Traveling Perfume Box : Continental Europe

Our European perfume box has ran into trouble leaving the UK, so we are starting a new collection of samples in France. The UK box will be announced separately. If you are in Europe (any country but the UK) and would like to participate, here is how you can do it. And whether you’re participating or not, please read Jack Sullivan’s perfume descriptions below. She has been kind enough to volunteer her samples.


How does it work: To enter, please post a comment answer these questions: 1) are you in Europe (any country but the UK), and if you’re a winner, can I share your email address with Jack? ; 2) do you agree to pass the box onto someone else within two weeks or so (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 recipient: Kayliz.

When a winner is ready to pass the box onto someone else, they should get in touch with me. Please include the full 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.

Smelling Notes

Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe: if you have already smelled Ambre Sultan, chances are that Ambre Russe will smell familiar with its aromatic herbs and spices. But as austere as her bigger sister may feel, this one is made more playful and expansive by the addition of boozy notes, which feel almost fruity against the darkest background of black tea and incense, like a brightly embroidered blouse against an officer’s coat from the Czars’ era. The sillage is enormous, and one spray more can be one too many.

EnVoyage Parfums Zelda: while the name is a reference to Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s tragic spouse, I picture the young Joan Crawford (my flapper of choice!) whenever I wear this perfume: she’s high on champagne, her beaded dress reeks of spilled drinks and cigar smoke from the men’s room, she is exhausted from having spent hours dancing on tables and she has crushed the wilting magnolias in her hair by resting her head on her suitor’s tuxedo jacket. It doesn’t matter that you’re wearing sweatpants and that your hair is a mess, this perfume will make you feel like a queen.

Vero Profumo Rozy (Voile d’Extrait concentration): this one is a bit of a puzzle, but that’s probably what is so good about it. I don’t like honey in perfumes, my skin amplifies it as it does for every sweet note and soon I feel smothered in a sugary pillow I can’t get away from. Rozy has a huge honey note, but not the “usual” honey note: think heather honey, the slightly medicinal taste it leaves in your throat; then send it head first against tuberose and watch it morph into a flower bush under the Mediterranean sun, vibrating and humming with insect life. The result is odd, fantastic and so far up the “sexiness” scale that you might feel uncomfortable wearing it.

Aedes de Venustas Œillet Bengale: fireworks of a scent where rose masquerades as a carnation behind a thick cloud of spices – nevermind what the list of note says, I mostly get saffron and pepper, dry as a desert wind. The first minutes of the first spraying nearly made me panic because it feels huge and impossible to wear safely in the office, but it soon settles down and wraps around you like the warmest scarf.

Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisière – Jangala: a breath of fresh air between an overheated tropical canopy and the rich, rain-soaked soil. Intensely vegetal yet sweet thanks to a carefully balanced coconut-sandalwood accord, when most “green” scents would rather go the “tangy” way. Not much evolution on skin but I don’t mind, it could go on forever like this – the scent of a suspended time in the summer heat.

Samples in the box

Parfum d’Empire Ambre Russe
EnVoyage Parfums Zelda
Vero Profumo Rozy (Voile d’Extrait concentration)
Aedes de Venustas Œillet Bengale
Pierre Guillaume Collection Croisière – Jangala
Annick Goutal – Heure exquise (eau de parfum)
Annick Goutal – Nuit étoilée (eau de parfum)
Parfumerie Générale – Cozé
Naomi Goodsir – Bois d’Ascèse
Naomi Goodsir – Cuir Velours
Thierry Mugler Les Exceptions – Oriental Express

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, Cabris, Provence



  • Austenfan: I don’t need to enter, just was amused by that poor box of harmless samples, desperate to leave the UK 🙂 June 18, 2015 at 7:52am

    • Victoria: Yes, the regulations on shipping perfume out of the UK have intervened. I completely forgot about that. June 18, 2015 at 10:34am

      • Austenfan: I first found out about that when I tried to reorder a bottle of Caldey Island Lavender. I need to send someone to the UK to get it for me 🙂 June 18, 2015 at 11:09am

        • Hana: I think you can buy at Manufactum (a German site and I’m not affiliated)…;) June 18, 2015 at 11:44am

          • Hana: I meant “that”…the Caldey Lavender…submitted the comment too early. June 18, 2015 at 11:45am

        • Victoria: What do you think of that perfume? June 18, 2015 at 2:33pm

          • Austenfan: Love it! Remember that I’m very partial to lavender, but it’s such a nice straightforward rendition, with reasonable staying power. Have you tried it? June 18, 2015 at 3:27pm

            • kayliz: Austenfan, if Manufactum falls through: I’m in Germany too and ordered perfume from Escentual in the UK recently. It was no problem (unless you call waiting almost 2 weeks for delivery via the Netherlands a problem — this is apparently Escentual’s way round the postal issue). One or two UK companies appear to have found solutions to the problem — including Roullier White, who stock Caldey Island (and who also do samples…) June 18, 2015 at 9:08pm

              • Aurora: Yes, my understanding is that UK businesses still manage to ship to Europe, it’s for regular folks that the restrictions seem to be applied strictly. June 19, 2015 at 7:48am

              • Austenfan: Thanks, I thought that Escentual didn’t ship to continental Europe anymore either. Good to know that I may still obtain some Caldey!
                Manufactum doesn’t stock it on their internet site. June 19, 2015 at 8:26am

            • Victoria: No, I haven’t. I can’t find it in Brussels and ordering it from the UK unsniffed doesn’t seem sensible. June 19, 2015 at 10:20am

  • Aurora: Just to say, as ever, I enjoyed reading the notes and I found the description of Zelda in particular so vivid.

    It must have been so frustrating, Jack, for you, Christine and Victoria to see the original box fall victim to the regulations. June 18, 2015 at 1:11pm

    • Jack Sullivan: Oh well ^_^ I have more scents than I can try and I’m more than happy to share. June 19, 2015 at 2:43am

      • Aurora: And you made a thoughtful, wonderful mix for the first installment. I recall how happy I was to choose and prepare samples for the box.

        I wish fair sailing to the new Continental Europe box. June 19, 2015 at 7:54am

  • Reg: How generous to start a new box (instead of receiving one yourself 🙁

    1) + 2) yes 3) Keiko Mecheri Iris d’Argent, one of my most regular fragrances, and one I like to wear when I go out. June 18, 2015 at 6:50pm

  • kayliz: Wonderful descriptions!

    I’m in Germany, agree to have my email passed on, would send on within 2 weeks, and have quite a few samples I’d love to add to the box.
    I tried out Black Tea by Monotheme today (and wondered what it would be like layered over Bvlgari Black). June 18, 2015 at 9:14pm

  • Lyubov: Real European box at last – thank you, thank you, thank you, Victoria!!!
    I am in Europe (Bulgaria), and of course you can send my details to Jack Sullivan, if I here. I will do my best to report everything I tested and pass the box within two weeks time. That will certainly stimulate my imagination and writing! And thinking out my own samples to pay forward is another challenging thing to do!
    Ombra di Tiglio by L’Erbolario is keeping me aromatic company today. Or I should say, for almost a month now, because I am obsessed with the linden blossom outside…
    Thanks again for the chance! June 19, 2015 at 8:42am

    • Lyubov: *win was the missing word, I am sorry.
      I should add that I am most excited about Zelda and Rozy, mmm!!! June 19, 2015 at 8:44am

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