GreenWitch: A Captivating Perfume from Roxana Villa

If you read Roxana’s blog post regarding her inspiration for GreenWitch, you will find it was named after the book “GreenWitch” by Susan Cooper. It so moved Roxana, that she shifted her creation of a green perfume with an oakmoss base, a chypre (Sheep-ra) in other words, to one a little more oceanic. I appreciate chypres and their fascinating history in perfumery, but they are not my first choice in terms of perfume categories. But GreenWitch is not your typical chypre in a way that will pique the interest of chypre enthusiasts and garner the curiosity of chypre-skeptics. And isn’t today, the first day of Spring, the perfect day to savor a lush-green perfume?

GreenWitch introduces herself decidedly as a chypre with oakmoss, galbanum and a handful of crushed violet leaves and rose petals. The fragrance opening is full, but not sharp. This allows for ease when you sit in her presence, even though you’re not quite sure where you might be lead.

Watery teal was Roxana’s color choice for the art and beautiful hand-crocheted pouch that houses GreenWitch. Apropos since the oakmoss takes on a seaside tone with a vaguely nutty, salty air that vetiver and tonka can both lend. It also develops other floral nuances like boronia and honeysuckle. There are many, many essences in GreenWitch. Far too many to list here. Boronia is on that list, but not honeysuckle. Yet that is what I sense. Could it be that mimosa, ylang ylang and beeswax, which are in the notes, meld together in this fragrance to create a honeysuckle accord? I’m not sure, but I do know that the sweet green nectar of honeysuckle finds its way into my nose everytime I wear GreenWitch. Ultimately, the summery honeysuckle sugar gives way to boronia’s balsamic violet hue which is bright, sumptuous, and augments the green woods of oakmoss.

Wearing GreenWitch after several hours is like a day at the beach coming to a close. It’s the scent of warm skin, salt in your hair, and suntan lotion that barely lingers on your body. Probably not what you’d think from a perfume that started off straight-up chypre. There is a nod to that beginning though, after about six hours of wear when a delicious soapy green freshness develops.It has incredible sillage and staying power which lengthens the fragrance’s evolution, and GreenWitch might well be Roxana’s most multi-layered perfume yet.

GreenWitch is available at Esty. $150 for a 7gm flacon and $25 for a 1gm vial. Each flacon sold will give a percentage to Green Peace.

Please visit these other blogs for their impressions of GreenWitch.

Ida at BitterGrace Notes

The Non Blonde

Perfume Posse

The Windsphere Witch

Perfume Shrine

Portland Examiner

Roxana and Davis at the Illuminated Perfume Journal


Posted by ~Trish

Photos and images ©Roxana Villa and ©Greg Spalenka.

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Scents of Comfort: A Joint Blogging Project

Today is the last day of winter, and as we pass from one season to the next we find ourselves in a moment of reflection. Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums has gathered a handful of bloggers to reflect on the remarkable scents that gave us comfort this past winter. Here is my selection of perfumes that provided warmth in the cold months and will continue to nest a sanctuary for me anytime of year.

Bancha is the first fragrance that came to mind when I received Ayala’s invitation. I wore it throughout the winter, and it felt nurturing and hopeful. Dawn Spencer Hurwtiz has named this fragrance after a type of green tea, but it is so much more than a “tea” perfume. It’s lemony and minty to be sure, but is entrenched in rich dark soil that provides sustenance to roots and bulbs, a reminder of emerging life. Bancha is equally as gorgeous and appropriate on a man, my husband specifically, which makes my affection for Bancha even stronger.

Royal Couple by Gabriel’s Aunt, is an overtly floral fragrance that is wearable and cozy. It starts with an intoxicating dose of jasmine, develops into a subtly spicy floral in the heart, and dries down to a gorgeous vanilla base. Royal Couple’s blend of jasmine and rose is impeccable and fortunately comes in a candle to help light the way when it’s chilly, be it from the weather or internal storminess.

A perfume can be a salve not so much because of its notes, but because of the association you have with its aroma. When I wore Ayala’s Hanami for the first time last spring, it was a near magical day at the Japanese Gardens with my young boys. The sun was bursting with much longed for radiant heat and the cherry blossoms were glowing with an otherworldly pinkness. Hanami was on my skin, and its floral notes of magnolia and mimosa made the day even sweeter. Despite its petal softness, Hanami is very grounded with woods, tonka, vetiver and subtle vanilla. So for me, Hanami is a complex fragrance that recalls a tender memory.

Buying a perfume after you’ve gone through turmoil is another way to experience well-being, at least in my scent obsessed world. I did just that after my recent unexpected surgery, as I deserved and needed a new scent to appease my situation, right? One read of March’s review of Strange Invisible Perfume’s limited edition Dimanche was all it took for me to decide what perfume I would indulge in. Thankfully, I concur with her glowing review. In fact, I’m having a hard time using any other perfume these days as I am in full-blown Dimanche infatuation. I agree with March that Dimanche is sharp in the beginning due to iris that isn’t tempered with something soft to round its edges. Instead, bittersweet cocoa and powdery rose heighten its intensity throughout the top and especially in the heart of the fragrance. Dimanche doesn’t settle until the drydown when hay and honey emerge, making for one interesting affair. It gets even more fascinating when the soapy quality of iris surfaces. This might sound like a motley crew of notes, but it works. It’s compelling, rich, and to use an overused word, a little bit fierce.

Chêne by Roxana Villa is a perfume I wished I’d had this past winter. Although it is a chocolate based fragrance, it suggests a similar ambience to DSH’s Bancha. Chêne is dark and rich with oud, woods and resins yet has a piquant vitality that keeps it from becoming too heavy. The base of this solid perfume is composed of cocoa butter, beeswax, and jojoba seed oil which is dreamy to apply, and perfect for the rainy days of spring around the corner.

These perfumes, and the Royal Couple candle, are all natural and contain no synthetics, petrochemicals, or phthalates. Many of them also use organic ingredients.

Please visit the other blogs who are participating in this comforting event:

SmellyBlog

Roxana’s Illuminated Journal

BitterGrace Notes

Perfume Shrine

Notes from the Ledge

The Non Blonde

Perfume in Progress

Katie Puckrick Smells

A Rose Beyond the Thames

I Smell Therefore I Am

Olfactarama

All I Am A Redhead

Savvy Thinker

Posted by ~Trish

“Bird in the Magnolia Nest” by Hadley Hutton available at etsy.

“This article’s title is an homage to Michelyn Camen‘s original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which interviewed several perfumers to comment on what botanical elements make their perfumes comforting.

 

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Roxana Illuminated Perfume 2nd Tier of Chocolate Perfumes

Spring is burgeoning with much vim and vigor here in the Northwest. Camellias, Daphne, Forsythia, Crocus, Cherry Trees and Narcissus grace us daily with new blossoms and a kaleidoscopic display of color. That means Mother’s Day will get here before you know it and Roxana Villa’s chocolate solid fragrances are special and lovingly made gifts. This review is for Roxana’s 2nd Tier of chocolate perfumes, and you can read my review of her 1st Tier posted just before Valentine’s Day.


Pétales: “The classic combination of chocolate and roses.”

Beautiful and subtle. Pétales is the perfect name for this scent as the rose fragrance is delicate, very pretty and thankfully the chocolate does not overwhelm its dainty petals. Because the rose scent is so authentic and lovely, I would like it to be a little more pronounced and to possess more throw as Pétales wears very close to the skin. It’s perfect for a work or scent-sensitive environment, but I’d love it to be more intensely rosy for an evening out as well.


Coeur de Jasmin: “Rich heart of jasmine enveloped by creamy chocolate.”

Sometimes it only takes a few words to aptly describe a perfume, and Roxana did so with her above written depiction. The heart of jasmine in this case is juicy and indolic, worked into an even more sensual experience with the decadence of dark chocolate. Coeur de Jasmin is truly for the jasmine lover, who wants it with a gourmand touch.


Fleurs de Orange: “A buzz with orange blossom flowers, honey and chocolate.”

This is the one I fell hard for the moment it landed on my skin, and is my favorite of all 11 offerings. Orange blossom absolute, neroli and blood orange put the Orange in Fleurs de Orange. (The difference between neroli and orange blossom absolute is the manner in which the blossoms’ essence is obtained. Neroli is from steam distillation of the bitter orange blossom and the absolute is extracted using solvents.) Fleurs de Orange is a full-bodied, intoxicating citrusy floral, with a mere suggestion of cacao. It is different than L’Orangerie, from the first tier, as L’Orangerieis more of an orange tinged chocolate confection while Fleurs de Orange is a rich and lush floral with a hint of indoles and honey.


Blanc: “Opposite of Noir, a milk chocolate truffle featuring the Vanilla Orchid Bean at center stage.”

Blanc is the most straightforward fragrance in Roxana’s chocolate collection. It smells just like high quality milk chocolate. The vanilla gives it a creamy feel, but it’s really all about the chocolate. Blanc would also be a wonderful fragrance for layering.


Chêne (Oak): “A tribute to the mighty Oak with notes of wood, resin, moss, and oud. The cacao note is more subdued.”

I would agree that the chocolate tones are subtle in Chêne, but it does give a delicious buttressing in the topnotes. Like Roxana’s La Forêt, chocolate and basalmic notes meld beautifully together with the bittersweetness of rich cocoa supporting and intensifying the earthiness. Chêne reminds me of two other Roxana perfumes, as it has the resinous quality of Qand the earthy tang of oud that resides in Terrestre. Chêne has incredible staying power and lasts on my skin for the entire day. I highly recommend it to lovers of piquant woody fragrances.


Thanks to Roxana for another generous giveaway! Go to Roxana’s Etsy site to check out the 5 gm jar and pick the one from the 2nd Tier Chocolate Series you would like to win. Leave a comment telling me which one you want and you will be entered. You are eligible for extra entries, one each, by following Roxana on Twitter and/or her Blog, or making her a favorite on etsy. You can get can also get extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. (Check the right sidebar for the Scent Hive links). Please let me know in your comments what you did so you can get the entries you deserve! We Have our Winner!

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Samples from Roxana Illuminated Perfume were provided for this review. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Valentine’s Day Beauties from Roxana Villa + Giveaway!

This Valentine’s Day, Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfumes has created the perfect gift, a beautiful set of solid fragrances. Chocolate is the unifying note of this solid perfume series and is presented in adorable truffle boxes as a duo or quartet, as well as a complete sample set of all six. Roxana works only with pure botanical essences including the chocolate aroma for her new series. The solid perfumes are made with Scharffen Berger 99% cacao, cocoa butter, organic cocoa powder and theobroma cacao extract from South America. Beeswax, and jojoba seed oil comprise the base of the solids, making them creamy and luxurious to apply.

Noir is dark and bitter with a richness only high quality chocolate can impart. But as the darkness of the chocolate opening faded, the darkness of moist earth began. Patchouli became the prominent note in Noir’s heart, and remained so until the drydown. This patchouli doesn’t have the fecund mintiness that I have grown to prefer, but it nevertheless is a superb patchouli that gets your hands dirty in rich, warm soil.

Cerise is a cherry truffle scent. I am not a cherry/chocolate person when it comes to my preferred candy choices and I probably would have passed it by if it weren’t for this review. Turns out, Cerise is one of my favorites of the six. Its cherry was like a sweet port rather than a cloying syrup and was very well-balanced against the intensity of Scharffen Berger’s 99% cacao. The cherries morphed into blackberries on my skin, recalling the dog days of summer. Yet, as those last summer days are a reminder that time is fleeting, Cerise was fleeting too. It didn’t last nearly as long as Noir, but because I adore Cerise I would not hesitate to buy the compact and I do hope that Roxana makes this into a body butter.

La Forêt is probably the least chocolatey of the six, but nevertheless, my favorite of the bunch. It’s a “dense conifer forest” as Roxana describes, and indeed the aroma of pine, spruce, and fir welled up when applied.La Forêt is reminiscent of Mandy Aftel’s Fig which has an equally sophisticated and dense piney scent. But whereas Fig is jammy and teeming with jasmine’s floral intensity, La Forêt’s greenness is augmented by unsweetened chocolate. Winter holidays come to mind whenever I smell such a lovely pine scent, but keep in mind, this scent is used in aromatherapy to refresh and revitalize any time of year.

L’Orangerie took me by surprise. I thought it would smell just like those chocolate covered orange sticks that are scrumptuous, but I wasn’t sure I would want to wear that scent on my skin. Well, I was right and wrong. They do smell like those candies, and I love smelling like a box of them!  The orange is radiant, and more like a ripe juicy tangerine with its sweetness. The chocolate in L’Orangerie seems sweeter because of this, never overwhelming the bright citrus.

Bois de Chocolat is the solid I have worn the most, and after wearing it again last night, I might have to rethink claiming La Forêt as my favorite. “Smokey woods and chocolate” is the scent description from Roxana, and it is indeed smoky. My impression of the woods in Bois de Chocolat is that of Agarwood (oud). It’s got the tangy, freshly chopped wood quality that I associate with Agarwood. Bois de Chocolat is a gentler version of Oudh Lacquer, another smoky/chocolate/agarwood scent that Liz Zorn created last year. Oudh Lacquer is a gorgeous perfume, but might be too intense for some tastes. Bois de Chocolat is the Yin to Oudh Lacquer’s Yang. So give Bois de Chocolate a go if you’re looking for a more subdued yet equally enticing experience.

L‘epice is a spicy mix of cloves, cinnamon and bitter orange rind. Are you familiar with Celestial Seasonings Bengal Spice tea? I drink that brew frequently, and L’epice is reminiscent of its spicy goodness. Roxana doesn’t list the specific notes for her chocolate fragrances, but states that L’epice is: “Spice, hint of vanilla and chocolate”. The vanilla and chocolate escaped me, and I would love to smell more of those notes in L’epice. Regardless, it’s a lovely mulled spice perfume that hastens comfort and a touch of sensuality.

Now for the giveaway info! Go to Roxana’s Etsy site to check out the 5gm jar and pick the one from the Chocolate Series you would like to win. Leave a comment telling me which one you want and you will be entered. You are eligible for extra entries, one each, by following Roxana on Twitter and/or her Blog. You can get can also get extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. (Check the right sidebar for the Scent Hive links). Please let me know in your comments what you did so you can get the entries you deserve!

Update: Because of the amazing response I need to pick the winner sooner than I thought!  You can enter until Friday January 29th at 9pm PST. Comments closed, I’ll announce the winner soon!

And just for fun, two extra entries if you Tweet about this giveaway. Use this short link (http://bit.ly/5SIuAx) within your tweet. You can let me know by posting the Twitter link in your comment.

Disclosure: Samples from Roxana Illuminated Perfume were provided for this review. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Illustration by Greg Spalenka at Spalenka.com

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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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Advent to Hanukkah

Advent is usually associated with Christmas, but my husband and I have decided to celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in our house so I thought a mixed title was quite appropriate for my contribution to this holiday blogging event. Yes, there’s the chance my boys will grow up to be very confused about their religious upbringing, but I figure life is confusing enough…why not make is more so? And since I’m not converting to Judaism, many Jews won’t regard my boys as “true Jews” so we’re really stacking the cards against them. But hey, their waspy-goyish mom can make a mean latke. Seriously, they’re beyond. Here’s my secret: you’ve got to hand-grate the potatoes. No food processors allowed. And keep the already grated potatoes in ice-cold water while you’re grating the others so they don’t turn pink and brown.


Friday is the first night of Hanukkah, and we’re having a small gathering on Saturday night. I’m in charge of the organizing and cooking, as I have been the last nine years of our tradition, and I love the smell of frying potatoes, apple sauce, melted wax, and chocolate wafting throughout the house. Kids playing dreidel and running around the house add to the festive scene and I especially like it when Hanukkah and Christmas don’t overlap, so Hanukkah can be the sole focus of the night. Lighting the menorah to commemorate the miracle that a single day’s worth of oil lasted for eight during the purification of the Temple’s rededication is my favorite Hanukkah moment. Bringing light into the dark is a ritual many people cherish, especially during the Winter Solstice. So while the lighting of the candles is on a menorah, it also feels very all-inclusive and transcendental.


I know I joked about religious confusion above, but the crux of this is a warm and loving home with traditions children can hold onto. Love transcends religion and my boys will feel that, regardless of what path they choose. Whether they have a menorah or a Christmas tree, or both (or neither) in their adult homes, they will always remember having playful and loving Hanukkah parties when they were kids. (Even if there was Christmas music playing in the background every now and then).



So what perfume will they remember me wearing this holiday season?  Probably a delicious mash-up since I’m constantly trying new scents, oils and body creams. DSH Perfume’s Epices d’Hiver is getting a lot of skintime this fall/winter. I reviewed it here, but I’ll reiterate that it’s a spicy gourmand, powdery-vanillic comfort perfume that will no doubt become a cold weather staple.


Ayala Moriel Parfum’s Fête d’Hiver has become another winter favorite, and is spicy in a completely different way. It’s richly floral as gardenia, rose maroc absolute and rose otto lavishly glisten throughout Fête d’Hiver’s structure. Just a pinch of allspice and nutmeg impart the piquant edge, while Ayala’s amber accord adds a delicious and cozy, powdery vanilla. A resinous woody base of frankincense and sandalwood, gilded by the winterized gardenia allows us to leave our fête with perfumed snowflakes lingering on our skin as the night comes to a close.


Much thanks to Roxana Villa of Roxana Illuminated Perfume for organizing this Holiday Blogging Event. Please visit the links below to read the other participants’ contributions.


Sunday – November 29th: Guest blogger Jane Sibbett opens the Circle

Monday – November 30th: Guest blogger Wendel Meldrum

Tuesday – December 1st: Roxana Villa

Wednesday – December 2nd: Guest blogger Ida Meister

Thursday – December 3rd: Memory and Desire, Heather Ettlinger

Friday – December 4th: Memory and Desire, Jason Ettlinger

Saturday – December 5th: Guest blogger Jade Shutes

Sunday, December 6th, Eve and Roxana

Monday – December 7th: Indie Perfumes, Lucy Raubertas

Tuesday – December 8th: Scent Hive, Trish

Wednesday – December 9th: Olive Bites, Catherine Ivins

Thursday – December 10th: Perfume Smellin’ Things, Tom

Friday – December 11th: Lillyella, Nicole

Saturday – December 12th: The Non-Blonde, Gaia

Sunday – December 13th: Portland Examiner, Donna Hathaway

Monday – December 14th: Xenotees, Noelle

Tuesday – December 15th: The Beauty You Love, Lee

Wednesday – December 16th: Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, Mrs. B

Thursday – December 17th: The Artful Gypsy, Wendy Amdahl

Friday – December 18th: Perfume Shrine, Helg

Saturday – December 19th: Notes on Shoes, Cake & Perfume, Wendy

Sunday – December 20th: Grindstone Girl’s Daily, Kathi Roussel

Monday – December 21st WINTER SOLSTICE: Perfume Smellin’ Things, Beth

Tuesday – December 22nd: Guest blogger Davis Alexander

Wednesday – December 23rd: Guest blogger Greg Spalenka, Artist as Brand

Thursday – December 24th: Fringe, Dennice Mankarious

Friday – December 25th: Asking Leah, Leah

Photograph by my husband

Posted by ~Trish

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Cozy Lavender Perfumes: Ajne, Tsi-La, & Roxana Illuminated Perfumes

Lavenlight

Most of you fellow perfume lovers know the uncontainable fervor of a “note obsession.” That desire to experience every perfume that features a specific note until you find the perfect fragrance in which that scent, be it cedar, vanilla, gardenia, whatever… comes alive for you as it never has before. If you are new to fragrance and intrigued by this world, you will almost certainly find yourself on a “note obsession” bender at some point.


I have been on many over the past six to seven years. The most recent ones have been vetiver, tobacco and lavender. My lavender fascination took me by surprise, as most “note obsessions” do. Usually a subtle passing whiff or a mere suggestion in casual conversation can trigger a full-blown infatuation. It was two summers ago, and I must have tried every lavender scent I could get my hands on. I won’t bore you with my research details, but the final contenders were Annick Goutal’s Eau de Lavande and Caron’s Pour un Homme. Both are fantastic lavender renditions, but neither felt completely at home on my skin. My lavender crush became a summer fling.

Ajne deLavandeIt’s in those moments when you let go of finding perfection, that little treasures enter your life. Summer left and the bone chilling northwest rain made its entrance.  Along with it came the discovery of Ajne, an exquisite natural perfumery in Carmel, California. They do chakra evaluations in their boutique, and also over the phone, if you’d like guidance in selecting your perfume. I figured it would be interesting, so I took the test. The results directed me to the lavender scent I had been looking for all along, deLavande. According to the folks at Ajne, deLavande helps open the throat chakra, the area that allows you to speak your truth. (Their chakra test also revealed that I needed some work on my crown chakra, so Fleur Blanche, my gardenia holy grail, was also recommended). So here I am to tell you about it.


deLavande is created with three types of lavender, Ajne’s own that they grown on their organic farm, as well as lavender from Provence and Bulgaria. Ajne does not list specific notes other than “smoky-almond wood” which hopefully is enough to stir up the warm, softening experience of deLavande in your mind. Lavender of course is the vital element of this fragrance, providing the herbal and slightly medicinal quality that brings rejuvenation and relaxation to those of us who enjoy the scent. But alongside the subtle smoky woods, is a luscious powderiness that must come from either benzoin or labdanum, or a blend of the two. The result is like being enveloped in the aroma of bread baking in a lavender infused wood stove. It’s not gourmand, or foody, it just possesses the warmth and comfort of freshly baked bread on a fall day.


Tsi-La MisakiTsi-La’s Misaki and Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s Vera are like sisters to deLavande. They all look similar, but have their own individual characteristics that set them apart. Misaki has much more of a tannic and slightly green feeling, which makes sense as warm tea, green tea moss and crushed mint are listed in the fragrance description. French lavender is too, (no big surprise there), but Sicilian bergamot, Tahitian vanilla orchid and neroli are as well, none of which made an impression on me. I could not sense any citrus or vanilla tones in Misaki. Once the intense tannic quality quieted and the drydown settled, a hint of maple-kissed tea leaves developed, redolent of immortelle essential oil. I would consider both deLavande and Misaki wearable for both men and women, and appropriate for all seasons. Yet, Misaki might lend itself more unisex and more seasonless since it’s less powdery.


VeraWhile I did find Vera to have a powdery-lavender nature, it is also the most herbaceous of the three due to its prominent sage note. California lavender, sage, hay and orange blossom mingle to give Vera a well blended bouquet. At the top, Vera has a fabulous boozy hit, like that of a lavender infused vodka allowing for a seamless transition to the verdant sage and hay notes. All of those herbal ingredients could have turned Vera into just another lavender perfume, but Roxana’s masterful touch drew upon orange blossom in just the right amount, giving the fragrance softness and a gentle floral garnish. Like deLavande, it’s cozy, a little sensual, and beckons all lavender lovers to try the perfume on their skin.


All of these perfumes are 100% all natural and are wonderfully long-lasting. Roxana Villa gives a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Vera to support the Ojai Lavender Festival.


deLavande is available at Ajne: $40 for  0.125oz Parfum Petite, $80 for 0.5oz, $130 for 1 oz

Misaki is available at SpiritBeautyLounge: $125 for 1.7oz

Vera is available at Roxana Illuminated Perfume: $150 for a 7gm flacon in a hand crocheted pouch.

Posted by ~Trish

“Lavenlight” original photograph by AliciaBock on etsy.
Disclosure: A sample of Vera was sent to me by Roxana Illuminated Perfume for review. The others were bought by me. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Bee Here Now, Blogging Project

BeeHereNow1

The name for my blog, Scent Hive, is clearly inspired by bees. I’m no expert on these insects, but am fascinated by their amazing ability to communicate with each other and of course their attraction to (and need of) scent and flowers. Communicating about natural scents and beauty products, and a maybe a little sharing of information, is why I started Scent Hive, hence the tagline, “Collect your pollen. Fly away inspired.” I’ve collected a little pollen from the New York Times on colony collapse disorder, or in other words, the disappearance of honeybees. Most of the nitty-gritty behind the vanishing of bee colonies is way over my head, so I appreciate the common sense advice given by Marla Spivak, a professor of entomology at the University of Minnesota:

What can we do to help bees? Plant lots of flowers that provide nectar and pollen for bees, and reduce pesticide use. These two tangible and relatively easy actions, when implemented by many people, can save our bees and restore health and diversity to our agricultural and urban landscapes.

So let’s heed Dr. Spivak’s call to plant more flowers and support perfumers who use real flower essences in their perfumes to get more bees buzzing shall we?

Ayala Moriel Parfums’ The Purple Dress

For this bee focused post, I’ll be reviewing perfumes that have honey notes in them, and Ayala Sender, the creator of Ayala Moriel Parfums will release honey tinged, The Purple Dress, in December 2009. For those of you who love champaca, oud, anise and honey, you might want to go ahead and purchase a sample as they are available now.

The Purple Dress is an elegant tannic brew steeped in anise that is unique in its own right, but is of the same ilk as Aftelier’s Tango, another honeyed perfume. Both are dark and smoky, moody and sexy, and have gorgeous powdery woodsy drydowns. But Tango’s opening exploits champaca’s headiness to its fullest whereas The Purple Dress is probably more versatile in its smoothness. Its champaca is tempered by the lightheartedness of magnolia and an easy touch of honey but also grounded by black tea’s continual presence. According to Ayala’s website, this fragrance is a salute to Alexander Argov, who composed the famous Israeli song, The Purple Dress. You can hear an excerpt of it here and enjoy its evocative melancholic beauty, similar to its namesake perfume.

Artemisia Natural Perfume’s Yuzu Citrus

Yuzu Citrus is the creation of Lisa Fong, founder of Artemisia Natural Perfume. With a description like “honey, lemon verbena, in a subtle grassy base,” you’d think Yuzu Citrus would be all citrusy and green, which it no doubt is. It’s sparkling and uplifting. I feel like a young girl with flaxen hair (I’m a brunette by the way), running amuck in a late summer’s wildflower meadow with grass so dry you can smell the need of rain in the air. But it’s more complex than that thanks to galbanum and frankincense. In the opening and in the heart, there’s an expansion of the grassy/honey pairing that’s warm and haylike and reminiscent of beeswax. Ahhh beeswax! Such a sweet resinous scent that embodies heat and depth. After several hours of skintime, Yuzu Citrus morphs into a delectable liquid honey skinscent. I love it, and it’s most definitely full-bottle-worthy.

I’ll declare Artemisia’s Yuzu Citrus seasonless. A perfect warm weather citrus perfume that’s not too sweet and most certainly not ordinary. And beautifully comforting for those colder days to remind you of the sun’s toasty glow, but grounded enough to not be a tease.

Velvet & Sweet Pea’sHoney

How could I write about bees and honey and not include Velvet & Sweet Pea’s Honey perfume? Honey is a rich, glistening, golden honey perfume. Laurie Stern, the creator of V&SP, uses the word opulent to describe Honey on her website, and I am in full agreement. It strikes me as a wearable vintage perfume. It speaks with a regal tone, but it’s not going to put anyone off. Quite the contrary.Honey will entice with its luxurious notes of French orange blossom, Moroccan and Bulgarian rose, vetiver, and Madagascar vanilla. Bees are offered the chance to use their charms in three different ways in this fragrance, via honey, beeswax and Laurie’s “bee guru’s” propolis. Not one note in particular stands out on its own in Honey, but rather all are joined together harmoniously and expertly in a floral gourmand with a vintage edge.

And the best bit? Laurie is a bee keeper, enabling her to use the honey and beeswax from her hive for use in her Honey perfume and other products. Additionally, as with all of the aforementioned perfumers (Ayala Moriel Parfums, Aftelier and Artemisia Natural Perfumes) V&SP perfumes are 100% all natural. That means nothing synthetic, no petroleum products and no phthalates. So enjoy your honey!

Many thanks to Roxana of Roxana Illuminated Perfume for organizing this Bee Celebration. I am honored to be included in such illustrious company. Please check out the following list of bloggers for their posts inspired by bees and their honey:

Roxana’s Blog

Perfume Shrine

The Non Blonde

Beth Gehring

Donna Hathaway

Posted by ~Trish

Bee Illustration ©Roxana Villa

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