Grandawood Oudh Oils, Brisbane, Australia


Post by Portia


Hi there Oudh Aficionados,

A new company has come to Australia, Grandawood. They own over 400 hectares of agarwood plantation and an oil manufacturing plant in Vietnam and boast a state of the art quality control process. I think we are seeing the beginning of an influx of (hopefully) affordable Oudh Oil in our times.

I am no expert on Oudh and wanted to get a few more knowledgeable noses onto the products before I wrote to you about them. There are too many charlatans in the world. So a couple of the best noses I know came by to have a sniff. Michael Borg, TinaG and Scott dropped in and I unveiled the latest in what you may think is a saturated market. We were sent 3 samples to try but only 2 of them will be coming into Australia, let’s meet them.

Grandawood Oudh Oils, Brisbane, Australia

Evergreen Good Grade Agarwood Oil (Oud) 100 Pure Grade A GrandawoodPhoto Stolen Grandawood

 Evergreen Good Grade Agarwood Oil (Oud) 100% Pure Grade A+ (Oudh #1)

Oudh #1 was a lovely simple oud that was fecal, animal and medicinal in open, it quietened to a lovely barnyard skin scent within the hour and stayed fragrant for about 5-6 hours. Oudh #1 smelled as if it had melted into my skin and each of our bodies gave it a slightly different scent hue. On my skin it was a little sweeter and more vanilla smelling than on the others. We all liked its soft and mellow golden haze.

A wonderful oudh even if you’re going to work. By the time you get there Oudh #1 is a beautiful, gentle oudh that has melded with your skin and though you are fragrant, even slightly barnyard, it’s a welcoming and engaging aroma. Beautiful.

Grandawood is currently having an Oudh #1 introductory offer of $68/1.5ml (reduced from $204)

Grandawood Superior Agarwood oil (floral scent)Photo Stolen Grandawood

Grandawood Superior Agarwood oil (Oudh Floral)

Oudh Floral was the winner of the day, it was fun, unusual, interesting and had the best longevity. It was a hit and I think Grandawood will be getting orders from the guys who were also extremely pleased. Oudh Floral will be a hit we decided and it could even make a good gateway oudh for someone new to it as a note. There seems to be a deep vein of animalic honey running through Oudh Floral and the bouquet has some lovely indolic white flowers. It’s skanky but very pretty skank.

We liked the way that Grandawood had slipped in some extra interest to the oudh and made it pop even more. A unanimous success from the 4 person testing panel.

Grandawood has $80/1.5ml

Oud #2 was the least well received, it had all the plastic, burnt hair and pooh smells and even the most hardcore didn’t love it. It will be coming to Australia at a later date and if you want to be engulfed in oudh then keep your eyes peeled.

Grandawood have created a 15% discount code for APJ readers and the code is: portia

Grandawood also sells Agarwood beads, chips, incense and tea-leaves.

Though I am no expert the oils seemed to be the real deal to us. It would be wonderful to read your feedback if you decide to try them.

Portia xxx

Hiram Green Voyage by Hiram Green 2015


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea was my favourite TV series as a kid. Admiral Nelson and his crew. The flying sub which could leave the ocean and function as an airplane being the coolest thing ever.

Hiram Green Voyage by Hiram Green 2015

 Voyage Hiram Green  FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Citruses
Heart: Amber, suede
Base: Vanilla

Hiram Green’s Voyage – An ode to the exotic mysteries of India.

I chatted with Hiram briefly the other day. He mentioned that he would find it difficult to write two sentences about his own creations, and was interested that some bloggers could write thick novels. I found that highly amusing.

Hiram Green VoyagePhoto Donated Val CQ

When I started writing for APJ it was really just a bit of fun. I was extremely surprised when I found that people were asking if they could send me perfumes to
try. I was so excited but that soon died down when I saw that most of them didn’t work on me. I believe that is the politically correct way of putting it? I
only get some sort of inspiration when I like something. Which kind of limits me. Perhaps I should write about what sucks, but I am sure Portia would fire me. I digress. Hiram Green sent me a sample of Voyage and I have used it all. It is quite bodacious.

Hiram green in India aged 14Photo Donated Hiram Green

Voyage is opulent and sumptuous, two words that do not tend to get used with an all natural perfume. It is the drydown of many more modern perfumes where it falls short of expectation. Top loaded to blow your mind and then after 20 minutes the common base. Voyage could not be further away from this perfume concept. The perfume is built on a base of superb vanilla and a heart of amber. The fragrance opens with a lively citrus feel before slipping into the spicy, warm, lush heart. Hiram doesn´t mention spice in his list of notes, but hey, who cares about the notes anyway? There is a soft suede halo wrapped around the whole composition, which draws it altogether. It is tweaked to perfection and lasts for hours. It blows apart all preconceived ideas (mine) of natural perfumery apart.

Attention to detail is exquisite, from the wax seal to the website. The bottles are stunning. They are every bit as gorgeous in real life as they are on the pictures. All three of his scents are outstanding. He clearly does not bend to the industry, nor to the trend of churning out a new fragrance every few months.
Modern classic beauty.

Voyage Hiram Green The_Voyage_of_Life_Old_Age WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

Voyage, as well as Moon Bloom and Shangri La can be purchased in 5 ml sprays at Hiram Green. All three highly recommended. Note that Voyage is limited to 250 bottles.

“Ah, you’ve come over the water. Powerful wet stuff, ain´t it?”
The Voyage of the “Dawn Treader”. C.S. Lewis

Valiant Bussis

Moistfull Super Collagen Cream by Etude House


Post by Azar


Hello APJ,

I know that we already have our very own beauty editor here at APJ – AF Beauty – who does a fantastic job of keeping us updated on skin care and make-up. Nevertheless I just had to comment on a few skin care samples that Portia sent my way a few months ago.

Korean skin care is all the rage lately. Ever since Soo Ae, the famous Korean actress, started her own line several years ago I have wanted to give Korean beauty products a try. Unfortunately what I could find locally was limited and quite expensive. Within the last year (or has it been longer?) the products from the Korean skin care company Etude House have been made available to US buyers through the Etude House website and on Amazon. Portia’s samples of Etude House products, picked up on a recent visit to Korea, have turned me into a Korean skincare junkie.

After seeing some recent photos of myself I knew that something had to change! Short of surgery there isn’t too much a woman of my age can do about sagging skin, but I really think that the first of Portia’s samples I tried actually helped to give my skin a smoothing lift.

Moistfull Super Collagen Cream by Etude House

Moistfull Super Collagen Cream Etude House

Etude House Moistfull Super Collagen Cream, containing 63% hydrolyzed collagen from seaweed, is a light weight cream with a gel-like consistency that glides onto the skin leaving a moist finish, brightening the complexion, smoothing the look of lines and wrinkles and giving the appearance of a slight lift to drooping skin and to that dreaded dewlap. The effect was immediately noticeable after a single application. I quickly used up the two samples from Portia and ordered this product and several other Etude House items on Amazon. The Super Collagen cream continues to impress. There is also a non-super version of this cream. The formula is a little different. I definitely prefer the Super version. I also find that the Etude House Moistful Super Collagen Eye Concentrate relieves under-eye puffiness and the Pearl Aura Brightening Essence revives dull looking skin.

I don’t imagine I will totally abandon my old favorites by Orlane and Paula’s Choice. They seem to work to minimize enlarged pores and reduce wrinkles. However, the Etude House products are at least as effective for a slightly lower price than Paula’s Choice and are considerably less expensive than anything by Orlane that isn’t past the pull date.

I won’t include any more “before and after” photos here today as I am not equipped to do selfies. You will just have to take my word for it – I think that these products might actually work!

Etude House

Have you tried the Korean skin care lines? Do you have a favorite brand that you use regularly? Despite my love of these products I often find myself wondering if using any kind of skincare is just a big waste of time and money. What do you think?

Azar xx




Post by Portia


Thanks go to Nick & Paige from Libertine Perfumerie. I cannot stress enough how great they are or how supportive they have been of APJ. If you’re thinking of buying a Big Ticket Fragrance Gift this year then they are the ones to see. Free Delivery in Australia for orders over $100 and they will be sending till December 21st.

Portia xx



V. Intense Robert Piguet FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Saffron, roses, plum, incense, sandalwood


This week we will have 3 winners who will receive:
1 x 10ml V Intense decant by Robert Piguet
a couple of extras
P&H Anywhere in the world


Entries Closed Sunday 23rd November 2015 10pm Australian EST
Winner were chosen by

Winners Are shannonmayerPhoto Stolen shannonmayer

Helen Burrows


Anna Maria

The winner will have till Thursday 26th November 2015 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

My Beauty Fallbacks: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil


Post by AF Beauty


Testing makeup and skincare products can be exciting and amazing, especially when you find a wow product or something unexpected – that’s always a total buzz. However, testing can also be a buzzkill, sadly. At something-something age – I do have a fairly good idea of what my skin needs and likes and if something I’m testing is not as wow as I hoped, I have my fallbacks where I can trust that I’ll get my skin back to an even playing field before starting on the next test.

My Beauty Fallbacks: Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil

Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment OilNow, I’ll be honest, this oil is totally scathed by Paula’s Choice review. They say this is as “good for for dehydrated skin as massaging it with sandpaper!“. Interestingly, the comments on the site (only two) are positive – neither written by me! – but I would add my endorsement to their opinions.
I’ve used this on and off for about 5 years now having seen it recommended in another beauty column. The whole oil will help with dehydration thing is a bit of a mind bend, but for my skin it works.

This is how I use it: First is simply as a step in my usual routine. I would normally wash my face using the nanna flannel technique with whatever cleanser is on the go at the time. I wipe my face with the flannel till clean but don’t then reach for the towel. My face isn’t sopping wet, it’s more damp than dripping. I reach for the oil, drop a few drops in my hand – usually between 2 and 5 depending on how my skin is – warm the oil in my hands and then pretty much apply as if it were a moisturiser, pressing a little in here and there in spots which I feel need some extra TLC. Clarins have a whole little video on how to apply which is far more tender and serene than my description – you can see that in the link in one of the pictures of the product. Once oil is applied I then go for serum or moisturiser as usual – I wouldn’t use it before applying make up.

Avène Thermal Spring WaterI do occasionally also use this as a treatment of itself – especially on a weekend where I am feeling the need to pamper. Either I’ll wash my face in the usual way – or if I’m feeling posh, I’ll wash then apply a fancy spray water to my face to moisten and ready for further application. I’m currently using the Avène Thermal Spring Water. I then take the oil in the same way as before and apply. If I’m applying as more of a treatment, I’ll do this, wait about 30 mins, then reapply again – spray with the water and reapply the oil. You could then apply a mask of your choice over this as well. Overall I notice with even just a week’s application my skin hydration improves – I think quite significantly. I really notice the plumpness is restored to my skin and I have fewer dry lines.

David Jones online or in store Clarins Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil $52
Priceline has Avène Thermal Spring Water $9.99/50ml

There are a number of Clarins oils for various skin conditions, have you used any of them? How did you get on? Are you a fan or do you side with Paula?

Meryl Streep + Nicole Kidman birth names – Graham Norton Show


Post by Portia


I came across this little tit-bit when I was looking for Trivia Q&A. Meryl and Nicole are funny and candid. It’s not often you see them being so engaging. Interesting how Aussie Nicole sounds.

Meryl Streep  Nicole Kidman birth names Graham Norton Show

I hope this gives you at least a smile.

Portia xxx

Meryl Streep + Nicole Kidman birth names

Graham Norton Show

Perfume Lovers London: An Evening with Portia Turbo


Post by Portia


Hi there APJ,

Yes, it’s really happening. Lila das Gupta who runs Perfume Lovers London has invited me, Portia Turbo, to come to England and give a talk, have a laugh and smell some fragrances.

Perfume Lovers London

An Evening with Portia Turbo

highres_29173032Lila das Gupta

Even now writing this post to tell you all has my stomach doing flip flops with excitement. You have no idea.

The theme of the night is Great Women and we have some fun interactive ideas and hope as many of you APJ Crew that are around London and available can come be a part of the fun. Perfume Lovers London has drinks and some food and I will be bringing some famous Australian delicacies for you to try also.

Portia Opera House PetezImages1

When: Thursday, January 28, 2016 7pm to 10pm (Doors open 6.30pm)
Where: October Gallery  24 Old Gloucester Street WC1N 3AL LONDON
Cost: GBP34.00

For those that have never been before you need to join Perfume Lovers London and then you can book your tickets. They are already selling like hot cakes so don’t delay.

Jin and I will both be there as well as Birgit and Tara from Olfactoria’s Travels, Val the Cookie Queen and Blondes Wunder from the APJ crew. Some of my mates from Australia and the USA happen to be in London at the time so you’ll get to meet and mingle with them too.

One of the things I’ve loved so much about starting APJ is the amount of incredible people we have met all around the world. We have made some super friends and would LOVE IT if we could add you to that amazing list. Don’t be shy, we are waiting to meet you.

Hopefully see you there,
Portia xx