Amberene by Liz Zorn

My newest perfume love is a little unexpected as a fragrance centered around an amber accord is not what I usually gravitate towards on a warm summer day. But I’ve been digging through my sample stash lately, and when the name “Amberene” piqued my interest, I threw caution to the wind and gave it a try.

Amberene is part of Liz Zorn’s Demi-absolute collection which are high concentration eau de parfums (18-22%) and include all natural fragrances as well as “Mixed Media” which are mostly natural, but do utilize synthetics. Amberene is one of her all natural offerings, of which there are many on her site.

If you’ve never worn a Liz Zorn creation, you really should. Her perfumes are almost always complex and intriguing so even if you don’t fall head over heels in love with something, you will most certainly appreciate the experience. Amberene is one of her creations in which, for me, love and intrigue come together.

I know there’s nothing particularly newsworthy about a spicy amber, or one touched by pathchouli and floral notes, but it’s the chosen essences that feel inventive. To start, Amberene is given a refreshing sparkle from grapefruit and clove which is the perfect entrée to this lighthearted amber. The hit of piquant citrus speaks to the warmth of summer while the clove keeps it spicy and appropriate for cooler temperatures.

The heart of Amberene is exceptionally beautiful as the classic pairing of heliotrope and violet surfaces and quietly engulfs the citrus topnote leaving only a whisper of clove. Tonka is also present and mingles joyfully with violet and heliotrope, like a modern Guerlinade confection. The powdery violet, almondy heliotrope and vanillic tonka are inherently soft and sweet, which provides the ideal setting for cardamom and cinnamon to lend a spicy-earthy quality while maintaining a feeling of comfort and familiarity.

The drydown is where you’ll find the true ambery essence of Amberene. Benzoin steps up in this late stage bringing the culinary spices along but leaving the florals behind. I sense a touch of labdanum and maybe a hint of woods, but really, this amber base is all about the benzoin. And this is a very good thing. Benzoin alone encompasses what I love in a perfume. It’s sweet, earthy, a little musty, and wafts a most intoxicating vanilla aroma.

Liz Zorn states that Amberene can “easily be worn for daytime and as a year round soft amber.” I am in full agreement. For these late summer days, the bright opening combined with its soft ambery-violet glow melds right into the skin along with the warmth of the sun. And I anticipate that Amberene’s sweet florals and cozy spices will be the perfect antidote to the winter blues.

Amberene is available at LizZornPerfumes.com 11 ml for $35 and 35 ml for $95.

Disclosure: A sample was sent to me for consideration by Liz Zorn. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Image: Fire Fanices by Arthur Hacker at artmagick.com 

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Pink Praline by Soivohlé/Liz Zorn

Liz Zorn might be the most intriguing perfumer I have come across. Her fragrances are complex, unexpected and have a definite intelligence behind them. Never have I applied one of her perfumes and thought, “Ah yes, that’s what I thought this would smell like.” Pink Praline is no exception. The first time I wore it I was continually trying to figure it out, but now I know better to simply bask in its eccentricity.


Pink Praline is from the Soivohlé line of all natural perfumes which are made from plant based materials and use certified organic grain alcohol as a carrier. As its name implies, there is a sugary sweetness to Pink Praline that melds with pink grapefruit in its first 5-10 minutes on the skin. It’s fun and girly, but this phase is short lived as it quickly takes a more grown-up departure in the heart.


Cocoa and coffee notes emerge with a coating of what I’m guessing is Liz’s amber base. Her amber consists of benzoin, labdanum and tolu balsam, all of which intermingle with the bittersweet mocha-gourmand element. The duration of Pink Praline hangs in this delicious ambery-mocha mélange with every note pronouncing its presence within seconds of each other. For example, labdanum (or something awfully similar) and cocoa weave in and out, separately and then together in this interesting play of smells making Pink Praline animated and lively, but kinda sultry too.


Like I said above, Liz Zorn’s fragrances intrigue me and always give me something to think about. Pink Praline gets me pondering a free-spirited sexiness that’s ready for spring!


Pink Praline EdP is available at Soivohlé for $40 for .33 oz.

Posted by ~Trish


Photo from myvintageaddiction.com
Disclosure: A Pink Praline sample was given to me by a friend (thanks Jessica!). The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Natural Tobacco Perfumes

It’s been about a year now that I have been drawn to tobacco scents.  Discovering In Fiore’s Maia, which is now called Jasmin Supérieur, sent me down this road due to its subtle yet intoxicating tobacco quality. I had always assumed tobacco in perfume would have to be an acquired taste for me. Turns out, I love it and it loves me.


The quest for my tobacco perfume has lead me to not one, but three fragrances that have fulfilled my aromatic leafy needs. Ayala Moriel Parfums Espionage was the first to capture my heart. Its opening is pure tobacco. Smoky, dry tobacco, that’s sultry and brings out my don’t-mess-with-me-side. After 10-20 minutes, in comes the leather to add to this tough-girl feel. Not too intensely though, Espionage is a tough girl wrapped in supple leather. And at the moment you might get too cocky with the tobacco and leather attitude, jasmine and rose begin to bloom, smoothing out the edges of the initial tobacco hit.




The smoky tones merge with the floral voluptuousness, giving this tobacco fragrance a sensual ambience that is deep and alluring. There’s a touch of vanilla to soften the scent another notch, but this is not a sweet tobacco, and I recommend Espionage if you’re wanting a tobacco scent that leans subtly floral, rather than sweet.


A requisite for anyone on a tobacco quest, Caron’s Tabac Blond has to be experienced. Unfortunately, Tabac Blond was too sharp at the beginning with a rough, cracked leather note and finished with a floral melange that turned into a violet/iris musty mess on my skin. I so wanted to love this classic tobacco fragrance that was released in 1919 and manages to still be around, albeit with reformulations. Loving Espionage instead is no small consolation. Ayala Sender, the creator of Ayala Moriel Parfums, is a beautiful olfactory artist inside and out, and I am thrilled to support her independent, all natural perfumery.


Liz Zorn of Soivohlé is another master at the art of creating gorgeous natural perfumes. Her Vanillaville is my answer to Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille which I thought might be a worthy contender. It was not. Tobacco Vanille took me back to my 80’s youth when I sneaked clove cigarettes in high school. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I love the smell of clove cigarettes. But something in Tobacco Vanille went haywire on my skin, and it turned into a toothachingly sweet tobacco. I much prefer Vanillaville as it’s smoother and the vanilla note doesn’t strangle the earthiness out of its sublime tobacco presence.


Vanillaville’s opening definitely speaks of tobacco, but not as intensely as Espionage. Vanillaville is no less intriguing or decadent, it’s just softer from the get go. Vanilla provides this perfume with a harmonious balance between its sweetness and the edginess of tobacco. Vanillaville is a tasteful gourmand, not only with its vanilla, but with subtle coffee notes as well. Full bodied and slightly sweet, it’s a mellow pipe tobacco gently rubbed with leather. I’d choose this if you want your tobacco perfume sweet like a pipe, but in a tempered and artful manner.

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Parfum de Luxe, by DSH Perfumes, is made with 96.5% botanical ingredients and is a fantastic go-to fragrance when you want a classic, vintage feel. The opening is graced by the beautiful duality of violet and bergamot, violet being pretty and powdery, and bergamot lending its uplifting spirit. The notes are listed as Bergamot, Clary Sage, Neroli, Petitgrain, Violet, Bulgarian Rose Absolute, Centifolia Rose Absolute, Chinese Geranium, Honey, Orris, Tuberosa, Ylang-Ylang, Amber, Benzoin, Brown Oakmoss, Labdanum, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Tobacco Absolute, and Vanilla. Each one is given equal weight in the heart and progression to the drydown. Tobacco emerges more prominently in the last hours of wear, but more subtly than Espionage or Vanillaville. Parfum de Luxe is an ideal scent for someone who wants a rich, traditional perfume with a delicate tobacco.


Espionage is available at Ayala Moriel Parfums. Its notes are: Ambrette (Musk) Seed , Bergamot , Jasmine Grandiflorum, Leather Notes, Orris Root, Rose Otto (Turkey), Tabac Blond, Vanilla Absolute, and Virginia Cedarwood.

Vanillaville is available at Soivohlé. Its notes are: Almond, Tonka, Tarragon, Leather and Coffee.

Parfum de Luxe is available at DSH Perfumes. The notes are listed within the review.


Posted by ~Trish with special thanks to Shay at TheModGoddess for alerting me to the website Commando Group for the above illustration.


Disclosure: Samples of these perfumes were provided for this review by Ayala Moriel Parfums, Soivohlé and DSH Perfumes. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Halloween Treats For Grown-Ups

Skyclad Witch by WinonaCookie

As a mom, the focus of Halloween tends to be on costumes, post trick-or-treat candy negotiations, and not so much on grown-up-time fun. I’d like to change that with this post, and focus on some delicious treats for those of us out of our tweens. So pull up a chair, and get to deciding which scent you’d like to wear for Halloween.


Aftelier’s Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil

I almost needn’t say more after you read this product’s name, right? Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil. It’s luscious, luxurious and very sensual. But there is one element missing in the name, and that’s jasmine. The oil smells as if it’s been infused with jasmine, bittersweet cocoa, and a boozy-honeyed quality that I’m assuming the saffron imparts. The chocolate oil is so dense, you must shake it vigorously to disperse it before using, and it’s beautiful to see it mix and meld with the golden saffron tinged oil. On the skin, the fragrance is decidedly chocolatey, in a dark and sexy way. Imagine walking down a tropical moonlit path with night blooming jasmine surrounding you, and impossibly, the blossoms are dusted with bittersweet cocoa powder. Like a dream, the cocoa melts into the petals and the petals into your skin, and you’re far far away from any children asking you how much candy they can eat on Halloween night. And…end dream sequence. Go get some Aftelier Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil, it’ll make trick or treating much more pleasant.


Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Black Cat

Black CatAs I’m sure many of you have noticed, 100% all natural perfumes can run on the expensive side, and Laurie Stern, the artistic mind behind Velvet and Sweet Pea, has answered her clients’ calls for something a little more affordable. Black Cat is one of Laurie’s newest offerings, and not only is it appropriately named for Halloween, its scent is perfect for the coming festive winter months. Cocoa, ylang ylang, aniseseed myrtle and biodynamic Italian blood orange blend beautifully, like biting into a bittersweet chocolate-orange holiday confection, spiked with anise. The drydown is gorgeous as the base of this Eau de Parfum is Tahitian vanilla infused organic grape alcohol. This freshly crushed vanilla bean essence alluringly opens in the fragrance’s final stages, and lasts for hours.

Anise has become one of my favorite notes over the past few months, most notably in Honoré des Prés’ licorice tinged Sexy Angelic , Ayala Sender’s The Purple Dress, and now in Black Cat. Its anise component is from Aniseseed Myrtle, a tree whose oil smells just like anise, and its bitterness tempers the beloved chocolate/orange duo perfectly. I have a feeling that at $35 for 6mls, Laurie Stern’s Black Cat will get much play throughout this fall and winter from many a perfume lover, including me.


Soivohlé Oudh Lacquer Parfum

Oudh LacquerThis is a fragrance that brings together oudh and chocolate. Some might feel this is a meeting of exasperation and the ultimate in comfort, respectively. I have not had the experience of oudh being unapproachable or difficult to wear. Maybe it’s because I have mostly worn it in all-natural formulations which possibly gives it a warmer, rounder impression. So while Liz Zorn, the nose behind Soivohlé, has created a fragrance that boasts a dry and robust oudh, the perfume will not keep you at arm’s length. From the get-go, dark chocolate envelopes you and guides you into this deep, spicy, smoky scent encounter.

Anise and orange are subtly blended in Oudh Lacquer Parfum, steeped into the tangy woody texture of the perfume, and imbued into the cocoa absolute. An expert hand and artistic mind was clearly used in achieving the fine floral balance of the honeyed linden blossom and spicy/heady champaca. Several other blossoms are present, such as orange blossom, rose, aglalia, as well as orris butter, but the linden and champaca are the florals that give luster to this Oudh Lacquer. And thankfully, the warm, rich cocoa never strays from beginning to end.


Please visit Nathan Branch’s blog for his two part review of Oudh Lacquer. It truly deserves a Part I and a Part II. All three of these fragrances merit more words than I have room for here. They are all sophisticated, compelling, and most importantly, beautiful to wear.


Aftelier’s Chocolate and Saffron Body Oil is available at Aftelier.com $40 for 4.6 oz.

Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Black Cat EDP is available at Purrfumery.com $35 for 6mls.

Soivohlé’s Oudh Lacquer Parfum is available at soivohle.com for $95 for 4.5mls or $260 for 1/2 oz.


Posted by ~Trish

Skyclad Witch by WinonaCookie on etsy.com
Disclosure: Samples from each company 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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Liz Zorn: Soivohlé Natural Artisan Cologne Suite

First let me give credit to Nathan Branch for the inspiration to take the following photographs. I would never have had the idea to chronicle my experience of opening Liz Zorn’s beautifully wrapped package without his gorgeous blog. When her Soivohlé Natural Artisan Cologne Suite sample set arrived, I wanted to capture the care she had taken to create this artistic moment, no matter how fleeting. So many thanks again to Nathan for allowing me to think of taking these photographs, and to Liz Zorn for crafting a such a beautiful presentation.
 
Liz Zorn 1
Liz Zorn 2
Liz Zorn 4
Liz Zorn 3

 

Before I breakdown the individual fragrances, I want to express how impressed I am with all four Natural Artisan Colognes. They are unique, fascinating, complex and most importantly, beautiful to wear. Cologne can either bring to mind a masculine fragrance or a lighter scent due to a low concentration of essential oils (and/or aroma chemicals). I don’t know what the concentrations are, but these are not lightweights nor are they strictly masculine. Both women and men alike will adore them. 

 

Ylang n Pepper

The Soivohlé website describes this natural cologne as a dry, semi-floral and I wholeheartedly agree. There is nothing juicy or heady in this ylang ylang flower, it’s crisp and clean and the pink pepper overrides the super-sweet flourishes that tend to accompany this essence. Pink pepper has become rather ubiquitous in perfumery as of late, and in my opinion has come to mean a whole lot of nothing. When I see it listed in perfume notes, it doesn’t necessarily mean the fragrance will sparkle with peppery brightness, or be enlivened with hints of spiciness. Well my friends, Liz Zorn knows how to make her scents spicy, and Ylang n Pepper got spice! There’s also a hint of the citrusy-neroli type floral aspect of ylang ylang that becomes more present in the heart which blends seamlessly with its peppery dryness. In fact, this cologne is so dry, it takes on a woody quality. Ultimately though in the drydown, the pepper fades and the floral sweetness of ylang ylang stands alone.

 

Vetiver n Guaiac

Can I gush for a moment? I love, love, love this fragrance! I am admittedly smitten with vetiver which explains my preference a smidge. But Ms. Zorn has blended an intricate down-in-the-soil rich cologne that is also exhilarating and radiant as it bursts with lavender, tobacco and spices. Even though I am a full-fledged vetiver-lover, if spicy fragrances are too tenacious or linear, I tire of them and won’t reach for the bottle. As I mentioned above, these colognes are complex, and Vetiver n Guaiac is the most complex of the bunch. It evolves from its spicy, richly earthy opening, to a more grassy and herbaceous, yet powdery heart. Not being a perfumer, my presumption is that the lavender coaxes the herbal quality from the vetiver, while the amber base brings forth vetiver’s powdery side.

 

After a couple hours of this gorgeous heart, a soft vanillic floral emerges. I had to write Ms. Zorn to ask if there were floral notes in Vetiver n Guaiac, and aside from violet leaf absolute, there is not. The benzoin in her amber base, combined with the vanilla (and possibly the violet leaf) create an unexpected and beautifully subtle drydown. To clarify, the beginning and middle were not subtle, nor would I want them to be. Vetiver n Guaiac has terrific sillage, as do all the colognes, and impressive lasting power, 4-5 hours at least.

 

Geranium Rose Mint

Geranium scents have a very distinct aroma when they are made with the essential oil. In its pure form the essence is quite sharp and lively, which Geranium Rose Mint is not. The topnotes were surprisingly mellow for a fragrance with the words geranium and mint in the name. Its subtle geranium piquancy leans towards the rosy side of rose geranium, and cedar then makes it all the more easygoing. What was fascinating, is that after about an hour, the breezy menthol-esque quality of the mint came alive rather than in the topnotes. In the drydown this became a cozy, rosy cedar even in the presence of the mint. The evolution of these colognes has been stunning.

 

Lavender n Patchouli

I can’t imagine that composing the perfect blend of lavender and patchouli would be an easy task as a perfumer. Even the casual perfume wearer can attest to patchouli’s ability to overtake a perfume and kill it, and lavender’s potent herbal nature must be a challenge to balance. But Ms. Zorn nailed this one, as the lavender essential oil, lavender absolute and patchouli neither compete with nor overwhelm one another. Rather, they are harmoniously blended so that they become enhanced versions of themselves, yet more subdued and more wearable than usual. Lavender n Patchouli was also created with Ms. Zorn’s amber base which has benzoin, labdanum, tolu balsam, and lesser amounts of wood and balsam notes. In addition to the woody amber blend, vanilla in the mix creates powdery curves in this herbal and earthy unisex fragrance.

 

Soivohlé Natural Artisan Colognes are available at the Soivohlé website and are very reasonably priced:

$18 for 0.33oz bottle

$70 for the 4 bottle set

$12 for the 2ml sampler set (photographed above)

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