Tag Archives: Paris

24 Hour Perfume People – A Parisian Photo Essay

Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies invited me to join her and pals for an April trip to Paris a while ago. I thought I had better give it a miss considering I had booked a big holdaiy for July. Then last Wednesday I had one of those “life is short” moments and got on to fellow frag fanatic Lisa, to see if I could travel with her for the weekend. (Look out for her write-up on I Scent You A Day).

On Friday we boarded the Eurostar at St. Pancras.

 

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‘I Want My Time With You’ – Tracey Emin’s new pro-EU artwork.

 

On arrival at the Gare du Nord, we headed straight for the Metro.

 

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Photo credit: Lisa Jones

 

Lisa was staying at a hotel in the Latin Quarter while I was sleeping on the sofabed at Portia’s Airbnb, conveniently located in Les Halles. Before we met the others we found time to visit a huge French pharmacy. These places are full of amazing skincare that is often cheaper than back home. My usual Nuxe lip balm costs £9.50 but I got a couple here for 6.99 euro each.

 

 

When I arrived at the apartment, Scott was sorting through his precious scent strips from their trip to The Osmotheque the day before. He kindly let me sniff the recreated Iris Gris.

 

 

That evening we walked past the amazing Pompidou Centre on our way to dinner in the very cool Marais district.

 

 

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Pompidou Centre

 

 

The next morning we had croissants by the pond in the Tuileries gardens. Portia harassed the ducks and we messed about in front of The Louvre.

 

 

 

Then we made our way to the Jardin du Palais-Royal to meet up with the others (14 in total) for a 10am appointment at Serge Lutens.

 

 

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Jardin du Palais-Royal

 

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Tim and Lisa, with Margo in the background being fabulous (as per).

 

 

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A Portia Photobomb

 

 

 

 

 

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We went up the hallowed spiral staircase where few mortals are allowed to go.

 

 

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Each of the three tables had 4 different bell jars – and macarons!

 

 

After an introduction about Serge Lutens – the man himself – the staff passed around paper strips dipped into each of the twelve fragrances in turn. With strips in hand, they then read some corresponding background information about them.

The bell jars included Santal de Mysore (spiced), Miel de Bois (happily urine-free), Iris Silver Mist (bliss), Borneo 1834 (yum), Cuir Mauresque (greasy leather – in a good way), Chene (great), Un Bois Sepia (ugh), Fumerie Turque (very popular with the room), La Myrrhe (classy) and Rose de Nuit (own it).

 

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Afterwards, we were able to request others. I asked to try Une Voix Noire (which I thought I might buy) and De Profundis on skin along with Iris Silver Mist.

 

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Une Voix Noire turned out to be a transparent, almost honeyed, white floral. It was rather lovely but because it wasn’t the smoky gardenia I’d expected, it threw me.  I reckoned it was too much of a risk to purchase on the spot (I need a decant first).

 

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The Cool Kids Table

 

The one I decided to buy was Iris Silver Mist because I’m trash for iris and it isn’t as carrot-y or metallic as it used to be. When I thanked one of the SAs on my way downstairs and told her I was buying ISM, she told me it was currently available as a 30ml travel atomiser with a 30ml refill. At 120 euro for a total of 60ml (which I can spray!) compared to 190 euro for the 75ml bell jar, this was a result.

Just about everyone came away with something. In Portia’s case, three somethings – La Myrrhe, Chene and Chypre Rouge.

 

 

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Le Waft

 

 

Below left is the box and then below right is the black travel atomiser full of ISM, with the refill alongside it. I’ve worn it every day since and adore it. Anna-Maria bought the same and accidentally but brilliantly renamed it Irish Silver Mist 🙂

 

 

After lunch, we stopped off at Dior on our way to Jovoy. None of the swath of new perfumes in La Collection grabbed me but it’s great they do 40ml bottles now. Apparently Mitzah is released as a limited run each year, but only available in Paris.

 

 

 

Jovoy is a large store stocking a lot of luxury niche brands.  I tried Niral by Neela Vermeire Creations and a couple of the fragrances by Anatole Lebreton. I wanted to love Grimoire because of its wonderful name but sadly, did not. (You can read about my visit to the new London branch here).

 

 

A few of us wanted to visit the Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre so we left the others to it.

That tiny baby – bottom right – squealed and scared Portia out of her skin. Hahaha.

 

 

Before heading back to the apartment we made a visit to Divine Perfumes. Apparently L’Homme Sage went down well.

 

 

We spent the evening at a very nice restaurant where I tried my first oyster.

 

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The Last Supper

 

This fantastic group of perfume people made me feel included even though I was piggybacking on their trip at the last minute.

Lisa and I headed for the Eurostar home the next morning so it was essentially only one full day in Paris but wow, what a day.

Huge thanks to everyone involved for making it so special.

 

 

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Filed under Perfume Events, Perfume Friends, Perfume Shopping, Travels

Jovoy Comes to London – Photo Essay

 

I’ve long heard of French perfume store, Jovoy. Their house fragrances have been available in London for some time but now they’ve opened a shop here stocking a range of mostly high-end and luxury brands.

Located on Conduit Street, off Regent Street, the space is stylishly designed and a lot bigger than you might think on first look. Last Saturday my pal Sabine and I had a good nose around.

 

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Until fairly recently it wasn’t easy to access the exquisite perfumes from Neela Vermeire Creations north of the river, so it’s nice to see them stocked here. Pichola is one of the few tuberose perfumes I can wear, but the meditative osmanthus of Rahele is still my favourite.

 

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I really wanted to explore the range from The Different Company because I haven’t come across it before in the capital. The one I liked the most was After Midnight, probably not surprising because it has a prominent iris note.

 

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It’s hard to find a brand that does luxury better than Puredistance.

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Val the Cookie Queen suggested I try Cuir Andalou by Rania J which was a wearable, not very tarry, leather, smoothed out by a undercurrent of velvety oud.

 

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We were surprised when one of the staff told us there was more downstairs. Here we found Adedes de Venustas and Masque Milano. The latter is a niche brand that – unlike many – I think are doing something distinctive. Sabine tried Russian Tea with its mint opening and raspberry flavoured tea base.

I made a beeline for Romanza as I’ve wanted a narcissus fragrance for years and I know it’s a favourite of Claire’s, who writes the wonderful Take One Thing Off. At first the narcissus and galbanum had me getting ready to request a sample but then a forceful musk elbowed its way to the front and my high hopes were dashed. If you’ve been looking for a narcissus fragrance and you’re not sensitive to musk, you should still check it out.

I also tried L’Attesa which is a very softly spoken iris with a refined air. Extremely nice but a bit too mannered now that I’ve fallen for Iris Poudré.

 

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The full list of brands available is as follows: –
Aedes de Venustas – Alexander J – Arty Fragrance –  Atelier Flou – Begim – Berry – Berdoues – Chabaud – Dauphine – Eight & Bob – E.Coudray – Evody – Eternal Gentleman – House of Oud – Isabey Jacques Fath – Jeroboam – John Paul Welton – Jovoy – Fragance du Bois – Grossmith London – Indult – Institut très Bien – Jul et Mad – La Parfumerie Moderne – M.Miccalef – MDCI – Nejma – Neela Vermeire Créations – Olfactive Studio –  Parfumeur du Monde –  Prudence – Puredistance – Rania J – The Different Company – Volnay – Widian

 

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After the official opening on 28th September, the self-service perfume dispenser will be in operation. You’ll be able to purchase a 10ml bottle at a flat rate and fill it with one of the eight perfumes on offer.  Four will be Jovoy perfumes while the other four will include one from Neela Vermeire Creations, one from The Different Company and a new, as yet unnamed British brand.

 

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Real chunks of ambergris are locked away in a glass cabinet downstairs but the sales  assistant opened it up for us to a have sniff.  The largest piece had a strong whiff of the animalic but didn’t smell salty or sea-like the way I expected it to.

 

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The small piece on the right of picture below is the oldest and whitest, having been bleached by the sun on the sea’s surface for so long. Now this stuff nearly blew my head off. To say it was skanky in the extreme is an understatement and that was just sniffing the glass cloche!

 

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I asked if I could possibly have a sample of the fragrance that captured me the most (After Midnight) and was happy to be greeted with a positive reaction. It’s ridiculously hard to get free samples these days. Not only did they make up samples for both of us at no charge, they packaged them beautifully too.

Sabine picked up a copy of perfume magazine Nez to practice her French and we repaired to Fortnum and Mason for cake.

What a lovely way to spend an afternoon in London.

 

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Have you visited Jovoy in France? Do you think you’d like to visit the London store? Which brand/s would you be most interested in?

 

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My Favourite Bottled Lavender – Kiki Extrait de Parfum by Vero Profumo

The ingenue grows up…

Notes: Cassis, Lavender Essence, Bergamot, Lemon, Caramel, Lavender Absolute, Geranium, Ambergris, Opoponax, Patchouli and Musk

 

Independent perfumers generally seem to me to make fragrances that feel a lot more personal. This is probably because they have the freedom to put so much of their own vision into them. Their creations often have strong characters that evoke a person, place or emotion. Vero Profumo’s Onda Voile d’Extrait triggered so many feelings in me, as did Rozy.

Another gem from Vero Kern that has my vivid imagination racing, is the fabulous Kiki Extrait de Parfum.

Only the alchemy performed by Vero could make the impossible possible: She created a lavender-centred perfume that even people who think they can’t abide lavender, fall in love with.

In Kiki, Vero turns the traditional use of lavender on its head. Instead of being cold, herbal and masculine-leaning she makes it warm, feminine and even flirty. Who would have thought it?

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I was already won over by the sprayable Kiki Voile d’Extrait as you can read here, but Kiki Extrait de Parfum takes me to new heights.

Its inviting from the very first encounter, welcoming me by rolling out a plush purple carpet. There’s no sharp lavender opening, just a sense of complete ease and abandon. The inspired use of caramel brings out that self-same facet found in Lavender Absolute and this is what transmutes the material from medicinal to sensual.

If Kiki Voile d’Extrait is an ingenue, then Kiki Extrait is the same woman a couple of years on; more polished and knowing but with the same joie de vivre.

Kiki is steeped in Paris.

The city is her playground as she spends the day free-wheeling with artists and intellectuals and the evening trysting with her amour. The couple whisper sweet nothings in a dimly illuminated corner booth…

 

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During a busy day at work I suddenly thought “Something smells really good, what did I put on today?”. The answer was Kiki Extrait. Even though it’s pure parfum which is designed to be dabbed rather than sprayed, it has enough throw for you to enjoy it as you concentrate on other things. It’s a multi-faceted jewel radiating soft amethyst light.

Perhaps its the tension between the cool tones of lavender and the warmth of caramel that makes it so addictive – the usually frigid Lavender softens and melts in Caramel’s heated embrace. Perhaps it’s the blackcurrant pulp which adds that surprising touch of nonchalance. Or maybe it’s simply her womanly yet playful nature that captures your heart.

Whatever it is, wearing Kiki is pure Parisian pleasure.

 

Do you know Kiki? Have you found a lavender to love?

 

 

 

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