October 2017



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


O’Driu Sea Angel

Written by: Henrique Perrella


If perfumery can be considered an art, and in many instances, it is in fact, I would say that Angelo Orazio Pregoni is a good example of expressionism in perfumery.
There is a certain subversion in the way Angelo conceives his creations that can be lost if you do not consider them as a whole. However, the deformation of known ideas, the use of aromatic saturation to create the vibrant effect of colors and a certain refusal to follow technical learning, opting for its sensitivity makes me think of how O’Drius perfumes could be a case study of this movement in contemporary perfumery.

It is possible to see with some caution and skepticism when the creator says that when launching Sea Angel his objective is to use his irreverence and provocative style to propose a different marine perfume, bold and that flee from the banality of the aquatic creations.

It is a description that indeed fits perfectly with the scent on the skin, but in my opinion, it is clearer to see Sea Angel as the expressionist vision of Angelo in relation to the Ocean and what a marine scent could be.

The keyword here is marine and not aquatic, as Sea Angel has nothing of an oceanic freshness that dominated the perfumery in the 90’s onwards.

The expectation here would be more for something animalic, moist and herbaceous, something that is possible by the use of seaweed absolute, a raw material with an unusual aromatic profile and perfect for more artistic exploration.

As promised, Sea Angel really amazes at the first few minutes on the skin, mainly by the humid, green, saline and animalic scent of algae. It’s a sight of a more aggressive, even intimidating ocean, waters that seem to swallow whoever dares enter their domains.

However, there are many simultaneous layers in Sea Angel and it is curious that at the same time there is a functional aspect going on in the background, something that, I interpret, could be a criticism of aquatic perfumes.

Coupled with this intimidating impression there is a scent that immediately reminds me of a soft, delicate foam of powdered soap, a vivid contrast between animalish and clean on the skin.

And then, Sea Angel begins to turn into a saturation of spices, spicy aldehydes, flowers and woods. Are we perhaps on a ship at sea, with the perspective of the ocean being seen from a storm? In a moment where everything seems to collapse while resisting? It is difficult to know, as there is a collision of the notes cited with fruity apple touches and a fuzzy floral scent that gives almost a vintage vibe to something that could be a CDG perfume at this moments (and that refers a lot to certain parts of the classic CDG2 Man).

The final moment of Sea Angel is perhaps its most commercial point, even more seen in the masculine perfumery. But it is not surprising, since it is clear that Angelo knows the rules of classic and modern perfumery, only uses them when he is interested in achieving his goals.

After the storm of notes, Sea Angel accents on a dry woody scent that makes a moderate use of the potent amber molecules that give a very dry and almost tobacco smell to many perfumes out there. In my preview of how I imagined Sea Angel would be I predict that this could be a schizophrenic Angel in his behavior and indeed he is, oscillating between old and modern, daring and commercial, colliding various nuances and then soothing in the skin.

Perhaps it is not a perfume that fully reflects Angelo but is a creation that is certainly among his best and most controversial

Photo by: Henrique Perrella, (sample of Sea Angel), O’Driu official site.

Henrique Perrella is a data scientist who has been passionate about perfumery since childhood. Collecting perfumes since he was 17 years old, he developed his olfactory perception by constantly reading books and blogs related to the subject and by writing perfumes reviews in his blog PDD – Perfume do Dia, where he tries to know from the most artisanal and exclusive perfumery to the most massified and easy to find.

If your visit to Belgrade starts at the main bus station as I did, just remember that it’s not a great place to start your olfactory journey…it is rarely anywhere, so just endure.

The whole city is a busy construction site. We could hardly find a taxi driver willing to wrestle cracked and demolished Slavija Square on the way to our apartment but that’s where famous Serbian hospitality kicks in. We could have walked but my high heels said no, no…

Belgrade On the Water, on the banks of river Sava, a bit farther away, is a huge project as well and it seemed to me that the scent of dust and fresh asphalt lingers in the air above the city.

Once finished, I bet Slavija will be a point of pride. Fountains and lights and all that jazz.

The new Museum of Contemporary Art just had its grand opening night when I arrived and it is very impressive.

One construction site less, yey!

Yes, the city is worn and rugged with history but it is certainly getting a facelift. Note: just be patient. Eventually, everything will work out, no need to get all worked up and again: yes, the people here are very helpful.

As you walk down the main street and shopping strip – Knjaza Milosa in the center, many bistros will catch your eye. Nose as well. Various barbecue scents vibrate as you stroll along this wide street. I was really impressed with some chosen restaurants we visited. The prices are affordable, the food is great and the waiters were really nice.

When you walk that straight line, all the way from Slavija to Kalemegdan, the greenery you finally reach will refresh your nose.

As I climbed up on the fortress side, I faced the confluence of Danube and Sava river! The great Danube gave an undertone of moisture, misty river smell which rolled in as Sun was setting.

Belgrade is very walkable and very close to Kalemegdan is the King Peter’s Street, very fashionable with a brand-new shopping center not far away from its crossing with Knjaza Milosa. A few steps further was my point of interest: the first niche perfumery in Belgrade – Metropoliten. I walked in thirsty for fine scents. Enter a curious nose!

That’s where my heart was at peace as soon as I entered: familiar scents, bottles, and candles carefully arranged in a quite chick interior. With a swing!

The Metropoliten perfumery offer of the month is Clive Christian:

Kurkdjian’s Baccarat Rouge 540 also has its special place.
Carner Barcelona is available as well as Roja, Eight and Bob, KilianPenthaglion’s, Byredo, Nasomatto, Zenology, Profumum Roma, L’Artisan Perfumeur, Clive Trudon candles, and fine cosmetics…

When in Belgrade, you need not look any further. The prices are also very reasonable so it just might be worth your while to shop here. Very mainstream niche, I hope they will tend to surprise a little bit in the future.

After a long day, we planned a dinner at the famous restaurant “Reka” (make your reservation on time, it’s quite crowded on Saturday evenings) and headed towards the riverbank in Zemun.

There, at the banks of Danube, are the best place to party in Belgrade. You will see many floating clubs (barges) and Belgrade is a quite famous party town, I guess it ranks just as Ibiza! Also, what happens in “Kafana” stays there: it is a stress-free, relax zone and you can dance (and eat, over and over and again!) until the morning.

I was wearing Ramon Montale Black Musk that night and it lasted throughout the night…in the city that never sleeps.

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos by The Plum Girl

Description of this perfume by Le Jardin Retrouve recalls The Ballet Russe, the image of great Nijinsky and his soft leather boots. Opera houses, wooden floors, and velvet curtains.  

Here I am, closing my eyes and gently spraying it on my skin, trying to recall my memories of Moscow in November, the scent of an old theatre building, color of the sky above.

What a surprise! It didn’t take me back to the Bolshoi. It took me back to my early years. Images rushed in, childhood memories brought back by traces of violets and powdery scent of Cuir de Russie: my grandfather smelled like that!

He was a man with bright blue eyes, heritage of my great-grandmother Juliana, Hungarian born beauty with soft hands and hard life. I remember her trying to teach me how to swear in Hungarian and laughing hard at my attempts. I didn’t understand a word but I was perfectly aware that it was something really naughty.

I remember watching him shave with a razor blade, slowly and patiently, almost ritually, hand moving with precise certainty, stroke after stroke, never cutting himself. He would then apply aftershave, its scent filling my nostrils.

A hunter he was, my late grandfather Karlo, before WW II came, after which he couldn’t and wouldn’t hold a weapon anymore.

A gentleman, with beautiful handwriting, old Austro-Hungarian empire school. Fine thick lines followed by thin lines in forming letter after letter. All beautifully written letters perfectly aligned and shaped, almost artistic in all the detail.

That kind of elaborate handwriting was the privilege of men with higher education in his time. People just don’t write like that anymore…and yes, he and Yuri Gutsatz belonged to the same era.

He sported deep green hunter blazers, the kind with round leather buttons, feeling wooly and rough against my face, smelling warm and cuddly. He smoked a pipe and let me play with it.

Leather boots as well, shiny and light brown, soft inside. He polished them meticulously, I remember.

This is my childhood olfactory memory linked to Cuir de Russie: the image of my grandfather freshly shaved, dressed in a starched neatly pressed shirt and pure wool trousers, pulling on his leather boots in a soft Autumn afternoon. He would take me for walks in an oak forest, its scent and colors so earthy and rich, my hand safely clutching his. 

On my skin, Cuir de Russie had an opening with a rush of juniper. Raisin flavor in my mouth. First minutes are energetic and strong, a grand opening. Then I found violets gently protruding as the notes slowed down in a fine symphony of soft violets with a touch of ylang-ylang. A trace of cinnamon, barely noticeable but underlining. 

It is not overly leathery on my skin, it turned to a rather earthy, soft woody closure. Yet I kept coming back to it, bringing my wrist up to my nose every now and then, with anticipation of joy.

This is a long-lasting, subtle, elegant and refined perfume, definitely unisex and I highly recommend you wear it during Indian Summer evenings…or maybe just for a morning stroll in the open,  your feet shuffling leaves on the ground, acorn crackling under your feet. It will certainly make you feel classy and content with yourself. It brings a feeling of warm melancholy, sweet old memories…Or just wear it anytime and create new ones!

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl

Samples of perfumes provided by Le Jardin Retrouve

I haven’t written here in a while. It’s not that I haven’t used my nose, that is simply inevitable.
I was discouraged.
Weak in front of all the wonderful creations that I dipped my nose into.
Yes, I thought at that time that my knowledge is frail, that I scratched only just below the surface, tiny drops in a vast ocean of perfumes, with so many new perfumes airing every single day. How can I possibly grasp them all? The quantity led me to pull away, shy away, retreat to my safe zone of familiar scents.
I learned to be cautious, to take one step at a time, one scent per week, to work more on my self, to sharpen the distinction, to dive deeper in components, to…breathe!
I traveled, collecting new scents and olfactory experiences. I found some. Others found me.
I will tell you my new tales of the nose, little bits and pieces of the olfactory world I collected meticulously and sorted to be exposed.
The olfactory world is like a huge garden. I came across an old garden. Lush, scented, colourfull, joyous. It spoke to me in the language of scents, and it made me happy.
Let me tell you a story about a man and a woman, their love for scents and how all good things eventually resurface.
Once upon a time lived a perfumer named Yuri Gutzatz.
A composer, an artist. He was much bothered by what the world of perfumes has turned into, astounded by mass production, marketing inputs and banality of products. With his wife, Arlene, he founded in 1975. Le Jardin Retrouve, maybe the first-ever niche perfumes house.
Yuri and his colleagues also founded Osmotheque in Paris, the only place in the world where you could research perfumes from times long ago…To research, to share knowledge, to emerge yourself in the sacred art of perfumery, what an extraordinary idea!
Yuri died in 1975. and the business slowed down, withered to a few branches, surviving only on its faithful clients’ fidelity.
The garden grew darker and what once shone brightly became tinted with the passing of time. A sleeping beauty, indeed.
As time passed, Yuri’s eldest son, Michael together with his wife Clara, decided to revive Le Jardin Retrouve! So he did, in 2016., dipping into notebooks and written traces of Yuri’s notes and formulas.
Under their caring hands, the garden blossomed again!
They have recently launched new/old perfumes, olfactory paintings of various gardens. When I say paintings, this is what I mean literally:
I just enjoyed looking at these small packages, visually savoring them, taking a blind pick which one to smell first.
Let me present you these seven vibrant sceneries of scent:
The first one to review? A hard choice. Each one has its own charm…
Follow me and find out more!
The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl
Samples of perfumes provided by Le Jardin Retrouve