Holiday Gift Guide 2010

Can you believe the holiday season is already upon us? Thanksgiving will be here in a heartbeat, and the first night of Hanukkah is December 1st. So it’s time to hop to it and get gifting. I’ve gathered together some of my favorite bloggers (links below) to offer our recommendations for those special items on our to-give lists, and maybe even our own wish-lists. My list includes many price points ranging from $6.50 for a gorgeously scented soap to $325 for a precious limited edition perfume, with lots in between. As you might have guessed, all of my recommendations are 100% natural which means no petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, or parabens.

Urban Eden (Now Oilve and Oud) Shahrazad soap ($6.50 per bar) I recently reviewed Urban Eden soaps and at the time I had just started using my bar of Shahrazad. At this present moment, I have but a tiny sliver left and recently placed an order for another bar so I can continue to bask in its plentiful floral spiciness. Tuberose, frankincense, and cardamom are the standouts in this richly lathering soap that’s perfect for this time of year.


Gabriel’s Aunt tea light sampler. ($9 for a set of 10) After you spend some time at the Gabriel’s Aunt etsy shop, you’ll be glad you can choose 10 different tea lights in your sampler. Nikki Sherritt, creator of GA, has so many scrumptious scents to choose from that it really is hard to pick only a few. My favorite isRoyal Couple ($25 for 8oz candle), a rose and jasmine blend that warms a room with a finespun throw. You can read more about her liquid and solid fragrances here and here.


Wing and Prayer mini sampler ($10 for three 1/8oz rollerball) This has got to be one of the best bargains in the natural perfume world. $10 for three nicely sized fragrances? That’s a steal that we all need to take advantage of! I adore Flowers, a gardenia fragrance with sweet notes of linden and beeswax as well as Bella, a soft blend of verbena and neroli. An individual bottle is $35 for a 1.78oz spray which is also an incredible value for such gorgeous, all natural scents.


Scented Djinn Sahar ($25 for 5ml) This beauty boasts jasmine, sandalwood, and champaca infused with honey and vanilla. Sounds pretty right? It’s also calming and cozy and I love to wear it on cold fall mornings. I reviewed Saharthispast spring if you would like to read more.


evanhealy Sweet Blossom Hydrating Oil($29.95 for 4oz) Smoothing this body oil over freshly showered skin is a pleasure of which I will never tire. Frankincense, neroli and a light touch of ylang ylang intertwine to create a comforting scent that will put a smile on the lucky recipient’s face. And not only is it beautifully fragranced, it is made with cold pressed, organic oils of sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, jojoba and apricot kernel so it feels as good as it smells.


Organic Apoteke Droseros Hydrating Mist ($30 for 5oz) Hyrdosols have become a part of my daily skincare routine. Sometimes I spray it on my skin when it’s dry and I want to apply a body oil (such as evanhealy’s above) and I also mist my face with a hydrosol before using my serum. Currently, Organic Apoteke is my favorite because it’s soothing and hydrating. But honestly, I really love it because it smells so darn good. It’s like there’s a magic honey ingredient in this mist that lasts for hours and swirls around my skin amidst delicate rose petals. I’ve got this in the travel size, and you can be sure it’s going with me on my next plane ride.

DSH PerfumesÉpices d’Hiver ($40 for 1 dram/5 mls or $120 for 1 oz) Épices d’Hiver was launched by DSH Perfumes last fall, and got a lot of wear during the cold months, which here in the Northwest can last well into May. So suffice to say, I wore it many a day. Now that the rain and cold are upon us once more, Épices d’Hiver is back in action, providing me with a cozy spicy go-to fragrance suffused with nutmeg, hay and woods.

Ayala Moriel Parfums Palas Atena ($48 for 4mls or $120 for 9ml flacon) Palas Atena was the first Ayala Moriel fragrance that I fell for, and it still ranks high on my list of favorites of her creations. It’s a classic floriental with notes of patchouli, amber, champaca, cinnamon, jasmine, lavender, neroli, sandalwood, and sweet orange. Each essence flows into the next, moving in continuous harmony like a high quality vintage fragrance.

Intelligent Nutrients Aromatics in Focus ($50 for 0.85 oz) Feel free to spritz this alluring aromatic all over yourself. Mist it on your face, your skin, and your hair and let its organic vitamin e and castor oils hydrate while organic flower oils intoxicate. The neroli jasmine duo is swoon worthy, and so well loved, that I can’t imagine anyone not being thrilled to open up this 100% organic scent.


Roxana Illuminated Perfume’s Rosa Solid ($72 for 5.3 gm solid in a refillable silver compact) Oh lovely Rosa! Such a precious compact made even more so by its contents. If you are a rose lover, or know one, you should feel compelled to give Rosa a serious gander. Rose otto from Turkey and an absolute of rose bourbonica from India grace this sensual solid perfume, as well as woods, oud, vetiver and leather. Its rich and earthy bouquet is full but wears close to the skin. One of my favorite rose perfumes.


Aftelier Perfumes Candide ($150 for 0.25 oz which includes a 2ml mini, the mini is sold separately for $45) Mandy Aftel of Aftelier Perfumes has just launched Candide, and made a personal appearance last night at Bendel’s in NYC to celebrate its release. And believe me, she has much to toast as Candide is truly beautiful. It radiates with sparkling notes of pink grapefruit, blood orange and raspberries all wrapped up in sueded jasmine petals. Its lush and enticing, but cheerful and flirtatious as well. A suggestion of frankincense affords a bit of grounding, but to be sure, Candide is lighthearted through and through.


Strange Invisible Perfumes Elektrou ($325 for 0.25 fl. oz. pure perfume • Available in-store or by phone only. Call toll free: 800.919.7472) Strange Invisible Perfumes has lured me in once before with these limited edition gems. I caved and bought Dimanche last spring, and have not regretted it for a second. It exudes two notes that I can’t seem to get enough of, hay and honey, in a surprisingly sophisticated and provocative manner. Well, if you wish you’d jumped at the chance to get Dimanche, Elektrou is quite similar, with a few distinct differences. Dimanche’s opening is on the sharp side due to the edginess iris sometimes possesses. Elektrou on the other hand is immediately soft with its vanilla and smooth amber accord. Sandalwood plays a large roll in Elektrou’s suppleness, emanating a sensual ease. It’s going to take serious restraint that I am not sure I have to keep myself for purchasing Elektrou as I want every scarf I own to smell just like it. It’s a splurge no doubt, but one that the perfumista in your life (which is probably yourself) will adore.

Please stop by the following blogs for more gift ideas.

Perfume Shrine


Roxana Illuminated Perfume

All I Am- A Redhead

Posted by ~Trish

image courtesy of Roxana Villa.


The Scented Djinn's all natural perfumes: Jameel & Sahar

It was uncharacteristically muggy yesterday, not something we experience with frequency in the Northwest, but it was downright sultry in the late afternoon hours. A beautifully crafted citrus fragrance is just what I needed, and this particular afternoon called for a blend of neroli and petitgrain, with a smidge of tropical florals.

Justine Crane, the perfumer at The Scented Djinn has created such a fragrance in her newest release, Jameel. Jameel opens undeniably with petitgrain which wafts with such freshness, that you can hear the twigs snapping off the trees and the leaves crushing as you pull them off the orange. Jameel is green, alive and very refreshing on a hot day. Neroli, which is the essential oil obtained from orange blossoms, gives balance to Jameel’s petitgrain beginning providing a feminine and beachy air.

Gardenia and resins (oudh and labdanum) give Jameel a touch of complexity, but this is not to be mistaken for a heady perfume nor an incensey one. It is sublimely a cirtusy floral, buttressed by notes that enhance and deepen its glimmering citrus nature.

Sahar is another fine offering from The Scented Djinn’s all natural line up. I fell for it immediately as I love woody floral perfumes and Sahar is a beautiful example of this genre. As are listed at Justine’s etsy shop, the floral notes include jasmine and champaka and the woods are Australian sandalwood and Himalayan cedar. While all of these provide an ample foundation for Sahar, the allure lies in its smooth sweetness.

Sahar’s introduction is coated in a boozy honeyed quality that quickly evolves into buttered honey. This delicate sweetness permeates Sahar as benzoin adds vanilla softness to the golden nectar.

While tuberose is not listed in the notes, I was convinced I was smelling its beauty within Sahar. I wrote Justine to ask what other florals make this perfume so compelling. She explained that the “green notes” (as mentioned on etsy) is actually a complex accord with many essences. I won’t give away too much, but tuberose, orris, rose, and galbanum are all in this “green notes” gem and lucky for me that I love tuberose because it fully blossomed on my skin.

Sahar is a fragrance that I will have in my collection at all times. It’s pretty, yet complicated. Approachable, but incredibly interesting. Sahar is now on my highly recommended list of woody floral fragrances, right alongside Ayala Moriel’s Hanami and Roxana Villa’s Lyra. As with these perfumes, Sahar feels at home on my skin.

Justine is teaching a year-long natural perfumery course which begins May 24th, but is currently full. A new session will begin some time in September with 10 spaces available. The web address for the course site is, visit the site and their FAQ page for more information.

Jameel and Sahar are available at The Scented Djinn etsy shop. Both are $27 for a 5ml bottle.

Posted by~Trish

Disclosure: Samples of both fragrances were provided by The Scented Djinn. The opinons in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.


The Scented Djinn: Reviews and Giveaway


A djinn is a supernatural creature, a genie in Arabic folklore, that can either do good or evil in the human world. Justine Crane, the woman behind The Scented Djinn, has thankfully decided to use her creative powers for the good of scenting us humans. The fragrances of The Scented Djinn are all natural and several of the ingredients have been handcrafted by Justine herself. When she’s not busy overseeing her fragrant lair, Justine can be found teaching classes, writing her blog Oh True Apothecary!, or tending to the business side of things, which she has been doing since 1996.

Oshiba Eau de Parfum

Oshiba began with a take-charge labdanum and frankincense blend, which created a dark and leathery mood that was familiar yet compelling. Think of a similar atmosphere to Donna Karan’s Black Cashmere, but less wood and more pelt. On The Scented Djinn website, labdanum is mentioned as a basenote, but to my nose, the top was all about this rich and resinous essence. The fragrance meandered effortlessly through its labdanum intensity towards a delicate powdery lavender mélange. Oshiba’s final destination was a soft vanilla, with remnants of a hushed labdanum. Earthy, soil stained sweetness of benzoin kept this finespun drydown grounded and close to the skin. The weather here has been schizophrenic to say the least. A couple of weeks ago it was in the low 100’s but when I wore Oshiba it was 30 degrees lower with a hint of autumn in the air. What a perfect scent to summon crisp air and cooler evenings.

Ianthe Eau de Toilette

When I read Ianthe’s list of notes; violet leaf, rose de mai, ambrette and orris, my gut told me this would be my favorite of Justine’s creations. Indeed, I was correct. She calls it a “violet nymph” and by golly this is an accurate description as I have fallen in love with this beguiling creature. She’s sweet but not too sweet. Ianthe has her hands in the soil, digging for those ambrette seeds, so the fragrance is well-grounded and does not begin delicately. The rose was not apparent to my nose, and the orris seemed only to illicit more of the violet tones of Ianthe, becoming more honeyed and delicious rather than heavy, soapy or woody. And then, my skin was left with a gauzy haze of violet pastilles that was more like a memory rather than a confection in my mouth. A true pleasure for violet perfume lovers, and presented in a darling 10ml corked bottle.

Khamsa Eau Fraiche

Justine’s Khamsa Eau Fraiche is made with cilantro, citrus, patchouli and frankincense. In fact, the frankincense and lemon hydrosols were created by Justine, as well as the fresh lemon essential oil, all used in the fragrance. I loved the opening of Khamsa. The cilantro/citrus kickoff was unique, enjoyable and refreshing. It even allowed for an interesting evolution into the warmth of the next phase; patchouli and frankincense. But then the drydown, on my skin, was exclusively patchouli. If you’ve read any of my reviews, you know I am not a big fan of the patchouli. I wish I were, because Khamsa has one of the most fascinating fragrance openers I’ve experienced in a while and I am loath to have the lovely bottle Justine so generously sent me go to waste. So all of you patchouli lovers, step forth and stake your claim!

I’m doing a giveaway for this full-sized bottle (100 mls) of Khamsa Eau Fraiche. Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered. You have until August 26th 10pm Pacific to enter. Good Luck! The winner has been chosen.

I won’t be blogging until after August 26th, as I am heading to New York for a late summer vacation. I’ve got a couple NYC sniffing excursions planned and you can be sure that a full report will be posted as soon as I get it in order!

Posted by ~Trish