10 Years of Bois de Jasmin

This spring will be the 10th for Bois de Jasmin. When I created it in 2005, the blog was meant to be an online repository for my perfume musings, and that others wanted to read them remains a pleasant surprise. These days Bois de Jasmin garners around half a million monthly views, and it has evolved to include topics such as art, food, science, literature, dance, economics, and politics. This eclectic approach reflects my conviction that fragrance doesn’t exist in a cultural vacuum. Far from being an unnecessary frivolity, a “trivial feminine” pursuit, it’s an integral part of our environment, and the whole subject of scents and the way we connect to it mirrors other trends in our society. Perfume lovers today are lucky because we’re in a moment of unprecedented interest in fragrance, and we will see more manifestations of this fascination in new books, blogs, products, research, and discussions.

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Another reason for Bois de Jasmin’s varied content is the diverse nature of our community. The conversations here are made possible by all of you. I love receiving your comments and letters, hearing your suggestions, giving you my own, and sharing my discoveries, whether they may be a perfume gem, a great book, a skincare tip or an interesting recipe. So a big thank you to all of my readers, visitors, and commenters. Of course, a special thank you to my co-authors. Andy, Elisa, and Patricia, you’re my muses and friends.

This past year has been a period of intense reflection for me, as I was trying to make sense of some traumatic events, and I realized that Bois de Jasmin had an older distant sibling. I was going through my family archive, and among the sepia photographs with their sharp serrated edges, stacks of my great-grandmother’s letters, and copies of various documents, I found a bulging notebook, so thick that the leaves risked splitting from the faux leather blue cover. It has been years since I’ve flipped through it, but I recognized it right away.

I was seven years old and sitting in the office of my paternal grandmother, Dasha. After retirement, she worked as a counselor at the boys’ college, and she often brought me to work, where she gave advice to the teenage athletes (mostly, she made sure they didn’t kill each other or set fire in the dorm rooms.) The college smelled like chalk, stale sweat and chlorine, the embodiment of the dreary Soviet institution that erased all individuality from its surroundings.

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The college was a dull place, but it had a steady supply of notebooks, pens and pencils, the kind of loot I sought. An eighth grade student, Roman Yatsenko, dropped out of the Ukrainian Literature class, and in his discarded notebook I wrote “September 11th. Author: Victoria Frolova,” and opened the first pristine page. It was the beginning of fall, but I felt in the mood for spring, so I started by drawing my favorite early blossoms–snowdrops, lily of the valley, and violets.

I proudly referred to the blue notebook as “my book”, but flipping through the pages today, I’m amused to recognize the blog-like layout. First of all, it’s chronological and thematic, organized by seasons. The picture + text of the familiar blog format is present here too;  the ratio between the two changes steadily in favor of text as I master the art of writing and find it more interesting to create word pictures, rather than destroy my uncle’s gardening magazines in search of interesting images. (That pink snowflake cost me dearly, as on the reverse side were the marriage ads my uncle collected in hopes of finding the right lady.)

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The initial entries are just a couple of lines long, while later, I manage a few pages. In sections titled “From my memoirs,” I quote my seven year old observations on life. “Spring is the most beautiful time of year, but there is too much water. But the air is clean and healthful.” Very profound, indeed. There are also traces of socialist slogans with which we were inundated daily at school. “Give glory to your motherland with work,” I write on one page and then add, “not with laziness,” in case my reader doesn’t quite get it. Luckily, I mostly stick to describing seasons, plants, birds and animals.

Dasha is the main character in my stories, my friend and accomplice. There is hardly any mention of other people, but Dasha’s name is on every page. Born into a Russian peasant family, she worked as a teacher in a remote village school, a place that took a two hour walk through the forest to reach. After WWII, she came to Kyiv with her two children. However, it was in the countryside that she felt most at home, and her knowledge of plants was rivaled by none.

Until the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident in 1986, she and I took many walks in the sprawling pine forests near Kyiv, and even now I recall the smell of dry pine resin that shattered into effervescent, sticky dust, the musky taste of wild strawberries and the dank miasma hanging over the emerald green swamp.  The radioactive fallout of Chernobyl affected one of our favorite spots, and our visits ended abruptly. Shortly thereafter, my parents’ marriage ended as well, and while I visited Dasha often, we no longer lived together. I missed her reading Bunin’s dark love stories out loud and sitting by her side as she wrote poetry or graded school papers. Most of all, I missed our forest walks.

Bois de Jasmin was inspired by my yearnings for another earthly paradise, my maternal great-grandparents’ hamlet in Poltava, while the blue notebook channeled my nostalgia for the forest adventures with Dasha. Many stories in the notebook are fiction, such as the totally unbelievable one in which I walk through the snowy woods on my own, running an errand for Dasha. What’s real are the smells of frozen bark–“fresh, like silver”–and pine needles, the sound of snow crunching underfoot and the delicate patterns of ice on frozen puddles. I’m alone in this wintery wonderland, but armed  with Dasha’s instinctive knowledge of secret paths, I’m not afraid. I admire, reflect, and wax poetic, a state you recognize having read Bois de Jasmin long enough.

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The blue book ends when I turn 10. “The book is finished. I will see you soon,” are the parting words to my invisible reader. A few years later, I left for the United States, and that year was to be the last time I’d see my grandmother. She passed away before I could return to Ukraine. A passion for Bunin’s prose and wild flowers is my inheritance from her, in addition to a stubborn streak and a proclivity for introspection. “Many people will tell you not to try this or that, but if you feel deep inside that it’s the right thing to do, who cares what anyone thinks?” From perfume to life in general, her comment rings true.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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259 Comments

  • sandra: Congrads on ten years and for sharing this very personal article about life, friends, and your family. Very touching and well written.

    I enjoy reading your posts. The occasional scent diary reminds me to start smelling things around me more often. I have also started letting my 4 month year old smell things-spice, fruit, the other day my perfume dried down to a honey smell and I put my wrist near her noise. I would of never done anything like this, or even considered smell an important part of development if it wasn’t for this blog.

    Enjoy your week ahead.
    I will think of you when I attempt (again) to make Muhallabia for our guests this weekend. Thanks for the recipe from the other thread. April 20, 2015 at 7:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Sandra. You’re opening up such a varied, rich world to your baby, and I imagine that she will thank you for it later. When I think of my early childhood memories, they’re filled with scents. Dasha, my paternal grandmother, was a rather austere person, and she never wore perfume or any adornments, but smelling wild flowers and herbs with her was very influential. Of course, from my mom’s side, I also got a dose of scent appreciation–my mom’s fragrance collection, my grandmother’s cooking experiments, my great-grandmother’s large flower garden. It’s amazing how well I remember those scents all of these years later.

      Hope that Muhallabia turns out well this time! Fingers crossed. April 20, 2015 at 9:54am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Congratulations on your jubileum!
    So you were always a writer, from childhood on; it does not surprise me!
    You know all of us love your blog, every day a moment of beauty.
    May Bois de Jasmin flourish until we are a 100 years old! April 20, 2015 at 7:47am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I love chatting with all of you here. You make my days brighter. April 20, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

  • Annikky: This made me cry at work. Thank you for everything. April 20, 2015 at 7:51am Reply

    • Victoria: A big hug to you, Annikky! April 20, 2015 at 9:57am Reply

  • Iuliana: Happy 10th anniversary and many, many happy returns – I enjoy each and every one of your posts! I share similar memories of walks in the forest (although they tended to be often noisier family affairs involving my paternal grandmother and my younger cousins and often had an utilitarian pretext such as picking up wild mushrooms or blueberry or raspberries – nothing will ever taste better). Thank you for bringing back those sunny memories (btw, being alone in the forest in winter was a big no-no too :-)). April 20, 2015 at 8:00am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Iuliana!
      Funny, we had so many large and rambunctious family gatherings in the forest, but the ones I remember most clearly are these quiet walks with Dasha. I had such a delight visiting a wet forest in Estonia recently and picking blueberries and mushrooms. It was like a step back into childhood. April 20, 2015 at 9:58am Reply

  • Austenfan: Utterly lovely post! I can almost sense the forest through your description. It reminds me of my pony riding days when I was little.

    I can never thank you enough for creating this wonderful blog that has given me so much enjoyment and on occasion a much needed escape from the outside world.

    On a more mundane note; I’m very glad that on this day I’m wearing one of your favourites: Fils de Dieu, while “beheading” daffodils.

    I hope your next year will be calmer with less upheaval. April 20, 2015 at 8:10am Reply

    • Victoria: Those pony rides must have been wonderful. What does the Dutch forest smell like?

      Mmm, I wish I had some of my beloved Fils de Dieu with me. I made a mistake of bringing mostly newish perfumes (to test out better) and nothing from my absolute favorites. I was happy when my mom arrived last week, because I knew that she would have a decant of Iris Silver Mist in her purse. 🙂

      Thank you very much! April 20, 2015 at 10:01am Reply

      • Marsha: Iris Silver Mist must really be something! April 20, 2015 at 12:48pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s a great perfume, but above all, I missed it, because I wanted something “lived in” and familiar. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 1:12pm Reply

      • Austenfan: You know I can’t even remember the smells on those rides, apart from loving the smell of horses (which I still do to this day).
        Forests in the Netherlands are not in any way comparable to Ukrainian forests. More like small assorted collections of trees. Well managed of course.
        I went for a bicycle ride cum walk with my dog today trying to smell anything. It’s been so dry that I couldn’t even smell the pine trees. It was very enjoyable nevertheless and my very old and very frail dog actually did a small swim.
        Apart from enjoying the smells out of doors I also love listening to bird song. And I even spotted a roe deer a week ago. We just stared at each other at a distance of about a 100 metres until she decided it was better to make a run for it. So with the grace of a Bolshoi trained ballerina she disappeared amongst the trees. April 20, 2015 at 3:29pm Reply

        • Bregje: First of all: Congratiolations on your 10th anniversary, Victoria !
          I’m staying in our summerhouse on a west-frysian island right now and am surrounded by nature. It’s still quite cold here compared to the mainland but on our terrace it’s nice and warm garded from the brisk wind. The birds have chicks right now. So cute! There’s always the salty air from the North Sea and I bought a lavender plant to spruce up our terrace. I have to ride my bike through the pine Forrest to get to the supermarket( just like you austenfan April 20, 2015 at 5:50pm Reply

          • Bregje: Unfortunately half of my comment disappeared!
            Victoria , I can see you as a young girl in the Ukraine Forrest. It’s an almost fairy tale like image.
            With all the darkness in the world, this blog is like a ray of sunshine. It reminds me of how I want to experience life.
            Austenfan, I love how you described your encounter with a deer . They remind me of ballerina’s too with their slender legs that touch the ground ever so lightly. April 20, 2015 at 5:57pm Reply

            • Victoria: Those forests around Kyiv was amazing–tall red pine trees, thickets of blackberry and wild raspberry bushes. Lots of wild strawberries, blueberries and mushrooms. Do people pick berries or mushrooms in forests in the Netherlands? I miss these kinds of excursions. April 22, 2015 at 11:08am Reply

              • Cornelia Blimber: We don’t have those real forests with big
                pine trees, but still there is much to enjoy.
                I don’t think we pick mushrooms in the woods, too dangerous (poison!). But mushrooms there are, for example in Het Kralingse Bos in Rotterdam. As a child, I thought feeries were living there.
                I enjoy the smell of pine very much in Artis, the Zoo. Bushes, nor trees, but the smell is very strong.
                In Limburg, there are some remains of old woods, in the fields. No deers as far as I know, but hares. And lots of birds. But my best memory of Limburg is De Kolleberg in Sittard. There you can find wonderful black berries in the summer. And the view of Sittard, a small town with a very characteristic silhouette, is amazing. April 22, 2015 at 4:39pm Reply

                • Hamamelis: There are lovely pine forests on the Veluwe, clearly the Hoge Veluwe national park, but also close to where I live there are several beautiful (and still quite wild) woodland area’s, with Scots pine, such a great pine tree. But the forests around Kyiv sound marvellous! April 22, 2015 at 5:10pm Reply

                  • Victoria: The ones I remember from my childhood–and I haven’t visited since, so that’s my caveat–were really fairy tale like. April 23, 2015 at 11:53am Reply

                • Victoria: You’re making me want to explore Limburg, Cornelia! 🙂 April 23, 2015 at 11:52am Reply

              • Bregje: Yes they do! Here on the island people pick cranberries, dune thorn berries and mushrooms. My aunt and grandmother used to pick raspberries and blackberries in the veluwe to make jams. The veluwe is very beautiful and there is a fantastic museum situated there: kroller moller! My moms family comes from limburg near sittard( weert) and there are some woods there too. But the woods in holland are much smaller than in other countries. What about the Ardennes ? Have you been there yet? April 24, 2015 at 3:10pm Reply

                • Victoria: I haven’t been to the Ardennes, although I’m planning to visit.

                  You’re making me want to visit the Veluwe too and pick berries. 🙂 April 24, 2015 at 4:15pm Reply

          • Victoria: I’m enjoying your imagery, Bregje! I can imagine it all through your description. Thank you! April 22, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

        • Michaela: Lovely story! April 21, 2015 at 7:24am Reply

        • Victoria: Well managed is indeed totally the opposite of Ukrainian forests, alas. But even this notwithstanding, many forests here are beautiful.

          Love your deer story! April 21, 2015 at 1:48pm Reply

          • Austenfan: I would actually love it if our outdoors were slightly less well organised. But being as densely populated as we are, I suppose there is no escaping order 😉

            I don’t know if Ukrainian forests are at all like Polish ones, but I love those! April 21, 2015 at 2:03pm Reply

            • Victoria: They are similar, from what I remember of Poland. Poltava doesn’t have many forests, though, because it’s the flat land, steppes and steppes as far as eye can see. Nothing like the old pine woods near Kyiv and in the regions going west. April 22, 2015 at 11:24am Reply

              • Austenfan: Which is probably why you liked the area around Chartres so much.

                You know, all your stories have really given me an interest in visiting Ukraine. I’ve haven’t ventured farther east than Poland, which I enjoyed a lot. April 22, 2015 at 12:19pm Reply

                • Victoria: I really only remember the Cathedral from my visit. Oh, and we visited Senlis on our way back to Belgium, just to see the paintings of Seraphine de Senlis.

                  Ukraine is definitely worth visiting, because it has many impressive sites. The historical and cultural heritage is rich, but the downside is the lack of management and funds to maintain it all. The best part of visiting Ukraine is the people. I keep meeting such wonderful characters here. April 23, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

  • mariotgomez: Happy Anniversary. April 20, 2015 at 8:11am Reply

  • Kat: Thank you for a wonderful blog and this wonderful article. The bit about the snowflake made me laugh – I hope your uncle found his true love despite your artistic endeavors. April 20, 2015 at 8:12am Reply

    • Victoria: He is still looking for one. He’s now in his 80s. 🙂

      Glad that you enjoyed the post, Kat! April 20, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

  • Michaela: Happy anniversary to BdJ, and thank you and your co-authors for this exceptional blog!
    Love your notebook story, so touching. Sorry about Chernobyl ending your forest walks; I remember the shock as if it were yesterday.
    This article brought tears in my eyes.
    Thank you so much. April 20, 2015 at 8:22am Reply

    • Victoria: I do too. I was actually walking in that forest the day Chernobyl accident happened. The Soviet government concealed the fact (and let children continue the May Day parades under the radioactive rain), but our relative was working for one of the ministries and she let us know as soon as it happened. My mom was recently reminiscing how we drove as quickly as possible to Poltava, a region where her family lived and that was completely untouched. I was mostly happy that I could skip a month of school and play with my cousin for the rest of the summer.

      Thank you, Michaela! April 20, 2015 at 10:06am Reply

  • rainboweyes: Thank you for 10 years of BdJ! I’ve been reading regularly since 2013 and enjoying every single article.
    Your touching childhood memories remind me of my own childhood in communist Poland. I’m happy this part of the world has changed so much since then. And I hope Ukraine will find its peace one day too… April 20, 2015 at 8:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! I always enjoy learning new recipes (and getting more inspiration for iris perfumes) from you. 🙂

      Hope so too! April 20, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

  • rosarita: I discovered your blog through Now Smell This in late 2005, and your descriptive writing has been my pleasure ever since. I’ve learned so much from this place you have created and I’m forever grateful! Thank you for this beautiful article and congratulations on ten years of excellence, V. April 20, 2015 at 8:51am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your kind words and for being around for so long. Means so much to me. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 10:22am Reply

  • Gil: Congratulations on the milestone and happy birthday to Bois de Jasmin! 🙂 I love the story of the blue notebook, and look forward to many more years of reading your thoughts! My own blog is still a toddler at two years old this week. I hope to reach Bois status eventually! 😉 April 20, 2015 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Gil, you definitely will get to a 10 year milestone! Your blog is wonderful. 🙂

      Thank you! April 20, 2015 at 10:24am Reply

  • Ines: Congratulations on your 10th anniversary! 🙂

    I have diaries from when I was a child hidden somewhere (I know they exist, I just don’t know where). 🙂
    I think for female grandchildren, the stories and memories of their grandmothers are something that brings solace and wisdom at times when those are most needed.
    I know they do for me. April 20, 2015 at 9:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Ines!

      My mom jokes that we have a matriarchal family, and it’s true, mine and my male cousin’s memories are strongest when it comes to our grandmothers. 🙂 They’re certainly characters, which may explains some of the outsized impressions they make. April 20, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

      • Jackie: Haha. My husband’s family on his mother’s side is Ukrainian, and they, too, “joke” that they’re a matriarchal family, which they most definitely are! 🙂 Wonderfully strong grandmothers and great-greatmothers! April 20, 2015 at 12:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ukrainian culture has its share of strong-willed women and there are lots of folk songs about women giving tough time to their husbands. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 1:11pm Reply

          • Jackie: Patriarchy is a myth! 😉 April 20, 2015 at 1:48pm Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Congratulations on ten years of giving all of us perfume lovers additional knowledge and also in sharing some of your personal stories. I love your blog! Please keep on writing. April 20, 2015 at 9:14am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Phyllis! I will do my best. April 20, 2015 at 11:40am Reply

  • Deva: What a treasure- the notebook, Dasha, memories, childhood, and of course your lovely blog which I have enjoyed so much over the past few years.

    Congratulations! Hoping you have many healthy and happy years ahead 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 9:14am Reply

    • Victoria: It was such a thrill to find it, and I couldn’t believe how blog like it looked. 🙂

      Thank you, Deva! April 20, 2015 at 11:41am Reply

  • Bell: Dear Victoria
    Thank you for your beautiful account of the roots of Bois de Jasmin. Your blog is an elegy to the beauty all around us and a reminder to live through our senses. I’m always deeply touched by your writing, and that of your wonderful co-authors, and amazed that you can create perfect ‘word pictures’ again and again.
    long live the aesthetic soul :=)
    bell April 20, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your warm words, Bell! I’m delight to hear that you’re enjoying my “word pictures.” 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 11:42am Reply

  • Holly: Happy anniversary! Thank you for sharing this poignant story. It is exquisitely written and touching to me in a deeply meaningful way. April 20, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Holly! It was a pleasure to reminisce about Dasha. April 20, 2015 at 11:43am Reply

  • Geri Ethen: I’m a fairly recent reader of your blog, but I love it for its perceptive description of the world around us, both that of olfactory senses and awareness of the changing nature around us. In particular I appreciate your sharing of your family history in the Ukraine and the richness of life then. Stories of your grandparents particularly resonate with me. The story about Chernobyl impacting your walks — how absolutely touching! And the cut-outs in your lovely blue-clad notebook!
    May you continue to share all of these things with us for years to come! Happy Anniversary! April 20, 2015 at 9:18am Reply

    • Victoria: I apologize for missing your comment earlier, Geri! Thank you very much, and welcome to Bois de Jasmin. 🙂 I’m so happy that you liked the post. These recollections are precious, so I’m delighted they’ve resonated with others. April 23, 2015 at 12:01pm Reply

  • pklagrange: Congratulations on your 10-year anniversary. I have loved your writing as much as your insights into all of the fragrances you have reviewed. Thank you for your lovely blog. April 20, 2015 at 9:28am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for visiting! I love sharing whatever I discover, and I’m only too happy to hear that others are enjoying my musings. April 20, 2015 at 11:44am Reply

  • Deb Hemley: 10 years! A very important milestone in the life of a blog and its writers.

    The descriptions of the blue notebook are priceless and love too the way its format feels blog-like in content, shape and form.

    All best April 20, 2015 at 9:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I find it almost hard to believe that I’ve kept Bois de Jasmin for this long, mostly because I don’t feel like it has been 10 years. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 11:45am Reply

  • Anu: Victoria, I am sorry that you have been going through such a rough time. I wish you inner peace and contentment with all my heart.
    On a different note, thank you so much for sharing your personal reflections about your childhood and family with us. It is obvious that your bond with your grandmothers has shaped you in a very special way.
    Congratulations to BDJ on it’s tenth anniversary and I look forward to reading your beautiful articles for a long long time. April 20, 2015 at 9:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Anu! Sometimes when we have little control over the events around us, beauty and art are the best antidotes. Plus, one needs to channel the energy somehow.

      When I was little, it was common for grandkids to be raised in large part by grandparents, so my early recollections are of them. They were hugely influential, in ways I only now begin to realize. April 20, 2015 at 11:48am Reply

  • The Scented Salon: You have an elegant soul. This place on the internet, which is so full of all kinds of information, is a daily retreat into a world where fragrance and pleasure is of the utmost importance.

    Often I will frequent other perfume blogs and soon enough get tired of their style, clicking on your page for the thoughtful and carefully-crafted insights you share.

    I am sure I speak for all of us who read you when I say you’ve created an artistic respite for all, especially for those of us whose “day jobs” do not include any type of art. The soul longs and you satisfy. April 20, 2015 at 9:45am Reply

    • Michaela: You speak for me, for sure! 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 10:26am Reply

      • Marsha: Me too! I agree that Victoria has an “elegant soul.” April 20, 2015 at 12:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for such a touching comment. I mentioned it already, but really, this bears repeating again and again. All of you and our conversations together are so important and inspiring. Blogging does take time, but I enjoy coming here and discussing various topics, from perfume to economics, with you so much that the work doesn’t feel like such. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

    • Malmaison: Yes, that is exactly how I feel, thank you for explaining it so well! Congratulations Victoria, and thank you so much for your oasis of beauty (written, fragrant, and visual). April 21, 2015 at 10:47am Reply

      • Victoria: Thank you very much! You’re making me misty eyed. April 22, 2015 at 11:20am Reply

  • Iodine: Thank you. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 9:51am Reply

  • Minal: Happy anniversary BdJ! Thank you for this delightful blog Victoria. April 20, 2015 at 10:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Minal! April 20, 2015 at 11:50am Reply

  • Monica: Victoria, Congratulations! Even though I do not make any comments on this blog, I read your articles every day. Sometimes I open this site 2, 3, 4 times a day if I am in search for an specific perfume, or notes, or recipes, etc. I have been connected since 2010. Thanks to you and to all this wonderful community for making this blog so complete and special. Wishing you many more years to come. April 20, 2015 at 10:04am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for reading, Monica, and thank you for your nice wishes! You’re welcome to join in and chat whenever you want, but of course, there is no pressure to do so. April 20, 2015 at 11:52am Reply

  • leathermountain: Such a beautiful tribute to Dasha, the gifts of experience, the sharing of those gifts through writing and imagery. April 20, 2015 at 10:24am Reply

    • Victoria: I also learned from her the taste of food cooking in a wood-burning stove. And the smell! Now, that’s something amazing. April 20, 2015 at 11:54am Reply

  • Nancy: Congratulations and Happy Birthday, Bois de Jasmin! I love reading your thoughts and even have started a folder with many of your reviews and reflections. What a beautiful entry, I enjoyed reading your personal story very much – continued success and best wishes – xo April 20, 2015 at 10:41am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Nancy! Thank you also for your support! April 20, 2015 at 11:54am Reply

  • Bonnie: I am new to this blog. I think of it as my secret garden, a place of respite to escape the manic panic of my rushed work life in an office cubicle. I love the articles, and the photos, but I think most of all I love the sense of community. Reading the comments is a joyful thing indeed, and when I first found this blog I was stunned to find a society of cultured and polite people on the Internet!! haha – I guess I had gotten a little too used to the verbal jousting of newspaper forums. I lift my bottle of Heure Bleue to your continued success! April 20, 2015 at 10:43am Reply

    • Victoria: Bonnie, welcome! Every day I feel grateful for so many wonderful, smart, passionate people come here, and overall, the perfume blogging community is very special. Much kindness and generosity!

      Thank you very much. April 20, 2015 at 11:57am Reply

    • MontrealGirl: Ohhhhh, I love you description of BdJ as a secret garden! Thanks for coming up with a PERFECT description of Victoria’s beautiful blog and the wonderful world of perfume! April 20, 2015 at 5:07pm Reply

    • Raquel: It’s my secret garden too! Love this description. April 21, 2015 at 10:59am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Dear Victoria,

    Beautiful and sentimental reflections on times past and how Bois de Jasmin has become a cathartic turning point for you as well as your readers. Thank you for sharing how life has evolved through the years for you. I, myself consider my cowardice and how following the aftermath (by virtual witness) of 911 followed by my Mother’s passing I am still unable to come to grips with writing about all that went before and after of still more crisis to come by “working through” my personal recovery process. Yet, somehow through your lovely contributions by you and and its readership we are all drawn closer and I thank you for that. More anniversaries to come filled with loving experiences. April 20, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: I find it cathartic to write things down. As a child I used to keep regular diaries, from the age of 8 to the age of 20, but later I gave it up. Last year, I started it again, and while at first, it felt strange–I’m so used to write for a specific audience, rather than just for my own eyes, but it was a good decision. But it takes time to come to it, and I’m sure it will happen to you when it feels right.

      Thank you, Nancy! April 20, 2015 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Katy: This blog serves as a living tribute to Dasha and all the remarkable women of your family. You honor them and we get to know them through the beautiful writing here which I find rich with profound content. My own olfactive and visual memories are of Big Sur, the smell of the ocean and the trees and plants will be with me forever. The first time our family car drove through the tunnel and out into Yosemite Valley my eyes filled with tears because it was so beautiful and I was just eight at the time. My parents introduced me to these wild and beautiful places and I believe they get inside us and we crave them until the day we die. Keep bashing on, Victoria! I love you and all my sisters and brothers in scent here. April 20, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

    • Victoria: What a beautiful way of putting it, Katy! I can’t agree more with you. Also, your recollections are so vivid, and I feel like I can smell the ocean and trees too. April 20, 2015 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Teddee Grace: How delightful. Thank you. April 20, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

  • Lilly Malki: Your recollections brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for creating this beautiful space, for in fact having recreated all the beauty and wonder of your blue book right here! Your descriptions then seem as evocative as they are now. I felt that I could smell the frozen bark, “fresh like silver”, in those snowy woods! April 20, 2015 at 11:14am Reply

    • Victoria: I suppose I was trying to imitate Bunin, whose stories and novels Dasha loved to read to me. Perhaps, it was not the most age-appropriate reading, but it was inspiring and evocative. By the way, I didn’t realize until college that it was Bunin she read. I remembered the stories, but it took re-reading them as an adult to recognize the author. Bunin wasn’t really a part of the Soviet school program.

      Thank you, Lilly. April 20, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

  • Iva: Thank you Victoria for this poignant post! It is so touching. I love the way you numbered your pages. I remember doing that too. I grew up in former Yugoslavia and those notebooks weren’t like the American sturdy spiral notebooks, rather the papers in these flimsy notebooks could give out at any given moment, and if tape (not Scotch tape but that icky yellow faux-Scotch tape) wasn’t handy, those notebooks fell apart just like that. If one did not meticuously number one’s pages, all could be lost in a heartbeat. Much love to you. Happy 10th anniversary, I just adore your blog and have learned so much about various perfume notes. Whenever I have any type of query about sny given perfume the first thing I do is search Bois de Jasmine to see if you’ve reviewed it. Oh, and you were so much help when my favorite Mimosa perfume was discontinued by offering alternatives. Here’s for the next successful 10 years. April 20, 2015 at 11:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, yes, I remember it so well! Plus, the pens, notebooks and other school supplies weren’t exactly easy to find, so the discarded notebooks were never thrown away. I know it sounds like we lived in dire poverty and hardship, which was certainly not the case, but some things were simply not easy to find. Like books, for instance! So, to this day, I have a total reverence for books, notebooks and pens. And a large collection of books, for which my husband gave up building shelves. He jokes that we should just move out and leave our apartment to books. 🙂

      Which mimosa perfume did you end replaced your favorite with? April 20, 2015 at 12:17pm Reply

  • Edna: Dear Victoria,
    Congratulations on 10 years of Bois de Jasmin. Your blog was one of the first I started reading ages ago. You were, and still are, influential in a good way. I live in an isolated village on a beautiful forested island and blogs such as yours connect all of us. For that I truly thank you. April 20, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that all of us do our best to help. I can relate, because for years I lived in places with no perfume stores, so reading about fragrances and searching out the right ones to try was important. Plus, you meet interesting people and make friends. 🙂
      Thank you so much, Edna. April 20, 2015 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Margie: Your writing transports me to beautiful, magical, fragrant places. Thank you so much. April 20, 2015 at 11:32am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 Thank you for reading, Margie! April 20, 2015 at 12:10pm Reply

  • jillie: Thank you for creating such a beautiful place for us to come to and for bringing light to what can be a very dark world. Your sharing of your passions and knowledge with us has been a source of joy to me and I have learnt so much from you. It is always a pleasure to read your blog and to enjoy the comments you inspire in your lovely readers. I hope you continue to take us along with you on your journey for a very long time. April 20, 2015 at 11:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Jillie! I learn lots from all of you. For instance, I’ve been making your spiced steaks with chili and thyme quite often. I love that combination. April 20, 2015 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: Thank you for your many small gifts over the last 10 years, clearly the beautifully written perfume reviews, but also the lovely hedgehog, the silver Christmas choir, the stunning male (!) dancers…as well as making possible meeting other human beings that enjoy beauty in whatever form it appears. For sure you have enriched the lives of thousands if not more. Your mother(s) can be so proud!
    As I live more or less in a Dutch forest, some of its scents are sweet pine, earthy compost, faint traces of wild life (boar, deer), fresh ferns and mosses, nutty acorns…And the birdsong at the moment is so lovely, from 4 in the morning this morning chorus starts. No coupling porcupines here, but the frogs have been busy and noisy! I remember the traumatic Chernobyl disaster vividly, we were not allowed to eat salad or any leafy greens, and I recently read that still traces of higher radioactivity are found here in the Netherlands on the heather moors. It is one of those almost forgotten tragedies, still causing suffering among many.
    I wish you inner peace or the way to find it. April 20, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! Thank you also for sharing so generously with me. 🙂 April 23, 2015 at 12:06pm Reply

  • AllGirlMafia: Happy 10th! What a beautiful journey. Thank you so much for sharing your beauty with all of us, Victoria. April 20, 2015 at 11:58am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much! Only too delighted to share! 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 12:18pm Reply

  • Vishishta: Dear Victoria,

    Thank you so much for the time and pure selection you put into this blog. It is so valuable to me, and although I don’t always participate, your thoughts often stay with me off and on through the day. It is a tribute to our delicate selves and are often suppressed in this practical world.

    I also have many notebooks collected since I was a child. It brought me some freedom to take some of the ones that were filled with worry and angst to the beautiful redwood forest and burn them in a fire pit there. The many words flickering up into ashes and the knowledge that my grandchildren will not have to wade through those pages of misery.
    It felt like a death, and I was somewhat inward for several days after, but then the space and freedom did hit. Not a bad practice.

    Much love and inner peace to you sister. April 20, 2015 at 12:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Vishishta! I, in turn, still remember your advice about the pink dal face mask and unsulphured apricots. 🙂 I have been addicted to them ever since you first mentioned this type of dried fruit. The flavor is richer, darker than that of the sulphred apricots.

      Yes, what you describe can be really liberating. April 20, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

  • Maria de Luna: Dear Victoria, I came across your site recently, and I am slowly catching up on the 10 years of Bois the Jasmin terrific material. With so many sites with a markedly commercial angle, yous is a respite of authenticity…

    Thanks so much for sharing in this site, and please, don’t stop! This blog has enriched my life very much, you are inspiring and thought provoking… I feel completely at home and find solace in your multidimensional and special wold! April 20, 2015 at 12:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: Welcome to our pages, Maria! Thank you for your feedback and encouragement. I enjoy writing, but above all, I love the exchanges here. It’s really so rewarding. April 20, 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

  • Jackie: Congratulations, Victoria! Ten years shows incredible dedication, love, and perseverance (maybe perseverance is just another word for “stubborn!).

    And to discover that you were already “blogging” as a little kid — how magical!

    I’m a relative newcomer to this wonderful community you’ve created, but already you’ve taken me deep into this entrancing place, which has fostered some not-insignificant changes to my life, for which I am grateful.

    Your writing is not only beautifully crafted (though seemingly effortless) evocative (though never purple!), intelligent (though refreshingly egoless!), but also it is always _positive_, a balm for world-weary souls.

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself! And here’s to a more peaceful year for you this year, …and another decade of magic! April 20, 2015 at 12:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re so kind, Jackie! Thank you for these words and for joining in. 🙂
      After the blue book, I had others, but they were thrown away by a distant relative who moved into our house when we went to the US. It’s a miracle that the blue book survived, because it was packaged together with others. Somehow, it was left behind, and when I returned to Ukraine many years later, I discovered among the discarded belongings from our old house. So, it has a history of travails and peregrinations of its own. April 20, 2015 at 1:09pm Reply

      • Jackie: Wow, what a story! Sad about the others, but at the same time so wonderful that that one survived! And it looks like it survived quite well, judging by the quality of the artwork and ink! A precious artifact! April 20, 2015 at 1:51pm Reply

        • Victoria: It was the most precious one, so I’m glad I have at least this one notebook. April 21, 2015 at 1:08pm Reply

  • Anka: What a wonderful and touching post, congratulations on your Blogoläum! And thank you Andy, Elisa and Patricia for your contributions!

    I’ve been reading BdJ for about two and a half years now, it was my first fragrance blog after falling down the rabbit hole. Now I can even appreciate jasmine fragrances…I’ll probably put on some A la Nuit to celebrate BdJ tonight.

    Yes, perfume doesn’t exist in a cultural vacuum and that’s one of the many, many reasons why I love your blog so much! April 20, 2015 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Anka! I’m happy to hear about jasmine fragrances, and about A La Nuit in particular. Always a pleasure to know that others share my favorites. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Marsha: Congrats and best wishes to you and Bois de Jasmin. I came across your blog sometime in the mid-2000’s but I don’t remember exactly when. But one of the early posts I read was when you described the olfactory and visual journey through a famous city. That one got me hooked, due to the way you paint still lifes with your words I kept the faith during your looong sabbatical and went bonkers when you started posting again. My favorite posts are when you describe some aspect of your life. I’m sure that you’ve led a very interesting life. Thank you for allowing us into your incredibly interesting life. And thanks for helping me improve my sense of smell! April 20, 2015 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Marsha! Was it about the scents of Kyiv, by any chance? I have been meaning to write an update with photos, but I’m having troubles selecting among thousands of photos I took over the past few years. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Katerina: Congratulations and be well Victoria and creative like always! April 20, 2015 at 2:19pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Katerina! April 21, 2015 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Heidi: Victoria, thank you for your blog. I don’t comment that often, but always read. Having spent most of my adult life moving between continents, I really appreciate your writing both on memories of places and discovering new ones. I think of you as one of the “in-between”-people, just like myself: not people who are rootless, but people who have multiple allegiances and who therefore think with them. Thank you! April 20, 2015 at 2:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re right, that’s how I feel. There are downsides to this, but the positive aspects dominate. You probably find it too. Thank you for your kind words, Heidi. April 21, 2015 at 1:17pm Reply

  • Aurora: All best wishes on the blog’s birthday and with all my thanks for the happy hours I have passed reading and commenting on it.

    I simply love this article – you are especially inspired when in Ukraine – and thank you for sharing memories of your ‘other’ grandmother and the walks you took with her, and things you shared. She would be so very proud that the creative little girl and her notebook has blossomed into a published journalist whose passion, gift for words and curiosity I admire very much. April 20, 2015 at 2:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I discover so many things here, as during my other travels, and I have some quiet time to write and reflect, so it’s a good combination. 🙂 I keep thinking about Dasha often, and I miss her, but I also received lots of gifts from her, and this keeps memories of her vivid in my mind.
      Thank you for your wishes! April 21, 2015 at 1:20pm Reply

  • Elisa: So beautiful V. I love when you write about your past and your cultural history. A very happy anniversary to you, and thank you for welcoming me into this wonderful place! April 20, 2015 at 2:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for everything, Elisa! I always look forward to reading your articles, comments, and emails. xoxo April 21, 2015 at 1:21pm Reply

  • Rebecca: Happy Anniversary! Thank you for sharing your early memories and journal writings. Your blog is so lovely and a joy to read (even your comments!). I learn so much here. Your writing (blog and articles) is so very elegant.

    Best wishes, Victoria, for continued success. April 20, 2015 at 2:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: All of these comments are so wonderful, and I’m really moved and humbled to read them. Thank you very much from the bottom of my heart. April 21, 2015 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Kate: Such a beautiful and moving post. One of the things that makes Bois de Jasmin exceptional is that you have the courage and candour to share something of your motivation and values with your readership, while always maintaining a certain very important tact and discretion. In any writer, that is a rare quality.

    Many happy returns, Victoria, and thank you for the great pleasure you give to so many of us who read and enjoy your blog. April 20, 2015 at 2:44pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Kate! It’s a pleasure to share with all of you. April 21, 2015 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Neva: Congratulations on the anniversary! I’m with you only for a short time, but I enjoy extremely your clever and thoughful posts. It’s your sensibility that makes it so precious and different from many other blogs. Your blog has substance and soul. Since English is not my mother language either and I could never express myself in English with such subtlety, I admire your language and style…but obviously you were good with words already at an early age 😉 April 20, 2015 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I appreciate your kind words. Thank you for joining in, and I’m enjoying your comments very much. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Andy: Congratulations on a decade of creativity! I can hardly imagine the number of times and hours I’ve simply perused Bois de Jasmin for a dose of color and an emotive boost, it’s one of the surefire ways I know to cheer up. I’m so glad for discovering it, and feel truly fortunate to have become a contributor to this community of cleverness, kindness, and positivity. 🙂 April 20, 2015 at 2:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for becoming a part of Bois de Jasmin, Andy! My mornings would never be the same without your rose flavored tea recipe. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:40pm Reply

  • meganinstmaxime: Victoria congratulations on such an incredible milestone. Your writings are unique and touching and like Anniky who replied right at the beginning of the comments, I also got a little teary reading this. I love hearing about your childhood and the historical events such as Chernobyl. It’s truly fascinating from someone who grew up on the other side of the world. Your blog was one of the first I discovered and sometimes I get hooked in, reading article after article. I hope you continue to write for us. April 20, 2015 at 2:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Megan! Also giving a big hug.
      Sometimes it feels like all those events happened in another life. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Tijana: Dear Victoria – this is truly an incredible milestone, especially in today’s day and age! You are an inspiration and I wish you many, many more years and that we continue to read your lovely posts for eternity! <3 April 20, 2015 at 3:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: I almost can’t believe I made it this far (in terms of years!) Thank you very much! April 21, 2015 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Eva: Victoria, I was waiting for the “right” post to make a comment and thank you for all you do. This blog is a place of beauty, touched by the grace of true talent and real passion. You have such a gift to give life to scents with your words. It’s really magical…

    And I feel like I know you as a generous and warm woman. Because above all, above this deep scent knowledge, you seem to have kept an open and curious mind…. which is why I feel so welcome here as a scent beginner. You have made me more aware of scents, not only in perfume but in my everyday life. It is such a gift. Thank you with all my heart.

    Also, it is amazing to see what a community you have created. A pleasant, knowledgeable and tolerant crowd!

    Congratulations to your 10-year-birthday!!! April 20, 2015 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Eva, I’m so happy to hear this. I know that sometimes the world of perfume may seem so complicated and esoteric, but the most important thing is just to be curious and smell. After all, the best perfumes are not the most iconic or expensive ones, but the ones that smell good to you. Enjoy your journey, and of course, if you need any suggestions, all of us are here. 🙂

      Thank you! April 21, 2015 at 1:47pm Reply

  • Liz G.: Congratulations on 10 years Victoria. And thanks for sharing these great memories of your grandmother with us. April 20, 2015 at 3:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Liz! April 21, 2015 at 1:49pm Reply

  • JoDee: So lovely Victoria. We all have our longings for an earthly paradise I suppose, even those of us who live quite comfortably. Mine centers on a secret garden full of vines and stones, with fresh air and blooming flowers all around. The most vivid part of this paradise is the dark green of the vines and the faces of my sister and mother sitting on the stones waiting to see me come into the garden and ready to chat the day away. Thanks for sharing your memories and thank you so much for creating Bois de Jasmin! April 20, 2015 at 4:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your paradise sounds absolutely wonderful, and I can even smell everything you’re describing.

      Thank you! April 21, 2015 at 1:49pm Reply

  • limegreen: Congratulations on 10 years, many happy returns! I know I speak for many of us that we could not imagine life without Bois de Jasmin, and it’s credit to your modesty that you would be surprised by our very much wanting to read whatever you wanted to share with us.
    I won’t repeat what others have already written, but it’s clear that you’ve always had the eye and nose for your surroundings and are truly gifted in conveying them on “paper.”
    We’re the lucky ones that you started the blog, and hope you will continue to do so, and thank you to your contributors who make the blog so diverse and fun. April 20, 2015 at 4:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: Coming here, especially if I had a tough day, is such a delight. Thank you to all of you. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:50pm Reply

  • Annunziata: Congratulations on this milestone! Bois de Jasmin is my favorite online refuge. Your perceptions are always exquisitely conveyed, and the accompanying photographs beautiful and fascinating. Part of my family is from Ukraine, but have now been in the US for so long there are no connections left. So I especially love seeing and hearing about the places and culture. Also, although I had read many of the Russian writers, I had never read Gogol until you inspired me to, so thank you for that, as well! Happy anniversary. — Amy McL April 20, 2015 at 4:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Amy!

      Which Gogol’s novel or story did you read so far? He is our local Poltava boy. 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:51pm Reply

      • Annunziata: You’re so welcome. I appreciate this blog so much, it is just a delight.

        I’ve read ‘The Mantle’ and ‘The Viy’. Gogol is incredible, like no one else I can think of. I read ‘The Viy’ way out in the woods, alone in a little house, and was rather glad I finished it before the sun went down. 😀 I am thinking of reading Taras Bulba next. April 21, 2015 at 5:17pm Reply

        • Victoria: The Viy creeps me out every time I re-read it, but I love, especially the imagery Gogol creates (the description of the old church is so vivid).

          Taras Bulba is also highly recommended! April 22, 2015 at 11:28am Reply

  • kayliz: Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! Your blog stands out not only for its beauty but for the emotional sensitivity that shines through every line, and you convey nuances of meaning with a virtuosity I find absolutely breathtaking in someone not born into this language. I have no idea how you manage this and am content to be very grateful that you do — many many thanks for making Bois de Jasmin such an oasis for the soul! April 20, 2015 at 4:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, thank you so much! I always keep thinking that rather than having mastered anything, I’m particularly adept at making a fool of myself in a bunch of different languages. 🙂 But nomatter, it’s all part of communicating with others. April 21, 2015 at 1:53pm Reply

  • Undina: Dear Victoria,

    Congratulations on your big anniversary. I enjoyed reading the story of your … forming years (as a blog writer 🙂 ).

    I hope that this “book” doesn’t end at when you turn 10 (in blog years). April 20, 2015 at 4:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Undina! 🙂 April 21, 2015 at 1:54pm Reply

  • Patricia: Dear Victoria, Happy Anniversary to you! Ten years is quite an achievement. Thank you so much for welcoming me to BdJ, first as a reader, then as a contributor. I feel privileged to be part of this thoughtful, giving community of perfume lovers, and not a day goes by that I don’t check in to see what’s happening.
    xx April 20, 2015 at 4:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Pat! 🙂 I have so many favorites thanks to you. April 21, 2015 at 2:06pm Reply

  • Amalia: I finished reading with difficulty, my eyes was full of tears…Congratulations and as we say in Greece: unto the 100 years with good health! Big hugs from Greece! April 20, 2015 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Amalia, and lots of hugs back to you! April 21, 2015 at 2:07pm Reply

  • Gila: Reading everyone’s comments was as wonderful as the blog itself (high praise indeed). I love this virtual community – that values inner experience, sensation, & language. I hadn’t quite realized it until today, but yes, absolutely an oasis for me, too. I read most days but rarely comment. Wanted to thank everyone, and wish Victoria congratulations for giving us something so rich, rare and fine. May it continue. April 20, 2015 at 4:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for such a beautiful sentiment, Gila! I realized over the past how much Bois de Jasmin also is an oasis for me. Thanks to all of you! April 22, 2015 at 10:41am Reply

  • Allison C.: Congratulations! I always look forward to your poetic and intelligent writing. I remember a long time ago the first online community I encountered that discussed perfume, Makeupalley, and then the explosion of scent blogs, but your insights, keen observations and wonderful stories about your family and travels truly make your blog one of the best! April 20, 2015 at 4:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Allison! Ah, you’re reminding me of those Makeupalley days. How fun they were! 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 10:41am Reply

  • Tara C: Congratulations on 10 years of Bois de Jasmin and thank you for all the effort you put into this lovely blog. Stories like the ones above are the reason I keep coming back, on top of all the fascinating perfume reviews and discussions of notes. You are a gifted writer and very insightful. April 20, 2015 at 5:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thanks a lot, Tara! I’m happy that you like my reviews and musings. It would be too hard for me to write just reviews, since there are so many other topics I love to explore. 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 10:42am Reply

  • Steve L.: Congratulations on your 10 years of blogging. Your incredible writing seems to be a natural and wonderful calling. April 20, 2015 at 5:26pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for your support, Steve! April 22, 2015 at 10:43am Reply

  • MontrealGirl: Félicitations on your 10th anniversary, Victoria! What a beautiful way to celebrate by reminiscing about a dear Grandmother and finding a childhood treasure. It is such a perfect way to keep a loved one alive in your heart and soul and protect their memory; thank you for sharing so much over the years, especially the zest for life and beauty. April 20, 2015 at 5:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! I was thinking about Dasha for a while, because she made me notice scents before anyone else did. I miss her. April 22, 2015 at 11:03am Reply

  • ElenavL: Congratulations! I always struggle to find the right words for big occasions like this. I just want to say how much I admire you for being one of the people who just do what the cannot not do.

    I found your blog some 5 years ago when looking for a perfect lily-of-the-valley perfume and instead I found a new dimention to the world and a wonderful community.

    And in a way thanks to you my 18-months-old daughter lives in this higher dimentional world from her birth. She developed a ritual of smelling perfume in the mornings before she could even walk. She’d wake up and point to the perfume shelve and make sniffing sounds. For the last 6 months she has always made sure she would never leave a department store without a blotter and now that she can walk she’d chase people around to stick her tiny wrist under their noses. At first I thought it was all just copying business untill the day when she sniffed the air in the bathroom and yelled “papa” because it smelled of Tuscan Leather.

    And for all that I am grateful to you and this wonderful project of yours. Happy Birthday, BoisDeJasmin! April 20, 2015 at 5:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Elena, thank you very much for your nice words and for sharing a story about your daughter. It’s so touching! She’s already quite a perfumista! April 22, 2015 at 11:04am Reply

  • maria: thank you so much for these 10 years of beauty, grace, and strength.

    I hope the pain of the traumas ease.

    Maria, wearing the original Coco every day, and thinking of you when I spray it on April 20, 2015 at 5:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Maria! You smell wonderful. 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:06am Reply

  • Alex: Dear Victoria
    Congratulations on the anniversary. I don’t comment often but I’m a daily lurker. I don’t feel I know you all that well like some other readers, but I appreciate the openness of the post. My gratitude comes as a reader of the blog and of the contents of it. I like how among the posts there are pieces of you so that we can know you better and it’s an honor to count you among my sources of inspiration and leisure, as well as knowledge. Here’s to another 10 and all the best, personally, to you and your own!
    Alex April 20, 2015 at 6:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Alex! I’m really touched by these words. Everyone shares a lot on these pages, so it’s only fair that I do too. April 22, 2015 at 11:09am Reply

  • Joy: Dear Victoria,

    Ten years! What a milestone. I so much enjoy reading your articles and looking at your lovely photos. It us one of my favorite things to do each morning, reading your blog. I so enjoy reading all of your articles in addition to all of the responses.
    Thank you for enriching my mornings and always giving me something to ponder on.

    Joy April 20, 2015 at 7:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Joy! 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:12am Reply

  • noele: A nice reminder that we remain who we were as children underneath it all, and that we ought to hold on to our wonder toward it all at all costs. April 20, 2015 at 8:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: I was so amused discovering it. 🙂 Thank you, Noele! April 22, 2015 at 11:13am Reply

  • AndreaNM: Congratulations on 10 years of elegance, gentility and comraderie. I especially appreciate your reminders of how the past brings meaning to the present. With gratitude… April 20, 2015 at 8:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Andrea! April 22, 2015 at 11:14am Reply

  • Ann: Victoria-
    Indeed you are mastering the art of writing!

    Your vast knowledge of perfumes and their ingredients, coupled with your literary talent, create a lovely break in the day.

    Thank you.

    May you have many more years! April 20, 2015 at 9:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m constantly learning, but it’s the best part. 🙂 Thank you! April 22, 2015 at 11:14am Reply

  • sunnlitt: Well, everyone has said it so much better than I can, but–
    Thank You! Thank You! for the loveliness that you have created here.
    It is a pleasure to be a part of it.
    Because even though I rarely comment, I still feel a part of this wonderful community. April 20, 2015 at 9:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your nice comment! 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:15am Reply

  • Heather H: Victoria,

    You have such a beautiful soul. To give freely and not expect anything in return is a saint. Although I cannot comment as much as I would like to because I am soooo busy, I love your blog and read it every day. I was so addicted I used to wake up at 4:30 to read your first post. Now I wake up at 6:00 because I need the rest, and to read your posts is one of my happiest moments of my day. April 20, 2015 at 10:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m totally blushing reading your comment, and I thank you for such nice words. 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:16am Reply

  • orsetta: dear Victoria,
    i’ve been reading your blog for quite a long time but it is my first comment here.
    thank you so much for sharing your passion for perfume and for creating a place where others can share it too!
    wishing you many more years on Bois de Jasmine! April 20, 2015 at 10:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Orsetta, welcome! 🙂 Hope that we will see you more often then. Thank you so much for your wishes! April 22, 2015 at 11:16am Reply

  • Renee: Congratulations!I am reading this blog since 2006 and for me it is a constant source of joy and emotion.I don’t comment much,but I never miss a post April 21, 2015 at 1:37am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Renee. Knowing this means a lot. April 22, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

  • Annabel Farrell: Your blog stands out for the beauty of its writing and the enjoyment it always gives, no matter what the subject. April 21, 2015 at 3:08am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Annabel! April 22, 2015 at 11:17am Reply

  • Gentiana: Congratulations, Victoria, Happy Anniversary!
    I truly enjoyed the story of your childhood, you described so vivid the Ukraine countryside that I could see, hear, smell it… Dasha was a lovely person, you are happy to have such a great lady as your grandmother.
    I love your blue notebook, and its story, your writing talent showed up very early.
    You are a gifted and a blessed person. Congratulations again ! April 21, 2015 at 7:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Dasha’s life was very hard, and she was a very reserved and introverted person. But she had a rich inner world.
      Thank you for your kind words, Gentiana! April 22, 2015 at 11:18am Reply

  • Karen: Many congratulations on ten years of inspiring and beautiful writing! My world is bigger thanks to you and all the BdJ community! April 21, 2015 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Karen! xoxo April 22, 2015 at 11:18am Reply

  • Aisha: Thank you soooooo much for starting this blog and for sharing your prose with us. You, Andy, Patricia and Elisa bring such beauty in to our lives. Congratulations on 10 years. Here’s to the next decade, and beyond! April 21, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you on behalf of all of us! 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:19am Reply

  • spe: Happy 10th to my favorite perfume blog! Thank you for sharing the history with us. I enjoy every post and always look forward to reading the community interactions as well. It’s a wonderful group you’ve gathered from across the globe. Thank you BdJ and thank you, other readers, for the joy and knowledge you’ve brought to me. April 21, 2015 at 10:24am Reply

    • Victoria: We’re a diverse bunch! 🙂 Glad to meet all of you.

      Thank you! April 22, 2015 at 11:19am Reply

  • Lizzie St Clair: Wow! A decade of sublime scents, delicate and delicious recipes and poetic musings on all the things that make life good. Thank you Victoria. Your blog is my ‘go to’ place for when I need a lift xxx April 21, 2015 at 11:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your kind words, Lizzie! Always glad to see you here. April 22, 2015 at 11:21am Reply

  • Raquel: Happy Anniversary!
    You write so beautiful and I love and enjoy this blog so much, as someone said, this is a secret garden for my soul. This article touched my heart, my respect for your beloved grandmother.
    Congratulations Victoria. April 21, 2015 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: I appreciate your words, Raquel. Thank you very much! April 22, 2015 at 11:21am Reply

  • Ariadne: Many happy returns! Thank you so much for the beauty you share here. April 21, 2015 at 1:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s my pleasure to share! Thank you for reading and commenting. April 22, 2015 at 11:22am Reply

  • Ingeborg: Happy 10th anniversary! I enjoy reading and sometimes commenting. I have followed this blog since I first discovered perfume blogs around 2011 or 2012.

    Special thanks to Victoria for having also replied to an e-mail when I was a total newbie.

    I like this blog’s cross-cultural texts and the varied comments a lot. And generally I find people leave few snarky comments, always a plus. April 21, 2015 at 3:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure, Ingeborg! I hope that my reply helped out. 🙂
      Thank you very much. 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:25am Reply

  • Adrienne Wilson: You bring such richness to our lives with your blog. It is we who are blessed. Your descriptions are so evocative that I can almost smell what you are describing. Did you ever see Dasha again? I hope so. She was so influential in your early life and left a big fingerprint on your heart. April 21, 2015 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Adrienne!
      I haven’t see Dasha since I left for the US, but she remains near. April 22, 2015 at 11:26am Reply

      • Adrienne Wilson: It is very emotionally rewarding to reconnect with early influencing people in our lives. I did so recently with one of my old school teachers from middle school who had introduced amazing poetry to us. Still one of my passions. I hope you manage to see Dasha and tell her all about how far you have come since those walks in the forest. April 24, 2015 at 3:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: As I wrote in the last paragraph of my article, Dasha passed away, so once I moved away, I never saw her again. Sorry if I wasn’t clear, and thank you for your nice words. April 24, 2015 at 4:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Adrienne!
      I haven’t seen Dasha since I left for the US, but she remains near. April 22, 2015 at 11:26am Reply

      • Adrienne Wilson: Oh, now I see. I read it again. I had not understood who she was…..Dasha is your beloved grandmother. As you said, she is near. May we be lucky enough to have another ten years from your pen. April 25, 2015 at 7:06am Reply

  • Karen 5.0: Happy Anniversary, Victoria! This moving post is one of the many reasons I read your blog on an almost daily basis. It’s an oasis of inspiration, calm, and beauty. April 21, 2015 at 6:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Karen! April 22, 2015 at 11:28am Reply

  • angeldiva: Hi Victoria!
    Love the blog. Love the photographs. Love my perfume collection, and the knowledge that I learned here to build the perfume collection!
    I can’t remember the exact quote ( I wrote it down somewhere…) but, I believe you were writing about selecting a perfume in the morning.
    * The perfume satisfied my required level of glamour for the day*
    I thought – wow, omg, this is , well… FABULOUS! And, a teensy bit camp!
    BdJ has helped to lift me up and out and about of some difficult years…
    Thank-you, and continued success, and good wishes! I lift my bottle of Annick Goutal Le Chevrefuille (five star rating) , and salute all of you.
    Best,
    Angeldiva April 21, 2015 at 6:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for this generous compliment! I’m chuckling over the quote you’ve remembered. Yes, it’s camp. 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:29am Reply

  • Floragal: What a lovely, heart felt post.
    I love how you connected your 7 year old self and the blue journal with your blog of today.
    And your memories of your grandmother take me back to the memories I have of my paternal grandmother. How precious those memories are.
    Congrats on your 10 year anniversary, and thank you for being you and following your passions which has led to this very special community. April 21, 2015 at 10:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I guess, I’m still interested in many similar things. 🙂 And I still love forest walks.

      Thank you very much! April 22, 2015 at 11:30am Reply

  • Karima: Dear Victoria,
    Congratulations on 10 years of sharing experiences and discoveries – in such a delightful and moving manner! I eagerly await each new post and want to thank you for adding another fantastic dimension to my life (and others’ through my ravings).
    Looking forward to future treasures from you and this wonderful community! April 22, 2015 at 6:45am Reply

    • Victoria: All of you have made my day, nay, my weeks with these nice, supportive words. Thank you very much. April 22, 2015 at 11:31am Reply

  • Ariane: Dearest Victoria, I have been reading your blog every day almost from the beginning. It is a daily pleasure and, as others have noted, your beautiful writing, knowledge and charm inspire and unite the international readers who comment with the same courtesy. It is a beautiful oasis you have created for us all. Thank you.
    Ariane April 22, 2015 at 8:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Ariane, thank you! Everyone is being so kind, so generous that I feel very touched. April 22, 2015 at 11:32am Reply

  • Brainfodder: Congratulations on ten years of Bois de Jasmin and a huge thanks for the many hours I’ve spent enjoying your posts. Those minutes and hours are rather like a small solitary journey into a woodland glade – a chance to stop, stand, stare and drink up those wonderful sights, and imaginary smells and sounds 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 9:07am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 I like the idea of Bois de Jasmin as a forest walk—all of us sitting on the grass, drinking tea, gathering wild strawberries and talking about scents. April 22, 2015 at 11:33am Reply

    • angeldiva: How beautiful! April 22, 2015 at 6:28pm Reply

  • Tasha: Congratulations Victoria!

    I love your blog so much. It’s a place of inspiration, beauty, and calmness for me all day the same time. You have a wonderful gift of writing, but most importantly, a gift of seeing beauty around you, appreciating the little details and creating a truly special and poetic world around you – including us, readers.

    To many more! 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 10:49am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Tasha! I suppose to me, those little details make such a big difference. This is the reason why I’m drawn to the Japanese aesthetic so much. April 22, 2015 at 11:35am Reply

  • Karen: Thank you – you’ve explained what I was seeking and found within your website: finding beauty, peace and joy in the midst of trauma, confusion and struggles. April 22, 2015 at 10:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Karen! One needs to stay sane in this world. 🙂 April 22, 2015 at 11:35am Reply

  • Gabriela: Love, love, love your blog! Congratulations, you cheer up my days. April 22, 2015 at 11:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Gabriela! April 23, 2015 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Edward: Dear Victoria,

    Happy 10 years to you blog. I hope you will continue enjoying what this life has to offer and sharing your experience with us. God speed!

    Sincerely,
    Edward April 22, 2015 at 1:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your wishes, Edward! I hope so too! April 23, 2015 at 12:08pm Reply

  • nozknoz: Thank you so much for this beautiful blog, Victoria! Your anniversary post is one to cherish. There is nothing like discovering that what one is doing in adulthood is the realization of something one particularly loved doing as a child. Then you know you are on the right path and being true to your deepest self.

    Heart-filled congratulations and best wishes! April 22, 2015 at 7:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much! I also found a little note from my teacher who said that I should become either a biologist or a writer. So I suppose I kind of combined both. 🙂 April 23, 2015 at 12:09pm Reply

  • solanace: I feel so lucky for knowing about this blog, Victoria. Thank you for sharing your memories and knowledge. For being such a sweet person. Love your writing and the witty, generous, funny commenters. You guys bring joy and perfume to my life, everyday. April 23, 2015 at 9:09am Reply

    • Victoria: Same here! I feel very grateful to meet so many different, fascinating people, to have this constant source of inspiration thanks to all of you. It is all very precious and very special. Thank you. April 23, 2015 at 12:11pm Reply

  • AndreaR: Congratulations, Victoria! Each and every one of your posts is radiant and I look forward to reading them because they brighten my day. You also give us pause to reflect on occasion, but as my grandmother said you can’t taste sweetness of life unless you also taste the sour.
    Mnohaya Lita!!! April 24, 2015 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: Aw, thank you so much, Andrea! It’s the best gift to have all of you around. 🙂 April 24, 2015 at 4:16pm Reply

  • Christiana: Beautiful story..thankyou for such a wonderful journey through your visual and olfactory reminisce from your childhood. Such a powerful time to connect memory and experiences with scent and emotion.
    Congrats on 10yrs, here’s to another 10! April 25, 2015 at 7:50am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Christiana! 🙂 I’m very happy that you liked it. April 25, 2015 at 9:16am Reply

  • Johanob: Congratulations on the HUGE milestone!Even though I do not comment that much,always an avid reader!!xo Johano April 25, 2015 at 3:04pm Reply

  • SilverMoon: Congratulations on ten years of the blog. It is my first time commenting, although I have been following this wonderful blog and its community for over a year. My perfume hobby started some three years ago, mainly after reading Turin & Sanchez, although I have loved perfumes long before. What keeps my perfume interest alive is BdJ more than anything else. Its beautiful pictures, thoughtful comments, perfectly romantic descriptions, and sharing spirit really make it a pleasure to read.

    I have never commented on any blog before, but hope this will get me over my online shyness! May the blog have at least another ten years. Victoria, the many comments on this post are a testament to the joy you bring many people. Hope it keeps giving you much joy too. April 25, 2015 at 5:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Welcome! And please don’t be shy to join in. Many people here are newbies, and it’s more fun to learn together. All of us love meeting other perfume lovers. 🙂

      Thank you very much for your words. So nice to hear this. April 26, 2015 at 11:01am Reply

  • elisa p: Congrats and thanks for keeping it going for so long. Your blog is the first I ever discovered while searching the internet for a discontinued fragrance (Loccitane Eau d’Iparie). I had no clue people like you were devoting time to thoughtful discussions about perfume! I was so thrilled and have been hooked ever since. I’m not sure what it is about smell that is so gratifying for some, but It’s nice to find a community of people who experience the world also through scent. April 26, 2015 at 12:57am Reply

    • Victoria: Glad that Eau d’Iparie brought you here, and thank you very much. Yes, scent is incredibly gratifying, and it’s such a pleasure to explore all aspects of them. I also can’t point out the exact thing that makes it so, but perhaps, that’s just it, the multifaceted nature of perfume hobby. April 26, 2015 at 10:49am Reply

  • Amer: I am so happy for the BdJ anniversary and once more moved by your beautiful and evocative writing. I wish it will go on and on forever keeping me good company.

    I will admit that I have been a fool lately and skipped the chance of looking through your magical window quite a few times but I was suffering from depression. I had been living in a world without colour or scent for a couple of months now and only recently started snapping out of it, not before some serious introspection.

    First thing I did to reinstate myself in reality was start taking long walks again to let the spring sip into my body. Second thing was call out to friends whom I shunned away from during this period. Third thing was re-engage BdJ.

    Thank you V for all you’ve shared with us through these years (although I am not sure exactly when I joined your journey). Thank you for keeping this window open, through which a childhood garden of scents, that would have otherwise been forgotten, can be felt still. April 26, 2015 at 5:30am Reply

    • Victoria: Amer, thank you for your moving words, and I really hope that whenever you feel the pangs of depression, you’ll remember that there are all of us here. I’m sure you have many great friends around you, but just talking about perfumes, art and beautiful things can be a tremendous help. I’m sorry to hear you went through this. I’m very glad to see you here again. April 26, 2015 at 10:46am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Hi Victoria,

    Congratulations on 10 years of Bois de Jasmin. With this wonderful forum you make a significant contribution to the world of perfume, not to mention the world of culture in general. Many thanks to you, your co-authors and all of the commenters. May Bois de Jasmin flourish for many years to come! April 28, 2015 at 5:19am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! 🙂

      I was just weeding around our violets and thinking of your Violet Room. April 28, 2015 at 6:26am Reply

  • jeannine Nye: I have just discovered your beautiful blog, and reading your latest post, was blown away by the descriptive power of your words… was straight into the scenes, and so, I congratulate you on your writing skills and will be back to see more.. happy days for you I hope will be for you soon, and meanwhile a hug from the UK to say Hallo April 29, 2015 at 8:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Welcome, Jeannine! I’m glad that you found us and that you like the articles. A big hug to you back! April 29, 2015 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Anne-Catherine: Congratulations Victoria! I love the way you write about your passion. I always feel the spirit of the Slavic culture when I read your beautiful writing, the same romanticism ( not Laura Ashley but Goethe’s Sehnsucht und weltschmerz ) I feel when listening to Prokofiev or reading Dostojewsky.
    I know your website a few years already, but since the end of last year began to comment! It has been a big comfort while I was (still am) recovering from Epstein-Barr virus, a virus which makes people very tired, and can last about a year.
    Also thanks to your colleagues! April 29, 2015 at 1:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for your compliment, Anne-Catherine! I hope that your recovery is moving smoothly. Wishing you much health and happiness! April 29, 2015 at 2:37pm Reply

  • OperaFan: Dear V –

    I know I’m really late to this post, but I do want to celebrate your bolg’s very significant milestone. Your posts have done so much in enriching my knowledge and enhancing my ability to discern and appreciate fragrances that I can’t thank you enough.
    I also appreciate postes like these, the sharing of your personal stories that help remind us of our own stories and the need to remember and treasure them.
    Thank you, and Congratulations!
    XOXO
    a:) May 1, 2015 at 12:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much! It’s a touching thing to say, and I appreciate it. I was thinking recently how much I regret not asking my grandparents more about their life when they were still around. It’s important to remember and to pay attention, since the stories of those who came before us invariably influence us. May 2, 2015 at 9:51am Reply

  • Carina: Lovely May 20, 2015 at 8:07am Reply

  • Annette: Dear Victoria, I am late to the party, I know; I have had a hectic schedule since the beginning of March plus some family matters to attend to, but I just must come and tell you how glad I am that you created your blog and have kept it the friendliest place online I know. Congratulations on your anniversary! May you celebrate many more such anniversaries in the future!

    Your story of your young self is so touching. And your memories of your grandmother are so moving. Thank you for sharing them.

    Although I haven’t been around for some time now, please know that I remember you and the lovely community you have gathered around you and your beautiful blog. All the best for the future, dear Victoria! 🙂 June 11, 2015 at 9:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for your kind words, Annette! I’m happy to see you here, but of course, I understand that other things take priority. I hope that everything is going well. June 12, 2015 at 2:33am Reply

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