Reflections on 2020

I don’t like the phrase “new normal,” especially since there is nothing normal about the situation that 2020 forced us to accept–staying away from others, fearing human touch, human presence, human breath. 2020 was not normal, and my way of coping had its ups and downs.  Not being able to see my family for almost a year was the hardest part. Nevertheless, there were some bright moments this year, and in this post, I wanted to highlight them.

You

One of the best parts of this year was the Bois de Jasmin community. Your comments, enthusiasm, and support have boosted my mood on more occasions than I can mention. Your support ensured that even on the most difficult weeks I looked forward to sitting down and writing, that even on the most difficult days I still discovered something interesting to share with you. I’ve been writing Bois de Jasmin for almost 16 years, and I already knew how generous and kind this community was. 2020 once again proved it.

Creating

The sense of curiosity, the pleasure of making something, the flights of creativity. Channeling my energy into creative projects, whether it meant cooking, writing, or photography, helped me find balance and inspired me to keep going. There were many moments when I felt depressed and couldn’t find the energy to get out of bed, thinking that ahead was another day being locked inside four walls. Then I thought that I could write about the roses of Iran, design a new formula for a violet accord, cook something delicious or start a book I’ve always wanted to read, and my somber mood vanished. Creativity, in other words, doesn’t have to be about grand projects. Any creative pursuit changes one’s perspective and gives moral support.

Learning

Part of creative projects was learning. Learning new languages, new skills, new ideas. I didn’t read as much this year as I have in previous ones, but I’ve learned Chinese. Learning it made me feel connected to the rest of the world, especially since I kept finding links between Chinese and the other languages I speak such as Japanese, Vietnamese, Indonesian–and even Russian. Having a set lesson schedule was also helpful for giving structure to my days.

Perfume

Scents, flavors, colors. While some sensory impressions were missing during the pandemic, others were more pronounced. I’ve enjoyed studying some of my favorites in more detail and certain perfumes like Chanel No 19 and Serge Lutens La Myrrhe were among my most worn fragrances. They are truly timeless creations, with stories hiding in every single accord. If you’re curious to learn more, you can read about my journey with La Myrrhe (and watch the video I made).

Some new perfumes were likewise memorable. I will mention only two here and save the rest for reviewing in 2021. Gallivant Bukhara was a beautiful iris that captured the azure hues of the ancient Silk Road city. Dusita Moonlight in Chiangmai caught my attention with its exquisite contrast of yuzu-inflected jasmine and myrrh. An elegant, memorable composition that I will wear in 2021 and beyond.

I wish all of you a happy and healthy 2021. I hope that the new year will be better for all of us and that it will help us realize our dreams, satisfy our aspirations and make new discoveries.

As always, I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered in 2020 and what perfumes you wore.

Once again, I wish you a Happy New Year!

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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139 Comments

  • Wanda: Victoria, thank you so much for sharing your journey, you are a highly creative and intelligent person. So inspiring during this past year. I’ve only started following your blog this past year, basically since the beginning of Covid.
    It has helped me immensely to have hope and joy. It’s rich with content and truly a beautiful site. I’m looking forward to the new year and learning and enjoying your endeavors.
    Happy New Year! Warm wishes to you. December 31, 2020 at 9:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Wanda! I’m so glad to hear that my blog helped, even in a little way. Having conversations with all of you is always a pleasure, but last year, it was especially so. January 1, 2021 at 7:46am Reply

  • Gabriela: Your blog has been a light in the dark for this year. Creativity and beauty really help.
    For me, it has been intense but I have enjoyed studying, giving myself permission to have a break and looking after my body and mind.
    I have also treasured time with friends and
    Cuddles with my children. Music has also helped.

    I have so much to be thankful for. Healthy parents and so much more.
    Happy New Year lovely people! December 31, 2020 at 9:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Music was also important for me. I’ve enjoyed my Spotify subscription very much. January 1, 2021 at 7:47am Reply

  • Karima: A very happy New Year to you too!

    This year’s limitations made me appreciate the “small” things in life – a kind word, a fleeting but uplifting waft of fragrance, walks in nature, time spent with a good friend in the few phases it was allowed (and my wedding falling just 3 days before one of many lockdowns in my country), and showed me how blessed I really am. December 31, 2020 at 9:31am Reply

    • Victoria: Wow, what perfect timing! And congratulations again on your wedding! January 1, 2021 at 7:47am Reply

  • Dorothee Teboul: The comments above have really said it all. I just want to wish you a happy new year, and to thank you for your wonderful blog. You bring an intelligent, interesting and gentle attitude to the wonderful world of fragrance. I am grateful! December 31, 2020 at 9:54am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Dorothee! Happy New Year! January 1, 2021 at 7:47am Reply

  • Christine N. Kalleeny: Thank you Victoria for sharing your life with us and inspiring us with your child-like wonderment that radiates brightly through your words. I am grateful to you and to the kind and gifted members of this community that has sustained me through dark times. May this year rain blessings upon you and may you be struck with the wonderment of children , poets and philosophers by the smallest of miracles. December 31, 2020 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for such lovely wishes and kind words, Christine! January 1, 2021 at 7:48am Reply

  • maja: Dear Victoria,

    This year has been horrible and sublime at the same time. I was lucky enough not to get sick and people who did catch the virus and whom I love have all survived so far so that has been a good thing. I will publicly admit that this is the year I have read less than ever in my entire life – and you know how much I love reading – I just wasn’t present mentally and the online work has drained my brain pretty much. But I listened to so much music (discovering literally thousands of new artists) that I eventually had an idea to participate in a local radio being born in my neighborhood where I create a small music radio show for some time now. I haven’t watched a single movie or series as music was the way to soothe my soul and help me cope with the initial wave of stress in Milan which was the first city hit in Europe. Every time I’d hear ambulances in March and April I knew my music needed to be louder.
    Just like you, I missed and still miss my family and friends as well as traveling. But I did have a simply awesome summer, filled with desire to live as much as possible so another plus for this year.
    Not a single new perfume smelled this year as I didn’t have the chance to smell anything. I was wearing big, bright nerolis and tuberoses all summer that felt glamorous and to-heck-with-pandemic.
    Your presence and your new YT channel have been a reminder that life goes on and that everything is still fine since Victoria is there. I could sometimes feel your homesickness and sadness in videos, it would come to the surface and through your voice.
    I hope the new year treats us better.
    Hugs,
    M. December 31, 2020 at 10:17am Reply

    • Dorothee Teboul: May I ask which bright bold Neroli’s and tubereuse you enjoy? December 31, 2020 at 11:01am Reply

      • maja: Sure! I drained a small bottle of Neroli Intense by Nicolai, so sultry and perfect for summer. As far as tuberoses I used Tubereuse Criminelle, Beyond Love and Tubereuse Couture. 🙂 January 1, 2021 at 3:26am Reply

        • Victoria: Mmmm, all of these are favorites. January 1, 2021 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Hvala ti puno, Maja! Nadam se da će nova godina biti bolja za sve nas.

      Many hugs. January 1, 2021 at 7:49am Reply

      • maja: Držimo fige! January 2, 2021 at 4:03am Reply

  • Tourmaline: Dear Victoria,

    Thank you for this lovely post. Reading it has made me feel grateful, once again, that here in Brisbane we did not suffer a lockdown for anywhere near as long as people in other parts of Australia or overseas. Also, while the lockdown did not much alter my own lifestyle, I know that it greatly affected others. For that reason, to gild a metaphor, Bois de Jasmin has been a perfumed port during a sad and silent storm for many readers. I have particularly appreciated your new video medium, which has helped to increase the potential for learning about fragrance.

    In 2020 I learned that accompanying my father to medical appointments on a frequent basis was not the chore I once thought it would be, that it was in fact a joy. This is not to say that I hadn’t accompanied him in the past, but this year the number of his appointments, at age 92, has increased considerably. I also learned that I can be very happy without a television, as mine “died” a couple of months ago, and now I don’t know how I ever found the time to watch it!

    Bright moments of my year have included lunching with my immediate family and other relatives, reading books such as “The Perfume Collector”, discovering films including “Our Little Sister” (Japan, 2015) and “This Beautiful Fantastic” (Britain, 2016), reading and commenting on Bois de Jasmin, writing you a poem to celebrate the 15th anniversary of BdJ, editing a young adult novel I’ve written, and buying some new clothes, shoes (I was never a “shoe person” until I discovered Django & Juliette) and a couple of new perfumes.

    In June I made a new pen-friend, Peter, who comments in these pages, and I have treasured that relationship.

    This year, the perfumes I mainly wore had most to do with their proximity. I have so many, stored in so many different places, that when I applied fragrance prior to dressing, usually whilst in a hurry, I mainly chose those that were nearest, including Mitsouko, Femme, Yvresse, Molinard’s Violette, Pur Desir de Lilas, Rive Gauche, Diamonds and Rubies, Marshmallow and, most recently, Nuit de Noël, which I just bought in December (and am wearing this evening). A resolution for 2021 will be to reorganize my collection so that it’s easier to access, or at least to plan ahead more with my outfits, so that I take out required perfumes and jewellery (which is also stored in many locations) ahead of time.

    This post landed in my Inbox just as the new year dawned and I could hear fireworks in the distance. I know that Bois de Jasmin will be a valued part of my 2021. I wish you health and happiness for the New Year, and hope that it brings you all you dream of. December 31, 2020 at 10:37am Reply

    • Peter: Victoria, a big Mahalo for connecting Tourmaline and myself. January 1, 2021 at 1:01am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Mahalo from me, too, Victoria.

        See, I’m learning Hawaiian! (Not a patch on your learning of Chinese, of course, but I’ve learned about seven words so I’m making progress…) January 1, 2021 at 2:12am Reply

      • Victoria: My pleasure! 🙂 January 1, 2021 at 8:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for sharing your discoveries and for your generosity to me and all of us here. It’s always a pleasure to read your comments, and I appreciate the time you take to help others with their questions and quests.

      I’ve discovered the Father Brown series last year, and I’ve been enjoying them very much. January 1, 2021 at 7:53am Reply

      • Tourmaline: Dear Victoria,

        You are most welcome. Thank you for your kind words. It’s always a pleasure to help where I can.

        I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the Father Brown series. It’s a very “cozy” show to watch during turbulent times. Peter will be particularly glad that you like it, as he does. January 1, 2021 at 8:20am Reply

        • Victoria: We even bought a set of DVDs, because I gave up on BBC and its strange programming. January 1, 2021 at 8:34am Reply

          • Tourmaline: Oh, that was a good move. Then you can watch them whenever it suits you, and you get to see the “extras”. I always love the extras that come on DVDs! January 1, 2021 at 8:37am Reply

    • Lorie: Agree with organizing perfumes! I have 3 full trays in my bedroom that cover all seasons and all moods with no rhyme or reason. And samples. I have hundreds and hundreds. I need to weed them and only keep what I love and gift the rest. Maybe a resolution! January 1, 2021 at 1:39pm Reply

      • Tourmaline: Hi Lorie,

        It’s a good idea for both of us to organize our fragrances so that we can find what we need quickly, and make better use of our collection. Yes, definitely a resolution!

        Happy New Year! January 2, 2021 at 5:37am Reply

  • Phyllis Iervello: Loved you message today! Happy New Year Victoria…I always look forward to your blog but this past year most especially!

    Thank you for your reviews, your muses, your histories and everything else you wrote to us. December 31, 2020 at 10:38am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much, Phyllis! January 1, 2021 at 7:53am Reply

  • Christine Funt: Victoria, Happy 2021 to you and your family. Reading your posts was one bright spot of 2020 and will continue to be a happy part going forward. December 31, 2020 at 10:42am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Christine! Best wishes to you too for the new year. January 1, 2021 at 7:54am Reply

  • Claire Addison: Dear Victoria thank you for these posts and your creativity. And for your role in developing this whole lovely and interesting community. I always look forward to your emails even tho Go my scent knowledge and collection is very small I love hearing about it . Wishing you and everyone else here a safe and restful NY Eve and healthy and nourishing year ahead, Claire. December 31, 2020 at 10:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Claire! January 1, 2021 at 7:54am Reply

  • Karina: Thank you Victoria for your efforts to create beautiful posts for this blog. I enjoyed discovering more about perfumes and their raw materials this year and your blog was a great asset in that endeavour. More than once I thought that I’d wish your reviews came in a book that I could lazily dip into. I’ve also worn Chanel 19 a lot as well as Mitsouko, L’Elephant and Coco. And I’ve ‘discovered’ the beauty of extraits with No 5, which I was surprised at since I have never been drawn to any other No5 version.

    Thank you again Victoria and thanks to all other kind persons posting in this community. Wishing all of you a peaceful 2021. December 31, 2020 at 11:32am Reply

    • Victoria: I also like the No 5 extrait very much, much more than the EDP (too austere) and the EDT (too aldehydic for my tastes). The extrait is so velvety, and yet has an element of freshness. January 1, 2021 at 7:55am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Karina,

      How wonderful that would be – a book of Victoria’s fragrance reviews, and another one with all her other posts! You have given me the idea of printing out all her reviews and putting them into a ringbinder from A to Z! Then I could just add new ones as they were posted. That shall be a project for 2021!

      Then I can start on the other posts…

      Thank you, Karina, for a truly great idea.

      Happy New Year! January 1, 2021 at 7:58am Reply

      • Karina: Hello Tourmaline, I’m glad your putting the book idea into action! It’s a nice project 😊 You are welcome and do send a picture to Victoria once it’s finished – maybe she’ll post it. Have a lovely 2021! January 1, 2021 at 11:57am Reply

        • Tourmaline: Hello again Karina,

          Just give me 20 seconds…

          That’s a line I love from “Four Weddings and a Funeral”!

          No, give me about six months. And if you don’t hear back about it by then, feel free to give me a pep talk in capitals!

          I hope you have a lovely 2021 too. January 2, 2021 at 5:43am Reply

          • Karina: Your comment made me laugh and smile! January 2, 2021 at 6:02am Reply

            • Tourmaline: 😁 🌷 January 2, 2021 at 6:04am Reply

  • Carla: Thank you for continuing your blog, it is such a nice escape and a reminder of all the beauty in life.
    This year, nature got me through a lot of difficulties. Throughout my 20’s and half my 30’s I lived in a big city without owning a car and I turned to things like art museums and theater performances for a lift. Now I am finally discovering nature. I don’t live in a big city anymore and we have so much nature just outside, a walk away. Owls in the evening, foxes, coyotes, deer, turkey, hawks, so many birds. I get excited by fish and otter in the river now! Another form of nature that got me through is the game Wingspan – it’s about birds. My husband and I play way too often! (The loser has to clean up after dinner.)
    Little projects help – right now I am working on re-training my six pound Bolognese dog who is showing signs of “small dog syndrome” and is not so easy to travel with anymore.
    Perfumes that I wore a lot this year were Une Histoire d’Eau and Theorema by Christine Nagel. I just needed a kind of non-descript, well-made, easy oriental. However, when I really need to feel better I turn to Iris Silver Mist or Pour un Homme de Caron.
    Bonne annee et tous mes meilleurs voeux pour 2021! December 31, 2020 at 11:58am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve often found that delving into creative projects or just enjoying art could be the best antidote to stress. The museums were closed in Brussels, but I found so many resources online. If you read Italian, I’d like to share the site I love:
      https://www.finestresullarte.info/ January 1, 2021 at 7:59am Reply

      • Carla: Thank you! January 1, 2021 at 12:07pm Reply

      • Peter: Mahalo Victoria, for the Italian Art site. My laptop prompted me for an English translation. I’m looking forward to a virtual visit. January 1, 2021 at 6:07pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Carla,

      What a lovely comment! It must be wonderful to live near so much wildlife.

      I like Theorema very much. I found a bottle on eBay a few years ago, after a recommendation made by a commenter named Annette some years ago. I really must try Iris Silver Mist.

      Good luck with your little dog, and Happy New Year! January 1, 2021 at 8:04am Reply

      • Carla: Thanks for your kind response – happy new year! January 1, 2021 at 12:08pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: 🙂 🌷 January 2, 2021 at 6:01am Reply

  • Shelly: Victoria, Bois de jasmin has been a welcome day brightener for me during the pandemic. I have enjoyed the you tube videos and the articles. The support and suggestions from the community has been so kind. I have been reacquainted with old favourites, recently Infusion d’iris and Chanel 19 as well as trying something new. I went to somewhere last week where I remember choosing a perfume for my mother with my father we were on holiday when I was about 10 years old. It was Le De Givenchy, I still love it but my Mother didn’t like it and gave it to me some time later. Excited to try some new perfumes in 2021. Wishing you and the community a happy and healthy 2021 December 31, 2020 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m so happy to hear that you liked the posts and videos. Thank you, I hope to add more new topics and explore the ones I’ve already started. January 1, 2021 at 8:00am Reply

  • Karen A: Happy New Year to you Victoria and all BdJ readers! Bois de Jasmin has been a wonderful respite from the news and sense of things being so far off balance.

    No.5 extrait has been my most worn perfume – on me it smells warm and comforting. (I know that’s a bit unusual).

    Wishing everyone a peaceful and calm New Year and 2021. December 31, 2020 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: It makes sense to me. No 5 has many faces. January 1, 2021 at 8:00am Reply

    • Karina: Hello Karen – I agree about no 5 extrait with you. I only discovered it this year and also find it to be warm, enveloping and kind. January 1, 2021 at 12:01pm Reply

      • Karen A: Love the word “kind” as a description! It feels very kind indeed. I know many perfume lovers have used the time of not interacting with lots of people to wear their more challenging fragrances, but I am gravitating to my scents that bring comfort and evoke joyful times. January 1, 2021 at 2:35pm Reply

  • Tara C: Thinking that any of the horrors and painful isolation of 2020 will continue forever fills me with despair, so like you I hate the term new normal. May the vaccine work wonderfully well and may we once again be able to hug and sit close to our friends & family. Thank you so much for this bright spot of beauty in a dismal year! December 31, 2020 at 1:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I completely understand, Tara. I found interacting with strangers at times an odd experience, especially here in BXL where people tend to be quite guarded in general. The pandemic exacerbated it. January 1, 2021 at 8:02am Reply

  • KatieAnn: Happy New Year to you, Victoria and to everyone here. I have been so thankful for this blog during this difficult year. It has been a constant source of joy and beauty. I have also enjoyed your YouTube videos where I was able to hear your lovely voice for the first time. I love listen to you speak about the different perfumes you enjoy and their different characteristics. Then there is your Instagram page. Oh my goodness! Those photos are exquisite. Sometimes I open up the page and scroll through them, taking in all the beauty. I am particularly fond of some older ones that were taken in Ukraine at your Grandmother’s home (I am assuming this the subject). The kitchen with soft sunlight streaming in with a vase of lilacs or a garden with apricots. Absolutely divine. So, thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this aspect of your life with us. My hope for you and for everyone here is that this coming year will be a better one. Still, your ability to share joy in the midst of difficulty has been truly a blessing. December 31, 2020 at 1:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much for your kind words! I’ve enjoyed making the videos, and it makes me happy knowing that others like them. 🙂 January 1, 2021 at 8:12am Reply

      • Karina: I’ve really enjoyed the video too! Hope you find time and space to keep making them 😊 January 1, 2021 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Hamamelis: Thank you for your blog Victoria, I don’t comment as often as I did, but I love reading your posts. I used the post you wrote about the Carol of the Bells (an evening of Bounty) as a kind of christmas story with a small part of my family on Christmas Eve, using my notebook to show the video. My nieces are very gifted musically, and have sung in many choirs. They loved the Ukranian choir! I also learned that evening that many of Bach’s corals in the Weinachtsoratorium come from ‘folk’ melodies that were popular at the time. Then I gave my nieces and my sister perfume, Gabrielle for the youngest, YSL Nu for the eldest and Le temps d’une fete for my sister (I have a few backup bottles). They were delighted, and I chose well, among other things thanks to what I have learned over the years here.

    I didn’t wear perfume during the first wave, having to close down our business was simply to stressful. I started wearing perfume in summer again. Now we had to close down again, but we are better prepared so I kept wearing perfume…Vivacious, Lotus Rising, Vetiver Coeur and Tasmin (la Via del Profumo), as well as many Vero Kerns.

    During lockdowns, although we have to close our business, my workload increases a lot, so I didn’t have time for anything other than surviving as well as possible, with breathing exercises, tai chi, escape reading and lots of walks to keep me sane. December 31, 2020 at 1:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can imagine that this period was busy and stressful, and your ways of handling it are inspiring. I started running on regular basis, and it’s been such a pleasure. I’d finish my morning language classes or work, go for a run, enjoy being outside and then I’d return home full of energy and ready to start the next round of work or studies. January 1, 2021 at 8:13am Reply

    • Karina: Glad you got your perfume mojo back! And best of luck for the business in 2021. Hope things improve in your neck of the woods. January 1, 2021 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Fazal: Unfortunately, the scars of 2020 will not disappear too soon. I am not talking about the usual suspects such as keeping distance from other people but more like the overall fabric of the society.

    It may sound strange but my life has not really changed that much this year; in fact, many things were perfectly routine to me though I did develop a greater appreciation of even the most mundane tasks such as taking a walk to the grocery store. Otherwise, it did not change much. I mean I believed last year that being alive is the greatest privilege and I still believe that this year. I have not visited back home in more than 16 years so maybe I cannot truly understand how social isolation has impacted those who are not used to being away for more than few weeks or months. I cannot look at everything from personal experiences only so I do get it that for some, being away from home for even a year might have been much harder than it is for me not to be able to visit back home for more than a decade. I do not feel much connection with my country of birth so that also made things relatively easier but that is not true for many other people.

    However, I do worry that the upcoming mental health crisis will be quite severe and quite widespread and the symptoms will remain even after the pandemic is largely over. I think we can draw some parallels between this pandemic and the Great Depression of the 1930s and this pandemic even though that was an economic crisis and this is a health crisis though accompanied by adverse economic and social impacts. December 31, 2020 at 2:02pm Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Fazal,

      I was fortunate that my life didn’t have to change much this year, either.

      It is true that the pandemic and economic fallout have had huge negative impacts on mental health, and that this is likely to carry into 2021.

      We are so lucky that we have Bois de Jasmin to help us through. We should spread the word about it to relatives, friends and colleagues – tell them that it is not just about perfume, but about all facets of life. Then they, too, might reap the benefits.

      Happy New Year to you! January 1, 2021 at 8:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I agree with you. This pandemic has changed our world and our lives irrevocably. I don’t think that all of the changes are negative, but many scars will remain. The combination of mental health crisis and economic suffering is definitely the most worrisome. January 1, 2021 at 8:17am Reply

      • Silvermoon: Yes indeed. This is the most worrisome aspect of the pandemic. Going into 2021, I fear this will be the year we will feel the medium and longer term consequences of Covid-19. What I hope is that we will also learn from some of the positive lessons of 2020.

        Happy New Year to Victoria and all the Bois de Jasmine community. Thank you for the many moments of simple happiness and relaxation that I get from reading your beautiful and thoughtful posts and everyone’s comments and suggestions. The kindness of many here is so refreshing and enriching. January 1, 2021 at 1:20pm Reply

    • Fazal: I appreciate everyone’s thoughts.

      Going forward, my best hopes still lie with the average citizens. If our world gets better, it will be primarily due to the deeds of average citizens out there who are mostly anonymous to us and whose work do not usually get newspaper and social media headlines. January 1, 2021 at 1:57pm Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Dear Victoria, reading Bois de Jasmin (both old topics and new) throughout this year has been like a ray of sunshine. It has been a very bad year for me as my dad passed away in March. Your blog and your readers have provided much interest away from the current crisis.

    Hopefully, 2021 will be a brighter and better year! I so miss meeting up with my friends for lunch and a chat, and it will be on the to do list for next year.

    My best discovery of the year is a blind purchase of Lolita Lempicka perfume based on your reviews and that of the BdJ readers. This is my most reached for perfume since autumn and now winter, such a warming perfume so appropriate for this crisp cold winter in London. Buying a bottle of L’Occitane’s Arlesienne perfume, now discontinued, a beautiful rose and violet scent with a hint of dusty saffron.

    I have spent more time reading, and searching for new topics to read.

    I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and good health. Thank you to Victoria for such a wonderful blog!😃 December 31, 2020 at 2:03pm Reply

    • maja: Aw, that is wonderful, another fan of LL, a fantastic perfume in the cutest bottle possible. January 1, 2021 at 3:33am Reply

    • Victoria: My condolences on your loss, Nancy. I can’t even imagine what you were going through. Many hugs to you. January 1, 2021 at 8:18am Reply

    • Victoria: LL is such a delight, isn’t it? I’m glad that it was a nice discovery for you. The original is still my favorite, although some of the flankers weren’t bad either. January 1, 2021 at 8:19am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Nancy, I am sorry to hear of your loss. I understand how hard this year was for you, because my mum passed away in March too. And hopefully 2021 will be a better year.

      I also have a question for you. In the previous post, you mentioned using Aromatherapy Associates bath and shower oils. Do you use the oils just before stepping into the shower or bath? And do you know if one can use them afterwards (i.e. not wash them off)? I just purchased their larger discovery box set to find out what might be my favourite. Unfortunately the rose one isn’t included. January 1, 2021 at 3:58pm Reply

      • Nancy Chan: Hello Silvermoon, thank you for your condolences, and I am sorry for your loss too. Hopefully, 2021 will be a much better year!

        The Aromatherapy Associates bath and shower oils are applied directly to the skin, if using as a shower oil, and then washed off. If using as a bath oil, a capful of oil is added to the water. The oils are very concentrated to leave on skin, but I would use their body oils. I suppose you could try and add a few drops of the bath oil to a carrier oil as a leave on for skin.

        Just take care when stepping in and out of the bath. The oil can leave an oily residue. Aromatherapy Associates also does a shower oil that transforms to a light milky foam- that includes rose. Enjoy. January 1, 2021 at 5:25pm Reply

        • Silvermoon: Thanks, Nancy. That’s very helpful. I have checked their website and seen the rose shower oil you mention. Sounds wonderful, and plan to get it next. Meanwhile, I have some 3 rounds each of the ten bath & shower oils to test and try out. I think the Destress Mind sounds very appealing. January 2, 2021 at 2:49pm Reply

          • Nancy Chan: I have the de-stress mind shower oil too. I would love to know your opinions of the shower/bath oils when you try them. January 3, 2021 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Tati: I want to chime in as well. Happy New Year, Victoria! Your posts and the community comments are my way to decompress from all the bad and enraging news on the television. The pandemic has revealed many divisions and much ugliness in the US, and I find myself leaning even harder on the arts to restore myself. Great books, great movies, and yes, even great perfume are not an escape, but a reminder of the beauty and greatness in the world. May the New Year be a great blossoming of creativity for us all. December 31, 2020 at 3:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve said it so well! I also don’t see art, books or perfume as an escape. To me, they are the testaments to the strength of human spirit and its ability to rise above hardships. Some of the best art was created in the most difficult of circumstances. January 1, 2021 at 8:21am Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Happy New Year, Victoria. Thank you so much for your beautiful blog and youtube posts. They have brightened many gloomy days for me. I truly have much to be thankful for this year, good health and the good health of my immediate family, but I have so missed seeing my friends and extended family and I miss hugging people so much. When this covid 19 is finally over I may go around just hugging random people in the streets!

    Hoping everyone gets vaccinated and 2021 is happier and more ‘friendly’ for all of us. December 31, 2020 at 4:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you so much! Many warm wishes to you too! January 1, 2021 at 8:22am Reply

  • Tania: Hi Victoria,
    I just discovered your blog 6 days ago. I love everything about it and I’m using my free time to read everything you have posted. The descriptive language you use to describe fragrances is so clever and beautiful. Strange to say, I became involved with gardening and then perfumes because of the pandemic. The pandemic made us (my family) slow down. You and this community have inspired me to search for old perfumes and I’ve learned a lot from you and all those who post comments.
    I started wearing Chanel No. 22 about 2 months ago. At first, it reminded me of my travels around Europe and Latin America and visiting old churches for some reason. I could remember the smells, light, temperature, and all the vibes of being abroad visiting historic old churches.
    Now that has changed. No. 22 will now be associated with a time where I slowed downed and enjoyed doing nothing. I got to observe the the change from summer to fall.
    Thank you for all the information you and this community have provided. December 31, 2020 at 7:50pm Reply

    • Victoria: What a lovely, heartwarming comment! Thank you very much for sharing this, Tania. I hope that No 22 will continue inspire you and will continue revealing all of its nuances and stories. January 1, 2021 at 8:24am Reply

  • Betty Ackerman: So when you say you “learned Chinese” this year, does that mean you are now fluent? And also when you mention the other languages “you speak” such as Japanese and Indonesian… fluent? If so, you are quite the prodigy. December 31, 2020 at 8:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not a prodigy, but I’ve been studying Japanese and Indonesian for quite a long time now, and I work occasionally as a professional translator, so at this point I’m fluent.
      As for Chinese, I’m now at B1. January 1, 2021 at 8:30am Reply

      • Betty Ackerman: Oh my dear, but you ARE a prodigy. B1 proficiency in Chinese in just a year is amazing! Wish I were able to pick up languages as readily. i am jealous! 😘 January 1, 2021 at 8:34am Reply

    • Tourmaline: When you have been reading Bois de Jasmin for any length of time, it becomes apparent that Victoria is a very gifted individual, in many different ways. When she says she is fluent in a language, I believe her! January 2, 2021 at 8:46am Reply

  • Rosella: You’re extraordinary, Victoria. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I’ve discovered (and adore) the genre Southern Gothic and have worn *so many* fragrances. I’ve given up on the idea of a signature fragrance, and somehow that has felt liberating. Bonne année! December 31, 2020 at 11:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: So wonderful and liberating, isn’t it! Our tastes evolve constantly, so having a signature can be limiting. January 1, 2021 at 8:31am Reply

  • Peter: Mahalo nui loa, Victoria, for keeping us sane in 2020. Your inspiring posts were a definite highlight.
    Hau’oli Makahiki Hou from the World’s last time zone. January 1, 2021 at 12:57am Reply

    • Aurora: Happy New Year Peter. Your language is so beautiful to read even if I don’t know it. January 1, 2021 at 5:33am Reply

      • Peter: Mahalo Aurora, for your New Year’s greeting. The Island of Oahu had an insanely loud burst of illegal fireworks at midnight. The demons of 2020 have been chased away! January 1, 2021 at 6:18pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: Having seen the footage, I can vouch for that! January 3, 2021 at 9:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much, Peter! All of us area learning some Hawaiian. 🙂 January 1, 2021 at 8:31am Reply

  • Aurora: Happy New Year Victoria, heath, prosperity and peace. It’s been so comforting to read the blog and the videos have added a lively touch. WFH has had the advantage of avoiding commuting and the time I saved I used for keeping my place sparkling and decorating it.

    Hands down my best discovery this year is Oriza L. Legrand Royal Oeillet soap. January 1, 2021 at 5:42am Reply

    • Gabriela: Hi Aurora,
      Where do get those soaps? I can’t seem
      to find them anywhere! January 1, 2021 at 7:16am Reply

      • Peter: Hello Gabriela. I was able to order my Royal Oeillet soap from Luckyscent in the US. Aurora lives in Europe, so she may have a different resource. January 1, 2021 at 6:22pm Reply

        • Gabriela: Hi Peter, Im based in Spain, let s see if I have luck! Thanks! January 2, 2021 at 3:46am Reply

      • Aurora: Hello Gabriella: In Europe you can get them directly from the Oriza L. Legrand website. January 2, 2021 at 4:14am Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve been a fan of Oriza L. Legrand soaps for a while, but I’m yet to try their Royal Oeillet bar. Thank you for mentioning it. January 1, 2021 at 8:33am Reply

  • Sandra: Dear Victoria & friends on BdJ
    Auguri di Buon Anno! Che il 2021 porti a tutti tanta serenità e salute!
    I studied my Italian throughout the pandemic thanks to you Victoria in guided me with all my questions about this and that. I also felt connected to the world through my studies.

    My most worn fragrance of 2020 was Shalimar, I drained one bottle of the EdT and one bottle of the vanille Madagascar flanker. I had tears in my eyes when I saw the price to replace the discontinued flanker, but I will find another smokey Shalimar like vanilla replacement.

    I read a lot this year. I have two smell kids and as soon as they were in bed I was at it. I read 14,241 pages this year and 43 books. January 1, 2021 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Brava, Sandra! I’m so glad that my tips helps and you’ve made so much progress. Here is to more learning and discovering this year! January 1, 2021 at 10:43am Reply

      • Tati: Victoria, One of my resolutions is to actually follow through on learning a language this year. I have gotten bored and stopped many times before. Can you give advice on what system to follow? I’m torn between Spanish and Italian so nothing too obscure. Is there are system you prefer? January 1, 2021 at 3:45pm Reply

        • Sandra: I will let V way in because she is the expert , but I would say if comes down to those two, I would chose the one your able to fall in love with. Also she has a few post on this blog that mention her method. January 1, 2021 at 7:43pm Reply

        • Tourmaline: Hi Tati,

          As Sandra said, Victoria has written several posts on this topic over the last year. The first was “How I Learn Languages” on February 4, 2019.

          Part 2 appeared on February 25, 2019.

          Part 3 appeared on June 10, 2019.

          Then, “5 Books for Language Lovers” appeared on December 16, 2019.

          Good luck with whichever language you choose! January 3, 2021 at 9:50am Reply

          • Tati: Thank you, Tourmaline. I’ve searched out the articles as well as signed up for an online class. I think this time I will be able to stick with it. Hasta luego! January 3, 2021 at 2:08pm Reply

    • Sherry: Happy New Year! Sandra, were there any 4-5 books that stuck in your mind as must reads or particularly life changing? I’m looking for a few new reads.Thank you!

      What better than to read? I have struggled to read as much as I used to even though I’ve had the time. Im very happy you were able to enjoy these 43 books ! January 2, 2021 at 5:29am Reply

      • Sandra: Dear Sherry,
        Thank you! I really enjoyed reading them as well.
        Books are like perfume to me, its really hard to recommend based on what one person may or may not like. I also feel a sense of vulnerability, especially when I give a book to a friend. I often think..hmm..what will they think of me knowing I enjoyed this or that? I know it’s peculiar , but that is how I am.
        However, if you want to see my list, and its ok with V, (she can remove it if she wants) here is my good reads link and you can see what I read in 2020, its sorted by date. If there is something that sparks your interest let me know and I can tell you what I thought. https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/105419556?shelf=read January 2, 2021 at 11:12am Reply

      • Tati: Sherry, I will jump in here with my own experience. I decided to read War & Peace along with an online community, led by the writer Yiyun Li. I had read it in college, but this was a great experience and indeed very life changing. Although I’ve always preferred Anna Karenina, I found W & P a very accessible book, with many parallels to our own unsettled times. January 3, 2021 at 2:16pm Reply

  • Moi: Happy New Year! I am a longtime reader and follower, but rare commentator. I appreciate your words about the new normal, as I too hate that phrase and everything it portends. My wish is that we all find ourselves back to normal in 2021.

    I’m impressed with your language studies this year. Chinese! How wonderful. My husband and I started have been studying Spanish for the past 10 months are still barely able to order a taxi, LOL.

    I sniffed a lot of perfumes this year, but by far my favorite is Beautiful Absolu, a re-imagining of the Estee Lauder classic by the young perfumer Mackenzie Reilly. True to the original’s symphonic spirit, but much more green and radiant, with pronounced notes of marigold and tuberose. Exceptionally well thought out and executed. And the packaging is gorgeous, too, an homage to Andy Warhol’s love of perfume in general and Beautiful in particular. January 1, 2021 at 10:39am Reply

    • Victoria: Your pursuits and perfumes all sound great! 🙂 And Spanish is a challenging language, despite everything they say about it being easy (for those who speak English, at least). January 1, 2021 at 10:53am Reply

    • Sherry: I haven’t smoked Beautiful Absolu, probably because haven’t been out in our local shop that carries EL. I did however, really enjoy the regular “newer” Beautiful Belle . Amy similarity? Last spring I found BB to be one of the easiest “walk-by-my-perfumes and gone myself a spritz”perfumes…. All the way through spring. The only thing was…. After 20 minutes nothing remains. It’s there, then gone! How is the staying power with the absolu? I will definitely check it out, box also looks amazing. January 2, 2021 at 5:40am Reply

      • moi: Sherry: Sillage and longevity is pretty good. I sprayed my neck when I went out for a hike two days ago, and I can still smell it wafting off the neck warmer that I put on again this morning. I haven’t sampled Beautiful Belle, so I don’t know how it compares. But it’s much brighter and luminous than the original Beautiful, which I also love. Box is beautiful! Very high quality, even includes a printed booklet. All for only $98. Anything niche of this caliber would be twice that. January 2, 2021 at 8:49am Reply

        • Sherry Frantz: Thank you so much for your response! I am intrigued and will seek out this fragrance to try! Happy New Year to you. January 2, 2021 at 11:39am Reply

          • moi: Happy New Year and I hope you enjoy Beautiful Absolu! January 3, 2021 at 9:03am Reply

  • Karina: Hello Tourmaline, I’m glad your putting the book idea into action! It’s a nice project 😊 You are welcome and do send a picture to Victoria once it’s finished – maybe she’ll post it. Have a lovely 2021! January 1, 2021 at 11:55am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Karina,

      Please see my reply to you further above.

      🙂 🌷 January 2, 2021 at 8:51am Reply

  • Lorie: Happy New Year Victoria! Yes what a tough year it’s been! I still think about the Ukrainian adventure you’d planned, which was to follow a week in the Rose Valley! Alas, we’ll look to the future! I just received my sample of Moonlight in Chiangmai and it’s beautiful and very interesting! And a departure from her other work. I was privileged to spend over an hour with Pissara a couple of years ago in her Paris Boutique. I came home with Issara and Melodie, and two volumes of her father’s poetry. There’s a vibrant green that flows through much of her work, so I was surprised and delighted and the jasmine and teak wood in her newest! Right now my arm is covered in Ashore by Amouage and I Love it (although I don’t love the price). A beautiful jasmine lifted with aldehydes and soft spice. I’m only 30 minutes in so I’ll see where it takes me. Here’s to brighter days in the coming year! January 1, 2021 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Matty1649: Thank you,Victoria for your wonderful blog. Happy New Year to you. I hope better times will come in 2021. January 1, 2021 at 7:25pm Reply

  • Jeanne: Happy New Year Victoria!
    I don’t comment often, but I have really appreciated and enjoyed your blog this year. Thank you for helping cheer me up and spark my interest in so many things!
    This year I began wearing No.5 body cream, even though I still am not a fan of the perfume. It’s so comforting, I even wear it to bed! I can’t explain it 😊
    Best wishes to all for a happy and healthy 2021! January 1, 2021 at 10:54pm Reply

    • Sherry: The oils and cremes of Chanel are so different and yet the same, as their parfumes. I started wearing a Chanel No. 5 Eau Premiere body oil, after trying it once at the Chanel counter and couldn’t get the car beautiful scent off my mind. I ended up with the body oil and love to wear it after I shower. It’s definitely a different experience than spraying parfume, it’s deeper and more almost slow motion experience of the scent. January 2, 2021 at 5:44am Reply

  • Klaas: Dear Victoria, I wish you a happy, healty, inspiring & prosperous new year! Your blog (and the other people on it!) and videos are very dear to me and I am happy that you receive a so much joy from it as well. Let’s keep on sharing!

    I fell in love with Eau d’Hermes this year! A classic, in the best sense of the word. I feel like a million bucks when I wear it ;-)) January 2, 2021 at 6:42am Reply

    • Perfumelover67: Happy New Year Victoria and all readers. I barely comment here, but I am a faithful reader. Your blog is so inspirational, informative, kind and it is part of my perfume journey. Thank you!

      New perfume releases that I tried this year and fell in love with were Gallivant Bukhara and Hiram Green Vivacious. Also Guerlain Iris Torrefie which I like a lot. I hope 2021 brings new exciting releases to the perfume world! January 2, 2021 at 9:42am Reply

    • Klaas: So nice you mention Moonlight in Chiangmai! I sampled all Dusita’s previous creations in 2020 and I must say that I was very impressed as well. Even though florals are not my favorite genre I thought that her fragrances were all very well done. Evocative and poetic, they inspire wanderlust. I especially liked the ones with green notes in them (Erawan, Sillage Blanc and Pavillon D’Or).

      I recall appreciating the way she combines her signature white/yellow floral base (so solar and so creamy) with woody or herbacious notes. Pleasantly fluffy, warming and exotic (without going down the oriental road), they wear extremely light on skin, yet project well and peak around the corner all day long. Very original. The oudy one is a riot! January 2, 2021 at 5:01pm Reply

  • Cynthia: I am another who reads your blog often, but comments rarely. I just wanted to express what a safe landing spot I find Bois De Jasmin to be. For me it is like visiting friends in an era 200 years ago. We come to your parlor, have some civilized and intelligent conversation, and leave all the wiser. Thank you for continuing to be a bright spot in such a trying year. Happy 2021! January 2, 2021 at 10:15am Reply

  • OnWingsofSaffron: I too would like to wish all readers, and of course you too, Victoria, a very happy, healthy and stimulating new year 2021! Best wishes to all, and I look forward to the many thought provoking posts and comments! January 2, 2021 at 10:20am Reply

  • Mare: Beautiful writing, as usual. I am grateful for you, Victoria. I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful 2021. January 2, 2021 at 5:23pm Reply

  • Nina Z: Happy New Year, Victoria! Having this blog to read during these very challenging times has been a ray of light. I love your approach to “sensory pursuits.” Although I’ve been studying yoga for decades, I only recently learned about the Tantra tradition of meditations in which you immerse yourself in a sensory experience. This tradition made me think of you and your writing (and photographs).

    This practice enables you to experience the world directly—smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling, and seeing—without the mental constructs that prevent you from being fully present with the world around you. You can choose almost any type of object to become absorbed in. You could savor a peach or a cup of coffee. You could immerse yourself in a work of art, such as music or a painting. You engage your senses appreciating a flower or a tree.

    In “Tantra Illuminated,” Christopher Wallis, says that in non-dual Saiva Tantra, this is called “feeding the goddesses of the senses.” And when you feed the goddesses, they will:

    “…reward you by suffusing your awareness with aesthetic rapture (chanakara), increasing your capacity to experience beauty. The whole world becomes more vivid and real, more radiantly lovely, more full of life-energy….” January 2, 2021 at 7:40pm Reply

  • Toni: Happy New Year Victoria !!
    As so many have eloquently written, you have been the ‘scent of fresh air’ in a dark time.
    The great ideas you have given us as well as the suggestions of your loyal following will keep me occupied in 2021.
    Enjoy all the accolades and keep writing. January 2, 2021 at 10:09pm Reply

  • OperaFan: A very belated Happy New Year to you, Victoria and the BDJ community! I hesitate to look back at a year that had turned so many lives upside down and inside out. Although I appreciate not having to drive 50+ miles each way 3x’s a week, working from home has produced challenges of its own. I miss going to the city, miss all the arts, miss seeing friends and family, and singing in church. Recording music to be played, in my experience is such a different form of music making that I cannot feel engaged. There’s little room for artistry.
    As with all previous comments, BDJ has been a welcome place to visit. I love reading and reflecting on the broad topics that you cover – perfumes (of course), literature, culture, and the videos. They are eye opening, comforting, just a joy.
    As for fragrances, I’ve mostly stuck with my existing collection: the classic Guerlains especially L’Heure Bleue, Mitsuko, and Chant d’Aromes. Towards the end of the year I managed to acquire some vintage Vol de Nuit, which seems to me a chypre cousin of L’HB, so of course I love it. Other frequently worn: OJ Woman and Osmanthus (purchased on sale at LS, it’s one of those “sunshine in a bottle” scents). The classic Annick Goutals, especially Passion and Neroli have received a lot of wearing. Since everyone is at home, I still need to be careful of my choice of fragrance – my teenage son complains…. Light and airy scents have been the most worn, and Caswell Massey fragrances have been a welcome discovery. I have also discovered the Hiram Green naturals line and hope to acquire a bottle or two this year.
    Thank you, Dear V and the community. I don’t comment much, but I’m always here and reading and absorbing.
    Cheers! January 4, 2021 at 9:41am Reply

  • Hilde: Dear Victoria,

    Since I became to know boisdejasmin.com about one and a half year ago, I am waiting with impatience every next post of you.
    Your articles are beyond the level of what I can find on other perfume review blogs. They are so inspiring and informative, not only what concerns your perfume reviews but also your other articles about art, books, cultures, etc.
    On base of your excellent perfume reviews, I have already bought some great fragrances last year.

    Every time when a new post of yours is published, it makes me happy – and I think that I can speak for the whole ‘community’ of this blog.
    I am glad to be part of it since a little time. Reading their comments every time, is as becoming each time a little bit more familiar with them.

    I wish you and everyone a healthy and hopeful new year.
    And please do continue with boisdejasmin.com. January 7, 2021 at 6:29am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Hilde,

      I agree that Bois de Jasmin is a wonderful blog (the best in the world, I think) and that Victoria’s posts are inspiring.

      I’d be interested to hear which fragrances you bought last year and what you thought of them.

      I wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline January 7, 2021 at 8:30am Reply

      • Hilde: Hi Tourmaline.

        I have written down my perfume journey (or should I say odisee) of 2020. It has become quite long to publish here. Therfore I would like to send it to you via e-mail. I am going to publish a shortened version on this blog.
        May I have your e-mailadress?

        Best regards and a healthy New Year also for you.
        Hilde January 11, 2021 at 7:12am Reply

        • Tourmaline: Hi Hilde,

          I would encourage you to put your full journey into a comment. It really doesn’t matter how long it is because people don’t have to read it all. Take a look at how long my comment was in the “Your Personal Museum of Scents” post! I think it was my longest ever! Remember, these comments exist in the ether, so to speak. They can be as long as you like.

          More importantly, though, I think many people, both now and in the future, would be interested to hear about your perfume odyssey. January 11, 2021 at 9:33am Reply

          • Hilde: Hi Tourmaline.

            I have just posted my perfume journey of 2020. To have more space, I have put it at the bottom, so not as a reply.

            Kind regards. Hilde January 13, 2021 at 3:19am Reply

  • Neva: First of all best wishes for 2021 to you and your readers, Victoria…plenty of strength and hope and joy.
    2020 was more than challenging. For the first time in my life, and I’m 55, I’ve experienced panic attacks and it resulted in PTSD. Immediately after the first lockdown in March, which influenced greatly my social life, my hometown was hit by a major earthquake. So Covid 19 became secondary when faced with so much misery and fear suddenly. The summer brought some relief and distraction and then it spiraled down into another almost lockdown and the next much stronger earthquake hit a nearby town on December 29. It brought up all the fear and anxiety and damage so here we go again…
    Considering these events I couldn’t focus on reading, meditating, working out, all the things I’d normally do when alone at home. Perfume was actually my only consolation this year. I’ve tested new houses: Imaginary Authors, Francesca Bianchi, Rogue Perfumes…I’ve emptied a full bottle of Heeley’s Hippie Love and half a bottle of ELDO’s Like This. Obviously they are comfort scents. January 12, 2021 at 8:25am Reply

    • Victoria: I hope that 2021 is a much better year for you. I’m sorry to hear how much you’ve been through, but you’ve made it, and that’s already something to be proud of. Please take care of yourself!
      Thank you for sharing your comfort scents. Like This also was one of the perfumes I wore a lot. January 13, 2021 at 6:34am Reply

      • Neva: <3 <3 <3 January 13, 2021 at 6:53am Reply

  • Timothy West: Like many here perfume was a great consolation this past year. It manifested itself in really focussing my tastes in perfumery and consequently in the most extreme culling of my collection. Only those scents that spoke to me the most survived. Applying the Marie Kondo test, if it didn’t bring joy then it was gone – talking of which old vintage Joy was one of my lucky discoveries of early 2020, after receiving a present of a bottle of the extract. It’s not one I think I’d wear daily as a man as it tends to fill a room when you enter, but heavens above, I’ve never smelled anything quite as extraordinarily beautiful before. One to revel in at home. The other great discovery was the range of patchouli scents – amongst them being Honoré-Payan’s 1854 Patchouli and Santa Maria Novella’s Patchouli. January 12, 2021 at 11:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Santa Maria Novella’s Patchouli is excellent, isn’t it! I like its richness and its earthy facets. Too many patchoulis these days are too clean, which makes them bland. January 13, 2021 at 6:36am Reply

  • Hilde: Hi Tourmaline

    Here is my perfume journey of 2020. I am a astonished myself of the number of perfumes I have bought. Should I give the blame to the Corona pandemic?

    Some perfumes were a blind buy and for some of them I relied on the comments of Victoria, which I don’t regret, such as all these ones of Serge Lutens:

    Serge Lutens La Fille de Berlin. If I should describe it in an image, it is a big dark red velvet rose. The perfume that should wear the black dressed queen in fairytales in contrast with Penhaligon’s Elisabethian Rose which is a nice English tea rose; the perfume for the white queen.

    Of the same perfume house I also bought La Vièrge de Fer, Ambre Sultan, Chergui and Clair de Musc. Clair de Musc is the least ‘exciting’ I find. And I prefer Chergui over Ambre Sultan, but that is my personal choice. What attracts me in La Vièrge de Fer is a metallic undertone. It reminds me a bit of Paco Rabanne Eau Métal.

    These of Penhaligon’s were also a blind buy:

    Ostara, for which I also relied on the comments of Victoria. I would call this a ‘radiant’ perfume.

    Elisabethian Rose and Peoneave are very nice rose perfumes. I will surely buy them again.

    Penhaligon’s Castile is a neroli perfume. I am fond of neroli perfumes, but I have already smelled better ones.

    Artemisia is a floral scent with a powdery drydown. A good perfume but nothing special to me.

    Blenheim Bouquet was a bad buy.

    From the house of Gueralin I bought:

    Guerlain Chamade. I already posessed Nahéma for a long time, but I now prefer Chamade because it is less opulant.

    Guerlain l’Instant. I remark a resemblance with Guerlain Insolence, but Insolence gives me the idea of candied violets, which I am not fond of in perfumes.

    More and more I become to get attracted to perfumes which are created in first instance for men. As Victoria says, you should wear the perfume that you like. Happily the store manager where I usually buy my perfumes has the same opinion. So these ones I took from the men’s counter:

    Paco Rabanne pour homme: a fresh green aromatic eau de toilette which I am going to use on warm summer days to change with my ususal other summer eau de toilettes.

    Terre d’Hermes Eau très Fraiche and Terre d’Hermès Eau Intens Vetiver, which are also ideal for summer. I absolutely adore Eau Intens Vetiver.

    Guerlain Habit Rouge eau de parfum. I like the contrast between the citrussy herbal start and the spicy, woody powdery drydown.

    Cartier Déclaration also gives me the same impression: a herbal top note and a dry woody basenote.

    Lalique Encre Noir pour homme: also here I remark the contrast between a green herbal start and a woody smoky drydown. I bought this one as a blind buy relying on the comments of Victoria. I absolutely love this one.

    I am a great admirer of green chypres. These ones I bought last year:

    Estée Lauder Private Collection: my local store manager proposed it to me. It’s marveleous.

    Estée Lauder Azurée was again a blind buy based on the comment of Victoria. Very nice.

    Clinique Aromatics Elixir. A classic chypre in line with Estée lauder Private Collection and Azurée.

    Rochas Femme: again a nice timeless classic chypre.

    In summer I usually wear citrussy and aquatic eau de toilettes. For a change I have bought Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess. It is a unique summer scent I find. I also get an assimilation with Tom Ford Eau de Soleil Blanc, which I find much to expensive.

    It is the first time that I bought some woody orientals, and I am becoming a great lover of this olfactory family:

    Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant: it was again my local store manager who recommended it to me and when I read Victoria’s comments, I didn’t hesitate. The orchestration of all the spices, it’s divine.

    Tom Ford Black Orchid eau de parfum and parfum. At my local store they don’t have the complete Tom Ford collection, but Black Orchid is the best one of all the ones that I have tried of this brand. Especially on winter evenings I like to indulge myself in it.

    Rochas Tocade was again a proposal of my local perfume store manager. I had never heard of it before. At first I was not impressed. But when I tried it at home several times, I began to become addicted. This winter I used it almost every day.

    When L’Artisan Parfumeur did his summer sale, I couldn’t resist to buy Mimosa pour Moi, because I love the honeyed and warm scent of this flower. I relied on the recommendations of Victoria and I am very glad with it.

    I also bought Oeillet Sauvage and Piment Brulant, but they are so watery that I can nearly smell something.

    A fragrance house that I just became to know is Le Couvent (des Minimes) of which Jean-Claude Ellena is the creative director.
    I bougth some nice colognes and perfumes for a very reasonable price in their summer sales:

    Aqua Paradisi Cologne Botanique: rose & pelargonium
    Aqua Sacrae Cologne Botanique: jasmine & tuberose
    Aqua Minimes Cologne Botanique: citrussy, green herbal

    Aqua Palmaris Cologne Botanique Absolue: for me it is one of the best neroli perfumes I have smelled yet. It is much better than Penhaligon’s Castile in my opinion.

    Santa Cruz Parfum Remarquable: bergamot & eucalyptus

    Palmarola Parfum Remarquable: jasmine & gaïac wood

    For quite some time I am searching for a perfume that reminds me of frankincense and burned woods and this is what I have found:

    L’Artisan Parfumeur Mon Numéro 10: jasmine, cedarwood, leather, incense and sichuan pepper. A subtle incense smell.

    L’Artisan Parfumeur Tenebrae: again a very subtle and non domination incense perfume withe resins and woods.

    L’Artisan Parfumeur Venenum: I smell spicyness, green herbs and woods. This one I find the least interesting of the limited edition.

    L’Artisan Parfumeur Mirabilis (smoke and the incense are playing a head role here) and L’Artisan Parfumeur Arcana Rosa (Bulgarian rose and burned woods) are my two favourites of the limited edition collection.

    And then thé revalation of the year for me is Bulgari Black Orient for men. Just before christmas my local store manager gave me a sample of it. After trying it at home I was blown away. Oh this is just what I had in mind when I was looking for a perfume that smells as burned wood and that gives an aura of something mystical. Two weeks later I hurried to buy a bottle. But they had just decided to get it out of their range and there was no stock left over. From then on I am tracing the whole internet and it seems that on every perfume webshop it is not available or out of stock. I don’t know if Bulgari Man in Black and Bulgari Man in Black Essence (bottles look quite the same) are comparible. They are all created by Alberto Morillas.

    The second best revelation of the year is The Different Company Sublime Balkiss. As I mentioned before, I am a big admirer of green chypres. Sublime Balkiss is called a modern chypre that reminds of a chypre from the older days. The oak moss has been reconstructed with two types of essential oils of patchouli. The green notes are obtained by violet leaves. For me it is a hit.

    On my wish list for the coming months is Guerlain Santal Royal of the Les Absolus d’Orient collection. I thought that Encens Mythique would get my preference but curiously enough it doesn’t. I don’t smell any incense or smoke at all. I have also intended myself to be a bit moderate this year. January 13, 2021 at 3:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you very much for posting your scented journey! I really appreciate everyone’s comments in this thread. It’s one of my favorite threads lately, and I know that I will re-read the comments many times. It’s so moving to read about smells that define people’s lives and environment. Thank you again, everyone! January 13, 2021 at 4:05am Reply

    • Tourmaline: Hi Hilde,

      Thank you for posting your entire 2020 perfume journey in a comment. I very much enjoyed reading it. My goodness, you certainly did develop a large new collection of fragrances last year! Indeed, the lockdown gave you plenty of opportunity to experiment with new scents. I enjoyed reading your thoughts about them.

      The perfumes you mention that I own and use include La Fille de Berlin (my only SL), Guerlain’s Chamade, Nahéma, Insolence (which I adore, loving the scent of sweet violets as I do) and Habit Rouge.

      I recall the smell of Paco Rabanne Pour Homme because a boss wore it for the two years that I worked for him – 1981 and 1982.

      From Rochas, I have the beautiful Femme, and Tocade, which I find bright and joyful, with a lovely vanilla dry-down.

      I have a small bottle of Aromatics Elixir, however I’m not overly fond of it.

      As you liked them so much, I am interested in trying Bulgari Man Black Orient (we’ll see how oud and I get on!) and Sublime Balkiss.

      Did you ever try Bulgari’s Black, a “unisex” scent launched in 1998? Basenotes describes it thus: “A woody, smoky fragrance. … A combination of metal, glass and rubber. Like most of the Bulgari fragrances, it contains a tea note.” Unfortunately, it was discontinued before I had the opportunity to buy a bottle.

      As regards your intentions about perfume purchases this year, I’ll be interested to find out your version of “moderate”!

      Thank you again for describing in such detail your wonderful 2020 perfume odyssey.

      With kind regards,
      Tourmaline January 14, 2021 at 8:24am Reply

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