DorothyGrace's Perfume Blog
What does neat indole smell like to you?
Fiddly faddeling around with my table-top chest of drawers filled with little bottles of essential oils and other fragrance related paraphernalia I came across a sealed tin; curious.
Opened up said tin and inside were two little bottles of 10% indole and one little bottle of absinthe. I knew I hadn't used the indole for anything other than sniffing to see what I thought of it but both bottles had been opened and the contents half gone so quite a bit of evaporation which may go part way to explain the somewhat stale smell of the table-top chest of drawers.
A little drop of indole on the back of my hand spread a rather unpleasant smell, rapidly, through the house causing my son to come investigating. To me it smelt like rotten teeth but not too bad, no doubt because my nose shut down owing to the density of fragrance (ha!) in the air. My son having smelt it in much diluted form from another room had a better grip on the smell and said it smelt like grand-dad's shed (which we are in the process of clearing). Further explanation elicited the description that it smelt like Red Tiger Balm, heavy old varnish that had gone off, and rotting wood. I don't get any faecal smell, the popular description of the indole experience, and my son said he could kinda see where people were coming from but didn't himself find the smell faecal.
Anyway, highly recommend not dropping on the back of the hand as it doesn't just wash off and I think it is going to be a day before the smell is completely gone from my skin - what a good job I don't have to go out as although I can smell less as my nose gets used to it being around I have a sneaking suspicion that I am radiating funk.
Sad to say that the lovely smell of my dad's shed is no more; he gave up his hobbies as arthritis and dementia took hold; refusing all help (because he wasn't stupid, and you're my daughter and it's for you to do as I say, and are you saying I'm useless - he became so confrontational and aggressive, and as he was pretty far gone by the time dementia was diagnosed no-one had any idea why he was like it nor how to deal with it although we all tried to help him in his misery, poor dad) the wood rotted, the varnish perished, the fish glue decayed, and the smell of fresh sawn wood, the hum of the refrigerator, the whine of the band saw, the exclamations as hammer hit thumb, disappeared leaving a sad shadowy memory.
I've struggled, the family has struggled, mum and dad have struggled (both were diagnosed with dementia at the same time and both were well into it by then. The signs were there many years ago and those years weren't too bad. The last few years have been catastrophic; dementia robbed us all.
I'm so sad
I can't stop crying;
I know that mum and dad
Dementia took them
but still they're here
and I just don't know
how to stop this dreadful crying
- my heart is broken
now they're dying.
Wish I could walk with you again
Through the shadows of this lane,
Watch the bumbles and the broom
Brightest yellow in full bloom.
All the years that have gone by
Stretch out behind like one big lie
Never seeming to have existed
The devil's joke, vile and twisted.
Pictures courtesy of my son
When we used to walk with mum.
The pictures are 2010 and mark when mum and dad were last truly mum and dad.
So sad I feel I can't breath
I hold my breath as the leaves
Rustle in the summer breeze.
My aching chest begins to heave.
My commiserations to all those who grieve this beautiful May.
To the tune of Three Blind Mice, let all who plead guilty sing it:
Three blind buys
Three blind buys
See what you've done
See what you've done
You dug around in the bargain box
Picked up some boxes that matched your frocks
The smell of the fragrances gave you shocks
Three blind buys.
Casmir eau de parfum by Chopard I had a cute little sample bottle of Casmir edp when it first arrived to market. I loved it so greadily went ahead and bought a bottle of the parfum. Almost identical to the edp but with little projection or trail I found it rather disappointing, lifeless. Casmir disappeared from the market but roll on and it is back so a blind buy of 100 ml hit my doormat.
The first few days of wearing Casmir I could only smell an overwhelming dolls head plastic vanilla. As my brain got used to all those vanilla like notes my impression of the perfume changed totally. With vanilla now in the background some peach, fizzy sherberty jasmine, geranium blackcurrent, some soft woods, a hint of green round the perfume out to what I remember and loved from all those years ago. Back it goes on my favourite list and a back up bottle is sure to head my way.
Quite the turn around of my perception which I put down to not being familiar with vanilla and so over smelling those notes. I think it explains quite a few of my purchases where I loved it whilst working my way through one or two ml of sample only to be disappointed with the full bottle.
Birch Tar Essential Oil
My sampling has been underwhelming of late warrenting just a few words in the statement section rather than full reviews. One underwhelming experience was Salome by Papillon and led to my second blind buy - Birch Tar oil. Papillon smell and feel like they have a high percentage of essential oils in the mix so my guess for the smokey undercurrent in Salome is Birch Tar. I had read descriptions of Birch Tar, thought it sounded similar to the rich dry smell of an old well used pipe I get in Salome, so bought some for test.
Birch Tar is powerful stuff. The smell is sweet and smokey reminding me of smoked almonds and rather less pleasantly of smoked bacon and smoked haddock. There is something sweet and meaty about it. Several washes later along with a change of clothes and I'm still pouring smokey bacon crisps. Yes, it does smell like bonfires, leather, and all the rest that people say but to me it also has this meaty sweetness to it. I'm pretty sure that I smell Birch Tar in Salome and along with carnation is pretty much all I get.
Goodness knows if I'll find a use for the Birch Tar oil; it is so powerful that just a dab seemed to be absorbed through my skin and left me tasting it the next day. The room smelt like smokey bacon crisps for about a week. I did a tiny dab just now to see if I still get the meaty aspect and confirm that I do along with a tar like note which is nice.
Enticed as I was by many online recommendations that it was a dupe for Angel and unable to experience the full unfolding of Angel as it gives me a stonking great migraine, I bought (ta da daaa!) Wish by Chopard.
Wish comes in a pretty and heavy glass bottle in the shape of a cut diamond. The lid is silver and the liquid pale, slightly green tinged blue. Quite a nice presentation in its dark navy box.
Smell wise Wish wasn't in the least what I expected it would be; It smelt so artificial th
at I couldn't get my head around its generic fruityness, raw incense, and all sorts of vanillic like sweet. I have tried it five or six times and am only just starting to smell past the toffee/vanilla achord to some light fruity notes that remind me of fresh pear and apricot cream.
So what have I learnt? I have learnt that unfamiliar notes totally throw off the balance of the perfume to my nose as they take front and centre, drowning out all else.
What else have I learnt? Well, I have learnt that I find Birch Tar far too much and at the moment am heartily wishing that I hadn't given myself a teany tiny dab as it really is quite suffocating. Mr. Duck agrees.
So sad. My Mac had a complete hard drive failure. I was backed up with Time Machine and found some software to get back my important documents but where are my photographs? I expect they are there but I can't find software to extract them onto my laptop. I could just cry. But crying is no use so I had better do something more productive, like buy some perfume.
Did that. Still feel like crying. I guess perfume doesn't fix everything.
What am I going to do?
Your bottles are enticing
Liquid inside them too.
Unboxing an adventure
I take on every day
to apply the golden liquid
inside my whalebone stays
What am I going to wear?
A different one on each arm?
That would make the people stare.
Smoothing over my skin
(I do it every day)
Spread the perfumed liquid
Through my hair that's gray.
A new one every week!
Well, I'm really not that gready
But would certainly like a peak.
Instead of the Grossmith I was going to buy I bought some textbooks for my son and Amber Oud and Romance (oils) for me.
Opening the box with Amber Oud was a little disconcerting. There was a definite waft of cumin. I asked my son. Cumin. But that was the last I smelt of a powerful cumin note so I guess it must have seaped through the bottle lid and accumulated.
The bottle is cute. The base and top (coloured gold) are metal with a soft semi-matte pale gold finish - like 9 ct English gold in colour rather than the rich Indian gold. The liquid is a soft egg yolk yellow/gold (depending on the eggs one buys). There is a little green, pale emerald green, stone in the top probably made of some sort of plastic or resin but it could be glass as it feels a little cool to the touch. The glass of the bottle itself is softly frosted. The glass dipper in the lid comes two thirds of the way down inside the container so won't be of much use the last third of a bottle. As I said, very cute.
The first thing that struck me when I applied Amber Oud was a thick raw soap smell similar to Saat Safa and although smoother, less harsh than that Al Rehab I did feel I had made a mistake with my blind buy.
However, that feeling was gone by day two and I have worn Amber Oud every day for about a week. I now smell past that raw soap and appreciate the complexity of Amber Oud; in fact it is one of my favourite perfumes. The smell surrounding the bottle on my table (quite warm) imparts a lovely sweet tobacco scent.
The Romance bottle is a very pretty dark green. The base and top are plastic. There is no dipper inside the lid. There is a plastic plug in the top of the bottle which can be replaced with the metal roller ball insert that comes with the perfume. The metal roller ball works well and doesn't dispense too much liquid all in one go. It's such a pretty bottle that when I have finished the perfume I will clean it out and use it for the face oil I put together for myself.
Romance is a beautiful springtime floral with hyacinth and lashings of ylang ylang. On my skin there is a very pronounced sandalwood in the late dry down. Lovely. I might do a more in depth review when I have lived with it a bit more but at the moment I can't resist another swipe of Amber Oud.
Both of these perfumes layer beautifully under the latest version of Aromatics Elixis, particularly the Romance which amps up the greeness of Aromatics and blissfully hides the rather dischordant super sweet rose note that I get.
Here is a springtime floral - French Bluebells. These French Bluebells are self sown everywhere in my area, in fact my mum's garden lawn is now completely bluebells - so pretty, such a lovely smell. Note to self, must buy some English Bluebells to make a nice display next year and hopefully push out some of the garlic bells (I don't know what they are but they look like bluebells, are white, and intense garlic when the leaves are crushed - yikes! when I walk on them).
Photographs taken by my son when he was a child. Drat that hard drive failure leaving me with just a few of his photographs on this old laptop.
I have a basic approach to perfume - does it smell nice and does it lift my spirits?
What I want,
Is something that smells nice.
What I need?
Something that lifts my mood.
What I get,
Is something that is neither.
What I'll do,
Is test and test 'til Easter.
Finding something new that hits the spot is proving difficult. I don't work in the industry, and I'm not a blogger, and I can't get out to the shops so either I buy untested or I fork out for samples with not much to show for it at the end.
I flip flop between buying samples, essential oils, and perfume oils. As my old nan used to say, 'You don't know what you want and you won't be happy 'til you get it.' For memory of my nan Rozy is on my list for this year, parfum or voile to be decided. I hope the formula hasn't been tweaked.
Up for test I had five from Grossmith and to cut a long story short I feel none of them are for me.
Diamond Jubilee - reminds me of Echoes version of Beautiful by Estee Lauder. My son said it was too soft and doing a side by side with Echoes I agree. Diamond Jubilee does smell good quality and I rather like it. I would wear this if given a bottle but for a self purchase I am looking for something else and don't want a limited edition that I will never be able to have again once the bottle is finished.
Betrothed - reminds me of Royal Dream by Al Haramain which isn't one of my favourites. The tiniest dab of Royal Dream completely blocks out the efforts of Betrothed. I like Betrothed better; it smells less artificial.
Phul Nana - doesn't smell the same as the decant I have from a few years ago which had quite a bit of geranium. I'm undecided on this one as I have wanted it for a long time. Undecided probably should mean no but I kinda want it anyway. Hmmm. I am not sure that I don't want it because my mum said that when she was young there were always perfume cards with this on being dropped through the door by salesmen, she said it was everywhere. I get the impression Grossmith went through an everyman stage but I don't know their history. She'll not be able to tell me now - how cruel is dementia to us all.
Golden Chypre (Black Label) - lemony musks play up too much on my skin and so remind me of Musk Rose by Ajmal; dry down Royal Dream by AL Haramain. Musk Rose is too powerful for me and rather masculine although my son says I needn't think he is going to save me from a blind purchase. I liked this one the least.
Saffron Rose (Black Label) - I like this one but think it more suited to my young son (it was the only one he said was ok). Oud, cinnamon, slight peppery bite, vaguely rosy, bit of a metallic twang. Reminds me of Tova Signature (without actually smelling like Tova) with added oud and rose, less bergamot and lime, obviously not a lavender fragrance, and Tova has more soft musks. I think Saffron Rose smells much better quality and I would certainly wear it if given a bottle but for a self purchase I am looking for something else.
I wore each perfume for two full days and feel uninspired to write proper reviews on any of them (although I still like Phul Nana). Think I'll take a break from buying samples and go for a blind buy of an oil or another Annick Goutal - by birthday budget is still to be spent.
Here is a swan giving me a rather old fashioned look. Photo by my son. I was chased by a swan when a child; boy could my little legs shift in those days.
Yesterday, I was looking sadly at my pc screen showing a shopping basket with yet another set of 10 samples. 'What's the point? ', I thought.
Looking for something
But I don't know what
Means I try
A lot of toot.
True they were a bargain set of niche from a perfume shop, costing £12 plus post and packing but looking at them I knew there was only one that I was likely to like. Several I had tried before and disliked so all in all not such a bargain.
A bargain's not a bargain
If it turns out to be
90% of it
Is not for me.
I tested Aromatics Elixir a couple of years ago and it brought my wrist up in an angry red rash. I tested it again earlier this year (my local department store) and that one pulled Marmite on me. Casting misgivings aside, telling myself that I could use it as a lovely room spray, I purchased from Amazon (sold by and dispatched by Amazon) a 100 ml bottle of the aromatic delight that is A.E. at the heavily discounted price of £46.77.
The bottle arrived today and had a code indicating a manufacturing date of April 2016 (C46). I was expecting it to be older and was surprised that it is actually fresh stock.
Of course it is very different from the part filled bottle I have remaining of my stash which is dryer, more mossy, more woody (according to the code on the bottle this was from 2009 although I thought I bought it earlier - it was one of the years they came out with an embossed bottle and a candle which was really expensive but burnt for ages and fragranced a room most beautifully).
It is also quite different from the tester I tried earlier this year and different again to the one I tried a couple of years ago as this one hasn't brought my skin up in a rash. Of course regarding the recent department store testers I have no idea whether the differences between them indicate a different recipe or absolutely appalling storage under red hot display lights.
Compared to the 2009 one I have, this 2016 one has a sharper more green smell and is reminding me of a powerful lily of the valley. No lily of the valley on the notes list so I am interested to know whether or not anyone else gets that from the latest incarnation of this beauty as I have never noticed that with other bottles I have owned. There is also a tang that is reminding me of black-current bushes in full bloom. It almost feels like A.E. with a tiny dab of the modern Magie Noir. This bottle of A.E. is quite savoury (lily of the valley) but not pulling meaty/umami/Marmite on me.
I am not too disappointed as I did not expect to get something as good as my 2009 and earlier purchases (but was sub-consciously hoping), nevertheless I am surprised how different this one smells to me (and it really is very different) when doing a side by side comparison. The very green lily-of-the-valley savoury smell is something I have never smelt before and totally changes the feel of the fragrance. The LOTV is very strong on me and thickens rather than dissipates over the hours. There is also a very sweet note that I can't place and can best describ as a sweet shampoo like rose (not had this before either). This 2016 one seems to be lacking in patchouli and oak-moss.
Anyway, all in all pleased with it as it is a very nice perfume and a considerable improvement on some of the niche perfumes I have tested this year, however it is not my beloved A.E. so I will be using this rather than my 2009 which I will be saving for best.
Having written my review I decided to have a look at the ingredient lists on the back of the boxes to see just what the changes were and whether or not any of them could account for some of the smell differences I could detect between 2009 and 2016. To my surprise it is possible that these listed changes (there are probably many others) might in conjunction with others be responsible for two of the main changes I detected (Aromatics aficionados will understand).
The first most noticeable change to me is the list of colourants. Green 5 (ci 61570), yellow 5 (ci 19140), red 4 (ci 14700), iln41925. The first three are lake dyes. I didn't know that Aromatics Elixir had dye in it; I rather naively thought the colour came from essential oils.
I don't know what iln41925 is but wonder if it is one of the rose ionones. If so then previously the ionone was iln32206 and that might account for the very sweet shampoo like rose I am picking up on the 2016 bottle that isn't present in my 2009.
Lyral (hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde) has been dropped from the list and seems to have been replaced with butylphenyl methylpropional. From what I can glean from various websites (wiki, pubchem, chemicalbook) these two chemicals are florals often used to re-create lily-of-the-valley. I wonder if that is responsible for the extra green, lily-of-the-valley, savoury smell I get in the 2016 but not the 2009.
cinnamyl alcohol has been dropped and wiki says it has a sweet, balsamic smell.
Anyway, I found it all very interesting especially the green lily-of-the-valley scent. I would actually have to smell some of the neat chemicals to really know what I am talking about (which I don't).
I am not at all surprised that many reviewers are disappointed with their re-purchase. The changes must have come as a bit of a shock. Having had so many old loves bite the dust over the last few years I knew what to expect but even so I really am surprised at how different I find this 2016 compared to my 2009.
Rather a long ramble so here is a snowy picture my son took a few winters ago to cool us all down.