Victoria: 1844 posts

Traveling Perfume Box : Journey 2 (USA)

So, the first of our perfume boxes is continuing its travels, and Kate is now ready to pass it along to another person. Below, Kate is including her sampling notes and the list of perfume samples in the box. So, if you are in the US and would like to participate, here is how you can do it.

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How does it work: To enter, please answer these questions: 1) are you in the US? ; 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else (and share your sampling notes with the rest of us)? and 3) what perfume are you wearing today and why did you pick it? Bois de Jasmin is on its fall break next week, so the thread is going to be open till we return on Monday, November 24th. I will pick the next box recipient via a random number generator.

When a winner is ready to pass the box onto someone else, they should get in touch with me. Please include the list of samples and your sampling notes (what you’ve discovered, what you’ve liked/disliked, any observations you care to include).

Kate’s box includes (some samples are carded store samples, others are 1ml vials):

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Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady : Perfume Review

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The news of Frédéric Malle selling his Editions de Parfums house to Estée Lauder reminded me that I haven’t gotten around to writing about one of the most intriguing fragrances from his collection, Portrait of a Lady. Why intriguing? Well, consider the name. If it brings to your mind the cool elegance of Henry James’s heroines, then you’re not alone. I also expected something along these lines–ultra refined, sophisticated and feminine. Except that it is all wrong. Portrait of a Lady is interesting precisely because the scent is not at all what you expect. It’s a twist on a Middle Eastern theme, and it’s not all that lady-like.

Picasso-Boy-with-Pipe

If you’ve already smelled traditional Middle Eastern perfumes or western blends inspired by them (Amouage, Kilian’s oudsArmani Privé Rose d’Arabie), then you might recognize similar elements in Portrait of a Lady. It has a generous dose of classical “oriental” notes–sandalwood, amber, patchouli, dark woods smoked over incense, and of course, rose. It has a similar dramatic and mysterious character that makes this perfume genre so distinctive.

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Patricia de Nicolai Book : Perfume, Thoughts, Inspirations

Parfums de Nicolaï is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and to mark the occasion, Patricia de Nicolaï and her husband Jean-Louis Michau, the founders of the perfume house, have published a book about their work. Titled Nicolaï, Parfumeur créateur: un métier d’artiste, this 145 page volume covers the story of the collection and their creators.

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Patricia de Nicolaï is part of the Guerlain family, a granddaughter of Pierre Guerlain, Jacques Guerlain‘s brother. She grew up in the world of perfumery and quickly found her way into the lab. In her book, she describes her childhood, her apprenticeship and her thoughts on creation in general.

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Mrs Dalloway and Perfumes of 1925

I’m a latecomer to Virginia Woolf’s writing. Mrs Dalloway was the first Woolf’s novel I read, and its prose, such as the excerpt below demonstrates, is so hypnotizing, I look forward to discovering more of her work.

“There were flowers: delphiniums, sweet peas, bunches of lilac; and carnations, masses of carnations. There were roses; there were irises. Ah yes–so she breathed in the earthy garden sweet smell as she stood talking to Miss Pym who owed her help, and thought her kind, for kind she had been years ago; very kind, but she looked older, this year, turning her head from side to side among the irises and roses and nodding tufts of lilac with her eyes half closed, snuffing in, after the street uproar, the delicious scent, the exquisite coolness.

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And then, opening her eyes, how fresh like frilled linen clean from a laundry laid in wicker trays the roses looked; and dark and prim the red carnations, holding their heads up; and all the sweet peas spreading in their bowls, tinged violet, snow white, pale–as if it were the evening and girls in muslin frocks came out to pick sweet peas and roses after the superb summer’s day, with its almost blue-black sky, its delphiniums, its carnations, its arum lilies was over; and it was the moment between six and seven when every flower–roses, carnations, irises, lilac–glows; white, violet, red, deep orange; every flower seems to burn by itself, softly, purely in the misty beds; and how she loved the grey-white moths spinning in and out, over the cherry pie, over the evening primroses!

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Recommend Me a Perfume : November

Bois de Jasmin will return on Friday, November 7th. Today we have our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread. You can use this space to ask any questions about perfume, including fragrance recommendations. If you’ve asked for a recommendation before, we would love to hear how your search went and what you’ve discovered.

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How does it work:

1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling.

2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

From the Archives

Latest Comments

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  • Betsy in Bad Smells: It’s All Relative: I love this article! It is so interesting the individual perceptions of smell and how drastic they differ. My husband and I still talk about how my son’s dirty diapers… November 24, 2014 at 10:53am

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