Moving Past Cristalle with Liz Earle's Botanical Essence No. 1

My introduction to Cristalle EDT was by way of its sophisticated sillage wafting gracefully around a woman who has since become one of my dearest friends. Megan and I met over sixteen years ago, and Cristalle remains her signature scent, at least in my mind. Her father bought her a bottle in Paris twenty five years ago, so when you’ve been wearing a fragrance for that long, a signature it becomes. When I asked her more about her perfume, she made it very clear that she wore the EDT, not the EDP, and that it was becoming difficult to find.


So off I went to The Perfume House in search of Cristalle EDT. When I arrived, there it was, its square columnar perfection ready for me to purchase. And I did. But no matter how much I loved its scent, I could not move past the feeling that Cristalle belonged to Megan, not me.  I felt like a bit of an imposter when I wore Cristalle and upon telling that to Megan, she graciously gave me her blessing to wear it, but it never felt comfortable on my skin. I ultimately gave it to my grandmother who would never have spent nearly that much money on herself for a bottle of perfume. Fast forward sixteen years, and I have finally discovered a chypre that is reminiscent of Cristalle EDT, yet different enough to suit me.



Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 has several top-notes in common with Cristalle EDT like bergamot, lemon, and petitgrain. While Botanical Essence No. 1 lacks oakmoss, the hallmark of many chypre perfumes including Cristalle, it possesses the aforementioned hesperidic* top notes as well as rose, patchouli, cedarwood and vetiver which are frequently used in the creation of a chypre. In addition to Cristalle EDT, Botanical Essence No.1 resembles Annick Goutal’s Eau de Sud and Clarin’s Eau Dynamisante. All of these fragrances are green and citrusy in the opening and woody-aromatic in the heart and drydown, but I find Botanical Essence No. 1 to be slightly warmer and rounder than its counterparts. It’s not as austere as Cristalle, is a little smoother than Eau de Sud and less “spa-aromatherapeutic” than Eau Dynamisante.


When I first tested Botanical Essence No.1, I was immediately impressed. I enjoyed its sparkly greeting and welcoming herbal notes of cardamom, coriander and nutmeg. The drydown was just as alluring, with tonka bean adding an unexpected touch of sweetness and cedarwood adding body and comfort. But it wasn’t until just today, that I was fully won over by Botanical Essence No. 1. Early this morning, I sprayed this EDP on my wrists before I gave much thought to my day. After sitting down to a breakfast of oatmeal and glancing at my dayplanner I remembered my acupuncture appointment at 10 am. I wondered if I had made a perfume mistake. I had never worn fragrance to an acupuncture treatment and became wary of my spritzing decision. The concern passed quickly though, and off I went. While I was having my “rest” (after being poked with what felt like 50+ needles) I drifted into a quasi-meditative state. The restorative and comforting qualities of Botanical Essence No.1 began to envelop me, and it was blissful.


Seven years ago, I had a blissful moment of a different sort when I found that bottle of Cristalle in my grandmother’s medicine cabinet after she died. It was empty, but I hope its gorgeous scent made her feel full.


One lucky reader gets to share in my bliss because the Liz Earle people are giving away a full bottle of Botanical Essence No. 1 to a Scent Hive reader. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin,Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! Drawing will close Sunday July 11th at 9pm PST. Drawing is now closed.

Botanical Essence No. 1 is derived from 98.6% all natural ingredients. Here is a statement from Liz Earle’s PR folks regarding the other 1.4%:

Over 98% (98.6%) of the ingredients used in Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 are directly derived from nature; the remaining 1.4 % ingredients are solvents, stabilisers and synthetics. These ingredients, whilst not naturally derived, are commonly used when formulating a fine fragrance. They are really important as they make sure the fragrance lasts when it is applied. They also help to make the fragrance smell continuous: essential oils such as the ones we are using can smell quite sharp and distinctive, and these ingredients help the fragrance smell rounded and balanced. If we didn’t use these ingredients the fragrance wouldn’t last as long on the skin, and the complex blend wouldn’t be as well rounded and such a pleasure for the wearer.

It is available at LizEarle.com, $78 for a 1.6 oz bottle.



* Please see this very informative post at Bois de Jasmin regarding the Hesperide (citrus) family of perfumes.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Botanical Essence No. 1 was provided for this review by Liz Earle’s PR company. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Aftelier Natural Perfumes: New Website + Giveaway to Celebrate!

Mandy Aftel, founder and creator of Aftelier Perfumes is a busy gal. She writes, creates gorgeous scents, collaborates with chefs, and has just revamped her website. The above image is from her art collection and greets the visitor at the Aftelier homepage. Mandy’s new site is visually lovely with beautiful art and stunning images of her products. The best part of the website is its elegantly simple design that makes it so easy to navigate. At the left of every page, you’ll find a list of the website’s pages such as liquid perfumes, solid perfumes, perfumed teas, and my favorite, the samples page.

 

Since the Aftelier website is much more user-friendly, it’s far easier to discover all of Mandy’s previously hidden gems like the Face Elixirs, found at the Face-Body-Bath page. I have the Violet Leaf, Neroli and Chamomile Face Elixir and I use it as Mandy suggests, which is to apply it to my clean face before bedtime. The Violet Leaf, Neroli and Chamomile Face Elixir smells exceptionally leafy thanks to the violet leaf absolute. I find this essence to dominate the Face Elixir with its damp earthy greenness. Neroli gives the slightest hint of citrus and the chamomile boosts its herbal tones, but violet leaf is the heart of this Face Elixir. The 7ml bottle is a petite thing, but I find I need only a drop or two added to my nighttime moisturizer of choice, typically Kahnia Giving Beauty’s Organic Argan Oil, for an aromatic lulling to sleep.

 

Another tiny bottle that packs a wallop is Aftelier’s Bath Oil. I’m used to bath oils in large bottles, so when I first laid eyes on the diminutive 15ml bottle, I was taken aback by its size, but once I learned that these Bath Oils are made only with pure essences and no carrier oils, the dainty size made perfect sense. The Bath Oils have droppers to ensure you’ll never use too much in one steeping. And believe me, one dropperful is all you need to create an unbelievably redolent bath. Mandy recommends adding the bath oil after your bath is drawn rather than under running water since the natural essences volatize immediately when exposed to hot water. After I squeezed my Forest Flower Bath Oil dropperful into the tub, the entire bathroom was filled with the camphorous and piney trail of Black Spruce essential oil. Relaxing in a Forest Flower bath soothed my sore muscles, and replenished my mind with a calm energy.


You all are probably wondering about the giveaway part of this post, so let’s get to it. There will be four winners in this drawing, and each winner gets to pick out one of the following: a Face Elixir, a Bath Oil, a Body Oil, or a perfume Mini (except Parfum Privé). You need to do two things to be entered, so read carefully! 1). Go to the Aftelier website and give a little feedback in your comment about the new design. 2) Let me know what item you want if you are one of the winners. You can get extra entries if you follow Mandy at Facebook or Twitter. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect,Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! Drawing is closed, we have our winners!

Here are my past Aftelier reviews if you need help picking out a fragrance.

Fig

Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil

Lumiere and Tango

Please visit CaFleurBon, Now Smell This, The Non Blonde and PerfumeShrine for more celebration of Aftelier’s new website.

Posted by ~Trish

image from Mandy Aftel’s collection

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Tallulah Jane: Misae & Leotie (+ Giveaway and Discount Code)

The new fragrances by Tallulah Jane are really green. I mean super green. Green because they are made in an eco-friendly manner using only botanical essences, resins and balsams, and they ensure never to use extracts from plants and trees that are considered unsustainable. Their organic and wild crafted oils are in a base of certified organic grape alcohol or jojoba, and are free of parabens, phthalates, and petrochemicals. Tallulah Jane adds even more to their conscientious profile as all of their products are vegan and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free.



These perfumes are also green because they smell green. The technicolor green that only nature can supply, and there’s plenty of it in both Misae and Leotie. Misae is the greener of the two, as lemongrass and galbanum predominate throughout its evolution. Lemongrass of course is lemony, which is fresh and vivid. It reminds me of verbena, only with less floral sweetness, and more balsamic woodiness.


Geranium is present as well which is floral but in keeping with the green/citrusy theme without dominating the perfume. It bolsters the green aspect of the balsams as the lemongrass slowly fades. Misae includes sandalwood from Vanuatu which is smoky with a buttery smoothness. Elemi which is also an essential oil from wood, adds a slightly peppery note to the mix, and both unfold more boldly as Misae moves into the heart and drydown. Misae is for those perfume lovers who like it really green and loaded with woods, specifically sandalwood.



Leotie, like Misae, starts citrusy and green with notes of yuzu and geranium. But rather than taking a stroll through the sandalwood forest as you do with Misae, Leotie takes you to a garden, teeming with warmed blossoms of lavender and a few beds of roses. The green liveliness makes way for a powdery softness giving Leotie a feminine air as opposed to Misae’s more unisex nature. Cedar is also one of Leotie’s essences, but it’s just a touch. It’s perceptible enough to give some earthiness, but without any hint of hamster cage shavings. Warmth and a vanilla-hay note surface thanks to tonka bean and I’m not sure where the touch of cinnamon comes from, but it adds a bright spiciness which balances well with Leotie’s powdery/floral side.


If you’d like to have a full-size of Misae and Leotie (that have been used gently by me), please leave a comment and I’ll enter you in the giveaway. Just leave a comment telling me which of the two suits your style and you’ll be entered. You get extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! We have our winner!


In addition, the lovely folks at Tallulah Jane are offering 15% off all purchases for the month of June. Just use code SCENTHIVE15 at checkout.


Misae and Leotie are available at Tallulah Jane and SpiritBeautyLounge.com. $48 for a 30ml bottle. You can also read my reviews of Tallulah, Gotham and 333.

Posted by ~Trish

StyleCaster has chosen Misae as one of their top nine natural summer scents!

Innocence by Arthur Hacker at ArtMagick.com

Disclosure: Samples from Tallulah Jane were provided for this review. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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The winner of the Velvet & Sweet Pea Giveaway!

The winner is Cousin Katie! I guess she got some good karma points for having a sense of humor regarding my use her perfume comments in the Rose Jasmine Perfume review.  Congrats, Katie, on scoring this Rose Jasmine Perfume and Passionflower gift set and thanks to everyone for your thoughtful comments and follows.

Posted by ~Trish

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Rose Jasmine Perfume & Passionflower Gift Set +Giveaway

One of my favorite natural perfumers, Laurie Stern of Velvet & Sweet Pea, has created gift sets for spring that would make an ideal gift for Mother’s Day. My choice would be the one pictured above, the Rose Jasmine Perfume & Passionflower Gift Set and I actually have one tempting me. But it’s not for me to keep, it’s for me to send to the winner of this giveaway.


The set includes Kashmir Rose Body Frosting which I personally can’t get enough of. (Read more about it in my review of Kashmir Rose from May 2009). The set also includes Passionflower Bath Salts made with blood orange, lime, spearmint, and ylang ylang. I have not experienced Passionflower yet, but love V&SP’s Snow Forest and Kashmir Lavender Bath Salts so I’m sure Passionflower makes for a sublime bathtime as well. I can tell you about Rose Jasmine though since Laurie sent me a sample for this review. But first, a quick story.


My cousin and I visited The Perfume House not too long ago, and I showed  her the Serge Lutens line. She was drawn to Fleurs d’Oranger which is shockingly indolic given its rather innocent sounding name. Let’s just say there’s a good amount of dirty jasmine in Monsieur Luten’s creation. As we left the boutique and headed down the boulevard for more shopping, my cousin sniffed her arm and exclaimed, “My skin smells like sex!”


She’d probably feel the same about Rose Jasmine, a wonderfully juicy jasmine scent that exudes more than a little sensuality. The indoles in this luscious fragrance are booming and present throughout its skintime.  There’s only a mere wisp of rose that appears within the drydown, just in case you need a little something to tame the wild jasmine beast. But to be sure, there is no clean-freshness in Rose Jasmine. It’s a saucy number, dripping with dewy jasmine. It wears close to skin though, rewarding only those who lean in close enough to share in your delight. So make sure if you get this gift set for the mom in your life, that she likes to be a little naughty.


And if you’re a little naughty (and live in the US…sorry it’s a very heavy package) you should enter this fabulous giveaway:


To be entered, go here to V&SP’s site and let me know what Spring Gift Set you would choose for the special mom in your life. You get extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! You’ve got until Sunday April 11th 9pm PST to enter. The winner has been chosen!


Rose Jasmine Perfume & Passionflower Gift Set is available at Velvet & Sweet Pea for $90.



Disclosure: V&SP sent me a sample of Rose Jasmine for review. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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