Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Italians Don't Like Shalimar + End Of Summer Give-Away


I need a few lessons in basic Buddhism. One of the main problems with having an extremely busy Day Job and a tendency to go away on long holidays is that it's often difficult to live in the present: I'm either thinking ahead about the million-and-one-things that always need doing, or I'm drifting into nostalgic yearnings for days spent enjoying Nutella beignets on various French beaches. We're often told that an inability to live in the moment is a modern malaise, and I'm certainly not immune to it. Having said all that, today, I'd like to rewind to August again, and, as promised, hold a sample give-away designed to share with you some of the goodies I picked up on my travels.

To set the draw in some sort of context, I shall take my cue from the notion that a holiday is made special by individual incidents which, for one reason or another, stay in one's mind for years to come. As far as perfume-related experiences go, there was certainly no shortage of such moments during my recent European adventure.

I remember chuckling to myself on the ferry trip to Calais when I heard the sales assistant informing a customer that the various versions of J'Adore are exactly the same, apart fom the fact that they feature different top notes. I remember walking around a village in the Auvergne and trying to commit to memory the curious, partly-dry, partly-medicinal, partly-earthy odour of fresh hay. I remember deciding that the most prominent smells carried on the Cote d'Azur air were peaches, garlic and the petrol + 2-stroke oil combo of the countless mopeds.

At the Cannes branch of Hermès I discovered a perfume called Voyage (no, not the Voyage d'Hermès we all know) which is, apparently, exclusive to that particular store. In case you're wondering, it was a pleasant mimosa scent which dried down to unremarkable soapiness. At one of the many antiques fairs we went to, I found a bottle of vintage Samsara. I'm quite fond of its current version anyway, but the vintage is much better at conveying the intrinsic good sense of the jasmine/sandalwood/tonka accord. At the workshop of the blotter makers, Scentis, near Grasse, I discovered a veritable history of 20th century perfumery in one man's scrap book collection. (More on this soon...)

And then in Italy... well, I could write several posts about Italy! Firstly, I was struck by the thin representation of Guerlain in the country's branches of Sephora. In France of course, the brand couldn't be more prominent, but I guess Italians aren't as interested in grand dames like Mitsouko and Vol De Nuit. In fact, it wasn't at all unusual to find not a single bottle of Shalimar or Habit Rouge in Italian Sephoras, something that would be unthinkable just across the border. In Venice, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to locate a perfumery called Bertolone which, I was assured, stocked a wide range of niche scents. I did eventually track it down, only to discover that it was on its annual closure. However, my aimless wanderings in the city also brought me to Profumeria Ideal, an 84-year old establishment in which the 79-year old proprietress (I swear she didn't look a day over 60) watched with some bemusement when I pounced upon her stock of vintage 3eme Homme De Caron and Monsieur De Givenchy, to name but two. She also couldn't understand why I was interested in the old Diorissimo box in her window (which, sadly, turned out to be empty). "Why do you want an old one?" she asked. "Is it very diverso from the new one?"

Oh dear, I thought to myself, how much time we have got?

But let's not get started on the subject of time. We'd better move on to the give-away...

In order to spread a bit of summer cheer and delay the onset of autumn (Who am I kidding? It's freezing in Britain at the moment.), I would like to offer one lucky Persolaise reader small samples of:

vintage Hiris (from Hermès)
vintage 3eme Homme (from Caron)
vintage Monsieur De Givenchy (from Givenchy)
and Habanita (picked up during my personal tour of the old Molinard factory)

as well as samples of

Hiroshima Mon Amour (from Nez À Nez)
and Esprit Du Roi and Eau Sans Pareil (from Penhaligon's)

which were reviewed in August.

If you'd like to enter the draw, please read the Terms & Conditions below and leave a comment on the subject of trying to make the most of the time we have.

Good luck!

Give-Away Draw Terms & Conditions:

i) the draw will be open until 10 pm (UK time) on Monday 26th September; ii) the winner will be selected at random and announced on this blog; iii) if the winner has not made contact with me before Tuesday 4th October to claim the prize, an alternative winner will be selected; iv) readers from anywhere in the world are eligible to enter; v) by entering the draw, you indicate that you are willing to pay customs charges (if applicable) and that customs regulations in your country permit you to receive an alcohol-based perfume / perfumery product posted from the UK; vi) if the prize is lost in transit, it will not be possible for a replacement to be sent; vii) the address of the winner will not be kept on record, nor will it be passed on to any third parties; viii) I take no responsibility for the composition of the perfume, as regards potential allergens and/or restricted materials.

Persolaise.

58 comments:

  1. I'm afraid I'm a bit like you. My mind is always full of things that I need/want to do and most of them aren't possible in the present. Plans, plans, and more plans.

    But, I have my evenings when I enjoy a good book and relax. That is the time I spend in the present (albeit not real). :)

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  2. Well, Sephora is not exactly the place for Guerlain in Italy.
    It is rather the place for the usual department store fragrance selection + hermes and bulgari, go figure.
    Italian perfume lovers buy their perfumes in (well hidden or not) niche shops: I defy any country to have more perfume niche shops per km2 than Italy.
    As a die-hard italian Guerlain fangirl, I also remarked that the brand is not the chou chou of department-stores and niche shops, yet l'heure bleue, Shalimar and mitsouko can be often smelled wafting by - a mistery?

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  3. Uh, do I ever want those vintage samples...

    I think the best way of trying to make the most of the time you have is not trying too hard. Our Western culture has made leisure a full time job that comes with massive investments in equipment, accelerated travel, laborious self-sytlization. We need more flaneurs....

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  4. I agree with the duke there. Still your vacation sounds heavenly. What a generous bunch of things to give away!

    I am sure the time off is as important to your work as the time on, you store up so many vivid impressions.

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  5. Time tends to slip away from me easily no matter what I'm doing. The last time I can remember time practically standing still was when I went out on a speedboat in a lake in Wisconsin last year. I felt somewhere between 5-12 years old with a grin plastered across my face. I had many troubles at the time, so really appreciated the respite.

    This is a very exciting giveaway, thank you for sharing with us!

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  6. Thank you for a generous giveaway!

    I also appreciated your even more generous sharing of personal thoughts about time. A few people in real life I know are reflective like that, yet more and more people I get to know online are. Go figure! Maybe it is our awareness of the senses that makes it so!

    One way I try to make most of my time is not allowing it to slip away. If I read a novel, read blogs, surf on the Internet, I do not notice passing of time. On the other hand, when I do some household chores, even the ones I like, time goes so slowly. So I make my computer announce time to me (yes, on every half hour) and I use it to get up and take breaks. I do the same about work -- I exchange activities. I bet it will not work for someone who has _trouble_ concentrating, but it works for me since I have easily fall into the process. I've been known not to get up until the work is done, some 8 hours later, with no bathroom break or food (the results on the body are disastrous, in case anyone wondered). So, if you are like me, try this, it works really well. Time gets sped up and then slowed down, and while it is slow you can rethink your priorities and ask yourself, "Was what I was doing moving me toward my goals or away from them?"

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  7. Persolaise, like you I struggle to make the most of my time. I think some of this is down to the modern age we live in, with intrusions from TV, internet (blogging!) and the 24-7 culture (both work and private) that has insidously crept into our lifestyles. I would perhaps like to try to be more organised but on the other hand, I like to take things as they come too...

    I'd like to be entered into your generous draw. Thanks.

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  8. Indeed Italians are not big fans of Guerlain. This has been true forever. I posted about this very phenomenon having grown up there. Please see Caron vs Guerlain at aperfumeblog. Cheers

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  9. Ines, thanks for that. And yes, isn't it funny that even when we relax, we like to 'escape' the present.

    You're in the draw.

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  10. Zazie, that's very interesting. And yes, from my limited experience, what you say about niche perfumeries in Italy certainly seems to be true.

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  11. DukeOfPallMall, I think we've become so caught up in 'institutionalised lifestyles' that if we wanted to become flaneurs, we'd probably have to complete a course in flaneurism first.

    You're in the draw.

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  12. Lucy, yes, it is wonderful to come back refreshed.

    You're in the draw too.

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  13. Carrie, that's a great image, thank you.

    Time standing still. Hmm... I think I experience that sensation when I'm at a concert, which hasn't happened for a while. Maybe I need to check out Tickemaster...

    You're in the draw.

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  14. aka Warum, thanks for the advice. It sound a little bit scary ;-) but I might try it.

    Someone I respect a great deal once said, 'Whatever you're doing, do it well. If you're working, work well. If you're resting, rest well.'

    Easier said than done, but wise words to try to follow.

    You're in the draw too.

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  15. Michael, it's great to hear from you. And yes, I agree with you about intrusions... but what is it about our natures that allows the intrusions to keep intruding? Is it plain old weakness?

    You're in the draw.

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  16. Blacknall Allen, thanks very much.

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  17. Vacations = tons of olfactory memories

    A great drawing!

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  18. When I'm on vacations, I try to make the most of my time. In fact, I don't see vacations like a time to have some rest, but a time to do lots of things and visiting different places. I usually wake up early in the hotel when I'm staying and I have breakfast on the go. I plan the day and I visit all the places I can. I walk a lot and I don't stop to rest or have a drink. It's exhausting. And of course I include the visit to niche perfume shops, if there are some in the city where I am.

    Thanks for this wonderful draw!

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  19. It does seem unfair that the time we have is all we get. I often wished, when my children were very small, that they were old enough to do more and that I was more free. Now that they are older I wish that the time with them would double itself somehow, because I feel it passing very swiftly.

    I'd love to hear more in a future post about the store-exclusive Voyage, and the scented scrapbook.

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  20. Mike Perez, thanks very much indeed.

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  21. Isa, I know exactly what you mean. I like to relax as much as possible, but I also want to see as much as possible, have great meals, visit interesting museums...

    We're so hard to please, aren't we?

    You're in the draw.

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  22. Lauren, that's a very poignant thought. It's a cliche, but we really don't know what we have till it's gone.

    There really isn't much more to say about Voyage, but I'm determined to write something about Scentis before too long.

    You're in the draw too.

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  23. I would love to be in the draw. Time flies for me unless I'm miserable or worried sick, then it seems to sick and mock me. I try to be kind to those I care about and love. In the end that'll be what they remember of me.

    I hope to visit Europe & the UK someday! Thanks for the lovely draw, all of these vintage scents must be a delight.

    ~Audrey

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  24. I very much envy you your trip and your discoveries and would love to share in them by being entered in your drawing. A recurrent fantasy we all have, I suspect, is that of stumbling across a small perfume shop that turns out to be a hidden doorway to the past: tidy shelves on which sit row on row of beautiful perfumes no longer made except in dreams. But perfume in itself can be, as we know, such a time-traveller's device. We make the most of the time we have by letting perfume continually revive our memories of persons, and things, and moments, letting us live two lives at once: one here and now, one elsewhere and then.

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  25. Aha - I lived for a year on the Riviera - and got about on a moped, so I must have smelled like your scent memories from your holdiay!

    They do Nutella beignets now? How time moves on... : - )

    Will you ever reveal what your Day Job is? In a PM even? I would understand if you were in the secret service, obviously, but the curiosity is slowly killing me!

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  26. Audrey, you're absolutely right. I think that, in the end, personal relationships are all that matter.

    I do hope you get to visit Europe one day.

    You're in the draw.

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  27. Umbershoot, I love your images, thank you. And yes, finding that secret perfumery somewhere would be like a dream come true.

    You're in the draw too.

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  28. Vanessa, I would prefer not to talk about the specifics of the Day Job... and I suppose that, if I wish to maintain its secrecy, it's mean of me to constantly refer to it, but I guess I can't always help myself, as it does take up so much of my time.

    And yes: Nutella beignets are pretty damn good.

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  29. In my opinion the best way to make the most of the time we have, is to just STOP sometimes and say to ourselves, "is this really more important than time with my family or me time to pamper myself and make me better to help everyone around?" Sometimes as the old saying goes, we need to stop and smell the roses. Make time for what is really important. Jobs and money are important for daily life but they are not what is REALLY important in our lives. They are necessary, I won't deny that but that occasional sick day call in when you are not really sick does wonders for us sometimes! This is an amazing giveaway that I would LOVE to have. Goes back to my comment of pampering time to make me better and better to be around. Fragrance is my one luxury indulgence and like candy is to a child for me. There is nothing that can pull me out of sadness or depression than a new fragrance! I'd be so proud to own and try all these, I've never had any of them. Thanks for the opportunity!
    Peg~

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  30. I try my best to make the most of my time, and though I do find myself wishing that I had more than 24 hours per day, some little voice at the back of my mind constantly reminds me that everyone's got the same amount of time as well.

    I suppose the best way to make the best of our time would be to set goals for ourselves, whether it be with our work, families, friends, or in my case, my studies and check ourselves along the way to see if we've been on the right track.

    I guess making the best of our time would also mean living without regrets! Cause otherwise how would we qualify and maintain that we've made the best of our time?

    Sometimes I wonder if my interest in fragrance (or is it an obsession?) is worth the time - but one spritz, and I know that some things just can't be replaced no matter the priorities. Guilty pleasure indeed!

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  31. Peg, thanks very much for sharing your insights. Wise words, but sometimes very hard to put into practice.

    You're in the draw.

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  32. Joshuaang, setting goals sounds like being far too organised for me ;-) but I take your point.

    You're in the draw too.

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  33. For whatever strange reason those samples don't appeal to me now so I'll skip the draw part - just wanted to drop-in, say Hi and tell you that I'm enjoying my vacation while reading your blog.

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  34. Undina, that's very sweet of you, thank you. I hope you're somewhere nice.

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  35. Nice topic and a very nice draw.I dont really agree in full to "Italians are not interested in Guerlains". The selection at Sephora may be thin but I would not strip that down to the fact there is no interest. I know a good number of Italians having Guerlains at home, vintage and the newer releases like Bois d'Armenie, Rose Barbare etc. These you wont find in Sephora anyway. There is a very good selection of niche perfumery that can be found in Italy. There are very good stocked perfumeries which are well worth to be locked in for days :)
    And to me Italy is the country where you can find the stores that still have d/c fumes somewhere in their selection. run by elderly ladies.
    Thanks for the interesting article.

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  36. Yes, you are a terrible tease for repeatedly mentioning your mystery Day Job! Now I think of it, this may also be tied into your use of Persolaise as a nom de plume.

    But as you consistently refer to your occupation as a "Day" job, I reckon we can confidently rule out milkman, postman, nightwatchman, bouncer, gigolo and most of the emergency services.

    ; - ) ; - )

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  37. Please, enter me the draw- It will bring a little cosolation now, that the summer is gone
    thanks a lot

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  38. A long time ago, I saw a film starring Marcello Mastroianni; his character said, "It's a beautiful thing, to waste time." I often think about that remark--the only detail I can now recall from that film--and wonder. I do try to stay "in the moment", as we way. But moments are so layered now. How I would love to win the vintage samples! The weekend slips away--I hope you are enjoying yours.

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  39. Just remember this: Hurt people HURT people, but Blessed people BLESS people - and hurtful people are personal energy vampires too! SO hang out w/ Blessed folks, and do the same - that way YOU zap! the negative folks` attack, and have many GOOD hours on your lifeline. Good times are always savoured!! :-)

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  40. Bettina, thanks for your comment. I admit I was trying to be a bit provocative with my title, and yes, you're quite right, niche shops are fairly easy to find in Italy.

    You're in the draw.

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  41. Vanessa, do gigolos never work during the day?

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  42. Irina, I'd love to enter you in the draw, but first I'd like to know what you've got to say on the topic making the most of our time.

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  43. Queen Cupcake, being able to live in each and every moment - and savour it to the full - would be a wonderful ability to have.

    You're in the draw.

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  44. Linda, I get what you're saying... but sometimes, shouldn't blessed people try to bring hurt people around to a more blessed way of life?

    You're in the draw too.

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  45. Oh, dear, I'm sorry for not keeping the rules- a contradiction to the very subject
    generally , I try to keep my beautiful memories alive and many times I find myself living in 2 parallel worlds, my busy present interteined with my memories
    and I try to enjoy every moment I have
    Thanks

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  46. Aha! - could it be that you have an inside track on their shift patterns?

    ; - )

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  47. Latecomer here - please add me to the draw for those fascinating-sounding samples! Thanks.

    So, not much love for Guerlain in Italy? I don't think I fancy going there much, now ;-) (no, wait.... the food....)
    But I recently took mental stock and realised that many of the scents I'd hate to live without are Guerlain. Shalimar, Mitsouko, Chamade, Vol de Nuit, Atrappe Couer... I love them all.

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  48. Irina, thanks very much. I know exactly what you mean about living in parallel words: in one, time flies too quickly and in the other, it never seems to budge.

    You're in the draw ;-)

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  49. Vanessa, as they say in the print media: This correspondence is now closed.

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  50. Tania, first of all, you're not too late, but as I was strict with Irina, I'm afraid I must be strict with you too. I'd love to enter you in the draw, but I must ask you to leave a comment on the subject of making most of the time we have.

    As for Italians and Guerlain, I feel I need to qualify my statement somewhat. There certainly didn't seem to be many Guerlains at the Sephoras I visited. In itself, all this means is that, for whatever reason, Sephora has decided not to stock many Guerlains in Italy. Perhaps they don't consider Guerlain to be sufficiently mainstream there. Perhaps Italian Guerlain-wearers (of which I'm sure there are plenty) don't shop at Sephora.

    But as for loving Guerlain, you're absolutely right. I couldn't be without Habit Rouge, and Madame P is never allowed to be without Nahema and Shalimar.

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  51. I waste time so easily and yet as a recently discovered on an anxiety management course I've lost the ability to sit and do nothing. It's something I've been working on and yesterday with the sun shining on a quite part of the garden I sat with my Hub and enjoyed the sunshine. For the first time in a long time I just enjoyed without having to constantly resist the urge to get up and do.

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  52. Art is short, life is long.... or the other way around?
    Try to let our hearts set the pace;
    inhabit the moment fully.
    All a work in progress!

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  53. not sure if I'm in under the wire or not. As far as making the most of the time we have - for me, it's not focusing on the dust/dirty in my house, but trying to enjoy every minute I get with my toddler daughter... sometimes so hard to tune out the distractions! I believe perfume actually helps in the process of slowing down... a deep sniff of the wrists... :)

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  54. Sparklz, people in the west have certainly become adept at filling their time with busy-ness, which isn't quite the same thing as filling one's time with productiveness.

    I'm glad you enjoyed your time in the sun.

    You're in the draw to..

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  55. Laurinha, I love the idea of being a work in progress myself ;-)

    You're in the draw.

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  56. Susan, I completely agree that smelling perfume is one way of stepping outside the world, even if only for a brief moment.

    You're in the draw.

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  57. *** THE DRAW IS NOW CLOSED ***

    Please visit www.persolaise.com tomorrow to find out who the winner is.

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  58. Ines, I thank you for this. And Yes, ' t Rob the joke, even if you relax, we wanted to 'escape'.mopeds for sale

    ReplyDelete

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