600th Portia Post

Heya Posse, I just happened to notice that this will be my 600th post for Perfume Posse! That’s a big deal for me. From may 2012 with Aleksandr by Arquiste. It wasn’t long till we decided to do the ScentSation Bus Tour of 2013. In 2014 we did ScentBar LA, Barney’s Chicago and OSSWALD NYC. You’ve come to Europe with us in 2017, 2018, and our Honeymoon 2019. I took you all to India in 2017. There was a run of Wednesdays with the American Perfumer series. Also a run of Fridays with the SOTD thread. In between there have been reviews, bits of news, some glam ads, perfume, fun and most of all there’s been you! The POSSE! Thinking about all that I’d like to do a Top 10. The perfumes that I feel define my love of perfume (right now obviously). These are the ten perfumes that make me love myself sick for being a mad keen perfumista.

600 th Portia Post

Portia’s 600 Defining Top 10

OK, so while these are my most defining, proud to have, make me feel like a 100% platinum perfumista, they may not be my most worn. Just having them, loving them and being able to enjoy their perfect, rare or crazy beauty is a thrill of its own enjoyment. I’m surprised, now that I’ve picked these ten that they are the ones I decided for todays adventure. Only three designer perfumes, it was a tight race, many I thought would make it in are conspicuous by their absence. One has joined the collection this year and only one is a decant rather than bottle. Two have been in my collection longer than 10 years, one going back to my mother.


Shalimar by Guerlain

Yes, my Mum and some of her girlfriends wore Shalimar. It was the smell of daytime hugs for a long while. Shalimar was the perfume that sent me scrambling down the vintage perfume mineshaft. I wanted it to smell JUST like I remembered. Hilariously, it is the modern EdC in the slightly old fashioned bottle that you can buy for nothing at the discounters that smells most like my memory. The collection has so many Shalimar iterations but the ones I wear most are the Sha-Lemur and vintage dab parfum, usually together.

Mohur by Neela Vermeire Creations

One rose to rule them all. This magical concoction of roses, spice, resins, woods, bloody everything and the kitchen sink is a flawless jewel of perfumery to me. Because of Mohur I sought Neela out because I figured anyone who could creative direct something so engaging, nuanced, tapestried and beautiful is someone I want in my life. Fortunately she is all those things in person plus a whole lot more. These days I wear Rahele much more than Mohur but whenever the mood strikes I fall madly and deeply back in love with it and wonder why I don’t wear it every day.

Saskia by Grandiflora

This was a gift from my dear friend Kerri who had bought Saskia for herself but didn’t love it as expected. WOW! There is something about this aquatic, spicy, floral extravaganza that completely blows my mind every time I spritz. Breathy, languorous, sensual white flowers draped in ylang and washed cool by rain. Woven through is the treacle thick whisper of immortelle. Nothing I’ve ever smelled prepared me for its beauty. Swoon worthy, every spritz. This will be my SS21/22 fragrance, if my 50ml lasts that long.

Lightscape by Ulrich Lang New York

Galbanum and violet open in a serene rush of greenery. It keeps the woody floral heart as reflective as a pane of freshly cleaned glass. Perfectly named for the idea of floating high above the world on a balcony overlooking a warm evening city across some parkland. Green scented, fresh air, the warmth of inside lights behind you and you look out across a sea of stars that shift and flicker as people change rooms in their homes and apartments. But you, high above it all, happily alone, drink it in and feel peace.  Lightscape has always smelled to me so niche, exactly the sort of thing that would appeal to a fragment of the fragrance community. I love it so much.

Equistrius by Parfum d’Empire

Iris is the heart of Equistrius. You could wear it for a long time and never make the connection. The note list here is rendered almost useless by the way everything is blended in such harmony and perfect alignment that what you, or rather what I, smell is Equistrius. Personally I find the whole perfume and its trajectory are themselves and no other. Not a big perfume, no world domination or beast mode bro juice here. Quiet and perfectly created perfume. Surprisingly, for something so determinedly introverted, it often gets compliments.

Vintage Miss Dior

There was a short while in my perfume buying history where Asian countries were selling off their perfumes. Japan and Hong Kong mainly. I think a whole generation of affluent parents must have been headed for relocation to retirement villages or the grounds cold embrace. The kids didn’t want these daggy, old fashioned, often unopened status symbols of time long gone. Send them out to goodwill with the rest of their junk.

There was an eBay bonanza for a few years, it seems to have slowed to a trickle. I bought a kings ransom worth of vintage Miss Dior. It is the chypre that speaks to me, like it knows the darkest and lightest places of my soul and burnishes them both up to a stellar shine for inspection. Vintage Miss Dior is living proof that you may not be able to put lipstick on a turd but you can roll it in glitter.

Aesthete by Le Galion

I’m flabbergasted that most of the perfumista community doesn’t wax lyrical about Le Galion, specifically Aesthete. No matter what it smells like (bloody ripper, just so you know) the name alone should make everyone buy at least a lifetime supply for ourselves and those we love. “What is that fabulous perfume?” “Aesthete”. Why is this conversation not happening everywhere? Crazy. This brand creates fragrant perfection. Another crew whose product blew me away so hard that I had to get to know the creative director Nicolas Chabot and partner Enno Ebels.

A funky, woody leather fragrance with a very deliberate nod to those incredible Bernard Chant beauties, done with a 21st century style and refinement. That slightly bitter green opening, dark but smooth leather heart and vanilla/amber/sandalwood base. Exquisite stuff for guys and gals and everything in between.

Amor Amor by Cacharel

This fun, fizzy fruitchouli is my fragrant hug from one of my besties and travel buddies Anna Maria. A surprise gift many years ago I think this is my third bottle. No serious, groundbreaking, weird or incredible masterpiece but a frivolous spritz that brings me so much joy every time. It’s basically as beautiful, silly and fabulous company as Anna Maria herself. Hard to feel anything but joyful when I’m doused in Amor Amor.

Gardelia by Bogue

OK, this is the only decant in my Top Ten 600th Post. The full shebang was way out of my spending reach at the time of release and it was a very limited number in those fabulous bottles. Fabulous Armadillo Cookie Queen, Val, introduced me to Antonio Gardoni at lunch in London back in 2014. In Milan for Esxence a year or two later he had a double ended decant for me with Aeon 001 on the other side (I did buy a bottle of Aeon). The most fabulously feral flower on earth. THIS is what a Triffids knickers smell like after a week of partying and backpacking across Europe in a bus.

Boucheron femme EdT

This 1980s powerhouse big white floral is like a blast of juicy white flowers with a delightfully screechy back bite of bitter greenery, so bitter it’s sweet. Once upon a time it contained real civet and had a much more funky flavour but even the modern offering (while being a LOT more treble) manages a fair skank imitation. Of all the 1980s super huge statement frags this is my favourite by far. This is the other perfume that’s been in my collection for over a decade, probably nearing two decades.


So crew? 600 posts! Any of these float your boat?
I’d love to hear a few frags that you feel define your perfumista-hood too.

See you next week for 601 eh?
Portia xx


  • rosarita says:

    Congratulations Portia! Can’t believe I missed this last week, I enjoy reading your writing so much and the way you have tucked us all in a suitcase and taken us along on your varied travel, back when travel existed. We have similar taste and it delights me that Boucheron edt is on your list. Thanks for sharing your sparkle.

  • Alityke says:

    Lipstick on a turd… it’s the ex-nurse in me that made me hoot at that!
    Congratulation on 600 not out!
    As for the main topic of the post, I’m with you on vintage Miss Dior & was right there with Shalimar til “The Lion” incident wrecked it for me.
    My top 10 today would be Mitzi, Calligraphy Rose, Ambre Sultan, Boxeuses, vintage Diorella, vintage Miss Dior, Poison, Grain de Sables by Nicki Verfailles, vintage Choc de Cardin and Cristalle EdT.

  • Brigitte says:

    Congrats…you already know I love Shalimar 🙂

  • Dina C. says:

    Wow! Congratulations Portia! Love reading your posts here on the Posse. 600 is a great milestone.

  • VerbenaLuvvr says:

    Wow, congratulations! 🙂 I’ve enjoyed your posts so much over the years, especially the scent diary and travel chronicles. Best wishes and hopes for many more posts to come!

  • MMKinPA says:

    Congrats on 600! I knew Shalimar, Mohur and Miss Dior would definitely be on list without looking!

    • Portia says:

      HA! It’s true MMKinPA, you’ve been a part of the journey for a long time now. Those three seem to be my longtime companions.
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    Congratulations and THANK YOU! Love to read your posts and so thrilled to have met you on the Scentsation Bus Tour in 2013! I snap with you on Mohur, Equistrius and Amor Amor, and you’ve inspired me to try Saskia. As for my top 10, that’s a tough one, but pretty much lots of Guerlain and Serge Lutens. 🙂

    • Portia says:

      OOOH! I can’t wait to read what you think about Saskia TaraC.
      Yes, that bus trip was bloody amazing.
      I wonder if we could do it again in 2023?
      Portia xx

  • Diana says:

    Wow, 600! Congratulations, Portia, and here’s to a few more hundreds, or thousands!

    You know me, a Miss Dior girl forever 🙂 Got a nice few bottles off of eBay a few years ago, too.
    Shalimar was the first perfume that made me see that perfumery can be an art form. I don’t wear it as often as I used, but I still think that it is a masterpiece. So curious about the Philtre de parfum version: they say it’s got that vintage feel we love Shalimar for.

    Diana XX

    • Portia says:

      Yes, I do feel a bit that way sometimes Val. Varun used call me his Holy Cow in Hindi but I can’t remember what the words were.
      Portia xx

  • Pam says:

    Portia, I’m so glad you’re part of the Posse! Always enjoy your posts and your comments. About my list— I’ll have to think about it. But Shalimar is definitely in my top five.

  • Koyel says:

    Congratulations on the big 600! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts over the past five or six years 🙂

    I’m a fan of vintage Miss Dior, but in extrait form only. Mohur is one of my all-time favorites, and the only perfume for which I bought a BUB. Shalimar makes me want to rip out my own nose, though.

    • Portia says:

      HA! Koyel,
      Sorry that Shalimar attacks.
      That vintage Miss Dior extrait is becoming very thin on the ground. Well worth the search though, eh?
      Portia xx

  • MzChris says:

    Portia! Congratulations! Your joie de vivre always gladdens my heart, reminds me to be in the moment and appreciate what’s around me. You are a treasure!

  • Kathleen says:

    Congratulations Portia on your 600th post! I am grateful for your time and dedication to the Posse, for your perfume thoughts and insights, and your humor. I read the link to your first post back in 2012, an Arquiste perfume. I adore Arquiste Ella.
    We have a couple perfumes in common on your top 10 list; Shalimar and Boucheron. I adore most variations of Shalimar, vintage parfum being the best, and am coveting the new Vanilla Shalimar. However, it is out of stock in the US as far as I can tell. I have Boucheron both the current EDP and EDT, and vintage EDP. Love it! Sortilege is my favorite Le Galion.
    My Top 10 would also include No 5, No 22, Bois des Isles, Coromandel, Champs Elysees, Youth Dew, Hypnotic Poison, and a recent addition Etro Magot. xoxo

    • Portia says:

      Kathleen! Even seeing your name brings a smile. We have been perfume pals for what seems like forever. SO MANY faves in common. You now have me very interested in getting my sniff on some Magot!
      Portia xx

  • Musette says:

    Great snakes alive! 600 posts? Wow. Tempus fugit and all that and a HUGE congratulations and heartfelt delight – I cherish the day we found each other, all of us here on Posse. You have become a much-loved irl friend because of it and I hope you know how much you are appreciated.

    And what a fascinating collection! I will have to give it some thought, my own 10, but I’m stunned at the scope and breadth of your chosen ones. Mine are probably much more plebian.

    Love to you & Jin, honeydoodle. Thank you for being part of my life. I adore you SO much.


    • Portia says:

      The Posse crew gave me a chance very early on. I’m so grateful to you all Musette.
      Yes, the whole experience of writing, becoming friends, everything has been so far beyond my wildest dreams.
      Thank you,
      Portia xx

    • Portia says:

      I’m still awaiting your 10 Musette. Just the 10 for today. You can have a new 10 next week.

  • March says:

    WHAT A WONDERFUL POST. I love the way you write, about anything, and how you make me think. I’m so happy you write here! I keep hoping that someday life will return to a new normal (I hear Oz is now hitting it hard on getting the vax out!) and you can travel again and we could meet up somewhere in the US! Those are my selfish plans.

    • Portia says:

      MARCH! Your selfish plans and my own coincide perfectly. Looks like we’ll be in the USA in 2023 from an old flames 50th. I’ll be very upset if we don’t have some kind of get together.
      Portia xx

  • Cassieflower says:

    Ooos, forgot to mention my darling little bottle of Shalimar extrait.

  • Cassieflower says:

    Well I applaud you loudly. 600 posts is some going, in addition to working your own job plus being at the helm of the much missed APJ. I can happily say that I share a couple of these frags with you, exact same bottles of Miss Dior. I have Amor Amor tucked away in a hidey hole. And thanks to your good self I got to try Mohur and Gardelia (the latter being sweet unicorn tears).

  • Leigh says:

    Congratulations on your 600th post. We have a couple in common, but you’ve made me curious about the Grandiflorum, and I may blind buy the Boucheron!

  • cinnamon says:

    Congratulations. That’s a wow! Shalimar — always Shalimar. A number of your list I am not familiar with so off to google. Maybe in time the traveling perfume gatherings will start again.

  • Erica says:

    Well done on 600 ?? – something to be proud of. I have vintage Shalimar, Mohur, Bucheron and wore/loved Miss Dior back in the day. I would have to add vintage No. 19 and Dioressence to the list. Now I have to chase down Le Galion as you have peaked my interest. ? Thank you for sharing your defining scents. xx

    • Portia says:

      Hey Erica,
      You won’t be sorry you found Le Galion. These guys made the DIOR fragrances for decades in the good old days. They created Miss Dior!
      Portia xx

  • Jo Ann says:

    Congrat on your 600th post!
    Always love your exuberance, insight, and scents of humor (misspelling intended). All the best to you. xo