The Clarimonde Project, Part III

As this might be my last installment of The Clarimonde Project, I would like to thank Lucy of IndiePerfumes for inviting me to partake in this extraordinarily inspired adventure. I’m hoping many of you have listened to Clarimonde via Librivox and perused the other participant’s blogs for reviews and beautiful prose inspired by this haunting romance.

There’s one aspect of this story that I have not touched upon yet, and that is the ending when Clarimonde is revealed to be a vampire. Romuald, the priest who fell madly in love with Clarimonde, did not disentangle himself from his lover once he discovered that he had been drugged nightly by her so she could drink his life giving blood. Rather, he seemed to relish that he kept her alive, so much so that his words could be mistaken for the prayer given before taking Holy Communion, “Drink, and may my love infiltrate itself throughout thy body together with my blood.”

When one celebrates Holy Communion, the host (bread) and the wine are symbolic of Christ’s body and blood. In Roman Catholicism specifically, the host and the bread are believed to become the body and blood of Jesus, which is echoed in the aforementioned words of Romuald regarding Clarimonde. Romuald not only partook in this ritual as a priest, but administered it to his parishioners as well. And at night, he gave of his own blood to save the life of Clarimonde. At one point in the story, Romuald even describes Clarimonde’s “beautiful hands” as “purer and more diaphanous than the host,” a direct reference to the Holy Communion.

This story is rife with death, rebirth, blood, flowers, decay, youth and passion. What an abundance of inspiration for a perfumer, right? Indeed it has been. I have three *perfumes at my table right now. One by Ayala Sender of Ayala Moriel Parfums, another by Dawn Spencer Hurwtiz of DSH Perfumes, and finally one by Monica Miller of Skye Botanicals. I have experienced them all separately, but as I have them together now, I am convinced there must have been a Clarimonde collective consciousness wafting through their creative spaces while they concocted their brews as they are rather similar.

They are all intensely floral perfumes that exude the weighty feel of aubergine velvet, burgundy brocades and red damask. Dawn’s perfume, Paradise Lost, is quite ambery and well-aged like a rich port. Monica’s creation, Sangre, is just as deep and dark as Paradise Lost, but it’s a little sweeter like over-ripe blackberries dripping in one’s hand. All three hint at a haylike note, but it’s Ayala’s Clarimonde Dream Pillow that emanates the most earthiness. It’s not a freshly tilled soil though, rather a soil on the edge of decay that is infused with rose, violet and carnation.

Each of these perfumes teeter on the edge between lushness and decomposition, which is right where Romuald existed. And all of The Clarimonde Project creations, including Mandy Aftel’s Oud Luban and Immortal Mine, by Maria McElroy and Alexis Karl are touched by the beauty and depth of this utterly captivating story. I am honored to have been a part of this event that so exquisitely married perfume and literature.

Visit IndiePerfumesScentLessSensibilitiesPerfumePharmerLostPastRemembered for more Clarimonde prose and watch for posts at JadeDresslerPerfume Smellin’ Things as well.

The Clarimonde Project Part I
The Clarimonde Project Part II

*Paradise Lost (DSH Perfumes) and Sangre (Skye Botanicals) are mixed-media perfumes as they contain small amounts of synthetics. Ayala’s Dream Pillow perfume is 100% natural.

Image of The Vampire by Sir Philip Burne-Jones at artmagick

Image of Victorian Vampire by FairyLover17 at etsy


Recent natural skincare finds.

Patyka recently underwent some restructuring, and the result is a brand new look and a complete revamping of their product lines. Disappointingly, it also brought about the discontinuation of their perfumes which is such a shame as Ambré was a uniquely light and warm amber fragrance that I now have to use sparingly. But, as is often the case with change, there are new things to embrace, so I have approached Patyka’s transformation with an open mind. So far, their White Grape Body Lotion is my favorite. It’s more like a body milk, very light and absorbs rapidly. It’s amazingly effective for such a light lotion as a pea sized drop spread over the top of my hand turns parched winter skin baby soft. And true to its name, the scent is just like sweet grapes. Not that of sticky sweet purple grape juice but rather freshly crushed green grapes gently dusted with powdered sugar. So if you’re looking for a fresh and fruity body moisturizer but don’t want to smell like a cheap tropical cocktail, consider Patyka’s White Grape Body Lotion. Oh, and here’s another thing that sets it apart from the crowd, it’s 99.95 % natural and 20.26 % organic.

I used to be skeptical of toners. They seemed like a superfluous step in one’s beauty regimen, and frankly, I didn’t want to spend the time or money on another “step”. My opinion of toners has changed dramatically since I started blogging and became exposed to beautifully crafted hydrosols and toners. For clarification sake, let’s look at Mandy Aftel and Daniel Patterson’s book Aroma, which provides this detailed definition of hydrosols:

Hydrosols, a by-product of the distillation of flowers, roots, barks, branches, needles and leaves of plants, are what remain after the essential oil is separated from the water used in distillation. Hydrosols contain only a tiny amount of the oil, but they have plant-based properties and nutrients, which make them very different from regular water to which a few drops of essential oil has been added. Hydrosols are lighter and evaporate faster than essential oils and offer a different, more subtle olfactory experience.

Hydrosols can be used as toners, but toners are typically refreshers or astringents that contain several ingredients and a hydrosol might be one of them. (The Makeup Diva provides a very thorough discussion of toners that I recommend reading). Skye Botanicals Yarrow Toneris an example of a toner that contains a handmade hydrosol from locally sourced Martha’s Vineyard yarrow. It’s both astringent and soothing with its combination of yarrow, witch hazel, lemon balm and chamomile. Skye Botanicals Rose Petal Toner doesn’t utilize a hydrosol, but its combination of rose essences, aloe vera and seaweed extracts are incredibly calming and balancing. A spritz or two of either toner augments the moisturizing power of my serum and I have been using them nightly, alternating with my other favorite, evenhealy’s Rose Geranium Facial Tonic Hydrosol.

Speaking of evanhealy, just when I thought my love for this line couldn’t get any bigger, I went and tried their Chamomile Eye Care Cream and found that indeed, I could love it a little more. It’s a shea butter based eye cream that’s whipped and airy but incredibly moisturizing. If shea butter makes you concerned about clogging pores, it’s listed in the middle of the ingredient list, so it’s not heavy and has not caused me any undereye milia which occurs easily when I use dense creams. An additional plus is the absence of eye irritation which is another common problem for me and eye treatments. Like all of evanhealy’s products, the Chamomile Eye Care Cream is 100% all natural and contains no GMOs, parabens, petroleum-based products, synthetic fragrances, or animal testing.

Patyka’s White Grape Body Lotion is available at SpiritBeautyLounge. $55 for 8.4oz

Skye Botanicals Toners are available at and select Whole Foods. $28 for 4oz. (Check out this article on Monica Miller, owner of Skye Botanicals for more information on her all natural products and business mission.)

evanhealy’s Chamomile Eye Care Cream is available at and select Whole Foods. $30.95 for 0.5oz. Here’s another Scent Hive review on evanhealy skincare.

Posted by ~Trish

Disclosure: Patyka sample was from a SpiritBeautyLounge order. Skye Botanicals samples were sent to me for consideration by Skye Botanicals. The evanhealy sample was given to me by a Whole Foods SA. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.