Traveling Sample Box (Europe) : Next Round

Our European perfume box is ready to make its third round. Below, Anka is including her sampling notes and the list of perfume samples in the box. So, if you are in Europe and would like to participate, here is how you can do it. And whether you’re participating or not, please read Anka’s fun perfume descriptions below.

How does it work: To enter, please answer these questions: 1) are you in Europe, and if you’re a winner, can I share your email address with Anka? ; 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else (add a couple of your own samples and share your sampling notes with the rest of us)? and 3) what are your holiday plans this year? I will pick the next person to receive the box via a random number generator. I will announce that person in this spot and contact them via email. The next box recipient is Meganinstmaxime. I’m going to send you an email shortly.


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).

To check the progress of our boxes, please click on the Traveling Sample Box tag.

In the Travelling Sample Box were:

Annick Goutal Sables

Atelier Cologne Silver Iris

Atelier Cologne Mistral Patchouli

Bottega Veneta Knot

By Kilian Forbidden Games

By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks

By Kilian Apple Brandy

Chanel Coromandel

Comme des Garcons Bleu Santal

Comme des Garcons Cedrat

Grossmith Amelia

Grossmith Betrothal

Grossmith Diamond Jubilee

Grossmith Floral Veil

Grossmith Golden Chypre

Grossmith Saffron Rose

Hermes Eau des Merveilles

Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles

Lab on Fire What we do in Paris is secret

Neela Vermeire Ashoka

Neela Vermeire Bombay Bling

Neela Vermeire Mohur

Neela Vermeire Trayee

Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus

Rouge Bunny Rouge Cynefin

Rouge Bunny Rouge Embers

Rouge Bunny Rouge Silvan

Serge Lutens Douce Amere

Serge Lutens Feminite du Bois

I kept Sables, Diamond Jubilee and Betrothal

I added Etro Shaal Nur, Etat Libre d’Orange Noel au Balcon, J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin Treffpunkt 8 Uhr (a fragrance Josephine Baker wore during her time in Berlin in the Roaring Twenties – at least that’s what the rumor says) and Olfactive Studio Lumiere Blanche.

Anka’s notes:

Annick Goutal Sables

When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I loved to build tipi tents out of bare branches and bed sheets with a boy from the neighborhood. Sitting in the tent close to each other, inventing stories about Cowboys, Indians and their horses, I could smell the back of my friends head: warm, slightly salty, earthy – and that exactly evoked Sables in my mind! Up to this day, I wasn’t aware that I had such a memory of my former friend.

Over at Fragrantica I read that many consider this fragrance too syrupy – to me it’s not very sweet nor syrupy, the dominant notes are pepper and immortelle and a nice black tea note with maybe half a sugar cube in it. Sables made me happy!

Serge Lutens Douce Amere

I am sure this is a lovely scent but it smells rather suffocating on me, it feels like entering a very small, dark room packed with lilies and cinnamon sticks, without any windows. There is only some air coming through the crack of the door – that’s the artemisia part which finally gave me some release.

But: The only lily I really like is Cartier’s Baiser Vole, so this of course is completely subjective.

Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus

It smelled fresh and beautiful with a pencil shaving cedar prohibiting that everything stays too innocent, but what can I say – since Osmanthe Yunnan has stolen my heart, I can’t stay fair-minded to Osmanthus. I am glad these are only random notes allowing me to be biased.

Grossmith Amelia

It’s too perfect, too pretty for my personal taste. It reminds me of an ancient greek sculpture of a goddess wearing a floral wreath on her head. And I simply prefer those sculptures which are missing a head, an arm or at least an ear.

Grossmith Golden Chypre

From reading the notes I had high hopes to love Golden Chypre but surprisingly I smelled mostly citrus (which it doesn’t contain) with cloves (which it doesn’t contain neither). After a while the citrusy note turns into orange, then there comes vetiver into play but it smells not like the two were interconnected but if they were battling for dominance – I could even smell a metallic sword-like note…

Grossmith Diamond Jubilee Bouquet

I am an Iris lover and this one to my nose is a fragrance centered around Iris. Due to a hefty dose of vanilla, amber and tonka bean it nearly is a gourmand but the citruses and this metallic-vetivery vibe – which is probably a signature of Grossmith – prevented it from being too sweet. And it’s interesting that the combination of iris, rose and violet still doesn’t make this scent too powdery.

Grossmith Betrothal

Hm, interesting, unusual, mossy, otherworldly! Like sitting in a forest with little dwarfts, where wood gnomes breed furry animals, civettas, and elves water oversized white flowers exceeding the trees in hight. I can’t see me wearing this a lot, but it’s weird in the most lovely way and I took it just to be transported into a fantasy-world once in a while. I don’t have many „not from this world“-scents – Aromatics Elixir is the only one in my collection which could fit in this category and Iris Silver Mist would fit if I already had it.

Grossmith Saffron Rose

To me Saffron Rose starts a bit pompous and operatic. I immediately see the cold princess Turandot wearing this. A slightly minty aroma creates this atmosphere.

Here comes a link to the original Turandot Poster from the premiere in 1926.

Doesn’t Rosa Raisa look like she’s wearing a melodramtic rose fragrance?

After a while a resionous note and sandalwood manage to melt the rose. I am hooked! I guess the more I wore this the more I liked it but I decided to go for Betrothal and am curious what the next recipient of this interesting rose will write down. Goodbye Saffron Rose, I’ll miss you!

By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks

If you like the smell of vodka, you’ll be much better off rubbing the actual liquid into your skin than this imitation. I would like to read an expert’s review on this one just to be able to pinpoint what makes me shudder. Vodka on the Rocks is a cool name, but to me it seems a bit of a marketing joke.

By Kilian Apple Brandy

This one I immediately liked, it’s very boozy and not too sweet, warm, golden and slightly mysterious. It has a baked apple aroma which is rather addictive. But unfortunately, after about an hour I detect this acrid smell from Vodka on the Rocks in here, too. How sad!

Rouge Bunny Rouge Embers

I got mostly red pepper, nutmeg and incense from Embers, a very dry, in the beginning for my taste too dry scent. After an hour the dryness slowly fades away and with the balsamic notes coming into play I start to really like Embers.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Cynefin

Like Hamamelis wrote in her notes, after 15 minutes this smells like a copy of Un Jardin Après La Mousson (which I like) but after about 1-2 hours it becomes too harsh, too ozonic (I learned that this can come due to an odorant called calone but I am not sure).

Rouge Bunny Rouge Silvan

This was my favorite from the Bunny trio. To me it smelled well blended and captures the aroma of sawed wood after rain. The mixture of wood and wet earth is an aroma I am yearning to find in a fragrance for a long time. But this miraculous opening doesn’t last very long, after about 20 minutes, while still very pleasant, it’s too much patchouli-cedar dominated for my taste… I nearly took it. The search goes on!

I took a  weekend off to try many of the samples from the Travel Box and, oh, what a bliss, this is how I could spend most of my weekends: excessive fragrance testing, then go for a long walk, take a shower to make space for another round of testing, go for another walk and meet some friends in a café. Sadly no one complimented me on the fragrance but maybe four different ones (two on each arm) are simply too cacophonic…

It was so interesting and enjoyable, I would straightaway do it again. Thank you very much, Victoria and Hamamelis!

Photo by Bois de Jasmin, just some pretty perfume bottles.



  • Hamamelis: Hi Anka, what a treat to read your notes, and how well written they are with much recognition for me (negative and positive). And what a weekend you have had…with your olfactory system working overtime! I am so glad you Sables made you happy, and gave you this Proust like experience transporting you back to tipi time and sweet smelling children’s heads.
    I am sorry you did not get along with Golden Chypre, but given the price tag it is maybe a good thing. I loved Douce Amere, but can really understand someone would find it suffocating, maybe the lily and the tiare is too much if you don’t get along with lily. I did not smell Saffron Rose, either I forgot or my difficulty with rose in perfume made me skip it, now I wished I had.
    Lovely samples you put in, I would love to sample Etro Sur and Lumiere Blanche. Looking forward to read the experiences of the next recipients. December 11, 2014 at 8:41am Reply

    • Anka: Thank you, Hamamelis, it was so much fun – not only to test the samples but to write down my impressions, too! Yes, Sables was my madeleine biscuit, haha. I love it when fragrances trigger memoires like that but to me it happens not very often. December 11, 2014 at 11:22am Reply

      • Aurora: Anka: I really enjoyed reading your notes, you describe your impressions very well I especially enjoyed your description of Betrothal gnomes, elves and all.

        This time is not the right one to put my name in the ring as with family abroad I am already sending and receiving far too many parcels, but maybe next time. Still looking forward to Xmas very much though, and already cooking and freezing traditional French (albeit vegetarian) dishes.

        Also, it is very thoughtful of you to have included such obviously well chosen samples, much intrigued by the ‘Josephine Baker’ one.

        Have a great Xmas. December 11, 2014 at 12:20pm Reply

      • Hamamelis: I had it the other day with Encre Noir, I smelled and smelled, and then I knew…this is what my grandfather smelled like! He must have had some vetiver like cologne or aftershave. He died when I was 10, which is over 40 years ago…and there it was this olfactory memory transported me to his study, grandfather sitting on his leather chair behind his desk, making jokes (which he loved to do)! December 11, 2014 at 2:12pm Reply

        • Anka: That’s nice, I can imagine Encre Noir being evocative. I once read that memories are best brought back when you are tired or distracted and that memories triggered via smell have an unusual emotional power. Seems true! December 12, 2014 at 4:22am Reply

          • Hamamelis: interesting, as I was laying in bed and Encre Noir was my bedtime scent. So it definitely was my experience, a sort of half sleep half wake state. December 12, 2014 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Danaki: Hello all…
    would love to take part in this round of sample box. my answer to the first two questions are yes, to the third, this year I’m spending the holidays with my partner’s family. There will be traditional British Christmas fare – roast turkey, trimmings, etc, presents under the tree on Christmas morning. Always lovely and enjoyable. December 11, 2014 at 9:52am Reply

  • Awfulknitter: I would love to receive the travelling box, so of course my email address could shared with Anka! I would also be delighted to add some new samples.

    My holday plans include visiting family, and I hope plenty of relaxing with a book and lots of candles lit (including Diptyque’s Résine, which I was happy to find smells remarkably similar to last year’s ‘limited edition’ Écorce de Pin).

    (Incidentally, has anyone smelt the True Grace Manor Christmas and Village Christmas candles? They sound nice, but as I haven’t seen them in the shops I’m wondering whether to blind-buy one.) December 11, 2014 at 10:08am Reply

  • Nora Szekely: Hi All,

    1. Yes.
    2. Yes.
    3. I spend the holidays with my family, home in Hungary. On Christmas Eve we’ll have lunch at my mum’s home then go to my dad’s house for dinner. In Hungary we give each other presents on the 24th of December. We usually eat fish soup, turkey and a special Hungarian baked cake filled with walnut pate. December 11, 2014 at 10:10am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: 1, 2: O.K.
    3 :No holiday plans, home sweet home.
    Christmas perfume: No.5 December 11, 2014 at 11:19am Reply

  • meganinstmaxime: Anka – great feedback. I’m glad you liked Sables – I think it’s a really great warming scent and not what you’d usually associate with Annick Goutal.
    1) Yes
    2) Yes
    3) I’ll be going to the mother in law’s for Xmas Day where we have a huge French late lunch with many courses. This year we’re having Chapon with truffles. There are usually oysters, foie gras, salads, fruit, dessert, cheeses …..
    I usually am so full I can hardly move. But very lucky to have such a great lunch (plus I don’t have to cook – bonus!!) December 11, 2014 at 11:54am Reply

    • Hamamelis: Congratulations Meganinstmaxime! December 15, 2014 at 3:28am Reply

  • El: 1) yes
    2) yes
    3) family and friends 😀 December 11, 2014 at 1:36pm Reply

  • angeldiva: Hi!
    I got to meet Kilian Hennessey before Thankgiving at Scentbar. He was promoting Vodka on the Rocks, and Apple Brandy. We had a conversation about “Vodka.” He mentioned that it was loaded with juniper berry, and was closer to the smell of gin. I didn’t spray it on my skin, and didn’t try Apple at all. But, am very impressed that both frags are in this box! They are new and rare.
    The rest of the box is just amazing! Wow, what a difference from the U.S. box.
    Peace December 11, 2014 at 2:43pm Reply

  • zazazelle: 1,2) yes, i am in Europe and i would like to join this amazing game, so i accept all the rules,
    3) i am not ready for Christmas holidays(( BUT after testing Noel au Balcon and Lumiere Blanche i WILL have some great ideas…. ;p

    Great notes, Anka! I really enjoyed reading them! You evaluate fragrances like a proffesional! This sample box is getting more and more interesting after every turn! December 11, 2014 at 4:26pm Reply

  • Amer: 1) yes
    2) yes
    and 3) work work work :(((((

    I am so worried I’ll get the holidays depression this year. December 11, 2014 at 6:38pm Reply

    • angeldiva: Amer-
      Sending you positive thoughts and good vibrations from California this Christmas Season!
      Peace December 12, 2014 at 8:59pm Reply

  • Katja: Yes to 1 and 2! My holiday plans are: spending some time at my parents’ place, cuddling their cats, sleeping a lot, eating a lot, reading something… Reading is perhaps the thing I most look forward to, it’s so hard to take the time to read for fun during the university semester. But on holidays I can get some reading done and finish a few books that have been on my nightstand for a loooong time.

    Thank you, Anka, for your lovely notes! What a sweet scent memory of your childhood friend. December 12, 2014 at 1:20am Reply

  • Michaela: I do not participate. Just want to thank you for the beautiful and funny notes on sampled perfumes. I was delighted to read them! December 12, 2014 at 6:39am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Yes to 1 and 2 as well! I have no plans for Christmas whatsoever – just hoping to spend a few quiet, relaxing days with my family December 12, 2014 at 8:56am Reply

  • Reg: Great fun to read the comments. “I simply prefer those sculptures which are missing a head, an arm or at least an ear.” well put. Some scents are just too perfect!

    I’d be in for the draw, too:

    1) yes & yes
    2) of course
    3) I’ll spend the Christmas days with family on the countryside December 12, 2014 at 9:26am Reply

  • Gentiana: 1) YES.
    3) I will spend the Christmas with the family, after that I hope to have good snow for skiing a few days in the resorts near my place :)… New Years Eve and a few days after – with friends. December 12, 2014 at 9:40am Reply

  • Karin: Thank you for reading the note’s and what fun to read them, like everyone else, it won’t smell the same to everyone, thats what i like, also how we all smell them in a different way, and how they do develop, great 🙂

    I’d be in for the draw, too:
    1) yes & yes
    2) of course
    3) I’ll spend the Christmas with my 6 cat’s and 1 dog, perhaps my kids will come over the first xmas day, and second xmas day ill go visit my folks. December 12, 2014 at 10:37am Reply

  • Melissa: I loved reading these notes – the comments about statues in Grossmith Amelia were wonderful! And now I am dying to get my hands on some of the Rouge Bunny Rouge scents 🙂 December 12, 2014 at 1:20pm Reply

  • ChristineB: 1) Yes
    2) Yes
    3) My holiday plans include letting my husband cook me a lovely meal on Christmas Eve (my birthday) and then spending Christmas Day and Boxing Day visiting family in a leisurely fashion. No cooking duties for me this year! December 14, 2014 at 2:14pm Reply

  • ChristineB: Oops, I didn’t notice that the next recipient had been selected already. I look forward to reading the notes! December 14, 2014 at 2:24pm Reply

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