Monday 31 March 2014

Bonkers 'on tour' in Germany again: The travel bit - Part 2: Cologne & Augsburg

For anyone with the capacity for more 'band on tour'-style travel trivia, read on - this is the report from the middle section of the itinerary - I have had to split it into three parts!  For anyone else, there will be a perfume-themed post from the trip along soon, plus a report on Neil Chapman's talk on vanilla scents at the latest Perfume Lovers London meet-up...


While we were in Hamburg, a glowing review of the Monarch gig appeared in the online version of Die Welt, a German broadsheet newspaper based in Berlin and comparable to the UK's Times.  In a happy turn of events, Frank Schmiechen, the deputy editor-in-chief of Die Welt, was in the audience and felt moved to write about the show. By Wednesday morning, his review had also appeared in the hard copy version of the paper, occupying some two thirds of a page in the Culture section.  The photo used was a few years out-of-date, mind - anyone coming along to a gig and hoping to see a male keyboard player in a red velvet dress would have been sorely disappointed.

Before we set off for our next destination of Cologne, I volunteered to buy a job lot of Die Welts so that everyone could have their own souvenir copy. Any brownie points I earnt by legging it to the newsagent's at the station and carting off armfuls of the compact version were quickly offset by my treading on the drummer's toe, and nearly poking our entire party's eyes out with my knitting needles, which were casually sticking out of the top of my rucksack.  The dodging of sharp objects was clearly going to require constant vigilance on this trip.

The venue in Cologne (King Georg) was a cosy and wonderfully retro 60s cocktail bar, all done out in pink, with leather banquettes and a stage 'in the round'.  Jane took a complete set of photographs that she conceded would only appeal to people with a fetish for right ears.  I managed slightly better from where I was standing, but it was still a stupendous feat of geometry to incorporate all four band members in a single shot.

The Monochrome barflies ~ Source: Jane Barnes

I spied another dog at this venue too, sitting on the counter by the entrance - one of those sweet shitsu-type breeds at the opposite end of the size spectrum to Hamburg's labrador(?).  I remarked on this recurrence to the bass player, who replied in a deadpan tone: 'Yeah, I know - dogs are on the rider.'  Also worth mentioning is the fact that the walls of King Georg were clad in wood panelling, while I was wearing shiny black trousers. These had served me well in Hamburg in the 'coordinate trouser fabric to wall covering' game, because it was so dark there that the walls could have been shiny black for all any of us knew - and I was generously given the benefit of the doubt - but Cologne proved a textural challenge too far.


The next day, in a bid to make myself useful at the train station again, I went to buy tea for the bass player and me in a nearby McDonalds.  Slavishly following the sales assistant's outstretched finger in the direction of the milk and sugar, I walked smack into a glass wall, spilling about a quarter of the tea over my hands, and scalding myself in the process.  The bass player was most gracious about being shortchanged in this way, and I made a mental note to pick up a couple of lids next time.

Frauenzimmer - my rather girly pink room at Grand Hotel Cosmopolis 

Exceptionally, our whole group was staying in the next hotel in Augsburg - for the first night at least. Formerly a nursing home, the Grand Hotel Cosmopolis has undergone an extensive conversion and is now part quirky art hotel, part social project.  For the first three floors of accommodation are reserved for asylum seekers, while the top two consist of individually designed bedrooms showcasing the work of local artists. The rooms are not en suite, however, as such modern amenities would have constrained the eclecticism of the room designs. ;) I took to using the bathroom on the top floor though, to minimise the risk of bumping into band members using the facilities on the floor I was on.  Even so, I opened my door a crack the next morning only to hastily close it again, having glimpsed a man in pyjamas just feet away.  This brief sighting was later confirmed as the bass player, hanging out his laundry on a communal balcony.

I never did like those integrated hangers with the metal clips...

The top floor bathroom deserves a special mention in fact for its unique 'usage instructions' - these were painted on the wall by the shower in cursive script, and went as follows (I am translating loosely):

1. Please do not turn the hot tap all the way, or the water will go cold again.
2. We are high up here and the hot water takes a while to come through - please be patient!

And then the kicker, assuming you had managed to comply with 1 and 2:

3. We wish you a successful stay in the bathroom.

In all my years of travel for business or pleasure, I have never seen a sign like that.  I did manage to coax the hot water out in the end, but I sense that a non-German speaker's stay may have been less successful.

That Thursday was technically the band's night off, but the support act (the very wonderful Friedrich Sunlight) had invited us all to a 'secret gig' in their rehearsal room, to which they had invited all their friends - so not so very secret then ;) - and those of another local band, and everyone ended up playing a short set. The space in question was not unlike a youth club or community centre, and was notable for its juxtaposition to a Vileda trade outlet, Vileda being of course the Rolls-Royce of squeegee mops and dusters.


'Secret gig' next door to Augburg's premier mop destination

Thursday 27 March 2014

Bonkers 'on tour' in Germany again: The travel bit - Part 1: Berlin & Hamburg

It is two years since my favourite band, The Monochrome Set, last toured Germany.  On that occasion, they were promoting their new album, Platinum Coils, and I attended four of the gigs and sold the merchandise. And now they have a new album, Super Plastic City - also available in vinyl! (never say never...) - so it was time to hit the gig trail there again. This time the band started their itinerary with a one-off date in Paris, but I decided to join them in Berlin at the start of a six day circuit of Germany. And this time round I didn't have the responsibility of doing the merch either - Jane and her husband, who procured me that bottle of Méharées featured in my last post - were happy to do the honours.

NB I have decided to split this post into several parts - two(?) to recount the travel aspects of the tour, and one to cover the sniffing side of things, which was by no means all shop-based this time...


St Patrick's Day dawned bright and...what am I talking about?  I was stirring well before dawn to catch a train to Birmingham airport.  And having got up at the to me unimaginably early hour of 4.30am (says she, easing into the swing of German syntax before I have even left England!), I was uncharacteristically ravenous by 7am, and ordered French toast with bacon in a branch of the diner chain, Frankie and Benny.

When my food arrived, I was crestfallen to see that it looked to all intents and purposes like fried bread, with no fluffy yellow quilting, and only barely detectable trace elements of egg in its greasy core.  I ate one slice because I was hungry, toyed with the other, and decided to complain to the waitress when she predictably popped back to inquire if everything was all right with my meal.  She then fetched the chef, a kindly Indian gentleman, who apologised profusely and explained that he might not have been '100% sure' how to make French toast, and that he deferred to my judgement on how it should be.  'Definitely know...egg.' I piped up brightly.   Then before I knew it, the waitress had presented me with a voided bill for £0.00, even waiving the cost of the perfectly decent pot of tea I had ordered with the toast.

So that little customer service coup put me in a cheerful frame of mind, which was further reinforced by a curious sign in the ladies toilets.  The term 'multi-faith washing' seemed to imply that you must be a member of a minimum of two religions to qualify to use these facilities, which on the face of it seemed an unlikely scenario.  Baptist and Buddhist?  Methodist and Muslim?  It was a conundrum.

After a quick shufty in the Duty Free (to be covered later in 'The scented bit'), it was soon time to board the flight. As I stood queuing on the jetway, I caught a glimpse of the two pilots in the cockpit and gave them a searching stare. It was just after the terrible business with the missing Malaysian plane, and the flying public everywhere was ultra-twitchy.  One theory at the time was that - for whatever reason - the pilots of MH370 had deliberately deviated from their flight path, so I was trying to suss out if this Germanwings duo looked like the sort to have other, undisclosed travel plans.  Suddenly, the first officer turned round and smiled broadly in my direction, and I decided that my fears were probably unfounded...

Germany began in fact the moment I set foot on the plane: for the flight attendant wished everyone 'Guten Morgen', even the passengers with a complimentary copy of the Birmingham Mail tucked under their arm. From this point on, there was no real milk, only the condensed travesty that is Kaffeesahne, and as we touched down, the captain wished us all a 'pleasant remaining day'.

The Germans knit too - yay!
I jumped on a bus to my hostel in the east of the city.  It was a huge, echoey, rabbit warren of a building, that turned out to be a former school.  Rather unexpectedly for such budget accommodation, it boasted a pool, but as I learnt when I pitched up there in my costume at 8.11am the next morning, it didn't open till 10am. Why of course it didn't! - the young people who make up the typical clientele will still be in their pits until gone noon...

How could I miss it?!

Back to Monday though, and the first gig at Monarch in Kreuzberg, a scruffily modish area south of the river. Even though I had been to two previous gigs bang next door to the club in question, I still couldn't find the entrance. 'Never being able to find the door of a venue, however many times you have been there before' is in fact an incontrovertible rule of the German indie scene, and after staring quizzically at assorted unmarked doors covered in a palimpsest of peeling posters and stickers, I was relieved to see the band's drummer suddenly hove into view, who was able to escort me the 10 yards to the club.

Bass player's eye view

The venue was upstairs, with a large expanse of windows along one wall overlooking the Kottbusser Tor metro station.  This prompted the guitarist to quip, mid-set: 'I wonder how many bass players have been lost out this window?  Look, the putty is still fresh!'  Other trademark features of Monarch - and most such grungy venues - is that it was smoky(!) and very, very dark.  I could just make out the flock wallpaper which was an eerie match for my blue brocade trousers.

My trousers!

This unexpected coincidence prompted the band to throw down the gauntlet and dare me to coordinate my trousers with the wall coverings in every venue.  Given the capsule wardrobe I had brought with me and the unknown decor of all the clubs to come, I hadn't a hope in hell of pulling off this stunt, but airily accepted the challenge regardless.

The wallpaper!

Another 'running gag' on the tour was the vanishingly small dressing rooms.  At Monarch, a table football table was pressed into service.  By the time we got to Bavaria, the sight of band members stripped to the waist outside the men's toilets didn't prompt so much as a raised eyebrow.

The Monarch gig was enthusiastically received, with a number of regulars in the audience whom I recognised from previous tours.  These included a Japanese lady with striking long blonde hair, who danced enthusiastically in the front row, thrusting two toy bunnies before her like a pair of furry maracas.

The dancing bunnies

After the gig, Jane and her husband headed straight back to their hotel with the merch case, while I did a spot of impromptu roadying.  I carried the bass player's guitar part of the way back to their eclectic, comprehensively graffiti-daubed accommodation, then joined them at a nearby kebab shop for a quick snack.  I took it upon myself to negotiate the menu in German, notably the various sauce options and choice between chips and pitta.  Yet again I fell into that trap of 'involuntary raw onion consumption': trying to effect a triage between halloumi cheese and the mountains of accompanying lettuce and red onion garnish was a doomed undertaking.


After the abortive pool incident first thing, it was a relatively short train ride to Hamburg next day - just two hours - and I was lucky to be able to check into my hotel off the notorious Reeperbahn pretty much immediately.  Jane and her husband were staying in a former brothel(!) that had been converted into a hotel, and it didn't open till 3pm. But of course not!  For in the red light district no one does any business that early...;) Although my hotel was geared towards conventional check in times, it was bang next door to one of the many sex shops and lap dancing clubs in the street.  Which you could say was entirely in keeping with its name - 'Grosse Freiheit' ('great freedom').

My friends' rather blue - and bullish - ex-brothel

My deceptively saintly hotel, with en suite strip joint

After a quick lie down, I decided to revisit some old haunts by the harbour and grab a bite to eat before the gig.  In particular, I recalled a bijou and inconspicuous venue called the Goldener Pudel Klub, housed in a concrete bunker, and was curious to see if I could find it again after a long interval.  I narrowed the field down to two 'bunker-esque' buildings, then caved in and asked someone...

Goldener Pudel Klub - still surprisingly hard to find - the door takes even longer

Next up, I headed for a favourite restaurant along the quay, where I got stuck into what ex-Mr Bonkers used to term 'big fish'.  Or rather 'three small fish in batter', which collectively could be equated with one big one.  Somewhat intoxicated from an overly large small glass of wine with my dinner, I strode purposefully to the venue in the drizzling rain - any loitering along the way can readily be misconstrued round these parts.

That night's venue, Astra-Stube, is a converted bakery that holds about 10 people comfortably, but is billed as having a capacity of 200.  I am not sure how many were in that night, but suffice to say that ordering a drink on one side of the room or using the toilets on the other involved the burrowing skills and force of character normally associated with tunnel engineers.  The audience was packed soooo cheek by jowl that when people posted photos of the gig on Facebook the next day, I recognised their avatars and cover photos from having had a forest of phones waved around just inches from my face. In this club the dressing room had shrunk to a small dark void under the merch table where sundry band members had risked chucking the odd belonging.

Steve the drummer warily eyeing up on-stage 'sharps'

The stage was similarly 'compact', and there was a very real concern that the band's guitar headstocks could do someone a mischief.  Add a pall of cigarette smoke into the mix, a large brown dog threading itself between people's legs, and a suffusion of red light, and you had the quintessence of the alternative music scene in St Pauli...

After the gig, we flagged down taxis in the busy intersection outside.  Jane couldn't resist ribbing me about 'standing on street corners', but I suppose it had to be done...

Coming up: Cologne, Augsburg - and Berlin again...and The Scented Bit!

Sunday 16 March 2014

The Italian Job: L'Erbolario Méharées review

Bologna ~ Source: Gaspa via Wikimedia Commons 
Right, so my last post was all about taking stock of my SABLE (Stash Above & Beyond Life Expectancy) and taking active hypothetical steps to cut it back to a more manageable / less haunting quorum of some 30 bottles.  That was on the Friday. On Sunday, I received this text message from my Lush Flower's Barrow-wearing friend Jane, who does the merchandise for my favourite band - who happened to be playing in Bologna last weekend:

"I remember you saying about buying you some perfume here.  We've just walked past an open perfumerie and I wondered what you wanted?"

Which prompted the following shaming exchange:

"Oh, I say.  It was a specific brand called L'Erbolario, and the scent is Méharées.  Will try to find more info - there is a dedicated L'Erbolario shop in the centre..."

"If you can find its address I'll look.  It isn't the one we just passed."

Source: Fragrantica

Thirteen texts later, I was trying to steer my GPS-less friends towards the L'Erbolario store like some kind of rudimentary air traffic controller:

"Okay, if you have a square, Piazza Roosevelt is the right hand side, Cesare Battisti is the left hand side and Via Ugo Bassi is the top side - does that help?  So if you are heading north on Cesare wotsit turn right when you hit Ugo Bassi and it is a couple of doors down.  Or ask someone? 'Dove Via Ugo Bassi per favore?'"

(Reader, don't try those directions - or that Italian - at home.  I mean abroad.  I sent my friend and her husband round what could euphemistically be termed 'the long way', however, they were very sporting about it, explaining much later in an email that if I hadn't made them go round the houses they would have missed some splendid architecture and that all-important tourist attraction of a public convenience.  So all's well that ends well.)

There was a disconcertingly long pause after the text with all the directions, but I knew there must have been an orienteering breakthrough when I received this tantalising query:

"Is it the 50ml perfume?"

Quickly followed by:

"Done.  21.5 euros and it was all so lovely I have bought a Patchouly for myself. : D"

Jane's husband in triumphant pose outside the store

Well, that was a turn up for the books, as my friend is vegan and a Lush / Gorilla loyalist.

Anyway....without further ado I will have to explain myself, won't I? - what on earth was I doing making a purchase of a full bottle - even by proxy - when just two days previously I had compiled a list of my desert island collection of perfumes...on which L'Erbolario Méharées was conspicuously absent.  In my defence, I did think of including it, but Annick Goutal's Musc Nomade pipped it to the one and only 'cosy or naughty musk' spot.

So the only way that I can square this latest full bottle acquisition with my conscience is that it was:

a) cheap
b) purchased in fulfilment of a prior request - you know, like a will you forgot to revoke.  Sure I could have said: 'No, thank you, I am really not bothered anymore' when Jane texted me in the first place, but that would have felt churlish somehow, as she was over there, in situ, and all primed to do this errand for me.
c) I did say I would reserve the right to change my mind, so I will hereby effect a straight swap with Musc Nomade, to keep the numbers square.
d) I am allowed to be a bit bonkers - on any front, really.

Reprising a) for a moment, 21.50 euros is ludicrously cheap for a scent that is in fact a very creditable dupe of Frédéric Malle's Musc Ravageur.  I was first introduced to Méharées by Odiferess when we met up in Manchester last November - she gave me a sample and some moisturiser infused with the scent that she had knocked up herself using a neutral base cream! Champney's eat your heart out. ;)  Odiferess positioned Méharées to me as a Musc Ravageur copy, and the likeness is telling - for a fraction of the price.  (About a fifth, based on a 50ml bottle.  Just checked Liberty's site and it is retailing for £105 there.) The resemblance also caused quite a stir on the Basenotes men's forum - and they don't take any prisoners as we know.

My Méharées starter kit from Odiferess

Here are the notes for Musc Ravageur:

Top notes: lavender, bergamot
Middle notes: clove, cinnamon
Base notes: gaiac wood, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, tonka, musk

All we can glean about Méharées is that it features myrrh and sweet date.  It does have a fruity aspect, certainly, and a distinctly spicy kick to it, though I would be hard pushed to name names.

The best way I could describe the difference between the two is to say that Méharées is slightly lighter, cleaner and more vanillic, whereas Musc Ravageur has more oomph - more of an animalic undercurrent to it - but the resemblance is still very marked.  Méharées is at the cleaner end of what a friend of mine would perhaps term 'rude business' musks, but rude it remains.  This scenario is qualitatively comparable to Lidl's Suddenly Madame Glamour as a cheapo copy of Chanel Coco Mademoiselle.  The Lidl perfume doesn't have the same patchouli-centred depth and heft to it as Coco Mademoiselle, but the scent itself is eerily close.  Yes, for those of you familiar with the Lidl copies of mainstream fragrances, just imagine that if Lidl brought out a me-too of Musc Ravageur called 'Suddenly Seduction' (because the titles are never too obvious), it would be very much in Méharées vein.  They just couldn't afford as much of the raunch factor maybe, whatever musk molecule that might be.  And that may even suit some people.


I also tested Méharées against Les Parfums du Soleil's Soir de Marrakech.  My own mini-reviews of the latter (here and here) - some four years ago when I had a limited frame of reference - liken this one to PG L'Ombre Fauve and Tauer's LADDM. To me now, Soir de Marrakech is more vanillic and gourmand, with a dark fruity twist that could also be from dates, though I see none listed.  I now actually feel it is firmly in our Musc Ravageur territory, but with an amber/patch/vanilla undercurrent that does still evoke for me a more delicate interpretation of the barnyard earthiness of L'Ombre Fauve..

For Odiferess's (considerably more deconstructed!) take on Méharées, hop over to her review.  She is also reminded of Chopard Casmir, which I can definitely relate to 'atmospherically', though I find Casmir too plasticky for my taste.  Méharées is in another quality league, I'd say, which is all the more remarkable at this price point. Unfortunately the shipping, even within the EU, adds about 50% to the bottle price, so the best way to bag this bargain scent is clearly to take advantage of a friend passing through Italy...;)

Oh, and you can tell how much I like this perfume, because I could be bothered to put both its acute accents in. And lately I have found accent insertion far too tedious, and have been gradually phasing them out and hoping nobody would notice.

PS I should also mention that I am off tomorrow for a week, attending some gigs in Germany, and hopefully doing some high end sniffing in Berlin, where I will have the most free time.  I am not selling the merchandise on the tour this year - my friends have assumed that role on a more or less permanent basis - but the job of part-time BlueTack removal operative (from the sample posters) is always open to me, plus I may be called upon to do a bit of ad hoc interpreting and translation. ;)

Saturday 8 March 2014

'Full juice count': sorting the lemmings from the lemons in my bottle collection

The loved-up lemming list
Over the six years that I have been bonkers about perfume, I have mostly managed to dodge those frequently asked questions along the lines of: 'What are your top twenty perfumes?' - or your top ten or top five or top three.  I always cite the sadly discontinued Guerlain Plus Que Jamais as my HG / 'top one' scent. It is a bit of a glib answer though, for there are a bunch of other perfumes all hustling around the podium for that coveted No 1 spot, and if I were to let them fight it out amongst themselves, I would not be overly bothered which one won.

Then, following a recent massive reorganisation of my perfume collection - the tedious and largely illogical principles of which I will spare you - I kept coming back to the idea that I would really love to own far fewer full bottles - maybe around 30, say, instead of well over twice that number.  I couldn't quite face sitting down with a blank piece of paper and compiling a list of which scents should be in the 30, so I decided to approach the question from another, more intellectually - and emotionally - forgiving angle.

I took a long hard look at my current collection of full bottles and asked myself which ones I would buy again if I had my time over.  But I still had to bear in mind the overall constraining factor of an upper limit of 30.  Otherwise, there was a real risk that I might keep a bunch of bottles that I like well enough, not least because they only cost me £10 on eBay or whatever.  I decided to strip price out of the equation and focus purely on which perfumes I would wish to hold on to for themselves, and not because - when considered in the round - they represented 'good value for money'.  And their 'selves' could include the appeal of the bottle, but for me that is generally a lesser factor.

My kneejerk HGS ~ Source: fragrantica

So that little whittling exercise stripped out a goodly number.  I managed to get the list down from 70(!) to 19.  Here they are in no particular order - not even alphabetical, and not all with a full complement of accents - how sloppy am I? ;)

Roja Dove Scandal
Bvlgari Black
Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur
PG Brulure de Rose
Lancome Cuir de Lancome
Serge Lutens Un Lys
Kenzo Flower by Kenzo Oriental
The Different Company Bergamote
Le Labo Labdanum 18
En Voyage Perfumes Zelda
Diptyque Eau Duelle
Diptyque Volutes edt
Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily
L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l'aube
Opium Fleur de Shanghai
Agent Provocateur L’Agent
Bal à Versailles edc
Sonia Rykiel Woman Not for Men!

Some of the 50-odd bottles that didn't make the cut may be featuring soon in this year's Bonkers Yard Sale, should anyone be interested in my cast offs...

Relative lemons languishing in the hall cupboard

So the next rather tricky job was to edit the list even further, so that I could add to it the next category of 'perfumes I wish I had bought instead'; again, money was no object.  You see where this is all going, don't you?  I shall arrive presently at my 30 favourite perfumes in the whole world (allegedly) in a few slightly deceiving stages, the way my mother used to encourage my brother and me when we were kids to complete a long walk: 'Just as far as that tree up ahead.'  And when we would reach said landmark, it was of course a false summit - or its level ground equivalent - because Mother would immediately announce brightly that we now only needed to walk as far as 'that lamppost a little bit further on'...

Long story short, the five perfumes listed in italics above didn't make the next round, to help make way for the following 16 additions:

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Cimabue
Guerlain Plus Que Jamais (if it could be found!)
Ormonde Jayne Ta’if
Ormonde Jayne Tolu
Tom Ford Shanghai Lily
Chanel Bois des Iles
Ramon Monegal Ambra di Luna (another potentially reckless spontaneous purchase!)
Tauer Perfumes PHI
FM Carnal Flower
Annick Goutal Musc Nomade
Puredistance BLACK
Damien Bash Lucifer #3 
Robert Piguet Calypso
April Aromatics Unter den Linden
Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka
Maison Kurkdjian APOM pour Femme

We want limes, not lemons! ~ Source:

I have to tell you that the very act of committing - even theoretically - to a collection of just 30 perfumes is pretty scary.  I note that my choices do tend to lean towards fuzzy, comforting orientals (woody, with vanilla or a kick of spice). This is notwithstanding the meteorological arrival of spring, though there are a smattering of blowsy feminine florals in there.  And you might well observe that as with clothes, so with perfumes, I am most definitely guilty of that classic 'buy the same top in every colourway' syndrome, or something perilously close to it in scent terms.  There is also a glaring omission of a bracing lemony cologne, but I couldn't make my mind up, so went for two orange ones instead.  And I have almost certainly put the odd perfume on there that I don't quite love enough, and forgotten several that I do.  Feel free to draw my attention to any such obvious anomalies.

Hmm, it is quite shocking to think that even if I didn't supplement the hard core of perfumes I am hanging on to with these imaginary acquisitions, there were in fact only another 5 or so on top of the 14 that I was really attached to - out of a starting point of 70.  Which begs the question of how I managed to clock up so many lemons. Or to mix metaphors somewhat, my stash turns out to be a veritable albatross sanctuary. Well, that is perhaps too strong a term for it - a sanctuary for 'moderately liked ex-lemmings' is the size of it. I could definitely undertake that analysis another time, but for now I am still reeling at the stark split between the keepers and the rest.  Many of the other bottles in my collection are nice enough as I say, and I might reach for them occasionally, but if I am going to settle on 30, they have to evoke a fiercer, more visceral kind of emotional connection, which I think is true of this combined list.  Or it is at the moment!  Being an incorrigible Flittersniffer, it goes without saying that I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.


And even though 30 is actually a pretty luxurious number - in the eyes of any normal person, surely! - there was still a fair amount of podium hustling by the also-rans, including Van Cleef & Arpels Gardénia Pétale, Prada Candy and L'Eau Ambrée, Amouage Honour Woman and Chanel No 5 Eau Première, to name but a few.  Then PG Aomassai and Jardins de Kerylos, Balenciaga Cristobal and Jasper Conran Woman, to name but a few more.

So if you have ever carried out a similar 'full juice count' - which I suppose one could equally well term a 'full dud count' -  what proportion of your current collection are you totally happy with?  I don't suppose anyone else has a ratio as low as 30%, to which my 19/70 equates?

This has been quite a sobering exercise, it must be said...I should perhaps rename my blog 'Clueless about Perfume'... ;)