Scent Diary : Silk and Linen

What does silk smell like? Or linen warmed by the hot iron? Or colorful bundles of wool thread slightly damp from the rain? I never thought much about it all until I visited Reshetylivka, a small town in central Ukraine renowned for its embroidery college. I met people responsible for running the school, local masters and their students and even learned a few embroidery stitches traditional to the region. And I discovered that silk thread heated by warmth of the fingers smells like almond shells, that hot-ironed linen has a metallic and salty odor, unexpectedly wonderful, and that wet wool reminds me of Viola, my mom’s feline daughter.


Scent Diary is a place where we can share fragrances we encounter, good and bad, perfumes we wear and the scents around us. It’s a way to sharpen our sense of smell, but also just to enjoy the fragrance hobby in a different way. Whether you write down 1 recollection or 10 matters less than simply reminding yourself to smell. You can add as many comments as you wish. You can comment today or over the course of the week; this thread will always be open. Of course, do share what perfume you’re wearing or what particularly good scented products you’ve discovered.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, a men’s shirt. An example of traditional Reshetylivka embroidery, a blend of intricate drawn thread and cut out details. It’s all handmade, including the tassels.



  • solanace: Yesterday I tried Bulgari Black. The SA did not want to spray it on me because, according to her, it is a masculine, and my skin would ruin it. 🙂 Warm, inviting and weird, she will have to give me another spritz, I´m afraid! July 25, 2014 at 7:17am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s one of my top favorites, and I love how it evolves on skin. You might find it odd at first, but it quickly becomes addictive. July 25, 2014 at 7:40am Reply

      • solanace: I´m already getting addicted, so eager to smell it again!
        There are a couple orchids flowering in the garden, but they are both scentless, and got me thinking of modern rose hybrids… July 25, 2014 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Kat: I enjoy several ‘masculine’ fragrances–what a strange comment from the SA! Unfortunately, the fragrance counter can be a confusing and discouraging place to newbies like myself. Too much misinformation and misdirection.
      Sounds like it just gave you a good laugh, though.

      My latest samples are, again, inspired by this site: Dior Eau Sauvage, Tubereuse Criminelle, Bottega Veneta, First by Van Cleef & Arpels, and more!

      In the garden, I’ve been smelling lemon leaves, fig leaves, various herbs, dried grass, and dandelions. 🙂 My gardenias are still going strong, despite the searing temperatures. Thanks for the opportunity for letting us share the scents we encounter. July 25, 2014 at 10:41am Reply

      • solanace: Oh yes, I´ve read many similar stories here, so it felt like joining the club… July 25, 2014 at 1:18pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: I am baffled by that embroidery! You need sensitive fingers, sharp eyes and lots of patience to make this. I would not dare to wear such a treasure. Do they wear it, or is it for the museum?
    So Viola with the bold face smells like sheep..(ha,ha). July 25, 2014 at 7:21am Reply

    • Victoria: And lots of skill! Yes, the shirt is to be worn. But of course, something this exquisite won’t be worn daily, more like for special occasions.

      She doesn’t smell like sheep, more like wet wool–woody, musky and a little sweet. This is when she herself is wet. July 25, 2014 at 7:34am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Of course I did not intent to insult the beautiful Viola! July 25, 2014 at 7:38am Reply

        • Victoria: No insult at all! 🙂 When she runs around the yard in autumn and rolls around in the fallen leaves, she comes back smelling worse than a sheep. July 25, 2014 at 7:41am Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: ”intend”-sorry. Do you wash her then, or does she do that herself? Washing a cat is not easy! July 25, 2014 at 7:58am Reply

            • Victoria: We wash her, and it’s not easy! She starts meowing like she’s going mad. And then she sulks for a couple of hours. July 25, 2014 at 9:36am Reply

              • Michaela: Oh, dear cat, what an adventure! 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 3:48am Reply

  • Debbie: An embroidery college?! I wish I could visit it! Even more so, I wish I could purchase Ukrainian embroidered products. They must be fantastic if they have schools devoted to it. That picture is fantastic. Sigh. I hope it’s unscathed by current events. Speaking of wool and cats, the feet of German Shepherd Dogs smell like Frito’s. Just sayin’. July 25, 2014 at 9:30am Reply

    • Victoria: There used to be a factory specializing in these embroideries, including carpets, tapestries, and other crafts. It closed about 10 years ago, so the masters now work from home for private clients or teach at the college. The college itself is not an impressive building, but it’s filled with some much exquisite work that I’ve visited it twice.

      Unfortunately, nobody is left unaffected by the current events, even if indirectly. The type of thread used for these embroideries is not produced in Ukraine, only in Russia or France. So, if the Russian supplies will be blocked, they will be forced to turn to the French ones, and the cost will be too prohibitive to continue working. As it is, they hardly make any money off the embroideries, and the orders are low right now.

      But on the plus side, the area is not affected by the military conflict, and everyone is safe. July 25, 2014 at 9:43am Reply

  • Aurora: What a wonderful example of embroidery. Love the tone on tone contrasting white and beige. I wonder if it is specific to the region.

    Bitter coffee this morning: bitter smell and bitter taste – wonder why. Later, the smell of freshly applied Un Jardin sur le Nil made up for that poor start of the day. July 25, 2014 at 9:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s specific to the Poltava region, which central-eastern Ukraine. The pale, pastel tones or white on white is very common here.

      Did you brew your coffee at too hot a temperature? It sometimes can make it taste bitter. July 26, 2014 at 4:32pm Reply

      • Aurora: Yes that must have been the problem. It was enough to make me feel miserable.

        But JCE made me feel instantly better. July 28, 2014 at 9:54am Reply

  • Jackie birch: That embroidery is so special. I hope the skill is not lost.
    Years ago I performed with a Cossack dance company and became so enamoured with the costumes that I learned the patterns and made my own blouses and smocks.
    Sorry this is not a smell memory, unless you count sweat, but you suddenly took me back in time! July 25, 2014 at 10:02am Reply

    • solanace: I love this story! July 25, 2014 at 2:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: Wow, that’s impressive! I keep having a fantasy of making my own blouse (the tailoring is very simple), but I haven’t gotten close to doing it. 🙂 July 26, 2014 at 4:33pm Reply

  • Polly: I am irresistibly dedicated to rescuing ridiculous antique embroidered and drawn thread linens like fingertip towels, handkerchiefs, napkins and hand embroidered and monogrammed bed sheets from thrift and antique stores. Upper middle class women created these works of art, their only access to creative expression, over hundreds of hours. It breaks my heart to see them, neglected in bins and priced for a few dollars. They smell of starch and old houses, so I wash them and iron them (something I refuse to do in ordinary circumstances) and spray the with a little lavender water and love them with unreasonable passion. And I use them as they were intended to be used. If you have not slept in antique linen sheets, you have not really lived all. July 25, 2014 at 10:16am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Bless you!

      Such passion is not the least bit unreasonable. July 25, 2014 at 10:46am Reply

    • Annette Reynolds: What a beautiful image you paint with that paragraph. I understand how you feel about those old linens. I’ve got a cupboard-full that I rarely use anymore, but I love looking at them. (Silly, I know.) And I have a couple of my grandmother’s linen sheets, embroidered with her initials. I love washing them,hanging them outside to dry, then ironing them just for the smell. July 25, 2014 at 11:33am Reply

      • Tourmaline: No, it is not silly to look at beautiful old linens; these precious treasures are a form of art. And remember, the arts give us a reason to live! July 25, 2014 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Ariane: Linen sheets are a passion of mine, too! Worth the trouble to wash and iron them. Ariane July 25, 2014 at 5:30pm Reply

    • OperaFan: There now you’ve got me wanting to go find some antique linen sheets to sleep in!
      I remember trolling thrift shops and antique stores for old perfume bottles and finding antique linen handkerchiefs in my 30’s. I loved looking at their delicate embroydery. I used to carry them in my purse. Don’t know why I stopped doing it. Maybe I should resurrect the practice… July 25, 2014 at 6:19pm Reply

      • Polly: Look out for deals on ebay (“antique french linen” might do it). Or if you go to France, the big swap meets called “deballage” and “marche aux puces” are a great place to find deals.
        Last year, I bought a gorgeously embroidered linen top sheet that a vendor was using to cover his picnic table. I insisted on giving him a fair price (the depression is bad there and these people were not rich) but he clearly considered it valueless. July 25, 2014 at 7:21pm Reply

    • Polly: I’m so glad to hear that other people enjoy antique linens. Annette, I have to get my linens out and stroke them too! I often have a small napkin in my purse to use instead of the nasty paper ones in coffee shops. Luxurious AND environmentally friendly. July 25, 2014 at 7:15pm Reply

      • Victoria: You’re such an inspiration, Polly! I will do the same thing from now on, since I have lots of linen napkins. July 26, 2014 at 6:27pm Reply

        • Victoria: P.S. When I was little, my mom always gave a small embroidered handkerchief, and she herself had a rotating selection for each purse. It’s a tradition worth reviving. July 26, 2014 at 6:28pm Reply

    • Victoria: Polly, if there is anything to make one want to collect antique linens, then it’s this story. I absolutely love it, and yes, I want to find some antique bed sheets just to experience it. 🙂 July 26, 2014 at 4:33pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: As I mentioned the other day, the embroidery photos you’ve posted are so exquisite! I wish I could learn some of the stitches. I used to do a lot of cross stitch and blackwork but since I started having shoulder/back problems, I’m not doing as much. It greatly helped me to clear my mind while I was writing my thesis. The largest piece took me 6 months to finish. Nowadays, I usually work on small pieces to be used on cards.

    The forest where I go for walks is now full of wild raspberries and I’m loving the tangy and fruity smell. There are also unidentifiable flowers that smell of honey. On the way home from work, there’s a little stall which sells grilled fish and you can smell fishy mackerels from a distance. I’m wearing Bombay Bling today. The mango in the opening was delicious and now it smells of tobacco and vanilla in the drydown. July 25, 2014 at 10:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I would love to see photos of your work! July 26, 2014 at 4:34pm Reply

      • Anne of Green Gables: I’ve given away a lot of them as presents but I’ll take photos of what I still have and send them to you. But mind you, they’re nothing as exquisite as the photos you’ve posted. 😉 July 28, 2014 at 8:39am Reply

  • Katy McReynolds: I love the smell of soil while repotting plants, dirty and sweet with life! Today, I am a Cartier Declaration bomb, sprayed the lemony cologne after emerging from shower, getting ready to apply the EDT. I love cumin notes, more foody and less sweaty to my nose! July 25, 2014 at 10:26am Reply

    • Victoria: I love Declaration, with all of its cumin and all other musky-animalic bits. It’s such a seductive perfume. July 26, 2014 at 4:35pm Reply

  • Tourmaline: I’ve loved embroidery since childhood, when my mother taught me some basic stitches and I learned more from books. I haven’t done any for years, though, and how I miss it! I must make the time. So much is done by machine these days that it is always wonderful to hear about people who still do it by hand. An embroidery school – the very notion is sublime!

    Speaking of childhood, today I smelled play-doh for the first time in decades. I was offered a free tub of the pink variety at a shopping centre, and nostalgia got the better of me. The distinctive aroma instantly took me way back, and I don’t want to break the spell by analyzing it, even though it is no doubt very simple. I’ll leave that to anybody else who cares to weigh in. Mind you, different varieties of play-doh (e.g. from different countries) might have different aromas, as do different varieties of coffee. (I can’t believe that I’ve just compared play-doh with coffee…) I guess even the simplest of fragrances can have a level of complexity. July 25, 2014 at 10:41am Reply

    • Claire: Tourmaline,
      I recently tried several small samples of Lush shower gels and the Dirty Springwash, which is described as minty fresh, reminded me both of Play Do and of scented vinyl erasers. It was an oddly pleasing memory and an an oddly pleasing scent, in part because while it does have a sweet and fresh spearminty scent there was also that strange relationship with Play Do and vinyl toys. In school as a very young child we used an opaque white paste in a jar with a spatula attached to the lid. It was also minty sweet, and I was not alone in being tempted to eat it!

      The linens are gorgeous. It is sad to see the traditions dying. I have loved lace, embroidery and textiles since I was a young child, and delight on finding handwork in good condition, old and new! I bought some embroidered cotton sheets and linens at a women’s handwork collective in Crete a number of years ago, but the women making them were growing few and far between and at the markets many of the linens were made with synthetic blends. July 25, 2014 at 9:10pm Reply

      • Tourmaline: Claire,

        I enjoyed reading about the shower gel and the scent memories it evoked for you. When I was growing up, a lot of plastic toys and other items for children (including dolls and the erasers that you mentioned) smelled good. I’m sure that this was often no accident, and things are probably the same today.

        Your description of the paste is ringing a bell for me; I think that I might have used the same product in lower primary school! July 25, 2014 at 11:47pm Reply

    • Anne: Tourmaline, once when I was small I stole a tiny bit of Play-Doh from a friend’s tub, just so I could continue to smell it…I have no idea why I didn’t just ask my mother for some…(or if I didn’t have any at home…”fresh” and fragrant, anyway) ~ Anyway, I did feel guilty but the desire to keep sniffing it just got the best of me… July 26, 2014 at 1:55am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Anne,

        Ah, such is the power and addictive nature of fragrance; it can compel us to become felons even as babes…!!

        I have complete empathy for the child that you were. Companies make these products as attractive to children as they can, in every possible way. I suppose that’s one of the reasons why they have to make them non-toxic; quite aside from the fact that kids will put anything in their mouths, toys often smell good enough to eat. It seems that your love of perfume began at a very early age! July 26, 2014 at 11:40am Reply

    • Victoria: I have a bit of play-doh at home, and I sniffed it earlier today. The scent is so delicious. There used to be a fragrance by Casterbajac which was very much like play-doh, with a twist to make the whole thing interesting, but unfortunately, it has been discontinued.

      I’ve been finding embroidery very relaxing and meditative, and I’m nearly finished with my own drawn thread piece. July 26, 2014 at 4:37pm Reply

      • Tourmaline: It’s a shame that the Casterbajac fragrance has been discontinued as it would have been fun to sample it.

        I’m sure that your embroidery is beautiful, Victoria; perhaps sometime you might share a photograph of a finished piece. July 27, 2014 at 8:48am Reply

        • Victoria: I will! I will feel a little embarrassed to show my clumsy work after I’ve posted all of these gorgeous examples, but hey, one has to start someplace, right? 🙂 July 27, 2014 at 9:12am Reply

          • Tourmaline: Your modesty is charming, Victoria, but I’m sure that you demonstrate the same close attention to detail in your sewing as you do in your work on perfume, and that your embroidery is not the least bit clumsy! I look forward to seeing a photo or two! July 27, 2014 at 9:42am Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you so much! And this is a much needed encouragement to continue working on my piece. 🙂 July 27, 2014 at 9:57am Reply

  • Kate: Coffee grinding and coffee brewing, scallions I chopped to cook with my breakfast egg, then the different smell of the scallions cooking (along with the smell of the butter browning). Also, my feet could use a wash.

    Day before yesterday (which was the last time I noted scents): hot sun on grass, sour yeasty smell of fresh brown bread, old browning paper from the mystery I’m reading (found at the town dump swap shop and sent to me by my mother).

    Also I’m wearing a little Bottega Veneta to see if I like it. A few days ago a friend and I went to the mall and tried out all the mall perfumes, and I got a sample of this one. I like the way it hovers, so far. I really like wearing “classy” scents with tanktops and cutoff jeans to do work around the house! July 25, 2014 at 11:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I love the scent of coffee even more than I love the taste. Lately, I’ve been adding cardamom to my coffee for another twist, but a friend recommended coriander, so I might try that tomorrow. July 26, 2014 at 5:55pm Reply

      • Johanob: I accidentally used the Cinnamon+Brown Sugar we store for pancakes,in my coffee a while back…Now I cannot have it any other way!Haha! July 26, 2014 at 6:30pm Reply

        • Victoria: I must try it too! Of course, cinnamon and coffee must be a great combination. July 26, 2014 at 6:38pm Reply

          • Johanob: Small pleasures,Victoria!And when they happen accidentally,even better! July 26, 2014 at 6:47pm Reply

        • Michaela: It’s very nice! I like a very small pinch of cinnamon to my coffee. July 28, 2014 at 3:51am Reply

  • rosarita: I have been enjoying your posts on Facebook with the pictures of beautiful handwork. My mother and grandmother were so deft with needle work while I much preferred music and reading. I’m grateful to have many of their pieces. Smells lately: a storm broke off a big branch of our old maple tree and while it wasn’t hit by lightening, just wind, the fallen branch had a light but distinct charred smell. I’ve been ironing lately using unlabeled samples in the ironing water and it’s fun trying to pick out notes. And of course summer vegetables and fruits are everywhere and I’ve been doing lots of cooking – blueberry lemon cake, pickles, salsa, lots of different hummus mixtures, salad combinations. Fresh uncooked sweet corn and it’s husks have such a sweet, clean green fragrance! July 25, 2014 at 11:23am Reply

    • Kate: Ah, that corn fragrance is so particular, I think of it as a milky scent, even though it doesn’t smell like milk — I think I mean more like it’s translucent.

      I love your ironing idea, although I will not be ironing anything anytime soon! July 25, 2014 at 12:58pm Reply

      • rosarita: My husband is addicted to cotton shirts for work and they just have to be ironed. I don’t mind, even without the perfume the ironing smell is a good one. And you nailed it, fresh corn smells milky 🙂 July 26, 2014 at 7:48am Reply

    • Victoria: You’re lucky! I tried salvaging as many as I could when my grandmother went through her attic, and it may sound strange, but I really love the same of all those old, musty embroideries. I eventually washed and treated them to preserve the fabric, of course. July 26, 2014 at 6:18pm Reply

  • Annette Reynolds: We’ve had cool weather and one day of rain, rain, and more rain, but today the sun is out and I can smell the sea (a rarity here, even though we’re surrounded by the Puget Sound) and damp earth. Beautiful…

    As is the embroidery work in the photograph. July 25, 2014 at 11:29am Reply

    • Victoria: The scent of rain is one of my favorites too! July 26, 2014 at 6:18pm Reply

  • Johanob: Beautiful picture!Reminds me of how we really ought to preserve the ancient arts and crafts of our heritage!It’s winter here,and the past few days have been warm and dry-which leads to wild fires in my area.I live in the countryside just outside the City where I work,the drive to work this morning smelled of burning woods and grass.From the backyard I could smell some fresh and fallen lemons,zesty and kinda mouldy too.It was an interesting smell-day! July 25, 2014 at 11:39am Reply

    • Victoria: It sounds really wonderful! I love these threads, because they help me to experience some other places vicariously. July 26, 2014 at 6:19pm Reply

      • Johanob: Yes!And catching up with old AND new perfume friends from all over the world!Love that! July 26, 2014 at 6:24pm Reply

  • TheFrenchMistress: Yes, oh yes! Somebody else has noticed that damp cats smell like wet woolly jumpers! That’s made my day. So maybe someone will also get it if I say I think cat-feet smell like the toast accord in Jeux de Peau… July 25, 2014 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Claire: My daughters both love to breathe in the scent of our cat, Omar’s, fur. One says it smells like raw mushrooms. I think so, too. July 25, 2014 at 9:15pm Reply

      • jillie: Hi, French Mistress and Claire! I just had to say that our two cats smell completely different from each other – I can tell which one is which in the dark by their smell! Symmie has a slighty sweaty feet type odour (but it is good!), and Caspie smells of toast and, yes, mushrooms Claire.

        One loves perfume so much that he licks it off me and the other hates it and wrinkles his nose at me, although he is the one that retains my perfume (or his daddy’s) on his fur all day. July 26, 2014 at 5:00am Reply

        • Cornelia Blimber: Oscar smells of honey on top of his head, between his ears. His fur smells like wool when it is moist (when he is washing himself), and when it is dry it has a dry smell, like dry earth. His paws also have a very dry smell, not sweaty. He is a calm philosopher, they don’t sweat (I wish he was a little bit more vivid, like my former cat Herakles). July 26, 2014 at 7:31am Reply

    • Victoria: They do, don’t they! 🙂 July 26, 2014 at 6:20pm Reply

  • Eva S.: I love the scent diary! So much to learn, so many thoughts it awakens!
    Today I noticed the wonderful scent of wild roses by the sea in the warm wind, and the lovely feeling of stroking my horse on the neck, he is so warm and his coat is so shiny and it smells so good in the heat!
    Todays perfume, as always in hot weather; Jour d´Hermes. Love it! It really blooms in the heat, and feels refreshing at the same time. July 25, 2014 at 12:14pm Reply

    • Kat: Horse or pony muzzle is one of the best scents in the world, in my opinion. Lucky you! Strangely, I found that Thymes agave nectar soap smells exactly like my old horse’s nostrils…so I get it out and enjoy deep whiffs when I miss him. 😉 July 25, 2014 at 12:38pm Reply

      • Patricia: So lovely, Kat. I’m going to give my horse’s muzzle a good sniff this afternoon when I go out to the barn to ride him. July 26, 2014 at 9:07am Reply

        • Kat: ooh…nice! July 26, 2014 at 1:17pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Horses smell absolutely wonderful! And their noses are soft like velvet. July 27, 2014 at 11:13am Reply

    • Victoria: I was near the horses a week ago, and it was the most soothing, comforting experience. They are such beautiful animals. July 26, 2014 at 6:21pm Reply

      • Patricia: When I got home from the barn today, the horse smell was overpowering, so I showered immediately and put on my new sample of Vero’s Rozy in edp.

        It is fruity and lovely and reminds me a little of Robitussin cough syrup in the opening (but in a good way). Now that it’s settled down, the rose is making its way through all that fruit 🙂 July 27, 2014 at 1:31pm Reply

        • Victoria: I still haven’t tried it, and you make it sound wonderful. July 27, 2014 at 5:27pm Reply

          • Patricia: I’m going to put it on again tomorrow to see if I like it as much on second wearing. July 27, 2014 at 8:31pm Reply

  • MontrealGirl: The sample of embroidery you’ve photographed is exquisite. Like many of your readers I too used to do embroidery, plus bobbin lace. Recently I saw some beautiful lavender-coloured raw silks and decided to stitch sachets all by hand just because I used to love the process of embroidery (I was never as keen on the result). The smell of the silk, the metallic smell of the gold-coated needle, the lavender I had sitting close by to stuff them and a cup of chamomile tea all mixed together wonderfully.

    On a different smell note, my husband and I have been doing a juice diet for almost 3 weeks called a ‘reboot’. There are all the obvious health benefits but the one surprising benefit that no one else mentioned is the lovely smell while preparing each ‘meal’. In the morning I prep our drinks for the day at the office and now I REALLY look forward to the smell of mint, lemon, orange, ginger, apples, celery, cucumber etc. with no other food odours to interfere. It’s like a home-made eau-de-cologne first thing in the morning! So refreshing on these summer days. July 25, 2014 at 1:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re right, it’s the process that I love. I sometimes do it either first thing in the morning or whenever I find I can’t concentrate on anything at all. It’s amazing how quickly it puts me in the right frame of mind.

      A juice diet sounds pretty tough, but so glad to hear that you’re enjoying the results. July 26, 2014 at 6:23pm Reply

  • Emma Adams: The scent of hot water gushing from the tap July 25, 2014 at 5:27pm Reply

    • Victoria: Trying to imagine what it smells like. Metallic, chlorine, maybe… July 26, 2014 at 6:24pm Reply

  • Jennifer C: I have a neighbor who smokes clove cigarettes in his car. His parking spot is right next to the entrance from the parking lot to the apartment complex courtyard, so sometimes when I’m walking in I smell a whiff of clove cigarettes, even if no one is there. July 25, 2014 at 6:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s a pretty interesting scent. I had a friend who smoked them, and that was the only cigarette smoke I liked. July 26, 2014 at 6:24pm Reply

  • silverdust: How interesting that so many of our perfumistas either cross-stitch, embroider or have stitched keepsakes from relatives! A correlation among those who appreciate the finer things in life? July 25, 2014 at 7:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know, I noticed it myself! 🙂 July 26, 2014 at 6:27pm Reply

  • Hannah: I wasn’t very conscious of scents today. I did make Mexican hot chocolate–warm milk, chocolate, and cinnamon.

    I mostly just wanted to talk about what perfume I’m wearing today. Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Oranger. I got a vial from a friend last year and didn’t like it but I’ve changed my mind. I recently got a sample of Tubereuse Criminelle and I wore it last Saturday. I spent the day outside and it was very, very hot. A lot of my favorites need to be put away for the summer, but these thrive in the hot weather (I didn’t spray either of them, which probably makes a difference). Part of me wants to buy Tubereuse Criminelle but I’m reluctant to buy 50ml. I got the sample with my bottle of Comme des Garcons. After years of contemplating buying Wonderwood, something within me told me get CDG. I think part of why I wanted Wonderwood is because I’ve gotten compliments with it, but *I* always have preferred CDG. I’m glad I stuck with myself on this one. July 25, 2014 at 9:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: If you prefer CDG, then that’s what I’d recommend. You’re the one carrying the perfume, after all. July 26, 2014 at 6:29pm Reply

  • Brenda: Greetings…..the photograph is beautiful. The comments regarding older linens reminded me that for many years I, too, used to scout out and purchase beautifully crafted, hand decorated linens. The coloured embroidery was my favourite. One day a couple of people, that I truly love, poked a little fun at me about my “old lady embroidery” doilies. It was meant in fun…but, I guess it hurt my feelings. Without realizing it, I stopped using it when I set out a special table of tea, dainties,and treats. Sometime after that, I packed it up and gave it away. The comments today made me wish I hadn’t…I remember a few of them and really miss them! I did some deep cleaning in my house today and the smells of lemon, hot water and laundry was pleasing. July in Canada….smells like our best month of the year. July 25, 2014 at 11:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that some antique linen will cross your way again. I just love rescuing those kind of pieces from secondhand shops, and as my mom say, there is no greater pleasure in the morning than wiping your face with a linen towel. I’d have to agree. July 26, 2014 at 6:31pm Reply

  • Anne: Victoria, I have to share my excitement over the imminent blooming of my pots and pots of glorious tuberoses…some of the buds are just beginning to open only the tiniest bit, and already the heavenly, cool fragrance can be detected…I know I get way too excited over these beauties every year…they take me back to my childhood…my Grandma raised them, and I’ve breathed in their delicious scent every Late July/August that I can remember…getting ready to enjoy some intoxicating Midsummer nights! (The fragrance is barely detectable during the day!) BTW…the Lauder Tuberose Gardenia is as close to the real flower that I’ve come across! July 26, 2014 at 1:50am Reply

    • Johanob: Wow!Now I need to smell my TG asap!Love Tuberose!Are they hard to cultivate at home? July 26, 2014 at 6:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Congrats! I’m so excited for you, because soon you’ll have the best perfume treat. What tuberose perfume can compare to the real thing (although yes, Carnal Flower and Tuberose Gardenia are as close as you can get). July 26, 2014 at 6:32pm Reply

  • Bea: That embroidery is exquisite, really stunning. (So is your photo!) It’s wonderful to hear that old crafts are still being taught in schools at this day and age when cheap clothes that don’t last are the thing. I also love that the Ukrainians are embracing your cultural heritage.

    Today’s smell. Not very exciting: freshly cut grass, dry wall plaster and fresh strawberries. We’re in our summer house, doing some renovations.

    I was going through your old posts Victoria and I am completely blown away about the tea cups you have. So beautiful! Examples:

    What are they? Antiques from Ukraine or Russia or maybe France? July 26, 2014 at 9:26am Reply

    • Bea: Oh, and I just have to tell you that I thanks to you – once again – have found a fragrance that I love. I was looking for a good autumn scent and I started my quest by looking at your recommendations.
      Your description of Ambre des Merveilles was so lovely that I decided to buy a sample…. and I found my autumn scent on the first try.
      It really is perfect and so beautiful. I can’t wait for the days to get colder and the leaves to turn orange.

      Thank you! July 26, 2014 at 2:11pm Reply

      • Victoria: Yay! I myself think of it as so autumnal that it feels especially perfect when the leaves turn russet and gold. I’m so glad that you found it and that it delights us. July 26, 2014 at 6:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Bea! The cups are a mix, but most of them are French, Limoges made for the US market. The green one in the tisane post was found at a secondhand store in Brussels. Neither of these cups cost much, but they are so pretty, and I enjoy starting my day by having a cup of tea in them. July 26, 2014 at 6:35pm Reply

      • Bea: Thanks for your reply! I can’t belive that they aren’t very expensive, they look like museum pieces.
        It must feel so luxurious to drink you morning tea from them. I would feel like Marie-Antoinette with a tasse like that in my hand. July 27, 2014 at 8:41am Reply

        • Victoria: I’d check at your local secondhand store. It’s amazing what kind of interesting things one can find. These kind of Limoges cups are available on Ebay too, if you search for “Limoges cup rose”. It is a small thing, but it does feel luxurious. July 27, 2014 at 9:13am Reply

          • Bea: Thank you Victoria, I’ll look for them on Ebay.
            Sweden has had a big production of china so Limoges is hard to find and very expensive. But it is exquisite. I only have one piece from Limoges – a small box that I found in an antique shop when I was a teenager. I had planned to use my pocket money on clothes but ended up with a tiny handpainted porcelain box instead, I just had to have it. We have our engagements ring in it now.

            Solanance: hope you will find some lovely Limoges cups! July 28, 2014 at 10:08am Reply

            • Victoria: In the US, this kind of rose colored Limoges was very popular in the 50s for the wedding gifts, so it was essentially mass-produced for the American market. It is the reason why this type of Limoges is easy to find in the States and why it doesn’t cost much. I don’t think that it’s the same as the true Limoges porcelain. The cups are still really pretty, though. July 28, 2014 at 11:29am Reply

        • solanace: Thank you for pointing this out Bea, I have long noticed how beautiful and delicate Victoria´s cups are. July 28, 2014 at 5:27am Reply

  • Elizabeth: I want to reach out and touch the textures of that beautiful embroidery – so delicate and ethereal. The craftsmanship is stunning, a real labour of love. Today I was chopping parsley to make a Turkish salad. The lemony scent and cool green leaves cut through the stifling heat and humidity today and made me think of time spent paddling in the Black Sea at the top of the Bosphorus and sharing food with a family who were also there, friends for the day.. July 26, 2014 at 4:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: What kind of Turkish salad did you make, Elizabeth? Actually, I also made something Turkish for lunch today, kisir, a salad blending bulgur with roasted pepper paste, lots of parsley, tomato scallions. I love Turkish food, and I miss Istanbul. July 26, 2014 at 6:40pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: oh and my scent today was Noa by Cacharel.. July 26, 2014 at 4:48pm Reply

    • Victoria: Noa is an underrated gem! July 26, 2014 at 6:41pm Reply

      • Courant: Wearing Eau Claire des Merveilles today. I have dry winter skin (Southern hemisphere) and purchased Annick Goutal’s Musc Nomade body cream. Can the perfume be better? The cream is transcendental. I know I lose the scent at times but it comes back and I adore it. Yes, Noa is underrated, and a little musky too July 26, 2014 at 11:50pm Reply

        • Elizabeth: Perhaps Victoria could do a review of this lovely and inexpensive perfume. I think that perhaps because it is ‘drugstore’, it gets overlooked a lot yet it is such a lovely scent – clean, subtle but also warm and a bit different with the coriander and coffee notes in there.. July 27, 2014 at 3:19am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Hi Victoria,

    I was making a salad called Ezme

    1 onion, minced
    2 tomatoes, grated
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1 tablespoon pepper paste
    2 “sivri” peppers or Anaheim peppers, minced
    ½ bunch parsley, minced
    2 scallions, minced
    1 teaspoon cumin
    1 teaspoon black pepper
    2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
    Juice of 1 lemon

    Mix all ingredients well, crushing with a spoon. May also be made with entirely fresh ingredients (without pepper and tomato pastes).

    Hope you can try it and enjoy it as much as I do. It is very refreshing and goes really well with roast chicken that has been stuffed with lemons and butter. I like to use it almost like a salsa with the chicken and served with flatbread.

    Glad you like Noa too 🙂 July 27, 2014 at 3:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I love ezme, and you’ve reminded me that I haven’t had it in a while. The best ezme I had was at a kebab restaurant in Istanbul called CanIm Cigerim. I have all of the ingredients for ezme, so I will make your recipe tonight. Thank you so much. July 27, 2014 at 9:11am Reply

      • Elizabeth: You are most welcome Victoria and hope you enjoy the ezme. I have just read your Noa review – you have it spot on! I am still working my way through your back catalogue of posts and having a great time doing it. Your posts always cheer me up or give me something new to consider – the beautiful photos, recipes and the mental imagery you evoke with your words. I love reading them, thanks so much for sharing x July 27, 2014 at 11:16am Reply

        • Victoria: I made ezme tonight, and it was delicious, thank you again!
          And thank you very much for your nice words. I’m very happy that you’re enjoying it here. 🙂 July 27, 2014 at 5:22pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I’ve been bending my back and sniffing my phloxes. The darker coloured ones definitely smell more spicy and less like hay.
    Apart from that my arms smell of geranium after the weeding I have to do very regularly at the moment. Hardy geraniums have this peppery slightly citrusy smell on their stalks. It is very nice. July 27, 2014 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: I love the texture of fuzzy geranium leaves, and I keep thinking that I need to buy a small scented one for my patio garden. It should grow well in this climate, I think. July 27, 2014 at 5:23pm Reply

      • Austenfan: It would. They are very tough and quite versatile plants. Make sure you get geraniums though and not pelargoniums, these last only one summer. July 28, 2014 at 10:01am Reply

  • Kate: Smells of today: tart pulpy plum smell (and taste) for breakfast; smell of the damp earth I buried the pits in because you never know.

    My neighbor’s shampoo / bodywash, something light and fruity, when she came by to drop off the push mower (push mowers forever, gas mowers never) she borrowed, and the dry hay smell of the grass still caught in it.

    Somebody’s very stinky dog at the dog park — like salt, cheese, feet, and mud mixed together.

    And now the petrichor — smell of rain on wet concrete and streets — coming in through the window, a smell I always think of as dusty, even though it’s drawn out by water. July 27, 2014 at 11:18am Reply

    • Victoria: I can just envision a whole perfume based on these scents (ok, even the stinky dog, since some much needed animalic notes in perfumes sure don’t smell that good on their own). 🙂 July 27, 2014 at 5:24pm Reply

  • Tam: Scent diary this weekend: the faintly dry, dusty and not as offensive as one might otherwise find it, synthetic vanilla car sachet in the newly purchased used car. New industrial upholstory, freshly installed metal, rubber handle, nonskid mats during my first ride in our town’s new streetcar (not unlike airplane, airport). During that evening outing, the smell of yeasty pizza dough next to vintage bars: cigarette, beer and fragrances choices of twentysomething students (Flowerbombe, Diesel maybe etc.) and my favorite of the evening, my friend’s 1930’s home, adobe, books, wood, paintings(ahhh!). It makes me want to order a CB I hate parfume. I’ve very much enjoyed the other responses and as always, especially yours, Victoria. July 27, 2014 at 3:24pm Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy your new car, Tam! 🙂
      Old homes have the most multifaceted scents, don’t they? And what else can compare with the scent of books… July 27, 2014 at 5:28pm Reply

  • Michaela: Beautiful picture! And the work is a piece of art. I love the hot ironed linen and wet wool scents.

    From this weekend I can recall pink roses, garbage, fresh mint, rosemary and basil I bought in pots, fresh cucumbers, Grey Flannel, iris incense stick (not too nice), dog fur (while I clipped his hair), a rose attar, chamomile from my cream (I made a new batch inspired by the chamomile article), cut grass, the lake scent in the morning, rain on the hot asphalt, new baby shampoo, herbal; coffee and cigaretts; lots of murraya flowers in my small balcony (like jasmine and orange flowers scents). Quite a mix. July 28, 2014 at 4:59am Reply

    • Michaela: Loved everybody’s comments! 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 5:28am Reply

    • Victoria: You had such an intensely scented weekend! 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 11:20am Reply

  • Ariadne: I hate to iron but I sew profusely and so the task of pressing wool, linen, and especially raw silk is necessary but a marvelous antidote to pricked fingertips and an aching back! Each fiber smells very exotic under steam and each also just complies to your direction with the iron with languor. July 28, 2014 at 3:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: I usually hate to iron too, so my husband does that household chore. But I must say that the scent of hot ironed linen was so good, it made me want to iron. 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 5:58pm Reply

  • Aurora: A white clouds blue sky kind of day here in London.
    Wearing Liz Earl today layered over Eau d’Orange Verte body lotion.

    Walked by the lavender bush next to the church this morning and stop amazed at the amount of bees on the buds.
    This must be a good sign after all the articles about the declining bee population in UK.

    If the weather gets even cooler I anticipate using Diorling this week. I love everything about it from the floral heart especially the jasmine to the soft leather dry-down. It is EDT but lasts a good 6 to 8 hours on my wrists. July 29, 2014 at 6:27am Reply

    • Victoria: I like your layering combination, and I imagine that it smells very refreshing and that it lasts.

      The sound of bees always makes me happy! 🙂 July 29, 2014 at 1:03pm Reply

      • Aurora: Yes it’s a good combo and Liz Earle (sorry for previous typo) has both good longevity and sillage.

        So glad the mention of bees evoqued a sound memory for you. Yes, it’s a happy sound. July 30, 2014 at 6:35am Reply

  • Aurora: This morning the aromatic steam from my Kusmi Tea – my supply is dwindling fast and I will need to replenish it in Paris.

    There is a honeysuckle bush across the street from my working place and I inhale deeply when I walk past it – the white flowers are turning yellow as they age.

    Today, I reached inside the cupboard to pull out L’eau par Kenzo; its peppery kick once it settles is quite special. July 30, 2014 at 7:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Which Kusmi tea are you drinking? I love their Violette. July 30, 2014 at 7:01pm Reply

      • Aurora: Thank you for asking, Victoria.

        Yesterday it was Prince Wladimir and today St Petersbourg. I’ve not tried Violette – on my list it goes.

        Another beautiful day in London blue skies and breezy. Looks as if I won’t be wearing Diorling for a while yet.

        I am wearing Voyage (from a big tester bottle I got for half-price at a little place not far from my home). It has grown on me, I love that cardamom note so distinct and long lasting

        Thank you very much for your email. July 31, 2014 at 6:01am Reply

        • Victoria: Lucky you! That’s a very good bargain. My husband wears Voyage, and I like how it smells on him. Of course, I love anything with cardamom.

          I haven’t tried St. Petersbourg, so that too goes on my list. July 31, 2014 at 7:04pm Reply

          • Aurora: You have a very good smelling husband!

            Voyage may have seemed a bit samey with the Jardins series and all (you sounded a little bit irritated by this in your excellent review (your archive is a treasure). But it turns out it’s a keeper after all; it’s my official scent for this beautiful London summer.

            It was a bargain, wasn’t it. Alas, they only have a limited number of fragrances available as these unboxed tester bargains but it’s always great when these offers match my taste. August 6, 2014 at 7:55am Reply

            • Victoria: How can one resist a bargain bin? 🙂 Yes, you’re right, I was miffed that it was so identical to other Jean-Claude Ellena’s perfumes. But it does smell good, and I like that style very much. Still, I wish Ellena explored more different themes. August 6, 2014 at 10:20am Reply

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