Suzinn Weiss is a fellow Portlander, and I am so excited to have finally experienced her perfumes and body oils that are inspired by the rich and fragrant gardens of the Pacific Northwest. Suzinn is a fine artist and garden designer whose work led her to natural perfumery. She uses tinctures of leaves and petals from her own garden as well as fine essences from around the world. Additionally, Suzinn does not use any synthetics and her entire line is cruelty-free. I have enjoyed playing with all of her fragrances over the past month, and highly recommend looking into her sample packs if you have an interest in exploring all natural perfumes. My one challenge was to try to pick a favorite, which I simply cannot do! But I have managed to narrow it down to two of her fragrances that are particularly compelling.
Where to begin with this trio of redolent treats? Each one is a unique creation of Mandy Aftel’s, who is probably well known to you if you frequent perfume blogs or have an interest in *natural perfumes. You might also be familiar with her book, Essence and Alchemy, which has influenced me a great deal in my blogging and personal love of perfume. Her evocative way with words and firm grasp of history makes it an incredibly inspiring and educational read. I believe she was able to write so poetically about the history of fragrance because she has an innate talent in creating fragrance herself. This expertise is exemplified quite remarkably in the gems pictured above.
Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studios has a lovely collection of *natural perfumes. Cocoa Sandalwood continues to be one of my favorite sandalwood fragrances, and in fact, turned me into a full fledged sandalwood lover. Laurie’s latest from her Naturals line also revolves around wood, but this time it’s a woodland theme, the Pacific Forest. Hiking in the Pacific Northwest is truly an exceptional experience. It’s very calming to inhale the fresh air filled with the aromas of majestic pine, spruce and fir trees. To witness this beauty and breathe in the perfumed air is relaxing and awe inspiring. Laurie has captured this sense of restful wonder that is the Pacific Forest. Although the piney forest scent is most prominent in her Pacific Forest perfume, its amber base of labdanum and vanilla allows for a gentle backdrop, made a bit sweeter by heliotrope and violet. An earthiness is present too, as patchouli, frankincense and sandalwood fuse to create the scent of the forest ground being shuffled by one’s feet. Pacific Forest is an ideal feel-good fragrance for the cold days and nights that lie ahead.
It hasn’t even been that cold here yet, and already my hands are uncomfortably dry. Or I should say, were uncomfortably dry. Thanks to these all natural skin care products, my hands are on the mend.
Honey lovers rejoice! Roxana Villa of Illuminated Perfume has created a deliciously honey inspired fragrance that feels at home on the skin whether it’s warm or cold outside. Yet, to call this simply a honey fragrance does not do Mellifera justice as this perfume has captured the entirety of a bee’s life; wood and musk from the hive, resins and spice from propolis, and of course flowers and sweet honey.
Nikki Sherritt-Lewis, creator of Rebel & Mercury, has really outdone herself with her Distinguished line of botanical candles. The presentation is lovely, and would be an exceptional gift, especially for the holidays. The candle arrives in a black and very sturdy box (I’m going to use mine for organizing) and within it, the candle is tucked elegantly in a mesh gift bag, a very nice touch. The candle itself resides in a substantial, smoky-gray glass jar, with the Rebel & Mercury logo as its one embellishment.
Alexandra Balohoutis, the nose behind Strange Invisible Perfumes, has relaunched her Perfumes of the Zodiac collection. First off, I want to say how much I love the new bottle. It embodies simple elegance, and feels substantial and weighty in the hand. I don’t think I would want to risk this gem bouncing around in my tote bag, but it is a suitable size (15ml) for travel if handled with care.
After an absolutely beautiful, sunny summer here in the Pacific Northwest, the rain has finally set in, and that means it’s time to cozy up with your deeper perfumes. Fortunately, Mandy Aftel’s latest creation, Vanilla Smoke, fulfills the hopes for those of us who love vanilla fragrances for the fall and winter. The beauty of this new perfume is its nuanced balance between sweet and smoky. The vanilla absolute used in Vanilla Smoke is in no way sticky sweet, but rather like an aromatic liquor that lulls you into a cushy nap. Coumarin, which is derived from tonka beans and cinnamon, heightens the vanilla note as it too adds dimension to the perfume’s smokiness while not making it sugary.
Providence Perfume Company has branched out into the realm of bath and body products which came as a very pleasant surprise to me. I knew nothing of this development until a box filled with samples of body lotions and shower gels landed on my doorstep. I’m not inundated with press packages like many bloggers, especially since I’m on a bit of a break, but I get a few, so I don’t normally get too excited over these things. This was an exception. When I lifted the top off of the box, I was truly thrilled and couldn’t wait to give them all a try knowing full well I would want to share my thoughts with all of you.
Last July, Roxana Villa sent me a sample of what was then a new release, the solid version of Gracing the Dawn. We had just moved back into our newly remodeled home, and I was still on my blogging hiatus, so I tucked it away in my “special scent” drawer, and didn’t open it until just a few days ago.
I don’t have my sample of the liquid version anymore, but smelling the solid fragrance on my skin brings its memory right back to life. Gracing the Dawn is a glorious chypre redolent of oakmoss and leather, but the solid downplays the chypre aspect and lighter florals swirl in the foreground. Orange blossoms and mimosa flutter about, along with blades of grass, and subtle herbs, showing off their brightness. Richer flowers like jasmine, rose, and narcissus are present, but dwell subtly with the oakmoss, all the while providing a chypre foundation by bolstering Gracing the Dawn’s fullness and feeling of abundance.