White Shirts and Perfume.


Val the Cookie Queen.


Hey there APJ Crew and Friends

“White shirt now red, my bloody nose,  Sleeping, you’re on your tippy toes,  Creepin’ around like no one knows, Think you’re so criminal …….” Bad Guy.  Billie Eilish.

I recently bought a white shirt.  Damn expensive, beautiful cotton, no collar.  I have wanted one for years but every time I tried one on I looked like death warmed up.  White shirt, gray hair.    I fell in love with this one particular shirt in the window of a store which was at the time shut, and asked Blondeswunder to go in have look at it for me when it was open. Next thing I knew she called me and said she had bought it and that I owed her money.   I love it.  And I have to say that a well cut shirt is worth the extra dosh.  And as long as I put a ton of slap on and wear a coloured lipstick, I don’t look like the grim reaper.

 White Shirts and Perfume.

Continue reading

Rose & Cuir Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle by Jean-Claude Ellena 2019


Val the Cookie Queen.



Here she comes, you better watch your step, She´s going to break your heart in two, It’s true, It’s hard not to realize, Just look into her false coloured eyes, she’ll  build you up just to put you down, what a clown.  Cause everybody knows (she’s a femme fatale) The things she does to please (she’s a femme fatale) She´s just a little tease ……. The Velvet Underground 1967. 

Rose & Cuir Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle by Jean-Claude Ellena 2019

Continue reading

Saturday Question: What Is Your Hermès Fragrance?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

At APJ we have a Saturday Question. Everyone gets to chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it’s a fun event each week. Taking sides never means taking offence and everyone keeps it respectful and light, even though we can sometimes trawl the depths.

The idea is you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back regularly and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them. The aim is to generate real conversation and connection even though we are scattered around the globe.


Continue reading

3 Best 2016 Fragrance Buys




Hello Fragrant Family,

We have suddenly jumped into 2017 and we’ve had some time to reflect. I’ve been madly going through my fragrance wardrobe to find things that need to be culled. Already 31 full bottles and some excess lotions have found new homes and I’m pretty chuffed about that. Hopefully I can sell or gift at least another 70 so my cull will reach 100.

Obviously the cull will merely make space for more fragrances. It’s a vicious cycle and Scott & I have a theory that it’s the hunting & buying that brings me the most pleasure anyway. Especially the vintage stuff.

Anyway, in my cleanup I’ve found a bunch of my 2016 fragrant purchases and was wondering which of them I get the most wear and enjoyment from.

3 Best 2016 Fragrance Buys

Here are my regulations for the choice:
1: Only bought in 2016, release or manufacture date irrelevant.
2: Must be a bottle, can be used or new at purchase time.
3: Can not be a backup
4: Can not be a replacement

So here are my 3 Best 2016 Fragrance Buys


Morn To Dusk by Eau d’Italie: 
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Bergamot, lily of the valley
Heart: Vanilla
Base: Musk

Crunchy vanilla with a few bells & whistles. Probably too simple for most perfumistas and could very easily be a perfect ambient scent rather than fine fragrance but I love it. So warm and enveloping. It really does last from Morn To Dusk too and goes through some cool to warm and then lightly fleshy to end.

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

Monsieur Li by Hermès:
 gives these featured accords in one line:
Kumquat, jasmine, mint

I know. Most of you didn’t adore this baby. JCEs Hermès swansong, but it smells good on me and people notice it and comment favourably. It is the perfect spritz and go, or spritz and sit. Today I wore it while paying bills and it kept me calm as my available cash reserves dwindled. No mean feat.

Sang Bleu Le Galion FragranticaFragrantica

Sang Bleu by Le Galion: 
Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Galbanum, orange, bergamot, lemon, wormwood, rosemary, eucalyptus, geranium, jasmine, rose, violet, pink pepper, carnation, cedar, patchouli, sandalwood, vetiver

The Le Galion crew make wonderful fragrances. Why the hell isn’t EVERYONE madly in love with their shit? Sang Bleu is as perfectly composed as the rest of the line, smells great but not challenging and lasts well throughout a hectic day. Not to mention how lovely the bottles are visually and tactilely. Sang Bleu is a unisex cologne loaded for romance.

So of all my fragrant buys in 2016 these three have the most air in them and are most regularly used around the house on personal scenting time.
What are your 3 Best 2016 Fragrance Buys?
Portia xx


Un Jardin Après la Mousson by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès 2008





In an effort to combat Sydney’s summer heat and humidity, I’ve been seeking out fragrances that I find refreshing. These have ranged through modern and retro aquatics, juicy citrus, and magnolia.

Un Jardin Après la Mousson by Hermès 2008

Un Jardin Après la Mousson by Jean-Claude Ellena

A new fragrance in my wardrobe is Un Jardin après la Mousson by Hermès. I can’t say what exactly made me race off to buy a full bottle of this, but one sniff in David Jones was enough to make me swoon – and so it’s now mine. The official blurb on this fragrance locates it somewhere unspecific in India, taking us to a garden which was in drought but has now been refreshed by monsoon rains. I’ve never been to India but I’ve experienced heavy tropical rains in Papua New Guinea, and the solid downpours can be quite punishing – here’s hoping that the imaginary garden of this fragrance survived the onslaught.

Un Jardin après la Mousson opens with a burst of warm spices and watery notes. Ginger, cardamom and black pepper waft up into the air. There’s a distinctive green melon note which develops at 5 minutes giving the watery effect but in a fruity and very mildly fetid way rather than anything specifically river/ocean/storm related. I really enjoy this combination, I have been finding that it cuts through the summer heat and provides a refreshing aura that even manages to get me through morning public transport in train carriages with no airconditioning. Urg. Speaking of punishing….


And, as far as fragrance development goes, it is fundamentally linear. At 3 hours, the pepper and melon have softened appreciably, and there is a light white floral accord that I find very subtle and pretty. Reapplying at 4 hours for me brings out the sweet aspects of cardamom and a touch of coriander seed in the background. I’m not sure I find much ‘vetiver’ in there. Longevity is good – there’s still tangible scent on my skin at +8 hours even without a respritz.

The joy in this fragrance for me is very much in the wearing. In the summer heat, it becomes more beautiful and “lived-in” with an added touch of salty skin and dry summer dust. I think this fragrance is wonderful on its own but it is enhanced though use, it’s meant to be worn and be part of a day rather than placed up on a pedestal and admired.

Further reading: Now Smell This and Olfactoria’s Travels
Hermès stores and department stores carry the Jardin range

What fragrances do wear to cut through, or compliment, the summer heat?

Till next time,
Tina G

How Do You Decide What Perfume To Wear?




Hey APJ,

Sometimes I look at my collection and the size is completely overwhelming, making it really hard to choose what fragrance to wear that day. Does this ever happen to you? Happens around here with monotonous regularity.

How Do You Decide What Perfume To Wear?

So, there are a few ways I use to combat the “Too Many Blues” like grabbing a random sample and spritzing away, using an old favourite like Guerlain Shalimar, Parfums DelRay Amoureuse or Cacharel Liberté. Other times I do what I did today, walked over to me desk and grabbed the fist thing my eyes rest on. It was

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès 2015

Le Jardin de Monsieur Li Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Kumquat, jasmine, mint

It’s high summer here and raining so a perfect fit. All that gorgeous oily citrus offset with refreshing mint. Wears so easily in the hot or cold and though I’m hardly a One Bottle Guy, Monsieur Li could very easily fit the bill if I had to become one. I wore it to dinner the other night with a bunch of mates and got two random compliments. Very happy with that. especially because I feel it is such an under the radar scent.

Below is the last of us on that night, there were 10 more but this pic are the ones who stayed and drank Turkish Coffee. OMG! That was definitely a new experience. From left: Me, Jin, Jocelyn Fullerton of Cult Of Scent, TinaG, Craig, Scott, Paul.

From Hermès:
“I remembered the smell of ponds, the smell of jasmine, the smell of wet stones, of plum trees, kumquats and giant bamboo. It was all there, and in the ponds there were even carp steadily working towards their hundredth birthday.” Jean-Claude Ellena
Le Jardin de Monsieur Li describes a Chinese garden somewhere between reality and imagination. A place for meditation where strolling is allied to thought, and every step sets the imagination free.

Back in 2015 when Monsieur Li was released I talked about it on Australian Perfume Junkies. You can get it at most department stores and even on the online discounters.

So what do you do when confronted by this conundrum?
How Do You Decide What Perfume To Wear?
Portia xx

Elixir des Merveilles by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès 2006


Post by Claire Vukcevic


Hello APJ!

Christmas time is a-coming! Time to talk about orange scents, in other words. First up – Elixir des Merveilles.

Elixir des Merveilles by Hermès 2006

Elixir des Merveilles by Jean-Claude Ellena


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Peru balsam, vanilla sugar, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, patchouli, Siam resin, caramel, oak, incense, orange peel, cedar

God, Elixir des Merveilles is such a weird perfume. The first time I tried it, I remember thinking –this right here is why people hate perfume. It was overly rich, sweet, muddy, with all the elements jumbled together in that overdone blur that defines “Rich Bitch” perfumes to me. The second time I tried it, I thought “I should learn how to read labels better” because I’d been aiming for the Ambre bottle.

Third time round, something clicked for me and I began to like it. Now I have odd, sudden cravings for it. I think it’s because I was finally able to figure out its structure. There are two sides to Elixir des Merveilles – the syrupy orange peels dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt on one side, and on the other, a massively butch clutch of resins and moss. It’s basically a super-gourmand grafted onto a super hairy-balled aftershave.


Both sides are as oversized as clown shoes. The oranges dipped in caramel and chocolate are sweet to the point of being grotesque. One minute you think it’s gorgeous, the next you think, Christ, this stuff is absolutely gross. The sprinkling of what feels like celery salt over the treacly mass is probably one step too far. I swing between feeling repulsed to wanting more. The countermanding element is rather chypre-like: a brusque, musky cedar, smoky balsams and resins, moss. It’s really quite dry, bitter, and smoky.

The exaggerated forms of the two parts give the perfume a cartoonish Jessica Rabbit shape. It’s like watching an overloaded plane trying to take off or Kim Kardashian walk across the road in a tight skirt. You half fear it’s going to topple over any minute. But somehow the whole thing seems to hang together and work quite well. It’s a great winter gourmand, and the oranges and resins make me think of Christmas and oddly, Theorema.

Just don’t put this on if you’re not in the right mood for it, because it sticks like glue and seems to grow grander by the minute. At times, I find it enveloping and rich – just right for a cold winter’s day. But at other times, it begins to wear me down. When my hand glides over the small bottle of it that I bought, I have to think twice before putting it on.



Further reading: Perfume Shrine and Non-Blonde
Hermes stores and department stores stock Elixir des Merveilles
FragranceX has it around the $100/50ml mark
Surrender To Chance has samples from $3/ml

What about you guys? Do you have any perfumes that you hesitate before putting on because they are either such a huge commitment? Or because sometimes you enjoy them and other times they make you want to hurl? M/Mink and Myrrhe Ardente are both a little like Elixir des Merveilles in that way for me.



Claire also writes for Take One Thing Off<<JUMP

Galop d’Hermès by Christine Nagel for Hermès 2016


Post by Claire Vukcevic


Hey there, you lovely-smelling APJ guys!

I was recently lucky enough to snag a sample of the new Galop d’Hermès in an Hermès boutique in Copenhagen. Well, I say lucky, but what I really mean is that I stomped my little feet until I got one, because I was buying a whole bottle of Osmanthe Yunnan at full retail so you better believe I wasn’t leaving without some loot. I got a chance to fondle the bottle too. I’m not sure what the string is for (hanging it up with your gym wash bag maybe?), but it’s Hermès and it’s shaped like a stirrup, so who am I to quibble.

Galop d’Hermès by Hermès 2016

Galop d’Hermès by Christine Nagel

Galop d`Hermes Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Rose, Leather, Saffron, Quince

Galop d’Hermès opens bright and mouth-puckeringly tart, a saffraleine leather glossed to a high shine with rose and cassis. It’s hard not to swoon, to be honest, because the immediately appetizing mixture of velvety rose petals, saffron, and orange swells to fill the nose and make your mouth water. Syrupy and rich, the opening is almost gourmand to my nose, but then a wave of urinous cassis (blackcurrant) crests and washes over the composition, adding a welcome astringency.

Now, don’t be too alarmed by my use of the word “urinous” here – both cassis and grapefruit share a compound that is also present in urine, but if you don’t perceive any “cat pee” note in fragrances such as Aqua Allergoria Pamplelune, then you should be fine with this. I think that this is the only element in Galop that might be considered shocking or animalic, the way the perfume makes that blackcurrant note teeter between pee and unripe fruit. To my nose, rhubarb has a similar effect.

Likewise, despite equestrian-based marketing, there is really nothing horsey or animalic about the leather note, which is the smooth, vegetal leather used in other Hermès fragrances such as Kelly Caleche. But the texture here is less angular. The sleekness of leather fuzzes up even more, gaining a dusky wooliness that really works against the tart cassis. What surprises me is that the lush, velvety rose I smelled in the opening disappears, morphing into a rose-tinted baked apple – a quince basically. I bake with quinces, and the scent matches the taste: a rosy, perfumey apple with a mealy texture. When a slice or two is slipped into an ordinary apple tart, they turn a fabulous shade of blush pink.

Longevity is pretty good – I get about 6-8 hours. Projection is quiet, though, which is hardly surprising, given it’s an extrait. I can see this working for posh girls and boys who know their way around a tack room or two. It’s as refined as the JC Ellena scents for Hermès but has just enough of that Christine Nagel richness of touch to push more towards glamorous equestrian ball territory than sheer daytime wear.

Galop d`Hermes Hermes Fragrantica1Fragrantica

Further reading: Bois de Jasmin and AnOther
Hermès Australia has $275/50ml

What about you? Will you miss JC Ellena when he goes? What are your fave JC Ellena frags?
Slán from rainy old Ireland,

Claire also writes for Take One Thing Off

First (Vintage Parfum) by Jean Claude Ellena for Van Cleef & Arpels 1976


Post by Portia


Hello Vintage Lovers,

Some days when the post arrives and a long awaited and expected package is finally in my hands I get a little tremor of uncertainty. Will this be the real deal? Will I have spent my hard earned (OK only mildly) cash on a winner or a bummer? The other day was just such a day, arriving opened and lightly used was a vintage extract that I had extremely high hopes for……

First (Vintage Parfum) by Van Cleef & Arpels 1976

First Vintage Parfum by Jean Claude Ellena

First Van Cleef & ArpelsVan Clef & Arpels

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Bergamot, Raspberry, Mandarin, Peach, Black currant
Heart: Carnation, Hyacinth, Orris root, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Narcissus, Orchid, Tuberose, Turkish rose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Amber, Oakmoss, Honey, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla, Vetiver, Civet

When First was released I was 8. Being in Australia we may have got it around then but it wasn’t really on my radar. At that time I was completely unaware of anything except that my Mum was the most beautiful and smelled the best of all the Aunties and all the other Mums. The reason I bought this perfume bottle is that I have memories of First being around through my teen years in a general sort of way. I don’t think Mum had it but some of the ladies in my sphere did, there were definitely bottles of it in my vision.

I had a modern EdT that basically bludgeoned my nose to headache with its opening cacophony and I wondered if an older perfume would be less ferocious.

First Van Cleef & Arpels Gold silk PixabayPDI

How does it smell? Richer, less aldehydic at the opening though they are still a fizzy, slightly oily metallic patina over the fruits. First perfume is less about the opening though and more about the heart, as if it can’t wait to get to the white and yellow flowers. Once this jasmine-centric heart arrives it’s swoon time. So beautifully blended that my main reading is jasmine supported by other white flowers and creamy, slightly banana ylang. I’m sure better noses could parse it more succinctly. You have no idea how freaking gorgeous first perfume is. Unbelievable, eye-rolling, deep breath till I think my hand might get sucked up my nose fabulous.

The heart lasts for ages before I start to notice it becoming more honeyed and sweeter. I can’t decide if it’s sandalwood or a combination of other things. I do smell furry oakmoss and a lovely dose of animal, soft and plush. From just 3 dabs on my hand this baby lasts all night and I can still smell whispers of an animalic vanilla/amber in the morning.

First Van Cleef & Arpels 3rd Eye Photographer Field of gold FlickrFlickr

Further reading: Perfume Posse and Non Blonde
I found my bottle on eBay
Surrender To Chance has extrait samples from $19/0.5ml

Have you had the pleasure?
Portia xx

Equipage Géranium by Jean-Claude Ellena for Hermès 2015


Post by Robert Herrmann


Hey there Frag Friends,

Robert H. here writing from my small island home in the Pacific Northwest. Lately I’ve been wearing the beautiful Equipage Géranium by JCE…..

Equipage Géranium by Hermès 2015

Equipage Géranium by Jean-Claude Ellena

Equipage Geranium Hermes FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Spices, geranium, rose, mint, sandalwood

Imagine a summer’s day, warm and dry and perhaps you’ve been invited to a friends house in the countryside. Your first day there, you decide to go horseback riding, so you throw on a pair of jeans and a well-worn pair of boots. You cross the drive to the stables and immediately the smell of damp hay hits your nose.

You notice a wine barrel planter next to the stables, with bright red and spicy geraniums growing next to some errant mint plants. The geranium has that dusty/floral/spicy aroma, almost rose-like, as you lean in to sniff. You take a mint leaf and crush it between your fingers, the aromas mingling and melding to create an almost floral vibe but cooled and tempered by the mint.

From inside the stable you catch a whiff of freshly groomed horse and the leather tack hanging on the wall.

This is Equipage Géranium.

The first flanker to the now iconic Equipage, this gorgeous scent goes one better to me, the addition of the geranium spiciness and mint sitting on a base of creamy sandalwood amps it up to a new level. Yes it is masculine, but with a classic Jean-Claude Ellena soft-focus edge.

Jean-Claude Ellena has created a scent that is assertive, bold, and nothing like his lighter, spare scents of the past.

«I tried to capture the smell a thousand times, a thousand times it escaped me. Drawn by its complexity, its sumptuousness, I took this perfume with me when I travelled, to discover it.» Jean-Claude Ellena


Further reading: Black Narcissus and Colognoisseur
Hermès Australia has Au$145/100ml

And although marketed as a men’s cologne, I can see a woman easily wearing this, commanding attention and exuding confidence, like Joan Crawford’s first meeting with the board of directors of Pepsico… “Don’t F#*k with me boys, this ISN’T my first time at the rodeo!”


Have you tried this Geranium? Which Jean-Claude Ellena creations do you love?

C Ya Sweet Smellers