Alexandra Balohoutis, the nose behind Strange Invisible Perfumes, has relaunched her Perfumes of the Zodiac collection. First off, I want to say how much I love the new bottle. It embodies simple elegance, and feels substantial and weighty in the hand. I don’t think I would want to risk this gem bouncing around in my tote bag, but it is a suitable size (15ml) for travel if handled with care.
It was just about four years ago that I reviewed Virgo, and if you pop over to that post, you’ll see that I completely adore it, and you will also see what the past bottle looked like. I think the new flacon is a definite upgrade! As for today’s review, I’m going to give you my impressions of Cancer, which is my sun sign and was sent to me by SIP. (At the end of the review you can find out which perfume belongs to your sun sign).
Like Virgo, and every other SIP fragrance that I have experienced, Cancer is full-bodied and voluptuous. Mandarin is bursting in the opening notes, but not in a sunny or high-pitched-citrusy way. This mandarin is cloaked in a deep, vintage patchouli which gives it the air of a classic perfume without being overwrought with aldehydes. If you are a fan of Lily of the Valley, which I am, Cancer will make you very happy. It too is in full bloom right from the get go, and becomes even more pronounced in the heart as the patchouli settles, allowing the basenotes to take hold.
Vanilla, amber and leather are listed in the notes, which make up the drydown. I definitely sense the presence of vanilla, and will hazard a guess that labdanum and ambrette are the foundation for the amber. Both ambrette and labdanum are musky and leathery (like suede, not a whip), and blend harmoniously with the patchouli. After several hours, I was surprised that the mandarin reappeared, and just loved its interplay with the vanilla and amber. Each stage of my “cancerian” perfume was intriguing and enticing, but the drydown is particularly exquisite.
If you are interested in learning more about Strange Invisible perfumes, please see the SIP website for details regarding their strict sustainability practices. You can be reassured that the entire line of SIPs is 100% botanical and they distill many of their own essences. If you are interested in reading more about Alexandra Balahoutis, please give my interview with her a read. She is a very inspiring woman!
Typically I do not copy and paste press releases, but this one is too fun not to share! Read on and find out what perfume has been created for your sign…
Aries: The Innovator. Element: Fire. The first sign of the zodiac, Aries is able to make incredible things happen quickly. Hydro-distilled essences of cinnamon, rose, and angelica fuel a vibrant imagination. Frankincense, benzoin, lavender, and sandalwood cool fiery impulses, encouraging the composure needed to realize visionary plans.
Taurus: The Sensual Realist. Element: Earth. Ruled by Venus, Taurus is a compassionate sign resistant to the influence of others. Lush earthy notes of geranium, maté, oakmoss, vetiver, and frankincense encourage flexibility and optimism without compromising shrewdness. Neroli, rose, and grapefruit court the senses and lighten the mood, allowing Taurus to shine even more brightly.
Gemini: The Mastermind. Element: Air. Gemini, symbolized by the twins, is an agile thinker with the dazzling ability to see all angles of an issue. This sign is associated with duality, a concept often confused with duplicity—hence the misguided characterization. Charming notes of violet, gardenia, and angelica echo Gemini’s alluring presence and sparkle against a darker backdrop of amber and leather.
Cancer: The Levelheaded Bohemian. Element: Water. Cancer is the only sign of the zodiac ruled by the moon. While being adventurous and free spirited, those born under Cancer are known for their cleverness, generosity, and devotion to family. Mandarin, patchouli, and lily of the valley encourage Cancer’s mischievous sense of humor, while sumptuous notes of Tahitian vanilla, amber, and leather make this sign feel right at home.
Leo: The Ringleader. Element: Fire. Leo is the only constellation ruled by the sun. Hydro-distilled essences of neroli, bergamot, lemon, and cardamom reinforce Leo’s charisma and inviting style of leadership while smoothing out domineering tendencies. Ambrette seed and jasmine sambac tame Leo’s fire, making gratification come more easily.
Virgo: The Exacting Romantic. Element: Earth. Virgo is the guardian of quality, and this sign’s pursuit of excellence is often mistaken for arbitrary perfectionism. Baked earth and palo santo reflect deep introspection and a dedication to nuance. Sparkling notes of neroli, temple mandarin, and rose speak to Virgo’s need for beauty and precision, sweetly quieting the critic.
Libra: The Connoisseur. Element: Air. Libra, ruled by Venus, is the most approachable of all air signs, balancing elegance, wit, and mischief with legendary skill. Centering essences of rose, grapefruit, and iris fulfill Libra’s unyielding need for beauty, while golden champa, myrtle, and basil calm Libra’s tendency to worry.
Scorpio: The Enigma. Element: Water. Scorpio, the dark horse, the infamous rock star of the zodiac, is nothing if not a mystery. Vetiver and palo santo both respect and soften Scorpio’s iron will, while frankincense and cinnamon reflect Scorpio’s deep spiritual wisdom and vast knowledge. Leather and white Cognac encourage Scorpio’s brooding intellect to lighten up and live joyously in the moment.
Sagittarius: The Rolling Stone. Element: Fire. The iconic nomad sign, Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius lives for adventure and tends to be a social butterfly. Neroli
and lime reflect Sagittarius’s innate optimism, mutability, and fiery ambition. Grounding essences of cypress, bay leaf, and honeycomb encourage this nomadic sign to appreciate present surroundings.
Capricorn: The Force to Be Reckoned With. Element: Earth. Ruled by Saturn, Capricorn is famous for a nearly heroic sense of commitment, patience, and drive. Iris, frankincense, and Tahitian vanilla speak to Capricorn’s earthy, sensual side and strong need for stability. Neroli, jasmine, and white Cognac invite Capricorn to let go of routine and enjoy the rewards of spontaneity.
Aquarius: The Rebel with a Cause. Element: Air. Aquarius, the third and final air sign, is one of the most charismatic signs of the zodiac. Neroli and rosemary fuel Aquarius’s independence, intellect, and humanitarianism, urging Aquarians to put their global ideals into action. Lavender, white sage, and frankincense soothe anxiety, grounding Aquarius when airy detachment sets in.
Pisces: The Dreamer. Element: Water. Empathic and sensitive, Pisces, the twelfth sign of the zodiac, is seen as the wisest and most reflective of all. Grounding essences of frankincense, cedarwood, and black pepper guide Pisces through occasionally stormy seas of emotion. Night-blooming jasmine, kewda, and lime keep the waters of creativity abundantly flowing.
Disclosure: The perfume for this review was provided to me by Strange Invisible Perfumes. As always, the opinions in this review and all others are expressly my own.