Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Leather Sample Revisit

Image source.

At the beginning of my perfume journey I was very fond of leathers for a while. Several of my favorite perfumes had a lot of leather and I sampled a lot of different leathers. I have since moved on a bit. I still love leather but now I'm most fond of really skanky leather or in combination with creamy white florals or gourmand notes.

I am a sample hoarder and I still have most of those leather samples that I loved way back when... so I thought that it would be interesting to revisit some of them. In this post I'll only be talking about those scents that I remember loving but that I haven't touched since my tastes changed. That makes a half dozen samples for me to reacquaint myself with. All of them scents that I haven't tried in about two years. Two years might not sound like a whole lot of time, but I only started sampling niche perfume about three years ago and it has been a really tumultuous journey, with a very steep learning curve and a constantly evolving taste It feels like much more than three years! I'll be sniffing these leathers with a completely different nose now. So this should be interesting!

Enchanticals Perfume Dungeon - This first scent I am revisiting is not a niche perfume at all actually. It's an indie oil. But I loved it during my leather phase and haven't tried it since, so I'll include it. This is pretty much a solinote leather. Cold and sharply herbal, musky and with a slight saffron-like sweetness in the background. I still find this to be the most photorealistic leather I have ever sampled. It smells almost exactly like my black leather jacket, especially after the chilly herbal top notes have calmed a bit. I wouldn't wear this today, it's just a bit too cold and not sweet enough or animalic enough for me... And it is a bit simplistic, solinotes tend to bore me a bit nowadays. But it is impressively realistic and might make a good layering tool!

The following four scents were all a part of the same sample order two years ago. The order was all leather and made at the height of my leather craze. Two months later I was over the leather and deep into gourmands. ;)

Blood Concept O - I remember being very intrigued by the concept of this line and I really enjoyed sampling this one. Then I just forgot about the sample and never looked back. It has lingered in my collection for reference and because I enjoyed the experience but I don't think I have worn it even once since that first time. This time around I'm not even intrigued by it. I am so extremely bored by birch tar leathers nowadays. I just can't understand why almost every single leather perfume is full of birch tar. Sorry perfumers of the world, but birch tar has nothing to do with leather according to my nose. Birch tar is just a slightly smoky burning chemical sort of scent. And it gives me a headache. I have no idea what my nose was thinking when it enjoyed birch tar. So, my verdict on Blood Concept O is that these days it doesn't even register as a leather, it is just a mess of something weirdly metallic and burning chemicals...

Tauer Lonestar Memories - I am actually pleasantly suprised when I put this one on. It is another smoky birch tar sort of leather but it is a lot sweeter than I remember it being. I remember it as very smoky and quite acrid with a background of amber resins. Now I get a lot of smoky sweet myrrh! It is actually reminding me quite a lot of the drydown of vintage Shalimar extrait. It has that same combo of smoky leather and sweet resins! I don't know if this is because my sample has aged or just that my nose has evolved. Later on in the drydown I get more amber/labdanum instead of myrrh which is not as nice... But in any case, a much more enjoyable experience than I was expecting! I already have vintage Shalimar though, so I won't be needing Lonestar Memories.

Etat Libre D'Orange Rien - When I look at the notes list of this one these days, well... I don't even want to put it on. Incense, aldehydes, patchouli, labdanum... all are notes that really don't agree with me these days. It simply looks like one big headache! I actually can't remember my impressions of this one when I first tried it, but I loved it according to the rating I gave it on Fragrantica. And it seems to have been all leather to my nose back then. To think that my tastes have changed so radically! It certainly doesn't smell like leather at all now! I get aldehydes and a bit of oakmoss at first, along with some of that synthetic earthiness that is supposed to smell like soil but is much too clean. After a while I do get some leatheriness, but a very abstract sort of leather, not at all realistic. I only recognize it as leather because I have a whole lot of mainstream perfumes telling me that this is what leather smells like, even though it really doesn't. The drydown is ambery with some patchouli thrown in. Nope, this one just smells really thin, watery and generic now.

Parfum D'Empire Cuir Ottoman - For a while there I had a thing for iris and powdery scents in general and I really loved this combo of iris and leather. I've since left that phase behind me so it was interesting to try this one again. I remember Cuir Ottoman as a powdery leather, a very elegant and refind sort of scent. Pretty much a straight up iris leather. But when I now put it on it smells really fruity and much sweeter than I remember. Kind of a jammy iris on a background of slightly smoky leather. And it does still smell like leather to me! Not as realistic as Dungeon but pretty close to what a leather accord should be like imho. After a while the iris gets less jammy and more the usual powdery makeup vibe. Yeah... this is a lovely ladylike leather handbag sort of scent. Very pretty, just not at all my thing anymore.

Olfactive Studio Chambre Noire - A little less than two years ago I bought, on impulse, a really affordable set of large samples of the whole line from Olfactive Studio. None of the scents were really my thing, but the line was hyped and it was a very cheap set... I was rather over leather by then but I still enjoyed Chambre Noire the most. According to my notes I fund it to be a lovely powdery leather with some wood and spices. This time around I get very little leather actually. It is more of a woody plum with some peppery spice and hints of dry but not very smoky incense. What little leather I get is similarly abstract and generic as in Rien. Chambre Noire as a whole strikes me now as pretty generic. Nice but nothing at all special.

So, have you tried any of these? What are your favorite, and not so favorite, leathers? Do you at all want to smell like leather?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cicada Embroidery

Working on this embroidery right now. The leaves are not done yet and I don't know what more I will add, but I really like how it's looking so far! Not sure what I'm going to do with it though. I was inspired by some embroidered hair accessories so that was the plan, but this is getting rather big so I don't know... Any ideas?

Do you have any crafty obsessions right now?

Friday, January 8, 2016

Awful or Awesome - Case #3 The Pussy Bow Blouse

In the recesses of my wardrobe I found this vintage bright green pussy bow blouse. A flee market find for next to nothing. I have only worn it a scant few times because the color doesn't really agree with me. I don't generally do bright colors. And the pattern is just so weird! It's just a bit much, I feel like a Christmas tree! So for me it teeters on the edge of awful. And I kind of cringe when I see it... But I love the cut and shape of it and I feel like I need to have at least one pussy bow blouse in my wardrobe for when I want to do the secretary or librarian look. 

So, what do you think? Awful or awesome? Would you wear it or do you cringe when you see it?

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Outfits from the archive - 2015

I have been away from the blogosphere for quite a while, but I have still taken quite a lot of outfit pictures. So here are some from the archive from last year. I was experimenting quite a lot with color, texture, more romantic items, with contrasts.... Hope you enjoy!

An early summer outfit. Pretty basic, but I really like that blouse (H&M)! Such a great pop of color, and can be either festive or casual... Here I went for casual. 
Another basic one where I really like the blouse/top/thingie. This one is so whispy and romantic! The necklace is a raw smoky quartz point.
Unusually colorful for me this dress... Doesn't show very well in the picture because of a lack of natural light, but it is a rather bright yellow with a floral pattern in red, white and green. Kind of a bit too happy for my tastes, but with a leather skirt underneath, a leather belt and a bird skull necklace it feels more me.
Here is one of my favorite blouses! A silky mustard colored one with a paisley pattern. Big sleeves, accentuated shoulders, crimped waist and mandarin collar, what's not to like! Here with leather belt and  skinny fit pants with a geometrical pattern. I really liked the contrast between the paisley and the geometrical patterns, and because the patterns are so subtle it didn't feel like too much pattern going on.
A classic outfit that I usually end up wearing sometime around the holidays. There is just something about the skirt and the flower brooch that feels very festive! :)

And lastly, here is what I wore for Halloween! It's not often I get to go all out these days, especially not at work, but the library where I work hosted a Halloween At the Library-type event so we in the staff got to dress up. The library was lit only by candle light and I got to walk around with a lantern and scare little kids! So much fun!!

Most of this outfit has been seen before on the blog, it is rather a classic, but I still wanted to share!

I seldom wear these striped socks anymore, but they felt quite witchy and I think I was going for steampunkish-witchy-ghost librarian or something...
Yum, those sleeves!!! And the waistcoat too!
Note the neat collar on the shirt, love that detail! The bronze bird skull necklace is a classic that I can never grow tired of.  I also wore my bird claw ring, but I don't have a picture of that. And I finally have a proper chain for my pocket watch!

And here is the outfit with more Halloween details added. You obviously can't see a lot because we got makeup and final prep done at work and it was night by the time I got home. Anyway, messy bun, pale powdered face, foundation on lips to make them pale too... and then some spider web on the hat. :)

Looks rather spooky doesn't it?
How was your style year? What styles did you dig? What didn't you wear? What inspired you? What did you wear for Halloween (yeah, I know I'm late...)?

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Homemade Vanilla Extract

What you need:

  • 1 small-ish bottle (or however much vanilla extract you want to make).
  • Enough vodka to fill the bottle(s).
  • About 2 vanilla beans per dl of vodka.

How you do it:

  • Take a smallish bottle and fill it with vodka. 
  • Split the vanilla beans and chop to smaller pieces if needed. Add them to the bottle.
  • Put the bottle away somewhere and forget about it, the longer the better, at least a couple of months. (I forgot about mine for more than 6 months.)
  • When you find it again you have vanilla extract! Enjoy!

What you can further do:

  • Strain the vanilla extract to get rid of the vanilla bean remnants.
  • Add sugar syrup or glucose syrup, or some other syrup you like, or honey, according to taste. Shake well, until the syrup dissolves.
  • Pour into a bottle and let rest in a dark and cool place for at least a month.
  • Now you have vanilla extract liqueur! About the yummiest stuff on the planet, if you like vanilla!

Outfit - All black texture play

Lots of textures in this outfit! Wool, leather, suede, the raw silk-like texture of the shirt and even some forged iron jewelry. Shirt and coat are thrifted, pants and gloves are from H&M.

Do you ever wear all black? Do you like playing with textures in your outfits?

Btw, I just wrote a bit about my personal style, kind of a profile. You can have a look at that in the tab at the top of the blog marked My Style Profile. It has a nifty diagram and everything! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Perfume Profile

I got the idea for this post from the blog of the lovely Undina. She made the point that when you read blogs about perfume you will at times feel the need to know more about the writers personal tastes. She remedied this by writing a Perfume Portrait detailing her perfume loves, likes and dislikes. I thought this was such a good idea that I'll do something similar. :)

General taste:

In general I tend to enjoy the following.

  • Unisex niche perfumes with an attitude.
  • Gourmand notes, boozy notes, white and yellow florals, immortelle, soft spices, sweet resins, animalics, leather, tobacco, oakmoss, sweet aromatics, conifers...
  • Contrasting perfumes, unexpected note combinations. 
  • Floral macabre. Anything innocently floral or gourmand "despoiled" by some rot, decay or skank!  
  • Opulence! Dense and syrupy perfumes that are overly luxurious and decadent.

And I tend to dislike these:

  • Anything too steretypically masculine or feminine.
  • Any sharp, screechy or overly dry notes. Mainly aldehydes, galbanum, incense, olibanum, birch tar, sharp florals like rose, muguet, lilac, jasmine, dry spices or herbals.
  • Labdanum turns sour on my skin. Almond usually goes very plasticky.
  • Dominant wood notes, juicy fruits or berries, fresh citrus, aquatics... 
  • Boring stuff that's been done a hundred times! The generic stuff that is so traditional that it lacks any sort of attitude. Even when done well it just bores me to death.
  • Scents that are overly elegant or refined. I need a bit of dirt in a scent!

Top Perfume Favorites:

Slumberhouse Rume
Slumberhouse Zahd
Slumberhouse Sova
Slumberhouse Ore
Xerjoff Mamluk
Olympic Orchids Tropic of Capricorn
Mona di Orio Nuit Noire

Other perfumes that I do not want to be without:

Slumberhouse Norne
Slumberhouse Grev
Slumberhouse Jeke
Histoires de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade
Histoires de Parfums Tubereuse 3 Animale
Mona di Orio Cuir
Smell Bent Werewolf Lumberjack Reclining on a Bearskin Rug
Carner El Born
Annick Goutal Sables
Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab Snake Oil

Gorgeous, when I'm in the mood for gourmands:

Kerosene Unknown Pleasures
Creed Virgin Island Water
Indult Tihota
Perfumes by Terri Douceur Brulee
Smell Bent Prairie Nymph
Reminiscence Dragée
Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

Recent crushes, not sure if it's true love yet:

Guerlain Metalys
Jovoy Lys Epona
Kerosene Unforsaken
Roja Dove Reckless
April Aromatics Tempted Muse
Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 Une Nuit a Doha
Smell Bent Gimel a Break

Perpetual Lemmings:

Slumberhouse Kere
Aftelier Tango

Vintage classics that I enjoy:

L'Heure Bleue
Bal a Versailles
Moment Supreme
Rochas Femme

Perfumes that don't work for me:

Jean Patou Joy
Guerlain Samsara
Robert Piquet Bandit
Givenchy Ysatis
Guerlain Songe d'un Bois d'Ete
Creed Aventus
L'Artisan Seville a l'aube
Tauer L'Air du Desert Marocain
Tauer Reverie au Jardin
Masque Montecristo
Amouage Memoir Man
Amouage Beloved Woman
Etat Libre d'Orange Jasmin et Cigarette
Tom Ford Black Orchid
Tom Ford Sahara Noir
Tom Ford White Suede
Serge Lutens Fille en Aiguilles
Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan