Scent Diary: 18.2 – 24.2.2019




Hey there APJ Crew,

Another week of roller coasting. Thank everything for fragrance, it has buoyed me at times  week when all seemed lost. Friends and commenters on APJ too, you all know who you are. Thank you for being the wind in my sails this week.

BTW Some of you were wondering about Greg’s mega sale. His stuff is up on Fragrance Buy, Swap & Sell Australia. Australia only postage though. Yes, I might have purchased.

Continue reading

Scent Diary: 6.11 – 12.11.2017




Hello APJ Crew,

So much fragrance this week. A real cross section of my collection. Everything else has been happily low key. I enjoy the cessation of our usual madness for a week of calm and peaceful. There were still friends, food and fun. It was Melbourne Cup week and spring has definitely sprung around here.

Scent Diary: 6.11 – 12.11.2017

Monday 6:

Sat up watching The Good Wife till 2.30am munching on chocolate and chips. I know, NAUGHTY! It was gloriously relaxing though. Before I hit the hay a sneaky spritz from a decant of Montale Aoud Amber Rose, guess what? It smells like a jammy rose, synth oud and some treacly thick amber. Fairly disgusting and fun, I like it. Certainly cleared my head of any other thoughts before sleep.

Today I went and got the dogs back from the trainer, they were pretty happy to see me. As I arrived to collect them the heavens opened up and it bucketed down. Now my car smells like wet, happy dogs. Not the worst smell in the world but it is persistent.

This morning I spritzed with Miller et Bertaux A Quiet Morning. It’s a niche-y saffron/woods affair and I love it.

In the afternoon Jin and I went to look at a house we want to buy. It’s pretty darn good. Now we need to make sure our ducks are all lined up. Fingers crossed.

Then Jin went to work and I watched MORE The Good Wife till Trivia Q&A time.

Lez Nez Turtle Vetiver Front from a decant was my spritz de nuit. Loving it sick. Mechanical grass at its finest.

Tuesday 7:

Tuesday morning and I’ve been up since just past dark. I’m bathed and shaved. The dogs are fed and walked. It’s jacaranda time here in Sydney. I was in a hurry this morning so I didn’t walk to the shot of the purple lined boulevard but here’s a single specimen, blooming like crazy.

Today is Melbourne Cup in Australia, the race that stops a nation. What else would I be wearing than Parfum d’Empire Equistrius.

Just started doing my face for my daytime gig for the big event. It’s going to be a bit sweaty in our humid spring heat. GAK! Day drag is so gruesome.

Obviously we had a ball. 90 people, a band, me, buffet, booze and loads of silliness. Anna-Maria and husband Johnny were there, which made it extra special.

Came home, undressed and lay on my bed in a full face of make up till it was time to get going to Parramatta RSL for Turbo Trivia. We had a ball but my feet are SO SORE!

After a full day and night in drag I came home bushed. Straight into a bath I plonked then decided on Guerlain Santal Royal as my evening fragrance.

Jin and I went grocery shopping. Now I am going to bed, falling asleep at the computer.

Wednesday 8:

Bloody delivery woke me up. I’m up doing a little computer catching up but going back to bed for an hours snooze. Sneaky decant spritz of Ramon Monegal Agar Musk.

Evan came over today and helped me decant the Tom Ford Tobacco Oud. Currently I, the house, the street and the suburb are awash in this wonderful fragrance. Not very oud-ish though, sweet and creamy. So wearable.

Here we are for the Instagram crew @the.hug.project showing happy hug bliss.

Had a lovely nap in the afternoon with Paris. We cuddled up and slept for nearly 2 hours.

Jin and I went for dinner at a nearby Indian place. Food was excellent and as neither of us were very hungry we shared and entree, main and rice with a garlic naan each. HEAVEN!

Sorry I forgot to take pics today.

Thursday 9:

O M G! Suddenly;y it’s 5.30am and I’ve been watching The Good Wife for hours. Heavily spritzed Miller Harris Geranium Bourbon and off to bed.

Walking the dogs this morning I noticed this Crepe Myrtle trunk looking like a Van Gogh painting in the early morning sun.

This is my happy view from the back of the pack most mornings. Jin was with us today and his boy Jinx was really pleased.

Worked tonight and wore James Heeley Esprit du Tigre. I thought I smelled amazing but no one noticed.

Got home from work and there was this glorious smelling bunch of Muraya (faux orange) in a little vase on my desk. I have been so engrossed in other stuff I missed it but the smell was overpowering and I thought I’d broken a BWF vial or decant. It is intoxicating. Jin is such a nice man sometimes; what a thoughtful thing to do. Yeah, I feel pretty lucky.

Friday 10:

Up with the birds. Fed and walked the dogs. Spritzed a LOT of Guerlain Vetiver. It’s soft dry green-ness with a hint of salty oil and a cozy fur dry down were perfect for todays warmth.

Jumped a bus and train on my way to Sydney City.

Met with the Accountant this morning. It was FAR less dramatic than I expected. PHEW!

Lunch and a wander around the NSW Art Gallery with Rose. She’s such good company.

Then we went to David Jones Food Hall and had some fabulous Cheeses, Fruit, Bread & Biscuits and Proscuito with a very nice Prosecco.

Home to walk the dogs quickly and found these lovelies from LuckyScent. I had a fun cyber shopping moment a week or so ago.

Off then back out the door to meet three generations of Chaloners. Mum, Eve and Lola. We had a rushed dinner with a star appearance by Jin and then the four of us went and saw Murder On The Orient Express. Sumptuous but ultimately Kenneth Branagh ruined what could have been a fun frolic. He was so annoying that I found myself drifting off.

Saturday 11:

SIX YEARS with Jin. Yes, today is our Anniversary. I was going to take him to a super luxe fine dining restaurant where we would spend a fortune to eat tiny portions of God-knows-what overlooking Sydney’s magnificent harbour. Then I got to thinking about Jin. He is not really that guy. I’m sure he would enjoy the experience but then on the way home he’d make me stop for a burger at McDonalds because he’d still be hungry. Then I thought we could do our favourite Korean BarBQ but it just didn’t feel special enough.

We have mates who own and run a fantastic seafood restaurant in Darling Harbour, Blue Fish. Jin loves seafood and it’s on the water looking across at Sydney CBD. Not expensive but good food served attractively.

I’ll pick him up after work. We can get a train and then wander down to Darling Harbour as the sun sets, which shimmers off the city buildings and water. We’ll have a cocktail at one of the bars then slowly meander to a late-ish dinner and I’ve asked if they’ll do a Happy Anniversary dessert plate.

Hopefully the night will feel like a delicious but low key event full of love.

What else for a special night but a LUSH Rose Jam bubble bath and Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur. I will be a spicy rose delight.

I’m pleased to tell you the night was a success. We had Daiquiris, Seafood, Creme Brûlée on a Happy Anniversary plate. The weather was perfect and we sat by the water watching the world go by and chatting amiably. It was exactly the way we like it, low key but fun and yummy. Best of all we were together.

Sunday 12:

Lazy day around the house. Jin was up and off to work by 4am.

Walked the dogs for an hour and bumped into locals I know along the way, it was a beautiful sunshiny morning.

Came home and did some laundry, computer stuff etc

At 11am I found myself hungry and there was a banana in the bowl. All I’d had so far was a large glass of 50/50 cranberry juice and water when I awoke. This banana was so perfect. Sweet like candy, not too soft, large enough to satisfy. YUMMY!

In honour of my delicious banana I went and grabbed some Guerlain Mahora and spritzed lavishly. MMMMMMMMM The ylang has such banana and I’m wafting it joyfully.

Had a Niki de Saint Phalle bubble bath and used Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely fragrance for work tonight. Excellent fit for a cool spring evening.


So what’s happening in your world? Did you do anything Fun or Fragrant, with Friends and Family or maybe even had some less than Fabulous news you want to share? Now’s the time, in the comments below.
We love to read what’s happening to YOU.
Portia xx

Scent Diary 7.8 – 13.8.2017




Hey Gang,

This week has been a hodge podge of loads of stuff and very little of anything in particular. It started out calm and cool but has become more frantic each day. I am completely blitzed now.
Portia xx

Scent Diary 7.8 – 13.8.2017

Monday 7:

Monday went by in a daze of organisation.

Jin and I managed to run away to our favourite cafe for lunch but the rest of the day seemed computer bound with breaks for coffee & food. I went and collected the mail from my Post Office Box and my favourite postal GF had popped Home Made Cookies in the box! Seriously, how freaking lucky am I? Thanks Nikki, delicious. They’re Nikki Bickies!

I did order PIZZA dinner because Jin was working night shift and I am too lazy to cook when in Trivia Q&A mode.

It got to 11.57pm and my mind was fried so I decided to go to bed and get up early tomorrow and finish my Q&A. Sometimes I need fresh eyes on the problem. So, quick spritz of Estee Lauder La Rouge Gloss, their answer to Diet Soda scents and off to the land of ZZZzzZZZZZzZZ.

Tuesday 8:

Awoke early, got my Q&A finished and sent out to the girls. They’re seriously tricky this week so I’ve told the girls to give clues. Mine are printed and awaiting organisation.

WOO HOO I received a package this morning. It was a BIG surprise. It was a thoughtful gift from Kate Apted! How freaking generous! Wonderful. LUSH Rose Jam shower gel

CHANEL Boy for work. I bloody love this baby.

Wednesday 9:

Weather is sublime here in Sydney. walked the dogs for over an hour this morning in the warm sunshine. They were pooped by the time we got home.

Wearing Guerlain Tonka Imperiale. It’s sweet nutty warmth was a perfect ramble accompaniment.

Tonight I finished my B&BW Warm Vanilla Sugar in the bath and spritzed Histoires de Parfums Amber 114. Amber 114 is very nice as it goes on, a cool amber buoyed by herbs and woods. It’s the heart and dry down that I really love though, warm amber, nutty, creamy woods and resins. It’s so glamorous. Simple and elegant. Why don’t I wear it more?

Thursday 10:

Went to bed and started feeling achey, woozy and chill. Took two Neurofen and put on a heater, added a jumper and extra socks. Drank a bunch of tea and water and sweated it out.
Awoke this morning feeling slightly fuzzy but infinitely better.

TinaG came over.

We went and started sorting my VISA for India and bought some tropical fish for my aquarium.

Sniff, TinaG and I sniffed perfumes. LOADS of them. Can I remember which ones? NOPE!

Work: Tonight was fun at KPT. We had a great crew of regulars & newbies. They put us into a new room which I think will work perfectly for us. Sound is excellent and the ambience too. Lighting needs a little tweaking but we can work with it. Here’s a few of the gang.

Friday 11:

Jin finished work at 6am. He headed home and grabbed 3 hours sleep then we were off and running for our day.

First stop: We collected the signed poster from Jimmy Barnes for the auction winner at the recent fundraiser I hosted. It is going to make vaughn an extremely happy fan and hopefully he’ll treasure it for a lifetime.

Next we hit the Redfern apartment. The kitchen kick board is falling apart so Jin glued and fixed it into place. We also checked the water connections to the clothes washing machine, the taps and pipes, all clear. While we were in there as Jin was doing his thing I cleaned the grease traps in the exhaust fan above the stove. They are super clean ands lovely now.

Lunch time and we went to a Korean style Chinese restaurant. Every country makes their Chinese food differently so though it’s called Chinese the Korean version is a horse of a different colour.

In the fragrance department it was a red letter day for postal arrivals. OMG! I received today what most regular people would get in a year.

Criminal Elements Sample Set

Not available to buy until September 1 2017 I received the advance press set. UNBELIEVABLE! The boys have created a fully functioning mini brief case to hold their samples. It’s so freaking good and I’m on a design high. BRaVO! Amazing packaging. This will sell like hoy cakes on cool red alone. WAIT till you smell the frags. Ah May Zing.


Elvire at the Palais Royale Serge Lutens store sent some stuff to Val who forwarded a Le Vaporisateur of Fourreau Noir and the new 100ml of La Fille de Berlin. SO EXCITED!

Paris and everywhere else is out of the Le Vaporisateur of de Profundis. I found it at The Perfume Shoppe Canada. They could not have been more helpful, were excellent communicators and got everything sent tout de suite.


We have been home and relaxing this afternoon but tonight we will be cleaning and readying the place for our visitors. Jin’s Niece & nephew arriving in the morning. I’m so nervous. HA! Hopefully they have a wonderful time.

Saturday 12:

Woke up early, spritzed Guerlain Cuir Beluga and went to the airport to collect the kids. They came home, rested, ate breakfast and generally hung out.

Spritzed Etat Libre d’Orange Afternoon of a Faun. Went to Sydney’s best meet-the-native-fauna type zoo, Featherdales. I haven’t been in decades and it has come a long way. We were able to meet and feed wallabies and small kangaroos, pet the quokkas. We also got to see dingoes, Tasmanian Devils and fruit bats being fed and an excellent assortment of birdlife big & small. It’s all set out in a really comfortable area. We met up with the Lee family (Kath’s sister Jane, husband Mark, kids Rachel & Erin) and it was super fun. Excellent day out. I learned so much from the keepers and the shows about our native fauna.

Spritzed Lancome Magie Noire. Then we met Kath & Alice for DUCK DINNER, yep Peking Duck. It was a smashing success.

Now we are all totally worn out. Everyone else is sound asleep and I’m pretty much on my way. A sneaky spritz of Patou 1000 EdT before bed. NIGHT!

Sunday 13:

After reading some of the Saturday Question responses I was inspired to wear vintage CHANEL No 19 EdT today. GREAT CHOICE!

Went and had a wonderful day on the river to Sydney then wandered the markets and stalls. Then had lunch. It was lovely seeing one of my dearest friends Eve and her daughter, Jin and the kids were pleasant AND we were lucky enough to be with Jin’s BFF Matt who we hardly see enough. At the markets we bumped into Eve and my childhood friend Sean Carver at his stall and the kids bought some fab bags and T-Shirts for themselves and friends.

It should have been wonderful but actually I was tense the whole time, felt claustrophobic in the crush of people and snapped at everyone. While I do know I’m not a bad person this was definitely one of my less attractive moments.

Home and bathed. Wore Keiko Mecheri Un Jour d’Ete and it was a beautiful tropical accompaniment to work tonight. I still smell of it.


How was your week? Come on, share something fun or fragrant. Maybe you had a public melt down or did something silly. Purge yourself here and we will all commiserate.

Portia xx

Taif Roses by Montale 2007




Hi there Rose Lovers,

I have had a 5ml decant here for ages of Taif Roses. It’s about half empty now and I worried that it would never get a showing on the blog. So many people deride Montale as a house for their unlimited releases of virtually the same faux oud scents again and again. It’s a fair criticism but if you ever take the time to look into a few of their non-oud releases you may be pleasantly surprised. Some of them are really lovely, and I like that Montale has kept their product affordable in this age of aspirational pricing.

I think it was someone on FaceBook’s Aussie Fragrance Network that reminded me recently of Taif Roses. Thanks to that person I grabbed it out again today.

Taif Roses by Montale 2007

Taif Roses Montale FragranticaFragrantica

While looking for a note list everywhere I looked gave only rose. The Taif rose is special, while looking for information I found a link on BaseNotes that took me to this.

From Armco: No one is certain how the 30-petal damask rose first came to Taif. The impulse for its cultivation, however, assuredly lay in Taif’s proximity to Makkah (Ed: Mecca). That the rose of Taif is virtually identical to the famous Bulgarian “kazanlik” strain suggeststhat Taif’s roses may have been transplanted from the Balkans by the Ottoman Turks, who occupied that area from the mid-14th century and the Hijaz from the 16th century. However, the kazanlik rose—its Turkish name means “suitable for the [distiller’s] kettle”—has its own roots in the Persian rose plantations around Shiraz and Kashan, which in turn supplied fields in Syria. A legend among the growers of al-Hada says that the flower originally came from India.

Taif Roses is a woody, green leaves and snap of fresh cut stems rose. Floral petals of rose, intoxicatingly intense are surrounded by the bushes themselves and the dry, cool air of the early morning picking in the spring sunlight. often compared in my reading to Sa Majesty la Rose by Serge Lutens but without the honey to sweeten it, and far less of the spicy clove.

Taif Roses Montale


Longevity is exceptional, in the Montale way and sillage is very good too. A little goes a long way but I like to really douse myself and sit among the rosey fog.

Further reading: Scent for Thought and BOTO
Feeling Sexy Australia has $145/100ml

How do you like your roses? Green, jammy, spicy or otherwise?
Portia xx

Ainslie’s Pitti 2016 Photo Essay


Post by Ainslie Walker


Hi Fragrant Friends,

I popped over to Florence, Italy (Firenze as the locals call it) for Pitti Fragranze in September. The fair showcases the best in Niche perfumery, a whopping 270 brands exhibited this year! If you times that by how many fragrances in each collection, you’ll start to understand how much brain/nose cramming was done over the 3 days – I hope to share some of the magic so you feel you were there too!








Ainslie’s Pitti 2016 Photo Essay

I saw a big sign in front of an almost rundown building, Stazione Leopalda announcing the event. The entrance served as an area where people could relax, interview and of course, being Italy, smoke! The interior was rustic and industrial but with loads and loads of shiny new stalls set up and numbers and flowers hanging from the ceiling. My Pitti app let me know the theme was Numbers and Flowers – an art show running simultaneously expressing connections of numbers and flowers – the right numerical proportions can create palpable sensory experiences.










I’d never been to Pitti before, so, full of excitement I began my first day’s journey and spotted Andy Tauer straight away. He was launching his new fragrance Tuberose Flash so I had a chat, sniff and also of newbie, At Coeur Desert…oh and of course had a quick selfie with him.



Turning, I saw the new Atelier des Ors – Iris Fauve and sprayed it, knowing I was more than likely spending $400 if I fell in love – it’s divine: smooth, sensual – I need to wear it some more but the iris was almost caramelised and velvet during the dry down.


Then my phone rang and it was Mark Buxton (OMG!!) – he was running a tad late to meet me – I resniffed his fragrances and neighbouring Eccentric Molecules while I waited for our scheduled interview…which of course you’ll be reading here in the upcoming weeks. HILARIOUSUS chap!



One stall along further, I ran into Nicolas Chabot who not only had his beautifully reinvigorated Le Galion collection, of which I got to smell a few, new to my nose and his novelty for Pitti, Sang Bleu. I had been anticipating experiencing his new brand, Aether for some time as it rolled out on instagram so he took me through the collection – all based on molecules and there were some really interesting scents I need to try on skin STAT. Overall I love the packaging and vibe which is quite dark and apothecary-like.



Montale had The New Rose on sparking and catchy metallic display – they handed me a small sample, so a review will follow (eventually).


Carner Barcelona was showing newbie, Costarela.



Lovely warm, Neela Vermeire and I had a half hour chat through the range and she doused me in her newest fragrance Raheme, ready for my evening, a lovely osmanthus based floral number made by perfumer Bertrand Douchfour. I left from day 1 in a cloud of exotic goodness!



More Pitti to follow in my next post(s)! Have you ever been?

Ainslie XX

Vetiver Des Sables by Montale 2004


Post by Portia


Hi there Fumies,

Mondale gets some love from perfumistas but they also get a whole bunch of snark. Mainly due to their seemingly endless range, the oh-so-Montale-synth-oudh and their bro-woods. I get it, an enormous range with only the merest difference between them and so many having the half life of uranium, they are an easy target. What sometimes gets lost in the sneer is that they also do some really yum frags. I own a few bottles Dew Musk, Sandflowers and Sweet Oriental Dream. There are a couple on my list too Red Vetyver and Intense Pepper. Today I found this sample in my box and thought it might be fun to give it a whirl, you’ll be getting a first impression ride with me

Vetiver Des Sables by Montale 2004

Vetiver Des Sables Montale FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Vetiver, mahogany, sea notes, Indian spices

Salty woods. An aquatic woodsy summertime dream. Vetiver Des Sables is a spicy and salted version of the 1990s aquatic. A grown up version that leans heavily on the buff middle management lunchtime gym locker room. The opening is so refreshing and seaside reminiscent, even having that weird greasy petrol and electrical sparks vibe from the outboard motors. I can see why this has been soundly panned because it is such a synthetic feeling blend but it isn’t bad to me.

Respritzing over the top I find the vetiver (grassy, dry reeds, everlasting daisy, salty woodsiness) is much more pronounced. It has some smoky qualities and the spices make a better showing (maybe cinnamon, ground black pepper, cardamom and/or paprika) giving Vetiver Des Sables more nuance and a warmth not experienced on the first spritz, it’s cool and fiery which is a wonderful combination. I also detect some orange zest and dark rum through the heart, but I could be fantasising.

Kath Sunset July 2016Donated by my BFF Kath

I’d like to smell how this is on a woman. I think it could be very Catherine Hepburn on the right person. It’s certainly interesting and better than I expected after reading some fairly unimpressed reviews. If you already hate Montale fragrances Vetiver Des Sables will probably not change your mind but if you are on the fence or like their work then you’ll find this one of their more easy wear fragrances, it’s aimed at the men and I can easily place it on almost any guy who likes to smell like the modern image of manliness.

Once the open and heart have calmed down Vetiver Des Sables becomes a fairly linear cool vetiver/woods scent, imagine how just picked up from the beach at night driftwood would smell if you could amp it up 10,000x. That’s basically it. Or, better yet, here’s a pic of my mate Michael, he looks EXACTLY how Vetiver Des Sables smells in dry down. Enjoy!

Vetiver Des Sables Montale MichaelMy mate Michael looking like some hot driftwood

Further reading: Scent For Thought and Scent Critic
First In Fragrance has €94/100ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4/ml

Do you do Montale? Which ones have caught your fancy?
Portia xx


Fragrances Inspired by the Sub-Continent

Hiya All,

You may know that I am a complete India-phile. The whole area including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka call to me and though I have only visited India I wish to travel all six countries before I die.

Fragrances Sub Continent WikipediaPhoto Stolen WikiCommons

Today I thought we could look at a few scents with names that link them to my fave journey destination…

Fragrances Inspired by the Sub-Continent

Souffle des Indes Comptoir Sud Pacifique FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Souffle des Indies by Comptour Sud Pacifique: Imagine if you took all the lovely, sweet smells and tastes of India and added them to a creamy milk/yoghurt drink. It’s called a Lassi and I adore them. Souffle des Indies by Comptour Sud Pacifique then is the smell of a Lassi with fruit. MMMMMMM. Sweet, creamy, slightly spicy and lovely pureed or finely chopped fruit mixed in, really it’s worth the ticket to India to taste the real thing.

Ambra del Nepal Il Profumi di Firenze FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Ambra del Nepal by Il Profumi di Firenze: A beautiful opener with that medicine cabinet, herbal and caramelised sugar hiding a Crème brûlée sweetness that washes out from under the bold opening and gives the most divine caramel coffee, vanilla cream, bitter chocolate, Ambra Del Nepal is a sweet and spicy Oriental Gourmand frag hit. Ambra Del Nepal is more gourmand that the usual amber that I’m attracted to but I love it.

Nepal Aoud Montale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Nepal Aoud by Montale: OK so this has the tell tale Montale signature all over it. Their own blend that is their oud, some leathery smell and the plasticky saffron note that I like so much. I don’t see the Nepal correlation but Nepal Aoud is a nice soft, not too in your face, synthetic oud fragrance that melts into your skin and becomes a lovely rough amber then vanilla till drydown.

Mohur Extrait Neela Vermeire Creations FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Mohur Extrait by Neela Vermeire Creations: As if Mohur was not big, beautiful and outrageous enough. Neela and Bertrand got together, tweaked the ingredients a touch and amplified the whole fragrance by doing an extrait. OMG! It is seriously heart stoppingly beautiful. Everything you adored about Mohur but more intense and it lasts for days, on fabric for weeks. If there is a fragrance that has blown out the back of my head by sheer enormity and still retains its rose scented languid beauty, it’s Mohue Extrait.


Tibetan Mountain Temple Pacifica FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Tibetan Mountain Temple by Pacifica: Sweet and spicy citrus woods open up Tibetan Mountain Temple and a fun GingerbreadMan accord. There is a cool resinous feeling of incense that evolves through the wear and a delicious creaminess that collides perfectly with the clean patchouli. This is a warming fragrance that smells a LOT more expensive than it is.


The Taj Mahal’s Eternal Love Romea D`Ameor FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

The Taj Mahal’s Eternal Love by Romea D`Ameor: Here we have a wet, fruity opening that hints at the very early morning, sunrise at the Taj Mahal. I love this time of day there. If you ever get to Agra make sure your guide gets you to the Taj Mahal about 40 minutes before it opens. If you are the first i line you will see the Taj as few others have ever seen it, empty of humanity. An aquatic floral that ends in woods, very wearable.

So we have had a look at some fragrances inspired by the subcontinent, did I miss something you know or love? Tell me in the comments please.

Portia xx




Velvet Flowers by Montale


Post by Ainslie Walker


It’s time for a Spanish pilgrimage. We know Spain is famous for its pilgrimages…Camino De Santiago in particular. Here at APJ, we are pilgrams of perfume, so therefore I want to tell you about an awesome little perfumerie in San Sebastian, Spain, which just might be worth “pilgrimaging” to when next you are in Europe.

The store was first started as an English style barbershop and perfumery in 1908, and was named Casa Benegas. The founder D.Francisco Benegas and his wife Dona Justa Echeverria were extremely entrepreneurial, incorporating the latest trends from both the French and the English. It’s a lovely store, on a corner in Donostia, San Sebastian and actually HUGE once inside. Shelves surrounding from floor to ceiling FILLED with beautiful gleaming packages. San Sebastian was and still is full of glamour: artists, celebrities and royals have headed there for their summers, even before the perfumery opened. These”high profilers” made up the majority of Casa Benegas customers, right from the start.

BenegasPhoto Stolen Benegas

Fifty years later the business was taken over by their son who concentrated on the perfumery, introducing international brands and then some cosmetics. Now in the hands of the 3rd and 4th generation of Benegas’s, this incredible family business still manages to show the original owners entrepreneurial spirit, selling many leading pioneering brands and yet keeping the feel of the original concept.

The personalized service is exceptional, and it was here my friend was guided towards a bottle of….

Velvet Flowers by Montale

Velvet Flowers Montale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords in one line:
Peach blossom, rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, saffron, fruit aroma, sandalwood, gurjan balsam, musk

Out of it’s Benegas giftwrap and box comes a sleek silk bag, inside an brushed gold aluminum bottle with a decorative pin which also stops it from being pressed unintentionally. Impressive. Modern, and not really giving away, what’s inside.

Benegas WrappingPhoto Donated Ainslie Walker

First spray is fruity and floral – peachy and clean, womanly but with a bit of flirty, sexy fun. Woodsy enough to feel a little unusual, and certainly robust. It’s warm, perhaps a touch of spice, and VERY sweet and intoxicating. As it settles its rosey-peachy waxiness goes on and on. Under this though is something interesting. Candy? I am reminded of opening a bottle of Darryl Lee ‘bo peeps’. YUM. Such an interesting fusion of strong woman and girl in a candy store! This fragrance screams fun.

Velvet Flowers Montale Jjb@nalog flickrPhoto Stolen Fotopedia

Strong and long lasting, it’s not necessarily the most natural of smells but there is something about it I like nonetheless and the fruity floral remains steady, even on waking the next day.. Sometimes that’s the great thing about synthetic smells, they are new to the senses. I am reminded of Mugler’s Alien, but my sample is not nearby for a closer comparison. But this is definitely peachier, rosey and less heady. There are also some softer tones to velvet flowers. On a hot day the floral evaporates faster, leaving me with an odd metallic musk smell, which is probably my worst moment with VF. The best time is the first 1-2 hours. It’s clean, fresh and slightly creamy….but more waxy.

Velvet Flowers Montale  Loo Treated Myself to FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Further reading: Scent for Thought
Beauty Encounter has $130/100ml
First In Fragrance has €99/100ml and samples

Marketed as unisex, I find this fragrance hyperfeminine. I cannot imagine smelling it on a man. Really modern version of a fruity floral oriental, with additional sweetness. It’s certainly a pick me up kind of a fragrance, with more than 1 meaning! ;D

What other perfumes stores have you found around the world and where are they?

Ainslie Walker X

Intense Cafe by Montale Paris 2013


Post by Greg Young.


The house of Montale is pretty much all about wood. Especially aoud. Occasionally Pierre Montale will deign to include a stray gourmand, amber or leather note but really this Operation Iraqi Freedom house is for fans of wood. Especially aoud.

If the theory that packaging is a guide to the marketing strategy holds, then the house of Montale is also all about blokes. Especially DIYers who always have the oxy-acetylene torch or a spot welder ready to go, or those capable dads who are the first to set up the gas barbie on the weekend. At a pinch, their market may include Master Chef fans who wield a mean blowtorch in front of a quivering creme brulee.

Montale bottles are the blokeiest in the market.

If you are going to review Montale fragrances this is the time of year to do it. If you’re doing it around Easter, there is an obvious candidate: Chocolate Greedy. Fortunately, I was able to evade that cliche, but only because I don’t have any. As I write this Chocolate Greedy is almost the perfect, most succinct description of my current state. A missed opportunity to pair feast and fragrance, that’s for sure.

Photo Stolen Wikipedia

Intense Cafe by Montale Paris 2013

Intense Cafe Montale FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Floral notes
Heart: Coffee, rose
Base: Amber, vanilla, white musk

Instead I chose another of Montale’s atypical fragrances, the oriental gourmand Intense Cafe. Having had a big Easter celebration on at home, I felt that its warm vanilla would be more suitable on a pleasant autumn day than a big beefy aoud.

Intense Cafe is described by Montale as “A truly enticing fragrance. Brilliant Floral Notes reveal a surprising heart made of Delicate Rose and Sensual Coffee. This perfect duo leaves a very beautiful sillage of Vanilla, Amber and White Musk.” 

This one gets a pretty warm reception on Fragrantica, notably among men of my generation. Young ‘uns seem unimpressed, and it doesn’t seem to get much love from the ladies at all. Perhaps it’s the packaging. Consensus on Fragrantica is that rose predominates here and vanilla and coffee share a roughly equal second billing.

Intense Cafe Montale Rose PixabayPhoto Stolen Pixabay

Rose and coffee are among my favourite notes, so Intense Cafe should be right down my street, but I feel that it doesn’t really deliver in that way. It opens with the kind of warm coffee made at Starbucks, laced with vanilla flavouring and then served to coffee drinkers who don’t really like coffee. Far from Intense, this scent is like a mellow cafe au lait in a New Orleans riverside jazz cafe compared to New Haarlem’s ristretto in a New York hipster haven.

Which is not to say it’s bad, just that a luscious vanilla rushes to the fore and shoves the coffee to the sidelines, yelling “pick me, pick me”. Intense Cafe pretty quickly becomes intense vanilla, with a thorn’s-edge of rose to prick at the sweet gourmand. On this day, for this occasion, walking around in warm sweet vanilla was no bad thing.

Intense Cafe Montale Coffee Paul Wilkinson FlickrPhoto Stolen Flickr

Where Intense Cafe really does deliver is on Montale’s vanilla and amber promise. It’s 12 hours after I put this on, and I can still smell a trace of vanilla on my wrist, but a big waft of it is still there on my shirt. There are no longevity issues with this one. So even if you don’t like wood, especially aoud, Pierre Montale still has one for you.

Further reading: The Non Blonde and Ca Fleure Bon
LuckyScent has $120/50ml
Surrender To Chance has samples starting at $4.50/ml

What Montales have you tried? Does coffee sound good in a perfume to you?
Greg X