Desir by Ajne

My sample of Ajne’s Desir has been sorely neglected for nearly two years. It’s been so long that I don’t know if I bought it, got it in a swap, or if it was gifted to me. Nevertheless, it resurfaced during a much needed organizing session of my perfume samples and quickly made its way onto my skin.

I’ve been suffering from jasmine fatigue lately, so immediately after applying it I thought to myself, “oh no, am I going to be smelling this indolic jasmine for the rest of the night?” and began to regret my hasty application. Don’t get me wrong, the opening is a rather enticing jasmine, but not what I had hoped to experience. Luckily, my regret was never fully realized. After a few minutes of jasmine lushness, a cinnamon tinged sandalwood note began to pulsate among the petals, tempering the tropical headiness with sweet spice and grounding woods.

This elegant balance of an opulent and rich floral note alongside a warm, spicy wood note is beautifully achieved as the juxtaposition is apparent enough to be appreciated yet seamless at the same time. The heart of Desir continues with this smooth interplay until another floral nuance emerges, and a familiar one at that. 

Interestingly, the drydown has a distinct similarity to Anotnia’s Flowers. As many of you know, Antonia’s Flowers is an ode to freesia, and its peppery lightness is unmistakable. At this late stage of development, Desir possesses a similarly high pitched floral tone which is not so much freesia-esque, but more like magnolia which is in Antonia’s Flowers, as is jasmine. Magnolia can have an edge of camphor while still possessing a fruitiness that is reminiscent of berries, and both of these qualities are present in Desir’s base. Honestly, I have no idea if magnolia is in Desir, and it could very easily be a phantom note that Gaia wrote about earlier today.

Ultimately, the list of notes is irrelevant. What it is relevant, is the beauty of this complex, all natural perfume. Desir took me on an adventure that many hours later I can still smell on my skin as the beautiful hum of a magnolia-laden woody floral.

Desir is available at ranging in price from $55 for 0.125oz to $190 for 1oz. Their lotion and body oil can be scented with Desir and I highly recommend this option if you’d like to experience their fragrances, but want to keep costs down.

Image: “Desire”by Pino© Copyright Classic Publications


Printemps by Ajne

OK, so enough about nail polish! Let’s get back to natural perfumes.

Ahh, Printemps. You’re the lovely hippie chick who I admired from afar in college. Beautiful with your long flaxen hair and low slung jeans before they were today’s standard fare. But you’re all grown up now. Sophisticated. Complex. Yet, still clinging to your bohemian roots.

You are a musky white floral in the same vein as China Rain, but with gardenia at the helm. Lily of the valley is commonly the prominent note in the now ubiquitous healthfood store China Rain-esque blends. (No disrespect to lily of the valley, muguet takes my breath away when done properly). Instead, Printemps possesses gardenia and lime blossoms which bring fullness to this white floral fragrance which is much needed, so that it does not become too familiar. It’s also made by Ajne, a California based perfumery that uses only natural essences of the highest quality.

The opening of Printemps graces us with smoky woods, South Pacific barks, and drift woods per the website. This portion of the Printemps experience is too fleeting in my opinion. I tend to prefer woody florals over musky florals, and luckily have a full bottle of Ajne’s other gardenia based perfume, Fleur Blanche, which is of that ilk. But for those who do love musk, soft florals and a hint of powder, Printemps might be your girl, especially if you like Kai which it closely resembles. I am partial to the all-natural choice of Printemps as the pure botanicals lend a subtle complexity when compared to the sharper “fragrance oil blend” style of Kai.

As for sillage and longevity, Printemps has great throw and lasts for many hours. There are several sizes available that you can check out on Ajne’s website, but to give you an idea of price point, a 1 oz bottle is $140. A bargain when compared to Kai which goes for $45 for a 0.125 oz roll-on.

Posted by ~Trish

image from
Disclosure: The sample of Printemps is from my own collection. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


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


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.


Ajne’s Fleur Blanche

Some might consider this hyperbole, but I’m going to say it. Finding a gardenia fragrance to call your own can be a transformative experience. Gardenias can symbolize long stretches of lush beaches, tropical winds, and days of relaxation. A gardenia tucked in your hair, or a dab of this heady scent wafting behind your ear has the ability to elevate you to a tranquil state of mind.

My perfume journey, or more accurately obsession, truly took flight after a trip to Hawaii in the summer of 2003. It was as most vacations to Hawaii are; relaxing, beautiful and filled with the glorious scent of tropical flowers. Plumeria are my absolute favorite, but gardenia and pikake run a close second. The scent of any of them immediately transfix and intoxicate me. Upon my return, I began my quest for a tropical floral perfume to love and cherish. Since then, I have tried a multitude of gardenia fragrances most of which either turn metallic, possess migraine-inducing headiness, or honestly smell nothing like gardenia. Kai has sufficed for a while. Its top note of gardenia is true and clear, but ultimately has too many aspects of China Rain which are difficult to overlook. Don’t get me wrong, many people adore China Rain. But fortunately for me, in floated Ajne’s Fleur Blanche, a gardenia that blooms brighter than the rest.

Ajne is a perfumery in Carmel, Ca. devoted to using organic, plant derived ingredients. What initially set Ajne apart for me was their questionnaire, (Kristi did this very graciously over the phone), to evaluate their customers’ chakras. For example, my crown chakra, or spiritual connection, needs a little work. Apparently gardenia is one of the flowers that will help me achieve my bliss. You might not believe in all this chakra business, but I can tell you, Fleur Blanche is downright blissful. Upon first spritz it’s a glorious gardenia blooming before your eyes with a slightly woody backdrop and just a hint of smoke. The smokiness fades and the woods become a bit more prominent. Fleur Blanche does not evolve greatly, yet this is not a negative when you are dealing with such a gorgeous scent from the outset.

Ajne lists the notes very generally as florals, woods and fruits. But Kristi mentioned ambrette seed in our follow-up conversation, so I wonder if that gives Fleur Blanche a bit of its smokiness. Ambrette seeds are from the hibiscus plant in India, and are a botanical source of musk rather than from an animal source such as deer. This very subtle smoky, musky, woodsy air gives Fleur Blanche a well rounded quality. There is no metallic edge, no plastic residue smell. And I was never wondering….is this really gardenia? (Even though the Ajne website tells us this is a replication of gardenia as the flower cannot be distilled). The buttery petals linger on the skin for the entire day and its sillage, its “trail of scent”, is moderately strong. Quite impressive given this is a natural fragrance. Ajne also transforms this perfume, and all of its perfumes, into a body oil and lotion. I have not tried the body lotion, but the oil is lovely and holds the scent well. A less expensive way to try Fleur Blanche and find your bliss!

Exclusively for Scent Hive readers! Enter SCENTHIVE in the online certificate space at and receive 25% off your order of $75 or more. Promotion valid until February 23, 2009.

Ajne is synthetic free, paraben free, phthalate free, petro-free, harsh-sulfate free, entirely vegan and never tested on animals.

Ajne is available at and Bergdorf Goodman (212) 753-7300

Decants of Fleur Blanche are available at The Perfumed Court.

posted by ~Trish

Photo by poly_mnia on flickr