A little about me in general. I was raised mostly in Europe, educated partially in the United States, stopped counting all the places I lived in when I was 19 and hit over 21 different cities, and now reside in the southern part of America. My life has been both Sisyphean and Kafkaesque, hence the blog name. I’m a former corporate litigator and lawyer who no longer practices (I hated the law!), a gourmet gourmand, a dog fanatic (especially if they are German shepherds), a history lover, a television junkie, a perfume addict, and a perfectionist who is passionately opinionated about most things. I’m rarely perfect, but I always try my best. I’m owned by “The Hairy German,” also known as Zola, Zoli Zol, Émile Zola, or Angel Face. And he will be a silent contributor to my blog.
Contact Information: If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at: AKafkaesqueLife@gmail.com. As a side note, the name of the blog is Kafkaesque and not “A Kafkaesque Life.” I was forced to opt for the latter name in the URL link (and in the email address) solely due to an apparent abundance of Kafka fans on the internet. There weren’t a lot of options left. 🙂 But the url address is not the blog name. I would be most grateful if you referred to it as Kafkaesque. 🙂
Perfume Review Policy & Disclosure Notice: At this time, I pay for almost all perfumes or perfume samples myself. Like any sane person, I think it’s fun to receive new things to try out. However, my first obligation is to my readers, and I promise to always give my blunt, unadulterated opinion. Sometimes, I will receive perfume samples from a friend or in a perfume sample swap with a fellow blogger. On a rare occasion, a company may send something for review, but I always tell them upfront that there is no guarantee of a good review, a bad review, or maybe even any review at all. When I do end up reviewing one of those perfumes, I always include a disclosure in the post that the sample was sent by the company. I am never paid for a review and I never will be. Furthermore, in a few of the instances where I have been sent perfumes by a company, the reviews have been far from positive. I won’t give a glowing review just because of a PR sample! My first obligation is to be honest to those who read me and who expect my unvarnished opinion.
My Taste in Perfume. I love spicy orientals, big florals, resinous ambers, vintage cologne, and a number of other genres of perfume. However, I am not a fan of “fresh, clean” scents that remind me of detergent or cleaning products. I prefer not to pay a fortune for a Pledge or Tide experience, and I can be quite indignant when perfumes charge exorbitant amounts for such fragrances. I also dislike sugar bombs and most fruit cocktail scents (though there have been a few exceptions), and I don’t think my body chemistry reacts well to anything synthetic. Aromachemicals become magnified on my skin and turn extremely toxic in smell, leading to some extremely harsh reviews, especially when there is ISO E Super involved. In fact, ISO E Super is my personal kryptonite. Lastly, I have a huge problem with the reformulation and gutting of perfume scents, pursuant to the IFRA regulations implemented in 2010 which limits the percentage or amount of key essential oils and ingredients. So, from time to time, you’ll read about IFRA. (Probably more than you ever wanted to.) I’ll try not to have too many rants about it.
All the views in this blog are my utterly subjective opinion. In fact, perfume is — by its nature — a wholly subjective, personal experience that is dependent on an individual’s body chemistry. As a result, the outcomes can vary wildly. I can only give you the objective facts of what is listed in the fragrance notes, and then my own personal experience with it. If you’re looking for purely factual reviews, you won’t find them here. I have passionate opinions about everything; and, yes, sometimes I can be extremely harsh. However, even when I hate something, you may want to try it out for yourself. In fact, I urge you always to try out a scent whose notes appeal to you. It may be very different on you than it is on me or others. Perfume is meant to be a fun celebration, a mystery in every vial that can transport you to exotic lands and turn you into someone else, a potential party in every sniff, a transformative experience.
Some of my absolute favorite scents are (or have been, in the case of discontinued scents): YSL’s vintage Opium; Téo Cabanel’s Alahine; Serge Lutens’ De Profundis, Fille en Aiguilles, and Chergui; Chanel’s Coromandel; Dior’s Mitzah; Neela Vermeire’s Trayee, Mohur, and Mohur Esprit extrait; Ormonde Jayne’s Tolu; Puredistance’s M; Amouage’s Tribute attar and Fate Woman; Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Absolue Pour Le Soir; Ormonde Jayne’s Nawab of Oudh; Vero Profumo’s Onda; YSL’s Champagne/Yvresse; Robert Piguet’s Fracas; Guerlain’s L’Heure Bleue; Hermès’ 24 Faubourg; Fragonard’s Soleil; and Karl Lagerfeld’s Lagerfeld for Men (now renamed and reformulated into the terrible Karl Lagerfeld Classic).
Honorable mention should go to: Serge Luten’s Cuir Mauresque; Andy Tauer’s Une Rose Chyprée; Carolina Herrera’s Carolina Herrera; Chanel’s Coco; Guerlain’s vintage Shalimar; Tom Ford’s Oud Wood, Tobacco Vanille, and Jasmine Rouge; Viktoria Minya’s Hedonist; Puredistance’s Opardu; Cartier’s Le Baiser du Dragon; and other numerous scents that I’ve undoubtedly overlooked. For many of those listed above, I’m referring solely to the vintage version.
For men’s colognes or aftershaves, I adore vintage version of the following: Habit Rouge, Antaeus, Kouros, Egoiste, Bel Ami, Monsieur de Givenchy, and Karl Lagerfeld’s Lagerfeld for Men (now renamed and reformulated into the terrible Karl Lagerfeld Classic). Honourable mentions: Dior’s (vintage) Fahrenheit, (vintage) Eau Sauvage, Chanel’s Pour Monsieur, Xeryus, and others that I’ve forgotten. This list is shorter because I don’t really classify fragrances by gender. For me, almost all scents are unisex.
One thing to be aware of: very few perfumes, including big powerhouses, last on me for any significant amount of time. My body chemistry eats up even the strongest perfumes in a short time. Some perfumes won’t even last a few hours! A few have lasted 20 minutes! So, as you can see, I’m not always the best judge of longevity and my issues with that are probably why I lean towards very intense or strong perfumes.
My Tastes in Food. I’m open to almost everything, short of Anthony’s Bourdain’s excursion into warthog rectum in Africa or some body parts like eyes. My favorite cuisine is Asian (everything from Sushi to Thai), followed in no particular order by Indian, Greek, and French. I’m a bread addict and could survive, quite happily, simply on bread and cheese or bread and butter! Some of my favorite guilty pleasure foods include: cheese, foie gras, frozen cookie dough, fried chicken (with mayonnaise on the side!), pizza, persimmons, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and did I mention, bread? You may wonder why any of this matters. Well, sometimes, I’ll blog about food too!
Commenting on the blog: There is no “right or wrong” in terms of perfume perspectives. I love it when people share their opinions on fragrances, even if they have a different opinion on a scent than I do. However, I will not abide by any comment that attacks me or readers of my blog with insults, profane language, or personal attacks. Those comments will not be approved, or will be deleted. In short, please play nicely and politely.
Well, that’s a little about me to start off with. Thank you for stopping by, and let’s smell some perfume!