Let’s Play Questions…. Vol. 3 – What Have You Tried Lately?

The Hairy German.

The Hairy German.

Happy Friday! I hope Spring has started to make its way to your neck of the woods. I’ll spare you what the weather has been like here, or how I’m currently wearing shorts…. (Sorry, I couldn’t help it. It’s the only benefit of living where I do!)

Since it’s almost the weekend, I thought you may have time to chat in another round of Questions! Many of you recently took advantage of Surrender to Chance’s Anniversary Sale and, by now, even your second packages should have arrived. I thought it would be a lot of fun to hear about the samples you ordered and may have started to test out. However, not all of you are in the U.S. or ordered from the site. A number of you get your samples elsewhere, whether in swaps, from friends, or just from stores in your neck of the woods. As a result, I wanted to make this broader in scope to apply to any perfume samples that you may tried out lately, regardless of source.

Here are your questions. Feel free to answer any or all of them:

  1. What perfume(s) were you looking forward to trying the most?
  2. Once you got it, did you like it, or was there an another scent that unexpectedly blew you away more?
  3. Whatever the source of your sample(s), have you tried anything recently that you are really tempted to buy as a full bottle? If you’ve already succumbed, what specifically made that scent so irresistible to you?
  4. For those of you who are new to sampling (or Surrender to Chance), what did you think of the whole experience thus far? Is it going to send you down the rabbit hole?

On my end, my second StC package arrived yesterday, but I haven’t had a chance to test out any of the perfumes from the order yet. I fear it will be quite a while before I get around to all of them, given that I’m still working my way through some of my samples from 3 orders ago!

The Hairy German at the dog park.

The Hairy German at the dog park.

Just to let you all know, I never, ever smell a perfume until I’m ready to test it. I don’t want a quick, hurried sniff to prejudice my perceptions. So, I wait until I have at least a solid 8 hours to put it on my skin, and to focus on nothing but the smell. No quick dabs as I go out with The Hairy German, or while I’m on my way to the supermarket. No quick splashes of one scent on one arm, and another fragrance on the other while I’m just relaxing. I don’t even open and sniff the vial until I’m ready to concentrate on every part of the scent, with a notepad on hand and an eye on the clock.

As a result, I won’t really be able to participate in this conversation and to share my own experiences, but I want to live vicariously through all of you. The best part about perfume is how much better and sweeter it is when shared. My favorite thing is when it feels like a lively cocktail party where everyone mingles, shares stories, and passes around the wine or, in this case, the perfume. I hope you will all feel free to converse with each other in the comments. And don’t hesitate to be honest if you don’t like something. We all have different skin chemistry, we all filter scents through our own background history or perceptions, and we all have certain notes that we like more (or less) than others. I won’t be offended if you hated my favorite perfume, I swear!

His Highness, lounging in full furriness.

His Highness, lounging in full furriness.

So, pull up a chair, have a drink or some tea, let the Hairy German take over your lap (I warn you, he’s more like a cat, albeit a giant one that sheds more than three furry children combined), pass the cookies, and let’s talk perfume! If you just want to talk about hairy children, your weekend plans, or something else, that would be wonderful, too! I am a little swamped in trying to push out the next review, so I may not be able to reply right away, but I wanted you to have a place where you could share your recent experiences. 🙂

69 thoughts on “Let’s Play Questions…. Vol. 3 – What Have You Tried Lately?

  1. Ok Kafka-
    By the time I get through you will wish I never answered this question! Here is what I sampled this week:
    Petite Cherie,Tiempe Passat, Coco, Portrait of a Lady, Fille en Aiguilles, Ambre Saltan,Cuir Maresque, Diorissimo, Premier Figuer, UME
    Jo Malone Lilac & Rhubarb, Lime Basil & Mandarin,White Jasmine & Mint, Pomegranate Noir, Wild Fig & Cassis
    Vintage/Classic: Chant D’aromes, Apres L’ondee, Calandre, Metal, Tubereuse,First, Ivoire de Balmain, Diva,Courreges in Bleu, Sinan and the original Chloe (from the 80s).

    yes I have been a busy girl! Some of these were actually revists for me…scents of my youth that I have not smelled in over 30 years!

    As they were gifted to me by three individuals who share in my fragrant tastes I really like them all! Some I absolutely adore (Calandre, Metal, Apres , Courreges, Sinan, Chloe, Figuer, Petite Cherie,Teimpe Passat, Fille, Diorissimo, Tubereuse, Lilac & Rubarb and Lime, Basil and Mandarin and Wild Fig & Cassis). And actually the more I wear the UME the more it is growing on me. Many are large decant or full perfume bottles so there is no need for me to purchase. But if I won lotto and had all the money in the world I would immediately purchase FBs of Tiempe, Premier Figuer and Lime Basil and Mandarin…and if I could get my hands on more vintage Apres L’ondee that would be the icing on the cake!

    and quite a few weeks ago another package came to my home and my favorites of those were Rien and Fils de Dieu (definitely full bottle worthy for both)

    to my fragrant fairies..you are the very best (did I leave anything out?)

    • And that first picture of the Hairy German is beyond cute…makes me want to give him a gigantic smooch!!

    • What is “UME”? My apologies for being slow on the uptake, but I am mentally and physically drained. Plus, I don’t think acronymns are always the easiest thing to figure out and newbies may definitely struggle.

      From your list of loves, it definitely seems you’re a floral girl! 🙂 I noticed none of the ambers or orientals — Cuir Mauresque, Ambre Sultan or Coco — were on your list of things you liked, let alone loved. 😉 I have to say, I could never (even remotely) imagine you in Cuir Mauresque. LOL! Also interesting was the fact that you liked Tiempe Passat. Given Undina’s comments about it being almost identical to Molecule 01, that must mean that you love ISO E Super! That’s great. You’re also someone who likes lighter perfumes and/or colognes, judging by all the Jo Malones on that love list. 🙂

  2. sorry..Ume is actually the name of the perfume oil…all natural…I don’t believe that it is sold any more…given to me by someone who knows that I am heavily exploring naturals…
    actually I so love the orientals/ambers but my mind/nose is in spring so I gave them a whirl but need to revisit in the fall/winter when the weather is cooler…I think this is why I am also gravitating to the florals…for in fact I love heavy ambers and orientals but I would only wear them when the weather is very cold… When the cold weather hits I also wear amber essential oil, labdanum/ vanilla combo essential oils, frankincense and patchouli straight up!
    The Tempe is the exact replica of a drugstore fragrance I wore in the 80s by Jovan called Touche…can not find it any where nor any info on it or the notes when I googled it…I think this is why I love Tempe…it is an olfactory memory of my youth!

    • Ah, I see. Thank you for the clarification on the Ume. As for the seasonal issue, I was posting about that on Lucas’ site just now. We don’t have seasons here. 🙁 In fact, I’m in shorts right now and the air-conditioning is on. I started wearing t-shirts with cardigans in January, and then t-shirts ever since. In the summer (which often starts as early as the end of April), the weather is just one upward climb on the temperature scale. Two summers ago, the heat index regularly topped over 118 Fahrenheit/47 Celsius for days and days in a row. So, bottom line, we don’t have seasons and whatever we DO have is such hell, I can’t let it dictate my perfume choices. You have no idea how much I envy those of you who get an actual Winter, Fall and Spring.

      As for the Tempe, how absolutely WONDERFUL that it replicates one of your favorite fragrances from the past, especially as it is one that you can no longer find. That’s fantastic. Your Fragrance Fairies (Fragrance Fairy Godmothers?) did really well indeed! 🙂

      • The change of seasons are actually nice in terms of rotating the fragrance selection…I do prefer different scents for different seasons…don’t know what I would do if I lived somewhere with the climate constantly the same! Funny you wearing shorts….. I was in my winter jacket today…the high was 50 degrees but it was wet and damp which made it feel colder!

        Have a great weekend, Kafka!

  3. I’m sorry that I can’t fully participate in the conversation 🙁 Not only I didn’t buy a single sample in the last several months but this week I couldn’t even test those that I got from my friends. The reason is actually silly: I have a rule not to test anything until I put it into the database. But since I wasn’t feeling well my time at computer was very limited and I phisically couldn’t enter information about those samples that I’ve got recently. As a result I was re-testing previously tested samples.

    Royal Vintage – finally got to test it on my skin. It’s not for me – too masculine. But I like it so much on my vSO that I’m actually thinking on buying a bottle of it for him.

    Elderflower & Gooseberry and Ginger Biscuit. Still not sure if I should go for a bottle of either of them. Damn limited editions!

    Chanel 1932… Hmm… Maybe I do like it after all? 🙂

    • Your back is still hurting? Oh dear. 🙁 It sounds a lot more serious than I had thought. I’m so sorry and I hope you can manage to get some relief soon.

      Royal Vintage was too masculine for me too. Plus, on my skin, there was an unpleasant stage of ashtrays and cigarette stubs. Not my thing at all. As for the Jo Malones, maybe you could split bottles of them with friends who also love those 2?

  4. As much as I want to be focused on springtime scents, I am deliberately not moving from my ambers and leathers and labdanums etc. You see, spring in Florida is a prelude to the horrible awful wet ovens that will soon leave me gasping for anything cool. I am just dreading summer. Yesterday I had to turn on the AC as it was 86 degrees by 8 am and 85% humidity, and it is only April! I want blue jeans and boots and leather jackets and Geisha Noir and Borneo and Cuir Mauresque!! But I will soon have to wake up to reality. Anyway, I digress. My decant of Mazzolari Patchouli is making me swoon with the floral ambers in it’s wake. Histoires de Parfums Ambre 114 could move up the ladder to my most favorite amber ever. But I will still keep looking just because ambers are so fine. My decant of Coromandel I use as a soporific essence to ease me to sleep. Cuddly beyond compare. My decant of Five O’Clock au Givembre is so yummy I don’t even know when to wear it. If I wear it out in public, will people want to eat me up like a cookie?? Sorry for the overly long reply, but I still could answer your questions for a while longer. Time for me to research a non floral springtime scent that can bear up under the meltocious heat yet to come……

    • First, it’s absolutely NOT a long reply! LOL. (I mean, seriously, look who you’re talking to! 😉 ) Second, you have not only my deepest sympathies but I relate so, so much. I’m in shorts, the AC has been on for days, and summer is already starting to peek out its head here. In Texas, we share your hell. People really can’t understand just HOW bad it gets unless they’ve actually lived in the places we do! But that’s why I ignore seasonal issues with perfume and just wear what I want. I’m not going to be ordered around and bullied by 100% humidity! 😀 Plus, the AC changes things and creates a new type of season — that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! lol.

      So, are all of these scents things you ordered recently or things you’ve had for a while? I have to say, NICE CHOICES, Tora!!! Cuir Mauresque, Coromandel, Borneo 1834, Five o’ Clock Au Gingembre!!! Lovely! I haven’t tried Ambre 114 yet, but I have a sample as part of my gazillion things to try. I’ve never heard of Geisha Noir but I looked it up and the notes sound beautiful.

      You know, given the things you love and that are on that list of yours, you should see about getting a sample of Dior’s Mitzah and Teo Cabanel’s Alahine. I think you may really like them!

      • Oh goody! I need suggestions. I will try those two. Are they Springtime scents? I also ordered from Surrender to Chance, both the Cologne Pour Le Soir and the Absolute Pour Le Soir by Mr Kurkdjian. I am trying them side by side today. The Cologne is so much more nuanced on me. I get the honey, the rose, the smoky labdanum and it has a sheerness to it that flies in the face of the heavy ingredients. The Absolute is a divine deep Labdanum monster. It does not develop on me. But it is very powerful! I have a jar of thick gooey Labdanum I used to use in aromatherapy and it is so much like the Absolute Pour le Soir. I like them both very much.
        I know Texas can be brutal. I went in to labor with my second child on the hottest day in Dallas in August. I will never forget how scorching it was at 2am in the emergency room parking lot. I thought I was going to literally melt, or explode. Orlando is no better. Thank goodness for AC!!! I was thinking of trying out Fig Tree by SSS for a Spring scent.

        • They are not Spring scents, alas. I may not be the best person to come up with suggestions for that since, like you, I’m a diehard Orientalist. LOL. But I can perhaps recommend Ineke’s Hothouse Flower if you want to try a very light floral that conjures up Spring. Of course, my main recommendation would be for the spectacular Opardu by Puredistance which almost gave me whiplash it was so stunning. Truly, one of the best florals I’ve tried in years and years and years. And very airy, so it would definitely work for Spring. Perhaps a good in-between scent would be Chanel’s 31 Rue Cambon from the Exclusifs line but it is very unobtrusive and, to be honest, not in my personal style. Then again, as we’ve discussed, I stick to my opulent orientals regardless of season or weather and generally don’t do light florals. (Though I would totally make an exception for Opardu if I didn’t have such annoying, stupid skin!)

          As for the Maison Francis Kurkdjian, I haven’t tried the Cologne version but it sounds GLORIOUS on you!!!! How wonderful. The Absolute wasn’t so much pure labdanum on me, but I really, really liked it (and its occasionally skanky bits. LOL).

          I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what it must be like to go into labor on the hottest day in Dallas imaginable, so hot that it was still scorching at 2 a.m.! Honestly, just cannot. You have my deepest awe for having survived what must have been an impossibly uncomfortable, difficult experience, magnifying the usual difficulty of going into labor.

          • Oh I look forward to Orpardu Whiplash! That could be a great name for a band, don’t you think? So good to meet a fellow Orientalist. Is that what we call ourselves?? I like it! So, today was the Kurkdjian day. And I have to say that as linear as the Absolute Pour le Soir is on me, my Husband is enamored. And beyond that, I made a feast of Filet Mignon sliced into a succulent Beef Stroganoff, and this fragrance is so Good with food. I cannot say that for so many perfumes. But I slathered myself in 5 sprays of Pour le Soir and the melange of food and scent was just terrific! Good to know for those Fumeheads who also like to cook!!

          • Tora, you need to talk to Kevin who just today went and swoooooooooooooned for Absolue Pour Le Soir and Cacomixtle who is awaiting her full bottle of Absolue as we speak. Yes, somehow, today has been a day alllllllllllll about the Francis Kurkdjian fragrances for a lot of posters here (and elsewhere, in fact). Kevin is spell-bound by it, as I am sure he will be if he reads about your Beef Stroganoff with filet mignon. Damn, that sounds good! I haven’t had that in ages and it used to be a big favorite! Hmm, I wonder what other food-perfumes might there be. It’s a truly interesting concept for foodies to explore! :

            So, is your husband enamoured of the Absolue on you, for himself, or both? As for the term “Orientalist,” I don’t think it is common but I have seen a few people refer to it. I definitely use it to describe myself and for people whose main love is for the very rich, opulent, spicy scents above all others. I can’t wait to try MFK’s Oud, as that one seems to be even more popular and beloved than the Absolue!

  5. I`ve been doing some sampling this week also and would like to share my experience with some of them. So I`ll start with my recent trip to Neiman Marcus where I met Maison Francis Kurkjian himsel where he was intoducing his brand new line of Oud Mood fragrances. I wanted too get a bottle of Oud(the regular one) for quite some time and that was a perfect opportunity to meet MFK and have my bottle of Oud signed and also discover his new line which I thought was fantastic! My favorite turned out to be Silk Mood which was beautiful rose~oud combo.

    I also received my samples from StC two days ago, but didn`t have much time to sniff them all. One of the samples I`ve tried already is Ormonde Jayne Woman which I liked but it requires further testing. The ones I loved were Chanel`s 31 Rue de Cambon and Dior`s Mitzah! This will probably be on my to buy list in the future but I will test them again to make sure they will remain present for a bit on my fragrance eating skin(esp 31 Rue…).

    I also aquired some samples from Serge Lutens line which some of them I loved(Cuir Mauresque, Iris Silver Mist, Santal Majuscule,De Profundis) and the other ones I thought were ok at the most(La Fille de Berlin, Un Bois Sepia,Rose de Nuit).

    • Wow, Ross, what an absolutely fantastic day! It sounds not only like a blast but also, you got to try the new MFK Oud Collection!!! You lucky devil! But to have a signed bottle of one of your favorites (I know how much you like the original Oud from MFK)….. Wow! That is fantastic and I’m so, soooooooo happy for you! What was Francis Kurkdjian like? Did you have a minute or two to chat with him?

      As for your other samples, I simply cannot see you in Serge Lutens’ La Fille de Berlin!! rofl. No surprise to me that you weren’t blown away. I’m equally not surprised that you adored Mitzah! (YAY, another Mitzah convert and fan!) I’m also happy you loved Cuir Mauresque which is a big favorite of mine. I have yet to try Santal Majuscule but I actually was planning to get around to De Profundis sometime soon. I’ll be really interested to see what you think of the Ormonde Woman when you try it out more. I have a small worry since all our talk about ISO E Super (and how the OJ line likes to use it) that it may not work for you as a result, though I personally cannot recall smelling much or any ISO E in that one. (But it has ben a while).

      But what a great day at Neiman Marcus! Did you have a photo taken of yourself with the great Francis?

      • I got the chance to get my picture taken with Francis and chat with him briefly 🙂 He is genuinely great guy and also very talented. I wish to meet him in the future and actually have more time to discuss fragrances.

        De Profundis is very unique scent with some earthy undertones and it evokes sadness in a way. Maybe because it reminded me of late fall and chrysanthemum flowers. I enjoyed it a lot! I also loved Iris Silver Mist and will definitely be getting it as soon as I have a chance. Is it true that Cuir Mauresque got discontinued from the US? If it is I have to get a bottle of it ASAP.

        • Chrysanthemums, for many people, often carry a mental association (even if only subconsciously) of sadness because of the whole funeral aspect but it’s not really that way in Europe where they have a much more common use in perfumery. Someone once told me that the French see it as the smell of authority, in part. I’m excited to see how Lutens puts his twist on it. As for Iris Silver Mist, I hear a lot of positive things about that but iris isn’t my favorite note, so I’ve stayed away. I’m so glad that you love it, though. It’s said to be a truly lovely Lutens!

          I haven’t heard that Cuir Mauresque is going to be discontinued from the US and my first reaction to reading that was “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” Please, if you hear more, will you let me know? That would make me very sad!

          Ending on a positive note, though, how great that you got to talk with Francis Kurkdjian as well as have your photo taken with him! He is so, sooooooo talented and definitely one of the perfumers that I respect a lot. I can’t recall, are you an Absolue Pour Le Soir guy or not? Oh, did you buy the new Oud that you liked so much as well? I think the Velvet one was the one that made me perk up the most from its description, followed then by Silk.

          • I read somewhere that they will be dicontinuing Cuir Mauresque from the US market, but I can`t say 100% if its true. I`ll definitely let you know if I get more info on that matter.
            Yes I bought the MFK Oud (I wanted to get for quite some time already). Di you have a chace to try it yet?

          • Not yet, alas, no. But I meant, the Silk Oud in addition to his regular Oud fragrance. Are you tempted by a full bottle of that one, too?

            I have to say, I’m feeling a little panicked right now about Cuir Mauresque! I will wait to see what you find out, but dammit! I opted for a full bottle of my beloved Alahine recently over the Cuir Mauresque but I better do something about that one, too. PS- Email replied. xoxox

          • I`ll be getting Silk Oud sometime in the future for sure, as I`m still sampling it. Its very potent and less is more with this fragrance(actually its a perfume extract).

  6. I’m still looking forward to try Prada Infusion d’Iris l’Eau d’Iris and I will, I found a Perfume Fairy who will grant my wish for this one. yay.
    Last week I bought a 5ml decant (blind) of LM Parfums Vol d’Hirondelle and I’m loving it. It’s beautiful! Will be sure to review it a little bit later (first I’ll deal with a winning review from last weekend poll)

    • How fun, Lucas! A blind buy that turned out to be a hit! I have a sample of something by Laurent Mazzoni that I won on eBay as part of a larger decant collection but I can’t recall what it is and haven’t tried it (or anything else from his line), so I’ll be interested to see your take on the scent. Have you tried a lot of things from that house before? I believe it is something exclusive to Europe and not carried over here in the US, so that’s one big reason why I’ve held off on trying the decant I have.

      • I don’t do blind buys for bottles but for decants? Why not!? Oh, I’m curious which LM perfume offerings did you win.
        Vol d’Hirondelle was the first perfume I tried from this house but thanks to this one I’m encouraged to try and get a few more to try.

          • I remember reading about this one. 8 ml (or less) is a lot, hope you’ll enjoy it. I really like the decant of Vol d’Hirondelle I bought.
            I will review it soon, but first the Atelier Cologne winner and L’Artisan runner up (buaHaHAHA, evil laugh)

          • I haven’t gotten there, yet, sweet Lucas. I’m so behind schedule because I collapsed in exhaustion yesterday and just slept. I promise to look as soon as I can. 🙂

          • Oh my!? Are you fine now? Is it the temperature or are you not sleeping or eating properly. Hope everything will be good soon, anyway I’m worried about you, remember that!

          • I’m still utterly exhausted and drained, but a little better. I have barely been eating or sleeping, so I think I need to regulate myself a little better. These long posts take a lot of out of me when I do them each and every day. So, I’m going to try to pace myself a little better. Thank you for being so very sweet and for being concerned. That means the world to me, chéri! xoxoox

          • If you want to talk, moan about something or so please keep in mind that my mailbox is always waiting for a message from you 🙂
            Take care of yourself, get some proper sleep and eating, you need to get ahold of yourself, ok? And please remember that everyone who loves your blog won’t be offended if you don’t post everyday but once in a few days. That’s what I thought creating Chemist in the Bottle – to post when I can.

  7. I haven’t tried much lately. I did get some samples in the mail this week from some very lovely perfume peeps so I’ll be testing my little nose off this weekend. In the line up to try are: SL Arabie, Byredo Oud Immortel and Green, Terre d’Hermes, OdlR Oriental Lace, Kai, a couple Histories de Parfums, and a few others.
    Weekend plans… Well, I am going to drag myself to the gym for the first time in a long time and try to get back on track with the whole exercise thing. I’m going to start painting the master bathroom which really needs an overhaul of epic proportions but instead I’m going to do a more cost effective sprucing up that does not require contractors. Also planning on doing some work in the yard if the weather cooperates. Lots of cleanup to do out there.
    I would love to snuggle with the Hairy German. He’s adorable. Of course my kids would be jealous if I did.

    • The gym…… *shudder* Unnecessary torture devices, that’s what the gym is to me. LOL. I’m tiny, so I can get away with not going but I really probably should just to be in better shape. Perhaps you can motivate me, Poodle? 🙂

      As for your samples, you got some fun things there!! I haven’t heard of Kai or Oriental Lace, though a quick check on Fragrantica tells me it’s from Oscar de La Renta. But the Byredo, SL and Histoires de Parfums ones should be a lot of fun. Which of the latter did you get? As for Terre d’Hermes, I can’t recall if you have issues with ISO E or not (I think you don’t, if I vaguely recall), so I’ll be very curious to see what you think of that one. 🙂

      House renovations can be so bloody stressful! What colour are you thinking of for the master bathroom? And how are your furry ones? Is your girl a little better? I’ve missed seeing you around and I worry that it’s because of her health, in part. I hope she’s okay.

      • Greta is a bit better but her age is really showing. She’s lost strength in her hind legs so jumping up on things like the bed is becoming impossible for her. Actually, mom ended up in the hospital so that’s what I’ve been busy with. It’s been nutty.
        I can’t motivate anyone else to work out until I can get my own sorry self motivated. When I do that I’ll be sure to pester you about getting fit. 😉
        The bathroom will be blue when I’m done. Hubby likes blue and that’s his bathroom so I let him pick the color but I chose the shade. Clear Pond. Hopefully it will look good but if not, it’s only paint. It can be changed easy enough.
        I’ll let you know how my sampling goes.

        • Poodle, if you ever need anything, or just to vent, please — I’m only an email away. I won’t impose on you, but the offer is always open. I mean it. I really do. And you don’t even need to talk about serious stuff, if you’d prefer. But I’ll be here and, in the meantime, I send you a huge, massive hug, sweetie. xoxoxox

          • That’s sweet of you. I’ll do that sometime and I’m sending you a hug as well.

  8. I’ve hardly tried anything from my samples! I have so, so many and I’ve been negligent! I’m thinking I need to take a page from Udina’s playbook and not try more until I’ve entered them into my database. In the past, I liked to track what I’ve tried and just a few words about my general impression (and I do mean a *few* words – basically, whether I liked it, disliked it, or was “meh” about it and a very brief description about why). Unfortunately, I’ve been very lazy lately and now my tracking has fallen into utter disarray!

    But I have tried Mitzah, which was great (but probably not as great as my beloved Coromandel), and Musc Tonkin which was…um…musky, as I told you. LOL. And I was going to try something new this morning, but received some bad news yesterday afternoon, so I wasn’t in the mood for something new. This morning it’s some nice vintage Opium to elevate my mood. 🙂

    That first picture of the Hairy German sticking his tongue out is so sweet. What a little angel! I know he’s supposed to be big and intimidating, but I can tell he’s just a soft-hearted puppy underneath the facade. What a sweetie, I would nuzzle him all day!

    • Hurrah for more love for Mitzah! I think there are some definite ties between Mitzah and Coromandel, but also, between Mitzah, and Borneo 1834 & Anima Dulcis. Yet, it is not exactly the same as either. There are threads that link the perfumes but Mitzah is far from being wholly the same.

      How interesting that you also track sample sniffs. I think that’s a great idea, if one is tech-y, Excel-oriented, and has the time. But it also seems like it must require a lot of time! (However, that is partially my little Excel-phobic side speaking out as it would take me forrrrrrrrrrrrrrever. LOL.)

      As for Bois d’Argent, I was just reading up on Tania Sanchez’ assessment of that this morning in her book with Luca Turin. She called it a “light, lovely take on [Dior’s] Hypnotic Poison” and said it was done by the same perfumer who did the latter. I thought you may find that interesting. 🙂

      • I’ve never smelled Poison, in any incarnation! 🙂 I really need to read Luca Turin’s book by the way, I just can’t seem to get in a reading mood. Your assessment of Mitzah is spot on though – it has links to Coromandel and 1834, but it is different. But they are inextricably linked in my mind, which is unfortunate, because few things can compete with Coromandel.

        Others are mentioning seasonal choices and I am just dreading the switch I’ve already had to make. While I like some of my lighter fare, it mostly defaults to citrus, which is fine, but the light scents aren’t my true loves. And with the weather in DC being atrocious in the summer, I have a feeling my “lighter” fare will be in full swing soon. I begin melting as soon as I walk out the door, so I foresee a lot of PdE’s Iskander, Azemour, and Eau de Gloire; Chanel 19, 22, Bois des Iles, Sycomore, Bel Respiro; with some Eau Sauvage and Hermes thrown in for good measure. Said in succession, I suppose my situation isn’t so bad, but dammit, I just don’t want this hot summer to come!

        I like to track samples because my mind can only hold a certain amount of info, and I think at this point I’ve tried probably over 200 perfumes and am having a hard time remembering some of them, except in the vaguest sense. Even just a few words can help jog my memory. But sometimes my laziness takes over and I sniff and don’t track. 🙂

        I’m already trying to work out in my mind what I’ll buy myself for my birthday. Though let’s be honest, the reality is probably that I’ll buy myself *several* things, so I don’t need to worry to much about choosing now. I’m thinking the ELdO sampler is a must.

        • Kevin, Luca’s book is the perfect keep in your bathroom by the toilet book. (No offence, Luca) But I say this because, each little review he and Tania do of the hundreds of perfumes is, like a one minute read. I keep it in the sale de bain, and everybody loves to pick it up and read one review or two and be done. It is a reference manual, not a novel. Enjoy it in small bites……

          • LOL at “No offence, Luca.” Ha! My problem with Luca Turin’s book is that I can’t just stop at one thing. And, before I know it, about an hour has passed. It’s a time-suck like Wikipedia in the best way possible, though it can also be very frustrating and not particularly good for the wallet. Plus, I sharply disagree with Mr. Turin on a number of his edicts or verdicts. 😉

        • Good to know that you haven’t tried any Poison. I’ll send you some of my Pure Poison which is the only one I really like. All white flowers.

          As for the heat issue, there is always air-conditioning, though I realise it’s not quite as prevalent in DC where people do have to walk around somewhat as it is here where people are always in cars. I personally refuse — REFUSE — to be bullied by the damn weather. To paraphrase Charlton Heston, they’re going to have to pry my orientals out of my cold, dead hands!

          With regard to your birthday, I suspect you’re going to gift yourself a very early birthday present of Absolue Pour Le Soir. There is simply no way you’re going to last 4 and 1/2 months! I know you far too well, cheri. 😉

  9. I feel a total cad (can a woman be a cad?), standing in front of the perfume cabinet every morning, I slip right past all my FB lovlies and choose – yet again – a sample vial. My favorite discoveries this month are from two companies: April Aromatics and Bruno Acampora. My ‘fume friend, Michael, included BA Blu in a pkg ages ago, and I finally got around to trying it on skin; it’s a beautiful Tuberose scent and it made me curious about the rest of the Acampora line, so I immmediately sent for the 7 sample set from Luckyscent. I found all of the perfumes to be very interesting – and wearable – and ordered a bottle of the Musc edp. Musk perfumes are waaay under-represented in my collection and BA Musc is a perfect addition. (It layers nicely with lots of other perfumes, also.) April Aromatics is also a line that I was not familiar with and recently several perfume blogs have reviewed some of the perfumes, again sparking my interest, which resulted in the ordering of a sample set. : )
    As with the Bruno Acampora line, all of these were really lovely perfumes; my favorites being Liquid Dreams and Unter den Linden. They’re both pricey, so I’m afraid only one of them can go on the “buy” list. Argh!, it’s impossible to choose!

    • Welcome Cymbaline! Lovely to see you. 🙂 I’ve heard wonderful things about the Bruno Acampora line, and also about Unter den Linden from April Aromatics. I’m afraid I haven’t tried anything from either line but I hope to rectify that one of these days, soon.

      As for ignoring your FBs, don’t feel as though you’re cheating on them. Think that you’re looking for new siblings to join them because you don’t want them to be lonely….. 😉 😀

        • I think I am experiencing the same phenomenon as you, vis a vis the neglect of FBs. You know what I think….I think that the exploration, the discovery has become everything, at least for me. My past narrow band has broadened, and my desire for new intrigue has expanded. I used to be so very sure of myself, and my likes. And I have been shown a whole new world by my friends who love perfume. So I am riding the wave, and kinda loving it. My full Bottles are patient and forgiving, my samples and decants are jiggleing and dancing for attention!!

  10. I tried Absolue pour le Soir recently, which was rather unfortunate for my bank account, as it immediately resulted in a full bottle! I’m a complete and utter sucker for these kind of honeyed, dirty, craven orientals that somehow evoke temples and brothels at the same time.

    I’ve also been sampling a great many “Spring” type perfume and many many Figs from different houses, but really to no avail, it’s always the orientals, incenses, dark jasmines, and certain kind of dark foresty fragrances that call me back, regardless of season. I did recently try Sonoma Scent Studio’s Tabac Aurea and fell in love with that as well! It somehow reminds me of Ambre Russe (a favorite of mine), but without nearly as many recreational drugs and orgies involved 🙂

    I’m very grateful for StC, especially since I don’t have any local way of testing fragrances due to my remote location. It’s great fun, quick service, and run by folks who know their fumes!

    I have samples of L’air du Desert Marocain, Aziyade, Puredistance M, and Trayee on their way to me, and I’m excited about all of them!

    • I’m totally with you on the Absolue Pour Le Soir or perfumes that evoke “temples and brothels.” Actually, you know, that last part may be the very BEST short summary of my perfume tastes that I’ve ever heard. Absolutely brilliant phrase and one that I will completely steal, if you don’t mind! 🙂

      I try so hard to like airy, light, fresh Spring floral scents but, while I can appreciate some of them, it’s always opulent Orientals or darkly wooded ones that get to me as well. I don’t mind sweetness if there is a lot of spice, but purely sweet, purely floral or purely fresh/airy, soapy, clean scents? Never.

      Ambre Russe calls to mind orgies and recreational drugs???! DAMN, now I must push that one up my testing list!! 😉 LOL.

      • You are most welcome to steal it!

        I have a full 1 ml sample of Ambre Russe that I can send you if you want it, just email me with your address. It’s one of my absolute favorites for certain!

        I agree on the sweetness, I can definitely enjoy a good amount of sweetness if combined with depth, richness, and yes, spices. This is probably why I’m such a big fan of labdanum, because it has some of all of that, and gives more interest and complexity when added to sweeter resins like Benzoin or Tolu.

        And please do get some rest, there’s something terribly Victorian romantic in wasting away due to brilliant poetic writing on perfumes, but the perfume blogosphere would be very sad indeed without you.

        • Awwww, you’re so incredibly sweet, on all counts and for ALL of the above comment! I do have a sample of Ambre Russe, thank you, chérie. It’s there with the other 60 (oops, as of Thursday, 80) things that I have to get through. LOL. I try to rotate reviews by type of fragrance, brand, new things, masculines, ultra-high end vs more affordable, etc., but with new things constantly coming out, my schedule keeps getting screwy. Next on the list will be Tom Ford, to then be followed probably some Arquiste, Vero Profumo, Serge Lutens, Mona di Orio, Histoires de Parfums, then Guerlain, Amouage and Dior. At least, that’s the hazy plan thus far. If I could do shorter reviews, like normal people, things would go much faster. LOL.

          You’re so very sweet, Cacomixtle. Thank you again for your kindness! 🙂 😀 xoxox

          • You’re most welcome, and you’re very disciplined… someday I will learn to stop torturing people in the local post office by ripping into my StC packages right then and there and huffing them up immediately. There’s one waiting for me there right now, but I have blown my perfume budget and no matter how much I love any sample, I must wait a little while…. yes, a little while ~looks down at hands and starts to count days on fingers~

        • Ambre Russe is my most favorite evening scent!! so good to meet a fellow lover of that.

          • Good to meet you too, Tora! I adore it! I’ve seen Ambre Russe referred to as Rasputin’s Armpit (which made me laugh out loud), but I love the booze, tobacco, sex (what, that’s not an official note?), leather, incense, tea and on and on….

            I have a full 100 ml bottle, and I’m obsessed enough with it that I’ve caught myself contemplating a second bottle, because if they reformulate it at any point it will break my heart into a thousand vodka drenched shards of ambergris.

            Given the power, longevity, and sillage though, it is possible that said bottle could last me the next sixty years… and yes, I might just grow up to be that 90 year old lady wearing a dress from the early 1900’s, subsumed in a cloud of Ambre Russe, and happily sipping cognac while gazing at Datura flowers. There are worse fates…

          • Rasputin’s Armpit? A thousand vodka drenched chards of ambergris? Absolutely hilarious!!! I’m SO glad you joined our little community. You’re a breath of (extremely humourous) fresh air, Cacomixtle!

          • “…because if they reformulate it at any point it will break my heart into a thousand vodka drenched shards of ambergris.”

            LOL! This is awesome. As is “Rasputin’s Armpit.” I am *so* glad you both love Ambre Russe. I so wanted to love it, thought I would love it, but I never really warmed up to it. It was months ago, so perhaps I should revisit it again.

          • Cacomixtle, some day we must meet. Clearly you are dancing right in my front yard. Which by the way, is thick with pink and white Datura. As Kevin pointed out, you had me at “a thousand vodka drenched shards of ambergris” . And yes, I do believe “sex'” is a time honored and clearly recognizable perfume note.

          • Kevin, do try it again. The booze note alone is worth everything. And the Amber/Honey Tobacco is dive headfirst into your skin and never want to come up goodness.

  11. I missed the STC sale because I was broke then, but ordered a handful of samples today. I’m currently obsessed with Les Nereides Oriental Lumpur, not because it smells like an oriental fragrance to me (on me it doesn’t), but because I get a hot red pepper from it that I absolutely love. So I’m trying L’Artisan Piment Brulant et Poivre Piquant and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Piment et Chocolat in the pepper category. Also trying Sonoma Scent Studios Cocoa Sandalwood and Champagne De Bois because I heard they were amazing, and CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves Absolute because I have a totally illogical hankering for Vermont in autumn right now.

    I’m really enjoying the fragrance sampling; I feel like I’m getting an education of sorts and when I can’t travel (another great passion we share) it makes me feel like I am. The only thing is I’ve learned I have to cool it a bit and not over-sample, but get manageable amounts at one time. My first order from STC had 30 vials in it, and some of them I still haven’t tried because I was overwhelmed. (Some of them I don’t even remember why I wanted to try them!)

    • Those sound like extremely fascinating choices, Nancy! I can’t wait to hear if any of them make you fall in love and why. If you love red chili pepper, you should add Arquiste’s Anima Dulcis to the list. (You can look up my review.) Hermes & Jean-Claude Ellena also used the note in Paprika Brasil, but I wasn’t a fan of that one, especially as there were also bell peppers notes in it to my nose. Plus, it is so damn light!

      • Ooh, I definitely want to try Arquiste- I loved your review of it; I think that may be the first of yours I ever read and you made it sound so enticing!

        I’m also tempted to start in on pink pepper. There used to be this cheap perfume from CCB-Paris called Corinne Cobson Love Etc. where the top notes were pink pepper. It’s long discontinued but I’m obsessed with finding something that smells like that.

  12. Dear Kafka,

    First, big smooches to The Hairy German. He is so huggable!

    I finally got package 2 of 2 from STC! Without further ado:

    1. The one I couldn’t wait to try – take a guess. Yes, today, I’m in Opardu – what a lovely scent! Decisions, decisions…

    2. I am such a slow tester/user that it will take me a while to even get to any of the others…however, based on recent reviews / mentions (even in comments) in the blogosphere …the ones that will move to the top of the list (although not necessarily in order) include:

    Kafka – Opardu (#1 prize), Tom Ford Private Blend Noir de Noir, Christian Dior New Look 1947 (with a nod to Undina)

    Lucas – Arquiste Fleur de Louis, Amouage Opus II and Opus V, Carner Barcelona D600

    NST – Lorenzo Villoresi Mare Nostrum – Aura Maris, Heeley Cardinal, Serge Lutens Santal Majuscule, Parfumerie Generale Musc Maori

    I also got a ton of stuff from the NST Swap Meet. The one I couldn’t wait to try is the Vintage Chamade. I mentioned to my swap buddy that I need to genuflect before I use it 🙂

    3. This week, I had been using Cartier Baiser Vole EDT and it is a candidate for a FB. It is fresh and something about its dry-down reminds me of SSS To Dream. I couldn’t pinpoint what it is comparing the notes. I am also hunting down the extrait de parfum. Once I acquire these 2, I will have all 3 concentrations.

    4. Already in the rabbit hole. Enough said :-).

    • The Hairy German is a lover, not a fighter (unless you’re the UPS man), so I have no doubt he would give you an enormous number of face kisses. Just don’t wear black around him, or your clothes will end up looking quite tweed-like. LOL.

      All of that is to delay the real question: do you really, truly like Opardu? I really hope you do. I wasn’t sure what #1 Prize implied, and if it meant #1 in the queue for testing, or if it meant that it was the #1 most likely to get a bottle order!

      I almost tested out Cardinal from Heeley last week but something about the rare, brief sniff I gave to the vial as I was trying to decide made me hold off. I fear I detected something synthetic. But I didn’t put it on my skin to know. Still, it shows that I should stick to my usual rule of never smelling anything until I’m convinced I’m going to try it. I’ll be curious to see what you think of it. Of course, I want to know what you think of all the others too, especially Noir de Noir!

      You’re going to have so much fun playing with all these for the next few weeks. Or, in your case, given how you test, maybe months. LOL! 😉 xoxox

      • Next few months would be more like it….

        As to Opardu, the decision I need to make is 17.5 mLs or 60 mLs and I am leaning towards the 17.5 mL even though the per mL cost is atrocious. It did start out softly soapy on me but soapy never stopped me and it developed quite nicely with me going out for errands with a chill in the air and warmer indoors.

        I admire your discipline of not doing a pre-sniff prior to testing

        How do you decide which ones to review?

        • I think the key for you will be how long Opardu lasts if you use just a little bit and if the sillage with that little bit is perfect for your needs. 🙂

          As for deciding which fragrances to review, I generally try to alternate between: perfume houses, cost of the perfume (ie, not all very expensive ones in a row), types of perfumes (floral, oriental, purely feminine, leathers, etc.), what’s super-trendy or current vs. more established ones, and accessibility or ease of purchasing the perfume (things that are widely available vs. more European exclusives). It’s a delicate juggling act and I get these tentative schedules in my head, but sometimes, I’ll see a lot of references to a perfume somewhere and decide to move a fragrance up the list. At other times, a perfume that is scheduled for review may drop down the list simply because I may have recently tested a lot of perfumes in a row that I couldn’t bear, and I simply don’t have the energy to add another one that I know I won’t like.

          Sometimes, I’m just not in the mood for all that a certain perfume’s review will entail, from the amount of research to the number of other reviews to assess (and the inevitability that my review will be super-long as a result). Or, perhaps, it’s just too big or too famous a perfume for me to have the energy that day to just dive into it. So, it’s a constant juggling act. 🙂

          • Hello Hello Dear Kafka. I like to come back to this post because the picture of The Hairy German is just the best ever.

            Given your testing regimen, I have a proposal for you and other perfumebloggers to mix things up. How about a Reach Into The Samples Bag perfume review? Perhaps 2,3 or 4 of you can decide on a date, blind pick from your samples stash…and without looking at the name of the perfume, just write down your impressions, notes, etc. etc. Your adoring fans will than have to guess what you tested. Not a contest but simply a back to basics review with zero back story since there is no branding, no marketing drivel to go through… You can do the reveal once someone guesses right or after a day or 2 from posting date.

            As to Opardu, I am taking my chances without knowing for certain how long it lasts on me. If it doesn’t last long…no big deal because it is a beautiful perfume and I want to live in it even for short bursts.

          • The Sample Guessing Game is definitely a thought. 🙂 One would have to choose relatively well-known scents if people are to have a real chance of guessing, though. I’ll have to ponder a little more how it might be done. I’ve certainly smelled and reviewed perfumes blind before, without knowing notes or any details. For example, the Chanel 1932 that I was the first to review before it launched and without a clue as to the notes. There was also Musk Tonkin where no-one ever knew the notes. LOL. 🙂

            As for Opardu, you have no idea how happy I am that you love it so. Have your feelings for it grown since that very first sniff?

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