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


Post by Gabriella


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

Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone 2005: Smells Like Christmas


Post by Poodle


Smells Like Christmas Pomegranate Noir by Jo Malone 2005

Pomegranate Noir Jo Malone FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Raspberry, pomegranate, plum, rhubarb, watermelon
Heart: Lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, rose, pink pepper, clove, olibanum, opoponax, guaiac wood
Base: Virginia cedar, patchouli, musk, amber

Pomegranate Noir is the only Jo Malone fragrance I own and I really do love it. It always makes me feel warm and cozy and somewhat happy but I never realized why until I wore it to work one day. Someone came by my desk and said it smelled like Christmas in the office that day. They were right. It did smell like Christmas and I was the source of the aroma.

Pomegranate Noir Jo Malone  Christmas_Miku DeviantArtPhoto Stolen DeviantArt

When I was younger I loved Christmas. I had many happy memories of it usually involving my favorite aunt. Aunt Wanda loved Christmas. She started shopping for Christmas on December 26th and had a collection of Santa Claus figurines that she displayed year round in her home. She put extra thought into finding everyone the perfect gifts as well. She never used pre-made bows; she bought ribbon and made her own. She was a large joyful woman and some would say she looked like what Mrs. Claus should look like. Sadly, she’s been gone for many years and Christmas just isn’t the same without her.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAPhoto Stolen Elizabeth Ellis  Flickr

Pom Noir does smell like Aunt Wanda’s house during the holidays which is why it makes me smile. The fruity opening calls to mind the fact that she did a lot of canning and I get the smell of jams and spicy compotes that always lingered in the air in her house. Pomegranates were a favorite of hers as well. She’d also make those clove studded orange pomanders. A real Christmas tree was a must for her so the scent of evergreen was in the air and the wood burning stove added that warm cozy aroma that only wood can do. Her house really had that New England holiday feel to it. All of this is in Pom Noir. The florals never dominate and I barely notice they are there. It’s all spicy berries, evergreen, and warm wood. This is a comfort scent to me and it smells like my memories of Christmas.

Pomegranate Noir Jo Malone Decorating_the_Christmas_tree WikiMediaPhoto Stolen WikiMedia

It’s definitely unisex and has pretty good lasting power on my scent eating skin. It lasts longer if sprayed on clothing. I don’t think it’s very sweet since the fruits are offset by the spices and woody notes.

Further reading: Now Smell This and Memory Of Scent
You can buy Jo Malone Products at many Department Stores
In Australia Essential Mall has a range of Pomegranate Noir online
Beauty Encounter has sold out of their bottles but have $5/2ml spray samples
Surrender To Chance start at $3/ml

I love the fact that Pomegranate Noir smells like the holidays to me but what perfume, if any, smells like the holidays to you?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! I hope you all have a wonderful season and I wish all of you a very Happy and Fragrant New Year.

Poodle XXX

Brie’s Christmas Owl


Post by Brie


Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age arrives alone, unaccompanied.
                                                          -Woon Tai Ho, Riot Green

Brie’s Christmas Owl

Hello APJ,

Written while drinking Organic India USA<<<JUMP Tulsi Sweet Rose herbal tea.

Organic India USA Tulsi Sweet Rose TeaPhoto Stolen Organic India USA

Tulsi Sweet Rose tea is sold as Stress relieving, Soothing & relaxing, Abundant in antioxidants, Powerful adaptogen, Uplifts mood, Caffeine & gluten free, USDA certified organic, 18 tea bags per box, GMO free, Kosher & Halal certified

Christine, my oldest childhood friend of 42 years, lived one flight below me in an apartment building in NYC. Her mother Catherine, a bubbly woman of Greek descent, lived life to the fullest with an infectious laugh and an ability to always see the glass half full instead of half empty. One Christmas Catherine invited all of Christine’s friends over and presented us with gifts that she had chosen quite carefully for each of us. As we tore off the wrapping paper what was revealed underneath were handcrafted ornaments of various animals. I was secretly hoping for the cat (my favorite animal) and was dismayed to see that she had given me an owl. Sensing my disappointment she pulled me aside and quietly whispered, “Do you know what the owl represents? Intuitive wisdom. Never forget that you are an owl, not a cat”. I was four months shy of becoming a teenager and all I cared about at that time was obtaining that which I did not have; popularity and attractiveness. Intuition and wisdom were the very last attributes I was attempting to cultivate. Sadly, a few years later, Christine lost her mother to breast cancer.

Brie's Christmas OwlBrie’s family took and starred in this shot

Ten years ago I asked my parents to retrieve all of my collectible Christmas ornaments from the common storage room in their apartment building. To my horror, all of my dated Hallmark ornaments were stolen. Left behind were a few worthless stragglers, including the owl. Back it came to my own house and as it hung on my tree I thought of Catherine, her words haunting me. Year after year I placed that owl on my tree and slowly but surely the owl became my animal. Eventually my three children heard the story of how I came to love owls through the wise words of Catherine.

So it should come as no surprise that when I saw Soap and Paper Factory’s Patch NYC “OWL” solid perfume I bought it unsniffed. Lucky for me it smells fantastic! OWL is a bright rosy geranium on top with a grounding dry down of sandalwood, tobacco and vetiver. For a solid natural perfume it lasts an incredibly long time. The tea I love to pair it with is Organic India’s Tulsi Tea Sweet Rose. Tulsi, or holy basil, is an herb renowned in India for healing properties that relieve stress and protect the immune system. That beautiful Sweet Rose tea melds so nicely with the OWL perfume.

Patch_Solid_Owl thumbFrom PatchNYC site:

{sandalwood, tobacco, vetiver} elusive and wise like the night owl, delvilishly earthy as a twilight forest

Three years ago I included a letter with my yearly holiday card to my friend Christine. I wrote about the exchange between her mother and I and included a picture of my owl hanging on the Christmas tree. Last year she revealed to me that she keeps my letter in a special place and reads it from time to time. I believe that it serves as a reminder that her mother’s memory lives on in the heart of a woman who endeavors for wisdom to accompany her into middle age.

This story is dedicated to all mothers: past, present and future

Sadly Brie wrote this ahead and can not answer your comments. Don’t let that stop the conversation though, please write if you’d like and Portia will reply. Hopefully Brie is out there somewhere reading. Portia xx

Back to Vinyl – The Office Turntable 2013

Hey Hey APJ!

I think a fair few of us grew up in times where the Record Player was a major fixture of the house. Our original one had a TV Set, Record Player, Radio and huge Speakers. Dad’s Beethoven could be heard at the top of the street on a calm evening and Mum’s jazz would often be heard over the vacuum cleaner during the day. They were heady days of endless summers, swimming in the pool with my sister and our friends, Bar B Qs on the back verandah, oranges eaten warm off the tree, learning the alphabet and math times tables and music, music, music.

Record Player Cabinet Stephen Coles FlickrPhoto Stolen Stephen Coles Flickr

There were other record players, Dad had a HUGE stack of equipment in later years and everything was powered through the speakers, then I got a 3 in 1 for a birthday and my sister got a cassette player, then it became dueling music in the house. I remember Mum buying us both a CD player when they came out and us laughing at it saying that it would NEVER replace vinyl. My sister kept hers but I got Mum to take mine back, how could anyone take something so small seriously? I even kept my records till I was preparing to move a few years ago back to the family home, there was so much stuff and I needed to let a lot of it go. I’m both sad and glad that I did.

Well, here’s something to make your eyes POP!

 Back to Vinyl – The Office Turntable 2013