Maoli Perfumes: Colonia Dulce Eau de Cologne

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o20761Colonia Dulce Eau de Cologne by Maoli Perfumes is a sweet perfume (colonia dulce means “sweet cologne” in Spanish) that has a sweet story to go along with it. Two tween-age brothers, Kai and Kalani Hughes, had to leave their beloved Hawaii and move to the rainy Northwest. Homesickness set in, and they asked their mother if they could create a fragrance for themselves that would smell like the Hawaiian sunshine to help appease their moments of tropical solar longing. Mom said “of course, but let’s do it right”.

Kai and Kalani studied natural perfumery with their mother and Colonia Dulce was their final project. According to Kai and Kalani in this interview at Fragrantica, they never intended to create a business. But as it turned out, there were so many interested moms in the boys’ fragrance, that selling it seemed like a savvy idea.

When you read the interview, you get a real sense of the boys’ dedication to botanicals and natural essences. I love that they each have their own favorite scents. Kai’s are ylang ylang and vanilla, but he also loves to combine Turkish rose and lemon. Kalani’s favorites are tangerine and vanilla. All of the ingredients in Colonia Dulce are organic. When I spoke to the boys’ mom, she said that not all of the ingredients have been certified organic, but she assured me that they are all indeed organic and 100% natural.

So let’s get to what the fragrance smells like. The notes are listed on the Maoli website as: Mexican wild lime, pikake and orange blossoms, juicy Ka’u Gold oranges and vanilla. Upon the opening, it’s all about citrus and pikake, which reads as plumeria to my nose. And this is definitely a good thing in my opinion! There are many types of plumeria which have a variety of smells. But the common white ones with the yellow center, the celadine plumeria pictured above, have a decidedly citrusy neroli accord with a slight suggestion of jasmine and gardenia. Snapping a blossom from its branch and inhaling the aroma literally makes me weak in the knees. It’s one of the reasons I crave trips to the Hawaiian Islands and hopefully their Colonia Dulce makes Kai and Kalani feel comforted, not even more homesick!

 

o20851Regardless, the plumeria-like topnotes and heart definitely have a sweetness to them, undoubtedly due to the vanilla. This is afterall, Colonia Dulce. The drydown then loses the florals all-together and becomes a simple and sweet fragrance. It’s not cloying, or overly foody, because I can assure you it would have been scrubbed off without a second thought had that been the case. Rather, it’s like smelling the hard shell of a Jordan Almond before the first bite; subtly sugared.

 

There’s another aspect of Colonia Dulce to love aside from the plumeria scent, its being organic, and the fact that it was created by two boys. Its price; only $28 for 30mls. Or you can get a 4ml deluxe sample for $5. So go grab yourself some Aloha spirit.

 

posted by ~Trish

plumeria photograph by mad plumerian on flickr

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Strange Invisible Perfumes: Galatea

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Galatea begets an image of a bitter-orange tree corridor. Blossoms opening from a balmy night of late spring. Dark silhouettes of lovers loosely hold hands, fingers intertwined. Boozy thoughts dance above them. The trees emit their balsam, finally released from the first true heat of the season. The bark has become balm and essence. It’s a lovely vision, a bit dark in my mind, and this perfume swirls around it like a trance. 

 

I am in love with Galatea and yearn to have a full bottle. Here’s the caveat; one has to really love this fragrance before buying it as it is only available in parfum strength and is $185 for 1/4 ounce. But neroli is a weakness of mine. I adore its sensual heralding of springtime and slightly spicy undertones. This lovely note of neroli, combined with the sweet warmth of benzoin and the leafy-green resinous quality of galbanum have been orchestrated with an artist’s skill and inspiration. Alexandra Balahoutis, the creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes composed Galatea for herself, which might explain why this is such a perfectly blended fragrance. 

 

To clarify, the benzoin used in fragrance is different from the medicinal benzoin which is a skin protectant and smells like camphor. Perfumery benzoin is a resin from the Styrax tree which is native to Southeast Asia. Cuts are made in the bark to release the liquid secretion, which later solidifies into a resin after being exposed to air and the sun. The resin smells sweet and vanilla-like, and according to Mandy Aftel in her book Essence and Alchemy, “people tend to find benzoin calming, seductive, sensual and rejuvenating”.

 

Tuberose plays its part in this perfume as well. But not in the typical bombshell-floral role it’s usually relegated. In Galatea, tuberose has soft curves that cradle the neroli. So subtle is the tuberose, that it only becomes apparent in the base. Providing a richness to the neroli and an evolution for the fragrance to move into deeper territory. But the resinous, booze-like quality that makes Galatea so dreamlike remains constant. 

 

Galatea is available at  Strange Invisible Perfumes.  Strange Invisible Perfumes does not use any synthetically derived chemicals and all of their products are crafted solely from ingredients found in nature. They use organic beverage-grade grape alcohol as the base for their perfumes. 85-100% of their product is organic and they use organic ingredients whenever possible. Please see their site for more on their green mission.

 

Galatea decants are also available at The Perfumed Court.

 

Posted by ~Trish

Pygmalion and Galatea by Jean-Leon Gerome at Explore-Drawing-and-Painting.com

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Anya’s Garden: Rivercali

 

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It’s such a pleasure to experience a perfume without having seen any advertising, marketing, or even peeked at the perfumer’s website. To be able to wear a fragrance relatively free of those associations and without expectations is a rarity these days of media overload. My only prelude to Rivercali was knowing that its creator, Anya McCoy, is a devout natural perfumer from Florida and that her little box of samples was so beautifully packaged that I could hardly stand to open it up. But open it I did, as I clearly had to get to the vials inside. Rivercali was the first one that caught my eye, and I dabbed away.

 

Rivercali is a lush walk through a dewy oceanside garden, abundantly adorned with citrus blossoms. Neroli and petitgrain waft like an ocean breeze, and make you want to roll up your pant legs and splash in the surf. Rivercali is supported by a rich floral base of Turkish Rose Otto, yet in no way would I label this a rose fragrance. The rose otto offers spice and strength, providing a foundation for the heart, but does not overpower Rivercali’s inherent tropical leafy greenness.

 

This flirty, citrusy floral continues through to the drydown where just a hint of sandalwood and vanilla show themselves. Only slightly though. Just as this is not a rosy scent, this is also not a woodsy or vanillic one either. It’s a lush blooming fragrance that is heaven for floral lovers. Especially those with a penchant for orange, lemon or lime blossoms.

 

As I mentioned above, Anya is a natural perfumer and never uses synthetics in her fragrances. She also uses organic, wildcrafted and sustainable essences whenever possible. Additionally, her perfumes are housed in boxes that are made from the sustainable Daphne plant and recycled paper. They are also imbedded with wildflower seeds, so you can plant the box and grow your own garden in a pot or in the ground.

 

You can also visit the blog I Smell Therefore I Am for a recent review of Anya’s Garden Kaffir fragrance.

 

Rivercali is available at Anya’s Garden. Also, there’s a deal at Anya’s Garden, take 10% off with coupon code kaffirlime, good through 4/4.

Posted by ~Trish

Photograph of lime blossoms by alasam on flickr

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Jo Wood Amka

 I have learned that Amka means “to wake” in Swahili. (This information is on every site where the line is sold). And I agree that Jo Wood’s Amka possesses a lively quality, but it is soothing as well. I wear it to bed frequently because frankly, its lack of sillage and faint lasting power are good for the late night hours. I love crawling into bed after a bath, having just hydrated my skin with the Amka Body Oil and spritzed my skin with the Body Dew. I guess ultimately that is how I appease my heartbreak that this fragrance just does not last. Sad, but true. Because I love this scent so much.

 

Now that I have lamented its ephemeral quality, let me tell you why I still love it. I said it’s lively. This is due to the effervescent neroli Jo Wood has chosen. It’s slightly spicy, bursting with a piquant citrus aroma, yet mellowed by a beautiful warm cedar that envelops the neroli charge ever so perfectly. These opposing qualities have been balanced harmoniously. It is such a special fragrance that I am willing to forgive its transient nature, and enjoy its short-lived comfort and tranquility.

 

I know not everyone will have this kind of patience given its steep price tag. But take into consideration that Jo Wood has sustainable organic standards, and follows strict ECOCERT guidelines. She never uses petroleum products, phthalates, or parabens in her natural products. (See her website for more detailed information).  Also, I have found the best way to get the scent to last. I spray either the Body Dew or the Eau de Toilette (EdT) in my hair and then very liberally on my skin after applying the Body Oil, to get about an hour of scent time. I know, remember reading above about how much I love this perfume?

 

The difference between the EdT and the Body Dew is the EdT is softer and more floral, whereas the Body Dew has more cedar. Additionally, I’d say the EdT lasts longer on my skin; I can squeak out maybe two hours. But keep in mind that it wears very close to the skin. The Amka line includes the EdT, Body Dew, Body Oil, Body Lotion and Bath Oil. As an aside, the Body Oil is rich and luscious. It is very hydrating, and soaks into skin after about two minutes. The scent evokes the neroli, but the cedar is deeper and there are more hints of the rose otto than in the EdT or the Body Dew. And take note, I do not recommend the lotion. The texture is very watery and separates easily. Mine was quickly returned.

 

Jo Wood Amka is available at Beautyhabit.com

Posted by ~Trish

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