Today is the last day of winter, and as we pass from one season to the next we find ourselves in a moment of reflection. Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums has gathered a handful of bloggers to reflect on the remarkable scents that gave us comfort this past winter. Here is my selection of perfumes that provided warmth in the cold months and will continue to nest a sanctuary for me anytime of year.
Bancha is the first fragrance that came to mind when I received Ayala’s invitation. I wore it throughout the winter, and it felt nurturing and hopeful. Dawn Spencer Hurwtiz has named this fragrance after a type of green tea, but it is so much more than a “tea” perfume. It’s lemony and minty to be sure, but is entrenched in rich dark soil that provides sustenance to roots and bulbs, a reminder of emerging life. Bancha is equally as gorgeous and appropriate on a man, my husband specifically, which makes my affection for Bancha even stronger.
Royal Couple by Gabriel’s Aunt, is an overtly floral fragrance that is wearable and cozy. It starts with an intoxicating dose of jasmine, develops into a subtly spicy floral in the heart, and dries down to a gorgeous vanilla base. Royal Couple’s blend of jasmine and rose is impeccable and fortunately comes in a candle to help light the way when it’s chilly, be it from the weather or internal storminess.
A perfume can be a salve not so much because of its notes, but because of the association you have with its aroma. When I wore Ayala’s Hanami for the first time last spring, it was a near magical day at the Japanese Gardens with my young boys. The sun was bursting with much longed for radiant heat and the cherry blossoms were glowing with an otherworldly pinkness. Hanami was on my skin, and its floral notes of magnolia and mimosa made the day even sweeter. Despite its petal softness, Hanami is very grounded with woods, tonka, vetiver and subtle vanilla. So for me, Hanami is a complex fragrance that recalls a tender memory.
Buying a perfume after you’ve gone through turmoil is another way to experience well-being, at least in my scent obsessed world. I did just that after my recent unexpected surgery, as I deserved and needed a new scent to appease my situation, right? One read of March’s review of Strange Invisible Perfume’s limited edition Dimanche was all it took for me to decide what perfume I would indulge in. Thankfully, I concur with her glowing review. In fact, I’m having a hard time using any other perfume these days as I am in full-blown Dimanche infatuation. I agree with March that Dimanche is sharp in the beginning due to iris that isn’t tempered with something soft to round its edges. Instead, bittersweet cocoa and powdery rose heighten its intensity throughout the top and especially in the heart of the fragrance. Dimanche doesn’t settle until the drydown when hay and honey emerge, making for one interesting affair. It gets even more fascinating when the soapy quality of iris surfaces. This might sound like a motley crew of notes, but it works. It’s compelling, rich, and to use an overused word, a little bit fierce.
Chêne by Roxana Villa is a perfume I wished I’d had this past winter. Although it is a chocolate based fragrance, it suggests a similar ambience to DSH’s Bancha. Chêne is dark and rich with oud, woods and resins yet has a piquant vitality that keeps it from becoming too heavy. The base of this solid perfume is composed of cocoa butter, beeswax, and jojoba seed oil which is dreamy to apply, and perfect for the rainy days of spring around the corner.
These perfumes, and the Royal Couple candle, are all natural and contain no synthetics, petrochemicals, or phthalates. Many of them also use organic ingredients.
Please visit the other blogs who are participating in this comforting event:
Posted by ~Trish
“Bird in the Magnolia Nest” by Hadley Hutton available at etsy.
“This article’s title is an homage to Michelyn Camen‘s original article of this same name on Sniffapalooza Magazine in 2008, in which interviewed several perfumers to comment on what botanical elements make their perfumes comforting.
22 thoughts on “Scents of Comfort: A Joint Blogging Project”
Thank you again Trish for including my Royal Couple solid and candle in this list of lovelies. I am honored and excited.
You are so welcome! Thank you for creating such fabulous scents 🙂
love Nikki’s candles!
What a great journey to read through your list, so many here I haven’t tried and have been curious about. The description of Dimanche has inspired me to take a long awaited trip into Venice for some sniffing.
Thank you so much for reading. Your fragrances always bring comfort and pleasure!
Dimanche might not be at the SIP Boutique anymore since it was LE and it’s sold out, so call before you head over there 🙂
Hmmm…”fierce,” is it? I’ve got a fierce curiosity about it now, too, but I fear the no longer available “Dimanche” is not in the cards for me. It’s nice to hear your thoughts, though.
All sound lovely, though; nice to know that the others are within reach…
I just got an email from SIP….there’s one bottle left!!
Happy Spring to you too,
Thank you so much for contributing to this joint-blog project!
With every list I’m reading I’m more inspired to find little comfort zones even in the worst scenarios possible. I’m so sorry to hear about your surgery, hope it’s nothing serious. Sending you recovery hugs!!!
I should head over to Dawn’s website and order a bunch of samples. There is so much new there that I haven’t tried. So many naturals too, since last spring when I smelled just 2 of her offerings at Blunda. She’s a true talent (and has a lot to choose form – even worst than my own website LOL!).
I’ve been burning Royal Couple candle a lot since the fall when I first got it. It’s beautiful. Perfect treasure to burn and indulge in. Nikki knows how to make the most beautiful candles, I will never go back to any other kinds of candles, not even the Diptyque onces which I love so much. It’s such a great feeling to burn a candle and know there are no synthetic chemicals or waxes in it.
And Dimanche sounds like such a quirky assembly of notes. So very much in Alexandra’s style. She knows how to pick them and put them together doesn’t she?
And I’m so thrilled you picked Hanami for that day last spring at the Japanese garden, and that it has become part of your memories with your children. It has become my sakura-season perfume as well. It reminds me of plum blossoms and sakuramochi. If you eat them at room temperature, the leaf with the rest of the pastry really tastes like Hanami perfume. It was not intentional, so I was really thrilled when I discovered that, because I love sakuramochi and all those things make spring in the Northwestern part of the world so much less cold and emotionless for me (I’m used to bursts of desert flowers and orchards in Israel, remember?).
And I must try Roxana’s chocolate collection. Chene sounds wonderful and an unusual combination of notes, not the usual gourmand! And using the cocoa butter as a base for the solids is such an excellent idea. Must try them!
Thank you so much for organizing this, it was a pleasure to write.
And thank you for your thoughtful reply! I love hearing your thoughts on some of my faves 🙂
Hanami is such a lovely fragrance and you can be sure I will wear it to the Japanese Gardens again when I take my boys to “ohh and ahh” over the sakura splendor! I also want to try sakuramochi now, I’ve never had it.
Ayala, Thank you for the compliments on my candles. To hear that from you is always wonderful. I want to send you some samples of new blends and get your feedback. Thank you and Trish both. Muah!
You’d love the Sakuramochi!
They are the best Japanese pastry in my opinion. I like eating the leaf (some people don’t). It has coumarin, which gives the whole pastry the taste of a plum blossom…
The cherry blossoms were so early this year, and are already falling off the trees here… But there are still enough to celebrate Hanami this weekend and I won’t feel like a complete fool when throwing my Hanami tea party (sigh of relief).
I realllly wish I could attend your tea party! One of these days I’ll get back up to Vancouver and by all means…..come visit Portland!
thanks for including such fine options and for making me swoon for the naturals, I well like several of those you mention. And congrats for ever expanding your boutique, it must feel very gratifying!
Thank you for the nice comment! I love sharing my experience of natural perfumes, and luckily there are so many to delve into. 🙂
All the best,
Hi Trish! I can see where Hanami could be a comfort scent — it has a cozy base with a nice balance of soft woods and vanillic elements. I’ve not tried any of the others, but will have to. Bancha has been on my to try list!
I think it’s my fond memory of first wearing Hanami that makes it so comforting to me. And typically I love woody florals! 🙂
Thanks for reading,
Thanks, Trish, for expanding my nasal awareness with this intriguing list!
You are so welcome! And thank you for your fabulous video contribution, I really enjoyed watching it.
lovely to hear some natural and different scents that comfort- plus there is the comfort of knowing they are natural
Thanks Rose, always great to have you stop by!