Life, Coming Back, & Blogging

Hello everyone. It’s been a while, far longer than I had actually anticipated, and I thought I would check in with all of you and bring you up to date on things over the last six months. No, I haven’t fallen off a cliff or escaped to Fiji, but I have had a few things on my plate.

It’s been a rather difficult six months, dominated by a mix of emotions about so many things from real life to personal life, family issues, frustrations in blogging, frustrations about the current perfume environment, the Hairy German’s health, and so much more. Part of me feels awful for having been silent for so long, even when some of you wrote the kindest of notes or messages to me. The other part of me needed a complete break from all things blog and perfume-related in order to salvage what had become, by the end of last year, a badly damaged love of fragrance. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that a complex combination of factors had come close to ending my decades-long love affair with perfume, almost completely and entirely, as well as any interest in writing about them.

I had planned to give you an explanation of what exactly happened and had led to such a long break, but my post became, unsurprisingly for me, extremely long and detailed, and I ended up thinking, “Does it really matter?” After much thought, I concluded that I shouldn’t assume that the majority of people actually care about the reasons why I stepped away for so long, let alone have any desire to read a long explanation as to my feelings about the current niche perfume industry, the difficulty of my style of blogging, and all the rest of it. At the end of the day, all that really matters is the bottom line of whether you’re getting a review or not, and, since I’ve decided to come back (albeit in a slightly different fashion than before), I thought, “Just shut up and get on with it.”

Having said that, I need to make clear that things will be different going forward than they were before, because I need to ensure I never again come close to the situation in December where I hated both blogging and perfumery as a whole. When I published that last post, I turned my back on fragrance entirely. The person who’d gotten their first bottle of scent at the age of 5, and had worn something almost every day ever since, had now become someone who went weeks without any desire to have anything to do with scent and refused to wear a single drop. Both perfume and blogging had ceased to be about love, passion, or fun.

A very old bottle of Mitsouko parfum from the 1930s or 1940s. Photo: my own.

Time away helped, but another thing that, gradually, eventually, set me back on the path of enjoying scent was to return to my roots: the old style of perfumery, the classics with pre-IFRA, non-restricted, high-quality ingredients in abundance, or what we now call “vintage” fragrance. I continued with my unremitting (and by now utterly ridiculous) compulsion to collect every possible concentration of old Shalimar (in every possible bottle design and concentration from every possible decade), but other vintage scents also helped me to regain the love that I once knew. I’ve developed quite an extensive number of Mitsoukos in different concentrations and from across the decades; added even further to my vintage L’Heure Bleue collection; dipped my toes into Guerlain’s old Chamade; stocked up on more vintage bottles of Hermes’ 24 Faubourg, Montana‘s Parfum de Peau, and Yves St. Laurent’s Champagne/Yvresse; tried different years of vintage Egoiste (including vintage Egoiste Concentrée); returned to vintage Femme and Jolie Madame, went totally nutty on all sorts of Coty classics; discovered that Lauren Bacall‘s signature Lucien Lelong fragrance really was all kinds of fabulous; and realized for the umpteenth time just how much all these beautiful scents still had to offer — for men and women both.

Vintage Extraits. Photo: my own.

So, if I’m to blog again, one compromise will be a greater focus on vintage, although I promise that the reviews will be interspersed with an examination of the latest new releases. I know that a good number of you have zero interest in vintage and only seek information on brand new scents to guide you in deciding what to spend your money on. Don’t worry, I will do my best to cover the more interesting or significant ones.

However, I will not be writing reviews with the same intense frequency as I did before. I simply don’t have it in me any more to write 3,000 to 5,000 words every two or three days on a clockwork schedule, and let’s face it, we all know that I’m utterly incapable of covering something in 250 words or three small paragraphs. (I don’t think even my emails to my friends are that short!) Plus, I have to confess that merely thinking about the massive deluge of new releases each year fills me with dread. Michael Edwards’ Fragrances of the World 2016 book apparently included more than 2,000 releases for 2016 alone. Let me repeat that one more time: 2,000+ releases in one year alone!!! Even if I tested a mere, microscopic fraction of that, I doubt the results would improve my attitude towards the current state of the fragrance industry. Most things I’ve tried have left me shaking my head or sent me fleeing back to vintage.

Thankfully, there are happy exceptions. For example, Papillon‘s upcoming Dryad, Naias by Sammarco, Bogue’s MEM, Neela Vermeire‘s Rahele, and Dusita‘s La Douceur de Siam (although those last two are technically fragrances that I tried last year and mentioned in my last post in December). I also enjoyed the first three hours of Frederic Malle‘s new Superstitious, one of the more interesting Malles to be released in years, even if the rest of the development wasn’t my cup of tea, and I have samples of new Roja Doves, Amouage, SHL 777, Salvador Dali, Kilian, Tauer‘s Attar, and a few other things either awaiting testing or heading my way. (I have high hopes for Roja Dove’s H-Black Tier and Britannia.) I plan to write about a number of  these, so, yes, there will be reviews of the latest scents, but it will be a balance of new and vintage and it will be done on my own schedule, instead of my previous rigid standard (or personal expectation) of writing detailed reviews like clockwork every 2-3 days, week after week, like a masochistic automaton.

So, that’s the status of blog stuff. How have you been doing? I’ve thought about quite a few of you over the past few months: I hope you’ve been well; I hope some of you are cooking up a storm while others evaded any actual storms or dangers that may have impacted your area; I hope your various furry, princely beasties and princesses are in good health and making you do worshipful obeisance before their paws as they so rightly deserve; I hope you’ve had safe travels (particularly if you’ve flown United), good health, and successful business ventures; and I hope you’ve just had a damn good year thus far, period. Also, I know enough about some of you to suspect that 2017 has been rather stressful in terms of the larger world picture, so I hope you’ve found a few means of mental escape outside of mere perfumery.

A number of you have emailed or asked what I may have been up. I don’t often talk about myself or my life, but some of the notes were so sweet that I’ll share a little bit on the things that have kept me away or that have occupied my time. Those of you who are primarily interested in reviews or the fragrance side of things, please don’t feel obligated to read further. You can save yourself some time and stop reading here, unless you are a Serge Lutens fan whereby you should skip to the very end of this post where I briefly mention the reported/rumoured changes at Serge Lutens and several of the Lutens fragrances that are reportedly being discontinued, all topics which will be discussed in greater detail in my next post. For everyone else, the remainder of today’s piece will focus on purely personal stuff and photos, including lots and lots of photos of puppies at the end.

The Hairy German in his younger days, wet after a morning swim some summers ago.

So, to those who have asked, no, I haven’t been out gallivanting around the world. Alas. Putting aside my perfume or blogging issues, the last 6 months haven’t been the easiest time for other reasons. There have been family and personal matters and, on top of all that, The Hairy German went through a truly terrible spell. As best as we can figure out, his auto-immune system just went nuts and attacked his body. He lost about 30% of his fur in December alone, and even more in subsequent months after that despite multiple vet visits. Changes to the dosages of his medications didn’t help, and I was distraught that he wasn’t going to be with me for long, especially as the life expectancy of GSDs now seems to average a mere 9-10 years. (Plus, I’ve never really gotten over losing my prior German prince to cancer when he was not much older than The Hairy German is now.)

Thankfully, I was referred to a phenomenal specialist who reviewed and scanned every inch of my Angel Face Honey Bunny’s poor, bedraggled body, peering at literally every inch of him, even the skin between the tuffs of hair in-between his toes, and in such a minutiae-obsessed, compulsive, lengthy, exhaustive, perfectionistic fashion that I knew I was with my fellow crazies. Joking aside, she was a life-send. She managed to get His Highness back on his feet (and back to some of his previous Hairiness) after many months by completely revamping his cocktail of meds and going a completely different route than what had been prescribed by everyone else in the previous years.

My Teutonic Overlord on his 8th birthday.

Thanks to her, my Teutonic Overlord was in fine spirits when he had his 8th birthday a little while ago — or maybe it was the big bowl of his favourite treat, watermelon, that he got. Either way, he was actually remarkably chirpy. (Until I harassed him by taking about a hundred photos to commemorate the event, one of which is to the left. After that he turned stony and gave me the GSD thousand-yard stare. So he was compensated (read: bribed) by some more watermelon, some celery, and a few oranges. Yes, yes, I know, I’m quite mad, but those are the things he loves.) Unfortunately, not long after his birthday, his back leg suddenly started to buckle under him in a way that suggested to his main doctor the possibility of Degenerative Myelopathy, an incurable spinal/nerve condition that is… not good news. The buckling has only been about 5 or 6 times thus far, but that’s more than enough to warrant further specialist testing to see if it’s DM, or merely a further, major, and serious degeneration from his hip dysplasia. Honestly, I can’t bear to think of it, so let’s change subjects and talk about lighter things.

Before The Mighty German became so ill, I had entertained hopes of escaping perfume by going to Iceland. That is hardly the hyperbolic extremity that it sounds. For more than a 18 months now, I’ve harassed my friends on Facebook with a positive deluge of (in my opinion) gorgeous, raw, stark, boldly vivid, practically surreal Icelandic landscapes, and I’ve been dying to visit there for ages, particularly during the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. Unfortunately, something always happens to make it fall through, and it did so this time as well. So, no, to answer a question someone jokingly posted on the blog’s Facebook page, I didn’t go to Fiji and fall off the face of some island. I was very touched that you thought of me (you know who you are), but it would have been Iceland, not Fiji, and, alas, I never made it.

On a related note, I’m soooooo completely obsessed by the beauty of Iceland that, during my struggles over the last few months, I sometimes contemplated dropping the subject of perfume entirely and writing about other things that I’m often much more interested in, like, for example, photography, beautiful places around the world, animals, nature, art, and, yes, Iceland as well. I know Iceland sounds like a strange obsession, and my friends tease me about it a lot, but, seriously, look at some of the images below which were taken by three extremely talented photographers whom I happened to stumble across, Garðar Ólafs Photography, Iurie Belegurschi Photography, and Tony Prower Photography (of IcelandAurora Photo Tours). They’re all brilliantly talented chaps, in my opinion, but their subject’s beauty speaks for itself and I’m not talking simply about the much-vaunted, admittedly stunning Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis, either! Take a look:

The Glacier Lagoon. Garðar Ólafs Photography at his Facebook page. (Direct link embedded within).

Photo: Tony Prower Iceland Landscapes FB page (also part of IcelandAurora Photo Tours). (Direct link to Tony Prower’s FB page embedded within.)

Garðar Ólafs Photography at his Facebook page. (Direct link embedded within).

Garðar Ólafs Photography at his Facebook page. (Direct link embedded within).

Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

The Northern Lights. Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

The Northern Lights. Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Ice caves. Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Ice caves. Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Iurie Belegurschi Photography via his Facebook page. (Direct website link embedded within.)

Photo: Tony Prower Iceland Landscapes FB page (also part of IcelandAurora Photo Tours). Direct link to Tony Prower’s FB page embedded within.

Aren’t they absolutely brilliant photos?! And isn’t Iceland stunning, almost out of this world, in some of the shots? One day, I’ll go there, hopefully on one of Tony Prower’s or Iurie Belegurschi’s many photography tours. Generally speaking, I’m the most city-slicker, non-outdoorsy sort of person you could possibly imagine (one day I’ll tell you the ludicrous story of the time when my friends made me hike up a small mountain under the Arctic Circle, and then engage in an axe-throwing competition at the top!), but something about Iceland and these photos actually makes me eager to huff and puff my way up an icy volcano or glacier in mounds of padded clothing that make me look like the Michelin Man.

The Emperor of Wine, via Amazon.

When life and canine circumstances negated my escape to Iceland, I turned to other things. I re-read the superb biography, The Emperor of Wine: The Rise of Robert M. Parker, Jr., and the Reign of American Taste, which I think is a must-read for any oenophile, particularly those who are interested in descriptions of scent and notes or in changes in the wine industry over the decades. Then I re-read food critic Jay Rayner‘s hilarious book, The Man Who Ate the World: In Search of the Perfect Dinner, where he eats at (and frequently rips to shreds) some of the most expensive restaurants in the world. I picked up a few other books as well but, in this very stressful political day and age, I wasn’t in the mood to immerse myself in hundreds of pages about the NSA (James Bamford) or the CIA (Robert Littell). Not even revisiting a favorite bit of modern history — Kim Philby, the Cambridge Five/Cambridge Spies, and the somewhat related life of the CIA’s legendary, crazed mole-hunter and counter-intelligence chief, James Jesus Angleton — did much to cheer me up or lighten the exhausting nature of current events, and Kim Philby or spy stuff normally sucks me right in with all its byzantine intrigue and craziness.

As longtime readers know, I’m a complete and utter tv junkie and find it to be the best source of escape during difficult times, so I went the other extreme from serious reading (yes, I’m all about extremes, in case you haven’t noticed by now) and I explored the Gilmore Girls to see what all the endless fuss and media hype is about. Good grief! Is a show supposed to make one spend one’s time mentally envisioning slowly stabbing the two main characters to death, episode by episode, nonstop over the course of 7 seasons??! I better change the subject. The Gilmore Girls raises my ire.

Sharpe’s Rifle starring Sean Bean. Source:

Lest you think I’m a TV snob, I’m not. A few months ago, I mourned the end of an utterly bonkers show, Grimm, and I recently subscribed to the newest online streaming service, Britbox, in order to quench my love of British detective shows, serial killer murder mysteries, and period dramas. (I haven’t managed to get into Coronation Street or the Eastenders, though.) Britbox is basically a set-up like Netflix, the British-centered Acorn, or the European/Scandinavian-focused MHZ Choice, so you can watch it streaming on a computer or mobile device, or use a Roku stick to watch it on your television. (The latter is what I do.) All of these services are available for a monthly fee with no ads. In the case of Britbox, it’s $6.99, includes ITV stuff as well as BBC shows, and has a number of very recent releases. For some things, episodes are available quite literally a few days after they air in the UK. Personally, I stick to the old stuff like Sharpe’s Rifle (Sean Bean at his very best and handsomest in an action/war/drama series set during the Napoleonic wars), re-watching Helen Mirren‘s Prime SuspectWaking the Dead (cold cases solved by an elite team using modern forensics and technology), The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, and the like. But they’ve also got everything from every episode of Classic Dr. Who to Red Dwarf, all the old Sherlock Holmes series, a lot of Jane Austens, Dickens’ Bleak House, Cranford, soaps like Emmerdale, and never-before shown in the US stuff like Tutankhamun, a high-end miniseries about Howard Carter’s discovery of the Egyptian tomb, starring Sam O’Neill and Jeremy Irons’ son, Max Irons.

Tutankhamun photo still via IMBD.

For people interested in the present, not the past, there is everything from the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Parliament to cooking and gardening shows. I think Britbox is fabulous, but then British television is my comfort zone due to the years I spent there as a child. (If you are in the US and prefer purely European shows, like all the Nordic Noir, or French, Italian, Dutch, and German series, then I highly recommend MHZ which is $7.99 per month or its similar counterpart, the new Walter Presents, which is $6.99. The latter can also be accessed and subscribed to via Amazon Prime.)

Soup Dumpling. Photo: LA Taco blog. (Direct link embedded within.)

Television, photography, and Icelandic landscapes weren’t my only source of escape from the latest bombings, horror stories in the news, bleeding Hairy Germans, or personal issues. I had a difficult health struggle of my own and, while I won’t get into the details, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to try minimize the impact by eating better (fewer French cheeses!), being healthier, fitter, and attempting to fix my life-long chronic insomnia. Well, that turned out to be a big fat joke! For example, I stumbled across a bag of Chia seeds, purportedly a source of enormous healthful benefits, in a corner of the pantry (why? how? who bought it?), but I took one look at photos of Chia smoothies or puddings on the internet and promptly ate more Xiao Long Bao (Shanghai Soup Dumplings) which I’m absolutely crazy about.

In case you’re unfamiliar with them, soup dumplings are little balls of delights filled with spiced ground meat and a ton of savory broth. You put a whole one in your mouth and bite down to release a stream of delicious hot soup down your throat. I discovered that Costco actually sells a big box of them, frozen trays of six that are microwaveable within minutes. They were surprisingly tasty for something not made fresh in a restaurant. So, my attempts at a healthy regimen quickly devolved into an admittedly strange daily diet of soup dumplings, although I did try to supplement it with sushi, edamame, various salads, and fresh Mozzarella di Bufala (mozzarella made from water buffalo milk and with an extra creamy inside). My goal of hitting the gym often went right out the window along with the Chia seeds pretty early on, and I also gave up on attempts to fix my sleep disorder, but those soup dumplings continue to give me much joy. If you live in the US, check out Costco’s Bibigo brand ones or the even tastier ones at Trader Joe’s. The latter consist of a small box of 6 (as opposed to Bibigo’s big box of 6 individual trays of 6 for a total of 36 dumplings), but the broth and filling are considerably more flavourful.

My final bit of news involves, again, one of my greatest loves and passions: German Shepherds. I’ve talked several times in the past in my Grab Bag posts about my desire to get a puppy, hesitating only because of the possessiveness of My Teutonic Overlord, but I’ve finally taken the plunge and decided to do it! My conscience struggled quite a bit over the issue of getting a rescue but, in the end, the balance of factors tipped towards one particular breeder whom I’ve followed intently for the last few years: Alta-Tollhaus German Shepherds. Two months ago, I submitted an extraordinarily intensive and lengthy Prospective Owner Questionnaire to her (three whole pages of questions with multiple, multiple subsections!), and provided the requested references and referrals. Before you ask, no, none of that is typical for a breeder, not even top, high-end ones, but it is a sign of just how commitment and excellent she is. She doesn’t have many litters each year, intentionally focusing on the perfect health and behavioral matches, and she won’t sell any of them to anyone who doesn’t pass her stringent vetting. (The PDF questionnaire actually says as much, right at the top, albeit in highly diplomatic language.) The dogs matter, not the money. Even with all these hurdles, this small breeder has more than 750,000 followers on Facebook, and her dogs with their pure German, working/Schutzhund lines and with their gorgeous, less common red-and-black colouring (my favourite!) are reportedly superb in temperament. (When you have a dog as powerful as a GSD, and with the second strongest bite force and jaws in the canine world, breeding for a confident, stable temperament is as important as breeding for health.) The photos below are from Alta Tollhaus’ Facebook page or website, with all rights reserved to the photographers and owners:

Alta Tollhaus puppies. Photo from their website,

Alta Tollhaus puppies via their website,

I am pretty sure I have passed the vetting because, even prior to my filling out the papers, we had a long phone chat about my experience with The Mighty Germans. So she knows that I know the breed extremely well. (It might be more accurate to say that I am an utterly worshipful slave before their dainty feet.)

That might be why she’s already waived her requirement that prospective owners travel up to her farm in Michigan to be assessed in person (!) if they want a dog as a family pet (as opposed to a security, protection, therapy, or service dog), so, fingers crossed, I’m now on the wait list. One of the few litters this year is due in only a couple of days (!!), but I don’t know how long it will take for my name to go up the list and for the perfect puppy to arrive that will fit my particular personality and physical requests. It might be as long as a year but, whenever I do end up getting a baby German princeling, you can be certain you’ll hear all about it. (More than most of you will probably like, but, sorry, my Teutonic Overlords come before all else for me.)

I’ve digressed more than a little in bringing you up to speed on various small parts of my life, so, Seb, Don, and the others who wanted to know what I’ve been doing all these months, I bet you regret asking now, don’t you? 😉 I’m sorry, succinctness has never been my forte.

Before I wrap up, though, I just wanted to say one more time that I missed many of you, the chats, the discussions, and the debates. I hope you’ll accept my apologies for not answering all the emails, private messages, and blog comments, and that you’ll also understand why I may not have been able to do so at the time, but please know several of the kind, affectionate, or supportive notes/comments I received meant the world to me.

Enough about me. Next time, I’ll share my thoughts on the unofficial reports of major changes at Serge Lutens from possible discontinuations (Arabie, Sa Majeste La Rose, my beloved Fille en Aiguilles, A La Nuit, Serge Noire, Jeux de Peau, and Gris Clair, amongst several others) to bottle changes, size changes, price increases, and more. (One person is actually visiting the Palais Royale today to inquire as to the supposed 10 discontinuations.) News is still coming in, so I shall share their findings tomorrow or the day after when we have a better, clearer, and more conclusive picture of the situation. After that post, within the next week or so, I’ll have a detailed review for Papillon‘s upcoming Dryad, followed later by one for Bogue‘s new MEM. See you then!

185 thoughts on “Life, Coming Back, & Blogging

  1. Ciaooo te souhaite un très bon retour et me réjouis de lire à nouveau tes articles !!

    • Merci, c’est super de te revoir. J’espere tout s’est bien passé? Je pensais à toi quand j’ai commandé un echantilion de H-Black Tier de Roja Dove. lol

      • Ouii tout va bien merci !! Tu as pensé à moi quel honneur !! lol sinon tu en penses quoi du H-Black Tier ?? Lol

        • Je n’ai pas encore essayé. J’ai des choses plus récents a tester en avant et, en plus, comme je l’ai écrit dans le post, vintage récolte vraiment mon amour pour l’instant.

  2. Welcome back! I look forward to reading your future reviews. I am glad you’re taking your own time to post reviews. This is suppose to be something enjoyable after all 🙂

    • When it comes to blogging, I cause some of my own mess, obstacles, and grief, I’m afraid, so I definitely take full responsibility and ownership for that part of why it became such an ordeal. But the nature of modern perfume releases and trends within the niche industry have also been difficult for me. Hopefully, some of the changes I’ve instituted for the blog will keep me on and stop me from walking away from blogging entirely. 🙂

  3. I can’t even begin to hold your attention with dumplings, new dogs and Iceland in the programme. My time has been absorbed on Ancestry matters, got the bug, no doubt due to that bereft feeling of being the eldest child of war torn parents. Kafka, you are as volcanic as Iceland, long may you run. (who cares about perfume anyway?)

    • You will hold my attention with whatever you share, Omni! How is your Amouage passion and collecting going? I hope your ancestry research has yielded a few wonderful or fascinating discoveries. I can understand the appeal, given what you said about your background. I’m sorry to hear what your parents went through, though.

      BTW, I snorted/choked on my coffee over your volcanic comment. It has been said to me once or twice before…. 😉 xoxo

  4. Dearest,
    I love your way to think and writing.
    I’m so tired about nowdays 145 tweet characters to communicate, if I’m hurry I push back to read something, but I prefer when I read something this to be beautiful, complex and making me thinking and meditate. So don’t be afraid of the number of words you need to explain; that is the right number we do need to understand.
    Also, I’ve two dogs; a bull.terrier and a Rott-weiler; the first one always had autoimmune disease, so I understand you very well.
    That said, perfumes are connected to emotions so much that, when emotions are too strong, we can’t also add other “fire” with perfumes; it happens to me not to wear a perfumes for weeks in hard periods of my life, even if I’m one who wears something even when I go to gym.
    But life changes, and also bad times turn good; so don’t leave hope to go to Iceland and, when you wil be tired of all that ice, think about coming and take the sun of my beloved Italy.
    About vintage… I always ask how they could make perfumes like those, that still are better than most 90% of niche we nowdays know and smell; IFRA doesn’t explain enough. Unfortunately I’ve learnt that for less than 300 euros/100ml it’s hard to find a perfume as beautiful, deep and touching like vintages, while in opposite it’s easy to find a 300 euros perfume that neither compares. So I smell, and reject, and smell something new again, and feel sad, and reject; but we are explorers, not only nostalgic; so we must go on.
    Happy to heard from you again, I hope you will review something specia soon.

    • Dear Francesca, you’ve been so sweet all these months, and I wanted to thank you, to let you know how much it’s meant.

      You’re absolutely right about vintage, not only in terms of its beauty but also its affordability as compared to a number of niche luxury releases. Not all vintage, but more than enough. I’ve found some great new loves and, I’ll be honest, it was excitement over those, over writing about those new vintage loves, that really made me want to write again. My God, Francesca, I’m telling you here and now to see if you can find Lucien Lelong’s vintage Indiscret in parfum version on Italian or European eBay. You must! You will keel over. A spicy chypre-oriental with aspects that reminded me both of vintage Opium, vintage Mitsouko, and more. It swept me off my feet!! And I finally, finally discovered the perfect Lilac fragrance, too. I’ll write about all that after I first cover a few new releases like Bogue’s Mem, for example, but I’m telling you now, my dear, you must go on a hunt for Indiscret.

      By the way, I absolutely love Rottweilers. I’m sorry to hear about the health issues of the bull terrier. Please give both of them a kiss from me.

  5. Welcome back. I am sorry about the difficult time – I know what a toll it is when your pet gets sick. Glad to see you are back

    • It’s so nice to see you again, Marianna. I hope you’ve been well. Thank you for the welcome back.

  6. Welcome back!
    (yes, first comment, though I discovered this place more than a year ago.
    If you have google analytics and noticed an increase in website visits from The Netherlands last year, that’s probably me haha)

    I love your writing, perfume related or not. Should you decide to start a blog about food or art, I’d still be a fan 🙂

    And those pups are awesome! I really hope it works out, so you and the Teutonic overlord can welcome a new family member soon.

    • First, welcome to the blog, Jiji, and I’m very glad you stopped lurking. Second, thank you for the very kind words. I smiled at the parts about the Netherlands hits increase and the food/art blog. You’re too kind. I hope you’ll stop lurking so that I may have the chance to get to know you and your perfume tastes a little. I look forward to the possibility of that!

      • I’ll give it a try. No more lurking! 🙂

        I like lots of genres and styles.
        But Fille en Aiguilles deserves a special mention here.
        That is ‘the one’, the scent that (re)started my interest in fragrances. And that is partly thanks to your fabulous review and description! 🙂

        A selection of other fragrances I love:
        Sarrasins, Opium (I only know/have the vintage perfume concentration), Vetiver blanc, Nankun Kodo, Sycomore, Eau de Narcisse bleu, Hinoki, Moon Bloom…and the list goes on…

        Really looking forward to try the new Papillon by the way. I like what I tried so far from this brand (Salome is on my ‘buy-list’).

        • Awww, Fille en Aiguilles. You better stock up because, if the discontinuation reports are true, and there is every evidence that there are major, major changes sweeping over Serge Luten, then it will soon become an expensive vintage relic. 🙁 I think FragranceNet (which has a European site) sells it for a good and highly discounted price.

          There are some great names on that list of yours, and it’s a great starting point for me to get a bit of an idea of the fragrances you like, so thank you for sharing it. I look forward to learning even more. You know, given a few of the names you’ve mentioned, you may want to get a sample of MEM to try, assuming that the upcoming review makes it sound interesting, of course.

  7. Hi Kafka, welcome back! Your writing has been an important part of my journey. You were recommended by Josie at Osswald and since I started reading your blog, I’ve traveled down so many different paths and bought many perfumes based on your word pictures. I’ve never been disappointed by anything I’ve bsampled and bought after your reviews. One path I never expected was to go from consumer to perfumer. After reading your detailed multi-part review on AbdesSalaam Attar’s perfume course and saving up money over two years, I’ve just come back from Italy where I attended his class with 10 other students. Your review gave me a great heads-up on what would be in store and everything was just as you described. Words, however, can’t describe the smell of the Jasmine in the garden outside the classroom, or the classroom itself when we opened the doors each morning to the smells of our projects left in the room the day before, or the smell of Salaam as he walked by after collecting our perfumes and spare drops of essences on his shawl throughout the day (no drop of anything went to waste). Thank you for investing yourself in the class back in 2015 and writing about it so that I and many others could experience it after you did. I came back with 12 perfumes I made, including one for a real customer. Looking forward to reading your reviews again, at whatever pace they arrive. Love always, Guy

    • No, it’s so true, words really CAN’T describe the smell of AbdesSalaam’s classroom first thing in the morning when all the scents pour through the opened door. It’s really quite an indescribable experience, isn’t it, Guy? A deluge that hits one quite emotionally as well as olfactorily. I’m so glad the class went well and that you had such a happy, productive, informative, and transformative time. And a huge Congratulations on making a scent for a real customer! What were some of the notes? Also, did you have any fun culinary adventures at the restaurants in town? What were some of your favourite things that you ate? Was the weather as brutally hot as when I was there?

      I wanted to thank you, by the way, for the many kind emails and notes during my absence. They were wonderful and meant quite a bit.

      • Our weather was perfect. The class was in mid-May and yours was in June or July. Low to mid 70s except for one day in the 80s. That said, the first thing I did on arrival was test the air conditioning. BTW I had the “Mimosa” room, which looked directly out to the gazebo with all the jasmine on it.

        We ate dinner in the hotel on the first and the last night. The food was excellent. I think they are under different owners than when you were there. I may be wrong.

        One night, we went into Rimini for dinner as a group. I has my favorite pizza, Capricciosa, and we made funny videos in the town square, Jeff, a returning student from the prior year, sold one of his perfumes to the restaurant owner.

        We went into Riccione one night and has seafood in a small place near the water. Bronzino was the choice.

        We ate in Coriano at LaGreppia on the next-to-last night. Inspired by Jeff, a few of us brought our perfumes and sprayed them on the other guests and received many compliments.

        My customer is an artisan jeweler with a small boutique in the west village. Her jewelry line is inspired by Champagne and celebration.

        I mentioned her to Salaam on Sunday night when he came to greet us and he suggested we all do her perfume as a class project, which we did on the fourth day.

        I brought her brief with me and showed pictures of her jewelry line and her store layout, as well as her backstory. We discussed as a group the olfactory psychology around her brief and what she was saying as well as implying.

        We agreed on two of the three notes in the primary accord (Tuberose and Neroli) and the chose our own third note and supporting notes I chose thyme for the 3rd, and used Vanilla, Tobacco, Petitgrain Brigarde and HoneyBee.

        When we were done and had bottled all of the perfumes, I decanted 11 samples and numbered them, keeping a sheet with the students names and vial#s.

        I presented the samples to the client last week and she is due to select a winner soon. If I was not the winner, we all agreed that I would license the formula from the winner and I would manufacture the finished product for the client.

        It was a fun experience and it was fun comparing our versions with each other and the note choices we made and why we made them.

        In addition to the client’s perfume I made a really indolic “poopy jasmine” scent by the request of Josie, which she loved. I made a classic Chypre with a smoky twist of Vetiver. It was the last one I made after all that I had learned and the one that I was most proud of.

        All in all, it was a very satisfying experience and one that gave me the confidence to step out as a bespoke perfumer and set up a website and get started.

        • OMG I totally forgot to mention … I arrived in Bologna a day earlier and I visited Sacro Cuore where Roberto had waiting for me a bottle of Gardelia which I bought. It was way out of my normal budget, but I had won a sales contest I hadn’t expected to win so I considered it “found money” and used some of it for this purchase. It definitely lives up to your description of it last year. It is bottle #2 of 50. The owners were so appreciative and gave me a complimentary full bottle of perfume from Flor Di Pelle. But the best part of this side trip was taking the train up to Brescia where Antonio Gardoni picked me up in his car and we spent a few hours in his studio. I shared with him my love of Cologne Reloaded and the fact that I came too late to the party and never had the chance to buy a bottle. He walked me through the journey of making that scent and it was exactly what I needed to make peace with Cologne Reloaded. I met his lovely wife and daughter and I so appreciated his time, advice and friendship.

          • I wish one could do the pink heart symbol on WordPress. I loved hearing that Antonio walked you through Cologne Reloaded. That is a memory and experience to treasure. And I’m delighted that Gardelia lived up to expectations. (Phew. It’s a relief as well, since things can get tricky with high expectations!)

        • HAHAHAHA at testing the air conditioning before all else!! I choked on my coffee at reading that. 😉

          Your detailed description was an utter joy to read, Guy. An utter joy. So many wonderful details, so much happiness and excitement seeping out, so many different parts to smile over. (La Greppia!!) Did you guys end up going to the fancier place we went to where we accidentally ended up with 30 huge platters of food? Have the Germano Reale’s new owners kept on the old staff? Because they were simply lovely!

          Your perfumes all sound wonderful. I’m not surprised that Josie asked for a poopy jasmine! That made me smile, too. The perfume for your customer… I’m so very proud of you, Guy. Regardless of whether or not you win the bid/brief, I’m very proud of you. For all of it, not just this particular fragrance. For how you worked hard to take the course, for your overall perfume development over all these years, for the growth you’ve shown, your open-mindedness, your willingness to explore new things, and, most of ALL, for having a dream and going after it. Bravo to you, my dear. Really and truly, Bravo. I’m beyond happy for you and I just know you have everything it takes to be a success. I will be watching and cheering you on.

          • Marco was the general manager who we arranged the reservations with. Alicia picked us up at the airport. Jennifer, the owners daughter drive us around a lot. Jimmy was our waiter when we ate at their restaurant (he is also a mixed martial arts fighter and was featured in a fight card for Sunday night at the Germano after I left town. Oscar was the lunchtime server, who brought out an endless array of dishes. Do these names ring a bell?

            Regarding the fancier place, was it La Brace? It was suggested by Salaam but we never made it there.

          • I had to check my post because none of the names you wrote really rang a bell and I wasn’t sure if it was simply poor memory. But, no, it seems you had completely different people. I dealt with Manuelle, Gabrielle, and the wonderful Valeria. And the fancier place was Osteria del Sapori. But we did go to La Greppia twice.

            Your lot sound very nice. How fantastic that they had someone pick you up from the airport and help to drive you around. That means you never had to take a taxi and get lost in the hills as the meter kept ticking up and up. 😀 😀

          • Hi Kafka, after re-reading this thread I realized I only answered your question about the staff and failed to mention the rest of your response. Thank you so much for your kind words and your encouragement. They mean a lot, and if I ever become successful as a perfumer and have something of value to share with other perfumers starting out, I hope to pay it forward.

      • Guy again.

        As you plan your future posts, one fragrance I’d love for you to get your nose on is “Siberian Musk” by Areej Le Dore. Areej Le Dore was recently started by a guy named “Russian Adam” who owns “Feel Oud”, an artisan distiller of Oud and Sandalwood, based out of Bangkok Thailand. He decided to branch out into composing and Siberian Musk is one of three perfumes he just launched. I learned about him from Sultan Pasha, who I had dinner with in London recently, eating Lebanese food and talking perfumes. He and Russian Adam are close friends and Sultan had bottle #1. He sprayed this stuff on me and I couldn’t stop sniffing my arm all night. I immediately contacted Adam and bought a bottle. I’d be happy to send you a decant. It has legally obtained Musk deer grains, Sandalwood, Oud, galbanum, fruits, spices and lots of other good stuff in it.

        • I actually have a set of Russian Adam’s oud distillations that I’ve been going through and testing, and I’ve heard the best things about his Areej Le Dore fragrances. A friend of mine singled out his Siberian Musk in particular. That one or another one is now offered at STC, I forget which one now, so I may order it once I go through all the other samples (from other brands) that I have or am about to receive. First, though, I have to finish going through his ouds. Your offer of a decant is far, far too generous, and I can’t accept, particularly since I think the fragrance may be on STC. But thank you, my dear. I promise to try it at some point soon.

          • You are indeed correct. I do recall seeing Siberian Musk on STC’s emails as a “New to Store”, now that you mention it. Adam also has some Sandalwood distillations and he sent me a sample of his Sandal infusion, which was a codistillation of his Sandal 100 with some florals I think. Sultan had the pure Sandal 100 with him and I smelled it on my arm next to the infusion. Both were awesome.

  8. Dumplings,mmmmm. I remember going into this Chinese restaurant that I used to visit and eat. One time, I asked the cook to make me something that they really like that wasn’t on the menu. The owners wife came back with dumplings. When I first put the dumpling in my mouth, it was ,well , strange. Right after the first bite though, heaven. Yes, the different mixtures coalesced as they sluiced down my throat. What I think was in the sauce ; peanut, chocolate,sesame and maybe Thai dragon pepper. They wouldn’t tell me though. She just kept saying ,” You like “. Even though they prepared the food, when she came over my forearm became like a prisoner guarding his food. I used to work , long time ago Kaf, when I was eighteen , at a placed called Frankies Chinese Steak House. It was when N.Syracuse was the hub for central New York’s best of everything for a Friday night. Not hundreds of people but thousands would come and conjure up the spirits of the double vision . Kaf I was 18 years old making $250 to $350 on a Friday night. To get to my point that correlates with yours to a degree , Frankies made the best Chinese food. It’s hard when I go out to a Chinese restaurant and have their offerings. “Lo Mein, these aren’t lo mein noodles ,this is like spaghetti “. I say this quietly to myself. Frankies made everything by hand, everything. The cooks/chiefs at Frankies had such pride in what they made. IT WAS THE FOOD THAT CAME FIRST. Everything else was secondary. So is to your vintage parfum. Mmmmmm, I sampled a Sultan Pasha a few months ago. It was like a white flowers and the smoothness of a rose petals. At first, when I put it on, I felt beautifully amazed,yet , mmph,it’s so hard to describe , open, no vulnerable . I thought at first it might have something to do with the floral’s and how the world would perceive a man wearing it. Latter on I realized that wasn’t it. The emotions were something deeper. It reminded me of the beautiful fragrances that those who have passed used to wear . Those who I no longer could have an innocent cup of morning coffee with, movie and popcorn with or just to let them know everything was going to be alright. It was so strange and surreal, for I just wanted to hear them say my name . So yes the The Vintage Kaf. I would love to know more about your experiences with them and to know more about their wonderful quality . Plus it would send me out on new ventures in hopes to finding them or correlating items.Oh, I bought a couple vintage purse atomizers while you were away. I think they’re awesome. I will be armed with knowledge with my purchases . WELL, I certainly went on a tangent again didn’t I. Holy cats, I do believe I already told you about my Chinese dumpling story.
    Anyways, when your ready, will be ready, OK. Your friend , Eddie.

    • Haha, I’ve so missed your stories, Eddie!! I’m grinning from ear to ear reading this latest one. Frankies’ wife watching protectively over the food at your elbow as you ate, you eating like a prisoner guarding his food in return. Haha.

      What vintage purse atomizers did you buy and love? BTW, how is your vintage glass collecting going? You have some beautiful stuff from what you’ve described.

  9. I’ve been away from my life this academic year. And these kinds of sabbaticals matter more than I ever knew. But they they take courage to step away from the path, reorient, and choose anew.
    Little tidbits in return:
    I also paused on perfume. Thank heavens for YSL champagne and Sultan Pasha attars amongst a few others.
    TV: Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes!!!!
    Pets: I’ve acquired four via my partner. Two cats and Two rescue dogs. I get along with three of the four. So far. And the partner brought dreams back into my life.
    Travel: Iceland is in my top five, alongside South Africa, Polynesian island hopping, Chile, and I did manage to get to Russia although the trans-Siberian train still beckons.
    Serge Lutens: some of his stuff must go. So. 🙂

    Take your time coming back. Pop up once a month or less if that works, or more. I’m sure most of us care more about your wellbeing and the fun of all this more than a mechanistic blog quota.

    And looking forward to drowning in baby GSD puppy pictures. Your overlord might surprise you. He’s old enough and also maybe the fatigue: having a different energy around might actually be good for him and open up his protective instincts as king of the little tribe.

    Hugs K.

    • It’s so good to see you, Paskale. I’ve thought of you quite a bit. I’m so, so happy you have a new partner who brings dreams back into your life!! That’s the best news! How is your mother, by the way? And what are the new cats and dogs like? Are you still in L.?

      South Africa and Polynesia are also on my to-go list. Well, several parts of Africa actually. But Iceland definitely is at the top of my wish list. Aren’t the photos marvelous and surreal?! I think I may be going to Portugal and Seville for my next trip, sometime this Fall, unless the new puppy comes, but I will hold out hope for Iceland during the winter Northern Lights, even if I do freeze my tush off.

  10. How lovely to see you again! I totally empathise and sympathise with everything you are saying, and have gone through the same loss of joy in what was once my obsession – bereavement, stress and disillusionment in the current offerings of the perfume world all played their part in my withdrawal for me too. My own Fluffy Emperor causes concern and delight in equal measures.

    I consider myself lucky that I actually wore a lot of “vintage” perfumes when they first came out (Chamade for example) so I am looking forward to reading your future reviews.

    Give your Hairy German a big kiss on the nose from me.

    • I will, but you must give your Fluffy Emperor one back in return from me, Jillie! Is that him in your avatar?

      Thank you for sharing your own experiences with fragrance disillusionment, and thank you for the warm welcome back. I look forward to sharing long conversations on vintage when those reviews come out.

      • No, that is another much loved kittie – long gone, but still missed. He was never imperious, unlike FE!

        • Haha, the imperious ones really have great personalities, don’t they? I had a Blue Persian once called Pushkin, but everyone else called him Ivan the Terrible, for reasons that you may well imagine. 😉 My prior and last GSD, Kafka, was also very imperious, but he was so special to me that I adopted his name or derivations of it for my online use. This very blog is partially named after him. So, I sympathize, relate, and understand better than you might imagine why you have your much loved late kittie as an avatar. I’m very sorry for your loss, my dear.

  11. So nice to read you again! and so similar things happens to me! My curiosity for new things is dead, with some exceptions as you say , as the new Papillon, and the new Areej Le Doré…for instance! And I also try to get a lot of bottles of my beloved Shalimar, Mitsouko and l’Heure Bleue, Miss Dior, Arpège….. and I can live with these ones ! Concerning your Iceland obsession, it was my dream until I went for the first time three years ago and even one of Iurie Belegurschi pictures you have published have been my computer screen for a while! I wore no perfume during my Iceland stay , even I took with me some ml of lheure Bleue and Fille en aiguilles in case I need …but I didn’t! In one month I will be flying again to Reykyavik but this time just to take another plane to Narsaaq in Greenland, now I have a glacier obsession….but if you can ever go to Iceland, don’t wait! treking there (Landmanalaugar landscape!) is one of the best experiences I have ever had…. more exciting than trying to get updated with this new releases fever (impossible 10% of them are simply good!) Have a nice return here!

    • Dear Silvia, it’s good to hear from you. Thank you for sharing a bit of your own disillusionment or frustrations with modern stuff. And how very, very cool that you had one of the Iure Belegurschi Iceland photos as your computer screen saver! Isn’t he brilliant?! Landmanalaugar is on my list, so thank you for confirming it shouldn’t be missed. How exciting about Greenland!! Are you planning to see any ice caves? I hope you have a wonderful time and let me know all about it when you return. xoxo

  12. Hello and welcome back. So nice to see you writing again after a long and hopefully healing sabbatical.

    Actually I’m one of those people who do care about the reasons why you stepped away from blogging and how you came to have such a damaged love of fragrances. However, if you choose to remain silent about it, it’s a deeply personal decision that I respect :)))

    Your last few posts on vintage Shalimar got me on a vintage bender. I have been researching the topic of vintage perfumes a lot and learnt a lot. So thank you for that. I haven’t purchased any so far, just looking online and reading up on any literature about it. Maybe one day I’ll take the plunge!

    Love, Serene

    • Dear Fillifelle/Serene, it’s lovely to see you again. I hope you’ve been well? What has made you hesitate in taking the plunge, as you put it? Is it Shalimar’s current pricing? If so, then I completely understand and sympathize. Some of the new treasures I’ve fallen for are significantly more affordable that the rates for some vintage Guerlains (Shalimar seems to have TRIPLED in price since my reviews! Ouch!), so I hope upcoming reviews of other vintage scents might be tempting with their more reasonable prices. But, first, I have to cover a number of new releases since that is what most people care about.

      A big hug to you, my dear.

      • Dear K,

        Yes it’s the price, and the fact that I’m not living in the USA which makes shipping perfumes here a rather iffy business *gulp*. But I have looked at other vintages as well, including some by the Russian house of Novaya Zarya. To my surprise, some Coty scents these days are thought of as drugstore cheapies (Emeraude, etc).
        I wonder what you think of that?!

  13. Kafka!!!! Believe it or not, I was JUST drafting a follow-up email to you on my growing Shalimar collection YESTERDAY! I’ll finish it up and send it right along 🙂

    I actually went to Iceland this winter… It is the most beautiful country I have ever seen (second-most being Ecuador). It is otherworldly. In my life I seek out experiences that are as far from my typical day-to-day experience as possible; I’m saying I’d rearrange my limbs for a day if I could, just to see what it was like. Exploring Iceland was one of those experiences.

    I’m really glad you took a break for yourself. Minimizing your unhappiness when going through challenges like those is the most important thing. And frankly, I was always surprised and impressed with the pace at which you wrote such thorough and comprehensive reviews! Had I never noticed the dates on your blog posts nor subscribed to your email list, I never would have expected you to review so much so often. I’m glad you’re back, and I’m glad you’re back on your own terms.

    • Allison, have you succumbed fully and wholly into the Shalimar madness and addiction??! That makes me grin. Good for you, even if that means you must be one of my competitors/rivals on eBay. 😉 😀

      Thank you for your sweet welcome back.

  14. It is so good to have you back dear K.! Ofcourse I have wondered how you and HH were, and often thought you just had to call the blogging break a definite one given everything you describe about falling out of love with perfume. It is good to read you found some way back into it (maybe it is just like the tennis profs who have ‘dry’ periods where suddenly they lose their edge, but it comes back!) first and foremost for you, and then for us!. How I hope HH is not suffering from DM, but if he does maybe your the new vet you found can offer some relief. My A. has been (and to a certain extent still is) in a bad spell, what seemed typical GS dermatitis turned out to be Lyme. I did find a good complementary clinic and since having her on treatment she is much better, but Lyme is a bugger as you know.
    Ofcourse the best news to read is about your preliminary pup research and soon to come ballotage visit to Alta Tollhaus which if you don’t pass I wouldn’t know who would. I am sorry to read about other life troubles, in some ways it is the same here, health not good, family and other worries, I suppose it is called life on earth ;-)!
    Our business is exploding but too too busy so I haven’t been around on the perfume blogs a lot. Our business is coming to the US after summer (if all goes well) and once we are close to where you are at least your exercise will be sorted (you know 20 minutes, no fad)!
    We have been too busy to watch anything really, although we did watch and enjoyed Trapped, and I am an Iceland fan too, not in the least because mostly run by women (where to invade next!). I have enjoyed reading A time of gifts by Patrick Leigh Fermor, maybe you would too, it is very good.
    Perfume wise I fell for Mona di Orio’s Tubereuse, a first big(gish) white flower love, and it is love. I bought the last bottles of discontinued Le Temps d’Une Fete and generally enjoy perfume on a daily basis. I am looking forward to trying Dryad and the Dusita one. I am reading a very good book (imho) about Essential Oils, by Kurt Schnaubelt (the science of advanced aromatherapy) and recommend if wholeheartedly to anyone interested in this field.
    I will mail you some princess pics.

    • Darling, I’ve thought of you so much! Before I get into responding to your news, I saw this video that made me instantly think of you because it shows our Mighty Germans in all their brilliance, agility, intensity, focus, and discipline: You must watch it. Even my non-GSD friends loved it and were in awe!

      It’s terrible news about Aylah getting lyme disease. I hope she is not experiencing continued joint pain, let alone any kidney issues, but I will await your email for the full details. Please, please hug her from me.

      A big, big congratulations on the business news!!! Please extend my congratulations to your husband as well. You must be incredibly busy dealing with all that on top of the situation with Aylah.

      I’m about to catch a few hours sleep, but I will look up a Time for Gifts right before and we will talk properly about everything in email. xoxoxo

      • Had a quick look and wow thank you for posting! They are the best! I will show A. the parts where the GS is dusting and swiffering the floor as job inspiration 😉 Sleep well!

        • Haha, I told His Royal Highness that he would henceforth be expected to do the dishes and dusting, and he looked at me as though I were speaking crazy alien words. 😉 But joking aside, can you imagine having a GSD that puts things in the dishwasher and sweeps the floors?! Wow!

  15. welcome back dear Kafka however you choose to write, I look forward to your truths & revelations. your stilled voice has been missed.


    • Dear Foxy One, thank you for stopping by with your kind words and welcome. I’m very touched. I know you took some brief breaks yourself. I hope you’ve been well, and that you’ve found some beauty that makes your heart sing and brought joy to this mad, mad world of ours. xox

      • I did take much needed breaks dear Kafka, illness reduced me to just a set of mere reactions in the last few yrs.. but slowly life gives back. I just find things of beauty as you say to delight me.. essays in the making on Naja, Dryad.. John Biebel’s January Scent Project, Giovanna Antonelli’s trio, Dawn Spencer Hurwitz & MEM. I will first horrify you with my perverse liking for Jeroboam mind you.. It is good to have you back .. your lutens piece was superb. Foxy x

        • John Biebel is both sweet and talented, and I look forward to reading your piece on him as well as all the others. As for Jeroboam, we’ll just smile at each other and say nothing. 😉 😀 (I hope you read that as the affectionate teasing it was intended to be. Friends never have to agree on everything, and I hope we’ll be friends one day.)

          I’m glad to hear you’ve been feeling better. One’s mental and physical health will always be more important than words or pixels on a website. And, quite separately, in this rather… erm… shall we say, stressful? … day and age, I think it’s critical to find beauty in small things lest one lose one’s mind completely. There are days when I read the news and practically flee to look at something happy or beautiful, be it a photo of a ferocious majestic tiger at play, Iceland, or something else. I’m glad you’ve found beauty in scent with which to sustain you. And if you ever feel like venting, I’m only an email away. xoxo

          • … mired as we are globally in shameful political theatrics and a seemingly wilful desire to ignore the damaged & sidelined there are days & weeks I can barely write.. .. I am losing myself in floral photography.. learning the nuances of light, petal & movement.. this is great joy, quietude in the whisper of flowers. It helps me focus amid on the larger as you say stressful canvas of life. I’ll be in touch if rants threaten .. Foxy x

  16. Well hello there 🙂
    I’m just happy to see you back in one piece, whether blogging daily or not.
    Very happy to hear that the hairy German is doing well; the second picture of him is beautiful and he looks serene. The German puppies totally adorable, if I had a house with a garden that’s the dog I would own and I wish the waiting list for you is short. They are beautiful and loyal.
    I also hope family matters are ok, that you are in good health (cheese is good!!) and that Iceland might not be that far away!!
    And as for perfume, well I for one I’m glad you’ll be focusing more on vintage as that is what I’ve been focusing on for the last year or so, so I’m interested in that more than current though I do have a bottle of Naja shipping to me soon with samples of MEM and hopefully Dryad soon. The past 8 months have brought me more vintage Kouros and Opium edt and parfum (both first run formulas), vintage Poison (I know!!) and Samsara, Dioressence from the 70’s and Miss Dior from the mid 60’s, and Elizabeth Taylor’s Passion from its launch year. Celebrity fragrances were once upon a time simply stunning!!
    All in all welcome back; you were missed and since blogging is all about fun I’m happy to see you post whenever you feel like it. And when the mood strikes douse yourself in vtg Opium; it always works!! xxx

    • Dear Alex, I’m not surprised one whit that you fell (and fell hard) for vintage Kouros. It’s right up your alley! Such a sexy, sexy scent. As for the Opium love, well you know what I think about that! <3 Thank you for the warm welcome back, and for your sweet words on my Hairy Prince in specific. I shall tell him. 😉 xoxox

    • Thank you, my dear friend. It’s great to see that Beagle avatar of yours again.

  17. So glad you are back to blogging. It’s wonderful to hear about your life and I am glad to hear that the hairy German is doing better. I almost lost my Brussels griffon this past April and it was devastating. She did make it and seems to be doing well. She is 11 and I love her and cherish her, all the more, every day. I am looking forward to future reviews both vintage, which I love, and new things. Thanks for all that you do.

    • Welcome to the blog, John, if I may call you that, and thank you for coming out of lurkerdom to share your kind comment. I was very sorry to hear about your Brussels Griffon being so ill. When you say “devastating,” I know exactly what you mean and went through. I’m relieved she is doing well now. You will understand this in a way that others may not, but they’re not “just dogs.” In fact, I’m not so convinced that — to people like us — they’re really dogs at all. May I inquire what she had? And what is her name?

      • She had pancreatitis. It was very tough. For 6 weeks we had to force feed her not knowing if she would make it but also knowing that if we did not try, she definitely would not make it. She survived. Her name is Sophie. We sometimes call her miracle because she is a miracle. I treasure her, all the more, every day. She truly is like a child to me.

        • Oh, gosh, pancreatitis. :'( Sophie is lucky she has such a loving father. And, yes, I fully believe that you and I are parents just as if we’d had two-legged children or adopted a (human) child. Others may not understand that or agree, but I do and I understand exactly what you mean when you say she’s like a child to you. Well, of course she is! But that’s because you’re one of the caring ones and, in others’ eyes, perhaps one of the crazy ones, but we shall be “crazy” together, John. Give Sophie a kiss from me, and tell her from me that her father is special.

  18. Very glad you’re back Kafka, and glad you are moving in a vintage direction as generally -not always but generally they’re of better quality and more affordable than most modern niche. As for soup dumplings, and Britbox, I think I need both! I miss eastenders and if they have britcoms I am totally in when we move. I lived in Richmond as a kid and England left a big mark (kiss) on my parents and me. Britcoms leave me with warm fuzzies of walking into my parents’ house to visit when they were still alive and well and hearing “Are You Being Served?” on my mom’s TV

    • Vicki, you definitely need both Britbox and soup dumplings. “Are you being served” is actually on Britbox!! I used to watch that with my own parents, so I know what you mean, my dear. xoxo

  19. It’s good to see you back. I could tell you were reaching maximum overdrive near the last posts. You pretty much hated everything, and you did seem angry about it.

    Interesting that you’re going “back” to the vintage. I too started out in vintage in the early 1960’s at about age 4-5, stealing dabs off my mother’s vanity, and never looked back. I am a vintage frag addict, I’m sure far surpassing OCD and hoarding by many a collector’s view. I do love many modern frags, but my heart is vintage, before the loss of so much due to regulations or rarity. Anyway, needless to say I’ll be looking forward to your posts on that subject.

    You might want to consider visiting Alaska. It’s very much like Iceland. I could never imagine living anywhere else. My youngest daughter who is in college here in Fairbanks and a surprisingly good, budding photographer, has taken scads of tear-inducing photos of our lovely state. She’s currently in Seward working at a resort for the summer. If you’re ever interested, let me know.

    I have aging dogs (and cats) myself, and have lost many in my almost 60 years due to age or illness. It tears me apart, and literally part of me goes with them. I’m so glad your baby is better.

    Again, I’m glad to see you’re back-ish.

    • It was really more of a “Perfect Storm” situation rather than just the nature of the modern perfume industry. It’s true that the latter was really getting to me after years of nonstop blogging, but there were a multiplicity of factors making me so tense or stressed out by the end, whether it was my father’s health, my own health stresses, the Hairy German, the stresses of maintaining a marathon blogging schedule year after year, the increasing commerciality of supposed “niche” fragrances whose prices were rising and rising to ridiculous heights no matter how mediocre the scents, behind the scenes blogging drama (particularly with one company which flipped out over a review and went quite nuts), and so much more. So much more. It was, as I said, a “perfect storm” or confluence of events all at once, some of which had built up over the years.

      On happier note, it seems we both started out with “vintage” in the same way: stealing things off our parents’ dresser. LOL! As for Alaska, it has long been on my list of places to visit, so believe me when I say that I need no encouragement. As for your daughter’s photography, I would very much enjoy seeing some photos sometime. If any of them focus on foresty, green, or mossy sort of landscapes, who knows, perhaps I can use them in a review (with full credit given to her, of course, and a link to any site she may have).

      I wish I could see your vintage perfume collection. I’m sure I would be on my knees! What is your current vintage passion, right at this moment?

        • She’s very talented! Some of the starlit night photos with the snow-tipped trees are simply gorgeous. The mountain and Aurora Borealis ones are also lovely, while her glacier post at the very top of her Instagram page is beautiful! You have every reason to be very proud of her. Thank you so much for sharing that. I will keep her in mind if a fragrance comes up that conveys similar scenes in my mind.

          • Thank you so much. My kids really are amazing. Rachel loves fragrance too, which is a bonus 🙂 She adds new pics all the time. She sent me a few yesterday that she hasn’t posted as yet. You are more than welcome to use any you would like.

          • I may try to contact her about getting an emailed copy of one of her forest floor/mossy green photos, but I’m afraid I don’t use Instagram. It’s this one: I don’t know when it would apply because the perfumes dictate the images, not the other way around, but perhaps you could tell her and see what she thinks? I have at least 2 green scents coming up for coverage, so maybe it might work for one of them. And, again, she would get full name credit in the caption and a link to her Instagram embedded within so that interested people can just click on it to see the rest of her stuff. 🙂

          • Strange stuff that it doesn’t let me post at the end of your last reply, but you can use any of her images. I’m not sure how you can get the images directly if you don’t use Instagram. I know there’s a code to embed. You could contact me if you like and I can give you her email address, or she is on FB You could message her there. I think my email is visible to you, as well. I’d rather not post “her” email publicly.

          • Yes, it’s much wiser to avoid all personal emails on a public site, if only to avoid Spam-bots picking it up. I’ll email her if I end up needing that photo as the perfect visual explanation or accompaniment to a post. Thank you for sharing the information in the first place. 🙂

  20. Thank you for not completely giving up on blogging – I enjoy your posts more than any other. I understand that things can get overwhelming. I am on a self imposed Facebook boycott right now, resulting in a lot less stress! I picked up a vintage bottle of Joy parfum with a little juice left for $2 the other day. It smells wondrous! My furbaby obsession is with a much smaller breed than yours – Pomeranians. We brought home our baby in January – he is 6 months old now so we are past the sleepless nights. Charley joined our other Poms Freddie, who will be 2 on July 4th and Sadie, who is coming up on 7. We got both Freddie and Charley from the same breeder. She also has a lengthy application to complete. We were able to visit her both times to pick up the babies. It really makes a difference to go to a breeder who really cares about the babies. Sadie is a rescue, as are both of our cats. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you to be able to bring a new baby home soon.

    • Reddtx, it’s lovely to see you again. And thank you for sharing a little about your furbabies. It’s so wonderful that you’ve found a breeder you can trust and who genuinely cares. I bet Charley is one adorable puppy! My neighbor has two Poms and they’re very sweet and affectionate! (They’re much less enthused about my Lord and Master, though. LOL! 😉 )

      BTW, I laughed out loud at the telling comment about “sleepless nights.” Been there, done that, and know exactly what you mean! 😀

  21. Oh, I forgot to mention that I watch every international programming streaming outfit I can find, including all the ones you mentioned. I much prefer it to “Hollywood” productions. I’m with you there, as well 🙂

    • How great that someone knows what I’m talking about when I mention MHZ, Acorn, and the rest! That’s incredibly rare, and I’m so happy to find another person with similar tastes. Which one do you like best out of the lot? Do you have any particular shows that you’ve fallen hard for? I wish Britbox had slightly easier navigation and organization, but I think they’re working on that. Regarding Walter Presents, I had heard great things about Spin, the French tv series that’s been compared to Borgen, but I had difficulty getting into it. There’s nothing like Borgen, imo! Such a fantastic show. I miss it. And I can’t wait for the new season of “A Place to Call Home” to air on Acorn!

      • This week I’ve been watching Father Brown, a few seasons of Midsomer Murders that I somehow missed, and on MHZ, Beck. I’ve finished hundreds, which is a little distressing. Thankfully, they keep churning out more.

        • I went back and re-watched a number of the early Midsomers when I first took my break. Most dangerous county in England, and don’t we love it for that! Have you ever watched the Dr. Blake Mysteries? They have the first 3 seasons on Netflix. I highly recommend it.

          • I have recently finished watching Dr. Blake! I spread it out to make it last 🙂 It appears we will have to wait until 2018 for series 4 & 5. I’m not known for my patience. The show was cancelled after 5, which has caused a pretty big uproar as it was their highest rated show. I love it 🙁 Netflix has a few good UK & EU series. I rarely watch anything other than streaming anymore. The best shows are international programming, anyway. (IMHO)

          • I know what you mean about 2018. I have the patience of a gnat when it comes to things I love. And, like you, I cannot believe the show was cancelled given its top ratings. What craziness is this? It makes zero business sense if something is that popular. Grrr. You know what else I really loved on Netflix? Shetland. I may or may not have a small crush on the main actor, just as I do on “Dr. Blake.” heh.

          • OMG, Doug Henshall? He takes hot to a new level. Thankfully, I’m not old enough to be his mother, amping up the creep factor. I’m old enough to be a lot of people’s mother these days. I woke up one day and was basically ancient, LOL.

            I love Shetland. It’s a great show. I actually looked up what it would take to move there as an American, before I remembered I live in Paradise. I’m a hopeless romantic. 2018 for that one, too. Luckily it’s still in production. It reminds me a lot of the Nordic shows, which I love.

          • Hahaha, yes, Doug Henshall is all kinds of hot! I saw him in an old Lewis episode where he was much younger, less rugged, but still extremely attractive. Needless to say, I was quite distracted from all the shenanigans his character got up to. 😉

            BTW, I laughed out loud at the “I woke up one day and was basically ancient.” You and me both, hun, you and me both.

  22. Dear Kafka, thrilled to see you back in fine form. It’s a mad mad world. Sending you love from Santa Fe and fragrant memories of the Italian hills, Jackie

    • It’s *SUCH* an insane, mad, mad world, isn’t it?! It’s so good to hear from you, Jackie. I’ve missed you (and our fragrant Italian hills), and I really hope you’ve been well, thriving, and happy. A huge hug and kiss to you, my dear.

  23. Welcome back!
    I’m a new reader here but want to thank you for helping me rediscover perfumery and fall in love with it again after a 20-year absence. Even in your frustration and dismay you’ve still brought about joy.
    Best wishes to the Hairy German, and to you, as well!

    • James, welcome back to the blog, and thank you for your kind words. I remember well your first post, and I hope you will accept my apologies for not replying at the time. I actually really wanted to, but I also didn’t want offend everyone else whom I hadn’t replied to or to hurt their feelings at the discrepancy in responses. I look forward to properly getting to know you and your perfume tastes over time. Have a lovely weekend!

  24. Many years ago my son decided to name our new Golden Retreiver puppy after Billy the Blue Power Ranger, because, I’m sure he could see the qualities of heroism, strength, intelligence and friendship,that were already present in the nine week old pup. And indeed Billy was a true and loyal friend to my kids throughout their childhood. For myself, I don’t think I’ve ever known a more noble person or better friend than Billy. He was a true friend and he added immeasurably to the life and times of my young family.

    Thanks to his AKC bloodlines, Billy was beautiful. But his strict breeding bequeathed him the additional legacy of hip dysphasia. By the age of eight or nine he had advanced arthritis in both hips. We gave him a new hip about that time and he improved for awhile, and he soldiered on and never complained but his arthritis got worse and worse. We gave him painkillers every day, and Billy never withheld a smile or a greeting or a hug. It was obvious though that was living with significant pain.

    I don’t know if the painkillers contributed to this but Billy developed a tumor on his liver. The day it ruptured, we bathed him and put him to sleep. There are tears on my cheeks as I write this. I came to feel like my long-ago decision to buy a strictly purebred dog of a highly popular and therefore overbred type, has likely contributed to the suffering of many beautiful puppies who grew up to develop early and severe arthritis. I made the decision, only for myself, that thereafter I would only own mutts or less popular breeds.

    And you know what? They turn out to be very fine people too and I love them (almost) as much.

    Kafka, I’m very happy to hear of your imminent return. Welcome back.

    • Anosmia, I was so sorry to read about Billy, and I have to confess, it saddened me enormously. I can feel your pain still. The loss is always there, isn’t it, even if time enables us not to dwell on it. When you wrote, “Billy never withheld a smile or a greeting or a hug,” the words… well, I know, my dear. I just know, and I’ve been there. And I’m so very sorry. I wish I could give you a hug.

      As for mutts vs. purebreds, they’re all wonderful, but I completely understand, respect, empathize, and sympathize with your feelings. Give your current furry ones a hug from me and, please, if it’s not inappropriate, let me say that I send you one yourself.

      • As I do yours, Kafka. And let me say that inappropriate is something that I have never seen anywhere near you. Thank you.

  25. I’m so glad that you are back, and that you will be blogging more on your own terms.
    Your obsession with Iceland really interests me, because I share it. For years I have wanted badly to spend the summer solstice in Iceland. I don’t know where I got the idea except that it is such a beautiful raw landscape. Also, I admit that I am quite fascinated by the fact that when their banking CEOs made their economy tank, they were jailed. I want to visit a society like that.

    • Hahaha, that last bit…!! I know, right?! What a wonderfully insane utopia to have that happen. You know, maybe one day we can go to Iceland together. We can rent a car and go everywhere from the Highlands to the glaciers and waterfalls, then finish up having cocktails in the Blue Lagoon at midnight as the Aurora Borealis dances above us. 😀 A happy dream to get us through these stressful times. xoxox

  26. Hello Kafka!

    And what a nice surprise to have a Kafka email in my inbox this morning! Will look forward to seeing your reviews again, but at your pace.

    I don’t try to keep up with the new releases any more, having migrated to vintage scents a couple years ago. And have sold off and given away about half of my niche collection. I have also drastically reduced my time online, fulfilling an old New Years resolution. I’ve gone back to natural scents, growing roses and many other fragrant things in the garden. And in fact, it looks like a great morning to deadhead peonies.

    Great to hear from you and good luck with the puppy!

    • James, it’s been so long! I had wondered where you had gone to even before I took my break in December, but the vintage explains it. I can really relate. What great loves have you found? How does your new focus on natural scents play out with the whole vintage thing? Are there a ton of vintage all-naturals?

      In terms of New Year’s resolutions, I’m glad that ONE of us has managed to stick to them! 😉 Joking aside, reducing online time seems to be a healthy goal, particularly in this day and age. I swear, FB political posts can be one of the most stressful things around sometimes!

      It’s been great to see you again after all this time. Thank you for popping in, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  27. Hi Kafka,

    I’m so glad to see you back at your blog again; it’s been so long! While you were away, I was trying to keep up with the fragrances still through other blogs, but it just isn’t the same without you around.

    Glad to hear the Hairy German is getting back to health, and your travel dreams. I’m always dreaming of my next travel; it was Italy in December last year, and now I’m looking at Germany-Eastern Europe. Who knows where else I’ll look at; I won’t rule out Iceland, either!

    Take care! 😉

    • Dear Nazrul, thank you for your kind words and the welcome back. How was Italy? I know you were really excited about it and had researched it thoroughly in advance. Did it turn out to be even better than expected? Did you have fun with the perfume shopping?

      Croatia is arguably Mitteleuropa and not Eastern Europe, but I hear fantastic, fantastic things about it, particularly the Dalmatian Coast and all the stunning, gorgeous islands. I came close to going a few years ago but it didn’t work out and I went elsewhere, but I still hope to go. I hope you’ll check it out as you make your plans for your next trip. And, yes, please don’t overlook Iceland either. 😉

      • Italy was wonderful! I only visited the three main cities – Rome, Florence and Venice – and I wish I had more time to visit the others, especially the south. What surprised me was the culture and people from those cities; seems like people from south and Rome are a lot more gregarious but as you go north, it becomes more culturally diverse.

        I’d love to go to Croatia, but I’m not sure if it’s the kind I would go end of the year (a yearly ritual I’ve been doing since 2015). Still, it doesn’t change one fact: there’s too many places I want to see! ☹

  28. Welcome back, Kafka. Your voice has been greatly missed and I will be glad to have you back. I hope your new “schedule” makes blogging a joy for you again. I don’t think I’m alone in caring more about your health and happiness (and that of the HG) than your posting frequency.

    • Thank you, my dear, that’s wonderfully sweet of you. I admit, it will be a relief not to post every 2 days, but on a saner schedule, even if it’s only 4-5 days apart sometimes. lol 😉 How have you been doing? Have you had a good year thus far? How is your feline Empress?

      • So far, this year has been pretty good. The Supreme Beings are all well except for the one with allergies who is confined to the hated donut collar. She will lick her little furry belly until she leaves bloody trails if not so equipped and since there aren’t any quick fixes for feline allergies, we’ll all just have to suffer. On the bright side, Mr. Minion has taken to calling her “Franken-bagel” which I find just adorable.

        • Urgh, animal allergies. Your poor baby. I sympathize and know exactly what you’re going through. Have you spoken to your vet about trying very low dosages of Prednisone or one of the other steroid pills? The Hairy German has had chronic allergies for years, and prednisone was helpful but the most recent specialist gave him a different steroid that actually proved even more effective, even at a lower dosage. It had much more comprehensive results, too, and has kept hair loss, skin lesions, sores, ear infections, and even the dangerous perianal fistulas all under control. Plus, it’s inexpensive and the side effects for this one (“Medrol”) are even milder and fewer than they are for the more commonly prescribed Prednisone. It’s changed by boy’s life.

          Please tell Mr. Minion that I think his “Franken-bagel” is wonderful!

          • What about feeding RAW food to eliminate allergies? It worked when NOTHING else would for our beloved half Corgi–half Shiba Inu.

          • I agree, Raw is a great option for animals who will eat it, and most seem to adore it. My boy, unfortunately, didn’t like it and gets allergic skin reactions to almost everything, including, bizarrely, olive oil. (????!) He’s now on a prescription vegetarian diet which he enjoys, but even that didn’t fix things, hence the steroids. He’s a bad case scenario, though. If Mika’s cat tries and likes RAW, it may very well do the trick. I would definitely feed raw in a heartbeat if I could. Phenomenally healthy option!

          • She’s on an oral steroid but they’re so hard on her liver that we don’t want to go further than that. Raw diet is out because she’s such a picky-puss. She does like the prescription diet kibble but we are trying to find the root of her allergies and the food elimination diets don’t seem to impact her itchies at all.
            We will probably have to actually allergy test her and maybe do a lifetime of serum therapy. That’s our next step and it’s going to cramp my perfume budget. Good thing she’s worth every penny.

          • Been there, done that, got the high vet bills to show for it, but COMPLETELY AGREE that they’re worth every penny of it! I know it can be an extremely frustrating process, so bon courage and good luck, my dear. I hope you’ll keep me updated on how both of you fare.

  29. My, how I have missed your erudite, honest and enlightening reviews! As a relative “returnee” to the world of perfume I can only join you in your present sentiments regarding the state of perfumery today. This is why I have found your guidance of particular value. With the current state of things, the community we create among friends, aficionados and those of like mind will see us through what are chaotic times. Thank you so much for all you do.

    You might be interested in the material offered by Dr. Andrew Jones, a Canadian vet who was ousted from the Canadian Veterinary board because of his stance and advice helping pet owners treat their pets at home, and advising against vaccinations and other unnecessary medications. It is his firm belief-especially after losing his beloved dog to cancer-that we are over-medicating our animals which is leading to diseases. Young healthy animals are succumbing to conditions that while now common, were not years ago. His website is:

    If you are considering a pup, please do take a look, you might be encouraged to “think differently” about veterinary care. I have used homeopathy for myself and family for over 25 years, and there is a book by 2 British vets on homeopathy for dogs which I have used to treat my darling Havanese. She is a healthy, active 14-year old with several good years left. Strong immune system, organs, etc. Never any diseases, but just bad teeth!!

    Good luck and welcome back.

    • You’re too kind, Joy. I’m just glad my reviews have proved helpful, particularly since I know they’re far, far, far too long for most people.

      Thank you also for the vet link. I will be certain to check it out. I actually tried to follow a more natural approach with The Hairy German when I first got him and put him on the Raw Diet, but he has massive allergies. I have toyed with doing things like titers in the past because of the vaccine issue but I’m afraid my pet insurance requires that the dog be up to date on everything or else they can cancel it. That said, I’ve been relieved that I only have to give the rabies every 3 years under the law in my state, so that part is good. But I will definitely look at the link, Jody.

    • Hurray for both of us being back in some form or another. A kiss to you and another to your feline Overlord.

  30. I’m happy to see you have returned, and I was sorry to read of all your trials and tribulations with health and your furry companion. I’m at the limit of dogs with four of them, but I do so wish I could have more. Good luck with getting the puppy.
    I also have moved in the direction of “vintage” fragrances but on a very small and limited scale. I know I don’t have the zeal of the true collector as you do. There is some difficulty in finding samples, so that purchases sometimes must be blind. As to the new ones, if there is little mention of them after they premier, I can pretty much conclude that they are not even worth sampling. I have never bought a back-up bottle of anything, but your brief comments about Lutens’ Fille makes me seriously think about that. I love that one. Anyway, welcome back. As a quick aside, do you like Britbox better than Acorn?

    • Dear Ellen, so good to see you again. I know what you mean about the sampling/blind buy situation. It’s definitely a complication that entails some risk. It’s times like this that it helps to have a complete understanding of the notes one really loves passionately, as well as reading reviews of people with similar tastes to one’s own. Hopefully, I’ll be able to help a wee bit.

      In terms of Acorn vs. Britbox, I think I actually prefer Britbox. With the exception of a handful of shows, I don’t watch Acorn all that much. Honestly, I think I keep it simply for the new seasons of “A Place To Call Home” and “Midsomer Murders.” Britbox has so many old favourites, as well as new stuff that I haven’t seen before. But the navigational and organisational system are a bit frustrating, awkward, and poorly set up, although I think they plan to improve it to make it more like other streaming services. The other frustration is that not all episodes of a show are close captioned and, frankly, I need it for the really broad Irish accent or some other regional ones. Without it, some shows like Ballykissangel, for example, aren’t the easiest to understand. Even with all that, however, Britbox is the main streaming service that I’ve been watching (almost every day) over the last few months, more than any of the other ones. For someone like you, with your tastes, I think it’s definitely worth the free trial 7-day test run! Did you ever get a Roku or do you still watch on your laptop?

  31. Dearest K, it is so wonderful to have you back! I’ve missed your updates (yes, on life and other things, not just perfume) and have thought of you often. While we’ve missed you terribly, self-care is important and thank you for sharing so much of the intervening months. My heart goes out to you and the Hairy German. Having lost one of my own fur babies prematurely last year, I know all too well the hole they leave in our hearts and lives. So glad to hear he’s doing better, and sending all love and best wishes to you both.

    I’ve been flying under the radar myself of late, so understand the need for a little self-imposed solitude at times. I’m still perfuming, and building up the courage to share some of my creations with the wider world. So funny to hear of the recent class’ exploits – it’s becoming quite the extended family!

    Glad you’ve been enjoying rediscovering vintage. I shall look forward with joyful anticipation to reading whatever you choose to write about. Seriously, whatever inspires you my dear, scented or otherwise. We are your friends, and friends don’t stand on ceremony. It’s shared moments and experiences that are the mark of true friendships, without restriction. That, and the ease and comfort with which we are able to reconnect with friends, regardless of whether the absence has been days or years. Glad to have you back 🙂

    • Sweetie, I’m so sorry to hear about your fur baby passing away prematurely. How are you holding up? Honestly, how are you? When my late Kafka had to be put down unexpectedly due to a really aggressive melangiosarcoma cancer, I almost fell apart. The premature, unexpected aspect of things just made it SUCH a harder blow. And, for people like you and me, these are not “animals,” nor mere “pets,” but so much more. A fundamental part of our lives and, as you said so well, our hearts.

      On a lighter note, it really is fun to hear about the new classes’ adventures. I hope you had the chance to read Guy’s wonderful posts upthread about his time with AbdesSalaam. However, NONE of you had the joy of being stuffed into the boot/trunk of a car in order to get back home, so I think I still had the best time of all. lol 😉 😀

      A sample of Naja should be on its way to me, and I’m so excited to try it. On the basis of the note list, I’ve been looking forward to this one more than any other Vero Profumo previously launched. Tobacco! I cannot wait.

      • You’re such a kind-hearted, generous person, dear K, I knew you’d understand. Thanks for your kind words, they mean a lot. It was tough for a while. A complication from dental surgery, so absolutely no hint of what was to come. We were (are) devastated. He was my fierce, devoted companion, and four years was too short a time. I’m glad I got to share the time we had, and miss him profoundly. We are blessed to have his brother, which has helped, as we all grieved the loss together. Where would we be without our pack, indeed?

        • Oh, gosh, how terrible that it was a side complication from something like dental surgery. How awful. You would have had no way to prepare. And, even worse, it happened so young, at the mere age of four. My heart absolutely goes out to you. What an absolutely, absolutely awful turn of events. :'( Dearest Lellabelle, I send you the biggest, gentlest hug imaginable.

  32. I was at the street fest in Hawaii when I saw that you had RETURNED. I wrote something sappy and sentimental back at the hotel but it didn’t post. Let me just say that you know what I’ve been through since your departure and I am so very happy you’re back to enlighten me. You have changed my life in so many ways (dogs, food, vintage perfume, Roku boxes…I acquired one before my trip!). Last night, I welcomed you back with a lump in my throat. Today I do so with a huge smile on my face!!!

    • ❤❤❤❤ to all of it, sweetie.

      (And, omg, you got the Roku!! Finally and Yayyy!)

  33. Can I say how excited I am about Papillon’s Dryad and Vero Kern’s Naja? I haven’t had a chance to sample either yet, but after so many dismal releases I have high hopes for both of these! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Dryad :). Have you had an opportunity to try Naja? Tobacco, osmanthus and linden sounds incredible, particularly in the skillful hands of Ms Kern!

    • And… HOORAY for vintage Femme!! We shall be divas together, my dear. Glorious, show-stopping divas ;P

      • Haha, I really have missed you so, my dear! Yes, fabulous, glorious, show-stopping, Femme-drenched divas — all the way! ❤️

  34. Well Kafka. This post has already made my day and I’m not even through my first cup of coffee. So very glad that you are back in the blogging saddle, and we lucky readers get to hear your thoughts once again. SO very sorry it has been so rough, especially with your pup. Lately I’ve been jonesing for yet another yellow English Lab, but husband cannot bear the thought of having to eventually put down another dog. After our two Labs, he says it’s one of the most devastating events of his life, and I concur. (But still….. our house without a dog is just not the same).

    On a happier note, Yaaay for vintage!! It always mystifies me when folks don’t give vintage it’s value, I mean… to know vintage is to know where most everything comes from.

    And XaoLongBao (or XLB as we call them) we just returned from three days in Seattle, and every. single. day. we’d trundle into Dai Tin Fung for baskets of XLB. I never even thought to look at Trader Joe’s or Costco!! Ugh. Another shelf in the freezer dedicated to ONE item. Thanks ever so.

    Other than that, health is good finally, my writing improves and blessings abound. Have you thought about moving to Iceland? A pal of ours just did (at age 55) and now says she’s sorry she waited so long.
    Welcome back Dear Kafka! -Robert H.

    • ROFL, that freezer shelf comment made me splutter out my Diet Coke. I have one whole freezer shelf devoted to the XLB, I kid you not. How utterly hilarious that you do the same thing with things that you love! Oh Robert, it’s so good to see you. I didn’t “recognize” you at all at first with your new posting name, but I like it. I like the Robert ones best, though, because it’s just you, simply you, and therefore the best of all. ❤️

      No, I’ve never thought of moving to Iceland because that spot/wish is reserved for Copenhagen, a city I love. Much as Iceland’s alien wildness appeals to me for a visit or two, I know myself well enough to know I need my city life, restaurants, shops, hustle and bustle. Copenhagen stole my heart in so many ways, and it reminds me of how Paris used to be. Paris has now become too much like NY in the way that people live life, but Copenhagen has the perfect balance of everything, especially putting the enjoyment of life above working endless hours and making money. The one problem is the limited hours of sun during their loooong winters. It’s no wonder they all drink like fish. In any event, I can’t move anywhere for now as my family and my father’s health makes me want to stay close by, but one day….

      Your husband’s feelings on another dog are so understandable! That heartbreak isn’t easy to shake off. You know, on Facebook, in response to today’s post, one of my readers, Anna, linked me to an article that I think he might appreciate if he or you haven’t seen it already: Let him read it.

      THEN, let him read this article from Psychology Today on how dog owners are happier (and mentally healthier) than people without dogs. (They’re actually supposed to be happier than cat owners, too, but sshhhh, we won’t talk about that lest my cat-loving readers take offense. 😉 )

      Tell me about you and what you’ve been up. Have you missed the coffee business at all? I saw a while ago that you were writing for CaFleureBon, so a big congratulations on that, my dear. xoxox

  35. Welcome back. You where missed but I understand especially your “German issues” when they are ill it’s unbareble. Go to Iceland maybe try some of their perfume and a hotwell spa while reading an Icelandic author or maybe an Edda. Enyou

    • Ups *enjoy. New Phone. By The Way I’m about to watch Barnaby
      And Lewis. Nothing like a good English krimi.

    • Thank you so much for understanding and for the sweet welcome back, Kirsten. I could definitely use an Iceland hotwell spa at the moment, but couldn’t we all? lol. BTW, I just finished re-watching all the Lewis episodes just a few days ago. One of my favourite comfort series to relax to, up there with Barnaby. Enjoy, and have a super weekend!

      PS — have you ever watched Grantchester? If not, look for it, because I think it might be your thing!

  36. Kafka, first let me say that I am happy you are back. I missed your beautiful descriptive writing. I gave yo say that although I am only a respondent to perfume blogs, I too have become disillusioned with the perfume indtustry in general. I have been into perfume more years than your age most likely. With the onset of the internet I was delighted to see that there were others who had my same condition/addiction. But in the last several years, I have become disillusioned with the perfume industry due rob the incessant barrage of new fragrances every single day. Don’t get me wrong, I still love perfume but miss the days when it was more of an art and self-expression than just another means to make money. I will stop here because then I could also go on to another platitude. I look forward to reading anything you have to say and hope you will continue to do so.

      • No worries, my dear. You should see some of the ludicrously mangled typos I end up with under my phone’s auto-correct! lol

    • Filomena, it’s lovely to see you. Thank you for the kind welcome back. It’s nice to also know that someone else understands and shares some of my feelings about recent trends within the perfume industry, particularly the niche industry.

  37. Your writing is a marvel, so happy to have you back. I love your deep caring for your dog. We have a 12-13 year old, a rescue we rehabilitated 8 years ago and adore. We are old, she is old – love continues.

    Is there any way that I can gift you a small bottle of my organic rare essential oil perfume? I plan to make one small batch by Sept/Oct. It would be my joy to share it with you.

    • What a sweet note, and thank you very much for the generous offer, Samantha. I would enjoy trying it, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable accepting more than a tiny sample, particularly given the rarity of the item or materials. I’m often uncomfortable with generous gifts, so please don’t think it is anything personal. I promise you, it is not. 🙂

  38. A quick note to say how happy I am that you are writing again and that your German has returned to better health. I went through a lengthy interview process for my Lab as well, and can appreciate when breeders care so much for the puppies and their future homes.

    I look forward to reading your new posts and hope you get to Iceland one day soon!

    • Welcome to the blog, FoxRedLab, and thank you for the kind welcome back. 🙂

  39. Kafka, your level of output, in terms of both quantity AND quality, always impressed me. But truth be told, it did exceed all reasonable expectations! I can’t blame you for wanting/needing to take a break. And breaking the chains of obligation (even if partly self-imposed) is so important from time to time. Doing a blog more on your own terms is fully understandable. On a purely selfish level though, I’m glad to have you back – it’s so hard to access quality writing on perfume, and extremely rare to find the scholarly and analytical approach you take to the subject. This reader would like you to know just how appreciated you are!!

    • It’s always such a pleasure to hear from you, Kyle, and to read one of your thoughtful notes. This time is no exception. You’re right, I was a bit of an insane masochist. LOL! 😉 Let’s keep our fingers crossed that I can fight against my inner nature, be less perfectionistic, more moderate, and more relaxed about things. We’ll see how I fare. Heh. But it’s particularly nice to hear that the work was appreciated and not in vain. I know it’s certainly not for most people and I would probably be more successful if I adopted the more typical blogging approach. Oh well, I am what I am, to quote the immortal Popeye. 😀

  40. Dear Kafka, I’m glad you are back and I want to hope that the positive tendency with Hairy German’s health will continue. These furry creatures hold such a huge place in our hearts, minds and lives that it pains even to think about bad things happening to them.

    I do not care much, about which perfumes you’ll write: vintage or modern, I do not get to smell most of them these days anyway (2,000+ !!!), but as somebody who hates changes, I feel much more comfortable if you’re around. Any of the other theoretically possible topics you’ve mentioned would work for me as well 😉

    It looks like our tastes in TV shows are much closer than those in perfumes – so thank you for the BritBox.

    On the SL-related rumors front, have you heard the one that there will be no more new bell jar scents? As to the change in bottles, I’ll probably buy several of my favorites even if the discontinuation rumor proves not to be true: I do not believe that juice in new bottles will be the same anyway.

    • Dearest Undina, I’m always touched when you pop by. I address all the SL news in today’s post, large bits of which has been confirmed by Serge Lutens’ people at the Palais Royale to someone who went straight there late Saturday for clarification or confirmation: I can tell you that, from what I’ve been told by them or people associated with them, there will be NO new Bell Jars. Everything is being yanked around or changed, as you can read in my article. And, like you, I do not believe that the juice in the new bottles will be the same anyway.

      How wonderful to hear that our television tastes are close, especially in light of the fact that we are such opposites in perfumery. 😉 I think you’ll be very pleased with Britbox then. I hope you’ll let me know what you think once you’ve had time to investigate and explore it properly.

  41. Welcome back !
    Look forward to reading your reviews again .
    Have just sampled puredistancem , read your review. Looks like I,love be buying a bottle

  42. Dear Kafka,
    I must admit that I’m only an occasional reader of your blog, mostly in search of specific perfume reviews. But… it’s more or less been a matter of time that I didn’t delve more deeply, such as exploring the comments. I have to say that I’ll be more encouraged to return, because of the wonderful work you put into this blog and the terrific appreciation you see from so many followers — the comments section can be just as rich as the main postings!
    Thanks for sharing your struggles with us. I can certainly relate in some ways. I’ve struggled with depression on/off for some years, the worst of which were between 2008 and 2014. I found a love of fragrances in 2013, and it partially helped me out of the black pit of depression. Even still, there are times when I just stop wearing fragrances and let a few days or even weeks go by without wearing any again. That hasn’t happened for a while, though.
    Part of what I’ve come to enjoy about fragrances is the community. It’s a rich one, filled with so many interesting, caring people. There is something about the appreciation of the olfactory senses that brings good people together. And that can be just as rewarding as smelling a wonderful fragrance for the first time.
    So… thanks so much for sharing with us your struggles and I’m sure I speak for many that we’re delighted to have you back! 😀

    • Dear Cyntherian, first, let me welcome you to the blog and, then, second, thank you for such a kind, sharing, and personal comment. I’ve seen you around Basenotes, but never here, so I’m touched that you would pop by to welcome me back. More than that, I’m touched by the personal nature of what you wrote, and I hope you’ll give me permission to use your email address to send you a small private note about one aspect of what you wrote.

      In the here and now, let me say that I completely share your views on community, and how community heightens the joy of smelling something lovely. I’ve often said in the past that I think perfume is best when shared and discussed, and that I’d hope to make this site a little bit like being at a cocktail party where tidbits were passed around, the wine poured merrily, and people shared their emotions or reactions, positive or negative, about a fragrance. I’ve had readers in the past tell me that they often didn’t feel confident enough about their nose to comment, to which I’ve replied that there is never a right or wrong answer about perfume, only opinions, thoughts, and emotions, and we are all entitled to share those!

      For me, it’s the sharing that makes things fun and worthwhile, both personally and as a blogger whose perfectionistic and OCD personality tends to make every post a rather laborious, Herculean, marathon endeavour. When my love of scent plummeted badly and I took my break, the only thing I missed — the ONLY thing — were the people. Some of the nicest, most altruistic, thoughtful, generous, and ebullient people I have ever met have been perfume people. A gusto and passion for life fills so many of them.

      There are multiple fun perfume communities out there, but I hope you’ll feel free to stop by here in the future and become part of this one as well. I would be very touched if you did, although I do not want you to interpret that as pressure or obligation in any way. It’s only that I value people who can write thoughtfully and kindly, and I particularly value people who write as lengthily as I do myself! 😉 😀 Whatever you choose, thank you for stopping by to welcome me back. I’m very touched.

  43. Dear Kafka, glad to see that you’re back! By the way, I’m Yinghao. Figured that I should have used my avatar for perfume-related community.

    I’m sorry that there have been complications of your personal life and the health of The Hairy German. I can see how intensive blogging can add significant stress. Even if it’s a topic that one deeply loves, once there are deadlines to hit (even when the deadline is self-imposed out of love and responsibility to one’s readers), it can rob off some of the primal joy. I myself took a few months off towards the end of last year, and am still struggling to find a suitable rhythm. I’m glad that you have worked out a way to reach a balance, and I’m looking forward to reading your excellent writings again!

    I’m absolutely thrilled to read that you’re planning to review Dryad and MEM, two of my most anticipated new releases this year until now. I was so blown away by every perfume put out by Ms. Moore and the fabulous MAAI and Aeon 001 by Mr. Gardoni, that I’m doing very hard to keep myself from blind buying them. 😛 Another new release that I very much look forward to is Vero Profumo’s Naja, after fall in love with her Rozy Voile d’Extrait, a intense, honeyed rose-tuberose, and Onda Voile d’Extrait, of which the deep, smoky vetiver reminds me of that in Aeon 001. I also managed to try Naias and La Douceur de Siam, both being irresistibly pretty fruity floral, but the most wonderful surprise among new releases so far this year for me, is FM’s Superstitious. I especially enjoy the waxy, metallic aldehyde, which has nothing to do with the nose-tingling aldehyde in many vintage floral aldehyde perfumes that I have much difficulty with.

    Speaking of vintage perfumes, although I usually gravitate towards new releases, I’d love to read your fantastic reviews about vintage perfumes, which significantly raised my interest to dip my toe in the pool. So far, I’ve been exploring vintage Habanita and Jolie Madame, which went quite well. I also had some bad luck, having snapped a Nuit de Noël vintage parfum bottle at a great price only to receive it shattered in pieces in an extremely fragrant box.

    The Serge Lutens repackaging/discontinuation is really some stressful news. It seems that there’ll be 11 pulled out according to Claire’s list? At least De Profundis and Vétiver Oriental will be added to the new collection per Denyse Beaulieu, so hopefully not all is bad news.

    Aside from perfume-related matters, I really hope that The Hairy German will get better, or at least suffer much less, now that he’s in good hands. I’m also delighted to learn that you enjoy Xiao Long Bao, one of the food that I missed the most after leaving my hometown Shanghai! What a coincidence that I also found a boutique selling them frozen near my home just a few months ago. Now I always have a few packs stocked in my freezer. 😀 If you happen to visit Shanghai in the future, I would recommend trying another specialty, Sheng Jian(生煎), as well. It’s also a dumpling filled with soup, but this time fried in a pan and decorated with green onion and sesames. Like Xiao Long Bao, the hot, delicious soup is to die for, but unlike Xiao Long Bao, Sheng Jian in frozen form doesn’t perform well and is very rare, so it’s absolutely worth trying while visiting.

    Sorry I got carried away and this post became a sort of bumbling. I hope that it will not eat up your precious time for sleep, and that you’ll have a good rest. Looking forward to reading your reviews again!

    • Yinghao! It’s wonderful to see you and please don’t apologise one whit for your note and its many details. You should know by now that I’m a firm believer that the more details, the better! But I have to say that I miss your old posting name, no doubt because I don’t adjust quickly to change.

      I think I had Sheng Jian when I went to Shanghai back in 2008 or so, because your description sounds very familiar. If it’s what I’m thinking of, then it was delicious indeed. If I ever go back to that exhilarating, wonderful, exciting city, I will make sure that I have some.

      Your Nuit de Noel bottle shattering in transit… 🙁 I hope you got a full refund from the seller!

      Superstitious is one of those scents that, imo, even MORE than usual, will depend strongly on the person’s individual skin. As I’ll explain in the review, I had a much happier experience with its start than did my mother whom I used as a testing guinea pig to see if the perfume would develop the same way. (I used another family member’s skin as well, come to think of it. lol.) I have the feeling that Superstitious will be one polarizing scent not only because of how much it seems to skew in its development from beginning to end, but also because of how differently it manifests itself from one person to the next. Having said that, I was pretty pleasantly surprised by how Superstitious was on me during the first 3 hours. I had kept my expectations low, because I have most definitely NOT enjoyed the last 4 or 5 releases from Malle, and nothing I had read in early launch news about Superstitious had led me to think I would like it. Those first 3 hours, though, were far more interesting and had far more character than any of the recent fragrance releases, imo, so it was a very pleasant, unexpected surprise.

      Regarding Serge Lutens, I just posted a detailed article this morning on the changes and on my thoughts about it, but I wanted to clarify here that there are 10 fragrances being yanked about in placement, not 11, plus one fragrance *format* being completely axed or cancelled.

      Naja is a fragrance that I’m REALLY looking forward to trying. Ms. Vern doing Tobacco! Yay! I can’t wait for my sample to arrive.

      • Thank you Kafka for the reply! I’ll be waiting for your review of Superstitious with much anticipation. Reading other reviews available online, it does seem that people are smelling or at least interpreting it very differently. And with all the lyrical raves (which it rightfully deserves IMO among new releases so far this year), it becomes even more confusing. Your detailed approach would be a precious imput in the discussion. By the way, I wasn’t impressed by Malle’s last releases before Supersitious, either. Especially the newly re-released Outrageous, composed by Grojsman (so I expected something about rose…) smells like a Light Blue-wannabe on me… Truly outrageous!

        As for SL, when I was trying to piece the various information together, at one point I counted the list posted by ClaireV on basenotes, so I had the number 11 in my head. The list in your post seems to be the same, but it’s very possible that I missed a subtlety somewhere.

  44. Chère Kafka,
    (J’écris en français puisque j’ai vu dans un commentaire précédent que vous le parliez! Évidemment l’anglais c’est aussi bon si vous préférez!)
    Quel plaisir de vous savoir de retour!
    J’ai découvert le blog complètement par hasard (suite à un plateau de télé où il y avait une discussion entre Yannick Nézet-Séguin et Thierry Wasser comme je vous ai raconté via email) et en quelques semaines je l’ai littéralement dévoré! Ça m’a coûté plusieurs nuits de sommeil (je suis aussi une insomniaque notoire depuis l’enfance!) et autant d’achats que je ne regrette pas! : )
    Beaucoup de rigueur, de sincérité, une écriture bien vivante et aussi une communauté de gens intelligents et sensibles comme vous l’êtes, voilà ce qui fait mon bonheur dans ce blog. Brava!
    Je crois que je vais devoir me procurer des bouteilles supplémentaires de Filles en Aiguilles et surtout Gris Clair que j’aime beaucoup (ne me détestez pas parce que j’aime la lavande!! ; )) chez Serge Lutens…
    Beaucoup de souhaits pour ce nouveau départ de votre blog que je continuerai à lire avec grand intérêt…
    P.S. Is this too much french?

    • Not too much French at all, but I hope you’ll forgive me if I reply in English because I’m rusty at writing in French and I’m perfectionistic and anal-retentive enough to dislike the mistakes. Plus, it’s faster for me at this time in my life to write in English, even though it was once the reverse many decades ago.

      I wanted to thank you for your extremely generous praise about the blog and my writing. It means a lot. And I would never hate you for loving lavender! LOLOL! 😀 But I do want to caution you that, in my opinion, Gris Clair has been changed from what it was when it was first released. If your bottles are older ones and if you have not smelt the latest version, I would advise you to try it now in the stores before you buy a ton of bottles as a back-up!

  45. Dear Kafka,

    It’s so nice to see you back. I am sorry to hear about the condition of the Hairy German. In those hard moments, please remember we are here for you.

    As for the fragrance industry and its current state, you are absolutely right to feel the way you do. I went through a similar phase and I realized that it is worth exploring and writing for two reasons:

    1. I feel it is our duty to tell the rest of the world what a fragrance is really worth. I hate to see guys and girls wearing horrendous creations just because the bottles carry Gucci or Dior.

    2. Through the process of searching, I’ve discovered gems I would have never come across. Fragrances like Dusita’s Oud Infini, Melodie de L’Amour; Mona di Orio’s Oudh Osmanthus; Zoologist’s Civet; Andy Tauer’s creations would be have never crossed my nose had it not been for my writing about them. These are the gems worth blogging for. Through your posts you share their beauty in a different form and memorialize their form of art.

    Indeed, it is discouraging to see so much garbage being put out there and so many art pieces being destroyed. Just like any injustice, however, it is our obligation to tell the true story. Marketers get a chance to tell their, we also get a chance to tell ours.

    I am glad to see you back and am looking forward to reading more.

    • Thank you for the kind welcome back, ScentBound. It’s nice to see you. I hope you’ve been well and had a good 2017 thus far?

      You’re absolutely right that it is important to offer a different and more critical perspective to scent than the gushing hyperbole of marketeers. Speaking only for myself, though, both my rigid, extensive testing procedures and my sensitivity to aromachemicals in extreme dosages means that the mere act of testing is more of an ordeal for me than for others. And I no longer have the masochistic interest in testing as many new releases as I can get my hands on nor the willingness to go through 15 horrors to find one gem that I like. I’m not talking about the Guccis or Diors, either. I’m talking about the niche industry which, in my opinion, has been impacted for the worse by the mainstream aesthetic. Before, niche used to seep downwards to impact and influence mainstream; now mainstream tastes and the aromachemical issue are gushing upwards in a torrent to influence and shape niche. One major reason why is niche’s increasingly high prices, another is that every Tom, Dick, and Harry is rushing to start a “niche” brand in order to make money. There are quite a few other factors at play, too. For me, it’s the Indie and Artisanal sector that offers hope and some positivity. However, even there, for someone with my aromachemical issues, things can be tricky. Some brands pursue an “avant-garde” approach that means they are willing, if not eager, to use every new or strong aromachemical possible. Again, testing is a different experience for me than it is for others who are not physically impacted by such things. Plus, my tastes are different and borne of a history going back decades with the sorts of scent stylings that are now called “vintage.” So, I’m in a different place than some others, even when it comes to niche offerings, and I’m no longer willing to rush out to spend my own money to buy the latest hot new releases, subject myself to everything in sight for 12+hours at an end no matter how much I may hate it, or to write several negative reviews in a row, let alone 3,000+ words every few days on such negatives reviews. No, it’s simply not worth it to me, and I simply do not think well enough of the state of the industry to put myself through it without major qualifiers and limits.

  46. Dearest Kafka,

    I’m sorry to hear that things have been challenging and difficult this past year. We all need to pull back and take a hiatus from things that we are accustomed to doing regularly sometimes. In any case, I send you and the Hairy German many hugs and my best and warmest regards. I am also crossing my fingers that the wait list for a puppy will be short — mostly because I love me some puppy pictures 🙂

    Welcome, welcome back!

    On another note, I too attempted to binge watch Gilmore Girls! I made it through Rory starting college at Yale. After that, I couldn’t take it anymore. You made me laugh out loud because I also wanted to stab them both repeatedly and leave their bodies to rot in a room full of old Chinese food and empty coffee cups 😉

    • Thank God someone else feels the same way about the Gilmore Girls! I couldn’t understand the gushing accolades and the cult-status of these two girls. Every time I thought Lorelei was the worst, Rory would do something that made me want to stab her and she became the worst, only for Lorelei to have some other childish tantrum or truly cruel response to her poor parents and take over the title. You were wise to stop when Rory went to Yale because she became even WORSE after that. I know that seems difficult to believe, but it’s true. The most privileged, spoilt, whining, self-indulged, coddled brat, outdone only by her equally privileged, spoilt, immature, and infantile mother. Urrrrggghhh. The Gilmore grandparents/parents were the best part about that show, and they had my full sympathy in dealing with awful daughter.

      Anyway, enough about those bizarrely worshiped characters — how have YOU been, my dear? How is teaching? Cooking? Life generally?

      Thank you for the warm welcome back, and you can be sure that I will post many photos of my future furry dictator when he arrives. xoxo

  47. Great to read you again. Sorry to hear of challenging times but hope everything works out for you. It was interesting to read about your other passions, maybe you could blog about those here (perhaps under another tab) or on another blog, I for one would love to read your thoughts on travels, food or art. I too sadly share your opinion that modern perfumes are pretty underwhelming and lack a certain magic. Where do you find vintage perfumes like the Guerlain you’ve collected?

    • Thank you for the welcome back and the lovely words. If this site didn’t take up so much time, I would definitely consider doing one showcasing photographers, art, travel, food, and other things. Honestly, that would make me very happy to do, but perfume takes up so much time in terms of research, testing, writing, etc.

      For the vintage fragrances, both Guerlains and others, I rely almost entirely on eBay. I’m luckier than many of my International readers in having the US eBay have an extensive selection and no shipping limitations. The US eBay has significantly more offerings, quantity wise, than the various European ones, but there are some treasures to be found, for example, on the UK sites if one is diligent and patient. Etsy also has quite a few international sellers who have lovely vintage offerings. There is one Etsy lady in the UK who has some truly jaw-dropping bottles! I recall seeing a 1872 decanter (!!!) of Guerlain’s Cuir de Russie (!!!) that she was selling samples of, but she also had more than 200 vintage offerings in general. So, depending on your location, I would check out the eBay for your area but also Etsy. If you’re on FB and a member of some of the perfume groups there, I’ve heard of vintage bottles being offered there, too, occasionally. (Occasionally but not frequently.) Finally, looking at thrift stores, second-hand stores, and estate sales is one way to find treasures at prices that are frequently FAR below eBay. I’ve never gone to an estate sale myself, but I’ve heard of some unbelievable finds there, as well as in dusty old second-hand shops. I hope that helps a little, Anand. 🙂

  48. Dear K – here I am again (I wrote you at the other thread before reading this note). Thank you for sharing all your thoughts with us. Good times, bad times… you are certainly not alone!

    I think you are absolutely right to take your time – there is no need to write youself into a state of exhaustion. Passo a passo, one step after the other, giving everything in life the right amount of attention that is required.

    Regarding your Royal Highness… since my childhood we always take a young puppy to accompany an ageing dog (when he is between seven and ten years old). Almost always the older one gets a boost of energy and the young wild Madman (or Madwoman) gets a decent education, not by us humans but his older and much wiser companion! Long life the Ovelord!

    Thank you again for being back! All the best, Peter

    • Peter, I can’t say this enough, but thank you for your lovely welcome back (in the other thread and here), your kind comment during my break, and your sweetness throughout. It meant a lot then and continues to mean a lot now.

      PS — I had to laugh at the young Madman and Madwoman descriptions, but it’s so perfect for young pups. Especially the pups that love to eat one’s favourite Italian designer shoes…. 😉 😛

  49. I’m so happy to see you back; I missed you! So sorry to hear that you’d been going through such a tough time and heartbroken about the trials with your fur master. I wish you good fortune in being matched with your pup.

    • Thank you, Gigi. It’s lovely to see you again, and I hope you’ve had a good 2017 thus far! 🙂

  50. So happy to see you’ve returned from your self-imposed exile. Sorry to hear about your Hairy German, but am happy to read he’s recovered. I wasn’t as fortunate and had to say goodbye to my baby April 2nd. I put him through another surgery to debulk his tumor after it grew back, but there were some (minor) complications which prevented us from doing chemo right after. He lived for just shy of three more months and, like a cruel April fool’s joke, woke up April 1st barely able to walk. The cancer was stage three and very aggressive and my worst fear came true: I woke up the next morning to find it had ruptured and I had to schedule his last trip to the vet, barely able to make it through the phone call before I broke. In the midst of it all, I’ve had ailing elderly parents take in my uncle with dementia. Trying to keep all three walking upright has been nearly impossible and the amount of stress has been off the charts over the last six months. Hallucinations. Delusions. Escapes at all hours. Both parents being hospitalized. My mind has grown numb. My life is not my own any more and I’ve lost the biggest thing that provided joy to me, so it’s nice to have something familiar to look forward to back in action.

    • Oh Jim, oh Jim, my heart goes out to you. What an absolutely awful series of events. Anything I say will be so stupidly trite and meaningless in the face of all this; and I wouldn’t even know where to start. The number of things you’ve had to juggle or deal with, the loss of your boy, the endless worry about your parents…. 🙁 I hope your brother can ease some of the weight on your shoulders from time to time but, even so, you’ve had one thing after another to deal with and it’s got to hurt like hell. I wish I were there to give you the biggest, gentlest hug, sweetie.

      Knowing you, you will be endlessly stoic and brave but, my dear, I hope you will keep Caretaker Fatigue in mind. Don’t minimize or dismiss the effects. They’re real and they’re serious. Please don’t be too stoic. You can only help your parents if you can help yourself as well.

      Listen, you have my email, and I want you to use it whenever you feel like venting or just screaming at the wind. I mean it. It’s no different now than it was before, except now we just have really sad things to discuss. In fact, to hell with this, I’ll email you right now.

  51. I am so pleased you are back and I really hope you can make the blogging work well for you. I think you should review what you want, when you want. I will certainly want to read whatever you choose to write about… whether vintage perfume, dumplings or whatever…
    I am another person who loves Iceland although I am not keen at all on the type of hyper sharp colour pushed moving water effect photography you included. I think this detracts from the beauty of Iceland.
    For me the real Iceland, in documentaries or as shown in a film like the spectacular Heima that documented Sigur Rós’ 2006 free concerts around Iceland looks much more beautiful than these fakey hyper enhanced shots. I think Iceland looks more beautiful when it looks more raw, more real.
    Have you seen the film Heima? I am a Sigur Ros and Jonsi fan but it’s probably not necessary to be a fan to enjoy this film, as I remember it got rave film reviews on release.
    Sorry if someone else has already mentioned this. To be honest I haven’t (yet) read all the comments as the themes and the various stories are a little heavy going taken en masse although I hope the vast outpouring of support helped show how much you have been missed. Like most I sympathise enormously with you and – again like most – have had my own similar experiences.
    I wish you, your father and of course the Hairy German all the best in the future.

    • Thank you for your kind words and the welcome back. I won’t write about dumplings, but good to know that is always an option, at least for one reader. Lol. 😉 😀

      I haven’t seen Heima and will be sure to look it up. Thank you for the tip!

      • I will have to leave some other comments/questions on other more relevant articles but I just wanted to say that the trailer for Heima is on YouTube and this gives a good sense of the film. I checked this out before I went to bed and Von (Hope) leaked into my dreams… great result.
        If you don’t know the band I suspect it will still seem familiar as I think they are responsible for every beautiful hairs on the back of the neck raising moment in the soundtrack to the Planet Earth documentaries!

  52. Welcome back!!!
    I checked your blog 3-4 times every week.
    I am so happy that you are back.
    Wish you all the best.
    Hoang Nguyen from Vietnam

    • Thank you so much! How very sweet of you. I hope you will post again in the future, Hoang, and give me the chance to get to know you a little. 🙂

  53. Hi Kafka…long-time reader/lurker, first time commenter. I’m very glad to see you return, and I am even more happy to hear that you rediscovered your love for perfume through vintage juice. I also quite enjoyed this entire post about your other interests and life stuff, especially about The Hairy German. I, myself, am an animal professional, and I pet-sit as a side job. I had one client who had a giant, beautiful, European-bred GSD who made me fall in love with the breed. Sadly, they now live in a different state, but I think of him often and miss him terribly.

    I adore reading your reviews, which have led me to several beloved scents (Rudis comes to mind specifically). That being said, as much as I adore my perfume hobby, life always comes first, so please don’t ever apologize for needing time away. Anyhoo, welcome back, and I look forward to enjoying anything you write in the future.

    • Emily, welcome to the blog, and thank you for your kind words both on this post and past reviews. I’m delighted you came out of lurkerdom, and I hope you will feel comfortable to pop in on occasion again in the future!

      I’m so glad I could help you find a few new fragrance loves but I smiled most of all at reading that you’ve fall in love with the German princes! Yay for GSD love!! Do you have any furry ones of your own (of any type)? 🙂

      • My apartment is currently home to a Ball Python and Red Tailed Boa (mine) and a painfully submissive but very sweet Yorkie (my roommate’s). I still find GSD tumbleweeds from when I sat for Jackson…one of the times I was caring for him was the month when he was blowing out his undercoat. Yikes!

        Work, however, is full of fluffy babies. I work for a traveling animal show (schools, day care, park district, birthdays, libraries, etc.) and we have everything from chinchillas and baby chicks to sloths and anteaters and tarantulas. Animals have always been my first and greatest love.

        • Haha, the GSD tumbleweeds seem to last forever, no matter how much one thinks one has vacuumed or swept them all up. I once took my prior GSD to my then-BF’s apartment just for a short weekend, a mere 36 hours, and, a year later, he told me he continued to find unexpected, stray, random strands of GSD fur popping up mysteriously out of the blue. And he was a clean freak, too, so I honestly don’t know how it happened, but GSDs aren’t nicknamed “German Shedders” for nothing. lol.

          How very cool that you work for a traveling animal show, and that it even includes sloths!! (I was watching just a few days ago a video of two very talkative baby sloths, and they were adorable!) I shall have to look up what Ball Pythons and Red Tailed Boas look like in specific. Snakes can be quite beautiful, even if I personally like to look at them from a health distance. 😉 😀

          • You know, sloths are so trendy and popular these days – mostly due to those exact videos from the sanctuary in Costa Rica, I think – that people have a lot of misconceptions about them. The babies may be talkative and cuddly, but the adults are silent and, uh…NOT cuddly. Now, prairie dogs, on the other hand….I could just snuggle and kiss them all day long.

          • My thing is tigers. I’m simply CRAZY about tigers. After that, baby elephants, pretty much all the big cats, and… well, animals generally, whether it is a meerkat, donkey, squirrel, rabbit, etc. But I pretty much draw the line at anything with too many legs. Palmetto bug cockroaches are one of my greatest phobias!!! I’ve gone diving with sharks without terror, but show me one flying, hissing cockroach and I’ll scream like a hysterical toddler. 😀 😛

  54. My dear Kafka,
    I am so, so happy that you are back. You were dearly missed.
    I’m glad you are doing better, and look forward to hearing more about this future German Sheperd addition to your household. I’m crossing my fingers his Teutonic Overlord’s health keeps improving. How harrowing that must have been for you.
    Unfortunately my baby cat passed last January. I know she’s had a long, happy life (15 years), but I still miss her terribly. I’ve had her since I was a child and grew up with her. She got sick right before I left for the US, which was nerve-wracking enough, and tumors kept showing up in spite of the operations. I got to spent time with her when I came back for the Christmas holidays, and she was as sweet as ever. She spent the whole time glued to my lap. She was the best cat, honestly.
    I’m now back in Paris. I did have a tremendous time in the US, in spite of some hard times. I’ve made some great friends there (one of whom I’m turning into a perfumehead. Eh…). I’ve been feasting upon French cheese these past few weeks though, FINALLY. That’s one food no one should ever cut out, Kafka! 😉
    You’ll be pleased to know that I’ve expanded my collection some really nice addition: Salome, a vintage L’Heure bleue (probably no older than the 1970s?) and Jeke (which I love to bits). I’m slowly making my way through samples as well. I visited Tigerlily in San Francisco and Twisted Lily in NY amongst others. Still no luck on finding a pre-reformulation De Profundis though.
    I’ll be gladly go through your new reviews these next few days. I’m hoping things keep improving for you. I wouldn’t mind reading you write about other things than perfume- I think you vastly underestimate the interest readers have in your writing and your very distinctive voice, regardless of topic. You’re always a pleasure to read.

    • Cherie, tu m’as manques, et c’est si bon de te revoir! Thank you for bringing me up to speed on the developments in your own life. Do you miss Boston? Was the move back difficult?

      I’m so sorry to hear about your furry baby. I’m truly, truly sorry. Tumours means cancer, which is such a difficult thing in pets. (Obviously, in humans, it’s equally terrifying and awful, but pets have fewer and less successful treatment methods.) I’m glad you managed to spend some time with her before she passed, but it must be very painful for you now that you’re back and every day you face the empty space where she should be. I send you the biggest, gentlest hug, cherie.

      As for French cheeses, were you horrified at the FDA-limited, fully pasteurized, practically bland and frequently faux pretense of “French” cheeses that are sold in the US? And, yes, you’re completely right that one should never give up on cheese, not even the US-version of it, but my doctor was telling me off about my cholesterol, among other things. Thankfully, my New Year’s Resolution to eat healthily didn’t last long because life is too short! If you ever come back to the US, perhaps you might consider becoming my cheese smuggler and bringing me over a real Chambertin and Crottin de Chavignol? 😀 😛

      • My dear K,
        Tu m’as beaucoup manqué aussi! Thank you so much for your kind words.
        I’m sort of torn about coming back! I do miss Boston, the exciting opportunities I had there, and the truly wonderful friends I’ve made there. I have some fairly unpleasant things to take care of here in France, but I’m thrilled to be in Paris again and see my loved ones. Plus I have a great internship to keep me busy during the summer. And the FoOooooOoood!

        She’s been tremendously loved my Lizou. You’re spot on with how hard it was coming back to the family home and not see her there. I keep wanting to bury my nose in her fur.
        I might be able to catsit this summer for friends. That might help.

        I will say that trying to eat healthy in the US was a nightmare! Boston is actually decently stocked with European products, but even then, that doesn’t compare with what I can find here.
        I would absolutely try to smuggle you some French cheese. I’d love to add a few suggested cheese of my own for yor own pleasure, even! :p

  55. Dear Kafkaesque, I just discovered you in the last couple of days. Actually I think I’ve clicked on you before but today I plunged in and, after only a day, please don’t stint on the details!!! You’re great! My grandmother in Mississippi had German Shepherds always and each one was named Lady! I’m an unadulterated animal lover although currently my brood happens to be cats – a result of humanely rescuing my accountant’s assistant’s feral litter in West Covina eight years ago. A long story and not that interesting but the upshot is here I am in Venice, CA with three ungrateful, but beloved, cats! I too am a history nut although my obsessions veer towards 19th century Indian massacres and the Romanovs. And Weimar. I’m also a perfume nut which is how I stumbled upon your site. So Kafkaesque is literally my dream blog. So glad I found you!!! I’ll be coming here daily to catch up… Onward! Wishing you and your Teutonic Overlord health and happiness!!! Thank you for being a connoisseur and for sharing your perceptions!!!

    • First, welcome to the blog, Mel, and second, thank you for your very kind words on the blog reviews. Please forgive me for the delay in welcoming you and replying. I had a family member in the ICU for the last 4 days.

      I loved your account of your “three ungrateful, but beloved, cats!” That made me laugh out loud! 😀 😀 And how cool that you have a love for the Romanovs and Weimar. Two friends of mine are Romanov historians, and I helped out in a teensy, tiny way with looking over the galleys of their latest book on Nicholas II’s Coronation. And the Weimar Republic has personally interested me for a long time because my area of specialty was Nazi Germany and the SS, so the interwar period was naturally quite critical to the rise of the Nazis. Quite separately, though, what a complex, vibrant, and interesting cultural scene that was! What part(s) or aspect(s) of Weimar Germany interests you the most?

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