Iris by Moonlight: Review – Aedes de Venustas Iris Nazarena

By Tara

I may have found My Iris, but I was intrigued by the iris/incense theme of Iris Nazarena. Released in 2013, it sounded unusual and mysterious –

“With its iris and incense accord, the new Eau de Parfum by AEDES DE VENUSTAS matches the world’s most precious aromatic material with the most ancient.”

Iris Nazarena was the second fragrance (there are now five) from the eclectic New York boutique, Aedes de Venustas. It features iris, ambrette, juniper berry, star anise, leather, oud, clove, rose, incense, woods, musk and vetiver.

The stylish, smoky glass bottle is a very fitting flacon for the fragrance.


The inspiration for Iris Nazarena is the rare plant species Iris Bismarckiana or “Nazareth Iris”, which is mostly found in the mountains of Israel. Its arresting cream and brown petals are so very different to the purple-ish flowers we’re used to. The fragrance is an equally vivid contrast to the more usual pale and feminine iris perfumes.


Iris Nazerena gets off to a great start with lots of cool, rooty iris. But all too soon, it’s overtaken by dry spice (star anise and clove) and thin cedar. The result is that it becomes faintly medicinal. There are also touches of oud and plasticky leather. I get the impression of incense rather than the smoky, burning resin.

Some sweetness comes through in the heart which takes me by surprise. Set against the darkness, it’s a beguiling twist and the phase I find the most enjoyable, aside from the opening. Eventually it gets swallowed up by chilly patchouli and vetiver in the base.

It may sound like a dense composition; however it’s rather ethereal and transparent. Its character is intellectual, unattainable and a touch mystical.

The texture of Iris Nazarena is almost powdered but not quite – more like brushed suede. It stays close to the body and lasts extremely well.

Its dry, spiced wood background makes it a slightly more masculine take on iris. It isn’t quite to my taste (mainly because I have difficulty with prominent star anise and clove) but I appreciate its individuality.

It’s good to come across iris in such a novel setting. Perfumer Ralf Schwieger seems to have a knack for interpreting familiar materials in an innovative way. Take for example, the witty cosmetic scent of Lipstick Rose or the aromatic yet sensual Fils de Dieu.

Schwieger said he wanted to create a modern iris fragrance that broke away from what he considers to be the reference iris, Chanel No.19. He certainly succeeded with Iris Nazarena. It’s very distinctive and different to any other iris fragrance I can think of.

Moonlight Lake by Graphitation

Moonlight Lake by Graphitation

Iris Nazarena is the hazy light of the moon shining onto a placid, silvery lake. The effect is grey yet luminous with a unique hushed and striking quality.

Have you tried any fragrances by Aedes de Venustas?

Posted in By Tara, Fragrance Reviews, Iris | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Body Lotions – Who, What, Where, Why?

Hi there OT,

Portia, all the way from Australian Perfume Junkies and Perfume Posse

Lately I have been using the Amouage Body Lotion 10oz pump packs. They are thick, rich and creamy, smell sensational and create a fabulous base for their matching Amouage scents and other fragrances. Should you wish to be scent whisper then you can wear them alone for a lovely soft focus scent experience that plays very close to the body. A wonderful work choice or sleep choice. MMMMM…

Body Lotions. Who. What. Where. Why.

Amouage Epic Woman Amouage lotion Libertine ParfumeriePhoto Stolen Libertine

At the moment I have less than a fifth of my bottle left and as it’s my third Amouage Body Lotion in a row I was thinking I might have a change of pace for my next one. Epic is really good because its a soft woody amber that fits under loads of my favourite fragrances. I also have open a Madonna Truth or Dare lotion for my white floral days. When I want something scent free I find a drop of Grape Seed Oil good.

So today I wanted your help and your opinions on the best Body Lotions in the business. What do you wear and why? It doesn’t have to be expensive or from the most lavish cream house. My MUST list reads like this:

    1. Feel lovely and creamy
    2. Smell good but not so strong that my choice of fragrance will be ruined, preferable something that is like the vanilla, woods, resin or musk dry down of most fragrances
    3. Sink in to my skin within 3 minutes of application so it doesn’t gum up my clothes
    4. Be in an easy access container. One thing I love about the Amouage is the pump pack.

No glass please, I moisturise in the bathroom barefoot.

Please leave me your favourite that fits these categories in the comments.

Portia xx

Posted in Amouage, By Portia | Tagged , , , , | 34 Comments

Pia’s (Almost) Annual Perfume Tour – London, Thursday 9th June 2015

Editor’s Note: Due to Tara’s travelling to Vienna this week, we have her traditional Thursday post on a Wednesday. Enjoy!

By Tara

The last two fumie get-togethers organised by the wonderful Pia of Volatile Fiction have been an absolute blast. They basically involve a bunch of fragrance fanatics from far and wide being let loose in London for a summer’s day of sniffing, sampling and all-round indulgence.


The sniffing marathon begins…

Well, this year’s event was bigger and better than ever despite an all-out strike on London Underground. What made it extra special was that we were holding it on a weekday so that OT and Australian Perfume Junkies‘ very own Val the Cookie Queen could join us while she was over from Austria, along with her gorgeous daughter, Hannah.

The other revellers were Thomas (The Candy Perfume Boy), Nick (Nick Gilbert Perfume), Suzy (The Perfume Society), Grant (owner of Basenotes), Samantha (I Scent You A Day), Freddie (Smelly Thoughts), Penny (Orchadia), Lisa (Wordbird on Basenotes), Steven from Canada (Odysseusm on Basenotes) and Andrew.

Most of us convened at around 11am at Penhaligon’s in Covent Garden’s Market Buildings, where Nick is the Global Fragrance Ambassador and staff trainer. We were downstairs in the basement where Nick laid out a large array of Penhaligon’s and L’Artisan Parfumeur fragrances for us to try (both are owned by the same company).

Val, Tara and Freddie

Val, Tara and Freddie

The light suede base of Iris Prima is a particular favourite of Pia’s, while Hannah was very taken with the fruity pick-me-up of L’Artisan’s Haute Voltige. She clearly takes after her mother because she said it reminded her of Christmas trees and it turns out there is indeed fir balsam in the base.

I tried Penhaligon’s Peoneve because I know Thomas is fond of it. It’s very fresh and green and their biggest seller in China according to Nick (and he would know). Val was impressed by L’Artisan’s Traversée du Bosphore and we all sampled Penhaligon’s new Rose Privée which is a very nice rose on a bed of soft hay. Their spring release, Ostara, is an extremely realistic daffodil scent.

Before we left, I bought a bottle of Tralala for a couple of friends to split.


Round the corner from Penhaligon’s at Langley Court is the new branch of Bloom Perfumery. They are the only stockist in the UK of Vero Profumo and some of the many other brands are Arquiste, Parfumerie Generale, Etat Libre d’Orange, Frapin and Phaedon.

The owner, Oxana, helpfully took us through a few new releases including Panorama by Olfactive Studio which is a shimmering bright green with a wasabi accord. We also had a preview of the next fragrance from Arquiste (caramelised/woody) which will come out in September.

Oxana told me that Bloom are working with a perfumer to launch a bespoke fragrance service soon.

After lunch at Bill’s (and much fun and laughter) we headed to Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly, which has recently refurbished its perfumery department.


They still have the Caron urns and brands like Grossmith and Creed, but they now have a small section for newer lines including 4160 Tuesdays and Heeley.


Nick and Thomas weighing the pros and cons of some pretty (expensive) perfumes

After some top quality Fortnum’s ice-cream to-go, most of us headed back to Bloom. We were going to meet Antonio Gardoni of Bogue Profumo whose extraordinary fragrances are now being stocked there (read Michael’s fab review of MAAI here). I’d heard great things about Antonio and he turned out to be even more engaging and down to earth than I’d expected.


Antonio Gardoni in action

Antonio said he thought it would be interesting to breakdown some of the different elements of MAAI for us. First he sprayed the original 40% version before distillation onto paper strips. Obviously this was powerful stuff but still smelt great. At first, he wanted to give the fragrance an incense base, but instead decided to go with a mixture of infused resins and sandalwood from China which we got to try in isolation.

On more blotters, he shared the tuberose absolute he uses in MAAI at 30% dilution. This was strong enough to knock your socks off but still fantastic (I have recently learnt that it’s only heady, synthetic tuberose I have issues with). This was a very green tuberose with an earthy facet. I think I saw Thomas swoon a little.

Next Antonio sprayed a solution of the four different aldehydes used in MAAI. I thought this might be pretty sneeze-inducing, but they were the more vintage-style, soap bubble type and actually rather gorgeous. Suzy remarked that she’d love to wear this as a perfume.

Pia and Grant

Pia and Grant

I mentioned to Antonio that I felt MAAI was like several different fragrances in one. He told me that’s not what he set out to do but it turned out that way. He loves fragrances that evolve over time and MAAI changes a lot as it develops. It won best Niche/Artisanal Fragrance in the Basenotes Reader Awards 2015 and is well worth experiencing if you get the chance.


Antonio kindly gave me a decant of his other fragrance, O/E and I asked if he would tell us about it. He explained that he loves citrus fragrances but they usually don’t last long. He told us O/E has every citrus fruit you can think of (lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit, mandarin, sweet and bitter orange…) as well as a number of different herbs.

Antonio particularly likes the smell of rotting lemons and thought it would be interesting to create the effect of a lemon that was beginning to rot, being wrapped in a plastic bag. So he put in a little camphor which is a favourite aroma of his.

He then added Iso E Super to give the naturals a synthetic contrast. To extend the longevity, he made clever use of balsams. These are present from the start, so that even when the citrus has faded, you think you can still smell it.

It was wonderful to learn more about both MAAI and O/E first-hand from their creator.

Of course, we all had to pose with the Bogue Mask; a striking terracotta aroma diffuser which is actually a really effective way of experiencing scent.


So pretty! (Explanation: the captions have not been written by a vain Tara, but by Olfactoria! :) )

Before most of the group went off to the pub (I hear a number of cocktails were consumed) Thomas introduced Val to his beloved Thierry Mugler Angel for the very first time. I was not terribly hopeful about this because Val is very much wedded to her enviable Vero Profumo collection and it takes a lot for her to give skin time to anything else. Well, after some cautious sniffing Val declared that she “certainly didn’t hate it” which I took as a positive reaction :)


A hopeful Thomas and a very skeptic Val.

Thomas gifted her his bottle so who knows, it might grow on her.

After a non-perfume shopping spree, Val, Hannah, Yasmin from Bloom and I had a quick coffee with Antonio before saying goodbye. We stumbled along what felt like a very long walk back to Euston Station at about 8 o’clock – thoroughly exhausted but completely happy.


The whole group at Fortnum’s.

Many thanks to Pia and Nick for their tremendous organisational skills and to everyone who came along for making it such an epic day. Special thanks to Antonio Gardoni for his fascinating Bogue masterclass.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s gathering.

Have you been perfume shopping in London? Have you tried any fragrances from Bogue Profumo?

Posted in By Tara, Shopping, Travels | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Monday Question- Which Perfume Would You Want To Buy Right Now?

If you were dropped into an exceedingly well stocked perfume store with the grant by a good fairy to get one perfume of your choice, which one would it be?

Something new and exciting?

Something tried and tested?

Would you buy something long coveted and longed for?

Or would you listen to your mood right now and go with your impulse?

Which perfume would you go home with at this moment?

My Answer:

I’m feeling impulsive today, so I think I would go with my mood of the moment and pick something I love right now, no matter what’s ony wishlist.

Since I just got home from our first Italy trip, I’m in a summer- sun-heat-tropical mood, so it would be a toss between Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum and Annick Goutal Songes. If  a good fairy is paying though, I’d go for the latter. ;)

What about you?

Posted in Monday Question | Tagged , , , | 84 Comments

Just Opened – Maison de Parfum In Vienna

By Sandra

Hi there everyone!

I just wanted to take a moment out of your day to announce a new niche perfume store in Vienna.


Maison de Parfum just opened its doors for business on Kärntner Strasse 10/17 in the 1st district. It is beautifully set up with shelves lining the walls and going up to the ceiling. The staff is very friendly and welcoming.

What is more, they are carrying perfume brands which I have yet to find in the city. I am so excited to discover this store and I hope that when you make it to Vienna you will have a look and see what there is to offer.


Let me indulge you in a sneak peak of perfume brands carried by Maison de Parfum. It is by no means the complete list, but these are the brands that caught my eye.

Al Kimiya – Ann Gerard – D’Orsay – Il Profumo del Pantelleria – Jul et Mad – Laurent Mazzone – Le Galion – Liquides Imaginaire – Nabucco – Nicolai – Ormonde Jayne – Pantheon – Parfums MDCI – Robert Piget including Extraits – Sospiro – The Different Company – Vero Profumo – Xerjoff Oud Stars – Zero Molecule.

I am thrilled that they are open for business and seriously need to save my pennies now.


Wishing you a wonderful day wherever you may be and hoping that you will come to Vienna one day soon.

On a side note – I am in no way affiliated with the store, but am so excited to see some of my favorite brands in Vienna that I felt the need to share.

Any travel plans to Vienna in the forseeable future? ;)

Posted in By Sandra, Shopping, Vienna | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Yacht Life: Review – Guerlain Terracotta Le Parfum

By Tara

I see more and more summer perfume releases described as “solar florals”.

Well, Terracotta Le Parfum is a fragrance that really does fit that description. The white florals are dewy but the gentle warmth of vanilla increasingly shines through.

It was first released in the summer of 2014 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Guerlain’s popular Terracotta collection of bronzing products. It was a big hit, so happily it has not only been re-released this summer, but has joined the permanent line.

guerlain terracotta
The composition is by in-house perfumer Thierry Wasser and features accords of bergamot, coconut, tiare flower, jasmine, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, musk and vanilla.

Terracotta Le Parfum definitely has an air of elegance but doesn’t take itself too seriously. It feels carefree, as if it’s caught a jet to warmer climes and left its usual fast-paced life far behind.

The Terracotta Le Parfum woman is super chic and gets her golden glow from cosmetics only. She chooses to vacation in style, perhaps on a yacht off the shore of the British Virgin Islands. She accessorises her designer bikini with bold but tasteful jewellery.


There’s no point comparing Terracotta Le Parfum to Guerlain’s main collection. This is an entirely different, dressed down affair.

What’s so very Guerlain about it though – apart from the vanilla – is that it’s incredibly well blended. Lush white florals swirl in coconut water, while the airy vanilla fills it out and gives it substance. The subtlety of the coconut means that it doesn’t scream sun-tan lotion; it merely nods in that direction.

The opening is tiare accented with the citrus of bergamot. As it develops I get some other florals, mostly orange blossom, but the tiare continues to dominate.

Terracotta Le Parfum really is all about that tropical white flower. It’s smooth and shot through with freshness to the point of being almost aqueous. There’s something windswept and billowy about it. I see big blousy tiare flowers swaying in the ocean breeze.

The base is all about lightweight vanilla and a smattering of coconut.

It eschews the oily feel of some beach-y perfumes and therefore it doesn’t have that almost trashy vibe. Not that I dislike that effect by any means, but this is a Guerlain after all – a little class, if you please.

For this reason, you’d be more than comfortable wearing Terracotta Le Parfum to your office in the midst of the city. It doesn’t have its toes completely submerged in the sand.

In terms of sillage, I would say it’s rather quiet, but I find the lasting power to be very good. Even if it wasn’t, I don’t think you should expect serious commitment from a holiday romance.

Have you had a summer fling with Terracotta Le Parfum?

Posted in Fragrance Reviews | Tagged , , | 20 Comments

The Sea, The Sea – Review: L’Occitane Mer & Mistral

Hi there Olfactoria’s Travellers,

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

It must be hotting up in earnest on that side of the world right now while we are gripped in the middle of a very mild winter here in Sydney, seriously there are still people walking around in shorts and flip flops. I thought I’d look at a fragrance I discovered last year through the shower gel. My mate Lesley who works at L’Occitane passed me the shower gel and asked me to try it and though that salty ozonic seashore scent has been off my radar for a while here it hits all the right buttons.

Mer & Mistral by Karine Dubreuil for L’Occitane en Provence

Mer & Mistral L`Occitane FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon, tangerine
Heart: Cypress, pine, rosemary
Base: White amber, cedar, musk

I love the opening few heartbeats of Mer & Mistral, imagine a sweet lemon drink that has a salt rim. Not boozy, pure fruit but the salt rim adds this wonderful xing and sizzle to the citrus and they gently fizz against each other as the citrus turns pithy and the woods and greenery make their way majestically into the heart of the fragrance. Imagine crossing a 1990s/2000s ozonic sport fragrance with a really good cologne. Both sides of these two generally masculine genres pulled together to create a simple, elegant and wearable fragrance that feels balanced and much more expensive that these 75ml L’Occitane Collection de Grasse bottles are.

Menton, Aussicht vom Boulevard de GaravanPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

As a body wash I find the scent invigorating and strangely reminiscent of gym changerooms but only as a passing reference, not an exact replica. That cool, fresh, aquatic and ozonic reminder of days gone by that seems to be making a happy resurgence currently in a more sophisticated guise for lovers of the fresh all day salty tang.

While Mer & Mistral does skew towards what we traditionally are told to view as masculine I can imagine a woman wearing it so beautifully on those days when she would like to be reminded of, or pretend to have knowledge of, yachting on the Mediterranean. It has excellent longevity and projection is average to small meaning a fabulous spritz & go daily wear scent perfect for the summer months. I am wearing it in our winter in Sydney and it’s also a perfect foil to the cool.

mer-mistral--loccitane men-locker-room SpotMeBroPhoto Stolen SpotMeBro

Further reading: Beauty & Lifestyle Hunter and Australian Perfume Junkies
L’Occitane has a page where you can find a store or order online anywhere in the world

Have you realised the salty ozonic is coming back? Are you cool with it or running a mile?
Portia xx

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

Cologne Writ Large: Review – Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle Cologne Indélébile

By Tara

Eau de Colognes have always seemed rather uninspiring to me. They don’t feel full of promise the way perfumes do.

They are a practical pick-me-up rather than something to make you swoon. Cologne Indélébile (“Permanent Cologne”) may not whisper a tantalising story in my ear, but it is surprisingly luscious.

malle ci
Cologne Indélébile was created by one of the most renowned noses in the business: Dominique Ropion. Frederic Malle has worked with him on a number of fragrances for Editions de Parfums including Carnal Flower and Geranium Pour Homme.

Released this past April, the notes for Cologne Indélébile include bergamot, lemon, narcissus, orange blossom, neroli and musks.

It’s in the style of classic colognes in as much as it has a simple, largely linear structure. You really have to like orange blossom to like Cologne Indélébile because it’s orange blossom for 12+ hours. Rich, slightly syrupy and a little heady, it contains all the best parts of that gorgeous material.

It’s top quality stuff and the updating lies in its exceptional radiance and staying power. Don’t expect twists and turns or novel accords – you won’t find them here. Cologne Indélébile was modelled on the traditional cologne and should be approached as such. If you thrive on complexity, you may be left wanting.

In the early stages, the orange sweetness is cut through with slashes of sharp lemon. Cologne Indélébile wouldn’t be very cologne-like if it didn’t start off with that trademark citrus zing.

After an hour or so, it’s orange blossom all the way. There’s neroli and bergamot in the mix but the orange blossom is what gives it body. Unfortunately I don’t get any narcissus.

Whereas last summer’s Eau de Magnolia extended the cologne’s top half with the addition of a chypre base, Cologne Indélébile uses musks – four “technical” musks to be precise.

I was rather apprehensive when I heard this because my musk comfort zone is extremely small. However, to my surprise, the musks fail to make an impact on me. They are apparently mostly of the white variety so perhaps I’m just anosmic to them. Those who do get them, seem to find them extremely voluminous.

Whereas colognes usually feel attenuated, Cologne Indélébile feels substantial. It has great heft but manages to feel weightless. It combines the transparent feel of a cologne with the potency of a parfum.

Of course, this is not a new concept in niche – thik Atelier Cologne or Mugler, but no one has done it with this degree of quality, volume and longevity.


I can see Cologne Indélébile coming into its own in hot weather. It will mirror the sunshine and keep you beautifully scented from morning well into the night, without ever feeling overwhelmed.

This is supersized cologne for a modern generation.

Have you tried Cologne Indélébile yet?

Posted in By Tara, Citrus, Cologne, Fragrance Reviews, Frederic Malle | Tagged , , , , | 26 Comments

Monday Question – Please Complete This Sentence: When I Travel I Always…

Happy Monday!

It is the last week of school here and travel plans come closer and closer, so today I want you to answer a question a bit differently.

Please complete the sentence:

When I travel, I always….


My Answer:

When I travel, I always…

… freak out an hour before leaving.

… take at least seven different lip balms/glosses etc. with me, one in every bag or pocket.

… dare to wear clothes I would not wear at home (e.g. dresses).

… feel much more grown-up and sophisiticated than usual.

… check my wallet and passport more often than I would anyone want to know.

… can be certain that I forgot at least one crucial item.

… am reluctant to leave and just as reluctant to come back home when it’s over.

… think a lot about which bag to bring beforehand – and I don’t always get it right.

… get giddy with excitement thinking about the great food I’m about to eat every day.

… fret over my selection of perfumes to bring and always end up wearing something unexpected the entire time.

What do you do when you travel?


Posted in Monday Question, Travels | Tagged , , , | 39 Comments

Storing (And Travelling With) Hermès Scarves

Today I want to show you how I store my scarves and what I use when I take them with me on trips.

I have talked about the fabulous MaiTai Collection several times already in connection with my Hermès scarf hobby and today some of her practical and beautiful items are in the spotlight. I think of MaiTai as an Hermès support shop. :)


The “pochettes” are linen or cotton pouches for silk scarves. Here you see the three pochettes that hold almost my entire collection.


Above is the Toile de Jouy scarf travel pochette. It can be used for travel or just to keep your scarves safe at home, it saves a lot of space too.


The inside with Phoenix Mythiques peeking out. There are six “pages” where scarves can be inserted, you can also put scarves in between, taking the capacity up to ten.


Fully loaded. :)

Next up is the carré pochette, seen here in taupe linen. It is designed for carrying in your handbag so you can safely store your silk scarf whenever you need to take it off, or for (very) short trips when you take only one or two scarves. (Yes, scarf people are just as crazy as perfume people!)


The bigger of the two is the shawl pochette, it does the same for your large sized H goodies, shawls or GM silks.

Inside is an additional zipper pocket for smaller scarves and small compartments to put in your scarf rings – genius!


The two filled with 45 and 70 silk scarves and my pareo, respectively.

I used to use them for travel only, but the other day, I felt compelled to visually clean up my scarf drawer and put them all into the pochettes, where they are nicely tidied away.


This is my H silk drawer with the pochettes in place. Shawls, GM silks and my red mousseline stay “unpacked”.

I hope you enjoyed this peek into Scarfland today.

How do you store your scarves?

Posted in Hermès, Scarf Collection, Scarves | Tagged , , , , , , | 24 Comments