It should come as no surprise to you, dear reader, that I am a sensitive soul. This means that sometimes my body over-reacts to the world around me: stimuli, chemicals, medications and food become sources of irritation and inflammation. At times like this, I need to dial it back: eat simple foods, make sure I sleep enough, tone down the synthetic perfumes, get lots of fresh air and exercise. This week has been one of those sensitive weeks. My cat and I have both been unwell, and with infectious bacteria lurking in the house, I turned to burning bug-banishing essential oils to scent the house and soothe us a little. We also evacuated from a bushfire last week, so my stress levels went through the roof. I’ve gone off my perfume it seems: at times like this synthetic fragrance can aggravate my eyes and skin, so IME’s natural perfumes seemed like an appealing and even healing choice to wear while I try to bring my stress levels down.
I’ve had an interesting week and the smell of smoke has played a starring role. As the saying goes, “where there’s smoke there’s fire”, and this week there was indeed a fire, a 1,200 hectare fire (3000 acres) in fact, quite close to our house in rural Victoria. On a 39 degree, windy day, with grass and foliage as dry as tinder at the end of an El Niño summer, we watched a terrifying bushfire start in the nearby mountains and get out of control very quickly. Our adrenal glands were exhausted from the panic of that day and we are still recovering from the stressful evacuation that we chose to undertake. Though the fire was 18 kilometres away, across the dry grassy paddocks, fire can move at a speed of 60 kilometres an hour in the right conditions (trust me, it was the right conditions), and with the strong wind shifting to fan the fire our way, there was no way we were going to take any chances. We left.
Smell of The Day is about noticing and appreciating the smells around me. Just one smell. It might be a perfume, a fragrant flower, the odour of something cooking, an unpleasant smell. All smells are equal. All smells are interesting. All smells affect us. Smell of The Day posts will feature one smell that made an impact on me that day.
It’s been a stressful couple of weeks. I’ve been unwell for some time with a seemingly untreatable eye infection which makes doing anything vision-oriented (which is everything) difficult. To top it off, our cat got attacked by a feral cat a week ago and has been recovering from multiple wounds and abscesses since then. She’s finally pulling through, and I feel like my eyes might be improving too, so we all had a lovely peaceful time last night and finally got the sleep we needed.
I’m celebrating these small victories and unwinding from the stress by taking it easy today: pottering around the house, rearranging knick-knacks and paintings in the house, mindfully tidying. In the process I was reminded of this lovely hand-turned banksia seed pod “egg”, given to me by a dear friend last summer when she was staying with us. As a follower of my blog and someone interested in all things sensorial herself, she knew that this wonderful little smell-diffusing object would appeal to me.
Today marks the start of a new series of brief perfume reviews called Just The Juice. Why “Just The Juice”? I want to talk about fragrances that I’ve come across, both new releases and older ones, and I want to keep it focused on the perfume (the “juice”) itself. So often I write about the background, the history, the sociological and psychological significance, etc. etc. of a smell or a perfume. But in the interests of pure perfume prose, in this series I’m going to write about the juice, in 300 words or less per perfume, and include relevant artistic/conceptual notes from the perfumer too, if I can. I hope to introduce you to some wonderful perfumes in this series.
Today I will be reviewing two recent releases by Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes, both in VdP (voile de parfum) strength.
Albino (A Study in White)
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes says of her recent (2015) release Albino (A Study in White):
“What began as a fascination with the albino raspberry soon became an exploration from the real to abstraction.
What is it to be without pigment? There seems to be a kind of quality; a luminosity and sense of lightness. So then what? “White” materials… and a questioning: what does white feel like?
Albino takes an abstract look at white from a synesthetic and textural stance. The textures being crisp, pithy, and creamy; shifting from fruity crispness to pithy to a creamy feel, with blond woods, and musk at the final drydown.
Meet Albino. He’s gorgeously unusual.”
Source: DSH Perfumes website
Welcome to Perfume Polytechnic’s first foray into beauty products! Today I’m reviewing the December Beauty Box by new, multi-interest subscription box service Boxwalla, based in the USA.
What or who is Boxwalla, I hear you ask? And what does the word “boxwalla” mean?!
“In India, the word boxwalla means ‘Box-seller’, ‘box person’ or ‘traveling merchant’. ‘Walla Walla’ is the Native American name for a ‘place of many waters’. So we think of ourselves as traveling merchants, getting drunk on things of ‘many waters’ and sharing those things with you.”
Source: Boxwalla website
Great name! Boxwalla describe themselves thus:
“We are a boy, a girl and an imaginary cat, Patrick. We are aesthetes. We are nerdy. We feed on art and literature. We drink films as if they were bottles of coconut water. We love beauty in all its mutable forms. And we’d like to stuff some boxes with the best of what we love.
Curators? Editors? We just like to think of ourselves as drunken boxwallas. We like to fill boxes with things that MUST be experienced. This year we have put together four kinds of boxes that you can choose to receive every other month.”
Source: Boxwalla website
The subscription service that Bowalla offers is the result of the coming together of a number of strong personal interests for the dynamic duo that started the venture (who prefer, excitingly, to remain somewhat anonymous!). They have a shared love of books, film, art, music, food and fine beauty products and Boxwalla is an outcome or expression of that. The folks behind Boxwalla want to share with their subscribers some of the best and most interesting items they’ve come across in each of these categories, including products and cultural artefacts that might not be well-known yet, but should be. I can get behind that!
I first heard about ROADS fragrances during a visit to one of my favourite local haunts, Kleins Perfumery in Fitzroy, Melbourne. I was surprised to come across this brand as I’d not heard of it before, nor had I heard of many Irish perfumers or perfume houses either. The friendly sales assistant (who knows about my blog and my penchant for all things cross-media) thought that ROADS might appeal to me as the company also produces books and movies as well as perfume. “Gosh yes!” I said, and she kindly wrote down the ROADS website address for me to investigate later.
Investigate I did. I wrote to ROADS and my request for further information about the fragrances and the chance to review some samples was responded to by the lovely Annalee from the Australian distributor for ROADS, T2M Scents. Annalee very kindly provided me with a Selection Box of 4ml samples of the original ten ROADS fragrances for review; all are eau de parfum strength, and all were launched at the same time in 2014. A further four fragrances – The Africa Collection – have been released since, but I haven’t tried these yet. Today I’ll be reviewing all ten fragrances from the original range. Continue reading