Scented Advent, December 8

Scented Advent, December 8

Today’s post about the SOTD from my Advent calendar will be brief, because it’s a scent I don’t like very much, and I don’t like to write a lot about scents I don’t like. It is Amber Aoud, from Roja Dove. First, I don’t much care for oud except in very small doses, and I’m tired of how omnipresent it seems to be, both as an ingredient and in the names of fragrances. Sadly, I suspect that the reason it is omnipresent and the reason I don’t like most of what I’ve encountered are the same: chemists have come up with some cheap synthetic molecules meant to imitate the real, expensive substance, which probably smells much better and more interesting.

Second, I react to Roja Dove’s fragrances much as I do to Tom Ford‘s: there are some very nice scents among them, but the hype and the prices are too much. I’ve enjoyed visiting a Roja Dove boutique in London, in the Burlington Arcade, and I’ve occasionally stopped by the counter in Neiman Marcus to test, but I’ve never been tempted to buy one of his fragrances. There are just so many other, equally (if not more) appealing, less expensive options.

But, to briefly address Amber Aoud, the first note that hits my nose is in fact “oud” that smells very chemical and synthetic to me. It smells smoky but not in a way that I enjoy; I’m sure that more sensitive noses would experience it as “burning.” It does turn into something sweeter and more pleasant, but for the life of me I can’t detect the rose it is supposed to contain as a major note, or any fig. It doesn’t smell particularly like “amber” either, or at least any of the accords I’ve learned to identify with “amber.” The full list of notes on Fragrantica is: Top notes of Bergamot, Lime and Lemon; middle notes of Rose, Fig, Ylang-Ylang and Jasmine; base notes of Agarwood (Oud), Ambergris, Saffron, Cinnamon, Birch, Civet, Orris Root, Musk, Oakmoss, Sandalwood and Patchouli. I don’t smell any of the citrus top notes at all (but this may be an older sample where they’ve evaporated). The sweetness I sense after the initial smoke may be coming from ylang-ylang, but it’s very hard to tell. As to the base notes, I smell “oud” and birch tar, and maybe a hint of the orris root.

So that’s me and Amber Aoud. Sorry to disappoint any fans — your mileage may vary! If you know and like this one, please share your thoughts in the comments. I’m looking forward to something different in tomorrow’s Advent calendar surprise! Which is one of the fun aspects of Advent calendars — a little surprise every day.

Refillable wooden Advent calendar
My fragrance Advent calendar
Fragrance Friday: What to Wear?

Fragrance Friday: What to Wear?

This weekend I will be attending a major gala event, a centennial gathering that will include a former President, Senators, and a range of attendees from middle-aged millionaires to current students. I’ve narrowed down the outfit to two options: a navy lace top over a floor-length navy, bias-cut, skirt covered with tiny navy sequins, or a floor-length sapphire blue gown with a “portrait” off-the-shoulder neckline. I’ve figured out that I should do my hair in a simple up-do. But which of my many fragrances should I wear from my collection???

This is an opportunity to wear something much more formal than I usually do. I have the Modern set of Amouage Miniatures for Women:

Set of six miniature Amouage fragrances for women

Amouage Modern Miniatures for Women

It includes: Lyric, Epic, Honour, Memoir, Interlude and Fate. I also have Amouage Gold for Women. I’m leaning toward an Amouage fragrance as they tend toward the formal and last so long. Also, if I use one of the miniatures, I can take it along with me in my evening purse.

On the other hand, I have dozens of lovely samples, any one of which would be enough to last me for one evening, including some Chanels and Guerlains. I have a few sprays left of vintage Chanel No. 22 eau de toilette, from my “salad days.” And I live close enough to a Neiman Marcus that I could, in fact, walk in and drench myself from a Roja Dove tester or one of their many other fragrance delights (I love NM and their nice fragrance sales associates. If I ever bring myself to buy the Guerlain Muguet 2016 in the silver-encased bottle, it will be there).


Roja Dove

Maybe tonight is an opportunity to wear the gorgeous Taif Rose attar my husband brought me from Dubai! I could even layer it with one of the others …

Taif Rose

I also have a new, unopened bottle of Orquidea Negra from The Perfumery Barcelona, which we visited in January. If you ever get a chance to go, do! The owner is delightful and spent quite some time chatting with us and showing us different fragrances. Orquidea Negra is a creation of perfumer Daniel Josier, but the boutique carries other niche brands too; most are unusual and hard to find.

Dear Reader: What would you advise? Scent me, please!

Fragrance Friday: Perfume Tourism in London

I was lucky enough to spend a recent long weekend in London and spent one whole day visiting perfumeries! Many of them were in the charming Burlington Arcade. And yes, I came home with samples, discovery sets and a gift certificate. All the store personnel were friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable. I’ll be back! My slideshow is below:

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