People In Perfumeland – Victoria Frolova Of Bois De Jasmin

Today I am delighted to showcase the first blogger in the People In Perfumeland series.

Victoria’s blog, Bois de Jasmin, was among the first to emerge out of MakeUp Alley’s fragrance boards and she blazed a trail for all of us.

Victoria has a way of writing about scent that is not only highly knowledgeable, but also beautifully lyrical. She has led me into temptation more often than I’d like to admit, and it is her reviews I turn to most often when I want to know more about a perfume.

Her encouragement meant a lot to me when I started blogging and I treasure her friendship.

Thank you, Victoria, for agreeing to fill in my questionnaire.

jasmin victoria

A good day starts with… a cup of tea, preferably drunk leisurely out of my favorite red cup.

I’d never leave the house without… an umbrella. In Brussels, it would be a mistake to forget it.

I always feel good when… I receive an email or a letter from a friend. For my wedding gift, my best friend gave me copies of all the letters I wrote her since we were children. In turn, for her wedding, I made a book of her letters and my responses, arranged chronologically.

My favorite thing in the world is… it would be a tie between my camera and laptop. The latter because it’s my implement for writing, for connecting with friends and family. And my camera–because it gives me such a new perspective on the world around me that I gladly lug the heavy bag almost every day (good for arm toning too!)

The next thing I want to buy is… a pair of comfortable but stylish shoes. Does such a thing even exist?!

The place I always come back to is… Ukraine. I can sometimes stay away for years, but there is such a strong pull that I can never stay away for long.

My personal style is… simple and low-maintenance.

My favorite perfume… is the one that makes me feel butterflies in my stomach and gives me an immediate boost.

When I travel, I… write. I keep a pen and a notebook in my purse all the time. Airports make me wistful, probably because of the mixture of anxious anticipation and the general sense of transience. I love reading the flights off the departure boards and imagining what it would be like to visit places I haven’t been to or even heard of. I also love people watching and noticing what perfumes they buy at the duty-free stores.

To relax I need… to have zero internet access.

I like to gift people with… homemade jams. I love making preserves, jellies, marmalade, etc., and in the summer on most weekends I’m in the kitchen stirring sugar into fruit and sterilizing jars.

When I have a bad day, I… hug my husband or call my mom or watch Bollywood movies. It’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when the lovers are separated by evil villains, strict parents, society rules and even the gods themselves; when everyone, including the dashing hero, cries a river; when beautiful women jump from behind the trees and break out into a song on the spur of a moment; when the colors are so vivid that you feel dazzled. The best escapist fun!

I find my inspiration… everywhere. It sounds facile, but even the most inauspicious circumstances can give me a jolt to be creative. Traveling, reading, meeting new people (via blogs or in real life) are all at the top of the list.

Something I would never want to miss… is my train. And yet I don’t have such a good track record!

My last mistake was… not buying a replacement for my almost depleted bottle of Cacharel Noa while Planet Parfum had a terrific 20 euro deal. Nothing major, but I’m sure I can think of other real blunders.

In my fridge there is always… fruit. I could live on fruit and cheese. But as my husband would point out, there is always something in our fridge he can’t identify. Men!

On my nightstand I keep… a jar of hand cream, a volume of Nikolai Gogol’s stories and a glass of water.

The perfect weekend starts with… no sound from my alarm clock. I love waking up early on my own and enjoying the sunrise as I sip my tea. This happens rarely, since I usually work late and stay up well past midnight.

My role model is… my grandmother. She is the one who instilled in me the love for reading, jam making and the ability to find beauty in the simplest things.

Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is… what book are you currently reading? (I love talking books! I’m currently reading The Little Man from Archangel by Georges Simenon, a terrific suspense story from the Belgian master of the detective genre. Highly recommended!)

victoria1 (1)

Bollywood films as effective anti-depressants, that fantastic gift of letters, exotic cheeses in the fridge and endlessly talking about books – I would love to spend some time with Victoria.

All of us who read her blog, know what a delightful and multi-talented woman Victoria is, so I fear the fact that this interview is lovely, is not particularly surprising. :)

Image source: photos courtesy of V. Frolova
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61 Responses to People In Perfumeland – Victoria Frolova Of Bois De Jasmin

  1. behemot says:

    Thank you for this interview, Birgit. Victoria is a wonderful person and talented writer. Her knowledge on perfume is impressive!

  2. Jordan River says:

    But some of information is suprising. I am a big Bollywood fan too. ‘Om Shanti Om’ is a great place to start if you want to explore the genre. Lovely interview, a meander through the jasmine woods.

  3. lucasai says:

    Victoria is a wise, beautiful and artistic kind of woman. I adore her blogging so it was really fun to read her answers to the questions.
    Thanks for bringing it up Birgit, I’m looking forward to the interviews with more perfumers and bloggers.

  4. Ines says:

    You know, I’ve been wondering about stylish comfortable shoes too. So Victoria, if you find them, please let the rest of us know too. :)
    And thank you for the book recommendation! I’m always looking for those.

  5. Undina says:

    I loved the story about copies of letters. It really strikes a chord with me.
    Thank you both.

  6. Zazie says:

    Thank you for the interview!
    I am a big fan of Victoria and love her answers.
    Like her I love talking books and I also have a special fondness for Gogol (In fact, it was a tiny book with a selection of Gogol and Bulgakov stories that ignited my passion for reading in my teens).

    I would love to ask Victoria which Bollywood movies she particularly loves (and/or would recommend): in the last few months I kept wonderning where to start – I love reading indian based stories and wanted to enjoy their “on screen” counterpart, but there is so much out there and yet I didn’t really know which direction to take!!!

    p.s. besides for her insight into perfumes, I have to thank Victoria for another discovery: using floral waters in the kitchen. Sweetes and beverages have never tasted better!;)

    • Zazie says:

      p.p.s.
      to Ines and Victoria: the world is full of comfortable and chic shoes!
      Lately my faves come from repetto and chloe (the latter I usually wait for the sale season, because they are quite expensive!). If I had the money I would go for Ferragamo (each size comes in three “widths”, so shoes will fit like a glove, and the soles are often softly padded).
      In summer I recommend Chie Mihara sandals (love the sandals, hate the shoes)….
      In any case, great shoes, like great perfumes, may come in every price point (and, on the other side, you can find crappy stuff at outrageous prices!)!
      (last winter I felt so comfortable and received so many compliments on a pair of … zara boots :P )

      • Olfactoria says:

        I agree! I live in ballet flats in summer and they are quite chic and sooo comfy. I can walk miles in them (-and I have)! As for the investment, I couldn’t be happier with my 5€ on sale H&M ballet flats, they certainly don’t look or feel like 5€ shoes.

      • Alice says:

        Tracey Neuls – the best shoes ever! (some are just about affordable in the sale – I’ve been grabbing a pair every now and again and now have quite a few).

    • Olfactoria says:

      Victoria has so many interesting facets.

      Great that you use the floral waters, I’m thinking about using them too.

    • Victoria says:

      Oh, I would be more than happy to give you a few recommendations. Bollywood films usually follow a specific formula, so when you’re new to this genre, it can be odd. There is has to be some drama, some romance, some comedy, some fighting, some tears, and many many songs. To ease you into it, I would recommend Lagaan, which is a brilliant film. It’s more of a coherent plot than most typical Bollywood films, but it definitely has plenty of color and vibrancy.

      Then there is a film I know by heart–Umrao Jaan (the old version with actress Rekha; there is a new one with Aishwarya Rai, but it’s somewhat bland). It’s about a 19th century courtesan, and the cinematography of this film makes me think of Vermeer’s works. And the songs sung in the traditional manner are exquisite.

      Newer ones: Lage Raho Munna Bhai (hysterical, about a gangster trying to live according to the Gandhian principles to woo his lady), Bunty Aur Babli, Dil Chata Hai (was a cult movie at one point), Guru (love Aishwarya in this one, check youtube for a clip called “Barso Re,” I want to dance every single time I hear this tune). Jodha-Akbar is an eye candy.

      Older Bollywood films I love and own: Jewel Thief, Teesri Mansil mix some detective story elements into the classical format. Totally irresistible and great costumes. Anything with Amitabh Bachchan, who is The Star of Indian cinema.

      Gosh, sorry, I didn’t realize how carried away I would get! And please, Zazie or anyone else, if you want any other recs, please write me anytime.

      • Zazie says:

        Thank you so much Victoria!!!!
        (I love talking movies as much as I Iove talking books and perfume – hmm…maybe I’m quite fond of talking altogether!).

        I can’t wait for this evening to come – to reach my sofa and be swept away by some serious color, drama and music!
        You are always a source of inspiration, Thank you!
        And thanks to Birgit for triggering such interesting conversations.
        It isn’t the first time that this interview format has prompted new discoveries for me!

      • Olfactoria says:

        Thank you very much, V!
        I made a list. :)

  7. Alice says:

    …I got a bit distracted by the shoes (another obsession… sorry, hobby).. Great to read Victoria’s responses, I have learned a huge amount from her blog.

  8. Sandra says:

    Loved reading Victoria’s answers. Her blog is a treasure trove of information and I would love to meet her one day. Comfy shoes that I love are the French brand Arche. Thanks B for this interesting series.

  9. Martina says:

    I love her blog, boisdejasmin is a real treasure, very interesting, a wonderful source of information.

  10. ringthing says:

    I have read Bois d’Jasmin as rosarita, my other online name, since the beginning. I love Victoria’s writing, photography and recipes! She has a gift for evocative description and I’m so glad to see her featured here. Bollywood, here I come :-)

  11. Tora says:

    Victoria sounds as lovely as one would imagine by reading her blog. We share a love of books and jam making, too! I am the queen of comfortable shoes, as I cannot wear anything uncomfortable. Or won’t, I guess. Recently I bought the latest version of Dansco’s sandals that I do get compliment’s on. They have a little clog like heel and an asymmetrical strap with a buckle, that looks quite stylish. I have them in brown and black to cover my options. And you can wear them all day long and feel wonderful! My other favorite is KorkEase which you can look at on Zappos. They are also quite cute and comfy.

  12. Lavanya says:

    I really like the idea of the book of letters-very sweet!

  13. Suzanne says:

    Very lovely interview — I loved the Bollywood response!! :)

  14. lila says:

    I keep saying that one day I’m going into those Sari stores in Chicago and get all decked out with one of their beautiful creations. I have no idea where a blond haired, blue eyed, pasty white girl would wear one. Maybe I could watch Bollywood movies in it. I loved this fun interview and enjoyed getting to know Victoria better (I wish I had some of her repose in airports!). Bois de Jasmin is the first blog I go to when I want the scoop on a perfume. My recommendation for comfy/stylish shoes would be Donald J Pliner. So comfy and stylish. I have a pair of his 3 inch heels and I can walk forever in them!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m always thinking the same thing! Would I look completely ridiculous in a sari, blond hair and blue eyes? Probably, but I’d really love to find out…

      Thanks for the shoe tip! :)

      • Victoria says:

        Ladies, I should show you photos of my blond haired, blue eyed friend looking stunning in the turquoise blue sari at my wedding. Sari instantly makes you look taller and have a better posture, so it’s very elegant. In fact, I’m yet to see someone looking ridiculous wearing sari, unless their sari is tied incorrectly. Or if, as some tourists in Goa do, wear only the blouse and skirt part of the sari. In India, that’s the same as wearing only your underwear in public.

  15. Vanessa says:

    Like Lavanya, I really love the story of the reciprocal gift of letters – there was so much to savour and a couple of things I could directly relate to in Victoria’s answers. The wondering about flights going to exotic places at airports – I do that too, also the watching of people in duty frees. Occasionally I’ve been known to step in and help them make a purchase, which isn’t perhaps quite the thing, but sometimes I can’t stop myself. ;-). And how lovely it would be to get up early and greet the day with a cup of tea, hypothetically….

    I have had the good fortune to meet V on one occasion; she is impossibly elfin and exquisite in person, a mean cook and a major fruit eater as described! I loved learning more about her tastes and interests through her thoughtful replies to this interview.

  16. Birgit,
    You have the best ideas and this is fabulous. Of course Victoria is swoonishly lovely. I knew it from the blog but now it’s confirmed. BOLLYWOOD! We were lucky enough to stay at the same hotel as and be seated near Shahrukh Khan on a flight. He was spunky as anything and I wish I’d grabbed an autograph.
    Portia xx

  17. mridula says:

    I’ve absolutely adored Victoria’s writing and been guided in my perfume discoveries by her reviews. When I encounter a new perfume I run to google what she has to say. It is the strangest thing to have what feels like a friend on the internet – someone whose passions I admire, whose writing informs me about perfumes and about writing itself, and with whose tastes I have such a sense of affinity. For example her description of the mixture of anxiety and transience she experiences in airports coupled with the longing when studying the departure board perfectly sums up how I feel at airports. It is also a description that would fit the pleasurable tension of sensing affinity with characters in books and on the internet. Lovely Victoria.

    oops sounding quite gaga here.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m sure Victoria will love your comment, as do I. It’s great to have so many things in common with someone, even if we don’t know them in real life.

      • Victoria says:

        I’m really touched by all of these comments, and I really appreciate your kind words. As I mentioned to Birgit, answering these questions was like chatting with her over a cup of tea. I also love having so many friends with whom I share my love of perfume, and this connection makes it all the more special.

        And a huge thank you to everyone for the comfy shoe recommendations. I see some nice shoe shopping in my future! :)

  18. beautycalyptique says:

    What a lively, splendid and sweet interview it is! It was a joy. Thank you, B.!

    And yes, ladies, let’s talk books. Books and beauty, that’s a perfect couple.

  19. Enjoyed reading this interview very much. I especially loved the story about the letters to and from her friend.

  20. I, too, first became acquainted with Victoria in the old days of Makeupalley…more tan 10 years ago!
    I have always admired her exquisite taste and equally exquisite prose. Thank you for featuring her, Birgit! You are two of my main enablers, consciously or not, since I always read your reviews before buying fragrance.

    Caro

  21. Maren says:

    Birgit thank you for the interview with Victoria. Victoria triggered an interest in Bollywood for me from a thread of comments on one of her more recent posts, and it has been fun exploring the titles mentioned, and I’m quite happy to have more suggestions from this post too! Now for a shoe suggestion for Victoria: Anyi Liu shoes! The sales associate that sold me a pair of Anyi Liu sandals said that the designer wanted stylish but comfortable shoes to wear and worked with a podiatrist on the designs. Now that just may be a sales story, but I can attest to my sandals being very cute but comfy!
    Oh! and I hold Victoria personally responsible for her beautiful writing and knowledge tempting me to many a perfume sampling!

  22. Bhama says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post Birgit! I absolutely adore Victoria’s blog and can’t tell you how many perfumes I have blind bought based on one of her rave reviews!! Santal Majuscule, Kenzo jungle, Love,Chloe…… to name a few.
    Now if anyone needs more Bollywood movie rec. here are some of my favorites
    Dilwale dulhaniya le jayenge, Kal ho na ho, Hum aapke hai kaun, Kabhi alvida na kehna, and Taare zameen par (not a romance, but I love it none the less!)

  23. Melinda says:

    I absolutely love Victoria’s blog and her writing is beautiful, whether it’s perfume revoews, teas, recipes or general perfume knowledge!

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