Going on Holiday! Mysteries, Paris & Perfumes

Hello everyone. As you may have gathered from the rather abrupt change in my reviewing schedule over the last 10 days, something is up: I’m leaving on holiday Thursday! I’ve been frantically packing, unpacking, and packing some more — an ordeal I despise like few other things on earth — and generally have been running around like rather demented chicken. Thankfully, however, the end is finally in sight.

The Hairy German.

The Hairy German.

I’ll be away from Thursday, September 26th until Monday, October 7th. It will take me some time upon my return to get back in the swing of things, primarily because I will have to pay copious penance to The Hairy German for my departure. I’m worried about the welcome I’ll receive upon my return, because he does tend to hold a slight grudge over these sorts of things. He will be with his grandparents who always spoil him like mad, but I’m still very stressed about it all. The last time I left for 2 weeks, they couldn’t drag him away from the front door for the first 7 days, and he barely ate.

So, where am I going? It’s a two-part trip, and I’m being quite honest when I say that I don’t have the faintest clue where I’ll be for the first portion of it. It’s a Mystery Trip! No, seriously, it is. A friend is throwing a party, and all I know is that: I have to be Charles de Gaulle airport by 10:00 a.m. on Friday the 27th; I need a bathing suit; and I have to have a costume that fits a specific theme that they’ve given us. It’s a costume that has to be made (not bought) and, for this year’s party, you’re paired up with another guest (who is located halfway around the world) to work out the outfits in tandem. I was also informed that I might want to be careful about the perfume lest I attract some unwanted attention from animals. (I’m actually not sure if that last part was a joke, or a genuine warning. Oh dear.) Finally, I assume that, for various reasons involving the other guests, time, and past tradition, the location will be some place in Europe, but that’s only a guess. Personally, I think it will be some obscure beachy place in Portugal, Spain or the Canary Islands, perhaps even one of the islands on the Dalmatian Coast.

Source: hdwallpapers.in

Source: hdwallpapers.in

For the rest of the trip, I will be in Paris, my old home. I’ll be staying with one of my best friends from high school, whilst also seeing some childhood and university friends. I don’t know how much time I will have to go perfume shopping, but I’ve typed up a 9-page document with all the perfume addresses, metro stops, and even a step-by-step sort of walking route for both the Left Bank and the Right Bank.

Palais Royal staircase. Source: Scentbar.it

Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal. Source: Scentbar.it

The one place I know for certain that I’ll visit is Serge Lutens. Not only because it’s Serge Lutens and, therefore, my Mecca, but also because a close friend lives right around the corner! I had planned to get De Profundis, then possibly a second bell jar, but I’m now reconsidering my choice of perfumes. I love De Profundis, but I think I want an opulent, heavy Oriental or a woody fragrance. I do know that it will NOT be Miel de Bois…. <ahem>

Jovoy, Paris.

Jovoy, Paris.

After that, the rest of my schedule is unclear, partially because of my friends who are more of a priority for me. If I can carve out some time, Jovoy is at the top of my list, a list which also includes everything from JAR to such niche perfume boutiques as Sens Unique, Arabian OudMarie-Antoinette, and Nose. At Jovoy, I’m going to be seeking out the rest of the LM Parfums line, along with Roja Dove, Amouage, and lesser-known perfume houses. I’m particularly interested in Von Eusersdorff, which is supposed to have an excellent patchouli, as you can read in this review from the lovely Susie Baird of Epiphany. As for Roja Dove’s line, I’ve heard absolutely spectacular things about Diaghilev, but I’ve also been told that it costs €990 (or $1334 at today’s exchange rate), so… um… Good God!! I’m not sure if I want to be masochistic enough to even give it a testing sniff, lest I end up loving something that is wholly out of my reach.

Hotel Costes. Photo: Vlad Loteanu. Source: panoramio.com

Hotel Costes. Photo: Vlad Loteanu. Source: panoramio.com

In terms of perfume houses with their own presence in Paris, I have a special interest in Oriza LeGrand, IUNX (by Olivia Giacobetti, which is exclusive to the Hotel Costes), Parfums de Rosine (located conveniently close to Serge Lutens), Les Nereides, Reminiscence, The Different Company, and Teo Cabanel (due to my passionate love for their Alahine). I can’t recall if Reminiscence bought Ylang-Ylang, the jewellery house that made my old Holy Grail patchouli fragrance, but Reminiscence is well known for their own, so I hope to find something similar to the perfume that I used to wear and whose twin I have been hunting for over 20 years! Their Patchouli sounds wonderful, as does their Amber, and they’re priced extremely reasonably at €52, €76, or €105 for a 50 ml, 100 ml, or 200 ml bottle. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s similar to my old HG scent, despite missing the Mysore sandalwood which that one had, and Reminiscence’s unfortunate inclusion of the usually crap Australian variety.

Horizon by Oriza L. Legrand

Horizon by Oriza L. Legrand

As for Oriza L. Legrand, I’m fascinated by the return of this perfume house with some seriously ancient history. It was founded in 1720 under Louis XV, supplied several European royal courts and Napoleon III’s imperial court with their perfumes, won prizes at the World Fairs of 1889 and 1900, and is now making a return with scents that are supposed to have an old-school, luxurious, heavy richness to them. I’m mostly interested in the incense-y Reve d’Ossian out of the original line, and you can read about it at theCaFleureBon link above or at Fragrantica. I’ve also got my nose set on trying Horizons, a rich amber whose notes (according to Oriza) include: Bark bitter orange, Tangerine Confit & Dried Rose; Cognac Amber, Aromatic Tobacco Leaves, Cocoa Roasted Almonds, Old Oak & Patchouli; Benzoin, Amber Gray, peat, Tabac Blond, Vanilla, Honey & Soft Leather. Fabulous, no? I really hope I’m not disappointed, especially as it’s a reasonable €120 for 100 ml. You can get samples of the full 7 fragrances in the range for €9, plus another €9 for shipping.

As for the big houses, Caron, Chanel, and Dior will be on the schedule if I have time. Then I suppose I’ll have to pop into Guerlain, but I’m completely skipping Hèrmes, L’Artisan Parfumeur, and Annick Goutal.



Food is extremely high on my list of things to focus on, too, perhaps even higher than perfume. Everything from Ladurée, to oysters, seared foie gras, really good steak tartare, Oeufs à la Meurette, Lebanese food, Tarte Tatin, and grotesque amounts of cheese. In fact, I have a plan to eat my own weight in as many gooey, creamy, hard, nutty, smelly cheeses and baguettes as I can get my hands on, until it’s too much even for this bread addict. (If you read in the newspaper of someone who died from excessive bread and cheese consumption whilst on holiday in Paris, you’ll know who it is.)

His Highness' fangs.

His Highness’ fangs.

In short, the order of my excitement is: my friends, being home, divine food, and then perfumery. Screwy priorities for a perfume blogger, no doubt, but c’est la vie. I look forward to telling you all about my trip when I come back, but you’ll have to give me a few days after October 7th to spoil The Giant, Disgruntled, Fanged One, to recuperate from jet lag, and to go through all the things that may have piled up in my absence. I hope to have a fun post up around October 9th or 10th about some of my adventures.

One last word: if any new readers comment on the blog but don’t see their comments posted or visible, it’s because first-time commentators must have their post manually approved as part of the anti-spam system. (If you knew how much spam I delete each day, you’d understand the necessity for the rule). I will have limited internet access for most of my trip (and probably none at all for the first part), so I won’t be able to get to or approve your comments during my absence. But I promise to read and clear everything upon my return, so don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on something in the meantime.

On that note, I have some packing to finish, and some perfumes to decant for my trip. Attracting the local wildlife? Phooey!

36 thoughts on “Going on Holiday! Mysteries, Paris & Perfumes

  1. So Exciting!! Have a lot of fun, Kafka!! I can’t wait to hear which Serge Lutens you end up buying. And also about the mystery trip and all the food you ate. As a fellow bread and cheese addict- I recognize and understand your priorities..;-)

    • Thank you, dear Jordan. I’m badly in need of recharging my batteries and having a small break, so I think this may do the trick. Assuming, of course, that I’m not eaten alive because I happened to be wearing Alahine or Mitzah. Hmm, given the labdanum in Mitzah, maybe a friendly goat will recognize the goat-beloved note, and come my way? 😉 LOL

  2. Ooh, it sounds like it’s going to be a holiday for the ages – have fun and mag-ingat kayo (“take care”)! We’ll try to keep the Hairy German entertained so he won’t be too depressed. 🙂

    • Oh, how I wish you could keep him entertained. If you were here, I’d tell you that His Highness needs his paws kissed, his eyes delicately rubbed, his chest and chin scratched, more feathery kisses all over his face, then extra kisses on his paws — all while showering him with compliments in a high-pitched baby voice. And he expects this to be done at least once an hour, every hour, and around the clock. I’m not kidding. He gives you his paw to be kissed if he feels neglected. Finally, he demands strenuous exercise, and may bring you his leash as a hint around 4:45 p.m. if you’re late and past his pre-ordained schedule.

      Yes, The Royal One has me extremely well-trained. LOL! Can you see why I worry about how he’ll do without his favorite slave? 😉

  3. Have an amazing time Kafka!! I hope you won’t be disappointed by the Von Eusersdorff Classic Patchouli, I certainly wasn’t 🙂 Bon Voyage!! 🙂

  4. I can’t wait to hear where this mystery party will be this time! What an amazing friend to host this!
    And as I expect from you, a 9 page detailed list of the important Paris perfume related stops sounds amazing! If I am ever in Paris again I want to borrow that.
    At least you know you can cross Miel des Bois off your Bell Jar list 🙂
    Enjoy yourself and bring back lots of stories for the blog!

    • Poor Miel des Bois, I feel almost badly at my reaction of blanched horror at what was emanating from my skin. My first, officially terrible, experience with honey — as dreadful as some of the reported horror stories. I’ve never had a honey perfume go so wrong on me. It was pure ammonia and cleaning bleach. Like Clorox bleach almost. I truly couldn’t believe it. Tried it twice or three times just to be sure!

      I’d be happy to share my list for Paris shopping, though it’s a hodge podge of compilations from all over. Other bloggers, newspaper articles, etc. The most useful part may be all the Metro stops for each store. I thought of you when I read that the Arabian Oud store apparently had the best collection of Middle Eastern ouds outside of London! Let’s just hope I can snaggle in the time to go to half the places on my list *AND* eat all the gastronomic treasures I want at the same time. I plan to roll myself back onto the plane at Charles de Gaulle on Oct. 7th. LOL.

  5. Have a good trip!
    I know you meant you’re leaving on September 26th, but you typed 24th out of excitement, packing madness and all that stuff.

  6. I hope you have a wonderful perfume and cheese filled time. The good thing is that the bathing suit portion of the trip comes before the cheese one. I’m dying to know where you end up going. You’ve got some rather nice friends. I also can’t wait to hear what wonderful things you sniff and buy. And eat. Take pictures of the really memorable meals please.
    Speaking of eating, what beautiful teeth he has! Oh boy, are you going to have some explaining to do. You’d better find a nice toy for him as a souvenir. If he’s anything like one of mine he’ll be super happy at first and then give you the cold shoulder for a few days while you spend your time begging him for forgiveness. That’s how it works here. I was doing it yesterday after having to leave Greta at the vet for 5 hours again.
    Don’t forget to relax too while you’re away. Enjoy!

  7. A travel adventure…that sounds like so much fun. I have the feeling that you run with a pretty sophisticated and gentile crowd, so I wouldn’t expect that you are going to be doing a “Survivor” vacation. I can’t wait to hear about it. Just think of us regular worker bees who have to trudge to work in the darkened morning skies! Remember to bring another suitcase to pack away all the goodies that you’ll be bringing home from Paris! xoxoxoxo Steve

  8. Have a great time, Kafka! I’ve been to Paris for a week this year, and I was so enchanted with the city with all its different kinds of treasures, that perfume really took the back seat. I came back with only a small bottle of Odalisque(Parfums de Nicolai) and a Divine sample set. I simply couldn’t focus enough on what I was smelling and I wasn’t even that interested although I went to Serge Lutens,Frederic Malle, Dior, Caron, Guerlain, Parfums de Rosine, Parfums de Nicolai, Divine , Cartier, Santa Maria Novella and Jovoy. So I did my perfumista duty, but that city is simply too amazing to let you be absorbed in anything else than its beauty and charm. Your list of priorities sounds about right to me. Enjoy!

  9. Sounds like incredible fun, and well deserved. I will be back in the US, exuding clouds of Mohur! The prize bottle arrived from Paris in record time, and I’m so glad to have it. Thanks again for doing the draw!

  10. Enjoy your holiday and travel safely! I feel a strange mix of seething jealousy and being madly excited for you to go on this well-deserved vacation! I’m sure it will be a thrill – from being back in Paris to wherever the mystery trip takes you! How fun! Can’t wait to hear all about it. Please try to go to both Ladurée and Pierre Hermé and do a macaron compare and contrast. My personal opinion is that Pierre Heremé’s are better, but I know others feel just the opposite! Please, please try Diaghilev if you are able to fit it into your schedule – I just have to know how it smells, even if I never try it in my life. 😛

    Have a blast with your friends! I know you’ll have a wonderful time!

  11. Have an amazing time on your trip Kafka 😀 , I hope you have a lot of fun with your friends, I find absolutely lovely that you consider them your top priority, which shows that a great friend you are. About that mystery trip that sounds very interesting, I would be seriously perplexed if I was you, but bathing suit at this time of the year? It also looks like a lot of fun with a homemade costume, it seems like a great adventure and I´m looking forward to know what stories you will tell us from this trip. You are also lucky that you will be able to stay with a friend, so you won´t have to pay hotel, lol I envy that opportunity. As expected you have a huge perfume list, I can already tell that you will have a great trip, as a side note I happen to also be a big sandwich lover, al well as a bread and cheese one and I also love pastries and sweets 😛 . I will be going to Paris until the beginning of November, although my top priority would be historical sites, I would also love some recommendations of where to eat 😛 of course. Oriza Legrand, sounds like a particularly interesting perfume house, my heart skips a beat thinking about the opulence and history of such a house, hopefully the perfumes reflect that ancient grandeur. As for the Hairy German don´t worry, he will forgive you once he sees how happy you are upon your return from your trip 🙂 .

  12. Dear Kafka – just saw your post about your upcoming vacation. Excellent priorities; and I would be envious except I know I’ll be able to experience parts of your holiday vicariously upon your return to The Hairy German and your blog. Wishing you happiness, wonderful new discoveries and I hope you will also get the opportunity to simply relax and enjoy the moment. Bon voyage, dear friend.

  13. Wow, Kafka! Have a fabulous trip. Just you wait – His Royal Furriness will be spoiled rotten by the time you get back. I’ll miss you but it will also give me a chance to catch up on your reviews.

  14. How exciting and fun!!! I can’t wait to hear about the first part of your trip, so mysterious. And well the second part of your trip…oh gosh I can’t wait to live vicariously thru you. I can’t even begin to imagine how incredible it would be to visit Serge Lutens, I mean I get shivers just thinking about it 🙂
    I hope the Hairy German fares well while your away, my dogs always get anxious if we’re away from them for than a week…and then they hold a grudge for a couple hours! lol!!
    Safe travels!!!

    xo, Jackie

  15. Have fun during your trip! You have to tell us more about the first part after it’s done… Well, you’ll have to tell us about the second part as well, especially if it involves perfumes.

    Be safe!

  16. Dearest Kafka
    Have a splendid trip… or adventure I should say.
    That mysterious party and your transcontinental outfit planning bring to mind the great bashes of the 20s before the crashes.
    And Paris? No need to wish you a good time…. is it possible to have any other kind of time in the City of Lights!?!
    Bon Voyage.
    Yours ever
    Beau (aka The Perfumed Dandy)

  17. You’re already gone, I know, but have a glorious time. Consider it your duty, to selflessly indulge yourself for those of us who are living vicariously through you.

  18. Hey, Kitten Kafkaesque! I hope your party was as mind-blowingly fabulous as it sounds, and that you are having the sweetest, sexiest, yummiest time on your trip, as you sniff and dine your way through Paris and catch up with your friends.

    By the way, as promised, I did purchase Fille en Aiguilles in Rome. I hope you come away with some fabulous bell jars from Serge Lutens. (But no Miel de Bois??!! The fragrance that Sigrun describes as “dolled up earwax!” LOL!) 🙂

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