Monday Question – What Are Your Spring-Time Rituals?

Spring is coming (or Fall on the southern hemisphere, but bear with me!)!

Temperatures go up, the sun is out, skies are blue and flowers bloom. Aside from the undeniable meterological changes all around, what changes for you in spring?

Is there anything you particularly enjoy to do now that winter is over?

Do you have a spring-time ritual?

My Answer:

I love putting away my boots and winter coats and bring out the trenchcoat and ballerinas. The change of wardrobe feels so renewing. Also I feel like I went shopping for something new, even when I just went to my own closet to unearth a jacket not worn for six months.

My scarf and perfume wardrobe change as well with the new season. Cashmere shawls and warm perfumes go into hibernation now and silk scarves and fresh citrus or floral scents come out to play.

My black handbag goes into the closet as well and is replaced by something lighter (currently I am wearing the Madewell Transport Tote in English saddle, loving it!) and the pretty colours of the Cuyana totes are calling my name.

It is the renewal of spring that is so invigorating, nature starts over and so do I, even if only in the small things of daily life.

What about you? Has spring (or fall) arrived where you are?


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One Hundred Pleats – Hermès Cent Plis De Miao Cashmere And Silk Scarves

Today I want to show you the first large size scarf in this series. Cent Plis de Miao (One hundred pleats of Miao – a province in China) was designed by Aline Honoré and first released in 2010.

photo 2 (18)

Cent Plis de Miao depicts a skirt traditionally worn by tribeswomen from the Miao culture. Almost four million people of the Miao live in China (there are also tribes in Vietnam and Laos, where they’re called “Hmong”).

The name Miao means “raw rice”. The skirt in the scarf design is often mentioned in songs and folk tales and is an important element of the culture. The fabrics are pleated, a technique believed to be inspired by mushroom gills. The finer the pleats, the higher the value of the dress.

One of the most prolific designers in the service of Hermès, Aline Honoré has created an inspired design, depicting the skirt in all its splendour. Spread across the background is another type of fabric design that the Miao women wear tied around their legs, whose patterns are squares and lines.

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The cashmere/silk shawl (also called CSGM, which stands for cashemire soie grand modèle) is 140×140 cm and is therefore a very large format, a scarf large enough to wear as a dress should you so desire. It is wonderful to cozy up in winter, but also makes a fantastic wrap to carry along on summer nights for when the temperatures drop and the wind gets chilly. I get wear out of my CSGM’s year-round.

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I got this one in 2011 from ebay. I like the colours, they seem autumnal and warm despite the many shades of blue and green in it, it is colourful but neutral enough thanks to the brown border. It was my first (and back then I naively thought it would forever be my only) CSGM and I was so in awe of it for the longest time, I hardly dared to wear it. In the end that defeats the purpose and once I got over myself I experienced not only the visual beauty but the utter comfort this soft and warm scarf delivers. It feels like a hug. (Yes, that sounds cheesy as hell!)

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I liked this design so much that when the opportunity arose to buy a silk version of the same motif from a friend, I took it.

In the smaller (90×90) silk version, the skirt and its pleats seem more delicate, also the lighter pale grey, taupe and turquoise colour scheme give the scarf a very different vibe. This one is more elegant, refined and subtle that its more earthy big sister.

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In this detail you can see the designer’s signature. Many, although not all, Hermès scarfs bear a signature somewhere, often well-hidden within the design.

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I think Mille Plis would have been a more approprate title, since the pleats are so plentiful.

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The story of this scarf is a bit funny. It arrived and – even worse than with its big sister – I was afraid of wearing it, since it is so light in colour and seems so very easy to stain. And promptly, the first time I dared to wear it, a gust of wind blew it into my face and smack into my lip gloss. It has a small stain now, but somehow that mad it really mine, and I am not afraid of wearing it anymore. It bears my mark. ;)

photo 4 (15)I adore the little horse charm detail lying on the pleats of the skirt, I think it might be a bracelet or a necklace?

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Here is one more shot of the pleats, the silk screening is so well done and so convincing that the illusion of pleating is very strong here.

Next week I will interrupt the collection posts to try and put together a post about identifying an authentic Hermès scarf.

Thank you for reading! Have a great weekend!

Posted in Hermès, Scarf Collection, Scarves | Tagged , , , , | 35 Comments

Honey Trap – Review: Ramon Monegal Cuirelle

By Tara

I’ve been curious about Cuirelle ever since I heard that it was a different, softer, take on leather compared to the usual animal hide. So I was grateful when the Cookie Queen kindly sent me a couple of samples.

Released with the rest of the inaugural Ramon Monegal collection of fourteen fragrances in 2011, Cuirelle comes in the brand’s striking inkwell bottle.


Cuirelle includes notes of Somali incense, Indonesian patchouli, Bourbon vetiver, Virginian cedarwood, cinnamon, musk and extract of beeswax.

That’s right, your eyes are not deceiving you – there is no leather listed in the notes. Spanish perfumer Monegal sought to portray leather without using birch tar or synthetic isoquinolines. So if you usually find the tarry smoke or tannic fumes of leather fragrances a turn-off, don’t be too quick to dismiss Cuirelle. It is an entirely different (much tamer) beast.

“Not the essence of leather, but an interpretation of it. Cat-like flexibility and musk sublimated with shades of honey and incense and balanced with green cedar and vetyver grass.

-from Ramon Monegal website

The opening comes across as honey-coated beeswax, flecked liberally with cinnamon and incense. The combination results in a sweet, almost boozy, ambery nectar.

When it mellows out, Cuirelle has a buttery suede texture. It’s not as cloying as Serge Luten’s Daim Blond or as sweet as Bottega Veneta, but runs in a similar pale suede vein.

There is no hard masculine edge or harsh chemical tinge, only soft curves and plushness. The smooth patchouli and vetiver ground it and prevent it from being overly sweet. They also ensure it stays unisex, though it’s likely to be too feminine for those who like their leather rough and ready.

Cuirelle also contains the suggestion of something cosmetic and silky. It feels as if a honey scented beauty balm has been mixed with face powder and applied to supple suede. At the same time there are contrasting wisps of incense and thick, paste-like patchouli. It’s a very nicely balanced composition.

Probably the best thing to do would be to forget the leather label altogether and think of it as a gentle honey fragrance with dark and earthy tones. Not a suffocating or skanky honey, but one which is subdued, creamy and spiced.


Projection is moderate-to-low, but I would be careful not to over-apply as a little goes a long way. I found it to have excellent lasting power.

I haven’t quite fallen in love with Cuirelle the way I’d hoped, but I really like the way it’s warmly cosseting, casually sensual and effortlessly chic.

I can imagine it leaving a pleasing scent trail in cool weather, but it would work equally well when curled up in bed. It definitely makes a statement, yet it also has a faintly feline, languorous feel.


See Olfactoria’s mini-reviews of the more masculine leaning Ramon Monegal scents in Part I and the more feminine leaning, in Part II.

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Honey, Leather, Ramon Monegal | Tagged , , , , | 24 Comments

Perfume Shopping In South Africa: A Guide To Not-So-Hidden Beauty!

Editor’s Note: Today I am happy to present a post by regular reader and perfume lover Johanob, who lives in South Africa. He is showing us his home turf and the many (many!) scent-related treasures to be found there. Johano is a theatre nurse and – no surprises here – loves perfume with a passion. Thank you for your huge effort and welcome to OT, Johano!

By Johano Botha

When you think or hear about South Africa, the first thing that comes to mind probably is the horrid past of this beautiful country. Apartheid was the buzzword for many decades, and we mostly lost our interest in real beauty during those years. People were mostly in survival-mode and the various sanctions and embargos on our country left us desolate and isolated from the rest of the world. The release from prison of our national icon Nelson Mandela thankfully changed all this. A new era dawned on all of us. The rest as they say is history.

All of this had an interesting effect on the luxury goods market; perfume shops in particular were boasting with inventory of great classic perfumes. These, over time, became lost and forgotten, hidden on shelves in the back of storerooms, to make way for the latest incarnations of Coty Exclamation or the very popular Lentheric and Yardley brands.

To say that the book Perfumes: The Guide (by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez) changed the landscape somewhat is a complete understatement! I personally have always been a perfumista of sorts, but when I read THE GUIDE, it was the first time I read- or even heard about!!- great names such as Diptyque and Serge Lutens.

A new type of Perfumista emerged within me. My quest – along with a couple of other South African friends – started, to find all these forgotten beauties. To sniff them all and to explore the history and stories behind these wonderful perfumes has been an experience of great joy. The same can be said for many other South African perfumistas, who emerged during the dawn of this new day! And we are continuing to enjoy this journey.

The fact that we have the worldwide web as a resource readily available, made this journey much easier than it would have been. I could search Acqua di Parma on Google and be flooded with everything from reviews down to “where to buy” information. The rabbit hole was officially opened. After a year of pursuing vintage fragrances, I was stunned to discover the extent of niche brands available in South Africa. Brands like Serge Lutens or Frederic Malle felt out of reach for so long, this discovery was extremely exciting!

This brings us to the purpose of this essay: to help guide my fellow South African Perfumistas, as well as the many tourists that visit my country each year, towards the best places and websites for perfume shopping in South Africa.We will travel to Johannesburg and Cape Town. There are a couple of websites that will be mentioned as well with direct links when available! Let’s go discover what South Africa has to offer the discerning Perfumista!


south africa johannesburg


The shop currently has 4 branches across Johannesburg, with the two main ones in Sandton City Shopping centre and Hyde Park Corner.


Access is easy via most motorways and the Gautrain service is a very viable option stopping at Sandton City with a bus service to Hyde Park as an option as well. They sell online with fast, sometimes free, delivery.

Metropolitain stocks fantastic brands such as Serge Lutens, The Different Company, Isabey, Juliette Has A Gun, Les Liquides Imaginaires, Bruno Acampora, Escentric Molecules, Dear Rose and Les Parfums de Rosine. They also stock one-of-a-kind fragrances such as Boudicca Wode and Kinski.

Their make-up and skincare sections host brands as divergent as Jack Black and Cinq Mondes. Metropolitain has seasonal sales and excellent promotions throughout the year. The sales staff are all extremely well-informed, trained in-house with regards to all the brands and especially with in perfumes.Their wide knowledge remains incomparable to other perfumeries. They are also extremely generous with samples. HIGHLY recommended!


rio perfumes

Tucked away in a part of old Johannesburg in the Oriental Plaza Mall, this little shop is worth a visit. They are stocking interesting brands at really good prices. The brands on offer include Serge Lutens (a selection), Amouage, Dior Priveè Collection, Acqua di Parma(selection), Creed, Montale/Mancera and most other department store perfumes, but at much better prices.

I’ve also found some vintage gems like YSL M7 here. The website does not always correspond to what they have in-store, be sure to use the call-centre for additional info. Available 24/7 for enquiries as well. As they are part of the Muslim Community, Rio is closed for business on Muslim Holidays and during prayers on Fridays between 12:00 and 14:00. Please also note their shop’s name at the mall is GIFTS FOR YOU AND YOURS.


s a aspley

Situated in Hyde Park Corner, this über-stylish shop is one of my favorite places for a leisurely browse. They specialise in all sorts of luxury goods from Fornasetti porcelain to Lalique crystal and Hermès crockery.

Perfume brands include the fantastic Byredo, Acqua di Parma, Hotel Costes, Etro, Atelier Cologne (selection). They don’t do online sales, but the website is worth a visit to see what else they have. The owners do not keep regular hours, sometimes you do end up in front of a closed door, especially over the weekend (when hours are 10:00 to 15:00 officially). It’s wise therefore to confirm with a phone call if they are indeed open.


s a wish

Owner Caron Koonin is probably the most stylish woman in Johannesburg. Her shop in Sandton City speaks of this quite clearly. Perfume brands Miller Harris, Czech and Speake, Geo F.Trumper are featured here. This is an excellent place for shopping exquisite linens and Prestat chocolates too.


sa luminance

Khanyi Dlhomo opened the doors to this ultimate luxury shopping experience in Hyde Park in 2013. Haute Couture in fashion and beauty is the trademark of her store. It’s also a great example of people-empowerment in South Africa: they stock local arts and crafters’ works.

The highlights of perfume shopping here starts with the complete Frederic Malle collection as well as Diptyque Paris, Tom Ford Private Blends, Armani Priveè, Comme de Garçons and Hermès. Well worth the visit, they have an excellent coffee shop in-store as well. One of only two stores to sell the Marni Doll sets.


The well-known local chainstore Edgars Sandton City boasts the best example of all-inclusive perfume shopping. It’s one of a handful of shops to have an in-store Chanel Beauty boutique stocking the lovely Exclusifs range.

Other highlights include an excellent Guerlain counter, Dior Priveè, Hermès, Bvlgari Gems collection, Tom Ford, Sisley and a dedicated Kiehl’s counter.They also do special orders for lesser known perfumes from Guerlain et al.


south africa stuttaford

Another well-known chainstore the Sandton City store is well stocked with perfumes. They have an instore Jo Malone counter with everything the brand has to offer.

Also of note: The Hugo Boss The Boss collection, Ermenegildo Zegna Essences collection, Tom Ford Private Blends and most Guerlain and Hermès perfumes. Also featuring Crabtree&Evelyn, Thierry Mugler, Sisley and the usual other department store finds. Stuttafords recently introduced some Dior Classics like Diorella, Diorissimo and Diorama to their line-up; well worth a sniff should you want to compare to the vintage stuff. It is the only other store that sells the Marni Doll sets.


Fabiani is part of The Foshini Group of retailers. They tailor more to the upmarket gentleman with superior cut suits and fantastic dress shirts. Worth to mention here as they also stock Comme de Garçons Perfume, specifically the new Pharrell Williams Girl and the Blue series one of only two stores I know of who does (the other being Luminance).


Primarily focusing on vintage designer clothing, this peculiar little store holds many treasures. It’s the first store where I bought Santa Maria Novella fragrances, and as far as I know, the only store in Johannesburg who does. Worth checking out, plus the added bonus of vintage clothing shopping and excellent coffee shops in the vicinity!


The tagline on their website states that they are PURVEYORS OF LUXURY LOCAL LINGERIE. They are also a great source for two of South Africa’s most interesting perfume houses: Rose en Bos by Indie Botanical Perfumer Emily Pienaar and Frazer Parfums, beautiful extraits made of local, natural ingredients. The handblown glass bottles of Frazer Parfums are works of art on their own. Lingerie and Parfum? I cannot imagine a better day at the shops!


With their extensive new website design and shop in Turffontein, Johannesburg, Ascot has become a staple amongst perfumistas. Regular excellent discounts and specials are advertised. Brands of note include Lancome, Chanel, Tom Ford Private Blends, Dior and Guerlain.


If you need a fantastic mani/pedicure in your lunchtime, SOHO Sandton City is the place to be. They’re also the only brick-and-mortar store I found so far that sells the Bond No.9 fragrances and candles. Pricey,but how can one resist Chinatown?


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Situated in the quaint Constantia Village centre in Constantia, Parfums de France surely delivers only the finest from French perfumes. Brands you will find here range from Annick Goutal, Guerlain, Hermès and Robert Piguet, Comme de Garçons, Dior and Chanel. Some vintage treasures are also to be found in-store. Their website is a fantastic alternative with fast and efficient service. The only store where I could find Habanita! Prices are usually around 40% below retail,which surely makes them worth a visit.


south africa smn

Following the successful recipe of their flagship apothecary-style store in Italy, Santa Maria Novella introduced itself to South Africans in 2013. Selling their wonderfully famous colognes, soaps and beauty products, SMN has become a cult favorite in Cape Town already. Well worth the visit, SMN South Africa sits tucked neatly in the revamped De Waterkant Quarter, another part of South Africa’s renaissance projects.


south africa lush

Cape Town has the privilege to have three Lush stores! Plans are apparently in place for a Johannesburg shop soon. In the meantime, Lush South Africa has a mail-order service that is fast and efficient as well. Everything a Lush addict could want or need can of course be found here. They also stock some limited edition annuals such as Rose Jam and Twilight shower gel. Not to mention ALL the perfumes we love. The flagship store is located at the V&A Waterfront, the other two in Canal Walk and Cavendish Square.


Situated in the wonderful V&A Waterfront complex, Gerard’s little store is a treasure trove of quirky French Perfumery. Brands include Parfums Volnay, Etat Libre d’Orange, Jardins d’Ecrivains and Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger. Be ready to be taken on an olfactory rollercoaster ride with Gerard when he is present in the store!


Rose en Bos: Indie Perfumer Emily Pienaar’s fantastic range of Botanical Perfumes are already making headlines across the country.

Fragrantics: a web-based retailer with hard-to-find brands such as Demeter, Bond No.9, Guerlain and Montale.

Magnifiscents: Hard to find fragrances such as Creed/Cartier/Amouage/Robert Piguet feature here.Special warehouse visits can also be arranged with the owner.

Frazer Parfums: Tammy Frazer’s adventures in olfaction. She creates collections and master-blends, beautifully packaged in handblown glass vessels or treestumps and porcelain cups for the solids. Tammy also offers a bespoke perfumery service,which is so worth the money if it is something you can afford.

I sincerely hope this little list helps my fellow perfumistas to find much more joy and fragrant discoveries!


Disclaimer: None of the images used are my own, acknowledgement of copyright on each picture where applicable.
I am not in any way affiliated to any of the stores or people mentioned, just a regular, happy customer at most of them.
Copyright Johanõ Botha 2015.
Posted in Shopping, Travels | Tagged , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Monday Question – How Was Your Weekend (And What Perfume Did You Wear)?

What did you do this weekend?

Have you worn one perfume or five?

Which one(s)?


My Answer:

I got a sample of Hermès’s latest launch Le Jardin de Monsieur Li on Saturday morning and have worn it ever since. Lovely, undemanding, not re-inventing the wheel but supremely easy to wear and smells really pretty and makes me feel like spring is here.

As for my weekend, we had a lovely time with friends on Saturday. The weather was warm and sunny and we spent the afternoon in the garden of the Hofburg.

On Sunday we had friends over for lunch (Chinese food and champagne ;) ) and enjoyed a low-key afternoon at home.

How was your weekend and which perfume accompanied it?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , | 53 Comments

Perfume Bottles And Scarves – Hermès Quadrige And Circuit 24 Faubourg

Perfume bottles and scarves – my two loves go together well, showing you how well, is the aim of this post.

The first scarf of my collection that I present today is called Quadrige. It is an old design, first brought out in 1976 by Pierre Peron. In 2012 Hermès used the design for a limited edition of their 24 Faubourg Eau de Parfum, which I just had to have. I love the perfume still, albeit from afar as wearing it is just too much for my lungs these days, but its beauty is just as great for the eye as it is for the nose.



Here is what Hermès tells us about the history of the scarf:

A quadrige, or quadriga, is an ancient four-horse, two-wheel chariot usually used for racing. By analogy, “quadriga” also refers to a sculpture representing a quadriga. Famous quadriga sculptures include those at the Grand Palais in Paris, the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin and the one on the Parthenon frieze at the Acropolis Museum. A new version of a scarf from the 70s, “Quadrige” is an exercise in style that plays on interweaving four horse heads and harnesses, like the pieces of a puzzle. Its extremely stylised pattern, graphic look with large full-tone areas, uninterrupted line outlining the horses’ manes, and braided cords around the edge all come together to give the scarf a very fashionable seventies feel. Design by Pierre Péron.




I got my Quadrige scarf second hand from ebay and was overjoyed when I found it in this particular colourway, neutral greys, black and white with a pop of pink.

It was a good deal and though not in perfect condition, I almost relish the fact that this is a workhorse (pun intended) scarf that I can wear without restraint, without worries of staining or damaging it. I just enjoy it. It is one of my most worn scarves.

IMG_0531You can see on the photos above and below that depending on the diagonal it is folded along, the corners look quite different. When I wear it around my neck more often than not an eye of a horse is visible, it looks like it is winking. ;)

The second scarf this week may seem familiar, as I have already shown you its little sister in this post.

Circuit 24 Faubourg is another scarf design that has made it on a limited edition bottle of 24 Faubourg, the perfume. (I wish I had that, if you know where I can find one, please let me know!)


Here I included the small pochette in the same design, so you can see the difference in size.

I bought this scarf in 2012 right when it came out because I fell for it hook, line and sinker. It is perfect. The colours, the lines, the clean geometric forms, its dynamic curves and the fact that it looks entirely different when worn than when seen in its entirety.





It is always a good idea to post a pictue of our lovely Portia, and thankfully today I have good reason. When I first met Portia, I was wearing Circuit 24 Faubourg along with a fur collar (from Mai Tai Collection).

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Portia (left) and Olfactoria (right) – just to make it clear who is who once and for all. ;)

I love this photo and still giggle inside when I look at it, because one reader thought Portia was the person on the right side and remarked on our uncannily similar looks. ;)


Finally I leave you with a picture I found of five of the different bottles of 24 Faubourg. The regular, non-limited bottle is the second from left. The others are Jeu des Omnibus et Dames Blanches, Éperon d’Or, Quadrige and 24. There are more out there though…

IMG_0524Completely unrelated but by popular demand and as an addendum to last week’s post, here is a shot of me wearing De la Mer au Ciel in a simple cowboy knot, with the knot tucked under.

Do you know and wear 24 Faubourg? What do you think of limited edition bottles? Frustrating or tantalizing?

Posted in Hermès, Scarf Collection | Tagged , , , , | 46 Comments

Pin-Up Perfume – Review: 4160 Tuesdays Tart’s Knicker Drawer

By Tara

British brand 4160 Tuesdays has quite a number of fragrances that are brim full of wit. In a world where perfumers can be painfully pretentious or rudely arrogant, the approach taken by indie perfumer Sarah McCartney is refreshing.


A perfume called Tart’s Knicker Drawer can’t fail to amuse and happily the scent itself is just as playful. It smells exactly the way I thought (and hoped) it would.

I think Sarah McCartney is particularly talented at creating vintage inspired scents, such as Doe in the Snow which is a 70s-style fruity chypre. Tart’s Knicker Drawer also has a definite retro feel. It’s a powdery cloud of gorgeousness with a silky, ambery base reminiscent of the full-bodied perfumes of the past.

Released in 2014, Tart’s Knicker Drawer actually came into being by pure chance. After a day of filtering six perfumes at once, Sarah remarked on Twitter that she smelt like “a tart’s boudoir”.

The positive reaction encouraged her to experiment further and refine the combination. The result is an incredibly smooth, complex yet easy to wear fragrance.

Tart’s Knicker Drawer contains the following notes:

Top notes: Bergamot, orange, grapefruit and pink peppercorn
Heart notes: Raspberry, rose, jasmine, sandalwood, cedarwood, violet, tuberose and guiacwood
Base notes: Amber, musk, vanilla, benzoin and tobacco

I would recommend not dwelling on the notes too much because it’s an exceptionally well blended, abstract perfume. But to give you an idea, I’d say it’s a raspberry swirl over rose/violet powder with a satin ribbon of jasmine – all on a plump pillow of amber and vanilla.

The fact that it is sweet but not syrupy, makes it womanly rather than teenage, which I love.

The woman we’re talking about here is feminine and voluptuous. She is more cheeky than outright tarty; there’s no filth hidden behind the scenes. She enjoys getting ready for a night out as much as the evening’s entertainment itself. She loves the ritual of applying full make-up, scenting her skin and dressing-up in sophisticated yet figure-hugging clothing.

Tart’s Knicker Drawer is all about the boudoir mist of old-style lipstick, face powder and perfume. This concoction ends up clinging to silk stockings and satin undergarments.

Its coquettish, vintage style is very fitting for a Varga Girl.


Painted by the most famous pin-up artist of all, Alberto Vargas, the 1940s Varga Girl portraits are glamorous, flirtatious and fun, just like Sarah’s scent.

During World War II, many U.S. servicemen chose to adorn their aircraft, ships and even uniform jackets with Varga Girl images copied from the pages of magazines and calendars.

I find Tart’s Knicker Drawer in Eau de Parfum strength lasts remarkably well with lovely soft focus sillage.

I’d very much like to experience the Extrait, not least because Sarah says “It lingers, like a fond memory of naughty things which happened in secret.”

Have you tried Tart’s Knicker Drawer? Do you like any boudoir scents? Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

Review: Jean-Louis Scherrer by Jean-Louis Scherrer

Hey Hey Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

Today I’d like to go back to 1979 and on into the 1980s. I was horse mad and went every weekend to have riding lessons and to help pay for that I’d spend an hour or two afterwards each week picking up horse poo and mucking out stables. The farm owners would then sell the bags of poo at the front gate and people from all over would come to that area of Sydney to buy it and use it to compost their roses and azaleas.

What the adult world was doing was completely over my head but I did know that my Mum and her friends smelled really good, as did a couple of my aunties. Now I have no recollection of this bottle being anywhere but the fragrance is hard wired into my brain as one that someone in our circle wore. Can’t remember who but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t my Mum. Recently I was given this small well used bottle by Michael Edwards in his clear out and the colour is the older golden juice. I can’t find any product code dates online but I’m guessing early 21st century, maybe late 20th? So on my first spritz I was taken back to those wonderful childhood days….

Jean-Louis Scherrer by Jean-Louis Scherrer 1979

Jean-Louis Scherrer Jean-Louis Scherrer FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, green notes, violet, cassia, hyacinth
Heart: Carnation, tuberose, gardenia, orris root, jasmine, rose
Base: Sandalwood, amber, musk, civet, oakmoss, vanilla, vetiver, cedar

In Jean-Louis Scherrer I find a very beautiful link between CHANEL No 5 and the powerhouse fragrances of the 1980s. These were the days when saying something smelled perfumey was not a blindside. Here we have a beautifully blended cool animalic aldehydic floral. It’s big but not outrageous by the standards of the day, cool and warm simultaneously and I smile every time I spritz, and long after to be honest.

Jin & Portia St V Day 2015

Tonight I wore a very healthy couple of spritzes of Jean-Louis Scherrer for dinner. The intial glittering green lasts all to briefly because the animals and resins are already yowling. I was a little freaked because it was so big when applied, and the extremely high humidity in our Sydney summer heat made it bloom like crazy, all the way in the car I was totally worried that everything would be ruined by this OTT huge fragrance that was decidedly skanky, the civet, musk and indoles all working their glorious magic a little too powerfully for dinner. The heart for me is almost non existent, not a problem but interesting to note.

Jean-Louis Scherrer Jean-Louis Scherrer Stump_Moss WikiCommonsPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Luckily, about 5 minutes from the restaurant (about 50-60 minutes after spritzing) the whole fragrance settled into a lovely hum of sexy florals with a warm woody and slightly foxy base. Really nice, smooth and elegant. Jean-Louis Scherrer shone softly as a fabulously old fashioned background hum. This is how beautifully perfumed people should smell, heavenly.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Yesterday’s Perfume
FragranceNet has $49/50ml before Coupon

Did you ever spend some time with Jean-Louis Scherrer? What are your thoughts on vintage, is there a particular one that you crave?
Portia x

Posted in By Portia, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , | 23 Comments

Monday Question – What Are Your Secret Single Behaviours?

When you are home (or away) alone, is there anything you love to do you wouldn’t do in the presence of your loved ones?

Do you indulge in so called secret single behaviour or are just the same as in the company of others?

Do you cherish your time spent on your own or do you crave constant company?

My Answer:

When I was in London recently what I enjoyed most was being on my own and the master of my own time and space. The things I do then are utterly mundane, but nonetheless, I enjoy them immensely.

After a day walking the city and a matinée of Phantom of the Opera (you may roll your eyes, but I adore musicals), I love to shop for the perfect dinner to take to my hotel room (this time I had wild crayfish and avocado on baby spinach and rucola from Pret-a-manger three times, I love it so much, followed by an almond croissant in case anyone thinks this is too healthy ;) ), then I settle in with my food and a Coke Zero, a couple of magazines (The Gentlewoman and Porter), and maybe an old movie on TV.

Sounds utterly boring, but that is quite possibly how I am too, so I am making no excuses for my secret single behaviour.

What about yours?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged | 31 Comments

The Circle Of Life – Hermès De La Mer Au Ciel Scarves

Today I want to show you two scarves – sisters – that share the same design in a different colourway. It shows very well how completely different two scarves of the same design can look, depending on the colours.

De la Mer au Ciel is a design that was launched in 2014 (the year of Metamorphosis) and it was created by Laurence Bourthoumieux (who signs her work with the nom de plume Toutsy). It is in the classic size, 90x90cm.

De la Mer au Ciel depicts a scene of sea and sky, where the fish emerge from the water on one side and turn into birds, on the other side the metamorphosis runs in the other direction, birds turn into fish again and go back into the churning sea. Clouds and waves intermingle in this rather busy design, but there is a softness to it that attracts me, a curvy symmetry that is both dynamic and whimsical.

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The first scarf is done in neutral colours: grey, navy, black and a soft off-white give us a rather sombre image of sea and sky.

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The second one has a lighter athmosphere. Beige, vanilla. soft green and a bright corally red make up the scene here and promptly we get to see it in a wholly different light.

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A very  interesting thing about this scarf is also its versatility when tied. You can have a grey scarf or a blue one, depending on the diagonal you choose to show when folded.

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Same with the light colourway, I can choose which corners to show, which diagonal to fold along to get very different results.

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This is how they look when worn around the neck.

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Let’s have a look at a few details now. The centre shows the scarf’s name as well as the swirly centre of the churning sea.

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The details are clearer in the lighter colourway, while in the darker one you have to actively go looking for the fish and plants.

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Here we see fish swimming in a coral reef, again the lighter colours provide a clearer picture, while the darker one seems more abstract.

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I love this design because it is tapping into my love for the magical. The circle of fish turning into birds turning into fish seems so beautiful to me. The fish gaining the skies, even for only a short time seems hopeful and optimistic. It is not exactly how evolution worked, but that is not the point of the design anyway, it is a flight of fancy rather than a nod to Darwin.

I bought the first (dark) one through and found the second one after a long search on, which is tantalizingly inaccessible for Europeans. But that is what fumie friends are for, isn’t it? Enter Daisy, an amazing food blogger, perfume fiend and great friend who resides in New York City. She nabbed the scarf for me, had it delivered to the Madison Avenue store where I picked it up on my trip to NY last November. Surely another story of acquisition I will never forget.

Do you like this design? Do you prefer one scarf over the other? Which one and why?

Posted in Hermès, Scarf Collection, Scarves | Tagged , , | 46 Comments