Wednesday & What to smell like now

I have been living in my own little bookish bubble of late, I really have. The fact that Le Labo, the very cool French perfumery, had opened a shop in Stockholm had completely evaded my attention. Until the other day that is.


As it is located in a part of town I rarely visit (I only go to Södermalm to shop at Papercut and that is on the other end relative to this) I hadn’t stumbled upon it by accident but did so when I was thinking about them as I’m on the hunt for a new perfume. I enjoy looking for perfumes more than actually buying them, and I feel that it is time for me to break out of my comfort zone scent wise, so this might be a long process. Anyhow, I was looking at their webpage at the sample kits trying to remember which ones I had smelled and liked in London last year. As I was looking around at shipping cost etc. I realized that they have a presence here and have had so since around Easter. So off to the Le Labo store I went.


As all their stores it has a clean design, slightly apothecary in feeling and very friendly staff. Currently they also have, for a limited time only, those “city specific” perfumes that they do that are usually only available in that one town. I forgot to ask if there was one for Stockholm as I was more interested in the classic range.

I must say that everything I have smelled from them is well made even though they might no be for me necessarily. Most of them feel quite discrete or rather not distinct. I read someone saying that even though Santal 33 is the most known and popular from the Le Labo range she was still asked what it was every time she wore it. Noticeable but not screaming its name. If someone wears Angel or Cool water you know which perfume it is at first whiff. What you want is a perfume that makes you smell good, not one that overpowers you. Or at least I do.


They have samples for sale but this time I stuck with just trying two different ones on my wrists; on one there is the Vetiver 46  which is rather dry and miles away from the sweetness of Bal d’Afrique from Byredo. On the other I tried Thé Noir 29 which I took to immediately, it has figs in it and I’m on record of being partial to that family of scents (I have had several including Philosykos from Diptyque in the past). I currently have no fig scent as I used up teh one I had from Terry de Gunzburg earlier this year. So much for breaking out of my comfort zone…

The chase is on and we’ll see what I end up with. Le Labo is located at Bondegatan 48 and you can find out more about them here.

Other perfumes I’m thinking about;

Fantôme de Maules from Stora Skuggan

Ambre Narguilé from Hermes

34 Boulevard Saint Germain from Diptyque

Accord Oud from Byredo





Lilacs is one of those scents that I really love, and it is so linked to the early days of summer. I have smelled many perfumes with lilac (it feels like) but only En passant from Frederic Malle has made a good impression on me, as so many of the others are missing the freshness that the smell should evoke, to me at least. Others may have a different view on them.

That constantly referred to source of floral wisdom Frances Bissell has a mere paragraph in her book about cooking with lilacs; basically she hasn’t managed to capture it properly in food or drink but advises that using the blossoms as decoration is always a good idea.

I have tried many times to make cocktails with lilacs, and still haven’t succeeded. Just the other day I made a blueberry-& lilac syrup according to instructions I had been given, and prepared drinks with it. Nice but no lilac-flavour to speak of.

Putting lilac flowers in a cocktail however means that you burrow your nose in them when you take a sip and that does lift the experience and it really is the best option. Very nice to do in a Martini  just make sure you are using lilacs that have not been sprayed with pesticides or have grown near roads. Be cautious about what you let in to your body. Alcohol is a toxin I agree, but lead is so much worse and the effects do not wear off.

The elusiveness of some scents and why they are impossible to capture made me bring Essence & Alchemy by Mandy Aftel down from the shelf looking for answers. This book has meant a lot to me in terms of understanding perfume, and as an extension of that, how I think about cocktails. It is a book in that explains it to someone how knows nothing in an entertaining and understandable way but is still a relevant source of information for the more advanced, in short it is a reference point. Aftel was one of the people that put handmade perfumes back on the map.

And the line between perfumery and mixology is thinner and thinner, the trend to put ambergris in cocktails was just the beginning. Add to that what Tony Conigliaro has been doing for a long time, the Ritz-Carlton in Berlin etc. When I started talking about perfumes and drinks a few years ago I got a few skeptical looks (and I would write so much about this) but the point is that I wasn’t alone in my thinking. I’ve had no influence in this trend whatsoever, it’s more like sometimes when bartenders tell me about the stuff they made I nod my head and think “made that in my kitchen three years ago” because I caught on very early. As I was already interested in perfume and cooking it wasn’t a big step to extend to cocktails, probably shorter then for most.

Aftel has since she wrote this brought not only her perfumes to a wider audience but also her wonderful food essences to the world. Those essences, of which I have sampled a few, are a wonder to work with. Expensive, especially with shipping and taxes, but to be able to make cocktails that taste of fir needles and ceder wood was amazing. She does not have a lilac essence but I hope someone will make that happen.

And now that I have opened “the perfume and cocktail-box” again you’ll never hear the end of it.

Things related to this post;


Which perfume-cocktail are you? There is now a quiz for this FFS!

Ambergris in cocktail



It seems like a thought but only today did I discover,by accident, that Jo Malone products are available in Stockholm. They just started selling it at Åhléns City. But that’s not why I made a drink inspired by one of the scents in their range yesterday,


That reason is simply because I’ve been wearing Earl grey&Cucumber for the last week or so; let’s start with a few words on “the juice” . It’s a classic cologne, non intrusive but nice. With it’s warm from bergamot and cold notes from the cucumber it’s a very good scent for the days that go from cold,to warm and then to cold again; much like we’ve had. Typical spring basically. Although the sun has been shining so three cheers for that, it’s Gin&Tonic season for real now.

Because that’s what it is, a twist on the classic. I decided to name it Gin&Tonic in a cold climate as the bottle of perfume that I have was a gift from @lifeinacoldclimate. I had smelled it on a visit to London, put off purchase until I was at the airport and ,of course, they were all out of it at the Heathrow Jo Malone-shop. Annikky was nice enough to send me a bottle.

So; I basically made a earl grey syrup with 2 dl of caster sugar,1,5 dl of boiling water and 3 tablespoons of good quality earl grey.

  1. Put the sugar in a heat proof bowl, pour over the boiling water and then stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add the tea leaves and let steep for about 7 minutes. Don’t worry about it becoming bitter, the sugar will balance but don’t let it steep for too long.

My trick to making good tea, in general, is using a bit more tea leaves then recommended but then letting it infuse for shorter. I find with earl grey this gives more of the lovely bergamot. Make sure to sieve the syrup when the 7 minutes are over, and then let it cool. Otherwise it will be to sticky to sieve easily.

Then it’s just a case of filling a glass with ice cubes, add 1,5 cl of the syrup and the amount of gin and stir. Then add the tonic you prefer; Schweppes is perfect for this as it doesn’t overpower the bergamot. Serve with a sizable cucumber chunk. Also good for stirring. A citrusy gin is a god idea.

This is nothing revolutionary but a nice take on a classic with a lot of nice roundness from the bergamot. Enjoy responsibly.


Weekend and a whiff of the good life

I went into Hermès to ask about one perfume and left with samples of many. As a brand Hermès has a place in my heart and I think highly of their perfumes, even though I haven’t had that many. Un Jardin sur le Nil I’ve mentioned, I made an effort with Kelly Caleché but it evaporated on my skin so the loveliness of it was wasted. I’ve smelled the others but nothing has really felt like “me”. I think they are wonderful; some of the older ones are so chic, but I don’t feel comfortable in them sadly. Even though I’m no perfume blogger I will share my impressions with you. This blog is all about giving you information you didn’t ask for.

I stated that I was looking for something fresh and citrus-y and I was given two samples, “Rhubarbe écalate” and “Pamplemousse rose”. The latter is exactly what it sounds like; grapefruit and rose which is a scent I should love. It’s a combination I use in cocktails all the time!! And it is lovely, just too close to “Un Jardin sur le Nil” for me to really get into it, especially when it dries down( I adhere to the theory that there is a certain amount of skin alchemy involved as far as perfume is concerned which makes scents smell different on different people). It should be noted that Rhubarb écarlate is created by Cristine Nagel.

The rhubarb scent was more to my liking but I’m not completely sold on it. For me it’s the wrong time of year; I’ll probably go mad for this in April/May. It smells  like the dessert I make with baked rhubarb with strawberries and orange zest. The recipe is from the Rose Bakery cookbook and everyone I know has been treated to this att some point; it’s wonderful with custard for pudding or with yoghurt as a moorish breakfast. So you see; this perfume does something for me but right now I need something that enhances my everyday mood enough to get me through to the end of April. Which brings me to the other sample I got.

Hermessence is their premium line not available everywhere. A dozen or so scents created by Jean Claude Ellena in his signature style which I would describe as “perfume as watercolor paintings”(or maybe someone else said that?). Point is that he makes very elegant and understated scents for the most part. There are people who really know perfume that have written about him and his position as in-house nose at Hermes(which is a very smart match if you ask me).

Even though I’m not a perfume collector, and not as knowledgeable as some, I know more than many and if it’s one thing I do know is that making perfume is a craft. Even though I wasn’t turned on by all of these, doesn’t mean I don’t see how well made they are. Thought has gone into them. I know this in part because I’ve read “Diary of a Nose” by Jean-Claude Ellena. A book I very much recommend.

Of the ones I’ve tried this week,Rose Ikebana,Vétiver Tonka,Iris Ukioye and  Osmanth Yunnan, the first two really had me purring and the two latter are nice but not for me.

Vétiver is earthy and sweet in the best kind of way; according to guidelines from Ellena and Hermès all the perfumes in this line corresponds to fabrics; supposedly this is wool. All I can think of though is a well worn leather jacket , one that has taken on the smell of a strong perfume and mixed with the leather created something new. It’s got that lovely “green” vibe and I love this, and prefer it to Bal d’Afrique from Byredo. However I keep thinking it’s a scent for fall.

Rose Ikebana is the complete opposite; in the description it say that it’s the mix of rose petals and rhubarb(again with the rhubarb); I do smell those things but the overall impression, for me, is vintage soaps. The kind granny uses. Of these samples this is my fave, the one that puts a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

Have a great weekend everyone!



February statistics.


Already it’s time to wrap-up another month. Time flies when you have books to read( also; February is the shortest month).

Books read; 8,5 although “We should all be feminists” by Chimanada Ngozi Abiche isn’t a book, it’s a booklet at most. And I’m not done with the essay collection by DFW yet so that 0.5 only. Will put it on hold during March.

Best reading; SPQR by Mary Beard and the old issue of “Slightly foxed” that I was sent when they cleared out their offices of back issues that were not in pristine condition.

Worst: Wicked by Gregory Maguire. 

Best viewing; “Taboo” and “Last week tonight with John Oliver”. Both on HBO. It’s the only streaming service I subscribe too I’m afraid so guilty as charged of selection bias.

Clothing items lost; 2 pairs of shoes. The rate of spontaneous combustion has slowed thankfully.

Items added; A few accessories sewn and a pair of fresh new sneaks for spring has been bought. When I say sneaks I mean Stan Smith.

“Semlor” eaten; To many to mention. Had the last yesterday when it was Mardi gras/Fettisdagen.

Most worn perfume; Grand Néroli from Atelier Cologne.  My bottle is almost empty.




Race to the bottom(of the bottles and stacks)

Current mood: very desirous of starting the new year with a clean slate.

This is nothing new, happens every year. So I’m not on a book buying ban but the wish to read all the books in my TBR-pile is greater then my urge to buy books(all those reservations from the library are dropping in though so the stack keeps growing). I haven’t looked for clothes,will have to buy winter boots but otherwise I’m using what I have and it keeps falling apart. A very organic close cleansing.

Another area where I’m trying to use what I have is my perfumes. I’m not a collector; more of a perfume hunter. It is a source of inspiration and comfort but I’m very picky. November so far has been a month of using up all the samples that I’ve had, and a few have been given away.

So these are the ones that I have.


Not that many, again I’m not a collector, and I rarely buy or ask for the same perfume twice. Similar kind of perfumes absolutely but the only ones that I’ve had more then one bottle of is Un Jardin sur Le Nil by Hermès and L’ombre dans l’eau from Diptyque. The first one is the kind of scent that works really well for daytime, and especially in a work environment. It is also the closest thing to a signature scent that I’ve ever; a friend had tried it on one of those paper sticks (whatever they are called) and used it a a bookmark. When her boyfriend caught a whiff of it he asked “has Suss been here today?”. My mum bought a bottle for herself as she liked it but handed it over to me because “when I wear it I turn around looking for you”. I currently don’t use it as much, then I was a student and didn’t have that many perfumes, but I think it will come back in heavy rotation . This time of year I find the The knot from Bottega Veneta and Bullion from Byredo are my go to-scents. The knot for daytime, with it’s musky softness and orange blossom, and Bullion for evening; leather and heavy floral adds glamour . I might throw in a little Flagrant Délices from Terry De Ginzburg if I feel the need for something sweet (but it is more suitable in September and October for some reason).

I will not finish any of these bottles( maybe the Books from Commodity Goods) but I’m biding my time. I would love to have something book-related for 2017 but we’ll see what I end up with. A piece of advice that I got when I was younger was to always buy perfume when traveling; not the duty-free section but stuff that you can’t buy here.  When Tom Ford released his line of scents they were not available here. My mum (again) travelled to Paris to buy it. She said that “seeing the Mona Lisa is on my bucket list” but admitted later that Black Orchid was what she really wanted. As I have no trips currently planned I will look around my hometown for something. And possibly online as many brands offer to send samples (if you pay for P&P) so that I can try before ordering.

The situation has gotten a lot better here, we have Tom Ford-counters  in Stockholm now, and a few other places where shopping for perfume is a good idea.

  1. Byredo; I’m on record not being the biggest Byredo buyer. I love Bullion but it’s the only one for their scents that I’ve ever wanted. I do love some of their candles. That said I wish I was a bigger fan because their shop is amazing, they have such nice staff and the packaging is brilliant. It is worth a visit even if they only carry their own brand.
  2. Cow Perfumery; just across the street is Cow where you can buy Frederic Malle,Comme de garçons and a few others. Their brands have changed over the years, they are pretty niche but all good stuff, well curated and wonderful people behind the counter to assist.
  3. Nordiska Kompaniet; One of Sweden’s biggest and oldest department stores, the equivalent of Harrod’s in London, obviously has a perfume department where hours can be spent. In addition to the big label counters(Tom Ford,Chanel,Diptyque) and shop-in-shops(Byredo,Hermès) they have several niche brands like Keiko Mecheri and Arquiste.
  4. Eivy Flodin; I love a proper shop. This place is old school but they have a lot of classic stuff and a few smaller french labels but its a joy to shop there. I always get distracted by all their accessories though so end up leaving with earrings instead.


Rounding up the week

img_8239-This is a really bad photo but I did wear my Northanger Abbey-skirt yesterday and after running around in it I decided that in fact I will leave it as this length for now.

-When I was running around I had time to pop in at Cow and smell a few perfumes. One that I like the smell of is “Portrait of a lady” from Frédéric Malle. However since it’s named after a novel I think is boring (not a fan of Henry James at all actually) I don’t want to wear it. No logic But I was reminded about an article in The Financial Times about books and perfume that you can find here.

-Those strips of papers spritzed with perfume make excellent bookmarks. I got this tip in a perfume shop once and it’s true. Don’t throw them away.

img_8254-1-Because Fall has now really begun it was necessary to stock up on smokey Lapsang tea and some good quality Earl Grey. Picked up a few magazines and when I bought things at Other stories I got a sample. As I’m a fan of &other stories (i.e. obsessed) I’m always looking forward to their new offerings.

-I also bought the latest issue of Vanity Fair(to arrive in the North) so that I could see who made it into The best dressed list and was glad to see both Zadie Smith( on the cover of the current The Gentlewoman) and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie make it. You can have a look here.

-I’m currently obsessed with the podcast “In our time” from BBC4. If you have nothing better to do this weekend I recommend listening to an episode or two(makes housework so much more enjoyable). The latest episode was about Animal farm and it was very good. I’ve also been dipping into the archives and listening to talks about The tempest by Shakespeare, the Salem witch trials and Hildegard of Bingen amongst other things. I do feel a lot smarter. Find it here.