Thursday, 17 December 2015

Sedimentary, dear Watson: decanting tactics, and a Travalo Milano & Classic Christmas giveaway!

About this time of year my thoughts lightly turn to sherry. Well, not exactly 'lightly' turn, or even turn to a light sherry, a) because I annually agonise over sherry options, and b) because I think I usually go for a medium style, and therein lies my problem. For like the apocryphal goldfish, every year I forget what I know and like, and spend a frenetic half hour googling sherry types on Christmas Eve, only to find that everything other than Bristol Cream has sold out, which - perhaps unfairly - is dogged by a bit of a Hyacinth Bucket image. My most important criterion otherwise is longevity after opening, because I am not yet the sort of middle-aged lush who can get through a bottle of Fino in a week, as you are apparently meant to. Though I do also like that drier style of sherry. So I compromise on Amontillado, which is not too syrupy and has a good shelf life - I have been known to make a bottle last till the following Christmas. Ooops...I have just found out that you are meant to drink it in a month, haha. Ah well...I patently have no clue. Either that or the short shelf lives are a conspiracy to get us to chuck stuff away and buy more. Much like my superannuated scrubs and shower gels, whose expiry dates I diced with here.

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Anyway, I have been researching sherries again, and this time I decided to find out if I should additionally be decanting it - you know, into one of those rather fetching, retort-shaped receptacles made of crystal that you might see gracing the dining room sideboard in Downtown Abbey. My not very extensive reading on the Interwebs suggests that sherry should not be kept in a decanter, and lasts better in its original bottle with the cork shoved back in. Spirits and Madeira, on the other hand, can be stored long term in a decanter, assuming it is also stoppered.

But it's wine that seems to benefit most from the act of decanting, to separate it from its sediment, which can impair the flavour - this should be done on the day it is going to be drunk, either just before serving or an hour or so previously. And this is with a view to drinking said wine all in one sitting - you wouldn't keep it in a decanter, where it would fare even worse than sherry!

Source: qosy.co

So that's what I have learnt about my festive tipple this year: look for Amontillado - or maybe Oloroso, if I feel daring enough to dabble in a fuller flavour; look for it before 24th December, and drink within four weeks. From the bottle - well, from a glass from the bottle, obviously. And do not decant.

But that is for sherry...perfume of course is governed by completely different laws. It is thanks to decanting that I have been able to diversify my collection as much as this photo of my drawer suggests, and have also been able to take my favourite perfumes away on trips. Which is where the Travalo comes in, the ne plus ultra of classy decant receptacles, albeit only for small amounts, typically 4-5ml.



Earlier this year I blogged about the difficulty of committing to a Travalo, and a few months later I wrote a post about the latest models and colours in the range. Because it is Christmas, the PR company representing the brand is kindly offering a Milano AND a Classic (termed 'New Classic' in my previous post, but the 'New' has since been dropped, as this model has become more established / familiar ;) ) to one reader anywhere in the world. This is in return for 'liking' Travalo's page on Facebook, and/or following them on Twitter - @Travalo - and/or on Instagram - @thetravalo - the combination depends on which social media you use. If you are not on any of these platforms, you aren't eligible, sorry; in my opinion it would be a bit of a performance to join a platform specifically to be able to enter this draw!

L to R: original Classic, Milano, (New) Classic

To recap, The Milano is the Travalo in the Hermes-esque travelling case, which retails for £35 (pictured here in jade). It has a detachable inner atomiser cartridge, so that you can swap the covers over if you so wish, eg to a less imposing (New) Classic model that also has a detachable cartridge. Or you could just leave it in the original metal case. The Milano is heavier than a regular Travalo, but makes more of a statement, design-wise.

In terms of my own entry criteria, you simply need to leave a comment and let me know which perfumes you might commit to these Travalos - no pressure! Or even an idea of a few top contenders. I won't hold you to that decision, of course - it is purely a snapshot in time of intention / leanings. ;) And whether you want to enter or not, I'd be interested to hear who likes sherry, and if so, what kind!

In terms of the colours of the Travalos, the winner can choose from red, orange, black or white for The Milano (see pic at the top of the post), and any of the colours of the Classics (see photo below). I will liaise with the PR contact for the company and she will post out the winner's prizes directly.



Oh, since my post about The Milano and New Classic, they have brought out The Divine...!

"The Divine: the ultimate in opulence for portable fragrance with over 500 individually hand set Swarovski crystals, and presented in a beautiful black gift pouch with a year’s warranty. The silver is available at RRP £250 and the limited edition gold for £400 exclusively from the Roja Dove Haute Parfumerie, Harrods."

Oh, I should perhaps just clarify that The Divine is not included in the draw...;)

For anyone with a bling thing ~ Source: bennyb.net

Moving on, I will pick a winner using Random.org from a list of anyone who entered the giveaway up until midnight next Wednesday, 23rd. Realistically, it will probably be the New Year before the prize can be shipped, but bear with us.

I must say I think the orange coloured Milano particularly fetching, as it looks most like Amontillado sherry. Or it does with the light shining through it (the sherry, I mean). Then of the Classics, the brown one is probably closest to the mark. And my beloved hobnailed glass from Bodega Bay is also an inviting shade of orange!

Time to hit the shops and secure my bottle of sherry...'tis the season to be merry!




33 comments:

  1. I would bravely commit to a Travalo of Encens Mythique...AnnieA

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    1. Hi AnnieA,

      I admire your resolve! Good luck in the draw.

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  2. I'm not the greatest sherry fan, but if I go for some it's usually the drier variety. Things like Pedro Jimenez feel as rich as a Christmas pudding.
    I should have thought of decanting some Hasu no Hana for our Japan trip, but forgot. We'll not go back toJapan any time soon, but it's my most precious perfume, so in a travalo it belongs.
    (Like Joda I speak becasue we're off to see Star Wars now....)

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    1. Hi Sabine,

      I would love to have a dry sherry in the house too - maybe I need to instigate a couple of sherry parties in Christmas week, or whatever it takes to get the Fino drunk in a timely manner.

      That's a Grossmith perfume, I recognise the name! I may just have a sample of it somewhere.

      Hope you enjoyed Star Wars. I am not at all interested in the film but have been quite amused at all the Joda-esque comments on Facebook.

      You are in the draw!

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  3. I love how you research, dear Bonks! xo

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    1. Thank you, Carol! You know I can't help myself. ;) xx

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  4. Keep sherry in the fridge. I've known bottles last, oh weeks, that way.

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    1. Hi Hazel,

      Oh really? Bottles of every style? Could I even keep a Fino for longer than a week? Am very curious to try Fino again as it was what Uncle Peter used to serve as an aperitif back in the day, and I remember enjoying it then.

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    2. I like a Manzanilla or Fino but we usually have an Amontillado or Oloroso as well. All keep equally well for months. (I can remember going Home for Christmas and knocking back glasses from the same bottle of Bristol Cream that had been in cupboard the previous year... Sherry does keep.)

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    3. This is all most encouraging - I think it could be a marketing ploy. After all, they say perfume only lasts 3 years, and that is patently nonsense. I may take a look with confidence at a couple of kinds now.

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  5. About sherry, I have one very serious recommendation: do not decant anything into lead crystal (that will remain there for more than an hour or so) -- the alcohol leaches the lead out and into your drink. While this is true, I cannot say for sure that it explains the decline of certain noble (or at least rich) families. ;-)

    You are right: I would never join social media even for the most amazing draw.

    Now that almost anything related to perfume (at least from mainstream companies) has been bedazzled by Swarovski crystals it seems almost reasonable to see 7 million of them in one place:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHs1St_64oQ

    -- Lindaloo

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    1. Hi Lindaloo,

      Thanks for the warning about lead crystal - maybe ill-considered decanting has decimated the upper echelons of society as you surmise.

      That video is extraordinary! Takes the concept of window dressing to a whole new level of razzle dazzle.

      Sorry you are not eligible to enter, but any future draw I host myself with just entail a comment on your part. ;)

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  6. Once in a while I still want to be entered into a draw :) Liked the page on FB.

    If I were to buy a £35 Travalo, I would have had hard time choosing what perfume to put in it for a strange reason: it seems wrong to put a "cheaper" (ha! try to find one in my collection, but still) perfume into such expensive case; on the other hand, I use more special/expensive perfumes less often so I won't feel good kipping it in a plastic Travalo. So, in an unlikely case I do win the draw, I'll spend some time thinking on which perfume fits this bill - and let you (and my readers?) know. As to the "classic" one, my Liber Gustav needs to be decanted to take with me and that purple Travalo would be just perfect for it.

    As for the storing open bottles (I'm not talking of perfumes), let's talk next week :)

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    1. Hi Undina,

      Oh good! You are in the draw. The odds are very good on Bonkers, I must say.

      I agree that it does seem wrong to put a cheap perfume in such an expensive model of Travalo. I hadn't thought about the plastic cartridge possibly being associated with lesser longevity. I know that is the received wisdom about glass vs plastic, though I have been lucky on the whole with my plastic atomisers down the years. I can see your conundrum though - in true Undina fashion you have thought this through very thoroughly. Liber Gustav sounds like a good choice for your putative purple Classic pick!

      LOL re your drinks storage comment. ;)

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  7. Oh, how nice! I think you know my fondness for the trusty Travalo (though I am less impressed by the new half-plastic Pod version, if only because Chergui looks positively manky in there. It's not an attractive colour). I think Mitzah would be just the ticket for the orange Milano (and Bandit might belong nicely in the black, not that it really needs topping up during a day, but I do travel with these things. Something of the jammy rose or patchouli variety might be good in the dark purple though...) I have obediently and hopefully followed them on instagram (I'm @slowlight there).

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    1. Hi Crikey,

      Chergui should definitely be sniffed and not seen, hehe. It is almost the colour of army khaki. Mitzah and Bandit sound like good choices for your travelling scents, especially in winter. I like your considered pairing of a jammy rose/patch scent with a particular Travalo colour. I had only got as far as doing that with the sherry itself, hehe.

      Thanks for doing the follow thing - you are in the draw!

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    2. I had completely forgotten about this--how, I am not sure--but back in the day at college, some friends and I founded The Ladies' Sherry Society. It was a response to the ridiculous male-only dining and drinking clubs with silly outfits, and sillier behaviour. Every meeting began with the sherry ritual: the cheapest possible bottle of british sherry (yes, brown goop) divided between all attendees to be drunk straight down. The only dress code: red lipstick. Motto: blot and reapply. I was stuck in hospital for a ludicrous amount of time on term (in traction, so bedbound) and they brought the meeting to me. The nurses kindly supplied the little plastic medicine cups. Which was appropriate, given just how bad that sherry tasted...

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    3. What a fabulous tale! Not quite worth being in hospital for, but your unconventional sherry drinking convention must have turned heads amongst staff and other visitors. ;) I am tempted to form something very similar in Stafford, though I would base it around Amontillado or Fino only, hehe. Plus I am not really a red lipstick kind of gal, though there are one or two shades that work on me, I reckon.

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  8. Amontillado. Any relation to an armadillo? I don´t drink. If I did I wouldn´t drink sherry. I would drink Russian vodka. Which is why I don´t drink. I know exactly what I would put in my Travalo. Chanel Cuir de Russie. As you may remember I received the half gallon bottle as a gift when we met in LS in London. I absolutely adore the stuff and would like to be able to carry some with me. Servus. xxx

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    1. Hi Val,

      Hahaha! I am sure there must be a link there somewhere...I also laughed at your vodka non-drinking logic loop. Cuir de Russie is a perfect choice for your Travalo - the Milano, I take it? - as it is such a noble perfume. xx

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  9. "Tis the season to be merry on sherry".

    Mum likes to tell the story of a family meal at a restaurant when I was about 6 or 7. The waiter asked what I would like to drink and I said "A small sherry, please."

    At least it wasn't a large one.

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    1. Hi Tara,

      Exactly so! Oh how funny about your sherry order at that tender age. Where would you be today, I wonder, if you had drunk it? ;) I can't answer that, but you would probably have been taken into care back then, hehe.

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    2. Ha! Quite. I think Mum was quite embarrassed at the time and quickly changed my order to something rather less exciting.

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    3. Oh, I think it is far more funny than embarrassing, hehe.

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  10. The Milano one is really nice but I have no idea what I would put in it. :D I've got to choose something fitting and I love but I have a huge commitment issue...
    By the way, that round-bottomed crystal decanter is exactly like the one I have. Never used it. :D Call me weird but I get a great satisfaction when I polish crystalware.

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    1. Hi Yuki,

      I know all about commitment issues - feel free to simply agonise in your comment instead, that's allowed!

      Oh how interesting that you actually have such a decanter. It is a thing of beauty, no question, even with nothing in it!

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  11. Hi Vanessa - I'm not a sherry girl but we always had a bottle of Bristol Cream in the cupboard at home if people called at Christmas. I'm more of a Port girl especially a beautiful bottle called Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserva - just beautiful. Lovely hot or cold!
    If i was lucky i would love one of the purple travalo classics and i think i would put in some of my beloved Ginestet Botrytis. I am off to like the Travalo page right now.
    Hope your beautiful kitten has settled in by now and is loving life. Have a wonderful Christmas and i will raise a glass to you from NI. :-)

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    1. Hi Pats,

      Hazel above is from NI and it is Belfast she is speaking of when she mentions going home to find a bottle of Bristol Cream - it really seems to have been the nation's sherry back in the day. I am not familiar with that port you mention, but it sounds nice - my port horizons don't extend much beyond Taylor's.

      Now Botrytis, which I always have a devil of a job to spell, would be a very grand choice for a purple Travalo - you are in the draw. ;)

      Bonkers kitten is doing well, thanks, in fact she has a Christmas special post all to herself coming up! Sorry I don't get to the homeland as often as I like - last time was spring 2012. I will toast you back in the bottle of M & S Fino Sherry I just bought today!

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  12. A travalo filled with Cristalle Eau Verte would be lovely, plus another for Le Chasse aux Papillons would be a dream come true. I am dreaming of Spring.

    Your more seasonally-appropriate sherry suggestions are fascinating. I learned something new today!

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    1. Hi Tiffanie,

      Good on you for dreaming of spring already - anything that gets this old winter behind us - I can't say I am a fan! Your picks sound lovely for the warmer weather we hope we will have then...

      Glad you enjoyed the sherry info - I learnt something myself putting this post together!

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  13. My favourite perfume is Angel by Thierry Mugler and would be perfect for a Travalo. Much easier than taking a big full bottle when travelling.

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    1. Hi rohanikamso,

      Oh yes, those bottles are big and an irregular shape - you are much better off with a Travalo amount of Angel. Good luck in the draw!

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  14. Thanks and good luck to all entered

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