Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Puredistance WARSZAWA - a PROPER perfume

I love proper perfume.

Puredistance have released one. It’s called WARSZAWA.

Andy Warhol illustrates some proper perfume

‘Proper’ perfume is grown up. It’s sits on your dressing table and simmers until you are sufficiently dressed up to reach for it’s seductive bottle. It doesn’t travel to work with you, or the supermarket, or similar non-event. It’s an uncommon wonder. It’s got a personality more colossal than your own. You can only wear it when you feel emotionally abundant and dressed to kill. 

Fitting really, as WARSZAWA was inspired by good old fashioned glamour. 

“Puredistance WARSZAWA transports you to a dreamy world of old-time chic. 
Inspired by the class and elegance of Polish women and the rich history of the city of Warsaw, WARSZAWA evokes the chic of the golden days of Fashion and Perfume.” 
WARSZAWA sleeps in a bed of emerald satin
Perfume used to be a curious phenomena. We didn’t know what was in it. Although our noses could detect familiar notes such as culinary spices or garden flowers, we had no idea how the perfumer conjured the mysterious juice. The perfume lover probably new nothing of the nitro musks, aldehydes and other bonkers sci-fi ingredients that helped to create the allure. Nowadays we consult Fragrantica’s (excellent) ingredient database and compare fragrances with similar notes. We avidly read note lists supplied by the perfume houses and actively seek out a perfect interpretation of our favourite. They make it even easier by naming their wares with the notes e.g. Tobacco Vanille, Patchouli Imperial etc. We swop tips and decants with our online friends and gain access to luxury goods that we would not normally be able to afford. 
In some ways this is helpful as it allows us to find fragrances that might suit us more easily. It adds knowledge to our hobby and the research and subsequent hunting offers quite a thrill. We’ve become experts. 
But sometimes I don’t want to be an expert. I don’t want to own thirty bottles of well researched fragrant wardrobe. I want to relish and adore one bottle of precious perfume and not have a clue what sorcery has created it. I want to have saved up for it patiently and bought it full price from a beautiful shop in Paris. I want some proper perfume. 
WARSZAWA is not a note list. It’s a grand composition, symphonic, multi-faceted. You can’t smell a dominant feature ingredient, simply a gargantuan perfume. It’s overwhelming, aspirational and bloody gorgeous!
With this in mind, here is an alternative note list for WARSZAWA. It contains:

Your first ever clubbing outfit, the heady perfume that your mum wore when you were six, the weekend break in Venice when it was minus 2 degrees and all the palazzos sparkled with frost, the sensual (real) fur coat that you bought from a charity shop in Leeds and felt (sort of) OK about because you hadn’t directly contributed to the fur trade, shopping before the internet existed, the jewel hued antique glass Christmas tree baubles from your childhood that reflected fragments of magical light when you spun them, whopping shoulder pads in a 1980s edition of ‘Le Smoking’, red vinyl lipstick, Bryan Ferry’s tight trousers, a pool party attended by Grace Coddington in the 1970s, backcombed hair, violet cream chocolates from Charbonnel et Walker (bought in Bond Street, not the food discount section at TK Maxx), your first trip to London and the moment that you bought your first pair of ‘knickers with intention’.
YSL rocks red lipstick and cabin crew glamour in the 1980s
It’s nostalgic, it’s awe inspiring and it’s insanely glamourous. Odd to think that it's author is the controversial genius - Antoine Lie, creator of the infamous Sécrétions Magnifiques. Has the nose behind the strangest perfume of all time created the most glamourous?
In recent years, I’ve wandered around Selfridges feeling bored. I am throughly fed up with over-priced, over hyped-nonsense, constant replications of a jaded theme, bottles of bandwagon bollocks applauded for being ‘niche’.
In WARSZAWA I feel like I’ve discovered perfume again. I am no longer a 44 year old perfume ‘expert’. I’m 17 year old me, buying my first ever bottle of Shalimar and inhaling possibility.

It feels wonderful.


  1. This is a fabulous description of how perfume should be. I look forward to experiencing it.

    1. Thanks Dawn. It certainly does smell like 'how perfume should be'. I feel like I've had some sort of transformation. This morning I'm young again and full of fantasies!
      Oh the power of perfume...

  2. "violet cream chocolates from Charbonnel et Walker (bought in Bond Street, not the food discount section at TK Maxx)" - this made me laugh! I love seeing what randomness there is in TK Maxx when I go in to see if they have anything decent in the fragrance section. But there is such pleasure in buying from a posh shop. I loved going to the Serge Lutens boutique in Paris to choose from the Palais Royal collection (Santal de Mysore, after much deliberation). And going into Chanel on Bond Street for my mum's birthday present (1932) also felt like a delicious, slightly silly treat - they take you off to a completely separate room to pay, dimly lit and wallpapered with something suede-y, possibly to soften the blow of the bill!

    Oh, and buying a scented candle from Guerlain, which came with a matching box of branded matches. That I also found pleasing and amusing.

    My proper perfume is a decant of Cuir de Russie that you supplied to me ages ago. I rarely find a suitable occasion to wear it, and it feels too precious to fritter away. I've been trying a sample of Parfums d'Empire Musc Tonkin, which is a proper perfume too: it's a bit like Youth Dew, plush, golden, and lasting.

    1. Hello Awfulknitter,

      Your Chanel transaction sounds delightfully discreet. I know all the (lovely) SAs at Chanel Manchester now so our transactions are a bit more chatty and ordinary! 1932 is gorgeous isn't it? I think that's proper perfume too.

      My last dregs of Cuir de Russie are lovingly eeked out. There's very little left. I'm glad it's your go to proper perfume. I might wear mine this week before if finally turns.

      I'm off out to TK Maxx right now to hunt for a birthday present. I'll let you know if I find anything from Bond Street there.


  3. This was a rollicking good read and I thoroughly enjoyed all the scenarios this scent conjured up for you! I completely agree that it is a full blown, 'all woman' kind of perfume, and definitely retro in style. They really don't make 'em like this anymore, and I am still making up my mind whether it is me. I was told that Antonia was 'too big' for me, and this may go the same way, hehe.

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      I hope that it's gargantuan proportions grow on you. You could save it for a day when you need to feel brave? Antonia is my favourite of the previous scents from Puredistance but I couldn't spritz her at 6am when I get up for work. She'd overpower me. I absolutely love to drown myself in an overdose of Antonia when I want to feel like a green goddess though!
      What's your favourite Puredistance, is it Opardu?

    2. Sheiduna! Though I have a soft spot for Black.

  4. Sarah - you do a review incredibly well. I'm with you when you say you find a lot of perfumes incredibly boring! However i wonder, would this be too glamorous for a gal like me? Not sure i do glam well. I have been wondering when this one would become available, having tried most of the others. I do love Puredistance perfumes and my favourite is Opardu, and White and I - hard to choose!

    1. It is very glamourous. But don't we all have that in us somewhere (hidden under the pyjamas and dish washing duties!)?
      It's one of those where obtaining a sample or going for a sniff somewhere is a good idea before buying a bottle. It gobsmacked me with how much I treasure it but I can imagine that it could be polarising, having such a distinctive character. x

  5. I agree totally with your sentiments! Well put.

    1. Thank you Cynthia. And welcome to Odiferess!