Ukrainian Christmas Giveaway

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Ukraine celebrates these holidays on January 7th and 14th respectively because the Orthodox Church follows the calendar proposed by Julius Caesar. Yes, we hold onto old traditions.

Nataliya of Experience Ukraine and I will lead a tour in Ukraine on June 2-9, 2020, and it will be a chance to discover more about Ukrainian culture, food, and of course, scents. I can’t be impartial, perhaps, but for the past few years I have been traveling extensively in Ukraine and every trip has been memorable. Nataliya feels the same way, which is why we’re so passionate in sharing these discoveries with you.

To give you a little preview, we’re hosting a #ukrainianscentandtasteadventure giveaway on Instagram: my prize will be an English translation of Nikolai Gogol’s The Night Before Christmas, handmade Ukrainian church incense, and linden blossom hydrosol and Nataliya will contribute an antique hand-loomed rushnyk, hand towel. We will select two winners randomly.

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Victor Horta and Art Nouveau in Brussels

I have many reasons to love Brussels, and the Art Nouveau architecture is one of them. You can stroll through the city and come across the most beautiful examples of this imaginative art style. Such wealth is not surprising, because Art Nouveau was set into motion by the Belgian architect Victor Horta and he’s considered one of the main founders of the movement. Horta was born on this day in 1861. Using novel glass and ironwork techniques and new materials, Horta created the look that defined Art Nouveau–swaying lines, Japanese inspired motifs, whimsical structures and warm light.

Some of his notable works in Brussels included the Maison du Peuple in Brussels, (1895-1900); The Centre for Fine Arts (1923-1929), and the Brussels Central Station (1913-1952). Alas, the Maison du Peuple was demolished in 1965 during the same craze for Brutalism that left Brussels and other European cities with many eyesores.

One of my favorite buildings by Horta is the Hôtel Tassel (1893), its beautiful staircase is captured in the image above. Since it’s privately owned, it’s difficult to visit, but Horta’s house is now the Museum of Victor Horta and it gives you a good sense of his style. If you’re in Brussels, don’t miss the chance to marvel at the architect’s fantasy and ingenuity.

How would you scent the place in the photograph? 

Scent Diary for the New Year

Happy New Year! My best wishes for 2020 to all of you. I hope that this year will be a healthy and peaceful one, but also that it will be full of new discoveries and adventures. For my part, I’ll contribute by sharing my favorite books, perfumes and places with you. Also, if you would like to join me on one particular trip, my perfume course will be the Ukrainian Scent and Taste Adventure this year (June 2-9, 2020). I look forward to meeting some of you there.

Our scent diary is back for 2020, and the premise is the same as before. You can write about anything you wish in this thread, but for those who would like to use the Scent Diary to sharpen their sense of smell, I will give a short explanation. As I wrote in How to Improve Your Sense of Smell, the best way to sharpen your nose is to smell and to pay attention to what you’re smelling. It doesn’t matter what you smell. The most important thing is to notice whatever you smell around you. It’s even better if you write it down. So please share your scents and perfumes with us.

Did you make any resolutions?

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

Best of 2019 in Perfume

When it comes to  fragrances, 2019 has been a good year. There have been the usual commercial releases, but innovative launches were also numerous. I particularly liked the collection by L’Officine Universelle Buly 1803 created in collaboration with the Louvre that gave scent to some of the museum’s famous works. Carine Roitfeld’s line was likewise interesting, with a number of memorable perfumes.

As always, my list is personal and idiosyncratic. I didn’t aim to include everything, but rather the perfumes that caught my attention the most this year and the ones I wore. These are the fragrances that will accompany me into 2020. I look forward to hearing about your 2019 favorites.

Carine Roitfeld Parfums George

Carine Roitfeld Parfums was created by the former editor-in-chief of Vogue Paris. The line includes seven unisex fragrances, AurélienGeorgeKar-WaiLawrenceOrsonSebastian and Vladimir, inspired by fictional love stories. I ended up with a travel set, which I found excellent given that the premise of the collection is travel. Each lover takes his paramour to a different city, from Paris to Hong Kong. My choice was George, effervescent but with a suave finish. I also liked Lawrence, who comes bearing jasmine garlands.

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Recommend Me a Perfume : December 2019

Happy holidays! Merry Christmas! I wish you much joy and I hope that you will find all that you wish for under the Christmas tree. Our “Recommend Me a Perfume” thread is open this week. You can use this space to find perfume recommendations, to share your discoveries and favorite scents, and to ask any questions about scents, aromas and flavors.

How does it work: 1. Please post your requests or questions as comments here. You can also use this space to ask any fragrance related questions. To receive recommendations that are better tailored to your tastes, you can include details on what you like and don’t like, your signature perfumes, and your budget. And please let us know what you end up sampling. 2. Then please check the thread to see if there are other requests you can answer. Your responses are really valuable for navigating the big and sometimes confusing world of perfume, so let’s help each other!

To make this thread easier to read, when you reply to someone, please click on the blue “reply” link under their comment.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin

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