The Travalo seems to be everywhere these days. I hesitate to speak of it in the plural, because "Travalos" without an apostrophe sounds like a budget hotel chain (or its Greek equivalent). Now as some readers know, such is the vehemence of my opposition to the deployment of the grocer's apostrophe in plural nouns, as in: "it's raining cat's and dog's", that I will see how far I get without cracking and plumping for "Travalo's" after all. And while we are on the subject of grammar, I am not entirely comfortable with "trending" as a word, but it is a descriptor for topics on Twitter, so it is probably here to stay.
Back to the gizmo in question, a new take on the concept of a refillable perfume atomiser. Here is the description from the company's website:
•pocket sized perfume spray bottle that refills in seconds directly from a big fragrance spray bottle.
•no funnel, no spills, requires no skill
•over 65 sprays
As I observed at the top of the post, the Travalo seems to have taken the market by storm recently - in terms of its distribution at least - I can't speak for the sales side. I first came across one last May at Fascination perfumery - Lynn, the proprietor, let me sample Elie Saab from a pink Travalo she had filled up with the fragrance at the Esxence show in Milan. Then in the summer Penhaligon's kindly sent me 4ml of Juniper Sling in a pretty silver Travalo, and in between times I have spotted them by the till in various department stores and other perfume outlets, and also clocked ads for them in the duty free section of several in-flight magazines.
I have since invested in a pack of four of these refillable fragrance atomisers (there - I think I got away with it!), and plan to use them as travel-sized / purse sprays of a few of my favourite fragrances. For that is the first downside of the Travalo: you can't reuse it, any more than you can reuse a plastic or (I would argue), a glass atomiser. It will be impregnated with your chosen scent forever.
And unlike a conventional atomiser that you can unscrew to fill - such that if you had a number of smaller samples of a perfume you could consolidate them all in the one container - the Travalo only works with a full bottle of perfume. Consequently, when my Juniper Sling Travalo is empty, I can't top it up with my one remaining carded sample of the scent, because there is no way of opening the Travalo to pour the vial in.
No, the way the Travalo works is that it has a hole in the bottom, which you place over the "stem" - or "pole", as it seems to me - of the bottle's atomiser mechanism before pumping away to fill it. (Miraculously, the perfume doesn't then fall out of the hole again, which as far as I can tell is "open" at all times.) So basically, the Travalo is no better than any other pretty brushed metal atomiser except for the fact that you don't need a funnel to fill it. For a seasoned decanter this is no big deal, though I don't doubt that this is a major part of its appeal to the public at large.
As for the pumping action itself, it is straightforward enough. At the outset, I had doubts about whether all the bottles in my collection would really prove to have Travalo-friendly tops. I did my first "pumped decant" with a bottle of L'Agent (modelled below by Mr Bonkers) and that worked a treat. I knew it must also work with Penhaligon's bottles, of which I have four - though crucially not Juniper Sling - so if I want to reuse my Travalo of that I will have to bite the silver bullet it resembles and buy myself a full bottle for that specific purpose.
Right, so I will just go and take a random selection of bottles out of my fridge and report back which ones have "easily flirt-offable tops".
Well, I am happy to say that very nearly all of them passed the test, even Ajne Calypso, in its atypical Bohemian filigree bottle. The tip to remember is to be assertive and assume the top WILL come off. If you are a bit of a wimp about it you may find the top resists, as happened to me intially with one of the Jo Malones.
The only top to cock a complete snook at the Travalo mechanism was my humungous bottle of IUNX Eau Frappée, which - let's face it - is more light sabre or police truncheon than perfume bottle.
So that was a happy discovery, though so far I have still only filled up the pink one with L'Agent. For the most significant thing about the Travalo - given its relatively high unit cost versus a conventional atomiser bought in bulk - is not the mere fact that it is a handy travel format. No, the Travalo's key function is to force you to decide which scents really are your favourites, and worth dedicating one of these refillable sprays to.
Which may be why the other three are still empty.
Would be interested to hear people's thoughts on this apparent trend.
Have you taken the Travalo plunge?
If not, are you *pumped up* to try it?
If so, what scents did you consider "TW" or "Travalo Worthy"?
And do you own any bottle with a non-compliant atomiser mechanism like my IUNX?
Over time I am standing by to compile a list of Travalo Refusenik bottles on this post - though maybe the IUNX bottle was a case apart.
And finally, seeing as the stem of the atomiser sticking up reminds me of a little pole, here again are the other things of poles I saw on my travels lately.
Photo of Travelodge from www2.travelodge.co.uk, other photos my own.