Good News Story, Thursday Competition Giveaway

Hey all you beautiful smelling people,

A couple of weeks ago I finally took the plunge and ordered a bottle of GUCCI RUSH. I love it, it’s been discontinued for a while and I wanted to have it in the collection before it’s gone forever and then I’ll be sad and angry at myself. One of the joys of perfumery for me is the hunt for a good price, the ordering, waiting, box arriving, opening box, looking at packaged fragrance for a while, opening ceremony, spritz, wear, love to be me of it all. So the whole web shopping is perfect for me.

Photo Stolen from

I ordered from a crew I’ve not used before; California Perfumes. Being a first time buy I ordered 2 fragrances and kept well under my $100 first time use limit including P&H. I waited for a couple of weeks and the package arrived, opened the box and……. GUCCI RUSH 2. OH NO!!! Now I don’t have a problem with GUCCI RUSH 2 but it was not what I ordered or wanted. Hello heartbroken.

Photo Stolen from

Onto the email and sent a complaint on the 26th and a follow up received on the 28th April offering a 50% discount on miss sent item. Wrote back asking if they had GUCCI RUSH could they please send me a Paypal for half the cost and send immediately. On Friday 4th I received an apology for response delay but the department head was away on leave, they would be with me as soon as they had an answer. This was the answer received Wednesday 9th May,

Unfortunately, we do not have Gucci Rush in stock.  A request has been submitted to our suppliers but it could take weeks to ship if they have it.  I could offer you a refund of that missing item instead.  Please advise.
I am looking for your kind consideration.
Best regards,

Yes please California Perfumes. I will have that lovely refund, that as I write has already been transferred. Although there was some email delay, you have shown yourselves to be interested in your clients continued support and have so far exceeded my expectations that I will definitely shop with you again. Even through the email delays I was kept in the loop as much as possible. I am deeply impressed.


So in the spirit of my story today there will be not one but 4 winners of our Thursday Giveaway Competition. How to win? Leave a message in the comments about an exceeding expectations retail/hotel/service experience. I’ll pick 4 winners on Saturday 12.5.12 at around 10pm Australian EST, all you have to do is get in touch by Wednesday 16.5.12 midnight Australian EST or I will give your prize to someone else. So if you enter please check back on Sunday to see if you’ve won. Last weeks prize was not collected so our new winner is Julieswhinge.

Each of our 4 winners will receive a 3ml spray decant of GUCCI RUSH 2

One each of the 4 winners will also receive a 1.5ml spray decant of either Chanel No 5 EdP or Liberte by Cacharel, or 1ml manufacturers sample of River Town by SOIVOHLE or a surprise Tommi Sooni

Plus free P&H anywhere in the world

No, you can’t pick which one you get.  Hello UNGRATEFUL!

Thank you for reading. I hope you are commenting because we love to read your stories,

Much love,

Portia xx

Bedtime Perfume; Chanel No 5 Review

Hey gang,

To sleep, perchance to Dream; Ay, there’s the rub, For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come,” Hamlet; Shakespeare

Does anyone else wear a different perfume to bed? It’s a ritual with me. I like to put on a favourite to send me off to sleep, quite often it’s a perfume that doesn’t get much daytime or work wear, for any number of reasons. To loud, too floral, too celebuscent, too often ignored. Sometimes you just pass fragrances over for a while because other things have caught your attention or you are testing, on you or a room of Turbo Trivia players. When your scent wardrobe starts to become a scent library you need to find new times to wear perfume so they all get smelled. I know, these are the most shallow of first world problems but I like it.

Photo Stolen from bootsandcateyes

The other night I decided to put on some Chanel No 5 EdP before I went to bed. No 5 is an old memory scent for me, of my Mum. She left me a black bakelite and gold large refillable spray when she died that must have been almost full because it lasted for ages. At the time though she’d not thought to tell me they were refillable so it has been lost to eternity. Through my mind ran the most wonderful memories of my Mum, always smiling and glamorous when wearing No 5 because it was one of her grown up “going out” scents, a swirl of skirt, swish of hair and a wall of perfume. It was the 80’s and 90’s so she was unafraid to multispritz. Nowadays she would be frowned upon probably as an olfactory pollutionist and not allowed into restaurants, cinemas, workspaces or buses. Back then you were supposed to have a scent that entered the room before you and left weeks later, and all the curtains in every venue felt as if they’d been dry cleaned nightly.

Photo Stolen from bookdepository

Evie C wrote us some great No 5 stories recently and I find it hard to believe that any of you wouldn’t know what Chanel No 5 smells like because it was as ubiquitous as Shalimar, Georgio, Joy et al but I think the world has moved on in some respects, so…

Chanel No 5 is a big, fat, delicious, glamorous, gorgeous, mouth watering, head turning, man pulling siren of a fragrance designed by one of last centuries style icons, Gabrielle Coco Chanel in 1921 with Ernest Beaux, to grab you by the nose and take you to places you never thought you’d be. It was released 5/5/21 because 5 was Coco’s lucky number, and so last week it celebrated its 91st birthday. They say it was a stolen formula from the Russians who were fleeing the collapse of their empire. They say a million things. If you want a history The secret of Chanel No 5 by Tilar J. Mazzeo is a rollicking great read and could even be the true story. You may have heard Marilyn Monroe’s scandalous quote about wearing only Chanel No 5 to bed. What matters is the scent; reformulated many times over the years, even the great Luca Turin is amazed at how true to its ancestors it smells. I have a few different bottles of Chanel No 5. A fairly recent EdP, an 80’s EdT and a 1940’s US made, wartime .5oz Parfum, still wax sealed and waiting for an enormous opening ceremony. I think maybe a perfumista dinner party where we can all sniff, snort and snuffle unashamedly.

Fragrantica gives…

Top notes; neroli, ylang-ylang, bergamot, amalfi lemon and aldehydes;

Middle notes; iris, jasmine, orris root, rose and lily-of-the-valley;

Base notes; vetiver, musk, sandalwood, patchouli, oak moss, amber, vanille and civetta.

…but you can’t read this litany and think you know what it will smell like. That’s like looking at a Claude Monet painting of Giverny and thinking you know what spring is like, though you’ve never left your home.

Monet’s Spring at Giverny (1886) from

The wonderful thing about Chanel No 5 is that you need only go to your nearest department store and try it. It costs nothing to go and spray yourself silly with it. But beware, Chanel No 5 is magic, even still. There is a little drop of white witch in every bottle. You will become a walking siren should you dare to cross the threshold. Go on.

I dare you

The ad below was recently on Olfacroria’s Travels and it thrilled me. I’d not seen it before and it felt so gorgeously expensive, even for a fragrance commercial which are notoriously spendthrift. Now whenever I put Chanel No 5 on I feel transported to this imaginary story as well. It is a hard working fragrance that takes me to a million places.

What do you wear to bed? Is there a special fragrance or are there many?

Portia xx

What do GRUMPY people smell like?

Hey all,

So ever had a day that from the moment you were awakened it all seemed like shit on toast? Not even!! No one took the time to do toast, it was shit sandwich.

Well, I am being over dramatic, of course, but I did have a major case of the grumps yesterday which meant people who are my nearest and dearest were finding other rooms (read suburbs) to be in. I kept having to say to TSO Jin, “I’m not really angry about this. Please excuse me,” after flying off the handle at tiny little things that irk me usually but today generated seismic tremors. I felt like Ouisa Boudreaux (Shirley MacLean) from Steel Magnolias, and usually I’m Claree Belcher (Olympia Dukakis).

What do grumpy people wear?

L’Eau D’Ambre
In the morning L’Artisam Parfumeur’s 1978 release L’Eau D’Ambre got a run. I’ve talked about this scent recently so won’t bore you all but L’Eau D’Ambre is a pants fragrance that stiffens by back and fills up my cajones when I have to get business accomplished.

Photo Stolen from L’Artisan Parfumeur

Green Tea
Home in the afternoon and wanting something fresh and lively to lift my spirits and give a breath of fresh air I chose Elizabeth Arden’s 1999 offering, Green Tea. How do they get all those delicious notes in this perfume to smell exactly like a fresh cuppa? It’s a budget scent but Francis Kurkdjian, Green Tea’s nose, has done extraordinary work on some of your favourites: JPGaultier Le Male; Ellie Saab Le Parfum, Narciso Rodriguez For Her, and his own Maison Francis Kurkdjian line. This is quality breeding folks. It is a short, sharp shot of lovely and lively that helps me to center. PS Yesterday we featured a  Francis Kurkdjian interview.

Photo Stolen from Fragrantica

No 5
Late afternoon and still grumpy so I thought the splendid and extravagant thrill of Chanel’s 1921 visionary/copycat (depending on who you believe) No 5 might lift and separate the gloom. That effervescent flash of citrus & aldehydes, followed by ylang-ylang,  jasmine, rose, iris & more, warmed by vanilla, musk, woods and patchouli. So; sharp, bouquet, deep clay earth is how it runs in my mind as the notes (that I mostly can’t follow definitively anyway) float over and around me. It is sexy, stately and gorgeous, and for a while, so am I. Lost in the absolute bliss, and Mum memories, of a masterpiece.

Photo Stolen from

Evening saw me restless and wanting more glamour; so off for a HOT Radox bath with some lightly scented body wash for bubbles and moisturising non-soap. MMMMM My most delicious and sensual waste of time, usually with a book. (Currently The Widow Clicqout by Tilar J. Mazzeo, the Chanel No 5 biographer. Good stuff.)

Parfum de Maroc
Warm, clean and fresh it was time for something more niche and exclusive. A sample of Parfum de Maroc by Aftelier Perfumes that swept me away when I first tried it was put aside when i fell heavily for Crepes & Tuberose and invested in a bottle. I forgot what a delicious journey Parfum de Maroc (perfume of Morocco) takes you on. Harvested directly from Aftelier Perfumes website; they say…

Photo Stolen from Aftelier

Scent Family: Spicy Floral
Inspired by an ancient Moroccan spice recipe Ras el Hanout or “top of the shop” – a mixture of the best spices a seller has to offer….
Top: saffron, galangal.
Heart: Turkish rose, nutmeg.
Base: cardamom, myrrh.

Thanks for reading. What do you wear when GRUMPY?

Portia xx

Scent Stories: No. 5 and bulshie biker parents

Chanel No. 5

Since starting a quest to find a ‘signature’ scent, I’ve been probing those close to me about the perfumes they wear and why they wear them, trying to get at what it is that connects someone with a particular scent so decisively.

While I’ve been desperately trying to find some systematic way of finding ‘the one’ – looking to ‘best-of’ lists from the doyennes of perfume criticism, casting around for a ‘genre’ that might gel, trying to nut out which ‘notes’ offend or enchant – I’ve realised that for many (most?) all these things are immaterial and the connection is much more visceral.

Take my sister for example.  She has been a committed Chanel No. 5 wearer for some years now.  Chanel No. 5 is the scent my mother used to wear when we were kids but my mother and my sister are by no means cut of the same cloth and so I was intrigued as to why she had connected with this perfume. Surely there wasn’t a sentimental attachment?

My sister quickly set me straight.  She explained that Chanel No. 5 was a buffer against the daily slings and arrows she encountered in her work as a teacher and some-time security guard.  She described how she kept her No. 5 in her glove box and would spritz herself before going in to school. A whiff of No. 5 helped her get through parent-teacher conversations such as the one with the Bandido biker-gang parent who called to complain about his 13-year-old daughter’s classroom tiffs.  “Mr. F,” she said elegantly “if you can’t stop yelling expletives, I’m going to have to hang up on you.” With her wrist to her nose and Chanel No. 5 wafting upwards her feet were in Tempe but her head was firmly in Paris.  The same technique helped her brave all manner of insults from drunken Saturday-night crowds determined to get past her as she worked security at busy Sydney pubs.  It was a little touch of class, she explained, in an otherwise brash and bumpy world.

My sister-in-law, conversely, had a more traditionally sentimental attachment to a scent.  On the eve of her mother’s funeral, a friend had called to talk and asked about the perfumes her mother had worn regularly.  On the day of the funeral, the friend turned up with a large bottle of Marc Jacobs’ Lola, one of her mother’s favourites, so that my sister-in-law could always have a little sense of her mother close by. Similarly, Portia has a very strong connection to Shalimar, his mother’s favourite. Even as he aims to sample and love every perfume ever released, he will no doubt always come back to Shalimar.

And so, as I continue to work on the world’s most anally-retentive method of finding a signature scent, I live in hope that some defining moment may one day choose it for me.  Here’s hoping you all have suitably lovely and distinctive moments in your perfume closets. I would love to hear about them if you feel inclined.  Evie C.