blogs here. This month’s word is “taste”, and it has been so much fun to read my fellow bloggers’ thoughts!

Scent Semantics blog list
Perfume Chat Room, February 4

Perfume Chat Room, February 4

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, February 4, the first Friday of the month; and next Monday will be the monthly “Scent Semantics” post! Come back on Monday and visit all the Scent Semantics blogs to find out the word of the month and how we connect it to fragrance.

I’ve been enjoying some fragrance in my garden lately, despite some bouts of temperatures below freezing and even a few snow flurries! (I know, I know, those of you who live in snowier climes are laughing hysterically right now). The mahonias are in bloom, and they smell like lily of the valley.

Mahonia shrub with yellow flowers
Mahonia Lomariiflora in the Saville Garden, Surrey, UK October; image from Southern Living

I also have a Chimonanthus praecox, or wintersweet, which wafts from its odd blossoms. A few brave narcissi have decided to bloom. Until recently, I have had a few late blossoms on my roses, which were fragrant (I mostly grow David Austin English Roses, which are bred for fragrance as well as visual beauty). Those are gone now because I have done the recommended annual pruning, which results in short, leafless stems until the spring growth bursts forth. I also have a new camellia, not yet in the ground, which is supposed to have fragrant flowers; it has lots of buds, so we’ll see if it lives up to advance billing.

This is often a transitional season for fragrance, the bridge between the warmer, spicier scents many of us choose in wintertime and the green and/or floral scents many wear in springtime. I’m still getting a lot of pleasure from my Musc Intense by Parfums de Nicolai; it has a top note of fresh pear that looks ahead to spring, but the cozy musk works well for cooler weather. What are you wearing these days?

Perfume Chat Room, January 28

Perfume Chat Room, January 28

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 28, and I have surprised myself by how much I’m enjoying a fragrance whose name initially deterred me: Parfums de Nicolai’s Musc Intense. I don’t usually think of musky fragrances as something I’ll like, and “intense” in a fragrance name often indicates it is a flanker of something else, amped up to a degree I may not appreciate (much as I do love Tiffany & Co. Intense). But when I read the notes listed on Fragrantica, they sounded very appealing, so I took a chance (yes, it was a blind buy, naughty me; but I have loved every Nicolai fragrance I’ve tried to date, so it wasn’t completely reckless). Top notes — Turkish Rose, Pear and Galbanum; middle notes — Rose, Violet, Carnation and Jasmine; base notes — Musk, Civet, Amber and Sandalwood.

Wow! Musc Intense is just lovely. Soft, warm, but persistent — I can still smell it on my wrists after a light application 24 hours ago. It clings to clothing, too, in a very agreeable way. This is now a contender with Jicky eau de toilette for favorite bedtime scent. It smells cuddly and also floral, with a bit of fruit; the pear note in the opening is just right, a light touch of fruitiness that is also a bit green. Don’t laugh, but the drydown of Musc Intense evokes clean baby animals, like a freshly washed puppy.

Have you ever been put off by the name of a fragrance only to find, to your surprise, that you like it very much?

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
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?