People In Perfumeland – Elena Vosnaki Of Perfume Shrine

Today I am honored to have Elena of Perfume Shrine in my People In Perfumeland series.

Elena writes her blog since 2005, she is an incredibly accomplished perfume connoisseur with a huge knowledge that she shares with us through articles on ingredients, interviews with industry figures, perfume reviews and not at least news and a little gossip of the perfume industry.

She is a historian, art historian and archaeologist living in Athens, Greece, she has two little boys and her perfume hobby has led her to pursue some perfumery training. She writes for her own blog as well as Fragrantica and several other perfume publications. She is the kind of multi-tasking person who would give you an inferiority complex if she wasn’t so very kind and lovely.

Let’s see what she says in answer to my 20 sentences…



elena vosnaki

A good day starts with… a smile from my significant other.

I’d never leave the house without… my brains!

I always feel good when… I feel loved.

My favorite thing in the world is… my family. If we’re talking material things, it’s my MAC Book Pro.

The next thing I want to buy is… a battery replacement for my computer. And possibly a deep orangey coral lipstick for spring.

The place I always come back to is… Greece. There’s a reason it was chosen by the Gods.

My personal style is… classic dramatic, clean lines with contemporary accents. I like to mix accessories and good jewels to make a statement.

My favorite perfume… used to be vintage Opium, but obviously I love many others as well. I’d love to have Doblis by Hermes re-issued; I’d take a lifetime supply!


When I travel I always… avoid what tourists would do. I like to be a traveller, not a tourist.

To relax I need… classical music and ideally a full body massage.

When I have a bad day… I try to avoid talking with people lest I quarrel with them.

I like to gift people with… things I find either beautiful or intelligent or both!

I find my inspiration… in everything. I’m a magpie. Humble things hide gems inside.

Something I would never want to miss… the laughter of my kids growing up.

My last mistake was… missing a friend’s nameday. I have since amended.

In my fridge there is always… fresh lemons.

On my nightstand I keep… books (predictable, I know), a glass of water (ditto), Sous la Glycine candle and whatever bracelet/bangle/necklace I was wearing that day that prevents me from sleeping well.

The perfect weekend starts with… kisses, lots of kisses!

My role model is… my maternal grandmother who survived through the worst and came out victorious without losing her dignity or her kindness.

Something I always want to be asked in questionnaires like this is… do you believe in beauty existing in destroyed things/people? I do.


I truly enjoyed seeing a more private side of Elena though this questionnaire. I have to admit that I used to be a bit intimidated by her knowledge, but getting to know her better has shown me what an approachable and down-to-earth woman she also is.

Finding beauty in destroyed things – how beautiful a concept that is. I will surely take that sentence with me.


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36 Responses to People In Perfumeland – Elena Vosnaki Of Perfume Shrine

  1. All of us would be bereft of perfume knowledge were it not for this woman. The amount of information that is contained in the precious Perfume Shrine is utterly unbelievable in my opinion. I remember I once wanted to know about blackcurrant, and was led to a fascinating piece on the similarities between cassis and cats. I would love to meet her.

    Oh, and Doblis is an UTTERLY exquisite perfume. I remember when it came out as a limited edition in the Tokyo Hermes boutique, costing about 1000 pounds or something, and oh how I wanted it. It was more elegant than elegance itself.

  2. Sabine says:

    I wish I could say that I never leave the house without my brains…
    When I discovered perfume shrine I got headaches from reading too much on my small ipad screen. A wonderful source of knowledge.

  3. Mary E. says:

    I love both of your perfume blogs. Thanks for sharing these very personal thoughts of Elena about her life!

  4. Carol says:

    Hello dear Elena!! xox Oh I didn’t know you also loved Opium!

  5. Suzanne says:

    Wow, it’s so lovely to see a photo of Elena! I’m a longstanding fan of hers and it’s so nice now to be able to put a picture to her face. Love her dark-haired, classic Greek beauty!

    Elena’s articles explaining certain aroma materials are the most helpful and knowledgeable articles on the perfume blogosphere — and her perfume reviews are the arresting kind that stay etched in my memory. I think my absolute favorite review of hers is the one she wrote for Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous la Pluie, it’s so quietly beautiful, like the scent itself. Thanks for featuring her here, Birgit – loved hearing her answers to your questions.

  6. ringthing says:

    I’ve followed Perfume Shrine as rosarita since the beginning and I have learned so much from the gorgeous Elena; by following her on Pinterest, I’ve collected many beautiful pictures of her beloved Greece as well which have provided much escapism this winter! As always, thanks for this series, Birgit 🙂

  7. Birgit,
    You, Perfume Posse and Perfume Shrine were my introduction to the online world a scentbloggosphere. It’s nice to get some insight into another of my heroes.
    Portia x

  8. Anka says:

    M & M, Mozart and Massage – yes, count me in…
    I admire Elena Vosnaki a lot, thanks for featuring her here, Birgit!


    a beautiful questionnaire. and I second that thing about destruction as beauty.

  10. Masha7 says:

    Elena is an inspiration, and I’m so glad you interviewed her! Elena, I particularly love your ideas about beauty.

  11. annemariec says:

    I too have been reading Perfime Shrine for years. Favourite reviews are for Rochas Femme and NR4H, but I also blame Elena for my recent deep attachment to Laura Biagiotti’s Roma. Roma had been on my try list but it was Elena’s review that pushed it up to the top. Her matching of L’Ambre des Merveilles with Fauré’s Sicilienne is pure genuis.

  12. Vanessa says:

    Oh, I did enjoy learning more about Elena, and I like her love of lemons and striking accessories. Greece is my joint favourite country in the world, along with Ireland…and I agree that being a traveller rather than a tourist is the way to really see a country.

    Interesting about the concept of beauty in destroyed things. A multi storey car park is currently being demolished inmy town, and the remaining half structure / half rubble has an eerie beauty to it.

  13. arline says:

    I love her blog, but for some reason, I have been knocked off the site lately. For some strange reason, the screen will go white after I have been there for about 15 seconds.

    I love her insights and enjoy when I do get to peruse the site.

  14. carole macleod says:

    II have spent countless hours on Elena’s beautiful site, enjoying myself and learning so much about fragrance, art, and life. Thanks to her generosity i have a bottle of Ta’waf-it’s like the scent of kindness and beauty to me.

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