MiN New York

© The Smelly Vagabond

© The Smelly Vagabond

Around 3 weeks ago, on the Saturday after the day of crazy mad shopping stampedes also known as Black Friday, I dragged my luggage behind me as I trudged around SoHo, New York, in search of MiN New York, a perfumery that I had long heard of, but never had the opportunity to visit until now. I had taken the train down to Manhattan a couple of days before with a few objectives in mind:

  1. To visit a friend and celebrate Thanksgiving over the Thanksgiving break (although in my case the “break” involved plenty of studying)
  2. To keep in my tradition of participating in an annual celebration of excessive consumerism (Boxing Day in London, where I was previously based; Black Friday in the US)
  3. To meet up with Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies and the rest of the gang (more on that later!) for some sniffing and catching up at Osswald NYC later that very same Saturday afternoon

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Photo Essay: Perfume Places in Rome

 I was browsing through my perfume journal when I realised in horror that I’d completely forgotten to do a write up of my holiday in Rome LAST YEAR IN JUNE! Speak of scatter-brained! Well, I’ve got too many notes to type out, and not enough time, so for now I suppose a photo essay will have to suffice. After all, the cliché about a picture speaking a thousand words holds! Well make that a thousand and a few, because I’ve added captions to some of them 😉 Enjoy!

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‘New’ Bottle of ‘Old’ Chanel N°5

© The Smelly Vagabond

© The Smelly Vagabond

I recently managed to secure a bottle of vintage Chanel N°5 Eau de Toilette off eBay for the grand total of less than £10. Hunting and bidding for vintage perfumes on eBay gives me an adrenaline rush that I find hard to describe. On one hand, there’s always the worry and anxiety that the perfume that will arrive will be degraded beyond recognition, especially if it hasn’t been stored well. On the other hand, there’s the excitement of having found a rare vintage perfume that will send shivers down my spine when I smell it, and the thrill of winning it cheaply. It’s a win-win situation for people to send me their bottles of vintage perfume while I send them money in return – they get rid of what they don’t want, and I get what I really, really want! 🙂

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The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 2 (Part III)

The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 1
The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 2 (Part I)
The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 2 (Part II)

 Day 2 (Part III) – A Whirlwind Tour of Perfume Boutiques

source: jeanpatouperfume.com

We left Jovoy with contented smiles on our faces – well, more than just contented smiles: Monsieur D left with a bottle of Parfum d’Empire’s Ambre Russe and plenty of samples. I’d managed to muster up some inkling of restraint and left without buying anything… yet (that’s a story for Day 4). We had planned to meet up with Bianca, a friend that Monsieur D had made on the train from the airport, at 3.30pm, but there was still some time to kill, and so we decided to walk around the area. Just diagonally across the street from Jovoy was a Jean Patou boutique, where we discovered the recently launched Collection Héritage series comprising Chaldée, Eau de Patou and Patou Pour Homme. I have yet to smell the original scents, so I can’t comment on how they’ve been reformulated, and I can’t remember much of what I smelt either, save for the fact that they were quite smooth and elegant, never venturing into offensive territory. The sales assistant was helpful enough, and possibly rather hopeful that we would be making a purchase as well, given that she was quite persistent about the quality of the fragrances. I suppose it was because we were holding so many shopping bags! Continue reading

The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 2 (Part II)

The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 1
The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 2 (Part I)

© The Smelly Vagabond I'm gonna lie and say that the person in that picture isn't me. So you still don't know what I look like.

© The Smelly Vagabond
I’m gonna lie and say that the person in that picture isn’t me. So you still don’t know what I look like.

It was time to make my way to the square just outside Palais Royal, where I was to meet Monsieur D. At exactly 1pm sharp, Monsieur D arrived, and we exchanged pleasantries before strolling into the Palais Royal. Our first stop was, naturally, the famed Serge Lutens boutique, where countless other perfumistas before me had no doubt made the pilgrimage to. The outside display held a bust wearing a metal helmet, presumably to promote the latest release, La Vierge de Fer. Inside, the lighting was dim and the décor an oppressive, sinister goth designed to swallow up the soul. Or perhaps it was meant to recreate the sense of quietude and respect that one would encounter in a cathedral, with the perfumes in their bell jars being the objects of worship, and the blotter strips laid out neatly in front of them being the incense to be offered. Continue reading

A Visit to Roullier White and an Interview with Founder Lawrence

© The Smelly Vagabond

I’ve just realised that I’d forgotten to blow my own trumpet and stroke my own ego – I’d forgotten to share with lovely readers of this blog an article I’d written on London perfumery Roullier White, that was published on Basenotes back in December, when I was out camping in the woods somewhere in Micheldever without access to a computer. So, if you’d like, you can read the article by clicking on this link. There, you might find out my true identity (not that it was ever that much of a secret), and even catch a glimpse of my elusive face… Enjoy! 🙂

~ The Smelly Vagabond

The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 2 (Part I)

The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 1 (in case you haven’t read it yet). I’ve split Day 2 into two parts [EDIT: it’s now three parts!] because frankly it was so long that it was getting out of hand. And I thought it best to post something yet while figuring out some details about the trip that I’d forgotten. I also apologise for not having written in such a long time, I figure it’s cause I’d lost my mojo for writing (it happens!), and also because all my brain energy had been sucked away by pesky university essays. In any case, I’m back now, so enjoy!

Day 2 (Part I), in which I discover little gems and collect beautiful memories while hunting for something mundane.

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Pre-Christmas Perfume Sales in London

Forget Boxing Day. Say hello to the pre-Christmas sales.

Despite returning home from my log cabin holiday just past noon, I was out of my house within less than an hour, heading towards, well, where else, Harrods, of course. After all, who needs lunch when you have Harrods? Upon arrival, I found out that I was right. The sales had begun. And so the terrible force of nature also known as Typhoon TSV began carving its path through the perfumery hall in a scented blitzkrieg. Woe betide any living creature that stood in the path of this wrecking whirlwind as it blazed a fiery trail through the aisles of Harrods. After a sharp flurry of intense force, Harrods was divested of its stock, and the typhoon changed its course, heading straight for Harvey Nichols. The crowds there were pathetically thin, a consequence of the poor sales and lack of worthy offerings. With a huff, the beast bounded onto the tube and headed for Green Park where Fortnum and Mason resided.

The beast rageth

 

Now, hell hath no fury like a Smelly Vagabond kept from his sales. Fortnum and Mason had not begun their sales, not one bit; absolutely nothing was discounted. Letting out a humongous roar of despair, the beast slammed the door of Fortnum behind it, eyes glittering with rage. It would devour this place come Boxing Day. Undeterred by this setback, it leapt towards Liberty, a favourite haunt that it was sure would not disappoint. But lo and behold, the forces of nature were unkind to this poor soul, and the sales had yet to begin, once again. Now resigned to its fate, the beast began to head back…

But wait! There was one last territory it had yet to conquer: Selfridges. Performing a sharp about-turn, it leapt and bound towards the store with the yellow bags, only to find that Selfridges had failed to follow in the footsteps of Harrods in starting its sales early. The beast sighed. It was true what the advertisments on the London Underground said: “There is only one sale. Harrods.” While the other department stores languished on their laurels, the Cash Man at Harrods was laughing all the way to the bank as he had completely destroyed the rest of the competition. Thoughtfully, the beast returned to its lair 3 hours after it had first started, licking its aching wounds and its achy breaky heart. There, it rested, knowing that in 3 days’ time it would be out to hunt again. It had already secured first blood at Harrods. It would soon be time for a feast, it just had to be patient…

~ The Smelly Vagabond

The Smelly Vagabond’s Adventures in Paris: Day 1

© The Smelly Vagabond

© The Smelly Vagabond

Last week, I took the plunge and went on my first ever solo holiday… and what better place to spend it than in Paris? I’ve always wondered why I’ve never been to Paris, especially since I’m a sucker for all things smelly and Paris is the perfume mecca of the world that is only a 2.5 hour train ride away from London! Suffice to say that I had the best holiday ever, and I’ve recorded some of my thoughts and observations here. They may not necessarily all be about fragrance and all things smelly, but I’ve weaved in some of my scented explorations as well. If you’re only interested in the perfume, I discuss Guerlain somewhere in the middle. So, let’s start from the very beginning…

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“Christmas Gift Guide 2013” + Mystery Samples Giveaway

NOTE: This is not a dig at my fellow bloggers, who have painstakingly compiled various Christmas Gift Guides.

The time of the year has come when the tills in the perfume department ring incessantly. Don’t know what to get someone for Christmas? Perfume has always been a risky bet since there’s always the chance that the recipient doesn’t like the gift. On the other hand, perfume does have great resale value on places like eBay or on various fragrance forums. Excessive commercialisation of Christmas aside, I do think giving gifts can be a meaningful way of demonstrating love for someone else, although I posit that it’s far better to treat your loved ones well all through the year rather than only on festive occasions.

I’ve compiled a list of Gift Guides that they have come up with here, if you wish to read them. I’ll also update this list as and when other bloggers post their Christmas Gift Guides. Some of them are fun ideas and suggestions and are delightful to read. That said, some do come across as simply PR for various perfume brands, but I’ll leave that up to your discerning judgment. Do drop me a comment or email if I’ve missed out on any so that I can include them here, thanks!

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