Sunday, December 28, 2014

Episode Seventeen: I Dropped The Ball? Nope, They Did. (or, New Year's Eve 2015)

Hey girl, what's up. You know I'm just sitting here, playing with about 800 different fragrance spray vials and dabbers looking for some fun suggestions (that are readily available) for different NYE scenarios. I think I've found a couple, so let's get started.

In The Club NYE

Where I live, nightclubs are a major draw on New Year's Eve, and there are so many to chose from that each have their own vibe. I can't suggest a scent for every possible scenario (If you'd like to suggest something for the 20's-cowboy-rock-stripper crowd, be my guest) so I am going to give you my suggestion for a club NYE as a whole.
Tom Ford Velvet Orchid
 To me, Tom Ford's Black Orchid smells like a bunch of hippies gathered into a VW van, died, had their funeral services there and it hasn't been cleaned since 1968. Nice visual, huh? But Velvet Orchid is an entirely different beast, sensual, floral, and entirely hippy-free. However it is an incredibly strong, heavy scent much more suited to evenings than to daily wear. This very weight, however, makes it perfect for the club. You can settle it on your pulse points and as you sweat throughout the night, the scent will intensify. It's so sensual that it is perfect for dark, close confines and a night where you might want to form new bonds. The rose, jasmine, labdanum and vanilla will keep you feeling sexy throughout the night.

On A Date NYE

To me, New Year's Eve is a "party with your fellow man" type of holiday, but certainly it has a romantic aspect to it as well. Whether you are going as a couple, or plan to be part of a group, spending NYE with a romantic partner requires something with a little more finesse.
Narciso Rodriguez For Her
 You might not be a her, and in that case I apologize that this answer has such a strictly-tailored name. Please be aware that anyone can wear this scent, although if you are not female you might not have the same scent experience. I love this scent for romantic evenings, though, because of the decadently feminine osmanthus flower, sandalwood and musk. The scent has been popular for years, and it remains so because it plays so delightfully with the skin chemistry of almost all who wear it. You might not consider it a sexy scent, but it is still one that can be easily worn on a date and feel comfortable it. The old adage, that you wear your fragrance not the other way around. However, please note that I refer to the EDT - experiences with the EDP may differ, as I have not tried it.

With The Girls NYE

Whether you and your girlfriends plan to have a low-key get together and watch the ball drop, or you plan on party hopping all night long, this effervescent scent will take you from 2014 to 2015 with ease.
 Kate Spade Live Colorfully
This scent is fun, vivacious and really draws from the essence of a colorful life. It reminds me of a more sophisticated version of Clinique's Happy, which has been a favorite for years. Live Colorfully is decidedly feminine, but in a way that appeals to the girly, happy side of a woman ready to celebrate the end of a year with her friends. Especially if you haven't had the best year, this scent has a way of lifting the spirit and making new, likely due to the mandarin, gardenia and Tahitian vanilla.

Staying Home NYE

If you're like me, even when you celebrate from home you want to get spruced up, and a big part of that in my world is wearing a fragrance. So even though I'll be in Times Square in spirit only, here is what I will be wearing to ring in the New Year.
Gucci Première
Even the presentation of this scent makes me feel like a superstar, and that is just the way I want to celebrate the birth of a new year. Première has such a lovely, glamorous way of making a woman feel like an old Hollywood icon that I find myself reaching for it for all sorts of occasions where I want to feel like a star. Since NYE is one such time, why not put your best foot forward and go full glamour? Hair, makeup, dress - the works. Bergamot and orange, floral musk and warm leather combine into sensual beauty that leaves the wearer feeling like they can take on the world.

And those are my picks for your New Year's Eve celebrations. Remember no matter what you plan to do, stay safe and encourage others to do the same. We're all in this together so we need to help each other out a bit, yeah?

And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give me a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Until next year, pleasant journeys~


Friday, December 26, 2014

Requests!

Hey guys, one more thing. I do take requests! So not only can you suggest a favorite (Check out my Featured page) you can also leave a comment or e-mail admin@olfactory-exploits.com with any requests. It doesn't have to be new scents, either - any perfume, cologne, home or body scent is open. The only caveat? I retain the right to decline a request if it does not interest me, or if I am unable to get the product.

I'm adding this information under 411, so that I don't forget again. Pleasant journeys~


Christmas Recap and an Upcoming Scenario? (or, It's Personal)

Aww shit, y'all this ain't nothin' but a post to blab and brag about what I got for Christmas. Actually this year was a little difficult for me. I'm ill, and my disease has been more hard to manage as of late. (That's why posts come late. I am sorry!) I was really, really hoping to get a decent camera for Christmas, but among all the hustle and bustle, I kind of got... forgotten about. It's not as if I don't pick out the majority of my own gifts anyways but still, I had really hoped for that. Anyways, enough of this sour wine, Imma tell you the good stuff.

  • $500 Gift Voucher to Victoria's Secret (I will talk about some of their scents in the new year)
  • Armani gift set
  • Electric heated throw
  • Portable safe
  • Jo Malone travel candle trio
  • Gold chain (I have the pendent)

Those were the large gifts from my family. My mother also gifted me a beautiful bracelet, in the Alex and Ani style, as well as some hand made gifts. My stocking stuffers were all small, silly but useful goodies. Lots of candy, most of which I have devoured. I also ended up picking up a couple of things late, from LUSH and Sephora so I can't really count them, I don't think.

My family was just as excited as I was - my older son got a tablet to play on, and my younger got a giant Transformer as well as a camouflage soccer ball he saw months ago, and went as far as asking Santa for it. Twice. He's determined, that one. I surprised my husband with some nice slippers and a PlayStation 4. (How useful, since the network promptly went down, right?) To be honest, I don't know if he really wanted one, he's only a casual gamer, but we've been married for more than a decade so sometimes it is hard to come up with ideas, since he is worse than I am about gift suggestions!

In regards to the scent gifts - I've already reviewed the Armani scent, and I don't plan to burn the JM candles, although I'd like to. My husband had them hand painted, though, so it would be a shame. However I will have at least two of the VS scents to review, maybe more depending on what I pick up during the Semi-Annual sale. I also think I am going to doing a New Year's Eve scent suggestions post with some of my pick for scents that would be great to wear out - I'm thinking things like "party", "club", "romantic dinner", "Times Square" et cetera.

I'd love to know if you got any special gifts this year, or if you gave anything you feel satisfied by! Just leave me a comment, and until next time, pleasant journeys~


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Episode Sixteen: Fiesta de Navidad! (or, Holly Jolly Christmas Tag)

Don't slaughter me, I only speak a little Spanish. I'd be better off calling it ein frohes Weinachtsfest oder Worte ähnlicher Bedeutung. Ah, bitte, my Deutsch is showing. Anyways, it is Christmas Eve where I live, and I thought I'd do a fun post while the kiddos watch seasonal television and I wait for bedtime when I will proceed to wrap and drink (not necessarily in that order) followed by my favorite Christmas movie. I got the original tag questions from the blog of Glamourgirl220. I wasn't tagged or anything, and as always I am changing a few of the questions to be better suited to this blog. So on Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer and Vixen! On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen!

Favorite Christmas movie?

The same one I watch every year, once a year, that I mentioned about. It is Love, Actually and I adore that movie with a passion. I think it is perfect for Christmas.

Are you on the Naughty list or the Nice list?

It's hard to believe but I am on the Nice list! I think... I hope. I mean, I took one of those Facebook quiz things and it said I was definitely on the Naughty list, but those things are hardly reliable, are they?

 Show us an embarrassing Christmas Card photo! Favorite perfume to wear on Christmas?

Y'all are insane if you think I am posting a photo. But I will tell you that I love to wear Dior Addict on Christmas. It's a seriously sexy fragrance - I know. But it also brings back a lot of memories about on of the first "adult" scents my parents bought me, which was Urban Decay's Sin perfume oil. To me, that discontinued oil and Addict smell very similar. It breaks my heart that I don't have any more of the oil, btw.

Have you ever had a White Christmas?

I have! I grew up in the North West (awww, North West. Anyways) and although we didn't always have snow at Christmas, we had it often enough that we got excited about our White Christmases! Word on the street is that my family is having one this year, though. I am jealous!

Where do you usually spend your holiday?

Before we moved, we would spend it at family's house. Now that we are away from everyone, we spend it at home. (Although for the past few years I've been pushing for Christmas at Disneyland. Maybe next year...)

 Play or sing your favorite Christmas song! What scent note reminds you most of Christmas?

I'd rather post a picture than sing, and I am not hunting down any audio files. I will say that there is a tie between "Carol of the Bells" and "Do You Hear What I Hear" for fave song. But what scents make me think of Christmas? Gingerbread, Balsam and Fir, a crackling fire and the crisp, fresh scent of new fallen snow. Those are the things that remind me of home, and Christmas when I was a child.

 Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

Growing up we were always allowed to open one, specified gift on Christmas Eve. We don't follow that tradition anymore. We don't follow many of the traditions from my childhood, really. I guess that is what happens when you have your own family and their own traditions.

 Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

I did it already, but I will do it again because I am generous like that. Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. And Rudolph. ;P

 What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?

This year is a disaster, so if there was one thing I am looking forward to it is surprising people with their gifts on Christmas morning. I love giving gifts!

  Is your Christmas tree real or fake?

FAKE

 Hands down, what's your all-time favorite holiday food and holiday sweet treat?

Wassail, Pfeffernüße, holiday roast, and a family recipe passed down simply titled "Christmas Pudding".

Be honest: do you like giving gifts or receiving gifts better?

Although it is difficult to think about giving, and not getting something in return, I like gifting better than being the recipient. In the end, the happiness of other people makes me happy, and I love finding the perfect gift to surprise and put a huge smile on someone's face. Yeah, sometimes that means an expensive gift, but sometimes it is a gift homemade with love, and finding that difference is so much fun!

 Show us your tackiest Christmas attire! Worst perfume ever gifted on Christmas?

I don't even have any Christmas attire, so unless you want to see my whole wardrobe, yeah, no. The worst perfume was actually a gift from me to an ex-boyfriend. I think I mentioned before, I used to be a big fan of Aspen? Well I decided to give him a bottle, and it turned out he was terribly allergic. One of the reasons I always want you to make sure your perfume gift recipient can wear fragrances! Needless to say, he gave it back to me, and our relationship didn't last much longer.

 What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

I want to have Christmas at Disney, but I'd have to say my dream destination for the holidays would be Tokyo, Japan. Christmas in Japan fascinates me, because the celebration was largely gleaned from Western culture, since Japan is not a Christian nation. The differences are so interesting, and since it is quite the holiday for lovers in Japan, I'd want to go with just my hubby and celebrate!

 Does your family have a special holiday recipe you like to help make?

I'm an adult, so if I make something, I make it, ha ha. Growing up though, I loved to help my mom make sugar cookies - she had this crazy cookie press, and we'd press out the designs and then decorate them. No frosting, always sprinkles and colored sugar and cinnamon buttons. To this day frosted sugar cookies seem wrong and un-Christmasy.

 Are you a pro-present wrapper, or do you fail miserably?

Growing up I was a massive pro-wrapper. I even volunteered at local stores with my Girl Scout troop. I think I used it all up, though, because I am an awful, lazy wrapper now.

Most memorable Holiday moment?

When I was young, probably around six or so, I wanted a rocking horse sooooo badly. I begged and begged for one, but my mom was sticking to her guns. Santa already had his presents for me and that was that. I don't even know if she knew where to get one. So Christmas day came, and my sister and I opened our gifts and they were awesome, but no rocking horse. Then my dad was all "oh, you forgot something" and pulled this rocking horse out from behind the couch. I was thrilled, and I remember the look on my mom's face - I don't even think she knew about it. It was like a super A Christmas Story moment, except we had more presents to open, and I never shot my eye out.

 What made you realize the truth about Santa?

My neighbor told me when I was five. I was heartbroken and my mom was pissed.

 Do you make New Years resolutions? Do you stick to them?

Nope, nope. My resolution ever year is to make the new year better than the last, and it has literally never happened.

 What makes the Holidays special for you?

Making traditions with  my family, using the season to reinforce with my kids the desire to help and give back, and remembering the blessing that we have every day. And all the perfume gift sets - can't forget those. ;)

A little something different on this Christmas Eve. Hope you enjoy this time with your loved ones! Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und alles Gute zum neuen Jahr! Pleasant journeys~




 
 

 

 
 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Episode Fifteen: Red Moon? It's Red Moon, right? (or, Luna Rossa by Prada)

So for a while (perhaps they still do) Sephora.com had Prada Luna Rossa as a GWP purchase when you used the code YOURGIFT. I didn't know anything about the scent, but I picked up several because they were excellent sized and came in a lovely case. Turns out Luna Rossa  is a men's scent, but that is okay because I think it is damn near perfection. Let's find out why.

Luna Rossa by Prada

For a masculine scent, Prada has done quite a nice job creating something that will appeal to both men and women in Luna Rossa. The packaging is sleek, masculine and nicely evokes the energy of the sailboat it was named after. It is available in 1.7 fl oz, 3.4 fl oz, and 5 fl oz from Prada.com. There is also a good selection of grooming products available in the scent, so you can round out your collection. (This includes a deodorant - oh god, how amazing would a dude smell with this deodorant? I am having an apoplexy thinking about it.)
The notes of Luna Rossa are fairly tradition, but Prada has done a lovely job reworking them into something dynamic and sensual (their words). The nose behind this scent is Daniela (Roche) Andrier (fragrantica.com) so I suppose it is she whom we should thank for this combination.
Top Notes - Lavender Absolute, Bitter Orange
Mid Notes - Clary Sage, Spearmint
Base Notes - Ambroxan, Ambrette Absolute
Promo image from Sephora.com
 Okay, so I don't know about you but I had to Google "ambroxan". Apparently it is the chemical form of Ambergris - did not know that. And "ambrette" is a medicinal plant seed that gives off a musky fragrance - the more you know, right? I am really impressed by the scent created here - at the top it is sweet, spicy and slightly floral. The lavender and bitter orange are both easily detected by my nose, and they make a pleasant combination. As it dries down the scent becomes more astringent - yet it remains sweet. Although I can't put my finger on it, I am guessing this is due to the spearmint. The dry down is musky, spicy but still slightly sweet. It is clean though, and definitely a "sporty" type of scent. This is nicely unisex in my opinion, but men take note! I've seen in reviews of this scent by men that claim to find the base somewhat off-putting. Despite being a men's "cologne" (Luna Rossa comes in EDT), this might be a scent more suited to a woman in a masculine workplace - dynamic and strong but still fresh enough to be feminine.
My Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - I love this scent but seeing the reactions online from male consumers gives me pause. It is possible that Luna Rossa Extreme would work better for some guys, with its' notes of bergamot and black pepper, but I don't own that to try. As for Luna Rossa, I definitely recommend it for anyone and I think guys will like it a lot more when they see how the ladies in their life react! ;) Buy it here.
Oh god, what a sexist review. Sorry men - I actually reallyreallyreally think this smells amazing on the masculine gender, but it seems that some guys don't feel the same? What I will have to do is have my hubby try it and get back to y'all. Until then I stand by my assertion that this is a great fragrance for men!

I don't know if I will see you all before the new year, so until then, Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Good Yule and have a Happy New Year! Pleasant journeys~




Thursday, December 18, 2014

Episode Fourteen: What's an Opoponax? (or, diptyque's Five Candle Winter Fragrance Set)

I think it is up to personal opinion what one wants to/is willing to spend on home fragrance, candles in particular. I own a variety of candles, from AirWick to lovely items by BYREDO and Frédéric Malle. Even if you don't burn them, a nice candle can be a beautiful accent that will still lightly fragrance your home. One of my favorite brands is the classic diptyque, and they offer some lovely Holiday products. So now I want to give you and in-depth breakdown and review of the five candle Winter Fragrance Set. Let's go.

diptyque Winter Fragrance Set

The set that I own is the five candle set, and was purchased by me, for my own personal use from the Bloomingdale's Space.NK boutique. This is a lovely set that retails for $75USD and is worth every penny if you prefer heavier, winter scents like I do. The set is curated carefully by diptyque to create a warm, winter atmosphere, and it does a lovely job. The five scents included are as follows:
  • Feu de Bois (Wood Fire) - "A blend of rare woods, evoking a cracking wood fire"
  • Pomander - "Like an aromatic Christmas orange studded with cloves  and cinnamon"
  • Ambre (Amber) - "The mystery of a rare substance, with woody and leathery accents"
  • Opoponax - "A resin extracted from shrubs native to Persia, with balsamic notes"
  • Genévrier (Juniper) - "The spicy, woody fragrance of an ancient conifer, warmed by a smoky touch"
Each candle in the set is the small, 35g votive size, but they burn cleanly and have nice throw. At this size, the scents won't fill your entire house, but they do perfume a small to medium size room very nicely. The presentation is superb, diptyque has done a lovely job of showcasing the set without making it seem too "Christmas-y". Unfortunately, I was to discover as I began writing this post, that the five candle set is no longer available. However I will have links below where you can find the scents that are available as individuals, as well as the ten candle set, which is still in stock.

Promotional image from Barneys.com
 From this set my favorite is Feu de Bois. It has such a lovely woodsmoke scent, as if you were sitting by the burning Yule log. My least favorite is Pomander. It smells very much like a very heavy, musky perfume (although it is much improved on burning). Biggest disappointment is Pomander again. I so much wanted it to be more spicy than it really is. Biggest surprise is a tie between Opoponax and Genévrier. Both were scents that I expected to not enjoy as much as the others, but both are lovely when burning. It is hard to tell cold with these two, you really need to burn them to get the full scent profile. All the candles burned very evenly and although I cannot find an estimated burn time for the 35g candles, the standard candles estimate a 50 - 60 hour burn time, so I am guesstimating the 35g candles at approximately 15 hours. (source: diptyqueparis.com).
 Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦ - I think it is impossible to go wrong with these scents as a candle lover. Also, should you chose to splurge on the ten candle set, you can easily break them up and give them as gifts. The ten set contains the five here as well as Santal, Cyprès, Myrrhe, Oranger, and Roses and retails for $130USD. It can still be purchased at Nordstroms. Buy it here. You can also purchase all but Genévrier as full sizes from the diptyque website, and three of the scents (Feu de Bois, Ambre, and Pomander) are available in the 70g mini candle size. Buy them here. *NEW* I've continued to look and Space.NK is selling the five candle set again. You can now purchase the set detailed in this review here.

Honestly, that was like pulling teeth. It is waaay past the time I wanted to have this posted and I still need to proofread. I am really sorry, I should have checked to see if the set was still in stock last week when I made the posting announcement, but honestly I didn't expect there to be any problems - last time I was online it was still in stock everywhere. Not sure what happened, but my bad. Hope you have a lovely day and pleasant journeys~

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Episode Thirteen: Coffee and Almonds and Sugar, Oh My! (or, Affogato by Black Violet)

Oh my god hi, how are you what day is this. Seriously I have been running amok trying to get everything sorted for the Holidays. When I am done here I am meant to be wrapping presents - I have to post some things soon or they might not arrive in time! That's not why you're reading though. You want to find out about Affogato. Okay, onward!

Affogato by Black Violet

Black Violet Perfume Vault & Bathory is a lovely independent perfumer whom I think makes really divine, easy to wear scents. Her blends are distinct enough that you don't get bored, but are not overwhelming, especially for those who don't normally wear scents with multiple accords. This sounds bad as I am writing it, but it is not - it is a really nice thing which I feel makes Black Violet's fragrances quite accessible to a large group of people (the key to lasting success, don'tcha know). Affogato is, at the time of this writing, part of the permanent BV catalog. It is a nice gourmand with broad reach, which I think will satisfy those who want a sweet gourmand and those who prefer a smoother gourmand.
Black Violet describes Affogato as "buttery vanilla drowned in espresso, burnt sugar & a drizzle of amaretto liqueur." which I find to be a very accurate description. Immediately on application I could smell the espresso, it was rich and smooth and almost like cacao, but distinctly coffee. Much to my sadness, this delectable top note vanished quickly and I was gifted with a buttery, creamy amaretto heart. I love almond accords, so I was very pleased at the richness of the heart of this scent. As it dried down the sweet, soft brown sugar began peeking through. Not one moment of this scent was unpleasant - it was sweet enough to be drool-worthy and rich and smooth enough to smell sophisticated, not childish.

Image property of olfactory-exploits.com

In all, I would say that Affogato is an excellent choice for someone unfamiliar with Black Violet or their scent catalog. It is also going to appeal to gourmand fans, and those who prefer not to have to think about their perfume. I wore this for easily four hours before I washed my hands and most of the scent dissipated. It also had moderate sillage. A good choice for anyone who enjoys a nice gourmand.
Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - Affogato is lovely and very versatile, but there is a wide range of coffee & liqueur scented gourmands on the market, which holds this one back from being extremely unique. Where to buy? Black Violet is closed for the holidays, so I will link the scent when she reopens!

Annnd there you have it. You also have your first taste of my shitty photography, made shittier by a cell camera and terrible light. Well, I hit it in Photoshop, but I am lazy and so it looks pretty half-assed. It is. Anyways I am going to go back to enjoying my delicious, delicious holiday foods because this perfume made me hungry. The sign of a good gourmand. Pleasant journeys~



     


     

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Schedule Announcement

So what, we're like ten days away from Christmas whaaat? How crazy is that. It's actually what I wanted to talk to you about.

Due to the Winter holidays, and my children being out of school, I will not be scheduling any posts between December 21st and January 10th. Now, that totally does not mean posts won't happen. I repeat posts may still go up in that time. It just means that I don't want to feel uncomfortable if I can't meet deadlines during that time.

Some things to know.
  1. Comments and questions will still be replied to. No change there.
  2. Personal posts may show up and will be labeled distinctly.
  3. I will post the January 11th - 17th schedule on January 9th. I know that seems late for the schedule, but I will be out of town earlier in the week.
I hope you all have a lovely and safe Holiday season, a merry Christmas and a happy New Year! xo and pleasant journeys~

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Episode Twelve: Ah, Ah, Ah, You didn't say the magic word! (or, Sì by Giorgio Armani)

I have, for a few years now, tried to avoid purchasing mid-market perfumes, and no offense intended but the statement. Other than my ride or die Thierry Mugler, I've been petty go about purchasing whatever the current hotness may be from Sephora, or Nordstroms or wherever. There was the Dior Addict EDP that I don't regret at all, and the Florabotanica that was a gift but otherwise, I've been focused on building my personal collection with private label, luxury, or niche fragrances.

That all changed when I learnt about the Armani Privé fragrance collection, and then on a much more affordable level, Armani . Let's find out why, shall we?

by Giorgi Armani

First of all, let's talk about how beautiful the bottle is. It is sleek and not ostentatious, and it has a cap the is reminiscent of the Armani Privé river-rock inspired designs. It is something beautiful that looks lovely on a vanity. At a price point of $70USD for 1.0 fl oz, $90USD for 1.7 fl oz or $115USD for 3.4 fl oz I definitely would be expecting to get a very nice product, both inside and out.
The scent notes
  • Top notes: Cassis
  • Mid notes: Freesia, May Rose
  • Bottom notes: Blackcurrant, Blond woods, Musk
The designer labels this as a "modern chypre" and I saw several sites that included "chypre" as a base accord. I don't personally take to this inscription - to me, is not near enough what i consider to be labeled a chypre, even a modern on. The cassis and freesia make it too sweet. The rose holds a floral musk, and the base notes combine to elevate the sweetness to a more mature musky floral. It is missing the astringent quality I associate with a chypre. Perhaps removing the May Rose and adding Lavender would have built up that quality.
Regardless of its' poor marketing strategies, I really enjoy . On me, the cassis opens up sweet and fresh, and it doesn't take long for the freesia to get into the mix. The rose is very light on me, almost non-existent, but the dry down happens nicely without a sudden loss of the top and mid note, so for a good hour I am smelling all the notes as they were meant to be. It is a beautiful mix of sweet, damp florals and musky woods. It is sweet but not too sweet, floral but not musty and wooded without being heavy. is a lovely scent that is easy to wear, and appropriate for all but the most somber occasions. You'll get moderate sillage and good longevity from the EDP and if you want something heavier the EDP Intense is available, but it is a bit much for me. I will stick to the original.

Armani promo pic from sephora.com

Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - A really nice scent that should appeal to the masses, including myself, and a nice gateway into the Armani Privé. Buy it here.

I'm actually getting a gift set for Christmas and I am looking forward to it! What do you hope Santa brings you this year? Let me know in the comments below! Pleasant journeys~

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Episode ElevenPointFive: I'll Sleep, You Talk (or, The Siesta/Discussion Fiesta)

Since I didn't explain before quick rundown - on Saturday Siestas I am going to be boring and talk about my self. I might answer tag questions, or make one up myself. The post may be über long or like, the shortest of short.

Discussions will be simply that - I will put forth an idea, mention my stance, and allow further discussion to take place in the comments. There will be some moderation, of course, just for vileness. Today's post is a combo of both those things, so let's get started

I am going to be answering the tag questions from the 7 Deadly Sins Tag. However, I am going to change quite a few of them, so that they reflect fragrance-related questions. The original tag questions are from the Discovering Beauty blog.

1. Greed: What is the most expensive perfume you own?

At this moment it is the 2009 Guerlain Mon Précieux Nectar 120mL. It is a perfume extract and I love the rich scent, and the beautiful presentation. Before, it was the remains of a beautiful, early bottle of Shalimar. Most likely, it was from the original release of the scent, I was owned by my great-grandmother, one of the very few luxuries she had as a farmer's wife. I claimed it when my Grandma was going to toss it in a move. I didn't even care for scent then, but thought the antique bottle should be saved. I wish I had had that perfume looked at by an expert. It would have been nice to have a date and a value. Ah well, you live you learn.

2.Wrath: What perfumes do you have a love/hate relationship with? What has been the hardest to track down?

I love/hate Viktor&Rolf's Flowerbomb. It is so sweet, it smells like a middle school restroom, but at the same time it is so divine and settles my craving for candy like nothing else. The hardest to track down is a scent I don't even know the name of. I owned it Before, it was a gift, and now the name is lost, but I know what the bottle looked like and how it smelled. Perfume counter ladies look at me like I am crazy, and I have yet to brave perfume forums, but perhaps one day... I just want to smell it again and see if my memories are playing tricks on me.

  3. Gluttony: What are your most delecious-smelling perfumes?

The most delicious smelling is a limited edition perfume oil from the indie company Alchemic Muse. The perfume is called Loukoum and it may be the only citrus-scent I've ever been able to bear. It smells like lemon, rose and mint with a soft and sticky sweetness that make it just like its' namesake, Lokoum, or Turkish Delight. It is so, so sosososo good, and what I wear when I need a pick-me-up.

 4. Sloth: What perfume do you neglect, due to laziness?

My Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black and Nirvana White. Truthfully, I doth say the two be-ith incredibly boring worn alone. It is only when the two a worn as a pair that they become something truly marvelous. But, since I have to remember to wear them both I usually just pass, because I am lazy.

5. Pride: Which perfume gives you the most self confidence?

A wonderful, seasonal release from the indie brand Haus of Gloi. It is part of their Autumn catalog and it is the scent The Horseman. This is a scent that costs a fraction of the price of many of my other scents, but when I wear it people notice. I don't get compliments on how I smell, I get treated like I am the finest of old money in the country, like a Rockefeller or an Astor or a Carnegie. It's the most unsettling, amazing thing and I prize it, so I rarely wear my stash of this scent. Of hear from other people who wore The Horseman and got the same reaction, so there is definitely something about this particular fragrance that works in strange ways.

6. Lust: What is your favorite scent on your preferred mate?

Historically, I have loved the drugstore scent Aspen for Men by Coty. It's an amazing fougère, really one of the best of the male scents Coty has produced, in my opinion. For my husband in particular I love the now-discontinued scent Givenchy pour Homme by Givenchy (the red label). It is so masculine and woody, it pretty much makes my ovaries explode. (TMI? TMI.) Now that it is discontinued, I also like Givenchy Gentlemen Only, although the two are not really similar at all.

7. Envy: What you most like to receive as a gift?

I don't have one particular scent. My favorite perfumes are Guerlain, so I'd be happy with anything from them and right now I am totally lemming the Diana Vreeland perfume line. I love Simply Divine and Extravagance Russe. I'd also love to get anything from Parfum d'Empire, especially Ambre Russe.

Now that I've answered all these questions I am going to pose one to you. What one scent note do you despise more than any other and why? I'll go first but remember, all opinions are welcome, all are valid, obvious trolling will be deleted and troublemakers shut down. Have at it.

I cannot stand toasted coconut. Fresh coconut is fine, but toasted coconut smells like burnt hair and makes me want to vomit. I've even purchased scents without a hint of coconut in them, but because something combined to give that smell, I have had to give them away. I hate the smell and because of that have grown to hate the taste as well - so no toasted coconut for me.

If anyone else chooses to chime in, I will be responding to discussions in the comments! So please comment if you'd like and pleasant journeys~

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Episode Eleven: Burberry, My Burberry, Whereforth Art Thou, Burberry? (or, My Burberry by Burberry Fragrance Review)

WHEW. I cannot say Burberry one more time, so Imma let you know right now, the brand is simply B and the scent MB from here on out. We cool? Cool.

My Burberry by Burberry

Ah shit, it happened again. Anyways, MB is newest scent from B, released in the fall of 2014. It is readily available in 30mL, 50mL, and 90mL EDP as well as body care items. The Burberry website even offers a massive collector's edition 900mL retailing for $2800 USD. They truly expect this fragrance to be a big hit for them. Another lovely offering - you may monogram the 90mL bottle for free as a part of your purchase.

 Marketing image from us.burberry.com

The bottle is quite pretty, glass with amber liquid and inspired by "the iconic Burberry Trench", according to press material. With the monogram, it makes quite a show piece, but I would be careful about the longevity of this one when left on a vanity or dresser especially in direct light. It has a quality that I imagine will go bad quickly if not properly care for. Its' plethora of floral notes are not going to age well exposed to direct light and heat.
Top Notes: Sweet Pea, Bergamot
Mid Notes: Geranium, Freesia, Quince
Base Notes: Patchouli, Damask and Centifolia Rose
-via the Burberry My Burberry page
The scent at first spritz is pleasing, fresh and floral. I quickly began to realize the MB smelled like something I was familiar with... something I hated. Then it struck me. MB smells like a high-class version of Bath & Body Works'  Sweet Pea. I had previously owned Sweet Pea in EDT and this was it exactly. And oh, how I hate that scent. Even once the sweet pea note has dried from the top, the freesia, patchouli and rose combine to keep this a strangely fresh floral that I simply don't find to be modern or groundbreaking. It has excellent longevity (4 hours then I washed my hand, and could still smell it another two hours) and you will definitely get asked about your scent a lot, so sillage is good too. (Remember, Sweet Pea is a BBW best seller!) However I cannot recommend this scent unless you are already in love with the less expensive Bath & Body Works version, and want to graduate college soon, so you need a scent a woman would wear.
Rating: ♦♦ - Not unpleasant, but not original or even very interesting. The olfactory equivalent of a PB&J. Buy it here.

I think there are probably quite a few who disagree with me, and I'd love to hear why you like this scent in the comments below! As for me, I am going to continue to try diligently to get it off my hand - the stuff sticks around! Pleasant journeys~

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Episode Ten: Pretty, Pretty Candlelight (or, Festival of Lights by Yankee Candle)

This is just a mini review because honestly, there isn't much to say about this candle that isn't already found on the review page for the item on Yankee Candle's website. Nevertheless, my thoughts.

Festival of Lights by Yankee Candle

I am reviewing the 22oz, single-wick, Large Jar candle, which I am preeeettty sure (not positive, so don't get mad) that is the only size and version this comes in. The candle its self is gorgeous - a beautiful, lit Menorah graces the label and stars twinkle on a background of white snow lit by the soft lights. The candle is a deep, midnight blue. One of the most beautiful candles I own. Although a seasonal candle (the designated fragrance collection is "Festive"), this is also one of their "limited" scents which means that it will not be available in all stores, and is available only in limited quantities online. However, I have found that most stores still carry these limited scents, even if they don't put it on the shelf, so if you are looking for Festival of Lights at your local Yankee Candle store, make sure you ask if you don't see it!
Yankee Candle describes the scent as "A blend of savory spices, rich cinnamon and sweet potpourri to celebrate the season". Many customers have pointed out that this is another recycled version of the popular  Home Sweet Home scent, and I tend to agree. The biggest difference is that when I cold sniff Festival of Lights (hereafter abbreviated as FoL) I get a massive dose of metallic twang, the olfactory equivalent of sucking on an empty metal spoon. It isn't unpleasant to me, quite the opposite. It takes a generic scent and makes it interesting. Once lit, however, the scent (which my mind imagines to be the scent of a flickering candle) is extremely faint, and doesn't throw at all. In fact I agree with a lot of the other customers, that over all FoL just doesn't have a big throw. Enough for a small to medium room only, even in the large jar. Perhaps if this were the large tumbler, the throw would be better.
The burn time for this candle, on the other hand is quite good. I've had it for a year now, and have spent I'd imagine about 80 hours burning this candle and it is half finished. Yankee Candle estimates the large jar's burn time at 110-150 hours, so this will definitely fall on the long side of that. I find that most of YC's candles with dark wax are very slow to burn, FoL being no exception. It takes at least four hours to build up a full melt pool even with the wick kept trimmed. Because of the heavy glass,, I usually burn my YC candles a bit longer than my other brands, but I am still only getting about two hours of full strength when burning FoL.
In all, I'd say that this is a lovely candle to have in your collection, especially if you like to burn candles seasonally. There aren't a huge selection of Hanukkah candles widely available, so that makes FoL a nice way to remember that there are other holidays this time of year as well as Christmas. I'd say add this to your collection, but only if you plan on taking advantage of YC's  buy two, get two free or other deals. Unfortunately, when it comes to Yankee Candle in most cases the quality doesn't justify the price, so make sure you maximize your savings!

 Promotional image from yankeecandle.com

Rating: ♦♦♦ - I'd prefer to buy it for its' aesthetic beauty as opposed to its' scent, but if you are getting sick of the same old Christmas candles everywhere, Festival of Lights is a very nice alternative. Buy it here.

So what started as a mini review turned into a full review. My bad... not really. Another review is coming up on Friday and then more reviews next week, holy shit. Can you handle it? I hope I can. Pleasant journeys~


Posting Schedule December 14th - 20th

Since next week I will have no scheduled posts (I will make a separate announcement later) I wanted to do something a little different this week. So it will be the four days of fragrance reviews!

  • Sunday (December 14th) - Fragrance review of Giorgio Armani .
  • Tuesday (December 16th) - Fragrance review of Black Violet Affogato.
  • Thursday (December 18th) - Fragrance review of diptyque's Winter Fragrance Set - five candles.
  • Saturday (December 20th) - Fragrance review of Prada Luna Rossa.


I'm keeping it to a mix - one popular woman's scent, one men's scent, one indie scent and one home scent. I give you a spoiler - I chose all of these because I have tried them and I know that none of them are bad. But how good are they? You'll have to stay tuned to find out! Pleasant journeys~

Episode Nine: Is This The Easiest Part? No. (or, Gifting Scents That Are For Body or Home)

When I had originally decided I wanted to offer some tips about buying fragrance gifts for the Holidays I had planned to make three parts - perfume, body, and home. Then a friend mentioned how confused he was when a shop assistant asked if he'd like EDT or EDP for the gift he was getting his girlfriend, and the terminology section was born. I thought I would drop the "body" but after more consideration, I think I will keep it, and just condense body and home in to smaller sections of a single post. There isn't too much to say about either that can't be pulled from the first installment of this guide. (Here it is for reference)

So for body it is a brief mention of types, and whether or not a body product should be the same as your perfume. For the home, I will mention the pros and cons of different types, if you should consider the location the scent will be, and for both subjects some good recommendations of gifts. Alrighty, let's start. I lied, about all of that. Whatever, let's start.

Body Care

I think the biggest concerns people have when gifting body care is that they don't want to choose a scent that is disliked, but they also don't want to chose something that will clash with the recipient's current fragrance or fragrance routine. Although it seems a bit daunting, it is fairly easy to buy body care gifts. At the very least, the scent of body care lingers only for a while, and most people are not re-applying, so if you get something they don't like much, it will not be a travesty.
If you are unable to determine a well-liked scent or product beforehand, shopping at a popular retailer is the easiest bet to find some thing the recipient will like. The most popular body care specialty stores in my area are Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop and LUSH. Both BBW (no comment - it's the easiest acronym) and The Body Shop are fairly common in most malls on the West Coast, and although LUSH isn't as widely available in brick and mortar stores, it can be purchased online. As always I must stress - MAKE SURE that the gift recipient is allergy free, and also be aware of their choices regarding animal products and animal testing. Shea is a tree nut butter, and widely used. Lanolin is a property often used that is an animal by-product. Because these products are applied directly to the body, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of what can and cannot be worn.
For a quick trip, chose a store that has the products you are looking for and ask what the most popular scent or product is. Favorites are favorites for a reason, and there is a good chance the recipient will enjoy the choice. A bonus- these faves are usually available nicely packaged for gifting. Another easy choice are the seasonal scents. Giving a gift that is appropriate for the season, and not available year-round, makes it more personal than just getting what the shop assistant points out. If buying what's easy doesn't appeal to you, it is always a nice personal touch if you give the recipient your favorite and help them understand how much you wanted to share it with them.
If you are concerned that the choice will mix poorly with the recipient's current scents, keep the fragrance types I talked about before in mind - and remember some key notes. Vanilla mixes well with most scents and will heighten and sweeten a fragrance. Musk, woods and leathers will deepen a scent and make them more masculine. They work well in gourmand, floral and aquatic scents, but may not work with all fruits or citrus. (Remember, may not. Adding a leather to a citrus might smell amazing. I just wouldn't risk it, for a gift.) Coconut will enliven fruits and floral, making them smell more tropical. Then my old favorite, citrus (it's not my fave, silly, have you read this blog before?) will add a fresh, clean pop to most scents. Even if you don't know what they normally wear, just imagine how they usually smell to you, and think about how the item you are considering would smell when paired with that. As for what type of body care, I'd personally stick to the stand-by of body cream (or lotion) and shower gel. A simple combo that almost anyone can use.

Home Fragrance

Imma answer your questions here real quick, because I am tired, I wanna post this, and it's pretty easy. 1. Candle, reed diffuser, plug-in... what to get? 2. Scent?
Okay people, let's make this clear. Don't buy anyone a plug-in (of any type), air freshener, car freshener, et cetera as a gift unless they have specifically asked for it. Beyond the fact that there are eight million different brands and everyone has a specific one they like, it is a little tacky. I said it. Air fresheners, "room refreshers", or what have you, are a tacky gift. Disagree? Politely tell me in the comments. Buy a candle as a gift. If they can't, or won't burn a candle then buy a scent diffuser. (I love the reeds, but scented stones or even *gasp* potpourri is better than air freshener, even though it does the same thing.) Be careful shipping a diffuser though, the oils can leak. The reason I say this is because these are beautiful gifts that can be left on display around the clock. The air fresheners are hidden away and while useful, do not install a sense of happiness and gratitude. Candle. Buy the candle.
Scent. Easy. If you're buying for a man (yes, you CAN buy a man a candle. He may not want you to, but he will appreciate it.) buy food scents. Pumpkin pie has been rumored to be the most popular scent among males, but vanilla is an easier, more versatile choice. Lavender. citrus. Woods and/or musk - things that are manly and clean. Look for homemade foods or clean male. Done.
Ladies are harder because what we like to smell on ourselves doesn't always translate to what we like to smell in our homes.That's why everyone is going to kill me when I say this. If you want to buy a home scent a lady is guaranteed not to hate, choose a citrus or homemade food scent. The same as a guy! Horror! Not really. Pretty simple when you think about it. No woman has ever not used lemon or other citrus scents in or around her kitchen (except you, you special snowflake) and no woman has ever not considered buying a "Vanilla and something" or "Something and Mint" for the home. Because we don't want our homes to smell like our bodies - we want them to smell clean. So sniff that candle, or those reeds. Does that smell like a clean house? If so, you're golden.
*One caveat. Floral scents and heavy room scents can be migraine triggers for many people. I try to avoid gifting floral in home scent, and make sure whatever I choose is lightly scented but has good throw.
You can buy amazing, high quality candles at Bath & Body Works, often for dirt cheap. (This Saturday, December 12 2014 all 14.5oz, 3-wick candles will be $8 USD) Another popular chain that is dedicated to home fragrance alone is Yankee Candle and they have some amazing scents. They also carry a terrible line of Man Candles, DO NOT buy those for any man unless it is a gag gift. Jo Malone, diptyque, NEST and Henri Bendel all make lovely candles at a higher price point (keep in mind that NEST is the creation of Laura Slatkin, whose husband developed the candle line currently used at Bath & Body Works and that Henri Bendel is owned by L Brands, Inc. who also own Bath & Body Works so there is a lot of mixing going on in the candle world, whoops). More and more designer brands are beginning to offer candles as a part of their fragrance lines, if you want a truly luxurious gift.

So yahhh, okay, you know that is about it all right? And I didn't do Saturday Siesta OR the Monday discussion so I am going to go right now and write a post merging those two things together, and I will post it sometime this week. As for this post, I am super tired so please be kind and ignore typos or sentence structure boo boos. I can't see to even proofread, boo boo!

As for my guide to buying fragrance gifts for this Holiday season, it is now complete! Hanukkah starts in less than a week, Christmas is in only two weeks and if you aren't celebrating, or you are celebrating something different this Holiday season, I hope this guide can be of some help either today, tomorrow or the next time you need a gift for someone. Until then, pleasant journeys~




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Posting Schedule December 8th - 13th

It's that time, yes, the time when I start trying to figure out what to talk about. Not hard, I can talk about anything. This week!

  • Monday (December 8th) - Discussion time! A super-secret discussion topic related to perfume.
  • Wednesday (December 10th) - Next week's posting schedule and a mini-review on Yankee Candle's Festival of Lights, so you can grab it if you want, before the start of Hanukkah!
  • Friday (December 12th) - Fragrance review of Burberry My Burberry.

Whew! What a grueling schedule. No, really. Whatever, if you all like the discussion and/or people actually participate, I will try to make it a regular feature. No promises. Promises let you down and then you are sad and I don't want you to be sad. Pleasant journeys~

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Episode Eight: It's Time for a Fragrance Review! (or Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone)

I want to put this out there - I do not love all Jo Malone products. As a company, I am actually not that fond of Jo Malone (here after abbreviated as JM) but I think there is a good selection of interested scents for both personal and home use, so they are worth talking about.

Today I want to talk about the newest addition to the line of permanent colognes. Because I am tired, let's go.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Wood Sage & Sea Salt (here after abbreviated as WSS) is classified by JM as a woody scent, and I agree with this classification. All of the expected notes are very easily distinguished. The top is lightly woodsy with a definite salty tang. Drying down leaves a warm, sweet wood and the clear scent of sage. From Jo Malone's website: Escape the everyday along the windswept shore. Waves breaking white, the air fresh with sea salt and spray. Alive with the mineral scent of the rugged cliffs. Mingling with the woody earthiness of sage. Lively, spirited and totally joyful.
This is a fresh for those who like woods, and a woody scent for those who like fresh. The combination manages to be both uplifting and grounded. When you take into consideration that all JM scents are designed to be worn layered for a custom combination, you can see how WSS would make an excellent anchor to a scent such as English Pear & Freesia or Nectarine Blossom & Honey - scents that are too light and airy for regular wear alone. WSS itself, however, is deep enough to be worn alone. It joins Pomegranate Noir and White Jasmine & Mint as the JM colognes I own that can fit into that category.
Promotional image from jomalone.com

Wood Sage & Sea Salt comes in two standard sizes, 30mL for $60 US and 100mL for $120 US. This is one of the few JM scent I recommend buying in the larger size, but that is up to you. WSS also comes in home fragrances including 200g Home candle, 250mL Body & Hand Wash and the lovely 175mL Body Crème. If you prefer to shop offline, JM products are available in Jo Malone Boutiques, select Neiman Marcus and select Nordstroms.

Pros: Universally pleasing scent, light sillage.
Cons: As colognes, JM scents do not last a long time without layering. WSS is no exception. It has very short longevity, only about 2-3 hours on my skin.

Rating: ♦♦♦♦ - if you are new to Jo Malone, this is an excellent choice especially if buying "scent" unseen. For seasoned JM fans, this is a good addition to add depth to lighter fruit and floral scents. Buy it here.
 Hope you all enjoyed today's review, and let me know if you'd like to see more Jo Malone posts! I own quite a few colognes and candles, and I would love to do more reviews, or create a post with my top Fragrance Combining™ choices! Pleasant journeys~