Traveling Samples Box Giveaway

Thanks to many of you, we have been holding regular draws for perfume samples, and today we have another generous offer from Bernadette. When Bernadette moved to a new city two years ago, she felt lost and disoriented, and it was thanks to small pleasures like perfume that she was able to weather the initial transition period. She would like to offer her collection of samples to one of you. She also thought that it might be fun if a winner tried the samples, maybe kept 1 or 2 (and possibly added a couple of samples of their own), and then passed the box onto someone else. I thought that it was a terrific idea.


How does it work: Bernadette and I will prepare two packages of samples. Hers will be for a reader in the US, mine–for a reader anywhere else in the world. So, to enter, please answer these questions: 1) where are you located? (US, Europe, Asia, etc., you don’t need to include your city or any personal details); 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else in your country/region? and 3) how you do go about sampling fragrances–in stores, mail orders, exchanges with friends, etc? The contest is open till Sunday at midnight. I will pick two winners via a random number generator, and announce them next week.

When a winner is ready to pass the box onto someone else, they should get in touch with me. Since this is our first attempt to do something like this, please feel free to offer suggestions and your ideas! I think that it will be a lot of fun.

Bernadette’s box for a reader in the US (some samples are carded store samples, others are 1ml vials):

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Lady Gaga Eau de Gaga : Perfume Review


Lady Gaga the performer is all about provocation and surprise, but her first fragrance, Fame, was anything but dramatic. When it came to creating Eau de Gaga, the singer was apparently much more hands-on, and for better or worse, offered plenty of opinions. So, what do we get in the elegant black bottle?


Spray Eau de Gaga liberally on your skin and take a deep inhale. If you expected candies and fluffy musk, then you’ll be surprised. It’s not sweet. It’s not fruity. Eau de Gaga is a green tea cologne, with a big dose of violet. A 21st century CK One, if you will. It has a bright and inviting introduction laced with lots of peppery citrus and green violet leaves. It’s sophisticated and polished.

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L’Artisan Tea For Two, L’Eau du Caporal, and Oeillet Sauvage

Happy news for those who’ve been mourning discontinued perfumes from L’Artisan Parfumeur–Tea For Two, L’Eau du Caporal, and Oeillet Sauvage will return to the collection in November 2014.

L'Artisan Parfumeur - Oeillet Sauvage -  100mlL'Artisan Parfumeur - L'eau du Caporal - 100ml

Tea For Two was created in 2000 by Olivia Giacobetti and was inspired by lapsang souchong, a famous smoky tea from China.  Giacobetti blended smoky notes, adding gourmand accents, ginger, cinnamon and honey. It was one of the first fragrances to be reviewed on Bois de Jasmin, and it was the fragrance I missed the most from L’Artisan.

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Looking for Lost Perfumes  

Elisa describes her beloved long lost perfumes and considers alternatives.

Perhaps the hardest part of the perfume hobby is seeing beautiful perfumes be discontinued. But that’s only the first stage to get through – often, discontinued perfumes are still available online and through discounters for years after they fall out of production. The really hard part comes when those stocks dry up, and the last remaining bottles can only occasionally be found for sale through unreliable sources and at astronomical prices. Iris Gris – a legendary Vincent Roubert creation from 1946 – is perhaps the quintessential “lost perfume.”


But you don’t have to dig back too far into last century to find lost perfumes. Here are five perfumes from the last 25 years that I’ve fallen in love with, only to find them largely unavailable.

L’Arte di Gucci (1991)

Thankfully, there are still good rose chypres in production. But L’Arte di Gucci was special – a big, fruity, nuanced red rose that brings to mind Eau de Joy, with its facets of aldehydes, cassis, and jasmine. To my nose, the base is mostly about the dark, earthy patchouli, with the oakmoss less prominent than in, say, Paloma Picasso. When Angela reviewed this perfume in 2011, she compared it to “wearing red lipstick with a red dress” – a combination so obvious that Donatella Versace called it bourgeois. But I love the costumey effect of L’Arte di Gucci, the way it references both elegance and power. Victoria recommends trying Dior Diorling, Chanel Cuir de Russie, and Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman, if the dark, dry leather of L’Arte di Gucci is what you loved the most.

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Japanese Incense : My Financial Times Magazine Column

In my new article for the Financial Times Magazine’s fragrance column, Perfumes with a Twist of Japanese Incense, I discover the pleasures of incense in Japan.


I’m sitting in front of smouldering joss sticks trying to determine whether they smell of the milky sweetness of sandalwood or the raspy sharpness of cedar. A young woman with a glossy black bob lights one stick after another, blowing out each flame with a gentle wave of her hand. I’m unused to kneeling for so long, and I feel the crunch of tatami mats through my thin wool trousers. Please read the rest by clicking here.

As Kiyoko Morita explains in The Book of Incense, “unlike perfume, the fragrance of incense can be quite faint and subtle; so much so, in fact, that we can understand why the Chinese used the expression ‘listening to incense’ (wenxiang) rather ‘smelling incense’.” Even so, the delicate suggestion of Japanese incense can be found in some fragrances, whether it was deliberate or not. I mention a few such perfumes in my article.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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Latest Comments

  • silvrolive in Traveling Samples Box Giveaway: 1. I live in the US 2. I am happy to pass the box on, most likely with some additional samples. 3. My samples come from decant websites, contests (I… October 24, 2014 at 6:01pm

  • Victoria in Traveling Samples Box Giveaway: Yes, decants are definitely acceptable! How generous that would be. Once a winner is ready to mail out the package, we can run a tread like this again and pick… October 24, 2014 at 5:03pm

  • Victoria in Traveling Samples Box Giveaway: If anyone wants to do that, they are welcome to organize things further. Unfortunately, my own time is very limited, so the only thing I’m happy to do is to… October 24, 2014 at 5:00pm

  • Miranda in Traveling Samples Box Giveaway: What a great idea for a giveaway! I live in the US. I’ve gotten some samples from online decanters, some from going to stores in person, and yet others from… October 24, 2014 at 4:40pm

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