Saturday, September 23, 2017

Travels In Spain, Part Six: Madrid and Blocki's This Grand Affair

There is so much to see in Madrid; you could make a whole trip just visiting the Prado and other museums. Most of the big tourist sights open free to the public late in the day every afternoon, and when we walked out of the Prado around five the line of people waiting to come in snaked around the full length of the building. There wouldn't be time for more than a quick run through the exhibits but I think it's very kind of them to make the experience available to those who can't afford the entry fees.

We hadn't allowed a lot of time in Madrid so had to be quite choosy about what we saw and Madrid's Royal Palace was not to be missed. When the original palace burned in 1734, King Philip V began building of the new palace on the same site. It is Europe's largest palace by floor space with a staggering 3418 rooms. Spain's royal family no longer lives in the palace but it is used for state functions. Charles III, Philip V's successor, is credited for the palace's lavish interiors. Beautiful frescoes by Tiepolo decorate the ceilings, ensuring that no matter what direction you look you will be dazzled. The opulence was literally jaw dropping but perhaps no where more than the state dining room, glittering with numerous massive chandeliers and a long table set with fine china and glistening crystal. I always loved the dining scenes in Downton Abbey but this room was that scene on steroids.  How grand it would be to dine in this rarefied air. Which brings me to the next perfume I will review.

This Grand Affair by Blocki Perfumes has a decidedly vintage feel, evoking the elegance of perfumes from an older era, but with a nod to today's taste which I interpret as a lighter touch to the scent. Blocki Perfumes was established in 1865 and was run as a family business for almost seventy years until the death of its founder. Then in 2015 the great, great grandson of the founder, Tyler and his wife Tammy, revived the brand with the introduction of three perfumes, one of which was This Grand Affair.

The perfume is structured as an oriental with opening notes of grapefruit and neroli from the citrus family, as well as davana oil. I also smell the bulgarian lavender which gives an herbal twang, and combined with the citrus notes gives a warm glow. Davana oil gives a sweetly herbaceous hint to the perfume as well as a slight balsamic woodiness. Listed middle notes include rose and petitgrain but as is the mode of vintage-style perfumes the bouquet is blended and the notes aren't individually distinguishable. Despite the listed notes of grapefruit, neroli, and petitgrain there is no strong citrus presence. Tonka bean and vanilla add a creaminess to the perfume about an hour in. The perfume seems to have a warm glittery glow and lasts about five hours before I would need to reapply. In the area of longevity it deviates from more vintage perfumes which can often last all night and even into the next morning. I really enjoyed the perfume and my one gripe is that I would have liked a bit more presence and tenacity.

This perfume may be from an American house but it has what I think of as a French feel. I identify this as a perfume with a vintage aura where the various notes are blended and the whole is emphasized more than individual notes. Having said that, the lavender note really came to life on my skin and was beautiful. Having read other people's descriptions on Fragrantica, no one else mentions the lavender note. I read somewhere that davana oil is an expensive ingredient and one of its properties is that it can intensify a perfume's reaction according to a person's particular skin chemistry. I happen to love lavender, probably because it always smells so good on me but I know it's a difficult note for a lot of people. In the Fragrantica reviews several people mention a strong vanilla note which I didn't get at all. The lesson from this is that I think you would definitely need to try this on your skin. After wearing Blocki Perfumes This Grand Affair I am now eager to try their other two perfumes: In Every Season and For Walks. 

This is the last of my reviews on travel in Spain. For other stories and perfume reviews see Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five.

Top photo: Perfume sample my own.


Undina said...

I've never heard of the brand before but now I am curious. And I want to do more traveling to Spain. See, what you've done? ;)

Cynthia said...

I want to go back to Spain and see Barcelona, which I believe you saw and I missed. It was such a great place to visit! I was impressed with this perfume. The brand has another called FOR WALKS that I want to try.