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WARSZAWA.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dzien dobry, Warszawa!


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


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

 

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

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Sheiduna. Sheitan’s bride? A she-dune? Seduction? Is that how they named you, I asked the perfume. Why?

It is all of this and more, yet with utmost elegance.

Here it was, right under my nose, the new perfume Sheiduna by Puredistance – Master Perfumes. An intriguing one, packed in an elegant bottle, smooth and heavy in my hand, with wow-baam! perfume percentage – where will it take me, I wondered. The niche house of Puredistance always seemed promising to me (feel free to click and learn more).

Press materials provided by Puredistance describe this novelty (created by CécileZarokian, ISIPCA graduate, she was trained for four years in Robertet, at first in Grasse, then in Paris. She was still a trainee when she created her first fragrance, Amouage Epic Woman. The name is invented by Jan Ewoud Vos, Puredistance founder), like this:

SHEIDUNA is a rich and intense Perfume inspired by the panoramic views and feel of golden sand dunes in the desert during sunset – soft, female curves changing from deep gold to warm, orangey-red – embodying a promise of sensual comfort and silent seduction. Wearing SHEIDUNA, one waft’s sensuality and intense color waves of Persian rugs touch the senses. The perfect marriage between Sensuality and Style.

Ingredients: lemon, tangerine, blackcurrant, aldehydes, Bulgarian rose essence, geranium, clove, vetyver, patchouly, amber woody, incense, benzoin, myrrh, tonka bean, vanilla pods, and musks.”

There you are, ingredients and all: yet, beware. This perfume doesn’t have the classical pyramid structure, nor will you be able to sum it up at once. You might love it or hate it, or hate it at first and then realize a couple of hours later that you want it as your signature perfume. It’s tricky, it’s strong and it’s pricey.

You’ve got to meet her in silence. She might seem orientally mystic but cold and distant, yet you can sense there is so much more under that self-contained first impression. When I took the second breath images and scents swirled around my head, extracting bits and pieces connected to my olfactory memories…desert! I wondered which one was it…was it Israel? No. Sahara? Not this time, but close enough. Suddenly I was again in the dusty bus, on my way to the Valley of Kings, taking a right turn, passing the path made of ancient stones and climbing the stairs of the magnificent temple of Hatshepsut.

My first impression of Sheiduna was oops, there we go powerful oriental again. Nah. But then came tangerines (I must have summoned them in the previous post “Tangerine Trees and Marmelade Skies) and lemon, gently unveiling Bulgarian rose. Subtle, seductive rose. It lasts and it lasts, leaving me with soft amber, near skin seductive fragrance. Soft as desert sands in the late afternoon, where all the scents of this world are gone and you can actually smell the sunbathed sand, the rocks, the sky, the Sun, your own skin and wind. I don’t know why but I thought this is how she might have smelled, the woman who became the King.

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The story about Hatshepsut is fascinating. What is also fascinating is that the ancient Egyptians were adept at chemistry, their formulas are the basis for the production of modern perfumes and cosmetics. Experts from L’Oreal and the Center for Research of the Museums of France tested materials from ancient perfume bottles and jars kept in Louvre: the percentages of ingredients used are roughly the same used in eye makeup today. And perfumes? They were masters of the art.

Born in the 15th century BC, Hatshepsut, daughter of Tuthmose I and Aahmes, was the favorite of their three children. When her two brothers died, she was in a unique position to gain the throne upon the death of her father. To have a female pharaoh was unprecedented, and probably most definitely unheard of as well. She did not become a queen. She was crowned the King of all Egypt, pharaoh, wore male clothes and a beard and accomplished what no woman had before her. She ruled the most powerful, advanced civilization in the world for twenty years. Bringing peace and prosperity, trading with, among other things – myrrh…which you can find in this perfume. When she died, her successors tried to eradicate every trace of her, including the most sacred form of her very presence on this world and the one to come – her name carved into stones of temples, amid names of other pharaohs. Her temple stands up to this day, she looks upon you as you enter it, and she lives. Her name is not forgotten.

I can imagine her watching down those stairs of Djeser-Djeseru, wearing her perfume scented robes, waiting for the sun to set behind the orange-colored horizon. Eager to retreat to her chambers, to be – just a woman. A seductive, noble and classy queen, sophisticated and elegant – hot and cold, sensual and down to earth – you might love her or hate her but she rules her world. Thanks, Sheiduna. Where will it take you?

The Plum Girl

Photo: The Plum Girl
Testing Location: Parfumerija Lana
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