Traveling Perfume Box : Europe

Our European perfume box is ready to make its next round. Thank you, Christine! 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 Christine’s 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 Christine? ; 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 perfume are you wearing today? 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 person to receive the box is laurinha.

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.

“What an enjoyable and educational three weeks this has been. The box contains such a mix of perfumes, from mainstream to niche to discontinued that there was no way I felt I could sample each one. Accordingly I dipped into perfumes that appealed to me, either through reputation or perfume notes; I sampled from Perfume Houses I had not previously encountered and I also tried a few I was convinced I would dislike! Trying to put these perfume experiences into words has brought home to me how important it is to try and write down scent descriptions when trying to improve the nose. I have struggled at times to put into words my scent impressions and in a peculiar way, if I cannot describe it, I do not seem to be able to smell it so well, or is the other way round, a chicken and egg situation?

So, in no particularly meaningful order, here are my perfume notes:

Hermes l’Eau des Merveilles : opens with a lemony sparkle and then becomes milky but light. It seems both sweet and sour at the same time and is delightful. I sampled this on a grey cold day but I can imagine it being even nicer in warm weather.

Serge Lutens Jeux de Peau: I put this on with trepidation, its reputed bread note rather terrifying me. I got burnt gingerbread. I’m afraid I scrubbed it off as soon as I could. I was amused to read that Aurora did not fare well with this either.

Serge Lutens Santal de Mysore: mm mm…. nutty sandalwood, then cumin/curry spice but against a woody background so not overly foodie. It reminds me of walking in a garden and getting occasional whiffs of curry plant (helichrysum italicum). I love the long sandalwood dry down.

Diptyque Tam Dao EDT: starts off with an almost edible nuttiness, which swiftly turns into a cross between the smell of a sauna and the inside of an office stationary cupboard. I quite like it.

Comme des Garcons Blue Santal: very different take on sandalwood to the Serge Lutens. This alternates sandalwood nuttiness with cool, peppery pine and juniper berry. I really get a cold, almost mentholated feel from it. The fragrance keeps shifting between woody and cool. It is not sweet at all. I like it and also think it would work well on a man.

Comme des Garcons Blue Cedrat: opens with a whoosh of lemon that is bright but not sweet. l get juniper and I read from the notes that there is also a quinine accord. I imagine myself sitting on a wooden deck at the edge of a sun warmed forest, sipping a gin and tonic to which I’ve added a dash of bitters. There is a smell of wood and roots and nearby flowers. I like this. It is refreshing but not sweet. I think the weak point is the dry down which has a touch of furniture polish to it.

Diptyque l’eau de Neroli: lovely simple refreshing neroli enlivened with what seemed to me a bit of pepperiness (not in the notes, but perhaps the herbs?) A clean dry down. Not long lasting but very pleasant.

Un Pays de la Fleur Oranger Neroli Blanc (EDP) – The opening smells like the candied oranges I remember finding in a shop in Rome, becoming a lovely heady orange blossom. Rose and some other subtle fruit round out the fragrance, giving it more depth and body. I really like this, except it seemed to fade quite suddenly on me. I somehow missed the dry down.

Bottega Veneta Knot: ummm … clean orange blossom

Olfactive Studio Perfumes: I had been interested in trying these for a while, finding the concept of using a photo to inspire a fragrance interesting. Autoportrait – this starts off smoky and minty and slightly musty, like opening a box of old papers. There is a cool waft of incense. It then becomes warmer and woodier. I can smell cedar, but it is also grassy, but not fresh grass, rather more the smell of grass clippings gently composting in the warmth. I also get a bit of fruitiness. It is a slightly weird scent to me overall but I can sort of see the inspiration from the photo, a slightly introspective self-portrait. Lumiere Blanche – I really wanted to like this. I like the photograph that inspires it and the whole idea of the perfume; the milky cocoon, the contrast between hot and cold notes. Alas, there is something high pitched in this that sets my teeth on edge and I cannot get beyond this.

Grossmith Golden Chypre : a new perfume house for me. A warm, woody spicy scent with a fleeting bit of smokiness and a floral background. I can appreciate that it is well crafted but it did not move me.

Amouage Honour : creamy watery flowers. Much more restrained and well behaved than I was expecting. As time went on it became less watery but also cooler, less creamy.

Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage : pretty fresh green floral with a hint of fruitiness. ( I read that it is supposed to evoke gardenia) Translucent , watery, gentle and happy. Wears close to the skin. A nice spring, early summer fragrance.

Alexander McQueen Kingdom : I approached this cautiously because it appears to be a very polarising scent with a raunchy reputation, but oh my, it is a beautiful perfume. It begins intense and heavy with a smell I translate as sticky coffee, spicy and aromatic, cumin like (the celery seed listed in the notes?). But then it blooms into a beautiful rose and jasmine perfume. The aromatics remain in the background the whole time lending interest and depth. This is discontinued and commands high prices on eBay.

Fendi Theorema : another discontinued scent and it is gorgeous. It is the olfactory equivalent of a wonderful nutmeg flavoured milk chocolate I used to love, also discontinued!! (there is no actual chocolate note, it is just what it makes me think of) It is a beautiful blend of spices and florals. This is one I might have to search for.

Paul Emilien Une Belle Journee : sweet violet candy and fruity rose underpinned by woody, earthy, mineral, mossy notes. I like this, but it is slightly strange to me in that it seems to have a gap in the middle between the flowery, fruity top and the woody, mossy lower notes. Maybe there is something that I do not smell. Has a long woody, mossy dry down. Quite like it.

Roger et Gallet Amande Persane : this took me back to childhood and pots of marzipan smelling glue. I mean this in a nice way. The fragrance has a floral, soapy, but also slightly bitter almond smell. It does not seem to form part of the existing line-up of Roger et Gallet products here in the UK but on searching I found that you can still buy it online retailers for very reasonable prices. I’m thinking it might be nice to have the shower crème or soaps.

Burberry Brit Rhythm : I agree with Aurora’s notes on this. In addition it reminds me of strawberry milk bottle sweets, which may be a UK thing.

Phaedon Black Vetiver: I find this rather fierce. I think I may be a vetiver wimp.

Etro Shaal Nur : It is spicy and a little bit dark and dusty, becoming warmer and woody and sweeter as time goes on but with a hint of smoke. I think of being in an empty room, a shaft of sunlight illuminating the polished wood floor, looking out through french windows to dark green woods.

Caron Piu Bellodgia : a sweet, powdery, old fashioned soapy floral, mostly jasmine and rose. I really don’t detect anything I would think of as carnation. It is quite pleasant in an old fashioned way. I think I would prefer it as soap.

Atelier Silver Iris : has a bit of the damp cardboard note that I think I associate with iris. I get this from Après l’Ondee too. It wears close to the skin but I find myself sniffing my wrist and keep noticing that I smell nice. A perfume you could wear anywhere.

Diptyque l’Ombre dans l’Eau (EDP) : I tried the EDT some time ago and hated it. I had to wash it off. So I was a bit nervous of trying this. But gosh, I love this; from its fresh green , sappy opening, to the scent of earth and roots and blackcurrant leaves, and the soft fruity rose. Diptyque says it is evocative of a walk in an English garden. I think the walk takes you through from early morning to the warmth of the afternoon. As the fragrance develops there is a rosy honeyed sweetness but there is always a sense of tart green foliage beneath. I am seriously considering saving up for a bottle.”

The updated list for the sample box is as follows:
Agonist Onyx Pearl
A Lab on Fire what we do in Paris is secret
Alexander McQueen Kingdom
Amouage Gold
Amouage Honour
Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrian
Annick Goutal Un Matin d’Orage
Atelier Cologne Grand neroli
Atelier Cologne Mistral Patchouli

Bottega Veneta Kno
By Kilian Back to Black
By Kilian Playing with the Devil
By Kilian Vodka on the Rocks

Cacharel Loulou
Caron Lady Caron
Caron Piu Bellodgia
Chanel Coco Madamoiselle
Chanel Cristalle Eau Verte
Comme des Garcons Blue Santal
Comme des Garcons Blue Cedrat

Diptyque l’Eau Neroli EDC
Diptyque Tam Dao EDT
Donna Karan Gold

Etat Libre d’Orange Noel au Balcon
Etro Shaal Nur

Fendi Theorema
Frederic Malle l’Eau d’Hiver
Frederic Malle Vetiver Extraordinaire

Grossmith Amelia
Grossmith Floral Veil
Grossmith Golden Chypre
Grossmith saffron Rose
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noir
Guerlain l’Homme Ideal

Hermes l’Ambre des Merveilles
Hermes l’Elixir des Merveilles
Hermes l’Eau des Merveilles
Hermes Jour Absolu
Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil
Hermes Voyage

Jardins d’Ecrivains Wilde
Jardins d’Ecrivains Junky
J.F. Schwarzlose Berlin, Treffpunt 8 Uhr

L’Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons
Liz Earle No 1
Liz Earle No 15

Miller Harris Noix de Tubereuse

Narciso Eau de Parfum

Olfactive Studio Autoportrait
Olfactive studio Lumiere Blanche
Ormonde Jayne Osmanthus

Paul Emilien Une Belle Journee
Penhaligon’s Tra La La

Roger et Gallet Amande Persane
Rouge Bunny Rouge Cynefin
Rouge Bunny Rouge Embers
Rouge Bunny Rouge Silvan

Shay & Blue Amber Rose
Shay & Blue Atropa Belladonna
Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille
Tauer Perfumes Pentachord White
Vero Perfumes Onda EDP

4160 Tuesdays Doe in the Snow
4160 Tuesdays Sexiest scent on the Planet

Yves Rocher Rose Absolue

Additions and Take Aways
I have kept Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger Neroli Blanc and Diptyque l’Ombre dans l’Eau.

Emptied samples: Phaedon Black Vetiver, Burberry Brit Rhythm

I have added to the box –
Agonist Onyx Pearl
Jardins d’Ecrivains Junky
L’Artisan La chasse aux Papillons
Liz Earle Botanical Essence No 15
Narciso EDP
Penhaligon’s Tra La La
Shay & Blue Amber Rose
Shay & Blue Atropa Belladonna
Tauer Perfumes Une Rose Vermeille
Tauer Perfumes Pentachord White
Vero Profumo Onda EDP
4160 Tuesdays Doe in the snow
4160 Tuesdays Sexiest Scent on the Planet

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, Barcelona



  • laurinha: 1) I am in Europe (UK) and am happy to share my email address with Christine;
    2) I agree to pass the box onto someone else (and add a couple of my own samples and share my sampling notes);
    3) today I’m wearing Borneo 1834 (Serge Lutens)

    Best wishes May 7, 2015 at 10:49am

  • Aurora: Hello Christine: What a great read! I laughed at ‘vetiver wimp’ and loved your description of Shaal Nur, so poetic I was transported to that blonde wood room and its vista. So glad you liked Neroli Blanc.

    Isn’t the box the best exercise ever?

    All my best May 7, 2015 at 12:13pm

    • ChristineB: Yes, I’ve had great fun with the box. It’s such a great opportunity to smell fragrances you might not otherwise think of trying.

      And thank you for introducing me to Neroli Blanc.

      Best wishes May 7, 2015 at 12:27pm

  • Reg: This is slowly getting quite a bulging package 😀 The notes are great. And I had the exact same experience with the l’Ombre dans l’Eau EdT. I found it truly nightmarish. I never tried the EdP because of that and always wondered why people loved it so much. So I guess I have to try that one. You even kept the sample!

    1. yes
    2. yes
    3. Amouage Memoir, the first Amouage I like and just bought it for 1/2 price. Still an investment! May 7, 2015 at 3:36pm

    • ChristineB: Yes, do give the l’Ombre dans l’Eau EDP a try. Perhaps I should have left it in the sample box for others to test! May 7, 2015 at 7:10pm

  • Jack Sullivan: I’d love to enter! I’m in Europe (France) and yes of course, I will send the box to someone else when I’m done.
    Still scentless at the moment (in my PJs, drinking litres of coffee while browsing my favorite blogs, if you must know – it’s a public holiday here!) but later on I’ll be wearing Jangala from Pierre Guillaume’s Collection Croisière. May 8, 2015 at 2:51am

  • Gentiana: 1)YES, I am in Europe (ROMANIA)
    2) iam happy to share my email address with Christine;
    3) I agree to pass the box onto someone else (and add a couple of my own samples and share my sampling notes);
    4) today I’m wearing APRES L’ONDEE… feeling gorgeous ! May 8, 2015 at 3:46am

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