November in the Temperate Deciduous Forest

November in the Temperate Deciduous Forest is not a line from a poem, although it would be a lovely one if it were. On second thought, maybe it is a haiku that also serves as the name of a perfume. Regardless, these words and the accompanying fragrance feel very apropos at this moment because even though the Northwest is known for its evergreen glory, the city of Portland is surrounded by the deciduous splendor of fall.

Leaves are freshly fallen, and the soil is damp of course. The infamous rain has arrived. Fireplaces are being stoked once again and the outdoor smells of fall are among us. November in the Temperate Deciduous Forest- let’s call it November for short- is one of those fragrances that not only echoes these autumnal smells but also enhances them and makes them feel more vibrant.

November is a 2011 release from Jill McKeever of For Strange Women Perfumery. Jill’s product descriptions are vividly romantic, and the one for November is no exception. Her analogy of lapsang souchong tea brewing on a forest cabin’s wood buring stove could not capture the mood of this perfume more perfectly.

November starts with a smokiness that curls through the air, caressing the skin rather than consuming or overwhelming it. Lapsang souchong possesses a roasted, smoked scent and flavor and I wonder if Jill used a tincture of that tea since it is seems so prevalent in the opening. Additionally, a delicate lacing of neroli gives sparkle and a gentle floral quality to November’s rustic beginning. There’s also a minty quality that lends a fecundity and depth to the forest scene outside the cozy cabin.

The heart of November explores the richness of the woodland soil, digging up dark earth, roots and meandering mushrooms. The forest floor is now under your nails, knees damp with rain soaked dirt and crushed leaves. November is a long day of trekking through the trees, with an olfactory treasure as your reward.

The resins from the woods around you imbue the skin with a scent that is piquant, yet suggestive of an animalic muskiness. The fact that this is a perfume oil augments the process of November melding into your skin and becoming a fluid part of your natural scent, after much time spent in the temperate deciduous forest.

November is available at For Strange Women at etsy. $40 for a 1/4oz bottle.

Disclosure: I purchased this sample myself from For Strange Women. Opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

Image by Raceytay on etsy.com

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For Strange Women Natural Perfumery

I don’t know Jill McKeever, but I feel like I do. I have spent hours perusing her etsy shop and poring over her blogposts which is the way we get to know each other these days I suppose. Her natural perfumery is called For Strange Women, which speaks to Jill’s overall aesthetic. It’s slightly oddball, but certainly feels warm and inviting as it’s for us, quirks and all.

I became acquainted with Jill via Twitter when she followed me. I then popped on over to her etsy shop to see what she was all about. I was immediately taken by the descriptions and gorgeous photographs of her perfumes. The images have a vintage patina but are hyper-real as if you can feel the weight of the glass and liquid just by looking at them. Shortly after this introduction, I serendipitously found her perfumes at Flutter which is a beautifully curated Portland boutique loaded with everything you don’t need, but desperately want. After seeing and smelling Jill’s creations first hand, they went on my desperately want list.

 

My friend Bishop Lennon and I were together at Flutter that day, and we both swooned over Moss & Ivy. Seriously, the whole store probably heard our oohs and ahhs. I’ve since had the opportunity to wear Moss & Ivy several times and it’s had the same effect on me every time. When it melds into the skin it evokes an atmosphere which is deeply green and mysterious, like a forest teeming with emerald ferns, gigantic pines and wet mossy soil. As Moss & Ivy develops, its herbal greenness subsides and a softer resinous base completes the woodland journey.

 

Decadence and Debauchery is also a richly resinous fragrance that exudes intrigue. But this is not for woodland nymphs. It’s a glamorous scent “suitable for burlesque beauties, Victorian darlings, and vaudeville sensations alike,” as Jill herself proclaims. Decadence and Debauchery is laden with tobacco, vanilla bourbon and violets which might sound pretty and sweet, but don’t be misled. This all natural perfume possesses a strong, full-bodied tobacco that is more dry and smoky than sweet. Vanilla and violet simply add more curves to this voluptuous fragrance which boldly makes its presence known. Decadence and Debauchery¬†ultimately settles down a bit, and gets smoother and sweeter as immortelle coats itself over tempered woods and dry tobacco. I’ve never been one to enjoy the maple aspect of immortelle, but in this composition it’s so well harmonized with balsams that it’s more bittersweet than sugary, a perfect ending for this gorgeous perfume.

Moss & Ivy and Decadence and Debauchery are $28 for a 7.3ml (.25 oz) vial of 100% natural perfume oil.

Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by For Strange Women. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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