I have the names of the six winners of the niche and artisanal fragrance giveaway. Before announcing them, however, I would like to explain the technical administrative and privacy side of things because there were 237 entries in total and a few people entered under similar or identical names. (To give just one example: Stephen, Stephan, Stefan, or Steven.) So I took the liberty of writing minor, innocuous information in brackets beside certain names in order to ensure that I had the right Stephen, Stephan, Stefan, and Steven and to separate them out. The bracketed information did not violate your privacy or reveal your personal identity. Typically, it was either the first initial(s) of your last name (where applicable), just a partial fragment of your email address, or your geographic location. It was merely enough to ensure that the right person collected their prize, nothing more.
So, without further ado:
Using Random.org’s Random List Generator, the three winners of PACKAGE A (Bogue, Sammarco, and Papillon) are:
- JH XIE
- Stefan from Frankfurt
- Stephan G.
The three winners of PACKAGE B (Neela Vermeire, St. Clair Scents & Ensar Oud) are:
- Cath Van M.
- Patrick Snook
The back-ups or the next six on the list in case any of the winners don’t contact me within the requisite period with their name and shipping information are the following, in the order presented:
- Stephan Khoo;
- Val Brelinksi;
- Anne F.;
- Leif Tenzin;
- Frederic Chevalier; and
- Jay Tee.
As I said, they were the next 6 on the Random.org list but they’re merely the backups. In my past experience when I did giveaways eons and eons ago, everyone stepped forward pretty quickly to claim their prize within the allotted period, so I realize that mentioning the second place back-up list might feel like rather a raw deal. I’m sorry. I wasn’t trying to put salt in your wounds. My ideal would have been to have ten times as many winners, but that simply isn’t possible. However, in the rare eventuality that one or more people fail to contact me in time, then the names listed above will kick in as the alternates in the order described.
So, the next step: the six official winners have until August 1st to email their names and shipping information to the following email address: AKafkaesqueLife at ~ squiggly thing~ gmail dot com, except all of that is written in the conventional email fashion and crunched together. (Sorry for writing it out so oddly but spam comments left on the blog — like the plethora from “Kolkata Escort Services” — have risen by 300% in the last few months, so this is an attempt to circumvent the bots.)
Once I receive all three names/addresses for a particular package, or the six in total, then I will forward them to the applicable perfumers or brands. If we give them each a day or two to put everything together and then day or so to go to the post office, then I hope you’ll receive your prize within roughly two weeks or so from August 4th. However, the overall length of time will really depend on your country, geographic distance from the perfumer, and idiosyncratic national customs issues. Even so, I hope, fingers crossed, that it will be about two weeks. Perhaps a wee bit longer if you live in regions which are extremely remote to your perfumers or which are subject to particularly onerous bureaucratic customs inspections.
Please remember, neither the perfumers nor I am responsible for any screw-ups in transportation, customs, or the like.
IF YOU DIDN’T WIN:
For those of you who didn’t win but whose interest has been piqued by the brands listed here after the new Luca Turin/Tania Sanchez Perfumes Guide 2018, you can always order individual samples or sample sets to try for yourself. Samples are available either from select retailers or directly from the actual company. At least one of those options invariably offers international shipping around the world and, occasionally, both do.
For example, Luckyscent offers individual samples which they ship worldwide for: Papillon, Neela Vermeire, Sammarco, Bogue, and a handful Ensar Ouds, including a few of the sandalwood oils I’ve mentioned and a handful of oud ones. Luckyscent also has Ensar Oud’s Sultan Leather attar which I loved and put on my 2017 year’s end “Best of List” last year, and which was also reviewed by Luca Turin, receiving three stars. (One star too low, if you ask my personal opinion.) If you missed out on that and are curious, Luckyscent seems to have the sole remaining stock of the old attar version which has now been superseded by a parfum spray version, except the latter has now sold out everywhere else as well. In other words, if you want to try the Sultan Leather Attar reviewed by Luca Turin but not offered in today’s giveaway, then your best bet is Luckyscent. Their lowest international shipping charge for samples is about $9 for United States First Class Mail. That comes out to, roughly, about €7.71 for shipping samples from America to almost all parts of the world.
I’m making a point of raising this because I’d been surprised to read a few comments in the giveaway thread by Europeans who were frustrated at their inability to try Papillon or other brands due to geographic shipping limitations. To those people, I say: Luckyscent can help you out and they won’t charge you much more shipping than European based fragrance companies, like First in Fragrance, shipping within the EU. I’m pretty sure that their shipping is less than what some European sites charge for shipping outside the EU to places like, say, Australia or Malaysia, for example. In short: for about €8 in postage, you can order a variety of different niche or artisanal brands, including many of the ones which you missed out on in this giveaway. And that holds true whether you live in Spain, Germany, Finland, Australia, Vietnam, or Japan.
The one brand which is not available at Luckyscent is St. Clair Scents. It is available exclusively from her own site at the present time. International shipping for samples or bottles was introduced a day after my review, but I fear not enough people caught that updated amendment and change because I know that a few of you think that St. Clair doesn’t ship outside of America. It most definitely does. And sample shipping costs are roughly the same amount as what Luckyscent charges for its sample shipping. So, if you are in Singapore, Australia, Finland, Jo’Burg, Tokyo, or points in-between, she will ship to you for a flat fee rate. Samples are $18 for a set. (Domestic shipping for bottles or samples are free within the US.) You can find the pertinent shipping information by clicking on the tiny “Terms and Condition” link at the bottom of the website.
In the case of Ensar Oud, Luckyscent carries only a small portion of his creations so if this is a brand which has tempted or intrigued you for a while, then I think you should look at his complete official site. He ships worldwide. Don’t get put off by the prices for the large sample sets because many of the individual oils come in affordable sizes as well and that might work out better for you if you only want to try a handful of things. Browse his website, make sure not to skip the categories at the bottom of the page, and then, if there is something which really sings your name, see if it comes in a tiny sample mini-gram size.
Every item, whether oud or sandalwood, typically comes in a variety of sizes and can be found via the drop-down menu on their individual pages. The tiniest ones on the page are basically the individual samples. If you happen to have the names of a few specific oils that you’d like to pursue further, then that’s one way to go. Don’t let the price of any actual official sample sets (or the paucity of those offerings) put you off. Right now, there is only one sample set available that I can see and it’s in the Oud category. But that doesn’t mean that other options are not available. What you have to remember about the Ensar Oud website is that listings and offerings change ALL THE TIME! So if you check in once and don’t see something which fits your budget, don’t assume that you won’t find a sample set alternative on another day. (The available sample set offerings, in particular, seem to change quite often.) There are also sales every few months.
Worse comes to worse, drop them an email, tell them that Kafkaesque sent you, that you’d like to try a few things but your budget isn’t huge, so you’re inquiring whether there might be a smaller, more feasible, or more affordable sample option to whatever is currently being shown on the website. It really doesn’t hurt to ask, you know, especially if you tell them that you’re one of my readers, that you’ve wanted to try their stuff for a while now, and that you’re just hoping for a more budget-friendly alternative to the main large oud sample pack which is typically listed on the website.
With regard to the other brands who participated in this giveaway, many of them also ship internationally if you purchase from them directly, but there are a few exceptions. As a general rule, Papillon does not ship outside of the UK and Neela Vermeire Creations does not ship outside of the EU. This giveaway is a rare, rare exception for both of them, although Papillon is currently looking into some options which would, hopefully, permit affordable shipping outside of the UK without anyone sacrificing a lung, kidney, and spleen in courier demands.
We’ll see how that goes but, in the meantime, both companies have a number of international suppliers from America to Europe from which you can order samples if you’re interested and, again, a few of those retailers ship globally.
My point, in short, is this: whether you’re located in Vietnam or Australia, Brazil or Russia, Bavaria or Wales, don’t assume that ANY of these brands are completely off-limits or inaccessible to you if you are really eager to try them. Between retailers like Luckyscent or the companies themselves, the vast majority of you can order samples of their stuff, no matter what your location.
So, for your convenience, here are direct links to the official websites of the various companies who have participated in this giveaway in case you want to give things a try now that you know that geography won’t be an insurmountable obstacle: Bogue, Neela Vermeire, Sammarco, St. Clair Scents, Papillon, and Ensar Oud.
Between this and the direct Luckyscent links posted several paragraphs earlier for wide-scale overseas shipping, I hope you’ll be able to pursue any brands that you’ve wanted to try, particularly since they all escaped the firestorm of brutality in Luca Turin/Tania Sanchez’s new Perfume Guide 2018 and are firm exceptions to the veritable deluge of withering One Star or Two Star reviews.
Congratulations to the six winners:
A: JH XIE, Stefan from Frankfurt, and Stephan G.
B: Konstantin, Cath Van M., and Patrick Snook
My thanks again to the six perfume houses and their founders for their generosity in enabling this giveaway. To each and every one of them — Antonio Gardoni, Liz Moores, Ensar Oud, Diane St. Clair, Giovanni Sammarco, and Neela Vermeire — thank you for your kindness but also for your thoughtfulness in agreeing to a rare world-wide, international giveaway.
I hope that the winners find a new love and that the rest of you are tempted to pursue things further with any brands that have caught your interest.
Have a lovely Sunday, everyone. And, on behalf of His Imperial Majesty, The Hairy German Fluffy Bunny, I’ve been ordered to tell you to stay cool in the summer heat but also to stay hairy. (He also advises you to be a gentle and rhythmic hooman slave when scratching the royal chest or ears, but let us ignore him on this particular point. It’s only a short step from that to doing obeisance before his fat chunky paws and then, before you know it, you’ve somehow ended up hand-feeding him chunks of chilled watermelon whilst he lounges against a large pile of Bavarian goose-down pillows and cushions, Nero style, as lute music gently tinkles in the background and large fans waft a cool breeze. You think I’m joking, don’t you?! Pffffttt. The Imperial Germans will, just like The Borg, enslave you in your very first encounter. Resistance is futile.)