Candle In The Dark – Review: 24.09.11 By Hilde Soliani

Hey Hey lovely Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia with you today from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

It seems I am the only person who has reviewed this lovely fragrance before. Sometimes the really good stuff gets missed in the overwhelming crush of releases that happens every year, it’s a crying shame that we are just not able to keep up and get the best the notoriety it deserves. Here then is my candle in the dark.

Hilde Soliani is a fragrance creator, artist and person of uncertain moods. I have seen her rip a whole group of people to shreds when they questioned one of her labels on a FaceBook fragrance board, yet she has also been very friendly with me in emails and what little I have had to do with her. Nobody questions her ability to make wonderful fragrance though….

24-09-11  was created by Hilde Soliani in 2012.

24-09-11 Hilde Soliani FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Calamus, amber, frankincense, myrrh.

Straight out of the spritzer I get a gorgeous wash of resinous amber, a sweet and caramellised amber that is both delicious and engulfing. I think one of the resins gives me a decidedly breathy, bed head smell that sinuously wends its way through the lovely toffee-ish scent that is 24-09-11. The calamus (at least I think it is, as I’ve never smelled it) gives a dryness that cuts through the resins beautifully stopping the whole fragrance from becoming a sweetened mess. It’s an interesting green note, dry and slightly dusty and reminds me a little of patchouli without smelling much like patchouli, more in the feeling and atmosphere that patchouli creates.

24-09-11 Hilde Soliani Breeze Brad Hammonds FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

There is something cool and sunkissed about 24-09-11. A very good choice for Autumn and Spring as it seems to capture the coolness and wan sunlight of early morning in both mid seasons. An interesting, hefty amber fragrance made lighter and brighter by the addition of the calamus, made oppressive yet transparent. An interesting dichotomy, almost a fragrant oxymoron. Here we have hot liquid gold contrasted with dry and desiccated grass. The two never really come to terms with each other through the life of 24.09.11 and it is this frisson that keeps me glued to my wrist or breathing into my jumper all day.

From Fragrantica: 24-09-11 is dedicated to Hilde’s late father as an “angel” who guards her. Its notes are inspired by the flavors of Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall and the scents of the bazaar and markets with rich spices.

24-09-11 Hilde Soliani  jerusalem neu_alf PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

If I spritz in the evening tomorrow morning I will awake with a smear of sweetness left that lingers extremely quietly till lunchtime. I don’t know how Hilde Soliani managed to create something so big and yet so ethereal. You are fragrant the whole time but its a fragrant that seems to fit my skin, fit me, as if it understands my smell and wants to make that smell the best it can possibly be. This interesting, awkward, enticing and unusual combination that is 24-09-11, it feels like me.

Were I to be a one fragrance kind of person, I think 24-09-11 would be in the running…

LuckyScent has $160/100ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $5/ml

Have you spent any time with Hilde Soliani’s fragrances? Did they inspire and delight you?
Portia xx

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Posted in Amber, By Portia, Fragrance Reviews, Myrrh | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Monday Question – What Is The Book Or Story You Cannot Forget?

I have a non-perfume related question for you today. I know my readers love books as much as I do, so please share with me:

Is there a book, novel, short story, etc. that haunts you since you have read it?

What book has made an indelible impression on your mind?

Is there a story that has captured you more than any other?

Why is that?


My Answer:

Today’s question was inspired by Neil’s post about a book by Josephine Hart, Damage. I have first read this book when I was quite young and I have never forgot it.

Its movie adaptation features my favorite actor ever – Jeremy Irons, and it is one of those rare cases where the movie is just as good as the book.

Other stories that have struck a chord and stuck with me for twenty years now are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy and Die Unendliche Geschichte (The Neverending Story) by Michael Ende.

They all speak to me in ways other stories don’t and I will always re-read them and there is nothing better than to sink back into the beloved world of a story that is and is not your own.

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , , | 40 Comments

Land of Plenty – Review: Mona di Orio Eau Absolue

By Tara

Eau Absolue is said to be a fragrance Mona created for herself and embodies her love of the Mediterranean. It was launched in 2013 and is described as a Citrus Aromatic. Mona composed the formula before her untimely passing in 2011 and it has been produced by Accords et Parfums, the lab in Grasse she worked with so closely.

Mona_di_Orio Eau_Absolue

Top notes are bergamot, clementine and petitgrain; middle notes are geranium, vetiver, bay leaf and pink pepper; base notes are cedar, musk and labdanum.

Eau Absolue follows the arc of the sun as it travels across the sky, reflecting the development of a summer’s day in the Med. The fragrance starts bright at first-light and becomes warmer and fuller until sundown, when it gets cosy for the twilight hours.

As you’d expect from the notes, Eau Absolue opens full of orange-hued goodness. It’s resinous rather than zingy, including the twigs and leaves as well as the fruit. The juice oozes slowly, feeling warm and sticky.

The citrus is nicely rounded out with a blend of green and slightly earthy notes (including vetiver and geranium). There’s a feeling of overflowing abundance. The soil is mineral rich, leafy plants are flourishing and tree branches are dripping with ripe fruit.

The heart is dominated by a fantastic beeswax accord and for me, it raises the fragrance to the status of serious lemming. Its delicate honeyed sweetness is blissful and a perfect counter-balance to the citrus and green notes. It’s so present and adds such a malleable texture, I feel as if I can almost rub it between my fingers.

In the base, the beeswax remains while the fruit and greenery take a step back to make room for a gentle, soothing amber and a soft, cuddly musk.

Unsurprisingly considering it’s a fragrance by Mona di Orio, this is not a light eau de cologne. Eau Absolue is classed as an eau de parfum and its lasting power is outstanding. It has great depth, with a quiet potency and reasonable projection.

It’s an encapsulation of the warmth and fecundity of the Mediterranean, rather than an antidote to the heat. Therefore I’d stop short of recommending it as a cooling fragrance to spray liberally on a super hot day. I think the sweet beeswax could be at risk of feeling stifling in very hot or humid weather, if applied with a heavy hand.

The upside of this is that Eau Absolue has more than enough heft for wear outside of the summer months. It could be the perfect reminder of those long, languid days as autumn draws in.


Eau Absolue has a different feel to the rest of the line and is well worth a try if you have yet to find a fragrance in Les Nombres D’Or that works for you. Unlike the others, the mood is very outdoorsy and incredibly relaxed. You can almost hear the bees buzzing, see the fruit-laden trees and sense the sun’s warmth on your skin.

It really does feel as if Mona managed to capture her Mediterranean happy place in a perfume. Glorious.

Posted in By Tara, Chypre, Citrus, Cologne, Fragrance Reviews, Mona di Orio | Tagged , , , , , | 29 Comments

Bogue Profumo MAAI Giveaway Winners Announced!

Michael showed us the beauty that is MAAI last week in his review.

The following commenters got lucky and will receive a sample of this enigmatic perfume.

Cynthia Mc


Please get in touch with your details at olfactoria at gmail com as soon as possible, so we can get this on the way to you!

Posted in Giveaway | Tagged | 5 Comments

Roman Holiday – A Travelogue

By Sandra

Rome is one of the cities on earth where I feel completely relaxed and at home.

We decided to take the one week of vacation that the Norwegian had, and fly to Rome for the full week. The week was the start of Ferragosto which many will know is basically the start of vacation in Italy. Knowing this in advance and understanding that it may be challenging to do any perfume sniffing (which is not that important in the grand scheme of things) we went with the assumption that we would be relaxing and kicking back our feet Roman style. So, we packed our bags and left the house at 0415 to catch a 0600 flight.

roman forum 7

There was a slight hiccup at the Fuimicino Airport on arrival. Blame the early hour but we followed the signs to baggage claim and ended up two terminals away from where we were supposed to be. Apparently this was of no concern to the security at the correct terminal (must happen often as there were several people lined up waiting to go back into the terminal) and they allowed the Norwegian entry in order to fetch our bags.

Finally, we got to our driver and were on the way to our favourite hotel in Rome. The sun was up and it was already at 90% humidity which coming from Vienna this summer left us drenched.

Rome delivered everything it promised and then some. We settled down quite quickly to relaxation mode and we strolled the streets of the inner city. Since pretty much everything was closed, including most perfumeries, we mapped out our days to get the maximum in sightseeing. No, it was not challenging with the 5 year old in tow – he was a trooper.

coloseum reds bigger

If I ask my son what his favourite part of the trip was, it would be renting a family bike (sat the three of us) in the Borghese Gardens and biking and taking in the fresh air and the beautiful song of the cicadas. Or, he may say that dressing up as a gladiator after visiting the Coloseum was an experience not to be missed. The Roman Forum was an adventure and we kept him entertained by asking him to look out for wild cats. (None to be seen.)

Navona night 4

I was on a Bernini kick – hunting down statues and fountains by Bernini all over Rome. Timing is crucial in Rome as we soon found out. We hiked to one church to see a famous statue and got to the front door of the church to find out it closed 15 minutes earlier for a two hour lunch break. Ok. We moved on. You would think that I would learn to look things up but I thought ok we go to the next church on the list another day and just get there by 2pm. Believe it or not but that church was closed from 2-4:30pm. Argh! My favorites this time were the Coloseum, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Museums and the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva. The Norwegian loved every single day and I have not seen him so relaxed in years. This was the first vacation for him in over a decade without a laptop!

church steeple sun

The last full day of our vacation was also my birthday and it was the first day when many stores would reopen after the Ferragosto vacation. I wanted to visit a few more Piazzas and churches and had no intention of doing any shopping. On our morning walk to the Spanish Steps and to the Piazza del Popolo we saw that Amouage had a stand-alone store! In Rome!

Amouage boutique

Walking into the Amouage store after all of our sightseeing had me hooked as soon as I smelled the inside of the store. I swooned at the beauty around me. I wanted Fate Woman and as the SA found out that I know many of the Amouage perfumes for women, she suggested that she walk us (husband key person here) through the men’s line. Most importantly for me all of the extraits were in one area for me to explore. The Norwegian fell in love with Lyric Man and I fell hard for Lyric Extrait. Thankfully the SA informed us that they will deliver anywhere within Europe. Christmas shopping here we come! It was a truly beautiful shop with a knowledgeable, patient and friendly SA.

Bernini Triton close

Rome was magical. The pictures I took will always take me to the relaxed summer days of 2014.

Where have you all taken your vacation this year?

Posted in By Sandra, Travels | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Monday Question – WHY Do You Love Perfume So Much?

In this space we talk about which and what, how and when, if or not to wear perfume, how to store it, when and where to buy it, what we love and what we hate…

Today I want to know what we rarely talk about: Why do you love perfume?

Why do you think scent and smell is such an important part of your life?

What makes you want to smell good?

What makes you seek out new scents?

Why is it that perfume makes you happy?


My Answer:

When I think about my senses, I know that I like to look good for myself and for others, I like to hear and speak sense (whenever possible), I like to touch and be touched, so it only seems logical to me that I also want to smell good things and I want others to enjoy the way I smell.

To borrow the words of Jerry Maguire: perfume completes me.

I don’t feel ready to face the world without perfume. I need perfume to make myself presentable, to escape more mundane moments, to use it as an emotional crutch in times of anger, sadness and even happiness.

Perfume makes memories. Perfume is a way to connect, to anchor me in the moment as well as take me away from it if necessary.

Perfume is loaded with meaning and provides endless ways of inner travel and adventure.

Perfume is a means of escape as much as an everyday grooming tool. It is versatile and it is indispensible.

Perfume is such an easy way to make myself happy. When nothing else goes, when I’m stressed out, when I have no time for myself, when I need a break, I can still smell my wrist and smile about my secret getaway, my private breath of beauty.

Perfume is beauty. I soak it up, I shamelessly use it to fill myself to the brim with beauty in the hope to pass on some of it to world.

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , | 42 Comments

Giveaway Winners Announced!

We have two winners to announce today, of the Roja Dove Fragrance Consultation and a decant of Acqua di Parma Rosa Nobile. has spoken and chosen the following winners among the entrants:



The lucky winner of the consultation with Benjamin at the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie at Harrod’s sixth floor is


The Rosa Nobile goes to


 Please get in touch with me under olfactoria at gmail dot com as soon as possible.

Posted in Giveaway | Tagged | 3 Comments

Fragrant Offering – Review: Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu

By Tara

The full title of this fragrance is Fils de Dieu, du Riz et des Agrumes which translates as “Son of God, rice and citrus”. It was created by Ralf Schwieger and launched in 2012. The note list appears to contain – among other things – the ingredients for a Thai green curry:

Ginger, coriander leaves, lime, shiso, bergamot, coconut, rice note, cardamom, jasmine, cinnamon, French May rose, tonka bean, vetiver, musk, amber, leather and castoreum.

fils de dieuI generally find the idea of smelling like food quite a turn-off. Maybe a dessert at a push, but a curry?
As it turns out, it’s not a literal interpretation. While it does have foody connotations, it comes across as a perfume rather than just an aroma.

Fils de Dieu opens with a fantastic hit of tangy lime, freshly peeled ginger (which smells more green than spicy) and a scattering of just picked coriander leaves. It’s both citrusy and aromatic.

The floral notes are low-key. Along with a nice scoop of cosmetic powder, they create an overall effect that is sweet and pretty, in contrast to the herbs and spices. Like a lot of South East Asian cuisine Fils de Dieu is an interesting mix of sweet and savoury elements.

The rice note is what pulls it all together. It’s fluffy basmati rice with coconut cream swirled into it which adds a carefree “on vacation” vibe. It’s the perfect steamy base for the flower petals, fruit and spice to rest upon.

Interestingly a number of commentators liken Fils de Dieu to Shalimar. Although it’s not listed as a note, there is a sheer waft of vanilla throughout. Combined with the citrus in the top and amber/musk in the base, it could be reminiscent of the classic Guerlain, however the fruit, herbs and spice make all the difference.

Things get darker and more intimate in the far dry down. There’s sexy musk and warm amber but the faint scent of aromatic herbs lingers on. The blazing sun has set but the air still feels close. The windows are flung wide but no one is in the mood for sleep…

Fils de Dieu is the smell of exotic climes, heat and happiness. It is part of that joyful collective of fragrances which instantly spirit you away somewhere your worries can’t find you.

It’s distinctive like most of Etat Libre d’Orange’s perfumes, but unlike a lot of them I find it wearable, particularly in hot weather. It really comes into its own in the heat. The steam of the rice melds perfectly with the humidity while the citrus slices through it like a cold knife.

It has presence, but the whole thing feels balmy and lightweight. Sillage is moderate and lasting power on me is extremely good.

While wearing Fils de Dieu I’m reminded of the little offerings (known as “canang sari”) I saw on the streets outside homes while on holiday in Bali. Everyday there would be a new, artfully woven palm or banana leaf bearing fruit, flowers and a small amount of rice.

An attractive and fragrant way to please the Gods.

How wearable do you find the fragrances by Etat Libre d’Orange? Have you tried this one?

Posted in By Tara, Citrus, Etat Libre d'Orange, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand | Tagged , , , , , , | 29 Comments

An Exercise In Contrasts – Review: Bogue Profumo MAAI

By Michael

Until relatively recently I felt that exciting releases were relatively few and far between.

While the five hundredth variation on synthetic oud and pseudo Middle Eastern perfume is pushed onto the market there are exciting houses like Vero Profumo and Bogue Profumo taking classic themes and pushing them to the edge and beyond. These are not perfumers releasing endless micro variations. Their releases so far have been bold and exciting and not just an intellectual exercise or art perfume, no, the perfumes actually smell good. Amazing.

Bogue Logo

I first came to learn of Bogue when the now famous (or is that infamous? Editor’s Note: I’m quite sure it’s infamous!) Cookie Queen Val sent me a sample of Bogue’s original Cologne Reloaded.

Over the course of a few wears I fell in love this amazing birchy cologne, so with the first of Antonio’s offerings firmly under my skin I eagerly anticipated the release of another. Soon after, I was reading all sorts of wonderful comments about another more animalic addition to the Bogue fragrance family and I simply had to try it.

Enter MAAI.

MAAI is the latest offering from Bogue Profumo the Italian niche brand of Antonio Gardoni.


I will admit I was scared of reviewing MAAI. What if I didn’t like it?

I need not have worried.

I not only like it, I love it.

I love it so much that reviewing MAAI now sets a different challenge.

When I really love a fragrance I don’t want to pull it apart. I just want to shut down the analytical part of my brain and enjoy the smell. Sure, there is this note and that note and they present in this way and that but ultimately this smells unique. It smells like MAAI.

MAAI includes notes of aldehydes, tuberose, rose, jasmine, resins, musk and civet.

Perhaps the best way to describe MAAI is animalic forest undergrowth.
There you are sniffing your way through some stinky moss and *whack* you’re slapped across the face with a healthy dose of shaving cream.

It remind me of one of my all time favourite fragrances YSL’s Kouros and like the mighty K, MAAI smells like a barbershop fragrance mixed with an old school animalic chypre. It’s an amazing combination.

MAAI simultaneously smells clean and dirty.

Fresh and lived-in.

Sanitised and human.

The contrasts continue with the fleshy florals smelling brand new one moment then ready to decay the next. They are almost decaying. The petals are drooping and the flowers are ready to fall.

MAAI smells classic and modern.

I must admit that I’m not entirely sure I would have realised MAAI was a modern fragrance if sniffed blind. Well not at first anyway. It could easily pass for a classic chypre from early 20th century or a barbershop fragrance of the 70s/80s.
This is the most appealing aspect of what Antonio has accomplished with this fragrance.
Instead of simply creating an old fashioned fragrance with modern materials he has captured the essence of the old while keeping the whole modern and original.

Antonio Gardoni

Antonio Gardoni

So what are you waiting for?
This is an absolute must try for fans of barbershop fragrances and animalic chypres.

Thanks to Bogue we have 8 samples of MAAI to give away.

Giveaway rules:
This giveaway is open to all readers worldwide. To enter you must leave a comment on this post about your favorite chypre or barbershop perfume and the reason why you think MAAI would be great for you.

The giveaway is open for one week, the winners will be determined by and posted on the blog.

Good luck!

Posted in Fragrance Reviews, Jasmine, Musk, Rose, Tuberose | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Brides And Freshly Made Beds – Review: Chanel N°19 Poudre

Hiya Olfactoria’s Travelers,

Portia with you today from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse.

I don’t know if you remember when today’s fragrance was released. The scentbloggosphere went ballistic. Lovers, haters, blamers and baiters all came online and there was a flurry of excitement. New regular range CHANEL No 19 flanker. So many people love CHANEL No 19 and how could they play around with it? Sacrilege!!! Then there were the people who were not so invested in CHANEL No 19 or found it was a complete horror on them, these people were thrilled that they may just get a bite of the apple. People snarking at Jacques Polge and barking at CHANEL, well tempers have had some time to cool so I wanted to re-examine a fragrance that I like very much.

CHANEL No 19 Poudre was created by Jacques Polge for CHANEL in 2011.

Chanel No 19 Poudre Chanel FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin, galbanum, neroli
Heart: Jasmine, iris
Base: Vetiver, musk, tonka bean

Plush is the word that comes to mind when I spritz CHANEL No 19 Poudre . A softer, less uptight, modern update of the original that is all fuzzy and friendly. If you are after a stiff upper lip, give me some spine, arctic goddess fragrance then stick to that delightful evergreen the original CHANEL No 19. If though, you find the original too frigid but like the idea then maybe CHANEL No 19 Poudre could be the one for you.

Citrus, Galbanum, musk and (I think aldehydes) are what my skin throws on open, CHANEL No 19 Poudre is like sinking into a freshly made bed, cozy and comfortable but fresh and clean. MMMMMM. One of my favourite moments of the week is jumping into a Jin warmed bed on Wednesday nights after work. The house is clean, the sheets are new and the bed is just the right temperature. That feeling is exactly how CHANEL No 19 Poudre opens.

CHANEL No 19 Poudre Wedding Gown Mathilda Samuelson FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

This is the scent of someone who wants you to know they are soft, precious and beautiful but strong enough to stand up to life’s pressures. What a great idea for a Wedding fragrance. Unforgettably beautiful but ethereal and wishful too. Deep in the heart though hides a breathy, softly sensual jasmine, an earthy/rooty iris and the far dry down ends up as a warm freshly powdered skin scent that lasts and lasts at a very quiet hum just above skin level.

You will never smell overdone in CHANEL No 19 Poudre and I can wear it for every occasion, or no occasion. For better fully fragrant wear life I like to respritz in the first hour, it plumps everything up and gives the whole fragrance more oomph. Also, CHANEL No 19 Poudre over Kiehl’s Original Musk Lotion is a knockout.

Before I close out though I really do prefer and reach for the original CHANEL No 19 far more often than the CHANEL No 19 Poudre. I think the stark green is more fun and less fey, and feels much more powerful. CHANEL No 19 is all wasp waist and shoulder padded suits with high heels and makeup, CHANEL No 19 Poudre friendlier, smoother, fluffier and of course more powdery. Thankfully they are both available.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Perfume Posse
Posh Peasant has samples starting at $3.50/ml
You can try CHANEL No 19 Poudre at most department stores if they have a CHANEL counter.

Are you a CHANEL No 19 Poudre fan or is it the original that rocks your socks?

Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments