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scent of the city

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Here I go, again: the Danube seems to be the highlight of my recent city breaks!

Budapest is close enough for me (well, actually, every city in Europe is pretty much – close….) to hopp off on a short city-break, and yes – it seems to be getting more and more popularity lately, becoming more and more interesting touristic destination, and no wonder:  Budapest is the tenth-largest city in EU, a Beta+ Global City and it is cited as the “Europe’s 7th most idyllic place to live” by Forbes.

There are so many museums and cultural institutions, the city is flooded with geotermal springs and wellness spots, it’s old Nyugati Railway station was built by the Eiffel Company of Paris in 1877., and it has the second-oldest metro line in the world, functioning very smoothly.

Yes, the river Danube is blue here and cruising along is really a wonderful experience!

Beware, niche perfume lovers: Budapest provides a great offer! There are four niche perfumeries in the center of the city:

Madison Perfumery is located near the Opera – Calea Doorobantilor nr 152. Sadly, the building was under reconstruction when I arrived, but I promised to return soon so I’m looking forward to revisiting and taking my time in Madison. It showcases leading niche houses, carefully cured beauty products…and coffee! It’s founders crave fine coffee and they are sharing with their clientele the high quality, small-batch beans of local specialty roaster. Next time I will most certainly devote more time to Madison!

There is also Cherry Garden Niche Parfumeria close to Opera house – Nagymezo u.47 and Le Parfum located in the Hotel Carlton Ritz, both with fine, although pretty mainstream niche houses. Le Parfum also offers Perfume Workshops – you need to book in advance.

Well, the whole idea of taking this trip (pssst! My family didn’t really know that until we got there!) was, quite honestly, because Rassei Fort told me a couple of months ago that Neroli Parfum&Luxe will become distributors for Fort&Manle in Budapest! The perfumery is located in a small street adjacent to the main shopping street in Budapest, you can’t miss it: Regiposta utca 19.

Neroli does have an impressive offer of fine niche perfume houses, take a look at these photos and check out The Plum Girl Instagram TV – there you can find a short video showcasing their offer.

So, I finally met Fort&Manle live and with the whole line presented.

Of course, they have just announced a new addition: „Forty Thieves“ – so I guess I will really have to revisit Budapest, soon.

This baby accompanied me home:

Fort&Manle Charlatan, edition 2018. I did post a really short quick sniff, first impression review on Instagram! When I test the whole line, I will most certainly write a more detailed review. Just for now, to answer any potential questions: yes, it’s worth a FB!

Even though the offer of perfumes is impressive, I was not at least impressed with customer service at Neroli. Much to my surprise, when I walked in I was hardly greeted: all SA’s were quite busy unpacking boxes and boxes at the back of the perfumery, hardly paying any attention to me. I did introduce myself properly. I did say that I do know what I’m looking for. Still…Ignoring a customer and unpacking boxes doesn’t leave a positive impression. OK, it was Monday morning, OK, SA’s obviously had quite a few boxes to unpack, but somehow it just didn’t feel right. Not when you consider the prices you are paying.

Budapest is relaxed, vibrant, filled with sounds and scents: do visit the main Marketplace. It is really big, filled with homemade sausages, dry red pepperoni, paprika, spices, vegetables and fresh cheese.

Old K&K restaurants and pubs offer superb goulash and paprikash – a must-try!

We enjoyed Hungarian lager beer, which really goes well with Debrecener sausages (debrezeni kolbasz) – heavily spiced with paprika, garlic, pepper and marjoram.

Do visit Budapest! It’s an ideal city for a short, weekend city break and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl Archive

Disclaimer

WARSZAWA.

The way your lips move when you pronounce its name…
Quite a mouthful sounds so grand, happy and sad at the same time.

I received a beautiful package.
Puredistance Warszawa, a fragrance honoring this city. It was carefully crafted and released in 2016. but one-year exclusivity was granted to Missala family, owners of Perfumeria Quality in Warsaw. This November it will be available worldwide. The nose behind it is Antoine Lie.

The message of the package in which it had arrived is clear: a silver frame for a masterpiece, green velvet, aiming to make you feel special and lavish. It did:

I approached it with respect, ignoring all the information I have gathered before receiving it. Notes, structure, the way others experienced its breath or written about it. The green ribbon is off, I hold in my hands a small vial of promises! A 25% pure Perfume Extract, to be exact.

I thought about it for days. At the same time, just as I was ready to finally test it on my skin, a friend visited the city and sent me these fresh photos of Warsaw last week:

Since there was no ball I had to go to, I dressed up – for the perfume, feeling silly. Velvet and lace, corset and perfume. Felt just right.

My first breath was deep. Eyes closed, I felt the sweetish floral kiss of violets on a bed of white flowers, grand and quite ladylike. Velvet and lace. Feminine, classy feminine. Just a bit powdery but not overly sweet, which was never my game anyway. The first association that came to my mind were paintings of Stanisław Wyspiański, multifaceted Polish artist:


Warszawa recalls the era of Fryderyk Chopin, one of the most famous Warsawians. He learned to play the piano there and gave his first concert when he was eight years old, performing in the salons of the Warsaw aristocracy, capturing the sound of his melodic lines of dreamy romanticism. Velvet and lace, a lot of grace. I bet those salons smelled just like this. As the story goes, Jan Ewoud Vos was inspired by Chopin’s Nocturne No.20: a short piece of music with a rich array of depth and emotion for both the pianist and listener. If you listen to it, you might understand this perfume better.

As the first impression of grandeur fades away, I find the heart of it providing a very sensual sensation of jasmine in a slow and sensual dance with vetiver. Spanish like, just like the middle notes of Nocturne No.20 in C sharp minor.

It sublimes slowly into David Bowie’s Warsaw. I feel styrax, resin-like and down to earth. Bowie dedicated a song to the city he stopped in during 70’ – because he was afraid to fly and traveled by train. That kind of situation, when you travel and stop by accident somewhere and suddenly realize that all things happen for a reason…and you find yourself in a world you don’t belong to but somehow feel at home.

You should know that Warsaw was quite different in the 70’ than it is now. I know the difference, coming from a country that was similarly “different” and I can just imagine how Bowie felt when he got off that train on Gdanska station.

A legal alien. Inhaling the scent of a city before him.

The finale, if you might call it that since it lasts and lasts, is somewhat quieter, in the lower register of tones but playful, refined like partiture of a great classic music theme, twisting the scents in a rather a melancholy filled way. Happy and sad at the same time. Timeless elegance. It requires self-confidence…

Wear it to seduce yourself, to feel good in your skin. With a hint of Slavic melancholy in your eyes…

Dzien dobry, Warszawa!


Notes: Galbanum, Grapefruit, Violet Leaf, Jasmin Absolute, Broom Absolute, Orris butter, Patchouli, Vetiver, and Styrax.


The Plum Girl
Photos by: The Plum Girl & beloved friends
Sample provided by Puredistance
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