APJ Crew: What We Loved In 2016

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Post by APJ Crew

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Hi APJ,

The end of the year hurtles towards us faster than I was ready for. A year filled with fun and adventure, a year fraught with political upheaval, a year of fragrance, travel, friends and families. For many 2016 has been the year of war, displacement, challenge, heartache and despair. Most of us have had a year of good and bad, a year of work, home and regular life with its ups and downs, drama and spots of magic that make it all worthwhile.

Here’s what the crew at APJ loved the most in 2016. Not all of it fragrant. I hope you enjoy a little look into what we rated high. The order is the order the pieces came into my inbox.

APJ Crew: What We Loved In 2016

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Claire Vukčević

Honestly? Apart from perfume, the biggest discovery in 2016 was how brilliant Tretinoin is. Northing I’ve ever used before has had such an effect on my skin – small wrinkles minimized, pores reduced, overall skin texture improved. I love the stuff. I can’t find a doctor to prescribe it to me here, so I will have to source it out on the Internet – always a crapshoot, no? But still, it’s great and I will take the chance. For 2017, I am also excited about exploring a more extensive, Korean-style skincare regime. Next year will be all about getting that chok chok, or Korean glow. We’ll see. I just turned 40 and I think that Irish skin might have a finite stock of chok chok and that perhaps I used mine all up in 1997. Call me in 2018 to see how that works out for me.

Galop d`Hermes Hermes Fragrantica1

Sandra
Hey APJ! Wishing ya’ll a very happy and safe holiday season and hoping that 2016 was a good year. 2016 has been tumultuous for me but we survived and we are currently setting up our house in Rotterdam. My favorites for 2016 are not necessarily new but new experiences for me.
Perfumes: Rahele by NVC, Galop and Muguet Porcelaine both by Hermes, discovering the pure decadence of Shalimar in all its variations and last but not least finally getting my hands on the gorgeous Dior Privee Bois d’Argent.
Movies: watching A Christmas Story with my son and hearing his squeals of laughter.
TV shows: I enjoyed Narcos and The Crown (I know – two wildly different shows!). Flowers: finally smelling a vanilla orchid.
Books: all the Robert Galbraith crime novels and rereading Roald Dahl books with my son.
Bring on 2017! Sandra xoxo
Week July 2016 #25 CHANEL Boy

Robert Herrmann

Phew. 2016. What a tumultuous year it was and all I can say is “Buh-bye 2016! Don’t let the door hit you on the way out! A year of highs and lows, and what got me through much of it was perfume. Always there at my beck and call…

In 2016 there were in excess of 1100 new releases averaging out to almost 100 a month. Did I try even 10% of them? Possibly, but not likely. There were some standouts that I ended up loving. So in no particular order, here’s what was new to me in 2016….

Boy by Chanel, a VERY unisex Fougere Cologne. Addictive.
Amouage Lilac Love, a truly gorgeous non-lilac lilac.
Amouage Opus X, “The Red Violin” in a bottle. A weird and wonderful rose.
Aroma M Voluptuous Nostalgia and Camillia Extrait, two of the finest contemporary but vintage-style perfumes. Gorgeous!
En Voyage Rainmaker, like walking through the Pacific Northwest rain forest. Amazing.
Dusita Infini, One of the finest oudh’s. Really. Even if you’re not an Oudh fan, try this, it’s stunning!
MFK’s Grand Soir, my new cold weather go-to. Gourmand heaven.
Zoologist Civet (releasing Dec.31st) exquisite. I can’t even.

streets-with-people-in-havana-cuba

Anne Marie

I had fun in 2016 exploring Cuban culture. I can’t remember what brought this on, but somehow I got interested in Cuban food, music, literature and of course, Cuban-inspired perfume. It’s easy to get carried away by a romantic idea of old Havana so the quite gritty novels of Cuban writer Leonardo Padura Fuentes brought me down to earth with a thump. Still, I taught myself to make mojitos, discovered the Lecuona Cuban Boys, and bought a Cuban cookbook (more read than cooked from, I have to admit). Of course bottles of Guerlain Pour Homme and Aramis Havana were obligatory!

doblis-hermes

Val the Cookie Queen

Seeing MUSE on the Drones Tour. After having attended hundreds of gigs in my lifetime, including so many in the mid seventies punk era, to see MUSE at aged 56 and be absolutely blown away was the definitive highlight of 2016.
Celebrating my grandmother-in-law`s 100th birthday gathering was a great privilege. She can still tell a joke to turn your hair white. We have had a close relationship for nearly 25 years. I love her.
Fragrance wise would be receiving a bottle of Hermès Doblis as a gift. The humorous side to this was having to Google it to see exactly what I had. It is the prize possession in my small ( but not as small as it used to be!) fragrance collection.

icons-ii-inferno-4

Erica Golding

2016 was the 10th anniversary of my favorite perfume house, NAVA (Nocturne Alchemy). They are poised to revamp their website and packaging over an extended winter hiatus, and like most fans I went on an ordering spree in December! My favorite 2016 NAVA release was the now Sold Out limited edition Icons II: Inferno, a luxuriously smooth and resonant amber oudh that is in a league all its own.
This year, the novel City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin was finally released, completing a long-anticipated trilogy. His writing is infused with vivid poetry and complex character development, elevating a storyline that could otherwise be classified as Sci-Fi. Deeply moving literary fiction, highly recommended!

TinaG

My travels this year took me to the Islay Festival, or Feis Ile, a whisky festival on the Scottish island of the same name. I fell in love with Islay, not only because of the wonderful people and magnificent whisky, but for the wild island itself. My cottage was 9 kms from Port Ellen along a windy single track road which took my past Lagavulin, Laphroaig and Ardbeg distilleries (for those who know their whisky) and then along little beaches & craggy coves. One of my favourite things to do on my way home was to pull in at one secluded beach, and sit for a while watching the local seals. It was ridiculously cool to hear them slapping the water, blowing bubbles, and chasing each other around. Just me & them, chilling out enjoying the last few rays of the golden evenings. Magical.
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Tina’s Ireland cottage
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Seal Bay
15435648_10154621357945115_144390778_nThree distilleries near thecottage

Portia

What did I love this year? I particularly loved everyone who took time to read and comment here on APJ. Thank you. Loved all our contributors, I know how hard you all work to continually pull interesting posts out of the hat. BRAVO!
Perfume: The things I purchased most of this year in mls are Granville and vintage Miss Dior by DIOR, vintage Mitsouko by Guerlain and BOY + Misia by CHANEL. New niche faves for me have been Morn To Dusk by Eau d’Italie and Rahele by Neela Vermeire.
Travel: Jin & I had a great time in Japan, we also loved seeing Venice with Tara of A Bottled Rose and our friend Anna-Maria. Unforgettable times.
Books: The Herland Trilogy by Charlotte Perkins Gilman blew my mind, can’t stop thinking about it. Erin Watt’s Royal Trilogy is non-stop pot-boiling reading, could not put this terrible trash down and did nothing except read them for a week. When It Rains and How To Get There are two books by Australian writer Maggie MacKeller on her dealing with grief and moving on, all set against the backdrop of the Australia that I know & love.

Venice'16 #6

What did you love about 2016?
Portia xx

A Scent by Daphne Bugey for Issey Miyake 2009

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Hi everyone,

I ignored Issey Mikaye’s A Scent when it came out. I was happily immersed in niche and vintage sampling then, trying all I could of the latest darling releases: Andy Tauer sample sets, Parfum d’Empire, Parfums de Nicolai … Lutens … the latest Chanel Les Exlcusifs … I practically camped outside the letter box waiting for L’Artisan Traversee du Bosphore to be delivered (it didn’t work for me sadly), and a gift of a bottle of vintage Miss Dior was a thrill beyond words.

A Scent never stood a chance. I tried department store testers but tended to agree with reviewers who generally seemed underwhelmed.
Well, recently I picked up a small bottle for $10 from a shop selling off a bunch of testers. Why not, at that price? Get it while you can…

A Scent by Issey Miyake 2009

A Scent by Daphne Bugey

a-scent-by-issey-miyake-issey-miyake-fragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives thee featured accords:
Amalfi lemon, lemon verbena, jasmine, hyacinth, Virginia cedar, galbanum

A Scent opens with a tang of citrus followed quickly by a realistic evocation of hyacinth, very bracing, but not as bitter as actual hyacinths can smell. After that the fragrance relaxes and I smell mixed clean green florals over a gentle base of musk (not listed as a note). Longevity is good and sillage moderate. I wore it on warm day during a long car journey and found it a refreshing but gentle presence over several hours, with nothing to offend my fellow travellers.

a-scent-by-issey-miyake-blue-hyacinths-pdiPDI

The hyacinth is what pleases me about A Scent. I recognise it distinctly but it is not as heavy as the other hyacinth perfume I know well, Guerlain Chamade. A Scent is frequently compared to other great classics, Chanel Cristalle and No 19, and not favourably. ‘Nice, but not as good as … ‘.

But many people would find A Scent easier to wear, I think. It is green all the way through but without sharpness or bitterness, and anyone worried about dirty moss or wet stones need have no concerns here. It reminds me a bit of Estee Lauder Pure White Linen but without the herbal shampoo accord that makes PWL a bit banal for me.

Miyake reportedly does not like fragrance and this one is said to be inspired by the smell of Japanese mountains. It smells clean and cool, damp but not watery, and conforms with Miyake’s minimalist aesthetic.

a-scent-by-issey-miyake-hiroshige_a_mountain_in_the_snow-wikicommonsWikiCommons

A Scent is not a masterpiece, but if it sounds like your thing, grab it while you can. Yes – it’s discontinued, but widely available at the online discounters. There’s a pink flanker, A Scent by Issey Miyake Eau de Parfum Florale. That one is still on the market but I have not tried it. Do comment if you have.

Further reading: Perfume Posse and Perfume Shrine
FragranceNet has AUD$23/47ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Green fragrances can be tricky to wear. Do you have a favourite?
Until next time, keep spritzing everyone!
Anne-Marie

Perfumed Streets

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Hi all,
What are the perfumes you notice on other people when you are out and about? Do you recognise specific perfumes, or just a generic ‘perfumey’ aura around your workplace and on the bus?

Perfumed Streets

TerreD'Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

My most memorable moment was in a hotel lift in Paris. I stepped into the empty lift and I could smell Terre d’Hermes so distinctly I could almost touch it. The wearer must have stepped out mere seconds before.

Queuing for coffee at a railway station in Paris I again seemed to catch Terre d’Hermes, but I couldn’t be sure. Railway stations are a cacophony of smells.

Chanel No 5 Parfum Chanel FragranticaFragrantica

I smell Chanel No 5 EDT a fair bit. Once I noticed another mother at a school concert sending clouds of it several rows forward and back. I was surprised that anyone could conjure that much sillage out of No 5. I never thought of it as a sillage monster. Later though  I worked with someone who had No 5 as her signature and it could be smelled EVERYWHERE she had been, or was yet to arrive. Outside her office, up and down the corridors, in the bathroom, in the carpark. Yeeesh!

youth-dew-estee-lauder-fragranticaFragrantica

Once I caught a whiff of something delicious on a woman as I walked past her in a department store. I wheeled back and followed her up the escalator, trying to figure out what the perfume was. This is the only time I have stalked anyone because of their perfume. By the time I got to the top I’d figured it out. It was Estée Lauder’s Youth Dew.

Fragrantica

Smelled Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche on an elderly lady I’m slightly acquainted with. She is a smart, beautifully dressed and fascinating woman and what she was talking about was so interesting I forgot to ask about her perfume. But it was certainly Rive Gauche and it suited her perfectly. I wish now that I had mentioned it because she would probably have had an interesting story to tell about it.

These experiences are relatively unusual for me. Terre d’Hermes, yes. That is so distinct and full of character that you cannot mistake it for anything else. But mostly when I smell perfume on someone I don’t recognise it. I just smell ‘perfume’: a pleasant (or not) floral, sweet, woody or sporty something-or-other.

perfumed-streets-busy_street_in_india-wikipediaWikiMedia

The market is jam packed with smell-alikes, after all, and most people don’t want to make much of a statement with fragrance. I know someone who has a wonderfully quirky style in clothes, but her perfume is Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle. Or at least I think it is; it’s a bit hard to tell when there are so many copies and derivatives in that style.

So – over to you? Are there stand-out perfumes in your world? Or does everyone smell of hotel shampoo these days?
Bye for now everyone, and keep spritzing!
Anne-Marie

Christian Dior: Little Dictionary of Fashion

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Post by Anne-Marie

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In my tiny collection of fashion and perfume books, my greatest treasure is a tattered copy of Christian Dior’s Little Dictionary of Fashion: a guide to dress sense for every woman, published by Cassell & Co in 1954. A friend gave it to me and it seems to be a first edition, which is rather special. It’s written in English. If there was an earlier French edition I’m not aware of it.

The book is arranged alphabetically: A for Accessories … Afternoon Frock … Armholes … – through to Z for … Zest (‘There is no beauty which is attractive without Zest’).

Christian Dior: Little Dictionary of Fashion

Book Review

the-little-dictionary-of-fashion-a-guide-to-dress-sense-for-every-woman-book-depositoryBook Depository

Of course on first opening the book I skipped straight to P for Perfume. Here’s the entry in full.
“Since the beginning of civilisation perfume has always been used and has been considered an essential part of woman’s attraction.
“When I was young, women used much more perfume than they do now and I think that was wonderful and I regret that more women don’t use it lavishly now.
“Perfume, like your clothes, can so much express your personality; and you can change your perfume with your mood.
“I think it as important for a woman to have beautiful perfume as it is for her to have beautiful clothes. And do not think that you need have perfume only on yourself; your whole house can smell of it, and especially your own room.”

The entry is accompanied by a photograph of – of course! – Miss Dior in the amphora bottle in which it had been presented on its release in 1947.

miss-dior-amphora-fragranticaFragrantica

It’s intriguing that Dior thought that women of that time wore less perfume than when he was young (Dior was born in 1905). Was that true, I wonder? Perhaps the women in Dior’s (rather privileged) early life happened to be great lovers of perfume? Or perhaps Dior the salesman was he just being sly, encouraging women to buy more perfume? Preferably his own, of course

The book is sheer delight. Dated, of course, in some of its advice. “In town you cannot be dressed without gloves any more than you can be dressed without a hat.” But whimsical too. “I never get tired of dots.” And sensible. “Too high heels are vulgar and hideous.” I could not agree more.

My favourite is the entry for Elegance: “Elegance must be the right combination of distinction, naturalness, care and simplicity. Outside this, believe me, there is no elegance. Only pretension.” I do believe you M. Dior, indeed I do.

This charming book has been republished under a slightly rearranged title, and is widely available online.
By the way, want some Miss Dior bottle porn? Go here.

Are you a lover of Dior style, in dress and perfume? Do comment!
Until next time everyone, stay elegant!
Anne-Marie

Golden Oldies: Worn For Life

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Hi all

What is the perfume you have worn the longest in your life?

Golden Oldies: Worn For Life

Chanel No 19 Eau de Parfum Chanel FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Neroli, bergamot, green notes
Heart: Iris, narcissus, rose, lily of the valley
Base: Sandalwood, leather, vetiver, oakmoss

I’ve worn Chanel No 19 on and off for … ahem … something like thirty years. I don’t know how I could afford it but I bought my first 50ml bottle of the EDT in the mid-80s when I was a student. Between then and 1991 (still a student) I went through that bottle and bought two more. I still have them all; the first completely drained, the latter two are nearly used and rather on the turn now. (Why did I buy a third before the second was drained? I can’t remember.)

In later years I added more bottles of the EDT and EDP to my collection. I still wear it No 19. It’s the perfume I’ve worn the longest, more than half my life.

In those early years I also bought Estée Lauder White Linen, Lancome Magie Noire, Laura Ashley No. 1, and Eau Sauvage (two bottles). Later, after I moved cities, I remember buying Paloma Picasso, Patou Joy, Estee Lauder Pleasures, and Eau de Givenchy. The last was a souvenir of a trip to the UK and Europe in 1996. I bought it in Paris. Squeee!

golden-oldies-trialsanderrors-tour-eiffel-exposition-universelle-paris-france-1889-flickrFlickr

This was all before I had started having children in 1998, and ceased spending money on perfume for several years.

I don’t wear any of those regularly any more. I’ve moved on from the Lauders, as you do. Paloma Picasso has some sad memories. Magie Noire I wear occasionally still. Joy I never really liked and still don’t. I bought it to celebrate the fact that I could actually afford a perfume once touted as ‘the most costly perfume in the world’. By 1993 it wasn’t, but I loved the idea of it. Eau de Givenchy has to compete every summer with a clutch of other eaux, though it is still the best of the bunch probably.

eau-de-givenchy-givenchy-fragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, mint, red fruit
Heart: Ylang-ylang, honeysuckle, pure jasmine, narcissus, tuberose, lily-of-the-valley, rose, cyclamen, orris root
Base: Sandalwood, musk, cedar, oakmoss

Anyway – I’m wondering what is the perfume you have worn the longest, and which you still wear? What is the perfume to which you keep returning, no matter how many other perfumed paths you have explored?

Does this long-standing choice suggest something fundamental and abiding about your taste? Note, for instance, that my early perfume collection contained no gourmands, and no orientals except Magie Noire which is part-chypre anyway. Note also that I skipped the marine/ozonic perfumes of the 90s altogether. Thank God. I’d rather squirt L’Eau d’Issey in my eye than wear it on skin.
Or, have you completely left behind all your early perfume explorations and discarded those early, embarrassing bottles?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time, keep spritzing everyone!
AM

Scent Of Revenge

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Hi all

I’m not an admirer of Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire. Its cherries and berries are too sweet for my taste, and I have no energy for all its forms and flankers. I’m not going to list the notes. All the LPRNs smell the same to me anyway.

I do love the series of animated video ads though. Sassy, witty, they are just so fun to watch. Here’s one – from the Eau de Parfum Couture – but there are several others.

La Petite Robe Noire – EdP Couture – GUERLAIN

Then I got curious about the original song, written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra in 1966. Here’s the music video, also from 1966:

Nancy Sinatra – These Boots Are Made For Walking (1966 Original)

For her sexiness and that knowing look in her eye, this is a smooth, flawless performance from Nancy. She’s not going to be brought down by that loser of an ex-lover. She’s up on her feet and those little black boots are aimed where they can do the most damage. If we follow Nancy’s lead we have to acknowledge that you enjoy revenge most when you can laugh at your enemy. ‘Ha!’ she laughs. ‘Ha!’ indeed.

Scent Of Revenge

revengePDI

Revenge may be sweet but it can also be corrosive. If you let it take over it will consume you. So you may as well have a laugh as you walk all over that useless bastard, and get on with your life.

What would make a good revenge perfume? Ah, this is where I’m interested in your thoughts.

For my money, La Petite Robe Noire will not do. It’s too conventional and too risk-averse. Wit and intelligence are forsaken for easy populism. Once you’ve had your cry, once you’ve wallowed in your comfort fragrances, you need something to get you back on your feet and spritzing in the face of the enemy.

I’d go for a chypre or something in that line of country. There is nothing maudlin about Chanel No 19, for instance. It won’t let you out of the house with a blotchy face or unwashed hair. In YSL’s Rive Gauche you can forget about all the socks you sorted and the cupcakes you baked.

My top choice is Dior’s spicy oriental chypre, Dioressence. It has the essential ‘Ha!’ we see in Nancy: the flick of the hair, the chin in the air, the confident grin of disdain.

Those are my thoughts, but ANYTHING that sharpens your heels will do. So he hated Thierry Mugler’s Angel? Wear it! He liked you in some soft floral like Chloe? Forget it. Wear what YOU want. Chanel No 5 reminded him of his granny? Wear it! (Anyway, his granny was one classy lady, wasn’t she? She probably always thought you were too good for him.)

Bye for now everyone – I’m looking forward to reading about YOU would spritz in the eye of your Ex. Ouch!

Angrius Feminus (Iratus mulieres),
Anne-Marie

Extreme Perfumes

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Post by Anne-Marie

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Hi all
I’m interested to know what are extreme perfumes for you? How far can a perfume push a genre for you before it’s too much?

Extreme Perfumes?

What Pushes You Over The Edge?

First Van Cleef & ArpelsVan Clef & Arpels

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Raspberry, Mandarin, Peach, Black currant
Heart: Carnation, Hyacinth, Orris root, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Narcissus, Orchid, Tuberose, Turkish rose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Amber, Oakmoss, Honey, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Vetiver, Civet

I got thinking about this when I read Portia’s Van Cleef & Arpels’ First post which, as I said in a comment, is too rich and opulent for me. No matter how I wear it or try to dress it down, it seems to demand silks and satins, furs and pearls. I might aspire to that sort of glamour occasionally, but it’s like getting mum’s old patent leather stilettoes out of the dress-up basket and stumping around the lounge room in them. Fun, but I’m not going to step out the front door. Indeed I think that on release in 1976 First took us to the zenith of the aldehydic floral genre, beyond which no fragrance has ever gone since.

la-nuit-paco-rabanne-fragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Basil, bergamot, amalfi lemon, tangerine, artemisia
Heart: Jasmine, rose, peach, pepper, white honey
Base: Oak moss, woodsy notes, patchouli, leather, Virginia cedar, civetta

The civet and oakmoss in Paco Rabanne’s La Nuit make it unwearable for me – me! A chypre lover! But La Nuit out-chypres all chypres and I’m really not surprised that it was discontinued ages ago. Were it released today on the niche market, La Nuit would be a darling of the cognoscenti.

Fracas Robert Piguet FragranticaFragrantica

BaseNotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Mandarin, Hyacinth, Green notes
Heart: Tuberose, Jasmine, Orange Flower, Lily of the valley, White iris, Violet, Jonquil, Carnation, Coriander, Peach, Osmanthus, Pink geranium
Base: Musk, Cedar, Moss, Sandalwood, Orris, Vetiver, Tolu balsam

Piguet’s Bandit and Fracas, now: they both take us to the edge – over the edge – in the leather chypre and white floral families, respectively. I can’t wear either of them. Bandit is too bitter and Fracas just too freakin’ weird for me. I’ve tried them, though. You need to test the boundaries, or you won’t know where your boundaries actually are.

I don’t wear orientals much, or certainly not extreme spicy or skanky ones, but I know that they are out there. Do share your experience with these. Love them or hate them?

And what about extreme powder in fragrances? Where does that take us?

Eau Sauvage Christian Dior FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon, basil, bergamot, cumin, lavender, fruit
Heart: Jasmine, rose, carnation, iris root, coriander, patchouli, sandalwood
Base: Oakmoss, vetiver, musk, amber

Ultimately I think I must believe in that old maxim: restraint in all things. It’s not just a style choice, it’s a fundamental personality trait. I rarely go to extremes in anything. I can stop at two chocolate biscuits, two glasses of wine, and one (okay two) pairs of red shoes. Cheese is harder, admittedly.
Here’s a parting thought. Are there extremes in the citrus cologne genre, or are they inherently minimalist? Dior’s Eau Sauvage (or 4711, or insert your favourite here) may be the very best citrus cologne ever, but no-one is going to back away and call the scent police on you, are they?

Most of these fragrances are available at Surrender To Chance to sample

Bye for now everyone, but do drop in a comment and share your thoughts!
Anne-Marie xx