1. bibimaizoon

    Lost in Heaven sounds like something I’d like. I loved her Sex &the Sea Neroli.
    It wouldn’t be Italian without a passionate sucker punch that’s just this side of vulgar, now would it?

    • I have to say I agree. The Italians like to often teeter on the edge in Salvatore Ferragamo heels. Sex And The Sea And Neroli I also like (and might try in summer) – but it has to be said the name is ultra clumsy.

      Lost in Heaven is quite fulsome and dreamy.

      • And my upstairs STILL just smells of leather……..I have never known anything like it. I am dying to hear what other people how have tried A Lover’s Tale feel about it: it is a truly notable Cuir De Russie.

  2. I have all of Francesca Bianchi’s perfumes, except for the limited edition special one she did which was not available to me. I love them all but some more than others. (I am of full Italian descent so maybe that’s why, although I no longer wear high heels–athough I love the Traffic song “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”). My first love from her line was Under My Skin, followed by Angel’s Dust and The Dark Side.

    • I am still getting inside Under My Skin and Angel’s Dust – but I agree: these are all full on PERFUMES that are quite arousing to the senses.

      I will have to check out that song (love the name!)

  3. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Dissuedes me! My first spontaneous laugh today! So precious. And the rest of the text ( a very stunted expression for such rich content) is savoured like a perfume. Parfum extrait Neil Chapman Black Narcissus. To me an entity in its own right.

    Verstuurd vanaf mijn iPhone


    • Thanks. It IS full parfum extrait me, isn’t it? Dense.

      I groaned as I wrote ‘dissuedes’ but then thought fuck it and kept it. It’s not like I am punning all the time!

      • Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

        Don’t groan! You saved
        my day and many others to come I hope.
        I did it as well when I was a secretary (very unreliable in the administrative way) to lighten up the notes and my own boredom. Got ticked off naturally: some people don’t know what is good for them.

      • Anything to dent the dullness!

  4. Tara C

    Love that top photo! I ordered a sample set of FB perfumes and couldn’t wear any of them. They were skanky in an unpleasant way on me. Must be something in her base that doesn’t agree with my skin/nose.

    • I am not sure I will wear them on skin either- but I would wear A Lover’s Tale on the card concealed in an inner pocket in the way I mentioned here. Etruschan Water has also gone into D’s collection as I quite enjoyed it on him.

      I am sensing Obsession like base notes in Heaven as well so might try that on myself one day when I am feeling like something thick and sweet.

  5. You nailed them. As I knew you would.

    Every single time, you leave me bereft of words in response. Like a breathtaking scene I encounter for the first time, I have to just simply walk away, feeling fulfilled to the brim of my soul. I know what I am feeling; no one else really has cause to know. I can only hope that I leave such an impression on one person in my life as payment for what your writing, your very existance, does for me.

    You understand; you know; you feel it all too. Thank you.

    • It’s hard to know what I can say in response to this, but I must tell you I find it immensely gratifying to the soul. I do sometimes just wake up and walk to the computer and start writing with no clear idea of what will come out, in a heightened state a lot of the time. If that feeling is transmitted to another person, it feels like a miracle.

  6. I love it that you just sit at your computer and start typing. What comes out are brilliant posts. I read the four books of Elena Ferrante (apparently a pseudonym name), the first of which was entitled “My Brilliant Friend”. They were all four about two girls from Naples, Italy who were life-time friends. It starts from when they were 7 years old and the last book they are in their sixties. They both were good at writing and one actually became a writer with published books. Now the first two books have been on HBO as a limited series. I am not sure if they will eventually do the last two. But I think of you when I see the title of the first book, because your writing, my friend is absolutely brilliant! Thank you so much for sharing your talents with all of us.

    • I don’t know what to say.

      Thank you. x

      I have heard of Elena Ferrante though and know she has been a literary sensation. I am intrigued!

    • I should also say that it would be a bit disingenuous of me to say that EVERY piece is like that: some are thought out in advance in detail, of course; some take five minutes, some take all day. I try to vary the ‘consistency’ of it all a bit to keep it varied so you never know what is coming next (I don’t, either!)

  7. By the way I love that photo of you in Mexico City.

    • Thanks. Another time entirely – I quite liked that leather jacket, but it was always slightly a bone of contention between me and D. I think he thinks I look a bit New Jersey pseudo-gangster or something.

  8. Robin

    “I was leathered.” I had to laugh. Neil Chapman does it again. I’d never heard that before and I think you’ve coined it. A highly useful phrase and one I will repeat — with suitable ascription, of course.

    Another piece that I could have gone on reading for hours more. And the photos! Especially was taken with the first one. And wow, who would have thought: way to rock the beard. My god, you would fit right in on stage with a mandolin and a folk band here in The Creek on Slow Sundays. I like it. I don’t know if it’s really You, but I like it. I hear you on the deep analysis. For me, it adds nothing to my appreciation and might distract or detract. It would take away the pleasure of experiencing it fully, the way I love to and need to: with everything BUT my head.

    I looked up hiragana, et al, and my brain had a meltdown before I’d read the second paragraph. And I can understand how you and Helen abandoned the course after hitting the chemistry section. But sounds like a lot of fun before that. I remember doing that smell shape thing in a wine appreciation course decades ago — numbered axes for woody, vegetal, fruity, floral, acidic and earthy aspects. And we had little aromatic vials of common notes like green pepper (cabernet franc) and even something labeled “cat pee” (sauvignon blanc). It helped me to evaluate and describe wines a little more precisely when I was a wine judge. (But it certainly did not make them taste any better.)

    I am wearing First edt — again; it’s really good with this cool, damp weather — and hoping your mum is staying well.

    • I think they are getting a bit tired of being in the same place, like everyone else, but the garden is a haven (and that Rogue jasmine really is something amazing, I think ,..)

      As for the perfume course, it does sound very similar to what you were saying about the wine numbered axes – that was the phrase I was looking for, where you put a cross on the level of potency for that particular note. I think there were about 20 different possible smell traits, or maybe 30 I am not sure – you REALLY had to analyse clove or geranium or castoreum very deeply (they never told you what it was, either – just B45 or something like that). I found it quite fascinating.

      The soap assignment though – honestly, I looked at it and knew immediately it could never be done. I just daydreamed through all science lessons when I was a teenager and was loathed by some of the teachers – I just found it impossible to concentrate on. ..

      And leathered – seriously , I have never smelled anything like it. Do you know A Lover’s Tale? I can imagine you using it in miraculous ways in tandem with other perfumes, or even getting into the deep rose note that opens it. Worth trying a sample of, I reckon. x

      • Robin

        I know I loved that aspect of not just smelling and tasting but really seeing a wine, seeing its shape, its contours, and how that resonated for me, made it all more tangible somehow. (I remember we joined all the x’s with a line around to make a lumpy blob that expanded most where the influence of a note or related notes was greatest.) I actually now remember doing that with fragrance, seeing it online somewhere. I know my favourite shape is pretty consistent, too, in a visually identifiable proportion of key aromas. (Main category: chypre, of course.)

        I don’t know A Lover’s Tale, but as you say, it seems it could be useful as an adjunct and also interesting on its own for exploring that rose. I like a good leather. And a good suede. Many I find a bit heavy-handed for me to wear (Knize Ten, Bel Ami). Interesting: I don’t find leather in Defendue, and I’m wondering if you might be thinking of La Treizieme Heure instead.

      • the chocolatey one. there is something vile in the base

      • Tara C

        That’s L’Heure Défendue: chocolate, iris and skank. I personally enjoy it but it is very weird.

      • I put it in my book in the chocolate section, because I do think it is quite interesting and I can imagine some people smelling compelling in it. However, there is a musk and possibly castoreum aspect to it I sense from the offset that I personally find quite sickening. Generally speaking, castoreum works better in vintage perfumes I think – it can camouflage itself in the thicket better. In many niche perfumes to me it just smells too obvious, protruding (or something).

      • Knize Ten and Bel Ami are surely too macho for you, no? I mean I like that kind of lederhosen lovebird number on some people, but it’s ultimately a bit old-school hard knock. A Lover’s Tale is pure warm, leather suede, ridiculously life like, with a very potent dark rose at the beginning that disturbs me, but held my mind in a vice. This one doesn’t tiptoe around. I think it would GLORIOUS actually sprayed in the inside pocket of a leather jacket on a man or a woman – edging towards feminine, possibly, but not really

      • Robin

        Also, I liked hearing that Japan has lifted restrictions and is doing extraordinarily well. I’d said it would have to be a miracle. It is and I’m really happy for you all.

      • The whole thing is confounding. I am still not quite sure what to think about it as I go back on Tuesday next week and am obviously very nervous about it! But yes – a weight has been lifted off the soul a bit, even if so much of the world is still bogged down in fear – like the UK – or the bastard virus is just getting going: in Africa, South America etc. How is it in Canada? Is there a sense of normalcy yet? Or getting there?

      • Tara C

        Here in Montréal, the shops with entrances directly to the street were allowed to open today (no shopping malls), and groups of 10 people from no more than 3 households are allowed to gather, 2 metres apart of course. Over the next month I believe the restaurants will be allowed to open a bit. It is slow and careful.

      • As it should be.

        Personally, although I want to support local restaurants, I just don’t have any appetite to be in one for the time being. Totally used to home cooking/ meal preparation now!

      • Robin

        Ha! I actually typed “machismo” to describe those two leathers, but thought I was being a bit too narrow-minded and old-fashioned: you know, making the gender distinction that scents are inherently masculine or feminine. I deleted it. But yes, Knize Ten and Bel Ami are macho, and actually too macho for Ric, who really is a gentler soul despite the manly trappings of his life. Oh, another beat me over the head leather is TF Tuscan Leather. Whoo. Maybe a drop, on the right skin. But A Lover’s Tale is a different beast, I can tell. I love your idea of spraying it inside a pocket, so it’s part of the leather, the animal skin, and not directly on human skin. It makes perfect sense.

        I agree with you about castoreum. Vintage. Yes. It’s done beautifully, I think, in vintage Yatagan. Not Ric’s thing, unfortunately, because I have a feeling it would be good on him. For a modern fragrance, I feel the note is done particularly well in MDCI Chypre Palatin (and lo and behold, Ric really likes that one). Distinctly unprotruding.

        That bastard virus. I’m getting reluctant to check the numbers in those countries that are on the wrong side of the curve — countries where it’s just gaining traction. But there’s also a pull to see how quickly or slowly things are progressing, as if, if I’m on top of it, somehow the numbers won’t spin out of control, or at least the increments will be smaller and seem less ominous or catastrophic. Here (gratefully) on the western edge of Canada, things don’t seem much different. But I see a mass of idiots crammed together in a park in Toronto over the weekend saying basically, “If you don’t like it, stay home. The weather’s nice. We’re done being cooped up.” Better, I suppose, than that American block party of 1,000 where 7 people were injured or killed. I dunno. I think I’m a bit discouraged by some things I’m seeing. I do feel a bit worn out by it all. But I should not complain! Honestly, if anybody should NOT feel worn out, it’s me and the people in this quiet little backwater of the world. So I better just smarten up. Seriously. I could be a migrant worker in a labour camp in Qatar.

      • My god I know. I have read about the situation in the UAE countries – such foul exploitation. I read the story in our kitchen drinking a glass of wine and truly realized how lucky I was.

  9. Nelleke Oepkes aka Booknose

    Francesca Bianchi’s Perfumery is actually around the corner! I Discovered on Google!!
    I hope she has not been closed down. That’s a chance to inhale something else to besides virusses!

  10. Oh how lovely this was. Your writing always boosts my mood, and when you introduce me to fragrance creators I am aware of, but not familiar with their work, that is even more of a delight. I will have to try and order a sample set from her as well as Dusita. My fragrance purchasing is out of control during this time, I can not even express how much I want to own every fragrance available.
    I think “Lost in Heaven” will be the one I become enchanted with.

    • It’s funny you should say that: I have the card in front of me and the base note is STILL quite thick, powdery, and pleasing. I like it. These really are oil paint though, if you know what I mean. And I am totally the same right now : I would like a whole HOUSE FULL OF PERFUME

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