An Evening with Portia Turbo: Perfume Lovers London


Post by Tara


Hey APJ!
I’m guesting here today from A Bottled Rose to report on a very special occasion – Portia Turbo hosting Perfume Lovers London! The theme for the event was “Great Women” and the following should give you an idea of how it went. Just imagine Portia’s words with a good smattering of hilarious expletives.
So take your seats because here we go…

Portia Tara Perfume Lovers London Jan 2016 #2Perfume Lovers London

An Evening with Portia Turbo

28th January 2016

Portia: This the pinnacle of my fragrance experience, presenting in a chapel. I feel like “Santa Portia of the Fragrances”. The idea is to take 12 woman who were of import to the world and talk about the fragrances I’d put with them.

Portia then gave everyone a slip of coloured paper with one of the women’s names on it.

Queen-cleopatra WikiMediaWikiMedia

Cleopatra VII (69-31 BC)
Ubar by Amouage (1995)
Notes: Litsea cubeba, Mandarin, Orange, Violet leaf, Freesia, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Orange blossom, Rosewood, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang, Copaiva balsam, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Amber

Portia: Apparently Cleopatra had a face like a foot but a beautiful body and awesome personality.
Ubar has such power but is lilting underneath. Ubar is what I imagine they’d have embalmed her in. It’s a heavenly scent, a beautiful bouquet of flowers.
Who else had Cleopatra and what perfume did you think of?

Audience member: I immediately thought of Poison.
Val the Cookie Queen: Onda Extrait (Vero Profumo)

Stilke_Hermann_Anton_-_Joan_of_Arc's_Death_at_the_Stake WikipediaWikipedia

Saint Joan of Arc (1412-30)
Celtic Fire by Union (2012)
Notes: Oak, Fir balsam, Pine needle, Marmite™ , Birch tar, Sweet gale

Portia: Just for fun I thought we’d pair Joan with Celtic Fire (much laughter). I don’t think it really smells of Marmite.
Lila (Event organiser): Can I just say…
Portia: When it’s your evening you can say what you like (Laughter)
Lila: I was just going to say the perfumer gave Grant from Basenotes a little of the Marmite accord because he belongs to this Marmite secret society.
Portia: {With comic sarcasm} That is a lovely story. Thank-you.

Empress_Catherine_The_Great_circa_1770_(D.G._Levitsky) WikiMediaWikimedia

Catherine the Great (1729-96)
Ambre Russe by Parfums d’Empire (2005)
Notes: Champagne, Vodka, Ambergris, Coriander, Cumin, Tea, Cinnamon, Leather, Vanilla, Frankincense

Portia: Catherine the Great was truly forward-thinking and progressive. Ambre Russe smells to me what I imagine a Russian sitting room would smell like. I think when you wear it you feel like aristocracy – well obviously I do.

Florence_Nightingale_CDV_by_H_Lenthall WikipediaWikipedia

Florence Nightingale (1820-1921)
Sharp by Andrea Maack (2010)
Notes: White musk, Orange blossom, Vanilla

Portia: Being in England I thought I’d pick someone particularly English. I’ve chosen Sharp. It starts medicinal but ends up an incredibly warm fragrance. What did anyone else pick?

Audience member: White Linen, Estee Lauder.

Empress_Dowager_Cixi_(c._1890) WikipediaWikipedia

Tz’u Hsi (1835-1908)
Opium by YSL (1977)
Notes: Bergamot, Clove, Jasmine, Coriander, Laurel, Mandarin, Pepper, Plum, Citruses, Orris root, Lily-of-the-valley, Carnation, Patchouli, Peach, Rose, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Amber, Benzoin, Coconut, Musk, Myrrh, Opoponax, Sandalwood, Tolu balsam, Vanilla, Vetiver, Frankincense, Cedar, Cistus

Portia: I call her Suzy. I’ve chosen Opium by YSL and we have some of the Parfum from the last century. Back then it was a kitchen sink fragrance – they threw everything into it. It lasts eternally on a scarf.

Eleanor_Roosevelt_cph.3b16000 WikipediaWikipedia

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)
Rose sur Reuse by SOIVOHLE (2012)
Notes: Tuberose, Red rose, Red berries, Parma violet, Jasmine, Lily, Lilac, Orchid, Oakmoss, Vanilla, Woods, Musk

Portia: Eleanor really helped to create America so I thought I’d pick an American perfumer, Liz Zom of SOIVOHLE. Rose sur Reuse is a rose and tuberose fragrance.

Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume: I thought of Private Collection, Estee Lauder.

Katharine Hepburn kate gabrielle FlickrFlickr

Katharine Hepburn (1907-2003)
Gentlewoman by Juliette Has a Gun (2015)
Notes: Bergamot, Neroli, Almond, Woody musk, Orange blossom

Portia: When I was a kid the women ran everything so I dreamt that when I grew up I’d be like Katharine Hepburn. Clearly I have her poise. I’ve chosen Gentlewoman by Juliette Has A Gun. It smells like a men’s cologne on a beautiful woman. I know some perfumistas need to be challenged every time they breathe in, but this is just really good. Any other suggestions?

Audience members: “Jicky” “Eau Sauvage as it’s so fresh” “Chanel No.5”

Rosa Parks YouTubeYouTube

Rosa Parks (1913-2005)
Ashoka by Neela Vermeire Creations (2013)
Notes: Fig leaf, Leather, Lotus, Mimosa, Fig milk, Osmanthus, Rose, Water hyacinth, Vetiver, Storax, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Myrrh, Tonka bean, Fir balsam

Portia: I’ve chosen Ashoka because although Rosa Parks was prominent in the civil rights movement, she looks like she had a softness about her. Ashoka starts strong and strident but ends up being a creamy figgy vanilla.

Elizabeth_Taylor_1 WikipediaWikipedia

Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)
Byzance by Rochas (1987)
Notes: Aldehydes, Basil, Carnation, Spices, Green notes, Cardamom, Mandarin, Lemon, Citruses, Aniseed, Orris root, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Rose, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang, Amber, Heliotrope, Musk, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Cedar

Portia: What a heartbreaker she was. I’ve chosen a discontinued gem – Byzance by Rochas. It smells so fabulous on skin that I’m putting some on and walking my fat arse up and down the aisle.
Portia proceeds to windmill her arms through the audience exclaiming “I AM sillage!”

Sylvia Earle WikipediaWikipedia

Sylvia Earle (1935- )
Beyond Paradise by Estee Lauder (2003)
Notes: Bergamot, Blue hyacinth, Jabuticaba, Orange blossom, Philodendron, Jasmine, Italian honeysuckle, Orchid, Mahonia , Ambrette seed, Broad-leaved paperbark, Natal plum blossom, Zebrano wood

Portia: I’ve chosen Beyond Paradise for oceanographer Sylvia Earle because it’s American, a beautiful fragrance and it used to come in a bottle the shades of the sea. They’ve taken some of the breathy jasmine out of the current version.

Audience member: I thought of Lauren or Aliage by Estee Lauder because they’re outdoorsy.

Portia: I also considered Womanity.

Oprah_Winfrey_2010 WikipediaWikipedia

Oprah Winfrey (1954-)
M7 by Yves Saint Laurent
Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Rosemary Heart: Oud, Vetiver, Mandragora, Amber, Musk

Portia: Oprah is a woman who has changed the face of the world. M7 was the first oud in mainstream perfumery and it has a real smoothness. The oud and vetiver gives it a kind of petrol-y greenness. It’s fabulous but weird. No wonder it never made any money. Can you still get it?

Nick Gilbert: It’s been relaunched as M7 Oud Absolu.

Portia: Any other suggestions for Oprah?

Audience member: Ambre Sultan (Serge Lutens).

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel (1954-)
Black Saffron by Byredo (2012)
Notes: Honey pomelo, Saffron, Juniper berry, Leather, Rose, Black violet, Blond woods, Raspberry, Vetiver

Portia: Black Saffron is sheer and radiant but tough. It smells of petrichor – rain hitting hot tar. I think Angela is tough but has a sweetness.

Well, it’s been amazing to see you all and so many happy faces! (Huge applause)

Portia Lila Grant Val Perfume Lovers London Jan 2016 #1Val (Cookie Queen), Grant (Basenotes), Lila (Perfume Lovers London),
Antonio Gardoni (Bogue Profumo), Portia Turbo (APJ)

Hope you enjoyed this taster of the Portia Turbo experience. We were all still buzzing long after the event was over. It was such a thrill.
Let me know in the comments if you have any fragrant suggestions for these great women.
Tara xxx


(Ed: Go visit A Bottled Rose)