Thought For The Day from Harry Winston

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Portia

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Hi All,

Here are two looks from long ago in the 20th century. Below that you’ll see a Harry winston quote that I have unwittingly lived by most of my life.

This post is just a gratitude post for how amazing my life is and has been, and to show you what I was doing long before perfume took over my brain….

Sitting at the desk in a cloud of Guerlain Mitsouko vintage EdT. It’s so beautiful  my mind floated back to my younger years in the big shows and how fortunate I was to often be in the right place at the right time. It also inspired me to look for pictures where i’m wearing gold, doesn’t Mitsouko smell golden?

 

Thought For The Day from Harry Winston

So what fragrance takes you back in time to the glamour years of your life? Do you earn stares or shun them?

Be well and waft on,
Portia xxx

What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?

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Post by Portia

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Hello Fancy Fragrance Freaks,

Today I’m feeling a bit nostalgic for my Mum who died back in 2001 of leukaemia. She was an excellent Mum, not perfect of course but perfect for me. Sometimes when I’m cooking the meals she used to regularly make, there was a rotation of about 10 regular dinner meals and a couple of extra special ones, grocery shopping or cleaning the house I will be struck again by what a huge hole she left when she went. Questions that Mum always had the answers to, little bits of quiet advice or even the yelled loudly kind, I still miss them all.

So I thought we could all get in the mood and remember our Mums together through our shared hobby, fragrance.

What Perfumes Remind You Of Mum?

Mum loved fragrance. Not in a perfumista way but in an “It feels so glam to spritz with abandon” way. Never one to spritz the air and wander through mum wanted it on her skin and her scarf, a blazing scent trail riding slightly ahead and half a block behind. Why? Well my Dad was a notoriously stingy bastard and when Mum worked in their Jewellery and Watch shop as the saleswoman for the first few years of their marriage she made Dad get in Gifts as well. These included everything from Lladro and Wedgwood to Fragrance. Because it was good business for the shop person to be wearing the scents they sold the reps would give Mum bottles to liberally spritz and she fell in love with that luxury. For the rest of her life she always had a couple of fragrances in the house and one respritzer in her purse.

So which ones stand out in my memory? I have touched on most of these before in comments and posts but I thought it high time I brought them all together.

anais-anais-cacharel-fragranticaFragrantica

Anais Anais by Cacharel: This was only a one bottle fragrance for Mum because we all laughed so hard at her wearing Anus Anus. It does stand out in memory though because of that. Can’t remember the smell at all.

chanel-no-5-eau-de-toilette-chanel-fragranticaFragrantica

CHANEL No 5: Mum LOVED No 5 all the way through her life. It was the ultimate signal of luxury for her and that love has rubbed off on me. It was her “Going Out” fragrance for the big events. If ever Dad was winning awards, or charity events, her golfing dos or big birthdays it would be the waft throughout the house. I remember her hugging us goodbye and introducing us to whatever babysitter we had and CHANEL No 5 was the scent.

giorgio-giorgio-beverly-hills-fragranticaFragrantica

Giorgio Beverly Hills: HA! Even thinking about Giorgio makes me remember Mum’s cars. In my later teen years it was the respritz bottle in her handbag and the car would smell so strongly of it your clothes would basically be dry cleaned in a 10 minute drive. No matter what fragrance I was wearing I’d get out of the car smelling like Giorgio.

nsamsara-eau-de-toilette-guerlain-fragranticaFragrantica

Samsara by Guerlain: I remember buying mum Samsara one Christmas with my pay check from being a Squirt Bitch at the Department Store as a Christmas holiday job. She was so thrilled that I had bought her fragrance and I remember her bragging to her girlfriends at the shop when they noticed her scent. I felt a million miles tall.

shalimar-eau-de-toilette-guerlain-fragranticaFragrantica

Shalimar by Guerlain: Shalimar wasn’t just my Mum’s perfume, a whole bunch ofd the crew wore it and sometimes sitting in the living room with them was like being in the middle of a Shalimar fumigation. It’s the fragrance I most relate to Mum even though she had other loves. Whenever I spritz its magical oriental dream I am immediately taken back to days when there seemed almost no cares other than swimming, running, biking and eating delicious home cooked meals.

There were a few more but now I want to hear what your mum wore please?
Portia xx

 

 

 

 

White Lilac by Mary Chess 1932

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Post by Anne-Marie

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A while ago a generous perfume penpal sent me a sample of Mary Chess’s White Lilac. I liked it, but nothing about it struck me very forcibly. Maybe this was because the lilac in my own garden had just finished, and there were roses, jasmine and gardenia on the way. Wisteria was blossoming in public gardens near where I work. I was surrounded by natural floral scents and perhaps I didn’t need another at that moment.

With summer flowers now gone, I spritzed it again and was delighted at last by the fresh, spring-in-a-bottle aroma that leapt joyfully out of the sample vial.

White Lilac by Mary Chess 1932

White Lilac Mary Chess EbayeBay

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Lilac, wisteria, lily-of-the-valley and musk.

Information about Grace Mary Robinson, née Chess, is scanty and inconsistent, but she was an American woman who, after her marriage in 1907, moved with her husband between London and the US. She loved flowers and in what sounds like a hobby turned into a business, she sold flowers she made herself from metal, clay and parchment. She also created perfumes and White Lilac was the first of many mostly single-note perfumes released between 1932 (some sources say 1930) and the 1990s. She died in 1964.

Chess must have understood perfume as a lifestyle commodity. She sold scented sachets, smelling salts, and even a scented paste that could be painted on the inside of drawers and cupboards. She experimented with charming bottle designs, including a bottle for every chess piece, from a King to a pawn. A chess piece became the symbol of Mary’s flourishing business.

You might think that she was more interested in the decorative and lifestyle aspects of perfume than the actual scent, but White Lilac was popular for many years. Perfume historian Nigel Groom says it was once named as one of the eight great perfumes of the world.

White Lilac Mary Chess Lilacs strecosa PixabayPixabay

If so, perhaps it was because it offered an alternative to other best-sellers like Chanel No 5, Arpege and Evening in Paris. It is an innocent, rather dainty fragrance with little overt sexual allure, once sometimes marketed to brides. It works best in the opening hour or so, after which it becomes paler and less interesting. That probably just encouraged women to carry it about and spritz again, for the opening is indeed gloriously vivid. I smell mostly lilac and wisteria, green, but also slightly round and fruity.

There are some reviews on Fragrantica and Basenotes. One Fragrantician exclaims:
How can a 50 year old scent smell so fresh and alive? The lilacs are blooming right here in my bedroom.

White Lilac Mary Chess lil_white_goth_grl_mjranum_stock Deviant artDeviantArt

I don’t know when White Lilac was discontinued but you still see it on auction sites. Mary Chess has gone now, but undemanding floral fragrances never really go out of style. These days several of the niche houses charge dearly for them.

Is this your style of fragrance? Have you tried anything from Mary Chess?

Anne-Marie’s Perfume & Mothers

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Post by Anne-Marie

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No, it’s not Mother’s Day just yet, don’t panic!
I was mucking about on the perfume blogs the other day and came across a very striking post by March on Perfume Posse dating right back to 2006. Not a review, but a meditation, you might say, on her mother’s perfume, Lanvin’s My Sin.

Perfume & Mothers

It reminded me of a few other posts of this nature that I have read over the years. A few bloggers – mostly women – have written very movingly about the perfumes worn by their mothers, and the emotions that a whiff of perfume can elicit. These posts make for very interesting reading and I thought it might be good to bring them together here.

Boy and his mother laughing in the kitchen

The mothers have left their daughters with very strong perfume memories. Usually the women were indeed very strong women, and a girl’s first lessons in femininity are often learned at the dressing table through the wonder of watching her mother apply perfume. If you are familiar with the latest Chanel No 5 ad, featuring Gisele Bündchen, you will remember how beautifully this moment is evoked.
In different ways the bloggers’ daughters have tried to ‘read’ their mothers’ lives through their perfumes. They conjure up the mother as young woman, younger perhaps than her daughter is at the time of writing. They try to imagine their mothers as people separate from their children, as career women perhaps, or lovers to their husbands, or trying to juggle all their many roles.

Gisele CHANEL No 5 Ŧhe ₵oincidental Ðandy FlickrFlickr

What were my parents like before we children came along? Can I gain any insight into them just as people, not as parents? Does perfume open a different window on to my mother’s life and personality than the person I normally remember? If so, where do I belong in that picture?

Anyway, here are the posts.
March on Perfume Posse on Lanvin My Sin.

Beth on Perfume Smellin’ Things on Guerlain Shalimar.

Shelia on the Alembicated Genie on a variety of classic perfumes, especially VC&A’s First.

Michelle on Glass Petal Smoke on Dior Miss Dior.

Gaia, the Non-Blonde, on the original Chloe.

Barbara on Yesterday’s Perfume on Revlon Charlie. (Her mother also wore Rochas Femme, Lancome Magie Noir, Scherrer No 1, and Ungaro Diva.)

Dimitri_Torterat Dad_and_son_staring_at_the_French_oriflamme_(French_Bastille_Day_2009) WikiMediaWikiMedia

After you’ve had a browse, come back and share your own memories, if you would like to. And if know of similar posts about fathers, I’d love to know. These seem to be much rarer. And please share your own memories of what your Dad wore.

Anne-Marie

Voile d’Ambre by Olivier Pescheux for Yves Rocher 2005

Hey there frag crew,

A couple of years ago Jin and I traveled to Europe together, we had never traveled together before, not even for a weekend, yet we decided to put together a wonderful 6 week extravaganza of a holiday. We saw about 10 countries, saw family, met new and old friends, saw sights, laughed, ate, shopped, discovered and generally had the most wonderful time. There were only a couple of minor melt downs on the whole trip and those due to exhaustion rather than lack of common interest. Anyway, the first fragrance I bought while in Europe on that wonderful holiday in a little Yves Rocher shop in Prague was Voile d’Ambre….

Jin Portia Arc de Triomphe Paris Europe 2013

Voile d’Ambre by Olivier Pescheux for Yves Rocher 2005

Voile d'Ambre Yves Rocher FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin leaf, cardamom, mandarin orange, myrtle
Heart: Opoponax, incense, myrrh
Base: Patchouli, Australian sandalwood, Madagascar vanilla

Memories!!! Every time I spritz Voile d’Ambre I get a warm hot rush of happiness that is less to do with the sweet herbal amber that jumps off my skin than it does the wonderful memories of our first trip together. I can see us rugged up in our winter woolies in cities filled with mainly the residents because who is silly enough to travel midwinter through the heart of Europe? We got to see everything we wanted with zero wait time and the staff of everywhere were happy to see some foreigners and have a chat. I have done Europe in all the seasons now and I’ll always try to go in winter, it’s 100% more fun.

Voile d'Ambre Yves Rocher Prague WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Voile d’Ambre gives me a boozy, incense laden amber that is smooth and clean, a warm amber that is in no way challenging. This is comfort fragrance, warming, easy and cuddly. Though I wore it all through that winter in Europe I can also easily apply it in 30C Sydney heat and be comfortable, Voile d’Ambre is spare enough and has enough air through it that I’m not overwhelmed or constricted. I think it may be to do with the Australian sandalwood, which I find a little more astringent and green than the others, slightly eucalyptus feeling and that added to a clean but earthy patchouli rounds the whole fragrance out.

I make it read like the notes are discernible, they are not unless I have a notes list ion front of me, what I smell is a beautiful amber that changes slightly from greener in the beginning to non foody vanilla at dry down. It’s not a big and varied story but a soft and floaty ride through comfort to comfort, and filled with joyful memories. I am smiling right now as I write to you all.

If you’ll excuse me I think I need to give Jin and big hug. While I’m gone, what is your favourite amber fragrance, as a main note or a side one?
Portia xx

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Kelly Calèche by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès 2007

Hey Perfume Junkies,

Do you remember when Kelly Calèche was released in 2007? It was a huge kerfuffle, and it seems both a million years ago and yesterday. There was a while that it was the fragrance de jour in the clubs and I think about one in five young women of a certain cadre were sporting it day and night and smelling so young, hip and fresh, even (dare I say it?) GROOVY! I think that many Sydney girls will have fond memories of fun times in Kelly Calèche,

Kelly Caleche Hermes FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Grapefruit, narcissus, lily of the valley
Heart: Mimosa, rose, tuberose
Base: Leather, iris

The opening of Kelly Calèche is a dry, green, astringent burst that shocks you awake and into the here and now. This fun high octane fizz only lasts a few moments but it is an excellent mind refresher. Then the whole fragrance changes into a surprising leather that smells on my skin like the leather, glue, colours and stitchery inside the back of brand new high heels, never worn, straight from box and tissue paper. The flowers and fruits big moment are all over for me so quickly, around 15 minutes, and then play a light backing track to this almost patent leather smell. (From Hermès, Hermès, Hermès in 2012)

Kelly Caleche Hermes pink leather norulesstock DeviantARTPhoto Stolen DeviantART

So fun, light and yet very present, that oh so soft suede-ish iris dry down is my favourite part, though other reviewers find it not so good. A whisper of fragrance that huffs out at you every so often to remind you that you’re fragrant. It’s just for you and your nearest and dearest friends. It’s no wonder that Kelly Calèche was such a hit at the time, I wonder if those pretty young things still wander round in a soft fog of sweet iris leather or if they’ve moved on?

I grabbed my 15ml mini bottle from Birgit of Olfactoria’s Travels wardrobe clean-out back in 2012. To be honest it doesn’t see a LOT of wear but I have made decent inroads into it, there is some good air in the bottle. I like to wear it when I need a pick me up, have to be somewhere that a loud or hefty frag would be inappropriate or to remember the lovely girls who wore Kelly Calèche when it was released.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Now Smell This
Beauty Encounter has $52/50ml EdT
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Are you a fan? Has Kelly Calèche ever been your go to or does its quiet, refined leather waft leave you bored and stone cold?
Portia xx

Anais Anais L’Original by Cacharel 2014

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Post by Madeleine

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Anais Anais was my foundation perfume. As I have explained previously, it was my very first signature scent and thus accompanied me on many rites of passage throughout the 1980s and 1990s. It was the scent of my high school travails, my first love, my 21st birthday and countless Christmases. I was lucky in that it was not ubiquitous amongst my coterie of friends and so it was truly my scent, inextricably linked with my character and the foundation for my subsequent perfume journey.

The perfume has not been left unscathed by the passing of time. Over the years, the lovely soap, body lotion and deodorant slowly disappeared from shelves. The EDP also went, only to be relaunched in a new guise some years ago with new Kate Moss ads and then became difficult to find. The current EDT, while still lovely, is but a whisper of its former glory: subtle refomulations have rendered it sunbleached and ghostlike as if someone has taken the pastel-hued maidens of the ad campaigns and watered them down: they have become fuzzy and indistinct.

Anais Anais L’Original by Cacharel 2014

Anais Anais L’Original Eau de Parfum FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Hyacinth, galbanum, orange blossom
Heart: Jasmine, rose, lily
Base: Sandalwood, cedar, incense, amber

So when I heard that Cacharel was relaunching the 1978 classic under the name Anais Anais L’Original, I was excited but also somewhat worried and perplexed. Here was the chance to go back to a great love. But what if it didn’t match my olfactory memories? Furthermore, if Cacharel had this formulation at hand, then why had it persisted in keeping the current EDT on shelves?

All my worries vanished upon first sniff. Memories flooded back and I felt like I had come home. Here it was again, my scent, my bastion of a perfume.

Anais Anais L’Original Hyacinths WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

The only difference I could detect between what I was smelling and my olfactory memory is that L’Original appears a to have a stronger hyacinth top note, rendering the composition brighter and rounder. Comparing it to the current EDT, I was struck by the difference between the two: the Anais Anais EDT is harsher upon first spray, the hyacinth is more astringent and the whole composition a little bit more powdery and dry. The sillage and longevity is also markedly different: L’Original sings on my skin as it did all those years ago and lasts and lasts whereas the current EDT is but a mere shadow after a couple of hours.

Anais Anais L’Original Pastel Sunset Versageek FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

I’m very thankful to have an old love back. And I’m comforted by the fact that in these days of IFRA restrictions and reformulations that an old classic has been given a new lease of life.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and The Non Blonde
Anais Anais L’Original (available in both EDP and EDT) and Anais Anais EDT are widely available at department stores and online sellers.
FragranceNet has the current EDT starting at $31.19/30ml before discount
Surrender To Chance starts at $3/ml

Do you like Anais Anais? Have you tried L’Original? What was your foundation perfume?
With much love till next time!
M x