Drag Queens, Cookie Queens and Chanel´s Coromandel


Post by Val the Cookie Queen


Drag Queens, Cookie Queens and Chanel´s Coromandel.

Or How I met Portia Turbo-Gear of AustralianPerfumeJunkies.

Coromandel Chanel AlexDonaldPhoto Stolen AlexDonald

Fragrantica gives these featured accordfs:
Top: Bitter orange,citruses, neroli
Heart: Jasmine, rose, patchouli, orris
Base: Musk, woodsy notes, benzoin, olibanum, incense, vanilla, white chocolate

I know that this fragrance was named after the exquisite Chinese lacquered wood screens in Coco Chanels house, but I prefer to think of it as having been named after the Coromandel Coast, the name given to the southeastern coast of the Indian Subcontinent. Much more suited to the rich, patchouli, amber, incensed based Eau de Toilette. It belongs to the luxurious collection of Les Exclusifs de Chanel. Nose is Jacques Polge. It´s classed as a fragrance for women. That is so not true. It is equally suited to a bloke. But we know all this stuff don´t we? It´s been covered so well – Olfactoria, Bois de Jasmin, …….

I saw on APJ, early January 2013, that Portia and Jin were headed to Europe, with a list of dates as to when and where they would be. Well, as fate would have it, the pair of them were in Vienna on the same day as I was visiting the city. I dropped them a mail, offered a bag of fresh baked cookies, and we had a date!

Now after seven years in Amsterdam, there is nothing that can really phase me. However, I got my daughter and her friend to come along too. I had never had a blind date with an Australian drag queen before, and a little moral support never goes amiss eh? We arrived a little early, hit the Chanel Exclusif counter, where I doused myself in Coromandel. Meeting point was Café Mozart, downtown Vienna. A very beautiful, very Viennese coffee house. We had absolutely no clue as to who we were looking for, having not stalked the pair online to see what they looked like. We went into the cafe, looked around, saw no one that looked like they were waiting for us, and went out again.

Jin Vienna 2013

I was carrying a Chanel bag, complete with camellia, in which I had the cookies packed up. A dead giveaway, or so I thought. We went outside to wait. It was damn cold. Not knowing if Portia would be in drag or not, we stared down every woman that walked by. Is it? Isn´t it? We had such a laugh. I finally texted them and asked if I had been stood up. Portia texted back “Inside grey Christmas jumper left near window, standing:” And there they were. Portia dressed in a Marks and Sparks looking sweater with a kind of Scandinavian christmas tree pattern. And I was looking for Dame Edna? Epic fail. (Portia had been outside, and seen us, and thought that anyone carrying a Chanel bag was too posh for them, and went back inside – is that a double epic fail??)

Coromandel CHANEL Val and portia vienna 2013

It was as though we had know each other for years. ( Portia has the gift of making you feel loved right away!!) I told my daughter she could leave. No, no, no …… no way. She was absolutely staying put. Wouldn´t miss it for the world!! Portia and Jin had also spritzed themselves, with Coromandel and Cuir de Russie. Great minds ……. In amongst the conversation, which ran at about a hundred miles an hour, I said maybe I could write a piece for the blog sometime. Not planned, never thought about it, absolutely no perfume writing skills …….. in fact, after 20 years of speaking bad German, and losing a lot of my English vocabulary, I didn´t really know if could string a sentence together. But here I am!!

Val and Portia Vienna Laughing 2013

We went onto the Chanel store together. I bought a bottle of Coromandel. We drove the shop assistant into lid-flipping insanity, and I had to grab my new friend Portia by the hand and drag him out the store. I had a feeling he was going to show the poor Austrian assistant what a colorful vocabulary I was sure that he had!! Each time I wear Coromandel, I am zapped back to that day, and to the short time we had with Portia and Jin. The memories with some perfumes are so etched into our brains that we cannot get rid of them. In this case it is awesome!!

Some that say that the longevity of Coromandel is not so good. Why do you think it comes in that half gallon bottle? Spray it on guys, lots of it and all over. Works a treat. I am in the minority. I love the huge bottle. It´s just so damn satisfying. It is an EdT and should be treated as such. Spritz baby spritz.

Portia opened a new chapter in my life. Not only with APJ. Through him I met two absolutely wonderful perfumistas living on my doorstep. My horizons have been widened, my circle of friends increased, my perfume collection has grown.

Is today September the 25th??? HAPPY BIRTHDAY PORTIA!!!

Coromandel Chanel CookieMonster 43ThingsPhoto Stolen 43things

A thousand bussis, to the sky and back.

Val xxxxxxx

Val the Cookie Queen

25 thoughts on “Drag Queens, Cookie Queens and Chanel´s Coromandel

  1. Val, you and Portia look like you are having an Epic time!! What a fun day. And in Portia’s honor I will be wearing Coromandel!! Great post!


  2. Wonderful post Val! The fun just flows from the photos. There is Jin with Portia in the mirror! I see your beautiful daughter taking the pictures too. She is quite a photographer! What a party!

    I love guest posting for APJs. Portia has opened a new world for me too and a new appreciation of my treasure trove of perfumes and perfume friends! Thank you Portia and thanks again, Val, for your great posts.

    Azar xx


    • Good Evening Azar! It was a fantastic day. This Guest Posting business is cool huh? I mean, it really has opened another dimension in my life. And it doesn´t involve an oven. 😉 I will be in Seattle next year, with a bit of luck ……. maybe we can meet up too???
      Lots of love, hugs and bussis. xxxxx


      • Yes! Let’s have fun! I know at least one perfume person that I’m sure you would like to meet who lives around here too. Perhaps another party?

        Azar (lots of x’s and o’s too!)


    • Azar, we are proud to have you in the family. Your sense of fun and enthusiasm shines through every post and comment. We are the lucky ones.
      Portia xx


  3. That had to be an incredibly fun time! It looks like the laughter just kept flowing. Portia does have a way of making a person feel like an instant friend. She’s a treasure and so are you. I love your guest posts on APJ and if I’m ever in your neighborhood (lol) I’m coming over for some cookies. 🙂
    I agree, if the scent is fabulous but doesn’t last long just buy a big bottle and keep spritzing.


    • Poodle – you are always welcome!! I make it to the States more often than you to Europe probably. Maybe we can hook up there! And just for the record Coromandel seems to last for hours on me. xx


  4. Love it Val! What a terrific story, especially the Dame Edna bit and the Chanel bag and the epic fail. Nothing better than to have a good chuckle over my morning coffee! I also love Coromandel too

    Madeleine xxx


    • Hey Madeleine! I am hoping to win the lottery here one ay.although I guess the chances are low because I don´t play!! But my mother-in-law does. When that happens the whole APJ gang are going Paris to party. Hugs. xxxxx


  5. What a lovely story of your meeting. So jealous you got to meet Ms. Portia and Jin in person! Didn’t know what scent to wear today, but I’ve just decided to wear Coromandel. Thank you.


    • Hi Tatiana! Yep – we were really lucky. To all be in Vienna on the same day was unbelievable. Coromandel is always good. Interesting how a fragrance can unite us, even without knowing each other personally huh? xxxxx


  6. Hey there Val,
    From the moment I knew who you were, that instant flash of recognition of a fellow soul, I hoped we would be friends. You are a wonder! Your extraordinary life, family, smile, nature and naughty streak are an inspiration. And folks, those COOKIES.
    Thank you Val for being my friend, Jin and I are blessed to know someone so excellent in so many of your facets.
    Portia xx


  7. Portia is one-in-a-squillion!

    Nice write up Val! I really love Coromandel. I’m quite blokey and so I agree with you that this (another Polge treasure) certainly isn’t just for the ladies!

    Kymme xx


    • Hey Kymme! Thanks for dropping by. you are right, this is absolutely unisex. (I hate that word!) Portia is indeed fab. 🙂 Bussis. Val xxxxx


  8. Great story, Val! I hope to someday meet Portia myself, whether it’s in LA at another Posse meet-up or NYC for a Sniffa or if we ever cross each other off our respective bucket lists of Sydney/Banff. Who knows what the future holds? Coromandel is firmly in my top ten, and the first decant I drained and then graduated to a full bottle. (It only took a year. 10ml may not sound like much, but that’s saying something when you’re a perfumista.) And this is where I brag that with my scent-glue skin, I can rock this stuff all day long! 😉


    • Hi Dionne – and yes 10ml is a lot!! It last a really long time on me as well, as does 31RC. Maybe we can meet up next year …. My boys, and some of our customers are planning another trip to Whistler …… let´s see what happens!! Nice to see you. Love to your lot. Val xxxxxxx


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