L’Artisan Parfumeur Histoire d’Orangers : Perfume Review

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This review of Histoire d’Orangers, a fragrance created by perfumer Marie Salamagne for L’Artisan Parfumeur, continues both the Women in Perfumery and The Scents of Tea series.

Annick Goutal’s Néroli was one of my favorite orange blossom perfumes. I loved its graceful, lighter than sea-foam character paired with its robust lasting power, and it made me content. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a limited edition and the Cologne version that replaced it was pretty but flimsy. Until I discovered L’Artisan’s Histoire d’Orangers this summer, I’ve been rationing my last few drops of Néroli.

On the face of it, I shouldn’t have had trouble finding a replacement for a simple orange blossom cologne. They’re a dime a dozen. You can have a bottle for a couple of euros (Roger & Gallet Bois d’Orange) or for a couple of hundred (Tom Ford Néroli Portofino). But as my perfumery teacher Sophia Grojsman says, nothing is more difficult than a simple thing. Many orange blossom colognes smelled either too pale (Jo Malone Orange Blossom), too dry (Hermès Eau d’Orange Verte), too flashy (the aforementioned Tom Ford), or just not right (Houbigant Oranger en Fleurs). The beauty of Annick Goutal’s Néroli was that it captured all the facets of the real thing, like the honeyed softness, indolic tang, and green sharpness, but made them refined and velvety. Every time I picked up the bottle and pressed the nozzle, I imagined a shower of white petals brushing my skin.

Histoire d’Orangers comes so close to conveying this feeling that I can bid goodbye to Néroli. Perfumer Marie Salamagne who worked on L’Artisan’s perfume is a perfect nose for the task. Her style is elegant, but without an overly dainty, fussy impression. She confesses to associating colors with scents, and as you try Histoire d’Orangers, notice how easy it is to become a synesthete.  At first, the blossoms of Histoire d’Orangers appear green and so translucent that you can almost see the fine veins. As the perfume warms up, the blossoms become yellow and sweeter. Wait a bit longer, enjoying the petal rainfall, and the pallor of the flowers will be tinged here and there by a deep orange. Even in the drydown where the orange flower is usually exhausted, Histoire continues to hum its luminous floral tune.

Histoire d’Orangers doesn’t turn too heavy or too indolic. The tea accord gives the orange blossom a fresh sensation, but it still feels velvety and soft. It’s a cologne with the lingering plushness of a parfum.

Sometimes in my perfume courses I’m asked why if the natural essences are so delightful, why can’t we just dilute, say, orange blossom absolute or neroli essence and wear them? Of course, we can, and I sometimes do. But the beauty of a true perfume is its very unnaturalness. It crosses into the realm of fantasy, allowing me to experience not only the beautiful scent but also its creator’s idea of it. I’m after a painting and not a digital snapshot. Histoire fulfills that craving. It’s an orange blossom painted by Matisse.

To be worn by men and women–beauty doesn’t discriminate.

L’Artisan Parfumeur Histoire d’Orangers includes notes of neroli, white tea, orange blossom, musk, tonka bean, and amber (ambroxan).

Although I’m happy with Histoire d’Orangers, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to continue exploring other orange blossoms. So, please share your favorites.

Image via L’Artisan website

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95 Comments

  • Austenfan: I love Fragonard’s Fleur d’Oranger, but it behaves more like a cologne, lovely but fleeting. This sounds like a must try. August 7, 2017 at 8:10am Reply

    • Victoria: This one lasts really well. August 7, 2017 at 1:31pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Another orange blossom, in a totally different vein, that I’m very fond of, is Sweet Redemption. It’s become my favourite of the By Kilians, but of course it’s not at all like Goutal’s Néroli. August 8, 2017 at 5:54am Reply

        • Victoria: It’s a favorite of mine too. August 10, 2017 at 4:10am Reply

          • Austenfan: It was your review that made me try it. Does it remind you at all of Séville à l’Aube? August 11, 2017 at 8:00am Reply

  • Nick: The simplest things are hardest to realise. I could not agree more. For me, it really is hard to pick a perfect so-called soliflores, especially of neroli or vetiver. And although time-tested classics never let me down, I am always on the prow for novel interpretations of these. It is interesting to see how they are shaped and embellished.

    I prefer the freshness of neroli to orange blossom note, and Eau de Cologne Impériale is how I like the flower to be set. But if I had to pick a purely orange blossom one, I would go for Serge Lutens’s Fleur d’Oranger. Its larger-than-life orange blossom is impressive. August 7, 2017 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: Eau de Cologne Impériale is probably one of the best for green, crisp neroli. Annick Goutal was heavier on neroli, but it had the sweetness of orange blossom too. August 7, 2017 at 1:33pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: When I am in the mood for that kind of perfume, I reach for Après l’Ondée or L’Heure Bleue.
    And I also like Floris No. 89. August 7, 2017 at 8:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Nice choices! August 7, 2017 at 1:33pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Inspired by this post, I am wearing 24 Faubourg today. August 8, 2017 at 5:23am Reply

        • Austenfan: Wonderful! August 8, 2017 at 5:54am Reply

        • Victoria: Wonderful! August 10, 2017 at 4:09am Reply

  • Kandice: I love the notes of orange blossom and neroli. I will definitely have to add this to my list to try, as well as the Serge which I haven’t tried either. I love many of AG’s fragrances but never tried the one you loved so much. I feel I’ve missed out now. I do have to say that I actually really like the Houbigant and have bought two small travel sizes. The cost keeps me from buying a full bottle. I’d be curious to know what you don’t like about it. I would agree it’s not a pure orange blossom scent, and that it has many other things added. Thanks for the great review and for continuing the Women in Perfume series! August 7, 2017 at 10:07am Reply

    • Lily: I am curious about that, too, Victoria, since the Houbigant review was Susanna’s. I am slowly growing my database of where our tastes/noses align and diverge to make better sampling guesses. Lol. Anyway this post inspired me to wear the Orangeurs en Fleurs today. Mmm…perfect for me 😉 August 7, 2017 at 12:58pm Reply

      • Victoria: It’s a very well-made perfume, no doubt. Just too sweet for the kind of orange blossom I was after. August 7, 2017 at 2:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was too sweet on me and flat. It’s a very good perfume, but when I wore it, the cloying note stuck out and it was difficult to enjoy the rest. August 7, 2017 at 1:34pm Reply

      • Lily: Aren’t noses funny? I found the SL cloying and this one to be bright and uplifting – definitely sweeter than a traditional cologne style, though! For sure rounded with sweet florals. It also seems to be one that responds to skin chemistry. My best perfume pal loves it on me and says it smells like air freshener on her. Yikes! August 7, 2017 at 2:46pm Reply

        • Victoria: It depends on what you’re looking for and what you’re comparing. SL’s orange blossom is much sweeter than Houbigant’s, of course. SL is not even an orange blossom to me, it’s a tuberose. August 10, 2017 at 4:04am Reply

      • Kandice: It’s nice to know there are so many choices out there for so many tastes. Thanks for answering my question 🙂 August 8, 2017 at 12:18am Reply

  • Bela: As you know, V, I adored and wore SL Fleurs d’Oranger for several years (from 2002) — until the formulation was modified and it became sweet and sickly.

    I normally dislike anything that contains neroli (as opposed to orange blossom; the difference is in the extraction process, isn’t it?) — the bitterness makes me queasy, but I’m very fond of the Annick Goutal. August 7, 2017 at 10:15am Reply

    • Victoria: I also don’t care for its reformulation. It’s a good perfume, of course, but I still have a big bottle of the original, so the new one loses in comparison. August 7, 2017 at 1:35pm Reply

      • Bela: How have you managed to keep it for so long? Two of the three bottles I used went off after a few months (they were kept properly in a cool, dark place). Luckily the Salons agreed to replace the first one. August 8, 2017 at 6:20pm Reply

        • Victoria: I kept it in the fridge. August 10, 2017 at 4:18am Reply

          • Bela: Aha!

            Still, I think it shouldn’t have gone off. I have fragrances that I’ve kept in the same conditions (cool and dark) and that date from the ’70s, and they’re perfectly OK. August 13, 2017 at 10:15am Reply

            • Cornelia Blimber: Same here, some bottles are 25, 30 years old and still in good shape. (dark, unheated room, in their boxes).
              My Fleurs d’Oranger (± 7 years old) are still OK,
              maybe the Dutch climate is cooler than where you live? August 13, 2017 at 10:36am Reply

              • Bela: I live in London, so much of a muchness, really. August 13, 2017 at 11:13am Reply

  • Alicia: Until I finish the bottle my orange blossom is Serge Lutens’s: I love it. After this review
    It will be This enticing Histoire. My Mediterranean blood never tires of orange flowers, orange trees, orange twigs and all oranges, from sanguine to Seville. Another perfume I’ll owe to you. Thank you, Victoria. August 7, 2017 at 10:36am Reply

    • Victoria: I also love all of the things orange blossom, from perfume to food. By the way, I love hot chocolate with a dash of orange blossom water. August 7, 2017 at 2:04pm Reply

      • Alicia: Oh, I have to try that chocolate. Many years ago, when I was a student at Stanford, there was an ice-cream parlor nearby offering Mandarin Chocolate Sherbet. Chocolate and orange. It was so marvelous that I wrote it a poem. August 7, 2017 at 2:41pm Reply

        • Carla: Just last night I craved and therefore had for dessert, ricotta with a bit of chocolate sauce and orange extract. Did you really write a poem to the sherbet? 😉 August 8, 2017 at 12:26pm Reply

          • Alicia: Yes, I did, Carla, and even published it. August 8, 2017 at 2:53pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’d love to read it. 🙂 August 10, 2017 at 4:03am Reply

          • Alicia: Thank yiou, Victoria. Do you read Spanish? August 10, 2017 at 10:47am Reply

            • Victoria: Yes! August 10, 2017 at 11:32am Reply

              • Alicia: Then I try to find my book of poems. It might be in NY, but I will send it to you as soon as I find it. August 10, 2017 at 11:38am Reply

                • Victoria: Thank you very much. This is very generous of you. August 11, 2017 at 3:31am Reply

                  • Alicia: As soon as I return to NY I send it to you. It is a poem dedicated to my child, with whom I was eating The Mandarin Chocolate Sherbet. August 11, 2017 at 5:30pm Reply

                    • katherine x: The subject and dedication conjure in my mind a a poem of whimsy, sensuality, maybe even tenderness? Sounds wonderful. August 13, 2017 at 6:42pm

  • Phyllis Iervello: This sounds lovely and I look forward to trying it. I adore orange blossom. L’Artisan was my first venture into niche perfumery way back when it started. August 7, 2017 at 10:53am Reply

    • Victoria: It was mine too, along with Annick Goutal and Serge Lutens. August 7, 2017 at 2:05pm Reply

  • Geri Ethen: I love your comment about the beauty of and fascination with perfumes: I’m after a painting and not a digital snapshot. How true! And your writing has opened up this world to me! August 7, 2017 at 11:00am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Geri! August 7, 2017 at 2:05pm Reply

  • AndreaR: This fragrance sounds lovely. The new bottle design makes me sad.It seems so harsh. August 7, 2017 at 11:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It actually looks quite nice in person. August 7, 2017 at 2:06pm Reply

    • Tara C: I agree, don’t care for the design, and I have seen it in person. Much prefer their vintage bottles. August 19, 2017 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Alex: Victoria, have you tried Eau des Sens from Diptyque? It captures a whole orange tree with a dash of gardenia. In vein with Neroli and not so different. August 7, 2017 at 11:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I have, but it doesn’t last on me. Very pretty, though. August 7, 2017 at 2:06pm Reply

    • Floragal: Wore this today. It’s probably my favorite OB especially in the warmer months. Lasts all day, gratefully. August 10, 2017 at 8:36pm Reply

  • Richard Potter: I’m dying to try this one. Lovely review. Thank you.❤️ August 7, 2017 at 12:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I look forward to reading your review. August 7, 2017 at 2:06pm Reply

  • spe: Bois d’ Orange is my favorite. It’s long lasting and there is a lovely shower gel for those so inclined. August 7, 2017 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: And the matching soap is great too. August 7, 2017 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Jackie Heslop: Hello Victoria! I haven’t read your blog in awhile, but reading this reminds me what a wonderful writer you are, and made me wonder why I’ve been depriving myself the pleasure of your voice! It absolutely sings here! This piece is a great example of how you somehow manage to be prosaic and poetic at the same time! Your analogy comparing perfume to painting and essences to photography is truly inspired! I know I’ll be borrowing that one! 😉 August 7, 2017 at 12:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Jackie. Nice to see you again. August 7, 2017 at 2:07pm Reply

      • Jackie Heslop: 😁 August 8, 2017 at 10:50am Reply

    • Karen A: Hi Jackie! Hope all is good and fragrant with you! Xxoo Karen August 8, 2017 at 6:48am Reply

      • Jackie Heslop: Hello Karen!! Nice to see you. I hope all is well with you too! We’ve got a constant smell of campfire with the smoke drifting over from the forest fires, but it can’t compete with the massive jasmine at the front door and the gardenia at the back! 😊 How’s your summer been? August 8, 2017 at 10:59am Reply

        • Karen A: That’s right, you all are dealing with massive forest fires – probably will never want to smell any smoky fragrances, that’s for sure! Nice you have a blooming jasmine. All good here – planning a major overhaul of the gardens in the fall, everything is completely out of control and chaotic. August 8, 2017 at 2:56pm Reply

    • Inma: Hello! I also Love “I’m after a painting and not a digital snapshot”. It is something I am starting to experience with perfumes and that has a resonance in so many other ways of expressing ourselves.
      These days I’m next to the sea in the south of Portugal. I’m paying a closer attention to what I smell in this part of the world.
      Thank you!!! August 9, 2017 at 7:10am Reply

  • Monika Dankova: I cannot wait to try this! I love orange blossom perfumes! My favourite orange perfume is what I consider to be a Christmas perfume, not for this time of year. It is orange, heady with spices — Fendi’s Theorema. So, I need a summer orange blossom scent (and more Theorema for Christmas). August 7, 2017 at 3:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: That one is so beautiful. August 10, 2017 at 4:05am Reply

  • January: I don’t have an orange blossom fragrance. Would like to give this one a go! However I am mad about vintage, sepia neroli, powdery like L Heure Bleue and Grossmith Shem-el-Nessim. Someone recently suggested Penhaligon’s Cornubia. I wonder if it is discontinued? August 7, 2017 at 4:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Cornubia is definitely around. August 10, 2017 at 4:06am Reply

  • Karina: What about “Seville a l’Aube”? It tends to turn slightly too soapy on my skin, but on a friend of mine it’s a perfume made in orange blossom heaven. August 7, 2017 at 4:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like it very much too, but it’s sweet on me, while Neroli was green and woody. August 10, 2017 at 4:07am Reply

  • maja: I was looking for SL Fleurs D’Oranger after using up several samples over time but now your comment about its sweetness is making me rethink my decision to buy.
    Instead, I will need to try this one asap since I loved Neroli, too. I love bitter oranges in every form – such resilient happy trees (it’s the only one still carrying fruits in my small garden after four months of severe drought)
    Always happy to read new (wonderfully written) reviews 🙂 August 7, 2017 at 5:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: In south India they make a delicious yogurt drink with crushed orange or lemon leaves. Can you imagine how refreshing it tastes on a hot day? August 10, 2017 at 4:07am Reply

  • Aurora: Such a lovely review, now I am curious to try Histoire d’Oranger and so pleased for you that it can stand for AG Neroli.
    Favorites of the moment are AA Nerolia Bianca especially for its petit grain, the soft AA Flora Nerolia, Yves Rocher Pur Desir de Fleur d’Oranger which seems to contain a lot of orange flower water, and my most loved Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger Neroli Blanc (not the intense which I find too cloying). SL Fleurs d’Oranger has cumin doesn’t it or is it absent from the reformulation? August 7, 2017 at 9:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: It still does, but it seems milder. I’m not as sensitive to cumin as some, though.

      Yves Rocher’s orange blossom is also very good! August 10, 2017 at 4:08am Reply

      • Eudora: Dear Victoria, I am on the other side…I think I am very sensitive to cumin. Correct me if I am wrong: I have a love-hate relationship with two fragances, and both bother me because of cumin, Declaration and SL Amber Sultan. I love love both but the cumin… Is that possible?
        Thanks. A beautiful review. August 10, 2017 at 5:08pm Reply

        • Victoria: I don’t notice cumin in Ambre Sultan, but in Declaration it’s prominent. Yes, it can be a hard note to like for many. August 11, 2017 at 3:33am Reply

  • sariah: I love this style of fragrance…will put this on the try list. I’d be interested to read your impression of FM’s Cologne Indelibe. I’ve been enjoying very much this summer. Kevin did a very funny negative review if it on NST….guess I have a much greater appreciation for whatever musks were used. August 7, 2017 at 10:51pm Reply

    • Carla: I haven’t been on NST much lately but last time I went I read Angela’s “meh” review of Odalisque, one of my top five favorite perfumes, and it reminded me how personal perfume preferences are. August 8, 2017 at 12:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: It was kind of bland on me and yet irritating. I have no idea how they managed it! August 10, 2017 at 4:09am Reply

  • Klaas: I was looking for a nice Neroli this summer, and settled for Néroli Doré by Hermes. it sparkles and it fizzes, I love it! I also like Neroli Outrenoir from Guerlain. It’s a glorious, glorious Neroli, très Francais, not too sweet or oriental, but oh the price…..

    And ‘outrenoir’ being the perfume overstatement of the year, since there is absolutely nothing black or dark or mysterious about it 😉 It’s just very beautiful, which is an achievement in itself….. August 8, 2017 at 7:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Ha! This is what Outrenoir made me think of:
      http://www.diptyqueparis-memento.com/en/outrenoir-2/ August 10, 2017 at 4:12am Reply

      • Klaas: Yes! Exactly! Something blacker than black, darker then dark, pulling you in, mysterious, infinite…….I was so curious to smell it when it came out, wondering how Guerlain would set up neroli’s sunny character against a black, somber backdrop……imagine, from the company that produced Vol de Nuit! Well……they just didn’t…… August 10, 2017 at 6:16am Reply

        • Victoria: I don’t have a sample on hand, so I just went ahead and put on a drop of Vol de Nuit on my wrist. Your marvelous description of the same image I had in my mind inspired me. Vol de Nuit feels exactly like it too. August 10, 2017 at 8:43am Reply

          • Klaas: Haha, now we’re channeling…….isn’t this wonderful?

            Ah, Vol de Nuit. It was the best of the best of the best. There has never been anything like it for me. August 10, 2017 at 10:22am Reply

            • Victoria: In comparison to some other Guerlain classics, I was a latecomer to Vol de Nuit, but it’s definitely among my favorites. It’s the most enigmatic of them all, even more so than Mitsouko. August 10, 2017 at 11:36am Reply

              • Klaas: It was the same for me. I ‘discovered’ Guerlain in my local, small town perfumery in the 80’s, at the tender age of 14. The plush, theatrical scents immediately appealed to me…..they were expressing all the mysterious things that were haunting my troubled teenage soul 😉 I loved Habit Rouge (because I didn’t dare to wear Shalimar as a boy), Mitsouko and Chant d’Aromes. The ‘mellower’ ones.

                I didn’t know what to make of Vol de Nuit at the time. It was just too dark, too profound, too weird for me. But I fell in love with it years later…oh my, all of a sudden the whole thing made so much sense. Such a work of art! As you wrote before, reformulations have diluted it too much, so for me it is now a thing of the past. But when I close my eyes I can still smell it’s stirring bitter sweetness, its oppulent copper tones….goosebumps 😉 August 11, 2017 at 7:13am Reply

                • Cornelia Blimber: Vol de Nuit was one of my signature scents in the 60s and 70s. I loved that dark, spicy perfume, and its dry violets; I remember it very well.
                  It is now diluted, true, but I still have it and I still love it better than so many modern ”dark” perfumes.It is the ghost of the vintage perfume, but a beautiful ghost though. August 11, 2017 at 7:23am Reply

                  • Klaas: Hey Cornelia, wat leuk! Wow, to have worn it in the sixties…..I canmust immaging 😉 it must have been extremely rare and exotic for Holland at the time! August 11, 2017 at 7:43am Reply

                    • Klaas: Oups, typo explosion! I’m writing while eating 😉 August 11, 2017 at 7:44am

                    • Cornelia Blimber: Hallo Klaas! Wearing perfume was rare at the time, here in Holland. Ladies had one perfume, worn on special occasions. Mostly Miss Dior. My mother and I were laughed at, but we wore our perfume, our motto was “de halve wereld lacht om de rest, om alles lachen is het allerbest”.
                      That was in the 60s. Later it was more accepted.
                      You are right, Vol de Nuit was spectacular. I had everything: lotion, eau de toilette, extrait de parfum.

                      Enjoy your meal! August 11, 2017 at 8:08am

  • hélène byll: I am a neroli junky ! I will give Histoire d’Orangers a try – quite worrying about the amber note though.
    The neroli perfume that moves me the most : Castile Penhagalions – but it lasts about 15min
    The cheapest concoction I wear almost everyday : Néroli Yves Rocher + 4711.

    Any body products recommendations ????

    Thanks for your beautiful blog – actually I am beginning one myself on tumblr, in french. August 8, 2017 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: Roger & Gallet and Yves Rocher have excellent orange blossom scented products. Actually, one of my favorites is a bar of soap I get from 2 euros at the beauty shops here in Belgium. I don’t remember the brand, since it comes unwrapped, but it really does smell wonderful.

      Thank you, Hélène! And welcome to the blogging world. August 10, 2017 at 4:15am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Neroli is one of the scent notes I absolutely cannot stand (ylang ylang being the other one). Smelling it can make me queasy within seconds. I keep exploring the genre, though, hoping to find “my” neroli perfume one day 😉
    My latest try was Azemour Les Orangers. It definitely isn’t calling my name but I think it hasn’t been mentioned here yet… August 8, 2017 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a good one. I liked it too, but it’s more of an orange blossom chypre. August 10, 2017 at 4:17am Reply

  • Andy: This has my name written all over it. Rather like a honeybee, I’ve flitted from orange blossom to orange blossom (perfume), and haven’t settled on any single one yet, just enjoying each stop along the way. Diptyque Eau des Sens came close, with all those beautiful accent notes, but the Diptyque orange blossom scented lotion came just as close to satisfying me in the orange blossom realm. I’ve been re-infatuated with SL Fleurs d’Oranger recently, because it smells quite dry on me now, whereas it used to skew overly sweet and syrupy on my skin, and too far from orange blossom itself. However, this sounds perfectly suited to my ever-continuing search. Marie Salamagne’s creative approach and aesthetic sense appeals to me, so I’m curious to try this one out. August 8, 2017 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’d love to hear what you think of it. August 10, 2017 at 4:18am Reply

  • Natalie T: Neroli is one of my favorites! Lately I’ve been enjoying it in California Reverie when I want something effortlessly pretty and easy. For my unisex choice I like Diptyque’s Neroli which seems to last on my skin forever. August 15, 2017 at 10:22pm Reply

  • SilverMoon: Victoria, so beautifully said: wanting a painting rather than a digital snapshot from a perfume.

    I love all sorts of orange blossom from dainty Jo Malone Orange Blossom (one of my most complemented ones – even from strangers) to smoky Seville a l’Aube. Will try this one when I get the chance. August 17, 2017 at 3:58pm Reply

  • bregje: my favourite orange blossom so far is the sparkling opening of Knot.
    It lasts really long on my skin and in my clothes and i always get compliments when i wear it.
    It just makes me feel sunny and bright.

    SL smelled a bit bitter on my skin when i tried it years ago.But the comments may have persuaded me to try it again.
    The l’artisan sounds beautiful!But then, i do have a soft spot for Matisse paintings 😉 August 21, 2017 at 7:35pm Reply

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