Autumn: Fragrance and Fire

Val the Cookie Queen

Hey there APJ Fumeheads

I have just got back from the shop after baking up a few hundred cookies, semi-panicking because I am about to miss my APJ deadline,  happy that the shop didn’t burn down last week.  More of that in a minute.  Hurray!  Autumn, Fall, Herbst, whatever you call it, is finally here.  Although to be honest you would not know it.  It is the middle of October and still hovering around twenty-five degrees.   It is finally  time to change over to a different set of perfumes, and I cannot wait.

Autumn: Fragrance and Fire



I am pretty sure that most of my cooler weather perfumes are known to you.  I am not gonna really review any of them.  Just sharing my faves.

Although I sometimes wear these Chanels in the summer, it is only because I cannot bear to wait so long for the temperatures to drop.  Leather, sandalwood, spices, ambrette, and iris, all notes that come alive in the cooler and damper weather.


The spiciness of the coriander, caraway, and chamomile, the richness of musk, leather, and oakmoss, make my treasured Hermès Doblis glow in the dark.   The cold aldehydes and warm sweet myrrhe of Lutens;  the saffron, hawthorn, orris root and birch of the Lancôme;  beacons of  light in the darker months.


Frederic Malle Dries Van Noten and Guerlain vintage Samsara, completely different interpretations of sandalwood, and Malle’s elegant Iris Poudre; autumn staples.


I wear all of the Vero Profumo Voiles in the fall and winter, but Naja and Onda probably the most.



I always make cookie dough on a Sunday evening.  Last week, I got to work around 18.00 and plugged in my phone to charge.  As I did so there was a strong smell of burning electrics.  I thought the damn plug was on fire.  I then turned around to see that there was a shit ton of black smoke pouring in through the wall at the front of the shop.  I legged it out as fast as I could, and there was a guy out front already phoning the fire brigade.  It was the shop next door to us, we are all connected, that was burning.  A hair salon.


And no it was not a hairdryer, it was a coffee machine that had been on standby, that had a literal meltdown and basically trashed her whole shop.  The fire brigade turned up in less than 10 minutes, 82 of them.  Absolutely amazing.  We got a considerable amount of smoke damage in our shop, but we’re  insured and it is being cleaned and all the bike clothing being replaced.   The neighbour is covered too.  Thank goodness I was in the shop. I had not been in there two minutes, when the smoke started.  There would have been a lot more damage had no one been there to see it.  Whew.  The deep clean started today.


Portia and I had a brief chat about smoky perfumes.  I said I did not care for them, to which he replied, but you love Cuir de Russie.  Got me thinking,  Perhaps I should say that I do not like the heavy smoke found in a lot of niche perfumes?    Hmmmmm.  Never really considered CdR to be smoky.  What do you guys think?  Any tips?

Burning Bussis




56 thoughts on “Autumn: Fragrance and Fire

  1. So glad nobody was hurt!!!
    With the exception of Samsara, which doesn’t work on me, I share your love of all the fall scents you mention. It was -3 C here last night, so I can gleefully jump into the heavier autumn rotation in my collection.

    SInce we seem to share similar tastes, I recommend you try Mad et Len Petit Papiers. I think you will love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ok Honey. Am reconsidering my idea of smoke. Am wearing MdO’s Vanille right now, and I think they could also be described as a bit smoky? So I guess I spoke too fast. It’s the smoked meat, bonfire, Lonestar Memories, and as Tara says Bd’A, type smoke I don’t like in my skin. And bro-woodsy things? Well, let me think.
      Yep. We’re all fine, ta. Bussi. Xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank goodness the fire didn’t start during the night and you are both insured.
    I like smoky perfumes as long as that’s not the only thing going on. Birch tar leathers like CdR are smoky to me but there’s usually much more to them than that.
    Bois d’Ascese is hardcore smoky and I can’t wear that, although I admire it.
    Can’t wait to get properly into my autumn perfumes. Not today though, it’s getting up to 23 degrees in London.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t wanna even think of what might have been. Yeah – we were damn lucky. And it did not halt cookie production! Well – if CdR is smoky, then as I said to Portia, I need look beyond the liquid smoke vibe. I haven’t really worn any of these pictured yet but am way excited to. Sooner or later it will be cold. See you soon!! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Such a relief that the fire was quickly discovered and attended to. Presumably the 82 firefighters were not all from your village? That is a serious contingent. Great that the clean up is happening so fast and that you and the salon are fully covered.

    I like a fair few of your autumn faves, and enjoy incense very much but not birch tar in significant quantities. 😉 That kind of barbecue lighter fuel vibe.

    It has been mild weather here, but not as warm as where you are – or London.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 82 firefighters? Hope you snapped pics. I see a wall calendar in the offing. Good thing things turned out reasonably well. The fear of fire has always been with me, ever since I was young.
    Not a fan of the modern smokes. But my oh my, I adore all those Chanels!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am jealous of your minus 3! We are having the warmest autumn in heaven knows how many years. 25°c every day. No end in sight at the moment. Mountains need snow. Ski racing starts soon. Yeah – I must say I have to be totally in the mood for Samsara, but I do love it. We most certainly do share a lot in common. I have never heard of Mad et Len but wow – the bottle alone. 😍 I will put it on my list of things to keep an eye out for. Thanks. Hugs Tena. xxxx


  6. I hate the barbecue vibe. Exactly, Vanessa. I am slowly coming round to liking incense, is that smoky? You are correct. The 82 fireman were from the general area. As soon as the fire brigade is called, sirens go off in the three villages around here. Maybe four. We have a siren next to our apartment. It would three times. That means the fire brigade is needed. And they are damn fast. What utterly amazes me is that it is a volunteer fire service. No one is paid. Half of the funding from the council, the rest from donations. It is incredible. Great bunch of blokes, and quite a number of lads.
    I think, if I am correct, the only paid fire service is in Vienna. Anyway – they’ll get cookies for their Christmas gatherings!! Xxxxx


  7. Not a big fan of smoky fragrances, I think it is often the birch tar (so prominent in many leather scents) or ashtray notes which put me off. Samsara, so beutiful! I regret not buying it back in the day, but at that time it felt too dense.

    Good thing the fire was discovered early. At work we have always had one of those timers which will cut the electricity for the coffee brewer and electric kettle after 45 minutes, just to be on the safe side. Much the same thing offered to people with dementia…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ingeborg! I cannot bear ashtray notes either. I like birch tar, but as a supporting note, not the main show. Yes. Samsara is quite beautiful, and best in the snow! That is such a good idea – a timer. Would have changed everything. I must look them up – dunno what they look like, or how they work. Bussis, Val xxx


  8. What an exciting post this time, Val! I’m happy to hear that for you and your business everything turned out well.
    Your fall/winter choice of perfumes is absolutely stunning and I know how you fell about the weather. As much as I love summer and warm temperatures, I feel this is somehow wrong for mid October.
    To be honest, I’ve never smelled real smoke, like campfire or cigarette smoke, in a perfume and I wouldn’t like it for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Val. Glad your shop wasn’t damaged in the fire!

    I can’t say I’ve tried any perfume with a true scent of smoke but they say Palais Jamais by Etro has a smoky vibe laced with a forest floor aroma. I dunno. To me it’s mostly vetiver & birch tar combo with floral undertones (and I friggin’ love it!). And then there’s another huge fave of mine – Bois d’Encens from the Armani Prive line that smells like vetiver with a bit of incense.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Hi Diana! Thanks, we are too. Our neighbour has to remain closed until
    after New Year, for sure. We are just closed for a week, on paper ….. in reality we are still there.
    Oh whoops – you recommended the Etro! Not Neva, I think I need to go to bed. Hahahahaha.
    A good perfumista friend is gonna sort me out a little of the Armani to try. And yes, I’ll get onto the Etro too. Sounds divine. I’ll let you know! Xxx


  11. Sonoma Scent Studio’s Winter Woods is supposed to be smoky. On my skin it is very sweet and ambery. I also do like Replica’s By the Fireplace and a smoky one by Celtic Union (the name escapes me- Celtic Fire??) and Jo Malone’s Birch Tar and Cade (one of the limited edition ones).


    • Morning Brigitte! I had some of the Celtic Fire or whatever it ws, it was too smoky for me. Not familiar with any of the others though. If they land in my lap, which is highly unlikely – I will give them sniff. 🙂
      You know I have never, not once, ever, tried a Jo Malone. Something about the presentation in the shops puts me off. I know it is ridiculous. Hugs. xxxx


  12. I love wood smoke and birch tar, but the barbecued meat ones really turn me off. Can’t abide Le Labo Patchouli for that reason. Smoky incense like palo santo are favourites.

    So glad all is well with your business, and you are not suffering down time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smoky incense sounds good, but even then I wonder if it might be too much for me. Carner Barcelona huh? Thanks, yeah, we will come out really well from this fire accident. Newly decorated shop and cleaned carpets …. we never would have done it!! I am so thankful no one got hurt – there were no flames you know? All of it was thick black greasy nasty smoke, and highly poisonous fumes. Firemen could only go in for 2 minutes at a time, with full on breathing gear, before coming out to swop over. Hugs, Val xxxx


  13. I love the smell of incense in perfumes, but it beats me why anyone would choose to smell of bacon or smoke. And that ashtray note in Jasmine et Cigarette just reminds me of my chainsmoking mother!
    Hope you can get the smell out of your shop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Jackie b – Hahahahahahaha I will skip the ELDO thanks, it never appealed to me anyway, although I surely have nothing against your Mom!! The smell will go for sure. Everything redone – and at the end the will pump the shop full of ozone, (whatever that means) which will kill anything left over, off. Bussis, Val xxxx


    • forgot to mention but Rue Cambon edt is my most favorite in Chanel les Exclusifs and Dries Noten is one of my favorites in Malle line. POAL original formula might be most favorite Malle though.


      • Yes, mine is the EdT. And I do agree with you, it probably is the most stunning of all of the Exclusifs. Dries is divine. I wear and l love PoaL a lot, but so wish I had the original formula. Mine is only two years old. If I was not so scared of eBay etc … I wold look for a bottle of the original. Sigh. Anyone reading this feel free to sell me yours! Lots of love Fazal! Good to see you. xxxx


    • Hey there Fazal! I have never tried the Caleche vintage, so cannot comment, My La Myrrhe is quite old, don’t know if it qualified as vintage though. It doe not smell like N°5 BUT there are similarities, especially with the initial aldehydic hit. I can see that people would compare them, but only in as much as the vibe – not the scents themselves. IMO. The Doblis is so beautiful, but as I said before, or on FB or wherever, I do not have the words to describe it. I can say though, that the caraway and chamomile are exquisite in the opening and I know of no other perfume that those notes appear so clearly in. I just adore it. xxxx


      • wow, amazing thoughts about Doblis, it must be so wonderful. Your La Myrrhe is, indeed, vintage, because it has the Lutens Logo on bottle. It must be the aldehydes that have drawn comparisons to chanel 5 though it still does not make sense for people to do so since aldehydes are in so many fragrances, many of whom are so different from chanel 5


  14. I was thrilled to read this. thank god no one is injured.
    I like your taste in Chanel. 3 from the left are gorgeous and the 2 from the right not sure as I can’t remember how N18 smells and the other one I never smelled.
    It is funny my La Myrrhe (bell jar) has a different colour. It is blood red. your one seems very dense in colour. not to mention my one is the recent formulation.

    lastly, smoke!!! I love the smokey scents. It is hard to describe. Some got leathery smoke, sweet smoke, ashy smoke, incense smoke, tobacco smoke, burning oud and many more. I really don’t know what kind of smokey fragrance you like. Some of my favourite smokey fragrances are (over the head)- oliban By kiko, Memoir, Interlude, opus VI, VII by amouage, A city on fire by IA, Lelabo Patchouli 24, Acteur by Azzaro, Incense pure by SPA and Sonoma SS, tabac aurea and TF Tobacco OUD can be considered as tobacco smoke and many more. Also, love Slumberhouse as most of them have very nice incense smoke. Not to mention OO Devil 1 to 4 are smokey with a different aspect. Sorry in advance if I make you confused. I consider smokey perfumes these ways.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Evan_Sufi! The far right is the Bois de Iles Parfum, I have the EdT too. Try it if you come across it. I will actually replace it when it is gone, which I do not do, or would not do, with anything else I have. So beautiful. And I am being careful with the BdI EdT as I do not care for the reformulation into EdP. My La Myrrhe is also a deep red, and it is beyond me as to why it looks like it is dark purple in the photo. It absolutely is NOT.
      Ha! You have not made me confused, but I have taken a screenshot of your list, and put it into my perfume folder on my phone. Let’s see what I come across. I don’t hold out much hope for the LLP24 …. but I can revisit some of the Amouages you mention. Thanks for such an extensive list. I am gonna be in London too, and being the Le Labo store, so I will put some of the patch on paper – that much I can promise!! Hugs, Val xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow, what a lucky escape for you and your shop! The cookies must go on. Glad it wasn’t worse for your business, and glad no one was hurt.
    I like some smoky-type perfumes if there’s more going on, like smoky tea, smoky incense, smoky spices. I rarely wear them outside the house, though. Maybe I feel they would startle others who know me as more of a floral scent gal? I recently got a FB of Miller Harris’ La Fumee Arabie on massive markdown and wow, it’s a smoke powerhouse! The smokiness comes from incense, birch, and spices. I like it a lot and will enjoy playing with it this fall and winter — applying with a light hand.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I dig smoky scents, even the “why yes, I have been sitting near a campfire recently” smells rather than just the blown-out-candle-smoke, or first flare up of incense. Though I love those too. I think this is why I’m really liking some of the Beaufort fragrances, some smoked tea notes*, CBIHP’s Burning leaves, and the gunpowderiness of Bapteme du Feu, as well as “the comet has landed and the world is on fire–beautiful, but burning” vibe of T-rex. And why Bruno F’s Lampblack is sitting very close to the top of my want-it-want-it-want-it list.

    Actual aftermath of burning buildings? Nope. Especially water-soaked greasy smoke. Ugh. So glad the fire was caught early and no one was hurt.

    (*except when you make Lapsang too strong and it smells like bacon)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Well I never make Lapsang so I‘m safe there. I actually like a couple of the Beauforts on paper, a lot. But somehow not on me. Lampblack is the same. I have a sample and sniffing it is great. Have not tried the Lutens BdF.
    As I have mentioned I am totally ready for incense. My winter 2018 mission.
    But I‘m gonna be picky.
    Big hugs. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

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