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„Painting is the most beautiful of lies“ – Kees Van Dongen

If painting is the most beautiful of arts and if a fine perfume is a work of art, then…?

If a perfume is a work of art…

I do think that in numerous cases it definitely is, although the idea of defining art is still being discussed: there is no single definition of art that’s universally tenable. The definitions of art are still under constant challenge, always were. I support the thesis that art has more to do with intellectual responses. A lie? Rather: an illusion. Distorted echo of the actual. We do need illusions, after all. Sometimes the actual is too painful, too harsh, too destructive. Art does have the power to take us to a higher level of being, the power of – love. So does perfume…

Here I am, wearing Opardu by Puredistance (again, and enjoying it…), musing about art, truth, beauty, and love. Things perfume can make me think about! Providing not only olfactory but intellectual pleasure a well. An ode to Springtime! This feels so appropriate now, as Spring has already given its best, moving majestically towards its grand finale when rose flowers shed their darkened petals and pave the way for Summer to enter. A perfect floral illusion of opulent Spring as the most glamorous moment of Nature.

Opardu is a „painting“ made by perfumer Annie Buzantin from New York. It all started when Jan Ewoud Vos of Puredistance, in his quest for a new perfume, showed her an illustration for the book „Parfums“ by Paul Valery to illustrate a word he made up – Opardu. A opulent and lush bouquet of flowers, drawn by Dutch-French painter Kees Van Dongen. It is a Fauvistic illustration, with vibrant colors and strong strokes, pure energy in motion, emotions and passion visibly expressed.

Kees Van Dongen is famous for his paintings of flowers, but he also painted portraits of prostitutes first and later on graduated to painting society ladies: elongating their bodies, making them look a bit dangerous. Often nude. Somewhat feline. He did not paint what he saw: his compositions reflect what he felt (He did challenge some social norms at his time! What an interesting read this was!).

These women are femme fatales, yet somehow living in the world of their own: modern in their sensuality, touched by decadence, beautiful in their self-confident glamour. Recalling dreams yet strongly living reality. Timeless. Yet, there is something in their eyes. Van Dongen painted their almond-shaped huge eyes overly made up, dark and mysterious.

Now that we know the story behind the creation of Opardu, let’s see the mis-en-scene: Puredistance places it in Paris, 1930-ties: „..romantic memories of vintage Paris…“.

Well, I can try really hard to relate to Paris in ’30-ties but I will tell you where Opardu took me and how I experienced it!

At first, as I sprayed it gently on, all I could think of is purple lilacs, lilacs everywhere. Me as a kid, lying on the grass underneath a big lilac tree in my grandmothers’ backyard – before she calls me to have lunch, imagining that one day I would have a bed of purple lilacs made just for me.

I was not allowed to climb that tree, that was forbidden: my grandma knew that the branches are hollow. She would reluctantly break off a few, to keep lilacs in a vase just for me. Lilacs for me were a symbol of Spring, warmer days coming, end of the school year nearing, days becoming longer and nights warmer. I always wished they would bloom longer!

There’s nothing childish about this perfume: as I inhaled it deeper and it started to develop on my skin, the first thing that came to my mind was – silk stockings. Black silk stockings, an elegantly dressed woman with gloves and a hat…contained elegance.

I remembered how my grandmother told me stories about fashion and what she wore when she was a young woman, before the WWII. She told me that she wore silk stockings. Black or grayish silk stockings, the ones with seams behind, or „nat“ as Nana called it. Expensive ones, too, the kind you had to take for a mending if you accidentally tore them. They were hold-ups, held by garters (she showed me how that worked out) at mid-calf length. Skirts were longer then, too.

She also told me that when the War had begun, there was a shortage of everything – stockings included. She had moved to the countryside in order to survive, alone with her only son, working and farming on the land of her ancestors. Her legs were tanned (which wasn’t popular at all back then), and when she needed to go to the nearby town, she insisted on wearing – stockings. Imaginary stockings. She painted the line on her sun-tanned legs, replicating a seam because a lady didn’t walk around bare legged. She also taught me how to make my own lipstick, soap, peeling cream, almond oil and shown me how to collect and use basic herbs for skincare. And a thing or two about men…

She said: „You never know what will happen, Eli. You can never know for sure, but know one thing: Nature provides everything we need and land will always feed you. You can survive, but never ever give up on being a lady.“ I was maybe seven or eight years old and little did I know that so many things she had taught me would be so practical later on in my life. I remember her eyes so well: there was always a soft glow of saudade about her, that inexplicable feeling only Portuguese understand perfectly: profound melancholy and love that remains after losing something or letting it go…Something in her eyes.

Maybe I was too overwhelmed with lilacs to feel carnations properly at first, but when I closed my eyes to escape clouds of purple – I felt white flowers emerge, forming a bouquet around lilacs, adding some sweetness. That purity of light purple tones became tainted with not so innocent tones of surrounding flowers: I feel gardenias swaying in wind, jasmine petals falling, turning this perfume into a creamy and seductive cocoon. Tuberose is present too, but what magnificent tuberose!!! Later on, I did feel carnations, just adding a tinge of spiciness in the heart. This fragrance is an opulent, refined, womanly floral. Even woody-musky at the drydown, turning it into a smoother version of the initial opening. The more I wear it, the more I fall in love with it.

The combination of eroticism, elegance, saudade and vibrant colors is a key to understanding Opardu: it makes me think about first stolen kisses, Spring Flings of youth, careless falling in love and fresh green grass under frail lilac trees.

Listed Notes: Tuberose Absolute, Gardenia, Bulgarian Rose, Purple Lilac, Carnation, Jasmine Absolute, Heliothrope and Cedarwood.
Opardu is available in three different sizes: 17,5 ml, 60 ml and 100 ml of pure Perfume Extrait (32%)

Worldwide Giveaway
I’m so excited! This is my first giveaway!

In order to celebrate being nominated for The Fragrance Foundation Awards (New York) – Top 10 2018.– in category: Editorial Excellence Online (with my review of Puredistance Warszawa– The Scent of Slavic Melancholy), I would like to share the experience of Puredistance Master Perfumes with you!

You can win a 2ml perfume spray sample of Opardu and discover this fine perfume for yourself. To enter you need to like and follow The Plum Girl and Puredistance on Facebook (click the link!) and comment on The Plum Girl Facebook page post about Opardu what could this perfume mean to you!

The winner will be selected on 04.06.2018. (I do moderate comments, in case you notice a delay) and announced on The Plum Girl FB page the following day. I will contact the winner personally and your prize will be shipped to you soon afterwards. This is a worldwide giveaway: have fun and good luck!

The Plum Girl
Photos: The Plum Girl, Puredistance brochure and materials, photos of paintings are royalty-free.
Disclaimer

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”)

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.
Disclaimer

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

Disclaimer

This will be probably the shortest perfumes travelogue ever written in my blog series: what’s up in Paris?

Everything!

I wanted to write just that and post some photos, but couldn’t resist, so here it goes…

Call me a Francophile if you wish: for me, Paris is the capital of the World. Fine perfumes world, too.

What can a perfume geek like me do&see&visit in Paris?

Now, here we have a problem: that depends on how much time you’ve got. A day or two will drive you crazy, a week wasn’t enough for me.

If you have a one day stay in Paris, I suggest making a quick tour of grands magazines: GalleriesLafayette, BonMarché and Colette.

Or Nose, 20 rue Bachaumont. Here you can find some well-known perfumes, all in one place, a fine selection. Running around from one to the other will be a race with time, so dress properly and get those metro tickets ready!

If you find the time, visit Le Grand Musée duParfum, I find it really fascinating!

For a bit longer stay, let’s say a couple of days, I suggest a visit to some major flagship stores, like the famous Guerlain shop on Champs Elysees.

Run quickly to see Serge Luton at Palais Royal. Do drop by AnnickGoutal’s at 14 rue de Castiglione, for some real chic Parisien, lingerie included (both in 1st arrondissement). I skipped Fragonard simply because I’ve spent days researching it in Grasse, but as long as you are running around the 1st, have a go. Oh, while you are there, drop in at Maitre Perfuemur et Gantier, yet another famous Parisian perfumer.

The man I adore, Francis Kurkdjian resides nearby as well:5 rue d’Alger was the one I rushed into. Then move over to Saint-Germain-des-Pres district, there you’ll find the flagship boutique of one of France’s most beloved modern noses, Frédéric Malle. My beloved as well… Don’t forget Parles Moi de Parfum, run by Benjamin and Romain Almairac. Their fine boutique has a selection of over 200 raw materials, which serve as a basis to create their niche perfumes.

If you are planning to devote a whole week to this kind of sightseeing, there are ooh! So many! Niche houses! I can’t really name them all here, but I know the next time I visit Paris I will certainly find time to go to Le Jardin Retrouve Salon…

Is that all? Not in your dreams. There’s more. And more. So much more. I already have a very long list of “must do’s”!

One thing is certain, though: I’ll be back…over and over again. Feeling like Alice in Wonderland…

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl private collection

Update: February 2018.

Short, business visit: this city gives me more and more each time I visit! Ok, Seine has flooded terribly but the spirit is high.

Since I didn’t have much time I planned a visit to Le Jardin Retrouve showroom. Apart from meeting Clara in person (finally!), she showed me everything: the history tree, concept, novelties, plans for new products and the lab!

Next time I will definitely save some time for JAR experience, which is on my bucket list as well. Enjoy the pics!

And, of course, some Guerlain classics at Guerlain flagship store, including the monster bottle spotted at Sephora, 68 Champs Elysees, just next door to Guerlain:

Love this city! ❤️💙❤️

 

Elena Cvjetkovic

The Plum Girl

Photos: The Plum Girl

„According to the legend, Venus lost her necklace during a sea bath and the pearls scattered in the waters of the Tyrrhenian Sea. It created a beautiful string of islands with Elba as the most beautiful of its jewels.”

This August I visited the island of Elba, during our summer road trip to Tuscany.

Here we go again, my son said in Piombino when we boarded a ferry: “Here we go again, a ferry&an island”. Because we have a summer cottage on the island of Brac, Croatia and his all childhood memories of summer vacations are tied mostly to that island, which he loves deeply. There are many similarities between the two! I felt at home. Yes, I am in love with seas, yes, my soul anchors in seas and yes! I need a vitamin sea often!

During the ride, I mostly enjoyed the scent of the Tyrrhenian sea. On your way you pass the island Palmaiola:


Upon arrival in Portoferraio, we started to explore the island, ancient and rich in history.

The legend says that Argonauts rested here, pirates invaded it now and then, it has had many rulers throughout its history. Napoleon was exiled to Elba in 1814. He fell in love with it and carried many reforms to improve the quality of life on the island. He did escape after 300 days spent there…This is a view from the outer wall of the garden of his former residence:



Of course, Napoleon is still present here 🙂 Take a look:


Every island is predetermined by the sea that surrounds it. The scent of the sea is ever-present and changing, it is not the same in the mornings, evenings or nights, it is not the same in January or August, it is not the same depending on from which direction wind blows. The scent of the sea mingles with flora on the island, fragrances of sunbathed low plants in the noon, fig-trees respiring in hot summer evenings, eucalyptus trees murmuring in the wind, citruses protruding every here and there…


When I walked the streets of Portoferraio after an afternoon spent on the beach, I searched for Acqua dell’Elba stores, knowing these perfumes are the only possible souvenirs I will take home with me:


Not only did I enjoy these perfumes in situ, I also bring you a short interview with one of the owners. I was so fascinated with their effort that I just had to find out more!

The heart of Acqua dell’Elba is in the laboratory in Marciana Marina, where the owners, Chiara, Fabio, and Marco have worked since 2000. Together with master craftsmen who gave life to their perfumes. It was also here that the first Acqua dell’ Elba shop was born. The story of how the company has been born is interesting as well: the three owners went sailing in their boat. They reached Paolina’s cliff, where an ancient ivory statue kept the secret of the essence in its top. So they decided to recreate that fragrance, the scent of the sea surrounding Elba…you can find more details on their web page, but this is what they told me, Q and A’s.


Q: Is there a difference between Italian and French perfumery?

A: The only difference in our sector is between mass and niche products. Even if we’re trying to expand our markets and enlarge the number of people how know and appreciate Acqua dell’Elba, we are a still small company, operating in a niche, who share with other niche companies the same values: authenticity, passions, uniqueness.

Q: How would you describe the style of your creations?

A: Acqua dell’Elba is the Essence of the Sea. Its uniqueness lies in the creation of artisan fragrances inspired by the sea in one of the most beautiful island of the Mediterranean Sea. Each product is created by expert Tuscan craftsmen using natural raw materials of the highest quality.

Q: What do you think is the biggest challenge in perfume production today?

A: Being authentic, meaning by that the capacity to maintain a link with your roots, your territory, and your background. As for the wine sector, the perfumery industry should work much more on the concept of “terroir”.

Q: Which one is your favorite in the collection?

A: As a man who likes nature and a wooden tone, my favorite is Arcipelago Uomo. (An aromatic and flowery fragrance for him with notes of -Spices: sage, pepper, and rosemary -Flowers: lily-of-the-valley and jasmine -Woods: Mediterranean shrubs, cedarwood, and cypress)

Q: Which one would you say represents the very soul of Elba?

A: All Acqua dell’Elba’s products bring to people a piece of Elba: The elegance of the landscapes with Classica; the adventure of the nature with Arcipelago; the deep of the sea with Blu; the energy of the wind with Sport; the essence of an island with Acqua, Smeraldo, and Altrove.

Q: I recently purchased three different Acqua dell’Elba perfumes. While visiting Elba I went for a swim on Portoferraio city beach and after that, sea salt still in my hair, I walked into one of your shops. Smeraldo was my first choice because my afternoon smelled just like that. Which one is for you is the scent of a romantic evening on Elba?

A: Acqua, the perfume for the couple, the perfume of love… (A fragrance for ladies and gentlemen with notes of – Fruits and Spices: citrus fruits, myrtle berries, and sea salt -Flowers: marine algae, sea moss, myrtle, and jasmine – Woods: cedarwood)

The perfume of love. For the sea…A sea lover I am and I find that simply beautiful. Now I have a dream: I would love to work on the creation of a perfume speaking in olfactory language about the island of Brac as well!

The Plum Girl

Photos: ThePlumGirl private collection and Acqua dell’ Elba 

Perfume notes: as stated by Acqua dell’Elba


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