Ombre de Hyacinth by Calice Becker for Tom Ford 2012




Hiya Designer lovers,

Today we are looking at one of the Private Blend Jardin Noir series. The only one of the group still on the Tom Ford website is Cafe Rose but the others are still available at the discounters including this one.

I don’t tend to try all the Tom Ford fragrances because I think his pricing policy is taking the piss. Yes, they are lovely, some could even be classed as modern masterpieces but the consistent price jumps, bringing out a bunch at a time, the lack of consistent availability due to discontinuations and that it’s really just a jumped up Estee Lauder brand all make me a bit grumpy with them.

Anyway, all that aside, when I was in the USA in 2013 these were relatively new. Tom and I spent a moment sniffing them and I liked a couple but couldn’t remember which. So I bought a set of decants. I don’t know why but the set got put aside unopened and they have just resurfaced.

Ombre de Hyacinth by Tom Ford 2012

Ombre de Hyacinth by Calice Becker

Ombre de Hyacinth Tom Ford fragranticaFragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Galbanum, Magnolia, Violet leaf, Frankincense
Heart: Hyacinth, Jasmine, Pink pepper
Base: Benzoin, Galbanum, Musk

My Google translate says Ombre de Hyacinth means Shadow of Hyacinth.

Bitter, smooth green with a very slight taint of sweetness. Galbanum gives a dark furriness here and is offset by the lightness and crisp snap of violet leaf. Quickly coming in is the hyacinth but to me it’s like running your thumb down the stalk of the flower and smelling the wet sappiness. The frankincense is resinous rather than could stick, woods or smoke and helps the galbanum feel ultra glassy.

Ombre de Hyacinth hyacinth pezibear pixabayPDI

My skin throws only the merest soapiness until well into the heart and the vegetational greenness stays, overriding it and giving the impression of drinking clean, fresh water from a snow melt stream. Yes, Ombre de Hyacinth stays dark for me. The fluting notes of violet & hyacinth are overshadowed by the bitter shade of galbanum. This makes them both more interesting because you have to follow your nose to find them. Also, I’ve never noticed them dealt with in this way before.

Soapy? Not really what I think of as soapy but the scent in deep dry down does seem to lose focus and becomes an amorphous, slightly pea scented wash. Not bad, but not nearly as amazing as the first 3-4 hours. What though do I expect? That’s a pretty good run before boredom sets in. Maybe it’s me and not the scent that has become less excited?

Ombre de Hyacinth lasts exceedingly well. Once the fragrance has died down it stays at that level, fragrant within a 30-ish cm radius and a whisper outside that, for hours and hours.


Further reading: Non Blonde and Perfume Posse 
Feeling Sexy Australia has AUD$325/50ml FREE Australian delivery
Surrender to Chance has samples starting from $4/0.5ml

What do you think of the Tom Ford Private Blend range? Do you own any? Which is fave?
Portia xx

Amber Oud by Calice Becker for By Kilian 2011


Post by Portia


Hi there Fragrant Fiends,

Oudh. The 21st centuries answer to IFRA compliant base notes. It is the ubiquitous fully fragrant, dark, deep and dirty base note giving a solid grounding to an industry that has lost its regular, centuries old palette to drug companies greed: the modern multinational fragrance component creators. I’m sure it’s a more complex problem and that I’ve missed most of the memos but from the other side of the world this is how it looks to me. Sorry, end rant.

So, I tried Amber Oud around the time it came out and could not justify the spend to myself at that time, 5 years on I wondered if my thoughts had changed with the ever increasing price of fragrance. Was $395 a reasonable price for something I remember being so lovely, and reading the other reviews written at that time it was as special as I remember and many others were happy to drop that kind of cash on it.

Amber Oud by By Kilian 2011

Amber Oud by Calice Becker

Amber Oud By Kilian FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Amber, Benzoin, Spices, Oud, Vanilla, Cedar

Softest, plushest, tamest oudh ever. So gorgeously rolled and folded into the spicy vanilla/amber bakery and only held slightly dry by the crispness of cedar. Warm and enveloping I can see why even the oudh haters love Amber Oud so. Lightly medicinal, a tiny hint of band aid and only the merest waft of poop Amber Oud is almost a gourmand oudh, oudh light or kiddies oudh. So velvet soft and cozy, as close to a warm beige cashmere lounge throw as oudh can be. Delightful, sweet, sensational and gorgeous: the words that jump into my head while sniffing are not the usual ones associated with oudh in my experience. The By Kilian crew have created the most fabulous general public oudh and it makes me smile.

The amber is sweet and caramelised, lit from within and effulgent Ambre Oud grows more and more lovely. Very reminiscent through its heart of the L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre, a similar warmth and purity. It stays pretty and buoyant and luxurious, the most expensive caramel toffee.


Here’s my quandry: yes this is lovely. It’s incredibly wearable, luxurious and gorgeous, no doubt about it. When I press my nose to my fragrant spots it is utterly swoon worthy. When it’s not so close, when I’m catching whiffs of it as I go about my day, Amber Oud is not a lot better than 50 other ambers on the market. From Queen Latifah through L’Artisan, Nicolai to Giorgio Armani: yes they are all different but at arms length the differences are not so pronounced, yummy amber. Is Amber Oud at $395 from $370-$150 better? Is it really? I hang my head in shame because for me the answer is no…. I’ll put my decant away and try it again one day, maybe then?

Amber Oud By Kilian red No Entry Pixabay

Further reading: Olfactoria’s Travels and Bois de Jasmin
LuckyScent has $395/50ml
Surrender To Chance has $5/0.5ml

What is your cut off point? Do you have one? How important is having something in your collection?
Portia xx




Prelude to Love by Calice Becker for by Kilian 2008

Hi hi hi Sniffas,

While in London earlier in the year my mate Tara (of Olfactoria’s Travels) gave me a set of the by Killian samples. It’s beautifully presented in a little velvet pouch of 2ml vials. On my return from traveling I searched high and low and couldn’t find the damn thing, then I forgot about it in the way you do. While cleaning up stuff in anticipation of our move I discovered the baggie in a small cardboard box that had been packed and put to the side with a bunch of other stuff from the trip. I would swear I looked in the box thousands of times……

Prelude to Love by Calice Becker for by Kilian 2008

Prelude to Love By Kilian FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, Seville orange, Amalfi lemon, bitter orange
Heart: Ginger, neroli, rose, cardamom, orange blossom, freesia, pink pepper, lavender
Base: Iris, Cypriol oil, musk, Russian leather

Basenotes gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, orange, lemon
Heart: Ginger, neroli, orange blossom
Base: Florence iris

The glorious, pithy citrus tinged with green is juicy and ripe. It is the warmest cool fragrance, with a very interesting oily/petrol taint that I find peculiar and inviting. Like pashing/snogging a recently showered and cologned mechanic. There is something extremely lived in about Prelude To Love that makes it more than a cologne, it’s a cologne involved in a sexual tryst, even to the lightly breathy orange blossom and neroli in the heart.

Prelude to Love By Kilian Orange_zest WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

As an aside: I was standing next to a gardenia hedge early this evening and the absolutely gorgeous/disgusting fragrance emanating from the flowers was completely engulfing, I was transported into a world of scent, shut my eyes for a moment and just breathed in the luscious, lascivious, overwhelming fragrance.

Prelude To Love is nothing like that but it does have elements of that sweetly erotic, human in close contact but cleanly washed idea. Freshly washed flesh but in a hairy nook or crevasse that always maintains the humanity.

Prelude to Love By Kilian sext mechanic PinterestPhoto Stolen Pinterest

Then, not long after I am swept away by an extremely pretty floral, it’s a bouquet, thick, rich and heavy. That’s what’s so weird about Prelude To Love, though it feels a bit cologne-ish, the heft and nuance seem too deep and mercurial for it to be put in such a simple category. This cologne has cajones. A honeyed, animalic sweetness runs under the whole life of the fragrance that has me smiling as I get huffs, very, very nice to wear. I can see why Prelude To Love is still so popular.

Prelude To Love is fabulous, you can tell it is the best. You want similar results but for a fraction of the price? 4711, even the newest formulation, is a very good bright citrus cologne. You will have to reapply more frequently but isn’t that half the fun?

Prelude to Love By Kilian QM2 Sydney WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and Olfactoria’s Travels
LuckyScent has $155/4 x .25oz Travel Spray Set
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/.5ml

Do you love the by Killian range? Is there a favourite amongst them for you? I love sweet Redemption and Back to Black, Prelude To Love is wonderful, I’m pretty sure though that there are 6 other citrus frags in my wardrobe that I’d reach for first.
Portia x


Cuir de Lancôme by Calice Becker and Pauline Zanoni for Lancôme 2007


Post by Trésor


As I am writing this the very first snow of the season is beginning to fall and winter’s crystalline breath is rushing through the labyrinth of tree branches outside my window, sounding with an orchestral percussion as if greeting the frigid embrace and welcoming it with open arms. My world is now captured within a veil of glimmering virginal white and my heart longs for a warmth that’s slipped away as sand through an hourglass.

Cuir de Lancome  Grandma Katina Rogers FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Not the physical warmth of being cocooned within a favourite blanket but an intangible emotional warmth that only blooms with the reminiscence of being held in the arms of one who’s love has served as both shelter and unfailing nourishment. Someone who’s love remains only as radiant aura held within a sacred chamber deep within your heart. Few fragrances are able to manifest such cherished memories for me, to transcend space and time and revive as this fragrance does. Today I review Cuir de Lancôme, a magical potion and olfactory time machine who’s precious vapors transport me and pay tribute to my beloved grandmother. A pulchritudinous woman, a force of nature who’s luminous soul taught me of absolute joy and unconditional compassion.

Cuir de Lancôme by Calice Becker and Pauline Zanoni for Lancôme 2007

Cuir de Lancome Lancome FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Mandarin orange, saffron, bergamot
Heart: Patchouli, hawthorn, jasmine, ylang-ylang
Base: Orris root, birch, styrax

The opening of Cuir de Lancôme is a spectacular symphony of brilliant, spherical mandarin and delicately bitter bergamot. The effect is so incredibly familiar, not dissimilar to the aroma of an exquisite artisinal soap procured on a journey through the south of France. This is a most beauteous prelude to what I can only describe as one of the softest, most creamy and positively unctuous leather notes I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

Cuir de Lancome leather_jacket WikipediaPhoto stolen Wikipedia

Cuir de Lancôme is not akin to the subversive, BDSM black of Etat Libre d’Orange’s Rien but a master class in restrained elegance. Utterly smooth with textural symmetry to that of whipped butter and kissed with delicate swirls of saffron and I’m certain other spices which are so meticulously blended that they simply register as a gossamer veil of whispering heat. Beneath this leather smolders a rich, deep and dry patchouli interlaced with the balsamic splendor of a languid styrax and an exceptionally photorealistic note of birch.

What’s so terribly beautiful about this act of the fragrance is how it pulsates from the skin in a soft and gloriously diffuse halo, maintaining a poised restraint while beckoning you closer as if to draw you into a tender hearted embrace. It is this precise moment where Cuir de Lancôme is most fragile but as with all creatures of beauty it is in this fragility where it exhibits it’s most extraordinary power, an immaculate vulnerability. An achingly divine swan’s song leading the fragrance into conclusion, just traces of powdery warmth dancing upon the skin.

Cuir de Lancome Swarovski_swan elektriksheep DeviantARTPhoto Stolen DeviantART

I usually get a good 8 hours wear out of this deeply beautiful elixir with a moderate sillage that’s surprisingly enveloping despite it’s modest nature. Though I prefer it as the temperatures descend I think one could wear it any time they pleased, it’s really quite versatile in that way.

Further reading: Now Smell This and Olfactoria’s Travels
Galaxy Perfume has $79/50ml
FragranceX has $102/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $5/ml

I’d love to know which fragrances bring to life memories of an incredible happiness as this does for me. Sending each of you all of my love.

Trésor xx

Beyond Paradise by Calice Becker for Estée Lauder 2003

Hello Hello Hello,

While moving I have rediscovered an old favourite bottle.

Way back in the early years of this century I had a beautiful partner called Varun, we traveled often to his homeland India. On our first journey to India I was taken by the lovely smell of jasmine and marigold that women would wear in ropes in their hair, a thick, rich and intoxicating smell that could become completely overpowering in a small shop with two or three women thus adorned.

Beyond Paradise Estée Lauder  taj-mahalPhoto Stolen Pixabay

So 2000, 2001 and 2002 visits were filled with this glorious and enchanting waft at unexpected times, not every woman would wear the garlands and I never found out what prompted it though at weddings they were everywhere. Sadly the practice is seen less and less in modern Incredible India.

Beyond Paradise by Calice Becker for Estée Lauder 2003

Beyond Paradise Estée Lauder FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Orange blossom, blue hyacinth, Jaboticaba berry, lemon, bergamot, grapefruit
Heart: Laelia orchid, pink honeysuckle, Japanese mahonia, jasmine, gardenia
Base: Natal plum blossom, golden melaleuca, zebrano wood, ambrette seed, amber

Fast forward now to 2003, and I am traveling alone to meet Varun who has had to go home to run the family business. As I’m walking though the Duty Free an Estee Lauder rep hands me a miniature bottle shaped like a teardrop with my gifting purchases. The bottle itself was so beautiful, exquisite, a rainbow teardrop and inside was a fragrance filled with bittersweet heartache. The smell of glamotous Indian women wearing their jasmine and marigold hair garlands, the hot wet heat of southern India’s spring and the cooling breeze blowing over lotus ponds into Kerala wooden pole houses. On my first sniff I was overcome with nostalgia and nervous tummy butterflies of anticipation.

Beyond Paradise Estée Lauder Flower_garland WikipediaPhoto Stolen Wikipedia

Ha ha ha! Of course, I arrive in India and Varun is like, “What for are you wearing that nasty cheap roadside stall jasmine oil?” Ha Ha ha! So away my little bottle went for that holiday but on my return Beyond Paradise became the scent of India for me. Even though I have been to the oldest and most reputable scent wallahs in Old and New Delhi, Jaipur and Kerala it is Beyond Paradise that takes me to the first few visits to India every time.

Beyond Paradise Estée Lauder  Varun PortiaVarun & Portia 2004

Basically Beyond Paradise opens like a vase of flowers, all wet, green leaves, a little crackle of bitterness, crisp white flowers and softly sweet fruits, it goes more white flowers through the heart and then dries down to dry white flowers, a very little bit fleshy and ripe, then fades to nothing musky woods. The story isn’t big and the shifts aren’t monumental, Beyond Paradise is fresh and light but gives you really good sillage and projection for most of the day.

The Little Book of Perfumes LuckyScentPhoto Stolen LuckyScent ($18 at LuckyScent)

Fast forward again to 2011 and I am given a book called The Little Book Of Perfumes by Luca Turin & Tanya Sanchez. Though I had been a mad collector of frags on and off through my life never had I been given such purpose in my collecting as that book gave me. Instantly I wanted to try ALL 100 fragrances in that book, but to find something I have loved so well for so long in that book was a complete surprise.

Further reading: Sweet Diva and Scentualist
Beauty Encounter has $55/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $3/ml

Are you a Beyond Paradise fan? What was one of your excited fragrance epiphanies?
Portia xx

Michael Edwards + J'Adore by DIOR 1999


Post by Ainslie Walker


Recently I attended a Sydney Perfume Lovers meet up; a live interview of Michael Edwards, by Clayton from What Men Should Smell Like and Catherine from Scent of Choice.

It was a fantastic, intimate evening! – Michael really opened up telling us personal stories from his childhood in Malawi, and his most memorable smell from there (Tamboti wood) along with much more on his fabulous career, industry secrets and future book releases. (Covered previously on APJ with an Interview and story about the Fragrances Of the World book)

Ainslie-and-Michael EdwardsPhoto Donated Clayton

Bringing along my copy of Michael’s out of print “Perfume Legends” book which he signed was a super highlight of the night.

Michael Edwards Perfume legendsPhoto Donated Ainslie Walker

We were all gifted, a couture-inspired J’adore Eau De Parfum refillable purse spray from Dior, of which, I have been wearing regularly much to my surprise. Perhaps it’s the link to a wonderful and memorable evening – I am enjoying this perfume.

J’Adore by Calice Becker for DIOR 1999

J`adore Dior Fragrantica

Photo Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Magnolia, melon, peach, pear, mandarin, bergamot
Heart: Freesia, orchid, rose, violet, lily of the valley, plum, jasmine, tuberose
Base: Musk, vanilla, cedar, blackberry

It’s clean, fresh and easy to wear. It packs a punch (meaning it’s very strong) but since the notes are clean and rounded and not too heavy on the aquatic and fruit notes – I can handle it, and so I imagine, could peers in the office or bus. The scent is full-bodied and floral – not the thin scents I often find on the “mainstream” shelf. They say it contains only the finest raw ingredients, and perhaps this is true! It feels modern and womanly and kind of easy to wear. It shimmers. Dior’s website quote Ylang Ylang, Damask Rose and Jasmin Sambac as the main notes, but I’m getting bergamot, jasmine, some green fresh notes, magnolia? More white floral, hydroxycitronellal/lily of the valley, peach and marine notes. Possibly some sandalwood molecules giving it some oomph.

J`adore Dior  FashionBangz
I’m going to call this “womanly, modern glamour” – its definitely full of modern synthetics, and quality naturals. It’s very clean. Dior markets this fragrance to be “the incarnation of absolute femininity”. I interpret it as “modern femininity” – a glamorous mother on a school run, an easy to wear, powerful office scent – strongly feminine, but not too much of a statement. Practical. Somehow it motivates me. If I rated “femininity” by bra styles, it would be a radiantly white, cotton bra. It suggests the modern woman is active, out there doing things, being practical, showing strength. If it were office clothing it would be a crisp white shirt and tailored slacks. Slightly androgynous, hair pulled back with lipstick. I wouldn’t rule it out to be worn by a man. For me, it would not be something I would wear if I had anything romantic planned.
In saying that it is good to explore all of ones facets, and this fragrance would indeed be sexy to many. It could be the smell of a work/office fantasy woman. *Throws off glasses, lets down hair whilst flicking it etc. etc. It could DEFINITELY be the smell of a daytime bride.

Further reading: Australian Perfume Junkies and Bois de Jasmin
FragranceNet has the most fabulous refillable EdP spray bottle $110/75ml before coupon
My Perfume Samples starts at $3/ml

J’Adore is popular because it’s lovely, and I am glad to have now given it a go. What’s your take on this popular frag?
Ainslie Walker XX

New perfumes for a new life


Post by Gabriella


Hello fragrance friends! For those of you that read my last post, you’ll know I’ve been busy with my relocation to Melbourne.
The good news is that we’re here now and besides being really cold and missing my fragrance collection that’s still in transit, there are plenty of things to look forward to. One of these is that perfume shopping is way better in Melbourne than Sydney (I’ll be sure to post some of my shopping adventures soon!). The second is that I’m really excited about introducing some new perfumes into my life.

I find that relocating gives a new outlook: not only do you feel different, but it is often a great time to try new things, like a different fashion style, a new lipstick and of course, new or different perfumes. When I moved to London, my tastes in perfume changed quite a bit and gems like Chanel No 19 EDP, Lipstick Rose, Musc Ravageur and Habanita became new loves. So, what beauties will Melbourne bring perfume-wise? Here’s five scents that I’m looking forward to adding to my permanent rotation:

New perfumes for a new life

Dans Tes Bras by Maurice Roucel for Frederic Malle 2008

Dans Tes Bras Frederic Malle FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Heliotrope, jasmine, woodsy notes, patchouli, pine tree, cashmeran, sandalwood, musk, incense, violet

This beautiful but quirky violet scent has always intrigued me, but I have never really found the perfect time or place to wear it. It’s woody sombreness never quite fit with Sydney’s warmer clime, but it strikes me as the perfect accompaniment to Melbourne’s chill. A good choice for the weekends when I’m swathed in a big black jumper, jeans and boots and mulling over life, sipping an espresso.

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and The Non Blonde
Mecca Cosmetica starts at $142/30ml
Surrender to Chance has $7/.5ml

Louanges Profanes by Pierre Guillaume for Parfumerie Generale 2008

PG19 Louanges Profanes Parfumerie Generale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Lily, benzoin, hawthorn, incense, neroli, woody notes

I’m including this one because I’m dying to wear it after experiencing a massive olfactory memory the other week. While packing boxes, I smelt it there and then, even though I last time I sniffed it was more than three years ago and only from a small sample vial. Does anyone else ever experience this? I’m thinking this opulent oriental with its smoky lily accord and smattering of hawthorn will be lovely in the cold weather when I want to feel glam: it’s all plush red velvet, cashmere and patent heels.

Further reading: The Olfactorialist
Luckyscent has $125/50ml
Surrender to Chance has $5/ml

Love by Calice Becker for By Kilian 2007

Love by Kilian By Kilian FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Neroli, bergamot, pink pepper, coriander
Heart: Iris, jasmine, rose, honeysuckle, orange blossom
Base: Musk, vanilla, civet, caramel, sugar, labdanum

I’m by no means a gourmand lover but I’m finding that the cold, dry air has me hankering after something sweet. Love is a good fit for me, given the neroli and jasmine give me the much-needed white floral hit within the sweetness of caramelised sugar and vanilla. This is cotton candy and marshmallows, pink and pretty. A somewhat frivolous and light-hearted scent when the grey skies will make me want to take my girly-ness to the max.

Luckyscent has $145/4 x .25oz
Surrender to Chance has $4/.5ml

Moor Street Gardenia Eau De Parfum by Klein’s Perfumery 2014

Moor Street Gardenia Eau De Parfum
Photo Stolen Klein’s Perfumery

Anyone who’s read my posts will know of my love of gardenia. Like many, I’d given up on finding a really good one given Tom Ford’s Velvet Gardenia is discontinued. Klein’s Perfumery Moor Street Gardenia is part of the boutique’s new line up that I discovered on a hasty reconnaissance visit here a few weeks ago. It’s as perfect a gardenia as I’ve ever encountered. A heady, slightly green composition that evokes the creamy petals in full bloom. A good choice for when I’m longing for the Sydney mugginess and just that little bit homesick.

Klein’s Perfumery has $110/50ml

Ta’if by Geza Schoen and Linda Pilkington for Ormonde Jayne 2004

Ta'if Ormonde Jayne FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these notes:
Top: Saffron, date, pink pepper
Heart: Orange blossom, white peach, rose, freesia, lily of the valley, jasmine
Base: Amber, tonka, musk, vanilla absolute

It’s now clear to me that I’m craving orange blossom, since Ta’if is the third scent that I’ve mentioned, along with Love and Louanges Profanes that includes a hefty dose of the note. However, Ta’if is first and foremost an opulent rose scent. I’m pretty picky with roses, preferring them dark, and Ta’if satisfies this want with a spicy opening of saffron and pink pepper. The rose is full and lush, tempered by a breath of jasmine, lily of the valley and freesia before the voluptuous orange blossom comes to life in the dry down. This is the scent to wear when I want to feel powerful and confident whilst job and flat hunting: regal, rich and very sophisticated.

Further reading:  Now Smell This and EauMG
Peony Melbourne has $195/50ml
Surrender to Chance has $4/.5ml

So, do you like any of my picks?
What new perfumes have you discovered when moving to a new place or traveling?

With much love till new time!
M x

Oriental Lace by Calice Becker for Oscar de la Renta 2012


Post by Azar


A couple of months ago my daughter sent me a link to the July 3, 2013 Lauren Valenti/Styleite take on Oscar de la Renta’s Oriental Lace. This brief post included a number of comments, one of which likened Oriental Lace to the smell of “a piano teacher’s house”.

The notes listed for Oriental Lace on various websites include honey, bitter almond, cacao, wax plant (Hoya carnosa) and patchouli. I wondered what any of these scents had to do with the headspace of this piano teacher’s house?

The Smell of a Piano Teacher’s House

A lot of smelly things find their way to the first floor of our home where I maintain my music studio. In addition to the library of musty musical scores, anthologies, sheets and shelves of books there are the various musical instruments accumulated over 40 years of studio teaching. Each of these has it’s own peculiar odor. An inventory includes: Three violins and one viola smelling of lacquer and French polish, various bows and cakes of piney rosin, an old dusty harpsichord, two seven foot grand pianos – metallic and woody, a Persian setar (not a sitar), a Vietnamese dan bau, a couple of saxophones that reek of old brass and spit when the cases are opened (obviously I rarely play the saxophone anymore), a flamenco guitar, two ukuleles, a clarinet, various percussion instruments and an old accordion that reminds me of the scent of a long neglected closet in my grandmother’s house. In addition to the signature scents of these “tools of the trade” there are the often ripe odors of the younger students, the distinctly pungent smells of the high school girls and guys who come to their lessons directly from cross country and soccer practice and, of course, the scent of the piano teacher herself, oozing tuberose or some other powerful concoction. Add to this blend the odors from the upper floor – sandalwood incense, cooking odors, the smells of Fender the dog and Gomez the pionus parrot and you have my own L’Eau de Studio, the notes of which go something like this:

Oriental Lace Oscar de la Renta Azar's #2

Turpentine, dust, mildew, paper, rosin, wood, salt, spit, sweat, tuberose, honey (from the pionus parrot), sandalwood, a general animalic, onions and toe jam.

Whoever made the Styleite comment was certainly not a student of mine! This person must have visited a piano teacher who baked buttery, almond cookies for her students (I don’t do that), wore a patchouli-scented shawl (not me), sipped hot chocolate (occasionally) and cared for an old, blooming Hoya carnosa (I’ve not been there).

Oriental Lace by Calice Becker for Oscar de la Renta 2012

Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries Collection

Oriental Lace Oscar de la Renta FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Honey, almond, cacao, hoya carnosa, wax plant, patchouli

On my skin Oriental Lace opens with a greasy version of imitation butter. Thankfully that aspect is gone very quickly leaving something like buttered popcorn coated in vanilla-sugar and honey. After about 20 minutes the popcorn morphs into a honey-almond cookie and then to patchouli and what is probably Oscar de la Renta’s version of the scent of a blooming wax plant (the H. carnosa). This hoya-patchouli bouquet lingers for 10 or more hours finishing with a faint whiff of vanilla, cacao and butter. I’ve gone through a couple of samples but am not yet convinced that I need a full bottle of this gourmand, lightweight floral. There are five more Essential Luxuries in the collection, a couple that I like better than Oriental Lace and will probably review sometime soon. But for now, Oriental Lace is not a fragrance that is essential to my luxurious life as a piano teacher, although it is many times more appealing than L’Eau de Studio!

Further reading: Perfume Posse and Now Smell This does a great run down of the line
Oscar de la Renta has $150/100ml
Neiman Marcus has $150/100ml

giveaway manoneileenPhoto Stolen manoneileen

Oscar de la Renta Essential Luxuries Collection GIVEAWAY


Today’s give-away is for one, brand new complete sample set (about 1.5 ml each) of Oscar de la Renta’s Essential Luxuries Collection, including the following fragrances: Oriental Lace, Santo Domingo, Sargasso, Granada, Coraline and Mi Corazon, all in a small satin monogrammed pouch

P&H Anywhere in the world


Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

You must tell me how you follow APJ


Leave a comment about what YOUR workplace or home smells like. (Comments on any of the fragrances in the Essential Luxuries Collection are also welcome.)

Extra Chance?
Tweet: @OzPerfumeJunkie Oscar de la Renta Oriental Lace GIVEAWAY #Perfume #Giveaway @OscarPRGirl


Entries Close Thursday 13th March 2014 10pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
Winners will be chosen by
The winners will have till Monday 17th March 2014 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

Azar xx