Cocoa Sandalwood by Sonoma Scent Studio

“Current” by Leigh Viner

Cocoa Sandalwood is one of the most dynamic fragrances I have experienced in a long time. It moves through its stages with a quiet force that is palpable, alluring, and in the end, becomes an intimately beautiful sandalwood fragrance.

The opening notes do not hint much to a sandalwood experience though. Like I said, this a dynamic perfume and it has an interesting itinerary. Initially, the first wood encountered is cedar, charged with coffee and cocoa, all very pure. When I say pure, I mean there’s no pencil shavings to the cedar, no roughness, just smooth dense wood. And the coffee is not bitter and the cocoa is not sweet. The three notes are solidly together, opening the fragrance on sure footing, without a lot of embellishment.

Cocoa Sandalwood

But just when you think Cocoa Sandalwood might be a simple (yet lovely) fragrance, the heart notes develop and within fifteen minutes powdery roses, creamy peaches, nutty vetiver and sweet coconut are wafting about. Vetiver? Coconut? I love this! I’m wearing Cocoa Sandalwood today and the vetiver-coconut stage has been particularly pronounced. The perfumer, Laurie Erickson, confirmed that there is vetiver in the formula and that the coconut scent exudes from the peach lactone which has a fatty-coconut scent before it fully settles into its peachy goodness. Today, this perfect medley of spicy woods, fleshy fruit and not-too-sweet florals has lasted longer than any other wearing.

Yet, I do not lament moving forward into this perfume’s journey which shifts into a more unfettered rose-peach phase. This of course allows for a clearer appreciation of the peach note and a smooth passage to the musky sandalwood drydown that awaits.

So let’s talk about this drydown since really, it’s what we’ve all been waiting for. I know it’s what I was waiting for when I first wore Cocoa Sandalwood. This is a sandalwood that is soft but not soapy, woody but not dry or sharp, and I wondered, “Is this finally going to be a sandalwood fragrance I can wear? One that I can truly love and feel like it’s me?” Truthfully, I can answer these questions with a resounding, “Yes!” I don’t know if it’s the creaminess of the New Caledonia Sandalwood Laurie has used, or the perfect balance of musky ambrette seed, or her overwhelming talent as a perfumer (ding ding ding!)  but I have finally found a sandalwood fragrance that is mine.

Fragrance Notes: Cocoa absolute, coffee absolute, ginger CO2, cinnamon bark EO, clove bud absolute, natural peach lactone, rose absolute, Virginia cedar, New Caledonia sandalwood absolute, ambrette seed CO2, vanilla.

Cocoa Sandalwood is available at Sonoma Scent Studio. Scroll all the way to the bottom to find Cocoa Sandalwood which is the only fragrance available in bottles on the website at this time. $25 for 5ml Travel Spray. (Other sizes available).

More reviews of Cocoa Sandalwood:
The Non Blonde
The Black Narcissus

Image: “Current” by Leigh Viner

Sonoma Scent Studio- Fig Tree

 

Hanukkah beings tonight, and I’ve been poring over food blogs for new recipes and general holiday inspiration. I keep coming across delicious fig based dishes and desserts like Braised Chicken with Cilantro, Lemon and Dried Figs and Olive Oil Orange Cake with Poached Figs. Don’t those recipes sound amazing? I really hope I can find the time to make them both this week.

One figgie thing I will definitely make time for, is wearing Sonoma Scent Studios Fig Tree in both its forms, perfume and shea body cream. Fig Tree embodies all that I love about fig fragrances but have never managed to find with such well-balanced proportions. This fig scent is equal parts creamy, sweet, dryly woody, musky, and dewy green. The perfume strikes me as a little drier and muskier than the sweeter and greener body cream, but I would never be able to pick which one I prefer. In fact, when they are layered, an even more complex fig aroma emerges with hints of coconut and an amplified impression of freshly crushed leaves embedded in rich soil.

When it comes to the woody side of Fig Tree, cedar is undeniably the main contributor. If you’re not already an established cedar fan, then Fig Tree might not be for you. But if you kind of like it, this earthy and vanillic perfume might turn you into a full-fledged card carrying cedar fan club member. And of course, if you already have that card in your wallet, Fig Tree is a must-try.

Gaia over at The Non Blonde recommends giving Fig Tree a try, even if you aren’t crazy for the mainstays of figgie perfumes like Diptyqie’s Philosykos or L’Artisan’s Premier Figuier. I wholeheartedly agree with her assessment of Fig Tree being more dimensional than either of those and yes, as Gaia says, Fig Tree is definitely magical.

 

Fig Tree Perfume comes in several sizes and price points. The 17ml spray bottle is $34. The Shea Body Cream is $16 for 4oz. Available at SonomaScentStudio.com.

Sonoma Scent Studios uses a high percentage of natural essences in their perfumes, but uses synthetic aromachemicals as well. Please see the FAQs page for more information regarding their perfume ingredients.

The Shea Body Cream is all natural, save for 1% of a paraben-free preservative system composed of three items: sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (derived from the natural amino acid glycine), phenoxyethanol (a mild antibacterial), and caprylyl glycol (from palm kernal oil with skin-softening and antibacterial properties). It does not contain parabens, petrolatum, propylene glycol, mineral oil, isopropyl myristate, silicones such as cyclomethicone and dimethicone, triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA), diazolidinyl urea, or DMDM hydantoin.

Fig Tree watercolor by Julia Rymer Brucker at etsy.

Disclosure: Samples of Fig Tree were provided to me by Sonoma Scent Studios. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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