I have had the good fortune of meeting Persephenie Lea who is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside, and I love supporting her small business. She hand-crafts her skincare and fragrances in small batches, and uses only the highest quality ingredients. Some of her perfumes are “mixed media” so not all of them are 100% natural, but her body care is, and include the frequent use of organic botanicals.
I’m nursing a minor, albeit very annoying, cold at the moment. It’s the typical deal, stuffy nose, cough, fatigue- and all I can think about is warmth, comfort and pampering. Fortuitously, a lovely parcel arrived from Ayala Moriel Parfums last week which included a sample of her newest fragrance Zangvil, and its accompanying perfumed tea. Perfect for autumn, perfect for my achey bones.
Of course I was thrilled to give her latest perfume creation a try, but it was the tea I really wanted to dive into. OK, so I didn’t literally dive into the tea, but I definitely steeped in it. I held the cup close to my nose and inhaled its steam, allowing the aromatic vapors to heal my tender and congested self. Ayala uses very fine Jasmine Silver Needle tea leaves for Zangvil, which is harvested in the spring and then laced with night blooming jasmine during the summer. I envision the jasmine blooms opening and infusing the white tea leaves with their scent, just as Ayala’s Zangvil tea infused me with its restorative perfume. And not only with the perfume of jasmine, but also of organic crystalized ginger, ambrette seeds and vanilla bean. It’s a gorgeous tea and I think I need to make another cup as I continue to write.
Ahhh, now that I have the aroma of Zangvil swirling about me, I am tempted by my other autumnal (and common cold) indulgence- the bath! I guess this is when the real steeping begins right? It’s a simple pleasure really, immersing oneself in hot water. But when you add something deliciously scented into the tub, it becomes a truly pampering experience. My newest bath discovery is Persephenie’s Nanu Lei Bath, a fizzy mineral bath powder with the potent hydrating powers of coconut oil and cocoa butter and the captivating scent of tiare. Nanu Lei Bath has just the right amounts of coconut, tiare and a sparkling citrus to warm your senses with thoughts of a dreamy tropical destination without hitting you over the head with too much of any of them. I adore it.
During the fall and winter months, I like to ramp up the pampering, and apply a facial mask before dipping into the tub. Evan Healy’s French Rose Clay Mask has occupied my number one spot for just over a year now, but I decided to give a new one a try, Naturopathica’s Pumpkin Purifying Enzyme Peel. My first test-drive timing wasn’t great as it was on a hot, dog day of summer, and I was not feeling the scent of pumpkin. Fast forward to the cold chill in the air of late October, and it’s ideal. According to the Naturopathica website, pumpkin is an exfoliator that is loaded with antioxidants given its high beta carotine content. Cinnamon is also in the mask which gives it a spicy aroma and also acts as an antiseptic. I’ll take their word for it, because after I rinsed it away, my skin felt smoother and softer and I had a curious craving for pumpkin pie.
My last autumn discovery is actually a rediscovery of a forgotten perfume love, YSL’s Paris Roses des Bois. This Paris flanker was released in 2004 and it’s been far too long since I paid it any mind. It’s much more wearable on me than the original Paris which I find too cloying. If you’re familiar with Roses des Bois, you know it to be full of pink roses and blackberries, with an added smidge of sandalwood and musk. Not your typical fall-ish fragrance I know, but it’s really working for me in this colder weather. The musk has taken on a new coziness this autumn as the rose feels a little wilder and the blackberry like a special preserve you ration out during the chilly months. Happily, I have a huge bottle that need not be used sparingly. This jammy rose can now take its rightful place at the front of my perfume collection.
What are your latest autumnal discoveries? Feel free to share in this blogging event!
Top most Image from PennGastronomyClub
Los Angeles Report Part II brings us to my enchanted evening at Blunda where Yosh, Persephenie, and many botanical gems were discovered. Before I get to Yosh though, let me tell you about the benzoin! I had never smelled benzoin until this past weekend and could hardly pull my nose out of the jar that held this intoxicating substance which is made from the bark of the Styrax tree via cuts to release the resin. Above all, enticing vanilla wafted from the glass jar. Soft and supple, yet dirty and earthy as if you’d just pulled a piece of wood out of the soil. And the labdanum! I finally got to smell labdanum, another resin, utterly rich and musty. It also struck me as quite leathery with great depth and amazingly animalic for a botanical.
Hundreds of individual essences within Persephenie’s perfumer’s palette remained to be sniffed, but time was short and there was much to smell. Blunda is filled with a delicious array of natural fragrance offerings from Aftelier, Velvet and Sweet Pea, DSH, Artemesia, and Persephenie’s own bodycare line. I could have spent all evening poring over the gorgeous selection. And when one of my favorite perfumers, Roxana Villa walked through the door, I was thrilled not only to have the chance to chat with Roxana, but to experience the fragrances and essences with her was truly special.
Of course we were all gathered to learn more about Yosh Han’s fragrance Winter Rose and the two fragrance installations, Dew and Sombra Negra, she created especially for the evening. Winter Rose is a 100% botanical fragrance that was inspired by Yosh’s travels through Turkey. Four rose attars along with cardamom are in Winter Rose, making for an inspired, authentic and slightly spicy rose fragrance. But it was the evening’s installations that really got my attention. Sombra Negra with its vetiver, patchouli, oak moss, and tobacco went into deep and dark territory that smoldered in LA’s summer heat. A little too much actually. I had to fan myself as I thought how Sombra Negra would be more appropriate in front of the fireplace upon autumn’s first chill. But Dew….Dew was perfection on that hot night. Why don’t more perfumers use fennel? It’s sheer genius with its crisp and refreshing bite. Yosh added honey absolute, citrus notes with lime, petitgrain and neroli and then a hint of sweet floral in ylang ylang. She created Dew in a gel base, which enhanced the cooling effect of the fragrance and heightened the sparkling anise quality of fennel. For those of you interested in purchasing Sombra Negra or Dew, there still might be some available through Blunda if you contact Persephenie.
If you do call the boutique, consider calling in an order for Persephenie’s Linden Blossom Dry Body Oil or the Nanu Lei Fizzy Wonders. I haven’t actually tried the bath fizzies yet because it has been outrageously hot since I’ve been home, but they smell heavenly! A luscious blend of coconut, cocoa butter, citrus, and tropical flowers. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can enjoy an evening’s bath with one of my Nanu Lei Fizzies. I can attest to how wonderful the Linden Blossom Dry Body Oil is, as I have used it several times and it hydrates beautifully and smells like you’ve stepped out of a Maui spa. The linden blossom is warm and citrusy, almost honey-like, and I’m sure Persephenie has enhanced the oil with other citrus elements as well as tropical white florals and a spot of cocount. It lasts many hours on the skin and you can put it in your hair as well where I’m sure the scent would waft sublimely.
Persephenie and Yosh
Blunda is truly an olfactory wonderland. Twice monthly visits (if not more) would certainly be the norm if I lived in Los Angeles. But more than the perfumes, body products and jars of botanical scents…it was the people of these natural perfume enclaves that made my trip exceptional. Persephenie was warm and welcoming; funny and kind. Yosh’s killer smile, along with her sharp intellect and charm-for-days left me giddy in her wake. Roxanna Villa was a joy to finally meet. Her caring, astute, and vibrant nature put me at ease the moment I saw her. And if you read Part I, you know my experiences at Strange Invisible Perfumes and Le Labo were also remarkable. My friend in life and in scent (not to mention fabulous Los Angelean host), duVergne, might be getting another visit from me sooner than she realizes!
Posted by ~Trish