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February 2018

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The Golden City. Once you visit Prague, it is clear why it is called so.

Vltava. (I keep hearing the melody playing softly in my head as I look upon the city, Bedřich Smetana on my mind). And all the bridges of Vltava river in Prague, what a sight!

As I walk the streets of Prague Castle, I deeply inhale trying to define the scent of the city. It is wintertime, crispy cold and I feel trails of humidity coming from the great river of Vltava upwards to the hill, smell of snow and wet cobblestone pavement combined with mossy scent emanating from the gothic architecture surrounding me.

Prague, Praha, Prag: an amazing city with a rich history. Dating back to times of Charles IV – the Holy Roman Emperor, hosting Habsburg Monarchy, marked by the post-IIWW Communist Era and the Prague Spring. Even the revolution against one-party rule was performed softly, thus named the Velvet Revolution. The Prague Castle also hosts the office of the Czech president: my guide speaks with contempt about freshly elected Miloš Zerman, who enters his office at 11 AM. Allegedly, he said that no one sane starts to work at 7 AM, shocks the public with his statements about migrants and calls EU Parliament „a bunch of cowards“…I wonder what would Charles IV have said about this…

Among many famous citizens of Prague, Franz Kafka lived and worked here. When I approached the Franz Kafka Museum, the scent of freshly made gingerbread cookies and chocolate filled pancakes filled the air.

I am reminiscent of Kafka, thinking about his life story, trying to recall everything I know about him. There’s a thin line between genius and insanity…there’s a thin line. Feeling thankful that Max Brod did not burn all his work, as he was ordered to do by Kafka himself.

As you already know, drinking beer is inevitable here. Czechs are very proud of their fine beers and history of beer making:

Not only can you taste different brews, but I also discovered a whole line of beer-based cosmetics in a small shop featuring different handicrafts:

I stumbled upon Manufaktura, small shops with different lines of natural cosmetics, including Eau De Toilette Men & Bicycle: a refined citrus-wood fragrance with the notes of bergamot, mint, sage, and vetiver. The Men´s range exploits unique vegetable complex of natural extracts of traditional, mostly Czech. Beer cosmetics as well, of course: all the products contain the pure Czech beer, brewer´s yeast or hops extract and are accompanied by the delicious bitter-sweet aroma, rich with vitamin B.

One thing you cannot miss: Czech glass. Glass in the Czech Republic enjoys a great reputation and is famous in every continent. Crystal as well! Crystal everywhere! When you stroll through the winding streets of Prague, all the little stores dotted around display masses of beautiful vases, chalices, necklaces, plates, beverage sets, rings, pendants and several other products made from glass, and it is difficult to choose your perfect souvenir.

One of the most famous glass and crystal manufacturers is Moser, with a truly rich history. In 1873. Ludwig Moser was appointed court supplier of glass to emperor Franz Josef I, to start with. Even today, as I am told, there is no royal court which doesn’t own Moser glasses: hand-blown, hand-cut and polished, available with gilded decorations with 24 K gold. Pricey but exceptional!

Let’s not forget Swarowski. Almost everyone is familiar with Swarowski glass. With factories in forty countries across the globe and 25000 employees, this brand offers premium quality crystal products of unparalleled design. Not many people are aware though, that this company based in Austria actually originated in the Czech Rep. Daniel Swarovski, the founder, comes from the North of the Czech Republic, where he learned the glass-making craft.

Bohemia was my choice and I found this perfume bottle:

There are so many things to do and see in Prague, but I would definitely suggest you take a boat cruise on the Vltava.

Seeing Prague from the river Vltava is a unique experience and offers a way to see the many historical buildings and monuments from a different perspective. Drink a famous beer (or two…). Walk around the St. Vitius Cathedral, stroll the Old Town Square. Take a look at the Lennon Wall, walk over the Charles Bridge. Immerse yourself in its vivid nightlife. Have an Absinthe experience. I did, just because of the combination of grand wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel, and all the other herbs.

Eat a Trdelnik! Similar to a cinnamon roll, a Trdelnik is a dough that is wrapped around a pole, grilled, and then topped with sugar. It’s a delicious treat and it can be found all over Prague and it smells yummy. Street food is fun here! Visit a beer pub and bear in mind that food portions are enormous. This serves four, so they told us. My guess is that this serves eight grown-up people:

If you have enough time, I suggest visiting Krumlov as well. is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, with specific architecture dating from the 14th century, a wonderful small town with so much to see in.

As I entered the antiques shop on the main road in Krumlov, I nearly fainted. I found a treasure of these small wonders, each one different, pendants or just perfume bottles:

Sadly, the Astronomical Clock in Prague was dissembled for repair and it will remain so until August 31, 2018. That’s a good reason for me to return to Prague… For those who haven’t visited Prague yet, I highly recommend a stay in this great city. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 

The Plum Girl

Elena Cvjetkovic

Photos: The Plum Girl

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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