We were in Italy recently, and this is one of my favorite shots that I took on the trip. It’s from Francavilla al Mare on the Adriatic coastline and it truly embodies the relaxed nature of our time there. We had such an amazing trip, and if you follow me on instagram, you have probably seen the places we visited in this region as well as Siena and Rome. Incredibly beautiful and such delicious food of course!
These feel like tumultuous and uncertain times, so even though the weather is getting warmer for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it still feels good to wear a perfume that wraps us up like a comforting blanket. One perfume that provides much needed succor while feeling heartsick, is Flora, a warm and gently spicy fragrance that envelopes you in its pillowy petals.
Travels to the Far East inspired Lina Hanson to create Satori. Notes of yuzu, ginger, and sandalwood were chosen to evoke the landscape and culture of China, Japan and Thailand. While I have never travelled to these countries, Satori feels as relaxing and restorative as a Japanese Garden. (If you ever come to Portland, you must visit our traditional and gorgeous Japanese Garden). Yuzu is one of my favorite uplifting, citrusy scents so I was anxious to try this immediately after opening the package Lina Hanson sent. Yuzu is a lot like grapefruit essential oil, with a similar sharpness, but also has the vaguely spicy quality of bergamot. I think it was a brilliant choice to pair yuzu with ginger, since ginger too is spicy resulting in a piquant citrus aroma.
Dawn Spencer Hurwitz of DSH Perfumes flew under my naturals-loving radar until a few months ago. One of her purely botanical gems that I discovered is Chinoise. Dawn refers to this perfume as “a quiet and contemplative moment amongst groves of whispering camphor trees; a grounding aroma.” I have yet to experience such a moment in a camphor tree grove, but I concur with her opinion that Chinoise is a grounding aroma.
Its notes are white camphor, sandalwood, himalayan cedar, and agarwood. All of them blend seamlessly making Chinoise greater than the sum of its parts. This is not an overtly camphor fragrance, or a strong sandalwood fragrance, and most definitely not agarwood-esque either. Cedar is possibly the most noticeable note, but it’s dusky, not sharp. Very subtle. In fact, I’d be hard pressed to identify any individual note as they meld and mingle with soothing parity.
Somehow, the combination of these notes create the scent that is emitted when you set a hot iron on crisp, freshly washed cotton linens. It’s not a dryer sheet smell, or the “clean” smell that has become so ubiquitous, but rather, the comforting aroma that’s suffused into the air by warming natural fibers.
Because the notes are so diffuse, they create a mood moreso than a floral, woody or smoky perfume experience. Indeed this fragrance would be appropriate for work, or around those who might be sensitive to strong perfumes. But Chinoise encompasses more than that. I’ll harken back to Dawn’s words and agree with her once more that Chinoise is very contemplative, and even though I don’t have a camphor tree grove in my vicinity, I’d like to sit admist one, with Chinoise on my wrists and a book of Chinese Buddhist teachings in my hands.
Chinoise is available at DSH Perfumes.
Posted by ~Trish
Disclosure: I received a sample of Chinoise EdP as an extra with a DSH Perfumes order. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Buddhist Painting from art.com
The sun rarely shines in April as brightly in the Northwest as it did the day Hanami arrived. It was also the day I planned to take my boys to the Japanese Gardens, so the sample’s arrival felt inspired. After gingerly opening the padded envelope, Hanami immediately went on my wrists and neck. And then stepping outside, I could feel my bones finally being warmed by the sun’s rays on my skin. I grabbed my boys from school, and off we went to stroll the gardens. The cherry blossoms were radiant in the sunlight, twinkling against the impossibly clear sky. Rows of pink gauzey blooms were dreamlike, and it was all I could do to keep from smelling my wrists.
Hanami, the Ayala Moriel Parfums fragrance, twinkles like a light and floats like gauze upon the opening. It’s sparkly with mildly peppery topnotes, and weightless like gossamer with its minimalist rendering of mimosa and frangipani. The fragrance also possesses unexpected buttery and dewy qualities, and the woods are immediately palpable which carry you right to Hanami’s heart which is a beautifully blended woody floral. Hanami then shifts back and forth in the drydown, evolving with your motion, the breeze, and warmth of your skin; from the sweetness of vanilla, back to woods and florals. Sometimes the woods are more pronounced, then honeyed mimosa peeks in again, powdery citrusy magnolia breezes by…
Hanami was created by Ayala Sender after she was invited by Heather Ettlinger to be a part of the Perfume in a Poem project. Ms. Ettlinger is the founder of the blog Memory and Desire, who over a year ago asked several perfumers to create a fragrance inspired by the following two-lined poem:
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
Ayala discusses her experience and inspiration for creating Hanami here. I recommend stopping by the link as she is a poetic writer in addition to being a fabulously talented perfumer.
Clearly Ezra Pound’s poem is not evocative of sunny, pastoral days like I had in the park. Dark, overcast days on an anonymous city street is the tone the poem elicits. But not to be mistaken for another part of the country, rainy days came quickly, and Hanami’s temperament fit them as well. The woods took on more of a damp, moody quality in the wet weather. And the vetiver, while more subdued in the warmth, opened its grassy earthiness more readily. Subsequent wearings also heightened my awareness to a subtle hint of sandalwood within the drydown, and interestingly bakul attar is in the base notes. I came across a fascinating piece about bakul trees on Floracopeia, which I highly recommend reading. Bakul attar is made from the essential oil of the bakul flower and sandalwood oil. And while I am not familiar with the scent of the bakul flower, the sandalwood provides a warm woody base for the florals of Hanami.
As mentioned above though, the base provides a foundation for morphing to occur, and it transpired again in the cooler, rainy weather when the earthier, mustier notes became more apparent. I love this aspect of Hanami, and find it incredibly appealing that it seems to be a fragrance for all seasons. Spring and Fall at least. I’ll have to see how it wears in extreme heat and cold temperatures. But I have been wearing Hanami all week and I give it high praise indeed.
Hanami means “to enjoy the cherry blossom season” in Japanese. It can also mean “flower party.” Well, for those of you in the Los Angeles area, there’s a flower party going on at Blunda Aromatics on Saturday April 18th and Ayala Sender will be there to exhibit her gorgeous Hanami. So if you are in the area, stop over there for tea and chocolates that Ayala crafts herself, and meet this incredibly talented perfumer who is dedicated to the use of 100% all natural ingredients in her perfumes. See the Blunda Aromatics link for full details.
Hanami is available at Ayala Moriel Parfums.
Posted by ~Trish