Tag Archives: Martimex

Building a Serge Lutens collection: Santal Blanc

More than any other line, Serge Lutens scents are slowly winning over any other line. Well, they actually already won and I’m not even close to owning bottles of all of those I love. That is one of the reasons I am very attached to my credit cards. 🙂

I swapped some time ago for a small decant of Santal Blanc and I totally fell in love with at first smell but didn’t give much thought to actually thinking about what is it that I love so much (probably due to the fact I couldn’t at first recognize any note out of it).

So, the other day after feeling so low I decided to visit Martimex (used to be my favourite perfume/skincare store – maybe will be again) and see if they have Douce Amere before the bottles disappear forever. They didn’t but I saw Santal Blamc and while discussing some other things with the very helpful SA and buying some of them, I decided I will be going home with SB. 🙂 And since I did, it was time to give it a proper sniff and review.

Notes: white sandalwood, cinammon, fenugreek, pink pepper, rose, jasmine, orris root, musk, benzoin, copaiba balsam.

I’m still struggling a bit with it because to me it is complex and not easily broken down into notes. It starts with this warm sandal feel but it has much more depth than those words imply. The slightly warm feeling reminded me of cumin but it’s not exactly that – cumin has a “distinctive” warm smell while this just smells slightly spicy and warm (my guess fenugreek and musk?). Anway, smelling it without notes, I would never have thought of cinammon and then afterward I thought I smelled it through this white sandal spicy warmth but cannot say that for sure. I started to think of it as warm and cuddly but although it comes close to being that, it doesn’t actually get into that category. There is a spicy/woody edge that just doesn’t let it get there and I appreciate it. It exactly fits with me when I want to smell warm and approachable but strong.

I find it rich and deep, I guess all those bottom notes give it that quality. Honestly though, I don’t know where the jasmine and rose are – probably blended so well into the structure that my untrained nose just can’t get them. It took me a while (although it shouldn’t have) to figure out that the slightly boozy-vanilla hint was coming from benzoin (I know that usually!).

It really isn’t an easy perfume for me to get to the bottom of – I got the feeling like it has this quality of its ingredient notes being wet. Not an aquatic note but more like some of the ingredients were wet when getting into the formula. And it gives it even more depth and body. This wetness dissipates later and I’m left with a drydown of benzoin and sandalwood hinting at some saltiness coming from orris (that would be my conclusion).

And since I mentioned my collection, it already has: Cedre, Serge Noir, Chergui and now Santal Blanc (I also have Feminite du Bois but that is a special category). Those that I know I will buy (eventually) are: Douce Amere, Fille en Aiguilles and Fleurs d’Oranger. But since I haven’t smelled all of them, you never know what else might come along.

How susceptible am I?

Yesterday I read a comment by Rita from The Left Coast Nose and she said how she’s not sure if she loves Bulgari Black or is it a cliche so I decided to go and see for myself. Smell for myself. After The Guide had so many great things to say about it, I thought it was time to try it (after smelling it, I realized I had already smelled it before).

Anyway, I went to Martimex to try it and ran across a really good SA. I tried it and while discussing my foundation problem with her, ended up ona stool to have my face submitted to a new serum, concealer, foundation etc. While she was doing that, I kept smelling Black. Trying to see if I’ll get the whole rubber angle. Once you know what you are looking for, it seems to quite stand out.

Rita, just so you know, I’m upset with you. First of all, I wouldn’t have smelled it anytime soon and thought, Oh my, this is really interesting and I can see myself wearing it. And then I started thinking, Am I influenced by what she said and what I read in the Guide? And then in then in the end, How in the world is it possible I cannot tell the difference? Aargggh.

While doing my make-up the SA discussed Black with me and said that it was meant as a rendition of city life (hence the rubber angle?). Honestly, the city does not smell like Black to me – maybe there’s not enough polution to make the air sweetish like in Black.

Notes by NST: black tea, rosewood, bergamot, cedar, oakmoss, vanilla, amber, sandalwood, and musk.

I can see where the sweetnes came from, but these notes really cannot convey the smell of Black. And now, what am I going to do? I do not want to buy another bottle of perfume if not absolutely necessary. In this case it is not but I would still like to have some. I’ll go check the MUA and see if anyone is up for swapping it. 🙂
Picture by:perfumezilla.com
P.S. The SA (whose name I don’t know) was excellent yesterday. I came to try Black and see if they had a Clarins foundation and ended up going home with a Guerlain foundation and concealer and 3 Carita facial products – happy of course. 🙂

How to wear Bulgari scents?

I’m totally baffled when it comes to Bulgari. I try them and I like the way they are done and the way they smell, but they are not me. I haven’t found a single one I can fall in love with, or at least develop a friendship so we can hang together. And it’s not that they incompatible with my skin chemistry, I think they develop just nicely.

I was shopping the other day in one of my used to be favorite perfumery in Zagreb, Martimex and I left (after spending a nice amount) with 3 perfume samples (I’m not counting 3 perfume cards). The SA sort of apologetically whispered that that was all they had. The same happened some 2 moths ago as well. So, I hope they fix it, otherwise I don’t see they have a future among Sephora, Limoni and Douglas.
Today I wanted to talk about the sample I got, Bulgari Blv, edp II.

Notes: violet, star anise, liquorice, frosted mandarine, jasmine petals, iris, fresh lily of the water, patchouli, vetiver, ambergris, benzoin, labdanum, tonka, musk.

They went completely for the blue in every sense – all the flowers, gemstones, makeup on Laetitia Casta – everything is ranging from light/frosted blue to darker blue but not really dark blue. Then it hit me, I think one of the reasons I just don’t own and wear Bulgari scents is that all of those I’ve tried, they all smelled cold and distanced. And those are not qualities I look for in anything (or anyone). But Bulgari makes it smell good. 🙂

Anyway, on to the smell itself. I had serious problems trying to discern any notes from it. It goes on fresh, cool and somewhat reminds me of aquatic (maybe beacuse of all the blue). But since I pretty much hate aquatic notes and I don’t hate this, I guess it’s just my imagination. What I got from the initial blast was that there is some flower in it (I didn’t have the notes yet) and that there was also a hint of some fruit but I didn’t think it was anything citrusy. Maybe frosted mandarin can count as something less citrusy than, you know, lemon. 🙂
In my standard fashion, I realized the opening reminded me terribly of something else I smelled, but of course I couldn’t remember. But this time, after some 30 minutes I think I know what it reminded me of – L’eau d’Issey. But it’s been quite a while since I smelled it last and I could be wrong.

So, it goes down this well blended road where I keep wondering how is it possible that they created it so seamlessly that I cannot decipher where are the individual notes? I felt totally stupid but I’ll try again soon. 🙂 I did get the opening well enough, but after that, it was – where’s jasmine, iris? I don’t smell iris. It says there’s patchouli in this, hmmm.

Even the drydown which is supposed to have all those nice, warmish notes is a mistery to me. It keeps the cool, distant aspect through it all although you can feel the underlying well maybe not exactly warmt but, warmish breeze. If the whole scent was more like the drydown, I would probably go through my samples faster. 🙂

This way, I keep wondering what is it with me and Bulgari? I had such high hopes with Omnia Green Jade after realizing the drydown is great, but it takes long to get there and I just am not a patient person.

In the end, I think they are completely correct in the manner they advertise it, it is really this nice crystal, frosted, blue fragrance.

Quickly before I leave

Finally the long weekend I’ve been waiting for has arrived. Tomorrow is Corpus Christi day and Croatia being a Catholic country, it is a state holiday. Anyway, nobody is going to work on Friday and it’s going to be a mass exodus today. 🙂 The forecast is perfect, the sea temperature has gone over 20 degrees Celsius, so I expect 4 days of reading, swimming and a bit of sunbathing (not much for me I’m afraid).

Before I go, I wanted to write about re-discovering my old time favourite, Eau de Cartier. I had a little bit left in my bottle and every time I smelled it to see if I was going to apply it or not, I stopped after smelling the bitter green opening. I always thought the opening smelled like a parsley-celery-earthy-slightly lemon peel bitter thingy. I’ve read that some think it opens like a gin and tonic smell which is somewhat true if you consider that tonic has all this herbaceous notes. Anyway, it gives freshness and cool to my summer days. And I bought a new bottle yesterday since Martimex has 30% discount on their fragrances. Just lovely. 🙂

While I was there, I tried the new Versace – Versense. Terribly funny! It makes sense only if you want to smell like your laundry while you’re ironing it and can smell the softener and humidity all rolled into one. I couldn’t believe, but that’s what it smells like. And you get some fruit in the opening. 🙂

Notes Eau de Cartier: yuzu, bergamot, leaves, flowers, musc, lavender, amber, patchouli, cedarwood.

Notes Versense:
Top Notes: bergamot and green mandarin, with fresh and luminous accords with fig zests, citruses with fruity aromas.
Heart Notes: sea lily, with jasmine petals, cardamom.
Base Notes: woody accords of sandalwood, cedar, olive wood and musk.
Picture: the view from the terrace. 🙂

Anyway, I hope everyone will enjoy their weekend whether it’s a long one or not and I’m back on Monday.

Weekend reading

Yesterday I was celebrating the start of spring with some perfumes. Today I’ll talk about the books I’ve read over the weekend. I finished the White witch, Black curse by Kim Harrison and read also the Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward.
The way Kim’s White witch ended, I’d say we are going to be seeing more of Rachel in the future. 🙂 Good to know. It was good as usual, but it got me thinking. I cannot get into characters’ heads and I can’t predict what they are going to say or how they are going to act or why they do what they do. By that I don’t mean to imply that Harrison is doing it badly, but quite contrary. Those are witches, vampires and pixies and the bottom line is that they are different from humans. So, I actually think she did a good job making it hard for me as a human to get their motivations completely. Well, that is my explanation anyway. 🙂
REgarding, JR Ward, her Black Dagger brotherhood has already reached its 7. installment (to come out later this month) and it is in my opinion in the same category as Keri Arthur, L. Hamilton and Kresley Cole but in a way darker. More violence, more deaths and more tragedy. Although I read only to relax (that is my anti-stress therapy) I like her books because they feel more real in a way (OK, I know we’re talking about vampires, but still). The thing is, real life is unfortunately full of tragedy and she somehow makes it more real than the rest. For her books, I have to be in a right state of mind while for the others, I simply take them and read them. Both scenarios are fine with me. 🙂
And to end this with a sketch from my morning life which proves I do not function in the morning. One of my favorite shops Martimex, has a special Easter promotion, you buy 2 perfumes and you get them 50% off (of course, this is only valid for a part of their offer, but that didn’t stop me from finding something). 🙂 anyway, they gave me samples, and instead of using one of those I bought, I decided to spritz on the sample of Guerlain Insolence, thinking I might not have been right when I remembered it as definitely not for me amd reading the notes on the card. Which just proves that I cannot think early in the morning. I was right that first time and I’m never repeating this experience with any new sample I get even if it seems fine after reading thenotes. One good thing though, I was instantly awake. 🙂 Beats me, but I have no idea where those read berries are in this because all I get is some powdery awful thing that I detest (guess it could be iris)…

Photo: spring across the street (mine)

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