What's On Your Christmas Wish List?
What’s On Your Christmas Wish List?

It’s that time of year where we all start to put together our Christmas wish lists for Santa, or as I like to call him – ‘Nigel’. Being the perfume nuts that we are means that beloved family and friends can sometimes struggle to pick fragrances out as gifts for us, after all we’re a selective (read: ‘picky’) bunch by nature and nobody would want us to open up a gift that we would deem as unsuitable on the big day.

To mitigate the chances of a botched perfume purchase at Christmas I supply a perfume wish list to my partner and my father every year. The other members of my family family flatly refuses to buy me any perfume, stating that I have “too much” and it’s “bordering on an obsession”. Who knows what they’re smoking, but I can always rely on my dad and Nigel (if he’s in a good mood) to pick something from my carefully selected list.

Let’s take a look at what’s on my list this year!

Ladurée's Ispahan
Ladurée’s Ispahan – The best damn thing I’ve ever eaten!

Inspiration can come along at the oddest of moments and often in the most surprising of guises. This is why I currently sit on a train whizzing home from London and feel the need to whip out my iPad and start writing a post about my day. A little self-indulgent? Perhaps but in the spirit of ‘sharing the joy’ I’ve had the urge to write about the sensory pleasures of the day.

Today, having finished work early, I took myself off to The Big Smoke on a ‘treat yo’ self day’, during which I pottered around the Isabella Blow exhibition at Somerset House, visited one or two of my usual fragrant haunts and took myself for some much earned sugar at Ladurée, before attending a Perfume Lovers London talk in the evening. And why not? I’ve been working very hard over the last couple of weeks so a little sensory R&R is surely deserved.

The main event was of course the food and it will come as no surprise to those who know me that I have spent the last few weeks ogling images of Ladurée treats on the internet. There is just something about the pastel shades of smooth macaron shells and the vivid sight of pastries overdosed with fruit that sends my mouth, stomach and brain whirling towards sensory overdose.

The Candy Perfume Boy
The Candy Perfume Boy

Last night I hosted another Summer Special with the lovely Lila Das Gupta of Perfume Lovers London. The theme of the evening was an ‘olfactory summer holiday’ and all who attended strapped themselves into the seats and set off on a fragrant journey around the world, smelling fragrances that were evocative of specific times and places.

The evening was great fun and it was wonderful to yet again meet with like-minded perfume nerds and discuss all things olfactory. As I was the evening’s host I won’t post a blow-by-blow account of the event, but I would like to briefly share with you the perfumes I had selected and the places they represent. You can look out for Tara’s full write-up of the evening on Olfactoria’s Travels soon.

Update: You can read Tara’s wonderful write up here.

On our olfactory world tour we stopped in:

Group Shot
One Half of The Collection

The aim of the Postcards From Collection series is to take you on a guided tour through the weird, and sometimes wonderful bunch of glass, plastic and smelly water that is my perfume collection. I see it as a way to give you full disclosure on exactly which bottles I deem worthy enough to grace my bathroom shelf (I know, not the ideal storage place) and perhaps give you an insight into my scented history.

In Part 1 we looked at the most precious things in my collection, those that are both big & small, and in Part 2  we took a trip to my favourite holiday destination – Planet Mugler. On both occasions I have shown you some of my absolute favourite things and as the series moves on we will hopefully have covered everything I own, we may even delve into the purgatory drawer (maybe).

This week we are having a mosey around two brands linked together by one special guy – some dude called Bertrand Duchaufour. I don’t know if you’ve heard of him (just kidding, I know you have), he’s this amazing perfumer who does a lot of spectacular things for the two brands we shall be investigating today; L’Artisan Parfumeur and Penhaligon’s.

So sit back and relax as we cruise through Havana, sit under a tree with a black-clad lothario in Seville, cross the Bosphorus chewing on Turkish Delight, go to the circus and chat up a filthy milkmaid in the English countryside…

Restaurant Table
Our table is booked, all you have to do is show up…

Food and I have a very strong and loving relationship. Perhaps too loving in fact, and I’ll be the first to admit that our relationship can be a little unhealthy at times. But at those times when I don’t feel that I should exercise a good degree of self control to keep my weight down I thoroughly enjoy going out for dinner and experimenting with new food.

Our senses of taste and smell are inextricably linked and when going out for dinner it makes sense, and it’s also good fun, to match our fragrance to the style of cuisine we will be devouring. Only the other night I was heading out for dinner with friends and was having a SOTE (Scent of the Evening) dilemma, I asked my Twitter followers for help and they came back with some interesting suggestions based on the type of food (Mexican F.Y.I.) I would be eating, which got me thinking – which fragrances would be best suited for other cuisines?

To explore the relationship between fragrance and food I cordially invite you to dinner, during which I, along with the help of my partner-in-crime and budding-foodie Nigel, will pair some of the most popular cuisines with fragrant counterparts that will leave you complimenting your food and smelling wonderful simultaneously. Get your passports out because we’re going to be touring the restaurants of the world…

Les Voyages Exotiques

Les Voyages Exotiques

I chose to review Traversée du Bosphore and Vanille Absolument together because they have something particular in common. In fact, they have lots in common; they are both from L’Artisan Parfumeur, are both part of the ‘Les Voyages Exotiques’ line, were both composed by genius perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour and are both gourmands, but that’s not why I have lumped them together in this review. No, it turns out that the particular thing they have in common is the fact that I’ve been searching for them for a long time.

I believe that my collection of fragrances is like a wardrobe, and just like a wardrobe there are different ‘pieces’ for different occasions. Within your fragrance wardrobe you will have fragrances for work, for going out to dinner, for partying, for summer and for winter. You will also have necessities that no wardrobe is complete without, so with clothing it might be the little black dress or the black t-shirt, and with fragrance it would be the vanilla fragrance or the happy-go-lucky citrus. Us perfume enthusiasts are on a continuous journey to complete our wardrobes and we revel in the joy of finding perfumes that plug any gaps.

Both of these ‘exotic voyages’ have taken me on a journey filled with wonderful discoveries and fragrant epiphanies. I have discovered two perfumes that have each found a prominent place within my collection. In Traversée du Bosphore I found the Turkish Delight fragrance I had been looking for, and in Vanille Absolument I have discovered the vanilla to fill the missing spot within my collection.