Shopping In Prague, Czech Republic

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Hey Ho Gang,
As you can see Jin and I have been doing our bit for the Czech economy. The DUNE Esprit de Parfum and Guerlain Vetiver were our first buys from a wonderful and quite mad perfume lady who reminded us of Sophie from “2 Broke Girls” a total hoot called Evita!!

Next day we went to Yves Rocher because my mate Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels sent me a Vanilla Noire recently and I am totally loving it. Now it has a sister.

Cartier, another Birgit enable, came as a 4ml sample with some stuff I bought and it’s been rolling around me head awaiting a European tour. Jin is falling in love with VI but no one so far has had a sample for him to live with and I refuse to let him spend that kind of money without a few wears. Even though we are on holiday and he pouted, beautifully, for nearly a whole afternoon. The Cartier crew were fabulous with us coming back 3 days in a row before we bit the bullet.

Jil Sander Sun is a complete impulse buy and I am so happy that I did, it’s full of youthful memories of days spent at the beach with the family.

Lastly, Jin saw Bottega Veneta for 20% off and couldn’t resist. It smells beyond amazing on him and I have loved my 2 large decants to dregs so it will be getting double skin time at Chez Turbo. That was from Sephora at the main Prague Railway Station. The girl there was so friendly that we decided she deserved a sale.

We also spent some sniffing time at a parfumeurie called Madeleine which was awesome fun with Boris but the prices were beyond our ability. it’s a shame.

We are having a great time. Tomorrow we are in Vienna, going to dinner with Birgit and her husband.
I hope you are all really happy and well too.

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.