Bitching, Blind Buying A Bottle, Three Books

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Val the Cookie Queen

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Midsummer Greeting APJ

Coming to you from the lake.

Bitching, Blind Buying A Bottle, Three Books

The Bitching

I have come across three similar posts over the last fortnight on various Facebook perfume groups going something like this: “I ordered a sample pack of 20 new frags – and none of them smelled good. What is wrong with my nose?” And yesterday on Twitter: “Something weird is going on. I´ve tested several perfumes in a row that smell like “dryer sheet” scent variations on my skin. I´m worried ….” Dearhearts it is not your nose, nor your skin, nor the weather, there is a lot of really crappy perfumes around. Lazy top notes over ISO – have- no- idea middle notes, on a bed of base note chemicals, cheap vetiver and worst of all straight up frankincense. Eau de Niché and I hate it. And it´s not just niché …… Is it possible that folks try and convince their noses that what they are sniffing is good and that they just don´t understand it? Or are they rubbish? Hmmmmm? Now don´t get huffy, it´s only my opinion – I say it´s them, not you.

A Blind Buy

I can´t say I broke my rule of no blind buys because I never made one. When I saw the Guerlain Black Perfecto by La Petite Robe Noire bottle, I had to have it. I ordered the small one. Simple as that. I have not tried any of the other nine LPRNs, no interest whatsoever. Monsieur Guerlain wrote very favourably about the Black Perfecto perfume so I hoped I might like the contents of the bottle too. Black tea, black cherry, black liquorice, a touch of almond, slightly smoky, and not the sweet bomb I expected. Dead chuffed, it´s really nice. Reckon it´ll be great in cold weather. And yes, it is worth having for the bottle alone.

Three Books

We are having a heatwave here which means I spend time at the lake and read more.

Book Depository

You might wanna be careful with Donald Ray Pollock´s Knockemstiff though, if you have trouble with dry dark humour, kids raised on abuse, alcohol, drugs and cigarettes. Eat your heart out Deliverance. This is Knockemstiff, Ohio. Dr Fox, my ever-loving therapist told me to read it.

Book Depository

I had Donna Tartt´s The Secret History around for about three years and not picked it up. How was I to know it would turn out to be one of the best books I have ever read?

Book Depository

Just started Burnet´s His Bloody Project, set in the Scottish Highlands, 1869. Murder and violence. Recommended by Lady Jane Grey. I´m just off to the pool to read some more.

SOTD is Malle´s Eau de Magnolia.

If you have any bitching to do, blind buys to share, or indeed a book I should read, drop me a comment.

Sweltering Bussis
CQ

48 thoughts on “Bitching, Blind Buying A Bottle, Three Books

  1. Hahaha I love frankincense! Not really into laundry musks and ISO nukes though.
    I have had A Secret History for over 10 years and haven’t opened it yet. Thanks for reminding me!!

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    • It is not that I don´t like frankincense Erica, I like it as a supporting material in perfumery, but I have sniffed alton of new things that just dry down to straight frankincense. I think that is damn lazy. I can buy the essential oil if I want that. Yeah, that was similar for me inasmuch as I had it sitting around for so long without bothering to read it. It was A Bottled Rose´s recent post on books that gave me the push I needed to read it. Nice to see you. Love, Val xxxxx

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  2. Val,
    You are one in a million. I loved this post so much and will get to the reading ASAP.
    Also, that Guerlain bottle is calling my name LOUDLY!
    Portia xx

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  3. Brilliant post as ever. It’s time the niche bubble burst.

    I’m currently reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. It’s a beautiful, easy to read book about two 15 yr old friends struggling to find their place in the world.

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  4. If I may combine the bitching part and your personal blind buy: cool bottle… awfully cheesy name for a perfume. I mean really Guerlain, this is all you’ve got? And as for new releases not smelling good: Guy Robert was on to something…. [above all it has to smell good] Whenever i try a new fragrance in the shops these days it almost makes me mad, because they are all too same-same. Am wearing Murasaki today (new Shiseido version) and just because, i tracked down and bought a vintage version on the bay. So there!

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    • Well I dunno – it´s named after the Marlon Brando Perfecto motorcycle jacket isn´t it? EXACTLY: Above all it has to smell good. Guy Robert gave Vero a lot of advice and help as she created her perfumes 10 years ago, and I am privileged to have a bottle of Hermés Doblis. So yes, Guy was absolutely right. And lots of stuff does not cut the mustard IMO.
      Oh fantastic, sounds interesting, I am not familiar with Murasaki – and am off to investigate. Bussis. Val xxxx

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    • Love the bottle. Envious of the lake. Correct re the boring, headache-inducing sameness of so many of today’s fragrances. Donna Tartt’s “Secret History” looks good! One day if you’re looking for a brilliant read, Eric Kandel’s “The Age of Insight” – takes us back to Vienna 1900 and the intellectual exchange between the arts and science that led to breakthroughs in psychology, brain science, art and literature. Living where I do – out in the bush – I am no stranger to FB blind buys online from overseas. No outright disasters but it took me about 30mls to really appreciate Chergui 🙂 For the first time ever I’ve ordered samples – a couple dozen – and will be like a kid at Christmas when they arrive. Looking forward to wearing something different to work each day through winter!

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      • Hey Lisilou! Thanks for the book tip. I’ll order it. That will be two new books for vacation. It took me about 30mls to make me see I hated Chergui. Hahahahaha. Gave it to Dr Fox. Good luck with the samples. Is it a random mixed bag of stuff? Nice to see you. ❤️

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  5. Hi Val, I completely agree with you on point 1. The more perfume I try out, the more I’m disappointed (which is good for my budget)…or maybe not? -> point 2 – I have made my first blind buy yesterday. Thiery Mugler’s Womanity. Everyone is praising it and I haven’t bought a perfume for three months. Will it be hit or miss? Oh, the waiting…
    Thanks for the book recommendations. I’ll see if I can get my hands on Donna Tartt’s book. My summer pile consists of the books I have bought some time ago and still haven’t read. Enjoy your days at the lake.

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    • The waiting is the best part!! That sorts the junkies out from the users. Hahahahahaha. Yeah, try the Donna Tartt book if you can, it might be a love or hate but definitely worth a go. Love, Val x xxxxx

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  6. I just finished reading Chemistry, and The Leavers, both very enjoyable. The latter more so. I started reading A Man Called Ove a few nights ago, and it is fabulous! Thank you so much for the recommendations!!

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    • I am gonna order A Man Called One immediately. I need something for my up and coming 4 days on the beach. (Venice coast, not far but I need a break!!) Always a pleasure to see you Tora. xxxxxxxxx

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  7. Just a tiny paragraph for bitching? You’re being extremely restrained 😉

    I’m not really complaining about today’s situation with perfumes – but only because I do not blind buy anything, including samples. And if I test perfumes in stores, I quickly skip those that do not interest me. And at some point I start skipping the whole line: if a brand didn’t wow (or at least interest) me with a single perfume so far, what are the odds?

    Plan to read the new Stephen King’s book that I got for my vSO for his birthday (Gwendy’s Button Box).

    Enjoy the lake!

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    • OOOOHHH! Undina! Great to see you. Yes, very restrained, because if I wrote what I really though about uhm, stuff, people would think I was a totally arrogant cow. Hahahahahaha. I am. 🙂

      I agree with you about the skipping the brand thing, and even if I do miss a random good one, I don´t care. So many yawnsome brands.

      I have never read a single Stephen King. Hmmmm.

      Loads of love to you and yours and the cat. Val xxxxxxxxx

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      • If you were to read just one novel by King, I would probably recommend “It” – it is so much more than just a “horror story”: it’s a beautiful tale about a childhood and the whole world, in which children live unbeknownst to adults.

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  8. Ironical that you mention eau de magnolia as your sotd since it was my blind swap. I was expecting to receive cologne indelible in swap but received this. But it was my fault because the other person really said Eau de Magnolia so I don’t know how did my brain misread cologne indelible. What do you think of Eau de Magnolia.

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  9. No blind buys for me, but I am really glad yours worked out. No opaque bottles for me either if I can help it, but I would break my resolve for selected Amouages, hehe.

    The Secret History is up there in my all time top five books, for sure. Time to re-read methinks, if I haven’t lent it away. And thanks for the further title tips, though as you know, I have tottering tsundokus all round the house.

    And yes, it’s them, of course it’s them. xx

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    • I am sure you have enough books to read without mine. Besides, Knockemstiff is brilliantly horrifying. Perhaps not quite your thing. Or anybody´s come to that! Yeah, Secret History was really quite scary. Brilliant read. Blind buys are stupid, but as I said below I went for t he bottle because, well, I momentarily lost my mind. But it´s gorgeous. And I can have it out on my dresser. All the rest are in my wardrobe, the one I let you look in for 1.5 seconds. 😉 Bussis galore. xxxxxx

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  10. Love the bitch – I totally agree. Ordered a bunch of samples last fall and nothing was interesting, total waste of money so I stopped ordering them.

    As for blind buys, I do very few, but I did blind order Naja (love Vero) and plan to buy Perfecto as soon as I can get my hands on it.

    The lake looks gorgeous, enjoy!

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    • Hi Tara C! I bought the 30ml Black Perfecto. &= Euros. Well, that is a positive giveaway compared to so much other stuff. AND I got a small sample of Chane´s Gabrielle with it! Ha! Not released until September. Smug smile. I too am waiting for NAJA, and Vero is freaking out at how long it is taking to get sent out. last I heard the bottles are filled and packed and should shortly be on their way. Italian distributors, I am not holding my breath. Bussis. xxxxxx

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  11. I’ve developed some discipline re the blind buys but not enough! And niche….heck, I sprayed an expensive niche woody vanilla decant on today and it’s basically Dior Addict at three times the price and certainly not as good as the vintage D A….

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    • Marion Dear, the very word woody has me running for cover and refusing to put it on my skin. No. No. No. My biggest bitch in perfume. “Woody” notes. Do call in again.
      Hugs, Val xxxx 🙂

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  12. The lake looks amazing Val enjoy your summer. The only book I have read out of your list is the Secret History, its a very good book. I am about to start an Australian author Maggie Alderson recent book, they are fun quick and satisfying, like my perfume choices lol.
    You know the blind buy smells interesting to me lots of variety..

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  13. That pool! Those mountains! That’s what I want! And then your bottle of Perfecto. I’m reading Dark Money by Jane Mayer, which should be required reading for Statesiders. In my early days of scent-addiction, I blind bought based primarily on notes and was “generally pleased” (but have ebayed off a lot of stuff and am stuck with some florals that are not my thing). But now I rarely blind buy, instead trying decants; however, I still buy blind depending on really thorough reviews from a variety of trusted sources, plus basenotes, fragrantica and more. These latter more recent blind buys I have thoroughly loved. One was Amouage Bracken. Love it. Now I’m wanting to try Figment and the new Serge Lutens, Dent de lait). It might work….

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    • Bracken is supposed to be really beautiful I will take look next time I am in Vienna. I cannot say that the new Serge is calling to me, but one never knows. Let me know if you get to try it! I am just trying to think if I have ever bought blind before. Hmmmmm. Not something I do. And BP was for the bottle and I could SEE that so it wasn´t blind huh? But the perfume is great. Roll on Winter. xxxxxx Hugs.

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  14. I bought in blind the relaunched Venezia and I do like it… Maybe a bit more than the Vintage. I did not expect ever to like a relaunch more than an original but It happened.

    Enjoy your books! Wish you all the best!

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    • Shit. I really need to try Venezia. I have to get onto that. I just forget. Good to see you, do drop in again! Love, Val xxxxx

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  15. Hi Val (my lovely Mum’s name) – you’ll really like Kandel’s book, promise. Chergui is *overrated* imho. Have a bunch of Zoologist & Olympic Orchids samples & 15ml decants coming + a decant of Tobacco Vanille (which I tried at the airport and loved but need to try at home.

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    • I haveb´t tried the Zoologists yet, Olympic Orchids have some great scents, and I have no clue about TF´s frags. I looked at the book and see it is only in hardback. Just gonna check if there is a paperback version (I think not) and then I will go for it. I think that maybe Chergui was something better in the beginning to what it is now. Not my cup of tea anyway. xxxxx

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  16. Concerning “The Bitching”: PREEEEEEEACH! I live in the middle of nowhere so must purchase every sample or blind buy, which just adds to my current level of annoyance. I am getting increasingly aggravated and disappointed at receiving box after box of the latest highly hyped niche samples–that I wouldn’t wear if paid. Ugh. Hope the discovery set just ordered from Lili Bermuda makes me happy, I need a break from the current disallusionment.

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    • Highly hyped niche. Exactly. It is mostly rubbish. AS I mentioned above, I didn´t dare write what I really think because I actually enjoy the blogging I get to do and going to the perfume shows!! But as far as niche goes, well, it went. Sadly. Good luck with the discover set. You never know. Just don´t get too excited! So great that you took time to drop by VerbenaLuvvr. And where exactly is the middle of nowhere?? Love, Val xxxx

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  17. Hi CQ, I think I know my way around how to not order ISO E super with a touch of ambroxan scents, non the less I still get disappointed with new releases. I suppose it’s that sense of having sniffed everything before, just better… and how come every new niche brand does exactly the same scents as the one before? Yawn! I haven’t given up hope to fall in love with a new fragrance again, though, but I’ll be looking at my trusted perfumers to find it, rather than among those same same but different ones.
    Everyone says Black perfecto is identical to the first exclusive LPRN, I don’t think so, but for mainstream it’s still very good and deserving of its black name. And the bottle!
    On my want-to-read list is both thesecret history and his bloody project, but I was a bit off reading for a while, now I need to start again.

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    • Hey Asali! Great to see you. I never smelt the first one and doubt this is identical. I am wearing it as I type this, and you know what – it´s really good. Yes, I´m happier and happier with it. Talking about being off reading? I lost my ability to concentrate over the last two or three years. I blame it mostly on my iToys. They supply a quick fix, and I use them, the harder it is to slow my brain down. I mentioned to Tara at some point, maybe on her reading post, that I have to put them away and then get my book out. I am doing quite well at the moment and hope to carry on. There again I could just blame it on having lost most of my mind bringing up kids for twenty odd years. I love Vega …… Hugs. xxxxxx

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      • I love Vega too, both the perfume and my fur child. I still have quite a bit, so let me know if you run low 🙂 Yes, i believe you’re right Itoys and a good series or two, makes it easy to not read…

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  18. Hi Val, I loved ‘The Secret History’, also love Stephen King – agree with previous comments about ‘It’ (which has also been remade as a movie and comes out in September). King has that wonderful ability to immerse the reader fully in the world he has created. His settings are absolutely real, to the smallest detail, which makes the supernatural so much more terrifying. ‘Salem’s Lot’ is another favourite of mine, and also ‘Needful Things’.
    If you’re looking for something a little different, I can recommend the heartbreaking, beautiful ‘Oscar and Lucinda’ by Peter Carey, and Tim Winton’s ‘Cloudstreet’.

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    • Hello Sue! I am familiar with most of King´s titles, , and have seen a couple of the films based on his books. I have never got into reading scary books, well, scary as in horror type things. But I will try “It”. On Undina´s advice ….. and now yours. Perhaps I should get over myself. I do love freaky movies like Eraserhead, Romero´s zombie movie etc ….. Have written down the others you suggested on my list of advice from APJ readers. I´ll check them out, Thanks a lot. Hugs, Val xxxx

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  19. Hi Val – I never worry about whether my scent is appropriate to the season. I wear what calls to me. Recently it’s been my Diorissimo vintage parfum – it’s high and hot summer, not spring, but it was my first vintage buy, and it’s spectacular. As to books, if you like the occasional mystery, I do love all of Sarah Caudwell’s work, although one should begin with the first, Thus Was Adonis Murdered. I always have a spare copy – whenever I have a good friend on enforced bed rest, I send it with Into the Heart of Borneo. Two great reads with something for everyone!

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