Saturday, 21 February 2015

The trials and travails of committing to a Travalo

This isn't the post I intended to follow the one about Jessica's rose perfume quest, but I sort of fell over this fairly short and snappy - or should that be pumpy! - topic today, and decided to report on it while it was fresh in my mind. The seed for it was sown last night when I did one of those silly Facebook quizzes, in this case about which nationality best fits your personality profile. I got Australian, on account of my allegedly 'relaxed and even temperament'. On a good day, maybe. ;) Though as it happens, I have an Australian mother and the same birthday as Kylie Minogue. Frankly, I'd rather have her bottom and a birthday in March, but there you go.  One of the questions - the precise relevance of which continues to elude me - concerned the way one goes about making decisions. Was this:

- Impulsive and spontaneous
- Methodical and efficient
- Emotional and intuitive
- Delayed and avoided
- Laborious and agonising

(Or 'none of the above'.) Well, ask anyone I know about how I cannot choose a dish in a restaurant, even one I have had before!, without asking at least one, if not several, questions about the menu - see also the notorious Mushrooms on Toast incident in this connection. So obviously I clicked on 'laborious and agonising' - I'm a researcher!, I visited every bathroom showroom in the West Midlands! The act of completing the quiz, while just a bit of nonsense really, made me keenly aware of my tortured decision-making process, which I confronted again today when I decided to open a Christmas present of a twinpack of Travalos and their accompanying case.

What to put in them? Shall I fill one and leave the other for a future acquisition? Shall I leave both for now? Decisions, decisions...

I wandered from room to room, poking around in my boxes of bottles and very large decants that might also warrant siphoning off into this handy travel format. In a past post on Travalos I focused mainly on the mechanics of filling them, with just a brief aside on what scents readers might consider 'Travalo-worthy'. For I had only got as far as filling one at that stage, but have filled a few more since - and today my mind was exercised yet again by this same question.

In the end, after a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing, I filled the silver one with PHI Rose de Kandahar. After all, if I loved it enough to make it my one new bottle purchase this year, you would reasonably assume I would love it enough to commit some to a Travalo for trips away. And I put the black one back in the cupboard for another occasion...

Then I thought to review my existing collection of Travalos and decide whether I was experiencing any 'filler's remorse'. I don't know how many Travalos you own, but this is likely to be a much easier exercise to conduct than reviewing the wisdom of purchasing your whole bottle collection in the first place!

In my current collection are two atomisers that I was given, one filled with Shalimar Extrait and one with Juniper Sling. So while I can't take myself to task for the fact that those particular perfumes are contained in Travalos, I can decide if I would have kept the contents as they are if it had been up to me. And the answer is YES for the Shalimar and NO for the Juniper Sling.  Hold on, the Shalimar is just a purse spray shaped like a Travalo, of which more anon.

The interloping bullet-style purse spray

And here is my verdict on the rest, for whose act of filling I was responsible (Happy with decision - YES/NO):

Diptyque Volutes edt (black) - YES
L'Erbolario Meharees (red) - YES
Chanel 1932 (gold) - NO (this is elegant, but doesn't move me like the first two)
Ormonde Jayne Tiare (gold) - NO (as above)
L'Agent Provocateur L'Agent (pink) - NO (but I think it looks great in pink!)

I realise that strictly speaking - given the fact that no atomiser can really be reused - you could extend this review to one's whole decant collection, but there is something really special about a Travalo. I could certainly include the bullet shaped purse spray of similar size that looks like a Travalo, but it would have to be pretty high end to count, as this one surely is - costing £8 and up, say. For as I see it, the weightiness of the decision directly correlates with the cost of the atomiser and the fact that it contains so little juice - 4-5ml tops.

Yes, what I take from this exercise is the fact that in order to commit to a Travalo, I have to feel a visceral attachment to the scent, which I suppose is pretty obvious really, but it was interesting to me to nail it.

The remaining empty Travalo and its nifty stripy case

And now I have to ask...

Do you have a collection of Travalos, however small? 

Did you find the decision-making process as to what to put in them difficult? 

Do you regret any of your choices?

Have you ever tried to rinse out a Travalo? ;) (Which is a whole other controversial can of worms...;) )

And here's another thought...the branded Travalos at least, which are the only ones I have experience of, come in a fairly limited range of colours. This means that - given the inadequacies of my nose - if I acquire too many more of the things I may have to resort to labelling, which I am very reluctant to do, as it spoils the sleek look of the burnished metal exterior. So yes, another question would be...

Could you bring yourself to label a Travalo, however tidily?! 

Have you tried any Travalo knock offs, and if so, were they as good?


Unknown said...

Ah, that post comes about four weeks too late...I did have 2 travalos and I was packing for my holiday. In the end I decided to fill one with Nirmal, because it's one of my most soothing scents, and the other one with Patchouli 24 as an experiment. Well, that was the idea. In the end I started with the Nirmal but something went wrong, the travalo didn't pump properly and I had to answer the phone and everything was a mess...and yeah, I now have two travalos containing weird Nirmal/Patchouli24 mixes. As perfume accidents go this wasn't a success.

Tara said...

It is good to know a perfume has to emotionally connect with you for you to be able to commit! I am planning on taking the lovely, black chunky atomiser B originally gave me with Vega in it, refilled from my bottle, to Vienna. I never bother with these usually myself. I guess I don't reappy during the day and when travelling, just take little decants I already have (which I am also packing).

I can see it makes more sense if you are a frequent flyer.

Incidently I also got Austrailian. I don't think the test was exactly nuanced - I chose "Emotional and intuitive" for my decision-making style.

Carol said...

Hello dear Bonks: I have three 'fake' ones. One with L'Aimant, one with SL Sa Majeste La Rose, and the other is still empty. I do label them - using a label maker on the glass insert so you can see it through the little window.
I'm curious now to see that quiz!

Sun Fontaine said...

Hehe, I don't own any Travalos (or knock offs for that matter), but I suppose I'll get one someday. And then I shall be plagued with the decision making - which likewise will be torturous. It's only the largest of decisions that I can make quickly and decisively (cars/houses/marriage/etc) - the little ones, oh they're the worst! Especially when it comes to what to eat... :)

Undina said...

I have just one Travaloo - the one that I bought for my post about atomizers. Following my testing conclusions, if I want something nicer than a simple 5 ml bottle from a decanter supplies site, I'm using $6 glass bottles in metal cover from Nordstrom.
I label all my decants - both in plain bottles and in nicer ones - even though so far I didn't repeat colors. And I agree that any type of labels make those atomizers look not as slick.
I do not get those "special" atomizers just to have, I decide for which perfume I want a better travel option and then look for a new color. So far no regrets.

Tatiana said...

I don't use Travalo atomizers. The travel atomizers I use come from Muji, since my DH travels to Tokyo quite often on business. He often stops and picks them up by the dozen for me.
The glass inserts slide out and I put a full name label on the glass and a small round sticker with an abbreviated name on the flat bottom. I don't think I could live without labeling them. I'm too disorganized to have anything unlabeled in my possession.
I've filled most of mine with iris scents and with Chanel Exclusivs and Dior Privee scents. I don't regret a single one and they are my go to scents for traveling. I also have one fancy, black travel spray from FM filled with Portrait of A Lady, but hardly ever travel with that one, as Portrait is such a big, room filling scent.

crikey said...

I am having a similar angst session. I passed on a couple of loaded Travelos to my niece--and wasn't able to replace the solid blue and solid black ones so have ended up with multiples of identical silver and gold top on clear plastic bottom style ones. And I *so* don't want to label them.

L'orpheline: yes, absolutely right, as I've worn it at least once a week through the winter.
Vol de nuit: not so much, as I don't wear it as often as I thought, but ensible for reapplying when I do because the EdT only lasts about two hours on me.
L'heure bleue: absolutely yes, but this is one I gave away.
CDG2: hmm, kind of. But will probably swap that out as it's once-a-month-ish in wears, and the CDG2man I have as a wee 25ml bottle and wear far more often.
Chergui: hell yes.
Alien Absolue: no, because one dab lasts all day and beyond and then I get sick of it. This will get washed and swapped out if I ever empty it.

Having wibbled repeatedly about what to put in those that are currently empty, I think I'm going to hold off until I decide what I want to take with me on an upcoming trip.

p.s. the John Lewis glass-bottle atomisers can leak (I've got a very dribbly one with Fille de Berlin.) As did the knock off travalo which filled my bag with Cuir de Russie.

Vanessa said...

Hi Sabine,

Ah, I feel your pain. Travalos are not to be filled 'as an experment', not unless you are the Imelda Marcos of perfume receptacles. ;( Compounded by an inadvertent corruption issue! I do sympathise. If it makes you feel any better, I did once accidentally fill two identical Travalos with the same scent, for reasons that escape me, but it may well have been another distraction scenario. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

Put like that, it also sounds like a fine model for a relationship of any kind. ;)

You will be well served by Vega in Vienna - lovely scent for the time of year. To be honest, I mostly take little decants away with me as well, because I have far more of those than Travalos. On a typical week's trip, I might take 2-3 Travalos and 10 decants, say. They are bulkier items than decants and take up more space in my little travel purses, which is why I would never go over to them completely, not least because I don't have the corresponding bottle of all the scents I love that much. Many of my favourite perfumes I only own a few ml of to start with.

I can see you as Australian in some ways, though I don't think either of us are as 'chilled and laidback' as the general drift of that profile. I'd say we are pretty easygoing in relation to others, though!

Vanessa said...

Hey dear Carol!

I have just ordered a sample of Sa Majeste La Rose from Surrender to Chance - haven't placed an order with them since way back, when they were still The Perfumed Court! I have inspected my collection again, and the red one is a fake actually, which I got from Hong Kong on eBay, I think. It's been fine and I would order those again if I could find the supplier. For the quiz, take a look on my FB wall - it's not too far down the feed.

Vanessa said...

Hi Sun Mi,

Travalos do have a lovely feel to them and I think it's nice to have a few, though there is nothing wrong with a good decant, and I do mostly use those when travelling.

Was amused to hear about your own difficulties with decision-making, especially over the little things, haha. We should probably never go out for a meal together, I sense, as it would drive the waiters round the bend. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I remember those Nordstrom atomisers - very sleek they were too. I would expect you to label your decants, it's just the Undina way to be organised like that. I must say the lack of label can be a bit taxing - took me a while to identify Tiare by blind sniffing, say!

Interesting about which way round you approach the purchase of a 'special atomiser'. I probably do buy them on spec when I see an offer, say, rather than having a particular decanting need at the time. Plus I have been given a few for birthdays etc. It's a pretty safe bet for a fumehead!

Vanessa said...

Hi Tatiana,

Oh Muji, I love that store! And how great that your husband gets to shop there in Japan, where they may have the best selection. I am aware of Muji in connection with those little travelling stacks of mini-pots for makeup and lotions, but hadn't come across them for atomisers.

Very impressed with your discreet labelling system - I never thought of labelling the glass insert in those purse spray atomisers - the Travalo is of course 'all of a piece'. And that is a neat idea to have a discreet little label on the botton as well.

You raise an interesting point about feeling the urge to commit a much loved scent to a smaller, handier container, yet deciding it maybe isn't the right sort of perfume to take away after all. That is thoughtful of you. Portrait of a Lady is a fine scent - it works very well on scarves too.

Vanessa said...

Hi Crikey,

Oh fun - you are a kindred spirit in terms of someone who is resisting the Travalo-labelling urge! I am sure they used to do more colours - blue sounds like a nice option. I could really go for one in a burnished Crunchie bar orange too. I think they are missing a trick not to have more colour options for us labelling refuseniks.

Re your committed Travalo relationships...I have yet to try L'Orpheline, but your steady wear this winter has made me even more curious about it. Loved your comment on Chergui, which I second, even though I didn't go the Travalo route with it myself.

I have just one empty one now, but it feels good to have a bit of spare capacity for when the commitment urge next strikes!

Sorry about your poor experience with knock off Travalos. I had an awful experience with a couple of bullet shaped purse sprays that made two lots of Seville a l'Aube completely evaporate. I guess if you are going to have an item impregnated with Cuir de Russie, you could do a lot worse than a (leather?) bag? ;) Even a non-leather bag could be nicely upgraded in this way by such 'trompe-nez' tactics!

Carol said...

The Perfumed Court is still selling, right? (I am so out of the loop! LOL) - I thought just a person or two left TPC to start StC?

Oh and one other thing - if you do label the glass insert, you can always 'hide' the label from the window! It's a win-win IMHO! x

Vanessa said...

I just checked and you are quite right - The Perfumed Court closed for a while to regroup, then carried on after the two left to start StC. I didn't even know that and just followed the Perfume Posse names I knew. I think it was more expensive though, or maybe the prices have just gone up anyway since I last ordered - it was ages.

What a good move to label the insert away from the window - you are clearly on top of this Travalo-type lark!

Asali said...

I am so curious as to how the rose hunt is going, but I guess I will need patience yet...
I have two travelo types, one Travelo and one Sens7, the latter is so sleek, I prefer it to travelo. I won it so no idea how they compare price wise.
Anyway, they hold Safran Troublant and Bois des Iles. And the choice was rather a quick and intuitive one, the thought behind it being that it needed to be something that I didn't already have in a travel bottle of sorts, and it had to be something which is nice to travel with. So rather cosy and not very overpowering. Something you might want to spray after a flight or being out... I'm happy with my choices, but if there's a next it shouldhave something less 'safe'.

Undina said...

Asali, be careful with Sens7: mine leaked over time. Interestingly, it survived 2 intercontinental flights but then leaked/evaporated within a year just laying in my drawer.

Vanessa said...

Hi Asali,

The rose hunt is coming on apace - Jessica went to Liberty's yesterday and checked out a few things on the hit list. I may do a follow up post on the outcome, but she probably needs to go back for another foray still. ;)

I am not familiar with the Sens7 - will google a picture. Safran Troublant and Bois des Iles are easy choices indeed (and some happy crossover of our perfume tastes, hehe), so it will be interesting to hear what more daring scent you decide to 'commit' next...

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

Sorry to hear about your less than perfect experience with the Sens7. Sounds very like my leaky / evaporating bullet sprays.

Asali said...

Yay, happy perfume crossover, incredible ;-). Not sure about the more daring scent, again I fear it would be a highly intuitive choice depending on mood and day :-)
Oh, how annoying with the Sen7 thanks for the warning Undina, I'll keep a close eye on how it goes, and see if I can do anything a little parafilmy with it to prevent leakage/ evaporation...

Gil said...


I never considered this issue, but I suppose which scent you fill your purse sprays with says a lot. I owned a non-Travalos spray in the past that relied on a funnel to fill it instead of the pumping mechanism, and found it very convenient to clean out. As for the colours selection, totally agree - the more the better! It would be cool if you could order personalized ones, too.

On a different note, would it be possible to send you a few questions for a blog interview? I'd love to bring some of your wisdom to my readers. :)

Vanessa said...

'Intuitive daring' could still work out fine. Though you definitely want to avoid the mid-pump distraction accident Sabine fell prey to. I have yet to get my hands on some of this whizzy parafilm stuff, though it has clearly reached Scandinavia. ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Gil,

At last, an atomiser-cleaning person has come forward! May I ask what your MO was that worked for you? Washing up liquid and hot water or something more heavy duty?

Glad you agree that the colours are a bit lacking - purple, blue, green and orange - maybe also brown - would be nice. You can definitely get more of a colour range in the non-Travalo purse spray sector.

You are very welcome to send me a few questions, though wisdom might be pushing it, haha. Happy to give it a shot! I just discovered your blog as a result, so thanks for the heads up.

Thinkingmagpie said...

I've tried both Travalo and knock offs. My friend gave me blue, silver and gold knock offs some time ago. I was pretty skeptical so I filled the blue one with L'Agent as an experiment. I have no complain so far. Surprisingly, it turned out to be pretty good quality. Now the gold one contains Violet Blonde but I can't decide what to do with the silver one... To be honest, I'm regretting about filling the blue one with L'Agent now.

I was also wondering what to do with the labelling. I thought about etching with the glass etching pen but that's a high degree of commitment... Let me know if you come up with the solution. ;)

Anonymous said...

I hate Travalos, primarily because they LEAK, or at the very least, experience far more evaporation than most other atomizers do. Plus they don't stand upright! :( And the price they come at is ridiculous, considering that you can get very nice ones for about £1-£2 from online websites.

Vanessa said...

Hi Yuki,

L'Agent Provocateur Original of the L'Agent L'Agent I filled my pink Travalo with? That would be a coincidence that we both regret our choices. I guess you could use a glass etching pen because aren't these supposed to be a lifelong commitment anyway? That's unless you have mastered the washing technique, like Gil. Though he was washing ones with the normal glass insert. You might as well etch away, I say! ;)

Vanessa said...

Hi Joshua,

Well well, I hadn't noticed the leaking / evaporation phenomenon with Travalos but you have got me worried now. I will monitor my levels in future. I hadn't noticed any reduction, but I can't say I was paying much attention. With those bullet sprays the whole contents evaporated so it was more dramatic.

I agree that Travalos don't stand, though I am happy to keep mine in their travel purses at all times, or in the leather pouches that often come in the gift sets (pictured above). Then Travalos are of course very expensive, as you say. The £1-£2 ones - are those the fake Travalos like my red one? I think it was only a few quid, now you mention it. I should maybe buy more like it.

The Scented Hound said...

Late to the game as always... hmmmm, as a guy, I don't really think about atomizers as it's not in our nature to go to the restroom to give a refresh spritz of perfume. I like the concept, but could see that raising a few eyebrows at work...:) I have the feeling that if I did use them, I would label them and then the label would fall off and then they would get lost and I would get confused, etc, etc. Geez, I sounds tragically unorganized??!

Vanessa said...

Hi Steve,

I hadn't really thought about whether men refresh their scent in the course of the day but now you mention it, I am not surprised to hear that they don't, and that it might raise an eyebrow at work. ;) Travalos are of course also for travelling, so you might in theory find a use for them that way?

crikey said...

oh, hmm... it appears that the colours are blooming again:

Vanessa said...

Haha, I know, and good spot! The company's PR people contacted me to that effect right after I published this post, and I just haven't got around to spreading the good news... Your comment has galvanised me though! ;)

crikey said...

I keep putting a bunch in my basket, taking them out, putting them in, deciding I can't *possibly* buy more, etc. repeat. fret. Fuck it. Will buy a couple tomorrow. And an emergency back up bottle of CDG2man because i'm down to droplets...which is making me twitch.

(and the little fact that I spent *far* too much on skincare this month will just have to be explained away to myself as being Jolly Sensible Actually, what with ditching some of the more dubious ancient pots and tubes...)

Vanessa said...

Go on, they won't go to waste! And clearly you need a back up bottle of CDG2man - twitching must be avoided. I fully endorse your need to splurge on skincare, as you were running an unacceptable risk of self-harm if you hadn't bought some new stuff. If push comes to shove, blame me for inciting you to make the aforementioned purchases.