Grab Bag Round-Up – April 2015

A look at random things from perfume news to some of the things occupying my attention this month.



Training Your Nose: This should be in the perfume news section below, but I wanted to devote more focus on an article in The Telegraph called “How a ‘nose workout’ can unlock the power of smell.” The significant part is this: “The average person is capable of recognising around 10,000 scents and women generally detect more than men. So how can you improve on that? “Smell and write at the same time,” says Fairley. “That’s what you do in perfume school. Words fix the smell in your brain. Make associations.[“…][¶] Fairley quotes Prof George Dodd, who set up the Olfaction Research Group at the University of Warwick, and who affirms that with this practice “you actually strengthen the neural pathways in the brain itself and in turn that helps you to become better at smelling things”.”

This is essentially what I do when I test a perfume, and I think it makes a significant difference. I don’t jot down cursory descriptions, key words, or summations; I take pages of detailed notes in full sentences on a large, yellow legal-pad. For a recent review, there was 8 pages of analysis. Now, I am NOT saying that you should do anything as intense, OCD, or extreme. However, I don’t think the sort of analysis that consists of something like a simple Excel spread-sheets with keywords (something I know a lot of people do) is sufficient if you want to really hone your nose for the finer nuances and to lock the details in your memory. In my opinion, to expand your mental and olfactory Rolodex, the best way to “strengthen the neural pathways” is to take detailed notes on the finer points so that your mind locks in the connection between an ingredient and a particular smell. Not simplistic keyword summations, but full sentences just as you would do in school when analysing a book or science project. It’s just a thought for the most obsessive amongst you if you’re truly keen on developing your sense of smell.

Interesting Perfume Articles from the Last Month:

  • Kannauj attar producers in India. Source:

    Kannauj perfume producers gathering petals for their attars. Source:

    From The Atlantic magazine: Making Perfume From The Rain.” This is a really cool article on Indian attars, from a detailed look at their methodology to the story of one small village which has somehow managed to capture the scent of rain (“petrichor”) over the last few centuries. Kannauj seems to be a hub for Indian attars and perfume-making in general: “In the crop rows, white jasmine flowers shaped like starfish bloomed in their ocean of waxy dark green. Twiggy trees called gul-hina were blooming too, their tiny flowers clustered into points of white flame. Ordinary on the tree, gul-hina leaves become the extraordinary henna that decorates women’s hands and feet for special occasions, or tints dark hair a spicy red. The tree’s flowers also make a delicate, sweet attar. It can take about 100 pounds of flower petals or herbs, infused into a pound of sandalwood oil—the ideal and purest base for essential oils—to make about one pound of pure attar.” All that is well written, but it’s the villagers’ ability to bottle the smell of a monsoon (“Mitti attar”) that seems particularly unusual, so check out the article if you’d like to know more.

  • Source:


    From The Wall Street Journal: “Eau de Fracking? Companies Try to Trademark Scents.” I thought this was interesting for two reasons. First, it talks about the scent that certain big companies (Verizon Wireless, United Continental Airlines) want associated with their business — and who isn’t curious about what an airline considers to be their signature scent? (I assume “Eau de Stress And Misery” is not possible.) The second interesting thing about the article was the fact that “Not a single scent has European Union-wide protection, according to the EU’s trademark office.” It explains why.

  • Vanilla flower. Source:

    Vanilla flower. Source:

    The Daily Mail had a piece on the scientific reasons why certain perfume ingredients have a particular impact on people. I know, I know, the Daily Mail is a terrible rag, but some parts were interesting. For example, vanilla is strongly associated with pleasure in the central nervous system, while citrus is associated with cleanness. “Floral perfumes can take years off a woman, as long as the smell is subtle. However, if it’s cloying or overpowering, the effect can be ageing. Anything that overwhelms our senses can begin to smell stale and musty, and these are scents that the unconscious mind associates with age.” If you think about that last part, there is some truth to it.

  • Source:


    There’s been some talk about a recent Washington Post article entitled “Modern life smells so good it’s killing the cheap perfume industry.” Everyone seems to be interpreting it as great news and as a sign that niche is improving perfume tastes. I read it completely differently. It’s not saying that people are eschewing cheap scents because of how poorly they smell. It says that they are turning to even cheaper things still: “The fast growth of specialized scents in fabric softeners, household cleaners and body sprays” is why people don’t feel the need to spend money on cheap colognes. How is it a good thing if the focus is on “sweet-smelling fabric softeners and household cleaners”? Are people’s tastes improving if “[m]ost skip the cheap perfume and get the same scent from sweet-smelling deodorants, body lotions, body washes and body mists”? Buying scented deodorant is a big deal? Not in my opinion. As for their other conclusion that niche perfume sales are growing while celebrity scents are dropping, that is hardly a new development. A range of sites have talked about it in the last 18-months. I have as well. My piece on Frederic Malle, Estée Lauder & Perfume Industry Changes explains it with detailed financial analysis. Plus, the Washington Post is really focusing on what they call “premium scents” which is defined as designer scents. To me, an increase in sales of Acqua di Gio or scented deodorants is not significant news for the niche world. It’s simply a continuation of existing trends, particularly the unfortunate obsession with laundry clean aromas. Forgive me if I don’t celebrate.

  • Source: Saudi Gazette.

    Source: Saudi Gazette.

    Speaking of sales, “fragrances flourish in new Asian markets.” They define things quite differently than I do because, once again, it’s scented household products that are popular, not actual perfume: “a growing number of consumers think spending money on pleasant smells is necessary rather than extravagant. Spraying air freshener products like Febreze and lighting aromatic candles have become routine. Growing consumer demand for relaxing scents from candles and diffusers as a form of stress relief has also contributed to the rise of the fragrance market.”  In contrast, the Middle East continues to be obsessed about actual perfume — which is why the Saudi market is expected to grow to $2 billion in sales by 2018. The Saudi Gazette talks about area’s “growing stature as a key market,” in large part because fragrance sales accounted for 19.6% of the joint Middle Eastern-African sector in 2014. That’s huge as compared to American or European markets, and it’s why Western companies like Eurofragrance and the prestigious Robertet are expanding to the region, setting up offices or building huge 10,000 sq. ft. centers, and joining the Beautyworld Middle East fair for the first time. The latter seems to be the beauty and fragrance equivalent of the Pitti or Esxence shows, only with a wider focus. I had no idea there was such a thing.

  • Source: Adweek.

    Source: Adweek.

    [UPDATED because I forgot a few cool articles]: “How Jean Patou Squeezed 10,600 Jasmine Flowers Into a 1.6-Ounce Bottle” is the story of the legendary Joy. “A Sniff to Go With Your Cocktail” talks about how “[p]erfume players use new tricks amid fierce market,” like Givenchy‘s fragrance-inspired cocktails and Google‘s wearable “fragrance emission device.” Finally, the nicely detailed “Smelling Good Throughout History” goes from “the first perfume maker of record … a woman chemist named Tapputi of Mesopotamia” to Chanel No. 5.

Music This Month: I started out the month listening quite a bit to Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana – O Fortuna” but, lately, I’ve been listening to the Algerian musicians, Rashid Taha and Cheb Mami. The latter may be familiar to you from his collaboration with Sting on the song, “Desert Rose.” Cheb Mami’s music style is called “Raï” which Wikipedia describes as fusing “blues, funk, salsa, reggae, hip hop and Algerian rhythms, while integrating touches of his idols Stevie Wonder, Otis Redding and French rapper MC Solaar.” When I’m frazzled, though, I keep turning to Rashid Taha’s “Barra Barra” from the Black Hawk Down soundtrack. For some inexplicable reason, it de-stresses me when listened to on repeat:

Movies: Black Hawk Down. It’s one of my all-time favorite movies, ever. (Let’s not get into the politics of it, if you don’t mind.) I don’t know how many times I’ve watched BHD, but it’s a lot. It’s one of those rare movies where I can watch it back-to-back, going from one viewing straight into the next. I love the soundtrack too, as I’m a huge Hans Zimmer fan and have many of his movie scores. (The one for “The Rock” is one of my favorite CDs in general). As a side note, another favorite war film is the little-known but excellent “Bravo Two Zero” with Sean Bean. It’s based on the true story of a British SAS patrol in the first Persian Gulf War.

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell. Source: twitter.

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell. Source: twitter.

Television – Good to Great: Orphan Black is back! So is Game of Thrones! And I cannot wait for tonight’s season finale of The Americans. My new fascination, though, is Wolf Hall about the Tudor Thomas Cromwell. My God, Mark Rylance is a spectacular actor. I was wary going into the first episode because, really, just how many more times can one hear about Henry VIII’s Anne Boleyn situation and plans to get a divorce?! Thankfully, this is a new angle by focusing on the life of a key political adviser. Still, I do wish the BBC would cover other historical areas. Perhaps their charter requires them to focus on British matters, and royal intrigue is admittedly a juicy area, but how about a look at the Stuart period, from Oliver Cromwell to the beheading of Charles I in the civil war? Or the always fascinating Charles II (who wasn’t well served, in my opinion, by “The Last King” mini-series)? Or the Hanoverian succession? Mad King George? Anything — for the love of God, anything — other than Henry’s first divorce. My grumbling aside, Wolf Hall is surprisingly interesting (especially from the 2nd episode onwards), not to mention being beautifully filmed. If you love historical period pieces with superb acting, you should check it out.

Wolf Hall banner via

Wolf Hall banner via

Television – Eh to Bad: I’m still struggling with The Vikings this season. Spoilers are a terrible thing, so all I’ll say is that I really don’t give a damn about British court politics in 800s Wessex, no matter what the long (very long)-term historical significance may be. The Good Wife is also frustrating. I’m one of those weirdos who always found Alicia Florrick to be incredibly unlikable, but I hung in for the rest of the cast and story. Now…. eh.

Bane of My Existence This Month: website design problems. I’ve outgrown the limitations of the site in terms of set-up, apparently need a complete overhaul with something called a Mother-Child theme, and some other technical gobbledygook that I don’t understand. Creating a mobile-friendly system that would survive Jetpack updates would help, too. Basically, I need to professionally redesign the whole structure, but it would cost a significant amount. Probably too much so for a site that involves a lot of expense as it is and generates no income. Hopefully, a friend’s husband can tweak a few things as a temporary band-aid, since the always wonky sub-menu headings (one of which completely vanished in the Other Perfume Houses sub-division last night) are killing my OCD/TOC perfectionism. All of this is utterly overwhelming in its scope and details to a non-techie person like myself, so I’m listening to the Black Hawk Down soundtrack (see above) on repeat as I breathe in and out like a crazy person.

Joy: It’s been a stressful month. At least Game of Thrones is back.



Things I Simply Don’t Understand: The Chinese Communist party has warned the Dalai Lama “that he must reincarnate, and on their terms.” The CCP (an atheist organization, if I may remind you) insists that the poor man has “no say” over his own reincarnation, and that he will come back in whatever form and way they decide. This is not a parody piece from The Onion, but a real situation which The New York Times described in an article last month. It’s so ludicrous to me, a mix of “The Twilight Zone” and George Orwell, that I keep thinking about it.

So, that’s this month’s Grab Bag of random stuff. 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 to everything right away, but I’ll be eagerly reading anything you’d like to share.

57 thoughts on “Grab Bag Round-Up – April 2015

  1. Great post! I can personally relate to the “training your nose” section. Putting thoughts to paper while sampling in depth seems to slowly improve one’s ability to pick out notes and recognize artistic merit.

    My favorite part of this post has to be the last bit. The Chinese Communist Party can be so strange sometimes ;). What atheist orders a religious person to perform transcendent miracles on their terms? How odd.

    • Thank you, my dear. BTW, I forgot a few interesting links, so you may want to refresh the page as I quickly added them in. There is an article that talks about the history of perfume from Egyptian times (and a Mesopotamian female chemist) all the way up through to the modern age.

      As for the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Communist Party, I’m glad you got a kick out of that as well. It’s just so insane, isn’t it? I mean, even if one believes in it, reincarnation is hardly a minor, every day matter that everyone can do to begin with — and they’re insisting on what shape or person he will end up as, on top of it all??! Part of me still has trouble believing it isn’t an Onion joke but an actual situation.

      • Both of the new links look fantastic, thanks for the update! I’m sure I will enjoy the reads.

        Perhaps I am thoroughly jaded by their antics, but the Chinese Communist Party would have to do a lot to surprise me nowadays. Mix religious philosophy with crackpot communist ideologies and you have a fun medley that also happens to be completely unintelligible. If one can find a Starbucks logo anywhere near a giant steel hammer and sickle (now a regular occurrence in Shanghai), something has gone dreadfully wrong.

        • Forget Starbucks or McDonald’s for the masses, think about the even greater irony of China’s Louis Vuitton and ultra-luxury obsession. (I’ll never forget the day I barely escaped a stampede in Shanghai when a store had a sale. Some people were actually flattened in the melée.) Yet, as you know full well, it is precisely such consumeristic liberalism that has kept the regime in power and glossed over internal fissures, so it was an incredibly astute decision as a means of political survival, even if it damns their ideological theories to hell. When you’re the sole real superpower left, things are probably dreadfully *right* in their eyes. lol I have to take my hat off to the pragmatic perspicacity of it all. In my admittedly inexpert opinion, I think oil needs (for their over-development) and socio-economic imbalances stemming from the explosion of the super-rich (while the countryside grows poorer) are what might end up being Communist China’s downfall, rather than ideological contradictions. Still, I’m impressed that the new premier is at least attempting to crack down on corruption. When someone takes aim at the luxury private golf courses, then I know that they really mean business and are being thorough. Let’s hope he succeeds even a little bit.

          • It is a brilliant balancing act they play, mouthing socialist platitudes while simultaneously embracing consumerism. Devious, but brilliant. Still, as much as one of those Shanghai sales might be reminiscent of an American Black Friday rush, I’d be pleasantly surprised if the Chinese leadership can manage any sort of move towards liberal democracy without bringing their entire society crashing down around them. More importantly I think, I’d be surprised – shocked actually – to find that they intended any such embrace of liberal values. Their political system (national and international) requires long term planning on a scale that is simply not possible in a liberal society. And if the Chinese leadership does manage to successfully crack down on corruption, it will only mean that the Communist Party treads are further greased in order to more efficiently crush any emerging ideas (or people, incidentally) that threaten that leadership.

            I am not an optimist when it comes to China. Mandating the details of reincarnation is only one symptom of a level of hubris and authoritarian meddling that is unbefitting a world power of such magnitude. We should be vigilant.

            As any sensible pessimist would do at this point, I’m going to douse myself in Absolue Pour le Soir and pretend nothing is wrong :D.

          • “As any sensible pessimist would do at this point, I’m going to douse myself in Absolue Pour le Soir” — that makes me laugh so much, you have no idea. 😀

  2. Thank you Sincerely for sharing so frankly but always so classy your thoughts and what you enjoy. It is a great reviving pleasure to read your post in the morning. If I could share a little – movie – “Body of Lies” I am almost certain you might enjoy it, TV series I am very much behind so I’ll just grab yours 🙂
    Music – I recently got into Handel operas, it took me few months form aspiring to enjoy it to actually hear it, now it is a sublime joy – like Admeto staged by Doris Dorrie, where Japanese setting magnifies the experience, sneak –

    I was truly waiting for your review of Succus by LI, so got all excited yesterday, too bad you decided to leave it behind as I find it hard to form my own opinion on this (I wonder if it is like with Emperor’s new clothes or maybe there is something to it… ) and search for a decent citrus smell but Bigarde Concentre is too much of a cologne, L’etrog by Arquiste is a bit too mature, I would like a walk in the wild, light, green, slightly sunny but with a squeezed drop of character 🙂

    Have a Great Day!

    • Always so lovely to hear from you, Kasia, and thank you for the kind words on the post. I’m so glad to get a link to a Handel opera. I love his Water Music, but his operas are not something I’m greatly familiar with. That said, last month, I watched part of his Tamerlano on DVD with my parents. It’s an opera about a Turkish-Mongol king and I was excited about the setting and costumes, but the super high falsetto voice of the main chap was a bit difficult for me. Hopefully, Admeto will be the one for me. I’ll watch it as soon as I finish this comment.

      Re. Succus, my apologies for missing out on the one you were particularly interested in! lol 😀 As a suggestion, a very sunny, rich but airy citrus that you may want to look into is Tauer’s Cologne du Maghreb. It’s not green but it is so sunny and bright that it reminded me of lemonade. Plus, it has an interesting woody base that shows up later. I’m not a citrus person, but I far (FAR!) prefer that one to L’Etrog and Bigarde Concentré. The latter is indeed like a cologne, not to mention having cumin which is difficult for some people. L’Etrog was bland, too thin, and synthetic (ISO E Super), imo. So, perhaps you can look at my review, see if it sounds appealing for your tastes and, if so, then look for samples near you? Another fragrance that is citrusy but not a pure soliflore is Teo Cabanel’s Meloé. That might work great for spring and summer, and has a sunny, greenish, quasi-herbal and citrusy start. You may want to look up that review to see if it fits what you had in mind.

      Now I’ll off to listen to Admeto (or at least some of it before I go to bed, as it’s the middle of the night here.) You have a great day, too, Kasia. 🙂

  3. Game of Thrones is back! 🙂 That’s what I’m happy about. That said, next couple of months I’ll have to be very careful not to read/see any spoilers because I always wait for the season to finish so I can binge watch it at my leisure and not bite my nails waiting for the next episode.
    Other random stuff – still working on not feeling guilty (and it’s working), I’d like to read a SCI-FI book I received recently, Shalimar Initial is my go-to perfume these days and iris is the new note I like to wear as much as I can.

    • Gosh, it must be incredibly difficult to avoid all spoilers for the 3 months or so that the show airs!! That’s going to take some effort (and blindness), so I wish you luck. lol. As for Iris, I’ve started to like the note when it is gourmand. May I suggest trying SHL 777’s Khol de Bahrein? It is the first iris scent I fell for and the only one I own. A truly beautiful take on the note with delicious gourmand streaks of heliotrope and tonka.

      Best news in your comment: your NON guilt-trip thing is working. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!

  4. Great post!
    Thank you for sharing your favorite music, I know the de-stressing effect you describe, I sometimes experience it while listening to Rammstein (e.g. Sonne), it’s like a paradox effect (new age music, which is supposed to calm you down, can really upset or stress me…). My favorite part from the Carmina Burana is “In Taberna Quando Sumus”.

    • We’re so alike. I’m mad about Rammstein (much to the bewilderment of my friends and family) and I think it is the best de-stressing music EVER!! So, Sonne does the trick for you? It’s Ich Will & Du Hast for me. I’ve driven a few people insane with how I can play Ich Will at massive volumes for 8+hours in a row. 😀 And, like you, I find new age music to stress me out completely. It’s like meditating — I see absolutely nothing Zen or calming about it. (NOT that I’ve ever actually succeeded in stopping my mind to focus on just one single thing. How is that even possible?! And telling me to be calm and think of nothing only agitates me further!) Meditation and New Age music… I’ll take Rammstein over them any day.

      BTW, you do know that we’re quite strange, don’t you? I don’t think Rammstein is a normal person’s calming/soothing mechanism at all… 😉 😀

  5. It is a treat to read some of what grabs you. I am not sure if I would really enjoy Black Hawk Down (as in finding it pleasant and relaxing to watch like Downton, or even Borgen) but I think it would be very good to watch (as in educational and useful, and as in one of my favourite but not in that way enjoyable series the Wire), and I am sure my husband would enjoy it, so it will go on a to watch list.
    Love the article about the nose neuron connection, not only useful in honing the nose, but other human skills.
    And I agree on Wolf Hall, do we need more of the maniac Henry VIII? I don’t think so. Nevertheless well made and acted historical period series are few and far between, so I will investigate.
    Game of Thrones and Vikings are on the TV menu here, I am not sure if I enjoy either of them in the way I did. I have my hopes on the last Mad Men series.
    I am somewhat off watching TV altogether, preferring to read, e.g. the thoughtful and kind inspector Gamache, who not only has a German shepherd with satellite ears, but smells of sandalwood.
    Now a link to some music you may enjoy, Anouar Brahem,
    He plays the oud rather than smelling of it.
    Hope your energies will be restored soon.

    • Wait, WHAT, an Inspector who has a German shepherd with satellite ears and who smells of sandalwood??!!! What is this amazing sounding series, and is it written in English?! (Does he wear Mysore sandalwood? You know what a snob I am about that. lol.) Seriously, what is this book?

      The Wire is probably the best TV show ever made!!!!! Depressing but riveting, thought-provoking, and so brilliant. Idris Elba… mmmmm. 😉 And I even like the newspaper season that most people have issues with, too.

      As for Henry VIII, we should add Elizabeth I to the list because there was a period of time when there were 2 movies and 2 television series about her in the space of… yes… TWO years. (And let’s not think about all the older series/films on Elizabeth and her Mary, Queen of Scots problem.) It is another ridiculously over-treated area. I want a series on the Regency era’s Prince Regent instead (with Beau Brummell). 🙂

      PS– the song sounds very interesting with the oud connection. I’ll listen to it as soon I’m able.

      • Ha, I thought that would get your attention 😉 (satellite ears and sandalwood, no mention of Mysore, but I think he would if he could).
        There are I think 12 inspector Gamache’s, the first one is called Still Life, author is Louise Penny. I am reading the last one now, and I recommend reading them from book one (but not necessary). I am not sure if it is too calming for you (like my music recommendation 😉 ), but in that case it may help you sleep (or not…). They get better BTW, so if at first it is so so , give it one more go!
        The Wire, totally agree, nothing comes close. I also still miss Boston Legal (Mad Cow). Iris Alba now stars in a new police series, Luther, full of serial killers, he is gorgeous (isn’t the scene of his execution in the Wire possibly the best ever…true that).
        Beau Brummell sounds very good!
        Have you read any of the Kate Atkinsons (When will there be good news, or the last one Life after Life (don’t let the Chinese Government read it)? You may enjoy them, or watch the series Case Histories, with the IMO dishy Jason Isaacs.

        Perfume wise I am in the most strange period since falling down, only want to wear one for days on end (and I don’t think you are a fan of it Heure Exquise), alternated only with another iris.
        If I get over it I will try your iris recommendation of Kohl de Bahrein.
        Cuddles and hugs for the German!

        • Ha, Iris on the brain… 😉 BTW, I snorted out loud at your comment re. the Kate Atkinson book on afterlives and not letting the Chinese government read it. So funny!

          We’ve talked about Luther before, and it’s a good series. I loved the first season and preferred it to the second, while the last/third season was painfully grim for me. I think it’s been over now for a while, though, no? Poor Idris was in talks to become the next James Bond, but that fell through unfortunately.

          As for Mad Men, the new episodes have been better than I expected thus far. The show is no longer one of my favorites, though. Have you ever watched Orphan Black? If not, I strongly recommend you give it a look, particularly as it has some of the darkness of Luther. I can’t really give you a synopsis without revealing too much, but really see if you can get it starting with Season 1. And perhaps be a little patient, as the show transforms into something really unique, original, and remarkable by the time the season ends.

          I will ABSOLUTELY look into the Louise Penny books. YAY for them being in English. I was worried it was going to a German or Dutch thing, and neither of those are my languages. Thank you so much for the tip!

          PS– Jason Isaacs is “dishy” indeed. He’s the sole reason I’m slugging through his new (and terrible) television series called “Dig.” A murder set in Jerusalem involving religious evangelicals and The Rapture. God, it’s awful. And it takes a LOT for me to find any sort of historical mystery/conspiracy to be awful.

          • Thank you for the Orphan Black recommendation, I will check it out, always on the look out for good series. For clarity, I found Idris gorgeous, but Luther (as you) too grim. Same for Profugos, which my husband loves, much too grim for me, however well acted it was. Glad Idris was rescued from 007!
            Inspector Gamache lives in Quebec, so a bit of French c’est tout.

          • Kafka, is ‘dishy’ a strange word to use in this context, English not being my vernacular 😉 ?
            You may like Case Histories, against Edingburgh and Scottish Country side setting. And a dog.

          • No, it’s not a strange word at all, Hamamelis! It’s a very 1940s/1950s word that I don’t hear often, but I was really just quoting you because the phrase I was tempted to say sounded a little too… bawdy… or improper. 😉 “Dishy” seemed a much politer choice. LOL.

  6. Great post. I definitely need to take your advice and write down what I smell. I have a lot to learn. Enjoyed reading this. Thank for the giveaways

    • Hi Jessi, welcome to the blog. I’m glad you found the writing suggestion to be helpful. It’s certainly the best way to memorize things in general. But “giveaways”? You lost me there. There is no perfume giveaway. 🙂

      • I think Jessi meant by giveaways your personal tips disclosure.Only a supposition☺

        • Ah, of course, that makes a lot of sense. DUH to me. Thank you for the tip and explanation, Ana Maria.

  7. Have you checked out Call The Midwife? It’s my favorite show on TV. Season 4 current on PBS, Sundays at 8:00. First three seasons on Netflix.

    • Yep, I watch that one too. You’ll probably disagree, but I’m glad the main actress left. I found her irritating, perhaps because of her self-righteous primness. (BTW, she now plays a small villainess on Wolf Hall!) I’d like to see more of Chummy this season, but I’m starting to worry that she’s left the show as well.

  8. I love this post! I learned so much…and I like hearing recommendations outside (and inside) the world of perfume.
    I have a great website developer/builder who costs a fraction of most (he’s a student…but does an amazing job…actually better and faster than many professional firms). Let me know if you want me to send you his contact information.

    • I’m so glad you found it informative and interesting, Megan. This is a new feature that I began last month and the subjects vary, depending on what’s caught my interest. Last month, there were cookbooks, food, Hubble Space telescope photos, and my German shepherd instead of movies and China. (TV is rather a set category, though, since that’s the only way I can get my mind to relax and I’m a complete television junkie.) Hopefully, you’ll find something of interest in some area or another each month. And I hope you will also feel free to share things that have caught your interest as well. 🙂

      Thank you so, SO much for the tip about your website developer! It’s hard to know who is good and trustworthy, you know? I really appreciate you letting me know you have someone you think is great. If my friend’s husband doesn’t end up having the time or is too expensive, I will definitely send you an email, with your permission and with many thanks in advance!

      • Please do follow up if you need the contact information. He built my latest site and a few others for me (both for me and companies I was advising). Just send me an email ….and he is totally reliable.
        I love this feature!!!!

  9. Hey Kafka sorry to hear you’re feeling so exhausted and disenchanted,hopefully it’s just a swift,transitory phase.Oddly,since I started writing a bit about perfume I feel like that myself more often.Thanks be to God I don’t need to look after technical problems as well,that would really get me into a twist,as I have zero knowledge and patience about issues like that.Apart from the little trip to Milan I had last weekend and the great news about my dad’s PSA count going down from 54 to 19,not much else exciting happened. I’ve read Mandy Aftel’s Essence and Alchemy,and now I have Fragrant and Scent and subversion on the go,I’m doing some parallel reading.Also Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove.I don’t watch much television,so Games of Thrones and all the other series everybody is talking about have passed me by.I listen to my usual Depeche Mode and Nick Cave with the odd aria in between,my current favorite being the really famous one from Madama Butterfly (I forgot the name now)sung by Maria Callas.Also there’s a song I’m quite obsessed with lately it’s called Fade out lines and is sung by Phoebe Kildeer and The short straws(not the Aveneer mix,that one is losing the dreamy,slightly creepy charm of the original version).Politics are a source of endless sadness and befuddlement, so I try to stay away as I’m too impressionable as it is,and too many things going wrong with my state of mind without having to worry about all the world’s madness.Now that’s it sweetie,kisses and take care x x

    • That is STUPENDOUS news about your father, Ana Maria! I’m so, so incredibly happy for him, but also for you and your mother. HURRAH!!!!

      How are you enjoying the Aftel and Roja Dove books? I will have to look up the Fade Out Lines song, since you and I have some overlap in our music tastes. 🙂

  10. It’s funny you should mention the Telegraph article, because I’ve started taking notes on the perfumes I tried, so I could better remember the notes (that and I’m the kind of person who compulsively take notes anyway). 🙂
    YAY for Orphan Black! It’s such a good show!
    I still haven’t gone past the first few episodes of the new season of the Good Wife. I’ve always really liked Alicia, but the things I’ve been hearing about the new season (including but not limited to her characterization) aren’t encouraging me.
    I’m sorry to hear about your month. I hope the next one will be better.
    About that Dalai Lama article, I share your feeling. The political atmosphere in China sure was, well, something.
    I’m currently writing you from the bus in London. 🙂 I’m on a break from school for a few days with a couple of friends. I’ve been waiting for it for a long long time. Things have been quite hectic work-wise this year (my choice, and I’m a workaholic anyway, but still!). I might be able to drag my friends to a perfume shop or another, or better still, to the McQueen exhibition called “Savage Beauty”. I have the book, and it’s brilliant. Simply brilliant.

    • McQueen’s Savage Beauty book is gorgeous, and I’ve heard nothing but the best things about the exhibition. I so wish I could have caught it when it was in NY. I hope you had fun on your London break, my dear. 🙂

  11. I love your roundups of interesting and random information from the month! I’ll definitely be reading through a bunch of the articles tonight.

    On the topic of the Washington Post article, though, I read it the same way you did: people are finding other [cheap] ways to scent themselves and aren’t buying [cheap] perfume/cologne. However, I see the entire issue as pretty neutral, and suspect that the average person’s taste hasn’t changed much at all. Anyone who’s trading in perfume for deodorant or fabric softener is likely looking for an entirely different experience/output from their scents anyway. For all I know, if they’re looking for a lighter, less intrusive scent, perhaps household cleaner and body spray actually suit their needs better.

    Call me a fiend, but I frequently buy scented everyday products (except when it comes to my laundry), and that hasn’t changed my perfume purchasing in the least. Obviously I–as would be the case for anyone who reads about perfume regularly–fall into a disparate category from those described in the article. But my point is that it’s hard for me to imagine that a person could be stolen away from perfume if they weren’t either a) looking for an alternative all along, or b) already indifferent to the subject.

    On a side note, I’ve gotten so spoiled reading perfume blogs that I forgot that it’s NOT safe to read the comment sections on news sites. 🙂

    • Oh gosh, the comments section on news sites are quite something, aren’t they? Definitely something I try to avoid if I can. As for the Washington Post article, I think your point on the sort of person who would be stolen away from perfume to scented body/fabric products is an very astute one! No-one who is truly into real perfume would think scented deodorant would or could be a viable substitute because they wouldn’t be getting the emotional/mental benefits that a real perfume lover finds invaluable in actual fragrance.

  12. I’m glad that you and others shared my enjoyment of the NYT piece on the order to reincarnate. The ironies are rich, deep, and multiple. My pleasure was only increased by the fact that, a few days earlier, a fairly evangelical friend had informed me that I would be going to Heaven after death whether I liked it or not (those weren’t the precise words, but surprisingly close.) The whole idea of anyone deciding to control anyone else’s very long-term destination is giggle material to me, but the Chinese command has layers of giggles that continue to amuse me.
    And now I have new material to snicker about: I am happily imagining what scent Monsanto would trademark as its own. Dying vegetation, maybe? I suspect that their multimillion dollar legal department would turn from putting small farmers out of business to sueing citizens who infringe on Monsanto’s exclusive corporate rights to the scent of vegetal decay.

    • I’d rather not think about what Monsanto’s ideal, trademark scent might be like….. 😉 🙂

  13. Thank you for this lovely post! 😀 I agree that keywords are really not enough to describe certain fragrances. Some ingredients are so complex themselves that emphasizing different facets can have drastic effects. I too started the practice to describe fragrances in detail on my blog (quite motivating to write properly I must say :P). It really helps me to examine fragrances with hindsight and I can feel that I made some improvement, which is very encouraging. 😀 And to think about it, it’s just like writing reviews for books, films or taking notes for study, and we gain more insights through this kind of revision.

  14. Haha, the CCP has a truly in-depth understanding of Buddhism – tashi delek !

  15. interesting round up, thank you for sharing it!

    I’ve not watched the recent series of Vikings yet, but, I may be one of the few people who is interested in Anglo-Saxon politics (specialised in that at school, so have background, and later lived in a part of England where behaviour was *still* affected by the Viking raids and attacks, more than a thousand years later.) So now I’m rather looking forward to it! Case Histories I’ve really enjoyed, mostly because of the visual appeal: not just the dishy star but my home city looks just gorgeous in it. I’ve enjoyed Atkinson’s novels since Behind the Scenes at the Museum.

    Have you heard Rachid Taha’s cover of Rock the Casbah? Fab. As is that whole album, Tektoi.

    • Rachid Taha has covered the Clash/Rock the Casbah??! Now THAT I have to find! Thank you for letting me know, Katie.

      As for The Vikings’ focus on Wessex, it’s actually only one of the issues I had problems with in the new season but it’s hard to talk about the rest without spoiling anything. In the most general of terms, the greatest issue is that Ragnar is quite marginalized in the story lines in favour of secondary and tertiary characters. There hasn’t been much (or any) character development for them, except in the broadest of brush strokes, sometimes to the point of caricature, so it’s a little frustrating. But if you have a keen interest in Anglo-Saxon politics, you may enjoy that portion of the story. 🙂

      As for Case Histories, I listened to you and the other commentators on the subject, and ordered the series from Netflix. I’m awaiting Disc 1 today, and am really looking forward to it! 🙂

  16. I love Grab Bag Round-Up; repeat: I LOVE it. 😀 Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one with such eclectic interests running the gamut from A-Z but then you
    and my fellow commentators make me feel at home. Actually, I was reading this out loud to my 24/7 in-house lawyer aka partner when he heard me say your “large, yellow legal pad”. He’s going away from Saturday to Tuesday for a legal seminar and some legal courses.

    I’m still working my way through my samples…and I ordered(and already received) an edp from Universal Perfumes called Esraa by Rasasi. Last time my bottle had a slight crack from the long distance/rough handling, but with this order I specifically instructed them to wrap it like it had to go to the moon and arrived here unscathed. I like clean clothes that smell clean, but every time I’m in that (detergent) section, there’s always something new, more fragrances, more stuff for treating stains, something to spray on your clothes after the dryer…blah….blah. I do burn candles, though.

    You kind of know a little bit of my music tastes. Carmina Burana is an awesomely dramatic piece of music. Alot of contemporary musicians sample it. I’ve bought many soundtracks over the years. I think I started with Farinelli-my mind went blank after that-damn. My local library had its annual book sale and picked up some coffee table books on art, architecture, travel. $20 per good sized bag for fiction. I found Gloria Swanson’s auto-bio. One of my favourite eras is 1920s. I tried reading Hilary Mantel’s books but couldn’t get into them. I’m sure I would love the series. I’m obsessed with the Tudors and have read every possible biography and watched most of the films with everyone from Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon to Glenda Jackson. You’re right about the Stuarts though. I’ve always felt they’ve been neglected. One of the books from the library sale is Antonia Fraser’s Charles II. I always had a fondness for Barbara Viliers. Lol. Up to the Georges and Prinny to Caroline of Brunswick. All of George IIIs brood were even more fascinating. At the present I’m reading War of the Roses: Stormbird by Conn Iggulden-even though it’s another white rose/red rose telling, it’s very well written.

    Oh Lord Kafka, I just looked at what I’ve typed and have some more to go yet………..Louise Penny is apparently excellent and a librarian recommended I read her, but haven’t yet. I love Rammstein, particularly the singer. Recently I’ve discovered a discount site for hard-to-find music i.e. CDs, even vinyl. I’ve bought the Jesus and Mary Chain 2 disc set and play them at full volume for stress relief. What is de-stressing for one may be auditory toxicity for another. I had better quit typing because I started this yesterday and realized it’s already the next day! One last bit of news: last week my weather was balmy, then the other night we had a tornado watch and today it snowed a bit….cheers dear.

    • I always had a fondness for Barbara Villiers, too!! As for the rest of your post, it was thoroughly enjoyable to have a glimpse into the many and varied things that you’ve been enjoying this month. But tornado watches to snow to balmy weather? Ugh. Your strange weather never seems to end!

      • Thought you’d appreciate Barb Villiers. 😉 This was a fun post and I could’ve rambled on and on. My weather is wonky. I live in the Susquehanna River valley in between rolling hills. That may influence the weather.

  17. One of these days I’m going to make another attempt at Game of Thrones. I tried but couldn’t get through the first 2 episodes. I guess I wasn’t quite prepared for it. I did just finish binge watching American Horror Story which I did like. I had control of the TV the other night because hubby was out and watched the first episode of The White Queen. Seemed pretty good.
    I’m pretty sure that even with practice and a dozen legal pads in front of me I could never break down a perfume as thoroughly and eloquently as you do. It is very helpful advice for writing about scent or just understanding what you’re smelling. Simple and effective.

    • The White Queen was a nice change of pace from television’s endless Tudor obsession. As for your kind words on my reviews, thank you, my dear. I laughed at bit at the dozen legal pads bit, since I recently bought several more sets of them. LOL.

      Regarding Game of Thrones, I know it’s not for everyone. I feel that way about the Walking Dead series which so many people love but which I never got into at all. 🙂

  18. In WordPress, the parent-child relationship defines breadcrumbs.
    SEO – search engine optimization

    I agree with poodle “… I’m pretty sure that even with practice and a dozen legal pads in front of me I could never break down a perfume as thoroughly and eloquently as you do….”

    Trying surrendertochance. Ordered a sample of Guerlain’s Derby.

    1) Dalai Lama
    VIDEO: Pursuing Happiness
    “The XIV Dalai Lama seems to many to embody happiness — happiness against the odds, a virtue that is acquired and practiced. Before a live audience in Atlanta, Georgia, Krista had a rare opportunity to mull over the meaning of happiness in contemporary life with him and three global spiritual leaders: a Muslim scholar, a chief rabbi, and a presiding bishop. An invigorating and unpredictable discussion exploring the themes of suffering, beauty, and the nature of the body.”

    At the top of the page, the link is to the audio, it was an NPR program. The audio runs about an hour. If you scroll down, there are links to a video, runs about two hours, and a transcript, in case you wish to copy-n-paste a quote….

    2) About a horse

    3) A favorite film
    This version includes commentary by John Milius, writer and director.
    Music by Jerry Goldsmith.

    4) Recent read
    A fried baloney sandwich will never look the same.

    5) Recent presentation, purchase, and most enjoyable read
    Like a Michael Lewis book, the characters tell the story.

    6) Cherished CD
    Two CDs of Bacharach music.
    Lottsa different artists.

    Take care.

    • I like Burt Bacharach quite a bit, but hadn’t thought of him in years, Penguin, so thank you for reminding me. I should pull out a CD of his that I have somewhere. As for The Wind & The Lion, that was a great film!

      I’ll take a look at some of your other links the first chance I get. Thank you for sharing them. 🙂

  19. couldn’t agree more: “In my opinion, to expand your mental and olfactory Rolodex, the best way to “strengthen the neural pathways” is to take detailed notes on the finer points so that your mind locks in the connection between an ingredient and a particular smell. Not simplistic keyword summations, but full sentences just as you would do in school when analysing a book or science project. It’s just a thought for the most obsessive amongst you if you’re truly keen on developing your sense of smell.”

  20. I would gladly pay a yearly subscription NOT to lose you!! I cannot begin to imagine the amount of work you put in Kafka – and if necessary, I’m sure I speak for lots on this site we can all pay……much love Katie xx

    • Awww, that is one of the sweetest and nicest things I’ve heard in a while. I needed that today, so “Thank You,” Katie, and a huge, massive hug to you! xoxox

  21. Pingback: Grab Bag Round-Up - May 2015 - Kafkaesque

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