Perfume Polytechnic is Currently Closed for Reviews

by-wlodek-428549_640When I started this blog, I never intended for it to be a perfume review site. There are already so many bloggers regularly immersing themselves in the latest releases (commercial and niche), and who have a wealth of knowledge and experience reviewing perfume, that I simply thought there was no need for another. I don’t have this knowledge, nor do I have access to a vast amount of what is out there, so it felt a little presumptuous that anyone might truly care what a half-informed-geographically-isolated-perfumista-from-Australia might think about a particular perfume.

The reason I started Perfume Polytechnic was to learn about both perfume and olfaction, and to share what I learnt with you, my readers. My favourite pieces have been those that are not reviews: those in which I delve into other areas, such as the smell of everyday things, investigate an ingredient such as oud, and of course, my interviews with indie/niche perfumers from around the world. These sorts of posts are the very backbone, no, the very spirit of Perfume Polytechnic.

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Perfume Sale to Raise Money for Medical Treatment

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I’m having a perfume sale on Ebay to raise money for my health appointments. I’m seeing a number of doctors and specialists at the moment and can’t work due to my eye condition. Costs are adding up, so I thought I’d sell some of my fragrances to help cover costs.

I’m selling some wonderful perfumes, including limited editions, rare fragrances, vintage and older formulas, both niche and designer. Prices are competitive with the current market. Please take a look and tell any perfume loving friends. I’d be really grateful for any purchases!

All fragrances have been well cared for and kept in steady temperature conditions. Australian buyers only, sorry, unless you purchase over 2kg worth of goods. Sadly Australia Post has only recently removed their surface mail option for parcels under 2kg, and it’s just too risky (and verboten) to post perfume overseas by airmail.

I’ll be adding more items soon..! Click on this link to get to my Ebay perfumes listings.

Polly Technic is Taking Sick Leave…

It is with great sadness and much apprehension that I am making this announcement. Due to serious, chronic health problems, I must take a break from Perfume Polytechnic.

Last year I had a laser eye procedure to bring my ocular hypertension under control. Without this procedure I might have developed glaucoma, which runs in my family. It worked, but it brought with it a whole host of other problems: constant eye pain, dry eye syndrome, eye infections, and vision changes. The last five-six months in particular have been hell. The ocular hypertension is also returning. And, I already had a whole host of other chronic health problems to deal with that I won’t even mention here. Life isn’t fun. Autoimmune disease sucks and is very poorly understood and treated.

Using a computer to work is now very difficult and makes my dry eye problem worse. Smelling perfumes has also become a health hazard as I seem to have become sensitized to so much of what’s around me. I suspect I also have a chronic sinus infection that is adding further complications to the eye problems, and I don’t want to exacerbate it with potentially aggravating aroma chemicals. So, the smelling must go, for now.

I am investigating new modes of treatment, including new eye specialists and Traditional Chinese Medicine. I am on an anti-inflammatory diet, which is severely restricted, but I need to know I am trying all that can be done. I need to keep my stress levels under control and not feel pressured, hence the need to withdraw for now.

Apologies to all the perfumers who have sent me samples that I have not yet reviewed, and to others whom I promised book reviews, interviews, etc. I am never one to break promises, and I have had such a wonderful time here, that this is a very hard decision for me to make. But my body is clearly telling me to take time out. If and when my health allows it, I will return and publish all promised reviews. I am truly sorry. I will miss this creative outlet and your readership very much. Thanks for your support so far.

Polly X

Rewind Repost: Easter Smells, Easter Memories

Below is a repost of the piece I wrote last year on Easter smells, in case you missed it. Easter, for me, always brings up a plethora of very specific smell memories. Year after year, I find myself transported back to my childhood through these memories. I love Easter: the weather is getting cooler, the four-day long weekend is so lazy and relaxing, and I especially adore the rituals of eating spiced fruit buns and chocolate eggs. Have a happy Easter everyone!


Easter has always been a favourite time of year for me. Although I’m not Christian, I like the four-day holiday in Australia and some of the related traditions, whether or not they stem from Christianity or pagan times. Part of my fondness for this holiday is because I have very fond memories of Easter weekends spent at Robe as a child, a tiny coastal town in South Australia. My family owned the historic Karatta House then, and this run down and dilapidated, sprawling property was a great place for a child to spend so much time.

Karatta House

Karatta House

I have many scent memories spending Easter at Karatta. I remember the rich, wake-up smell of bacon cooking in the stone-walled, lino-floored, musty kitchen in the mornings. When I cook bacon now, I always think of Robe, and the old kitchen Mum cooked in. The brass kitchen taps and bore water gave off a strange combined aroma: metallic notes mixed with dirt and that slight funk of undrinkable bore water. I also associate this kitchen with the pungently salty smell of freshly caught fish, and my Dad and brother gutting and scaling them on the sink. I’ve never like seafood much, and I think my experiences at Robe (my parents also cooked live Crayfish) have a lot to do with that. The smell of fish, no matter how fresh, still makes my stomach turn.

fire-551665_640Every Easter Dad would light the fire at night in one of the grand old fireplaces. Robe is host to a cool climate, but as autumn and Easter sets in, it gets quite nippy. The smell of the wood smoke was always comforting, and a treat for us as we didn’t have a fireplace at home. Dad found small pieces of copper wire to burn in the fire for us, creating magical, coloured flames of blue and green.

On Good Friday, the scent of toasting hot cross buns infused the kitchen, with warm cinnamon and the sticky-sweet smell of caramelised sultanas and dried citrus peel wafting around. The smell of lactonic, fatty butter slathered on top completes this smell memory. I loved the cross on top of the buns the most, and would pull it off and reserve it, eating it separately after I’d finished the rest of the bun.

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International Women’s Day 2016. Memories and Music In Celebration of my Grandmother

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My grandmother, c. late 1930s, Adelaide.

Above is a photo of my grandmother as a young woman, sometime in the late 1930s (or perhaps early 40s), captured by a roving street photographer in Adelaide. I love the slightly surprised, somewhat reproachful look on her face. I love her clothes, her shoes, her hat and gloves, that handbag and the way she carries it. I love that I do not know what she was like when this photo was taken and that she had a long history before I came along. I love that she was young, and beautiful, and stylish and sassy. I wish I knew what perfume she wore – Vol de Nuit, Shocking, Tabu, Joy? – but sadly I don’t.

Fast-forward forty years, more or less, and I enter the equation. My Granny, as I call her, lives in a little house with my Papa, in a tiny beachside town in South Australia. It’s a long drive to Granny’s house from where we live, and we’re always welcomed at the back door with hearty greetings and warm hugs. Granny is a wonderful cook and always makes lunch or afternoon tea when we visit. The house smells of pasties and biscuits, the occasional lamb roast, vegetable soup, cups of tea.

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May the Froth be With You… Star Wars Apple Scented Body Wash, Childhood Nostalgia & Plans for the Future.

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve all had a wonderful holiday season and a fresh, bright start to 2016! I’m back. After a few weeks off I’m itching to go again and I have a fabulously long and fun to-do list waiting for me. It’s going to be an exciting start to 2016: there will be reviews of recent indie perfume releases, profiles of fragrance houses you mightn’t have heard of yet, more exciting articles in the Smell and Sound and Smell and Synaesthesia series, more Thirteen Thoughts interviews, and some book reviews too. Phew. That’s a lot, so I’d better stop prattling on here and get on with it…

But before I sign off, I want to introduce you to Yoda the Apple Scented Body Wash. I’ve not yet seen the newest Star Wars movie, so please, no spoilers! As a child of the 70s and 80s I get abnormally excited about Star Wars. I saw the original movie in the cinema at age three. Standing on my mother’s thighs so I could see the screen, I fell in love with Luke Skywalker and decided I wanted to be Princess Leia. It’s one of my earliest and fondest childhood memories. Through the 80s I enjoyed watching the other two movies from the original trilogy on clunky VHS hired from UFO Video, our local video library, or in the cinema with school friends. So, having a soft-spot for all things Star Wars (the original trilogy, not the prequels, mind you), when I spotted this little fellow for sale in the supermarket a few weeks back, I couldn’t resist.

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Yoda Apple Scented Body Wash

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