Orcas EDP. A natural marine fragrance by Ayala Moriel Parfums.

Riding the ferries throughout the San Juan Islands is a memory that conjures up fresh marine air, gorgeous vistas of the northernmost Cascade Mountains and tall evergreens that meet the water’s edge. I find it challenging to describe the feeling of being on the water amidst the Pacific Northwest’s humbling beauty so I’m going to rely on my trustiest source for help, National Public Radio.

So I was listening to NPR the other day, Here and Now to be specific, and Robin Young was interviewing the writer Touré about his recent essay in the New York Times on writers writing about tennis. In the interview, which captivated me as I am an avid tennis player, Touré read David Foster Wallace’s description of Roger Federer’s style of play:

“Inspiration, though, is contagious, and multiform — and even just to see, close up, power and aggression made vulnerable to beauty is to feel inspired and (in a fleeting, mortal way) reconciled.”

When I heard those words read aloud, I nodded in agreement, not only because Federer is such an incredibly powerful yet balletic athlete, but also because these words can be applied to most anything sublimely beautiful. His quote embodies my feeling of being on that boat, surrounded by the overwhelming grandeur of nature which as Wallace said, is made vulnerable to its own beauty.

Orcas by Ayala Sender, is an homage to the unique land and seascapes of this region and the Wild Pacific Trail in particular which runs along the westcoast of Vancouver Island. Like all of Ayala’s fragrances, Orcas is expertly blended and as a result the natural materials move like water over a stone, seamlessly and fluidly. The opening is the one moment you’ll take notice of a singular note, as a bitingly green burst of lime initiates the Orcas encounter. Quickly though, after just a few minutes, the remaining notes begin to swell.

Spruce, moss, rosemary and seaweed tumble together in an herbaceous and slightly salty wave, ushering in exhilaration, and renewal. Another passing wave brings forth violet leaf and cedar which heighten the herbal and basalmic aspects of Orcas in their own unique way. Violet leaf is deeply green and leafy thereby ramping up those tones in the rosemary and seaweed while cedar’s smooth and dry quality imparts the spruce and moss with warmth.

In truth though, all of the notes complement each other and meld into one another making note deconstruction feel a bit insignificant. In the end, Orcas stands as a gorgeous, all natural oceanic fragrance that bathes the skin in a maritime-woodland dew. But for those of you who are drawn to vetiver and ambergris, I will say that the drydown has something very special in store for you.

Above is a photo of Ayala Sender in her studio. I took it two summers ago when my family and I visited the San Juans, Vancouver Island, and Vancouver BC where Ayala lives. She has graciously offered to give away a EDP mini to a Scent Hive reader. Just leave a comment and you will be entered. If you have a favorite from her line, please share it!  Drawing is now closed.

Orcas is available at ayalamoriel.com $120 for 15ml splash/spray bottle or a 4ml mini for $45.

Photo of ferry and Mt. Baker is from Panoramio.com

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

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DSH Three Kings

 

Because of its name, and the fact that this perfume was created for the holidays, I expected something familiar, like a yuletide blend of incense, spruce, and spice. Three Kings is definitely no such thing, but so much more. And what a pleasure it is when preconceived notions are dispelled, especially when something more interesting awaits.

Three Kings, the third from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s all natural Gaia Collection, is certainly interesting and took me by surprise upon first sniff. Its opening is rather bitter, like the sharp smelling sap of a young pine tree bereft of any aged softness. A bitterness from citrus is present as well, as if an orange or bergamot were picked too soon before its sugars had time to fully develop. The first time I wore Three Kings, the opening felt strange and a slightly disorienting. But now that I know what lies beyond its first few minutes, the edgy topnotes feel like a rite of passage into what becomes a gorgeous vetiver perfume.

Vetiver might not have been one of the original offerings of the three kings, but it should have been given the magic Dawn has created with this humble root. The vetiver progression begins just shortly after the bitterness fades, when resinous balsams of cedarwood, sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh reveal themselves, subtly for now and more substantially in the drydown.

The heart continues to develop as vetiver asserts itself with a piquant greenness that is a little nutty and a whole lot earthy. This is my favorite aspect of vetiver, its rich and fecund essence which calls to mind damp forests and dry leaves clinging to their branches. Vetiver also has hints of powderiness which Three Kings explores as it moves further into its heart. The powdery, leathery richness of labdanum converges seamlessly with the vegetal soil of vetiver, making the 180 degree turn away from sharpness complete.

In the drydown, vetiver rests in the unfolding expanse of woods and resins, fully softening any remaining edges. In the end, what began as a startling perfume, has now become one of the most gentle and lovely vetiver perfumes I have ever experienced. I was not expecting vetiver to be the central offering of Three Kings, but it is, and I am grateful.


Three Kings is available at DSH Perfumes. $55 for 0.25 oz EDP spray or $140 for 1 oz.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Three Kings was sent to me for consideration by DSH Perfumes. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


Image: Three Kings by Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951) at CGFA

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Tallulah Jane: Misae & Leotie (+ Giveaway and Discount Code)

The new fragrances by Tallulah Jane are really green. I mean super green. Green because they are made in an eco-friendly manner using only botanical essences, resins and balsams, and they ensure never to use extracts from plants and trees that are considered unsustainable. Their organic and wild crafted oils are in a base of certified organic grape alcohol or jojoba, and are free of parabens, phthalates, and petrochemicals. Tallulah Jane adds even more to their conscientious profile as all of their products are vegan and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty free.



These perfumes are also green because they smell green. The technicolor green that only nature can supply, and there’s plenty of it in both Misae and Leotie. Misae is the greener of the two, as lemongrass and galbanum predominate throughout its evolution. Lemongrass of course is lemony, which is fresh and vivid. It reminds me of verbena, only with less floral sweetness, and more balsamic woodiness.


Geranium is present as well which is floral but in keeping with the green/citrusy theme without dominating the perfume. It bolsters the green aspect of the balsams as the lemongrass slowly fades. Misae includes sandalwood from Vanuatu which is smoky with a buttery smoothness. Elemi which is also an essential oil from wood, adds a slightly peppery note to the mix, and both unfold more boldly as Misae moves into the heart and drydown. Misae is for those perfume lovers who like it really green and loaded with woods, specifically sandalwood.



Leotie, like Misae, starts citrusy and green with notes of yuzu and geranium. But rather than taking a stroll through the sandalwood forest as you do with Misae, Leotie takes you to a garden, teeming with warmed blossoms of lavender and a few beds of roses. The green liveliness makes way for a powdery softness giving Leotie a feminine air as opposed to Misae’s more unisex nature. Cedar is also one of Leotie’s essences, but it’s just a touch. It’s perceptible enough to give some earthiness, but without any hint of hamster cage shavings. Warmth and a vanilla-hay note surface thanks to tonka bean and I’m not sure where the touch of cinnamon comes from, but it adds a bright spiciness which balances well with Leotie’s powdery/floral side.


If you’d like to have a full-size of Misae and Leotie (that have been used gently by me), please leave a comment and I’ll enter you in the giveaway. Just leave a comment telling me which of the two suits your style and you’ll be entered. You get extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! We have our winner!


In addition, the lovely folks at Tallulah Jane are offering 15% off all purchases for the month of June. Just use code SCENTHIVE15 at checkout.


Misae and Leotie are available at Tallulah Jane and SpiritBeautyLounge.com. $48 for a 30ml bottle. You can also read my reviews of Tallulah, Gotham and 333.

Posted by ~Trish

StyleCaster has chosen Misae as one of their top nine natural summer scents!

Innocence by Arthur Hacker at ArtMagick.com

Disclosure: Samples from Tallulah Jane were provided for this review. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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