Grab Bag Round-Up – March 2015

One of my favorite things that my friend, The Non-Blonde, does on her website is a monthly series called “Currently” in which she does a brief round-up of various personal things in the area of books, music, television shows, cooking, or random thoughts. I look forward to each month’s entry, particularly to see what she’s reading or listening to (’80s music forever!) or because I’ll know that I’ll smile at one of her random thoughts. (“Why are there gummy bears in the soda of Candy Crush soda?” or “Please tell me that the Oscars are a Kanye-free zone.”)

So, with full credit to her for her wonderful idea, I’d like to do something similar, though with a few differences. First, because it’s me, I’ll never manage to have any entries that are just one sentence long. Second, I don’t have time to read books any more, alas, but I do read a lot of things around the web, so I would like to share instead articles or sites that have caught my interest lately. So, here’s March’s Grab Bag.

General Perfume News:

  • From The New York Times: “Designing a Bespoke Perfume” and the general cost thereof. Interesting tidbit: in the 1970s, roughly 90 fragrances were launched a year. Today, according to Michael Edwards in other work, more than 1,600 fragrances are released each year.
  • From The Smithsonian Magazine: two allegedly fake pheromones submitted by a perfume company for study back in 1991 caused scientists decades of wasted research into human pheromones.
  • From UPI: A Nielsen report states that American Latinos have become a key consumer in beauty (and fragrance) sales, showing a “staggering” difference in their purchases as compared to how low sales are in those areas for other demographic groups. One quote: “The Nielsen report also indicated Latino men take their beauty and appearance very seriously. Compared to non-Hispanic men, sales on shaving cream, hair spray, mustache dyes and after-shave all grew significantly, especially when it comes to fragrance as sales increased by 15.5 percent.

Music: Bon Jovi. Yes, I said Bon Jovi. I’m unashamed of my love for the group. This month, I’ve also been returning to Fleetwood Mac due, as always to the fantastic tv series, The Americans. (“TUSK!”) And I may have spent a wee bit too much time one day listening on repeat to Wall of Voodoo’s “Mexican Radio.”



Television – Good to Great: Some of you regular readers know just what a TV junkie I am, as it’s the only way I manage to slow my mind just a little bit, so this is always going to be the biggest category in the Grab Bag. Late last year, I went on a binge of all the Scandinavian television shows I could get my hands on, and became utterly obsessed with Borgen. It’s about an idealistic female politician who unexpectedly becomes Denmark’s prime minister; how much she changes through political intrigue; the impact on her family life (there is a reason why one of the tag-lines is: “Sacrifice everything for your family… except power”); and the impact of the media and PR on coalition politics. Borgen is essentially a mix of The West Wing, House of Cards, and a (better) News Night. I love it passionately, but it ended after only 3 short seasons. Who can we bribe for another one? I need more Borgen! I must have more Borgen. I have withdrawal symptoms! Putting Borgen aside, last month I was entranced with Grantchester more than Downton Abbey. This month and last, my favorite 1980s KGB spies/moles have kept me riveted in Season 3 of the fantastic show, The Americans. The Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul, is improving, but I’m a bit bored by the The Vikings so far this season. Basically, I’m just counting down the days (30!) until Game of Thrones returns, while also looking forward to Season 2 of Outlander. Same for Hannibal, the best show that I can’t watch without contorting my body to hide my eyes and close my ears at least twice each episode. (The ripping and flesh-tearing sounds in the human tableau episode last season continue to haunt me.) And my sheepish confession is that Grimm is my guiltiest pleasure.



Television – Eh to Bad: In contrast to my love for The Americans, the modern KGB spies in NBC’s new show, Allegiance, got on my nerves right away and I gave up after one episode. Same with Shonda Rhimes’ How to Get Away With Murder. I’m starting to “hate-watch” Scandal, especially after the kidnapping arc. I think I’ll give up entirely soon. I’m similarly unenthused with S2 of Broadchurch, David Tennant notwithstanding, but I’ll endure for now. I’m usually a fan of The Good Wife, but both the election story and the Carey prison one have left me cold this year.

The US cover for Jerusalem. (It looks diff. in the UK version.) Source:

The US cover for Jerusalem. (It looks diff. in the UK version.) Source:

Cooking: One of the best cookbooks I’ve seen in a while is “Jerusalem: A Cookbook” by Yotam Ottolenghi.” He’s a London chef, and his best-selling book has a mix of Israeli, Arab, and Middle Eastern recipes. Articles from The Boston Globe and The New York Times talk about the craze that it began, and how it has a sort of Julia Child/Joy of Cooking appeal. I recently wow’d my family with the recipe for eggplants stuffed with mince meat. I altered the recipe a bit to use regular ground meat instead of lamb, and pomegranate molasses in lieu of the tamarind one that I had thrown out the month before. It was delicious, though, and I recommend the book for anyone who loves Middle Eastern food. I bought my copy on Amazon for about $20, and it’s about £12 on Amazon UK.

Food but not cooking: Asian food is my favorite cuisine, and my passion for dumplings continues unabated. The foodie site, Serious Eats, had an article yesterday on the best frozen, pre-prepared dumplings. Trader Joe’s was one of their four recommendations, the rest seeming to be Asian brands that may be in speciality stores. I already buy the Trader Joe ones. Now, I’m determined to find the other 3. In terms of other frozen foods (I don’t have a lot of time to cook these days!), I’m sorry to report that Paul Newman‘s Chinese Beef with Broccoli is utterly heinous. Extremely weird tasting and with a mushy texture. P.F. Chang‘s frozen Mongolian Beef, though, is just like the one in their restaurants and not bad.

Bane: the extent of my sleep deprivation. I’ve had an unfixable sleep disorder since I was a child, but it’s been especially bad lately. The worst thing is being too tired to sleep. At one point last week, I’d slept a grand total of 45 minutes in almost 3 days. The second bane of my existence these days is emails, but that’s a story for another day.

Kalemat Amber. Source:

Kalemat Amber. Source:

Joy: Arabian Oud in London sent over a box of stuff which includes Kalemat concentrated fragrance oils! Kalemat Amber, Kalemat Floral, and Kalemat Musk. A few readers had reported on just how good Kalemat is in the Amber oil version, but Holy Mother of God! And the floral one! Plus, these things have nuclear sillage! I wore just a few dabs of one when I walked to the post box the other day, and I swear, it was like the perfume was an advance guard for me. I’m taking some over to my parents’ house later today to have a family testing session, and reviews should be forthcoming this week. Alas, the oils are not sold on Amazon. Arabian Oud has returned there, by the way, but is only selling regular Kalemat EDP spray and Woody. Nothing else. I’ve actually sent a few pleading emails to Arabian Oud in London to have them ask their home office to expand Amazon or U.S. distribution and they said they will let the Saudi office know. To be honest, I don’t hold out much hope. I’ve asked the London head manager if they ship worldwide, and am waiting to hear back, but I don’t think they do. Arabian Oud’s main Saudi site has text in their shipping section that would seem imply they ship out of country, but an attempt to see how much the cost would be if I went through the checkout process was unsuccessful because it doesn’t give me a list of countries for my address and seems limited to Saudi Arabia. Perhaps the fact that I was doing so via the “guest” option instead of the regular registered user is the issue. I will try again.

New Obsession: space photos from the Hubble telescope, NASA and its European counter-part, ESA. Specifically, nebulae in the Cygnus and the Cygnus X-1. The latter is “a black hole candidate,” according to Wikipedia, but the Cygnus (Swan) region as a whole seems to be a breeding ground for new stars. And what unbelievable photos there are out there. Staggering in their beauty, indescribable in their colours.

Nebulosa Tulipa. Source:

Nebulosa Tulipa. Source:

Norion 2 Nebula. Photo: NASA.

Norion 2 Nebula. Photo: NASA.

Lagoon Nebula. Photo: Gemini Observatory via

Lagoon Nebula. Photo: Gemini Observatory via

Source: Japan Times, saying "An optical image from the multinational Digitized Sky Survey shows Cygnus X-1, outlined in a red box some 6,000 light years away from Earth."

Source: Japan Times, saying “An optical image from the multinational Digitized Sky Survey shows Cygnus X-1, outlined in a red box some 6,000 light years away from Earth.”

Random Thought: if space photos were given one-tenth the daily coverage given to the Kardashians, the world might be a very different place.

Random Thought #2: Whenever I see the main chap in 50 Shades of Grey, Jamie Dornan, I immediately think “serial killer!!” (You might have to be a fan of the BBC series, The Fall, with Gillian Anderson to understand that comment.)

Skunk via

Skunk via

Hairy German News: My Teutonic Overlord likes musk scents. Really, really likes them. I applied a few drops of hyraceum as a base layer to something, and he went quite crazy. You would have thought the memory of his fight with a skunk some years ago would have given him pause, but apparently not. For the record, that fight ended in a draw between the two of them, with a slight edge to the skunk who got in a nasty facial bite as well. But I was the real loser. The clean-up at 2 a.m. (on my birthday no less!) was a nightmare, with me half-naked in a tub washing him over and over again with a mix of tomato juice, hydrogen peroxide, and dish-washing liquid. The red splatters that went all over the walls every time he shook himself made my bathroom look like a slaughter house out of Hannibal. The baths went on for days with not a lot of reduction in the smell and, yes, it is as bad as anything you have imagined. Skunk mating season will start up again here soon and they will be out in areas where they don’t usually venture. Also, there is apparently a big skunk den somewhere under a bank just up the street, and they can’t seem to get rid of it. I live in fear once more….

So, that’s this month’s Grab Bag of random stuff. I’ll be taking a few days off to try to get some rest, catch up on my beloved television, test perfumes, and just basically try to avoid typing as much as possible, but I’d enjoy hearing about any of your recent loves, rants, book or television interests, or random thoughts. I may not have the energy to respond, but I’ll be eagerly reading anything you’d like to share.

69 thoughts on “Grab Bag Round-Up – March 2015

  1. Wow,those photos from space!They are incredible.I never knew such colors existed out there within the dark immensity of the Universe.So beautiful!They make you think of God

    • I had no idea that such colours existed or were possible in space either, Ana Maria. I can’t even figure out the words to describe the majesty of it all. You might want to do a search on Google Images for Cygnus Nebulae or Hubble Space Telescope. Just be prepared to get completely swept away and lose a few hours as a result. I did. I was mesmerized to the point of completely losing track of time. Needless to say, I plan to use a few of those photos in my reviews whenever they fit with a perfume. No human artist has ever created a masterpiece comparable to what’s out in space.

  2. Ok. LOVED this. You hit ALL my favorite sweet spots, Trader Joe’s, perfume skank, astronomy, GREAT TV series etc….. And yesterday when it was announced that “The Fall” is returning for S3, I almost died of happiness. (Currently working thru S2 of House Of Cards, and loving the hell out of it. My spouse describes it as “Oh….it’s like the Macbeths moved to DC”) and of course Kalemat Floral, which I’ve been waiting to arrive from Dubai for a few months now.

    • Heh, you sound like a lost sibling. Tell me about the shipping for Kalemat Floral because I’m finding myself frustrated in figuring out how readers can get a hold of the oils if they don’t live in Paris, the UK or the Middle East. Did you order from Arabian Oud? They usually are VERY speedy shippers, so perhaps you got it from elsewhere?

      I always feel very sheepish when it comes to House of Cards, the US version, because I don’t watch it and that makes me feel as though I must give up my “TV Addict” Card. The thing is, the original UK series is one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE SHOWS EVER, and the 3 or 4 episodes I watched of the US version in S1…. well, I just couldn’t do it.

      The Fall season 3, YES!!!! I can’t wait. (Do you also think of serial killers when you see posters for 50 Shades of Grey? Jamie Dornan will always be a serial killer to me.)

      What are some of your other favorite shows?

      • I gotta’ say when I saw the announcement of S3 of The Fall my first thought was…”wait….what the hell….how did they….isn’t he…????” (No spoilers here) The floral Kalemat, a friend has been trying to procur from the Arabian Oud counter in Abu Dhabi and THEY in turn have been trying to get it sent from Berlin to them (Abu Dhabi) to me (Seattle)! Ridiculous and hilarious! TV…..Grantchester of course, we binge-watched all seven seasons of “George Gently” and the original Scandanavian version of “The Killing”. Oh and then BOOKS. Don’t get me started on the books…..

        • I was a bit perplexed by The Fall S3 announcement too, Robert. My guess is that they want to capitalise on Jamie Dornan’s 50 Shades fame, but I hope that doesn’t lead to an inorganic, illogical story as a result. Re. George Gently, now that is a name/series I never expected anyone to mention!! Martin Shaw is great. I assume you’ve seen the Judge John Deed series? (In my mind, so frequently given over to malapropisms, I call the show “Judge Dredd.” haha).

          The Scandinavian version of The Killing was SO much better! Another show that isn’t bad is Dicte, available on Netflix, and a crime show set in Sweden. It’s okay, and nice to pass the time, but not superb. The Swedish Wallander is good, but I didn’t finish watching it because I heard it became quite depressing, so I stuck with the British version which is excellent. I assume you’ve seen Borgen, right?

          As for Arabian Oud, I’m actually trying to see if the London store might be willing to send out the perfumes because, as oils, they aren’t so subject to the Royal Mail’s draconian regulations on alcohol-based products. That’s how I managed to get my package. And the Kalemat Musk is quite a chypre-like perfume with some floral notes…. 😉

  3. Thank you so much for sharing this grab bag of what’s been interesting you (and not). I’m so sorry for your insomnia. I don’t know how you function on so little sleep. I have had severe insomnia, too, but it was when I was quite young and my mind was sharper and my body more resilient. . .anyway, my heart goes out to you.

    I immediately went over to Amazon to check the price of Kalemat, but it’s not there, at least not sold by Arabian Oud. Hmmm. FYI, I stopped myself many a time from blind buying it due to your rave review, and finally (finally!) someone sent me a sample a few months ago. It would have been a perfectly fine blind buy indeed, just as you said!

    I have Netflix and Amazon Prime Streaming, so must watch shows after they’ve aired. I’m sorry to hear Vikings is now boring. . .I will watch season 3 nonetheless! The hubby and I loved that show unabashedly. I admit to loving television these days more than ever, and will look over your list again. By the way, television needn’t be a “guilty pleasure” any longer – I mean, you’re not watching Honey Boo Boo, are you? Many have written that this indeed is the real “golden age” of television. . .that great cinematography (especially) and great writing is in this medium, not movies, or at least not as much as in film. It’s a fascinating long form film, and I am loving it, as are so many people. My loves have been Big Love, Breaking Bad, and watching Anthony Bourdain’s various programs. Oh, and Mozart in the Jungle!! Loved it and want MORE!!

    Since you shared, I’ll share a bit more. You know I’ve been enjoying using ginger essential oil in both cooking and drinks thanks to Mandy Aftel and your review of her Chef’s Essences. I ran out of the Blenheim Ginger Ale and tried this, which is subtle, but I love it: I mix a heaping teaspoon of raw buckwheat honey in a shot glass filled with hot water, add two-three drops of ginger essential oil, and then mix it with about 6 ounces of seltzer water. It could be stronger, but it’s quite nice the way it is.

    Oh, and thanks for the cookbook link. I’ve been thinking about making my own falafel for months, and there’s FOUR pages devoted to it in that book (yes, I’ve got the Amazon page open right now). Cheers!

    Thanks for the glimpse into your world. It was fun! 🙂 And so was being reminded of that most fun song “Mexican Radio!” Now it’s stuck in my head!

    • Jesus H. Christ, Arabian Oud’s Amazon situation is going to drive me INSANE! You’re right, it’s no longer there, at least not via Arabian Oud themselves. But you know, it was. It HAD come back, and even Don mentioned it last month. Now it’s gone again. What the HELL is up with this company and Amazon?! They’re going to drive me mad.

      You can still find Kalemat on eBay, sometimes from US sellers. This is one auction that will end soon and the price is roughly equivalent to what the Amazon price would be:

      In general, the ebay search for Kalemat pulls up a few sellers in Kuwait who offer free shipping and who seem to be established perfume companies. You can check here:

      You were a Big Love fan? I wouldn’t have expected that one. I watched it too, though sometimes it was “hate-watching” by the end. I’ve heard Mozart in the Jungle is great and will be renewed for another season. As for Vikings, it just feels a little… flat… this season, and I don’t think that was true of the prior ones. I haven’t seen last Thursday’s episode yet so maybe it’s gotten more exciting.

      BTW, that Jerusalem cookbook really is a MUST get for anyone who either loves cookbooks in general or Middle Eastern food in particular. Especially eggplant lovers. (Me!) What food, what food….

      Sorry for the Mexican Radio ear-wig. Be thankful that I didn’t mention Kajagoogoo…. heh.

      PS– if you had watched the early seasons of Grimm, you’d know just why I call it a guilty pleasure. Even though it’s gotten better, it’s still a bit ludicrous with its bats**t mythology. But it’s like potato chips, you somehow can’t stop at one.

      PPS– since you have Netflix, I beg of you to try Borgen. BEG! It’s such a superb show.

      • I *did* watch the first season of Grimm! I had had enough of “monster of the week”, to tell you the truth, but I enjoyed it. :-p I really do wish someone would do a really good job with Grimm’s tales but I suppose it’s now too late. Too bad.

        As for Big Love. . .I did not expect to like it at all. I love Chloë Sevigny (loved Hit & Miss!) so I gave it a try & got hooked. I think they did a great job, and frankly, their portrayal of the FDLS was really toned down from what the real thing! Of course, I had to read lots about them while watching the show. .

        Btw, I prefered the British House of Cards by a long shot. I can’t even watch season three of this new one, and I would’ve said previous to this that I’d watch anything that Kevin Spacey is in. . .oh well.

        • Grimm has turned into quite a mythologized series more than a purely procedural one with a mere monster of the week, and you would not believe what they’ve done with the previously horrible Juliet! If you’re ever bored and S3 or S4 shows up on Netflix, you should watch it. There’s even a young, female, kickass Grimm who Nick takes under his wing and who rather steals the show.

  4. Bon Jovi is aging like a fine wine.
    I think skunks are freaking adorable but I too live in fear of the dogs meeting another one. Months of stink. Dish soap seems to be the best thing to use. I don’t bother with the tomato juice. You need something to cut the oil in the spray which dish soap does.
    I haven’t emailed because I know you’ve said you’re buried in emails. Give the Hairy German a poodle kiss for me please.
    Sorry about the Kajagoogoo lyrics. I used to love that stupid song.

    • Skunk attacks are such a trauma that I think every dog owner who’s gone through it lives in fear of a repeat. I did use dish soap as part of my mix but, as you noted, it still takes SO MUCH time to get rid of the stink fully. Weeks of shuddering every time your furry child comes for a hug or snuggle.

      Jon Bon Jovi is not only aging like fine wine, but he also seems to be a genuinely nice chap with all his philanthropic efforts.

      As for Kajagoogoo, I like that song when it came out, too! 🙂 It’s simply not the most…. er… complex set of lyrics around and does tend to get stuck in one’s head. lol I send both you and your furry one a huge kiss, my dear. xoxoox

  5. Loved this, Kafka! Awesome space pictures. It’s fascinating.
    I laugh at loud at your Teutonic overlord’s misadventures with the skunk. Hilarious! Well, I imagine cleaning his mess was less funny then. My golden retriever was a huge, huge goofball, but I’m glad he never encountered a skunk. Pfew.
    I’m sorry to hear about your sleep disorder. My younger sister developed one a couple of years ago and it’s tough.
    Mmmh, watch a few TV shows (less than I used to though) but few of them are on your list. I need to catch up on the Good Wife, but like you, I’m unconvinced by the election and Carey’s prison plot (is he actually going in prison? God, I hope not, it’s so stupid). I did like How to get away with murder (VIOLA DAVIS!! She’s brilliant!), but I acknowledge it’s not without flaws. Never watched Scandal, and a friend of mine convinced me to never try it. Incidentally, she’s also a fan of The Americans! 🙂 Stopped watching GOT mi season 3 (so many rapes, urgh).
    AY DUMPLINGS! I have such good memories of the Chinese food I ate in Shanghai last summer (my first time ever in Asia). I salivate just thinking about it. It sure made a lasting impression on me.

    • Viola Davis is a fantastic, incredibly talented actress! The thing is, it’s often very hard for lawyers to watch legal shows because they rarely get the law right and change things for dramatic purposes. In my case, it’s simply impossible for me to watch not only a legal show that goes even ten steps further in being a distortion of reality, but a show about law school in specific. I *HATED* lawschool. It was one of the worst, most miserable periods of my life. I simply cannot bear to watch a show that is so utterly ludicrous about the law school experience or what law students do. I know Shonda Rhimes has a certain style, but “How to Get Away with Murder” felt like it murdered the law, lawschool, and legal practice. Simply thinking about it gets me irritated.

      I completely understand and relate to your reaction to the Game of Thrones situation last season.

      Shanghai dumplings are great, but their soup dumplings (the ones whose inside liquid you sip out of a straw stuck inside) are a thing of wonder. Did you get to have any of those? Actually, Shanghai itself is a thing of wonder, imo. It’s such an incredibly futuristic city in terms of its look. I found it fascinating and the city life so chic, but Beijing was my favorite out of the big cities because of its ancient and historical feel. 🙂

      • I’m sorry to hear about your time in lawschool.
        I’m curious, do you watch a lot of British shows? I loved The Hour and Luther recently, and I wonder what you’d think about those.

        YES! God, such great food memories. I tried them at the Din Tai Fung restaurant. Shanghai was great. I stayed there for about two months and a half (internship). I agree with you regarding Beijing. Such a marvelous city. I only had four days to visit (too little, I know). I got there by night train (fourteen bloody hours!) and arrived in the morning. Dropped my stuff at my youth hostel, didn’t stop to rest and then headed straight to the Summer palace. I walked there for HOURS, completely forgot my tired state, it was so captivating. I tried to visit as much as I could in Beijing. My feet were in a pititful state after that but boy, was I happy! Such a fascinating, fascinating place.

        • I watch every British show I can get my hands on. LOL. I absolutely love Luther! Idris Elba is not only a hunk but a great actor, and Ruth Wilson was perfect as his evil counterpart/nemesis/friend. I didn’t like The Hour quite as much, but it was enjoyable and I thought they really nailed the atmosphere (psychological as well as visual) for that era in terms of the spy agencies and the cold war. It had a very Le Carré feel to it.

          How fantastic that you could stay and work in Shanghai for two and a half months. I’m envious. It must have been so amazing, as that is a city that is really at the forefront of a lot of things. Your 14 hour train ride to Beijing sounds much less appealing. lol. You’re right, 4 days is hardly enough time for that city, but it’s better than nothing and you clearly crammed in a lot. (I know exactly how your feet felt, by the way!)

          I bet you have the best photos. I took thousands upon thousand but, about 6 months after I returned, my external hard drive crashed and died. All the data was too corrupted to be retrieved, and I went to 3 places to try. That outside hard drive was where I saved all my photos, more than 60,000 from across the years, including all my China ones, and so I lost them all. For many of the other ones, I had extra copies, but somehow I’d never gotten around to saving the China ones on an additional back-up. I’d transferred all of them from my computer to the hard drive. All gone. I feel like crying every time I think of it, but I’ve saved it and one day, I’ll manage the $4,000 or so to go to some super, super specialized company to see if they can try to retrieve even part of the corrupted data. 🙁

          • Elba is the real deal, isn’t he? He and Ruth Wilson were amazing. And that scene in the truck! Amazing idea!

            I had such a great time. I consider myself very, very lucky. I badly felt the need to go as far away as I could, and I’m so glad I found this opportunity. It was my first time ever in Asia and I SO want to go back.
            I’m so sorry to hear about your photos, dear Kafka. It is terrible indeed. *hugs* $4,000 though?! It’s THAT expensive? Dear lord.
            The 14h ride was, err… something… but the traveling conditions were okay. It could have been much worse! I took the fast train on my way back! I do have some great photos, but it’s because of the places themselves, not because of my camera, which is, eh, nearly ten years old (and it wasn’t a fancy camera back then to begin with). The good thing was that I was completely unafraid to break it. Also, the crazy pollution defintely shows on my photos. It’s impressive, in a depressive way. I do look at them very fondly, though.

          • I think it was actually more than $4,000 because they told me I would have to go to a place with something like a sterilised lab with NASA-like cleanness and a ton of ultra-advanced scientific equipment to get at the microchips in the hard drive. At least, it was something like that, according to what I remember.

            The pollution in China was something else!! Did you wear one of those white masks, like so many Chinese people do? Did you manage to find time to see the Lama or Yonghe Temple in North Beijing? I think that was perhaps one of my favorite things in the city. In Shanghai, it was the skyscrapers on the Pudong and the leafy streets in the International District. I had my first taste of real absinthe in a cocktail there, the real sort of “dangerous” absinthe that Toulouse-Lautrec had! I have to say, I didn’t quite see the fuss, but then I probably only had a drop while Toulouse-Lautrec drank gallons of it. lol

          • Well at any rate, I really do hope you’ll manage to get your photos back.
            No, I didn’t. But I could definitely tell the effect on my throat.
            Of course I did!! 🙂 What a beautiful place!

  6. March Experiences: Despite your review, I HAD to sample Korrigan (I blame Luca Turin) in hopes of falling in love with caramel wood. Instead, I had an instant memory of my ascot wearing, cigar smoking uncle telling me (a 13 yr old perfume virgin) to choose one fragrance & let that be my signature. He smelled like Korrigan. I didn’t like it much.

    Christopher Street is my other March perfume experience & it’s all lime & patchouli on me, and I like it a lot! I placed the little packet of patchouli leaves on top of the cats’ litter box & it scents the washroom. Believe it or not, I’m coming to enjoy patch more than I ever thought I would (I’m awaiting a sample of Patchouly Boheme-LOL)!

    Music: Joaquin “Joe” Claussell-The Official Edits & Overdubs, Vol 1.
    Books: I’m alternating between Secret Historian by Justin Spring, Zealot by Reza Aslan, & Possession by A.S. Byatt (it’s even better the 2nd time around).
    Loved reading your grab bag & those pictures of space are incredible. The feelings I could allow myself to have just staring at the photos are indescribable.
    Oh yes–TV: I only just saw “Empire” for the 1st time this week & think it’s great soap drama. Can’t wait for Game of Thrones as well.
    Question: How in the world can there be a demand for over 1,600 perfume releases???

    • “How in the world can there be a demand for over 1,600 perfume releases???” — Hahahahahaha! I have no clue! It’s hilariously sick. Robin at Now Smell This posts daily about new releases as you know, and she recently made a comment on Twitter that Issey Miyake was winning the race for the sheer number of flankers already released this year. That was back at the end of February or so. Given some other brands’ fondness for flankers, I can’t imagine how many Issey Miyake must be releasing to win the contest thus far!!! Either way, the 1,600 figure clearly consists of a lot of flankers more than purely original releases. But who wants all of that? It’s pure laziness and greed by perfume companies.

      I am so glad that you are slowly (almost involuntarily) turning into a Patch Head. *grin* So you got a full bottle of the Christopher Street, but you only sampled the Korrigan and didn’t do a blind buy? And no caramel woods at all on your skin, and more smoky dustiness? As for your memory association with Korrigan…. heh. I remember you telling me about that uncle and his advice to you about signature scents!

  7. Hey hey K!
    Just to let you know the Kalemat oils can be obtained still rather easily from a number of sources. ….one is a middle eastern ebayer whose account name is AbuJoudah and has hundreds of listings from most of the difficult to access fragrance houses. Another really great source is Universal Perfumes and Cosmetics which is also based in the Middle East and run by a wonderful gentleman by the name of Khalid. Do give my salaams to these guys…… the way hopefully the last link will be an Arabian Oudy goodie 😉

    Check out this item I found on eBay:

    • My sweet friend, so kind of you to share the links. I’m actually very familiar with Universal Perfumes (or Fragrances, as I call them in my mind), and I’m more sadly familiar with their Tribute offerings that I cannot afford. Not at those prices, alas. I think in my original Kalemat review, I linked to Universal Fragrances as a possible alternative but I haven’t checked to see if they have the oils.

      The eBay store/seller is a really useful tip, so thank you! Last time I checked eBay I didn’t see any full bottles of the Kalemat oils, but I’ll seek out his eBay store.

      With regard to that Arabian Oud link, I’m afraid nothing specific showed up. It’s purely their website issue, because you can never link to any specific page on their site. It never stays or sticks, if that makes sense, and one is merely redirected to the general A/O store.

      The thing where YOU really helped me out was with your tip about perfume *oils* somehow managing to pass Royal Mail issues and restrictions. That was HUGE, my dear. I told that to Mr. Chowdhury and that is really how I managed to get my box of Arabian Oud stuff. He’s suggested that it may be possible for other people too, if they order the oils and/or small quantities. I’m currently trying to work out with him now if he’d be open to shipping from London for any readers. Since the Arabian Oud website isn’t really set up to take foreign orders and addresses, people may have to contact him directly via email and place orders that way. I’m not sure quite how the precise logistics would work, but for those who are out of other options, I’m sure they’d be willing, so long as he doesn’t mind having his email shared. But anyway, all of this is thanks to you and your tip to me that perfume OILS pass Royal Mail restrictions, so thank you!

  8. Thanks for sharing your pastimes. I, too, am a TV devotee, usually in chunks of time on the weekend. I share your enthusiasm for “Grantchester.” Sidney’s tortured but kind character is wonderful and his love of jazz endears him to me for sure. My favorite show is ‘The Americans.” My husband and I watch it each week and marvel at the plot twists. I do hope this series will be continued next year.

    Did you catch the new series, “The Game” on BBC America? It is somewhat similar to The Americans, a show about MI5 agents during the Cold War. It’s also well written and has wonderful actors. Newcomer Tom Hughes is the youngest agent and he does a great job. It’s a good one to catch on Netflix. I haven’t decided how I feel about the new season of “Broadchurch.” David Tennant is such a wonderful actor. I’d watch a toothpaste commercial if he was in it, but I agree the second season is a bit weird. It’s rather anticlimactic. I just can’t get into the subplot about the wife of the alleged killer of the 2 girls, yawn, ho hum….

    Looking forward to the last season of “Mad Men.” I had not heard about that Danish series but I love Scandinavian mysteries. I think I’ve read all of Jo Nesbo’s novels- they are fearsome for sure, but really good. I also like Indriadson, I think that ‘s the name. I read a few, then take a break. My book club has been reading a lot of books about WWI, WWII and the aftermath. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend “In the Garden of Beasts” and “The Sandcastle Girls” about the Armenian genocide.

    On to happier things, I am normally a movie nut also, but the only thing recently that made me smile was “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Loved it, so many great references to the silent movie era, such great sets, fabulous art direction, I’ll shut up now! I also loved “Ida,” the Polish film that won best foreign film Oscar. I won’t tell you anything about it, or it will ruin it. It’s an amazing experience. I highly recommend it.

    Have a wonderful week, K

    • I’m looking forward to the final season of Mad Men, too!! As for The Game, yes, I watched that as well. (I watch absolutely *every* BBC or ITV show I can get my hands on. lol) I enjoyed it, and Tom Hughes is quite the Greek statue in terms of looks. lol As for Grantchester, I was surprised to enjoy it so much more than Downton Abbey, but I’m fed up with the never ending Mr. Green murder story in the latter and Lady Mary tends to get on my nerves with her casual cruelty. Grantchester just made me happier to watch, for several of the reasons that you mentioned.

      You know what I’m really looking forward to? The new seasons of Foyle’s War which is one of my absolute favorite series! And Mr. Selfridge’s will be starting soon, too. Can’t wait!

      I’ve heard that both the books you mentioned and Ida the movie are superb! Particularly, “In the Garden of Beasts”! I’m still struggling to find the time to finish The Grand Budapest Hotel that I have on my DVR and started watching 3 weeks ago. So far, I’m only 40 minutes into it, but it’s beautifully done and the art/sets/style is lovely. Hopefully, I’ll manage to finish watching it sometime this century. LOL

      • Your description of Lady Mary on Downton Abbey is spot on. “Casual cruelty” describes her so perfectly. I am constantly aghast at the lines that Julian Fellowes gives her character- I think he’s rather gone over the top with her. No man in his right mind would have her now.

  9. So much enjoyed this read. I am fascinated to hear you talk about the Kalemat Floral and Musk. The Kalemat Wood is winging its blind way to me right now. Have you tried it? Did I do the right thing?
    It seems that all my male dogs have to try attacking a skunk at some point. None of the females have ever done it. What’s with that, guys?
    The images are beautiful. I am currently going through a Great Courses series on images from all the various incredible telescopes that we now have in space, and I am mesmerized by them. On days when I feel discouraged, those images make me think that, as a nation, we have done something so right that it compensates for a lot. Not everything, but a lot.
    All the best to you and readers. And regarding skunks, tell the Teutonhund about my all-time favorite cartoon, which shows an earnest young woman consulting a fortune-teller, who is looking wearily into her crystal ball and saying “You will make the same foolish mistakes you have made before, not just once but many, many times again.”

    • Kalemat Wood and Kalemat Oud were 2 things that weren’t sent to me. For one thing, they are currently out of the Wood one in the store and are awaiting more. What I got instead is something called “Sahrul Kalemat.” I haven’t the faintest clue what it is!! Google turned up nothing, and it’s not on either their website or that of the main Saudi Arabian Oud website! I’m waiting a reply from the London shop to tell me what’s in it, but so far all I’ve gathered is that it is an EDP flanker to Kalemat that comes in a 100 ml size and that the word “Sahrul” apparently translates to “Magic.”

      So, Kalemat Wood is something I can’t help you with, I’m afraid. Did you order it from eBay?

      How interesting that only your *male* dogs have attacked skunks and not your female ones. I wonder what triggers the behavioral difference. Atavistic urges only in males, but why? Hm.

  10. Kalemat was indeed listed last month, but I haven’t checked this month. My bottle is running low and I need to order soon. Universal Perfumes carries some Kalemats. Below, Sultan Pasha mentioned Abu Joudah on Ebay; I bought my Kalemat from him. I would love to smell the concentrated oils, especially the amber. My birthday is several weeks away and I’m treating myself to a full bottle of something nice. Not sure yet what that will be. I’m ordering samples this week to decide. One definitely will be LM Parfums Hard Leather. Your review for that one makes it very tempting! 🙂 I’ve heard and read alot about Borgen. Sidse Knudsen is very popular. She’s in a movie called “The Duke of Burgundy” which garnered very positive reviews. I’m stuck in 14th century England with the book I’m reading at this moment. “Owl Killers” by Karen Maitland. Can’t put it down. Good choice of music: Wall of Voodoo. I was on Youtube looking up 80s new wave/punk/goth stuff like sisters of mercy, Propaganda, nina hagen(lol), lords of acid with diamanda galas thrown in for bizarreness. 🙂 Oh, my best friend’s mother lived next door to Jon BonJovi when he was a kid.She even cut his hair for him. Somewhere in NJ.

    • P.S My chronic, unrelenting, merciless insomnia has worsened since I was about 11. Part of it’s inherited from my father’s side. I’ve gone many weeks like you, with 30 minutes of sleep per week. Most people never believed me when I told them. Even doctors. At one point about 10 yrs ago, I was up every night mopping the ceilings, because everything at ground level was clean, cleaning windows, laundry, and having time to shop on Ebay, too. My mind races on…..

      • Gosh, it sounds hideous. I don’t think I’ve ever been motivated to get to that degree of cleaning where I was focusing on the CEILINGS (!!!) out of sheer abundance of time! I’m generally not eager to clean even when rested, let alone when sleep deprived. lol

        The thing is, I’ve actually got more than mere insomnia. According to various sleep doctors, my Circadian rhythms and whole body clock are completely abnormal and imbalanced. My hypothalamus functions abnormally, and so on. I wouldn’t be surprised if yours were screwy as well, judging by what you’ve said.

    • Good to know that you’ve had positive experiences with the eBay seller, Abu Joudah. And I’m so glad you’re going to try Hard Leather. 🙂

      BTW, I absolutely LOVE Sisters of Mercy!!

      • No doubt my circadian rhythms and clock are beyond help. I don’t know how I didn’t collapse from cleaning, working, plus taking care of my mother at that time. Cleaning, for me, is therapeutic. I know Hard Leather was one of your favourites, so that I must try along with many others. Still thinking of your “Best of” list for 2014. Another topic: never saw Mr. Selfridge, though I’m familiar with the store. I’ve been neglecting television of late. I’m behind on Downton Abbey, and Lady Mary is a bit waspish with her casual cruelty. BBC programmes have always appealed to the Anglophile in me.
        Your whopping amount of sleep must be my idea of sleep versus normal people sleep. 🙂 I thought you probably were familiar with Sisters of Mercy….Kafkaesque, my reflection. 😀

  11. Hello Kafka ,
    I hope you remember your craziest Indian fan … Rashmi ??
    I do follow your blog just dont find myself right person to comment … For the sole reason that my English is really bad and what if I say something inappropriate 🙁
    I just picked Kalemat from Dubai through a friend based on your reviews …
    as my nose is still not familiar with what I like or dislike I just go by reviews 🙂
    will get it on Wednesday and am hoping to hear more suggestions from you in future 🙂
    stay blessed dear

    • Dearest Rashmi, so good to see you! How could I forget you, my sweet? It’s wonderful to hear that you picked up the Kalemat, and I really hope you like it. It’s not a fresh, clean, floral scent but it’s a wonderfully golden, warm oriental one, and I hope it suits you. I send you a warm hug, my dear, and hope both you and your family have been well.

      • You never fail to make me smile … I so want to know you more – your favorite products at the moment or food or store you like to shop or even a destination you are longing to visit …
        would you do a post like that for your loyal readers who look up to you ?
        I still give a big credit to you for recommending some amazing NARS shades to me … I do rock them if I can praise myself ? lol

        Along with GIVENCHY Amarige you also recommended me Fracas .. I ordered that as well and will get by month end ..
        Hubby will be reaching today with my KALEMAT and I will keep you posted
        I wish I can write a fairy tale stories like you do … your reviews are so inspiring
        but if I have a daughter in future I will make sure she is a good writer …
        I have a 7 yr old son with whom I can’t expect anything like this .. he is hard core cricket lover and not interested in reading or writing ( may be it is very early yo predict anything )
        your each and every words looks like a pearl string … I hope you can imagine what I mean to say ?
        a big hug to you for making my day XOXO 🙂

        • LOL, your son sounds like a very normal, typical boy and I’m sure he will develop other interests as he grows older. 🙂 Thank you for your very sweet words, Rashmi, particularly the comparison to a string of pearls. That was really lovely, and I’m very touched. I send you a huge hug back, sweetie. 🙂 xoxox

  12. Ha, ha. 🙂 I must say I wondered myself how you might go around doing a one-sentence long anything but I see that you got that out straight away (you had me laughing at that point). 🙂
    Sorry to hear about your sleeping disorder, can’t imagine what kind of hell it must be not getting enough sleep.
    And thank you for the Hubble photos – amazing! 🙂

    • *grin* I’m not genetically programmed to do one-sentence ANYTHINGS! *grin*

      I wish my sleep disorder were something as simple as mere insomnia but, unfortunately, it’s far worse. Everything from my Circadian rhythms to my master clock and what my hypothalamus puts out are screwed up. All of that ends up triggering other issues as well. But the good news is that I got a whopping amount of sleep last night by my standards. It’s nothing for a normal human being, but I feel almost coherent today. 😉 😀

      Any plans for a marathon this Spring, dear Ines? BTW, I hope this year is a good one in general for you and, regardless of what you post about, I will always enjoy it. Just wanted to let you know that. *hugs*

  13. That’s a really lovely idea! And I’m sorry about your sleeping disorder, that must be really hard. I hope that you’ll have more rest and get better after taking a break from the blog. 😀

    By the way, the photos taken from telescopes destined for scientific research are usually black and white. The colours are added later for public communications. These colours results from different chemical elements of the photographed space object, and if the colours of two elements are too close, one of them got switched so that they can be better distinguished. So these photos are ‘almost’ how these space objects look like. But they’re so inspring, even purely esthetically speaking! 😀

    • How fascinating, Yinghao. I greatly appreciate you letting me know about the colours and photos. My scientific knowledge can be summed up as essentially: Nonexistent. LOL. So the colours actually do exist in space, but don’t appear in the photos but to what extent are the photos actually accurate if things are played with in order to distinguish various elements? Well, I guess you answered that by saying that they are “almost” how they really look. And, as you said, the main point is that they’re inspiring, majestic, and awe-inspiring regardless!

      • I happened to read an article on the subject months ago. 😀 In the article, they used the photo of ‘Pillers of Creation’ as an exemple.

        On the Wikipedia page, three main elements are mentioned: green for hydrogene, red for sulfur and blue for oxygene. However, in reality, the characteristic colour emitted by hydrogene is also red. Green is thus chosen to represent hydrogene for esthetical reasons as well as respecting the hierarchy in composition. So the ‘Pillers of Creation’ are probably more red than the photo, but at the same time, the colours are not distributed randomly either.

  14. I forgot my favorite bad dog story; my two Italian greyhounds loved to be off leash and race off like lightning. We indulged them because they would always come right back when called. Then one day in a large park they got into, guess what? A dead armadillo- ack!! They rolled in it, got it all over them. OMG, it was dreadful. We have a big shower so as soon as we got home I carried them into the shower, ripped off their collars and my clothes and we all piled in the shower for a LONG shower with lots of shampoo Fortunately greyhounds have short hair so the smell was removed fairly quickly. I cannot even imagine trying to get skunk off a hairy dog. Good look with that German fellow next time he meets a skunk!

    • God, dead, squashed armadillo sounds like the grossest thing on earth! Revolting. At least armadillos don’t emit that special gas that lasts for weeks, but the visuals I’m having from your story are…. yech!

      I didn’t know you had greyhounds! They’re such incredibly elegant, graceful, beautiful creatures. And speedy like the wind. I know it takes a lot of exercise to keep them happy or calm. A dog park friend had one, and she practically lived at the dog park daily to try to tire hers out. Same with another dog park friend who had a Weimeraner; she was perpetually wiped out at her dog’s energy levels. lol.

  15. A good friend of mine has a female Australian shepherd that tangled with a skunk a few years back; they didn’t have any tomato juice on hand, so she and her husband ended up pouring canned diced tomatoes all over the dog! She said it did help eventually (though it used up their supply of diced tomatoes), and that the dog was completely confused by the tomato chunks sliding down her face. 🙂

    Those Arabian Oud oils sound amazing! I’m so glad I bought a bottle of Kalemat after reading your review (back when AO was available on Amazon). Hope the idea of shipping oils only from London works out, if so I’ll definitely be trying it.

    I’ve had a circadian rhythm disorder since childhood, and now I have intermittent insomnia to go with it (oh joy). Like Don, I do a lot of cleaning and household organizing at odd hours, not to mention aimless Internet wandering. I’m perpetually exhausted, but clean and well-informed (sigh).

    My most recent odd obsession is classic (60s and 70s) Formula 1 racing; I’ve been working my way through a lengthy DVD series of Grand Prix race highlights. The technology is interesting, from things like slicks (special tires) to airboxes, wings, and oddities like the six-wheeled Tyrrell P34. And it’s fun to watch the different race team styles; Ferrari clinging to engine power and turning up its nose at aerodynamics, Colin Chapman and Lotus charging ahead with ground effects, Hesketh Racing with champagne, oysters, and James Hunt…

    I’ll shut up now about my latest ridiculous obsession. 🙂

    Oh, and 80s music forever (don’t forget the Safety Dance, also Frankie Goes to Hollywood!)!

    Am already looking forward to next month’s Grab Bag!

    • The Safety Dance!!! God, haven’t thought of that one in years and years! I think I have a CD somewhere with that and some other one-hit wonders from the ’80s, and will go dig it up. 🙂

      I loved hearing about your recent obsession, Stina. I think it is so cool! And I imagine that the differences in style between various teams would be fascinating to uncover indeed. McLarens, Ferrari, Lotus and more. I imagine you’ve seen the movie, “Rush,” regarding Niki Lauder? I enjoyed that quite a bit.

      As for your friend’s skunk experience, I went through the canned tomatoes, too, with my furry child having a similar sort of confusion at the chunks raining down his face. lol.

      Arabian Oud seems willing to ship the oils from London, but prefers to take the risk only for things 20 ml or below. Since each bottle of the Kalemat oils is 20 ml, that works out but shipping may be about £30. I’ll have more details in the reviews once they’re posted.

  16. I remember all of those songs! Kafka – you may be familiar with these shows already, but my co-worker came back from a long stint in London and suggested the following series: The Killing (three seasons), Danish; Borgen three seasons, political thriller, Danish; The Bridge Danish/Swedish collaboration; and Arne Dahl – Swedish, based on books by Arne Dahl. I hope to catch these sometime.
    p.s. Love the space photos

    • I spent quite a bit of time discussing Borgen in the post and can indeed attest to just how great it is. 🙂 I strongly recommend it. If you have Netflix, it’s only available via disc, not streaming, but well worth any wait there may be for the discs. The Bridge is also very good, far better than the American version. I hope you get to see them all, Sandy.

  17. I’ve had a couple of nasty skunk incidents with my Papillon dogs (yes, even the female). What works best is a big jug of a couple of tablespoons of baking soda, some Dawn dish liquid soap, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide and some extra water. Mix that up real good and wash the dog with it. Much better than tomato juice, but you can’t mix it up and put it in a closed container as the baking soda/peroxide combo will explode the container. Fresh batch needed for each skunk incident. 🙂

    Just went to the doc this morning for more insomnia meds… I either fall asleep and wake up after 2 hours unable to go back to sleep, or can’t get to sleep at all. I think it’s a combination of stress and impending menopause. Hopefully some day I’ll get a good night’s sleep, and you too dear!

  18. Yotam’s cookbooks (absolutely all of them) are wonderful – I have quite a cookbook collection, but non of them is that sticky, fatfinger-printed like those by Yotam, they are simply in constant use !
    Music : The Staves (UK) – I booked a head-over-heels trip to Hamburg, so I can see their gig in a club (was the easiest travelable destination from Vienna)
    Whenever I only hear “50 Shades of Grey” I’m near to become a serial killer…

  19. A few random thoughts on your random.thoughts Kafka; Yes, 80s music forever! I know embarrassingly few new songs or artists and am underwhelmed by the ones I do know. I need to try Kalemat and its variants. I am seeing rumblings that may mean an end to this lousy No Buy. We shall see. I highly recommend The Grand Budapest Hotel. My DH calls it a modern fairy tale and the only other man I have ever seen manage to be as crass as he is simultaneously refined as Gustave is…my DH. So yes, I love the movie. And lastly, food. My standards may be lacking because I have never been to China but we were pleasantly surprised by Dollar Tree’s Dumplings which are either imported from Japan or Korea (I can’t remember which). Either love or hate them they aren’t a big waste of $ if you don’t end up liking them. Oh one more thought on your Grab Bag, please do more Grab Bags! This is fun.

    • Dollar Tree has dumplings??!! The ones I’ve seen near me don’t have anything half as exciting but, Heavens, I have to explore more. Thank you for letting me know, Vicki!

  20. I’ve heard wonderful things about Borgen. I wish it were available on Netflix streaming! Mmmm, dumplings. I love them in all forms (and yes, I like TJ’s dumplings too!). Unfortunately, am not supposed eat them because of the stupid celiac disease. My recent TV find is The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which I adored, but I do not think it is to your taste in the least. Other than that, I haven’t found any TV/movies that could hold my attention lately with the exception of House of Cards. I know some people said this season was boring, but I really loved this season! Haven’t done much reading lately (shameful), but did read a book a colleague gave me when she heard I was running the marathon called Running with a Mind of Meditation. Interesting food for thought, but I’m not a meditator and don’t really buy into it – though I know many see a lot of value in it. Some interesting food for thought, though. I tried to keep some of it in mind while I ran, but mostly my mind was just static until from miles 11-24. 🙂

  21. Just catching up on my blog reading–and your very enjoyable post. I too love The Non-Blond’s “Lately…” posts. Just a thought regarding the skunk “up the street”. If it is at all practical, you might try leaving a cheap, battery-operated radio on in, or as near as you can safely get to, the place where the skunk resides. I have heard that they do not like this disruption and will move out. Of course, if a skunk is nursing some newborn kits, it will take a while for them to move. Just an idea…

  22. Just entered the Netfix era with binges on series I didn’t know existed. Wallander lead me to three series which I thoroughly enjoyed: Hinterland, Jack Taylor, and Happy Valley. Also loved The Fall, but the last two episodes left me unconvinced. Glad to see Gillian Anderson take charge! 🙂 Love the March grab bag, Kafka! Sending wishes to you for every good thing!

    • Two2aHorse!!!!! My god, it’s good to see you! I hope you’re doing well, my friend. As for your entry into the Netflix era, all I can say is “About time.” LOL. I’ve watched episodes of all the shows you mentioned, though Happy Valley was too uncomfortable for me to finish and Hinterland was perhaps too bleak for my tastes. May I recommend to you the original Scandinavian version of The Bridge?

      I’ve really missed you, my dear. xoxoxo

      • Thank you, Kafka. I too found Happy Valley so very disturbing and had to break away more than once, but as the first episode paid its respect to Sylvia Plath, I was both drawn and fore-warned. 🙂 It has been the only series so far where I ‘forgot’ I was watching ‘television’. Hinterland’s setting was the lure for me, due to my lack of knowing anything about Wales. I will certainly happily add The Bridge to my viewing list. I am so sorry to learn you are still battling your insomnia. I have read your blog continuously, and you have been in my thoughts daily.

        • I’ve missed you, and can’t decide if I should hug you at coming out of lurkerdom or chastise you for staying away so long. LOL. 😉 I wish you hadn’t kept silent all this time, my friend, especially if you’ve actually been reading all this time. Even if you weren’t buying or dipping your toe into fragrance for a while, I hope you know that you’re ALWAYS welcome here, to comment on whatever you like, even if you haven’t tried a scent or are just sharing your thoughts on something. I also hope you know that I would be happy at whatever you decided to comment on. Plus, I don’t always post just perfume reviews. Bottom line: don’t feel you have to lurk simply because you haven’t been interested in buying a perfume for a while. 🙂 A very, VERY big hug to you, my kind friend.

          • Have just finished binge watching the first two seasons of the Australian set ‘Rake’. I’ve read the 3rd and final season isn’t as good, but I was hooked on the first two and am very tempted to order the 3rd from Amazon as it isn’t on Netflix. Am looking forward to Wolf Hall (as well as Game of Thrones) starting up soon. Big hug back, Kafka!

  23. Hi Kafkaesque,

    Been reading your blog a littler while and I’m a big fan. Also, I tried Kalemat for the first time today and man… your review was spot on. I was actually hoping to buy some off the Arabian Oud website, especially because of the sales going on, and was having the same issue with not being able to select a country other than Saudi Arabia for shipping/billing. Was that resolved for you in any way?

    • First, welcome to the blog, Eric. Glad you stopped lurking. 🙂 With regard to the Saudi Arabian Oud website, I’m afraid I haven’t had time to create a full, proper account to try ordering again. Too many new releases got me a little side-tracked, particularly the unheralded, unexpected launch of the new Slumberhouse.

      That said, I have worked out a special deal with Arabian Oud London for readers of the blog regarding shipping of the oils. I’ll have all the details of it in my review of Kalemat Amber which should be out on Sunday or early Monday, followed by subsequent reviews of the other 2 Kalemat oils and the new Kalemat EDP flanker that they sent to me as well. I may have to intersperse some of those Arabian Oud reviews with coverage of other brand new releases from other companies, but I hope to have a Kalemat review of some kind every few days or so over the next 10 days. Sometimes, my scheduling goals don’t always go as planned, but you may want to hold off until I cover at least 2 of them before ordering. I don’t know your perfume tastes to know what you may like, but I can tell you that Kalemat Amber was superb, Kalemat Floral was good to very good, and the Kalemat Musk was — surprisingly — not really about musk but almost a chypre-like, woody rose with incense, as well as the namesake musk notes. (I haven’t made up my mind about that one yet.)

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