About Me & Contact Information

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.

Some of my Teutonic Overlords with my current boss, Apollo, at the far right.

Athena and Apollo. Photos: my own.

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!

213 thoughts on “About Me & Contact Information

    • If you have a WordPress account, then you just click “Follow Me” at the very top, left of the page. I think you must have one judging by your Avatar but some people find it easier to subscribe by email. Whatever you choose, Welcome Aboard! I’m so glad to have you join us all. 🙂

      • This reminds me of a blog I used to follow called “Olenska”- very literary and wonderful descriptions. It isn’t you, is it?

        • No, that’s not me, and I’ve never written for a site called Olenska, but thank you for the kind words. 🙂

    • Used to wear French Perfume but allergy stopped that. Found Dune is OK so I am looking for more that I can handle, its so exciting

        • Hi, Im new to this blog but not to the world of natural perfumes. I also have serious allergies to chemicals and had to go all natural. my husband and I started our own attar business in 2009 and we have been operating online since then. We just opened our first real shop in Norwich Connecticut. I have a line of sixteen natural perfumes called BEN Perfumes, my company is Broken Earth Naturals. I hope you find what you are looking for. Try samples first to be sure

    • I am leaving this note here aiming for subscription. I appreciate this blog and the objective oppinions. Last but not least, appreciate the “about me section”. Thank you!

      • Hi there. Thank you for your kind comments on the blog. If you’re looking to subscribe, there is a box at the top right hand side of the Home page where you can subscribe by email. You just have to check your Spam folder for the confirmation email afterwards. I hope that answers your question. Have a good day. 🙂

  1. I have a new wordpress account and my regular blog. I am in the process of changing to wordpress. I will look about to see how to subscribe by email! Thank you for such a welcoming and prompt response! jean

    • It’s nothing. We are all one big, welcoming group here. Seriously, I think perfume should be about fun! Let me know when you transfer over so that I can follow you too, but on whichever site you’ll be posting on. 🙂

    • Heh, no worries. My fingers have a mind of their own lately. But, if it makes you feel better, I’ll happily fix it for you. I’m a little OCD, so I know what it’s like to have something like that nag at you! 😀

  2. Ha! I am a writer. I am typing in the dark without my glasses right now. It is my way of being a wild nerd I suppose…the way other people like ice climbing and so on. This is just me, being me. I would love you to change them but please do not go to any trouble. Thanks! jean

  3. What an incredible blog but more importantly I greatly appreciate all of your research and cited sources! I love how thorough you are in your reviews and that you provide me links to all of your sources for additional reading. I’ve read numerous perfume blogs and I have to say that yours is among the best! Thanks for the smile : ) Marlen @ http://theperfumecritic.com

    • Welcome, Marlen, and thank you for your extremely kind words on the blog. I’m so glad you like all the links and other sources; it’s something I do intentionally because I want people to have a variety of different opinions and sources all at their fingertips in one place. Of course, it makes my reviews about 3 times as long as normal blogs — and some people hate lengthy reviews — so it’s lovely to hear from someone who appreciates it. 🙂 Thank you again for stopping by and I hope to see more of you.

  4. I have a bottle of Robert Piguets BANDIT Eau De Toilette. It is a clear bottle, and the top is black. I have saved it for 44 years now, and there is about 1/3 in the bottle. I promise you that the scent is heavy !!!
    I got it when i was 25 year, but when I was 15 years old, I was working as a “young girl” in a house in one year, and the woman in the family used this perfume. I loved its spicey smell, and decided that I would have my own bottle, when i grow older.
    The bottle content 4 fl.ozs from the start. there also is written 80* ( it should be a degrees sign). Made in France. Réf. 2022. Do you think that it could be of some value ?
    Kindest regards

    • Hi Melita, welcome to the blog! I’m not an expert on dating bottles of Bandit or on the various packaging, but if your bottle is as old as you say it is, it would be worth a small fortune on places like eBay. 1/3 of 4 fl oz is still a lot and for it to be 44 years old? Wow, wow, WOW!!! As for the 80, I believe that refers to the alcohol/water content, which means it’s very strong from the start with 20% of it being fragrance oils. I hope that’s helped a little. 🙂

  5. I read your review of BANDIT, and thats the reason I wrote to you.
    It was extremely exiting to read the hole story about Robert Piguet and Co.
    You must forgive my writing-blunders. I am an old Danish woman, and dont speak english as well as I would like ;0))
    Thank you again.

    • Please, your English is absolutely perfect, and there is nothing to apologise for in the least! It was lovely to hear from you, and I’m so glad you wrote to me!! 🙂 By the way, I love your country and Copenhagen has quite stolen my heart. 🙂

  6. I apologise if the answer to this question is incredibly obvious and I have missed it! But what is your favorite Sandalwood-esque or Sandalwood-note perfume?
    Thank you, Sarah 🙂

    • Hi Sarah, thank you for asking. It’s not an obvious question at all, so no worries! 🙂 I’m afraid I don’t have a favorite sandalwood fragrance out of anything current and on the market. In fact, I’m on a perpetual hunt for the perfect Sandalwood! All my old favorites with the note are discontinued vintage things because, in the old days, back in the 70s or 80s, real Mysore sandalwood was plentiful and used in massive quantities in perfumery. Nowadays, it’s a whole different story, and I simply can’t find one I like that is purely or hardcore sandalwood in focus.

      That said, Neela Vermeire’s original trio of fragrances (Trayee, Mohur and Bombay Bling) use a LOT of real sandalwood, which is one reason why I like them so much. Trayee is my favorite and has a strong sandalwood note, but it also has a lot (LOT!) of other stuff going on, so it’s not really a pure sandalwood fragrance. Chanel’s Bois des Iles doesn’t use real Mysore sandalwood but they’ve managed to make it smell as though they have, so that’s another one that I think is really lovely. Again, it’s not a sandalwood soliflore — a fragrance that is really just one note — but it’s Chanel’s homage to sandalwood and the drydown is wonderful. I don’t know your perfume tastes, but I’d definitely recommend giving Bois des Iles a sniff. The opening is a bit tough for some people because of how green it is, but it’s only a short 15 minute period, and then you get the beautiful note. I hope that helps! Thank you again, Sarah, for stopping by. Let me know if you try any of them and what you may think. 🙂

  7. It is such a delight to read your blog and bit about yourself. I have been a fume junkie for as long as I can remember (mainly blame my mum). Collecting fragrances and empty bottles has become a part of me. Im so glad I have found your blog which speaks to me and my addiction. I love strong intense perfumes because lighter ones just disappear in my body chemistry. In saying so, I have a question for you….have you tried pure 100% perfume oils which originate from Middle East? They are strong, last forever on my skin and when I step in shower the amalgamation of hot water and perfume on skin develops in this mesmerizing steam in shower which transcends me to another world (dont want to sound creepy, but give it a try).

    • Hi, Hidden Harmony World, thank you for stopping by. I’m sorry for the very late reply, but I was away on holiday for quite a while and only recently returned.

      We seem to have quite the same tastes in perfumes! 🙂 As for your question, yes, I’ve tried the Middle Eastern pure perfume oils, and they’re often very lovely. Very rich, potent, and opulent. I only wish they were easier to find over here, or cheaper.

  8. Hello there,
    It’s me again, the blog-uneducated reader… I attempted to register for the Loriza drawing, wrote out this long comment, and then was unable to “post” my entry there. I ended up having to go back to your blog’s “comment” section, and Im afraid I replied to one of YOUR replies. I’m confused, and afraid my entry won’t get entered!! BTW, I just ordered the sample set of the House’s fumes. :). I’m verging on some serious obsession here, worse than my USUAL obsession- I truly fear for my skinny wallet!!! (I also fear my husband discovering my new habit!)
    Hopefully I’ll get the hang of this blog technique and etiquette soon!

    • No worries, dear Lexi. Your comment went through in the Oriza thread, and that is all that matters. It all shows up for me in the same comments section in the Administrative panel, so I didn’t miss you. And I have you down on the Oriza giveaway/entry list at #72. So, don’t worry about blog technique and technicalities. You just worry about your husband discovering your new addiction. *grin* (That made me laugh!) 🙂 xoxox

      • Thank you so much, Kafka!! You are truly so kind and sweet to all of your readers! I so appreciate your taking the time to respond, and I am SO excited to be in the running for the Oriza giveaway- GOOOO, #72!!!!! Something my husband could actually know about if I should happen to win!! ;).
        Well, I’m off to begin my nightly search through your archives for my next new wish list item!!
        Thanks again!! :). xoxox

        • Heh, I screwed up the numbering on my paper pad by accidentally skipping a number, and only just noticed now when inputting everything into a document. So it turns out that you’re #71, not #72. Go #71! 😉

  9. Kafka, I also was owned by German Shepards for many years. I now have a Great Pyrenees , a West Highland White Terrier, a mini-Dachshund, and a Shitzu mix (aka “mop dog”). Hello to the Hairy German from the above fans. I am an ardent dog lover as well as a lover of perfume.
    Your input on ambers and orientals was insightful and most helpful. May I ask for your take on incense, frankincense, and myrrh fragrances? ‘Tis the season, after all. I love Avignon, La Myrrhe, Myrrhe Orientale, and Passages d’Enfer. The first and last I have as full bottles. I’ve sampled Cardinal, which was beautiful, but the longevity on me left much to be desired. Any thoughts or suggestions?

    • Awww, you have a whole range of furry overlords, Ellen! I love Great Pyrenees, but I can’t imagine how much shedding you must have to deal with! It’s bad enough with my boy, but yours…!!!

      With regard to myrrh and the scents you mention, I’m afraid I’m not a huge myrrh/olibanum lover when it’s a very cold, white, High Church fragrance like many that you mentioned. I also struggle a lot with the soapy aspects to olibanum. And I’m afraid I wasn’t keen on Cardinal. You may have more luck though with Jovoy’s Liturgie des Heures, though I personally wasn’t fond of it. And Oriza has 2 myrrh fragrances, one of which is Reve d’Ossian.

      With regard to frankincense, the more black kind I like, you have it in Dior’s Mitzah & Chanel’s Coromandel, two favorites of mine. But hardcore incense/frankincense would be Amouage’s Tribute attar (with rose), Tom Ford’s Sahara Noir (with labdanum), Serge Lutens’ Fille en Aiguilles (with plum and pine), Profumum’s Arso (with leather and pine), and Olivier Durbano’s Black Tourmaline. Those are just a few off the top of my head. I know there are more as I cover quite a few fragrances with incense. If I can think of others, I’ll add to this post. 🙂

  10. i shall research those I don’t have. Love Mitzah and Coromandel. They are wonderful. And as before, thank you for responding so quickly and thoroughly. As to the shedding, well, it is what it is. Needless to say, he’s brushed a lot.

  11. congratulations for your blog i really appreciate this wonderful discover on the web hugs from italy

  12. Good Morning
    I’m Sandy From Parfumerie le Soleil d’ Or in France: http://www.parfumeriedusoleildor.net/
    I just want to thank you to indicate our perfumery and we want to say to you Congratulation for your blog it is very interresting…
    I stay at your disposal for any information you need.
    all my best wishes for this new year!!!
    best regards,

    Sandy , parfumerie le Soleil d’ Or

    • Hello Sandy, and welcome. Thank you for your kind note. I’ve looked at your site quite a few times for links, and have very much enjoyed your wide selection of brands. You have a lovely boutique.

    • Hello there. I am happy to take it down or to give you full credit. I always try to attribute the source and give credit, as I did here for all the photos I used in that piece. I put exactly which site and place I found them, so if I missed that it was yours, please accept my apologies.

      If you tell me which one it is, I would be happy to delete it. Is it the solo photo of the Hotel Costes? Or, if you prefer, I can give you the full credit with a link to your site. Please let me know what you prefer. I will take care of it the minute you let me know which one it is and what you would like me to do.

      Edited to add: I have taken a guess at which one of the two photos it may be and have deleted it. If I chose the wrong one, please let me know and, as stated up top, I will do whatever you wish.

  13. Dear K,
    Well, I just received a small sample of Mitzah from feraljasmine, who guest posts on Australian Perfume Junkies, & it is really terrific. Not sure about longevity yet since it’s only been on me for less than an hour, but it smells exactly the way you’ve described it! I’m going to order a large decant from Surrender to Chance. I have worn Alahine twice, liked it more the second time, & hope to love it by the fourth wearing. It’s a grand, bold perfume. I smell the ylang ylang & the amber & in the drydown, I get HINTS of the smell I crave. Mitzah gives me that smell immediately.
    My next instant love is Coromandel, which I have worn twice since receiving a sample last week. Thank God I’m gainfully employed because I’m ordering a large bottle of it. It’s unusually cold down here right now, so I can only imagine how well it will “bloom” in the heat It’s my first patchouli, and the fragrance is intoxicating. It’s a perfume that I feel really comfortable wearing at work. I’m old enough to remember those hippie smelling patchoulis from the 70’s, so was quite surprised at how smooth, polished, & delectable Coromandel’s take on patch was. I’d like to try a couple more patch scents that are like C. Any suggestions? Thanks so much for the recommendations.

    • Mitzah is definitely about the labdanum, front and center. Alahine is not, but focuses on other things as well. It takes time, but I’m glad that Mitzah was instant love for you. In terms of Coromandel, well, I’m a hardcore patch head and I love all sorts of patchouli fragrances if they combine with amber or vanilla. There is nothing quite like Coromandel, though, and I recently did a short series on various patchouli fragrances. They’re all much woodier, or more heavily ambered. One of the best patchoulis though is Jovoy’s Psychedelique. I LOVED THAT ONE!!! The only problem is Jovoy’s sillage signature that is part of all their scents and a serious problem for me. But for a glorious, gorgeous, true patchouli-centered scent, that is perhaps one of the very best.

      The problem is, you’re looking for a patchouli-Plus, that has the softer, more white, cocoa and incense type of profile, and most patchouli scents are much more hardcore patchouli. That said, I would encourage you to try Dior’s Ambre Nuit which, on my skin at least, brought to mind Coromandel. Ambre Nuit is meant to be an ode to ambergris, the way Mitzah is to labdanum, and for many people, it is a rose-dominated scent. Not on my skin. Depending on how much rose you get or don’t get, you may see the similarities to Coromandel.

      Totally apart, one of my favorite patchouli-Plus scents is Serge Lutens’ Fourreau Noir which is about lavender, amber, patchouli and incense. I normally am totally phobic about lavender — I despise it — but Fourreau Noir swept me off my feet. A beautifully done fragrance that is about much more than patchouli, and about more than the sum of its parts. I strongly, strongly recommend Fourreau Noir for a test sniff, even apart from any patchouli issues. If anything, it’s actually perhaps more of an incense fragrance at its heart. Truly a fantastic scent, all around.

  14. Thanks for the thoughtful response. I skimmed through your patchouli series before i fell for the Coromandel, so I’ll go back & read it carefully (I already mentioned that I read most of your posts at least 3 times). I’ll definitely order a sample of Ambre Nuit, reviews of which I’ve read & have been interested in. Today I wore Ambre Noir by Sonoma Scent Studio-it’s deep, long-lasting, the sillage lasts all day, & the prices are amazing.
    I suppose it’s my addictive, or compulsive, personality, that wants MORE patch scents like Coromandel when I should just be happy with the C & take my time discovering slowly. In less than a year, I’ve gobbled up as many ambers as I can find, then I moved on to leathers (Cuir Ottoman, Grand Cuir are my favorites, & i want to get my hands on Hard Leather & Memo Italian Leather), & now I’ve stuck my big toe into the patch waters & want to TRY THEM ALL AND SOON!!! What can I say? I’m middle aged and making up for lost time!!!
    I’ve read reviews of Fourreau Noir & it’s on my wish list as I also like incense fragrances, although my blind buy of Jubilation xxv is a minor disappointment because I can’t smell it on myself. I spray it on my shirts, though, and they smell incredible, but it doesn’t seem to come alive on my skin. I’m not giving up on it, though. The best incense I’ve tried so far is Incense Pure, again by Sonoma. It opens up with ambergris, then the incense kicks in, So many scents, so little time-sigh.
    Thanks again for your kind reply!

    • Ed, you should not be apologizing for anything, let alone for infectious enthusiasm and unbridled joy. Never — EVER — apologize for that! It’s not about age, either. You have a passion and an open spirit that is a joy to behold. It’s better than being blasé and nonchalent about everything. At some point, maybe, you’ll lose that fire and excitement a little (we all go through stages) — and you’ll regret its loss. So, celebrate for now, ALL of it, including the lust to try everything immediately and without pause.

      It’s not only refreshing, but wonderful for me as well to have a reader who is so passionate about things. So, for that reason, I hope you will feel free to share your thoughts, experiences and adventures as MUCH AS YOU WANT with me. Here, or in the appropriate thread. Wherever. It doesn’t matter.

      So, in terms of some of your scent discoveries, I’m very glad to hear that you like Grand Cuir so much!! I tried one of Memo’s Leathers in Paris and it was nice, though I can’t remember if that was one of the Memo fragrances with ISO E Super. As you may have gathered by now, I have serious problems with that note when it’s used too liberally, but I think Memo’s exquisite, stunning Shams was a much worse culprit. (Alas.) A number of the SSS fragrances use it too, which is why I stay away.

      It’s interesting what you said about Jubilation XXV/Men, as that has ISO E Super in it as well and the aromachemical is known to have a ghost dance where one becomes anosmic to the scent if smelled up close. One can often smell something from afar much better but, even so, ISO E Super can make some notes “disappear” because the chemical’s large molecules block the nose’s ability to detect the smaller molecules. You can smell JubXXV on your shirts, because you’re smelling it from a distance perhaps, but the ISO E Super is blocking the notes from coming alive on your skin and up close. At least, that’s my guess for what is going on. I hope that helps a little. I better end this now before I get on one of my soap box rants about ISO E Supercrappy. LOL. 😉

      BTW, I will be testing/reviewing a few more patchouli scents in the upcoming weeks. And leathers! Hopefully, one will be a great fit for you as well.

      PS — As one with an obsessive and OCD personality, I may understand you better than you realise. lol 😉

  15. After reading your posts, I was fairly certain you had an obsessive and OCD personality like mine-LOL. Thanks for the Jubilation XXV explanation-it makes sense.
    I ordered a decant of Fourreau Noir today, along with more Mitzah which is on sale at Surrender. The Memo Italian Leather I am wanting to try holds interest for me because it’s supposed to have a nice dose of vanilla in it, with a slightly herbal opening, I believe. As I told feraljasmine in an email that my ex-wife thinks we’re all bizarre to love and hunger for multiple scents, but I feel as if I’ve discovered a new family who completely understands me! Anyway, I give her all my rejects, so she may become a family member herself eventually.

    • Ohhh, the STC sale….. you have to order Puredistance M, if you haven’t tried it already. I know you love your leathers, so it’s a Must Try. For me, it is much more of a molten, amber oriental at its heart and not a pure leather, but what an amber oriental it is! If you order now, you can send STC an email asking for your orders to be combined. They will refund the second shipping fee. That’s what they’ve done in the past, and all you need to do is send them an email. Puredistance M is definitely worth taking advantage of that 15% off discount! I cannot recommend M enough!

  16. After I post this comment, I’m ordering Puredistance M, Patchouli Leaves (I read your patchouli posts, but they don’t have Psychedelique yet), Ambre Nuit, some more Ambra Aurea,oh yes, and Trayee, and more and more and more and more…….enjoy your weekend!

  17. AND I added Amouage Tribute Attar to the order (you’re so persuasive!) along with more Mitzah (love it). Thank heavens I’m gainfully employed and my house is paid for! LOL.

    • LOLOLOL. I like your style, Edward! That said, I fully commiserate on the expensiveness of temptation. I put in a rather decent order at STC during their sale, too, but even more to the point, I just spent over $300 on the huge vat of Coromandel. I plan to spray it on my sheets for the ultimate form of ridiculousness and expensive aromatherapy every night. 😀

      Do let me know what you think of the scents when you try them. I really hope you find a few new loves! BTW, Mitzah is still available from Dior while supplies last and without the 2013 Dior increase for the Privée line, so if your passion for it continues, don’t think that it is now out of reach.

      • Ha! I’ve been reading your discussion with Edward (hi Edward!) with much enjoyment and a fair amount of glee to recognize not one but TWO fellow OCD perfumiacs, although I realize after spending the better part of the last 6 months reading every frag blog known to man and womankind out there, that there are many 🙂
        I’m a vintage gal and have been for several decades and am only recently come to the niche world, so like Edward, I have been categorizing my forays into notes, feeling compelled to try everything mentioned on every blog, good or bad. If I went about my perfume collecting quietly and calmly before, I’m now a lot more vocal (and demented truth be told) about it now. As someone approaching 60, I really do feel I need to step it up and get them all in while I can and am also relieved to be in a place financially where I am relatively able to do so. Plus I feel that at my “mature” age, I am entitled to spritz my sheets with whatever I want and if that means Coromandel or Amouage Gold, then so be it!!

        • Hello SallyM,
          I’d like to invite you to join Facebook Fragrance Friends if you haven’t already. It was recommended to me by a really nice person who occasionally posts reviews on another website. It’s a place full of wonderful people just like us. I”m sure many of them are as OCD as we are!
          Right now I’m trying out lots of samples, some of them recommonded to me by Kafka. Thanks to Kafka, I have some new loves that I can’t live without (Trayee, Puredistance M, Fourreau Noir, Amouage Tribute Attar). I’m studying them, trying to sniff out certain notes, etc. and I”m even wearing & studying the ones I don’t love.
          I’ve only been in this perfume world since May & it’s been very rewarding. Enjoy the ride!

        • Dear Sally, please forgive the late, delayed reply, as it’s been a very hectic 10 days and I don’t seem to know if I’m coming or going these days. I smiled at your “fellow OCD perfumiacs” comment, but most of all at the spritzed sheets bit. Someone who understands! It’s a bit of a state of madness at times, isn’t it? 🙂 I hope I can help you find a few things to replace any vintage loves that may have disappeared with time and reformulation. 🙂

  18. Thanks for the Dior Mitzah tip (every time I wear it, though, I picture Madame Mitzah in that damn leopard jacket & hat), and I’ll definitely let you know what I think of my soon to arrive scents. I’m buying the large Coromandel as well. It’s worth it. As for the expense of my addiction, well, eventually I’ll settle for quality over quantity, but for now, my perfume love is fresh & new & perfect & beautiful, & I can’t get enough of it. Meanwhile, I’m doing my homework & learning how to recognize fragrance notes.

  19. Hi
    I wanted to send you a small Vial of Hind Al oud , Bass Ketha for review..How can I send you?

    • You can write to me at AKafkesqueLife @ gmail dot com (all squished together), to tell me about the fragrance, the brand, and get contact/shipping information. 🙂 Please note, however, what I’ve said above: there is no guarantee of a good review, a prompt review, or any review at all. Right now, I’m more backlogged than ever in terms of samples that I have to go through.

  20. I just found your blog today today and realized that I liked many of the same scents that you do – and then that made me sad that Mitzah has been discontinued. I’ll have to buy a sample to see what I am missing. Thanks for the interesting posts!

    • Hi Sandy, welcome to the blog. How nice to know that we have a number of scents in common. 🙂 With regard to Mitzah, I believe it is still available from Dior if you call the store in Las Vegas, and it may be hidden in backrooms of the other boutiques too. The last time I checked, I think Mitzah was still on Dior’s website, so if you love it, you can still find it for a short while until the stock dries up. I hope you’ll let me know what you think if you get the chance to try it.

      • I thought I’d lost my chance at getting a bottle of Mitzah given the timing of the previous posts and the limited bottles probably available at that time. I know I’d sniffed it once before, but had chosen New Look instead. I work in San Francisco so I just called the Dior boutique at Neiman Marcus and was able to buy a small bottle! She said they had 4 small bottles left and someone else had just called to buy a bottle also. It was a rather impulsive purchase, but I know I will love it (plus I’m getting a sample of Grand Bal). Thank you!
        p.s. Mitzah is no longer available for purchase on the website.

        • Thanks for letting me know that they have finally removed it off the website. And I’m so glad that you found a bottle in SF, Sandy! It definitely is a bit risky to blind-buy in general, but if you dislike Mitzah, you should have no problems selling it. It is definitely one of the most popular of the Dior Privée line, which just makes the company’s decision to discontinue it all the more baffling, imo.

          I hope you’ll let me know what you think when you get it and try it? Fingers crossed that it is a big hit.

  21. Hi,

    I am really impressed about the work that you are doing regarding the reviews, testing the perfumes, and writing whatever your nose is telling you about the scents.
    I know it’s not an easy work but when there’s passion everything else comes to compliment your emotions about it.

    Sometimes, when i read some of your reviews I just close my eyes and trying to create the feelings, but sadly I cannot test all the perfumes you are mentioning.

    This being said, I am also reviewing some of the perfumes I’m mad about (you may check my blog from time to time: http://lets-get-social-in-dubai.com/ ). Would be nice to exchange some opinions 🙂

    Enjoy your weekend & Thanks for your wonderful work

    • Thank you for your very kind words, Leila. It’s very sweet of you, and I will be sure to check out your blog. Thank you for the link. 🙂

      • Your’re most welcome
        I’m living in Dubai, where you can find most of the rare perfumes, so if I can help with any samples, let me know. Would be happy to help 😉


  22. Help! Please-
    For years I have searched for the mens fragrance , “Versailles” it’s a concentrated cologne,by Jean Desprez. I have come to learn it was discontinued years ago,
    Years ago. Yet, I continue my search, unsuccessfully.I hope that someone might help me , in finding one (1) bottle of this fragrance that lingers in my mind,like that
    Lost love, of ones life. I yearn for . (Help me, PLEASE…). Frank

    • I wish so much I could help you, Frank. I’ve heard occasional mention about the men’s Versailles scent, but very, VERY infrequently. Worse, no-one I know has ever tried it and I myself have absolutely never seen it, anywhere. I’ve never looked on eBay, though, and I think that will be your only recourse in finding it. Perhaps you can set up an eBay notification so that you’ll know if anyone ever offers a vintage bottle for sale? I wish I could offer some other assistance.

  23. Hi there! I ve messaged you a few time and have been so pleased to get your responses. My daughter is traveling in London and Paris this next week. If I wanted her to pick up a bottle of perfume there not available in the States and I told you that I adore nawab of Oudh by ormonde Jayne could you make a reccomendation? Very vague I know. I am not experience enough to know what individual scents draw me through that fragrance but I tend to like heavier, spicier scents. It’s a long shot but worth a try! I don’t know when anyone in my family will be overseas again!

    • I’d be happy to help, but I would need more information on your tastes. Can you give me the names of specific fragrances that you have loved, those you have hated, and any notes that you find really appealing?

      Since she’s in London, perhaps one of the Harrods’ exclusives may also be something you’d like her to get for you, like perhaps Robert Piguet’s Knightsbridge? You can read that review and see if it sounds good to you. Also, perhaps you can read the reviews for Ormonde Jayne’s Tolu and Ormonde Woman, given that you like that house’s style. See if either one sounds appealing to you from the reviews. Tolu in particular might be your thing as an oriental, though Ormonde Woman is intriguing and mysterious with dark touches.

      Since that your daughter will also be in Paris, some of the Serge Lutens’ Paris exclusives might be your thing, but I wouldn’t know which one to recommend without more information. Out of the following sorts of notes, what sounds appealing: iris, lavender, incense, patchouli, leather, boozy notes, big white flowers….? Perhaps you can read my review for Serge Lutens’ Fourreau Noir, and see if that sounds appealing to you? It is one of the Bell Jar exclusives, and a fragrance that I fell for myself. The bell jars ARE sold in the U.S. from the American Lutens website, but they come with something like a 70% mark-up, so if any of them sound like your thing, it would be best to get them at the cheaper Paris price. On a separate note, his De Profundis is heart-breakingly exquisite and haunting — legendarily so — but it is not a spicy scent, not oriental, and not heavy. It is truly stunning though, imo, even if it’s not what I normally go for myself. Other legendary Lutens’ Bell Jar fragrances that are much revered are La Myrrhe (aldehydes) and Tubereuse Criminelle (tuberose). Personally, I would recommend something more like Fourreau Noir for you, and perhaps De Profundis.

    • You’re very welcome, Ms. Wilcox. It was a lovely image, and I hope I could direct some traffic your way so that people could see your other photographs.

  24. Thank you as always for your generosity.

    From what I think I know of my tastes for individual notes: I feel like I don’t like florals, white florals, sweet scents, patchouli. Nor do I like citrus or rose typically, or “green” scents, nor fresh scents or “light” scents, and NO powdery scents. Maybe in my laundry soap but not on my skin. I don’t love vanilla in large quantity either.

    When I begin to read a description of a fragrance and it says “peony, rose, iris….” whatever, I have lost interest. I think I like more aggressive and perhaps masculine scents. Nothing delicate I don’t believe. But I don’t like cloyingly heavy either. Gosh is this helping at all?

    I think I like my scent like I like my wine; red and chewy. I do like most ouds I have smelled (only a few so far), musky scents, tobacco, whiskey-like scents (bourbon, scotch, etc), spices like cardamom, incense like smells and sandalwood. I really like sandalwood.

    Also I feel like my skin “eats” scent the way yours does, so I like something with some staying power. And I would like a somewhat mysterious fragrance that is unusual and unexpected. Something no one else I know would wear (not too difficult as I live in a not-so-cosmopolitan city).

    I am going to read the reviews you recommended and see what I can figure out. Thanks again. I will choose one and take a leap!

  25. good day
    I find it difficult to write in English, so I use online translator.
    I’d love to know your opinion about AMOUAGE EPIC MAN.
    I read your blog and in most cases your opinion coincides with my feelings.

    thank you

    • Welcome to the blog, Kazik. It’s very kind of you to make the effort to write, despite English not being your language. Online translators are great, so I hope you will feel free to use them to comment more often, if you ever feel like it. 🙂

      With regard to Epic Man, I haven’t tried it yet but I actually ordered a sample of it just a few days ago. It may take me a while to get around to writing about it, as I have quite a few other fragrances that I have to get to first. But I will definitely cover Epic Man, as I’ve been eager to try it. 🙂

      • A huge thank you for the answer. I will wait for your research flavor epic man.

  26. Dear Kafka,

    Every time I reed your reviews, I am very impressed by the way you write them..
    Magnificent text and beautiful pictures. A real treat to read..
    For me the way you describe your tests, is very helpful with selecting and
    testing a scent i probably like..
    Description of notes, all the way through the testing..like no other. Compliments for you..

    On the other hand it is a personal thing, liking of a scent. Sometimes a description fits, of what I like, sometimes it is a don’t..
    At the moment I am really a big admirer of the Amouage scents.. Love your review off Fate.
    Despite it is not high rated on the different forums, i think it will be my next purchase..
    I guess it is underrated…what do you think?

    Can you advice me with some other scents.
    I like oriental and spicy ones, if they have a sweet or slightly sweet undertone.
    I will keep on reeding your blog..

    Kind regards,

    The Netherlands

    • Such a lovely note. Thank you, Andre, for your very kind words.

      I’d be more than happy to help you find some other scents you may love, but I would need more information first. As you said, perfume is such an individual person thing, so I would need to know the notes that you love, and the ones that you hate or have difficulty with. It would also help if you give me names of some other specific fragrances that you have loved or hated. With regard to Fate, did you mean the Men’s version or the Women’s? I only ask because I know some men who prefer the Women’s. Also, it would tell me what you thought of notes like immortelle that are in the Men’s version.

      I assume that you’re looking for suggestions beyond just Amouage, but that you are specifically looking for oriental spicy scents and not things in other categories (ie, Chypres, woodys, pure oud-centric fragrances, etc.). But how do you feel about animalic notes? I’m not talking about muskiness, but actual animalic aromas that can be like the costus root in Opus VII or a bit like the barnyard aromas that oud can have? Also, how do you feel about boozy scents, like Ambre Narguilé, Frapin 1270, or even the new Kilian Apple Brandy if you’ve tried it? I have a feeling that the perfume I’m currently finishing testing and which will be the subject of the next review may appeal to you, but I was also thinking of something like Masque’s Montecristo if you liked very animalic fragrances as well. Perhaps even SHL 777’s Une Nuit a Doha if you liked immortelle and sweetness, though it may verge a little too much into the gourmand category. I don’t know how sweet you like things.

      What would be best is if you send me an email with the information, and then I can make some specific suggestions for you. The email address is: AKafkaesqueLife at gmail dot com. (All one word, and obviously not spelled out like that.) Hopefully, together, we can find you a few new things to try. 🙂

  27. Dear Kafkaesque:
    First, I would like to thank for your wonderful blog as well as the articles and reviews within your blog. I’m very much enjoying your thorough and interesting reviews of fragrances. You are very talented (both your nose and your writing) and your talent is complemented by your travel and life experience.
    I love high-quality, well-constructed complex/deep fragrances and I always like to hear other people opinions (especially talented people like you) on the fragrances I like or those I’m interested in. So, I’m very interested in hearing your elaborate review on a very special fragrance by Roja Dove called Roja (his signature perfume). I would gladly provide you with a sample if you wish. Just let me know!
    Best regards,
    Abdullah from Saudi Arabia

    • Dear Abdullah,

      Please accept my deepest apologies for the delay in replying to your incredibly kind note. I had meant to, then events caught up with me, and it fell through the cracks. I normally reply right away, but my schedule has been rather exhausting as of late.

      Thank you for your enormously generous praise about the blog. I am very touched. I grinned a little at the bit about my travel and life experiences. The chaotic life of a nomad finally came in use for something! 😉 As for Roja by Roja Dove, I would actually love to try it. The thing is, I am positively drowning in samples right now, have about 50 solely in my “Immediate Testing” shelving container, and heavens knows how many more as a whole. The new Fall Release season is just beginning, which is one reason why I’ve had to continuously change some longstanding plans to do an Italian series, then to take on some of the (many) Amouage samples awaiting me.

      In short, I am tempted to accept your very generous offer, but it wouldn’t be right or proper. I doubt I could get to the Roja any time sooner than 3 months. I actually have samples of 2 others by him (in the Women’s Line) that I should probably cover first since they are more affordable than the ultra, ultra pricey Roja which not everyone could afford. So, you see, it wouldn’t be fair to you if I accepted. I hope you can understand and will not be offended, because it is incredibly kind of you to think of me. Perhaps, if you’re still of the same mind at the end of the year, you could drop me an email?

      Regardless of all this Roja Dove stuff, please know that your lovely note meant a lot to me.


  28. Hi. Love your blog. I noticed you may have checked out my website a few days ago I am currently offering to provide complimentary ASAQ samples to a few select bloggers for review, and would be happy to speak with you regarding this. Most Westerners have never sampled real oud, ambergris or musk, as they have been limited to the synthetics found in nearly all Westerns. Your readers might enjoy reading about some magnificent perfume oils that have heretofore been available in the US only through unreliable sources or with the incursion of high shipping costs and/or customs hassles.

    Please contact me offline if you are interested in chatting.

    The World In Scents, LLC

    • Thank you for writing. I did not check out your website a few days ago, but I have heard about your Safari. I have to repeat what is posted here and what I tell all perfume houses: there is no guarantee of a positive review, or any review at all. If you’d like to speak about samples or reviewing, you may contact me at the blog email address provided herein.

  29. Hi! Excellent assessment in the article on The Global Fragrance Industry…….style lucid and interesting. I need your permission to quote from your article for my notes on History of Perfumery. By profession I am a professor in History, in a college affiliated to the University of Mumbai. My area of work is Aromatic Culture. Thanks for a free and frank expression of views.

    • Of course, please feel free to quote me with a citation to the blog, as you need. I’m glad I could be of some help.

  30. In need a new fragrance. I love your reviews. Here’s a list of what I like (and what i own/do not own) Which of these two do you think I should get? Are there any others you recommend? thanks for your help! I’m a 30 yr old man living in miami beach.

    creed royal water – own
    creed virgin island water – do not own
    creed spice and wood – do not own
    tom ford oud wood – do not own
    tom ford tobacco vanille – do not own
    tom ford noir de noir – own
    tom ford neroli portofino – do not own
    killian sacred wood – do not own
    breydo gypsy water – own
    aqua di parma Ginepro di Sardegna – own

    • Hey Todd, thank you for stopping by. With regard to your list, it’s hard for me to really advise you because I’m not familiar with the Creeds that you do not own and I don’t really know your tastes as a whole. The stuff you do own (Noir de Noir, Creed Royal Water, etc.) doesn’t really give me a full insight into your tastes.

      However, I do know the Kilian and reviewed it, and I’m not impressed at all. Then again, I’ve been called a “sandalwood snob,” and it’s true. But no, I would say. No! Out of the ones that you do not own (and that aren’t Creed), I would suggest the Oud Wood. That’s a great fragrance! The Tobacco Vanille is going to come down to your baseline for sweetness, as its vanilla lies on a sort of plummy, fruited foundation like a Christmas Plum Pudding. Still, that would be my 2nd choice on the list. First Oud Wood, then Tobacco Vanille. Remember, though, I’m not familar with the two Creeds that you don’t own. As for Byredo’s Gypsy Water, I haven’t tried it but I know a lot of people seem to have great problems with Byredo’s projection and longevity (except for M/Mink), so you may want to keep that in mind.

      In general, though, I almost never recommend blind buying, and recommend ordering samples first. If you’ve tested them all already and are just struggling to choose between the lot, I say go with Oud Wood! lol Hope that helps.

      • Thank you so much! Very kind of you to offer your advice. You’re right about the Breydo. It smells great…for about 15 minutes… and then not at all, haha. I was actually leaning in the direction of oud wood. It really is a substantive and pleasing fragrance. Thank you again, you have indeed helped me!

  31. Thank you very much for the article on Princess Fawsia. I just found your blog after searching for “king farouk 1944 rolls royce”. My wedding car (1978) was a 1944 Rolls Royce, owned by King Farouk. I have also been fascinated by history in general including monarchies. I am glad there is a lot more to read on your blog.

    • I’m glad you found the article to be of interest, and how very cool about your wedding car! As for monarchy articles, I’m afraid there aren’t many of those on the site. I have several old ones that I haven’t uploaded yet, but the main focus of the blog is perfume. I think some of my regular readers would be completely mystified if an old article on Clarence House and the British princes suddenly appeared. 😉 heh. I do hope that you enjoy what little is currently there, though.

  32. Hi K, I’m currently a graduate student studying anthropology, focusing on perfume, and I absolutely love your blog! Today my teacher and I read your review for Silver Iris Mist together. I just wanted to put in a request for a review of Chanel no. 18, as it’s my favorite, and I noticed you haven’t reviewed it yet! Thank you! All my best, M

    • Hi there. 🙂 Thank you for your kind words about the blog. I’ll see what I can do about Chanel No. 18, but I don’t think I’ll manage it any time soon. I have a back-log of things to get through, some of which I’ve been hoping to cover since the Spring! But I will definitely see what I can do. 🙂

  33. Kafka, if I may, I had only just signed up to follow your blog by email when you wrote your piece about perhaps backing away from your previous level of commitmnet to perfume writing.

    You decried somewhat a suspected lack of appreciation by readers for your in-depth reviews.

    I well respect your desire to take back your time but nonetheless I wanted to say that, now having had an opportunity to read your two Mandy Aftel reviews, I can understand why so many people heartly welcomed you back.

    Your writing is exquisite; your reviews exemplary. I’m not myself an attorney but, after you ‘fessed up, it was easy to recognize your thorough, straight-ahead, fact-based style. I for one shall read and appreciate every word you write on fragrances in the days to come. And I thank you in advance for your continuing to do so.

    (Also, if you write to Mandy again, tell her that when I buy all her Chef’s Essences it because of your reviews.)

    I’m late to the perfume game and, like yourself, find that nothing seems to last on my skin. While I refuse to get into the chasing of discontinued frags, I thought it might be fun to try out samples of your list of prefered perfumes. I noted that you too liked the original Kouros, which is the only juice I’ve ever worn and received compliments on. I now make do with the reformulated version : /

    My hairy German, Zena, sends Zola a big ‘Woof’ …She says he’s quite the charmer lol

    I wish you well in your continued endevors.

    All the best and thanks once more for all your work, time and knowledge.


    • This was one of the nicest notes that I’ve read in a long time, and I wanted to thank you with enormous sincerity for taking the time to write it all, DD. It really and truly made my entire day. Every part of it, right down to the Hairy German issue. Zena and Zola… hmm, the names sound rather perfect together. 😉 I’d love to know more about her. Is she American or German lines? (Or Czech, DDR German?) Age? Conformation/Show or Working/Schutzhund lines? Not that any of it really matters, though. Every sort of Hairy German is an amazing sort of Hairy German, and the very best there could ever be, in my utterly biased, completely unobjective opinion. Heh. (Yes, German Shepherds are one of my greatest passions in the world.)

      In terms of perfume, when did you start to explore this crazy, addictive world? I sympathize with your skin issue and understand your wish to avoid chasing discontinued or vintage fragrances. That said, there are quite a few vintages which are actually cheaper to get on eBay than some current niche offerings, so I wouldn’t rule them out entirely. For example, if you love spectacular leathers like Puredistance M, you should try to find vintage Bel Ami which was the actual model and inspiration for Puredistance M. Unfortunately, Bel Ami is one of the few which rarely pops up on eBay, especially in the “cocktail shaker” bottle which is the best version, but it does happen from time to time. I was wearing Bel Ami a few nights ago, and thought to myself how even an expensive eBay bottle would be cheaper than my Puredistance M. (BTW, if you love leathers but haven’t tried M, you should really get a sample. It is commonly regarded as one of the best leather fragrances on the modern market, though I think it is much more of an ambered oriental than a true, pure leather. It’s simply spectacular, though, regardless of specific genre or sub-genre.)

      With regard to Kouros, I have to sigh. It is one of the many (many) reasons for my anger against L’Oreal, because they’re really destroyed every YSL masterpiece in their collection. Each one seems to get worse and worse, but Kouros (unlike my Holy Grail, vintage Opium) isn’t quite so subject to IFRA/EU restrictions on its ingredients. For example, it’s skanky, musky, animalic aspects are largely due to Synarome’s Animalis formula which isn’t hard to find or massively regulated, as well as due to something called costus root. The latter also doesn’t have a massive, whopping IFRA ceiling on its quantities in a fragrance, so it’s hardly justified for L’Oreal to have weakened one of its core characteristics to the degree that they have.

      On a less unhappy note, have you tried Bogue’s Maai? If not, then I urge you — nay, BEG you — to get a sample from Luckyscent or perhaps STC. You can look up my review but, nutshell explanation, it’s a Chypre with a strong, strong Kouros-like DNA to it. There is also Amouage’s Opus VII which contains the Costus Root that was such a part of Kouros, but I struggled with that one. Bogue’s Maai, however, will probably be #1 on my year-end list of Best Releases of 2014. And a full bottle is not crazy expensive, either! So, please, I beg of you, get a sample just to try. It may not work on your skin, but if you love vintage/original Kouros, I think Maai may blow you away. (Another one that you MUST try is Masque Milano’s Montecristo!!)

      I’m really glad you’re here, at the blog, and I look forward to learning more about your specific perfume tastes, likes, and dislikes. Thank you for your truly kind words on my writing and reviews. It meant more to me than you can know. And I laughed at how the whole attorney thing made everything suddenly seem so clear. *grin*

      It’s completely true, though. My writing style, focus on details/facts, and even the length of the reviews all stem in *large* part from my legal background. One day, I’ll tell you about why I thought it was so necessary to have a blog done that way with regard to perfume analysis but, in the meantime, just know that your comments meant a lot to me. A lot.

      • Kafka,

        Good afternoon and Hello once again.

        Thank you for your generous and somewhat unexpected reply. I first saw it late yesterday afternoon, but am worthless for writing anything meaningful in the evening. Had I actually become an attorney, as my high-school aptitude tests recommended (…the other recommendation being “Preacher” if you find that amusing…), my clients would have had to resign themselves to the gallows should I have had to formulate their appeals in the evening hours.

        I’m glad to hear that my note added to your day : ) … although I’m certain that I’m only stating out loud what many other of your readers think but fail to say explicitly … which is ashamed.

        = = = = = = =

        I tried to send Zola a sexy snapshot of Zena, but I see the blog system must have stripped the link from the post. If you assemble the two chunks below, it should produce a workable link when pasted into your browser…



        If that works, here are the ‘second halve’ of a couple more photo links…



        gLZCiBT.jpg — the second dog in this photo is “Ozzie”, a street dog of secret High Breeding, made an honorary GSD for teaching Zena her doggie ways after her less-than-perfect start in life.

        [People are forever asking what kind of dog Ozzie is. I’ve had great fun over the years telling most of them that he’s a very rare “Southern Hebrides Herding Hound” …I enjoy most the knowing nods of approval I get from some lol.]

        Zena’s getting old. She’s eleven now and we’ve just been through a round with the vet to solve some energy and joint issues. She’s in good health though; no dysplasia and minimal arthritis. A little thyroid supplementation and she’s as good as new, almost, although it’s now safe for squirrels to enter her formally sacrosanct domain.

        Supposedly she’s full-blooded. I say supposedly because I have no papers… She came from a near-by police dog kennel (that part I know) and was bought by a casual acquaintance for an insane reason.

        I told a mutual friend that when they’d had enough of the insanity, I’d take her. It took only three months but when the time came, they couldn’t be bothered to find her papers. —I’ve also been told recently, and have no idea if it’s true or not, that (some?/all?) police dog breeders “add in” some non-GSD blood to help avoid dysplasia and other pure-bred issues. So really I have no idea about her bloodlines… and it couldn’t matter less to me.

        After a life with dogs, she’s the first GSD I’ve had. As you already know she’s a wonderful dog. I’m not an especially skilled dog trainer but we’ve been through Obedience School and Agility training. I’d have done more with her just for the bond it gave us (There’s a herding class not far from here that would have been a hoot…), but Hurricane Katrina and Life intervened.

        Now we make do to chase the occasional rabbit on our evening walks… and even THAT only up to the edge of the thicket. I’m obviously making the dinners at home taste too good.

        Now, here I’ve spent all my time talking about non-perfumie things… They dogs will be looking for their dinner soon.

        I’ve very interested in the points you made above about perfumes, plus I read your new review last night and immediately got lost down the rabbit hole of older reviews within your blog. I’d love to reply to those issues soon.

        If you care to correspond more and want to keep the non-perfume-related nattering off your blog feel free to use the email address you have related to these posts.

        In either event, thank you so much for your reply and perfume suggestions.

        Talk more soon.


  34. Dear Kafka, like DDJ, I too just signed up. I meant to last week after your return from your much needed respite. I’m late to the world of fragrances and perfume related blogs. You’re simply the best and I have caught up reading your back log (so-to-speak) 🙂

    You’re style of writing is so precise and detailed, that I find the reviews wonderfully easy to conjure up the fragrances’ olfactory descriptions…did that make sense?
    Since July of this year, I’ve been playing catchup by sampling many perfumes from Surrender to Chance,Lucky Scents,etc..Wow! I never imagined what treasures I’ve been missing i.e. non-mall colognes and perfumes. To my joy, to my rapture 🙂

    To the detriment of my wallet, also ….yikes! Once I find my FBW or will be and be sooooo worth it. I’m like you when you talk about your skin chemistry eating up the smell. As a guy, I love powerhouse Orientals. I learned from my mother who loved Opium,Diva, Shalimar, and many others. My Mom passed away in 2012 and she always knew she would have at least 2 bottles under the tree. Even though Opium is nothing like original Opium.

    We had a black German Shepard , named Jason, when I was a kid. He had German bloodlines and his pedigree of course. I have it somewhere.Has all the German names.Jason was bigger bones than American Shepard, I think? Kafka, that’s what I noticed in your info your beautiful Zola.

    Back to fragrances.I’m due for another batch of samples. I’ve tried MAII …. I would tell everyone to smell it, as it’s the best I’ve smelled since I’ve been sampling! So many choices and I’m far from finished. My last one I just used up:Fille en Aiguilles. Hmm Hmmm. I want something for the cold. I want a spicy, leathery, boozy, tobacco-y, incensey one with rose. Any suggestions. I need a powerhouse though. I’m also in search of a rose cologne/perfume.

    I’m sorry this is so long. But this is my first comment. My partner is also a lawyer who doesn’t practice. He really doesn’t like law at all, but because it can be lucrative, he may resume next year.

    I’m so glad you returned and even if you write once a week or month, I will always appreciate what you do. Because of you I have learned so much. It’s like taking on line classes with a superb instructor 😀

    Your review of Kalemat intrigued me and I’ve been on Basenotes searching for an Arabian line. I saw lots of possibilities. Though many were so inexpensive I wonder does that mean they’re cheaply made? Not good? Or have I become a niche snob. I have a tendency to think of it’s under $100, it’s just inferior. Sometimes I ready a review of a perfume and like the notes, yet find it’s inexpensive and am turned off.

    Ok, it’s time for me to stop before this is a novel lol. Again Kafka dearest, thank you so much for the time you make for we readers.

    • Don, such a lovely note! First, welcome to the blog! Second, I absolutely love comments that are like a novel because, as you may have noticed, I’m not exactly… er… the soul of brevity…. myself. *ahem* LOL.

      I’m truly sorry to hear about your mother’s passing. No matter what age we are, it’s never easy and you sound like you were particularly close to her. I am to my own mother as well, and she is more my best friend than a parental unit, so I feel for you even more. How very, very sweet of you to ensure she always had Opium under the Christmas tree, even though it is now…. *sigh* BTW, she wore Diva as well? NICE!!! Excellent taste, your mother!

      I was interested to hear about your partner, and he has my full sympathies. Poor chap, I can understand why a return to law would be necessary, even if one hates the field. Unlike an MBA, our degree really doesn’t have broad use in other areas, except for politics and that…. no, just NO. The options are quite limited, alas, but what an utterly miserable field it can be. Is he a litigator or more on the corporate/business side of things? I’m biased and think that litigators have a more interesting time of things, but it’s also much more stressful and consuming. Regardless, I hope he manages to find a position that is a good balance between legal misery and financial benefit. LOL.

      How cool that you had a black GSD as a child. I did too! All black! You’re completely right in noting a serious structural and physical difference between the American and German lines. I think it also makes a difference if the dog comes from Working/Schutzhund or Show/Conformation lineage, but I’ve generally found that the German ones have bigger bones, larger sized skull formation, smaller/shorter faces/muzzles, longer legs, and less likelihood of having the dreaded “cockroach” back formation. Do you have a GSD or any furry child now?

      With regard to fragrances, have you succumbed to a full bottle of anything that you’ve tried thus far? Maai? Fille en Aiguilles? In terms of suggestions under the parameters that you listed, I would definitely look up my review for Rudis by Nobile 1942. It fits almost all of what you mentioned, and it’s a SUPER fragrance! You may also really like Naomi Goodsir’s Or du Serail, though it does not have a rose component. On the really expensive side, there is Roja Dove’s Enigma or Creation-E (as it is called in the States) and that would also hit every one of your stated categories. It’s very appealing. For pure rose fragrances, you’d have to tell me more of what you’re looking for, and then I can perhaps offer a few suggestions. Chypre? Oriental? Rose soliflore? I suspect you might like Andy Tauer’s PHI — Rose de Kandahar, but I would rush to sample that one as it is only offered once a year and this is the exact time. (The flowers are from a seasonal crop in Kandahar.) Oh, totally OT and outside your parameters, give Papillon’s Anubis a try!

      With regard to the Arabian/Middle Eastern lines, it’s tricky. Some smell synthetic and inexpensive, others don’t. It really requires a trial-by-trial exploration even WITHIN the same brand. (Swiss Arabian or the company that puts out Raghba, for example, etc. etc.) Arabian Oud’s Kalemat does smell expensive and I think it would hit many of your buttons, but it’s not easy to find now outside of eBay. You may also want to look up the review for Woody and Misty Wood (same post) to see if either one sounds interesting to you. But you may have to work on your snob pricing tendencies. LOL 😉 (I’m teasing you. I understand where you’re coming from, but I couldn’t resist.)

      • Hi Kafka, I tried combining two replies into one, but didn’t feel I made much sense.
        Long live OCD!

        My mother always wore perfume, everyday, whether she stayed home or went out. She developed her love of fine fragrances when she was an adolescent. Her aunt was generous enough to give my mother near-empty bottles of Chanels and Guerlains. These were the 1950s’ bottles. I have several Guerlain boxes c. 1954.Sadly no bottles, yet I still smell the perfume. I can only guess Shalimar or Mitsouko. Beautiful boxes one no longer sees today.

        I forgot to mention I do have full bottles and not just samples; I’m never without full bottles…..ever since I was in junior high. My part-time job allowed me to occasionally indulge in Polo (original) and I remember a miniature gift set from Bloomingdale, that included Azzaro and Hermes Eau d’ Orange Vert. Those are the only
        two I remember. I just went thru a bottle of Azzaro, which to me is a fall/winter cologne. Now I am wearing Yatagan, but even that is rather ephemeral on me. Speaking of Hermes and cold weather, Equipage is perfect for this time of year in the northeast. Add snow, pine, a blazing fireplace and mulled wine into it and ……:) I got off topic- sorry.

        I don’t have a furry child or GSD, but I was looking at cats at Petsmart. With at least 6 pairs of eyes in me it’s impossible to choose and because I can’t buy all, I leave with none! Talk about feeling guilty….hey, maybe Santa will bring me a hamster.

        Our GSD was indeed a bigger boned dog. He was from a Show/Confirmation lineage. He was about 125 lbs. and didn’t have the “cockroach” back. He was excellent with children and a ferocious-looking watchdog when on the defensive. We knew he was all bark, no bite; but why disabuse strangers of that notion?! 🙂 He was such a tall dog that he would lie under a table, stand up, then lift up the table with his back. He was strong enough to pull my brother and me on a sled thru snow. Wonderful dogs they are.

        Does Zola speak German?

        Auf Wiedersehen

        • Lovely comment, and so fun to read. I really enjoyed it, Don, particularly about your childhood GSD. And thank you for clarifying about the full bottles vs. mere samples issue. I will respond to the rest at the first chance I get, as well as to the perfume issues in your other comment, in my reply to your email. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving!

          PS — Yes, Zola “speaks” German and responds primarily to German commands, though he has some bilingual training. 🙂

  35. Hi K,

    My mother — who died in 2009 — used to wear Arpege by Lanvin — this was in the late 1950s and early 60s.
    My hope was to find this scent and somehow inhale her essence, but I heard it was reformulated. I purchased an old half-full bottle on ebay (circa 1975) but it has turned into some kind of weird zombie version of Arpege — and oh my god it is POWERFUL. What I want to know is, is there some kind of modern version of Arpege? Thank you so much!

    • Yes, there is a modern, reformulated version of Arpege. You should be able to find it on Amazon, FragranceNet, and similar sorts of sites. I’ve never seen it in stores, though.

  36. I want to thank you…..as a result of your blog with such evocative and detailed reviews I have fallen in love with the scents from your top ten list. I ordered samples and am now debating which to buy as I can’t afford all of them in one go. Thank you from the base note of my heart xxx

    • First, welcome to the blog, Sophie. Second, YAYYYYYY for finding some things that you adore! Which Top 10 list are you referring to, and which scents have most captured your heart? I’m truly so happy that I could help you, so thank you so much for letting me know.

  37. Where to begin!? You are going to cost me a lot of money!!!! I am a professional singer and a songwriter and a music teacher. I was the very first artist to perform on the main stage at London’s O2 Arena and I wishes I’d have read your blog then, but that was many years ago. I hate the ‘only wear in the day’ and ‘only wear in the night’ attitude to perfume. If you want to wear a heavy sent in the morning then why the hell shouldn’t you? I like my perfume to be like my friends – strong, vibrant, very very deep but take a long time to get to know before they reveal all. The ones I have bought samples of are (this is what’s printed on the sample labels)
    Naomi Goodsir – or du derail
    Oriza L. le grand – violet ties du Czar (the lovely change of depth through the day to a delicate powder)
    Nobile1942 Rudis (my mind went into another world in another time)
    Stephane humbert Lucas 777 black gemstone (I’m in love)
    Vero prefumo rozy EDP
    Like you… perfume seems to disappear into my skin very quickly so I get pissed off when something wears off, I constantly smell my wrist because I love perfume…. bizarrely a very cheap scent by Estée Lauder (noir) stays on all day.
    I wear perfume all day, I spray upon waking, during the say and before I go to sleep. I see it as a sacred luxury that I won’t do without…unfortunately it is now getting more expensive…unfortunately you are partly to blame! xxx

    • The ultimate compliment to any blogger (perfume or otherwise) is that they created lemmings and might cost someone a lot of money!! So, thank you, Sophie! Thank you for the enormous compliment. I love leading people into temptation. lol 😀

      How wonderful about Black Gemstone being a true love, and Rudis being an actually transportative experience. Hurrah!

      As for your cheap Estée Lauder scent lasting all day, I’m not surprised at all. Mainstream fragrances use a lot of aromachemicals and synthetics, in part to save money and in part to make a scent more voluminous, as well as to give it greater longevity. The fragrances that give one a headache in the elevator or at work as usually mainstream, commercial scents filled with things like cheap white musk to give the scent greater travelling distance and projection. That musk is used in EVERYTHING to satisfy the modern love for “fresh” and “clean” scents, as well as to give things a light, airy feel. IMO, it is one of the big things that is responsible for headaches or asthma attacks from perfume. But there is no denying that it makes a fragrance last for a long time, and that it’s a good way for mainstream, big companies like Estee Lauder to give a scent longevity or “presence” without spending money on more expensive, purer, natural ingredients. Bah!

      You’ll have to let me know which one of the perfumes on your list you succumbed to as a full-bottle purchase. Welcome to the perfumista’s budgetary dilemma, and Congratulations on joining all of us down the rabbit hole. lol. 😀

  38. OMG I loooove your writing style!!! Soooo blunt and witty, leaving me smiling and chuckling – thank goodness there’s never anyone around. I only discovered you yesterday when researching for reviews for my Pinterest ‘olfactory’ board. Never mind that you don’t share my love for floral and ‘detergent and cleaning agents’ fresh and clean scents, I will continue to visit your honest and opinionated reviews because they are uplifting, and I’m learning, a lot.

  39. Caswell-Massey discontinued its botanical line. I used the lilac powder and body lotion for many years. If money is no object, there’s a bottle of the latter on-line for $100.

    I like the purple lilac scent, not the white. Can you recommend a brand or seller? I hate to throw out the card, but one of the few things I managed to keep after diagnosis of Stage III Breast Cancer in 2007, as I was drained dry of all that I had, was the Caswell-Massey Lilac. Disability in not enough to exist on, but I managed to buy some. I was clear for 7 years–3 in treatment and 4 back in grad school for global ed). Last May, an inoperable, tumor was found on my neck, and sits on a major nerve. The scan showed that it has also spread to my bones and other areas. I cannot tolerate the med for my only treatment option, so I am not doing it for a number of reasons. I’m 54, my career was taken at 46. and I can’t afford the care I need. My prognosis is 6 mos. to 2 years. I have a power wheelchair on order. Mentally, I’m still 27, and am not ready for a chair, but it will allow me so shop until the batteries die. I want to hold on to my lilac scented talc and lotion, my trademark that I layer with other scents, until the end.

    Lived, worked and traveled globally for 30 years. Been all through the south of France. do not like Lavendar at all. Bought perfume in Capri. Went for an MPA because the only area of law that I liked was legal research and writing. Stopped counting after 40 addresses. We have similar backgrounds. Where is the best lilac for the industry grown? I’m keeping warm in FL for the winter, and want to spend the spring in the EU. Bucket list. I will spend eternity in Crete with the ashes of my faithful pets, in the sun and near water, like Asklepios preached. The Greeks did not put people in huge buildings with tiny rooms and no windows to heal.

    • Dear Ms. Ulrich,
      I’m terribly sorry to hear your news and I’m equally sorry for all that you’re going through, but I greatly admire your attitude and resolve. In terms of the Caswell-Massey line, I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with it and I’ve never tried the Lilac. I really can’t recommend a brand or seller who might carry it. Since I don’t know what your beloved scent smells of, I can’t really make any suggestions of comparable fragrances either.

      I feel so terrible that I can’t be of more help. I really wish there were something I could think of, but I actually don’t come across lilac fragrances very frequently at all. The only one I know of that is a pure lilac soliflore (a fragrance highlighting and centered on one core note) is Roja Dove’s Lilac Extrait, but that costs almost $400.

      What I would recommend is writing to Robin at “Now Smell This” and asking her if your question could be the focus of one of her posts where she shares a reader’s perfume query and asks all the audience to help out with suggestions. She doesn’t do it regularly, but she does it enough. If you tell her what you’ve told me, I know she’ll do it. And tell her that I suggested you get her help. Her audience skews more female than mine does and they also seem to be great floral lovers. My audience skews more male with oriental tastes. Someone amongst her readers will know both the Casswell-Massey line, the Lilac, and any comparable fragrances that might work for you.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, but that is the only idea I can come up with right now.

      On a separate note, please know that I wish you nothing but the best, hope that the prognosis is wrong, and hope that you have many, many more years before Crete beckons to you. In the meantime, may the Florida sun give you the healing warmth you need, and may your spirits continue to be fierce and strong in this horrible fight.

  40. Hi, I’ve enjoyed your reviews and have tried many of the scents on your favorites lists. I seem to gravitate to Ouds, woody scents, complex , evolving notes, and most recently Labdanums. One scent I bought last year which I love is Micallef’s Emir. I’m curious to know if you’ve sampled it. I didn’t see a review, but I’m sure you get a lot of samples to review.

    • No, I’m afraid I haven’t tried Micallef’s Emir. Thank you for sharing some of the notes and genres you enjoy, Guy. It helps me to get to know your tastes better. 🙂

    • Thank you for letting me know. I wasn’t aware it was your photo, Mr. Constantini, and you absolutely deserve the credit. I always try to give the photographer’s name and embed a link to their website when I can or know. I have immediately updated the post in question to reflect both those pieces of information, your name and your website. Please accept my apologies for not knowing it was yours.

  41. Love your blog so much. I only recently became aware of perfume reformulations. I was wondering why so many of my favourites smell different. Quite sad really.

    Are you able to recommend a perfume that smells like lipstick? I already have malle’s lipstick rose, but I am looking for something more intense.

    Anticipating your reply.

    Kind regards,


    • Welcome, B. 🙂 I replied to your Lipstick Rose comment in the other thread, but will copy/repeat part my reply here in case you only check one place: have you tried LM Parfums’ new-ish Epine Mortelle?

      To me, and on my skin, it reminded me a LOT of Lipstick Rose. But there are differences: Epine Mortelle is NOT purely lipstick; it skews more gourmand; it’s heavier, stronger, richer, and bolder, in large part because it is an extrait or pure parfum; and it’s significantly creamier, in my opinion, particularly in the drydown. It has far less clean, white musk, and more of a custardy, smooth vanilla in the base. More importantly, the opening is quite dark, like foresty green with a touch of angelica herbs. The opening makes Epine Mortelle stand out, but also makes it different than the Malle. I find Epine Mortelle to be much more interesting and better quality, since it’s not JUST hardcore lipstick/makeup rose/violets. That happens later on, but it isn’t the sole focus, if that makes any sense. So, perhaps you should try that one if Misia fell short of what you wanted. Read the review here and see if it sounds like your cup of tea, or if you don’t want something that isn’t entirely/solely lipstick: https://kafkaesqueblog.com/2015/01/07/lm-parfums-epine-mortelle/

      I’m afraid that is all I can think of. I don’t know any scent that is PURE lipstick with nothing else, while also being more intense than Lipstick Rose.

  42. I’m thrilled to have discovered your blog. I have a very old bottle of Golconda by JAR and was hoping to replace it after all these years at Bergdorf in NYC but– it looks as if they no longer sell it. Is this true? Is it still available in Paris? It is out of this world in my view and it’s sad that it is so difficult to find. Many thanks.

    • Hi Betty, please forgive my delayed response but I was away on holiday. With regard to Golconda, I hadn’t heard that it was been discontinued, but hearing that surprises me. I had the impression from what I’d been told at the JAR Paris store that it had special meaning and significance for the founder/creator, Joel Rosenthal, and he makes perfumes for himself, not for financial profit or marketability. I had the sense that Golconda is one of the special gems and cornerstones of his collection. Have you asked a Bergdorf JAR sales person whether it has been discontinued, or are you going by what you may be seeing or not seeing on some website? If you haven’t called the JAR store at Bergdorf, I would do that first. Let me know what happens, because I’m very curious now as to the perfume’s fate.

  43. Hello!
    I’m new to perfume (I’ve always tended to just use one perfume but got a bit more adventurous having been to some ‘Odette Toilette’ events). FYI I nearly gagged when I tried ‘Love’ by Kilian (Les Sentaurs put it in as a sample so I thought I could spritz away with confidence, HOW COULD THEY!) and I see you feel my pain on this.
    Anyway, I have a friend who loves Tom Ford ‘Extreme’ (or ‘sextreme’ as I like to call it, hot stuff) and I want to get him something for for Xmas but it’s so difficult! He likes the Tom Ford Grey Vetivier and actually ‘Portrait of a lady’ when he sniffed it on me. Any tips gratefully received whilst also acknowledging you have better things to do with your time.
    Oh and I got ‘Cantana’ by Coon Clein Atelier, it’s quite interesting, chestnuts! I’m also building up courage to try out a vintage bottle of Arpege (i bought it for the bottle before I’d gotten into perfume) and it’s lovely on paper (though an avalanche of aldehydes but I like those) but I have visions on a skin rash. Maybe I’ll make mum try it at Xmas, she’s less anxious. What a truly loving daughter I am; ‘Hey mom, because if it’s gone off I don’t want a manky arm’.
    Thanks so much for all your perfume knowledge, love your descriptions.

    • Hello Sarah, welcome the blog. With regard to your friend, you can look up a list of fragrance recommendations that I’ve written and that includes the vetiver genre. I’m afraid I can’t suggest something for your friend without knowing more about his specific tastes. There are a lot of different styles of vetiver. The fact that he liked the rose-centric Portrait of a Lady on you doesn’t mean that he’d like roses on himself. One of the best vetivers on the market and one that he’d probably love is an expensive one called Vetiver Extrait by Roja Dove, and it’s currently massively discounted on the Roja Dove site because it will be discontinued soon. However, shipping from the UK is high unless you live in Europe. You can look up my last point from Friday which includes links to the sale and shipping information. If the price is too much, then perhaps something in the Vetiver section of my fragrance recommendations list will appeal to him but, without knowing anything about his specific perfume tastes, it’s a bit difficult to come up with suggestions. All the best, K-

      • Thanks for the reply, appreciate it’s hard with little to go on! I don’t think he’d even know what his tastes are, you know how it is when you haven’t really explored the perfume world much. Luckily I’m in the UK, unluckily the sale is closed till 01Dec so I’ll take a look at the Vetiver post.
        PS. I got my sample of Maai today, so now I know what these vintage animalics everyone raves about is like!

  44. Hi! I really like your in-depth writing style! I started my own perfume blog, then discovered yours, and was struck with writer’s block for fear that my writing wouldn’t measure up! I finally broke the block and thought I would be neighborly and say hi.
    Mine is smokeandsky.com if you’d like to stop by! 🙂

    • Thank you for the kind comments on the blog, though I’m sorry that I contributed even indirectly to your writer’s block or to fears that you “wouldn’t measure up.” I think we all do something very different and we can all contribute something unique if we stick to our true self, our own way of thinking or feeling about perfumes, so I hope you will put the blinders on to what everyone else does. That is really the best advice I can give you and one I tell myself all the time: ignore everyone else, follow your own path, and write what you really feel. Once you start looking to the left and to the right, it can be paralysing. And comparisons will never help you.

      I will stop by your site when I can, but welcome to the blogging world, Larkin! 🙂

      • Thank you for the kind words! And I certainly did not mean to pin even a scrap of blame onto you! 🙂 Have a lovely night!

  45. nice job on the review for Roja Haute Luxe . of course i want the 100 ml. of course i don’t have that kind of money honey but i gravitate toward the finest and i will look into getting a decant. is there someplace you’d recommend for this and other frags you review.


    frankie chocolate

    • Decants seem to be impossible to find for the Roja Haute Luxe unless you order the one offered on the actual Roja site (but beware very high shipping charges if you live outside of Europe or are in the U.S.). If you live in America, you can try to call the Osswald boutique listed at the end of the Roja Haute Luxe review to see if you can order a sample. Roja Haute Luxe may be excluded from their Sample Program.

      For other fragrances, I order my samples from a variety of places, all in America. I order primarily from: Surrender to Chance, Luckyscent, or Twisted Lily. You can sign up for emails from each of those, and Surrender to Chance has monthly discount codes as well as weekly special offers. In general, almost every review of mine will have a list of vendors at the end in the Details section from which you can order samples if they are available. If there is a fragrance that interests you, you should check that Details section for a link to a vendor or shop from which you can order a test vial. If you’re in Europe, places like First in Fragrance, ParfuMaria, Neos1911/Alla Violetta, and a few others will have sample options.

      I hope that helps.

      • I’m so sorry…I need ‘help’..because I’m asked through email to blog-in here from there.( ‘subsrciption’? ).and I’m scared..complete unexperienced, and why should I do that, since , if I want I can write here anyway ? That’s it…Sorry for asking at the wrong spot..

        • I’m not sure what sort of email you’re getting, but I wouldn’t worry about anything. Perhaps you can explain more what you’ve received? There are a few things that the email might be.
          1) If you’ve signed up to follow the blog and receive notification of new posts in your email box, you are usually asked to confirm your subscription. It’s a step designed to make sure that you didn’t sign up accidentally or via a Spam robot because WordPress doesn’t want you to receive unwanted spam mail, so the email asks you to confirm your decision by clicking on a link. It only happens once.

          2) If you’ve clicked on a box in the comment section to receive replies to that comment in your email box, you will receive those emails. They may have a part that says you can reply to them by clicking “Reply to Email” or something like that. It’s not necessary or needed. I never reply myself that way, I just do it on the site.

          3) In general, to leave any comment here on the site, you have to include your email address. It is a standard, common requirement on all blogs. The address is hidden to everyone but me. This email requirement is unrelated to subscriptions, but perhaps that’s what you mean about the log-in?

          I’m not sure what exactly you’re receiving or which one of these situations may apply, but you needed be scared or worry about anything. If you want to subscribe to follow the blog, you have to confirm that but it is only once. If you don’t confirm, you won’t be signed up to receive new post notifications. Right now, after a quick look at the followers list, I don’t think you’re signed up, so perhaps that was the email you received. If you received anything about replying to posts by email, you can ignore it.

          I hope that helps.

  46. Hi,
    I just dropped in for the first time less than a month ago, over my winter break. Currently I’m a 51 year old doctoral student in a pretty brutal quant-heavy science program, but in a past life – about 15 years ago – I stumbled into perfume blending totally by chance and ended up with several hundred oils/absolutes, etc (including 2 ounces of Mysore sandalwood and 8 ounces of 25-year-old patchouli!). I loved it and came up with a couple of things I was happy with, but when I was invited to join an interactive group (sharing/critiquing creations made from a set list), I realized I was only in it for me – no real interest in putting things out there. Then life did what it does and I stopped for a long time.

    I say all this because I’m a total noob – but not, either. I only know natural materials, because that was what I had access to. Plus, there were very few independent perfumers to buy from. I have difficulty picking out notes, especially where aromachemicals are involved…and I know NOTHING about all the offerings out there, or how most of these amazing offerings will smell on me.

    Fast forward, I was losing my mind and I realized that returning to perfume would give me that little bit of grounding and happiness and ability to return to myself when under immense stress. All I’d have to do is sniff my wrist!!! Imagine my surprise and confusion when I saw what had happened in my absence! A wonderful surprise, but I knew I needed help, and that’s how I found this blog, and others. I read voraciously in December, and ordered a million samples, because I knew starting in January I would run out of time.

    Yours is the only one I’ve subscribed to, because I can’t manage more emails than that during the semester. Your in-depth reviews, which I can – and DO – take little piece by piece…they are so beautiful and evocative, each piece is a little treasure I steal from my work time (just like those wrist sniffs). The fact that you love many things that I love doesn’t hurt…and your responsiveness and genuine kindness sealed the deal. Oh, and I love that you include counterpoints from others, because I enjoy many of the other bloggers, but don’t have time to pursue them often.

    This is a novel, but I thought I’d put the whole intro out so that if I do happen to feel compelled to jump in somewhere, I won’t be a total stranger.
    I’ve realized that already if I’m considering a purchase I check general feedback if I have time, but I *always* check with you first, and if you are silent or in opposition to something, that carries a lot of weight 😉

    I’m going to try to weigh in on the “notes” thing, but to get started:
    the things you have steered me towards that I adore and will buy more of…Trayee, Kiste, Ambre Loup, and Moon Bloom. One I stumbled on all by myself…DSH Vanille Botanique.
    My grail: Spring/summer perfumes. I have no problems finding fall and winter scents, but lighter florals still seem to go waaaay too sweet waaaay too fast on me. I could go on about all of that, but I’ve taken enough space and time.

    Thank you so much for all you do!

    • I thoroughly enjoyed reading this, Jay, and appreciated so much you taking the time to tell me a little about yourself and your tastes. Your collection of oils and absolutes must be amazing, especially as they’ve had to steep and grow more concentrated after 15 years. As for current fragrances, I sympathize with your dilemma of finding a floral that doesn’t morph into something excessively sweet, but I’ll wait until you have the opportunity to play the Note List Game and to tell me about the things you find problematic or difficult before I make any suggestions.

      As a side note, sometimes I’m silent on a fragrance or haven’t reviewed it for reasons unrelated to my feelings about the scent. For example, I may simply not have gotten around to writing about it yet. I have a backlog of more than 100 samples that I have to go through properly. A few I’ve sniffed or tried in passing; others wait until I plan to cover them properly. I’m far slower than some bloggers because I write in greater detail, in addition to testing things extensively. And, unfortunately, I seem to be even slower than usual in the last month due to a variety of reasons and I’ve gone from a norm of 3-4 reviews a week to something less regular in schedule. So, some older releases that I’d planned to write about by now will be delayed. In short, there may be more than one reason why I haven’t covered a scent yet. 🙂

      Anyway, I look forward to getting to know you and your perfume tastes better in the days to come. Thank you again for taking the first step and introducing yourself. 🙂

  47. Hi Kafka,
    I received this reply to my email I sent to LVMH – thought you’d be interested to read it. I did try to sent it to the email address above, but it came back with “invalid recipient.” Please feel free to share it on your blog if you’d like. As you can see, the person who sent it to me didn’t even bother to include his/her name, so I don’t know exactly who penned it. As I read it, they are claiming it was Guerlain who started the issue, which seems even worse (if true) than had it been LVMH, given Ulrik’s prior relationship with Guerlain. I had also written to the person at Guerlain using the address they’ve included but have had no reply.


    Dear Ms McSweeney,

    Thank you for your message.

    Following the disclosure by “Monsieur Guerlain” of strictly confidential information that is prejudicial to Guerlain, Guerlain has reported this contentious content. The social media involved have made the decision to close the accounts of “Monsieur Guerlain”, in application of their internal procedures.

    Guerlain believes strongly in freedom of expression, in respect for the law and in protection of intellectual property.

    For any further information, please contact Guerlain Customer Service: irousseau@guerlain.fr.

    Kind regards,

    Equipe Communication LVMH / LVMH Communications Team

    • It’s interesting that they are shifting the blame and focus, as well as the fact that they’re essentially using the same boilerplate language their FB LVMH robot did. Someone else reported to me a reply from the Guerlain person cited in the email you received, and it’s essentially the same boilerplate response only with a name signed at the end of it. At the end of the day, one shouldn’t be surprised that they’re responding with legalese vagaries, but it’s disappointing nonetheless.

  48. dear Kafkaesque

    I am in Dubai [live in San Francisco Bay area last 35+ years] working on a project.
    The group that I am working with, is a highly connected business Group, operates at very high level in UAE [related to a doers & shakes on the scene here], will refer to them as “Group” herein;;

    2 days ago, I sat in a a presentation with Group {I have been a long-term adviser to them on Industrial projects], where what appeared to be a sophisticated Middle-Eastern entity, pitched them on the idea of opening some very n very high-end [Ritz/Bentley level they referred to concept, metaphorically] Perfume boutiques in few very upscale malls in Dubai & Abu-Dhabi.

    The Group like me, have ZERO clue about the Perfumeries Industry; as we are both, only consumers gf the products {I probably at the very middle-brand level,and the Group, at the high-end fancy levels];

    So being a trusted adviser, The Group asked me to find a source, where he/she can evaluate the business proposal thay the Group has been pitched to by this Middle Eastern group [30 million UAE Dirham project; around $9 million];

    I found you blog, and realized that you are an expert on the industry.

    1. Would you be able to assist the Group, as an adviser on the business potential of project?
    2. what economic consideration would be worth your time/help?

    p.s. I intentionally and by design operate the very old fashioned way; there is no trace of me in the internet!

    • Dear Sir, it would be best to email me about such matters at the address listed above. This week is a bit hectic for me, but I will respond as soon as I can. However, I have to state from the onset that the business and marketing aspects of the industry are not my area of speciality. I am primarily a fragrance reviewer and critic.

      In addition, I can tell you for free and right now the basic answer that I’d write in any email response, which is that there are already a number of niche perfume boutiques in Dubai and across the UAE. For example, The Paris Gallery and something that is called Maison 55 or something. Furthermore, many of the mid-range niche, as well as almost all the luxury and ultra-luxury perfume brands are already available in the Dubai malls or at The Paris Gallery. Clive Christian, Roja Dove, Xerjoff, SHL 777/Stephane Humbert Lucas, and the like are all already sold there and easily available in the big, expensive malls or in speciality shops. As a result, any boutique you launch will be separated only by its look and furnishings, rather than by the inventory it carries. In short, you’re entering into a market that has already done much (or all) of what you propose. I’m not sure how I can assist you beyond that.

      All the best,

  49. Kafk, great reviews. I enjoy your work. thank you frankie chocolate.

    btw. if you have a top twenty all time must haves I’d love to see it and then go try them. thanks in advance. frankie C.

  50. I have been interested in perfumes for only 2 months now and very happy to have discovered your blog.Unfortunatly i follow to the letter all your likes and dislikes (and you dislike more than you like )But i wind up with quality perfumes following your likes .You have made me now discover Sultan Pasha and his Attar’s,so i ordered one that you liked (i learn fast).Thank you for writing this blog ,never would have tought that the world of fragrances would be so exciting and interesting

    • First, welcome to the blog, Mr. Lord, and thank you for your kind words on the reviews. 🙂 I laughed out loud at your observation that I dislike more fragrances than I like, because it’s very true. Probably an understatement in fact. 😉 LOL. Having said that, though, I would always hope that someone try something for themselves if they were really enthused by the notes or if other reviewers/reviews got them excited about the scent. I’m merely one person with one opinion, and my views are — by necessity — filtered through the lens of my own experiences, tastes, and associations. Adding to the wholly subjective, wholly personal aspect of everything is the impact of individual skin differences, so I hope you will only take my views as one person’s general yardstick and that you will also listen to your own gut instincts. In fragrance, all that matters at the end of the day is that YOU love the fragrance, not anyone else, and that includes me and other reviewers. 🙂

      Having said all that, I’m very happy I could help you find a few things that you’ve enjoyed or thought were good quality. And, please, come out lurkerdom; I’d enjoy the opportunity to learn something about you and your perfume tastes. Don’t feel shy or as though you have nothing to contribute, even if you’re new to perfumery. Everyone has something to share. I mean that seriously. 🙂 Perfume is more fun when it’s shared and discussed, much like a cocktail party where one passes along appetizers with the flowing conversation.

      So, what fragrances have you found that you’ve loved? And which Sultan Pasha attar sample did you order? I hope you ordered samples first? Spending money on a blind buy always makes me nervous, no matter what brand or fragrance it is. Too many bad experiences of my own with blind-buys, I suppose. lol BTW, when you get your Sultan Pasha attar, remember, quantity makes a HUGE difference and less is better. Apply a tiny drop at first, or several swipes from the end of a paper-clip. Anything more will impact the balance of notes that come out and create a lopsided result. I learnt that for myself, the hard way. 😀

  51. I read your blog for weeks and feel like I’ve finally found a voice in the fragrance community that truly resonates with me. What put me over the edge were your thoughts on vintage Karl Lagerfeld and Opium. I wore Lagerfeld as a college kid in the ’80s and liked it better than many of my dorm mates! Like some beloved ex-boyfriend I’ve thought about it ever since I lost contact with my bottle. Then when I read your thoughts on Opium…I never wore it and to this day I never knew a soul who did, but working in a department store in the ’80s I looked for excuses to walk by the fragrance counter to smell the bottle. Tonight based on your passion for both scents I purchased vintage versions of each one, which I hope will hold up. I think you may be my fragrance doppelgänger. I don’t have all the words yet but I seem to be drawn to spicy, oriental, woody, amber, honey, boozy, and for some reason jasmine, rose, and honey scents. Honestly, the only scents that, with the rare exception, tend to bore me are citrusy aquas. And to be honest I have yet to find an aqua I care for. Maybe it’s my age. I’m not sure. They give me a headache. Anyway, thank you for the passion and nose you share with the world. I feel more confident as a collector going forward with you in my favorites list. Peace.

    • First, welcome to the blog, Troy. Second, I’m so touched by your comment. What you wrote is what I’ve always hoped my writing could accomplish, not only in terms of resonating with people who share similar tastes to mine but, more importantly, helping them and perhaps guiding them to new loves.

      I grinned and snorted out loud at your comment that you liked vintage Lagerfeld more than many of your dorm mates. Hilarious. Me, too, Troy, me too. And, yes, we do seem to be fragrance doppelgangers since I dislike citrus or citrusy aquatics as well. It’s always great to find someone with such an overlap in tastes, and I look forward to getting to know you. I hope you’ll let me know how the Lagerfeld and Opium turn out to be as glorious as you remembered. I recall the first time I sniffed Lagerfeld after so many years apart, and the pure joy I felt. I hope your bottles of each fragrance have held up, but let me know your emotional response to smelling them again as well.

      Edited to add: it is undoubtedly the hefty amount of white musks in the citrusy aquatics that is giving you a headache, along with the other aromachemicals that are central to the genre (Galaxolide, ISO E Super, Calone, Hedione, and/or Ambroxan, etc.). White Musks can be a headache-inducing thing in a variety of genres outside the citrus, aquatic, or citrusy aquatic ones, so it is probably a combination of synthetics that’s to blame.

  52. Having just written in the comments section of another blog that I don’t generally appreciate lengthy reviews but have one exception to the rule — a blog whose name I forgot — I think I owe it to you to say sorry about forgetting your name: I will rectify the omission!

    More importantly, here is a belated but heartfelt many thanks for writing as you do. I know many sources that write lengthily; I don’t know of anyone else who writes in such a richly detailed way about their perceptions. I enjoy your reviews immensely and since we share many tastes, find them useful too. And I am often dumbstruck by the aptness of the images punctuating the text. (Someone put paintings inspired by Guerlain perfumes on ebay UK a couple of years ago, and I’m still kicking myself for not buying them.)

    That would have been it, except then I saw Zola. He’s gorgeous. Such a shiny coat!

    So thank you for everything.

    • Awww, the comment about Zola made me happier than anything else. I’ve been a German Shepherd fanatic for years now, but he’s special. He owns my heart completely and I’m his abject, worshipful slave, even if he is an extremely demanding Teutonic Overlord at times. 😉 😀

      But thank you for all your kind words, on the site as well as him. It means a lot because I know I’m painfully verbose and that most people really don’t have the time or interest in lengthy reviews these days. I would probably double my readership if I could be pithy, but I can’t seem to help the rather OCD/obsessive-compulsive focus on details. I wish I could — how I wish I could! — because it would make my life so much easier, and reviews less exhausting to write. But I really write for the obsessive-compulsive like myself who find specifics to be helpful in making up their minds whether or not to pursue a fragrance. There are soooooo many fragrances out there, more and more new ones being released every year, and at higher and higher prices to boot. Trying to weed through the chaff to find ones to pursue requires details, I think, particularly when so many brands put all the gorgeous stuff right up top but then, 2 or even 6 hours later, you end up with quite a different fragrance.

      Anyway, it means a lot to me that I am the one exception to your general rule. It really does, so thank you for letting me know. (But thank you most of all for appreciating the beauty of my majestic Hairy German Emperor!! I shall tell him.)

  53. Hello, I found interesting article about Guerlain bottles on your blog. Thank you. I have one very old Guerlain bottle, and I’m very curious what would you say about it. Can I send you some pictures of it somehow?
    Greg (Poznan, Poland).

    • Hello there. Dating bottles is not really my specialty or area of expertise. Which Guerlain fragrance is it? I might be able to help if it is Shalimar. If it’s not, there are sites, like Raiders of the Lost Scent, which do nothing but focus on bottle design and technicalities and they would probably be able to help you better. Links to the relevant sites are in the Guerlain articles. I’m happy to look at the photo, though, to see if I can help, so if you want to email it to me, feel free.

        • Just to let you know, the email hasn’t arrived. The email address you listed is the correct one, so hopefully it will show up sometime soon. 🙂

          • I sent it once again, and I devided it in 3 mails. Maybe the size of the pictures was a problem… Promise not to disturb any more 🙂

          • So, it seems to have been a cell phone issue. I had been checking (and replying) via my cell phone. Nothing showed up in the email or spam folders no matter how many times I refreshed my inbox, so I brought out my laptop and Gmail shows it in the spam folder. I honestly don’t know what happened or why, but I’ve been having some mobile/cell issues since this morning since I changed my mobile carrier so it must be an issue on their end. In any event, I’ll go look at your email photos now and will reply by mail.

  54. I browse this page from time to time just to see if you will update your all-time favorite list, and voilà, I see new additions! Very glad to see fragrances such as Papillon (just blind-purchased Anubis… it’s awesome) and Bogue, yet I can’t help but notice that there are some I expect to see here but are missing. Would’ve thought Rania J Ambre Loup, Bogue Gardelia and some Sultan Pasha would be in there automatically.

    Hope you’ll start writing soon when you come back from your extended break 😉

    P.S. I’m now looking for a white-floral fragrance to diversify my collection, but it has to be edgy. My skin doesn’t work for Big White Florals, so I wonder what I should look at next…

  55. love your blog ! we share the same taste in perfume it seems. I have abstained from wearing anything as part of “being spiritual”, as well as the general degradation of perfumes on the market, that disheartened me. So many are ugly and harsh with no romance or sensuality. However I feel deeply reminded of the sensuality and joy to be found in a beautiful scent and have decided I am going to treat myself to a bottle of Chergui. THANK YOU ! If you are ever in Edinburgh, please message me and we can go and walk and smell the wonderful air of Scotland ! Yours sincerely !

  56. Hi K
    As a Danish reader of your Blog I may not catch all information compleately correct, but I enjoy every word. I have tried to guess your gender, and I believe you to be male. I like your unisex opinion about scents, and I totally agree that it must, in most cases, be a personal choice. But it would help me in judging your words to know if you are male or female. You have elegantly avoided to reveal that fact?!

      • No, I’m sorry. As you have already gathered, I avoid disclosing private information about myself. I shall not be changing that policy. All the best to you.

        • It’s your choice. But the term ‘neutral’ does NOT exist. And thus you mislead your audience. I do not doubt your analytical abilities, but they are based on your gender. Think about it.

          • While you have a generalized point, Jens, what matter is it to me what gender Kafka is? And what if they’re a female in a male body? What does that do? Or androgynous? Or any other combination of gender fluidity? It’s 2017. I can be responsible for my own intersectionality as a reader and reflect on how my own gender, race, class etc identification affects how I construe what I read. K has a right to their privacy. We all do. We each have a right not be defined exclusive by a presumed gender binary or possible judgement for identifying outside of those binaries. Age might be a more defining factor for my opinions or any other factor. Think about it.

          • I just received a bizarre notification from Kafkaesque that a post discussing gender was posted. Oh my lord. I took a diversity class this spring (I’m a college teacher and it gave me salary units). The class did not teach me much, nor did I expect it to, but after 6 weeks of older white males playing nicely in the sandbox with respect to ethnic minorities and learning about disenfranchised African Americans, all hell broke loose the night our instructor brought in a transgender team to give the absolute most professional presentation, which included a variety of pronouns not commonly used, and to discuss gender fluidity. They couldn’t finish their presentation. There was yelling. Tears. Crazy questions. Disruption. Adults, (as in very adult!) were out of control. This confirmed a long-held belief of mine: as racist and generally bigoted as many people are in subtle or large ways–nothing comes close to the hatred and fear regarding biological sex, especially misogyny. This leads to a need to identify, label and place “the other.”

            I do believe in gender fluidity and that at various times we tap into masculine, feminine, sexless, all sex (think Hindu), more. While neutrality is difficult, fairness is certainly in the realm as is understanding one’s self and illustrating that honestly with others with regard to one’s discernment (e.g. perfumes).

            At the end of the day, I’m so grateful for this blog and Kafaesque’s discerning nose whether it’s her nose, his nose, or even The Teutonic Overlord being channelled.
            I think K is a “her” (that’s what I see). But I also don’t care. And I kind of like the mystery of not knowing–ultimately in a day where privacy is unknown–I love and respect the requirement of privacy and one’s personal space absutely being defended from the public. I don’t read the blog for “her” views, but for Kafaesque’s fabulous writing and convergence of history, art, pop-culture, religion, gastronomy, music, architecture, politics–and scent!

          • Months after your original question and you’re still going on about this. You act as though you’re entitled to have my private information. You’re not. “Mislead” my audience? Hilarious. I considered quoting to you what Serge Lutens said once about gender in perfumery but I can’t be bothered because, at the end of the day, all of this is irrelevant. You’re not paying to read my opinions, analysis, or thoughts, all of which are provided for free. This is not a service where you have rights or an entitlement, and what you would like is quite irrelevant. If you feel misled, go elsewhere and don’t read me. Simple as that.

          • Jens: Please get over your obsession with sex; it’s making some of us uncomfortable. We are here for the scents info. Secondly, neutral does exists. Third, many animals, nature, etc., often change sex, are “neutral” or play it as it lays. In a world where pronouns are changing, the idea of a static “gender” is silly. I would also like to add that notions of sexuality are changing all the time. At the end of the day, the real argument–is that of privacy. But if sex and gender is really your jam, check out the Wikipedia blurb here:
            “Clownfish, wrasses, moray eels, gobies and other fish species are known to change sex, including reproductive functions. A school of clownfish is always built into a hierarchy with a female fish at the top. When she dies, the most dominant male changes sex and takes her place.” And that’s just FISH.
            I hope you enjoy hours of contemplating the various sexualities and genders via google. The reason I rule out Clownfish for opinions on Shalimar has little to do with its sex/gender identityy. And “its” is neutral.
            I’m not sure how sex/sexuality/gender plays a role in perfume, particularly when ancient perfume was never designed for “a man” or “a woman”–that is a rather new–yet quaint notion.
            But it’s still about the privacy…

  57. I am so glad you’re back. I wrote a post to you, hit the wrong button, and just couldn’t write it all over again. I will another time. I almost cry when I think of the months re-reading old posts like a sick stalker.
    Okay, so I hear a lot about House of Matriarch, like DSH, two with which I have not dealt. I have a thousand lifetimes of perfumes, love SL, Shalimar, a lot of perfumes you’ve reviewed. DSH is daunting from sheer overload and numbers. Some day I’ll tackle. But I just ordered a sample of the Coco, with trepidation, from HoM. Any reviews on this house? I googled and didn’t find anything from you, despite glowing reviews from other bloggers. Their prices, like Amouage, tend to be steep, though that alone would not necessarily be a deterrent.
    Thank you–Shiva-woman

    • Dear Shiva, you’re very sweet, and I appreciate the warm welcome back.

      With regard to DSH, I agree that the website is quite daunting and you’re definitely not the first person who felt a bit too overwhelmed by the plethora of offerings to know what to choose. I have reviews for a number of the fragrances, but none for House of Matriach. I did receive samples from the company a while back, but none of them really wow’d or moved me deeply.

      One of them I liked more than the others (including the very hyped Blackbird) but I cannot remember which one it was. I think (think) it might have been Coco, but I’m not 100% certain after all this time. I do recall that one of my issues with some of the fragrances was they had a note which smelled to me a lot like white musk, and that I hadn’t expected that in a line reputed to be all natural, but it’s all a bit foggy now since I think it’s been two years (or more ?) since I tried them. I’m sorry I can’t be of more assistance.

  58. Dear Kafkaesque. Firstly, I wanted to thank you for your blog. Your writing is poetic. I read your reviews on vintage L’heure Bleue and Apres L’ondee and they sent me to a dream land of beauty and joy. It is sometimes difficult for me to convey to others why I love the world of perfumery so much. Perhaps instead of trying to articulate how I feel, I should have them read your reviews. They perfectly capture what I want to say. Smelling a beautiful fragrance is an experience that involves our total being and can take us to another world of utter beauty. Your words and the pictures you use to convey this experience are enchanting. So, thank you.
    I was also wondering your quick thoughts on 24, Faubourg. I have recently fallen in love with this perfume and acquired a bottle from 1999, according to the batch code. I saw 24 listed as one you really liked in its vintage form. And, undoubtedly, it has been through numerous reformulations. However, I was wondering if you know the approximate year when it lost a lot of its original character?
    Thank you again. I have signed up to receive your posts and wholeheartedly look forward to reading them all.
    Kindest Regards,

    • First, welcome to the blog, Katie, and thank you for your extremely kind words on the reviews. I’m very touched.

      With regard to your 24 Faubourg question, I’m afraid I have no certain answer. I bought two EDT bottles in 1995 and 1996, soon after the fragrance was released, and then later a parfum version, so I had enough scent not to bother to smell it in stores for quite a number of years. It was possibly in 2006 (2005?) that I tried a bottle of the EDT in a store, and I recall thinking that something had changed and was different, but I never did a side-by-side with my old bottles to compare just how big or significant the differences were.

      I think it was 2009 or 2010 (?) when I was really struck by the differences after spraying a bit while shopping. That’s when I thought to myself that I really needed to hoard what little was left of my last bottle, a big EDT from 1996. The colour differences in the juice were stark, the scent a shadow of its old self. I never tried 24 Faubourg in stores after that not in recent years. I bought several old 1996 bottles on eBay, and I also ordered a sample vial of the modern version from Surrender to Chance late last year when I was considering doing a vintage review. I don’t know the date of the SCT sample but it must be fairly recent, 2015 or 2016. I confess I haven’t really had the heart to try it.

      So, bottom line, I don’t know when exactly or *precisely* the reformulations began because I was only smelling the store versions haphazardly, but I do think 2009 or 2010 marked one stage when things were unquestionably different. Without smelling bottles from subsequent years, it’s impossible to say how that version compared to later ones in terms of losing “a lot of its original character.” That assessment is inevitably going to be a rather subjective, personal one, I think, and it’s also a matter of a sliding scale. But for me, personally, what I smelled in Neiman Marcus circa 2009 was enough to make me conclude I needed to hoard my last remaining old bottle.

      I’m not sure that properly answers your question, Katie, but I hope it helps a little. 🙂

      • Thank you, Kafkaesque, for this reply. I don’t think I could ask for a better idea of the various years when 24, Faubourg began to slowly morph. I appreciate you taking the time to answer so thoroughly.
        I am happy with my bottle from 1999. Thank goodness for places like eBay and Etsy. If you do get around to trying that newer sample from STC, I will look forward to hearing your opinion on that one.
        I didn’t realize until after I posted my first question that you are in Texas. Like so many, I am keeping all of you there in my thoughts and hoping comfort and peace finds its way back into your lives soon.

  59. What a joy it is to come here and read such thoughtful feelings on perfumes and I love how you describe them so vividly. I really enjoyed the Shalimar guide, I also have one on my Guerlain blog too, which you did mention 🙂 thank you! It has been updated several times to include new information. My Guerlain blog, as is most of my perfume blog sites, is meant to be more encyclopedic (as you noted as well) rather than filled with reviews of my personal opinions. I think sometimes people just want quick info and having it there keeps hundreds of people asking me the same questions in an email or two. I really enjoy doing the detective work in the research aspect and for me, it is fun as well. I wrote up the basic Shalimar guide for The Perfume magazine too. I do urge you to get a small bottle of the vintage Shalimar cologne or eau de toilette, splash your skin with it liberally and then apply the extrait over it on your pulse points. The cologne will brighten up the Shalimar extrait and it will linger longer. Try this and see how you like it, and let us know your thoughts on it too.

  60. Casual reader of your blog before but much more interest now in your work post reading the Ensar Oud article which I thought was very well researched and well written. Objective. Fair. Celebrating where one should and airing out bad blood and oud community state of things.

  61. Thank you for this ode of Carnal Flower. I agree with you 100%. Although I was thinking of purchasing the hair mist…Now what is your take on Portrait of a Lady which I find absolutely beautiful.

    • I didn’t write an ode to Carnal Flower. The fragrance isn’t my thing and there are much better tuberose fragrances out there. As for Portrait of a Lady, you can read my review if you’re interested, but that didn’t impress me either.

  62. Hi How do I follow your posts? I am not on WordPress… My Mac does not show me a subscribe button…thanks! Hmmm I just saw a ‘ notify new posts’ button to this reply!

    • Hi there, thank you for your interest. You can receive email notifications of new posts by going to the top right-hand hand side of the Home page where there should be an email subscription box. It only appears if you use a desktop computer or laptop, though, not if you visit the page via your mobile. (I think it’s something to do with the website template not working well on mobile device.) Once you input your email, WordPress will send you a confirmation email asking you if you’re certain. That’s intended to spare you from being spammed by something you’re not interested in. Just click “Yes” on that and you’ll receive emails when each new post is published. 🙂

      I think that’s the only way. I’m pretty sure that the “Notify” button which you mentioned pertains only to replies posted to your comment or to this single thread.

    • Hello there. Welcome to the blog and thank you for the kind words on the site. As for Instagram, no, I’m afraid not.

  63. Thank you, thank you for objecting to the soapiness of Avignon! I am a 68-year-old retired judge with an excruciatingly sensitive sense of smell (which is both a blessing and a curse, as you must know) and have always had trouble explaining to perfume sellers and friends what it is that I object to. I will dip into your other reviews and thank you for their comprehensiveness. It is very difficult to describe scent in a way that is even partly translatable to others’ experiences. Thank you again!

  64. I don’t know any fragrance afficionados so I’m hoping you can help me. I’m looking for what I call The (elusive) Middle East scent. It’s probably an attar but I’m not too familiar with them, nor do I know of any places where I can go and sniff a bunch of them to find the right one.

    I’ve smelled these scents on both men and women and they have *amazing* sillage. They do not smell animalistic, like a heavy oud, or super incensy, or too sweet. They just smell… kind of cedar-like? Or maybe there’s some yuzu? I’ve rarely had the guts to ask anyone what they’re wearing, and when I did, I got, ‘Oh, I don’t remember the name,’ or ‘I bought it overseas,’ etc.

    I’ve been searching for this stuff for ages. The closest I’ve come is Stephane Humbert Lucas’ 2022 Generation Homme. (Not even so much the scent itself but the scent it leaves on my clothing.)

    Any suggestions? I’d really appreciate any insight you might have.

    • It’s difficult to make any suggestions without specifics and, in all frankness, it could be anything. There are more than 2,300+ new perfumes released every year. Traditional attars are done by everyone from the small vendors in Lahore and Amman to the big Middle Eastern perfume houses. Depending on the brand, the wood that you’re smelling and it’s not particularly oud-ish scent is probably a synthetic accord and base. It’s highly unlikely any affordable attars have real oud and you can read Part I of my Ensar Oud profile on the oud world to understand better the reasons why.

      Given that you’re undoubtedly talking about mainstream attars composed with some degree of synthetics for their wood note, then you could be talking about anything. For what it’s worth, SHL 777 Generation Homme is a strongly synthetic scent with a whopping degree of ISO E Super. The perfumer himself confirmed that to me that after my review. If you read my Ensar Oud Post, Part I, on the oud world, you will see that the wood smell you like — a cedary smell — is undoubtedly not real oud. ISO E Super is often said to have cedary, clean, fresh undertones, and it lasts like the dickens, especially on fabric, so I truly wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the ISO E Super that you’re responding to positively. It just happens, in the attar cases that you’ve mentioned, to be mixed with a more middle eastern accord. Probably saffron (actually Safraleine), a faux oud mix, hedione for jasmine, some amber accord (labdanum and/or benzoin), ISO E, or some combination thereof. Brands like Ajmal or Arabian Oud use quite a few Western synthetics in their mainstream line, Ajmal even more than Arabian Oud. But without more specific information, it’s impossible to do anything but guess. My guess is that you’re responding to some sort of mixed accord with a big dose of ISO E Super and that you’re one of the handful of people to whom the note comes across as an aphrodisiac.

      That’s my rough guess. I’m sorry I can’t help further under the circumstances.

      • I am quite fond of it, in all of its mainstream, synthetic glory. Thanks very much for your insight and for the quick response. I’ll see what I can uncover….

        • Excellent recommmendation. I was thinking iso e super too. And other nuanced thoughts are also truly appropriate and possibly on the money.

          I am Not a betting man, but here in this case, I’ll bet that’s the note the above guest is hooked on is iso e super. I too was a big fan once and In fact I had the eccentric molecules original (iso e super” in all its glory as my scent circa 08. Now I am in the world of oud. Where all olfactory journeys seem to lead to and end there. So far in my journey at least that appears to be the case. evidence suggests you are in for life.

          • Thanks, Rasoul. I recently tried Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules, and I didn’t like it. From what I understand, that has plenty of Iso E Super in it. Perhaps I just didn’t like it in that particular scent.

            I’ll just have to be courageous and ask someone what they’re wearing the next time I smell It. I wish there were a Shazam-like app for scents!

  65. Hello Kafkaesque. I suppose you are shivering on hearing my view on perfume, Synthetic is okay with me. Mainstream as well. I am tired of all these niche brands coming up like mushrooms. My last purchase: Coco Mlle. Parfum Intense. Love it.
    Nevertheless, I enjoy your perfume blog very much. Interesting stories , beautiful pictures.

    • We all have different tastes. The world is interesting that way. I’m glad that you’ve found things that suit you. At the end of the day, that’s ALL that matters: that we have something that gives us great joy. Who cares what anyone else thinks so long as you’re happy. 🙂

  66. Thank you for your thoughtful research on all things perfume. Many of us no doubt benefited and learned so much, for example on your Shalimar posts (incredibly detailed and really helping me renew my love–and increase it–for this lovely vintage). I just want to add that I really don’t need to know anything about the people who blog. Sometimes they tell personal “bits” and it is relevant (I’m thinking of some on the Perfume Posse) or funny/interesting; and sometimes they don’t, and I don’t care. It’s immaterial to me–literally–what sex, ethnicity, orientation, religion (I might draw some lines at political persuasions) of the person blogging–not that those things don’t matter in general, or in specific instances, but in this case, it’s the value of the work itself that matters. And Kafaesque, your public work in this case, your minutely detailed reviews–is a tremendous service to us all. PS–we DO like seeing pictures of the Overlord!

  67. Hello,
    I, and other Basenoters, were wondering where your reviews of Sultan Pasha went. I was going to look them over before ordering. Thanks.


  68. Hey
    Have you changed your email add… somehow it seems invalid. Pkease update us.

  69. Hello,

    Because of you, I blind purchased a bottle of Alahine followed by another and am stingy with one and guard the second treasure with my life!

    Speaking about treasures…

    I have a few bottles of vintage 200ml fragrances. One find was at a local ‘garage sale’, where I met three generations of Lebanese ladies, all chic and ‘au courant’. The ladies sat on generous embroidered cushions under a shaded patio, facing tables covered with treasures. Next to the ladies, my eyes caught a small curio table on which was the iconic Boucheron gold case perfume bottle among other bottles. After confirming the fragrances were for sale I sniffed away but not finding any I particularly liked I purchased the almost empty Bucheron Jaipur anyway.

    I was rewarded for my civility with an invitation from the grandmother to return later as she had a perfume I might appreciate. Return I did and was graciously welcomed to snack on fat Kalamata olives, pistachio, dates, cardamon tea and to enjoy the sunset. By and by, I was offered a gold and navy blue box holding a 200ml, completely full, Lys Bleu, created for Le prince Henri Pierre d’Orleans. The fragrance was purchased by the grandmother in the 1970’s in Paris. The only problem; the bottle stopper was stuck. I had never heard of the perfume but the bottle looked interesting, the star stopper was charming, the company expansive and for a mere $25, it was faith’s adventure!

    After two weeks of trying google instructions to heat, cool, oil, force and what not, when I almost gave up, the bottle popped and loveliness in all it’s glory met me. I love perfume but a nose I am not and have no idea what the composition of this complex scent is. Maybe you do? Please tell me.

    plenty thank you…

    • First, welcome to the blog and I’m so pleased to hear that you fell for Alahine (RIP original version). Second, what a delightful story and experience you had. Perfume PLUS olives, dates, pistachios, tea, and chic Lebanese grandmothers… it sounds like an experience to treasure and they sound wonderful.

      With regard to the more specific question regarding Lys Bleu, I’m afraid I can’t be of any use or assistance. The name rings a bell but, in all honesty, I’m not sure if that vague niggling bell relates to this actual fragrance or to something with a similar name which my mind may have just lumped into one. I know that I’ve never tried anything called Lys Bleu, at least not that I recall. Googling only tells me what you yourself must already know: it was released in 1980 and it was put out under the Prince d’Orlean’s own name and as his own brand.

      You have probably already seen the Fragrantica and Parfumo listings for the composition:
      https://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Prince-Henri-d-Orleans/Lys-Bleu-24489.html (some notes listed but they’re vague and it’s a very, very brief list)

      Have you seen the review by The Black Narcissus (the Lys Bleu section is midway down the page):

      Again, you’ve probably discovered all this on your own already so I’m sorry I’m not adding anything further. I wish I could be of more help. But at least you had a great experience and adventure, while also accidentally stumbling across something you love. The background, context, and charming people you encountered will no doubt make this fragrance extra, extra special.

      BTW, quick note for the future regarding vintage stoppers not coming out: put the bottle in the freezer for a short amount of time, like 10-15 minutes, and see if that doesn’t make it pop out! 🙂

  70. Wonderful to hear back from you so soon.

    And thank you for your feedback and for including Back Narcissus’ review. As I read, I imagined wearing Lys Bleu while traveling through the warm climates of Florida and New Orleans. What decadence that would be; almost like wearing Amouage Gold Femme. Come to think of it Lys Bleu would be the middle sister of AMG and vintage Jolie Madame, at least to my nose.

    Curious to know what you’d wear during different seasons or what you’d recommend….

    I so appreciate reading your blog. The two perfume blogs I frequent most are Kafkaesque and Perfume Shrine. The first time I visited this page, the graphics caught my eye; lanterns of a particular cherry red, the Japanese call them Chōchin, surrounded by yellow in a sea of black. Beautiful! And then the content, so rich and textured…

    I also wish you’d start another blog dedicated to food appreciation. With your unique writing style and sensibilities, I am sure you could excite our taste buds even more.


  71. Hello, I recently discovered your blog and I think it’s really stupendous: the information you post are so rich and fulfill of affection for perfumes that leave me breathless. I am a collector (owning A LOT of fragrances), and my partner is starting to hate me because we don’t have any room left. A question: what’s your recommendation for a Roja Dove fragrance? I read your favorite are Nuwa and Britannia. Any suggestion for an almost 50yo man is appreciated.
    Regards, Francesco.

    • Welcome to the blog, Francesco. No, Brittania is definitely not my favourite; it’s merely better than many of the recent releases. With regard to NuWa, I only liked the original one, but it was reformulated something like a year after its debut because it’s original form wasn’t too popular or a big seller. I’m not at all keen on the new version.

      My favourite Roja Dove is, hands down, Roja Haute Luxe or Haute Luxe. But I’ve heard some people say that they think it may have been diluted or changed a bit. I don’t know. Another good one that is definitely worth trying and which is also understandably popular is Enigma For Men or Creation D. If you’re a fantastic of Guerlain’s vintage Heritage or a patchouli fan, you should definitely try his Danger For Men. If you love chypres, try Diaghilev, although I personally wasn’t wow’d and blown away by that one the way others were or the way I was blown away by Roja Haute Luxe.

      If you love amber, leather, and vintage Bel Ami by Hermes, you must try the fragrance he created for the Puredistance brand called “M.” However, please be aware that this is another one which has reportedly/supposedly been diluted and/or reformulated, according to several readers who loved and/or owned the scent when it was originally released.

      I suggest reading my reviews for the recommended scents, then ordering samples to see what resonates most passionately with you.

      Hope that helps a little.

  72. Hi Kafkaesque, I just came across your blog and now I’m hooked. Thank you so much for the thoughtful and beautifully written discussions on all things perfume.

    I have a question regarding your vintage Shalimar (and other vintage) hunts on eBay: have you had any issues with fakes or other shenanigans? I have seen some seemingly lovely options but have been burned on eBay before and wondered if that ever seemed to be an issue in the vintage perfume space in your experience.

    • Hi, welcome to the blog. To answer your question, I’ve been very lucky and have never bought a fake. In fact, out of several hundred vintage buys, only two had their top notes be off, but both were mild instances and involved fragrances with major citric top notes. But I count myself lucky.

      I think fakes and/or trickery might be more of a problem with modern designer fragrances than the oldies, although I realize tinted water could be a possibility in both areas. But, as I said, I’ve been lucky. I’m trying to think of any friends of mine who have had issues and I can think of only one who bought a fishy bottle of Roja Haute Luxe (a $3000 modern fragrance) on eBay Germany. I can’t think of anyone whose had an issue with vintage (and a few of my friends buy nothing but vintage on eBay).

      This is not to discount your personal bad experiences. It’s merely to say we’ve been lucky to be spared (thus far). I’m sorry you’ve had such rotten luck. 🙁

      • Thank you, I appreciate you letting me know and I feel encouraged to give eBay another try!

  73. Hello! Love reading your reviews, you’ve helped me make several decisions in growing my scent collection!!

  74. Hi and hope all is well with you..
    I was about to purchase HEGOA by TEO CABANEL and thought better to check your review first. Nothing on search.
    Also, heard they were releasing a new perfume in 2019. As always, looking forward to your excellent reviews .


  75. Dear Kafkaesque. Your blog is a very helpful resource for the perfume junkie and everyone else interested in it our . I appreciate your honesty in reviewing perfumes, a person’s word is their honour; one of those chivalrous qualities that have become dormant in our time. Thank you.

  76. Excellent article you wrote about Fawzia Fuad!!! I had been looking for info on her but it is so scarce. Great job.

    Have you managed to learn anything else about her since you wrote your blog post?

  77. I had my grandmother’s very old Guerlain Shalimar Perfume Bottle with glass Stopper. My husband knocked it off my dresser and it shattered. It was still half full, it was a large bottle and I looked to replace it. However, none smells as sweet like my Nanna’s bottle. She worked for Channel and other companies over the years and would routinely bring home bottles of different perfumes. After her death, family members took everything but left the half used bottle,,,which is fine, it was the only one I wanted anyway because that was her scent, her special go to perfume. I cried for weeks after it shattered,,,,that and her Q-pee doll was all I had left to remember he by.

  78. Thank you for your post about SL’s reformulations. I knew something had changed when I ordered a new bottle of Clair du Musc in September 2018, and it didn’t smell the same.And, the original was oiler than now. I was worried when SL was purchased by Shiseido.

    When I contacted SL, they assured me it was a same. They also were adamant that my body was changing, not the scent, or that I had worn the perfume so much, that I could no longer smell it. After several rounds of emails, they sent me a smaller bottle, at no charge in May 2019; however, it smells different than the June 2019 bottle.

    I am so disappointed. I purchased SL’s scents for 12+ years because it didn’t cause me respiratory issues. And, now, I am connecting the dots to the respiratory issues I started having in February are most likely connected to the new bottle I began using then.

    I have original Fleurs de Citrononnier from Paris near the Louvre in 2007; one spritz and it lasts all day. No respiratory issues. It’s my summer scent.

    I have a newer Gris Clair from 2017 to 2018 time frame, which smells a bit reformulated. I’ll pay attention to respiratory issues and duration next time I use. It’s my winter scent.

    And, I now have two bottles of reformulated Clair du Musc. With the original, one spritz would last all day. However, now, the spritz on my left arm from 1 bottle and the spritz on my right arm from another bottle lasted about 3 hours this morning. And, they caused respiratory issues. I’ll need to write to SL’s about this. What a pain and a loss of $150.

    Not sure how I can get the original Gris Clair or Clair du Musc again, my favorites. Searching for natural perfumes is difficult. Welcome suggestions.


  80. Thanks so much for this site, I rely a lot on reviews as I live in NZ and thus end up blind buying a lot. Yours are the only reviews which seem to notice that screechy synthetic quality in some scents (eg Meharees). I thought I was going crazy looking at the fragrantica or basenotes reviews then being disappointed by the fragrance itself.

  81. I liked and followed your reviews for some time, but find it really hard to trust you after you cut ties with others and deleted reviews without at all making any mention of it.

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