Happy Anniversary, APB!

apb anniversary

Today marks the third anniversary of APB. And d’ya know what? Three years of blogging are incredibly easy to recap.

In the past three years, I’ve shared a Mother’s Day Q&A with my mom, fallen in love with several versions of Chanel No. 19, enlisted your help to choose my wedding perfume, found a new favorite perfume based on an old favorite, and tackled the terrifying task of writing a negative review of a niche fragrance.

The most-viewed post on APB is my Perfume Shopping in San Francisco post (no surprise there), but the second-most-viewed post is my review of Keith Urban Phoenix. Consider my mind blown. My favorite post is my review of Vol de Nuit. I tried to pick least favorite post, but it was too difficult (and led to a round of deletion that almost decimated the entire archive, and a crisis of confidence that required 10 minutes 20 minutes a lot of looking at bunny pictures on the internet to cure).

The most challenging thing about blogging is trying to keep coming up with new, and hopefully interesting, ways to talk about perfume. The best thing about blogging is you. You there, reading this. You’re the best. Thank you.

xo, Natalie

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Cruelty-Free Fragrances Update

I want to take a moment to share an update on my effort to identify cruelty-free fragrances. This is one of the projects that has kept me from blogging as much as usual lately, and it has been a big effort!

Before I get to the update, let me say this: I do not expect people to choose cruelty-free fragrances, or to feel guilty if they don’t. Everyone has to make this decision individually. But I think it helps to be informed. For example, would knowing that a perfume company tested on animals deter you from a $20 impulse buy of a fragrance you don’t totally love anyway? Or, would knowing that a fragrance company doesn’t test on animals make you feel better about spending $180 on one of their perfumes, instead of $100 on one that does animal tests? I’m not telling anyone what to do, but I would like to help provide information.

So here is my update.

1. If a company sells its products in China or Russia, it cannot be cruelty-free. Even if the company itself is headquartered in the EU (which has banned animal testing), and even if all of the ingredients in the product are exempt in other countries from the need for animal testing because they have been around long enough to have been proven safe, China and Russia require that the end product be tested on animals. Please note: it appears that the Chinese and Russian governments themselves, not the companies, are doing this testing. However, regardless of who is doing it, the testing is enough for these companies not to be considered cruelty-free.

2. I am in the process of contacting each fragrance company to hear their position on animal testing. I am populating the “Cruelty-Free Fragrances” page that you see in the menu bar as I receive responses from the companies. That page also has information about the criteria and questions I am asking the companies.

3. There is some good news! China has stated that it will end its animal testing requirement in June of 2014. Whether this will occur, and whether they will have appropriate transparency to assure us of it, remains to be seen. Another good news item is that there is a bill before the US House of Representatives to ban animal testing in the US, as it has been banned in the EU. You can sign the Change.org petition to get this bill co-sponsored (it literally takes 30 seconds). You do NOT need to be a resident of the US to sign the petition. If you ARE a resident of the US, you can also follow the link on that page to ask your representative to co-sponsor the bill.

4. There is some more good news! I’m so, so happy to say that some fragrance companies are foregoing retailing in China and Russia in order to remain cruelty free. Three cheers for the first big niche brand I have heard of in this category: Frederic Malle. (Please note I am waiting for this to be confirmed by the brand; I was informed of it by an SA.)



I hope you find this helpful. As I have also been going back and re-examining all of my products in light of the changes created by the Chinese law (previously cruelty-free brands like L’Occitane*, The Body Shop, MAC, and others are no longer cruelty-free), I have been amassing and testing tons of new cosmetics and household products. If you are interested in a series of “cruelty free cupboards” posts on the products I have found to be winners, let me know in the comments, and I will share some of those.

*Regarding L’Occitane, some of you may find this interesting.

Aedes de Venustas

The new Aedes de Venustas eau de parfum was created for the shop by Bertrand Duchaufour. Classified as a chypre, the fragrance note list includes rhubarb, vetiver, tomato leaf, red berries, incense, green apple, honeysuckle, and hazelnut.

Straight out of the gate, Aedes has a charming, snappy feeling. It’s a sour and sweet blend of fruit notes, lime, and a super fresh herbal note like cut coriander. It’s the kind of perfume I can’t help smiling over; it is so happy and vibrant. Gradually, the sour-and-sweet mélange settles into a pretty good rendition of the tart juiciness of rhubarb pie filling, a little sweet but still vegetal.

The perfume I immediately thought of when I tested Aedes de Venustas is another by Bertrand Duchaufour: Bombay Bling for Neela Vermeire Creations. If you substituted the rhubarb in Aedes with the mango note in Bombay Bling, I’m not sure there would be much difference between the two fragrances.

For a review of Aedes de Venustas Eau de Parfum, see NST.

Image courtesy Aedes de Venustas. Sample was my own acquisition. Reviews are never compensated, and posts are never sponsored. See my Media & Disclosure policy for details.


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