Floating Petals: Review – Neela Vermeire Creations Pichola

By Tara

Neela Vermeire Creations refract different aspects of India through the prism of French perfumery. The result is a quality collection of striking and evocative fragrances which are equally refined and complex.


The inspiration for Neela’s latest creation (released in April of this year) is the mesmerising Lake Pichola in the city of Udaipur, Rajasthan. In the centre of this picturesque body of water sits the Lake Palace, which was the summer retreat for a succession of Maharanas.


Tops notes for Pichola are cardamom, cinnamon, saffron, juniper, magnolia, neroli, clementine and bergamot. The heart contains orange blossom absolute, rose absolute, tuberose absolute, sambac jasmine and ylang-ylang. The base comprises benzoin, sandalwood, driftwood and vetiver.

I generally don’t get on well with white florals and feared I might struggle with Pichola. However it has actually turned out to be the NVC fragrance I’ve found the most enjoyable and wearable. Perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour has kept this floral with oriental touches, sheer and airy.

Juicy clementine and dewy flowers laced with soft spice makes for an enticing mix. Pichola combines those three elements with such a light touch; they seem to dance like sunlight bouncing off glassy water. It feels full without being in the least bit heavy.

Pichola possesses both radiance and serenity along with the line’s trademark opulence. It hints at the grandeur within the Palace walls as well as the tranquility of the lake that surrounds it.

Please don’t imagine that Pichola is aquatic and cold because it isn’t. It’s undercut by a warm current rising up from beneath the surface.

Moving into the heart, the seamless blend of tropical flowers are in full bloom. There’s a wonderful creaminess to the petals which lack any indoles or screech. I don’t register tuberose however I do keep thinking I smell coconut which may well be a facet of the natural absolute.

Gentle, pliable woods and vanilla tinged benzoin make up the smooth base. The effect is warm and cushiony but stays soft and elegant. I can still detect lingering fruit, floracy and spice.

There’s something very romantic and almost wistful about Pichola. It is lush and dreamy, like petals floating on still water. It never feels cloying despite having outstanding, all-day longevity.

It possesses a calmness and delicacy that many perfumes in this category lack. So even if you are normally put off by white florals or haven’t yet found a NVC fragrance to suit, it is well worth exploring.


I can see why Pichola was released in the spring because it has that fresh feeling of renewal which comes after deep reflection. All the same, I’ve no doubt it will flourish in the heat of summer.

What do you think of Neela Vermeire Creations? Have you tried Pichola?

See Olfactoria’s reviews of Bombay Bling, Trayee, Mohur and Ashoka.

Posted in By Tara, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Neela Vermeire Creations, Tuberose | Tagged , , , , , , | 33 Comments

A Perfect Gift – Review: Olympic Orchids Deluxe Set

Hi there fellow 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 we are looking at one of my all time favourite Independent Perfumers, Ellen Covey, and how she has made Gift Giving so easy. Now the page says Holiday Gift giving but this pack can be given any time and for any reason and it comes with a coupon worth $25 toward the purchase of any 30 ml parfum spray in the new Olympic Orchids packaging. WOW!! Let’s see….

Deluxe Holiday Gift Set Olympic Orchids

Deluxe Holiday Gift Set Olympic OrchidsPhoto Stolen Olympic Orchids

What do you get?

1 x 5ml each of three of Ellen’s best sellers Ballets Rouges, California Chocolate and Olympic Rainforest
1 x full-sized Patchouli Lover’s soap
1 x one-ounce bottle of Amber-Labdanum all-purpose bath/body/hair oil
1 x Coupon worth $25 toward the purchase of any 30 ml parfum spray in the new packaging

How much? $45

Ballets Rouges is one of my all time favourite Olympic Orchid frags a lavish rose chypre that is both green and dark. I have extolled the fabulosity of Patchouli Lovers soap and how it creates an amazing base far any of your fragrances with patchouli or to heighten the depths of poor reformulations, also how smooth and silky it leaves my skin.

Amber/Labdanum bath oil needs only 5-6 drops to scent your bath and to nourish your skin while you soak, I wish Ellen sold these solo in 100ml bottles because it is so freaking good. The most perfect base for anything that has amber/vanilla/resins in the base, unbelievably good, and you can use it through your hair as a nourishment treatment too.

Deluxe Holiday Gift Set Olympic Orchids gift-box PIX1861 PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

From the Olympic Orchids site:

What do you get when you cross a neuroscientist and an orchid grower with a perfumer? You get a line of fragrances as unusual and diverse as the trillions of circuits make up the brain or the thousands of orchid species that bloom throughout the world’s jungles. These are perfumes for thinking people who love an intellectual challenge, but they are also perfumes for passionate people who love to exist in the moment, allowing themselves to be swept away by whatever form of beauty captures their emotions. They are extraordinary perfumes for extraordinary people.

What better way to remind someone, or yourself, how special they are? And so reasonably priced too.

Olympic Orchids has the Deluxe Holiday Gift Set for $45

Have you tried any of the Olympic Orchids? Were there any that particularly blew your trumpet?
Portia xx

Posted in By Portia, Floral, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Monday Question – (Where) Are You Going On Vacation This Summer?

Do you get to travel this summer?

If you can take a break, where will you go?

Stay-cation or far-flung destination?


My Answer:

I am looking forward to four fabulous things this summer.

First, in three weeks time, we go for a spontaneous – we just decided yesterday – short trip to Italy to the hotel we went to for the past five years with the kids, since this is not our main plan this year, we became nostalgic and decided to go just for a weekend, as a surprise for the boys. So don’t tell them! ;)

Next up is Tara’s visit. She loved Vienna so much that she is coming back, we are sooooo looking forward to that. To make things perfect, we travel to London with Tara on her way back. We’ll show the boys the British capital for the first time.

Then our main vacation is coming in August. Along with another family, we rented a Villa in Tuscany with a huge pool. It will be excellent!

We are really fortunate that we can take all this time off.

What about your plans? Let me know what your summer will be like!

Posted in Monday Question, Travels | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

From Siberia to Samovar: Review – Masque Milano Russian Tea

By Tara

Russian Tea made several bloggers’ Best Perfumes of 2014 lists and having a fondness for tea fragrances myself, I was keen to check it out.

Masque Milano was started by two young Italians, Riccardo Tedeschi and Alessandro Brun. The collection represents “the opera of their lives” with each scent having an Act and a Scene number.


They launched their first fragrance in 2013 and Russian Tea (Act 1, Scene III) is their fifth.

It includes notes of mint, black pepper, raspberry, black tea, magnolia, everlasting flower, leather accord, incense, birchwood and cistus labdanum.

Russian Tea sets out to tell a story from the 18th Century about camel caravans transporting tea from the East to Europe via Russia. It was said that the cold, dry climate of Siberia imparted a delicacy of flavour to the tea, which was unloaded onto the snow-covered steppes each night. It was also believed that the leaves were infused with smokiness from the campfires.

Perfumer Julien Rasquinet also sought to encompass the warmth and comfort of the Russian tea ritual. The leaves were brewed in a pot and a little of this concentrate was poured into cups. Hot water was then added from a samovar (a traditional metal urn) with sweetness coming from sugar, honey or raspberry jam.

However, these tales are likely to be largely the result of romanticism. In her post In the Search for the Perfect Berry: Raspberry, Undina tells us she has no knowledge of these fables about “Russian tea” despite growing up in that part of the world.

Backstory aside though, what is the fragrance actually like?

Well, for a start, it is actually leather rather than black tea which constitutes the body of the fragrance.

I was apprehensive about the mint and I can’t say I found it an enjoyable experience, although it didn’t last long. The opening stage is bracing spearmint over smoky birch tar.

Russian Tea settles into a gently spiced, soft smoulder with enough sweetness to counteract any bitterness. I find it comfortable to wear however it’s less cosy than Tea for Two. It has that seat-by-the-fireside warmth but it is also evocative of a cold starless night in the hinterlands. It’s quieter and lacks the strong cinnamon overlay of the L’Artisan.

The labdanum comes through in the base and works well with the smoky leather.

I was really looking forward to the raspberry note but sadly I fail to pick it up.

I find the lasting power is excellent while it has a fairly moderate level of projection. I would say it leans towards masculine, particularly in the beginning.


Russian Tea possesses a mysterious mood and is distinctive without being loud or showy. I would have preferred to get raspberry infused tea but it is sophisticated in its mellow, enigmatic way.

Have you tried this or any of the other Masque Milano fragrances?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , | 28 Comments

A Cosmopolitan Woman – Review: The Different Company I Miss Violet

By Sandra

Bertrand Duchaufour is one of my favourite perfumers of all time. Whenever a new perfume is released that he has created, I scramble to the computer and order a sample as quickly as possible. In fact when I started down this perfume rabbit hole I was initially concentrating on Duchaufour creations.


A few years ago I discovered the world of leather fragrances and have fallen deeper down the hole than I ever thought possible. Taking into account the sheer number of perfume releases in any given year year and that 2015 is bringing a couple of leather perfumes on the market it is such a pleasure to find a beautiful creation like The Different Company’s I miss Violet which is quickly turning into one of my favourite fragrances of the year.

I have always dreamed of living the jet-setting life – haven’t we all? Well, Violet is a world traveller – jetting from Paris, to Venice and on to Hong Kong with a signature fragrance. Does Violet have lovers scattered throughout the world – dreaming of her and her scent trail? What kind of a perfume would somebody like this wear? It has to be elegant, classy, not too sweet and memorable.

Bertrand Duchaufour wanted to create a modern violet (floral leather) perfume and he certainly succeeded in doing so with I miss Violet.

The notes list is long and complex and I will leave it out so I don’t get tempted to pick apart each note and so you, dear reader, won’t be swayed one way or another. I will however cue you in on some of the notes but not all of them.This is a perfume worthy of trying so if you will allow me please let me explain to you my experience.

On first spray I am noticing that I miss Violet goes on chilly – not smell but temperature. This has the comforting effect of cooling my skin (which by the way works beautifully in 30+ degree weather with no AC). The perfume opens up slightly floral and fizzy – imagine a champagne vibe to it like sipping a glass of Bollinger where the bubbles provide a taste of subtle fruit and florals. There is an undertone of earthy notes (no fruit) so that it is not an over the top fizzy opening. This phase lasts a good 45 minutes and then some florals arrive on the scene.

The florals are not as the name suggests violet centric, in fact I do not get much of violet at all. There are several florals intertwined which makes this a winner for me. I get a dash of iris and some fresh notes but most importantly for me I get osmanthus which I adore. It is a waxy osmanthus feeling that I experience. The osmanthus intertwined with iris and the champagne accord are swirling intoxicatingly and the perfume then starts to feel like suede – the most supple suede you can imagine.

jet set

I miss Violet is a beautiful floral leather perfume and when I have my pennies saved I will be purchasing a full bottle.

Please do chime in and let me know if you have tried I miss Violet or if you would like to. Also I would love to hear what new leather fragrances you have recently tried which I should explore as I cannot seem to get enough of them.

Posted in By Sandra, Fragrance Reviews, The Different Company, Violet | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Monday Question – Which Perfume, If Any, Do You Use When It Is Really (Really!) Hot Outside?

In the heat of summer, do you still wear perfume?

Which perfume(s) are ideal for hot and muggy weather?

Do you have tips for cooling fragrances?

Or do you go for blooming sillage in the heat and use your “big” perfumes?

My Answer:

I love orange blossom when it is warm, but when the heat really hits, as it has over the past week here in Austria, I go for refreshing citrus scents, Eau de Pamplemousse Rose is a favorite as is the perennially great Chanel Eau de Cologne. My best way to smell lastingly of orange blossoms is to apply Diptyque’s Lait Frais bodymilk in the evening, it lasts beautifully until morning.

It seems like the heat has broken this morning and I am happy, as I am not a great fan of heat… ;)

How is the weather in your part of the world?

How do you cope with great heat?

Posted in Monday Question | 48 Comments

Mansur Gavriel Backpack And Nothing Much Else To Say…

Hello my dear readers,

I have been silent again for a while, and the reason for that is mostly that I don’t feel I have anything to say. It is not a good feeling but definitely one powerful enough to keep me away from the computer.

It might be lazyness, it might be a need for privacy at the moment, what ever it is, I have to drag myself to the keyboard. (Interestingly once I am finally there, it is not half as bad as I thought, it is the getting to it part that I fail in so miserably.)

So since I am here, I want to show you a few pics of my birthday gift, a Mansur Gavriel backpack in black with red lining (black/flamma). Since I am on crutches most of the time since last week, I could not be happier with the perfect timing of this practical bag, at least I am able to carry stuff despite the crutches and I look rather stylish to boot. ;)


Beautiful AND practical.


A drawstring closure without any hardware and a peek at the gorgeous inside colour (it is a special kind of paint coating over raw leather.


A peek inside: I use a MaiTai Collecion insert to protect the bag and organize my stuff. The Bolide insert is a perfect fit!





How are you doing? Do you know this kind of procrastination/don’t start writing problem?

What is new with you?

Posted in Ramblings | Tagged , , , | 43 Comments

Bejewelled: Review – Ann Gérard Rose Cut

By Tara

I first encountered Rose Cut at the Perfume Lovers London “Roses Revisited” event. We tried an awful lot of rose fragrances that evening so it must have made an impression for me to request a sample.

I think the Ann Gérard bottles are particularly stylish.


Parisian jeweller Ann Gérard released her first collection of three fragrances in 2012. They were composed by her long-time customer and friend, Bertrand Duchaufour.

Rose Cut (also by Duchaufour) joined the trio in 2014. It is named after a very old technique of cutting diamonds which creates radiance and gives the gemstone the appearance of a rose.

I rather like this quote from Ann Gérard about who she envisions wearing this scent:

“Rose Cut is for someone that knows what she wants. I imagine that she smokes and drinks and is very powerful.”

The composition contains notes of aldehydes, rum, pink pepper, rose, peony, patchouli, vanilla, oak wood and benzoin.

Rose Cut unfurls with a steady trickle of booze, giving you a hint that this rose is not as innocent as it first appears. It lends the fragrance an immediate depth and this sweet rum accord persists well into the heart.

I thought I’d also get a big dose of aldehydes but the effect of that classic accord is a lot more subtle. It gives the scent luminosity around the edges, like diamonds glittering on velvet petals.

The rose is fruity and softly sweet with an almost cosmetic feel. It takes centrestage in the first couple of Acts. As Rose Cut develops, the mood shifts and it becomes darker. It transforms on the skin into something less feminine and more complex.

As it dries down, the fruity rose starts to recede and there is a noticeable aroma of what I noted down as “spiced sawdust” (Victoria of Bois de Jasmin is more precise, referring to cinnamon and incense ashes). This resinous, slightly smoky facet is quite a contrast to the sweet, feminine rose. Earthy patchouli is also part of the setting which conspires to accentuate the beauty of the central bloom.

The base is spicy/musky with accents of rose and a touch of vanilla.

Whilst wearing, I experience an enticing scent trail and excellent longevity for an Eau de Parfum.

Overall I admire Rose Cut, but I’m not a big fan of boozy notes and the spicy/ashy accord doesn’t really appeal. Therefore once the rose starts to retreat, so do I. All the same, I’m impressed by its quality and distinctive structure. I also like how it’s a little debauched and seductive.


Rose Cut possesses a modern edge and could well please those seeking a rose fragrance that has sophistication and mystique but wears both lightly.

See Olfactoria’s reviews of Cuir de Nacre and Perle de Mousse from Ann Gérard.

Do you know Rose Cut or any of the other Ann Gérard fragrances?

Posted in Ann Gerard, By Tara, Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , , , | 27 Comments

Daydreaming – Review: Guerlain Mitsouko Vintage Parfum de Toilette

Hi Olfactoria’s Travellers,

Portia in the OT house from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse (and now writing for My Perfume Samples too).

Mitsouko, Mitsouko, Mitsouko.

I’m currently sitting in the cool of the evening after a beautiful sunny Sydney autumn day of 24C. It was a lovely day to be out and about and I got a bunch of stuff done on my list. In the early evening Jin and I went to the local hardware conglomerate and grabbed some stuff for his work, some stuff to do some work for dear mates of mine and looked at some other stuff for our new home. Then we came home and heated up some leftover Chinese take away for dinner and after that I went and soaked in the bath. It was a perfect slow day, no rush for anything but loads got done.

Now the household is in bed and I am alone in my office and currently trying to wear fragrance from my full bottles. So it was a big spritz to the chest event with my very precious vintage Mitsouko.

Boy, was it worth it…

Mitsouko Extract Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Citruses, jasmine, bergamot, rose
Heart: Lilac, peach, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose
Base: Spices, amber, cinnamon, vetiver, oakmoss

Oh oooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, as the bright sparkling citruses burst out of the gate, it doesn’t take very long though before Mitsouko is breathy and heady and a whirling me away to la la land.

This is my fourth spritz because I keep being mesmerised by the unbelievable beauty of Mitsouko with full earthy and animal growl. I often read about the mad peachy note of Mitsouko and sometimes I get loads of it, especially in the more modern versions, but tonight it almost passes me by in favour of the ylang, white breathy flowers, fruit (but not really peach tonight), animal and oakmoss.

Mitsouke PdT Guerlain portiaPortia’s Photo

My mind wanders… I’m a fairy Queen…  a soldier fighting in the rainforests of some hot island… There’s a funkiness to Mitsouko PdT both austere and highly sexually charged… a 1920s mother of the high society bride… I smell the moss, dark and furry and slightly feral… Jurassic Park, how I loved Richard Attenborough in that, and in Elizabeth staring our Cate Blanchett…

If you were watching a fragrance map of the world that worked like a heat map I think this wonderful and enormous powerhouse would be blaring in the orange/red spectrum. I’m finding it hard to keep my hands typing because I really just want to sit here and bask in the magic, the Mitsouko magic. Damn it, I’m going to…….

Mitsouke PdT Guerlain Paul Orangutang relaxing FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Black Narcissus
FragranceNet has modern EdT $32/30ml
My Perfume Samples have modern EdP starting at $2/ml

What is your vintage poison? What would you give to have a litre of it?
Portia xxx

Posted in By Portia, Chypre, Fragrance Reviews, Guerlain | Tagged , , , | 12 Comments

Monday Question – How Was You Weekend And Which Perfume Did You Wear?

Once a month I ask you about your weekend. How was it?

What did you do?

Which perfume(s) did you wear?

My Answer:

It was unbelievably hot in Vienna this past weekend (still is!) and we escaped to Neusiedler See, a lake in Burgenland, about an hour from the city. Not that it was any cooler there, but at least the boys had fun playing pirates and water police.

I was unlucky enough to tear a muscle in my calf last Wednesday, so I am on crutches, a great workout in 33 degree weather, I can tell you. ;)

Perfume-wise, I am really happy with Eau de Narcisse Bleu by Hermès and L’Eau Neroli, a pretty orange blossom by Diptyque.

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , | 45 Comments