A little about me in general. I was raised mostly in Europe, educated partially in the United States, stopped counting all the places I lived in when I was 19 and hit over 21 different cities, and now reside in America. My life has been both Sisyphean and Kafkaesque, hence the blog name. I’m a former corporate litigator and lawyer who no longer practices (I hated the law!), a gourmet gourmand, a dog fanatic (especially if they are German shepherds), a history lover, a television junkie, a perfume addict, and a perfectionist who is passionately opinionated about most things. I’m never perfect, but I always try my best.
I was owned by the late “Hairy German,” also known as “My Teutonic Overlord,” Zola, Émile Zola, or Zoli Zol whom I reference often on the blog as I was his most devoted slave, but service has now passed to Apollo, another redheaded, West-German-lined, Schutzhund-bred German Shepherd, and a kitten called Athena.
As a side note, the name of the blog is Kafkaesque and not “Kafkaesque Blog” or the old “A Kafkaesque Life.” Given the huge popularity of the term Kafkaesque and the abundance of Kafka fans on the internet as a whole, there weren’t a lot of options left when it came to choosing domain names. But the url address is not the blog name. I would be most grateful if you referred to both the blog (and also to me personally) simply as Kafkaesque. 🙂
Contacting Me: You can reach me at AKafkaesqueLife@gmail.com or on Twitter.
Please note, I do not allow guest posts, sponsored posts, or marketing links, so if that’s why you’re writing to me, save yourself some time and don’t.
Also, please be aware that my time is not my own these days for family reasons, so I’m unable to provide you with a detailed perfume wardrobe profile of your own or to go over the valuations of your Shalimar bottle or overall perfume collection. I am, however, available for paid hourly consultancy.
Perfume Review Policy & Disclosure Notice: At this time, I pay for most of my perfume samples myself. Like any sane person, I think it’s fun to receive new things to try out. However, my first obligation is to my readers, and I promise to always give my blunt, unadulterated opinion.
Sometimes, a company sends something for review, but my standard reviewing policy is that there is no guarantee of a good review, a bad review, or even a review at all. When I do end up reviewing one of those fragrances, I always include a disclosure in the post that the sample was sent by the company. I am never paid for a review and I never will be.
Furthermore, in several of the instances where I have been sent fragrances, the reviews have been far from positive. If you’re a company reading this, please be aware that I won’t give a glowing review simply because of a free sample, and that I’m a firm believer in the value of a negative review when it is warranted in my opinion. My first obligation is to be honest to those who read me for my opinion, and I write for the consumer, not the company.
My Taste in Perfume. I love spicy orientals, big white florals, chypres, ambers, attars, ouds, floral leathers, patchoulis, vintage cologne, and a number of other genres of fragrance. However, I am not a fan of “fresh, clean” scents that remind me of detergent or cleaning products. I prefer not to pay a fortune for a Pledge or Tide experience, and I can be quite indignant when perfume houses charge exorbitant prices for such fragrances. I also dislike sugar bombs, fruitchouli, and most fruit cocktail scents (though there have been a few, very rare exceptions).
In addition, I have a sensitivity to aromachemicals when used in high quantities in a scent that rises to the level of physical impairment in some instances. As a result, I am not a fan of fragrances that contain a lot of ISO E Super, Amber Xtreme, Norlimbanol, Ambroxan, or similar power aromachemicals.
Lastly, I have a huge problem with the reformulation and gutting of perfume scents, pursuant to IFRA-related EU regulations which limit the percentage or amount of key essential oils and ingredients or ban them outright. So, from time to time, you’ll read about IFRA/EU issues. (Probably more than you ever wanted to.) I’ll try not to have too many rants about it.
All the views in this blog are my utterly subjective opinion. In fact, perfume is — by its nature — a wholly subjective, personal experience that is dependent on an individual’s body chemistry. As a result, the outcomes can vary wildly. I can only give you the objective facts of what is listed in the fragrance notes, and then my own personal experience with it. If you’re looking for purely factual reviews, you won’t find them here. I have passionate opinions about everything; and, yes, sometimes I can be extremely harsh.
However, even when I hate something, you may want to try it out for yourself. In fact, I urge you always to try out a scent whose notes appeal to you. It may be very different on you than it is on me or others, especially as individual skin chemistry can make a huge difference. Perfume is meant to be a fun celebration, a mystery in every vial that can transport you to exotic lands and turn you into someone else, a potential party in every sniff, a transformative experience.
Some of my favorite fragrances are (or have been, in the case of discontinued scents): a good chunk of the Areej le Doré/Russian Adam catalog; Agar Aura’s Layali and some other of his oud-based compositions; several Ensar Oud compositions; almost every vintage Guerlain in parfum concentration, as old as possible, but especially 1930s to 1960s vintage Shalimar parfum; YSL’s vintage Opium; Roja Dove’s Roja Haute Luxe and original Nuwa; Puredistance’s original M; Papillon’s Salome, Bengale Rouge, and Anubis; Bogue’s MAAI; SHL 777’s O Hira extrait and Black Gemstone; MDCI’s Chypre Palatin; original (now vintage) formulations of Serge Lutens’ Fourreau Noir, Fille en Aiguilles, De Profundis, and Chergui; MPG’s Ambre Precieux and Ambre Mythique; Hiram Green’s Moon Bloom; Oriza L. Legrand’s Chypre Mousse, Horizon, and Empire des Indes; Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour Le Soir; Chanel’s now-vintage Coromandel EDT; YSL’s vintage Champagne/Yvresse; Robert Piguet’s vintage Fracas; Rochas’ vintage Femme, both pre and post the 1989 formula changes; Hermès’ vintage Le Parfum d’Hermes and vintage 24 Faubourg; and Rania J.’s Ambre Loup.
Honorable mention should go to: Serge Luten’s Cuir Mauresque; Amouage’s Jubilation XXV; vintage Bel Ami from Hermès; Chanel’s vintage Coco; Cartier’s vintage Le Baiser du Dragon; Parfumerie Generale’s Coze; and numerous other fragraces that I’ve undoubtedly overlooked or forgotten. (By the way, for several of those listed above, I’m referring solely to the vintage version. Reformulations tends to drive me a little insane.)
For men’s colognes or aftershaves, I adore vintage version of the following: Habit Rouge, Antaeus, Kouros, Egoiste, Monsieur de Givenchy, and Karl Lagerfeld’s vintage Lagerfeld for Men (now renamed and reformulated into the terrible Karl Lagerfeld Classic). Honourable mentions: Dior’s (vintage) Fahrenheit, (vintage) Eau Sauvage, Chanel’s Pour Monsieur, Xeryus, and others that I’ve forgotten. This list is shorter because I don’t really classify fragrances by gender. For me, almost all scents are unisex; it all depends on an individual’s personal tastes and note preferences.
Commenting on the blog: I firmly believe that there is no “right or wrong,” no correct or incorrect, and no absolute truth when it comes to fragrances. Everything is subjective and personal. So, there is also no right or wrong in terms of perfume perspectives, and I love it when people share their thoughts on fragrances, even if they have a different opinion on a scent than I do. However, I will not abide any comment that attacks me or readers of my blog with profane language, personal attacks, or personal insults. Such comments will not be approved, or will be deleted. In short, please play nicely and politely.
Well, that’s enough about me. Thank you for stopping by, and let’s smell some perfume!