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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Redolent Roundup: Perfumed Plume Awards, DSH Perfumes’ Rendezvous & La Belle Saison Reviews, Lancashire Ambergris Find, and More…

plumePerfumed Plume Awards™

The inaugural Perfumed Plume Awards were held last week in New York City. The awards were modelled after the Prix Jasmine and the UK Jasmine Awards and were set up to showcase and reward US fragrance journalists and their writing. There were six categories, including Scent Stories in mainstream media (newspapers and magazines), Scent Stories in digital media, Visualisation of Scent Stories, a Fragrance Book Award and Science of Scent Stories. Winners included Mark Behnke from Colognoisseur (Scent Stories, Digital), Mandy Aftel (Fragrance Book Award), Dana El Masri (Science of Scent Stories, for Michelyn Camen of CaFleureBon) and Jasia Julia Nielson (Visualisation of Scent Stories, for Michelyn Camen of CaFleureBon). Congratulations to all of the inaugural Perfumed Plume winners: what a fabulous bunch of writers!

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Truant’s Report: Rochas Femme, Sissel Tolaas, Milestones & Luca Turin’s New Perfume Blog

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I’ve been unwell, dear readers, really not myself at all lately. I lost my mojo due to a flare up of chronic illness, and haven’t had much energy to write. But I’m getting back on the horse and I’m not going to fall off again. I’ve been a truant from Perfume Polytechnic but now I’m back and making up for missed lessons. Here is a little update on my recent smelly adventures and discoveries…

Rochas Femme Where Have You Been All My Life?

While I’m an eager beaver when it comes to perfume, and though I try to smell most of what I can lay my nose on — with the exception of many recent commercial releases, which I often find uninteresting — I still haven’t smelt every perfume out there, including some of the classics. Sometimes it’s hard to remember what I’ve smelt and how it smelt, unless I make notes about it. I might have smelt a fragrance once in a discount chemist somewhere, or at a friend’s house, and then swiftly forgotten what it was like. Unless one has a vast scent library, it can be hard to keep track of things.

I have only been on this olfactory adventure for a little over three years, and I live in Australia, a rather isolated island, where it seems impossible to find and sample certain perfumes. Here, you take what you can get, what you can find, and what friends can share with you. It can be a patchy self-education, but I try my best. My nose is maturing and developing with all of the wonderful indie perfumes I’ve been sent to review and I find I’m more open-minded (open-nosed?) than ever before. But it’s still only a fraction of what’s out there…

Despite these limitations, I estimate that I have nevertheless smelt at least a thousand perfumes by now. I haven’t kept track. Even though this is only a small percentage of what’s ever been produced, it’s getting to the point now where not much surprises my nose, and when it does, or when I instantly adore something, it’s a good and surprising thing. It reminds me of the early days, when I first decided to study perfume, and every single fragrance smelt new and exciting to me, because I had experienced so little at that stage.

Tastes change also, so what didn’t appeal a year or two ago might now be the instant love of my life. As is the case with my recent rediscovery of Rochas Femme, in one of those family-run chemists that stocks odd and interesting bottles of perfume, heavily discounted, in the outer suburbs of Melbourne. Rochas Femme was ubiquitous at various discount chemists a couple of years back, and I did try it then, but it didn’t grab me. Was it too vintage-smelling, too mature, too animalic? These are the reasons why I love it now, but a couple of years ago, I don’t think my nose was ready for those qualities.

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Just The Juice: Brief Fragrance Reviews – Voyage by Hiram Green

Welcome to 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 (what we perfume lovers call 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 the recently released Voyage by Hiram Green, who I interviewed late last year for my Thirteen Thoughts: Perfumer Interview Series. Hiram is based in the Netherlands and creates perfumes entirely from natural materials.

Voyage by Hiram Green

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Publicity material and sample of Voyage by Hiram Green

The photograph above shows the publicity material that I received for Voyage, which is identical to the information on Hiram Green’s website for the fragrance:

“An ode to the exotic mysteries of India, our new fragrance is as atmospheric and thrilling as a Mysore street market and as opulent as Octopussy’s floating palace on Lake Pichola.

Voyage is an intoxicating blend of fresh citrus top notes, a heart of warm amber and luscious suede over a smooth vanilla base.

Limited to only 250 bottles entirely natural eau de parfum.”
Source: Hiram Green website

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Muse-Inspired Scents: IME Natural Perfumes Australia Review

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IME collections pack

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.

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Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire: Musings on the Nature of Fire and the Smell of Smoke

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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.

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