When Anna Zworykina first contacted me about reviewing her perfume line I was certainly intrigued by her. She’s a Russian biochemist (a PhD no less) who has been creating natural fragrances for more than fifteen years and I was not previously familiar with her work. Of course I said yes, and if you’re like me and you peruse Anna’s website, or her etsy store, you will see that she has a great many fragrances to choose from and admittedly I was overwhelmed by the generous samples she sent my way. Thankfully, it has been my absolute pleasure to have spent many months with the perfumes of Anna Zworykina, and I wish I could review all of them as each one is worthy of a dedicated review.
Alas, favorites must be chosen, and Black Gardenia rose to the top rather quickly with its heady mix of white flowers and leather. A lot of leather, and a lot of smoke as well. Anna writes about Billie Holiday and jazz as her inspiration for this perfume, and it would fit right in at a dark smoky club with the scent of a balmy gardenia tucked behind thick sultry hair. Black Gardenia is not a fresh-from-the-garden flower, and it’s not purely gardenia either. It’s an indolic jasmine merged with powdery iris, in addition to notes of bitter crushed leaves amidst the aforementioned leathery backdrop. This is one of those shape shifting perfumes that smells intensely smoky one moment, then utterly inky or floral the next. Complex and sexy, I adore it.Jasmine and Agarwood is another tropical floral from Anna that I was drawn to, but it’s quite different from Black Gardenia. Jasmine and Agarwood is more radiant, but nevertheless intriguing. Gentle mimosa and violet leaf guide this particular perfume experience into luminous green and bright honey. The jasmine feels very dewy and even though this metaphor gets overused when describing perfumes, it really does smell like a tropical garden after a summer’s afternoon rain shower. We are in the middle of a snow storm right now, but somehow Jasmine and Agarwood is sitting well on my skin and doesn’t feel out of place, most likely because there is that hint of agarwood to keep the sweet and misty jasmine from getting too saccharine or fluffy. Ambrette and sandalwood augment this grounding effect even further, but only a touch, as the green aspect of jasmine truly shines in this beautiful fragrance.
Moving away from the white floral realm, the last perfume that really struck me was Winter Blush. I instantly gravitated towards its gorgeous blend of resins and spices. Cinnamon, cardamom, rosewood, cedarwood, and Peru balsam are all seamlessly blended in this romantic and cuddly winter fragrance. At first, Winter Blush is like an olfactive mulled wine as orange plays a prominent role in its opening, and then it settles into a rich floral heart of rose and jasmine. Ultimately all of the resins dry down with labdanum and benzoin into a vanillic bed of ambery softness. While I would gladly wear Jasmine and Agarwood in the winter to help shake the doldrums of short days and long nights, Winter Blush is the perfume you spritz on your skin when you embrace the dark, and get cozy within.
Image of Gardenia is mine. All others are courtesy of Anna Zworykina.
Disclosure: Anna Zworykina sent me samples for consideration. Like always, the opinions expressed in this review are mine and I am not financially compensated for my reviews.