When over spraying is Scandalous – A lesson in the subtle art of applying perfume

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Kate Apted

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A hearty good evening to you all from balmy Melbourne. Well, it is for now; tomorrow might be another thing.

For months, I have been making my way through a 200ml bottle of Scandal shower gel by the one and only Jean Paul Gaultier. A quick spray on a card when it was first released confirmed it isn’t my style. I found it sweet, waxy and all too flighty. There was a Pentavite* vitamin drops note to it that annoyed the hell out of me. I happened upon the shower gel at an absolute steal, though, and gave it a chance.

After my first use of the gel, I found a lingering note of bees’ wax. A thick, rich, almost honeyed milk type of note. I had washed my hair with the gel too and adored the gentle warmth of the bees’ wax that emanated from me all day. It has been a good ten uses later and I find myself craving the enveloping depth of the wax. I have made a truce with the Pentavite vitamin note, strangely. It also heralds the end of my bottle of gel.

Rather than try to track down an inflated priced replacement, it made financial sense to source a bottle of the EDP. So, I did.

Scandal by Daphne Bugey, Fabrice Pellegrin and Christophe Raynaud for Jean Paul Gaultier (2017)

Scandal

Fragrantica – Fragrantica lists the following notes: honey, patchouli, bees’ wax, blood orange, gardenia, caramel, licorice, orange blossom, peach, jasmine, mandarin orange.

 

My fatal mistake was to over spray myself. Just don’t. Take it from me, Scandal smells infinitely better with one, maybe two, sprays on the decolletage. I applied my usual 7 sprays and moaned for the rest of the evening that I could smell NOTHING! A very vague sweetness with a ghost of an orange blossom or something. No trace of the dense wax at all! Not even Pentavite. Then, last Thursday night, I absent mindedly applied one quick spritz on my chest and continued on with the clothes washing. Miraculously, an hour later, it registered in my brain that the wax was there in all its abundant glory.

I tried two sprays after showering with the last of my gel Saturday morning. All I could sense until lunch time was the golden elixir of bees’ wax.

So, the very simple moral of my story is to be judicious in how one applies perfume. Something that may have not appealed in the past, or didn’t release a particular note may have just been applied in a manner not intended. It may take a bit of playing around with some perfumes to bring their best sides out. Much like relating to people, I suppose. Our relationship to our perfumes are never really fixed and much can be discovered by exploring the myriad of ways we might wear it. Trying different formats helps to familiarise one’s self to a new scent, or even find new facets to an over looked cheapie.

Have you ever discovered you were wearing a scent wrong? Or have you used a scent you dislike in perfume form, only to enjoy it in another format?

Be safe, APJ family, in this busy time of year.

Kate xx

*Pentavite vitamin drops were commonly used with tins of Carnation evaporated milk to feed babies in the early 1970s in Australia. Particularly if the mother could not breastfeed her child.

Being John Biebel.

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Kate Apted

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Years ago I saw a quirky film called ‘Being John Malkovich’. It involved a portal to enable people to enter the mind of John Malkovich, the esteemed actor. Not being in the least arty myself, I am intrigued at how artists think, and such a literal portal would allow me to enter an artist’s mind. Kind of creepy an idea, I know, but it would be the closest I could get to producing art and the thought processes that occur in its production.

Of all the perfumers whose work I admire, it comes as no surprise to me that many are multi media artists. Teone Reinthal paints and works with video production, Andy Tauer draws and is involved in his entire image, and John Biebel works in IT and paints in a variety of styles.

John is the visionary of a brand called January Scent Project. He has produced 5 eau de parfums and 2 oils to date.

You may know of John from his Fragrantica articles and editorial contributions. I think it was through Ida Meister’s 2016 Fragrantica interview of John I first learned of John’s perfumes (link here). Smitten with Ida’s operatic writing style, I promptly ordered a sample set of John’s first three scents.

Ida and John

Ida Meister and John Biebel. Photo credit: Fragrantica.

The names of these scents give away the style of perfumery John has employed. Eiderantker, Smolderose and Selperniku are not of French provenance, in name and smell. They are decidedly modern, almost avant garde and come from John’s soul. Only someone like John could imagine such blends of notes and make them work. John has pushed the limits of what contemporary perfumery is capable of and I look forward to every scent he creates.

JSP

Photo credit: Fragrantica

I must admit I felt incredibly challenged by both Eiderantler and Selperniku. I spent a good week with each of them and studied every nuance like I do any building by Tadao Ando. Complexity abounds in each sniff, though I am reaching for a unified, simplified understanding I can grasp in one smell. John’s scents are not like that. From afar, one can determine they are JSP scents, but up close, each one brings a near sensory overload. A most welcome feature indeed, for JSP scents are not mundane in any way.

I find Selperniku a textural and sensory delight. In fact, all John’s scents are, but Selperniku is more so. It contains seemingly competitive notes, such as salt, tangy apricot, creamy butter and a host of things that should bump against each other in ways to repel, but they do not. I seek out the taste of the salt, I want to feel the sun kissed fuzzy skin of the apricots and I think of that rich butter melting between my fingers. Together, Selperniku has me come back for more; wanting to discover what else lies beneath.

Then there is the decadent, sensual, smoky Smolderose. Funnily, I love the scent more after I have worn it to bed and it lingers on my pillow case in the morning. My skin must amplify the smoke and the rose to make an alluring scent that is intensely boudoir. Not a high top note in sight, yet its bassy heft is complete.

John’s more recent release, Vaporocindro, is a light hearted play on crisp green notes, waxy lilac that reads violet, and florals. It flits around in a non linear way and catches notes in the same way the sun is reflected off shiny surfaces on a warm summer morning. This an aspect of John that took me by surprise; especially as his next release was a quiet, masculine, reflective scent.

Mr Biebel has me intrigued as to what lies inside his mind. If these cacophonous, contemplative, Jackson Pollckesque scents came from within, what more exists in that magnificent mind of his? It has to suffice that the closest I will get to experiencing what it is to be John Biebel is to smother myself in one of his perfumes and allow my own mind to wander where it will. Maybe that is the point to JSP? To have me want to discover what lies within me and concern myself less with others?

Have you tried any of John’s  January Scent Project perfumes? If so, what do you take from them? And what of the film, Being John Malkovich?

Til next time, droogies,

Kate xx

Beige by Chanel – Not so hasty, Kate!

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Kate Apted

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Years ago, I saw Beige sitting on the counter at the Chadstone Chanel boutique. You are kidding me that Chanel would call an exclusive … Beige?! Such a boring, nondescript name would have to have a boring scent inside. To top it off, the sales assistant told me it is her favourite from the line. I walked past it and never, ever tried it. I felt I was missing nothing.

For some bizarre reason, I bought a used bottle of the EDT from an Ebay seller I have implicit trust in just two months ago. A huge 200 ml bottle with about 50 ml left. And it was cheap!

Beige EDT by Chanel (2008) – Jacques Polge

beige.jpg

Fragrantica lists the following notes: frangipani, freesia, honey accords and hawthorn.

Upon first spray, I began to have this dialogue run through my head; “Kate, you let this go, girlfriend?! WHY did you not try this before it was discontinued?? *eyes roll back in rapture* Get another bottle STAT!”

Every single day since that first spray, I have been trawling through all my familiar online haunts to secure myself at least another 50 ml of this honeyed beauty. I have not been this smitten with a scent upon first sniff ever. I am yet to find a bottle, used or new, that is within my budget and able to be posted. It will happen.

The notes really do not appeal, on paper. I adore the freesia in my Antonia’s Flowers, so a mighty high standard for any other freesia to match. I am not a fan of frangipani, as I had overdosed on it living in Bali. Honey is a sweet note I would prefer to eat than simply sniff (OMG, stringybark honey!!). As for hawthorn, huh?? Yet, together, the effect is a smooth elixir of something not tropical, sweet or boring. Polge did an astounding job of making a seamless, rich golden floral.

Beige should not be oversprayed. One torso spritz is all I need, and I am a habitual oversprayer. Beige hums on my skin for a good four hours, with all the notes ever present and in equal amounts. I get a constant aura that tickles my brain in such a delightfully playful way, yet Beige is very much a grown up scent I feel a little fradulent wearing, to be honest. It is in a similar vein to 24 Faubourg by Hermes, but much more approachable.

I understand the story that is learned verbatim by Chanel sales assistants regarding Beige, however, the name brings to mind those horrid neutral toned body hugging dresses a certain American reality star-cum-model-cum-whatever else she is today wears. Beige, as a colour, to me, is devoid of character, mood, interest and texture. I find myself mentally and emotionally disengaged from the word and the colour. The sheer genius is in the perfume itself. But nothing attracted me to want to try it, much to my chagrin. The redeeming fact in all this is my renewed interest in the Les Exclusifs line. I am now wondering if I am missing out on any more strokes of Polge talent.

And I humbly admit to my own prejudices. Excuse me while I go and sniff at the altar of Beige divinity…

Have you disregarded a scent based on the whole package, only to find you got to the party too late?

Ciao bella et bello.

Kate xx

Eau De Nyonya by Auphorie 2016: So Singapore lah!

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Kate Apted

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Dearst APJ people, I send you my fairest greetings.

I am about to go to Singapore with my youngest son. I lived there in 2003 and have wonderful memories of the place, its people and THE FOOD! Now and then, I visit Malay hawker style food outlets to get a bit of a fix of nasi lemak. The key to the rice is coconut milk and pandan leaves. Oh, pandan…  I even go so far as to buy the leaves and just scrunch them in my hand to release the scent. It has a milky green feel to it, with a definite high note that is inexplicable. The other things I simply adore about Singapore are Singlish and Gurmit Singh, the actor who has immortalised Singaporean comedy with Phua Chu Kang; a sit com about a construction business owner who pokes fun at the nouveau riche.

Eau De Nyonya by Auphorie 2016

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Notorious by Ralph Lauren 2008: Talking gym scent, bro!

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Kate Apted

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How you doin’, APJ people??

I am a self confessed gym addict. I need to be at the gym 6 days a week. I have been on and off for years, but since 2010, I have taken my weight training seriously. I count macros, do compound lifts before isolation and have even done the odd body building comp or three.

I do have certain perfumes I keep just for the gym. Granted I am there for one hour maximum, it seems kind of superfluous to have dedicated scents. So, why do I do it?

Many people stink whilst exercising. It is a fact. Either the ciggie they snuck in before entering the gym, or a day’s worth of BO. I like to use my perfume as a sniffing salt, so it has to slice the environmental smells and pierce my brain.

I need to be incredibly focused whilst lifting heavy! One hundred kg on my shoulders requires my full attention and my scent can actually help or hinder that focus. Through trial and error, I have found what works for me. I thrive on beating personal bests; no room for relaxing scents.

During my working week, I get to the gym by 5pm or so, and by then, my afternoon scent has been worn off by the accumulation of dirt, grease, and absorbtion by my hefty overalls. I am ready for a new perfume and I probably stink of clutch dust and diesel, if I am honest with you.

Notorious by Ralph Lauren 2008

Notorious by Ralph Lauren fragranticaFragrantica

My most beloved gym scent is Notorious by Ralph Lauren (2008). I have been using it since 2010. Acquisition is becoming more difficult and I will need to arrange a replacement. What I love most about it is the black currant. The heady hit of that note makes me alert, but in a kind way. Si by Armani has a similar note, yet it hits in a more laser like way, and I find it distracting.

The other notes are carnation, lively pink pepper and peony – a note I struggle to like when it is the focus. Luckily, here it is a supporting note that softens the black currant and carnation. I don’t get any heat from the pink pepper.

As I have never worn this at any other time, I actually cannot comment on the dry down or longevity. Notorious does not last beyond the training session, strangely. Might be because I am constantly wiping myself with my towel and it is evaporating with my rising body temperature.

I don’t notice many other people wearing perfumes whilst training. I do get the odd whiff of Axe body spray, but it is the usual fougere type. Oh, I lie! At my last gym, I caught the trail of a guy wearing Egoiste. I did follow him and do a confirmation sniff.

I know Val is an avid lifter too. Are you an active sort, and if so, what is your take on dedicated scents for that activity? And what can I replace Notorious with? I am very keen to hear your suggestions, beautiful people.

Til next time,

Kate – bear hugs!