Monthly Archives: January 2017

Rahele by Neela Vermeire Creations

Notes of green mandarin, cardamom, cinnamon, violet leaf, osmanthus, rose, magnolia, jasmine, iris, violet, cedar, sandalwood, oakmoss, patchouli and leather.

Neela Vermeire Creations produce fabulously opulent scents that interpret India through French perfumery.  Their latest fragrance, Rahele (“Traveller”) was – as usual – composed by superstar perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour. It was inspired by three 17th Century French travellers to India whose books about the country left a lasting impression on many Europeans.

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Rahele sets off with a beautiful, perfectly rounded, green mandarin note. It’s like sniffing the whole fruit with its zesty peel and green leaves intact. It’s supported by that classic rose/iris accord which fondly reminds of old-fashioned cosmetics.

This is a perfume which is primarily focused on osmanthus and I soon pick up on its softly sweet, apricot-tinged, floral aroma. The effect gradually becomes riper and more vivid as we move into the heart of the fragrance. Although we are travelling, it’s at a leisurely pace.

Perhaps we are aboard The Palace on Wheels, the former Maharaja’s luxury train. I feel a real sense of calm, as if gently rocked by the carriage, gazing out entranced at the countryside passing by. It is indeed India several steps removed – viewed from someone who is only passing through, rather than up close and personal.

The florals are like watercolour smudges while the spices are treated with an incredibly light touch and only give the faintest sense of place. The apricot facet of osmanthus is emphasised in the opening and heart, while its suede-like facet is emphasised in the base. I love how the dry leather is backed by deep green oakmoss. It gives the drydown depth, contrast and sophistication. This is when the fragrance goes from being lovely to downright gorgeous.

Rahele is a thing of beauty; a soothing daydream of a faraway place overflowing with fruit and flora, but with a shadier side. It’s by far my favourite fragrance from NVC which seem to improve with every release. Their last creation, Pichola, was the first tuberose perfume I’ve fallen for, which is no small feat considering my usual aversion to the note.

The other perfumes in the line-up all have a lot of throw but Rahele takes a different path. It’s much more intimate and I find it all the more alluring for it. It entices you to come and explore just beyond the boundary. It whispers of untold lusciousness; a sheltered sanctuary where everything is unfurling for your eyes – and nose – only.

Although it may not be a heavy-hitter it is no will-0′-the-wisp. It’s incredibly tenacious, staying with me for most of the day.

This dream-like scent takes me out of my surroundings and out of myself.  It’s rare that a perfume can transport and soothe me to such a degree, but Rahele does just that.

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Have you tried Rahele? Do you like any osmanthus perfumes?

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New Year, New You! – Perfume Lovers London, 17th January 2017

I am a self-improvement junkie so the idea of exploring the various ways scents have promised to enhance our lives over the centuries was right up my street. PLL has switched nights from Thursdays to Tuesdays so I had to miss yoga which might have made it counter-productive but it was well worth it.

 

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Callum introduced the topic by saying that perfume ads have become more and more infamous with increasingly outrageous claims. Therefore he and Laurin decided to look at the aromatic ingredients which were historically supposed to provide you with certain positive results and then match those notes to modern day perfumes for us to try.

 

Relax!

As Laurin pointed out, 2016 was a difficult year for many so what we needed first of all was to relax. She had looked into how laudanum had been drunk by the Victorians. Apparently Lord Byron was a laudanum addict and because it was opium based, it was associated with opium dens. However it was taken by respected authors to help them sleep and there was even a recipe for home use in Culpeper’s Complete Herbal (1653) which went as follows:

“Take of Thebane Opium extracted in spirit of Wine, one ounce, Saffron alike extracted, a dram and an half, Castorium one dram: let them be taken in tincture of half an ounce of species Diambræ newly made in spirit of Wine, add to them Ambergris, Musk, of each six grains, oil of Nutmegs ten drops, evaporate the moisture away in a bath, and leave the mass.”

Callum picked Musc Tonkin by Parfum d’Empire to represent the relaxing properties of laudanum because of all the animal ingredients mentioned in the recipe.  It’s as close to real musk as he’s experienced in a perfume. For Laurin “It smells a bit disreputable. I don’t mean this in a bad way, but it has a slightly dirty, soiled smell.”

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The Ancient Greeks believed that illness was a result of an imbalance in The Four Humors; black bile, yellow bile, phlegm and blood.

An imbalance in black bile was thought to cause conditions such as melancholia and nervousness: basically anything we’d treat with antidepressants today. The element of earth was associated with black bile. Vetiver being earthy and supposedly very grounding, we tried Lune de Givre by Cloon Keen Atelier. Callum described it as “a very easy, relaxing vetiver” which it was and I’m not usually vetiver fan.

 

Thwart Your Enemies!

 

Laurin had trouble finding revenge spells on the internet because those that practice magic don’t want you harming others. Although unsurprisingly, you can pay someone to cast a revenge spell for you.  Ingredients that did come up were often woods (particularly cedar) and hemlock. Hemlock paralyses the body and leads to a very unpleasant death.

Forest Walk by Sonoma Scent Studio features a hemlock note (though entirely safe!) and Callum called it “Weirdly witchy” with “a smoky base to represent the burning bodies of your enemies.” Unfortunately samples of this one weren’t available on the night but it’s the perfume I enjoyed the most.

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Achieve Great Wealth!

 

Laurin found that patchouli and cinnamon featured heavily in spells for attracting wealth although with patchouli you also run the risk of attracting unsavoury types.

As Callum pointed out, Behind the Rain by Paul Schutze is a cold, incensy, peppery fragrance with a very smooth patchouli note.

Laurin found a recipe for Money Oil which she made up and added a few drops to some green candles for us to take home. We’ll be millionaires!

“7 drops Patchouli oil, 5 drops Cedarwood oil, 1 drop Basil oil, 1 drop Clove oil, 10ml base oil, small piece of cinnamon stick- Blend all the oil’s together & bottle. Add the small piece of cinnamon stick to the bottle. Use to anoint candles in money / prosperity spells.”

 

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Callum had really wanted Robert Piguet’s Knightsbridge (a leather fragrance exclusive to Harrods) to represent wealth for obvious reasons.

Live Forever. Sort Of!

 

“If you can’t live forever you want to at least live forever in people’s minds.” Laurin told us that peppermint had been shown in tests to improve memory so the chosen perfume featuring this note was Memoir Man by Amouage.

Callum had a wonderfully specific picture of this scent. “I’m at a kitchen in the countryside where it’s raining outside and there are potatoes on the boil.” The spuds mirroring the earthy facet of Memoir Man.

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Laurin found there are many spells designed to keep you looking eternally youthful. They largely used rose which makes sense as it’s associated with feeling beautiful in aromatherapy. We tried Eau Rose by Diptyque which is a very nice, fresh rose with notes of bergamot and lychee.

 

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Find True Love!

 

Laurin told us that Sex Appeal by Jovan came out in 1975 and the advert featured a He-Man type. Callum read a little of the ad copy which included lines such as “Sex Appeal – Now you don’t have to be born with it” and “Attract women, at will”.

 

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It was very medicinal and I could almost taste it at the back of my throat. As Laurin confirmed, it’s very camphor-like but apparently does soften down. Marginally better was Apollo by Lynx (Axe in the States) which Callum told us was done by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian. As you may know, “The Lynx Effect” is supposed to send hoards of women chasing men down the street. No one in the room found Apollo sexy but it was nostalgic for one guy.

A higher end version for women is Scent of a Dream by make-up brand Charlotte Tilbury which was released last year. Laurin was pleasantly surprised by it and Callum thought it was “a perfectly nice scent”. However, it would be quite difficult for anything to live up to the advertising copy which Laurin perfectly described as “word salad” –

“SCENT OF A DREAM is a first-of-its-kind ‘floral chypre’ perfume harmony – featuring a blend of confidence-boosting JOY top notes, intoxicating FLEUROTIC heart notes, plus ‘pheromone’ base notes… It’s mind-altering ‘fleurotic frequency’ creates an emotional pathway to the body’s ENERGY CENTRES igniting and attracting LOVE, LIGHT, POWER, POSITIVITY and SEX to the wearer. IT‘S THE KEY TO ATTRACTION”

At the bargain price of £7 a bottle you can also buy Attract Men or Attract Women by Mojo Pro. Their scents are supposed to contain pheromones and despite there being no scientific evidence for them acting on humans,  Callum’s mate told him that a friend of his swore after he started wearing it, the most attractive girl in his year at uni wouldn’t leave him alone.

Two audience members (one male and one female) had been sprayed with the perfumes and we had to try and sniff them out from a group of six. We pretty much failed so make of that what you will.

Molecule 01 by Escentric Molecules  is another supposed pheromone perfume which is meant to smell different on everyone, although Laurin said she regularly recognises it on people. An audience member owns it but never had any man chase after her in the street to ask what she was wearing. Callum said pheromones are a load of nonsense and Laurin felt we were ending the evening on rather a sad note as a result, but we now had the scent solutions to relaxation, thwarting our enemies, great wealth and eternal youth. What more could you ask for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fancy A Cuppa?

I’m a tea person. I’ve never liked coffee (although I like the aroma) and since giving up squash and fruit juice, I now only drink water, green juice and tea. You can imagine which one of these I enjoy the most.

The narrowing down of my beverage options has motivated me to look into improving my daily tea experience.  I’ve long been aware that tea-bags contain little more than the sweepings from the factory floor, but now I’m finally investigating loose leaf tea for the first time.

Just before Christmas my sister bought me a lovely little tea pot with a built-in infuser and so I needed something to put in it. I bought a cannister of Gold Leaf Tea from M&S thinking this would be a good start. Sadly, it’s very powdery and is very strong, so I decided to look online. I searched for organic teas (considering I’m trying to go in that direction with my food) and came across TeaLyra.

After suffering from duodenal ulcers about ten years ago, I was advised to avoid black tea early in the day, so I drink at lot of Rooibos (or Red Bush) tea from South Africa. It is caffeine-free and is said to contain a number of minerals and is a high source of calcium, iron, potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium and zinc  I don’t think it tastes as good as black tea but I can drink it with half a sugar and no milk. Unfortunately I can’t abide herbal or fruit teas.

I ordered some Organic Rooibos Pure from the website as well as a small amount of Organic Orange Pekeo Ceylon.  I wanted a “proper” tea to have around 4.30pm (tea-time!) and really liked the softness of the Ceylon tea-bags a work colleague brought me back from Sri Lanka. It turns out Orange Pekeo doesn’t mean it has an orange flavour but that the young leaves are picked when the tips first open. Not unlike perfume, tea is a whole world of its own with its accompanying jargon, varieties and of course, connoisseurs.

Obviously I have a lot to learn, so tell me…

 

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Do you have a love of loose leaf tea? What are your favourite varieties and where do you purchase them from? Have you tried any of the teas by Aftelier Perfumes? What equipment do you use and do you drink it from china or glass?

Let’s talk tea in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Giveaway Winner Announced!

To celebrate my one year blogoversary on New Year’s Day, I held a giveaway for decants of two treasures from my perfume collection – Vega EDT and Vol de Nuit vintage parfum.

It was lovely to have so many people (22) enter the draw, a number of whom had been reading but not commented before. I hope you’ll join in again in the future.

I put the names into Random.org and the winner is bluefroggi.

Congratulations, bluefroggi! Please email me via abottledrose at gmail dot com with your postal address and I’ll keep everything crossed that your prize gets to you.

 

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Many thanks to everyone who entered and/or sent well wishes. I really appreciated it.

 

 

 

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Happy New Year – and a Giveaway!

Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

May 2017 bring you everything you wish for, or at the very least, an improvement on 2016. Last year was a tough one for many so it’s quite likely you’re glad to see the back of it. I hope you had fun celebrating last night in whatever way you chose.

 

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While global events troubled me deeply, on a personal level 2016 was  resoundingly positive. I managed to go from Couch to 5K and not only raised over £300 for charity but finally felt motivated enough to change my diet for the better. I also ticked three destinations off my bucket list: Venice, Barcelona and Edinburgh and even began embracing red lipstick.

Starting A Bottled Rose on the 1st January made me start the year as I meant to go on. Like many bloggers, I’ve felt the pressure to post regularly but it’s been great. The blog has made me feel more connected to this brilliant community and there’s been so much great stuff to write about.  Indie scents like Vanilla Smoke and Amber Tapestry by Aftelier Perfumes, Vanilla Hinoki by aroma M and a selection from April Aromatics have been particularly inspiring. It’s also been fun to continue reporting on the events run by Perfume Lovers London, which were kicked off magnificently this year by Portia’s extravaganza in January. It brought together many of dearest friends from near and far.

Other highlights were a visit to Papillon Perfumes HQ,  finally meeting my pal Tina G of Australian Perfume Junkies and the exquisite Scented Supper in honour of Mandy Aftel’s visit to London.

Now for the giveaway! To celebrate my first blog anniversary and to thank you for reading, I’d like to send one of you lovely, intelligent, no doubt extremely attractive individuals, a a little of two of the most precious perfumes in my collection. The winner will receive a 4ml decant of Guerlain’s wondrous, rare and discontinued floral aldehyde perfume, Vega and 2ml of  my beloved vintage oriental chypre Vol de Nuit parfum (also by Guerlain).

 

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As you might be aware, stringent rules and regulations now mean it is extremely difficult to post perfume outside, or even inside, the UK. However, I’m willing to take a chance if you are, so while I won’t be able to guarantee your prize will reach you, I’ll try my best.

The draw is open to everyone from anywhere in the world until midnight on 9th January 2017. To enter, please tell me in the comments below which perfume/s you’ve enjoyed wearing the most in 2016, whether old or new. The winner will be chosen via Random.org on the 10th January and announced here.

Best of luck!

 

 

 

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