Friday, March 29, 2013

Confessions of a Perfumaholic!

Have you ever caught yourself thinking of how much junk you have at home? Or how little space you actually have available in your cabinets, closets, shelves, etc...? It looks like some people like to think like ants that have to store for the winter!
I can tell that I consider myself a medium to light clutter. 
The reason why I am bringing this subject to a perfume blog is that I am in that time of the year when I dedicate myself to declutter and organize my home from all the unnecessary items that are taking space and cumulating dust and dirty. I try to do it at least every six months, but lately I feel that it is not enough, so I am trying to do it every  03 months. It is a long lasting process, and it takes a lot of energy and time, so I found out that reducing the periods between the last and the following it is much easier and faster to conclude this process.
The easiest part for me is to get rid of old documents, pile of papers no longer relevant, shoes, accessories and clothes that I haven't worn for more than a year and a half or simply not flattering anymore to my actual look.
The dilemma starts when I move to my perfumes and perfume sample collections. It is funny how emotionally attached I am to my perfume bottles sometimes!
It is easy to apply the less is more motto to all aspects of my life, but I am still fighting the habit of having 100s of perfumes at home. 
I am trying a new idea this time:
I decided to keep all my samples for future references and articles. They have a purpose to stay where they are. I put aside the fragrances that I really love to wear and after  cleaning their bottles they went back to the boxes. I took some time to smell all of them over and over again, and check how I felt with each one of them. The fragrances that I am not wearing, or that I bought without really putting a thought (I call them emotional purchases) I will do the following - buy small vials and make splits of them for future reference or articles, and what is left will be donated to friends or relatives.
The reason to do it is because I love perfumes too much to see them kept standing inside a box, aging without being appreciated.  I find it very rewarding to see the smile a small gesture like that can bring to the face of the loved ones!

Thinking of my level of cluttering lead me to think about unhealthy relationships with perfume in general - or should I call it "the less alluring side of perfumery" (?): addictions, compulsiveness, obsessions, narcissism, envy and many others...
I have been watching this aspect of perfumery for a long time, but never wanted to write about it till today. One of the reasons was that I know many people who would think this might be a direct message to them. But what the heck! If the hats fits your head...So here it goes!

Impulsive purchases: if you ever have ever bought a perfume impulsively, you probably also regretted it afterwards. Who hasn't, in the spur of a moment, made a blind purchase of a fragrance while browsing a perfume shop online? Just because someone else said is very nice, or because it is a must-have?
If this applied to you more than once, the suggestion is to blind purchase a SAMPLE of a fragrance instead. If you like it after wearing it a few times, than you are ready to commit to a full bottle. Many brands offer sample sets. Sometimes they call it sample set, discovery sets or they just offer a small size of the original. You can also look online for sample and splits exchangers.
It is very common to find these people trying to sell these perfumes afterwards in the perfume groups or EBay. Here is also where danger is. The obsessed and the shopaholics go after them to find an opportunity of a good purchase...

Obsessive purchases or shopaholics: I have seen many people in the fragrance community purchasing any fragrance they can put their hands on just to be the first to have it, the first to review it or because this person has a compulsion to buy stuff. They usually suffer their financial crisis alone, but some of them from time to time share that they are having credit card issues or even putting their relationships at stake.
Truth is that I don't need to be a psychologist to know that this behavior is at the moment being exteriorized with perfumes, but it could be with anything else.
I can give you a few ideas that I find easy to try, but sometimes a professional is needed.
Try to fix a budget for perfume purchasing. It can be a annual budget, a 6 months budget, etc...depending in your financial status and priorities. You can also divide this weakness that you have with a supportive person - just like AA! Every time you feel like purchasing a perfume - share with your supportive friend to evaluate if this is really something you need to do at that very moment.
If you can't control yourself - I suggest giving  your credit card to your wife, husband or partner and consulting a shrink. Shopaholics buy to fill a void, an emptiness. Shopping provides a momentary joy, a superficial sensation of accomplishment, that later will bring more emptiness, despair and depression.
I have set a savings account for perfumes to purchase when I travel. It is very little money that I save in a monthly basis and that I use abroad. I don't buy anything outside this budget. This way I keep myself far from credit card nightmares.

Perfume Narcissism: this is one of the most common behaviors of the fragrance community. "I have that already", "I have 1000s of those..", "I was the first to review this perfume"...etc, etc, etc... so what??? Many of these people receive the fragrances for free. So if you want to compete with this people and you are a common perfumista know that you are in disadvantage from the beginning. While you run to spend your money to compete and be the first, they got it for free. While you run to spend money and later find out that the perfume is not even a good one, know that many received money to say it is good or are friends with the brand's owners. My advice here is the following: being the first does not necessarily mean you are the best. Embrace that and life will be much easier on you!

Jealousy and Envy: some people are willing to loose friends and create enemies just for the sake of perfume. These are the ones who had, have or wish to have recognition among perfumistas and therefore like to gossip, bad mouth or even bash others in other to feel they are somebody.  There are other types that they don't bash, but they can't simply socialize with others in the same level of knowledge. They look for other communities to discuss perfumes in order to feel that they are the experts. To gain fans. Some of them even like to be called professor by others...Some even try to be friendly and once they get what they want, or don't get what they wanted - they reveal their true self. I met one once. The message is GET HELP - YOU NEED IT!
I have even seen two that use the faux passion for perfume in the false pretense to expose him/her self, to be famous and adored, or to market his/her very own image, and once they meet they goal - like having a job in the fragrance industry or perfume related job - they close their website with a long lie about how much they love perfume but life got complicated... These are the ones who also lie in international contests by saying they represent a country, or even lie about being jurors of contests they never participated. All for the sake of the personal marketing. Here I can bring not less than beloved Bob Marley:
"You can foul some people some times, but you can't full all the people all the time".

Perfume Cluttering or Fear of Loss: if you have been purchasing perfume like ants saving for the winter in the fear that this or that fragrance will be discontinued, or that maybe you won't have enough of it in the future, or IFRA is going to reformulate the fragrance - rethink again your relationship to perfumes! Perfumes have to be a reason to make you feel good about yourself, not to bring pain. And again, if you are not in the fragrance business or fragrance journalism, you don't really have to have 1000s of perfumes at home.

Limited Editions, Seasonal purchases obsessed: are you a person that has to purchase a perfume just because it was announced as limited edition or because it was advertised for valentine's, x-mas or any other special holiday? Being limited does not necessarily mean that it is good. Also, many limited editions are very close to the original fragrance. If you have it already, check your budget before placing and order on line or before running to the closest perfume shop. Do you really have to collect all the Guerlain's?? Are they all good and worth wearing?? Do you really need to be the only one having this limited edition? I know some people that run to buy the "limited and rare" and later complain that they wasted a lot of money they could have spent on or saved for something else. Again, obsession, compulsions and narcissism is not a healthy behavior...

It is true that perfumes are developed to suit seasons - winter fragrances are much heavier than summer fragrances. They also provide different concentrations to fit seasons - such as EDTs and EDPs; they are developed to be day or night fragrances etc, etc...
 All true! There is nothing wrong to have more than one perfume, if you are not the type who wears a signature fragrance. Fragrances to go out at night usually don't suit a work environment etc etc... do follow perfume etiquette please! But do you have to have an OUD perfume just because OUD is a trend now? Do you have to have 04 rose fragrances? Do you have to own all the Annick Goutal perfumes? That is what I am talking about!
You don't!  You could limit your fragrances to a smaller number and increase the number of samples - or travel sizes. Try using one perfume during all winter and experience it to its fuller existence. Try changing perfume only when your nose got tired and you no longer experience all the notes of the fragrance composition.  Try to buy a new perfume only when you reached the bottom of your last purchase. Just try...for the sake of your healthy mind!

+ Q perfume Blog is a blog about fragrances, and it is not qualified as a professional of Psychology. This article does not have the intent of treating or curing anyone who suffers from any psychological problem or disease. If you feel you have any psychological discomfort, please consult a professional.
And again, if you felt insulted by anything I wrote here...well...again, if the hat fits the head...I am not the one to blame, sorry. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

When More is Less, or Everything in Perfumery!

Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug

Lernert Engelberts and Sander Plug are two Dutch artists famous for creating high-concept art films and installations with a driven cheeky sense of humor. Winners of many prizes, the artists decided to criticize the perfume industry in a very creative and unusual way. The project called EVERYTHING was executed in 2012, when a video showed 1,400 scents, launched in the fragrance market, being mixed together to create a new fragrance called EVERYTHING. The idea was to show how ridiculously absurd the number of fragrance launches per year is growing, and how quality has been compromised against quantity. 
I could not help to make this post because here you all know that my living motto is "Less is More!" I take it the artists wanted just to prove the other way around, meaning to say: More is Less.
The first part of the video you will see the creation of the fragrance bottle for Everything, which it is an enlarged 1.5l glass vial that looks like a giant standard classic perfume sample bottle, followed by the artists adding all fragrances launched in the year of 2012.

According to them, EVERYTHING is an unique perfume that smells like an over scent-saturated floor in a department store, where the mix of all fragrances in the air hits you on the face. They also believe that EVERYTHING ended up being the most iconic smell in the world.

Photo credit: Fantastic Man magazine

These are some of the fragrances mixed in EVERYTHING:

4711, Acqua Colonia Mandarine & Cardamom • A Dozen Roses, Amber Queen • A Dozen Roses , Electron • A Lab on Fire, Sweet Dreams 2003 • A Lab on Fire , Liquid Night • A Lab on Fire , What We Do In Paris Is Secret • A Wing and a Prayer Perfumes, Shalott Rose • AbdesSalaam Attar Profumo , Tawaf • Acqua di Parma , Colonia Intensa Oud Concentrée • Acqua di Parma , Iris Nobile Sublime • Acqua di Portofino , Sail • Acqua Reale, Cèdre Royale • Adidas, Adidas Extreme Power Special Edition • Adidas, Fizzy Energy • Aedes de Venustas , Aedes de Venustas (new) • Affliction, Sinful For Her • Aftelier , Sepia • Agar Aura, Cuir Chypre • Agar Aura, Neriko • Agatha Ruiz de la Prada, Flormania • Agent Provocateur, Maitresse Eau Provocateur • Agent Provocateur, Pétale Noir • Agent Provocateur , Agent Provocateur Eau Provocateur • Agent Provocateur , L’Agent Eau Provocateur • Ajmal, Bling • Alice & Peter, Bloody Orange • Alice & Peter, Cheery Cherry • Alice & Peter, Fancy Choco • Alice & Peter, Showy Toffee • Alice & Peter, Wicked Berry • Amazongreen, Amandy • Amazongreen, Haivi Feminino • Amazongreen, Haivi Masculino • Amazongreen, Hakuchi • Amazongreen, Kamba Kumba’e • Amazongreen, Kamba Kunã • Amazongreen, Kaysati • Amazongreen, Kotyhu • Amazongreen, Kurundu • Amazongreen, Lokicho • Amazongreen, Muru • Amazongreen, Pitanga • Amazongreen, Sakaka • Amazongreen, Teka • Amazongreen, Tucumã • Amazongreen, Yvotimã • Amazongreen , Ka’aty • Ambra di Venezia, Tikue • America’s Next Top Model, Dream Come True • Amouage, Interlude Man • Amouage, Opus VI • Amouage , Beloved • Amouage , Interlude Woman • Amy Childs, Amy Childs • Anat Fritz, Tzora • Andrea Maack, Coal • Angel Schlesser, Pirouette • Angela Flanders, Aqua Alba • Anna Sui, Fairy Dance Secret Wish • Annick Goutal , Nuit Etoilée • Antonio Banderas, Her Secret • April Aromatics, Liquid Dreams • April Aromatics, Nectar of Love • April Aromatics, Precious Woods • April Aromatics, Rose L’Orange • April Aromatics, Unter den Linden • Aquolina, Pink Sugar Sparks • Arabian Oud, Hayati • Arabian Oud, Seher Al Kalemat • Aramis , PerfumeCalligraphy • Arno Sorel, Sensuelle Glamour • Arno Sorel, Solinotes Fleur d’Oranger • Atelier Cologne, Rose Anyonme • Atelier Cologne , Ambre Nue • Atelier Cologne , Rose Anonyme • Atelier Cologne , Vétiver Fatal • Avon, Centre Action • Avon, City Rush for Her • Avon, Far Away Exotic • Avon, Ironman Extreme • Avon, Ironman Glory • Avon, Jon Bon Jovi Unplugged For Her • Avon, Jon Bon Jovi Unplugged for Him • Avon, Miami Party • Avon, Perfect Strength • Avon, Scentini Nights Emerald Sparkle • Avon, Scentini Nights Midnight Glow • Avon, Scentini Nights Purple Pulse • Avon, Secret Fantasy Kiss...

If you wish to see all, click HERE for the link.
The fragrance was available till March 9 at Colette - Paris for a sniff...

According to the artists wearing Everything made people move away from them...

This blogger has been criticizing in many ways the decrease of quality X quantity for years now, but unfortunately, this is here to stay, and not forgeting to mention that it is also contaminating the so-called "niche" brands.
Fact is that very little has been invested into quality, a lot has been invested in marketing to sell the low quality perfumes as "the next big thing". 
It has arrived to Chanel and Guerlain, the last empires of quality of the massive production houses, but it happened. The last attempt of Chanel to sell Chanel Nº5 through Brad Pitt with that ridiculous campaign (the "R" word again...) it was the one of the final strikes, but Coco Noir was the last stab straight in the heart. 
Some are saying that 1932 is really good. I just happen to be skeptic. I haven't tried yet...but I am also not that curious. And Guerlain, oh Guerlain...the Multi man effect continues in a freakshish speed...flankers, flankers, flankers...1000s of Aquas Allegorias, Petit Robe Noirs...Habit Rouges, and the worst: the 1000 Shalimars...OMG! How much crap can one stand?
The question is: how to stop this or at least put one foot on the break?

ONE FINAL OBS: The artists are not criticizing each brand added individually, so if you saw your name in this list, don't get angry. The critic is being made about the fragrance industry as a whole. The attitude, not the perfumes.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eau Absolue EDP by Mona di Orio

To amazing Jeroen, a true hero!

Mona di Orio
Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

In 2010, Mona di Orio and Jeroen Oude Sogtoen revamped their brand "Mona di Orio Parfums" with an exquisite collection called Les Nombres D'Or, inspired by the GOLDEN RATIO, a divine proportion used in architecture and maths by masters such as Michelangelo and Da Vinci, known very well by Mona, as having herself, a background in Architecture. 
As she explained at that time "Golden Ratio ... might be the key to understand beauty. Intrigued and attracted by this aesthetic theory, it let me imagine how to revisit some influential classics of the perfumery. Searching for the perfect proportions to reach a melodious harmony. Using the best raw materials, beautiful ingredients, precious gifts blessed with divine proportions. Close your eyes, open your nose and follow their mysterious and sensual sillages."

captured by the camera of Petrovisky & Ramone

A year later the brand had to face another challenge. In December of 2011 the in house perfumer and co-owner of the brand, Mona herself, passed away at very young age. It was a very sad moment for perfumery, for her family and for those who loved her. Many thought the brand was going out of business, and ran to buy her perfumes fearing they would not be sold anymore. Indeed it was a hard year for the brand, but her business partner and beloved friend Jeroen O. Sogtoen managed to transform grief into beauty, and made us all a promise to continue to tell Mona's stories and memories through her creations, with the unforgettable passion, elegance, and kindness that we all loved her for.

EAU ABSOLUE EDP by Mona di Orio
Photo credit: + Q Perfume Blog

A promise that he is, with all his heart, really managing to keep!
In 2013 the brand released a gourmand floral balsamic perfume around a joyous and sensual rose called Rose Etoille de Hollande, which I haven't reviewed yet. 
For 2013, Jeroen brings Mona's love for the Mediterranean and one more delightful chiaroscuro composition that is a signature of her works.
Eau Absolue EDP is the newest fragrance of the collection to be launched this next April, and it comes with a combination of citrusy notes of Sicilian bergamot, clementine, petitgrain Citronnier, chinese litsea cubeba, Peruvian pink peppercorn accord, Egyptian geranium, Jamaican St. Thomas Bay leaf, vetiver Java & Tahiti, virginian cedar wood, musk and cistus labdanum.
It is a game of light and darkness, with zestful bright spiced citrusy notes and earthy, balsamic and nocturnal accords. freshness, transparency, joy and gentleness embraces sensuality, warmth and elegance.
For the passionates for fresh colognes this perfume will bring the same freshness and lightness of the citruses of an original cologne, but with the endurance and lasting power of an EDP. 
The concept of redefining the structure of an eau de cologne by giving it a higher concentration was already brilliantly explored by Francis K with his fragrance Absolue pour le Matin EDP, and also presented by the brand Atelier Cologne with their Colognes Absulues, but Mona di Orio's Eau Absolue EDP stands out not only for the technical aspect of its structure. It has personality.
The citruses are not bubbling or sparkling (it could be because Mona loved champagne), but instead, they are shinny and summer-y. They are bright and vivid. Enlaced by pink peppercorns they last longer than most citrusy bouquets. Mandarine is the note that stands out for me.
Geranium and bay leaf is a combination that conquered my heart and brought a huge smile to my face. It is unique. I noticed it combined to create a metallic soapy tone to the fragrance,  which I must say I love it (not secret here). Vetiver is a bit overpowering to my senses, I would prefer it tuned a bit down, but than it would not be Mona's. Guys will love this striking vetiver. It is overall outstanding.
When Jeroen asked me if I liked the fragrance, I told him I really loved it. And I meant it.
That should be taken as sincere compliment, because frankly, these days I find myself wondering if I will ever buy another perfume... and just when I thought that was a lost case for me, here comes this divine perfume!
Eau Absolue EDP is a gentle caress, a blowed kiss followed with a smile. It is Mona's absolutely cheerful elegance!

For more reviews of this collection - click HERE, HERE HERE, HERE and HERE.

I can't think of anything else but  Mona & Jeroen and this:

Friday, March 1, 2013

Random Perfume Picks - Mitsouko (updated version)


Photo credits: + Q Perfume Blog

Official Olfactive Notes - Bergamot, peach, jasmine, May rose, spices, oakmoss, vetiver, wood.
Notes by The Perfumed Dandy - petroleum, peach schnapps.

Reading Dandy's review of Mitsouko was indeed revealing. For years I have been trying to figure out what this fragrance was all about and how to review it, if so many have already written long essays about years before becomes boring at one point...But somehow the idea came out, and I could not keep it to myself. So here it is: Mitsouko, as it is presented today, is a pin up girl from the 50's, coming alive out of a vintage calendar hung on a wall in a garage of a mechanic somewhere...she comes dressed in a yellow dress, red lipstick, shining black high heels, wearing a powdery perfume. The mechanic is under a car, full of grease and wearing a gray jumpsuit. The leaves are tied on his waist revealing a tight white dirty singlet. He is smell his sweat, the oil, the gasoline, her scent of peach lipstick, the powdery fragrance...
He sees her heels and slide to the side, moving away from the car. He follows his eyes up to her long beautiful legs and with a southern accent he smiles " How can I help you Ma'm?"...and before the engine gets guys take it from here, otherwise one might think this is a porn website...

For a compete review of a very interesting Mitsouko Flanker - Fleur de Lotus and more on Mitsouko Original scent...

and there is always case the fantasy did not work for ya!

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