vetiver

Natural Perfumes for Fall (Video)

I’ve decided to create a dedicated page for my YouTube videos in order to keep my blog clean and focused on written posts. The one exception will be when I post a natural perfume video review; this is Scent Hive after all.

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Ritual 2

Ritual by Age of Earth Collective

It is me, or is palo santo the new oud? I feel like I am seeing it everywhere, and I must say, I like it. And I especially like it in Age of Earth’s all natural perfume offering, Ritual. I discovered this local company at a pop-up hosted by Shop People here in Portland, and was able to test the full line of Age of Earth’s perfumes and incense. Roxanne, the creator of these beautifully scented products, was a pleasure to chat with, and informed me that while her perfumes are very high in natural essences, Ritual is the only one that is 100% all natural. I delved into all of her perfumes with an open mind, but ultimately it was Ritual that pulled me into its tranquil realm.

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DSH Three Kings

 

Because of its name, and the fact that this perfume was created for the holidays, I expected something familiar, like a yuletide blend of incense, spruce, and spice. Three Kings is definitely no such thing, but so much more. And what a pleasure it is when preconceived notions are dispelled, especially when something more interesting awaits.

Three Kings, the third from Dawn Spencer Hurwitz’s all natural Gaia Collection, is certainly interesting and took me by surprise upon first sniff. Its opening is rather bitter, like the sharp smelling sap of a young pine tree bereft of any aged softness. A bitterness from citrus is present as well, as if an orange or bergamot were picked too soon before its sugars had time to fully develop. The first time I wore Three Kings, the opening felt strange and a slightly disorienting. But now that I know what lies beyond its first few minutes, the edgy topnotes feel like a rite of passage into what becomes a gorgeous vetiver perfume.

Vetiver might not have been one of the original offerings of the three kings, but it should have been given the magic Dawn has created with this humble root. The vetiver progression begins just shortly after the bitterness fades, when resinous balsams of cedarwood, sandalwood, frankincense and myrrh reveal themselves, subtly for now and more substantially in the drydown.

The heart continues to develop as vetiver asserts itself with a piquant greenness that is a little nutty and a whole lot earthy. This is my favorite aspect of vetiver, its rich and fecund essence which calls to mind damp forests and dry leaves clinging to their branches. Vetiver also has hints of powderiness which Three Kings explores as it moves further into its heart. The powdery, leathery richness of labdanum converges seamlessly with the vegetal soil of vetiver, making the 180 degree turn away from sharpness complete.

In the drydown, vetiver rests in the unfolding expanse of woods and resins, fully softening any remaining edges. In the end, what began as a startling perfume, has now become one of the most gentle and lovely vetiver perfumes I have ever experienced. I was not expecting vetiver to be the central offering of Three Kings, but it is, and I am grateful.


Three Kings is available at DSH Perfumes. $55 for 0.25 oz EDP spray or $140 for 1 oz.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: A sample of Three Kings was sent to me for consideration by DSH Perfumes. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


Image: Three Kings by Joseph Christian Leyendecker (1874-1951) at CGFA

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Artemisia Natural Perfume’s Rayon Vert

I spritzed Artemisia Natural Perfume’s Rayon Vert, having no idea what to expect. I figured it’d be green of course, maybe a radiant crisp green, but other than that, I had no idea what I was in for. The sun is shining brightly as I write (that’s a rarity in the Pacific Northwest this time of year) which always aids in seizing the day, but Rayon Vert made me straighten my posture a little more when I drew in its fragrance this morning.


Rayon Vert’s openingis peppery, herbal, and leathery. So much for my preconceived notion of green crispness! Vetiver seemed to lend its complexity as I smelled smoky-rootiness throughout the Rayon Vert experience. Vetiver, pink pepper (guessing here), and a full-bodied anise rounded out its opening. An indolic impression was cast in its topnotes, so a tropical floral component, namely tuberose, was sketched in my mind. But just a light, pencil sketch of tuberose as Rayon Vert is not a floral perfume, it’s an earthy and vegetal scent with a moody aura.


After the indolic intensity dissipated, a powderiness surfaced. I have experienced a powdery quality in many perfumes that include vetiver, and I wonder if it’s the vetiver itself that lends this sweet gauzy redolence or possibly a combination of notes, or an accord. Ayala Sender has a very thorough discussion of vetiver on SmellyBlog and it is well worth reading if you have an interest in this versatile and fascinating root.


On the newly revamped Artemisia website, you won’t find a list of Rayon Vert’s notes, but you will discover this description of Rayon Vert: “Intricate mosaic of scents, evoking dark licorice and roots, moss and herbs, wet forest and rain-soaked meadows. Lush pink frangipani (not the tuberose I had imagined) and a special blend of anise-hyssop, all in a swirl of emerald green”.


I love that description as it stands on its own, and agree with most of it. Rayon Vert is most certainly a “mosaic of scents.” It is complex and slightly enigmatic, as the varying components integrate to form one cohesive scent, but also manage to stand alone at times, like a piece of glass in a mosaic that catches the light for just a moment. Anise and roots (am I right on the vetiver?) definitely captivated me, but as I mentioned, Rayon Vert evoked a powdered dryness, and less so a “wet forest and rain-soaked meadows.”


As I complete this review, and enjoy the Rayon Vert lingering on my skin, I ponder the possibility of benzoin in the mix. Might it be benzoin’s warm vanillic aspect that allows vetiver to become soft and gauze-like? I don’t know, but I appreciate that Rayon Vert has kept me guessing. It’s compelling and interesting and well worth experiencing.


Artemisia Natural Perfumes are 100% natural, true to its name. Rayon Vert is available in a 7mg solid which is on sale for $20, 17ml EdP for $64, and 35 ml which is on sale for $96. Sale prices are good until 2/28/2010

Posted by ~Trish

Juliette by John White Alexander (1856-1915) at museumsyndicate.com
Disclosure: A sample of Rayon Vert was provided for this review by Artemisia Natural Perfume. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.

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Gabriel's Aunt Venasque and Bohem

This review continues my exploration of natural perfumes from Gabriel’s Aunt. Last week I wrote about Royal Couple, a radiant and sultry rose/jasmine duo that comes in both a cream perfume solid and a candle. Today, I will focus on two of her roll-on perfumes, one that also features jasmine, but from a different perspective.


Venasque is an homage to the lavender and chocolate loving Southern French town by the same name, and uses jasmine in the top notes to enhance the experience. One would not smell Venasque and think, “my what a fabulous jasmine scent”, as it’s decidedly a lavender based perfume. But this lavender is fuller than usual as jasmine melds into the purple buds, enhancing its herbaceous essence with a juicy floral lift. Lovers of lavender will appreciate the lushness that Venasque brings to the plant which can oftentimes be dry and crisp.


A dusting of cocoa powder lands gently on Venasque after an hour, meeting the expectations set by the perfume’s back-story. Lavender continues to be the star of this fragrant experience, therefore it doesn’t become a lavender infused chocolate truffle (which sounds really tasty come to think of it!). Venasque is more like a lavender field that has been nourished by dark chocolate in its soil. The rich, bittersweetness effortlessly evolves as jasmine receeds. A judicious use of patchouli adds to this earthy imagery. As with Venasque’s jasmine, it’s the suggestion of patchouli that enhances the richness of the chocolate and the herbal aroma of the lavender.


Even though the drydown is similar to the delightful vanillic ending of Royal Couple, I wholeheartedly recommend men try Venasque as well as women. I happen to be a lover of lavender, so Venasque is a perfume I would reach for again and again. I already have two lavender favorites, Roxana Illuminated Perfumes’ Vera and Ajne’s deLavande, but Venasque rounds out the collection beautifully. Both of those fragrances lean more powdery and cozy, while Venasque is an amplified, aromatic lavender with a gourmand flavor.


Bohem, GA’s best selling fragrance of 2009, resides in the spicy-incense realm with its allspice and cedarwood blend. In addition, vetiver, patchouli and tobacco give a good deal of body to Bohem, most notably being vetiver. I thoroughly appreciate vetiver’s ability to provide a smoked earth quality while simultaneously allowing the surrounding essences their full glory.


The heart of Bohem becomes a little sweeter as cassie and davana lend a honeyed, fruity glow to the incense swirling on your skin. Tobacco and the allspice aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves infuse the smoke from beginning to end which like Venasque, would smell wonderful on either a woman or a man.


Nikki Sherritt, the woman behind Gabriel’s Aunt, is a bit of a dark horse in the world of natural perfumery. She flies under the radar, probably because she is more well-known for her candles, but should receive due recognition for her artistic hand in blending natural perfumes. Nikki has samples for sale on her site, and I encourage you to experience them for yourselves.


Venasque and Bohem are available on the Gabriel’s Aunt website. $38 for a 1/4 oz roll-on.

You can read Ayala Sender’s review of both Bohem the fragrance and the candle on SmellyBlog.


Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Samples from Gabriel’s Aunt were provided for this review. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Image of Venasque, France from TravelWebshots

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