January 2023 Update

Happy end of wretched 2022, everyone! I’ve become too superstitious at this point to claim that 2023 will be better. But I so sincerely hope that it is for you!

For me, personally, it’s actually been awful – starting on Monday, January 2nd, 2023. No, that’s actually inaccurate. Things started to escalate in October 2022, crescendo’d in November 2022, then hit the fan the Thursday before Christmas, and proceeded to take the Express Elevator into Nightmare City until now.

I don’t have the energy to elaborate here.

If you actually are curious about the specifics, I talked about it in two long-form Post.News articles in the last month.

Healthcare, Elder Care, And The Uncaring Cracks:


My last 10 days, if not longer, and my new daily reality — American Elder Care (Nightmare) Chronicles:


It might be more accurate to say I vented in detail, exhaustedly, and also after a glass of Ardbeg scotch after the 2nd post last night about the current state of my shitty nightmare, while the first one was pure incoherent, sleep-deprived frustration, but hey, if you were in my shoes, you’d totally have an Ardbeg after one of my days.

(BTW, Ardbeg tastes and smells exactly like many very green, peaty, smoky, camphorous ouds or vetivers.)

Whether or not you read those posts on Post for specifics, the bottom-line is that I really don’t know if I’m coming or going most days. Prior to figuring out one of my dad’s medications (Marinol prescription, medical THC) issues, I really thought I had maybe 2 or 3 weeks left with my father. Now, maybe, fingers crossed, I have 8 weeks? *knock on wood*

If you’re aware of America’s sadly deficient resources for elder care if one is not hugely independently wealthy, or if you have been in my shoes, you’ll know that I’m not in the proper state of mine to figure out all the different laundry cycles on the endless mountains of elder/medical soiled linens at this point, let alone test fragrances multiple times to write the 2,500 words that is my usual absolute BARE minimum for stuff (usually my Reviews en Bref for things I hate) or my more typical 3,850 minimum for regular stuff.

I’m tired, my friends. So incredibly tired. I’ve got medical bills coming out the gazoo. And I have a mother who has cried for the 3rd time in front of me *in my entire adult life* after the full state of my father’s condition sunk in through the dementia (finally, 10 days ago! Because she was in total denial for the last year!) — and she broke my heart.

She actually sobbed for 45 minutes straight and asked for how she could go first, repeatedly. (That has freaked me out to no end, btw.)

I’m lucky to have a sister to stand by my side.

I also have a brother who deigned to fly from NYC for an entire 3.45 minutes to see his dying father and ill mother for the very last time ever. (And yes, I’m bitter. For someone who professes to adore, love, and want to help his parents, for someone in my country’s culture of elder focus/ elder prioritization, 3.45 hours to… is… *deep sigh* never mind.)

Okay, I seem to have vented or shared a lot more than I had planned.


And please — PLEASE — do not think that I’m asking for sympathy, pity, hugs, or anything else.


This is merely my early 2023 update for the next likely 4 months in terms of blog reviews, blog posts, blog scheduling, etc.

If you want or choose to reply to this, could you do my battered pride and my ever-increasing mortification at having to divulge all this personal things after years of deeply strict personal anonymity a favour by not mentioning anything I’ve said here at all and replying to the specifics of any of this?

If you have a comment, I’d be thrilled to hear about your cats, your dogs (ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE GERMAN SHEPHERDS), any new perfume loves you’ve found, or anything that has been a bit of good news in 2023, even if I doubt I’ll have the time to respond personally and individually.

Please do not take that personally.

But I’ll read every comment, just as I have REPEATEDLY all your kind comments to the old update post when my spirits were flagging over the last 2 months. They cheer me up.

For those interested solely in the reviews and practical stuff, bluntly and impersonally, I think my father has probably 4-5 weeks to go, after which I’ll need at least 6 weeks to recover, if not much longer.

Also, I will have my ailing mother to take care of — and she will no doubt fail soon after.

Do you know,, March 17, 2023 will be their 66th or 67th wedding anniversary?! They met one night at a ball, after 5 hours of conversation she agreed to marry him that very first night (!!), and they got married after ONE week.

66 or 67 years…

I fear she won’t make it without him for long.

It keeps me up at nights.

I’m so tired, my friends. So incredibly tired. So tired. So tired. So tired. So tired. So absolutely wrecked and tired.

In addition, my brain has turned into scrambled eggs; I’ve yanked and wrenched my back in 2 or 3 places trying to lift my father from the floor, sometimes twice a day; my neck has gone weird; and I’m basically a full zombie in automated mode for those hours where I’m not hyperventilating and having a panic attack.

And did I mention that I’m so, so, soooo tired and that my brain has been reduced to moldy cottage cheese??

So I’m sorry, I doubt I’ll be writing anything new about fragrances in the meantime. I’ll see you guys later in the year, ok? Thank you for understanding. (Also, THANK YOU SO MUCH for listening to me vent. It’s how I stay sane.)(Well, moderately sane.)*But, seriously, thank you for bearing with my vent.)

PS– Absolutely no editing, spelling, or grammar care has been taken in the writing this post. I’m tired. I’ve had a glass of Ardbeg. It’s been utter hell for months, if not 4 YEARS. And I truly no longer give a damn about anything, especially typos, grammar, or editing. Sorry.

80 thoughts on “January 2023 Update

  1. Wow, I’m so sorry that your family is going through this! Believe me, I’m of retirement age myself and the whole system is a mess!
    It’s unfortunate that you won’t be posting for awhile because I truly enjoy your posts. But it’s understandable that you have priorities. So best of luck with everything, I hope you get things sorted out with your Mother and I’ll keep an eye out for your future posts. Please take care!

  2. As for dogs – last year I’ve got one more dog besides my cane corso, but it’s not German Shepherd, I’m already too old for big dogs. Now it’s toy poodle and I named him…. guess 3 times… Jicky! In the honor of fragrance Jicky by Guerlain and as well as the name of my new novel “Jicky” which exactly today is being printed in typography – it will appear in bookshops the next week.
    As for fragrances – I’ve ordered sample set from French perfume house Floraiku. They have a very intense marketing campaign in social media now and I’ve never heard about them before. Samples should arrive on January 30 – let’s see. Their perfume names are beautiful, poetic and I am intrigued a lot.
    Last year I briefly discovered such small brands or even projects as “The Zoo” and “Moth and Rabbit” – just sniffing in the shop. Next week I am going to order some samples for my collection to go deeper.

    • Ruksane, my dear, you HAVE to tell me how your Cane Corso (huge, majestic breed) is responding to Jicky! The initial days and also now.

      Further, I want to hear all about Jicky’s first reaction to your mammoth Mastiff-related pup!! (What’s his name, btw?)

      Re fragrances, if you have the time ans inclination, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Floraiku. Also the past small brands that you sniffed. If something REALLY sweeps you off your feet, particularly from the first sniff, I’d love to hear your scent description as to why.

      But no pressure. Really.

  3. Please take care of yourself too. I can somewhat relate to you. I left Canada and went back to my home country because i did not want my parent to be all alone. Now that I am back here, there’s a whole slew of major worries happening within my country and i feel like all of life’s challenges are compounding on each other as i grow older . I hope it gets easier someday? We can all only take it one step at a time. But the good thing is perfume has taken a significant backseat. I no longer follow perfume releases actively and this has helped me to enjoy my existing collection more. I did consider adopting a cat, but i had to scrap the plan to makeway for emergency funds. And it seems alot of cats where i am are contracting a Covid mutation and its fatal so i did not want to take the risk (and avoid heartbreak).

    • Oh, my dear, I’m so sorry to hear that you are partially in my shoes.

      Also, yes, absolutely, to your comment about national, political, or other universal major national issues just compounding your stress ans your worries. A 1000 TIMES, YES!

      Cats where you are are contracting a *fatal* Covid mutation?! @#%!@+&!!@$!!

      I tell you — and please don’t laugh but — 2023 has already beaten the s**t out of me and I’m so over it.

      Back to pets, if cats are getting fatal Covid mutations over there, maybe you should get a German Shepherd??

      😉 ×D

      • I hope every is better now. My heart hurts for you. I hope you are at peace and it continues to stay that way. I just stumbled upon your blog and found myself feeling for you. I hope you have a good day, know that JESUS died for you and loves you so very much! He can shoulder your burdens. LORD knows without Him I would be crushed under the weight of mine.

  4. Hugs.
    On the perfume front I fell in love with a 2005 little 2ml of Fragonard’s Miranda but it has been discontinued and not easy to come by. On researching it, Cleopatra’s Boudoir suggested it was a dupe of Obsession and in other reviews it has reminded them of Chopard’s Casmir. So, I’ve now bought vintage minis of both to see. Casmir arrived yesterday and wow, it really is pretty much exactly the same as Miranda. I’m now excited to see what Obsession is like.
    Take care.

    • Ooooohhhhh, I want to hear all the olfactory details about similarities, the notes that have caught your heart and, if you know at all, what decades/eras of scents your Casimir is.

      But really, I want and need to mentally escape so, if you can, tell me how each of them smell to you on your skin. 🙂

  5. I’m sorry, dear. It sucks. I hope you have enough strength and Ardbeg.

    2022 was the worst year for me in a long time, and I don’t have high hopes for 2023, but we’ll see how it develops.

    My cat Rusty is still relatively healthy and quite happy, which makes me happy. I recently broke my “no-buy” to get the re-issue of Mito, and I’m extremely happy I did.

    Take care of yourself and come crack when you can. Take care, really.

    • Rusty!! Rusty is still around and ruling your roost! I’m incredibly happy to hear that. I have a huge smile on my face.

      Undina, sweetie, you don’t know how much I thought (and continue to think) of you since the Feb. 2022 invasion of Ukraine. I’m sorry beyond words for what your people and country are going through. There are no words. None. So I won’t even try.

      But I send you the gentlest hug with much love and friendship behind it. You, too, my friend, take care, really. xoxo

  6. I know you don’t want sympathy, dear K, but I do empathise as the last few years have been pretty similar for me, even down to battling the system. But the three felines have been a joy and bring us much happiness. There’s nothing like the love of a dear animal child to help soothe one’s cares and, of course, a glass of something warm and numbing. Sending love.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you’ve gone through something similar, my dear Jillie, in recent years.

      Three felines… are these new Overlords, chérie? If so, you must tell me all about each of them, right down to personality quirks.

      • Not so new, they have owned us now for four years.
        Lord M (Macy) – an imperious, fluffy and wise Tiffanie. Phoenie – 5 year-old Somali, naughtiest cat ever and a perpetual kitten. ZoZo (also a Somali), nervous and loving (hates and is hated by the two boys) and happiest when sleeping wrapped around my head. Our Overlords in every sense and the joy in our lives. xxxxxx

  7. My sweet Tommy ( the older, good son), is an amber lover like his father. He especially loves amber and vanilla. Licks it off my arms until I stop him.
    Lucy and Oso are alive and well, as is fat Linus.

    • Lol at how they all get a brief blurb until we get to the infamous Linus. Then the account just ends. XD Hahaha, pretend all you want but we BOTH know that Linus rules the roost and has you wrapped around his tiny, grumpy dew-claw, Ed.

      Next time you see Lucy & Oso, give them a few chest rubs from me.

  8. I recently bought a whole mess of samples from luckyscent. My favorite of the bunch was La Via Del Profumo’s Palermo Don Corleone. I immediately bought a full bottle and then went and found your reviews from 10 years ago. I also ended up buying a bottle of Amber Chocolate and am considering blind buying Amber Rose and/or Tasneem since I can’t find a way to sample it.

    So far as dogs go, my Newfoundland (150 pounds of goofball) knocked my arm and I dropped the sample of Labyrinth of Spices all over the tile floor in the bathroom. I despised that one, so wasn’t too disappointed it hit the deck. But now the bathroom reeks of it no matter how hard I scrub at it.

    • YOU HAVE A NEWFIE???!!!! My all-time 2nd favourite breed ever after German Shepherds! What is your boy/girl’s name? How old? Does he sleep with you and take over the bed?

      I’m sorry to say that absolutely no perfume account could ever live up to Newfie news in my book (why can’t people upload photos to replies??!), but I do want to hear about Labyrinth of Spices and its notes now. Who makes it?

      Re. my beloved ylang Tasneem, have you looked into AbdesSalaam’s “Mignon” mini decant package at a (more) affordable price? 6 minis in a box. Each about 4 or 5 mls.

      Maybe that will work for you and also let you explore more from the line?

      • My newfie’s name is Callie, short for Callisto. Callisto was mistress to Zeus, which annoyed his wife, Hera. So, Hera turned Callisto into a bear and then Zeus stuck her in the Big Dipper, at least according to greek mythology :). If it is dark out, our Callie very much looks like a bear when she is patrolling the back yard.

        Callie is just about to turn 2 and has the mind of a puppy in a 150 pound body. We do not have nice things, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. And, yes, she does sleep with me. She is a total bed hog and thinks it’s funny to lick my face in the middle of the night and watch me jump. I love her so much that I have my name on a waitlist to get her a little newfie sister. I wish I could post a photo (or 20) of her since I am that shameless person who requires very little encouragement to whip out pictures of my fur baby.

        Labyrinth of Spices is from Alghabra Perfumes. Part of the reason I ordered the sample was because I liked the name, honestly. I was also looking to explore spice notes since I fell in love with Ummagumma from Fzotic. That saffron note in Ummagumma was an instant favorite for me. Labyrinth of Spices is supposed to smell like walking down the aisles of a bazaar. I found the description appealing, but I found the perfume overwhelming. It has so many notes that they kind of all blended together for me and I couldn’t tell what exactly I was smelling. I don’t always mind that, but there was just something about this one that put me off. Kind of like they threw everything (including the kitchen sink) in and mixed it all together until one note was indistinguishable from the next.

        I can’t seem to find the Mignon mini set on the website for La Via del Profumo, otherwise I would certainly go for that option. Luckyscent is the only other place I found that carries this brand and they only have a few of them (and not Amber Rose or Tasneem, unfortunately). One thing I really appreciate about the brand, though, is that they offer 15mL sizes. I don’t mind a blind buy for ~60$. If I don’t like it, I can always gift it to someone who appreciates it more.

        • Ok, Callisto is just *perfect* for a Newfie! Go you!

          I loved the “we do nor have nice things.” I need to do a post one day solely on allllllllllllllllllllllllllllll the items of furniture and parts of the house that Apollo ate in his first 16 months.

          IOW, I know exactly what you mean and I wish we could exchange photos of the puppy damage!

          Perfume wise, I totally know what you mean about muddled blurs. Not my thing either!

          Since you found the Mignon set on AbdesSalaam’s site, what additional 4 did you end up going with?

          Back to the REALLY important things, however: tell me about Callisto’s future sister and her breeder? Clearly a good one with the waitlist. I followed Apollo’s breeder for over 12 years and, at one point, just finished a 2 yr stint on the waitlist when I had to opt out because my (then) GSD, Zola, needed serious and constant medical care. It was only 18 months for Apollo, but it felt like an eternity!

          The primary reason I was so intent in Alta-Tollhaus was the dominant focus on health and genetic testing, then in temperament. It mattered more than all the SchH or Kkla performance titles or the rare West German redhead colouring.

          I don’t know the critical criteria for a Newfie or for singling out one Newfie breeder over another. If you have the time, might you elaborate? I’d love to learn.

          • I read your posts about when you first brought Apollo home. I didn’t know about how the ears start down and then go up and then down again as they grow. It’s one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, now that I know to look for it when I meet German shepherd pups out and about.

            I could also totally relate to the land shark phase. Callie would literally gnaw on the corner of our walls. I’d tell her no, of course, but then she would just look at me (with her mouth still around the wall and her tongue just lolling out to the side) like I was nuts for thinking it was her eating the walls. Which, of course, would just make me laugh and she would get away with it.

            I have a soft spot for German shepherds. When one of my boys was little, his daycare had a great big German shepherd. No kids were better protected than her kids were. Although she was also a well known cookie thief :).

            For the mignon set, I ended up going with 6 :). I got Tasneem and Amber Rose which were the original two I was interested in. I also got Tawaf, Tea of the Isles, Cuba Express, and Heart of Naples. I was hesitant about the exchange rate from Euros to USD, since the site didn’t list it before I placed the order. But apparently the dollar is stronger than the Euro now and so I paid less than the Euros listed. I almost went and got another 6 samples, but I stopped myself.

            I’ve been on a list for another newfie for almost a year now. Callie really needs someone her size to play with. The poor thing thinks everyone is her best friend except all the other dogs are scared of her because she is so big.

            When I first got Callie, I really didn’t know one thing from the next. Her breeder did not have a waitlist and there were problems from the start. She wasn’t from a puppy mill as I at least knew to recognize those. But it wasn’t that big a step up from one either. She came home at what the breeder told us was 8 weeks, but likely was only 6 weeks. I found out later, that the standard time to go home is 12 weeks. She was only 10 pounds and I could hold her in one arm. I thought it was cute, but learned very soon that it was way too early to be separated from the mom. Plus, apparently Newfoundlands are known to have heart issues and there is a recommendation that they have an echocardiogram at 10 -12 weeks. When I asked the breeder about that, she told me not to worry about it because there is a heart guarantee and if Callie is found to have a heart problem I can return her. She seriously told me that as though I would ever consider returning her!!

            When she was about 9 months old, Callie developed entropion (tipping of the eyelid in) and a cherry eye. The entropion ended up causing ulceration of the eye. Three surgeries later and there is no more entropion, but the cherry eye kept coming back. The vet assures me that because the entropion was fixed and the ulcer healed that Callie is in no pain or discomfort from the cherry eye. It looks really weird, but she doesn’t know that and I don’t really care. It is inheritable, though, so I tried to tell the breeder. I figured she would at least want to know for future planned litters, but she had zero interest.

            The other main issues with the breed tend to be related to their size. Hip dysplasia is a big one. It supposedly helps to keep their weight down, but they are such good beggars it is hard to keep from tossing them treats. Her being food motivated does help with training. Although she will hold out if she knows I don’t have the good treats. For hot dog bites, she will do anything. If I only have lousy treats from a bag, she won’t do a single thing I want.

            There is standard testing for the breed that isn’t that different from most other breeds. Hips, elbows, knees, eyes are all standard things that should be taken into consideration with regards to planning litters. Some things, like the heart testing, can’t be fully done until they are 12 months old. So, no newf under 1 year old should be used for breeding.

            I would think a good newf breeder is similar to a good GSD breeder or any other breeder. Our current breeder is so much better than Callie’s breeder. She answers pretty much any question I throw at her even though I didn’t buy Callie from her. When I first put the application in, she interviewed me and did a home inspection to make sure that she wasn’t sending one of her pups into a bad situation. I really appreciate that she cares so much about the animals.

            She only has a few planned litters a year, which is why it’s so long on the waitlist. The pups (and the adult dogs) live in her house and are very well socialized. She picks the pups to match the buyer’s situation instead of letting the buyers pick a pup based on cuteness. For Callie, I was sent pictures of four pups and told to pick the one I want. I had no idea how big of a red flag that was!

            Callie is all black, which is the most common color for a newf. Her sister will be either black or brown. I am kind of hoping for brown, but I don’t care that much. I am much more interested in a healthy pup with the right temperament for our family. The breeder does the usual titling thing, but I honestly don’t care too much about that either. I know it’s important for the breeders to show their dogs, but I just want a healthy, happy companion.

            Waiting is the hardest thing. We’ve had a couple of litters that we missed out on (not enough pups born or the pups weren’t healthy). Then we had one cycle where the dog didn’t actually become pregnant. Now, we are supposedly first on the wait list with a dog confirmed to be pregnant. Hopefully, the litter will be born in February. 12 weeks later (which is the standard for good newfie breeders) and we will be able to take her home.

            We have had her name picked out for 6 months now. She will be called Phoenix. I have a thing for mythology. I actually wanted to name one of my human children Phoenix, but I got outvoted on that. So many possible nick names for Phoenix (fifi, nixie, for starters)! I can’t wait!

  9. I am spending a week with my sister at a tiny hot springs resort hotel in Idaho. Happily for us the building is not gentrified and the radiators thump occasionally, a train goes by and blow the horn, and a sleek black house cat may jump up on the game table and bat away one of your mahjong tiles to chase around. Last night we soaked in the pool and snow fell on our heads and we laughed about silly things while steamy vapors swirled around. There is a good Thai restaurant too. I brought a sample of Amouage Honour Woman but it is so cold and dry I don’t notice it much. I hope one day you and your sister can go to the mountain West and soak in a natural hot spring pool. Or do something that is equally fun for the two of you.

    • This sounds like absolute HEAVEN to me:
      “the radiators thump occasionally, a train goes by and blow the horn, and a sleek black house cat may jump up on the game table and bat away one of your mahjong tiles to chase around. Last night we soaked in the pool and snow fell on our heads and we laughed about silly things while steamy vapors swirled around. There is a good Thai restaurant too.”

      I am so happy for you as well.

      But I’m even happier at having the perfect mental (and, thanks to you) very visual place to which I can escape in my head when I close my eyes.

      I shall be thinking of the radiator thumps, the black cat, train sounds, and soft snowfall.

      MossyBerry, thank you for giving me and my hard-to-rest brain the PERFECT mental escape as I close my eyes shortly for a few hours.

      Have a blast the rest of the week with your sister!

        • Mossy Berry, I just wanted you to know that I have mentally spirited myself away to this magical place with train toots, black cats playing Mahjongg, gently tumbling snow, talking radiators, and Thai food close by *several* times when things have gotten overwhelming. Including early this morning when calling 911 for my mother (for a change). In the ER room, I closed my eyes at 2:30 a.m., and escaped to the world that your words created for me.

          Thank you for that mental, escapist gift.

  10. Just sending big hugs and strength. I’ve been there. Perfume will always be here. Hoping you have some comfort scents on hand.

  11. I feel for you… I went through the same experience in 2021. My parents were married for 66 years. Very similar story to yours. A very aggressive lung cancer on top of vascular dementia killed my dad in 3 months. To describe the last month of his life would be like digging a would with a knife. Yes, elder care sucks and not much has been done to improve it

    • I hope and wish deeply that the passage of time since his passing in 2021 has eased some of your pain, but it sounds like his last month was… *sigh*

      My deepest, deepest condolences on not only your loss but your memories of those awful, painful last 3 months of his. Anything I say about them or to you will sound trite. It all just sucks. Bucket loads.

      I’m sorry, Marina. But thank you for sharing despite the painful memories. That was a kindness on your behalf, my dear. Merci. xxo

  12. Good morning, dear K. I cannot imagine how difficult things must be for you. Please hang in there, and take care of yourself too.

    I’m sipping my morning coffee and hanging out with my tabby trio. They are my dearests, I don’t know what I’d do without them. I’m deeply blessed with their love, and lots of fur. The sound of their purring is a great comfort.

    Someday I may have a dog, or two. I think German Shepherds would be perfect. I’d name a female Karma, for obvious reasons. A male I’d name Phoenix, because rising from the ashes has a profound meaning for me, and I like to be reminded of it.

    For perfume, Sacred Scarab by Zoologist was love at first sniff.

  13. So sorry to hear about your woes. My siblings and I went through this 5 and 8 years ago with varying levels of success (if one can call it that) and challenges.

    I hope you can find time for yourself even in the midst of doing the thankless task of elder care. I’m sure your parents appreciate all that you are doing for them.

    As to animals, I’ve acquired a whole slew of owls, squirrels and knitted kittehs! No complaints from them.

  14. Kafka, I have followed you for over a decade. Please, PLEASE take all of the time you need to do the things you need and recover. You are the best on the internet for what you do, and you have already done so much.
    Take a vacation when it is all said and done. Never restart the blog if it is necessary. You have enriched many, many lives and deserve to do whatever you need to find happiness.
    Love you. Please take care of yourself.

  15. Dearest K, no words, just hugs. We understand.

    Our dear old boy is still with us, and is now a distinguished old gentleman of 12! For a 90 kilo / 200 llb mastiff, that’s simply incredible and probably indicative of how much he is spoiled. We adore him. He’s an absolute joy and we’ve been blessed to have him share our lives.

    He’s too old to travel, or get out much, any more which means vacationing at home for the time being. A small price to pay for the abundance of love he gives. We had a horrible scare this week with an urgent surgery for him that had to be done under sedation due to his age. He’s home and recovering, but… it’s been a thing. We have invested in a white noise machine for the bedroom to diffuse his snoring, which is of EPIC proportions!

    Sending love and hugs to you, Apollo and best wishes for better times ahead. Xoxoxo

  16. Hello, my name is Rodrigo, I’m from Brazil and a perfume lover and I’ve always had you as a reference in reviews for the way you write. It’s all very poetic and inspiring!
    I’ve been in this universe for a few years, since 2019, and of all the references to literature about the most beautiful fragrances, I’ve always had him as an inspiration.
    Today I decided to get in touch with you after your testimony, which touched me and that’s why I decided to write for the first time to be able to give you a boost and tell you how much I am a fan of your work.
    I already lost my mother and today I have a father who needs treatment and I know how difficult it is to manage situations like this, but know that everything will be successful and that you have the strength of mind to deal with life’s adversities.
    A hug and feel supported!

  17. My grandfather had many sayings, and my favorite was “sucking the marrow out of the bone of life”, usually in response to a joyous event. I’ve modified it by adding an r to bone, usually in response to an unpleasant event. Feel free to use it at the right time!

  18. Good afternoon, Kafkaesque. I will try to follow your requests in this note. I purchased a number of Amouage perfumes for myself last month, and I really like Ashore and Love Mimosa. I also purchased Memoir, but for the mood I’ve been in lately, it is too strong. I can’t decide if I should buy Bracken or not since the reviews are so divisive and mostly negative. The review that really made me wary was one that said it had a hint of the smell of marijuana, which makes me ill. I can understand that your present pressures make forming opinions and writing them too fatiguing, but I hope scents will still give you some relief during these times. I like Vitruvi’s essential oil diffusers. I also find this off-putting-looking device very helpful in diminishing stress: CFENEYOL Eye Massager. Warm regards to you.

  19. My heart goes out to you. I haven’t commented much before but I have been reading.
    Sending some strength and warm thoughts, which today are tinged with FM Noir Épices, a lesser-worn mini in my small perfume collection. There is nothing noir about it to me but the clove is quite dominant and the fragrance reminds me of the few vintage “feminine” perfumes I’ve tried.

  20. Hello K,

    It’s okay to be tired. I’m tired too, but for other reasons. I applaud the glass of Ardberg ;). Personally, I go for Lagavulin or Laphraoig, and I will never turn down a good glass of red wine. I do not have German Shepherds, but I think I would like to one day. They are beautiful, smart, and just seem like wonderful companions. In the meantime, I have 3 spoiled cats – Rufus, Noodle, and Leppie. One permanently looks like he crawled out of dumpster, one thinks she is a beagle, and the last is so lazy that she refuses to jump and sits in the hall meowing until someone comes to get her. They are all pampered and petted more than any other cats in history. All that said, I love your writing, your voice, and your creativity. I have followed your posts for a long time ;). I love the strength of your convictions. You’re still there, but these are hard times. Energy goes to other places…. I really need to work on this too…. Take care of yourself. I am rooting for you.


  21. One more thing…. Weirdly, I am suddenly and inexplicably into Chanel Coco. I did not see this coming. I usually go for things like Bond-T, Ummagumma, Gothic I. I rescued a sad bottle of Coco that I had once gifted my mom, and it sat for years on my dresser. I sniffed it, spayed it, and liked it. You just never know… 😉


  22. Sorry you are going thru this rough time. Just remember what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. My new favorite scent is the limited Shalimar Tonka. It is absolutely gorgeous.,thank you for sharing you passion with us.

    • Hi K,
      You just reminded me that there was an opened container of cottage cheese my fridge, and scrambled over to check if it was still ok (it was).
      Thank you for being honest you, and us readers are very honoured to be able to provide you with the safe space to be vulnerably you.
      There is this ever growing collection of gin, red wine and whiskey/ whisky in my little apartment whom i share with my partner… Parts of the floor space is beginning to resemble a city skyline with all the differently sized whiskey boxes. Although right now the unopened Lagavulin is sitting quietly behind the Glenlivet… Which sits behind a bottle of Hakutake Anikorono umeshu that just keeps getting replaced every so often. The Japanese liquer has somehow cunningly made its way into our lives for easy drinking, and the bottles are only too cute not to purchase whenever we stroll through the asian grocery stores.
      Take any opportunity to have some downtime for yourself during this period, it will keep the cottage cheese brain ticking. Recommendation: Kao Megrhythm Steam Eye mask.

  23. Just found your blog reading up on vintage perfumes. You’ve provided such a wonderful gift to perfume lovers all over the world. My latest discovery is vintage L’Heure Bleue (1967-1971). I love your writing on it. I love to put some on before I go to sleep. There is nothing like these vintage scents, is there?
    You may be interested to hear that I also acquired some vintage Fol Arome by Guerlain. There is no label on it. The bottle is the Flacon Bouchon Coeur (Heart Shaped Stopper). It is acid etched on the bottom Baccarat/Guerlain with numbered stopper and bottle.
    Fol Arome has been described as the woody or herbal cousin to L’Heure Bleue. Smelling these two side by side is wonderful.
    Wishing you peace and serenity. You write beautifully.
    p.s. My other exciting new find is vintage My Sin. I love its floral raunchiness, my cat is very provoked by it, if you know what I mean. So funny.

  24. I found your blog site in the last month while searching for Ormonde Jayne reviews. I have read your Ormonde Jayne Woman review several times. It is so beautifully written- and I love the Gainsborough comparisons throughout. I have since purchased both Ormonde Jayne Woman and Tolu and I absolutely love both of them. I am not good with recognizing fragrance notes, but the dry down on the Tolu is my favorite.

    We lost our precious miniature schnauzer (named Dobby) a little over a year ago. He was with us 14 years and it has been a huge adjustment. We may eventually get another dog, but we currently spend our time caring for a stray cat- affectionally known as “black cat.” I still call him a stray even though he has been hanging around here for years. Along with black cat, there has been a groundhog living under our storage barn. Our property backs up to a corn field and we watched it strip corn off of the stalks this past summer and feast. Just this week we spied an armadillo sniffing around (I think it is also living under the barn), and yesterday- a skunk! Fortunately it was in the neighbor’s back yard and hopefully it will stay there. No telling what we will find out there today!

    I am sending good thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  25. I hug you.
    I’m a perfume lover from the other side of the world.
    I found you blog searching online about guerlain’s l’heure bleu.
    It’s very hard to be a caregiver, i know and i’m very afraid of the future for my family.
    Hope to read one day others reviews, when your soul will be healed.

  26. Kafka dear, please take care of yourself and don’t worry about us all. Perfume will be here to help you heal when you are ready. Sending tons of hugs and strength. And BTW, you are not missing anything by skipping the latest four Amouage releases…. I miss Christopher and the aesthetic of yore…..

  27. I am very sorry to hear about the struggles that you and your family have had over the past year. I appreciate reading about your parents’ love story and also how your family (mostly) is together and thinking about how to care for each other. As far as fragrance goes, I am new to fragrance but was determined to find the scent that my mother wore when I was young. In the 70s her scent t was Shalimar, and I took a chance and bought a partial bottle on ebay. Wow! As Im learning about fragrance, Im finding myself becoming bolder to try scents. For pets, my 5 year old pug, Archie along with my 10 and 11 year old cats are keeping me crazy. (In a good way).

  28. That picture of your parents is gorgeous! Please take all the time you need.

    I have never had much interaction with German Shepherds (though I love dogs) until my priest got one last year. He is almost a year old, and he is just the sweetest thing. Not to mention extraordinarily handsome. I think he tries to talk. Lol

  29. Dear Kafkaesque – I am so sorry to hear about your situation, i can relate — in my experience, eldercare can be so frustrating and heartbreaking at the same time.

    I just wanted to share with you that your patchouli article has led me back into the world of scent after a long (30 year) hiatus – i’ve just ordered a number of samples from Luckysents, based on the wonderful descriptions you provided .
    I don’t quite know how to say this, but wanted to share that the passion with which you wrote those words lives on, and continues to improve other peoples’ quality of life. Thank you so much for the work you put into this endeavour. I am looking forward to reconnecting with Patch, and welcoming scents a bit back into my life – merci !

  30. I’m a long-time reader and lurker, and am so sorry to hear about the start you’ve had to the year. I’m currently enjoying a new batch of samples, and the one I’m testing today is a banger. It’s Shangri La, by Hiram Green, which I see you reviewed many moons ago. I keep finding myself smelling my arm, just to get another whiff of it, and I definitely see the likeness to Chypre Palatin, which I also like. It’s the first Hiram Green perfume I’ve tried and liked, since Slowdive was far too sweet for me, and sadly Moon Bloom disappeared in seconds, as tuberose fragrances tend to do on my skin.

    I’m also saving a sample of Papillon Perfumes’ Hera to try, which I have very high hopes for. I’m almost hesitant to test it, because I love the sound of the notes so much, and I don’t want to be disappointed. On the other hand, I’ve liked most of the Papillons I’ve tried (with the exceptions of Tobacco Rose and Angelique), even the ones that don’t end up being perfect for me. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll discover another Dryad.

  31. Dear K,

    In the spirit of your post I’ll just say I’m so very sorry. I wish you peace and comfort in tough times. On the fragrance front: For me I’ve been exploring and loving some “powerhouse” masculines from the 70’s – 90’s. Of course I love my Antaeus and Giorgio for Men and Egoiste. But I’ve also been veering towards 80’s Wall Street with Zito and Lauder for Men. All things you would run from like the plague, but I must say I’ve really enjoyed them – particularly that Lauder. The lady at Macy’s tried to encourage Knowing for Men or some other irrelevancy. And I said firmly, no, I want Lauder for Men. She smiled and said: “it’s actually an old favorite of mine, but we have been told to encourage these others.” (As an aside I LOVE an old school sales associate. They’re always kind of wrong about everything, but in such an endearing way). She goes into some Macys crypt and brings out their last bottle which looked like it had been excacated Tutankhamun style. One funny story: I had a crummy New Years Year, and so I decided to douse myself – like literally half a bottle – in my beloved Poison. I was the living embodiment of Luca Turin’s review: I walked around like a nuclear warhead and dared ANYONE to comment 🙂

  32. Stay strong! No wonder Dementia is the most dreaded elder’s disease, either to have it oneself or to care for loved ones suffering from it.

    There are times in life when I’ve almost wished I wasn’t here, things were so awful. Nowadays, in my mid 50s, I just hope and pray I’ll live as long as possible with good health, so I can enjoy the happiest time of my life. It is the happiest time of my my entire life ( including my often miserable childhood) and I find it hard to believe all these good things have come to me, and are here to stay!

    I know you don’t want sympathy or comments on the particulars of what you’re dealing with, so I hope that my saying – you will love and enjoy life again – all the more! is helpful.

  33. Take care, Kafka. What you’re going through is incredibly difficult, and it’s impossible for someone who hasn’t walked in your shoes to even begin to imagine the exhaustion and the anxiety that are compounding the grief you feel.

    A good dog makes even the hardest things better, and I hope you’re able to find some comfort in time with furry friends. We have a very loving Golden Retriever–it’s fair to acknowledge that she’s as dumb as soup (although her food-related vocabulary is pretty good), but she’s affectionate and sweet, and she’s a bright ray of light when life is hard. Our Dulcie is 11 now, taking daily heart medications, kidney pills, allergy meds, and more, but she’s endlessly happy, and she loves the world and everybody in it, so please imagine that joyous canine support is making its way to you from our home in New Mexico. Jonna

  34. It seems the last 3 years have been very difficult for most of us (us=human race). So far it isn’t getting better, with the horrendous devastation in Syria and Turkey this week. I always try to look for the helpers, and the rescue dogs and their handlers are so very brave, as ofcourse are all those who help.
    Imho you’re a helper for your parents, and I hope that once the exhaustion is less, knowing this will give you some peace and strength. My GS Aylah is still doing well, in spite of furunculosis (she let’s me clean it and apply honey ointment on it twice a day which helps a lot to keep it in check) and turning 10 this month. I hope your GS boy is being as good a boy as his nature allows.

  35. Hi Kafka,
    I follow instructions well, so….
    1. I do not have a German shepherd but I grew up with family friends who had one and he was always so patient over my fawning. I had a friend with a German shepherd whom he would bring to work and leave in the car, with the window cracked until he was ready to go home. I thought this was rather barbaric till I met the dog and years later when I read a blog post of your re GS as a breed and you described them as Velcro dogs – it all came together. The dog was very sweet and happy when I met him after a brunch ( in the car, the dog not the brunch). Also I live in a very temperate climate, or used to, before global warming. I currently have a Shiba Inu, she is less dog and more cat. Also very bullied by my actual cat, who liked to swipe at her out of pure venom and to keep her in her place. The cat loves me and I him so it is what it is.

    2. Have you smelled Roberto Greco’s Porter Sa Peau? It’s a delicately dirty greenish musk, beautifully balanced and I bought a bottle after one sniff. Also Les Abstraits Belle Ame – a slightly gourmandish iris musk with a cocoa note that feels like a continuation of Antoine Lie’s riff on cocoa use, starting with Eris’ Mxxx. I’ve never been a musk person but for whatever reason, I’ve really been into the category lately.

  36. I just got back from ukraine. My son is still there. Life sometimes is mean. It’s hard but that’s how we handle ourselves in the face of adversity. I’m sure you’re doing fantastic in your own way. We all do even when we think we’re failing. Just tell yourself we live in a giant quantum dream/nightmare. Let’s reboot the computer!

  37. Everyone is dealing with something, many of us multiple somethings, but you definitely win the pity party award. So so tired but posting attention/sympathy seeking long diatribes across multiple platforms.

  38. I haven’t forgotten you or your parents. I understand your tiredness and I hope that you will have some reprieves here and there. Bless you and your sister for working together to help your parents. Your brother, eh, it sounds like he’s in his own world where he can take care of himself.

    I don’t know if I introduced you to our current dog. She is Princesa, a Husky and GSD mix, as best as anyone can tell. Precious passed away suddenly, without warning, at her favorite park for walks. Princesa is also a good girl but in her own way. I’d like to attach her photo but I don’t see the option on this form.

    I send you much affection and empathy as I’ve been in a similar situation myself; one difference is that only one parent was involved, but not so different is how my only sibling behaved much like your brother.

    Lots of love and concern to you and your dear parents.

  39. Hi Kafka, My wife is going through much the same thing over here in Dallas. We moved here in November and her mother (87) passed away the week before Thanksgiving. Nobody expected it, but rather all expected her father (91) to pass first. He had been in long term care for some months as a result of pneumonia and UTI infections. We moved down here fully expecting to be supporting her mother in her last years without her husband of 65 years, but her mother passed first, followed by her father 2 months later. They had a sweet marriage and they were able to spend their last weeks together in the same room in long term care. 3 months in, and its all still very fresh. I’m just supporting my Allison as she processes her new reality. Take the time you need. We’ll all be here when you get back. BTW, wearing HERA today. Reminds me a little of Haute Luxe

  40. I hope you are in a peaceful place. You’ve been in my thoughts lately.

    Perfume? I am suddenly nostalgic for the scents of my youth. I will make you laugh or shudder with the following list. Tatiana by Diane von Furstenburg, still love it but almost impossible to find. Love’s Fresh Lemon, long gone but I was a teen in the 70s and still love a good citrus burst.

    The other day, at work, there was a sensory blast from the past. Nurses my age (and we are few and far between) suddenly started sniffing the air, the youngsters looked appalled. You guessed it? No? Brut by Faberge! The stench of youth back in the 70s and 80s. The Axe of that generation. But the man wearing it still enjoyed it, so who are we to judge, barring the stench?

    We have become small dog people. After our son’s marriage ended, we wound up taking in his departed wife’s dog. Well, it’s canine. 5 Kilos of blonde attitude, wrongly labelled a Pomeranian, she’s a miniature Spitz. She lived with Lad for the last year of his life and did learn some good habits from him. She’s not yappy as so many small dogs are. She had cancer in January and had to have a toe amputated. She has the husband wrapped around her paw. I am tolerated.

    I hope this finds you well, your last few years haven’t been easy but you are strong. And loved by many.

  41. Oh, I’m a long time lurker who fell out of the perfume habit, and now probably due to some anxiety am hopping back in and hoping to use up some of these bottles (although the real risk is that I’ll just chase some new thing down because I’ll *have* to sniff it.) I’ve always loved going back and rereading your old reviews when I am lucky enough to be wearing something you talked about before, especially if you liked it! Not so for the ones you didn’t enjoy. I wish you a lot of peace right now.

    We’re on the verge of having our 17 year old nephew graduate (we have guardianship) and it feels downright miraculous after a few or many tumultuous years. Then we’re taking the littles and the teen to the all inclusive Nickelodeon resort in Mexico, which frankly sounds like a nightmare, but I won’t be working, the pool will be right outside so I can theoretically sit there with a book while the kids are asleep and that does sound lovely. On top of hectic end of the school year, and work, we’ve been dealing with some health stuff and it feels like we’ll be able to come up for a breath – even if only for a little while.

    Thinking of you, and thank you, truly. Your writing has been a gift.

  42. I’ve returned to your blog again and again for old or new reviews – also a ‘long time lurker’.
    We don’t have dogs, just a cat learning to jump the fence, go visit the (stray) cats, and coming back all content. We call her The Cat or Sasha. She’s Sasha as my daughter had issues pronouncing ‘sh’ and it helped her practice the sound. Sasha was rescued from a constructions site, but I have reasons to believe she was very well on her own. Although she does not disagree with living in a house now! She’s pretty sociable, as much as cats can, so we like having her.
    As for perfumes.. I found sampling new perfumes keeps me sane. I don’t have a very trained nose, and I don’t sense half of the notes in a perfume, but what I do smell gives me joy – or not! looking at you, portrait of a lady!. I have many many samples of perfumes that I take out to test once in a while; and sometimes I do a blind buy when I need the endorphins. Great finds this year? New to me (not to the rest of the world, though) – a vintage Rochas Femme, so soft and warm!; some samples of L’air du Desert Marocain and Incence Rose; Iris Torrefie which to me is mainly bergamot and then some iris (great, as just iris would have been difficult to stand).
    My grandmother had dementia, and my mother and I ended up tending for her. I was 13 I think. She died that summer. My mother died from cancer 6 years later. Dementia was terrible, and so was my mother’s cancer. I still miss my mother dearly, and it’s been over 20 years since. Some things are just incredibly hard. Sending you lots of love (and sending love to 19 year old me as well).

  43. Wearing a ’90’s? ’00’s? version of Fracas today. I’ll re-read you Fracas post at some point this weekend. I get something very different from your reaction with my edp, but I do have a mini of the parfum as seen in one of your pictures, and that strikes me more like your take. Pet-wise, our tabby cat has taken to doing Ninja-like wall-walks, leaping up, twisting sideways and kick-propelling himself down the hall to entice the sluggish humans on a chase. We try. Thinking of you; hope you and your siblings are finding the way forward through your situation.

  44. Kafka, haven’t heard from you for months! I miss your writing so much, and the discussions we had, and I sincerely wish you all the best, health and success. Whenever, I’m here waiting for your return and renewed enthusiasm.

  45. Hi Kafka, I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve not visited your blog for a long time. I hope you’re well. I don’t gave a GSD, but I do have a lovely old last dog. We adopted her last year. She came house-trained and very polite. She talks to us and mutters quietly a lot when she needs something from us. She’s rather cat-like – aloof, transactional, mysterious. We adore her! She gets acupuncture, arthritis meds, great food and lots of short walks. She naps on her various dog beds and patiently lets us put on her rain coat or barn jacket when needed. We don’t know how long we will have with her, but we are grateful for her. Wishing you the best. Take care.

  46. What a difficult year, indeed. It breaks my heart to read about everything you’re going through. I appreciate you sharing this, although I can’t imagine how trying it must be. I sincerely hope that things improve for you and your family. As for responding to this post, of course I will respect your request not to mention details and move on to lighter topics.
    Instead, let’s talk about things that can bring a little lightness. Do you have any pets, maybe cats or dogs? And on the perfume side, have you discovered something new recently that you liked? I’m here to change the subject and give you a break from whatever you’re going through. fabien cbdtech

  47. I feel for you, and I’m truly grateful for your openness in sharing your difficult journey. It’s clear that this period has been incredibly challenging, starting from October 2022 and only growing more difficult as time passed. Your words convey the emotional strain and immense weight you’ve been carrying.

    Caring for your ailing father and managing the accompanying emotional turmoil has undoubtedly taken a toll on your energy and emotional well-being. The complexities of dealing with healthcare issues alongside family dynamics can feel overwhelming. Your resilience in navigating these hardships, amidst personal struggles and emotional family dynamics, is truly admirable.

    The challenges in elder care and their emotional impact on your family are heart-wrenching. Your mother’s emotional response reflects the depth of her love and concern for your father, emphasizing the toll this situation has taken on your entire family.

    Your willingness to share these personal struggles is commendable. Your strength during such trying times serves as an inspiration. The way you’ve tried to maintain normalcy amidst such difficulty deserves immense respect and admiration.

    I understand that the coming months will continue to pose challenges. I hope you can find comfort in the love and support of your family and friends. Your dedication and love for your family shine through your words. I sincerely wish you the strength and resilience to overcome the hurdles ahead.

    Take all the time you need for yourself and your family. Your well-being is paramount. Whenever you’re ready, we’ll be here. Thank you for opening up and sharing your experiences so candidly.

    Wishing you warmth, strength, and heartfelt support during this trying time.

  48. Hello, I am new to commenting on this blog but have been a reader for quite some time. I don’t know anyone else who composes such eloquent writing on perfume. I was just curious, if you have tried Pikovaya Dama from Xerjoff? I would be very interested to hear your opinion on it. Personally, I find it quite “hedonistic”, to borrow a phrase of yours.

  49. By the way, only because you mentioned it, I have an 11 month old pure bred german shepherd who has been the best thing to ever come into my life. He gets compliments everywhere I take him, especially when we’re in the convertible and he’s wearing his rex spex doggles 🙂

  50. Just discovered your blog. I cared for my Mom all alone, so I get it. As for dogs, I live with an elderly Mastiff (who aspires to be a lap dog… the body dysmorphia is real). He works the sad eyes for all they’re worth, believe me. Sending you all kinds of good wishes. Hope that the admiration of a total stranger brings a smile.

  51. Sending you thoughts from my dog Peanut, a fluffy cockapoo who smells great except when she rolls in wild turkey shit, naps all morning then eats ice cube trays & barks during important phone calls. I imagine you’ve stepped away from the blog. Wishing you peace & rest.

  52. As someone new to perfume, this blog has been delightful (and will continue to be — there’s a lot to discover!). I’ve learned more here than anywhere, and that includes the Turin and Sanchez books, and other great resources. From my perch, I hope you return to it. When I come across a new fragrance, I often wonder, “What would Kafkaesque think of this?” More importantly, I hope that the tides of life are being more kind to your family and you. Fragrance is one way to see beauty, and you’ve helped many with that. I sincerely hope that your life has regained some beauty now and going forward.

  53. It feels like entering a party too late, but I thought I had to mention that I’ve been enjoying your observations considerably. A splendid blog.

    I can sympathise, as the past four or so years post covid have been quite tooth-pullingly shitty for me too. Your blog has been an essential distraction from a very hard to look at world.

    All the very best and when you feel up to it, I’ll be looking out for your return. In the mean-time I hope you’re keeping as on form as you can and managing to sniff out some enjoyment occasionally.


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