Highlights of 2009: A Joint Blogging Project

I started blogging about natural and botanical perfumery in 2009, and this will always be the year I began discovering the depths of its beauty. Scent Hive grew out of my love for perfume, but this passion has become more profound since I have been fortunate enough to meet some of the gifted people behind the creations. 2009 gave me the opportunity to meet Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums, Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfumes and Julie Elliott of In Fiore, all extraordinary women devoted to the world of naturals. Each of them are fascinating individuals of course, but have a common trait of serenity in the midst of their bustling, independently-owned businesses which provide some of the most sumptuous fragrances I have ever come across.

Other perfumers that I have not met face-to-face, but with whom I have corresponded via email and phone quite a bit are Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes, Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea and Dawn Spencer Hurwitz ofDSH Perfumes. All of these women are some of the kindest people you will ever know, and their attention to detail in packaging their orders is exquisite. Opening a box from an artisan who has put much time and love into her creations takes on a deeper meaning in this tight economy and mass-produced society.

It’s challenging to make a “favorites list” as there are so many fabulous perfumes I discovered this year. Nevertheless, I would like share some fragrances, beauty products, and experiences that have made an impact on me in 2009.

1). Reading Mandy Aftel’s Essence and Alchemy was a very poignant experience. Her book allowed me to delve further into the realm of fragrance, and appreciate the power of natural essences as a medium to transform and transcend one’s material world. It also provides a thorough history of natural perfumery and is very informative regarding the essences as well. I know Mandy has inspired many persons to become perfumers after reading Essence and Alchemy, and for me, it allowed my understanding and appreciation of this art to deepen and evolve.

2). Discovering DSH Perfumes’ 100% Botanical Perfume Collection was an olfactory highlight this year. Was I a kid in a candy store? Oh yeah. I wanted one of everything. Epices d’Hiver satisfied my need for a spicy, comfort fragrance this winter, and Yuzu will give me something to look forward to this spring when my citrus cravings ignite. Bancha is not available yet on the DSH website, but is here. I won’t reveal too much as my review is coming, but I will let you know that it’s Ayurvedic in inspiration, and entirely calming and beautiful.

3). Julie Elliott relaunched her body oils! In February 2009 I wrote about In Fiore’s Maia Body Oil, even though it had just been discontinued. Thankfully, Julie listened to the collective sigh of disappointment and has given us Jasmin Supérieur, the Body Oil formerly known as Maia. Julie reassured me that the formula has not changed, only the bottle which is more user friendly as it now has a pump. When I visited In Fiore this fall, I tested all of her Bath & Body Oils (there are seven, pictured above) and left with a bottle of Patchouli Royale which is made with the most gorgeous vintage patchouli from Grasse, France. I still have my bottle of Maia, or else I would have walked out the door with Jasmin Supérieur as well because it layers beautifully with Patchouli Royale.

4). Kahina Giving Beauty, is a line of skincare based on organic argan oil. Founder, Katherine L’Heureux, gives 25% of her company’s profits to educational and women’s rights programs for the women of the Moroccan argan cooperatives, an incredibly generous action. I have reviewed the line here, but wanted to let you all know that I have used this line almost everyday since I reviewed it, and will continue to use this lovely and efficacious skincare regimen.

5). I remain steadfast with Red Flower Guaiac as my favorite citrus fragrance. Its rich, zesty, citrus quality is unparalleled, and the more I wear it, the more I become attuned to its woody aspect. I have had the good fortune of visiting San Francisco three times in the last eight months, and Guaiac has been my fragrance choice for each trip. This uplifting perfume now speaks to me of California, warm citrus, and getting away.

6). Ajne’s Fleur Blanche is hands down, the most gorgeous gardenia fragrance…ever. And I’ll stand by that proclamation too. I’ve introduced enough perfume-lovin’ fiends friends who go gaga over it to know that I’m not the only one who drools over this beauty. It’s creamy and buttery, yet slightly smoky and woodsy, with a luscious hint of indoles. A common (and frequently undeserved) complaint with naturals is that they don’t last long enough. I have never found this to be the case with Fleur Blanche. It lasts from morning to night, and hints of its soft petals can be discovered on your scarf and blouse the following day.

7). I’ve already reviewed Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Body Frostings twice on Scent Hive, so you know I love them. I use them almost every night to soothe my dry hands and to fall asleep with their creamy floral redolence. It’s difficult to pick one that I like the best, since it seems to be whichever one I have on at the time.Kashmir Rose and Tuberose Gardenia usually compete for 1st place, but Orange Blossom edges in closely as I do adore neroli and have been enjoying using this as a neck cream at night.

8). Finally, becoming a part of the perfume blogging community has been most touching to me this year. As an avid reader of blogs such as NowSmellThis, Bois de Jasmin, PerfumeShrine, TheNonBlonde and IndiePerfumes, I feel very grateful to have been supported by them and anyone who has taken the time to read Scent Hive. The perfume-loving community is filled with the most generous, kind-hearted and intelligent group of people a gal could ever hope to engage with. Thanks to Lucy of IndiePerfumes and Jessica of NowSmellThis for meeting me this summer in NYC, you two are fantastic! And Angela, another NowSmellThis writer extraordinaire, thank you for swapping scents and stories over the past several months. And thanks also to Elena at PerfumeShrine for your advice and encouragement when I was getting this ball rolling. You all are awesome.

Please visit the following blogs for their 2009 highlights!

Perfume Shrine

Mossy Loomings

1000fragrances

Ayala Smelly Blog

Bittergrace Notes

Shoes,cake,perfume

Eiderdown Press Journal

Olfactarama

Roxana’s Illuminated Journal

A Rose Beyond the Thames

The Non Blonde

Notes from the Ledge

Under the Cupola

All I am a Redhead

Perfume In Progress

Savvy Thinker

I Smell Therefore I Am


Happy New Year to the Scent Hive community and all of your friends and family.


Gather ye Rosebuds while ye may by John William Waterhouse at artmagick.com
Primavera detail by Sandro Botticelli at visualstatistics.net

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Summer Pastimes and Fragrance. My Top 10.

Big thanks to Ayala from Smelly Blog and Ayala Moriel Parfums for organizing this gathering of bloggers to celebrate summer and its scents. The following are some favorite summer pastimes, and my perfume pairings. Please see the bottom of the post for the other participating blogs.


santa monica pier 1920

 

Sultry summer night in the big city: Ajne’s Fleur Blanche is a bold, sophisticated, true-to-life gardenia fragrance that would be perfect for strolling the streets of the big city, or dancing the night away. Fleur Blanche’s hint of smokey woodiness balances this heady indolic, tropical floral. It remains my favorite gardenia perfume and I consider it a must-try for any gardenia lover.

 

International travel (or as I call it, the perfume you grab as you are heading out the door on your most recent trip to Canada): Hermes Kelly Caleche EDT is a crisp green floral; harmoniously blended with mimosa, iris, tuberose, climbing rose and leather. Certain floral notes peek out more conspicuously depending on the moment. Mimosa’s high-pitched sweetness often appears in the top-notes, the powderiness of the iris and softness of the rose are sometimes more prominent in the drydown. Regardless, Kelly Caleche is always a gorgeous summer-ready floral embraced by elegant leather. It’s wearable in any situation, whether it be museum going, café hopping, or discovering your city/town on bicycle. Give it another a try if it’s been a while.

 

Summer siesta: I have two choices for this one; Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Tuberose and Gardenia Face and Body Frosting and In Fiore’s Dayala Body Balm. For sleeptime scents I love the ritual of smoothing a cream or balm on my hands. Even in the summer my hands are quite dry, and both Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Body Frostings and In Fiore’s Body Balms provide exceptional and luxurious hydration. VSP’s Tuberose and Gardenia is quite frankly… addictive. Vanilla bean infused organic jojoba oil creates the base of the scent and organic tuberose and gardenia enfleurage enhance this moisturizer with sensual tropical florals. As for Dayala, its jasmine grandiflorum is rich, luscious, and slightly indolic. Lemongrass in the Dayala blend provides a grassy green brightness, and the overall result is deep and beautiful.

 

The Farmers’ Market: Farmers’ Markets are filled with smells of fruits, herbs and yummy baked goods so Honoré des Prés Sexy Angelic was the first fragrance that popped into my mind for this summer scent category. I’m going to be lazy here and cut and paste part of my recent June review:

Sexy Angelic is an ideal gourmand scent for the summer. It’s a light air-spun confection that wears easily in the warm weather. Sexy Angelic is centered around a calisson accord which was inspired by the town of Aix-in-Provence in the South of France. Calissons are treats made from a paste of sugar, melons and almonds that are covered with royal ice (white icing). Sexy Angelic entices its wearer with notes of licorice from angelica seeds and I gotta be honest here, I-don’t-know-what from Hemlock flowers. If you do, please let me know!

So I’ll focus on what I do know, and that is that Sexy Angelic is delectable. The calisson accord is loaded with crystallized sugary-almond goodness that is uplifted by the herbal licorice aspect. It’s lovely on the drydown as the green herbaciousness dissipates allowing for honeyed woods to meld into a skin scent. It’s the farthest thing from cloying or heavy and it just might be the gourmand for those of you who don’t typically go for gourmands.

 

Something you’ll wear while tending to your summer garden: Bonny Doon Farm Rose Creme Parfum is made from olive oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, and Damascena rose wax. I don’t think this creme parfum was meant to be used as a moisturizer, but if you scoop out about a 1/4 teaspoon and rub into the top of your hand, you’ll find this beautifully scented rose perfume solid provides light hydration in addition to fragrance. When I wrote “it smells as if freshly picked rose petals have been infused into your skin, so tender and yet so vibrant” back in May,  I only had a sample of the Rose Creme Parfum. I have since purchased a pot ($16 for 0.5oz at Beautyhabit.com) and still feel the same way.

 

Beach scent: Estee Lauder’s Bronze Goddess. Vetiver and coconut. Guilty pleasure. What more can I say? I love this stuff.

 

Bar-B-Q scent: Ayala Moriel Parfums Tamya is no ordinary BBQ scent. On this summer menu, you need a Kir Royale as your drink and wild Coho salmon cooked on cedar planks on the BBQ. Tamya is Ayala’s version of a fruity floral; the fruits being cassis and yuzu, the florals jasmine, hyacinth, and frangipani (plumeria). Cedar contributes refinement and vanilla guides the way to a gorgeous drydown. A honeyed beeswax, ambery floral which is delicate yet mesmerizing.

 

Meditation/Summer Incense Scent: Roxana Illuminated Perfume Chaparral is earthy and herbaceous, using the woody essence of the California Chaparral. Roxana’s gentle and expert hand with Frankincense and sage allow this to be a very accessible and seasonless incense fragrance. Chaparral never becomes weighted down with dark and smokey cathedral imagery. Quite the contrary. California breezes flow on your skin when you wear this, providing a reverence for the “Cathedral of Nature” as you close your eyes and meditate on the breath that sustains you.

 

Best scent for an overcast day in the summer: Aftelier’s Orchid is perfect for those first days of summer that don’t start off as warm as you’d like. Oftentimes in the Pacific Northwest they are overcast and you need a little something juicy and spicy to snap you out of the doldrums. Orchid’s peppery opening commands your attention, grabs your hand, and leads you down a path of orange blossom bliss. As I said in my review, “It’s green, heady, lush, citrusy, and vital.” Indeed!

 

Best scent for hiking in the forest: Soivoholé Vetiver n Guaiac is deep and rich in its earthiness, and full of vitality in its lavender herbaceousness. It’s spicy and complex, and continually evolves, as do hikes through Nature’s beauty. Vetiver n Guaiac has terrific staying power to last through a strenuous hike. And just as you complete your journey, you will be rewarded with a sublime vanillic floral drydown.

 

Bittergrace Notes

I Smell Therefore I am

Legerdenez

Moving and Shaking

Perfume Shrine

+Q Perfume Blog

Savvy Thinker

Smelly Blog

The Non-Blonde

Posted by ~Trish

Photo: Santa Monica Pier 1920 from Dr. X’s Free Associations

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