Crap Presents Syndrome Reset

Hi there Posse. Welcome to the new year. 2023 is upon us. You’ve survived the silly season, congratulations. Did you suffer Crap Presents Syndrome? Were your gifters just grabbing whatever they could on December 23/4 that came in an easily wrappable box? Did you open horrible versions of things you love, or have 300 of, or must have had the wrong name on the card? Just so you know, I wrapped and mislabelled the presents of a couple we adore. So he unwrapped earrings and she got socks. Ha Ha Ha! You’re mother’s a Ho Ho Ho! Got very surprised texts Xmas day.

Yeah, I got a few Crap Presents too. They have all been either regifted to people who will love and use them or gone to the St V de P Charity Store run by my mate Scotty. So, feeling good about myself and my place in the world it’s time to get me something nice on my list. Thinking about this meant that I now had the seed of an idea for my first 2023 post.

Crap Presents Syndrome Reset

Here are a few amazing things that I smelled or bought in 2022, also some heavily discounted old beauties. Maybe you’d like to treat yourself to something fabulous and stop wishing those around you had marvellous taste or an inkling of who you are. So, covering most budgets, and some tastes, here are some ideas that will brighten your new year and reset all that moping about what crap presents you got.

Crap Presents Syndrome Reset

Indie Brands

Boheme Confection by Aftelier Perfumes

Bloody hell! This stuff is epic! Imagine a fizzy choc almond ice cream floater in lemonade. No, it’s nothing like that but that’s what I’m thinking of when I smell Boheme Confection. Weird AF but also endearingly boisterous, fun and youthful; but only for the scent clever kids. It’s dry, fizzy, sugar coated and still manages to be multilayered with rich depths to plumb through the life of the scent where it ends up caramelised amber and warm. How is this crazy shit natural?

Thyina by Neela Vermeire Creations

More amber, but as usual Neela has pushed it in a totally new way. Spicy fresh cut chilli opening with a hint of citrus washing over lavender. Already, by the time I’ve thought out what my nose is smelling there Thyina has changed. Smooth resins and spiky birch led leather create a very interesting counterpoint to this nutty crunch that we are smelling in some of the modern niche releases. I love the way it’s treated here. Thyina is Parfum strength. After an hour or so it reaches dry down and maintains that rich amber/woods/nuts at that softly noticeable projection for hours till it sits as a better-than-skin scent. (this picture is my nearly empty Press Sample Neela sent me, I have since bought a full bottle but am using the sample up first)

Niche Brands

Aqua Palma by Montale

I was given this Press Bottle at the Libertine Season Launch early last year. It’s lovely for anyone who wants a herbal citrus freshie with a warm vanilla/amber/woods base. It’s not groundbreaking but it is wearable, comfortable and different enough from the mass market to feel elevated. Price point and longevity are excellent. I know the Montale bottles are divisive but I love anything that keeps the juice away from light and I think they look cool (yes, I know many of you don’t agree). Because it’s such an easy wear it gets more wear than most of the much more expensive stuff. I also think Aqua Palma is an excellent gift for guys who like to smell good but aren’t perfumistas.

Nerolia Vetiver by Guerlain Aqua Allegoria

This one was a complete surprise. A lightly sweetened aromatic citrus that is both refreshing and warming. It feels like a pretty hard trick to pull off. The vetiver has been shorn of all its salty, mineralic, petrol reminiscent darkness that I often find with it. Also, the fragrance is so beautiful and sparsely populated I can easily imagine it being a part of the Hermessence range. As with most of the AAs longevity is not eternal but at this price point we can afford to spritz again ever four hours. Really good for people who don’t want to be overwhelmed by their fragrance all day or those that like to be quietly fragrant and fresh.

Esquive by Le Galion

New to me this year and bloody gorgeous is the powdery lipstick leather and slightly sweet floral Esquive. Released as part of the Le Galion 70 year since inception celebrations it initially passed me by for the more bombastic in the range. On opening I smell iris & roses amongst the pink pepper, underlying vegetal musk is smooth and silky. The leather is quiet and contemplative. While not sharing many notes imagine if CHANEL No 18 and Cuir de Russie had a love child. Like that in mood and a soft insistent whisper of fragrance. The more I wear Le Galion perfumes the more I love their understated mastery of beauty, they feel luxurious and seem very thoughtfully created.

Dance Among The Lace by Miller Harris

I completely missed the arrival of Dance Among The Lace in 2019, maybe it didn’t hit our shores immediately. Not very long ago I was in the David Jones Elizabeth St Store and wandering the perfume halls between meeting mates. There was this jaunty yellow label with DANCE written upon it and then I noticed the silver Miller Harris overwritten. On further investigation it is called Dance Among The Lace and without even thinking I gave up precious arm real estate to two healthy spritzes. OK, citrus, have enough, move on. Ten minutes later I’m glued to my arm huffing like it’s the only oxygen in the room. WOW!
Full disclosure. This is the bottle I bought for my own Crap Presents Syndrome Reset. It’s winging it’s way to me now.

Designer Brands

Diva Pépite by Emanuel Ungaro

Released in 2012? WHY DIDN’T I KNOW?!? You all been keeping secrets FragComm? Imagine the OG DIVA and give it softer edges, less shouty and ferocious. Make it a little bit 21st century but hold on to its bombastic bombshell status. If OG Diva was Zsa Zsa then Diva Pépite is probably more like Anna Paquin. Still gorgeous and outspoken but done with a now sensibility. I bloody love it and it’s available on the discounters for a song.

Joy Forever by Jean Patou

This now DCd Patou beauty is what OG Joy would smell like if you amped the green and took out all the darkness. I may have grabbed a little boxed mini from FragranceNet last year, just for memories sake. This is an incredibly affordable treat if you’re on a budget but want a little something for a Crap Presents Syndrome Reset.

Discounters/Drug Store

Sand & Sable by Coty

Yep! Still available, still fantastic value and still smells like an animal big white floral. This is a perfect spritz, hair flick and go. Comes in excellent purse pack sizes and though it does not smell modern it does smell gorgeous. My 12ml was only AU$8 from FragranceNet! It doesn’t get much cheaper, eh?

Dans la Nuit by Worth

Did you know that FragranceNet has a special section for Mini Fragrance? Last year I bought 6 of the Dans la Nuit travel sprays and it’s such a delightful, soft powdery spritz with some woods & flowers that I kept one for myself. As you can see in the pic it has already had quite a lot of wear. It’s unisex, comfortable and cheap as chips. No idea how much it resembles the 1924 original but I like it.
(2nd year in list because it’s gorgeous)

Here is a link to the 2022 Crap Present Fallout post

So, anything you fancy? Tell us your worst Crap Presents too.
Portia xx


I am not affiliated with FragranceNet in any way, shape or form but I should be. They get the lions share of my perfume $$ nowadays.

  • AnnieA says:

    Friends do a Secret Santa in their extended family as in one gift per adult. It works well, with the possible exception of an in-law with the management issues. They write a note with “IOU Fabulous Book X”- and then often doesn’t ever actually buy the book …

  • Dina C. says:

    What a great list, Portia! Esquive sounds very intriguing! I was lucky this year — the fam stuck to my wish list and there was no crap to be had. Lucky me! 🙂

  • Linda says:

    Ok, so not the Diva, but a Diva…. Anyway, I like you’re description of it, so I’m there! Thanks!

  • Tom says:

    I’ve gotten some gifts that were kind of useless in the past but always accept them and have sometimes completely changed my mind about them- there was a gadget that I thought “this thing is pointless and I’ll never use it” and it turned out to be quite wonderful.

    There was one that was not only crap, but passive-aggressive crap. I don’t really care for poetry- never have and never will. I usually do not care for gay fiction, either printed or visual; a lot of the time we get cheap copies of straight stuff that we are supposed to kvell over because someone deigned to toss a crumb (witness “Broker Hearts Club”, which I hated.) So one year, in an attempt to “educate” me, a friend got me some giant book of gay poetry: I called it “The Oxford Companion to Homosexual Verse” and donated it to the library faster than the wrapping could be recycled.

    Oh, BTW- the person who gave it to me was straight, but thought apparently that I was not “gay” enough.

    • Portia says:

      HA! This is a serious issue Tom.
      Jin’s friends at work tell him he’s not gay enough or could pass as straight. He gets really offended too.
      I’m not much into poetry either.
      Portia xxx

  • Musette says:

    That photo has me DROOLING!
    I do not exchange gifts with many people anymore, excepting my sister and my Most Excellent Fab Friend who gifted me a dishtowel (amongst other goodies) that sez:
    “A Wise Woman Once Said
    ‘Fuck This Shit’
    And Lived Happily Ever After”

    It has pride of place, hanging off the handle of my most-used cupboard, at eye level…and every woman who sees it immediately falls MADLY in love with it.

    And why not!?!


    • Portia says:

      OMG! That Tea Towel sounds like heaven.
      A perfume friend, Simon, cross stitched me a sign that says “Stay Out Of My Fucking Kitchen”
      It’s waiting on Jin to put it up but I LOVE it sick.
      Portia xx

  • March says:

    Also, that is HILARIOUS about the socks and earrings!

    • Portia says:

      HA! We got these funny texts on Xmas morning from them. Quite cryptic at first. It was a bit of a mystery till we rang them and they were laughing at us so hard.

  • March says:

    What a fantastic post! Love that photo… I do very little present-exchanging any more except for one dear friend and my kids, but they/we do a spreadsheet and choose items off of that (their preference these days) so folks get what they want, but it takes out some of the surprise element lol. But I did get some kitchen items I’d been wanting. If I wind up with something here I don’t want or need, off to the thrift it goes (supports the local animal shelter.)

    • Portia says:

      Heya March,
      LOVE getting useful stuff that reminds me of the people that gave it to me on a daily basis.
      Jin bought me a new Jaffle maker because my Mum’s one finally lost all its teflon ability and we were pulling delicious but mangled jaffles out. She’s been gone since 2001 and we’d already had it for a decade or more.
      That thing didn’t owe us a cent.
      Jin, being Jin, went for the most gorgeous thing in the store. It’s like a chrome and black space ship.
      Can’t wait for autumn.
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    I fortunately didn’t receive any crap presents. In fact I only received one present, which was cash, always the perfect gift. So I bought myself SL Louve, one of my all time favorites. 🙂

  • cinnamon says:

    Within my peeps, we mostly now get what we ask for. There’s generally a surprise box of sweet stuff from one person as well. I guess that’s a way to stop the weird last minute stuff. That Neela Vermeire sounds wonderful. Sigh.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Cinnamon,
      Thyina definitely is. If you love amber but are bored of the more traditional way it’s done then it might just reignite your love.
      Portia xx

  • alityke says:

    So many awesome suggestion here. None in my Thunk It box though.
    Did Thunk a sample of Trayee from the original release yesterday

  • EB says:

    To resolve my crap presents syndrome (I’m looking at you jigsaw puzzle 🙁 ) I bought myself Hera -waiting, waiting, waiting… Joy Forever is lovely and I will have to seek out Diva Pepite as I love the original even though I’m trying a slow buy/no buy 2023.