Cheap & Chic: 66 posts

Budget perfume options

Bulgarian Rose Perfume : Under $5

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The Rose Valley in central Bulgaria holds some of the largest rose plantations in the world. The essence produced in Bulgaria has a zesty accent, which contrasts with the lush honeyed sweetness typical of rose oils. It’s the rose of Jean Patou Joy, Chanel Coco, Coty Chypre, Hermès Amazone, and Diptyque L’Ombre dans L’Eau. It’s complex, lush and sparkling.

The carved wooden vials of Bulgarian rose oil have been a familiar sight to me ever since I was a child. I found them tucked in my grandmother’s purse, and I loved how a tiny drop was enough to leave a rose-perfumed trail. When I started working in the fragrance industry, I’d occasionally receive rose oil samples in these vials, and they would invariably make me nostalgic. I promised myself that one day I’d go to Bulgaria and tour the Rose Valley.

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Gifts From The Silk Road

One of my favorite stores in Brussels isn’t a chocolate shop. It’s not even a fabulous perfume treasure trove called Senteurs d’Ailleurs. It’s a supermarket at Rue de l’Escadron 35 called FreshMed. Technically, it’s not even in Brussels proper, but in Etterbeek, one of the 19 communes that make up the metropolis. It’s a store offering a vast selection of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean foods, with a smattering of Baltic and Polish products.

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FreshMed isn’t a fancy store; it’s a place where the aesthetics are provided by the towering pyramids of fresh vegetables and fruits, not an overly creative interior design. I like this simple and unpretentious approach. Here you can find fresh tarragon and pomegranates, stock up on Greek retsina and Lebanese arak, and then load up your cart with homemade foods: tiny Syrian pies, Turkish-style pizza, hummus, tzaziki, olives and 10 kinds of feta. Then there are shelves of Iranian floral waters, Cretan dark honeys and Moroccan amber scented soaps. It’s a journey down the Silk Road within the space of a few supermarket aisles.

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Lily of the Valley Potpourri

A couple of years ago my aunt gave me a book called L’Art de Simplicité (The Art of Simplicity) that promised to declutter my life. After the first five pages, I felt like a failure. My bedroom is nothing like a room at a Zen monastery, my kitchen resembles a spice aisle at Kalustyan’s, and my living room with its overspilling bookshelves is more reminiscent of a public library during children’s hour than a space where two adults live.

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After reading much sensible advice on paring down and retaining only the essentials, I put L’Art de Simplicité down in my ziggurat of other books and haven’t picked it up since. You know what? I like having a bit of chaos in my life. It doesn’t stress me out that my perfume samples aren’t sorted alphabetically or that I have far too many bottles of flavored vinegar. What are the essentials anyway? What if I want to make salad with blackcurrant and rose vinegar today and try grilled chicken marinated in the juniper variety. I also can’t decide whether I want to wear a cologne or a voluptuous rose, so all options are around.

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Cacharel Anais Anais Premier Delice : Perfume Review

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No perfume families are as vast as the fruity-floral and gourmand families. It seems that you can get any dessert in perfume form, from crème brûlée to cupcakes. There are also many fragrances that smell like clones of each other, which is why after you smell one too many variations of Angel, you start giving up on the whole lot. On the other hand, if you want lighthearted and fun, then nothing can beat a well-crafted gourmand blend. From time to time, I canvas perfume store shelves for such contenders, and my latest search turned up Cacharel’s Anais Anais Premier Délice.

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Premier Délice is one of several variations on the classical green floral Anais Anais, but it’s the first major departure from the original. Instead of accenting the floral notes, perfumers Olivier Cresp and Dora Baghriche took a different route. They’ve laced it with chocolate! If you’re familiar with the original, you’re probably skeptical right now, but if you like gourmand and fruity notes you’ll like Premier Délice. It is moderately sweet on the contemporary gourmand spectrum, and it has some interesting elements.

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Mysore Sandal Soap : Bath & Body Review

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Does luxury need to come with a big price tag? If you take a stroll around any department store, you might come away with that conclusion. But if your shopping strategy is more of the Poirot sleuthing variety, then you can turn up some affordable gems. My local India shop doesn’t fall under any definition of upscale. It’s a tiny, overcrowded space that smells pungently of cumin, wilting coriander greens and fried snacks. But it is here that I discovered my favorite soap of all, Mysore Sandal Soap. And it cost me 1.95 euros.

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Mysore Sandal soap is produced by Karnataka Soaps and Detergents Limited, a company owned by the Government of Karnataka, a southern Indian state famous for its sandalwood. Mysore sandalwood groves were plentiful at the turn of the century, but while Europe was engulfed in the First World War, the precious wood couldn’t be exported. In 1916, the Maharaja of Mysore established a company to use up the excess sandalwood, and Mysore Sandal soap still remains the company’s trademark. It bears a proprietary Geographical Indication seal and contains natural sandalwood oil.

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Latest Comments

  • OtherWise in Persian Flower Delights: Reading this, I am reminded of how little practice I have in that blurry space where floral, indolic, sweet, and savory mingle. Even Earl Grey tea continues to present something… March 20, 2019 at 7:49am

  • Tourmaline in Rose Retreat in Bulgaria and Perfume Workshop: Dear Aurora, You are most welcome! I, too, bought a bottle of Yardley’s Iris on eBay, although I have yet to try it. It is indeed a shame about the… March 20, 2019 at 7:07am

  • Klaas in Persian Flower Delights: I’m no pro on Serge Lutens, but I know he re-released his lovely Fleurs de Citronnier. I don’t know if it has been reformulated, but I remeber it as a… March 20, 2019 at 4:09am

  • Annie in Persian Flower Delights: Which Lutens perfume do you recommend for someone who likes citrus? March 20, 2019 at 2:04am

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