I don’t know Jill McKeever, but I feel like I do. I have spent hours perusing her etsy shop and poring over her blogposts which is the way we get to know each other these days I suppose. Her natural perfumery is called For Strange Women, which speaks to Jill’s overall aesthetic. It’s slightly oddball, but certainly feels warm and inviting as it’s for us, quirks and all.
I became acquainted with Jill via Twitter when she followed me. I then popped on over to her etsy shop to see what she was all about. I was immediately taken by the descriptions and gorgeous photographs of her perfumes. The images have a vintage patina but are hyper-real as if you can feel the weight of the glass and liquid just by looking at them. Shortly after this introduction, I serendipitously found her perfumes at Flutter which is a beautifully curated Portland boutique loaded with everything you don’t need, but desperately want. After seeing and smelling Jill’s creations first hand, they went on my desperately want list.
My friend Bishop Lennon and I were together at Flutter that day, and we both swooned over Moss & Ivy. Seriously, the whole store probably heard our oohs and ahhs. I’ve since had the opportunity to wear Moss & Ivy several times and it’s had the same effect on me every time. When it melds into the skin it evokes an atmosphere which is deeply green and mysterious, like a forest teeming with emerald ferns, gigantic pines and wet mossy soil. As Moss & Ivy develops, its herbal greenness subsides and a softer resinous base completes the woodland journey.
Decadence and Debauchery is also a richly resinous fragrance that exudes intrigue. But this is not for woodland nymphs. It’s a glamorous scent “suitable for burlesque beauties, Victorian darlings, and vaudeville sensations alike,” as Jill herself proclaims. Decadence and Debauchery is laden with tobacco, vanilla bourbon and violets which might sound pretty and sweet, but don’t be misled. This all natural perfume possesses a strong, full-bodied tobacco that is more dry and smoky than sweet. Vanilla and violet simply add more curves to this voluptuous fragrance which boldly makes its presence known. Decadence and Debauchery ultimately settles down a bit, and gets smoother and sweeter as immortelle coats itself over tempered woods and dry tobacco. I’ve never been one to enjoy the maple aspect of immortelle, but in this composition it’s so well harmonized with balsams that it’s more bittersweet than sugary, a perfect ending for this gorgeous perfume.
Moss & Ivy and Decadence and Debauchery are $28 for a 7.3ml (.25 oz) vial of 100% natural perfume oil.
24 thoughts on “For Strange Women Natural Perfumery”
I’m so glad to read this review: I’ve long wondered if Jill’s scents were as gorgeous as her packaging. Now that I know they are, Moss and Ivy is on my must-try list, too.
Moss & Ivy is so dense and beautiful, I think you would love it!
Darn you Trish – I want *everything* in this shop. I’m paralysed trying to make a decision on what to try first! The perfume fixative base is such a good idea too.
Luckily she offers sample packs that are really lovely. Not only do they give you a sense of her presentation, but of course you’ll get to try her perfumes. I really want to try Jaded and Cleopatra next! 🙂
I have never tried anything from that Strange woman :)but I love her entire visual identity and hopefully her perfumes are good as her presentation.:)
In my opinion, her fragrances are very congruent with her visual persona and aesthetics. Very compelling! 😉
So interesting to read! I recently got my set of samples, and will be writing about them in the near future. I love the aesthetic too.
I thought of you as I worked my way through Jill’s etsy shop and website. I look forward to reading your thoughts about FSW 🙂
I’ve always wanted to try something by Strange Women, but I get easily overwhelmed and then can’t make up my mind. Finally, I have a place to start. Moss & Ivy sounds awesome.
And I need to visit Flutter the next time I’m in the PDX.
Flutter has your name written all over it! You must go there the next time you’re in PDX. It’s on Mississippi Ave which is loaded with terrific boutiques, restaurants and bars 🙂
I have been a fan of For Strange Women for over a year now. Start with some samples. Everything is luscious! The scents are not timid, by any means. Winter Kitty is surprisingly beautiful, and Cleopatra is mesmerizing. Moss and Ivy is definitely a favorite, but I found having many on my shelf to choose from helps set my mood for the day, whatever it may be, Jill has a scent to enhance and inspire you ~
So sorry for my delayed response Robin, I have been out of town for a long weekend. I am so glad you are a devoted fan of FSW perfumes….so much to discover from this line!
HI, I’m late to the party as well but had to comment how I bow humbly before Jill’s esthetic, style, creativity, and talent. I felt a kin in our brief exchange as being both natural perfumers, we play the violin and are musicians. Looking at her page and smelling her fragrances reminds me of walking awestruck through a museum filled with works of art you never dreamed of seeing up close. She has a shop and home one can only dream of. It is a fantasy (due to money restrictions) but one day I hope to make my packaging do justice to my fragrances and mostly to honor the rare naturals used. I will have to go back to Flutter. Years ago when they had an opening party I gave her a small bottle of a perfume (I didn’t even have a shop name then) and she asked me to bring more by. I am just too embarrassed by my packaging.
Perhaps I shall set a goal. By the time I release my tribute to osmanthus perfume inspired by an ancient Asian story and festival that celebrates it during September’s full moon, when many of almost two-dozen types of osmanthus species are in bloom. Boy have I blabbed! Sorry about that I’ve been on too much cold medicine and drinking frankincense. (for real,it is supposed to help colds.)Thank you Trish for your always beautiful and visually descriptive writing.
I am sooo sorry it has taken me so long to reply! I hope you are still creating away in both your music and perfumery.
I agree that packaging and presentation are important, but what really matters is the juice inside right? Please keep me posted on your etsy shop and anything new you’ve got brewing. 😉
Hello there! This is my first comment on your blog, I discovered it a few weeks ago and have been enjoying it much! This review made me feel like trying some of these For Strange Women stuff and my order of three samples arrived quite quickly (great packaging!). Eventhough I’m not a fan of green perfumes, moss and ivy managed to smell friendly to me: as some lovely tiny Victorian kind of wood fairy surrounded with a soft gentle green glow and sparks!
Then, November, saddly, didn’t do much on my skin but Decadance and Debauchery reminded me much of Sables by Annick Goutal (a sent I enjoy quite a lot) but lasted sooo much longer!! that was amazing!…
It’s the first time I try hand made/all natural perfumes, it’s been an interesting experience! I’ll probably go on exploring this new track and my next target might be roxana illuminated perfumes…
So, well, thanks for leading me to this nice discovery!
I’m so happy to hear that you are enjoying Moss & Ivy, I found it to be very appealing and unique as well.
I highly recommend giving Roxana’s perfumes a try, she’s an incredible artist.
Just purchased Moss & Ivy — unsampled, thanks to this glowing review.
I also got:
Samples of the fauna inspired scents — Coyote, Horse and Sand Dollar (!)
Samples of Winter Kitty, Decadence & Debauchery and November
A “Poison Ivy” lip balm.
I’ll share my thoughts after my goodies arrive.
Please do share! Horse and Sand Dollar sounds very intriguing, and I’d like to know what you think of Moss & Ivy 🙂
Very quick delivery; intriguing scents.
Moss & Ivy is addictive! I’ve worn it for 2 days now, and several layers have emerged. It started out lush and profound, a dark, shade-covered emerald — not crispy or dry. The most discernible note to my untrained nose was basil, but it isn’t like garden-fresh basil (a la tomato stem). Rather, it seems an earthy sweet, reminding me of patches of moss and new ferns. In the latter stages, it veers to a whisper of a mellow but dry wood note, and it smells great on my skin. LOVE IT, and will snap up more when budget permits.
Sand Dollar is unisex, crisp, with only a wisp of sea salt smell. Horse and November seem to share some nutty quality — something akin to black walnut. These are my least favorite, but Horse is definitely a leather, and both strike me as shades of brown — uncannily appropriate to their respective names.
I adore Coyote — somewhat astringent unisex. Its got that smokey fur thing going. And Winter Kitty lives up to it’s promise — like a kitty who’s been in the snow, but with an odd bit of mint (and citrus?) thrown in. For me, more of an aromatherapy, sensory-memory type thing than a wearing perfume, but I like it!
But Moss & Ivy — I think already a favorite of mine!
*earthy, sweet oil (of basil)
Oh, yes. Forgot to give a nod to the gorgeous packaging. As a graphic designer, I’m swooning over the letterpressed box label, as well as the lovely paper stock and photos used in the other packaging.
Oh yeah, the Poison Ivy lip balm is yummy!
Ona, thank you so much for sharing your impressions! I must give a few more of her fragrances a whirl….you’ve inspired me 🙂
Moss & Ivy sounds devine. I have to try it!