DIY Perfume Advent Calendar 2018

I love advent calendars especially if they are filled with perfume. This year I decided to make my own advent calendar inspired by Sam’s wonderful post on her I Scent You A Day website  (see the link at the end of this article). One advantage is that I can use perfume samples I have laying around for testing and it is cheaper than buying a perfume advent calendar online. Although it was quite tempting not to buy a prefab calendar as some were absolutely stunning (like the Carthusia calendar!).

The Power Of Surprise

One of the great things of a ready made advent calendar is not knowing which scent you will get.  I bought the Micallef and 4160 Tuesdays Calendar before and this was what I liked most. A little and lovely scented surprise everyday. You could ask someone else to pick the samples for you, help you to wrap them and put them in the calendar. I can imagine children like to help with this as well. This was my original plan but due to circumstances my little nephew was not able to help me.

Choosing An DIY Advent Calendar

I started looking for a fill able advent calendar online on sites like Wish, Amazon and EBay. In the end I found one from textile on Wish in China. I saw several wooden calendars on the Dutch Marktplaats and Bol websites as well but it wasn’t clear if samples would fit into the boxes.

Filling The DIY Perfume Calendar With Samples

The next step was to collect the samples. This was a bit more work but it was quite nice to go through them and select the ones I wanted to try. If you don’t have samples you can order them via internet, look for them on EBay or (the Dutch Ebay) Marktplaats. Atelier Cologne has a great deal of 16 samples for 30 euro too for example. Many samples I have used for my Calendar were gifted by (with or without purchases) The Perfume Lounge, Skins or fellow perfume lovers.

The Filled DIY Perfume Calendar

I wrapped all samples in white and green thin tissue paper matching the advent tree and voila! A beautiful custom made scented advent calendar. It might be short notice now to order some things so I do hope you find these things before December 1 or you could step in some days later if you plan on making one.

Extra filling ideas! You can use little soaps or travel sizes of shower gels instead of perfume samples if you don’t have enough. Or you could use mini perfume bottles as well if they fit into the calendar days. You can find travel sizes of affordable body products at your local drugstore like Boots, Etos or Kruidvat. Small scented candles can be great as well for this purpose.

Two years ago 4160 Tuesdays used a cardboard box with small colored numbered envelopes for the days as an Advent Calendar which was a very nice idea. This should not be to difficult to find for next week. You can see this box in my previous article in the link underneath.

This is the end result! A wonderful advent perfume calendar for December 2018. It can be filled next year with other samples too!

Do you like Advent Calendars? Would you make one or did you buy one already made?

Read more about making your own Advent Calendar on Sam’s website I Scent You A Day here and thanks to Ned for this brilliant idea!

Read my previous review on the 4160 Tuesdays Advent Calendar here .

My Top 5 Favorite Autumn Fragrances

As leaves are turning into beautiful orange, brown, red and yellow colors, we are slowly moving into autumn in Amsterdam. I have started wearing wool sweaters, thin shawls and warmer autumn fragrances although the weather we are having is exceptionally warm and sunny. But nature is showing us the season is really changing and we are getting ready for winter which is hard to imagine when feeling the actual temperature. I have been reaching for Mitsouko, PHI Une Rose De Kandahar, Slowdive, Flowerhead and burning Nordic Leather lately and will review them in a few  words to give you an impression.

1.Guerlain Mitsouko edt (bottle from 2017) is  a lighter, younger and more sparkling version of this classic perfume from 1919. Although I miss the warm peach and soft suede from the bottle I just finished (the one on the photograph) I love the brightness, citrus and powdery softness of this new Eau de Toilette for colder evenings and at night. It’s a very soothing and relaxing fragrance. I recently bought* a refill bottle at a very reasonable price online as these refill sprays will be discontinued. Worth a (re) try if you don’t like the edp, extrait or didn’t like it before. 

2. Tauer Perfumes PHI un rose de Kandahar, is a beautiful warm woody spicy rose, very much loved among perfume lovers. Due to the rare rose oil from Afghanistan it’s not always available. According to the official website it can be bought at the moment. Andy Tauer offers samples on his site as well so you can try them easily.

Notes: Apricot, cinnamon, almond, bergamot, Bulgarian rose absolute, rose from Kandahar, bourbon geranium, tobacco leaf, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka bean, musk and ambergris. Perfumer: Andy Tauer Year: 2013

3. Byredo Flowerhead Eau de Parfum, this young and uplifting modern floral is not a warming autumn fragrance more a reminder of long sunny summer days and excellent for the warm sunny golden days we are having. A must try for tuberose lovers. It has quickly become ome of my favorite florale as it is such a happy fragrance. 

Notes: Angelica seeds, cranberries, sicilian lemon, sambac jasmine, rose petals, tuberose, suede and ambergris. Perfumer: Jerome Epinette Year: 2014

4. Hiram Green Slowdive. Slowdive is a honeyed golden warming and soothing fragrance. Although officially it is a tobacco centered fragrance on my skin it becomes much more honey centered. Slowdive is very suited for these warm autumn days inviting us to relax outside for a drink, cycle or lay in the grass in a park.

Notes: Neroli, orange flower, tobacco blossom, tuberose, honey, dried fruit, resin Perfumer: Hiram Green  Year: 2017

5. Scented Candle and Fragrance Cards Zara Home Nordic Leather. 
This scented candle is my favourite at the moment and excellent value for money. I wouldn’t have called the candle Nordic Leather as I don’t smell any leather. Nordic Oud or Wood would have been a more suited name as it is a very warming woody fragrance with sandalwood, incense and spices. Nordic Leather has incredible throw off and could be overwhelming if you are sensitive to fragrance. The candle is not very suited either if you don’t like fragrance leaning towards masculine.

The Nordic Leather fragrance cards are fabulous to scent clothes. But they could be overwhelming as well like the scented candle. Both are available online and at times on sale.

Concluding: Mitsouko, PHI Une Rose De Kandahar, Slowdive, Flowerhead and scented candle Zara Home Nordic Leather are my favorite Autumn fragrances at the moment.

*Read this excellent article of Persolaise on what to be aware of before buying and testing Mitsouko. Don’t let it scare you though!

All notes of the fragrances were taken from the Luckyscent website, except for the Zara Home Candle. Photographs made by Esperessence.

The Perfume: Play The Future Of The Navy District Of Amsterdam

About a month ago I visited cultural institute Mediamatic in Amsterdam to play an interactive perfume game. The game was organized by Mediamatic in collaboration with The Institute Art and Olfaction and Play The City.

Five fragrances had been created to represent different future options for an area used by the navy (Marine Terrein) in Amsterdam since 1655. A large part of this area was intended to be developed for other purposes than its original naval buildings.

The idea of the interactive perfume game was to smell 5 different fragrances through a vase (as on the photograph), choose a favorite, get a sticker with your choice and then look for 3 to 5 other visitors with the same sticker, to continue at the table of your chosen fragrance and get a decanted sample. Each perfume represented a different future for this naval area. A great and creative way to think about the future of your city. Every detail was beautifully executed from spray samples, vase to stickers as you can well see.

The 5 different future scenarios for the Naval Area were:

Scenario 1. Navy: Let the Navy stay in this area

Fragrance : White Military Marina

created by perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri

The first scenario was: Let the navy stay at this area. The perfume had elements of machines, green, canals, hygiene and humus to represent mechanical, natural and human parts of this area.

Perfumer Alessandro Gualtieri well known for his perfume house Nasomatto, lives in the centre of Amsterdam near the canals so he was a good choice to develop this fragrance. His creation scented of canals, manly sweat and iron. I used to live near a canal in Amsterdam in a student house and still remember the fresh and slightly salty smell of water, very well captured in this fragrance.

Scenario 2. Party Zone: Let’s have a party in this new hotspot

Fragrance : Love & Tonic

Created by perfumer Ricardo Moya

The second scenario was: Create a place for people to party outside. This perfume was my personal choice and created with gin and tonic in mind. It had elements of gin + tonic, love, dance, sunshine and flowers and scented slightly as a perfume people could wear to such a party. A light, happy and young scent.

Scenario 3. Luxury Apartments: create the home of your Dreams

Fragrance: Filtered Beans

Created by artist Niklaus Mettler

The idea was that coffee in a neighbourhood says a lot about the people who live in this area. The fragrance was created by tincturing 3 different kinds of coffee representing different groups living in Amsterdam. The classic Dutch coffee Douwe Egberts Rood Merk, Coffee from Ethiopia and Turkish coffee were mixed and left for 10 days in liquid (alcohol and dpg).  The idea was nicer than its scent. Not very surprisingly it smelled of coffee mixed with water.

Scenario 4. Create a place for social enterprises with refugees

Fragrance: Dew of Afghanistan

Created by Maki Ueda

Japanese Artist Maki Ueda was inspired by an Afghan woman she meet at a civic integration course. Maki Ueda used ingredients (I presume the rose) from Afghanistan bought from women trying to make a living in this country. For this fragrance she used rose, orange blossom and labdanum. I liked the scent of this uncomplicated light Rose and Orange Blossom fragrance as well. It could be worn as a skin scent.

Scenario 5. Create a place for sport, recreation and play

Fragrance: Splash! 

Created by Spyros Drosopoulos (Baruti perfumes and colognes)

Splash! was created as a joyful fragrance starting with water, grass and fresh air. As soon as the picnic starts a scent of prosecco wine mixes with sun tan and sweat. This scent smelled of grass, wet soil, joyfully fruity and slightly sweaty. Spyros Drosopoulos lives in Amsterdam as well and I can imagine he is familiar with the scent of having a pick nick in a local park.

The formula of three fragrances were published online as open source Filtered Beans, Dew of Afghanistan and Splash!.  I was given a sample of all fragrances to further try at home and be able to write about it.

The Dutch ministry of Defense quite unexpected decided  in the beginning of July 2018 to keep this area for their own purposes so option 1 the Navy staying was chosen. It’s rather unclear what is going to happen in the future with this area.

I like this playful way of making a decision for an area of Amsterdam although my choice was more inspired by the fragrance itself than the given options. Option 2 was my favorite scent representing Create a Party Zone but I would have chosen option 5 a place for recreation and play to benefit all inhabitants or option 3 apartments for people to live in, but not necessarily luxury ones. I thought the fragrances made by  Spyros Drosopoulos and Alessandro Gualtieri were quite interesting when I scented them more at ease at home on a blotter.

The way this project was executed was amazing, the vases to smell the perfumes at the beginning, the sprays which were given and the stickers were all very well prepared.

All fragrances can now be scented at Mediamatic as a permanent exhibition in Amsterdam. You can find more information here.

Disclosure: I was not given any compensation for writing this article. All photographs were made by Esperessence and my fiance.