Los Angeles Report Part II brings us to my enchanted evening at Blunda where Yosh, Persephenie, and many botanical gems were discovered. Before I get to Yosh though, let me tell you about the benzoin! I had never smelled benzoin until this past weekend and could hardly pull my nose out of the jar that held this intoxicating substance which is made from the bark of the Styrax tree via cuts to release the resin. Above all, enticing vanilla wafted from the glass jar. Soft and supple, yet dirty and earthy as if you’d just pulled a piece of wood out of the soil. And the labdanum! I finally got to smell labdanum, another resin, utterly rich and musty. It also struck me as quite leathery with great depth and amazingly animalic for a botanical.
Hundreds of individual essences within Persephenie’s perfumer’s palette remained to be sniffed, but time was short and there was much to smell. Blunda is filled with a delicious array of natural fragrance offerings from Aftelier, Velvet and Sweet Pea, DSH, Artemesia, and Persephenie’s own bodycare line. I could have spent all evening poring over the gorgeous selection. And when one of my favorite perfumers, Roxana Villa walked through the door, I was thrilled not only to have the chance to chat with Roxana, but to experience the fragrances and essences with her was truly special.
Of course we were all gathered to learn more about Yosh Han’s fragrance Winter Rose and the two fragrance installations, Dew and Sombra Negra, she created especially for the evening. Winter Rose is a 100% botanical fragrance that was inspired by Yosh’s travels through Turkey. Four rose attars along with cardamom are in Winter Rose, making for an inspired, authentic and slightly spicy rose fragrance. But it was the evening’s installations that really got my attention. Sombra Negra with its vetiver, patchouli, oak moss, and tobacco went into deep and dark territory that smoldered in LA’s summer heat. A little too much actually. I had to fan myself as I thought how Sombra Negra would be more appropriate in front of the fireplace upon autumn’s first chill. But Dew….Dew was perfection on that hot night. Why don’t more perfumers use fennel? It’s sheer genius with its crisp and refreshing bite. Yosh added honey absolute, citrus notes with lime, petitgrain and neroli and then a hint of sweet floral in ylang ylang. She created Dew in a gel base, which enhanced the cooling effect of the fragrance and heightened the sparkling anise quality of fennel. For those of you interested in purchasing Sombra Negra or Dew, there still might be some available through Blunda if you contact Persephenie.
If you do call the boutique, consider calling in an order for Persephenie’s Linden Blossom Dry Body Oil or the Nanu Lei Fizzy Wonders. I haven’t actually tried the bath fizzies yet because it has been outrageously hot since I’ve been home, but they smell heavenly! A luscious blend of coconut, cocoa butter, citrus, and tropical flowers. I can’t wait for the weather to cool down so I can enjoy an evening’s bath with one of my Nanu Lei Fizzies. I can attest to how wonderful the Linden Blossom Dry Body Oil is, as I have used it several times and it hydrates beautifully and smells like you’ve stepped out of a Maui spa. The linden blossom is warm and citrusy, almost honey-like, and I’m sure Persephenie has enhanced the oil with other citrus elements as well as tropical white florals and a spot of cocount. It lasts many hours on the skin and you can put it in your hair as well where I’m sure the scent would waft sublimely.
Persephenie and Yosh
Blunda is truly an olfactory wonderland. Twice monthly visits (if not more) would certainly be the norm if I lived in Los Angeles. But more than the perfumes, body products and jars of botanical scents…it was the people of these natural perfume enclaves that made my trip exceptional. Persephenie was warm and welcoming; funny and kind. Yosh’s killer smile, along with her sharp intellect and charm-for-days left me giddy in her wake. Roxanna Villa was a joy to finally meet. Her caring, astute, and vibrant nature put me at ease the moment I saw her. And if you read Part I, you know my experiences at Strange Invisible Perfumes and Le Labo were also remarkable. My friend in life and in scent (not to mention fabulous Los Angelean host), duVergne, might be getting another visit from me sooner than she realizes!
Posted by ~Trish