Gin&Juice

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,

IMG_1983

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.

-Suss

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!

-Suss

 

February statistics.

img_0198

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.

 

-Suss

 

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.

img_8965

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.

-Suss

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 what.so.ever. 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.

-Suss

Libraries and love potions

Do you remember that scene in the Harry Potter-movie, when they are making love potions, potions that smell different to different people depending on their likes?  And Hermoine starts ranting on about old parchment and newly cut grass? That scene that we tried to laugh nervously at because it was little to close to home? Later on we learn the dangers of love potions but combining the scent of a few of wonderful things and putting it in a bottle is still a good idea. It’s called perfume and has been around for ages. And it is not a love potion as such it can still have a huge effect on your own mood and the mood of others. And what can possibly make anyone happier then walking around smelling like books?

img_7575I’ve never written a perfume review in my life( I leave that to the likes of Life in a cold Climate and Bois de Jasmine) but since neither of them have reviewed this perfume I will try,because I do think it is a very nice scent.

It is problematic that the website of Commodity goods is currently being revamped: they refer to Sephora which you can find here. Which brings us to the other problem: access. Getting a hold of this perfume on this side of the Atlantic is difficult so this perfume might not be an viable option for everyone.

One thing I noted when reading the few reviews of this out there is that I’m very alone in picking up fig-notes.There is not supposed to be any figs in there, but still I smell them. And frankly that’s one of the things that I like about this perfume. I would’t say it smells like an old book either, the abstract notion of a library comes closer to the truth I think; heavy on the wooden shelves,  couple of leather armchairs, a few G&T’s, someone smoking a cigar. They do mention Hemingway in their brief description (*le sigh* Seriously. I’m a bit bored now…)

I had wanted to get my paws on this perfume for a while(also their scents Paper,Gold and Mimosa) when a friend booked a trip to the US. I said “grab what you can,I’ll pay you later” and she returned with this travel-bottle of Book. That was in May and this perfume is not suited for the warm part of the year I think. This for me is very autumnal.  Which probably has to do with the fig overtones I pick up, they are currently in season and this time of year I look for a perfume that is in tune with that. It should be stressed that the woody dryness is the big impression, the fignotes are an interesting aside.

Last year,around this time, I picked up a bottle of Flagrant Délice from Terry De Gunzberg which is a very soft and sweet interpretation of figs and almond milk. That one is like a balm on my soul on rainy grey mornings. Book needs a bit of crispness in the air and the comforting ritual of wrapping oneself in a big scarf(and my leather jacket) to really come into its own I think. Yes, there is freshness in the top notes from the cucumber but that evaporates quickly to give way to the wonderfully woody and fruity heart; full of warmth and aroma. Just catching a whiff of it from underneath the layers is joy. Think of it as the mirror image to Philosykos from Diptyque which is figs with spicy wood overtones(I haven’t had it in a few years but went and had a bit of a smell to refresh my memory).
Some reviews say that Book is a scent for men but I say bollocks to gendering perfumes at all. Use what you like. This is pretty sexy on men or women(or those that feel they are both or neither).

img_7017

When on the subject I would also like to mention Old books by The perfumers Story that I saw at Harvey Nichols. Apparently it is sold out now but you can read more here. It was too heavy for me so I did’t bother but it gave the impression of being well made and might be a good match for another perfume interested bibliophile.

-Suss