Sharing my Perfume Passion

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Sandra

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Hiya wonderful smelling APJers! How is everyone doing?

As many know, I have had a love affair with perfume since I was a child. I have other passions as well, such as travel, photography, sketching and music. I am not sure if it is the language or age, but I am obviously more comfortable in my skin now and where I would normally keep mum about my loves, I find myself expressing myself more freely. This is a great opportunity for me because it takes me to new places and I am meeting so many wonderful people.

A friend of mine approached me a few weeks ago to speak at an expat morning meeting at the school. About perfume! I was skeptical at first but decided to go ahead and it was a pleasant revelation for me of how open and curious people were.

Sharing my Perfume Passion

I decided to share my love of Neela Vermeire Creations. Big question was how to go about doing so. I adore Neela’s perfumes as they use some of my favorite notes and spices. The Netherlands is the place to live if you love flowers so my first stop was the florist where I discussed what kinds of flowers are readily available in November and they did a marvelous job. I chose to include fragrant flowers and not all are used in the NVC perfumes. We had lily, tuberose, freesia, ‘Yvette Piagaitte’ rose, ‘Free Spirit’ rose, a third rose which they could not name and finally stock also known as matthiola incana which is clove-like in scent.

I included fresh mango, cinnamon bark, cardamom pods, vanilla bean paste, essential oils of frankincense, sandalwood and jasmine and a leather clutch for its scent.

We kicked off the meeting by starting to sniff the various flowers. Many of the participants were astonished at how different each of the roses smelled.

There was the obvious love/hate reaction with tuberose. Interestingly though those from tropical climates loved the tuberose. We moved through the spices, oils and finally the fresh cut mango. Once that was done I sprayed Bombay Bling onto a tester paper and all were amazed that they could easily identify the mango and also the lychee. A friend of mine loved Trayee not for the incense but for the ganja which she could identify (I cannot). Several participants could identify cardamom or cinnamon.

In attendance was a man who did not know exactly what to expect but enthusiastically sniffed the flowers, spices and oils. When it came to testing the perfumes he was under the impression that a man could not possibly wear any of these perfumes. I convinced him to try Mohur as I find men can really rock its spicy rose with glorious sandalwood. He loved it and went away with the knowledge that perfume can be unisex and that it will smell differently on each and every one of us!

Each of the participants had a clear favorite so at the end of the talk I gave the participants samples of the perfumes they were interested in and a flower of their choosing. It was a lovely morning and I would like to thank the expat group for giving me this opportunity.

Neela Vermeire Creations Discovery Sample Set €55 

Do you have any inhibitions when it comes to talking about your perfume passion? What would you talk about?

Wishing everyone a wonderful start to December.

Oodles of fragrant kisses,
Sandra xo

 

(ED: All photos supplied by Sandra. Thank you. XXX)

NEW! April Aromatics + The Different Company

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Sandra

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Hi APJ! How are you all doing? Can you believe we are nearing the end of the year already?

Where has the time gone? We are in full autumn swing here, buckling down for the coming winter. The heat is on and there is a chill in the air outside. I have been here in Rotterdam for soon to be eleven months! It definitely feels like home now, but I still have not hung any paintings on the walls – what is up with that?

Autumn is a time of closure for me. Summer is over with its long days and warm air kissing my skin. My son goes back to school which ends the innocent joys of childhood summers. The trees show colours of vibrant yellows, oranges and reds and then loose their foliage all too quickly. Even the birds are changing – many fly south and yet others arrive for the milder winters here. I have not seen the hedgehog in a while, perhaps he is already hibernating? All of this closure has brought me to think about my first year here in The Netherlands.

When I am completely honest and look past the challenges here and there of navigating a new language and culture, it has been a year of awakening and coming back to myself. I have lovely friends and neighbors and this is now home. I am no longer weary, I am stronger and more self assured than I have been in years.

With this new awakening I am now ready and excited to try and test new perfumes and there are two perfumes that fit into this new self quite well.

NEW! April Aromatics + The Different Company

Fragrantica

Pink Wood by Tanja Bochnig for April Aromatics

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Sandalwood, Agarwood, Cistus, Labdanum, Oakwood, Rose Otto, Rose absolute, Geranium, Rosewood, sweet pink fruity notes

Pink Wood is my first experience with April Aromatics. I eagerly sprayed my first spritz of Pink Wood and was taken by surprise by the beautiful rose and wood opening. Many roses turn sour on my skin but this is actually remaining rosy which is a big plus in my books. There are no pink fruity notes for me though. The warmer my skin is the woodier the perfume. The roses stay more in the background leaving me with a wonderful woody rose perfume perfect for autumn days and walks in the park.

Fragrantica

Santo Incienso, Sillage Sacré by Alexandra Monet for The Different Company

gives these featured accords:
Top: Calabrian bergamot, petitgrain, nutmeg
Heart: Palo santo, atlas cedar, hedione
Base: Incense, myrrh, musk, vetiver, guaiac wood

This is not your usual incense perfume at all. For me it starts with a blast of bergamot with an air of spice. There is something citrusy in there but it slowly fades into the background leaving behind a warm woody accord. I have no idea what Palo Santo smells like, so I cannot assume that this is what I am smelling, however, it is beautiful and intriguing pulling me in. In the middle stage through to the dry down there is a magic happening with the incense and myrrh where the woods are warmed through. What I love about it most of all is that the incense tendrils waft up to my nostril throughout the day and bring me such joy and calm.

Both Pink Wood and Santo Incienso, Sillage Sacré are getting a lot of wear time. The days are shorter and colder but the lighting is stunning taking my breath away on an almost daily basis when the sun is shining. This is my favorite season of the year.

Do you have a favorite perfume for autumn or spring walks? Do you have a favorite season?

Sending sunny hugs to you all.
Sandra xo

Nuit de Bakélite by Isabelle Doyen for Naomi Goodsir 2017

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Sandra

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Hi there APJ, I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying spring or autumn. I am actually quite surprised that autumn is so much nicer than summer here in the Netherlands.

When we arrived in the Netherlands I made it a personal quest of mine to hunt down as many different flowers as I could get my greedy hands on. Not only is almost everything available, but the prices are incredibly low! I have been going through the seasons here looking for specific flowers, such as crocosmia in the summer, hydrangeas the size of basketballs, orchids of all shapes and sizes and this summer I finally, after many years of dreaming, was able to buy fresh tuberose. I have always loved tuberose perfumes, but after experiencing the real thing, my expectations have changed slightly. I no longer want creamy or buttery tuberose, or tuberose that is so difficult to smell because of added ingredients that are an onslaught to my senses. I want the real thing.

When I bought my first stems of tuberose I was taken aback at how complex the flower is. The flowers are so delicate in sight and to the touch – they are almost silky. I expected the flowers to be white, when in reality they are more ivory, tinged with pinks, yellows and the slightest green. The stem itself has different shades of green but not a dark green at all. Visually the tuberose is stunning and then there is the perfume. Oh my is it intoxicating! My home smelled divine for a whole week.

I love that the Naomi Goodsir website describes Nuit de Bakélite as “Floral (2017) The premise of a ‘narcotic lady’…”

Nuit de Bakélite by Naomi Goodsir 2017

Nuit de Bakélite by Isabelle Doyen

Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Tuberose, angelica, artemisia, ylang-ylang, karo karounde, carrot seeds, cardamom, leather, styrax, green notes

Don’t take these notes too seriously as they differ on several websites because no note list was released.

I was hoping for something out of the ordinary, something new and bit surprising – narcotic. Let’s sniff…

Wow – what an opening! It starts out bright and fresh green – full of juicy (not sweet at all) slightly bitter green leaves. Usually, I shy away from such green perfumes because they are out of my comfort zone. Not to fear, this perfume surprises me with the turns it takes. After such a fresh green opening it stays that way for a while on my skin, only hinting at the merest inclusion of tuberose. As my skin warms and I am moving around, the tuberose becomes more pronounced, but it is not a soliflore at all. The tuberose is accompanied by a little bit of rooty and woody goodness. To make it more interesting I am sensing that there are other things going on here that I cannot pinpoint.

Then to my surprise once again, Nuit de Bakelite shifts slightly bringing in a leather component. It dries down to a wonderful tuberose leather scent sprinkled with woods to make it rounder. This perfume has all the colors of the blossoms that I smelled this summer. The green stalk, the blossom tinged with pinks and yellows all come through in Nuit de Bakelite.

Further reading: BL’eauOG and Persolaise
LuckyScent has $187/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples from $6/0.5ml

With this new entry into Naomi Goodsir’s lineup I will buy samples of all of the other ones.

Have you tried Naomi Goodsir? Which of her perfumes should I sample next?

Kisses – Sandra

 

(ED: All photos supplied by Sandra unless specified)

New Autumnal Scents and Amouage Lilac Love

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Sandra.

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Hey there dear APJ! How are you all doing? I hope that life is treating you very well.

Autumn has shown its face early here in Rotterdam. Early I say simply because I am not used to it coming this early. Naturally the leaves are changing colour and falling (all in different stages too) but the sun is really low, it is almost blinding. I have only ever experienced this special lighting up in Norway and have found it to be both eerie and alluring. My nose is on high alert here as there are so many new scents that I am taking in this year. It is in part because of the move north but also because we no longer live in a city. We live in a house in a suburb with a garden.

New Autumnal Scents and Amouage Lilac Love

The first smell that comes to mind is the wet damp earth. It is seriously wet here. It was so bad in September for about 10 days that I kept teasing my son that we will need to build ourselves a boat so we can have a ride to school. There is a dampness in the air, especially now in autumn where not only is the asphalt emitting its own scent but so are the fallen leaves.

Some homes are starting to have fires in the fireplaces now and I loooove that smell. Together with the damp earth, the wood and the smoke gives me a sense of calm and a feeling of home. My favorite time of the day is when I walk home with our son after school and all of these homey scents greet my eager nose.

This past weekend we were blessed with plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures. Saturday we biked for 30km and my son will tell you that we broke his muscles with that ride. It was a gorgeous ride in the greenery and then along the Rotte River. We got to smell chestnuts and leaves, but also the last of the blooming flowers. Have I mentioned of how stunning all of the blooming plants and trees are here in the Netherlands? There is always colour outside even in the dead of winter. Amouage Bracken Woman was the perfect companion for our Saturday bike ride. Bracken Woman is herbal, green and woody. All the elements of autumn in a bottle.

Sunday was another glorious day but our son protested the idea of another bike ride so we took a long walk in our neighborhood. We let him lead the way with no destination in mind and we somehow stumbled upon a city garden called Natuurtalent. The herbs alone were intoxicating to smell. They have a wood work area and the smell of fresh wood shavings surrounded by green herbs and blooming plants will ensure our return. It was a perfect place for our son to explore and he was allowed to smell things too. Since it was such a warm day I wore Amouage Lilac Love which bloomed into a floral powdery slightly spicy perfume. It is a beautiful perfume that I would wear often if I owned a bottle.

Here are a few pictures of our sunny warm weekend. Yes, Rotterdam really is this green. Now the fog has set in this week and I need to make a pumpkin soup to really get into the season.

Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Jasmine, rose, gardenia, peony, heliotrope
Heart: Orris, cacao, tonka bean
Base: Sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla

Libertine has $499/1ooml FREE Australian Postage
Surrender To Chance has samples from $4/0.5ml

Do you have a favorite season? Do you like any Amouage perfumes? I would love to hear from you.

Stay safe and healthy. Until next time.
Sandra xoxo

 

(Ed: All photos taken by Sandra unless specified)

Carner Barcelona Floral Collection 2017

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Sandra

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Hey there APJ! How are you all doing? Are you already changing seasons? It is still August as I write this and I am blown away that we have already entered autumn and all I can think is – stop it! It is only August! This is NOT supposed to be happening yet.

Carner Barcelona launched three new perfumes in 2017 starting the Floral Collection and described them as Three luminous perfumes that talk about love, passion and seduction through the flower, which has been and will always be the best expression of love.

Carner Barcelona Floral Collection 2017

Besos Carner Barcelona FragranticaFragrantica

Besos by Carner Barcelona

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Italian mandarin, Madagascar pepper
Heart: Jasmine sambac, iris
Base: Benzoin, vanilla, musk

Carner Barcelona describes it as A come-hither kiss, sensual and deep that leaves you wanting more, Besos has an air of romance with a robust sprinkling of lust.

Besos which means kisses in Spanish is an aptly named perfume in my mind. It opens with a delicious mouthwatering citrus with a hefty sprinkling of pepper. It really is scrumptious and lasts for about an hour in this stage. The floral heart moves in and I get a predominantly jasmine powdered puff with the hint of spices humming along in the background. It rounds out a bit powdery, but not sweet at all. I find this romantic and billowy – it is a white blouse with long cuffs.

Latin Lover Carner Barcelona FragranticaFragrantica

Latin Lover by Carner Barcelona

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, ylang-ylang, magnolia
Heart: Violet, jasmine sambac, French narcissus, lily-of-the-valley
Base: Benzoin, Indonesian patchouli leaf, white musk

Carner Barcelona describes Latin Lover as a fine balance between smooth seduction and hot-blooded passion… What do you think of the name Latin Lover? I find it fun to be honest. Latin Lover opens up with a cocktail of flowers exquisitely tied in a bouquet. The flowers are so intricately intertwined that it is next to impossible to pick them apart. The narcissus and lily of the valley are inviting, intoxicating, yet tempered with the other flowers and patchouli – all of my senses are aware. Well worth a sniff in my books.

Sweet William Carner Barcelona FragranticaFragrantica

Sweet William by Carner Barcelona

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: White pepper, cardamom, Chinese cinnamon wood, galangal
Heart: Dianthus, ylang-ylang, rose water, tobacco blossom
Base: Ambraromei, styrax, Tuscan iris, vanilla absolute

Carner Barcelona describes it During times of gallatry lovelorn bachelors sat to have their portrait painted with a red carnation, a sweet william, symbolizing their search for true love.

Sweet William is decidedly the more unisex leaning perfume of the three entries. With warm spices throughout the development of the perfume, this is also the most complex of the three. There is a sense of lush green, almost vegetal green, which has been warmed by the sunshine that mingles with the spices. It is a element of the unkown that captures my interest. Could it be the galangal that is keeps me thinking green? It is a rich perfume which lasts all day with intriguige – pulling me back in for a further sniff.

ParfuMaria has the collection starting at €95/50ml
Career Barcelona has 3 x 1.7ml Samples €15 (EU Only)

Summer vacation here was a mere six weeks and we had a wonderful fully packed vacation in Spain where we lapped up the abundant sunshine, warm sea air and water and friendly people. What have you all been up to? I would love to hear from you.

Sandra xoxo

Flamenco by Ramón Monegal 2017

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Sandra

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Hi there APJ! Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying the month of August. We are eagerly anticipating our upcoming trip to southern Spain. I am in desperate need for sunshine and heat – both will hopefully be in abundance.

“The dance, of all the arts, is the one that most influences the soul. Dancing is divine in its nature and is the gift of the gods”. Plato.

Music and dance are indicative of a culture and its people. Joie de vivre, cultural history and even weather plays an important role in the musical roots of a country. Every country has its own rhythym, its own heartbeat. Having lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I cannot imagine that city without the rhythyms of tango and the evocative dance associated with it. The same holds true for the Waltz and Vienna, Austria – a lot of structure to the dance and the music. I have always believed that the warmer the climate in a country, the more passionate and captivating the music and dance will be. This is only my opinion as I have had the pleasure of living in many countries and experiencing the music and dance.

Enter in Spain and the Flamenco dance.

Flamenco by Ramón Monegal 2017

Flamenco Ramon Monegal fragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom, raspberry, violet, apple
Heart: Jasmine, rose, iris
Base: Cedar, amber, pine tree, cypress.

With all of that said and done, I am sure that you all know of Ramón Monegal perfumes from Barcelona, Spain. Ramón Monegal is one of the very few brands which excites me with their new creations and they have recently launched Flamenco. The Andalusian dance, the Flamenco, with its music (guitar, vocals, clapping and dancing) is seductive and sensual and was the inpiration for this new creation. When I watch a Flamenco performance I feel as if I am watching a deep magical dance from the soul of the people. It is a feast for my senses. I get lost in watching the rhythmic movements of the dancer’s arms and feet, the sway of her dress, the dust slightly coming off of the wooden floor, the musicians encouraging her and then the final culmination.

When I spray on Flamenco, it opens with a cloud of raspberries and orange blossom which is radiant and bursting with flavor and brings a smile from ear to ear on my face. A bowlful of berries, succulent with their juices, slightly sweet and yet marginally tart, is my secret haven for a warm summer evening. There is an underlying woody aspect to the opening which grounds it from turning into a fruit syrup. When the woods come into play they are warm and glowing which gives me a sense of comfort and well being. This perfume exudes passion, slowly working its way into my soul making me want to wear something red, dance the night away on a warm summer evening after enjoying a day of languishing in the sun.

The packaging for Flamenco is equisite; a book shaped box with a mirror on the inside of the lid holds the red bottle in a black and red cloth bag. There is so much attention to detail that surpasses anything that I have seen in a while. It is pure joy to use the perfume and adds to the sensorial experience.

Special thanks to Ramon Monegal for sending me this beautiful bottle

Perfumaria has €190/50ml
LuckyScent carries the Ramon Monegal line

Have you tried any perfumes from Ramón Monegal? Do you have a favorite? Or do you have a favorite dance?
Sandra x

Sandra’s London Trip June 2017 Photo Essay

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Sandra

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Hey there dear APJ! How is everyone doing? Hopefully comfortably settling in with summer or winter.

It has been a hectic couple of months here in Rotterdam. What with school keeping us busy, family & friends visiting, it was a blessing to be able to get away for my son’s birthday over a long weekend at the beginning of June. He turned 8 this year and one of his greatest wishes was to see London (Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, London Eye, and of course toy stores were all on his wish list). Not only did we manage to see all the sights, but we also had a couple of perfume activities which I would like to share with you today.

London Trip June 2017 Photo Essay

I finally got to meet Neela Vermeire of Neela Vermeire Creations! Wow! What an amazing woman – but I knew that already. It was absolutely fabulous sitting down with her in London and chatting for a while. Thankfully dear son and husband also enjoyed their visit. Thank you Neela!!!

Saturday was reserved for meeting up with Tara from A Bottled Rose. I last saw Tara in Vienna about two years ago and I was thrilled to be able to spend some time with her again. We started out by heading to the Natural History Museum. It was a bribe for my son so that we could go sniffing later! We headed off to Harrods afterwards and had lunch before heading to the toy kingdom which I must admit was exciting for us parents as well. The choice is staggering.

Now it was my turn – yay!! Tara took us upstairs to the beautiful area where many brands have their own small boutiques. I got to sniff perfumes from Xerjoff, Dior, Frederic Malle, Kilian, Ramon Monegal. The new Superstitious by Frederic Malle is gorgeous and powerful. Xerjoff is a brand that I like wearing and I was thrilled to see that the Casamoratti line is now offered in 30 ml bottles. I liked Monegal’s Flamenco quite a bit – the red bottle is eye catching and the perfume was a lot of fun starting off with a blast of raspberry and it stayed a happy joyful perfume.

This summer Dior will be shaking things up a bit. The SA was kind enough and said that I was permitted to write about it. I think that many of us will be super happy with the big news that they will be offering the Privée line in 40 ml bottles in addition to the current bottle line up. Dior will also be launching a new sub line to the Privée consisting of 10 new perfumes which are apparently easier to wear and more appealing to the mass market. I for one cannot wait to see what Dior comes up with and am so excited about the smaller bottles. My husband may have to hold onto my wallet!

When we meandered downstairs to the perfume hall I was taken aback at how bustling it was. One of the first perfumes I spritzed that day was Ormonde Jayne’s Ambre Royal. Truly a beautiful perfume with notes of osmanthus and iris and drying down to a wonderful unsweet amber. What a shame that I did not pick it up.

We then headed towards the Kilian stand where two handsome SAs Niko and Johan greeted us and walked me through the new releases. These two gentlemen were so patient and kind and both had a great sense of humor – here is a picture of us. I just love the box for Black Phantom and decided then and there to buy the perfume. Not necessarily smart to buy a perfume for the packaging – but had to do it this one time. The one perfume that I just adored was Single Malt. I walked around the city with my arm at my nose and had to go back in the evening to buy that one too. Reviews coming up of the two Kilians.

After all of that our noses were exhausted and we decided to head to Big Ben. We took some pictures with Tara and our full on day came to a close. A big shout out to dear Tara for taking time to spend with us. We loved seeing her.

I know that I could have seen and sniffed more, but we jammed as much as possible into the 4 day weekend. It just means that we will have to go back and SOON!

What about ya’ll? Any travels lately? Any fun sniffing lately? I would love to hear about it.

Sending you lots of sunny hugs,
Sandra xoxo