Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


2013 in perfumes: it’s ovah!

happyfaceballoonWow, was 2013 over in a blink or what? Thing is, I felt like the year went really fast. Perfumes I bought in the spring still feel like new acquisitions to me.

In fact, it was my biggest splurge of the year – Roja Dove’s Amber Aoud – that still seems new. I am still madly in love with it and don’t regret its quick acquisition at all. It was the amber oud I’d been looking for. It was a big Roja Dove year for me in general, really. Since then I’ve also fallen unreasonably in love with his Neroli (I don’t even LIKE neroli!) and enjoyed trying some of his other extracts, like lilac and gardenia. Not as into the E series but then I hate it when a bunch of perfumes comes out at once. It’s too much. Been planning an article just on Roja Dove all year and haven’t done it yet!

My biggest FB purchases – Boadicea the Victorious Divine, and Jovoy Psychédélique. These were the perfumes I bought to make myself feel better after my beautiful kitty died, and I did. Actually, of course, what made me feel better was the sales associate just being so nice to me. I needed that. What a wonderful day of self-therapy that was, and I still wear these and love them all. the. time.

Finally got to visit the Scent Bar in L.A. in October – came away with Mémoire Retrouvée, a L’Antichambre fragrance I never expected to like. I had tried some samples of this line but hadn’t thought this would appeal to me; in the store, and on my skin, I couldn’t stop sniffing it. I love this chocolate iris (Iris Ganache lovers who are in mourning should at least try this one, not that I’m claiming that it’s similar). Delightfully, these scents come in 10 ml extrait sizes from Luckyscent/Scent Bar; affordable and indulgent. There’s no love like the love you weren’t expecting.

I also discovered Loree Rodkin scents at Scent Bar. I’m still deciding what I think about these. The marketing idea that they contain high percentages of rare or natural materials might have something here. These scents are rich and detailed, with a lot of longevity, and I can’t identify any overused mass-produced type notes in them. On the other hand, they’re not so very unique that every perfumista would necessarily want to shell out for them. Despite the rock-n-roll image of the creator, a jewelry designer, apparently, and the name (they’re all called Gothic – Gothic I, II, etc.), they are pretty classic and always wearable. I find Gothic I to be one of my favorite ambers of the year. If you already have Jalaine Amber, as one review I read said, you don’t need this one; but if you find this for a good price on eBay, it’s a good buy. II is a great patchouli, somehow even more patchouli than my beloved Psychédélique, and V is a glorious Hinoki incense. Want to get my hands on III.

I wore Dries van Noten by Frederic Malle all spring without springing for a full bottle of it. I may yet drain a decant! I’m proud of me for not buying a full bottle of this yet. The price helps hold off impulse purchases. Still, this is one glorious scent – the little black dress of my current perfume wardrobe. And I say that as a person who still wears a fair bit of La Petite Robe Noire.

I scored the bottle of Gaiac 10 I’d been waiting for for more than a year, and discovered a perverse love for Limette 37. (Why? Why?) Toss in my fondness for Vanille 44 and Ylang 49, and the fact that I think Benjoin 19 is really, really good, and it was kind of a big year for me and Le Labo, which I never used to care for at all. My nose might have changed a bit, or it may just be, as often happens, that when I smelled different scents from the line, I gained a new appreciation for it. Further thoughts about this may occur.

Massively in love with Amouage Fate Woman; it will be mine.

It was the year of amber. Favorites: Jovoy Ambre Premier, Jalaine Amber, Slumberhouse Ore (re-released, yay!), Ambre Russe, and the aforementioned Gothic I by Loree Rodkin.

Nonetheless, one of my unplanned, unexpected FB purchases? Undergreen White. This was a case where Olfactif (which I am still enjoying, but which seldom rocks my world) sold me a perfume I not only would never have predicted I would have bought, I never would even have tried if it hadn’t been included in an Olfactif sample set. I like these scents and enjoy trying them when they come in the mail; I like not having to pick, and being surprised. And I still like Undergreen White. This scent just really continues to defy my expectations. In fact, I wore it to ring in my New Year’s Eve. It surprises and pleases me, but is very low-key and close to the skin – and plain old pretty. A technical marvel, no one note ever over-dominates, but they chime in turn, like bell ringers. Just lovely.

Most intriguing new lines I cannot keep straight: Imaginary Authors and Jardins d’Ecrivains. Writers? Who wants to smell like writers? Presumably, people who don’t know writers. I mean, they don’t all smell like Alyssa Harad.

I also want to smell much more of Maria Candida Gentile and Maison Dorin. Mark these Shopping Plans.

Favorite new store? It’s a split between the Scent Bar, which is awesome with awesome people in it, and Twisted Lily, which is also awesome with awesome people in it. Sadly, I live 3,000 miles from one and about 20 minutes by train from the other. Both are well deserving of patronage.

Read everyone else’s Best of list for the real news you can use – there are a ton that came out this week. I think if one is still excited about a hobby after many years (I fell down the rabbit hole somewhere around 2008, I think), it’s a blessing. I love perfume but mostly I love the perfume community. Happy New Year, y’all!

Image is “Balloon face” by Les Radin, via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license; some rights reserved.

Bookmark or Share

16 comments to 2013 in perfumes: it’s ovah!

  • SallyM

    I’m running out to try all of the ambers you named after I log off… The only one I have is Ambre Russe – shameful, as amber is my favorite note. I wore Ambre Sultan to ring in my New Year – put it on at 2.30pm yesterday and it still lingers on my skin today 20 hours later. I almost don’t want to shower…
    I fell down the rabbit hole 40 (gasp) years ago and have been lost in the warrens ever since. However, I’m new to perfume blogging and am spending all my waking moments reading everything out there to try and catch up with other perfumes loons – er, I mean lovers.
    Happy New Year to you 🙂

    • Judith

      Ambre Russe is wonderful! And Ambre Sultan is so popular, I wish I could like it more; somehow it doesn’t speak to me, but I should try it again.

      You’ve been loving perfume for such a long time – I look forward to reading more of your thoughts about perfume, you must have some stored up!

      What perfume blogs are you reading so far?

      And Happy New Year to you too!!!

      • Sally M

        erm – I’m reading all of them it seems – at least I ran out of space on my favorites bar and they overflowed into the little sidebar thingy. Apart from yours tho, Perfume Posse, Australian P Junkies, Bois de Jasmin, Black Narcissus, Kafkaesque, Bonkers, Fragrant Man, Muse in Wo … Oh god, I was going to name a “few” favs but they’re ALL good damnit! Of course, the reading is like the collecting – I feel instant panic that I wont have enough time to read EVERYthing on all of them – when I see the archives I positively hyperventilate in anxiety.
        I do have a large collection – I’m not going to admit how many bottles ;-), but I also have to say that some of them are empty and I collect for the bottles themselves too. I’m a vintage ho’ but have been putting my toe into the niche market, which acourse, has my blood pressure rising when I read about all of the new releases in the last 10 years (!) I haven’t tried. I loved your previous article about perfume habits. I’m still racking my brains to think of some of my good ones…

        • Judith

          I bet you have plenty of good perfume habits! For one thing, you enjoy the bottles even after the perfume is gone! 🙂

        • Annie

          Hi Sally,
          Vintage gal over here, too. Just am dipping into that! A little here and there and score! A trillion at once. I don’t know what half of them are and look them up and score! One woman saves a bunch for me and I would regift them to people if I knew they had genuine interest. Especially if it was a fume that really meant something to them.
          I’ve sort of hinted on some forums, I’m usually a lurker, but with no real response. I’m working on it. And accumulating an awful lot.
          But, why admit how much you own? Math is not my forte, anyway. And
          not a soul would judge you here. In fact, we’d tell you to buy more! Or send you some stuff!

    • Judith

      Oh PS – Ombre Fauve, that’s a great one too! I worked so hard to find a bottle of that last winter and it’s wonderful. When I can’t think of what amber perfume I want to wear, that one never fails me.

    • Judith

      Oh, and L’Ambre des Merveilles, if you haven’t tried that, too!! So sheer and yet so perfect.

  • Annie

    Interesting ambers. I was wondering the love affair with Ore. I didn’t use the ‘real estate’ of the arm on that one, so maybe I really didn’t give it the proper shot. Should revisit since I love Jeke. Could anything really be more potent than Jovoy’s Psych? Wow! That was straight up head shop patchouli on me. And I did use the sample back home. I fell in love, head over heels for Boadicea the Victorious Divine.
    Almost purchased that on the spot at Barneys. Still going through the sample, though. The Malle, I was terrified of. I assumed it would be love. The Loree Rodkin scents have been on a to try list forever. But, the Roja ones. I didn’t even sniff for fear of the price point. I knew I would probably love and cherish and just couldn’t suffer so I steered clear of those.

    Thanks for the great list of to tries! I’m an amber lover, too. Patch, first. Always.

    Best of or Favorites?
    Should Have Worns In Retrospect? 🙂

    New Favorite Purchases:
    *Ones not new just still rotating

    Lush Snow Fairy. I know, I know. Candy floss and cookie smell. I don’t care. I love it and smell good and it works in the NE cold, snowy weather to keep me warm.
    *Lush Karma. Jewel of Patchouli.

    *Mazz Patchouli. Come as advertised.
    *Mazz Note Vanille. Kind of a more grown up vanilla.

    Slumberhouse Jeke. I’ve preached this one before, so I’ll lay off of it. It is a rare quality fragrance that is actually affordable.

    Terranova Patchouli. Old faithful. Cheap and great to have around to layer.

    Mimosa Pour Moi
    Verte de Violette
    Dzhonka (I managed to snag a Skin on Skin atomizer at the time, which was meh, to me. Maybe the summer will change my mind)

    I’ve got a thing for L’Artisan. They may be fleeting, but they are pure art to me.
    I love Violet and the Mimosa is just right. Dzhonka is oddball, like me. 🙂

    Demeter Cannabis Flower
    (Almost made the cut, a back up of Cannabis Santal which will be my first purchase this year) A friend will be proud. A new purchase of Bois Blond
    is on my list for this year, too.

    Demeter Patchouli

    *Eau Premiere

    Miss Dior

    *Norma K Incense A touch or you’ll let the town know you are here.
    *Norma K Ceremony. Transparent, yet still in the same realm as Incense.

    *Lots of random Patchouli oils.

    Lots of natural oils and combos that I’ve made. New combos and old faithfuls.

    There are the ones in storage. Even some of the above, I’ve purchased but have decants now. So many that are unwrapped for that fear of using them up! And yes, I have gone through multiple bottles of fragrances! Lots of Chanels, indie brands, TJ’s, scores and just fun.

    I have found lots of vintage scores and neat otherwise unavailable fumes for myself this year. Vintage formulations of Coty Wild Musk and Jovan Wild Musk. Parfum Sacre vintage formulation. Tons. Lucien Long perfumes. Tons. These are in storage for fear they get ruined. I’ve got to get over this.

    I did have some tough purchases. Two bottles of Montales Patchouli Leaves, in case it is discontinued. I wore it practically all through the last month and a half of my Mom’s last days. I thought I could wear the scent again. Too hard. On certain days, I can wear Chanel #5 and Wrappings, Her final signature scent. I will purchase those very perfumes to wear for myself. They comfort me, the way yours comforted you. I also purchased CDG’s Carnation. A disappointment. For sentimental reasons, but it wasn’t the quality I’d come to expect from them.

    I also did the back ups. Voleur de Roses. Patchouli Patch. You never know with L’Artisan. 10 Corso Como. A beauty of a bottle sucked me in. This is pathetic, but I bought a BK discovery set and I’ve never used it. Keep writing, Judith, I need my inspiration!

    I do look forward to using my other fragrances in 2014. I know my list contains many available in earlier years, but this is me and back to keeping my rotation small.

    Blather, blather, blather!


    • Sally M

      What a wonderful list! I do so relate to your comment about not being able to wear the Patchouli Leaves and what it is associated with. Its strange how a perfume (or food is similar) can comfort us through trying times but after those times come to an end, is simply to overwhelming to revisit. My gran wore Youth Dew and I loved it ever since I was a child, having added several bottles in its various incarnations to my collection over the years. I was very close to her and when she was passing, would help wash her, do her hair and dab on a little of her beloved fragrance, even when she appeared unaware. I love my YD collection but cant wear it for the feelings associated with it – even after many years. I like the idea of you choosing to wear your mum’s signature scent though – that may help you connect with her but in a little less painful way (I’m hoping).

    • Judith

      I can’t imagine anyone not loving Ore, but it’s kind of knotty for an amber. It’s definitely rough stuff. I don’t think it’s even technically called an amber; but I find it so. Well worth trying – I respect so much of what Slumberhouse does but don’t find a lot of it wearable day by day. Ore I could wear so damn often. And do.

      Jovoy’s Psych isn’t as straight-up patchouli to my nose as either the Jalaine or Loree Rodkin II; I love it so madly, though. It has a green – I will go ahead and say moldiness (yes, I said it smells like mold) to my nose that I just cannot get enough of. Few things smell as rich on me as they do on others, given my dry skin, but this one is a comfort scent for me, never wrong.

      And I’m amazed at how many people love Divine – Victoria at EauMG said she loved it too, and I would have said it was not her style at all. There seems to be some sort of Everyone Loves Me drug in it!

      I totally know what you mean about fear of the price point – but, never fear. If you can’t spring for a bottle you can always find a decant from a well meaning friend. Or perfume enabler. 🙂

      >>Best of or Favorites?
      >>Should Have Worns In Retrospect? 🙂
      >>New Favorite Purchases:
      >>*Ones not new just still rotating

      Are you going to write these lists, or were you asking me a question? 🙂 Or is this an annotation system for what’s below? I see. I should do this too! Undina calls this your “perfume portrait” (see, I have one up there on the website). I should update mine!

      On Lush Snow Fairy – never apologize. I never apologize for my ridiculous love for La Petite Robe Noire.

      Terranova Patchouli is a new one on me – I will seek some out! LOVE LOVE Cannabis Santal!

      I’m glad you scored the Montales Patchouli and I Hope you can wear it again. My personal theory is that things that people wear for a day don’t make a difference (though I am leery of what perfumes I wear to funerals etc.) But things you wear for a long period of time that absolutely sucks, are very difficult to wear again. I absolutely loved, loved, loved Cool Water – I mean loved it like a teddy bear. But the years when I wore it were when I got divorced, then lost my job, then lost my job again, and I can’t wear it any more, though I keep hoping I will. I remember how much I loved it.

      It’s also okay, I do believe, to move forward rather than back.

      Here’s to forward in 2014!

    • Judith

      PS You’ve made me revisit my Slumberhouse samples. With a clear head and an open mind, Sova is FANTASTIC! What a great hay note! And how I would love to smell Jeke on a gorgeous man – quite enjoyed wearing it myself, but on me it read more masculine than I think I normally wear (though I would wear this from time to time). Thanks for the nudge!

  • Annie


    Thanks for your words of comfort and understanding. I wore the Montale Patchouli Leaves because my Mother loved it. Isn’t it interesting? I did all the things you did with your Gran, with my Mom and I couldn’t have asked for more love. Her fragrances do provide me with comfort. In fact, this Christmas, my niece told me, “Auntie, you smell soooo good!” She didn’t realize it was Wrappings. I’ll hoard that, too. In years to come, I’ll gift the young ones with the fragrance, since they love their Grandma so.

    And Youth Dew is so elegant. I love that you keep up with the different reformulations, too. I understand not wearing it, but does sniffing it bring you back to the hard times? I’ll bet you can smell YD on a stranger a mile away.

    And food. That is an interesting one. It seems our family is making a conscious effort to hang on to Mom’s cooking. Some of us. It is always a nice compliment when you are told, “That’s not how Mom made it.” 🙂

    Fragrance and food are interconnected. My love for vanilla. And if I only could eat Patchouli!

    Seriously, thank you for your precious thoughts.

  • Annie


    Don’t get me wrong…I just don’t get the thing with Ore. I am very hesitant to share skin with a scent when out on a lengthy day of sniffing. The scent has to be purchase worthy or “What the Heck is the Hype All About.” Sniffing Ore, it was meh on me, but remember, Jeke floored me. So, perhaps it is worth revisiting. And using some skin. That sounds pretty knotty. To use your terminology. I do love me a good Slumberhouse. Maybe I need to order some samples.

    Seriously, Psych isn’t straight up patch? Wowza. I did get a sample. You are the one that taught this gal the art of getting samples of the right fumes. Try before you buy. I do believe in body chemistry. But, your temptations of the Rodkins are still tempting me. You could always do a best of Patchoulis for me. Pretty please? Or maybe not. That might be a perfume high.

    And yeah, Divine is a sweet thang. Gah. 2014 could be a spendy year. I’m not even going to try, but you throw a sumptuous delight out there like that and what am I supposed to do? You are right, though. The fragrance overspendee’s have a tendency to share. Decants can alleviate.

    O. I did the system (if you call it that, you are even more awesome than I can imagine) and didn’t realize I was completing an exercise already out there!

    I happen to love La Petit Robe Noire, as well. I have both samples, the parfum and
    the eau de toilette. Completely different animals.

    If you like your Patch straight up, try Terranova. This is as cheap and good as it gets. Terranova has a lot of great scents; they are best known for their China Rain, I believe.

    And Cannabis Santal. Yum. But, confession time. That did not make the first purchase. Just today I purchased Parfum General Bois Blond. It has that similar smell. Yum. Chypre Palatin is begging my name, as well. I love that accord. It smells so similar to me ~ one other person picked it up after I mentioned it at Sniffa, but, it might not seem that way to others.

    Thank you so much for thinking of me and understanding. Fragrance can provide comfort in times of need. I’m not sure Montale will ever bring me that again. I have a nice cabinet, that is kept out of sunlight, of course, and carries those two Montales. Along with several of Mom’s Chanel’s and Wrappings. Not all. A lot are left with Dad so he can smell them (I know he does) and I know they are there. Of course so are others on different shelves, but, I’ve got Mom’s shelves. Some funny stories behind other fragrances and what happened to them.

    Other situations, I really can’t remember what I’ve done. I know I’ve been able to wear Mom’s scents, even to Her funeral. Don’t even think about what #5 and Wrappings smelled like together. Not pretty. In fact, I was asked later what I was wearing. I said #5. I was, right?

    I just am grateful for your support. You gave me warm fuzzies. And perfume advice.

    I’ll try that perfume profile, too. Please tell me it does not add up the amount you spend per year.

What do you think?