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the plum girl

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There I was, at Esxence 2018., standing at the Carner Barcelona stand. Mr. Joaquim Carner greeted me, we talked a bit about previous collections, and then he asked me if I knew about the new collection – three signature bottles right in front of me – the new, 2018. Oriental Collection.

Joaquim simply said, his hand hovering over the bottles: “This is Spain.“

Three different facets of Spain, to be exact. The Roman, Moor, and Catholic heritage of this great country, thousands of years, uncountable history-changing events, art and science and the art of war, discoveries, conquests and losses, generations of people, their destinies, lives, individual contributions and feelings sublimed into three perfumes?

I just stood in front of them, reluctant where to start first, digging out of my memory everything I have learned from history books (I am a history freak, you might have noticed) and travels, recalling images of numerous paintings I stood before in museums, going back in time and space to many cities and historic sites in Spain that I have visited, trying to remember all the scents and sounds and images which I have accumulated over many years.

Images swirled around my head like a wild roller coaster: Alhambra of Granada, Alcazaba, Cordoba, Sevilla, Madrid, Toledo, Malaga, Barcelona and everything in between.

My sweet memories: feeling of a hot summer’s morning and scents of the fish market in Malaga, simple beauty of the oldest church in Barcelona, Gaudi, more Gaudi (mind the trams!), El Greco and elonged somber-faced bodies on his paintings in Toledo, sound of my footsteps in labyrinth of streets in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, miles, and miles of beaches, sun, sea and wine, jamon – jamon, of course, late-night and hours-long dinners in Madrid, dancing in the streets, squinting and looking high up at noon underneath the Columbus Monument….sea again, I love sea, I can almost hear seagulls…the way my mind works!

For some reason, while I looked at those square, wood capped bottles my first association was dire of Gibraltar through which I have sailed. Pillars of Hercules.

That was quite a memorable experience! We were on a cruiser which sailed through Gibraltar at midnight, on our way to Morocco and I remember standing at the deck, cold wind and salty air striking my face while I looked up at those dark, almost threatening edges of two continents, so incredibly close and yet so dividing. A magical place where Africa and Europe almost touch…and did you know that the vertical lines on the Dollar sign, (the US dollar has origins from the Spanish Dollar) represent the Pillars of Hercules?

That “Spain“ memory chip in my head went wild.

Three perfumes, equaling Spain? Impossible! I alone could think of a thousand different ones!

I have been sniffing around Carner Barcelona for quite some time. They won numerous awards because of their dedication to producing high-quality lifestyle perfumes.

Their scents are manufactured in Barcelona by artisans and some of the most notable perfumers, they support local artisans, even their bottles are made from locally sourced wood. The famous culture of Spanish workmanship at it’s best. No wonder that soon after their launch in 2010. Carner became a cult niche perfume house. Nice.

Presentation is featuring minimalist design, fine craftsmanship and perfumes are meant to make a connection between scents and emotions. Emotions and olfactory memories.

Sarah Carner:”It’s not only about creating scents but also about evoking memories, sharing experiences and transmitting emotions.”

I am especially fond of the „Black Collection“, Black Calamus being my favorite.

Broody, dark, resinous, sensual and labdanum woody. I still have some of it left. Sandor 70’s – leathery, tobacco, mossy black. Rose&Dragon – what a story! What a dark, demanding, ferocious wild rose! One more thing: there is a base note present in all three of these perfumes: frankincense.

I am talking about the Black Collection because it was a bit different from the previous perfumes, mostly fine woody gourmands.

Are the Orientals a new chapter in this new direction?

This is Spain. Three different facets of Spain. Symbolic, just as you can see them in Gaudi’s work if you visit Park Guell in Barcelona…if you look carefully.

Megalium – The Roman Heritage of Spain

“Megalium, an ancient fragrance passed down through the ages, from a time when rose water flowed from fountains and balsams perfumed the lavish private lives of the Romans from their bathing rituals to their chambers and boudoirs.„

The perfume was used in ancient societies to bring believers closer to gods or to cure the body and spirit. Theophrastus, Greek philosopher and the father of botany (he wrote “On Sense Perception“ – about fragrances), was the first known writer to record Megalium – a sweet-smelling mixture that was considered capable of relieving the inflammation caused by any wound. That was a very important mixture at those times! Of course, Greeks inherited this mixture from Egyptians, only to pass this remedy on to Romans.

It is recorded that Megalium contained resin and oil of Balanos (oil that was used in ancient Egypt as a base for perfumes!), cinnamon and myrrh. This is certainly a more elaborate, modern Megalium! Yes, times are a-changing, but even today you can see remains of rich Roman influence in Spain and this perfume shows just how past and present mingle. I tested it to soothe my soul.

A spicy oriental it is, quite gentle. If you are expecting a screaming, loud oriental, this is not it.
Here we go again with calamus (remember Black Calamus?) but it is much sweeter, brighter, mandarin coated and thus much fresher in the opening.

Cinnamon is soft and light, not overwhelming. Half an hour later, a few rose petals are floating gently, brightened with berries, and covered with nutmeg dust.

When spices fade a bit, frankincense and myrrh dance with them and start to lead in a slow and relaxed pace, not being “dark“ at all.

Longevity is very good, sillage not extreme (I took 2 spritzes each time I tested it on my skin-it remains “at arm’s length” which is perfectly acceptable) and I feel that its heart gives it personality. Wearable.

As I tested it, I recalled images of the subterranean maze 16 feet below the ground in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona, the streets of the ancient city modern Barcelona is built on, literally. You can visit the Roman Ruins located in Placa del Rei – Museu d’Historia de Barcelona (MUHBA). It’s a great place to take a break from busy streets above and harsh sunshine during Summer.

Top notes: Royal cinnamon essence from Laos, Cinnamon tree leaves from Sri Lanka, Mandarin integral extract, Calamus essence India
Heart notes: Nutmeg essence from Moluccas, Indonesian Pimento Berry essence, Indian White pepper absolute, Bulgarian rose extract
Base notes: Olibanum extract Somalia, Ethiopian Myrrh extract, Yemeni Opoponax extract, Styrax resin

 

Ambar del Sur – The al-Andalus heritage of Spain

„Reminiscent of a time when royalty perfumed their hair with exquisite musks, the scent of amber wafted in the air, and enchanted patios bloomed with florals and romance. Ambar del Sur is an aromatic tribute to the al-Andalus of the past.„

The scent of Moorish Iberia… The scent of more than 700 years of al-Andalus…Yes, there were constant conflicts and blood was shed but there was also a period considered to be a Golden Age when trading and science flourished and the scent of imported spices and musks filled the air inside hammams and castles built.

I wore it for days, even managed to find my Damascene earrings bought in Toledo.

Funny, this perfume did not take me to Alhambra or Cordoba as expected, no, Toledo was the first place that came to my mind.

This perfume also reminds me of the art of damasquinado – steel decorated with threads of gold and silver, an ancient craft passed from generation to generation, coming from Damascus at the times of al-Andalus…

I wouldn’t call Damascene jewelry “pretty“. It is not “pretty“, it is different, cold and bright, steel and gold, quite unusual. It is a work of artistic craftsmanship, developed through centuries. It is a statement.

So is this perfume: rich and shiny but somehow bold. Again, if you expect a loud, blunt oriental, this is not it. It does open with bright Bergamote, shining like the flash of gold on Damascene jewelry, the first thing you notice. Then you begin to see shapes, birds, flowers and petals, dainty details, a playful jasmine note.

As time passes, the black steel surface behind all that glitter is more and more visible: its heart starts beating strong, stronger by minutes turning it into a true oriental, almost hedonistic.

Amber from the South. Ambergris…This is what this whole introduction was about…I did spray some on my hair and it woke me up in the morning.

The amber, sandalwood, vanilla wear all the way through the dry down, a very creamy tonka smooth one. Sensual.

I think this could be my favorite in the line, but please do not forget that I do tend to wear perfumes that many would consider more “masculine“ than others.

Top notes: Italian Bergamote
Heart notes: Water jasmine, Indonesian patchouli, Australian sandalwood, Accord amber
Base notes: Myrrh, Spanish citrus, Venezuelan tonka bean, Madagascan vanilla absolute

Botafumeiro – the Catholic heritage of Spain

“Botafumeiro: rings of biblical times when pilgrims traveled on foot along the pastoral Camino de Santiago in route to the tomb of St. James resting below the historic stones of the Cathedral. Swinging to great heights along the church, the Botafumeiro censer expels billows of scented smoke filling the air with a heavenly aroma.”

Do you know what the Botafumeiro is? Literally – a smoke expeller in Galician. The one and only, a huge censer in Santiago de Compostela Cathedral!

It has been used since the Middle Ages, to clean the air when many pilgrims arrived, after walking the route for months, after a long journey, tired and – unwashed.

It was believed that this ritual could stop the plague from spreading… and there is an element of silent prayer present as well. Scented prayer.

I can only imagine how spectacular it is to watch the Botafumeiro in full swing! All that frankincense surely affects everyone attending!

I have never been to Santiago de Compostela, nor walked El Camino, but I do know how censer works and how frankincense from a censer or burnt at home smells.

My late grandmother used to burn frankincense at her home, that is one of my earliest olfactory memories of her. I don’t exactly recall when or why, but I do remember chunks of nice smelling yellowish resin material. Where and how she obtained it, I do not know. I only know there was always some in her house. Did she use it to honor saints on their day to achieve a spiritual connection or to chase away evil spirits, I will never know.

I have read somewhere that it helps focus the mind and overcome stress and despair, so all this might have had something to do with it.

It isn’t that simple and this perfume is definitely not only about frankincense, but it is also more than that. Again, this perfume does not shout. It sings divinely and it immediately reminded me of vocal music of Middle Ages, choral songs, chants. It starts out with a scent of flowers from the altar, warm and heavy. That turns swiftly into a sweeter tone with a soft layer of spices – nutmeg is subtle but remarkable.

From somewhere deeper Muguet accord emerges but it is tamed, rather clean and sharp.

Sandalwood and incense warm things up. Styrax adds a dash of smoky, dry with a fine bitter incense facet. It is definitely adding a twist from an antique to a modern feeling, making it quite multifaceted, meditative and spiritual in almost a New Age way.

Botafumeiro is very wearable. I wore it all day long and it felt very comfortable as my scent of the day.

On my skin, it is long-lasting, with moderate sillage. I did spray only twice in the morning and didn’t mind reapplying every five hours, even though it stayed close to my skin.

Top notes: Italian Bergamote, Pink peppercorn, Indonesian Nutmeg
Heart notes: Freesia accord, Muguet accord, Spanish cistus, Indonesian patchouli
Base notes: Styrax resin from Honduras, Mystikal‬, Musks

These fine perfumes are available as 100 and 50 ml Eau de Parfums, and the prices range from 95 EUR (50ml) to 145 EUR (100ml) at the official Carner Barcelona site.

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. As I will enjoy Barcelona, soon…

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl, Carner Barcelona catalog
Samples supplied by Carner Barcelona
Disclaimer

Do you remember your first „grown-up“ kiss?

I do. Not the kiss itself but the very moment when I wanted it to happen, desired to be kissed right there and then and the twinkle in the eyes of the man standing in front of me. Whiskey on his lips.

One perfume is the reason why I remembered this split of a second moment from the past, it brought it back crisp and clear, dug it out of my memory lane, shaking off all those dusty layers of many years gone by.

Gold and scented pixie dust!

Just a week ago we were impatiently heading towards the Esxence fair in Milan, in anticipation of all it has to offer…ah! Sweet and fragrant memories!

I would like to share with you my impression and personal experience of visiting the 10th Esxence – The Scent of Excellence Fair in Milan 2018- for the first time.

The Plum Girl blog started just around a year and a half ago, so this was a kind of debut for me. First impressions about the fair itself? Here it goes, I give you a survival guide for Esxence:

Intro

A fair? I would rather call it an exclusive exhibition of the finest niche perfumes. The 10th edition of Esxence – The Scent of Excellence in Milan made sure that you feel like you are entering a sacred place when walking inside The Mall building. The Mall is located on Lina Bo Bardi square. She was an Italian born, Brasilian modernist architect, famed also for her furniture and jewelry design.

The contrast of a bright sunlit April day and the entrance hall dressed in black, featuring Esxence 10 years sign (gold!) accentuated the perfect Insta photo hot spot:

This black and gold combination, together with spaghetti curtains did its job. Like in all temples, you must walk through a niche or grotto before you enter the shrine itself.

Plot

I went down the hole. Ops! there goes my meticulously drafted plan of the first-day visit- poof! in air. Scented air. A lot of scents filling the air. I lost it, right then and there. A slight panic attack. I had just stepped out of my car after seven hours of driving, parked and plunged straight into heaven!

My thoughts: ok. I can do this. Just start slowly, from the left side and take it from there…you’ve got time before scheduled meetings…yap.

Feeling like Alice in Wonderland. Crazy Ice Age squirrel in a barrel of nuts!

Such an abundance! Any niche perfumes geek’s dream come true…

This is a world where most of the business cards are scented, “juice” doesn’t refer to a diet drink, sniffing is not an illegal activity and spriz…well, it’s not Aperol Spritz. Not here.

The first day was meant to give me an insight and full coverage of terrain, on the second and third day I executed previously planned visits and meetings and Sunday was just a quick recap. I did make a mistake: being too overwhelmed, I mostly forgot to take photos. Which is fine, really, because I focused on meeting people, sniffing, sampling, networking and having very interesting conversations. Next time I’ll fail better…

Special thanks to Meganmeganinsaintmaxime and JakubPersefume! They are ever so kind, helpful and sharing. As Megan said when I thanked her: “Someone helped me on my first visit to Esxence. I am helping you. You will help someone as well. Isn’t that wonderful?”

Bonus

You have a chance of meeting and talking to some of the most renowned people behind the perfumes you love! Art Directors, Noses, Creative Directors or Perfumers.

It gets even better when you don’t connect names and faces (I am a lousy perfumer/Nose groupie), this happened to me twice in Milan. Yep, I am learning from my mistakes. Even so, that turned out to be really cool because I was really relaxed while having a conversation with those two VIP’s (half an hour later, when I connected the dots, I was like: okeeey. Aha.)

This wonderful man I did recognize at once. I am a big fan of Aedes de Venustas and their new perfume is one that I fell in love with immediately!

Ralf Schwieger::: Perfumer (he doesn’t really like to be called a Nose…) and Musc Encense! for Aedes de Venustas. The list of perfumes he signs is quite impressive. I enjoyed our little chit-chat ❤️

Luca Maffei – sparkling personality, patience in presenting and renowned creativity, at Olibere Parfumes press launch:

If you are following my FB account, you can find more photos (the ones I managed to take – prepare yourself for the next Esxence) 🙂

Knot

The first day I wore heels for an hour. Spare flats were a relief. On the second day, flats were fully in action. Third and fourth day? Business Casual with -sneakers (I seldom wear sneakers if not practicing adequate sports activities…). Be gentle to your feet: you have 200+ stands to cover, starting at 10 AM until 5 PM …and all the fun doesn’t stop there.

Suggestions?

Smile, sincerely. You are in heaven, after all.

Wait patiently for your turn at stands to talk to brand representatives. Schedule your meetings.

Network proactively.

We are all here because of perfumes, right? Enjoy them!

Use wardrobe services. I dislike walking around with a bunch of bags in my hands. It’s not practical and I don’t think it’s polite to drag heaps of promo materials from one stand to another.

Reversal

Note to Organiser: Chapeau! You did a wonderful job!

Thank you, Agnese from the Press Office for having patience with me: hug!

Note to Exhibitors:

Feedback: (as one of my friends, a public speaking coach, likes to say: feedback is feedback. There’s no feedback to feedback. The purpose of feedback is to improve things!)

First, allow me to say that in my corporate days I did create, organize and manage quite a few stands on international fairs and trade shows. On the other side of the stand, as an Exhibitor, so I pretty much know what I am talking about.

I met truly amazing, wonderful and helpful people who treated my Press accreditation with respect and did a great job in representing brands. Thank you!

On the other hand, a few brand representatives’ behaviors can only be described as simply rude, uninterested, arrogant and haughty.

As a coach, I see possibilities for your improvement, guys. Do prepare yourself for fairs and trade shows.Train/coach your brand representatives or hosts/hostesses. It pays back. Yes, things get busy, yes, it is tiresome to take care of a stand all day long, day in, day out and talk to hundreds of people asking thousand of questions, but – hey! This is brand building at it’s most direct form. Besides being press people, we are – customers as well, right?

First impressions are made in 7 seconds and last for a very, very long time. Do mind that bloggers and press people exchange their impressions and that a repeated faux pas might really affect your brand reputation. Do you boast about your brand’s core values? Live them. It’s called authenticity.

Recognition

Esxence makes this world a better place.

It is truly an amazing, international display of fine perfumery at it’s best! Such a whirlwind of amazing fragrances. I highly recommended it! If I might help you next time I’m there – just let me know!

I am thankful for meeting so many simply wonderful people! That is the greatest benefit. Secondly, I did take home some new perfumes to review, for you! Some more should arrive by post, so this will provide material for more reviews for you to read!

Just follow #theadventuresofacuriousnose!

P.S. On one of the stands, their brand representative told me that I am a Meryl Streep look-alike. Maybe I am, but apart from looks I also share this statement:

“I no longer have the patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship, I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience”. -Meryl Streep

See, I didn’t write about perfumes at all 🙂

Will do, will do, soon…

See you next year in Milan!

The Plum Girl

Photos: ThePlumGirl, Olibere Parfums (Luca Maffei)

 

(I used storytelling drama structure principle, based on Aristotle’s “Poetics”)

While I was in Milan with my team, attending Esxence – The Scent of Excellence, The FF Awards Finalists’ Luncheon was held on Friday, April 6, 2018.

Here are the results! Yassss, Cuir de Russie by Le Jardin Retrouve review was indeed among the TOP 5 Finalists for the award Editorial Excellence – Online!
I was like:

The top five finalists for The Fragrance Foundation Awards and winners in Editorial Excellence, Social Media Campaign, and 360-Degree Media Campaign were unveiled!

Editorial Excellence in Fragrance Coverage awards was presented for three categories including Article, Online, and Feature. ELLE Magazine won both the Article and Feature categories with “Dream Catchers” and “This Is Your Brain on Vetiver,” respectively, both written by April Long. The Cut won the Online category for “It Took 150 Tries for Dior to Make Their Next Hit Perfume for Millennials” written by Kathleen Hou.

ONLINE
Winner
THECUT.COM – It Took 150 Tries for Dior to Make Their Next Hit Perfume for
Millennials


Finalists (In alphabetical order)

ÇAFLEUREBON.COM – Perfume, Poetry, and Rock: The Scented Intersection of
Transformation
ELLE.COM – Notes From Underground: Can a Fragrance Help Us Embrace Mortality
FRAGRANTICA.COM – Gold As a Parfumistic Concept
THECUT.COM – It Took 150 Tries for Dior to Make Their Next Hit Perfume for
Millennials
THEPLUMGIRL.COM – Cuir de Russie, by Elena Cvjetkovic

Parfums Christian Dior’s campaign for Miss Dior Eau De Parfum won the award for the Best Social Media Campaign, while Gucci Bloom by Coty was voted as best 360- Degree Marketing Campaign.

Ann Gottlieb, celebrated perfume strategist and founder of Ann Gottlieb Associates, was announced as the 2018 Hall of Fame Honoree. Ms. Gottlieb is widely recognized in the fragrance industry for her masterful ability to translate brands and personalities into fragrances that are both captivating and enduring. Ms. Gottlieb, whose work spans across every fragrance and market category, helped create iconic fragrances such as Daisy Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior J’Adore, Calving Klein Eternity and countless others.

“I adore fragrance,” said Ms. Gottlieb. “I love this industry and the people in it. So I
am thrilled to be honored by my peers for my life’s work, which has brought me so much joy and fulfillment.”


Olivier Cresp
, Master Perfumer at Firmenich, was announced as the recipient of the Lifetime Perfumer Achievement Perfumer award. Both Ms. Gottlieb and Mr.Cresp will be honored by the fragrance industry at The Fragrance Foundation Awards.

“The Foundation’s mission is to inspire the world to discover the artistry and passion of fragrance,” said The Fragrance Foundation president Linda G. Levy. “Every single winner, finalist and honoree announced today has played a central
role in helping to achieve this mission, and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize their contributions.”

Victoria’s Secret Angel and IMG model, Romee Strijd was awarded The Fragrance Foundation’s Face of the Year, presented by Greg Unis, CEO of Victoria’s Secret Beauty.

The winners for Fragrance of the Year and all other categories will be celebrated at The Fragrance Foundation Awards hosted by award-winning actress, Jane Krakowski, on Tuesday, June 12th at Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall.


THE FRAGRANCE FOUNDATION AWARDS 2018 WINNERS

FACE OF THE YEAR
Romee Strijd

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
Winner

MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
KATY PERRY’S INDI – Coty, Inc.
MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior
TOM FORD FABULOUS – Tom Ford Beauty
Y, YSL – YSL Beauté


360-DEGREE MARKETING CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR

Winner
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
EMPORIO ARMANI – Giorgio Armani
MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret

EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE IN FRAGRANCE COVERAGE
FEATURE

Winner
ELLE MAGAZINE – This Is Your Brain On Vetiver

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
ALLURE – The New Fragrance Frontier
ELLE MAGAZINE – This Is Your Brain On Vetiver
MARIE CLAIRE – Into The Wild
MARIE CLAIRE – Popping Bottles
MARIE CLAIRE – Something’s In The Air

ARTICLE
Winner
ELLE MAGAZINE – Dream Catchers

Finalists (In alphabetical order)
ALLURE – Going Rogue
ELLE MAGAZINE – Dream Catchers
ELLE MAGAZINE – Scent-Sational
MARIE CLAIRE – In Her Own Words: Haley Bennett
MARIE CLAIRE – In Her Own Words: Jennifer Aniston

TOP FIVE FINALISTS
(All finalists listed in alphabetical order)


FRAGRANCE OF THE YEAR
WOMEN’S LUXURY

BYREDO VELVET HAZE – Byredo
GABRIELLE CHANEL – CHANEL
TIFFANY & CO. EAU DE PARFUM – Coty, Inc.
TOM FORD FABULOUS – Tom Ford Beauty
TWILLY D’HERMÈS – Hermès Parfums
MEN’S LUXURY
ACQUA DI PARMA COLONIA PURA EAU DE COLOGNE – LVMH
GOLD KNIGHT – By Kilian
L’ENVOL DE CARTIER – Cartier
VIKTOR & ROLF MAGIC SAGE SPELL – Viktor & Rolf
TOM FORD OUD MINÉRALE – Tom Ford Beauty
WOMEN’S PRESTIGE
BLACK TULIP – NEST Fragrances
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
JUICY COUTURE VIVA LA JUICY GLACÉ – Revlon
NARCISO RODRIGUEZ PARFUMS-FOR HER FLEUR MUSC – Shiseido Fragrances
WOMAN BY RALPH LAUREN – Ralph Lauren Fragrances
MEN’S PRESTIGE
COACH FOR MEN – Interparfums
HUGO BOSS, BOSS BOTTLED TONIC – Coty, Inc.
JOHN VARVATOS ARTISAN PURE – Revlon
PRADA LUNA ROSSA CARBON – PUIG
Y BY YSL – YSL Beauté
POPULAR
ELIZABETH ARDEN WHITE TEA – Revlon
GLOSSIER YOU – Glossier Inc.
ORIGINAL PENGUIN ICONIC BLEND – Falic Fashion Group
SHAWN MENDES SIGNATURE – Revlon
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
PERFUME EXTRAORDINAIRE OF THE YEAR
FIRMENICH
GIVAUDAN
INTERNATIONAL FLAVORS & FRAGRANCES
MANE
ROBERTET
BREAKOUT STAR
DIOR SAUVAGE – Parfums Christian. Dior
MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA BEACH WALK – Maison Margiela Fragrances
MIU MIU EAU DE. PARFUM – Coty, Inc.
PEONY & BLUSH SUEDE – Jo Malone London
TORY BURCH EAU DE PARFUM – The Estée Lauder Companies

INDIE FRAGRANCE OF THE YEAR
ARTIST – Phuong Dang
MAISON TRUDON PARFUM IN BRUMA
MAISON TRUDON PARFUM IN II (DEUX)
MAISON TRUDON PARFUM IN MORTEL
POTENTIA AMBER GOD – House of Potentia


PACKAGING OF THE YEAR

WOMEN’S
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
JASON WU EAU DE PARFUM – Parlux, LTD
TIFFANY & CO. EAU DE PARFUM – Coty, Inc.
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
WOMAN BY RALPH LAUREN – Ralph Lauren Fragrances
WOMAN IN GOLD – By Kilian
MEN’S
COACH FOR MEN – Interparfums
GOLD KNIGHT – By Kilian
GUCCI GUILTY ABSOLUTE POUR HOMME – Coty, Inc.
JOHN VARVATOS ARTISAN PURE – Revlon
Y BY YSL – YSL Beauté
MEDIA CAMPAIGN OF THE YEAR
WOMEN’S
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
GABRIELLE CHANEL – CHANEL
GUCCI BLOOM – Coty, Inc.
MISS DIOR EAU DE PARFUM – Parfums Christian Dior
TWILLY D’HERMÈS – Hermès Parfums
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
MEN’S
ARMANI CODE COLONIA – Giorgio Armani
ETERNITY CALVIN KLEIN – Coty, Inc.
PERRY ELLIS FOR MEN – Falic Fashion Group

HOME COLLECTION OF THE YEAR
COMMODITY HOME and BODY – Commodity
DIPTYQUE 34 BOULEVARD SAINT GERMAIN – diptyque Paris
MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA CANDLES – Maison Margiela Fragrances
SUGAR COOKIE COLLECTION – NEST Fragrances
TOCCA VOYAGE HOME FRAGRANCE COLLECTION – Tocca
BATH & BODY LINE OF THE YEAR
AROMATHERAPY COLLECTION FROM BATH & BODY WORKS – Bath & Body Works
DIPTYQUE DO SON FRAGRANCE GESTURES – diptyque Paris
JO MALONE LONDON EXFOLIATING SHOWER GEL – Jo Malone London
MAISON MARGIELA REPLICA BEACH WALK BATH LINE – Maison Margiela
Fragrances
VICTORIA’S SECRET ANGEL GLAM COLLECTION – Victoria’s Secret
HOME HOLIDAY/SEASONAL SECENT OF THE YEAR
LES CONSTELLATIONS – diptyque Paris
GREEN ALMOND & REDCURRANT CANDLE – Jo Malone London
HOLIDAY LIQUIDLESS DIFFUSERS – NEST Fragrances
HOLIDAY PAJAMAS – philosophy – Coty, Inc.
CONSUMER CHOICE AWARDS
WOMEN’S

AT THE BEACH – Bath & Body Works
CAROLINA HERRERA GOOD GIRL – PUIG
KATY PERRY’S INDI – Coty, Inc.
KKW CRYSTAL GARDENIA – KKW FRAGRANCES
LA VIE EST BELLE L’ECLAT – Lancôme
VICTORIA’S SECRET LOVE – Victoria’s Secret
MEN’S
COACH FOR MEN – Interparfums
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The Plum Girl
Source: TFF Press Release, 6th April 2018., TFF Photo by Casey Kelbaugh

Love.

No matter the date, day of a year or season, love is omnipresent.

One word: LOVE. So many meanings, shapes, and manifestations!

Some love to love, some love only those who are in love with them, some love often, some once in a lifetime.

Love can be strong and devouring or sweet and gentle, differ in intensity, be divine or torturous.

It has many shapes: love for one’s family is different from the love of being in love or love for money. Not to forget, self-love matters as well. A great deal too, because how can you give love if you feel no love for yourself?

Love. One word.

Greek language, however, used three different words: Eros, Phileo, and Agape. These describe different kinds of love.

Eros is sensual love, erotic, hunger-satisfying, pleasure-driven.

Phileo is above carnal yearning. It describes a feeling of a friendly kind of love, aimed toward everything that attracts or pleases us, emotional and unpredictive, but kind and gentle.

Agape is unconditional love, self-giving and uttermost happiness that results in it. An active kind of love, moving, making us do things for others with expecting nothing in return. It is constant and stable, able to love even when no love is returned, freely given. Respect, tolerance and kindness mark it, and yes, it gives a feeling of complete fulfillment.

Olfaction, the oldest sensory systems, but probably the least understood and taken into consideration, has an important role in our feelings. Various researches have proven that the sense of smell affects partnerships and social behavior. Feeling of love as well…How does love smell?

Nose IS a sexually interactive organ. Nostrils flare, breath deepens or gets shorter and quicker drawn. The French, of course, take this matter very seriously: they have a word for the scent of a woman when her perfume mingles with her body oil: „cassolette“ (from the diminutive form of the French word „cassole“, a small container).

The scent of a Woman…
What about Scent of a Man? It made me wonder and think about it.
If cassolette, is it then cassole? Which perfumes would match my feelings?

I am not talking about perfumes he wears, I am talking about the scent you feel surrounding him like an aura, a body scent of your beloved imprinted in your mind. I see him in scents and colors, eyes wide shut.

Did you ever wear your partner’s clothing to bed? I do. He is away, I miss him, so what do I do? The same thing as one study confirmed: 13% of men and 52% of women have slept dressed in the clothing of the significant other, because of the smell! I sleep in his T-shirt…do you?

What does my love smell like, I asked myself? I thought that will be a difficult question, but it wasn’t.

Early in the morning, just after the morning shower, my love smells just like Acqua Celestial by Maison Francis Kurkdijan.

Color of light blue, fresh and sharp morning sky with a touch of Spring approaching, just like now in February when the season of Mimosa has begun. With a touch of lime freshness and a bit of musk hidden beneath. Phileo.

As the day goes by, the notes of his skin turn into L’Air du Hiver, by Jean Claude Ellena for Frederic Malle: a smooth operator, he is. Gentle Iris and Heliotrope, powdery yet fresh and as it dries down sweet honey moves gently forward. Like his hug, enveloping, gentle yet strong. A soft kiss. Agape.

And his T-shirt, the one I sometimes sleep in? Pure Nassomato Duro. It gives me goosebumps. Eros at it’s best.

The scent of that special place under his collar-bone, his elbow pits, skin, feeling dark, fiery and animalistic, very masculine (although I love wearing Nassomato Duro as well, it is unisex…or do I wear it because it reminds me of Him?).

Description of the perfume says oud, leather, wood, and spices but for me…it smells very sexy. Reliable. Desirable. Strong and impressive. Wild. Now I’m blushing. But that’s just me. And his T-shirt…

When we talk about romantic love, one perfume couldn’t possibly capture all phases we go through.

Love inspired many perfumes, and perhaps the most famous story is the one about Christian Dior who commissioned perfumer Paul Vacher to create a modern fragrance, and giving him this brief: “Make me a fragrance that smells like love.”

Miss Dior, an elegant green chypre that became legendary. Millions of consumers all over the world fell in love – with this perfume, and many interpretations followed.

Francois Demachy, the Nose at Parfums Christian Dior, explains: “Making a fragrance that smells like love is a renewed challenge. The composition has to be exciting and stirring, somewhat wild, and yet accessible. To that end I sculpted its florals facet, emphasizing the power of its Roses in order to make it sensual and suggestive. I also doted it with extremely lively and exuberant notes, so that it would be instantly expressive and attractive. Lastly, I eliminated any dark, earthy notes. It had to burst forth like love at first sight.”

Love at first sight. This is what it’s all about. Is that all? No. There are many phases of love. Different authors seem to disagree on a number of stages, these tend to range from three to twelve stages of love!
Let’s just take a closer look (or sniff?) at the ones I singled out:

Phase – one: falling in love is characterized by physical symptoms like flushing and trembling, excitement, obsession, and fantasy. Obsession. Flushing. Lust. I immediately think about rose-themed perfumes, even some rose-oud combinations. Well, this is the Eros phase, so feel free to find the perfume that represents it in the best possible way, or puts you in the right mood. If you are looking for a rich, well balanced and blended Ta’if Rose Perfume, just enough fresh, spicy and dark at the same time, Ormonde Jayne‘s Rose Gold might be what you are looking for. Do an experiment, sniff something new, niche, artisan or indie: your perfect phase-one perfume will find you!

Building trust and becoming a couple is the next phase: it’s all about communication, empathy and listening. Can you think of perfumes that make you feel trustworthy, self-confident, and positive? You might even consider wearing these as typical “office fragrances”, or maybe incense based ones will do the trick for you?

A most recent perfume that gave me this feeling is “Volume 1 – Intelligence & Fantasy” – The Beautiful Mind Series, created by Geza Schoen in collaboration with Christiane Stenger, Memory Athlete, featuring a fresh invigorating opening followed by exotic tiare, a gardenia native to Tahiti – and very rare.

The drydown is calming, cashmere/cedar and musks – reliably soothing. ISO E Superpowers it up, so it does resemble in some way Molecule No. 02, but this perfume is more masculine peppery. It is also very unoffensive, unisex, and quite complex.

Phase 3 of love is about building true commitment and loyalty. Attachment. Feeling connected. A soothing feeling, making you feel secure and cared for. The most gentle hug, refreshing and uplifting smile, woody, earthy or mossy notes – seek the perfume that makes you feel like this.

For me, this is all about fougere-group perfumes with green notes, or one of the fragrant pearls coming from Parfums Dusita: Erawan. This is a beautiful fragrance, exhibiting the exceptional talent of Pissara Umavijani. Lush hay note is blended softly with perfect vanilla.

It moves and shifts into woody notes, but you can also feel flowers protruding gently, quite addictive. This is a very natural and unisex fragrance, very multifunctional.

Scents of love! There are so many…

I hope you will find perfumes that reflect your feelings perfectly! Perfumes you’ll fall in love with.

Elena Cvjetkovic/The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl Archives, Ormonde Jayne, Dior Official, Parfums Dusita, The Beautiful Mind Series – official photos.
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I had a dream, not long ago.

I found myself in the wood of dark and tall oak trees, cold and leafless, and the air smelled of damp wood, wet leaves, moss, and rain. At first, this place felt threatening, no path was visible in the fog surrounding me. Yet, as I walked on, carefully placing one foot in front of the other, I faced a clearing in this forest and begun to hear birds chirping in the trees, and felt a ray of sunshine touching my face. I felt relief and determination to find my way out. When I continued to walk my own way, not feeling lost anymore, I suddenly and unexpectedly came upon a clearance.

There was a field amidst high trees before me. The trees were dark and gloomy but the field I saw was a field of spring flowers! Colors of yellow and white and lilac, Crocus, Hyacinth, Primrose, and Snowdrops protruding from the fresh green grass, what a sight! I was happy. I woke up smiling.

Now, Mr. Freud surely would have analyzed this, asking me more questions about this dream, and what my feelings were while experiencing all events and images described.

At the turn of the last century, Sigmund Freud published his book, The Interpretation of Dreams, arguing that our dreams are nothing more than wishes that we are looking to fulfill in our waking lives. Born in Freiberg, when he was four years old, Freud’s family moved to Vienna, where he lived and worked until he fled Austria in 1938.

My line of thought that morning: ok, I am spending a vacation in Vienna, I should do some planning in advance. While I’m there I will visit the Freud Museum because I never managed to do so on previous visits. And I will explore perfumes, of course.

This led me to reading everything I could find about WienerBlut perfumes and ta-naaa! There it was. The perfume Freudian Wood! Bingo. And yes, this blog falls under my caterogoryWhat’s Up In Da City- Vienna.

„The interpretation of dreams is the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind.“ – Sigmund Freud

Let me paraphrase you, Mr. Freud: I would say that scents are the royal road to our olfactory memories, conscious and unconscious! Also, nowadays we have aromachology, the psychology of understanding how we react to certain smells.

Yes, the fragrance designers are well aware of the power of scents, or as Proust put it, little Madeleine cookies planted in our memory. Scents have evocative powers. By stimulating the olfactory pathways to the brain’s limbic system (which processes smell, mediates mood and stores memory) a fragrance CAN bring back or forth a sense of energy, sensuality, confidence or exhilaration!

Wien, Vienna, Beč, the city I love to return to. What are the scents that define Vienna to me? As I walked the streets surrounding Stephansdome, it was a mixture of humidity in the air coming from Danube, Christmas Market hot Gluehwein and punch at the corner of Kaertnerstrasse, the scent of warm plums served with Kaiserschmarn coming from a restaurant I passed by, the smell of the carriage horses strolling around in slow pace and fresh-baked Sachertorte at Demel‘s.

Olfactory impressions aside, I did visit to experience specific scents from Vienna, focusing this time on WienerBlut collection, one fragrance in particular: Freudian Wood.

The term WienerBlut was coined in 1873 and describes the unique blend of archness and hedonism attributed to the Viennese. It implies never-ending nostalgia, the longing for turn-of-the-century Vienna and its unique atmosphere. It’s the essence of Vienna, lifestyle and spirit of the city, although you might know the term because of the waltz or operetta by Johann Strauss II, an album by Falco, a song by the Austrian metal band Stahlhammer or a song from Rammstein. I will remain by these positive interpretations of this term, sticking mostly to the one which translates it as Viennese Spirit.

Perfume making has a long tradition in Vienna, blooming in the times of the Habsburg monarchy. Lavender water variations, Kniže as an Imperial Court supplier, even today a timeless classic. WienerBlut was founded in 2009. by Alexander Lauber and creates fragrances based on original formulas and frags of 19th century Vienna, bringing back these imperial period scents but with a modern twist.

It is a small company, niche-oriented, featuring an Austrian perfumer, Yogesh Kumar. The first fragrance line was introduced in 2009., some perfumes were discontinued, but the new lineup is truly worth a sniff.

They are niche by every possible definition, being authentic and minding the quality of the ingredients, sporting a Nose and a certain degree of sustainability.

The packaging concept is simple, the bottle does not take attention away from the perfume and overall packaging is more about the content and less about the frills. My cup of tea.

As I wrote to Alexander, he recommended that I visit KussMund, located in the center of the city. So I did, and a wonderful place it is, check the link. With a very helpful and perfume storytelling SA. Here you can find the whole WienerBlut collection:

Allow me to focus on the perfume Freudian Wood- created by Mark Buxton. This is what I came for, right? This is the official description by WienerBlut:

In the world of Freud, wood stands for
sexual desire in general and the female
bosom in particular. A milky fragrance
that captures intimate skin feeling –
with animalic and lactonic notes
vibrating around a luscious woody core.
Notes: Ambrette Seeds, Cypress, Milk,
Cumin, Costus, Mimosa, Sandalwood,
Ambergris, Labdanum“

My olfactory impression: This perfume is composed of intriguing notes, playful and powdery at the same time, with a very sensual woody aftertaste. It is seductive in a refined and elegant way. The first note that strikes me is Mimosa but it is layered upon Cypress, which is rather surprising in a good way. Then milk rises, almost buttery milk, warm, combined with Cumin making it creamy and caressing, soft and gentle as the skin on skin. Ambergris plays softly but quite strong and sandalwood is present but not loud. It is like a dream after which you wake up smiling: sensual, warm, encompassing but providing joy of life feeling and making you feel good in your own skin. Longevity is very good and sillage noticeable. I feel I could wear it all year round, morning to evening. It works very well on me in cold weather, and I can’t wait to test it on a warm Spring day.

What can I say? It was worth my trip. To Vienna and to WienerBlut I shall return…Oh, wait! Did I tell you about Sale Marino?

There I go again: unable to determine which one I like the most! Have fun exploring these fine perfumes!

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl, installation photographed at the Sigmund Freud Museum by Austrian multimedia artist Peter Kogler

Samples provided by KissMund Wien

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