Essentially Me is a one stop shopping website for all things perfume. If you need botanical extraits, they’ve got ’em. Pure absolutes… they’re available there also. Are you in need of a pipette, some smelling strips, or a blending bottle? They’ve got all that too. Basically, if you’ve ever wanted to become a mad perfume scientist and create your own fragrance, Essentially Me probably has what you need. Detailed instructions on how to get started creating your signature scent, as well as a book that Elena from Perfume Shrine reviewed in wonderful detail here, are also available at Essentially Me.
Alec Lawless, the creator of Essentially Me, also offers perfumery courses in England at their showroom / workshop / lab in a Victorian woollen mill in the Cotswolds, as that is where the company is based, if you’d like a little guidance in your fragrance making endeavors. Mr. Lawless has created ten fragrances if you don’t find yourself with a lot of time on your hands or aren’t inclined to do-it-yourself. He’s made the wise decision to make customizable sample packs available, as well as international shipping.
It’s a hefty task to review ten fragrances, therefore Elena and I have decided to split it up. So please do visit Perfume Shrine to get her take on the five I’m not discussing. Overall, I was very pleased and impressed with Mr. Lawless’ natural perfumes. (Small disclaimer, they are approximately 99% natural, there are less than 1% of synthetics* in their fragrances). The fragrances are consistently well-blended, complex, and have a very sophisticated presence.
The fragrance that I assumed would be the most sophisticated and elegant, turned out to be the most non-traditional of my bunch. Chypre (French for Cyprus) fragrances typically have an oakmoss, woods, and citrus blend. This Chypre definitely has cedarwood and a faint neroli-ish citrus, but really, it’s all about the cumin. That’s right, cumin. Yet this is not the human-cumin of Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom, but rather a very powdery, soft cumin that is proper, yet mildly rebellious at the same time. The drydown hangs onto the savory cumin opening and heart, but makes way for some rich and bitter tobacco, then some pretty, but not clearly discernible gentle florals.
My neighbor has a gorgeous honeysuckle vine that sits between our two houses and emits a heavenly scent in the summer. It’s intoxicating really, and La Joupe takes me back to the not so distant heat of July. Interestingly, the floral notes for La Joupe are listed as jasmine, tuberose, ylang ylang, and orange blossoms, but that mixture turns into honeysuckle on my skin. Good enough for me because it’s sweet and pretty, and sometimes a perfume lover needs a break from intense and heady. Sunny and smooth works well on a day like today, as the sun is still shining and probably won’t be for too much longer here in the Pacific Northwest. (Insert melancholic gaze here).
There’s so much oakmoss kicking around with sandalwood in this opening, that Fauve is more of a chypre than Chypre! And I love it. Upon first dabbing, it reminded me of Cristalle EDT in its radiant green coolness. Fauve continued to hold my attention with a surprising and restorative minty lavender heart. All of this aromatic, chypre-love was all well and good, but when the beeswax/vanilla ambrosia made its appearance after about an hour, I went weak in the knees. But don’t get the wrong idea. Fauve didn’t turn into a foodie party, it stayed true to its original intent. No doubt it’s elegant through and through; but the honeyed drydown amidst minty, oakmossy nuances…delicious!
Who loves the apricoty goodness of osmanthus? You do? Well then, you must give Kuan Yin a try. Kuan Yin starts with osmanthus and ends with osmanthus, but the beginning and end are slightly different. Mimosa helps start things off, creating a very fruity floral experience. It’s fleshy and deeply citrus on the outset, moving into a more fresh and green fragrance. The citrus calms slightly after a half and hour, turning into that quirky baby aspirin accord, with a splash of lime. Luckily, mighty tobacco comes to the rescue with its depth and slightly bitter earthy edge to give Kuan Yin a richness, moving it away from what could have been a light citrus fragrance and into a full-bodied osmanthus perfume.
I know I gushed quite a bit about Chypre, but Classique might be my favorite of these five I have reviewed. Classique is not the most complex of my grouping, but it hones in on two notes I adore, jasmine and coriander, coriander being a note that is not used frequently enough in perfumery from my point of view. Jasmine of course lends a gorgeous tropical, almost narcotic quality to Classique that has the perfect balance of indoles. There’s just enough to give the fragrance a well-rounded quality, but not too much as to compete with the compelling scent of coriander. In Classique, coriander brings a buttery, spicy tone that is also woody and fresh. The flower and the seed meld beautifully together in this scent, and if you enjoy the two, I strongly encourage you to test it in a sample pack. The other notes in Classique are rose, neroli, ylang ylang, geranium Bourbon, bergamot, mandarin, petitgrain, bay, clove, and vetivert Bourbon. Indeed there’s much going on in this perfume, but on my skin at least, jasmine and coriander are the real stand-outs that merge into a unique and alluring fragrance.
Essentially Me fragrances are available at their website.
*per Essentially Me’s PR person: “Synthetic fragrance compounds usually have petrochemical-derived ingredients. The ones we use are about 50% petrochemical-derived, with the rest made up of turpentine derivatives (that is, synthetic molecules created from chemically processing alpha-pinene which is extracted from pine trees)”
Posted by ~Trish