Hermès Scarfs In Action And A Current Obsession – Mansur Gavriel

Since the gloomy weather of the past few days here has made my scarf photos come out woefully dark, I took a look at my archive pics of scarfs as I’ve worn them in the past to show you.

La Danse de Cheval Marwari Dip Dye 90

La Danse de Cheval Marwari Dip Dye 90

The first pic is of the 90 dip dye I have already shown you here, La Danse de Cheval Mawari makes for the softest thing one can wear around the neck. I sometimes think the colours washes me out a bit, but here it looks okay, if I say so myself.

Phoenix Mythiques Cotton Pareo

Phoenix Mythiques Cotton Pareo

This is my only cotton scarf from Hermès, the magical Phoenix Mythiques motif in summery colours. The cotton also makes it very hardy and therefore great to travel with. This summer in Tuscany I plan to actually use it as a pareo, you only live once, after all… :)

Concours d Etrières Dip Dye 140

Concours d Etrières Dip Dye 140

I wore the smoky blue large size scarf you see above in London for Neil’s Vanilla evening for Perfume Lovers London and despite not actually applying any perfume myself that day, it still smells of vanilla. Love that. Concours d’Etrières en vanille.

Tigre Royal Dip Dye 140

Tigre Royal Dip Dye 140

This photo is of a scarf I owned for exactly two hours before I hotfooted it back to the boutique to exchange it. Lesson learned: the lightning in the Vienna boutique is NOT to be trusted. I wanted the tiger, but the colours were just not me. (I got the smoky blue dip dye instead that day and I never regretted this one.)

Le Songe de la Licorne Cashmere Silk 140

Le Songe de la Licorne Cashmere Silk 140

La Songe de la Licorne – The Unicorn’s Dream. What a name! I don’t quite see why this design bears that particular name, but I love it anyway. This is a chameleon scarf, the colours – salmon, peach, rust and oatmeal – look different in every light.

Mythiques Phoenix 90

Mythiques Phoenix 90

And finally, here is a photo of a 90 scarf (Mythiques Phoenix) half hidden in a cowl-neck sweater. I like this look since it makes a plain sweater more interesting and also keeps my skin away from wool, which makes me itch.

After this selfie assault on your senses, I want to show you a current obsession of mine that is neither very orginal nor very sensible. The Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. I am late to the hype, but I’m there with a vengeance. I dream of this bag at night and fantasize about it during the day. It is stupid to obsess over a piece of leather, but look – isn’t it pretty?

Mansur Gavriel is a young brand, just two years on the market, but they are perpetually sold out worldwide, since the simple and elegant bags seem to have hit a nerve with the fashion crowd. Their much friendlier pricepoint compared to other luxury brand bags helps too.

The bags are made of vegetable tanned leather in three shades (black, brandy, cammello) with coloured interiors. (There are saffiano and tumble leather versions too, all in three styles, bucket, tote and backpack in different sizes.)


The company’s official photos with flowers are too gorgeous. This is the bucket bag in Brandy/Raw.


Large Bucket bag in Black/Flamma.


Large Bucket bag in Cammello/Sun.


And for good measure… the tote (Large Tote in Cammello/Rosa). Sigh.

What do you think of the bags? Have you heard of them?

Have a lovely weekend,

B x

Photo credits: scarf pics my own, bag images by Mansur Gavriel
Posted in Hermès, Scarf Collection, Scarves | Tagged , | 34 Comments

ODOU Smell and Perfume Magazine – Crowd Funding Initiative

By Tara

Launched in 2013, ODOU is a bi-annual print magazine that explores smell and perfume through themes of memory, science, art, design, personal reflections, photography and more. There is no other publication that explores the sense of smell alone.


ODOU has an international team of contributors and the founder, editor and designer is the wonderful Liam Moore.

“Perhaps you’ve been there; the smell of cut grass and the memories of summers gone by, or the whiff of a passerby’s perfume and your head turns. Maybe it’s the smell of your newborn baby’s head or your grandparent’s cooking – nearly all of us have favourite and fond smells. Articles in ODOU discuss all these kinds of topics lightheartedly, longingly, scientifically, even lovingly.

You won’t find content about the latest trend, must-have celebrity scent, or even top-tips running down the inside fold because these already exist in print and that’s not what we’re interested in. ODOU is much more exploratory, curious and revealing. Its aim is to awaken your interest in your olfactory surroundings, to stop and smell the roses.”

– ODOU on Indiegogo


Last year the lead article in Issue One, “Perfume Haters” by Neil Chapman (who wrote a fabulous vanilla series here on OT) won ODOU the Literary Award at The Fragrance Foundation’s Jasmine Awards.

This year a total of six articles from Issues Two and Three were nominated in various categories and again ODOU took home the prestigious Literary Award. As you can see, the standard of writing is extremely high.

“Addiction as a theme for scent seems odd and somewhat frivolous. But bear in mind that many of us are quite obsessed by scent in an alarming way.”

— “The Consolation of Dependence” by The Silver Fox – Issue Three

All three past issues are still available in digital and print format from the ODOU website.


Issue Four

Work on Issue Four is currently underway. It will contain articles on ambergris, fragrance in Greek mythology and a personal account of a perfumer’s journey in education. I love how ODOU explores such a wide range of topics around scent and smell.

Crowd Funding

A crowd funding initiative has been launched via Indiegogo in order to take ODOU to the next level. Backing would enable the magazine to reach more people and stand on its own for future issues. It will also mean that Issue Four can be produced with a look and feel that is befitting of its content.

There are some nice perks for funders too, including a discounted copy of Issue Four and a rather cool looking tote bag.

Best of luck to Liam and everyone associated with ODOU. It’s a unique project that deserves not just to continue, but to thrive.

Posted in By Tara | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monday Question – What Exotic Destination Would You Love To Escape To Right Now?

It is Monday again. Ugh.

Instead of giving in and resigning yourself to the daily grind, let us dream a bit today.

If money and commitments were no consideration, where would you fly (or drive or sail) to today?

Where would you go for, let’s say 7 days of absolute freedom?

Where in the world would you love to be right now?


My Answer:

There are many tempting places… I’m very much drawn to Hawaii and its natural phenomena combined with excellent shopping opportunities (hehe). Or Tokyo… or India…?

But if I could fly out today, I would go to Sydney, Australia. I’d let Portia show me a good time, see the sights, soak up the sun, cover myself in sunscreen and be happy.

On the way back I’d add a day in Singapore, which I think must be a fascinating city.

What would you do with your all-expenses-covered week away?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged | 47 Comments

A Lovely Day – Paul’s First Communion, May 14th, 2015

Yesterday we celebrated my older son Paul’s First Communion together with his class in the Canisiuskirche in Vienna.

The weather was not what we’d hoped for, but other that that it was a really beautiful day.

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Pauli, 8

The kids were lovely and extremely well-behaved. It was well organized, and Pauli did the reading (not actually reading it, since the kids had to learn all the texts by heart) very professionally. We were so proud!


Niki, 5 with his photoface

I was kitted out with a mega-pack of tissues and that was a wise precaution. Watching my baby up there was an emotional experience.

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Today I only have a few (bad) iPhone pics to share with you, as photography in the church was not permitted, we will get the official photo CD soon though and I want to show you a few more images then, if you’d like to see.

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After church we had a lovely meal with family and friends. My heart is full today and I’m grateful for my life.

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I wish you all many such days.

B x

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

Road Trip: Review – Van Cleef & Arpels California Reverie

By Tara

I usually have trouble with jasmine-heavy perfumes. Nasomatto’s Nuda is too heady for me and the same goes for Serge Lutens’ A La Nuit multiplied by a hundred. I admire the apricot inkiness of Sarrasins (also by Lutens) but it’s just a bit too cold-blooded.

From reading about California Reverie I thought it might be the sort of jasmine I’d feel comfortable in. The Candy Perfume Boy thought so too and kindly sent me a decant so I could take it for a test drive.


California Reverie was released in 2014 and is part of Van Cleef & Arpels’ upscale Collection Extraordinaire. It was composed by Antoine Maisondieu who created Jasmin et Cigarettes for Etat Libre d’Orange, which was sadly a scrubber on me.

Top notes for California Reverie are mandarin orange and neroli; middle notes are jasmine sambac and frangipani; base notes are beeswax and vanilla.

We are not talking about a big, skanky, in-you-face jasmine here. California Reverie is the scent of jasmine at a distance. To be specific, it’s the scent of jasmine caught on the breeze while driving a classic convertible along the coastal highway in the Golden State.

You settle back in your seat, watching the Pacific Ocean glitter to one side of you while the orange groves pass by on the other. You enjoy the feeling of the wind whipping your hair as you cruise along.

Freewheeling on a sunny day before the heat of summer has kicked in, you feel relaxed and happy. The wide open road stretches ahead and where you end up is down to you and you alone. For once, no one else is calling the shots.

You take a deep breath, filling your lungs with sweet scented air.

California Reverie opens with a cheerful blend of mandarin juice and orange blossom. You don’t have to wait long for the jasmine to appear though. It wafts in within moments of spraying, feeling light and fresh.

The jasmine is supported by soft, creamy frangipani which helps give it that carefree, vacation vibe. The vanilla in the base is very sheer.

I find California Reverie has moderate projection and decent longevity.

Like most jasmines, it’s a tad too sweet for me and I would have liked to get more beeswax. However, like several others in this collection (including Orchidée Vanille), California Reverie is a high quality fragrance which is very pretty and easy to wear.

I think it would work well for those who like their jasmine indole-free and wispy. Some white florals can feel suffocating or rather grown-up, but California Reverie takes an airy, elegantly casual approach.


It’s a dewy, daydream of a fragrance that would be perfect for spring.

Read Olfactoria’s mini-reviews of some of the others in the Collection Extraordinaire.

How do you feel about jasmine fragrances?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Van Cleef & Arpels | Tagged , , | 26 Comments

A Spring Vanilla – Review: Tokyo Milk Dead Sexy

Heya gorgeous Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia with you all the way from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse (and now writing for My Perfume Samples too). Today I wanted to talk Cheap & Cheerful. Frankly I think all this aspirational pricing is getting out of hand so let’s look at a super reasonably priced gem that has flown under the radar and if your aim is to smell good without all the attendant high end spend then this could be your frag.

Dead Sexy by Tokyo Milk Parfumerie Curiosité, was created in 2000.

Dead Sexy Tokyo Milk Parfumarie Curiosite FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Vanilla, woody notes, ebony, white orchid

I get a soft focus citrus opening that seems to be floating above an enormous bank of white musks, though it is not a big fragrance. Dead Sexy is muted and calm, clean and elegant. The woods are amorphous, no particular wood that I can discern but general woodsiness is hinted at, and its warm wood. The floral aspect is a little like stocks, no not really but a dream of a fresh vase of them as you walk past the room they’re in. As we reach the heart the orchid(?) and vanilla are twined and I get a hint of unnamed fruitiness too. The woods go smoky, fire and a hint of smoke, through the heart and the vanilla takes centre stage as we head for dry down, a sweet musky vanilla that still hints at woods. A spring vanilla.

Dead Sexy Tokyo Milk Tim Pokorny Lamb FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

I know it reads like a real roller coaster ride but Dead Sexy is not, these are all very minor increments and done in a bit of a haze. After about an hour Dead Sexy is a skin scent and it stays at this almost not there level for ages just slightly lifting the smell of my skin into something beautiful. There is something very comfortable about Dead Sexy, it is super hot but not in a forward way.

Dead Sexy would make an excellent office or date night scent where you don’t want to be overly fragrant. No one will tell you that Dead Sexy is an important or ground breaking fragrance, it’s not. It’s a slightly generic haze of a scent for when you’d like to smell clean, fresh and warm all day. You will have a hint of fragrant glamour that cruises along under the radar till you get in extremely close. Even then you will smell nice, not AH MAY ZING, but it’s the kind of nice that you can keep smelling all night and day. Not cloying or in your face. A perfect spritz and go.

My advice, wear it near where you want to be kissed.

Dead Sexy Tokyo Milk sensual WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Further Reading: EauMG and My Perfume Diaries
Beauty Habit has $30/30ml

Do you have a favourite Cheap & Cheerful spritz & go frag? Tell us, we love to get the bargain shopping tips.
Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

Monday Question – How Do You Deal With Aging?

As different as we are in many respects of our lives, what we all share is the fact that we are getting older every day.

Do you feel the passage of time acutely at the moment?

Is ageing an issue for you?

How do you deal with getting older?


My Answer:

Aging is very much on my mind lately. I have a birthday looming in a few days, that has affected me like no other so far has. It feels momentuous (or ominous on worse days).

My older son has his first communion this week (a big deal if you are in a Catholic school) and this also drives home how fast time has passed since my children were born.

The past decade is a blur. When I was twenty, or thirty even, time seemed to be on a different pace, it has sped up in a way that is a bit alarming.

In many ways I feel no different than twenty or thirty years ago, although in many others I have learned a lot and changed with the circumstances of my life.

I’d like to talk with you about practical aspects of getting older (Hey there, wrinkles!) as well as the more intangible ones (Wisdom! Wisdom?).

How do you feel about getting older? What has changed for you? Are you happy with your age? What was the age you were the happiest at in hindsight?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged | 82 Comments

Spring Haze – Review: Guerlain Chamade

By Tara

When you first meet someone you are violently attracted to, it can feel a lot like panic. Your fight or flight response kicks in as your senses heighten and your heart begins to race.

Historically, in war, a chamade was a quickening drumbeat which signaled retreat. Similarly, the fragrance Chamade seeks to capture the moment you capitulate and give in to those overwhelming feelings. You stop resisting; succumbing to this person who has claimed your heart and thereby turned your world upside down.

Appropriately, the beautiful extrait bottle symbolises an up-turned heart pierced by an arrow.


Chamade was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain and launched in 1969. Notes include Turkish rose, ylang ylang, jasmine, lilac, blackcurrant bud, lily of the valley, hyacinth, cassis, galbanum, sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla, musk, amber, iris and tonka bean.

Spring is the time when we are supposed to be most receptive to falling in love. The sap and temperature are rising. Everything feels new and full of possibilities.

Chamade encapsulates that dreamy, romantic feeling.

My first thought on spraying is that this really smells like an old-school Guerlain. It starts with that classic French perfume-y aura. This could be off-putting for some, however the aldehydes are rounded and soft rather than harsh and spiky. I can also sense the distinctive Guerlinade rising up through the haze.

I imagine the opening of the EDT is a lot greener and fresher than my EDP. Once the aldehydes eventually subside, I get pollen-coated petals as well as plant stems. It’s such a delicately lush, quietly symphonic bouquet that no single element stands out. The effect is gentle and diffusive.

Hyacinths are the flower I associate most with spring. They are present here but they’re only one part of the scene the perfume paints. I see an array of spring flowers in shades of white and lilac. I hear the low buzz of bees, busy pollinating the vernal display. The heart focuses as much on oily pollen as it does on fresh blooms.

When it finally arrives, the base comes as somewhat of a surprise. I wanted something mysterious in my spring perfume and here it is: a warm, oriental accord that verges on the sultry.

The day is ending and the mood has changed. Chamade is now hinting at surrender of a more passionate kind.

I love this unexpected twist just at the point when most perfumes take a turn for the banal. It makes all the difference for me.

This is a fragrance which is unlikely to woo those who only favour modern perfumes or ones with big personalities. Chamade is a gentle thrum which is the perfect accompaniment to bright spring days when I feel relief at finally leaving winter behind.


I just want to enjoy the feeling of renewed hope and optimism the arrival of this season brings.

Have you tried Chamade? If so, in which concentration?

If not, what are your spring fragrance loves?

Posted in By Tara, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain | Tagged , , , , | 50 Comments

Light And Shadow – Review: Jaques Zolty Van-Ile

By Sandra

Kussmund is the name of a new perfume/cosmetic shop and it is off of one of the side streets in downtown Vienna making it convenient for those taking a stroll in the city and wanting to browse for a new perfume, skin care product or home scent. They carry several brands which are otherwise not to be found in downtown Vienna.

For instance I was finally able to get my hands on my Phaedon favorites. They also carry Chabaud, Etat Libre d’Orange, Jacques Zolty, Laboratorio Olfattivo, Odin, Parfumes de Marly, Teo Cabanel and several other brands. The store is beautiful and the staff are exceptionally friendly and knowledgable.


I am always a sucker for a new vanilla perfume and when I found out about Kussmund I headed over there not hoping to find anything. I had recently read a review of Jacques Zolty’s Van-ile and when I saw it in Kussmund I immediately reached for it and sprayed. What was I expecting? I thought that with the name Van-ile it would certainly be a linear vanilla scent perhaps, if I was lucky, with a twist or a turn here and there. Was I expecting to be immediately swooning like I was with Indult’s Tihota or Casamorati’s Lira? Well, whatever my expectations were they were all wrong about Van-ile.

Jacques Zolty’s Van-ile was created by perfumer Cecile Zarokian who has done many perfumes including Amouage Epic Woman and Jul et Mad’s Sextius – two beautiful perfumes which are miles apart in style. Ms Zarokian has the uncanny ability to create such distinct and varying perfumes and it is surprising to smell her take on vanilla.

Fragrantica gives us the notes list as: “bergamot, orange, almond, vanilla, heliotrope, frangipani, jasmine, patchouli, leather, powdery notes, oakmoss and musk.”

The initial opening of this perfume is a blast of bergamont and orange. It is actually quite sunny in its disposition and there is only a slight hint of what is about to come. The citrusy opening is sweetened with a touch of vanilla and a slight pinch of almond which does not allow it to veer too far into the sweet department. I was expecting this to be it and for the vanilla to come into the foreground and not change.

Well, after about 30 minutes the composition gets much more interesting. It is as if Ms Zarokian’s gifted hands were standing over a cauldron and her brain was putting together a magic potion to transform whatever kind of a day I am having into a wonderland of imagination, colour and vibrancy. Seriously.

This perfume IS about vanilla but it has so much more going on. At one point the perfume gets a bit dark and I sense a cloak being draped over my shoulders. But before it gets too dark flashes of bright gold and white appear again to reassure me that all is what it is supposed to be. Shadows appear and just as quickly as they appear, rays of light shine through to make the composition intriguing and beguiling. There is an interplay of light and shadows which brings to mind the duality in life. There are no shadows without light – everything is interconnected and complementary– just as it is supposed to be.

This is the way it continues for a while on my skin, until it settles down with a touch of musk. I love the drydown for the rounded feel – the cloak is no longer dark and mysterious – it is now a cashmere silk shawl wrapped around my shoulders protecting me and giving me a sense of well being.


Because of the play with shadows that Van-ile displays I find it perfect for year round wear. I wore it the other day when we had our first day of 25 degrees and it behaved remarkably well without being overly sweet or cloying.

If you like vanilla fragrances with a little twist please give this one a try. These days perfume has become a luxury to wear especially niche perfume with its astronomical pricing. I paid €102 for my 100ml bottle of Jacques Zolty Van-ile and I do not feel the least twinge of guilt for spraying lavishly nor for spraying so often. It is a delight.

Do you have a vanilla fragrance that you wear year round?

Posted in By Sandra, Fragrance Reviews, Vanilla | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Monday Question – How Would You Describe Yourself In Four Words?

I want just four words from you today, but I bet you’ll need some time to come up with them. (At least I did!)

Which four words sum you up best?


My Answer:
The hardest part for me when answering this question was to keep it positive. I can come up with for negative descriptors of myself in no time (and not only four either) but to find word to highlight my good sides took considerably longer. Which might as well be the point of the exercise… :)

So here we go:

Introverted, warm, well-organised and witty.

What are your four words?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged | 55 Comments