People In Perfumeland – Undina Of Undina’s Looking Glass

Undina is best known throughout Perfumeland for her love of numbers. Her statistics posts are legendary. But despite her clear-thinking, no-nonsense persona, she also touches us with her personal perfume stories that show a sensitive and caring woman underneath the sometimes brash exterior. The German phrase “raue Schale und weicher Kern” (tough on the outside, soft on the inside) fits her to a T.

One more thing makes us love Undina’s blog: her amazingly beautiful and intelligent cat Rusty (click here for Rusty photos galore). Rusty makes every post even more special and I am honored to feature a never before seen Rusty photo on my blog today.

But enough of me and my Rusty adoration, let’s hear it for Undina…


A good day starts with… sleeping as long as I want.

I’d never leave the house without… I’d like to say “at least a dab of perfume” but it happens to me once in a long while. So I have to go with a purse.

I always feel good when… at work I can figure out a solution to the problem when everybody else gives up.

My favorite thing in the world is… my family (including my cat Rusty).

The next thing I want to buy… is nothing. I’m not saying I won’t be buying anything – holidays season is hard to resist – but there’s nothing on my immediate “to buy” list.

The place I always come back to… is Hawaii: these islands get the closest to my “dream vacation spot.”

My personal style is… classic with sporadic interspersions of dramatic and creative.

My favorite perfume is… multiple times reformulated and sadly discontinued Lancome Climat.

When I travel… I try not to sacrifice comfort. That’s why a carry-on bag is the smallest luggage I can take – even when it’s just a three-day trip.

To relax I need to… not have a reason to be tense: if I’m stressed out, if there’s a real problem, there’s nothing that can help until I eliminate the cause. I tried.

I like to gift people with… either something I know they want to get or something that won’t clutter their life (chocolates, alcohol or tea). I feel really bad about all those souvenirs that end up in a storage bin cemetery: too new to be just thrown away but completely useless for the recipient.

When I have a bad day… I try to remind myself of all the great things that I have in my life and hold on to that until life gets better. I’m trying to value what I have before I lose it.

I find my inspiration… nowhere… I’m sure I put it right there. It should be somewhere around… Have you seen it?

Something I would never want to miss… is time with my vSO. Everything else is less important and can wait.

My last mistake… was that extra piece of chocolate. Every day. For the last couple of years.

In my fridge there is always… some cheese and fruit. Since I don’t like being wasteful my refrigerator is half-empty most of the time: we’re buying just enough food to get us through the week. But both my vSO and I love and eat a lot of fruit and cheese so we make sure we always have some reserve of those.

On my nightstand I keep… Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. I’m not joking. Three years ago I got it, read the preface and a couple of pages and realized that I wouldn’t be reading it anymore: I do not need an authoritative justification for perfumes I love and I definitely don’t want those perfumes being trashed by anybody, no matter how respected their opinion is in the field. Since then the book just lives on my nightstand.

The perfect weekend starts with… my cat’s sleeping in (and not complaining from outside of my bedroom door) until I’m fully awake, a good cup of coffee (I use Turkish method preparing it in cezve) and a plate of cheese.

My role model is… nobody. While I like and even admire some traits in many different people there’s nobody I’d like to follow, be like them, etc.

Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is… How come that the person as private and paranoid of online communications as you are ended up having a blog where she tells stories from her life? And my answer would be: I have no idea!


Well, I’m glad she did decide to share so much of her life with us, despite being very private. I am happy I got to meet her personally this summer (even if I didn’t get to share the photos of that meeting with you).

What do I love most about these answers? Hard to decide, but I’ll go with the extra piece of chocolate. I can so relate… 🙂


About Olfactoria

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44 Responses to People In Perfumeland – Undina Of Undina’s Looking Glass

  1. Jordan River says:

    The Water Nymph swims where the web flows; everywhere! I admire this Perfume Personality for being so forthright. I learnt a lot from her before I even ‘met’ her. I have still not met her in real life but I have a lot of respect for Undina and I love to gaze into her looking glass where I often see an unexpected angle or reflection. I reckon that there is perfume in that there purse and chocolate in the fridge. Rusty; say cheese.

  2. Pingback: A Postcard from Undina: I’m there | Undina's Looking Glass

  3. Vanessa says:

    I *love* Undina, her blog, her insanely biddable cat – and count myself very lucky to have met her in Paris this summer for a full and eventful day of sniffing, sights and surprises. Amongst her answers here I particularly relate to the one about the ‘storage bin cemetery’ for gifts – I have a big box of these under my bed! Occasionally I take an item out, look at it, and think: ‘Nooooo, there really is no one else I could possibly give this too.’ Or it would simply end up in their own storage bin cemetery! Agree about not having too much in the fridge and not travelling super light. And the joys of a lie in. Oh to be disturbed by a cat as spectacular as Rusty, though! That would be a privilege. 😉

  4. Ines says:

    Ha! I drink the Turkish type of coffee too (that’s my favorite method). And that’s exactly how we call it here, Turkish coffee. Espresso comes as a close second choice.

    I’m so glad Birgit you featured Undina! 🙂

  5. lucasai says:

    I love Undina because of her style, her writing and also because we’re scent twins agreeing on many (90%?) of our perfume choices.
    I really enjoyed reading your answers my dear.
    And of course I love the picture of Rusty. He looks so fluffy and cuddly in the picture. And those big eyes saying “love me” 😀

  6. Sandra says:

    I really enjoyed reading more about Undina! It was such a short visit in Vienna and I look forward to her next one. Adorable cat too.

  7. Sabine says:

    Undina comes across as an all around good egg and formidable woman. But not allowing Rusty in the bedroom is a crime against cuteness.
    The point about the Perfume Guide and needing, or in Undina’s case not needing authoritative confirmation about perfume is very interesting and I wish I had her confidence.

    • Olfactoria says:

      A crime against cuteness! Ha! I totally agree. 😀
      It took me a while but these days I see it exactly like Undina, no need for “experts” to tell me what I have to like and what not.

    • Undina says:

      Rusty would completely agree with you 🙂
      It started like a precaution: we thought my vSO might have an allergy. Luckily, he doesn’t but we decided to keep it this way.

  8. Thanks for the interview. Undina has been always been there for us all. My one curiousity…is she as organized with her perfumes and samples as she is with her statistics?? Oh…and who can’t fall in love with Rusty??!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m absolutely sure she is, but maybe she’ll let us know herself (once she is up again, it’s nighttime on the West Coast).

    • Undina says:

      Steve, I have a post just for you. Though I’m slightly less organized with my testing:some samples stay untested forever while I might re-test something I’ve previously tried and didn’t like. Fixing that is one of my NY resolutions.

  9. YAY! Undina, you are wonderful. One day I’d love to hang with Birgit, Sandra and Undina, that would be very special. One day.
    Portia x

  10. Suzanne says:

    Undina is the most intriguing woman in Perfume Land!! Her honesty amazes me, her statistics are always fascinating, and her personal stories always mesmerize me: she writes them so straight forwardly, but something about the way she does it is always quietly moving. And, of course, her cat Rusty is beyond handsome!!!

    Thanks for featuring her, Birgit.

  11. Ali says:

    More than a few of those replies sound like they came out of my mouth. I’m off to see Undina’s blog.

    Ali x

  12. Tara says:

    It’s always great to learn more about Undina. When she gives us glimpses into her life, particularly her childhood, I’m always gripped. Suzanne put it so well. Her style of writing is so straightforward yet all the more touching for it.

    I have no doubt Undina solves the problems others give up on a regular basis. She seems to be a very committed person and a master puzzle cracker. I’m not surprised that she is a thoughtful gift giver and I can relate to the chocolate and love of sleep!

    Love Rusty. He’s a special cat with especially large, lovely paws. I think Undina once told me that’s because he has an extra “toe”. A unique cat for a unique owner.

  13. susan says:

    hurray Undina! 🙂

    In my imagination, Undina’s house is immaculate and she needs to come clean and organize my house and perfume table. 🙂

  14. Undina says:

    Birgit, thank you for all the kind words and for being such a great hostess. I hope one day we’ll meet on my territory: SF has extraordinary chocolates and Rusty is a very social and friendly cat.

  15. poodle says:

    So happy to see Undina featured here. And Rusty of course. She’s very sweet and her blog is always a pleasure to read. I’m always amazed at how good she is with the statistics. I’ll never be that organized.

  16. Three cheers for Undina! Hip hip hurray! I enjoyed reading your answers to the ‘fill in the blanks’. Hope you’ll have many more fragrant stories to share with us in future 🙂

  17. Anna in Edinburgh says:

    Lovely to read Undina’s answers here.
    Can I offer my support to Undina, in solidarity over not having a cat prowling around the bedroom at night? Mad Lucy was evicted after Too Many Manic Middle-of-the-Night Meow-fests, and she’s getting better at not waking us now. (I’m sure Handsome Rusty wouldn’t transgress as much as Lucy did but better safe than sorry!)

  18. Undina is impressive at the whole cat discipline thing. Our cat gets on bed, jumps off bed, gets, on gets off…repeat several times. We really could use some cat traffic control.
    PS if I had Rusty he’d be as spoiled as our cat- worse probably- with that face.

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