My husband and I are recently back from The Big Island of Hawaii and while I feel like that island could easily be a second home for me, the Pacific Northwest is where my heart and soul are most at ease. In Hawaii, I indulged my olfactory needs with the Gardenia Roll-On from Enfleurage in New York City. As the name of this boutique suggests, this fragrance is made of gardenia enfleurage flowers, and it is exquisite. But upon returning to the cooler weather, something a bit more PNW appropriate beckoned, and I knew just the fragrances to reach for.
Some of you may know that it’s been a year since my last post, and I have to thank Ayala of Ayala Moriel Parfums for asking me to take part in this Rose Blogging Event for Valentine’s Day, even though Scent Hive has been in a deep slumber. I needed someone to reach out and get me to dust off the old blog, so I really appreciate her kindness. I come to this post with a giddy sense of anticipation but admittedly with a bit of hesitation as well. I’m not sure if this means I will get back to blogging on the regular, or just every now and then, but I do know that I am excited to share this lovely, dozen full of roses with you all.
I knew I would discover amazing natural perfumes and beauty products when I started Scent Hive two years ago to this day. That was a part of my inspiration, to experience the world of naturals more fully in order to share what, in my opinion, is the best of green beauty available.
Although I am very intentional about Scent Hive, there have been many surprising discoveries that have knocked me out of longheld prejudgements about my preferences. Case in point; my past disregard for rose is now a burgeoning love affair. I did a two part post on this fragrant subject over a year ago, but my appreciation for this classically romantic flower in reality, has just begun. Since that post, I have relished in many gorgeous rose perfumes like Velvet and Sweet Pea Bed of Roses and Gabriel’s Aunt Royal Couplewhich are so compelling that I keep coming back for more.
Serendipity, a new limited edition fragrance from Wing and a Prayer, is another rose perfume that has elevated my adoration of this flower. Like most people, I find the scent of roses easy to love when they are in the garden or freshly cut in my home, but in many perfumes, its tendency is slightly one-dimensional. Such perfumes can be very pretty to be sure, but I like more complexity than most rose-centric perfumes offer. In the right blend though, rose has the potential to take on a rich and multi-layered quality. Such is the case with Serendipity.
Upon first spritz, I wasn’t completely taken with Serendipity. Its opening is reminiscent of a crepey, vintage tea rose which again, is pretty and most die hard rose fans would love it, but I wanted a little more to grab on to. Fortunately, it took mere minutes for a full-bodied woody citrus scent to emerge, and grab me it did! Nowhere in the notes is a citrus of any sort mentioned, but there is no doubt that I feel petitgrain or the essence of a bitter orange rind present when I wear Serendipity. The heart is reminiscent of my favorite citrus perfume, Red Flower’s Guaiac, with thick rose petals pressed atop its bright and sparkling radiance.
After inhaling its blissful heart for a good 45 minutes, the path to the drydown materializes, leading to the herbaceous, fruity-floral glory of boronia. Boronia is an evergreen plant with exceptionally fragrant blossoms, native to Australia. I envision this plant and its little blooms as super hearty, bearing down against intense heat and beach winds to bring us its fabulously woody and warm floral aroma. (I don’t know if boronia thrives by the sea, but it’s an image I enjoy). In Serendipity, boronia bestows its tannic depth and floral nuances that recall honeysuckle and a bit of peppery freesia, giving the rose essential oils more richness and texture. What I love most about boronia, is that for all its complexity, it remains lighthearted and conjures up that insouciant image of a warm, breezy beach.
Serendipity lasts for hours, at least 6-8 on my skin, and in its final stage it evolves into a musky rose that resembles Wing and a Prayer’sFlowers with the same subtly sweet ambrette musk. For an all natural perfume, its longevity as well as its sillage are very impressive, and the price is quite reasonable. Since roses are the quintessential Valentine’s flower, consider Serendipity for the occasion if you want an alluring variation on a classic.
In celebration of Scent Hive’s 2nd anniversary, Wing and a Prayer is giving away a bottle of Serendipity to a lucky reader. Please leave a comment to be entered for a 1/2 oz. bottle of this limited edition fragrance. Extra entries if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! Drawing is now closed.
Serendipity is available at Wing and a Prayer’s etsy shop. $45 for 1/2 oz or $90 for 1.7 oz.
Posted by ~Trish
Image: Standing Ovation by sintwister on esty.
Image courtesy of Nathan Branch. (Thanks Nathan!)
Olivia Giacobetti entered the natural perfume scene in 2008 with a line of all natural and organic perfumes for Honoré des Prés. The response was mixed, not because the fragrances weren’t exceptional, but because of their fleeting staying power. I didn’t let that deter me from buying my favorite from HdP’s first collection, Sexy Angelic, as it’s a pure sugar, almond, and licorice delight that makes me very happy, even if it lasts barely an hour.
I don’t know if Ms. Giacobetti made herself aware of the lack-of-longevity critiques, but this new second round of HdP perfumes has remedied the issue. You’re probably not going to smell them on your skin the next morning, but they do last several hours, and even up to eight or so if you spritz your clothes.
The We Love NY collection was introduced in April 2010, with Ms. Giacobetti’s inspiration being her move to New York City. None of the three perfumes strike me as particularly “New York” in nature, but the urban coffee cup and brown bag packaging certainly does.
If any of these fragrances brings me back to NYC, it’s I Love Les Carottes. Not super intuitive I know, but the city is home to excellent farmers markets, Union Square in particular. We lived within walking distance to Union Square, and smelling Les Carottes is like standing in front of a gorgeous spread of deep orange carrots and taking in their earthy sweetness. Les Carottes is hyper-vegetal in its opening and you need to love the smell of freshly shredded carrots if you expect a positive experience with this perfume.
As Les Carottes progresses into its heart, the carrot note still dominates, but it vacillates between the buttery fleshiness of the vegetable and a medicinal astringency. This dichotomy lasts almost the entire length of wearing Les Carottes, until the drydown fully settles into more subdued vanillic powderiness.
With Love Coco’s notes of coconut, coriander and vanilla, I was anticipating a smooth and gently spiced coconut with a creamy vanilla finish. Instead, it was more akin to Les Carottes, very raw and very vegetal. For me, Love Coco is a straight-up blend of vetiver and coconut, like Hawaiian Tropic suntan lotion minus the sweetness. It’s bracing and exposed and really tropical. Not until the drydown does Love Coco become what I thought it would be, a gently spiced coconut with a creamy vanilla finish.
Vamp à NY has received many rave reviews from other bloggers, but it is my least favorite of the three. It’s not that I dislike Vamp, but it doesn’t appeal to me as much as Les Carottes and Love Coco. If you’re a regular reader of Scent Hive, you know I love white floral perfumes, tuberose in particular. Vamp does possess a lovely and radiant tuberose which unfortunately on my skin is quickly squelched by overripe banana and cloying coconut candy notes. Here are links to Vamp reviews from bloggers who enjoyed it more than I, Grain de Musc and 1000 Fragrances. As for me, I’ll stick to White Potion, Ayala Sender’s rendering of tuberose and coconut that is far more wearable on my skin.
If you’d like to try Vamp à NY, I Love Les Carottes and Love Coco for yourself, leave a comment and you will receive one of three sample sets housed in the HdP coffee cup. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin, Twitter, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! DRAWING IS NOW CLOSED.
Posted by ~Trish
The We Love NY collection is available at Spirit Beauty Lounge. $98 for a 50ml bottle.
Disclosure: Samples were sent to me for consideration by Honoré des Prés. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Merging jasmine with winter might seem counterintuitive as this heady, warmblooded flower feels so sultry and lush against the heat of the summer sun. Pairing it with a chill in the air seemed odd to me and it wasn’t until last December that I realized jasmine’s power to soothe and comfort during winter’s frost. It was Aftelier’s Fig that showed me jasmine’s ability to assuage the doldrums of cold rainy day after cold rainy day. Its blend of fir and fig is a jammy alpine enchantment, and I am pleased to say that jasmine’s winter-appropriateness does not end there.
Épice Sauvage by Ayala Moriel Parfums is somewhat gourmand in its treatment of jasmine, as it delves into culinary spices like cardamom, coriander, cinnamon and clove. Interestingly, jasmine grandiflorum was chosen rather than jasmine sambac which initially surprised me. I thought the spicy nature of jasmine sambac to be the obvious choice for this spice laden perfume, but Ayala in her great wisdom and talent chose jasmine grandiflorum which as it turns out, was the perfect choice. I’ll tell you why in a bit.
First, let me explain why Épice Sauvage feels so cozy. I love to bake with cardamom, especially in cookies, so its scent feels homey and nurturing. Of course it elicits images of spice markets as well, but cardamom’s comforting, homebody aspect is very strong to me. In Ayurvedic cooking, cardamom is a warming spice that balances all three doshas which are the elements that determine our physical, mental and emotional characteristics. I don’t adhere to Ayurvedic principles on a routine basis, but I’m pretty sure my dosha is vata for many reasons. Most relevant to this discussion is my preference for summer, so cardamom’s sweet, warm, and activating qualities are immensely welcome this time of year.
Upon first smelling Épice Sauvage, I knew I would love it. Cinnamon introduces the fragrance with a whisper of sweetness and foreshadows the emergence of cardamom as the central spicy focus. And here’s why jasmine grandiflorum was such a brilliant pick, it’s rounder and more voluminous than jasmine sambac which has a spicy tone that might have competed with cardamom’s flavor. With the grandiflorum species, cardamom is given the opportunity to provide Épice Sauvage itspiquancy while the jasmine offers up its lush floral heart.
Cardamom dominates the heart of Épice Sauvage, but as the drydown comes into reach, coriander has an important role as well. This spice is a little earthy and peppery, with a suggestion of woods which plays nicely with the cedar note that reveals itself in the basenotes. But let us not forget jasmine as it continues to support all of these essences. Such a compliant floral foundation for the ofttimes unruly jasmine! In the drydown, its blossoms fully coalesce with cardamom which allows the cedar and coriander to hover over and ultimately permeate the fragrance.
After 3-4 hours of wear, a 2nd drydown occurs, one that is very intimate and oh so pretty. It’s pure jasmine, like the moment the blossom begins to open to the night air. It’s the nascent fragrance of a jasmine, dipped for a brief moment in warm honey and rose blossoms. I can’t think of a better way to revel in jasmine’s winter radiance.
Ayala Moriel Parfums are 100% natural and made with loving care by Ayala Sender. Épice Sauvage is available at AyalaMoriel.com, starting at $48 for a mini to $120 for a 9ml Parfum Extrait Flacon.
Posted by ~Trish
Disclosure: This sample of Épice Sauvage was my own purchase. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
image: Heart of Snow by Edward Robert Hughes (1851-1914) at artmagick.com
“Songbird” is a lovely name. It’s a pretty word to speak, and the thought of songbirds is a charming one. But after several wearings, I have a new name for this perfume. I find Sensual Chameleon to be more appropriate since Songbird flows through several alluring transformations. No disrespect to Laurie Stern of Velvet and Sweet Pea, creator of this beauty. She has outdone herself with this fragrance, but sometimes a gal needs to come up with a nickname for a loved one.
Juicy blood orange is the entree to Songbird, reminiscent of the fruit dripping in its perfectly ripened sweetness. This opening is most succulent and reminds me of Laurie’s Orange Blossom Body Frosting -a decadent treat for the skin and soul- and I hoped Songbird would linger in this familiar scent for the duration. I so enjoyed the floral and gently spicy citrus aroma wafting about me, but sometimes it’s better to not have your wishes come to fruition as what laid before me was much more fullfilling that anything I could have hoped for.
Just fifteen minutes in, I was swooning over the evolution from citrusy fullness to the tea-like and slightly herbaceous glistening of boronia. I have grown to love boronia more and more as I explore it in natural perfumes. I adore its wild, all encompassing scent as it moves from woods, to jammy fruits, to culinary herbs and tannic teas. Boronia is also slightly floral, in a breezy way as if the blossoms have been baked in the beachside sun and then moistened again by the salt drenched water.
As the orange faded and the boronia became more pronounced, an enticing beeswax note appeared and brought Songbird to the level that made me think of it as the Sensual Chameleon. I was not expecting to be struck by a thick, dark honey scent after I had just been mesmerized by boronia. Songbird became suggestive of beeswax melting in a pan over a kerosene stove; a mix of heat, oil and pure sweetness, possibly an aspect of tuberose absolute. I’m a little crazy for this particular scent in a perfume, and it’s a rare one. (There’s a Strange Invisible Perfume that shares this scent, and I will get to its review as some point I promise). Clearly, I reveled in this stage of Songbird’s metamorphosis.
One can remain in an olfactory stupor for only so long, so sandalwood came knocking at the drydown. Fortunately, the wake-up call was a gentle one. Smooth, vanilla soaked sandalwood kindly nudged me awake and I was pleased to spend time with such a grounding and smooth essence. And as you can surmise, I was more than pleased to spend time with Songbird in its entirety and experience its gorgeous evolution.
If you haven’t peeked at the Velvet & Sweet Pea website, please take some time to peruse Laurie’s enchanting aesthetic. I also encourage you to read her FAQ page in order to read more about how devoted Laurie is to using all natural essences, artisinal perfume making and her dedication to helping animals. Here is some information from her site that I find very salient:
Velvet and Sweet Pea’s Purrfumery perfumes are made by hand in small, carefully crafted batches, using only natural ingredients. (Commercial perfumes are made using a dizzying list of chemicals and synthetic fragrances.) The distinctive use of the word “botanical” is key to one of the core principles of the Purrfumery. Many perfumers who call themselves “natural” perfumers use animal products (such as civet cat musk or beaver castoreum) in their perfumes. These products are harvested from the animals under terribly cruel, species-endangering conditions, and so Velvet and Sweet Pea designate their perfumes as botanical to indicate that only nature’s plant treasures – flowers, fruits, seeds, leaves, and aromatic woods – are used in creating their delicious scents.
All Velvet and Sweet Pea perfumes are created in a base of organic alcohol or beeswax (because the base comprises 65-95% of a perfume, all our perfumes are almost entirely organic). Laurie also uses as many organic, wildcrafted, and sustainably grown ingredients as possible in all her creations.
Songbird is available at Velvet and Sweet Pea. 8 ml for $185, 15 ml for $325, or 1 oz for $550.
In The Orange Blossoms by Hadley Hutton at etsy.
Posted by ~Trish
Disclosure: A sample of Songbird was sent to me for consideration by Velvet & Sweet Pea. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Mediterranean travels have taken me to the shores of Italy, France and Spain. Of course I feel blessed to have experienced the azure waters, palm trees, and restful sun drenched beaches of the Mediterranean in these countries, but I have yet to meet the acquaintance of these waters in Greece or its islands. Greece is the destination I most frequently daydream about, and hope to make its beauty my reality someday.
The Peloponnese is the southernmost part of mainland Greece, and Peloponnesian is the name of an all natural perfume inspired by that region. Alexandra Balahoutis, creator of Strange Invisible Perfumes’ Peloponnesian, has tapped into what I imagine the air to be like in southern Greece; refreshing, crisp, warm and radiant.
The opening of Peloponnesian is brisk and green with woody topnotes courtesy of the oil from cypress twigs and leaves. Hydro-distilled orange and lime bring forth a sparkling clarity to its citrusy temperament while the basalmic tones add depth, warmth and a hint of sweetness. In truth, it’s not much different from SIP’s Atlantic, another gorgeous scent inspired by seafaring masculinity. Peloponnesian has more of a citrusy pop in its opening, making Atlantic’s lime notes feel subdued by comparison.
The drydowns of both fragrances run parallel to each other as they evoke beach-side citrus groves and salt tinged air, Peloponnesian maybe more so on the citrus aspect. But Peloponnesian has a sultry side to match Atlantic’s smoldering scent. If you’re familiar with SIP’s Musc Botanique’s explosive vegetal musk, you’ll find a more subtle take on that sexy botanical frenzy in Peloponnesian. Atlantic has it too, and Peloponnesian’s muskiness falls just between that and Musc Botanique.
Peloponnesian is an alluring scent of the Mediterranean that is beautifully constructed. The balance of citrus, sage, honeyed woods, and botanical musks lull me into my Grecian daydream as it wafts from my husband’s skin or from my own.
Peloponnesian is available at Beautyhabit.com, $160 for 50 ml. There is currently 25% off with the promo code: OPRAH. Good until August 13th, 2010.
Posted by ~Trish
My introduction to Cristalle EDT was by way of its sophisticated sillage wafting gracefully around a woman who has since become one of my dearest friends. Megan and I met over sixteen years ago, and Cristalle remains her signature scent, at least in my mind. Her father bought her a bottle in Paris twenty five years ago, so when you’ve been wearing a fragrance for that long, a signature it becomes. When I asked her more about her perfume, she made it very clear that she wore the EDT, not the EDP, and that it was becoming difficult to find.
So off I went to The Perfume House in search of Cristalle EDT. When I arrived, there it was, its square columnar perfection ready for me to purchase. And I did. But no matter how much I loved its scent, I could not move past the feeling that Cristalle belonged to Megan, not me. I felt like a bit of an imposter when I wore Cristalle and upon telling that to Megan, she graciously gave me her blessing to wear it, but it never felt comfortable on my skin. I ultimately gave it to my grandmother who would never have spent nearly that much money on herself for a bottle of perfume. Fast forward sixteen years, and I have finally discovered a chypre that is reminiscent of Cristalle EDT, yet different enough to suit me.
Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 has several top-notes in common with Cristalle EDT like bergamot, lemon, and petitgrain. While Botanical Essence No. 1 lacks oakmoss, the hallmark of many chypre perfumes including Cristalle, it possesses the aforementioned hesperidic* top notes as well as rose, patchouli, cedarwood and vetiver which are frequently used in the creation of a chypre. In addition to Cristalle EDT, Botanical Essence No.1 resembles Annick Goutal’s Eau de Sud and Clarin’s Eau Dynamisante. All of these fragrances are green and citrusy in the opening and woody-aromatic in the heart and drydown, but I find Botanical Essence No. 1 to be slightly warmer and rounder than its counterparts. It’s not as austere as Cristalle, is a little smoother than Eau de Sud and less “spa-aromatherapeutic” than Eau Dynamisante.
When I first tested Botanical Essence No.1, I was immediately impressed. I enjoyed its sparkly greeting and welcoming herbal notes of cardamom, coriander and nutmeg. The drydown was just as alluring, with tonka bean adding an unexpected touch of sweetness and cedarwood adding body and comfort. But it wasn’t until just today, that I was fully won over by Botanical Essence No. 1. Early this morning, I sprayed this EDP on my wrists before I gave much thought to my day. After sitting down to a breakfast of oatmeal and glancing at my dayplanner I remembered my acupuncture appointment at 10 am. I wondered if I had made a perfume mistake. I had never worn fragrance to an acupuncture treatment and became wary of my spritzing decision. The concern passed quickly though, and off I went. While I was having my “rest” (after being poked with what felt like 50+ needles) I drifted into a quasi-meditative state. The restorative and comforting qualities of Botanical Essence No.1 began to envelop me, and it was blissful.
Seven years ago, I had a blissful moment of a different sort when I found that bottle of Cristalle in my grandmother’s medicine cabinet after she died. It was empty, but I hope its gorgeous scent made her feel full.
One lucky reader gets to share in my bliss because the Liz Earle people are giving away a full bottle of Botanical Essence No. 1 to a Scent Hive reader. Leave a comment and you’ll be entered. Extra entries as well if you follow Scent Hive on Bloglovin,Twitter, Google Friend Connect, Facebook’s Networked Blogs, or subscribe to Scent Hive. Please let me know in your comment what you did so you get the entries you deserve! Drawing will close Sunday July 11th at 9pm PST. Drawing is now closed.
Botanical Essence No. 1 is derived from 98.6% all natural ingredients. Here is a statement from Liz Earle’s PR folks regarding the other 1.4%:
Over 98% (98.6%) of the ingredients used in Liz Earle Botanical Essence No. 1 are directly derived from nature; the remaining 1.4 % ingredients are solvents, stabilisers and synthetics. These ingredients, whilst not naturally derived, are commonly used when formulating a fine fragrance. They are really important as they make sure the fragrance lasts when it is applied. They also help to make the fragrance smell continuous: essential oils such as the ones we are using can smell quite sharp and distinctive, and these ingredients help the fragrance smell rounded and balanced. If we didn’t use these ingredients the fragrance wouldn’t last as long on the skin, and the complex blend wouldn’t be as well rounded and such a pleasure for the wearer.
It is available at LizEarle.com, $78 for a 1.6 oz bottle.
* Please see this very informative post at Bois de Jasmin regarding the Hesperide (citrus) family of perfumes.
Posted by ~Trish
Disclosure: A sample of Botanical Essence No. 1 was provided for this review by Liz Earle’s PR company. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
One of the most fulfilling aspects of creating Scent Hive has been discovering natural perfume lines that were previously unknown to me. It’s even more fulfilling when these discoveries stem from readers’ recommendations. Michelle, a fellow lover of naturals that I have exchanged perfumes with more times than I can remember, has sent me some real beauties. I appreciate her generosity and knowledge of natural perfumers a great deal.
I might never have learned of Herbal Alchemy Apothecary if it weren’t for Michelle, which would have been a minor misfortune as their Tourmaline has quickly risen to the top of my preferred fragrances this spring. Julianne Zaleta, owner of Herbal Alchemy Apothecary, is a professional herbalist, aromatherapist, as well as a perfumer, and has created an exceptionally lovely scent with her Tourmaline.
At the most basic level, Tourmaline makes me happy because it’s a musky floral that I can wear. Back in the day, I wanted so badly to love China Rain, but just couldn’t due to its overwhelming muskiness. Tourmaline is what I wanted China Rain to be- a subtle floral with a suggestion of musk, and a lot more depth. Tourmaline‘s notes are listed as tobacco, bitter orange, honey and fern which on paper is enough to pique my interest. On the skin, they’re enough to make me love it.
Despite fern being present, I would not classify this as a fougère, or fern-like, perfume. Tourmaline is green, but it’s not herbal or woody or oakmossy. A hay back note seems to be provided by the tobacco which veers sweet and leafy rather than dark and earthy. As mentioned above, Tourmaline is delicately floral, and its light honey inflected, citrusy touch makes it a must-have in my collection.
Tourmaline is available at HerbalAlchemy.net for $45 for a 20ml bottle.
Posted by ~Trish
Disclosure: As stated above, Tourmaline was a gift from a friend. The opinions in this review are my own. I was not financially compensated for this review or any other.
Congratulations Amanda, and thanks to everyone for your comments and entries!
Posted by ~Trish