Black Saffron by Ben Gorham for Byredo 2012




Hiya perfumed friends!

The other day when I was perusing my perfume collection I was thinking about how all the scents in my regular rotation have always been instant loves at first sniff. It’s not very often that I have to sample a scent for ages to work out whether it’s for me or not and even more rarely does a disliked perfume become a love after months or years of sampling as it Continue reading

Le Jardin Retrouve: Australian Premiere with Gabriella




Hello perfumed friends!

Today, I want to share something quite exciting with you. Last month, I was honoured to host the first ever Australian event for the perfume house, Le Jardin Retrouve. A few friends gathered at my home and we connected live to the brand’s Paris boutique where the now owners of the line, Michel Gutsatz and his wife Clara Feder took us through the brand’s history and recent relaunch before a live sniff of the brand’s seven scents.

Continue reading

Top 5 2017 Perfumes: Gabriella




Hiya Perfume Junkies!
A happy and fragrant New Year to you all.

Today I’m talking about my top five fragrances for 2017. These were not all new releases for the year – just the top perfumes that I discovered over the past twelve months. Last year was a bit of a watershed fragrance-wise: I visited Paris for the first time since falling down the perfumista rabbit hole and I also explored a bit more outside my white floral comfort zone. So what scents made the cut for me?

Top 5 2017 Perfumes: Gabriella

Melodie de L'Amour Parfums Dusita FragranticaFragrantica

Melodie de L’Amour by Pissara Umavijani for Dusita 2015

The heartstopper. I’d given up on finding another lush gardenia-centered fragrance when Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia was discontinued some years ago, but when Melodie de L’Amour hit my skin, it was utter devotion at first sniff. A buttery gardenia at the height of its bloom paired with sultry tuberose, jasmine and a hint of honey. This exquisite white floral was made all the more special due to the fact that I acquired my bottle in the city of lights.

First in Fragrance has €295/50ml

1996 Inez & Vinoodh Byredo FragranticaFragrantica

1996 by Ben Gorham for Byredo 2013

The vintage starlet. I didn’t expect to fall in love with 1996’s soft hush of iris and violet that’s powdery, delicate and slightly sweet. Just when you think the floral notes are the only things going on, an ambery leather lends a touch of old school decadence. It’s the scent of vintage luggage, fur stoles and black mesh pillbox hats paired with a slick of red lipstick.

Mecca Cosmetica starts at $187/50ml

Stilettos on Lex Jul et Mad Paris FragranticaFragrantica

Stilettos on Lex by Dorothee Piot for Jules et Mad 2012

The Parisian chic. I found Stilettos thanks to the lovely staff at Jovoy in Paris who included it with an enormous bunch of samples when I purchased my bottle of Melodie de L’Amour. Stilettos is a grown up fruity floral with a touch of 1980’s powerhouse about it. A bright plum transcends into a rich melange of violet, rose and lily of the valley tempered by aldehydes.

Jules et Mad starts at EUR22.50/5ml

Velvet Haze Byredo FragranticaFragrantica

Velvet Haze by Ben Gorham for Byredo 2017

The hippie luxe. I usually only like patchouli with rose, but this proved to me that coconut and patchouli is a pretty awesome combination. Here the patchouli is gauze-like, it usual pungent head-shop vibe has been stripped back and white washed, all pale and ethereal. The coconut is slightly salty in tone, giving the scent a tropical but edible quality.

Mecca Cosmetica starts at $160/50ml

Vetiver 46 Le Labo FragranticaFragrantica

Vetiver 46 by Mark Buxton for Le Labo 2006

The unexpected choice. Vetiver is about as far away from a big white floral as you can get, but this still enraptured me from the get go. A strikingly green bergamot gives way to piney incense, cloves and a touch of vetiver. A brooding scent that’s strangely comforting.

Mecca Cosmetica starts at $264/50ml

So, what were your top perfume picks for 2017?
With much love till next time!
G x

Top Five Hot Weather Fragrances: Gabriella 2017




Hello perfumed peeps!

We’ve had quite sultry weather in Melbourne lately with temperatures over 30C for days straight. The heat has caught everyone by surprise, including me, as it usually doesn’t get this hot until January or February. The change was sudden too: one day I was in jumpers and coats and luxuriating in my dark rose and woody scents and the next day I’m sweltering in a sundress and wondering what perfume to wear. So, today I want to share my:

Top Five Hot Weather Fragrances


Amyris Femme by Francis Kurkdjian for Maison Francis Kurkdjian 2012

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Lemon leaf, orange leaf
Heart: Amyris, iris
Base: Vetiver, agarwood (oud)

The Parisian chic choice. Amyris Femme dazzles from the opening with bright and juicy lemon blossom coupled with soft iris and delicately spiced woods. It’s a joyous scent that is still incredibly elegant and poised.

Further reading: The Candy Perfume Boy
Mecca Cosmetica has 70ml/$228


Carnal Flower by Dominique Ropion for Frederic Malle 2005

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, melon, eucalyptus
Heart: Ylang-ylang, jasmine, tuberose, salicylates
Base: Tuberose absolute, orange blossom absolute, coconut, musk

The sexy diva. Carnal Flower is the perfume equivalent of diving head first into a huge florist’s fridge brimming with creamy tuberose flowers. Lush tuberose is front and centre, but the eucalyptus provides a lovely green quality to the fleshy white blooms laced with a touch of coconut.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin
Mecca Cosmetica starts at 10ml/$84


Lily by Florence Idier for Comme des Garcons: Olfactory Library 2000 (reissued 2017)

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Lily of the valley, freesia, syringa, dog rose buds

The lovely green one. I’ve struggled to find a good lily of the valley scent since the original Christian Dior Diorissimo was reformulated beyond recognition, but this may just be it. Here, the lily of the valley is very stemmy and verdant but devastatingly pretty.

Mecca Cosmetica has 50ml/$130


Original Vetiver by Olivier Creed and Erwin Creed for Creed 2004

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Ginger, mandarin, bergamot
Heart: Vetiver from Haiti, Mysore sandalwood, Florentine Iris
Base: Musk, ambergris

The “It’s too hot for perfume” choice. Many vetivers tend to be on the heavier side but this is the soft caress of a feather on skin. Mandarin and bergamot keeps things bright and fresh with a touch of gentle iris and salty ambergris.

Further reading: Katie Puckrik Smells 
Libertine Parfumerie has $339/75ml


Rosa Greta by Fabrice Pellegrin for Eau d’Italie 2017

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Litchi, white tea
Heart: Rose bud, Damascus rose infusion
Base: Cedarwood, ambrox

The summer office scent. Made to commemorate Greta Garbo’s disappearance from the paparazzi in the Amalfi Coast in 1938, Rosa Greta is joyful but still very elegant. Lychee and a gorgeous tea note lend a vibrancy to soft rose.

Mecca Cosmetica starts at 100ml/$204

So what are your favourite perfumes for when the mercury starts to rise?

With much love until next time!

G x

Korres Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet


(ED: Welcome back our lovely Madeleine who has returned)


Hello Fragrant Friends,

It’s great to be back reviewing here on APJ after such a long time.

Have you ever found that being away from your usual routine makes you reconsider your fragrance tastes? A perfume that you may have loathed becomes a new love or a style of perfume that you’d always considered not for you now captures your heart? This is what happened to me recently on the last night of a five-week European trip with my husband.

We were in Oia, a small town in Santorini, hoping to catch a glimpse of the gorgeous and much-photographed sunsets there. Sadly, it was too cloudy that evening and so we wandered around the little alleyways for a little bit before stopping for dinner. While wandering, we came upon a small apothecary full of Korres and other fragranced goodies, and of course, I went in to have a little spritz or two. Surprisingly, it was a gourmand, a genre I usually hate, that had me at first sniff…

Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet by Korres 2015

Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet Korres FragranticaFragratntica

Fragratntica gives these featured accords:
Brown sugar, Asian lily, violet, vanilla, caramel

Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet starts out all sugary violet but it’s more parma violet or violet candy floss, very airy and light, rather than all syrupy and cloying. It feels gentle and soothing on the skin and shines softly. A burnt quality to the sugar note also prevents it from veering too much into toothache territory while a soft, salty and slightly milky lily note lends the composition a cuddly lactonic vibe. There’s caramel and vanilla here too, but again, an incense-like element to these notes cuts the sweetness and adds some depth to the overall vibe.

Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet Klimt Portrait of Emilie Louise Flöge WikiMediaWikiMedia

It’s this smokiness and incense, the salty-milky quality of the lily and the burnt aspect of the sugar that make the scent quite intriguing compared to your usual gourmand. It has an almost ethereal and other-worldly quality, which makes it both soothing and relaxing. Overall, it’s also a fairly linear scent that stays close to the skin, but different notes seem to peek out more each time I put my nose to wrist. Longevity is around 3-4 hours.

Due to its snuggly aspect, Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet is definitely a comfort scent and one to wear after a hard day’s work or to soothe frazzled nerves. I’d love to have this in bath gel form, so I could sink into lovely violet milky bubbles and forget the world around me. Despite being more on the snuggly side, the airiness of the scent means it can be worn all year round and not just consigned to the colder months.

Black Sugar Oriental Lily Violet Jim, the Photographer After Eight Oriental Lily FlickrFlickr

Korres has 50ml/€39
Sephora has 50ml/$US44.50

What’s a perfume or scent style that you used to hate and have now come to love? Has a trip or a holiday ever taken you out of your scented comfort zone?

With much love until next time!

M x

Message in a Bottle by Mark Buxton for Mark Buxton 2015


Post by Gabriella


Hello perfumed peeps!

Living in Melbourne at this time of year, I cannot help but be reminded of the advent of summer in London. There, as soon as the grey dark skies of winter dissipate and the sun’s rays make a welcome return, the whole mood of the city lifts and people scramble to sunbake in parks at lunchtime.

Much like London, we’ve endured a hard cold winter here and spring has given us precious, joyous glimpses of the warmth that is to come. The whole psyche of the city and inhabitants changes at these times – one cannot help but feel elated to shed a winter coat and have a stroll after work amid a gentle warm breeze under a sky the colour of ice cream as the sun sets. There is a perfume that perfectly encapsulates these moments for me and that is ……

Message in a Bottle by Mark Buxton 2015

Message in a Bottle by Mark Buxton

Message in a Bottle Mark Buxton FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Ylang-ylang, magnolia, neroli, jasmine sambac, ambergris, sandalwood, labdanum, civet.

Message in a Bottle opens up with a dazzling burst of neroli, awakening one from winter’s hibernation with its efferversence and joyousness. The effect to me here is exactly like the hot towels you get on a long haul aeroplane flight. Waking groggy from a restless sleep, one cannot help but feel refreshed as the warmth and glowing citrus of the hot cotton on your face envelops your senses.

Message in a Bottle Mark Buxton Hot_towels WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

It’s about 10 minutes in when it would be permissible to dismiss Message in a Bottle as another neroli-based cologne. While the lightness of the composition certainly does feel cologne like in structure, the depth of the jasmine and the ylang ylang anchors and deepens the neroli, taking the composition humid white floral territory with an almost tropical feel. As the scent fades away, the ambergris comes to the fore with its salty woodedness, giving a nice segue from steamy floral into skin scent.

Message in a Bottle is a bit of a changeling. Much like Melbourne’s weather that can veer from tropical to freezing in an instant, the perfume itself metamorphoses depending on the weather conditions. In cooler weather, it is very much a selfish scent – your little private view of summer when it is still time to wrap a cardigan round your shoulders. When the temperatures are high, Message in a Bottle truly sings – warm humid skin is what really sets this perfume alight, bringing the tropical effect of the neroil, jasmine ylang ylang to the fore. I like wearing it both ways – for my secret snatch of summer promise as well as a full-on holiday scent when the mercury is climbing.

Message in a Bottle Mark Buxton summer Stevebidmead PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Further reading: Ainslie’s review here on APJ and Colognoisseur
Libertine Parfumerie has $199/100ml

What scents spell the promise of summer for you?
With much love until next time

M xxxx

Ellenisia by Steve de Mercado for Penhaligons 2005


Post by Gabriella


Hello perfume lovers!

It’s often said that happiness comes when reality beats expectations. This can happen as much in the perfume world as anywhere else, especially now when we’re faced with rave blog reviews or when there’s a new release by one of our favourite brands or perfumers.

Today I want to talk about a beautiful perfume that has fallen short for me, not because it is not good – quite the opposite – but because I have built up my expectations about it over several years, actually having it and wearing it doesn’t match those expectations. That scent is Ellensia by Penhaligon’s.

Ellenisia by Penhaligons 2005

Ellenisia by Steve de Mercado

Ellenisia Penhaligon`s FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica lists these following accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, violet leaf
Middle: Jasmine, gardenia, rose, tuberose
Base: Plum, vanilla

The weight of expectations for poor old Ellenisia was built up a long time ago. At the earliest stages of my perfume wanderings, when I was skulking round the perfume boards on Makeupalley, board members were raving about it as the most gorgeous white floral. As the perfume was unobtainable in Australia back then, it became even more coveted and desirable to me. My desire only grew when people said it was a better version of Chanel Gardenia.

Time went on and then Penhaligon’s made an appearance at our local department store but a bottle was way beyond my budget. I’d go in often and spritz some Ellenisia on a blotter to get my fix of the fume and delight in the sensual, heady but very playful gardenia and tuberose mix.

Ellenisia Penhaligon`s Toorop_Dame_in_wit WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

This happened for a while, until of course, other perfumed delights came my way and Ellenisia was temporarily forgotten.

Fast forward to last year. I had just moved to Melbourne and I am out of work. Again, a bottle of Penhaligon’s is too expensive and out of my reach. Again, I covet it more than anything.

A couple of months ago, I finally pull the trigger. After more than a decade, the object of my rapture is finally in my hot little hands and I can’t wait to wear it. I am carefully unwrapping the cellophane from the pink cardboard box and lifting the little glass cap that sits so prettily atop a pink ribbon, I press the atomiser and….nothing. For sure, Ellenisia was pretty, it was the same gorgeous mix of gardenia and tuberose, given depth by the mandarin and plum but not too sweet, thanks to the greenness of the violet leaf. It was nice, but it didn’t rock my world like it had in my head time and time again. Mr M says I smell pretty and I do, but I can’t help feeling something’s missing. I’ve ruined my own perfect scent, I have built it up too much in my mind, building it up and up and up that it can’t help but fall short. Hopefully, as I continue to wear it, my expectations will fade to the background and the beauty that is this gorgeous white floral will come to the fore, unencumbered by the prospects in my mind.

Ellenisia Penhaligon`s Statue PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Further reading: EauMG and Mimi Froufrou
Libertine Parfumerie has $239/100ml
Luckyscent has $4/0.7ml

Have you ruined a perfectly gorgeous scent through the weight of your expectations? Conversely, what perfumes have you set the bar really low for that have subsequently rocked your world?

With much love till next time.

M x