Travels to the Far East inspired Lina Hanson to create Satori. Notes of yuzu, ginger, and sandalwood were chosen to evoke the landscape and culture of China, Japan and Thailand. While I have never travelled to these countries, Satori feels as relaxing and restorative as a Japanese Garden. (If you ever come to Portland, you must visit our traditional and gorgeous Japanese Garden). Yuzu is one of my favorite uplifting, citrusy scents so I was anxious to try this immediately after opening the package Lina Hanson sent. Yuzu is a lot like grapefruit essential oil, with a similar sharpness, but also has the vaguely spicy quality of bergamot. I think it was a brilliant choice to pair yuzu with ginger, since ginger too is spicy resulting in a piquant citrus aroma.
It’s dark and cold outside, but in our homes we do what we can to cultivate light and warmth. Tonight is the 7th night of Hanukkah, so our menorah will emit an enchanting glow while holiday aromas of mulled tea, cookies and melting wax suffuse the air. Perfumes are a wonderful way to enhance this olfactory experience, but I prefer when a fragrance flows smoothly with the occasion rather than competing with the festive smells.
Mejica, created by A Perfume Organic’s founder Amanda Walker, is a fragrance that blends harmoniously with surrounding holiday scents. It has a base of apricot kernel oil, and like most fragranced oils, it wears close to the skin with little sillage. It’s also 100% natural and organic (unlike most fragranced oils), so if you like your perfume to enter a room before you do, Mejica is not for you. However, if a smooth and spicy vanilla fragrance sounds appealing, then Mejica is calling your name.
When first applied to the skin, Mejica makes you feel like you’ve stepped out of the cold and into your best friend’s cozy home where a warm drink steeped in cloves and orange rind awaits you. The vigor of this spicy-citrus opening quickly diffuses into a subtle merging of even more culinary spices like allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon; a blend that feels comforting and familiar.
Vanilla lingers in the topnotes as well, but doesn’t fully declare itself until the heart unfolds and develops. Vanilla then fluidly intertwines with the aforementioned spices along with benzoin’s sweet resinous warmth. As if vanilla and spice weren’t enough to warm your spirit, Mejica’s musky side comes to coax you by the fire, beckoning with a gentle floral earthiness I associate with the vegetal musk of ambrette seeds. I become overwhelmed by musk quite easily, but Mejica’s muskiness is not that of a “clean musk” or “white musk” so ubiquitous in perfumery today, it’s more akin to a well-worn sweater with threads of vanilla in its fibers.
I find Mejica to be a fairly complex perfume, as it moved from its enlivening and festive opening, to a vanilla gourmand, and then into a cozy vanilla-musk. After several hours, Mejica’s final progression is a pillowy-soft vanillic drydown that all vanilla lovers will want to experience.
Mejica comes in 12 ml Perfume Oil roll-on, packaged in a plantable flower seed-embedded box. It is available for $65 at A Perfume Organic.com
Posted by ~Trish
Hanukkah Lights image by ~Trish
Disclosure: A sample of Mejica was sent to me for consideration by A Perfume Organic. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Amber perfumes typically have a base of labdanum, benzoin, and vanilla, sometimes with a balsamic note added for extra warmth. They tend to be powdery, full of depth, and natural amber blends are particularly soft and soothing. Because of amber’s coziness, I thought I preferred it in the colder winter months. Enter Patyka’s Ambré to shift my thinking. This is an amber of a different sort. Light and glowing, without a hint of powder that I can sense. It’s entirely seasonless.
It begins with bergamot, which initially was disorienting to me. I was not expecting a citrus blast when I sprayed a perfume named “Amber”. Luckily, Patyka’s bergamot is gorgeous and vibrant. I now look forward to Ambré’s initial lively, green greeting. The citrus settles quickly though, making way for a simple but elegant vanilla/woodsy blend.
The creamy vanillic quality of Ambré is sublime. It melds into the skin effortlessly and is quite sensual. The woody aspect in Ambré is very subtle thankfully, as I would not want the cuddly vanilla to be overpowered. I perceive the woods as mainly sandalwood, mixed with the sweet, almost earthy/nutty quality of tonka bean. This gives Ambré’s vanilla solid footing as a smooth skin-scent rather than a gourmand. Because of their simple elegance, Patyka’s perfumes are beautiful when layered together. I will report my findings after I spend more time experimenting with these gorgeous fragrances. I have a good feeling about an Ambré and Boise blend.
Patyka grows its own organic ingredients and its products are certified organic by ECOCERT. In addition, Patyka’s products do not contain any petroleum, silicone, PEGs, parabens, or phenoxyethanol. They are available at Patykausa.com for $98 for a 50ml bottle or $59 for a 15ml bottle.
UPDATE! According to the SpiritBeauyLounge website, “Patyka is undergoing some company restructuring and has temporarily halted distribution in the US. What we have left is all we’ve got but expect to see the entire range to return early 2010 with even more wonderful products!”
You might want to wait until things are settled before you place an order with Patyka directly while they go through this transition. The relaunch will probably happen in July. I’ll keep you posted!
Posted by ~Trish
Disclosure: The sample of Ambré is from my own collection. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Aromaleigh is well known among the make-up aficionado crowd as a creator of beautiful mineral makeup. Personally, I have never tried Aromaleigh’s makeup, but if you scan the reviews over at MUA you’ll find rave reviews for the majority of their products. I have however, had the opportunity to experience two of their all-natural fragrances thanks to a lovely friend who so generously sent me samples to try.
It feels quite serendipitous that I decided to open up my sample vials this past week after having them for a couple months now, as both Madeleine and Dulcinea capture aspects of the holiday season. I had not read the notes of either perfume before applying them on my skin, so I had no preconceived notions about coziness, warmth, or holiday gatherings. Yet while wearing the scents on each wrist, Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was humming through my mind.
Of the two, Madeleine is the most holiday-ish. Mulled spices, with nutmeg at the helm, opened the fragrance and a citrusy mix of lime and pink grapefruit imparted a zesty lift so as to not let the spices become too excessive. The topnotes ushered in a festive, sparkly mood, and since lime is the key citrus player rather than pink graperfruit, it was vibrant without being too sweet or cloying. Once the fruity part of Madeleine dissipated, the soft warmth of benzoin and shades of cocoa were allowed to emerge. Nutmeg remained, so they all mingled in a cocoa-vanilla-spice filled aroma that was just downright pretty.
The drydown afforded a smidge of woods, sandalwood, as is listed on the website. The woodiness was so subtle to my nose that it did not read as sandalwood, or any wood in particular. The suggestive tone was quite nice though, and I enjoyed how it too melded with the creamy and spicy coziness of Madeleine.
Cocoa is like a velvety backdrop in Madeleine, but in Dulcinea, it’s a major player. Blood orange and cocoa mixed to create a liqueur vibe; simultaneously sensual and convivial. Tonka bean and vanilla edged out the blood orange soon enough and became a warm and comforting trio with cocoa guiding Duclinea’s evolution. Tonka’s almondy accents and cocoa’s richness satisfied my gourmand hankering that rears it head this time of year. I’ll be on the look-out for others as well, but Dulcinea will certainly sate that desire for now.
Madeliene and Dulcinea are $50 for 1oz. (Madeliene is on sale for $37.50 until 10am EST 12/9/09) and are available at Aromaleigh.com. Sample packs of all six Aromaleigh fragrances are available for $14.
Posted by ~Trish
Photo of Hannukah Doughnuts by gkamin at Flickr.com
Colonia 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!
Regardless, 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