A Dozen Roses. A Valentine’s Day Blogging Event


DozenRosesX12

Some of you may know that it’s been a year since my last post, and I have to thank Ayala of Ayala Moriel Parfums for asking me to take part in this Rose Blogging Event for Valentine’s Day, even though Scent Hive has been in a deep slumber. I needed someone to reach out and get me to dust off the old blog, so I really appreciate her kindness. I come to this post with a giddy sense of anticipation but admittedly with a bit of hesitation as well. I’m not sure if this means I will get back to blogging on the regular, or just every now and then, but I do know that I am excited to share this lovely, dozen full of roses with you all.

Rose Ginger Oolong Tea

Aftelier Rose Ginger Oolong Tea: What better way to set the mood for a feature on rose scented products than a warm cup of tea that has been blended with Turkish rose? Oolong tea has become a favorite of mine over the years as I find it wakes me up without the making me jittery and this one in particular has a smooth smokiness that is brightened by a judicious use of ginger and a dreamy perfuming of soft rose. A tin of this precious tea would be such a unique gift, but don’t forget to order one for yourself.

DSH Dirty Rose

DSH Perfumes Dirty Rose: As the name suggests, Dirty Rose is not a clean or pristine flower, but I’d wear it to high tea just to raise an eyebrow or two. It’s true that this rose has been tossed and turned through rich, fecund soil more than a few times. Its petals are less than virginal, as they’ve reached the point of full ripeness with slight decay at their edges. Oakmoss, oud and leather are the predominant notes to my nose, and applying Dirty Rose to my skin is like slipping on a weathered leather jacket that is suffused with rose and the scent of damp earth. (85% natural)

Ayala

Ayala Moriel Parfums Tea Rose: While Dirty Rose is indeed an unkempt little thing, Tea Rose is a clean, rosy petal-musk that won’t make anyone blush. That’s not to say it’s boring or uptight. If you’re familiar with Ayala’s perfumes you know that’s never the case. But Tea Rose is redolent of bright and pretty roses (no dirt here), magnified by the fruitiness of osmanthus and cassis. Green tea adds depth and astringency, thereby grounding all of this lovely sweetness. And then of course there’s the musk, the vegetal musk of ambrette seed which permeates the first top note and the very last hint of the drydown. It’s a pale and delicate musk, but it’s undeniably there.

Bed of Roses

Velvet and Sweet Pea Bed of Roses: Laurie Stern, the creator of Bed of Roses, describes this perfume as “voluptuous” and voluptuous it is! It is made from nine rose distillations from all parts of the world in addition to other full-bodied florals like tuberose, boronia and orange blossom. Aged sandalwood and cognac are also present which bolster this bed’s foundation with a vintage richness, but it never gets too tangled up in the past as rose leaf absolute and green mandarin are also in the mix, asserting themselves with a fresh modernity. Since this is an all natural perfume you won’t find it booming with aldehydes, but it booms in its own way, with this many lush distillations, absolutes, and Laurie’s expert hand at the helm, there’s no way it couldn’t.

Rosa Solid

Roxana Illuminated Perfume Rosa: One of my dearest friends gave me Rosa as a birthday gift a few years back. It’s the solid perfume form of Rosa, housed in a vintage inspired compact which is nestled in a handmade pink crocheted pouch. I was so touched by her thoughtfulness and think of her every time I wear this ambery rose. When I use the term amber, I mean it specifically in Roxana’s botanical context, which is laden with labdanum, benzoin, and mossy woods. The rose opening blooms within the perfume solid’s base of organic beeswax which radiates a pure warmth into the supple, leathery heart. Oud and vetiver, the foundations of Rosa’s base, complete this woodland rose walk, one that lasts for many hours.

Rose Face Elixir

Aftelier Rose Face Elixir: I’ve been using facial oils long enough now that after one look at the list of oils in Mandy Aftel’s Rose Face Elixir, I knew it would leave my skin nourished and glowing. You can take a peek at the full roster yourself, but a small sampling includes wildcrafted rose hip oil (which contains retinol and is loaded with vitamin c), organic camellia oil, and organic grapeseed oil. What I wasn’t expecting, was to be completely smitten by the scent. So much so that I want this in a body oil form, I want to spritz it as an EDP and I want to dab it gingerly as a parfum. Mandy’s perfumes are typically quite complex and multifaceted. A sign of a gifted artist to be sure. But her balanced and nuanced use of just three essences, rose, sandalwood and frankincense, seems to me to need just as much skill and talent as this triad hums with a stunningly relaxed beauty.

SIP Sage and Rose

Strange Invisible Perfumes Sage and Rose Body Lotion: I had a preconceived notion that the sage in this lotion might consume the rose, turning this into a predominantly herbal experience. I was wrong. The sage and rose instantaneously fuse together as it warms on the skin sharing their respective herbaceous and sweetly floral qualities. The overall scent is mild, but provides an excellent base for layering any one of the aforementioned perfumes, especially if you are interested in adding a hint of leafiness. As for its efficacy, the lightness of this lotion belies its powerhouse moisturizing capabilities. Organic sweet almond oil, wildcrafted avocado oil, and a host of other skin nourishing oils feel like velvet and leave your skin supple and beautifully scented.

Bois de Rose

In Fiore Bois de Rose Beauty Balm: I have excellent news dear readers! Bois de Rose, once an exclusive to the In Fiore boutique in San Francisco, is now readily available at Beautyhabit.com, which means samples of this gem are within reach. If you’ve never experienced an In Fiore Beauty Balm, I can’t recommend them highly enough. Made of cold-pressed grapeseed oil, jojoba seed oil, beeswax and vitamin e, the Body Balms are near solid at room temperature, but melt effortlessly into oil, soothing the thirstiest of skin. In Fiore offers many lovely fragrances from solid perfumes to oils to these balms, and Bois de Rose is my favorite because it’s a little different. I think it’s the vetiver that gives this woody floral an unexpected, chewy bite. The rose is pretty of course, and the rosewood is warm and familiar, but the vetiver adds a nutty-earthiness that I can taste in the back of my throat as I inhale its aroma. So it’s a little wild this Bois de Rose, but in an insouciant, sensual way. Perfect for your aprés bath, and pre-bedtime ritual.

Malie Beauty Oil

Malie Jasmine Rose Beauty Oil: Maile’s Beauty Oil is another rose centered oil that I love to use after a bath or shower. It soaks into the skin a little faster than In Fiore’s Body Balms, so I use this one more frequently. Everything about this Beauty Oil speaks of dewy softness to me. The blend of organic jasmine and organic rose oils are in perfect harmony. The petals are equally weighted and nearly weightless, gaining mass only from the morning’s mist off the ocean. Somewhat fresh and only mildly indolic, I will always have this skin elixir of organic coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, organic apricot kernel oil, and organic grapeseed oil as long as Maile makes it. Update: Yikes, I can’t find the Beauty Oil on the Malie website! Grab it while you can here

I’d like to wrap up with a “nosegay” of rose products that I have been using almost daily for the past 3+ years. Weleda’s Wild Rose Creamy Body Wash is perfect if you enjoy a luxuriously sudsy foaming wash on your scrunchie. Yet, I have found that its ideal use is as a shaving cream, and a shaving with a cream that smells like wild and musky rose mosqueta makes the task much more pleasant. Something I enjoy far more than shaving, is spritzing my face with a hydosol. I have many in my collection, but right now the one in heaviest rotation is Tammy Fender’s Bulgarian Rose Water. I use it before my nightly facial moisturizer whether it be oil or cream, and I also spritz it onto my kabuki brush before applying powder foundation. Its rose scent is surprisingly rich and lingers longer than any other rose hydrosol I have used, which is good because it’s also the most expensive one I have used! I will end this post with a longtime love, Dr. Haushcka’s Rose Day Cream. Even though I have become partial to oils for nighttime facial moisturizing, I use this nightly as an eye cream and sometimes over my entire face when I want the comforting feeling of a cream on my dry skin. The scent is aromatic rose heaven, and it hydrates like a dream.

So there’s my dozen roses for Valentine’s Day. Please stop by the following blogs to see what these lovely ladies have procured for you.

All I Am A Red Head
EauMG
Katie Puckrik Smells
The Non Blonde
Perfume Shrine
Roxana Illuminated Perfume
Smelly Blog

Serendipity and Anniversary No 2

 

I knew I would discover amazing natural perfumes and beauty products when I started Scent Hive two years ago to this day. That was a part of my inspiration, to experience the world of naturals more fully in order to share what, in my opinion, is the best of green beauty available.


Although I am very intentional about Scent Hive, there have been many surprising discoveries that have knocked me out of longheld prejudgements about my preferences. Case in point; my past disregard for rose is now a burgeoning love affair. I did a two part post on this fragrant subject over a year ago, but my appreciation for this classically romantic flower in reality, has just begun. Since that post, I have relished in many gorgeous rose perfumes like Velvet and Sweet Pea Bed of Roses and Gabriel’s Aunt Royal Couplewhich are so compelling that I keep coming back for more.


Serendipity, a new limited edition fragrance from Wing and a Prayer, is another rose perfume that has elevated my adoration of this flower. Like most people, I find the scent of roses easy to love when they are in the garden or freshly cut in my home, but in many perfumes, its tendency is slightly one-dimensional. Such perfumes can be very pretty to be sure, but I like more complexity than most rose-centric perfumes offer. In the right blend though, rose has the potential to take on a rich and multi-layered quality. Such is the case with Serendipity.


Upon first spritz, I wasn’t completely taken with Serendipity. Its opening is reminiscent of a crepey, vintage tea rose which again, is pretty and most die hard rose fans would love it, but I wanted a little more to grab on to. Fortunately, it took mere minutes for a full-bodied woody citrus scent to emerge, and grab me it did! Nowhere in the notes is a citrus of any sort mentioned, but there is no doubt that I feel petitgrain or the essence of a bitter orange rind present when I wear Serendipity. The heart is reminiscent of my favorite citrus perfume, Red Flower’s Guaiac, with thick rose petals pressed atop its bright and sparkling radiance.


After inhaling its blissful heart for a good 45 minutes, the path to the drydown materializes, leading to the herbaceous, fruity-floral glory of boronia. Boronia is an evergreen plant with exceptionally fragrant blossoms, native to Australia. I envision this plant and its little blooms as super hearty, bearing down against intense heat and beach winds to bring us its fabulously woody and warm floral aroma. (I don’t know if boronia thrives by the sea, but it’s an image I enjoy). In Serendipity, boronia bestows its tannic depth and floral nuances that recall honeysuckle and a bit of peppery freesia, giving the rose essential oils more richness and texture. What I love most about boronia, is that for all its complexity, it remains lighthearted and conjures up that insouciant image of a warm, breezy beach.


Serendipity lasts for hours, at least 6-8 on my skin, and in its final stage it evolves into a musky rose that resembles Wing and a Prayer’sFlowers with the same subtly sweet ambrette musk. For an all natural perfume, its longevity as well as its sillage are very impressive, and the price is quite reasonable. Since roses are the quintessential Valentine’s flower, consider Serendipity for the occasion if you want an alluring variation on a classic.


In celebration of Scent Hive’s 2nd anniversary, Wing and a Prayer is giving away a bottle of Serendipity to a lucky reader. Please leave a comment to be entered for a 1/2 oz. bottle of this limited edition fragrance. Extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! Drawing is now closed.


Serendipity is available at Wing and a Prayer’s etsy shop. $45 for 1/2 oz or $90 for 1.7 oz.

Posted by ~Trish

 

Image: Standing Ovation by sintwister on esty.

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Honoré des Prés We Love NY (+giveaway)

Image courtesy of Nathan Branch. (Thanks Nathan!)

Olivia Giacobetti entered the natural perfume scene in 2008 with a line of all natural and organic perfumes for Honoré des Prés. The response was mixed, not because the fragrances weren’t exceptional, but because of their fleeting staying power. I didn’t let that deter me from buying my favorite from HdP’s first collection, Sexy Angelic, as it’s a pure sugar, almond, and licorice delight that makes me very happy, even if it lasts barely an hour.

I don’t know if Ms. Giacobetti made herself aware of the lack-of-longevity critiques, but this new second round of HdP perfumes has remedied the issue. You’re probably not going to smell them on your skin the next morning, but they do last several hours, and even up to eight or so if you spritz your clothes.

The We Love NY collection was introduced in April 2010, with Ms. Giacobetti’s inspiration being her move to New York City. None of the three perfumes strike me as particularly “New York” in nature, but the urban coffee cup and brown bag packaging certainly does.

 

If any of these fragrances brings me back to NYC, it’s I Love Les Carottes. Not super intuitive I know, but the city is home to excellent farmers markets, Union Square in particular. We lived within walking distance to Union Square, and smelling Les Carottes is like standing in front of a gorgeous spread of deep orange carrots and taking in their earthy sweetness. Les Carottes is hyper-vegetal in its opening and you need to love the smell of freshly shredded carrots if you expect a positive experience with this perfume.

As Les Carottes progresses into its heart, the carrot note still dominates, but it vacillates between the buttery fleshiness of the vegetable and a medicinal astringency. This dichotomy lasts almost the entire length of wearing Les Carottes, until the drydown fully settles into more subdued vanillic powderiness.


With Love Coco’s notes of  coconut, coriander and vanilla, I was anticipating a smooth and gently spiced coconut with a creamy vanilla finish. Instead, it was more akin to Les Carottes, very raw and very vegetal. For me, Love Coco is a straight-up blend of vetiver and coconut, like Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion minus the sweetness. It’s bracing and exposed and really tropical. Not until the drydown does Love Coco become what I thought it would be, a gently spiced coconut with a creamy vanilla finish.


Vamp à NY has received many rave reviews from other bloggers, but it is my least favorite of the three. It’s not that I dislike Vamp, but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as Les Carottes and Love Coco. If you’re a regular reader of Scent Hive, you know I love white floral perfumes, tuberose in particular. Vamp does possess a lovely and radiant tuberose which unfortunately on my skin is quickly squelched by overripe banana and cloying coconut candy notes. Here are links to Vamp reviews from bloggers who enjoyed it more than I, Grain de Musc and 1000 Fragrances. As for me,  I’ll stick to White Potion, Ayala Sender’s rendering of tuberose and coconut that is far more wearable on my skin.


If you’d like to try Vamp à NY, I Love Les Carottes and Love Coco for yourself, leave a comment and you will receive one of three sample sets housed in the HdP coffee cup. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED.

Posted by ~Trish

The We Love NY collection is available at Spirit Beauty Lounge. $98 for a 50ml bottle.

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

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A jasmine for winter. Épice Sauvage by Ayala Moriel Parfums

 

Merging jasmine with winter might seem counterintuitive as this heady, warmblooded flower feels so sultry and lush against the heat of the summer sun. Pairing it with a chill in the air seemed odd to me and it wasn’t until last December that I realized jasmine’s power to soothe and comfort during winter’s frost. It was Aftelier’s Fig that showed me jasmine’s ability to assuage the doldrums of cold rainy day after cold rainy day. Its blend of fir and fig is a jammy alpine enchantment, and I am pleased to say that jasmine’s winter-appropriateness does not end there.


Épice Sauvage by Ayala Moriel Parfums is somewhat gourmand in its treatment of jasmine, as it delves into culinary spices like cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and clove. Interestingly, jasmine grandiflorum was chosen rather than jasmine sambac which initially surprised me. I thought the spicy nature of jasmine sambac to be the obvious choice for this spice laden perfume, but Ayala in her great wisdom and talent chose jasmine grandiflorum which as it turns out, was the perfect choice. I’ll tell you why in a bit.


First, let me explain why Épice Sauvage feels so cozy. I love to bake with cardamom, especially in cookies, so its scent feels homey and nurturing. Of course it elicits images of spice markets as well, but cardamom’s comforting, homebody aspect is very strong to me. In Ayurvedic cooking, cardamom is a warming spice that balances all three doshas which are the elements that determine our physical, mental and emotional characteristics. I don’t adhere to Ayurvedic principles on a routine basis, but I’m pretty sure my dosha is vata for many reasons. Most relevant to this discussion is my preference for summer, so cardamom’s sweet, warm, and activating qualities are immensely welcome this time of year.


Upon first smelling Épice Sauvage, I knew I would love it. Cinnamon introduces the fragrance with a whisper of sweetness and foreshadows the emergence of cardamom as the central spicy focus. And here’s why jasmine grandiflorum was such a brilliant pick, it’s rounder and more voluminous than jasmine sambac which has a spicy tone that might have competed with cardamom’s flavor. With the grandiflorum species, cardamom is given the opportunity to provide Épice Sauvage itspiquancy while the jasmine offers up its lush floral heart.


Cardamom dominates the heart of Épice Sauvage, but as the drydown comes into reach, coriander has an important role as well. This spice is a little earthy and peppery, with a suggestion of woods which plays nicely with the cedar note that reveals itself in the basenotes. But let us not forget jasmine as it continues to support all of these essences. Such a compliant floral foundation for the ofttimes unruly jasmine! In the drydown, its blossoms fully coalesce with cardamom which allows the cedar and coriander to hover over and ultimately permeate the fragrance.


After 3-4 hours of wear, a 2nd drydown occurs, one that is very intimate and oh so pretty. It’s pure jasmine, like the moment the blossom begins to open to the night air. It’s the nascent fragrance of a jasmine, dipped for a brief moment in warm honey and rose blossoms. I can’t think of a better way to revel in jasmine’s winter radiance.


Ayala Moriel Parfums are 100% natural and made with loving care by Ayala Sender. Épice Sauvage is available at AyalaMoriel.com, starting at $48 for a mini to $120 for a 9ml Parfum Extrait Flacon.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: This sample of Épice Sauvage was my own purchase. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
image: Heart of Snow by Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914) at artmagick.com

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Velvet & Sweet Pea's Songbird

“Songbird” is a lovely name. It’s a pretty word to speak, and the thought of songbirds is a charming one. But after several wearings, I have a new name for this perfume. I find Sensual Chameleon to be more appropriate since Songbird flows through several alluring transformations. No disrespect to Laurie Stern of Velvet and Sweet Pea, creator of this beauty. She has outdone herself with this fragrance, but sometimes a gal needs to come up with a nickname for a loved one.


Juicy blood orange is the entree to Songbird, reminiscent of the fruit dripping in its perfectly ripened sweetness. This opening is most succulent and reminds me of Laurie’s Orange Blossom Body Frosting -a decadent treat for the skin and soul- and I hoped Songbird would linger in this familiar scent for the duration. I so enjoyed the floral and gently spicy citrus aroma wafting about me, but sometimes it’s better to not have your wishes come to fruition as what laid before me was much more fullfilling that anything I could have hoped for.


Just fifteen minutes in, I was swooning over the evolution from citrusy fullness to the tea-like and slightly herbaceous glistening of boronia. I have grown to love boronia more and more as I explore it in natural perfumes. I adore its wild, all encompassing scent as it moves from woods, to jammy fruits, to culinary herbs and tannic teas. Boronia is also slightly floral, in a breezy way as if the blossoms have been baked in the beachside sun and then moistened again by the salt drenched water.

As the orange faded and the boronia became more pronounced, an enticing beeswax note appeared and brought Songbird to the level that made me think of it as the Sensual Chameleon. I was not expecting to be struck by a thick, dark honey scent after I had just been mesmerized by boronia. Songbird became suggestive of beeswax melting in a pan over a kerosene stove; a mix of heat, oil and pure sweetness, possibly an aspect of tuberose absolute.  I’m a little crazy for this particular scent in a perfume, and it’s a rare one. (There’s a Strange Invisible Perfume that shares this scent, and I will get to its review as some point I promise). Clearly, I reveled in this stage of Songbird’s metamorphosis.


One can remain in an olfactory stupor for only so long, so sandalwood came knocking at the drydown. Fortunately, the wake-up call was a gentle one. Smooth, vanilla soaked sandalwood kindly nudged me awake and I was pleased to spend time with such a grounding and smooth essence. And as you can surmise, I was more than pleased to spend time with Songbird in its entirety and experience its gorgeous evolution.



If you haven’t peeked at the Velvet & Sweet Pea website, please take some time to peruse Laurie’s enchanting aesthetic. I also encourage you to read her FAQ page in order to read more about how devoted Laurie is to using all natural essences, artisinal perfume making and her dedication to helping animals. Here is some information from her site that I find very salient:

Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery perfumes are made by hand in small, carefully crafted batches, using only natural ingredients. (Commercial perfumes are made using a dizzying list of chemicals and synthetic fragrances.) The distinctive use of the word “botanical” is key to one of the core principles of the Purrfumery. Many perfumers who call themselves “natural” perfumers use animal products (such as civet cat musk or beaver castoreum) in their perfumes. These products are harvested from the animals under terribly cruel, species-endangering conditions, and so Velvet and Sweet Pea designate their perfumes as botanical to indicate that only nature’s plant treasures – flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves, and aromatic woods – are used in creating their delicious scents.

All Velvet and Sweet Pea perfumes are created in a base of organic alcohol or beeswax (because the base comprises 65-95% of a perfume, all our perfumes are almost entirely organic). Laurie also uses as many organic, wildcrafted, and sustainably grown ingredients as possible in all her creations.


Songbird is available at Velvet and Sweet Pea. 8 ml for $185, 15 ml for  $325, or 1 oz for $550.

In The Orange Blossoms by Hadley Hutton at etsy.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Songbird  was sent to me for consideration by Velvet & Sweet Pea. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Scents of the Mediterranean: Strange Invisible Perfume's Peloponnesian


Mediterranean travels have taken me to the shores of Italy, France and Spain. Of course I feel blessed to have experienced the azure waters, palm trees, and restful sun drenched beaches of the Mediterranean in these countries, but I have yet to meet the acquaintance of these waters in Greece or its islands. Greece is the destination I most frequently daydream about, and hope to make its beauty my reality someday.


The Peloponnese is the southernmost part of mainland Greece, and Peloponnesian is the name of an all natural perfume inspired by that region. Alexandra Balahoutis, creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes’ Peloponnesian, has tapped into what I imagine the air to be like in southern Greece; refreshing, crisp, warm and radiant.




The opening of Peloponnesian is brisk and green with woody topnotes courtesy of the oil from cypress twigs and leaves. Hydro-distilled orange and lime bring forth a sparkling clarity to its citrusy temperament while the basalmic tones add depth, warmth and a hint of sweetness. In truth, it’s not much different from SIP’s Atlantic, another gorgeous scent inspired by seafaring masculinity. Peloponnesian has more of a citrusy pop in its opening, making Atlantic’s lime notes feel subdued by comparison.


The drydowns of both fragrances run parallel to each other as they evoke beach-side citrus groves and salt tinged air, Peloponnesian maybe more so on the citrus aspect. But Peloponnesian has a sultry side to match Atlantic’s smoldering scent. If you’re familiar with SIP’s Musc Botanique’s explosive vegetal musk, you’ll find a more subtle take on that sexy botanical frenzy in Peloponnesian. Atlantic has it too, and Peloponnesian’s muskiness falls just between that and Musc Botanique.


Peloponnesian is an alluring scent of the Mediterranean that is beautifully constructed. The balance of citrus, sage, honeyed woods, and botanical musks lull me into my Grecian daydream as it wafts from my husband’s skin or from my own.


Peloponnesian is available at Beautyhabit.com, $160 for 50 ml. There is currently 25% off with the promo code: OPRAH. Good until August 13th, 2010.


Please visit the following blogs for more Mediterranean inspired scents. Many thanks to Ines and Elena for organizing this blog event:

bonkersaboutperfume

ismellthereforeiam

Notesfromtheledge

olfactarama

eiderdownpress

thenonblonde

waftbycarol

thehortusconclusus

arosebeyondthethames

ayalasmellyblog

katiepuckriksmells

sonomascent

illuminatedperfume

underthecupola

perfumeshrine

alliam-aredhead

Posted by ~Trish

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Moving Past Cristalle with Liz Earle's Botanical Essence No. 1

My introduction to Cristalle EDT was by way of its sophisticated sillage wafting gracefully around a woman who has since become one of my dearest friends. Megan and I met over sixteen years ago, and Cristalle remains her signature scent, at least in my mind. Her father bought her a bottle in Paris twenty five years ago, so when you’ve been wearing a fragrance for that long, a signature it becomes. When I asked her more about her perfume, she made it very clear that she wore the EDT, not the EDP, and that it was becoming difficult to find.


So off I went to The Perfume House in search of Cristalle EDT. When I arrived, there it was, its square columnar perfection ready for me to purchase. And I did. But no matter how much I loved its scent, I could not move past the feeling that Cristalle belonged to Megan, not me.  I felt like a bit of an imposter when I wore Cristalle and upon telling that to Megan, she graciously gave me her blessing to wear it, but it never felt comfortable on my skin. I ultimately gave it to my grandmother who would never have spent nearly that much money on herself for a bottle of perfume. Fast forward sixteen years, and I have finally discovered a chypre that is reminiscent of Cristalle EDT, yet different enough to suit me.



Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 has several top-notes in common with Cristalle EDT like bergamot, lemon, and petitgrain. While Botanical Essence No. 1 lacks oakmoss, the hallmark of many chypre perfumes including Cristalle, it possesses the aforementioned hesperidic* top notes as well as rose, patchouli, cedarwood and vetiver which are frequently used in the creation of a chypre. In addition to Cristalle EDT, Botanical Essence No.1 resembles Annick Goutal’s Eau de Sud and Clarin’s Eau Dynamisante. All of these fragrances are green and citrusy in the opening and woody-aromatic in the heart and drydown, but I find Botanical Essence No. 1 to be slightly warmer and rounder than its counterparts. It’s not as austere as Cristalle, is a little smoother than Eau de Sud and less “spa-aromatherapeutic” than Eau Dynamisante.


When I first tested Botanical Essence No.1, I was immediately impressed. I enjoyed its sparkly greeting and welcoming herbal notes of cardamom, coriander and nutmeg. The drydown was just as alluring, with tonka bean adding an unexpected touch of sweetness and cedarwood adding body and comfort. But it wasn’t until just today, that I was fully won over by Botanical Essence No. 1. Early this morning, I sprayed this EDP on my wrists before I gave much thought to my day. After sitting down to a breakfast of oatmeal and glancing at my dayplanner I remembered my acupuncture appointment at 10 am. I wondered if I had made a perfume mistake. I had never worn fragrance to an acupuncture treatment and became wary of my spritzing decision. The concern passed quickly though, and off I went. While I was having my “rest” (after being poked with what felt like 50+ needles) I drifted into a quasi-meditative state. The restorative and comforting qualities of Botanical Essence No.1 began to envelop me, and it was blissful.


Seven years ago, I had a blissful moment of a different sort when I found that bottle of Cristalle in my grandmother’s medicine cabinet after she died. It was empty, but I hope its gorgeous scent made her feel full.


One lucky reader gets to share in my bliss because the Liz Earle people are giving away a full bottle of Botanical Essence No. 1 to a Scent Hive reader. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered. Extra entries as well 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! Drawing will close Sunday July 11th at 9pm PST. Drawing is now closed.

Botanical Essence No. 1 is derived from 98.6% all natural ingredients. Here is a statement from Liz Earle’s PR folks regarding the other 1.4%:

Over 98% (98.6%) of the ingredients used in Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 are directly derived from nature; the remaining 1.4 % ingredients are solvents, stabilisers and synthetics. These ingredients, whilst not naturally derived, are commonly used when formulating a fine fragrance. They are really important as they make sure the fragrance lasts when it is applied. They also help to make the fragrance smell continuous: essential oils such as the ones we are using can smell quite sharp and distinctive, and these ingredients help the fragrance smell rounded and balanced. If we didn’t use these ingredients the fragrance wouldn’t last as long on the skin, and the complex blend wouldn’t be as well rounded and such a pleasure for the wearer.

It is available at LizEarle.com, $78 for a 1.6 oz bottle.



* Please see this very informative post at Bois de Jasmin regarding the Hesperide (citrus) family of perfumes.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Botanical Essence No. 1 was provided for this review by Liz Earle’s PR company. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Tourmaline by Herbal Alchemy Apothecary

One of the most fulfilling aspects of creating Scent Hive has been discovering natural perfume lines that were previously unknown to me.  It’s even more fulfilling when these discoveries stem from readers’ recommendations. Michelle, a fellow lover of naturals that I have exchanged perfumes with more times than I can remember, has sent me some real beauties. I appreciate her generosity and knowledge of natural perfumers a great deal.


I might never have learned of Herbal Alchemy Apothecary if it weren’t for Michelle, which would have been a minor misfortune as their Tourmaline has quickly risen to the top of my preferred fragrances this spring. Julianne Zaleta, owner of Herbal Alchemy Apothecary, is a professional herbalist, aromatherapist, as well as a perfumer, and has created an exceptionally lovely scent with her Tourmaline.


At the most basic level, Tourmaline makes me happy because it’s a musky floral that I can wear. Back in the day, I wanted so badly to love China Rain, but just couldn’t due to its overwhelming muskiness. Tourmaline is what I wanted China Rain to be- a subtle floral with a suggestion of musk, and a lot more depth. Tourmaline‘s notes are listed as tobacco, bitter orange, honey and fern which on paper is enough to pique my interest. On the skin, they’re enough to make me love it.


Despite fern being present, I would not classify this as a fougère, or fern-like, perfume. Tourmaline is green, but it’s not herbal or woody or oakmossy. A hay back note seems to be provided by the tobacco which veers sweet and leafy rather than dark and earthy. As mentioned above, Tourmaline is delicately floral, and its light honey inflected, citrusy touch makes it a must-have in my collection.


Tourmaline is available at HerbalAlchemy.net for $45 for a 20ml bottle.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: As stated above, Tourmaline was a gift from a friend. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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A Visit to Mandy Aftel's Studio

A visit to Mandy’s work space/living space in Berkeley, CA was exactly what I hoped it would be. She was a gracious host, accommodating my almost-due pregnant friend Mary and her cutie-pie 16 month old boy with a charming ease. Mandy served us delicious tea that she perfumes herself, let us dawdle in her vibrant garden, and of course guided us through her dazzlingly extensive  perfumer’s organ. Our meeting was a last minute plan and just to add to the extemporaneous feeling of that morning, Avery Gilbert was leaving as we walked in. Yeah, that Avery Gilbert of What the Nose Knows. He too was incredibly kind and considerate and I almost asked Mary to pinch me as I stood amongst Mandy’s books and fragrances while chatting up Avery Gilbert.


As he left, Mandy proceeded to make us tea. One was an oolong infused with jasmine and mint, the other an oolong perfumed with hojary frankincense. A large glass bowl, as big and round as a sink basin, was filled with hojary frankincense from Oman that beckoned me with its resinous radiance. With a slow genuflection, I lowered my head and took in its aroma while Mandy let the jasmine and mint tea steep.


I love jasmine infused tea. I have had many different kinds, and can’t get enough of its floral taste and smell being experienced simultaneously. Not until sipping Mandy’s jasmine and mint tea though, have I ever experienced the indolic nature of jasmine in a tea. It was bold and sensual and instantly relaxing. Mandy chose to blend the jasmine with mint absolute in order to cool the jasmine and play with its indolic edge without eclipsing it. For this reason, mint absolute was chosen over mint essential oil, which would have taken over the floral quality. The mint absolute is rounder, and like jasmine is a middle note, as opposed to mint essential oil which is a top note. As a result, they work in concert with each other, complimenting each other even though jasmine is the more prominent aroma. Mandy also brewed her GABA oolong that is scented with her hojary frankincense. It’s called GABA because this particular oolong is grown to enhance its GABA content, a neurotransmitter that has a relaxing, anti-anxiety effect. Its taste was smooth and delicately aromatic, and definitely calming.


As we sipped tea, Mandy had me smell essences from different sources. For instance I smelled the mint absolute and the mint essential oil, and as Mandy described, the absolute was not sharp in the slightest. It was round and warming and incredibly beautiful. I smelled sandalwood from her new, sustainable source in Indonesia which was buttery and smooth as compared to her vintage Mysore sandalwood which smelled of an antique drawer filled with stories for days. Mandy has a gorgeous chest of drawers filled with her perfumes and colorful pouches that house those fragrances. (I’m sure this chest has many of its own stories to tell!) These pouches are made in Vietnam by disabled craftspeople, and Mandy has worked with this organization to achieve the details she wants in these lovely pouches, down to the size of the strings to the type of knot she prefers.


Aesthetic details clearly mean a lot to Mandy, and this is evident in her garden overflowing with roses. The roses were stunning, and I could have spent all my time at her studio learning about the varieties and their origins. They were all incredible, but my favorite was the Golden Celebration Rose which was particularly noteworthy due to its golden hue, like that of an antique brocade.


But what was most memorable, was Mandy herself. Her humility and wealth of knowledge are admirable. She is also very earnest in her desire to connect with her customers. She has recently entered the world of Facebook and Twitter and is enjoying how it enables her to make those connections. Emails are palpably important to her. She responds to every email (and comment), and feels very strongly about maintaining that relationship with her customers. She wants to know how people respond to her work, and what her fragrances mean to them. Additionally, she exudes contentment and pure joy in her work and her business. In her own words Mandy states, “I’ve gotten to do what I want to do, on my own terms. I have resisted growing my business too big because I like the whimsical nature of being able to create what I want to create, while also enjoying being in control of every aspect of Aftelier Perfumes. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else that would be better, for me.” Amen to that.


Below is a sneak peek at the new Aftelier website which is aesthetically lovely, and most importantly, easy to navigate. Mandy’s revamped site will be launched soon and I will keep you up-to-date on that.


Posted by ~Trish
Photographs by ~
Trish

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