Mini Perfume Making Course with Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

Post by Madeleine
Last Saturday, I was given a terrific opportunity to embrace some scented creativity by the one and only Miss Portia. She couldn’t attend a perfume making course with aromatherapist and creator of the Aromatique Essentials perfume line, Julie Nelson, due to work commitments and nominated me to go in her place.
The session was at Julie’s house in Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, about two hours’ drive west from Sydney. I was graciously offered a lift by the wonderful Catherine du Peloux Menagé, a perfume consultant and the organiser of the Sydney Perfume Lovers meetup group. Catherine and I had met many years ago at the launch of the Frederic Malle range in Sydney and I was one of her first perfume consulting ‘guinea pigs’. We have recently become reacquainted and it was wonderful to share and swap perfume stories on the trip.

Mini Perfume Making Course with

Julie Nelson of Aromatique Essentials

During the morning session, Julie described her love for natural perfumery and the reasons why she took up aromatherapy and the natural way. If you have been reading the blog, you’ll know that the main catalyst behind Julie’s vocation was her daughter, who was born premature and then diagnosed with a rare lung condition. Julie’s story of all the struggles and love particularly resonated with me as I was also three months premature back in 1974 and also given not much chance. Listening to her, I felt very thankful to be happy and healthy some 39 years later. Catherine, Julie and I were joined by a quartet of lovely bright young things: the bubbly Dimi and Monique, the inquisitive Sophy, and Teal, a lovely lass who had decided to embrace aromatherapy after coming to a crossroads in her life.
Julies Class #4Photo: Homemade meringues with edible rose petals for morning tea
After lunch, we got on to the creative part of the session: making our own scents. As someone who has loved contemporary perfumes for a long time, I was intrigued about exploring essential oils and having the chance to create my own scent rather than writing about others. Julie brought out her vast collection, a virtual menagerie of smells for the enthusiast. I was especially keen to try the musty herbaceous oakmoss and of course, the tuberose, which didn’t disappoint with the sharp mentholated opening segueing into buttery creamy goodness.
Julies Class #3Photo: Some of the oils we were working with
Before I start on the creative process, I should point out that while natural perfume making is about combining essential oils, it changes depending on what base or carrier you use. Julie had said earlier that she used oils such as jojoba or a mix of almond, sunflower and macadamia for perfumes to be dabbed on the skin. For spray versions, as the ones we were creating, a variety of bases could be used from vodka to spring water, floral waters or a hydrosol, which is the first 30 per cent of a floral water gleaned from the distillation process, such as rose or orange blossom.
Julies Class #2Photo: The lovely Julie explaining her process
Before we started mixing, Julie asked us five questions to work out what kind of blend would suit us: What was our favourite colour? What was our favourite food? What were our favourite types of smells? What were our favourite leisure activities? What feeling did we want to have wearing the perfume we had created?
My answers were: red; cheese and anything that satiated the umami taste; white florals, aldehydes and aromatic greens; reading walking and anything perfume related; confidence.
Julie advocated a blend of petitgrain, jasmine, ylang ylang, oakmoss and patchouli for me and a number of other oils for the other ladies in the group. We then got to work. My resulting perfume was rather lovely, a very soft and pretty white floral with a slight aromatic tinge from the petitgrain and oakmoss and anchored by a dry chocolately patchouli.
Julie Class #1Photo: Monique and Dimi at work
We had terrific fun blending and sniffing and perfecting, all capped off with a beautiful glass of champagne with raspberries. All in all, a fabulous day out and some wonderful insights into an area of perfumery I hadn’t explored before.
Have you tried natural perfumes or do you use essential oils? Have you tried any of Julie’s line?
With much love till next time,
M x

Top 5 Perfume Wishlist 2013


Post by Madeleine


As many of you know, I had a bit of a cleanout of my collection last weekend, thanks to the terrific APJ sniff-together at Portia’s. Early on this journey, I made the mistake that many of us do, buying stuff too quickly without ample skin time or just falling prey to the thought: “Oh my god, everyone else loves this, I need to have it.”

Well, I’ve now gone back to basics. I will only acquire full bottles of fumes that have worn the test of time, the ones that when they hit my skin again and again are greeted with an enthusiastic “YES!” Samples and decants only for the ones that intrigue and stuff I just want to test and write about.

So, let’s just pretend that last’s week’s sale gave me enough money to buy five brand new bottles. What are those loves that I need to get?

Madeleine’s Top 5 Perfume Wishlist 2013

Bubblegum Chic by James Heeley for Heeley 2011

Bubblegum Chic Fragrantica

Jasmine is one white floral that doesn’t usually agree on my skin, but here it is perfect. Bubblegum Chic is playful green jasmine made more narcotic with the addition of tuberose. The name is apt as it’s playful and vampy at the same time. It’s that nonchalant, happy girl at work that once you get to know her has a hefty dose of je ne sais quoi.

Bubblegum Chic is available at Peony Melbourne $275/50ml Extrait de Parfum and Luckyscent $230/50ml Extrait de Parfum; Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $7/.5ml

Fleurissimo by James Henry Creed for Creed 1956

Fleurissimo Fragrantica

A lovely perfumista friend said I’d love it back when I was getting started in this game. Many years and bottles later, she’s still right. Grace Kelly associations aside, this is a magnificently elegant and understated white floral that just oozes sophistication.

Fleurissimo is available at Libertine Parfumerie $259/75ml; Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3/.5ml.

Lady Caron by Richard Fraysse for Caron 2000

Lady Caron Fragrantica

Very much an unloved gem in my opinion, this perfume just makes me incredibly happy. It’s a floral chypre, but here the usual peach is replaced with raspberry, rounded out with jasmine and moss. Lady Caron is truly golden sunlight on skin. It also reminds me of those times my parents had proper dinner parties back when I was a little girl. It’s the wonderful melange of smells on my pajamas after kissing and hugging the beautifully dressed female guests. Comforting but very elegant.

Lady Caron is available at Luckyscent $95/50ml; The Perfumed Court samples start at $3/ml

Tubereuse by Richard Fraysse for Caron 2003

Tubereuse Fragrantica

You already know why thanks to my last review. But this is also very special to me for the very reason that it was the first fragrance I bought on my first romantic getaway to Paris with my gorgeous Mr M.

Tubereuse by Caron is available at LuckyScent, which has the EDP for $130/50ml and the parfum extrait for $150/15ml; Surrender to Chance has samples of the parfum starting at $5/.5ml

Tubereuse Couture by Pierre Guillame for Parfumerie Generale 2009

Tubereuse Couture Fragrantica

All you oriental/vanilla/patchouli/vetiver lovers must be shaking your heads and rolling your eyes about now, thinking “not another goddamn tuberose!!” but yes, more is more for me when it comes to the vampy flower. Tubereuse Couture like the aforementioned Caron is also a little bit of a sleeper when it comes to the genre, but it is divine. Here, sugar cane and banana leaf lend a lovely tropical vibe, but make no mistake, this is a scent for ballgowns, not the beach.

Tubereuse Couture is available at Luckyscent $100/50ml; Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $4.99/ml

So there you have it! My wishlist of loves. What would your wishlist look like?

With much love till next time!
M x

Tubereuse by Richard Fraysse for Caron 2003


Post by Madeleine


Hello fragrant friends!

One of the joys of this hobby is rediscovering a long-lost love. Sometimes, I will rummage around in my (highly disorganised) sample drawer, find a forgotten gem and fall head over heels all over again.

This week, that honour belonged to the gorgeous Caron Tubereuse. Such is the depth of its beauty that I am sitting here and scratching my head as to why I haven’t worn it for so long and moreover, why I haven’t replaced my full bottle.

Tubereuse by Caron 2003

Tubereuse Caron FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Tuberose, narcissus, citruses
Heart: Tuberose, freesia, jasmine, apricot, peach
Base: Vanilla

Caron’s Tubereuse doesn’t get a whole lot of share of the tuberose chatter on the blogosphere given the omnipotence of the trinity of Tubereuse Criminelle, Carnal Flower and Fracas, but in my opinion, it has a whole lot to add to the conversation.

What it adds is this: a totally different take on the narcotic white flower. If the aforementioned trio are like listening to a bold and beautiful coloratura, then Caron’s Tubereuse is like listening to Mozart being played by a string quartet. Tubereuse is a refined, elegant and almost fragile take on the flower more known as a “take-no-prisoners” diva. It’s tuberose in muted pastel shades; the flower taken in soft focus.

Tubereuse Caron MorgueFilePhoto Stolen MorgueFile

Tubereuse opens like a ray of sunshine on a cold spring day. The tuberose here is slightly heady, clear and warm: a radiant glowing yellow. After a while, subtle jasmine lends the composition a sweet, musky vibe, tempering the buttery richness of the tuberose and giving the perfume its well-mannered feel. It is sweet and full, but remains refined and soft and somewhat innocent. Caron’s signature base lends a dark, almost melancholic quality to the scent in the drydown. It adds a rich, velvety feel to the brightness of the tuberose and jasmine.

If Fracas, Tubereuse Criminelle and Carnal Flower are like your best friends at a party – the ones who you crack a joke and have a few laughs with over a couple of glasses of wine – Caron’s Tubereuse is the elegant lady standing in the corner. She’s unassuming, dressed in a simple champagne sheath, hair pulled back with a lick of mascara and lipstick and drinking a gin and tonic. She may be in the background, but you just can’t help but notice her. You’ll have to make sure to go over to talk to her before you leave. She may be quiet, but she is an enigma.


As my Mum always told me, “You have to watch the quiet ones.” Caron’s Tubereuse may not be as loud as her contemporaries, but she is certainly well worth watching.

Further reading: Bois De Jasmin and Pink Manhattan
LuckyScent has the EDP for $130/50ml and the parfum extrait for $150/15ml.
Surrender to Chance has samples of the parfum starting at $5/.5ml

Have you tried Caron’s Tubereuse? Are there any other underrated tuberoses in your opinion? Is there a long lost love that you’ve recently rediscovered?
With much love till next time!

M xx

Baghari by Aurelien Guichard for Robert Piguet (1950)2006


Guest post by Madeleine


Hello fragrance friends!

My recent posts have featured a classic Robert Piguet fragrance, Fracas, and a perfume that makes me feel like the idealised version of myself, Guerlain’s Chamade.

Today I want to talk about a perfume that encapsulates both of these elements: the sumptuously elegant….

Baghari 2006 Robert Piguet for women

Baghari Robert Piguet FragranticaPhoto stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, bergamot, neroli
Heart: Bulgarian rose, jasmine, iris, violet
Base: Amber, vanilla, musk, vetiver

Baghari is a rich aldehyde perfume and whilst I have many aldehyde fragrances I adore (Chanel No 22, Divine’s L’Ame Soeur, Lubin’s Nuit de Lonchamp), Baghari is the one that really truly embodies and encapsulates retro glamour to me. It is a perfume that speaks of pearls, ruby red lips, darted stockings, silk peignoirs and nipped in waists. Glamour, elegance, dry martinis and cat’s eyes sunglasses.

Bagari was originally launched in 1950 and developed by perfumeur Fabrice Fabron. It the final fragrance introduced into the Piguet range during the designer’s lifetime. It was then reformulated and re-introduced in 2006 by Aurelien Guichard and it is this version I am reviewing today.

The perfume opens with the sparkle of aldehydes shot through with the crisp green citrus of bergamot. The aldehydes here are soft and twinkling as opposed to the sharper champagne fizz of Chanel No 5 and 22 or Le Labo’s Aldehyde 44.

Baghari Snow Lamp WeHeartItPhoto Stolen WeHeartIt

The effect is one of soft yellow streetlamps on powdery snow; the glimmer of candelight on a crystal glass. The bergamot tempers the sparkle and gives the opening a crisp green quality. Baghari then softens quite considerably with the neroli and the rose lending a rich floral vibe and making the composition smooth, graceful and feline. Baghari here is richer and creamier, and it almost feels edible, like sucking on an orange cream ice cream or a biting into a tangerine fondant chocolate. If the perfume were a fabric, it would be of apricot silk, fluid and comfortable against the skin.

Into the drydown, amber joins the fray, anchoring the powderiness of the aldehydes and the citrus tones of the bergamot and neroli. The silk has been spun into the plushest velvet, cocooning the skin with its soft warmth.

Baghari Cat Cocoon InthralledPhoto Stolen Inthralld

Baghari has the magical quality of completely transforming its wearer. Spritzed on the weekend when feeling ordinary in jeans, I become all cheekbones and grace donning the very best couture silk.

And yet, despite being enamoured for years by Baghari’s charms, I have never actually purchased a bottle, instead surviving on decants and samples. It’s one that I just seem to forget to buy and I’m now vowing to change that.

Baghari elegant Lady WorldBabyContestPhoto Stolen WorldBabyContest

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Perfume Smellin Things.
Libertine Parfumerie has $150/50ml (with FREE Australian delivery and they guarantee their stock is real and fresh)
FragranceNet has $75/50ml
Surrender to Chance has samples starting at $3/ml.

Have you ever tried Baghari? What is your favourite aldehyde fragrance? Is there any perfume you adore and have not got around to purchasing a bottle.

With much love until next time!

M x

Chamade by Jean-Paul Guerlain 1969


Post by Madeleine


Hello fragrance friends. Hope you are well and enjoy today’s post.

Well, like any other perfume obsessive, I’m pretty unfaithful when it comes to scents. Sometimes I’ll wear several a day, let alone dozens in a week. So it’s surprised me that I have been pretty much faithful to one scent for several weeks now:

Chamade by Guerlain 1969

Chamade was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1969, and it was inspired by the Francoise Sagan’s novel “La Chamade” which was later adapted into a movie starring Catherine Deneuve. The word, from French means a drumbeat signifying a retreat from war.

Chamade Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords (Ed: different in the blurb and pictures, I’ve melded):
Top: Hyacinth, Turkish rose,  jasmine, bergamot, aldehydes
Heart: Lilac, cloves, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris, galbanum, ylang-ylang, blackcurrant buds,
Base: Sandalwood, vetiver, musk, benzoin, amber, tonka bean, Tolu balsam, Peru balsam

Many others have written of the fragrance so beautifully, that I can’t really add much more to what’s been said already. However, the perfume, as many have noted, feels like a perfume in three separate acts. The first is the bright green, spring-like opening of galbanum and hyacinth at first fresh and then powdery; the second act is all about dewy rose and lilac, underpinned by juicy blackcurrant; the final act is another beast entirely, where the green rosiness segues into smooth and sweet vanilla and amber.

Chamade Guerlain TemptaliaPhoto Stolen Temptalia

I acquired my bottle of Chamade a few months ago, knowing it was hard to find here in Australia and a classic. I initially regretted my purchase and wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it. Fast forward some time and Chamade is now so perfect to me, I’m actually wondering how I lasted without it as long as I did. The perfume is everything I’d like to think I am and everything I want in the idealized version of myself: sophisticated, elegant, intelligent, beautiful and warm. It is at once a perfect adornment whilst at the same time being innately part of me. For note, I have the EDP version.

Chamade Gown TrendsEvePhoto Stolen TrendsEve

Further reading:Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This

SurrendertoChance has samples starting at $3/ml

Have you tried Chamade? Have you been more faithful to one fragrance lately? What perfumes are currently in rotation for you?

With much love until next time!
M x

Fracas by Germaine Cellier for Robert Piguet 1948


Post by Madeleine


My Fracas Story – Fracas by Robert Piguet 1948

Fracas FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

In my ever changing and expanding fragrance collection, there’s one particular perfume that deserves pride of place. Other scents have come and gone, but Fracas by Germaine Cellier for Robert Piguet has been a mainstay for me for 15 years. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but my altercations with this perfume have been mostly due to circumstance and other people rather than my own feelings of the scent.

I acquired my first Fracas bottle not long after the scent was reintroduced in 1998, before online shopping and the first fragrance blog. Until then, I’d worn popular scents available in department stores and Fracas’ exclusivity enthralled and enchanted me. It was expensive, only available in one boutique here in Sydney, had a cult following and was one of my idols favourites – British model Sophie Dahl. And it looked so chic in the shiny black bottle.

Fracas Robert Piguet Ad vk.comPhoto stolen

I returned to the Sydney boutique time and time again to catch beautiful whiffs while I saved my hard earned pennies to buy a full bottle. Fracas was going to be my fragrance, something that I loved rather than a perfume that all my girlfriends wore or something to impress a boyfriend. I still remember the thrill when that bottle was finally wrapped lovingly in tissue paper. I was all woman now, and nothing was going to stop me. I proudly put some on before going down to dinner that night. I was still living with my parents at that stage and thought I’d wow them with my new acquisition.

Not so. “Oh my god, what is that AWFUL perfume you have on?” was my mother’s reaction. Dad and my brother also looked suitably unimpressed. I told them in vain of the story of Fracas and how it had been inspired by Rita Hayworth but they just didn’t budge. Such was the level of dislike for my scent that my brother actually renamed it with an expletive (I’ll allow you to use your imagination here): “Oh no, you’ve got that awful *&^% #$$ perfume on again.”

Thus, Fracas and I became clandestine. She now accompanied my on my morning gym visits where I could spray with abandon without my family’s misgivings. However, one day, I managed to smash an almost full bottle on the changing room floor. I was mortified and more disturbed still when I saw dozens of girls recoil in horror at the pungency and loudness of the tuberose. That changing room had my scent on it for months.

Fracas Robert Piguet Elegant Stripper photo-cursPhoto Stolen photo-curs

Fast forward some time and suddenly it seemed like every woman was in on my secret. Fracas became ubiquitous and our relationship went more underground. I refused to wear it out now, only sneaking a precious few drops when I could enjoy it at home alone. It would be my guilty pleasure after coming home from work; my comfort scent that I would put on to wear to bed.

Just as my relationship with Fracas has changed, so too has the scent on my skin. All those years ago it was a bold, brash diva: tuberose with a capital T, a scent that was incredibly beautiful but that took no prisoners. Now Fracas is sotto voce on my skin, it opens up with the bright orange blossom and tuberose before the buttery goodness melds with my skin and becomes one with it. It sings so softly now that I can pretty much wear it without provoking comment.

So it was much to my surprise when I did get one sometime last year. I’d spritzed some on before hopping into a taxi to meet my fiancé. The driver turned to me and said: “What are you wearing? You smell lovely, like a lady.” I told him it was Fracas and she was very much a lady indeed.

Further reading The Candy Perfume Boy and Bois de Jasmin

Fracas is now not so exclusive and available readily online at outlets such as FragranceNet, $68.19/50ml.

Have you tried Fracas? Which one of your fragrances takes pride of place in your collection?

With much love till next time!
M x

Aurore Nomade by Bertrand Duchaufour for The Different Company 2012


Post by Madeleine


Hello fragrance friends. I hope you are all well and enjoy today’s post.

I’d like to think that it wasn’t just by chance that my sample of today’s fragrance happened to arrive the day after daylight savings ended here in Sydney. After a mercifully brief period of hot weather during our so-called summer, suddenly not only was it dark very early in the evening but cold temperatures had already decided to set in. I was miserable and I felt cheated. I wanted the precious little heat and light that we’d had thus far back again. I wanted to be sweating in a t-shirt, not staving off chills with a cashmere cardigan. I wanted to crawl into a time travel machine and go back to just some days before when the air had still been balmy at 6pm and the sky still blue.

Aurore Nomade by The Different Company 2012

Aurore Nomade was just the olfactory tonic to do it. And it did so with a bang.

Aurore Nomade  FragranticaPhoto stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Banana, carambola (star fruit), cinnamon, sea notes, nutmeg, rum and artemisia
Heart: Ylang-ylang, geranium, cloves, frangipani
Base: Immortelle, sandalwood, amber, vanilla and musk.

Reading that list, it would be all too easy to dismiss Aurore Nomade as a hot mess but it’s a multi-faceted perfume where a seeming cacophony of notes weaves a complex but cohesive pattern that takes you on a strange and delightful journey.

The perfume’s central note is starfruit and it’s the main reason that it inspired my much needed ‘summer-esque’ excitement. The fruit’s tart, pulpy tang speaks of exotic locales and brought back memories of childhood trips to Asia. I’m once again wandering around hidden markets in Thailand; I’m back in the dazzle and hum of a Hong Kong Street at night; again gazing at the thatched roof of a resort in Malaysia where the ceiling fans gently cool the air with their sonorous thrum.

Aurore Nomade is all salty-sweet with a definite palatable quality as if one’s margarita has been made with lemons and passionfruit instead of lime. There’s that wonderful sensation of licking the salt rim after you’ve gulped the syrupy liquor.

Margaritas DudeFoodNYCPhoto Stolen DudeFoodNYC

Underlying this contrasting vibe is also a verdant quality. In this phase, Aurora Nomade feels like a brighter, more delicate version of the now sadly discontinued L’Artisan Fleur de Liane. There’s the same impression of dense green vines and stems tangling around trees in a rainforest all thick with humid heat. Ozonic notes join the fray, amplifying the sense of high temperature and giving it a metallic zing. It’s the crackle of lightning foreboding the onset of a summer storm; the salty smell of water on asphalt after the storm has passed.

The base is all about soft spices creating a comfort skin scent. The cinnamon, sandalwood and vanilla are gentle and cozy on the skin. It’s a rather quiet denouement after all Aurore’s drama, but satisfyingly so.

SONY DSCPhoto stolen FaeriesFinest

Further reading Grain de Musc and Fragrantica

Available online at Luckyscent, $210/50ml

Have you tried Aurore Nomade? What’s your favourite “snap me out of the doldrums” scent?

With much love until next time!
M x

Series 3 Incense: Avignon by Bertrand Duchaufour for Comme des Garcons 2002


Guest post by Madeleine


Avignon by Comme des Garcons 2002

Hello Everyone, Do we need to have a strong memory association or reference for a perfume to really move us? This is the question that popped into my head as soon as I tested Avignon by Comme des Garcons. Why? Because it moved me in such a way and yet, I couldn’t really fathom why. It’s an incense-based perfume and meant to be a fragranced homage to Catholicism. Many reviews, including the lovely Portia’s a few months ago, have emphasised the evocation of childhood memories of Catholic rites: days spent at mass surrounded by swinging censers and altar boys.

Avignon Mass Incense PoliticsDailyPhoto Stolen PoliticsDaily

But I’m not Catholic and I’ve always disliked incense. In fact, I avoided Avignon for many years, despite the glowing reviews for these very reasons. My scent impression of incense before trying the scent was of those cheap joss sticks they sell in two-dollar shops. And the closest I have come to being Catholic was having a serious girl crush on Josephine Byrnes in the mini-series Brides of Christ. For about a week or two, I thought how cool it would be to become a nun. (Ed: Josephine Burns and I were at the same drama school, lived in the same area and used to catch the train to and sometimes from school together. She was always the most beautiful young woman)

My fragrance loves tend to be white florals because I have spent my life surrounded by them. My grandmothers and mother wore white floral perfumes, Mum often had vases of lilies in the house and gardenias were a constant of my childhood summers. My first perfumes: Revlon’s Jontue and Cacharel’s Anais Anais built on that trajectory of association.

However, I also realise that we people who love perfumes can learn to appreciate and love new and different notes. But this, for me, is something different. As we sniff more and more, we can see beauty in the things that we once found ugly or appreciate a note that once we would have been happy to overlook. Perfume is an art form and as our noses become well trained, we can fall in love with something that we didn’t understand before. For a perfume to really well and truly move me though, to really feel like I am applying a second skin, I’d always thought it would need a strong evocation of something important or a strong memory.

And yet, that first drop of Avignon on flesh felt completely right. It was another lightbulb moment where I had the “wow” factor and I knew I’d end up buying a bottle.

Avignon FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

The perfume features notes of roman chamomile, cistus oil, elemi, incense, vanilla, patchouli, palisander, ambrette seeds.

For me, Avignon is all about the central theme of frankincense that undulates between smokiness, earthiness and brightness. It segues seamlessly on the skin between these different facets: the palisander bringing out the woody character, the patchouli amplifying the dark earthiness and the ambrette and chamomile giving the sense of brightness and joy. It’s quite a linear fragrance that moves softly and slowly on the skin. Its an introspective fragrance best suited to moments of quiet contemplation, evoking that sense of serenity you would need at times of prayer.

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And that’s why Avignon spoke to me so profoundly at a time in my life when everything felt discombobulated and stressful, Avignon took me to a place I needed to be. A place of tranquillity and reflection, a place where I could shut the door on the chaos that has been my life over the past month and I could just simply “be”. That is the magic of perfume.

For other more complete reviews, please see OlfactoryObsessed and Olfactoria’s review on PerfumeSmellin’Things
Luckyscent has Avignon for $US80/50ml.
SurrenderToChance has samples starting at $US4.59/ml.

Have you tried Avignon and what did you think of it? Have you ever tried a perfume that has completely floored you with it beauty and you can’t work out why?

With much love till next time!

M x

Une Fleur de Cassie by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2000 Perfume Review


Guest Post by Madeleine


Hello fragrant friends! I hope you are all well and enjoy today’s post.

Some perfumes paint pictures, others tell a whole story.

These words first rang true for me when I smelled the wonderful Une Fleur de Cassie by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle for the first time some years ago. Before that, I knew I liked certain scents and why they appealed to me and that others just smelt awful. I could occasionally pick out individual notes, but basically my conclusions were along the lines of: “I love that tuberose” or “I don’t like that perfume.”

Une Fleur de Cassie changed all that. From the first spray, I had a “wow” moment. As it began its luxurious journey on my skin, I finally realised what other fragrance reviewers and bloggers were on about when they spoke of a perfume’s progression, the wonderful journey from top to bottom notes and that a perfume was not just about smelling nice but could be an escape to a different world.

Perfume-wise, it was my lightbulb moment.

Une Fleur de Cassie by Frederic Malle 2000

Une Fleur de Cassie FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

BaseNotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Cassie, mimosa, clove, cumin and bergamot
Heart: Rose, violet, apricot, aldehydes and salicylate
Base: Musk cetone, cedarwood and sandalwood.

Une Fleur de Cassie is Dominique Ropion’s take on cassie absolute which is extracted from the small yellow blossoms of the acacia farnesiana plant. The perfume opens lush, full and dirty. The cumin note twinned with the cassie and mimosa brings out the dark, fecal notes of the flowers and conjures up not only their dainty yellow buds but roots, stems and leaves. It’s a picture of the whole plant after a strong shower on a cool spring day: buds bruised and battered in the wet and surrounded by muddy puddles. You can smell the flowers’ creamy sweetness but also the rank earthiness of the mud littered with the soiled pinpricks of yellow buds. There’s a fecund and carnal quality hiding behind those delicate flowers, completely raw in its animalic sexiness.

The rose and the violet take over, amplifying the sweet powdery effect of the mimosa, making it brighter and luscious, the apricot intensifying the yellow tones, all golden and rounded. The petals, once damaged and torn by the inclement weather are glowing again, blooming in soft sunlight: the promise of spring’s new dawn. The musk and sandalwood in the drydown is where the almondy powderiness of the cassie and mimosa come into full effect, sprinkling the skin with their delicate sweetness, all soft and angelic.

Whilst I consider Une Fleur de Cassie to be a true love, I do concede that it is not the easiest fragrance to wear. Many others have been put off by the stark, skanky fecal quality of the opening, but I personally love the transition from opulent rankness to delicate sweetness. This paradox makes Une Fleur de Cassie a somewhat bittersweet fragrance, better suited to calm and contemplative moments on a spring or autumn day when there’s a bitey chill in the air and the earth is damp.

WomanInYellowDress Lempicka irushonokLempicka Painting Photo Stolen irushonok

And the story it tells me is this. A young woman is staying at elegant chateau surrounded by verdant fields and blooms. It’s early morning and she’s been up all night after a party, still clad in her primrose yellow ballgown but her matching satin heels have been long abandoned in the wee, small hours. She’s been thinking, brooding over the events of the night before. Looking out the window, she’s engulfed by the need to be free, the need to roam even though the ground is washed wet by the rain. Barefoot hits muddy earth, but it doesn’t bother her, she delights in the deliciousness of squelchy mud between toes, feels liberated. A smile warms her face as she caresses the mimosa bushes, the sprinkles of raindrops of skin exquisite in their beauty and fragility. The warm touch of sun is a reminder that life can still be full of promise even though she’s trapped by the bounds of melancholy. For last night she met her first love. From the sudden surprise and heart thump, there’s a reminder of what could have been, of what has gone and what will never be. Her smile betrayed by the saltiness of tears.

AmedeoModigliani oungWomanina YellowDress irushonokModigliani Painting Photo Stolen irushonok

Further reading PerfumePosse and PerfumeSmellingThings
Une Fleur de Cassie is available in Australia from Mecca Cosmetica, $238 for 50ml
In the US, it is available from Barney’s and the Frederic Malle website, starting at US$130 for 3 x 10ml
SurrenderToChance starts at $7/ml

See you,


Un Lys by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens 1997

Guest post by Madeleine
Hello fellow perfumaholics. I hope you enjoy my story today on one of my favourite scents.

Un Lys by Christopher Sheldrake for Serge Lutens (1997)

UnLys FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords on one line:
Lily, musk and vanilla
Many years ago, a long, long time before I became a perfumista and perhaps even before the advent of perfume blogging, I found an exquisite bottle of fragrance in a local boutique. It was housed in the most elegant rectangular bottle I’d ever seen and emblazoned with a peculiar name: Serge Lutens. It was called Un Lys.
I fell in love with its clear bright beauty immediately. It was simply the best thing I had ever smelled. Its price tag, however, was another matter.  (You see, back then, I thought that anything over $100 way just way, waaay too much money to spend on a bottle of perfume. How things have changed!) I winced at the price, stood there for a while, decided against it and left. And I then promptly forgot about it.
Fast forward some years later, and it was actually another lily perfume, the magnificent Lys Mediterrannee that sent me tumbling down the rabbit hole of full-blown perfume obsession. Its hold on me was so great, that for years, I did not think I needed another lily fragrance in my collection.
girlNlily mi9Photo Stolen mi9
However, earlier this year, Un Lys started calling my name again. I ordered a bottle, completely unsniffed besides that brief, but powerful encounter many years ago.
Second time around, Un Lys took her time to ensconce me with her charms. I pulled it out one steamy Sydney morning thinking it would be the perfect accompaniment to a summery Saturday. But now, compared to Lys Med’s spicy voluptuousness, Un Lys struck me as rather wan, pale and uninteresting but therein lies the rub, Un Lys’ lack of complexity is its beauty and its simplicity is its mark of exquisiteness. Whereas Lys Med emphasises the tropical, heady, vampy vibe of the lily and others, like Donna Karan Gold, emphasise its green qualities, Un Lys is aims to be no more than an olfactory portrait of the flower. It needs no adornments and no bells and whistles to amplify its serene and quiet beauty.
field-of-lily travelizationPhoto Stolen travelization
Further reading BoisDeJasmin and NowSmellThis
ThePerfumeShoppe sends 50ml to the world $140 before shipping
SurrenderToChance starts at $4/.5ml
Till next time.