En Passant by Olivia Giacobetti for Frederic Malle 2000

Hello my lovelies,

While in Vienna recently Birgit and Sandra from Olfactoria’sTravels took me to the only known place on earth where they let you mix & match your Frederic Malle 3 x 10ml set when you grab it!! I think it was called Day Spa? Anyway, tell Birgit you are coming to Vienna and she will give you the address. Here is one of my lovely scores:

En Passant by Frederic Malle 2000

En Passant FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lilac, surrounded by watery and green notes, cucumber and wheat

This morning in Sydney the weather is beautiful. Crisp, sunny, warm: it feels more like spring than Autumn 10am and 21 degrees celcius. I am writing a week ahead of today and Kath and I are doing the office work, well Kath is doing the office work and I am writing to you. As I went to spritz myself this morning I also gave Kath a healthy squirt too.

I love the pretty green sappy swoosh directly after the spritz, the cucumber and watery greens, it’s fresh, wet and slightly plastic. I find flowers often give me a plastic vibe, not a wet Tupperware stink but a slightly unreal-ness, lilac has it in spades. I could walk out the back door into a spring garden in my mind. This is crisp and elegant but in a less formal tone, less knowing than Chanel 19. A younger, free-er, lighter and happier version of one of my favourites, without being like it at all.

En Passant Fairy Lillucyka DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

It’s hard to get my head around how beautiful and delicate En Passant is, usually not my style at all but there is something alluring and beguiling about this little Frederic Malle stunner that keeps me coming back to my wrists again and again.. En Passant is seriously selfish, introverted fragrance. You won’t skunk anyone at the office or anywhere, you will give an aura of fresh vitality and exuberance.

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Further reading ISmellThereforeIAm and PerfumePosse
MeccaCosmetica in Australia has $194/50ml (Free shipping within Australia)
BarneysNewYork has $155/50ml
SurrenderToChance starts at $6/ml

There is something magical and whimsical for me even in the name Frederic Malle. His scent curation adds a patina of glory to everything with his name on it. I wonder if I would find En Passant as alluring and interesting if it was by Woolworths Home Brand? Would I sneer at its trite simplicity? What do you think?
Portia xx

Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle by Bruno Jovanovic 2013

Hello Fabulous Fumies,

If you have been anywhere around the scentbloggosphere this year then Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle by Bruno Jovanovic would certainly have registered on your radar. Uber famous frag royalty meets Belguim’s fashion icon in a scented cloud of mutual admiration. Quite the story…

Dries Van Noten par Frederic Malle 2013

DriesVanNoten FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Sandalwood, guaiac wood, tonka bean, vanilla, saffron, jasmine, musk, bergamot, lemon, nutmeg, cloves, patchouli, woody notes and peru balsam

With all the hype I was totally ready to be underwhelmed by this offering, which is always a good place to start smelling because you can’t be let down. Warm marshmallow sweet and slightly spicy vanilla opens that smells so familiar, like someone I love is nearby, even though I’m sure that I’ve not smelled this mix before. Every time I wear Dries Van Noten it has instantly calmed and unruffled me, and today I am wearing the dregs of a 5ml decant.

Each previous time I have worn Dries Van Noten for the purpose of reviewing it has grabbed my head and asked me to just sit and enjoy its beauty. The whole fragrance feels extremely uncluttered, though it is dense. It goes through a milky, nutmeg stage that reads egg flip to me. An egg flip was dinner sometimes when we were young and made as a great treat for us kids, whole egg, nutmeg, vanilla, ice cream and milk. It was huge and delicious. Nowadays when I think how strict Mum’s budget was I think that maybe she was eeking out her ration by giving us a liquid dinner out of, at that time, extremely cheap materials. I’ll never know now but my sister Jodie and I would feel so great on an egg flip night.

There is the most beautiful woods here too, some resinous amber references, a soft whiff of jasmine that flies mainly under the radar and patchouli, clean and fresh washed. All there making a beautiful chorus under the egg flip.

You must try Dries Van Noten, it is a rich and glamorous fragrance that has me chomping at the bit for more, I’m so sad to have finished my decant. You know what that means!

PalazzoTournabuoni holzbau-brunnerPhoto Stolen holzbau-brunner

Here’s the Frederic Malle site: A perfume built around natural sandalwood, chosen for its softness and its character, and the fact that it is simultaneously exotic and evocative of the tradition of great classic perfumes. This very short formula made of very precious materials, generates a sober but distinct sensuality. It is, in my eyes, a fair parallel to Dries van Noten’s world. ITS CREATOR: Bruno Jovanovic

DriesVanNoten TMagazinePhoto Stolen NYTMagazine

Tom at PerfumeSmellinThings reviewed Dries Van Noten today but has had a polar opposite experience to mine and also today ScentsOfSelf’s Dries Van Noten review is filled with ambivilence.

Further reading GrainDeMusc and Kafkaesque and Patty at PerfumePosse
Frederic Malle starts at $125/3 x 10ml (I think this is IDEAL for splitting)
SurrenderToChance starts at $6/ml

What a stunner of a fragrance. Have you tried it? Are you likely to?

Till tomorrow, take good care of yourselves and waft fragrantly,
Portia xx

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,


Top 10 Spring/Autumn Fragrances 2013 Perfume Review

Hello Gorgeous APJ Family,

So the seasons are a turning and there are Spring posts everywhere, the thing I notice about Spring and Autumn is that they share similar weather in many places, especially Sydney. We are still living in summery moments but there have been some blustery cooler days, and the nights are getting very chilly. So really I am offering up a Mid Season Mixture of things that are currently getting pretty high rotation on my skin. They are on the desk and within easy spritz reach, though the Amyitis has just been returned from the outer realms

Autumn ScenicReflectionsPhoto Stolen ScenicReflections

Spring LilaDaleyPhoto Stolen LilaDaley

Youth Dew Amber Nude by Tom Ford for Estee Lauder: Amber Nude gets let out of its box quite a bit lately, I don’t know why particularly but I crave that gorgeous opening that warms into amber so quickly.

Cedrat Intense by Nicolai: I think it might have Ruth K on FFF that told me to get my hands on some of this. So I grabbed 30ml unsniffed and WOW!! I’m surprised that wasps and bees don’t land on me expecting a feed. Gorgeous and fresh citrus scent.

Amyitis by Mona di Orio: Every so often the Amyitis bottle will ask me if I’m SURE I don’t adore the juice inside and it comes back out, gets worn a few times and then gets put away in favour of Chanel No 19.

Indus Oil by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz: This surprising little temptress has me opening the box and putting a little roll of oil on a wrist or back of hand every second day currently. The flavour of Chai Tea, though I get powdery iris too.

Dries Van Noten by Frederic Malle: There are only the dregs of this 5ml sample left and I still haven’t done my post about it properly. I put it on and sit there for ages enjoying its perfect, warm, uncluttered beauty. What a fragrance, so simple to my nose but absolutely welcoming. A hug filled with love.

Sandflowers by Montale: This leaked about 2/3 of its 100ml flying home from Europe so the box is impregnated with Sandflowers. My office smells distinctly of it and there is always a salty, briny waft as I enter. What a wonderfully weird beauty this is, without being unwearable. How did it get in the Montale line up? This smells best for me when there is sun shining, or the promise of it.

Courage by One Seed: Courage is an unusual, exquisite beauty, that follows no leader. It is warm, dark, interesting and sometimes a little challenging. An all natural maverick that doesn’t smell like natural, or mass production. Intense and lovely.

Interlude Woman by Amouage: I bought a small bottle of this from the lovely Birgit in one of her cupboard clean outs. I was only mildly impressed with it initially but as I wear it more it has become a bit of a siren, trying to lure me into penury. Perfect for the cooler days to snuggle into.

Trayee by Neela Vermeire Creations: I cannot deny that Neela and I are buddies but I don’t go a week without spritzing one of her magical masterpieces. At the rate I’m tearing through this decant it could be FB sooner than anticipated. Trayee is a great mid season spritz.

Essence d’Orange by Cartier: I love the spare citrus burst here with loads of air and space between the notes. This is easy wearing freshness that I keep coming back to just for a fun spritz.

Spring By Sandrine Dulermo & Michael Labica PhotographerPhoto By Sandrine Dulermo & Michael Labica Photographer

There you have it, my current Mid Season Top 10.

Want more Spring Posts? Try Grain de MuscNow Smell This, Bois de Jasmin, and Perfume Posse

See you tomorrow,
Portia xx

L’Eau D’Hiver by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle 2003


Guest Post by Dionne


Hello frag heads!

It’s been my plan for a while now to write a review of the fabulous Frederic Malle scent L’Eau d’Hiver, created by Jean-Claude Ellena. Part of my trifecta of season-less scents, which also includes Lumière Blanche and Art Collection #08 by Jacomo, this is one of the few perfumes I can wear year-round, no matter what the season.
“No matter what the season.” I’ll admit to a knowing chuckle as I type out that phrase, because March is the craziest month of the entire year where I live. Here in southern Alberta just west of the Canadian Rockies, spring doesn’t really arrive until late April, but it doesn’t feel like winter anymore either. Which is strange to say because we get more snow in March than any other month; it’s just that we also regularly get an interesting phenomenon called a Chinook, a warm wind that blows from the west and can raise temperatures 30 degrees in a matter of hours. So you never quite know what you’re going to get.

CanadianRockies HolidayVelvetPhoto Stolen HolidayVelvet

What does this all have to do with L’Eau d’Hiver? It’s that no matter what the day is like, it’s been a great fit. I’ve worn it a lot this last month, when it’s plus 15, clear blues skies and I’m lifting my face to the sun while my little ones happily jump in all the puddles and rivers that are everywhere. It’s the perfect accompaniment for a sunny, joyful day. It’s also worked when it’s minus 20, there’s been a 25cm snow dump and whiteout conditions and I can barely get out of my driveway without getting stuck. Since staying home and declaring a snow day isn’t going to happen, (Albertans just lace up the Sorels and dig ourselves out, we’re kinda Boss that way) spraying L’Eau d’Hiver and enjoying its snuggly comfort while Getting Stuff Done is an enjoyable second option.

Back and forth, back and forth, that’s what March is like. How Jean-Claude Ellena managed to create a perfume that works on such different days, I’m not quite sure. All I know is that I’m impressed.

L’Eau D’Hiver by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle 2003

Picture 308Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Notes according to Fragrantica:
Bergamot, heliotrope, jasmine, iris, honey, angelica, white musk.

L’Eau d’Hiver is JCE’s tribute to Après l’Ondée, and I tried them both shortly after falling down the rabbit hole. For some strange reason, I had this idea in my head at the time that I needed to choose which one to own, as if there was some sort of contest. Fortunately I eventually realized how silly that was, and now have both.

If you ever want to try a fascinating experiment, do a wrist-to-wrist of the two and see what happens – just make sure the Al’O is the pre-2011 formulation. I love doing wrist-to-wrist comparisons as it helps me get better at this whole smelling thing, and in the three years I’ve done comparisons, I’ve never encountered anything quite as interesting as these two together. They seem to dance around each other, smelling alike for a moment, than different 5 minutes later, than alike again ten minutes later, then different again, back and forth, back and forth. To expand that particular image, it’s like a dance couple where the male, L’Eau d’Hiver, moves within a tight circle and the female, Après l’Ondée, twirls and leaps and runs off all pointy-toes before flitting back and smiling and then twirling off again. This is a very fancy way of saying that JCE has made L’Eau d’Hiver streamlined and modern, the essence of heliotrope, and its beauty lies in that simplicity.

AlmondMilk AmazonPhoto Stolen Amazon

It’s a frothy almond milk with a sprinkling of sugar on top. If that sounds really gourmand to you, surprisingly, it’s not; the iris in here adds a cool, elegant vibe that keeps L’Eau d’Hiver from getting cutesy. The perfume is full of these kinds of contrasts: warm and cool, cuddly and elegant, close to the skin but distinctive, straightforward but with a lot to say.

Further reading WhatMenShouldSmellLike or Olfactoria’sTravels
MeccaCosmetica has 50ml for $195 in Australia
FredericMalle has 50ml for $150 in the USA
SurrenderToChance start at $6/ml

I’m in the mood for a dance. L’Eau d’Hiver, shall we?

Dionne xx

Lys Mediterranee by Edouard Flechier for Frederic Malle 2000

Hey All,

Back in December EmmaKate did a review of Lys Mediterranee and I was so inspired that when I was in Vienna, shopping with Birgit and Sandra from Olfactoria’sTravels, and one of the shops (Pure Day Spa) were offering mixed 10ml travel sets I jumped on it and grabbed some. En Passant, Carnal Flower & Lys Mediterranee.

LysMedierranee FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Sea water and ginger
Heart: Angelica, orange blossom, lotus and lily
Base: Vanilla and musk

The opening burst is so transportative, not to anywhere particularly, just away. Remember back in the 1980’s when you would walk into a restaurant and at the door they would have this ENORMOUS floral architectural extravaganza? This is one of those restaurants but located on a completely untrammeled beach and the salty air is fresh and cool. There’s a great restaurant down on the uncool side of Ibiza where all the locals gather for paella and nobody speaks English, the food costs nothing and the waters that the restaurant are built over are so clean you can count the sand grains. It smells like that with flowers.

OverWaterRestaurant TravelBlogPhoto Stolen TravelBlog

I can understand why so many people love this beautiful fragrance, and I am quickly becoming a convert. This is day 3 of wear.

After the beautiful, slightly loud opening Lys Mediterranee settles into what will be its most long lived section on my skin, the heart, which is pretty and linear. The flowers all play beautifully together and though each one has moments I think they are hard to read separately and just enjoy the beauty and serenity as it washes over me in waves. I get why EmmaKate thinks this would be perfect Bridal fragrance. It swoops effortlessly and flies behind in breathtaking but tasteful sillage. I would spray this on the petals the flower girls throw before you walk down the aisle and then bathe myself in Lys Mediterranee.

As it dries down the musk remains unsmellable to me but I do get a soft warm vanilla pushing through the flowers that slowly takes over the fragrance while it fades. 5-7 hours of smellable fragrance, less in the heat of the day, more for night wear.

BeachWedding HoustonWeddingPhoto Stolen HoustonWedding

Further reading Olfactoria’sTravels and PerfumeShrine

FredericMalleInternational has 50ml €115 or 3x10ml €75
In Australia MeccaCosmetica has 50ml $218 or 3x10ml $142
SurrenderToChance starts at $6/ml

I know you’ve tried one or more of the Frederic Malle range, what was your favourite? Do you own a bottle? Have you maintained your composure and kept to samples or decants? I love the 10ml trvelers and getting a mixed set made the decision easy, just like buying splits or big decants.

See you tomorrow,

Portia xx

Shopping in Vienna, Austria and Budapest, Hungary


Hey from HOLIDAYS!
We are making our crazy way across the continent of Europe. It’s two glorious weeks in and we’ve seen five countries so far!! WOW!


Early last week Jin and I were lucky enough to be invited on a breakfast and perfume shopping spree with the gorgeous Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels and her friend and fellow perfumista Sandra who has traveled the world and landed in Vienna. The girls are both gorgeous, friendly, fun and totally up to date in perfume. It was like hanging out with a couple of encyclopedias, and they have sniffed EVERYTHING!! Seriously.

We started at the Central Cafe in Vienna which is as beautiful as a cathedral and the food was SCRUMMY, that means good. The girls has tea, we had bacon and eggs. Yummy.

Then to Le Dix-Neuf, Vienna’s newest niche store, where I tried quite a few new frags from a host of lines currently near impossible to get in Sydney. It was bliss, the SA was really knowledgeable and helpful but it was Birgit who led my nose to NUDA, the recently discontinued jasmine bomb from Nosamatto and VolkaMaria by WeinerBlut (Blood of Vienna) that I can’t wait to wear at home, just to tell people the name.

We went to loads of other places, Le Parfum, Pure Day Spa where I bought the Frederic Malle mini trio of Carnal Flower, En Passant and Lys Mediterranee.
We were absolutely captivated by Duft & Kultur where they had an enormous Niche selection including A Quiet Morning by Miller & Bartaux, Jin adored it and I can see him getting a bottle soon.

There was more, including Hermes, Robert Horn’s Ledermanufaktur and others but no buys just looking. Birgit and Sandra had busy days ahead so the peeled off and we went home EXHAUSTED, even though it was barely lunchtime. Thank you Vienna, thank you ladies.


Only a three hour train trip and we are in the heart of Budapest!
There are two famous niche perfumeries here.

The first, Neroli, is next street along from the Mecure Hotel and the lovely Ursula is helpful and fabulously knowledgable. I was lucky enought to bump into the owner, Aron, while there too and have a quick chat. He is sexy and cool, left a life of journalism to run a niche perfume shop seven years ago and has a fabulous selection including the Naomi Goodsirs. Ursula gave me some wonderful Montale samples and they ship to the world for only 10 euro!!

Croisette is the second, owned by Zsolt like the G in George-olt. Zsolt is a perfumer and was so bright and bubbly Jin and I both fell in love. He is all about creating gorgeous and interesting scents but bespoke. They also have a wonderfully curated range.

I haven’t made my niche purchases with them yet but there is an incredible sell out store just opened in the Shopping Passage and we scored some INCREDIBLE bargains including L’Instant, Samsara and Homme body washes by Guerlain, a Lolita Lempicke Au Masculine after shave balm and am Aromatics Elixer for about 5 Australian Dollars each! Quite a fabulous score and I do love a posh body wash.

We are doing the laundry today and finalizing Niche Purchases so there will be more to photograph next Saturday. We are loving Budapest, it is an architecture lovers dream, the people are friendly, it is inexpensive to eat even in the best restaurants two courses and drinks is coming to less than 100 Aussie dollars. We are doing loads of sightseeing and walking.

This post was much better in the first two drafts that the iPad deleted because I forgot to save after every paragraph. Thanks for putting up with my long post if you’ve made it thus far.

Loads of love Portia xxx

Portrait Of A Lady by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2010

Guest post by Madeleine

Hello fellow perfume lovers!

The advent of another new year has got me thinking about all the wonderful things that have happened to me over the past 12 months. Perfume-wise, it has been amazing, bringing me experiences that I would have never thought possible just a year ago. Not only did I meet the lovely Portia, start blogging and talking to all you wonderful people, but I bought my first vintage perfume (Chloe), acquired a Serge Lutens bell jar, added wondrous things to my collection, finally swooned over Mitsouko and also fell completely in love with a perfume that I had previously completely and utterly loathed.

Portrait Of A Lady by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2010

Portrait of a Lady FragranticaPhoto stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Clove, cinnamon, rose, black current, raspberry
Heart: Incense, sandalwood, patchouli
Base: Musk, amber, benzoin

News of Portrait’s launch a couple of years ago sent the perfume blogosphere into a spin but some were disappointed at first sniff and due to the fact that it was yet another oriental composition dominated by rose and patchouli. I was one of those people. Upon my first test, it did indeed fail to move me. Portrait was just OK, a bit ho-hum and I was deeply frustrated. I love Frederic Malle and especially Ropion’s creations, but Portrait seemed lacklustre against the rest of the treasures in the line. And why yet another rose when the line up already included Une Rose and Lipstick Rose?

Earlier this year, I got the temptation to revisit it. One evening, I tentatively dabbed some from a sample before heading out for dinner with Mr M. Mr M was in raptures and proclaimed his love instantly, but Portrait was so overwhelming I couldn’t concentrate on eating. It was practically screaming at me: “Rose, spices, oud, berries, patchouli!” in a discordant, off-key coloratura. It almost made me feel queasy.

How things change. Recently, I have been falling in love with darker scents and was tempted to sample Portrait again, both on skin and on a card. It was magic. Portrait’s screechiness was now a beautiful aria on my skin; the scent strip lying in my living room sending me into raptures each time I walked in. I was smitten.
The real beauty of this creation for me is that it is a perfect union of seemingly opposites: voluptuous Middle Eastern opulence and poised elegance.

NicoleKidman GuardianPhoto Stolen Guardian

Luscious raspberries and blackcurrant open the composition with a tart but slightly bruised quality as if they have been macerated, dripping viscous red and purple juices. Then there’s the rose, but it’s not a fresh dewy rose, but deep and rich. Its black petals thick and warm against the skin; the plushest black velvet enveloping the skin in a warm embrace. The composition then begins its journey into its Arabian Nights movement with oud and cinnamon the perfect support act for the rose; the scent of a souk in the early twilight of a summer’s evening. The rose, spices, oud and patchouli are seamless here in their harmony, no one note dominating the overall chorus.
The drydown for me is why Portrait of a Lady is called thus: the rose become gentler, the patchouli and oud soften their volume and the presence of musk gives the perfume a dusky elegance.

Since discovering this newfound love, I have been testing many dark roses for a comparison as one of the initial complaints about Portrait was that the dark rose oud patchouli thing had been done so many times before. But I’d have to argue that Portrait is special amongst these compositions: it weaves its intricate harmony so beautifully and stoically that it stands alone.

Lady oddballfilmsPhoto Stolen oddballfilms

For other reviews, please see NowSmellThis and for another equally enthusiastic take KatiePuckrikSmells
Portrait of a Lady is available at Mecca Cosmetica, Barneys and Les Senteurs.
SurrenderToChance start at $9/ml

Have you tried Portrait of a Lady? What are your favourite dark rose perfumes? Are there any perfumes that have gone from hate to love for you?
With much love till next time,
M x

Lys Mediterranee by Edouard Flechier for Frederic Malle 2000


Guest post by EmmaKate


Hello hello fumies,

It is EmmaKate here to spoil you with fragrance for Christmas. One the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a bottle of Lys Mediteranee… from Frederic Malle. 🙂 This particular fragrance appeals to me because of the fresh white flowers, sea water and green spice make this feminine without being at all cloying.

Lys Mediterranee by Frederic Malle 2000

Image from Fragrantica.
Fragrantica lists the notes for this scent as
Top: sea water and ginger
Heart: angelica, orange blossom, lotus and lily
Base: vanilla and musk.
When I spray Lys Mediterranee by Frederic Malle it takes me to a beach side cliff where the white flowers grow. I feel the sun on my back with a cool breeze playing through my hair. It is like I an escape to a place we would all rather be.  It is the scent I could see myself wearing on my wedding day. Something fresh, beautiful, floaty, a little bit mysterious and long lasting, it makes me smile and lends a sense of contentment.
BrideBentley weheartit.Photo Stolen weheartit
It opens with a burst of lily with a true green edge, mellows out to let the sweetness shine through and becomes a mysterious blend upon dry down, almost powdery, yet not at all. Lys Mediterranee by Frederic Malle wears incredibly well on me and I am a renowned scent “drinker”. This is such a clean fragrance. I want to spray this in the middle of summer when I have come from the extreme humidity inside and don’t feel like a shower.
This composition is an interesting choice, the combination of such fresh smells such as ginger and sea water combined with the white flowers makes sense, even the white flowers combined with the grounding warmth of vanilla and musk, it is the idea of these three together that gets me every time. The warmth and cool freshness is an interesting mix. To combine the ultimate in freshness, sea water, with the warmth of vanilla, is what truly sets this fragrance apart from all other lily fragrances.
Casablanca_Lily imagesofdannadsignPhoto Stolen imagesofdannadsign
SurrenderToChance starts at $6/ml
I hope you enjoy Lys Mediterranee by Frederic Malle as much as I do, or know someone in your life who will.
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays 🙂

Scented Niche Christmas Gifts to Impress

Guest Post by Madeleine

Ten Niche Scented Gifts for Christmas

Hello APJ friends! Hope you are all well and looking forward to the festive season.
When Portia suggested I compile a list of niche perfume Christmas picks, I was filled with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excited because I could get really creative and think outside the square and scared because, well, let’s face it, buying perfume for loved ones, let alone niche, is fraught with difficulties.
So, I have taken a deep breath and hopefully risen to the challenge. For ease, I’ve chosen more approachable scents and assumed price is no object. Enjoy!
1.   Dad: Bigarade Concentree by Frederic Malle
Bigarade concentree Frederic Malle for women and men
Jean Claude Ellena’s modern take on eau de cologne, Bigarade Concentree starts with piquant, zesty blood orange and aromatic cardamom notes before settling into soft orange and hay. This is as refreshing as a dip in an ice cold pool, but still a refined classic scent.
Notes: bitter orange, rose, cedar, grass and hay
2.   Mum: Antonia by Puredistance
Antonia Puredistance for women
Possibly the most beautiful and sublime release of 2012, Antonia is an intricately weaved green floral with galbanum, ivy and jasmine. The Antonia woman is intelligent, graceful, self assured and wise – the best qualities of Mums everywhere,
Notes: jasmine, rose essence, ylang ylang, orris, ivy greens, galbanum, vanilla and vetiver.
3.   Brother: Sunday Cologne by Byredo
Sunday Cologne Byredo for women and men
A slightly balmy and spicy scent, Sunday Cologne combines the freshness of bergamot with star anise, incense and lavender. Clean, cool and utterly debonair, this can be worn equally with a sharp suit or t-shirt and jeans.
Notes: cardamom, bergamot, star anise, lavender, geranium, incense, vetiver, patchouli and oakmoss.
4.   Sister: Nuit de Cellophane by Serge Lutens
Nuit de Cellophane Serge Lutens for women
A refined take on the standard fruity floral, Nuit de Cellophane combines osmanthus and jasmine to create a gorgeously translucent scent. Nuit de Cellophane is demure and pretty with just a hint of coquettishness.
Notes: mandarin, osmanthus, jasmine
5.   Significant other (Male): Amyris Pour Homme by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
Amyris Homme Maison Francis Kurkdjian for men
Sex in a bottle. A blend of aromatic rosemary and mandarin tempered by cool iris and warm woody notes, Amyris is the tall, dark handsome stranger at a swanky bar who buys you an ice-cold martini before saying sotto voce: ’Come hither’.
Notes: rosemary, mandarin orange, amyris, coconut, coffee, iris, milk chocolate, tonka bean and agarwood.
6.   Significant other (Female): Flor Y Canto by Arquiste
Flor y Canto Arquiste for women
A bewitching white floral, Flor Y Canto tempers the heady notes of tuberose and frangipani with bright marigold. Sunny and carefree, but still devastatingly sexy, this is for a confident woman who doesn’t take herself too seriously.
Notes: Mexican tuberose, magnolia, frangipani and marigold
7.   For the budding perfumista friend: Frederic Malle’s Coffrets
In my opinion, Frederic Malle offers the best variety of all niche brands. These coffrets offer small vials of the brand’s scents: men’s, women’s or a 2012 selection. Your friend is sure to find new love, whether it’s the mint barbershop vibe of Geranium Pour Monsieur or the brooding oriental of Portrait of a Lady.
8.   For the friend that hates perfume:  Aqua Universalis Perfumed Candle by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Aqua Universalis Perfumed Candle
An impressive, weighty candle without an oppressive scent, Aqua Universalis is a fresh and delicate blend of green notes, orange blossom and jasmine.
Notes: bergamot, sicilian lemon, lily of the valley, sweet mock orange, light and musky woods
9.   For kids: Les Bulles d’Agathe by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Les Bulles d'Agathe Scented Bubbles 3
These blowing bubbles are lightly scented with pear, violet, mint or cut herbs – fun for the little ones or just for the kid in all of us.
10.  Top niche Christmas pick: La Myrrhe by Serge Lutens
La Myrrhe Serge Lutens for women
In one of those coveted bell jars, Serge Lutens and his partner in crime Christopher Sheldrake have created a luminous rendition of myrrh – the essential oil and resin carried by the Three Wise Men. Warm aldehydes suggest the twinkle of Christmas lights on powdered snow while gentle spices and almond evoke the last bite of Christmas pud washed down with a glass of warm Amaretto.
Notes: mandarin, myrrh, lotus, bitter almond, sandalwood, honey, jasmine, amber, musk, various spices and pimento
Pictures sourced from Fragrantica, Basenotes, Polyvore and Wantist.
Where to Buy:
Arquiste: arquiste.com and Barney’s
Maison Francis Kurkdjian and Serge Lutens: Les Senteurs, Luckyscent and Mecca Cosmetica
Puredistance: Luckyscent
Serge Lutens bell jars: sergelutens.com and Barney’s
Hope you’ve enjoyed my picks. What are your top niche Christmas choices?
M x